National Security

Law Enforcement Needs To Reassess Its Priorities

In a story that will shock and disgust any sane American, Florida police officers went undercover into high schools and spent weeks befriending students…who they then tricked into becoming marijuana users:

Last year in three high schools in Florida, several undercover police officers posed as students. The undercover cops went to classes, became Facebook friends and flirted with the other students. One 18-year-old honor student named Justin fell in love with an attractive 25-year-old undercover cop after spending weeks sharing stories about their lives, texting and flirting with each other.

One day she asked Justin if he smoked pot. Even though he didn’t smoke marijuana, the love-struck teen promised to help find some for her. Every couple of days she would text him asking if he had the marijuana. Finally, Justin was able to get it to her. She tried to give him $25 for the marijuana and he said he didn’t want the money — he got it for her as a present.

A short while later, the police did a big sweep and arrest 31 students — including Justin. Almost all were charged with selling a small amount of marijuana to the undercover cops. Now Justin has a felony hanging over his head.

This is outrageous.

First of all, I don’t think 25 year old police officers should be dating 18-year old high school students; that’s just inappropriate in any situation. But second (and third) they are now fabricating criminals out of whole cloth, while wasting scarce police resources that could be put to far better uses.

Santorum Insults the Military with his Comments about Women

Rick Santorum, Republican candidate for President (or Pope, not sure which at times) has once again come under fire for opening his mouth, this time for saying that women shouldn’t be allowed in front line combat units:

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum expressed skepticism on Thursday about a recent decision by the Pentagon to open up more military roles for women on the front lines, suggesting their “emotions” could create a “compromising situation” if they were thrown into combat.

Asked by CNN’s John King if the move, “perhaps opening the door to a broader role for women in combat,” was an idea he’d support as president, Santorum responded:

“I want to create every opportunity for women to be able to serve this country, and they do so in an amazing and wonderful way and they’re a great addition — and they have been for a long time — to the armed services of our country.”

Then came the big “but.”

“But I do have concerns about women in front-line combat, I think that could be a very compromising situation, where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission, because of other types of emotions that are involved,” Santorum continued. “It already happens, of course, with the camaraderie of men in combat, but I think it would be even more unique if women were in combat, and I think that’s probably not in the best interest of men, women or the mission.”

Santorum later tried to clarify his statements on CNN:

#SCDebate: Obama’s Happy Hour

First off, I think the hashtag should have been #OhJesusChristItsAnotherDebate, but unfortunately that was too long for many tweets.

Second, my pessimism from last November and December has returned. During the summer of 2011, I was pretty sure that Obama had it. Even with the killing of bin Laden, after the support quickly evaporated, I figured his support was going to continue to fall. But then, after seeing the rise of Herman Cain and the ridiculous tomfoolery in the back half of the year, I figured Obama had it in the bag. Lately, I was thinking it’s a more 50/50 thing, but last night’s performance has me thinking again that Obama is going to steamroll this election in November.

Why? Because none of the candidates—aside from Paul, natch—had any real divergence or difference, nothing truly remarkable that sets them apart from either each other, Obama, or even George W. Bush. Cut taxes, increase defense spending, some paltry attempts at entitlement reform, and oh, civil liberties, who needs those? They may play well with the base, but they are utterly disastrous with the general electorate. I for one agree on the taxes thing, but you will have Obama and the left point out that taxes are the lowest they have been in years, and unless Republicans shoot back with the OECD taxation charts, I don’t think that will sell very well (though obviously, yes, if we’re going to remain competitive, cutting our business tax rates to ~20% and getting rid of capital gains and payroll taxes would be good—though we have to balance that by massively cutting spending.)

Drones: The Opposite of Nukes

Cato Unbound’s new January 2012 edition is on the effects of drone warfare and the implications for future American policy. (For those of you unaware, Cato Unbound is run by the Cato Institute, and is a scholarly project that solicits papers from academics and intellectuals on a monthly theme. Scholar A will write a lead essay, the other scholars respond, and then there’s a conversation. It’s sort of like a presidential debate, only intelligent.)

The lead writer for this month is David Cortright, Director of Policy Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. (Try saying that five times fast.) He argues that having drone weapons increases the likelihood that political leaders will start conflicts, because they’re easy to use:

 

The rise of drone warfare has stirred strong passions and sparked a vigorous debate about the morality of unmanned weapons systems. The first and most important question is whether drone technology makes war more likely. Are decisionmakers more prone to employ military force if they have accurate weapons that are easier to use and do not risk the lives of their service members? The use of these weapons creates the false impression that war can be fought cheaply and at lower risk. They transform the very meaning of war from an act of national sacrifice and mobilization to a distant almost unnoticeable process of robotic strikes against a secretive “kill list.” Do these factors lower the political threshold for going to war?

NDAA Signed = Not a Happy New Year’s After All

Well, he’s done it:

President Obama signed on Saturday the defense authorization bill, formally ending weeks of heated debate in Congress and intense lobbying by the administration to strip controversial provisions requiring the transfer of some terror suspects to military custody.

“I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists,” Obama said in a statement accompanying his signature.

The White House had originally threatened to veto the $662 billion bill, considered must-pass legislation, over the language that requires mandatory military custody for suspects linked to al-Qaida or its affiliates, even if they are captured in the U.S. Just before the House and Senate passed the bill comfortably, the White House said it would support the bill’s compromise language that, as tweaked by conference committee, would not impede the administration’s ability to collect intelligence or incapacitate dangerous terrorists.

Still, administration officials have admitted publicly the final provisions were not the preferred approach of this administration.

You know, if you have “serious reservations” about a bill, the sensible thing to do would be to veto it. That’s why the veto power was given to the president in the first place! For a constitutional scholar, Mr. Obama doesn’t seem to know very much about the constitution is quite knowledgeable and sincere about the power of the presidency and the required performance of the United States federal government through the authority vested in the Constitution. Have a good day.

[Article sweeped of unpatriotic sentiment at 6:48PM 12/31/2011. Move along, citizen.]

#NDAA: Leading to the #Holocaust?

Some folks over at MTV better lock up their doors, because a couple of videos they just created (EDIT: Apparently, these videos are old, but they are still incredibly relevant to what’s going on right now. Thanks, northnodes.) are making a very interesting argument about the National Defense Authorization Act, and I doubt that will keep them in the government’s good graces.

There’s the old Internet rule called “Godwin’s Law,” but after seeing what our government is trying to do, I’m not convinced anyone should ever bring it up.

On one hand, we have SOPA threatening to remove our internet access if we so merely link to a music video, and on the other, we have the NDAA threatening to lock us up on the whims of some government bureaucrat. Between them? Well, no it’s not that dwindling area of freedom, its the Transportation Security Administration, conducting its campaign of government sponsored sexual molestation at our nation’s airports.

Would the #NDAA Lock up the #MSM?

Journalists are terrorists.

That line of thought was brought up in my college class on international reporting back in 2009, when we were discussing the Swine Flu and SARS and how the media was covering those things. One student asked that, if journalists were hyping these stories, getting people alarmed over things that probably not going to harm them, and especially if said journalists were not doing proper fact-checking and were spreading around myths, then aren’t journalists terrorists?

That was in my mind as I read about the National Defense Authorization Act and its idiotic langauge that would require the US military to lock up anyone who is merely “suspected” of being a terrorist without any trial or due process. The same line of thought, apparently, hit Jason Kuznicki:

If I were president, I would start with a round of mass imprisonments.

As Machiavelli advises, I’d do it quickly, perhaps all in one night. A few tens of thousands should be enough.

No, no, you’ve got me all wrong — these aren’t political prisoners. Yes, they just happen to include the members of the Democratic and Republican National Committees. There are a lot of big-time political donors. (Which ones? Don’t ask!) Industrialists, financiers, labor leaders, community organizers. Academics. Journalists. Judges. A few members of Congress. (I wouldn’t need too many of those. It only needs a few pour encourager les autres.)

Look, Guys, It’s 2011, Not 1775

I think someone needs to explain that to this bunch of alleged geriatric “terrorists”:

Four Georgia men who were part of a fringe militia group were arrested on Tuesday in what the Justice Department described as a plot to use guns, bombs and the toxin ricin to kill federal and state officials and spread terror.

The men, all aged 65 and over, were recorded telling an F.B.I. informant that they wanted to kill federal judges,Internal Revenue Service employees and agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to court documents.

“There is no way for us, as militiamen, to save this country, to save Georgia, without doing something that’s highly, highly illegal: murder,” one of those charged, Frederick Thomas, 73, of Cleveland, Ga., was recorded telling the informant.

“When it comes time to saving the Constitution, that means some people have got to die,” he said.

Actually, no, Fred, it doesn’t. In fact, you go on a terror spree in order to “save” the Constitution, I guarantee you will bury it under a block of lead.

Can we just call them the Gendarmerie already?

I’m certainly not the first to notice this, but can we just give up on the fiction that our police officers are actually civilians? If you needed further evidence to see that they are becoming another wing of the armed forces, take a look at this monster:

Big SWAT Tank

What you are looking at is the new “PitBull VX” from Alpine Armoring, a vehicle specially designed for SWAT teams.

Now, I know what you’re saying: “Cool!” Or maybe, “Actually, they could probably use one of those.” And, true, Detroit and Philly might need one of these. But anywhere else?

I thought one of the commenters thoughts best expressed my own:

Also, the whole argument, “We should do so-and-so to save lives” is the most ridiculous government argument I’ve ever heard.

The purpose of (local, state, federal) government’s is to serve their populace. “Saving lives” is surely a good application of serving your populace. No one seems to understand that money and budgetary constraints exist even when it comes to “saving lives.”

You simply cannot get 100% coverage in anything like this. First, it is probably impossible to and secondly, it would be far too expensive even if you could. It is all boils down to math and statistics. You do certain things/make certain purchases in the hope that it will “save more lives.” If this 200k purchase of a police vehicle or 750k purchase of another ladder truck will save more lives, that’s great - it’s all touchy feely.

Ron Paul: Repeal The PATRIOT Act!

Sounds good to me:


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