Even the most jaded should be able to find a little humor in this take on the massive NSA data collection:
Spoofs like this are great ways to spread larger ideas.
Jim Geraghty made this remark in light of the NSA spying leaks: “Of course, you can do the right thing and still break the law.”
Meanwhile, Sesame Street debuts an education kit for helping kids deal with an incarcerated parent.
Clearly, there’s not such an epidemic of questionable spying document dumping in this country that these two things are directly related, but I don’t think they are completely unrelated, either. It’s a sad day when we pretty much joke about how practically everyone is a criminal these days because they’ve probably cross some regulation they never even knew existed.
It reminds me of a Kindle book my mom bought me that I really need to read soon: Trapped: When Acting Ethically is Against the Law
Unfortunately, since the answers to these issues don’t fit into a soundbite, don’t expect any serious discussions about the topic from our political leaders.
This is exactly the kind of crap that had civil libertarians so disgusted with the previous administration that they decided to give Team Donk a chance, and look what they got in exchange: A bad punchline of an Executive branch. “They told me if I voted for McCain that secret intel organizations would Hoover up all the phone records of every American, and they were right!” Har-de-har-har. It was funny the first thirty-seven times.
And what’s the Mainstream Media doing? Hiding smoking guns like a lovestruck teenager for her gangster boyfriend. If you guys were manning the bridge in ’73, you’d be doing special investigative reports on why security guards should mind their own business when they see a taped door lock. It could be taped for national security reasons! And George Bush taped locks, too!
It always annoys me greatly when people bring up the “Bush did it!” excuse, like that’s some kind of “Get out of Jail Free” card they can play — like everyone else is the same kind of partisan hack as people who assert this defense seem to be. Well, you know, I thought Bush was an asshole too, so what’s your point? In fact, given Bush’s approval ratings at the end of his second term, I’m fairly certain I’m not alone in this sentiment.
The gun rights news cycle is getting a little dry, so this news dump will have a few off-topic links.
The people still don’t approve of Obama’s handling of the gun issue. But gun control is a winner!
Anti-gun groups blowing money to praise O’Malley. Yes. Let us make sure everyone knows he’s a gun control supporter. That ought to help destroy any Presidential ambitions he might have. Also, in Illinois, anti-gun groups are running deceptive ads by showing an M4 firing on full-auto.
“But hubris got to them and decided to ignore a basic principle of living and politics in the USA: Leave Gun Owners Alone.” That pretty much sums up the first half of 2013.
PA lawmaker wants gun database dismantled. This has taken way too long to fix, and I doubt it’ll happen this session, but I’m glad it’s not being completely forgotten about.
Mother Jones discovers building your own gun is legal. The horror! Except there’s some question that the bullet button device on the AK wouldn’t comply with California law because it’s placed too far back, which would allow the magazine to still be detached without the use of a tool. I’m not an expert on this, but I wonder if any of the irony strikes him.
Off topic, but interesting: an Illinois school teacher is in hot water because he taught students about their right against self-incrimination, protected under the 5th Amendment of the Bill of Rights. Well, when it comes to the War on Drugs, we can’t be having any of these constitutional rights, now can we? We definitely can’t have the little tykes asserting they have rights that trump the authority of school administrators either.
Government v3.0. One of Kevin’s trademark Überposts.
Instapundit on the proposed media “Shield Law”: “We need protections for journalism, not journalists.“
Police in Nashville have noticed the tactics of the Boston PD and emulated them. Apparently much more quickly than anyone would have anticipated. I thought it was amusing people accusing SayUncle of being anti-cop, given that I don’t think he hates his dad.
I don’t think being wary of civil liberties violating tactics makes one anti-cop. I’m willing to give the police pretty wide berth to apprehend (or kill) violent subjects, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask to at least pretend to respect the civil liberties of the people you’re sworn to protect, and to actually be able to hit what you’re aiming at.
We are supposed to be a nation of laws, and it seems more and more apparent we’re a nation of bureaucrats and enforcers, who believe the law to be optional, or at least pliable. Perhaps what’s even more disturbing is a population who seems to have no issue with this state of affairs, as long as it’s not their goose being cooked, and there’s some vague and comforting idea of being made safe.
UPDATE: On the opposite side of the coin, a lot of College Professors don’t live in the real world (not any real surprise, I suppose). If the cops in and around Boston had turned the bombers into swiss cheese in the shootout, I would want to give them a high five. It’s what was done to everyone else who wasn’t the bombers I have a hard time with.
Bloomberg thinks we’re going to have to change what we think of the Constitution after Boston. I think right now the Constitution is more important than ever.
“The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry,” Mr. Bloomberg said during a press conference in Midtown. “But we live in a complex word where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”
Our greater level of security that we had back in the “olden days,” is due to the fact that it was a society where people looked out after each other and their own. Today, especially in places like Boston and New York, citizens expect the government to do everything for them, and the more government does, the less it does anything particularly well. Even Boston is illustrative of the utter failure of government. It wasn’t until the lockdown was lifted that an observant citizen decided to take a look in his boat, and sure enough… terrorist in his boat. Again, just like 9/11, it was citizens that caught him, even with all the Forth Amendment violations the police were using. Police work better with an engaged citizenry than a bunch of passive sheep.
What if instead of doing house to house searches they asked everyone to go and inspect their yards, sheds, and yes, boats (as I think most of us would have wanted to do if this had been going on in our neighborhood)? Well, we can’t have that. Someone might get hurt. But having the King’s men spraying bullets all over a suburban neighborhood and pointing guns at the good citizenry while they go door to door searching? Well, you can trust us, we’re professionals, from the government, and here to help.
If this video represents how the Watertown “voluntary” searches were conducted at all, then I seriously wonder how the officers would have reacted to this doormat.
Now this may be the nutty libertarian in me, but being met at the door by SWAT teams with guns pointed at you and orders barked to keep your hands up no matter what isn’t what I call a “request” to search your home on a “voluntary” basis. Nor is it just checking the premises to have multiple officers patting down innocent people as they exit said house to screams for them to keep their hands up and to run down the street for further body searches.
I sincerely hope that some government official somewhere is so ashamed of this video that they end up releasing some kind of evidence that there was specific probable cause for this house to be searched in this manner. However, the pessimist in me doubts that will be the case. The video makes it appear as though the only cause for such a response was the delayed answer to non-stop door knocks.
If there was no reasonable suspicion that the suspect had specifically entered this property, I sincerely hope that those people find themselves a damn good lawyer quickly.
You’d think after so much public derision over their terrible job reporting on the Boston bombing situation, the media would think it wise to step back and consider how they report on breaking events and whether they are contributing to a sense of panic by printing and announcing every rumor they hear. I think it is safe to say that the Philly media definitely didn’t learn anything.
Here’s what I can tell you about a story that has apparently been unfolding since 9:00am today at the Independence Visitor Center in downtown Philly.
The local paper says that the Center was closed down because of a bomb threat in their headline. When you read the article, you find out that there was no actual threat just a perception that a guy who looked funny because he wore a camo coat on a cold day had some clothes and junk in his car may have possibly been a threat that involved a bomb.
A local tv station reports nothing about concerns about a bomb, but that SWAT teams were on the scene because the guy in the camo coat may have also had his face painted. There’s no mention of clothes or junk in his car, just that police shut down the main parking garage in the area in order to search every corner for anything suspicious before giving an all clear.
So the only clear facts that appear to be consistent are that a guy was wearing a coat on a cold day, the coat was apparently in a camouflage pattern, he had a car parked in a parking garage, and that the Philly police felt the best response was to shut down a major landmark and the parking garage because of this man wearing a coat on a cold day. Oh, and they also agree that he was hauled off in handcuffs, but officials are unwilling to say why he was detained.
At this point, even if there is a reasonable explanation for the police response, the reporting by at least one of these outlets–if not both–is irresponsible and clearly geared toward promoting fear in order to draw eyeballs. That’s why neither story is getting a link at the moment. Neither one deserves to be rewarded for reporting that appears to be, under the most generous descriptions, sloppy at best.
UPDATE: Another report actually relies on on-the-record statements from the police. Can you imagine the insanity behind such caution and restraint?
So far, the facts appear to be that a man was wearing camo (no mention of face paint) and that he had a car that was dirty. This alone was enough for police to determine that he should be taken into custody even though they admit that the K9 unit and bomb squad found absolutely nothing in his car but junk. Now this might be my crazy libertarian side coming out, but last time I checked, possession of shitty fashion sense and dirty cars isn’t actually a crime.
Is there no one else disturbed by the apparent extreme police state on display here? Are urban dwellers that content to give up their civil liberties?
Apparently, gun owners are swarming gun shops today ahead of votes in the Connecticut legislature.
Dear gun shop owners, you know what would be very handy to do today for every customer who isn’t at the Capitol? The phone suggestion here in this post – have those customers who aren’t lobbying in person fill their voicemail boxes while the staffers deal with constituents in person.