Saturday, February 07, 2009

And now it has come to pass...

For the last eight years, in all the forums and blogs on the right hand side of the internet, cranky libertarian Jeremiahs have bitched incessantly about every expansion of federal law enforcement powers done in the name of the War on A Noun. "Relax!" we've been told. "Would you prefer it if (Gore/Kerry) had won? These powers are necessary to fight terrorists!"

Well look who has the keys to the car now, kids.



They're gonna love that turbo you guys bolted in.

(H/T to 2A Musing...)

51 comments:

Marko said...

Of course, now we'll have to brace ourselves for four/eight years of whining from the same War On A Noun fans who applauded the addition of the shiny new powers to the executive toolkit.

"They can't do that! Impeachment! Treason!"

I mentioned a few years back that those powers didn't come with a footnote stating "MAY ONLY BE USED BY A REPUBLICAN ADMINISTRATION". Now the looks of dismay are rather amusing, actually.

alath said...

At the time when a lot of Republicans were supporting warantless wiretapping, profiling, etc., my question was "How are you going to like it when President Hilary can wire tap and profile people she doesn't like?"

I didn't get all the details exactly right, but I'm afraid I had the principle correct.

It is unfortunate that so many people of whatever political affiliation seem to want a dictatorship, as long as their party is in power. They are only interested in limitations of government power when the other guys win.

It was amusing, for instance, to hear social liberals squawking about "judicial activism" after the Heller decision.

When the Rs are in office, they expand government power in the directions they like. When the Ds are in office, they expand government power in the directions they like. Net result: ever-expanding government power.

illinois Vote said...

Coming out of the mouth of Fish killer himself. Note all those key terms and phrases straight from the Brady playbook. Reasonable, for the children......

Note who's dais He's standing behind.

Each year they want reasonable , pass a few more restrictions. Each year , last years laws weren't sufficient enough to accomplish a change... And this sane? individual sends dead fish to opponents and stabs dinners in effigy while screaming his political opponents names. Not much reason comes from this nutball.

the pawnbroker said...

hard to believe so many don't see the ironic juxtaposition of the war on gun rights and the misuse of extraordinary antiterrorism powers.

a gun's just a tool, as we all know and argue; it's who's using it that creates problems and mindless calls for total bans.

same goes for the tools of war; necessary and useful in the hands of some, dangerous and deadly in the hands of others...and the issues should be handled in the same way.

some dumbass drunk grabbed the keys to your turbo hotrod...so ban hotrods, right? wrong. throw out some stopsticks, drag the bastard out of there and get back behind the wheel yourself before innocent people get hurt.

jtc

perlhaqr said...

Any indication on when this speech was given? It seems post-election.

Did he seriously just claim that handgun homicides spiked 35% after the '94 AWB expired? Does he even know what that bill supposedly banned? 'cause, like, it wasn't handguns.

----

Heh. Are you kidding me? They're just giving these things away these days. -- WV: "prehyp" Looks like all that prehyp from the election might actually come true.

fast richard said...

For years the left has been whining about how terrorists captured in battle have to be given access to due process through the American civil courts. Now Rahm Emanuel says anyone placed on a semi-secret "watch list" should forfit due process rights. It's not about guns, It's about control.

Anonymous said...

One would think that an Israeli citizen would understand that the government cannot provide security its citizens and that an armed populace is part of the solution. I suppose we cannot underestimate the dark powers radiating from Chicago.

the pistolero said...

So I see that Mr. Emanuel apparently has no problem with violent criminals & terrorists walking the streets so long as they allegedly can't get a gun. I've said it before but I'll say it again: WTF is wrong with these people?

Farm.Dad said...

Folks ; IMHO politics in this nation is a semi burlesque side show whereby slight of hand and rigged games rule, the Carni's always win over the marks. We the People tho do have a roll other than marks , you can find us over portraying that " Dancing Chicken " .

alath said...

pawnbroker,

Not sure I agree with the analogy between the government's posession of "extraordinary powers" and citizens' posession of firearms.

The people have rights, and power devolves from the people to the government. Not the other way around.

When the .gov starts talking about taking powers and rights away from the people "for our own good" I become extremely suspicious.

You seem to be saying that a Gulag can be a good thing, as long as the right person is the chief of the NKVD. I disagree. I don't care what a wonderful guy our next president is, I don't trust him with extra-constitutional powers.

Roberta X said...

Crap, and I just buried those eeeebil guns. Now it's time to dig 'em up again.

Alath: gulag bad. Now, define "gulag." No peeking!

Caleb said...

"I can't put my partisanship aside". Well, at least he's honest about it.

the pistolero said...

same goes for the tools of war; necessary and useful in the hands of some, dangerous and deadly in the hands of others...and the issues should be handled in the same way.

Ahem, no they shouldn't. Perhaps if the institution of government wasn't such a malevolent beast I'd agree with you; but, well, I'm guessing that particular feature of government is, well, a feature as opposed to a bug, considering, for example, the millions of people murdered by their own governments in the 20th century. Personally I'd prefer government have as few tools in its box as possible, considering that the more tools in that box, the more uses government finds for them.

Steelghost said...

It seems my three year old cousin was right everybody has been misspelling the president's name. She's taken to calling him O-ban-a.

Anonymous said...

Administrations gun control stance + a push for larger census bureau + new supreme and federal judgeships = a very bad feeling coming on the horizon. TT

Anonymous said...

If Rahm thinks the no fly list has any value at all, he's got to be utterly clueless. Or perhaps he's just bullshitting, trying to milk sympathy by proposing idiotic measures to a bunch of halfwits. That's me being optimistic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Fly_List#False_positives_and_other_controversial_cases

The best example is Robert Johnson. Once upon a time there was a Trinidadian idiot living in Canada of that name. He was convicted of plotting to blow up a Hindu temple, and Canadians deported him to Trinidad. Now every Robert Johnson, even if he's in the US military, or law enforcement can't fly, or will be just delayed..

Everyone whose name is similar to a name on the list has trouble flying. For example, Catherine Stevens wife of the corrupt Alaskan scumbag, Ted Stevens, has been given trouble, because her name is similar to Cat Stevens. A singer, who converted to Islam, and is quite harmless.

Some people have even changed their names so they wouldn't be harassed.

The No fly list is just a big, steaming pile of bullshit. Yeah. Like terrorists are gonna fly on their own, genuine IDs..

R.

the pawnbroker said...

the visionary Framers provided a mechanism for us to hire gov functionaries to do what we need done, which primarily consists (or consisted) of defending us from threats from without.

they also provided the ironclad right for us to arm ourselves against threats from within...including threats from those very functionaries.

when exceptional tools and powers are granted to accomplish the former and work as intended (ie: prevent domestic terrorist attacks) that is good, and they are extended or expanded. when they don't, or when they are misused or abused, that is bad, and they must be revoked from the abuser.

when the latter right is used to defend ourselves, our families, and our homes that is good, and will not be impinged. when it is used to hurt or threaten others or their rights, it must be revoked from the abuser.

but when the former is twisted to attack the latter, all bets are off and all hell breaks loose.

tools. use 'em or refuse 'em; your choice...abuse 'em and lose 'em; Constitutional society's choice. but arbitrarily and preemptively deny them? well, that's just what they want to do, isn't it?

simplistic, yes...and maybe that's a good thing.

jtc

the pistolero said...

simplistic, yes...and maybe that's a good thing
No, it's definitely not a good thing, because, well...how easy is it, how easy has it been, to take away powers from government when those powers has been misused? Here's a hint: It's not nearly as easy to take power away from government when that power has been misused as it is to take away powers from individuals. Did you not pay attention in history class?

the pistolero said...

"...when those powers HAVE been misused..."

Loose Gravel said...

My cousin made the watch list, the step just before no-fly. She was born here in the Southern Appalchians, to a family that can trace ancestors to before 1750 in the area. She has never been outside of the country; doesn't even have a passport. Never been an activist. Her wildest activity is the continuing saga of trying to break in her pony for trail riding. That gets pretty exciting sometimes, but not exactly a threat to national security. She didn't even know she was on the list until she tried to board a plane to attend her father's funeral. After the ordeal, she filed the paperwork to ascertain why she was on the list, and to be removed from it. That was 9 months ago... still no reply, and yet, she may be just one step away from having her Second Amendment rights removed from her for... no reason, just because.

Scary.

the pawnbroker said...

"It's not nearly as easy to take power away from government when that power has been misused as it is to take away powers from individuals."

examples?

jtc

Joseph said...

Look on the bright side. Judging by the recent parade of scandals, the people in power are not immune ... so at least we can watch back.

the pistolero said...

examples?

Off the top of my head, there's the fact that the BATF is still a government agency as opposed to a nationwide chain of convenience stores...

the pawnbroker said...

that's what i thought.

did you not pay attention in intelligent adult discourse class?

jtc

Tam said...

jtc,

"examples?"

The (laughingly mis-named) PATRIOT act has been used more often on white collar crime and dope dealers than on tangos.

The really funny thing about it is that nearly every thing in that law was originally requested by the Carter and Clinton justice departments (there were some Reagan-era rejects in it, too) but was shouted down by conservatives as "intrusive" and "unConstitutional". I guess it's only "intrusive" and "unConstitutional" when it's the other team asking for it...

the pistolero said...

And then there's the whole misuse of the RICO laws, no?

the pistolero said...

And as for the ATF, well, just google ATF abuse sometime. Intelligent adult discourse? Considering your conduct at certain other blogs, I'd have to say that coming from you that's downright laughable.

alath said...

Roberta,

I use the term Gulag as applied in the Soviet Union - a chain of penal camps where people could be sent for indefinite terms of imprisonment after a bogus trial, or no trial at all, for vague unsubstantiated crimes like being an "enemy of the people." Kind of like being on a "terrorist watch list." Once in the Gulag, inmates could be treated pretty much however the local authorities wanted to treat them. They were often used as slave labor, sometimes for quasi-suicidal projects.

The Gulag system was operated by the Soviet secret police, which officially went by a number of idealistic, protective-sounding euphemisms like "administration for protecting the public," "extraordinary commission for combating threats to the people" and "the department of homeland security." Oh, wait, that last one's ours.

I don't remember exactly what the acronym GULAG stood for, but like a lot of ominous Soviet agencies the GU stands for "glavnoe upravlenie" which is usually translated as "main administration".

the pawnbroker said...

"...it's only "intrusive" and "unConstitutional" when it's the other team asking for it...
"

now there's a twofer...abuse of specific gov power and infringement of private rights all in one, and i can't disagree...and a good example of "misuse it and lose it", though it's still quite a leap from there to using it to disarm mainstream Americans, with the results of that yet to be determined.

jtc

crankylitprof said...

I don't know about y'all, but I am really looking forward to meeting all my blog friends in real life, when we're all shipped to the reeducation camps.

Don Meaker said...

Well we need to start by getting all politicians, lawyers, and police officers on the "NO FLY LIST".

Jay G said...

We need to start planting books in their houses and calling the firemen...

rickn8or said...

crankylitprof--

I also, but somehow don't think "they" will let more than two of us congregate.

Divemedic said...

Jay-

What are you talking about? I am a fireman, and not once have I been instructed, nor do I care, what books you have in your house.

Tam said...

Fahrenheit 451.

Read it, if you haven't. Srsly.

theirritablearchitect said...

"Fahrenheit 451.

Read it, if you haven't. Srsly."

Careful, you might scare the white people, as Kevin Baker likes to say.

They need it, however.

the pistolero said...

you might scare the white people

Assuming, of course, that they can understand what Bradbury's writing...

Noah D said...

I'm not a terribly big fan of the PATRIOT Act, on the 'we must pass this immediately!', in addition to some of the content.

My question is this: given the nature and tactics of the enemy (dispersed networks, deniable assistance/support through inaction from allied states, an ideology that exploits Western civil and military ethics) and the nature of the United States (open/hostile press, lack of communication/co-operation between external and internal intelligence services (bug or feature), some civilian distaste for internal intelligence operations, a conflict in belief in the nature of the Long War (law enforcement vs. military camapign, let alone the need for/existence of a war at all), a popular resistance to identification of the enemy), how do we go about prosecuting the Long War - especially inside the US?

Mark said...

It would take a man of superhuman powers to take all the shiny toys that Messieurs Bush and Cheney built for themselves and put them back in the toy-locker. I don't think Obama's a superhuman.

*blows a smoke-ring at the monitor*

We build our own hell, brick by brick, and as long as we continue to blame someone else for it, it will continue to grow.

Cossack in a Kilt said...

Come to think of it, back in the halcyon days of college, I remember Kenneth Street, our staunch ol' Texas Democrat professor, telling us how shocked he was when Richard Nixon ran on a law and order platform.

"What," Dr. Street said, "was he running for? County sheriff?"

Of course, as Jeff Cooper used to note, the past is another country, and they do things differently there.

Tam said...

Noah D,

"My question is this: ... how do we go about prosecuting the Long War - especially inside the US?"

Part of the problem is the centralization of security and decision-making. From the disarming of civilians to the federalizing of every aspect of security and the complete removal of judgment from the process.

Noah D said...

Tam,

Thanks - that's a question that's been bothering me for a while.

Part of the problem is the centralization of security and decision-making [and] federalizing of every aspect of security...

We might be talking across each other here, but isn't the lack of information-sharing between security services one of the problems? The 'wall' between CIA and FBI (thanks, Ms. Gorelick!), the inability of some local PDs to communicate effectively with the FBI (through tech or personnel issues on either/both sides), it goes on.

But the DHS doesn't appear to be a good solution. Er, to put it mildly. 'A' DHS might be a good solution, but this specific one that we have isn't.

To effectively combat enemy infiltration, you have to run intelligence operations (civilian and/or military) inside your own country - which means that the whole 'sources and methods' issue comes screaming to the forefront, especially as the enemy isn't stupid, and looks for just that sort of disclosure.

I'm not sure I see a way of doing this that doesn't turn into the Feds (potentially) looking over everyone's shoulders - and they're willing to mis-use these tools, both the people that I like and that I don't.

It'd be one heck of a lot easier, relatively, if we were willing to say, 'Yep, we're at war with radical Islam, and we're not so sure about you moderates, either.' A specific, named enemy puts at least the idea of limits on government actions by defining the targets: surveillance and raids on suspect mosques and 'retreats', yes; Joe Blow with the 15-gun 'arsenal', no. Which I think speaks (in agreement) to the 'removal of judgement' part of your response.

the pawnbroker said...

"Part of the problem is the centralization of security and decision-making. From the disarming of civilians to the federalizing of every aspect of security and the complete removal of judgment from the process."

as noah alluded to above, that is both the problem and the inescapable answer in dealing with the big t.

the centralized federal handling of security as it relates to foreign threat is the correct role of fed...but in a country with open arms, porous borders and transparent security how do you differentiate foreign from domestic? you don't, using conventional tools. and so supertools are employed...and ultimately misused (there's that lack of judgement you mentioned) and abused...but there's a big difference, and like all matters of law, it goes to intent.

the question is, have most of us joe blows really been the victim of the misuse (and downright dumb use in some cases) of the extraordinary measures employed in the last eight years in dealing with potential terrorism? i hate that airport shit, and i surely don't want my phone calls monitored...but my life and comings and goings have not been majorly impacted...have yours?

i've said this before and i'll say it again because i believe it...the war was taken to iraq to distract the attention, forces, assets, and abilities of those who would otherwise use them to attack within our borders. if that's right or wrong i can't say, but i can say further major attack has not happened. to the degree that the extraordinary powers and tools were employed in that effort, it was a success and it was worth it. misuse? no doubt. but abuse? we will soon find out.

we say that once granted, expanded powers cannot be rescinded, but once the abuses go beyond theory and become real to the average joe, hitting him where he lives, usurping what he believes, and taking what he will defend with his life...

yes, we will find out then.

jtc

the pistolero said...

but my life and comings and goings have not been majorly impacted

"Well you know, an assault weapon ban won't seriously affect my deer hunting, and we really need to get those guns off the streets and out of gangbangers' hands..."

the pawnbroker said...

and so you make my point regarding the differentiation between misuse and abuse quite well, there, t.p...

but let's finish this one out:

in the context of extraordinary measures implemented in the last eight years, "...have yours?"

and please be specific.

jtc

the pistolero said...

No, but that in no way justifies those powers being given to government, or the opinion that said measures aren't harmful in the long run. Just because you haven't been affected yet doesn't mean you won't ever be. And something tells me we gunnies are gonna find that one out the hard way before President Urkel and his administration are out. In the words of Adm. Josh Painter, "This business will get out of hand. It will get out of hand and we'll be lucky to live through it." And we're not going to have anyone but ourselves to blame for assuming all those shiny new tools could be taken away before those who wielded them decided to go apeshit.

Noah D said...

Which leads back into my question: we are at war with an enemy whose ideology and methods are tailored to defeating our particular civil society. How do we fight this war, especially inside the US? Pistolero, are any increases in security measures justified? If so, which ones? If not, then what?

the pistolero said...

are any increases in security measures justified? If so, which ones? If not, then what?

I don't really know; it's a good question, and you raise a good point for discussion. All I'm saying really, is that I think the additional powers would be a lot easier to justify if government officials weren't so prone to using those powers against their political opponents (as we see the current administration planning to do), or if those powers could be more easily revoked, reworked or curtailed — and that we shouldn't just assume we CAN take those powers away. Just as a recently cited example, I'd like to think that if those in charge at the time of the formation of the ATF had seen what it's turned into and what it's gotten away with doing, they might have had second thoughts about the formation of such an agency.

Dock said...

Thanks for the hat tip! I surely appreciate it.

the pawnbroker said...

it's a stretch to correlate extraordinary wartime powers with the existence, duties and abuses of a domestic agency, except to the extent that those duties may have been expanded by homeland security...and the abuses that you find with your google search have little connection to that.

so citing the atf as an example in this particular discussion is tenuous. while national defense is arguably the only reason for fedgov to exist, federal regulation of Constitutionally protected domestic rights will find no cover with me; to the degree that it is necessary at all, i believe it is the purview of the states to "control" the behavior of private American citizens.

so this may come as a bit of a surprise. while all (or most) of the horror stories of "jackbooted thugs" wearing batfe jackets running roughshod over law-abiding gun owners and sellers may be true, my contact with their agents and agency, while only anecdotal, was never anything but cordial and respectful. not only that, but in thirty years of ffl status, logging about three hundred firearms per year in and out of my boundbooks...nearly ten thousand transfers in all...i had exactly four in-person audits of my books and inventory. in addition, i would have maybe two or three trace calls per year, and every three years a telephone interview when it was time to renew the license. so maybe a hundred total contacts in all with this "evil" agency. maybe my experience was unusual, maybe it was because i took the requirements seriously and responded fully and quickly to inquiries. and granted, i decided not to renew my ffl in '03 when things in the world had changed, and grasping at straws meant that renewal was a lot more involved than it had been before, and in trying to justify their own existence, invariably the eagle eyes of inspectors would find a missed block of info on a 4473 or renewal app and require a "promise of future compliance", just to save face. but all in all, i never experienced any threat or disrespect from anyone related to that agency.

but make no mistake; i am no apologist for the atf, a federal agency whose sole purpose is to control commerce in a legal, Constitutionally-protected tool. for that matter, i believe the USA would be better off without any of its myriad federal agencies of "domestic control"...atf, irs, ssa, doe, and on and on. but neither i nor any dealer i personally knew ever had any serious run-in with them.

funny thing about this awesome information tool we call the internets...it can make it seem as if darkness is at the door of us all, and although the abuses of the power of the atf are unquestionably real and deadly serious, with its very existence to be questioned as far as i'm concerned, i'm not at all sure the abuses are as pervasive as it may seem. just like it's easy to feel that everyone is being robbed and rolled when you read the newspaper and watch the teevee, we know that controlling our environment and our behavior can almost, but not completely, keep us safe from that risk.

so most of those doomsdayers, (real) anarchists, survivalists, and especially those "three percenters" among us, who so anxiously, preparedly -and sometimes it seems impatiently- await the dark forces to come ramming down their door, are likely, thank God, to be disappointed.

jtc

Assrot said...

I'd pay good money to the first well hung switch hitter that reams this guys ass until he bleeds so bad he can't walk for a month.

Some folks just ask for it. I don't swing that way or I'd take care of it myself.

Any takers?

Joe