Edward Snowden wasn’t the first person to try and ring attention to the misdeeds of the Amerian intelligence services. Prior to him, Tom Drake, Bill Binney, Kirk Wiebe, and Ed Loomis all attempted to go through “proper channels” and were shut down and harassed with federal charges.
So when your government refuses to acknowledge or correct their illegal or unethical behavior, what can you do..?
Reminder, potheads — just because it’s “legal” in your state doesn’t mean it’s legal. There’s that pesky national supremacy clause; federal law is you shit is illegal. Since it is, you can’t get a bank account, and even if you did, the DEA could then just scoop the money under asset forfeiture.
This is why the feds have been letting dispensaries in various states operate for a few year or two, then they charge in and take everything.
i haven’t said much about the socially-retarded backbirth who shot up the community college in Oregon because I refuse to give him attention. Again, this was not an issue of “the gun”, but of a spoiled, narcissistic product of modern life who thinks his anger and frustration give him a right to attention.
By the way, kids — it doesn’t.
I’d rather talk about this guy: Chris Mintz, US Army veteran, who charged this pathetic backbirth. HOOAH!
However, one of the best quotes generated by this incident follows:
[W]e shouldn’t play the shooters’ game. These acts are dramatic because they are unusual (not as unusual as we’d prefer), extraordinary because they are unrepresentative of the contemporary experience rather than representative of it. Those of us who were around for the Clinton years do not recall them as a time of bloodthirsty savagery, but in terms of being shot to death, Americans are about twice as safe today as they were in the early 1990s. We are not, in fact, a polity dissolving into chaos. Our streets aren’t filled with blood — they’re filled with mediocrity. Politicians sell you emergency when they want to take something away from you. Terrorists are not the only people who know that a scared population is a compliant population.
Kevin D Williamson, “Don’t Play the Shooters’ Game“, National Review, 4 OCT 2015
Anyone remember the crack “epidemic” (otherwise known as loads of people making shitty decisions..?) 2200 or so people got shot in 1990 New York in the crack period. Last year, NYC saw 328 murders last year. That’s, if I did my basic algebra right, a hair under 15% of the violence of a quarter century ago. However, the 24 hour news cycle and the breathless, panicked approach to reporting these rare incidents makes them seem — as with terrorism — ever-present, just like serial killers and child molesters were not waiting around every bush in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Could we reduce gun injuries due to idiocy with mandatory training, as we (supposedly) do with motorcycles? Maybe…but a quick perusal of YouTube makes me think Darwin Award nominees will find a way, no matter what. Could we reduce the rate of suicide by restricting guns..? Maybe, or maybe they’ll turn to pills, razors in the tub, or “accidents” on the freeway. Will it lower violent crime and murder? Unlikely, as a quick trip to the crime stats for Britain will suggest. Hell, in 1996 a guy went after the Scottish parliament with a claymore (the sword, not the anti-personnel mine.) You know how heavy a f’ing claymore is? Someone comes for you with one of those things…you did something.
I think it is unlikely that after seven years of race baiting, high unemployment, high consumer debt, reduced business opportunities due to taxes and regulations, bailouts, endless war, and militarized policing that people are lashing out.
You want to lower murder rates by gun in the United States? Less welfare programs that incentivize broken homes, less laws for victimless crimes (like selling loose cigarettes, or smoking weed), cut into the gangs by decriminalizing or legalizing most drugs and take away the profit margin. Stop pissing people off by regulating every aspect of their lives and business, so they don’t feel boxed in or can strike out and try to improve themselves. Leave people alone and most of these folks will behave themselves.
But there will always be that whinging self-promoted that wants you feel his pain… (and you’ll note, I never mentioned his name, because he is beneath notice.)
The Bay State Examiner is reporting on an interview the Boston police commission, William Evans, in which he “…whined about people who record the police, even going so far as to call for a new law that would criminalize the act of recording a police officer while standing within a certain distance of them.”
The desire to restrict the simple human right of free speech or assembly is nothing new for the political class — even founder John Adams, while president, passed the odious Alien and Sedition Acts to quiet his political opponents, Woodrow Wilson brought the same thin skin to World War I, and HUAC and the McCarthy inquiries all tried to quiet dissent or unwanted political speech. Evans is just the latest in a long line of would-be aristocrats that hope to protect their privileged positions by quieting, disarming, and arresting people without due process.
Not that it’s likely to help, but here’s the contact information for Boston’s mayor. Maybe it’s time a guy who ignores his oath of office to be booted.
Phone: 617.635.4500, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jed Babbin does some good analysis. This ain’t it.
In his piece, Babbin gives us the usual statist response to people expecting the government not just follow constitutional strictures, but to act like decent human beings. The mass surveillance of Americans (and pretty much everyone else) by the National Security Agency (and a host of other law enforcement and intelligence agencies that were using the data…) was pretty blatantly unconstitutional (hence illegal) and generally awful. His asides to insult Rand Paul on the situation place him firmly in the circle of the self-anointed political class, who expect us to conform and obey, rather than serving their charges ethically.
But we have to keep Americans safe! Babbin would respond. And Congress can’t do it, so we need the president to do it. Well, Jed…you’re doing it wrong. Yes, having a benevolent dictator dispatching policy without interference is very efficient. Stalin was very efficient. He was also evil. So i think we can ignore Babbin’s policy suggestions as wholly un-American.
Rand Paul (let’s really piss Babbin off — and Edward Snowden, and the three other whistleblowers that were ignored before he cock punched the intelligence community) was absolutely correct about the evils of mass surveillance, but worse — it makes for bad intelligence collection. And yes, Jed, I worked in that field, so I have some idea what the hell I’m talking about.
Here’s the problem. With mass collection, even with the best data mining software that targets select phrases and even dumps the crap when it (rarely) understands the context is unthreatening, you get a six-foot high pile of intercepts to go through every damned day. No one gets through all that. You just get more. It’s the simple, age-old problem that too much data leads to less intelligence than too little data; you simply can’t sift through it fast enough, and we still require a human to add context to the intercepts we have.
He cited two issues, a lack of HUMINT, HUman INTelligence or “spies”, and bureaucratic issues — the same damned thing, really, that made 9/11 possible, as points of failure in gathering actionable intelligence, and he’s right.
In the wake of 9/11, Congress reorganized the intelligence and law enforcement communities to get them to talk to each other more effectively. They created another layer of bureaucracy and tossed a bunch of redundant law enforcement groups under it, and now are shocked…shocked…that it didn’t work. He is the issue of top-down, statist thinking. Exactly the kind that Babbin brings to the table. Bottom-up reviews, restructuring — we’ve seen this before from Ivy League politicians and their sycophants. All that would happen is the creation of more positions for their classmates to fill at far-too-high pay scales.
Here’s why this won’t work: 1) FBI doesn’t share, and worse, they want your budget. Want to have your organization put under the microscope? Let the FEEB work an op with you and plan it. Now it will fail, your organization will look awful, and the FEEB will ask for more of your authority and budget be transferred to them. 2) More layers of bureaucracy mean more layers of bullshit to cut through before the policy makers see your stuff. 3) Most of that bureaucracy will be Harvard and Yale lawyer types from select families that wouldn’t know how to plug in a computer, much less make informed decisions on world policy. 4) The knucledraggers that know what they are doing will never get into positions where they can streamline the analysis and reporting process…they’re knuckledraggers, after all. Ask Gust Avrakotos.
Want to address this? Get rid of DHS, get rid of the half-assed separation between the operations and intelligence sides of the house (NCS and CIA, respectively), tightly task the dozens of law enforcement agencies so there’s less overlap — Customs does smuggling, Border Patrol handles border control, Secret Service does financial crimes, FEEB does interstate coordination of law enforcement, etc. etc… Get them out of intelligence as a mission. Cut the divisions that overlap to save funds.
Intelligence should be targeted and centralized…you know, what the Central Intelligence Agency was supposed to be. CIA should be where the analysis and reporting happens. NSA and NRO do SIGINT and ELINT very well. Let them collect and do initial analysis, but organizationally they should be under CIA. Operations — the military does a lot of this, but we need spies — National Clandestine Service sits in a weird organizational limbo, pull them back under the CIA’s umbrella. Keep them out of operations — they suck at this, as Iran, Iraq, Nicaragua, Cuba and Cambodia showed. They’re the eyes and ears; we need to recruit in the populations we need to, and we need open source intelligence…read the opposition’s fucking newspapers. Most of the time, they’re not really hiding what they’re up to. More importantly, target the right guys — the “bad guys” are usually pretty obvious. Target the demographic that is the problem. Profile. Concentrate your efforts. It works.
Promote from the ranks to the leadership. The old school ties, the cake eaters, the ones that care if your report is in proper CIA format (like APA or MLA for you college kids, but for CIA…) and don’t like that provocative word choice…they keep things from getting where they need to.
When you need to act abroad, the special forces boys — they’re the hands; when you need operations, go to them. They do it well. At home, that’s law enforcement, but they are hampered by things like “rights” and “the law”…and should be. This job is hard, and should be; otherwise, what’s the damned point? (See two paragraphs down for more…)
Unfortunately, this is all for nought when the mission is not to protect Americans in general, but is operating to protect the political class. The issues with intelligence and law enforcement stem from an unspoken mission shift from protecting “the people”, to protecting the “right people”, the decision-makers, from enemies foreign and domestic. When that’s the mission, you’re going to miss real threats to the general population.
More spies, less bureaucracy and what you have should be from the doers, not the politicians.