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.

Repeal of DADT to save taxpayers money

According to a report issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the ban on gays in the military, known as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” cost taxpayers close to $400 million, around $53,000 per solider discharged:

One month after President Obama signed a repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” government accountants have finished tallying up how much the policy cost taxpayers during the 16 years it was in effect.

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office said in a report released Thursday that each discharge of a gay or lesbian service member over the past six years alone cost $52,800, including administrative costs and costs to recruit and train a replacement.

The removal of 3,664 service members total between 2004 and 2009 cost taxpayers an estimated $193.3 million.

The latest figures follow a 2005 GAO study that put the cost of the first decade of “don’t ask, don’t tell” at $190.1 million.

More than 13,000 service members have been discharged for violating the military’s ban on openly gay and lesbian troops since 1993, according to GAO.

Repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” was the right thing to as a matter of personal liberty and fiscal responsibility.

Photo of the Day: It’s for your own protection

Via David Rittgers at Cato @ Liberty comes this photo of a TSA agent “inspecting” a passenger with his pants pulled down to proved he isn’t a terrorist:


Quote of the Day: Last words of Richard Holbrooke

“You’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan.” - Richard Holbrooke

Holbrooke, a United States’ diplomat that passed away on Monday due to complications from surgery to repair an aortic tear.

United States v. WikiLeaks (and the First Amendment)

Over at the Washington Examiner, Gene Healy, author of Cult of the Presidency, unloads on the campaign by Washington to punish Julian Assange and WikiLeaks by undermining the First Amendment:

Anyone who values the First Amendment ought to oppose the campaign to “get” Assange by any means necessary. In a free society, you can’t just “change the law” to persecute someone you don’t like, and you can’t abuse your position to silence speech you oppose.

Last week in the Wall Street Journal, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., demanded that Assange be prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act. After all, she wrote, the First Amendment isn’t “a license to jeopardize national security,” any more than it’s a license to “yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater.” A poor choice of metaphor: It comes from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’ 1919 opinion in Schenck v. United States, when the Supreme Court allowed the Wilson administration to imprison a man for the crime of publicly arguing that the draft was unconstitutional.

We’ve since done a much better job protecting the First Amendment. In 1971’s New York Times v. United States, the Supreme Court rebuffed the Nixon administration’s attempt to stop the paper from publishing classified documents showing that the government had lied America into the Vietnam War.

TSA invades house party

Here is a funny, but NSFW, take on the invasive and unconstitutional security procedures, which have managed to turn many conservatives and Republicans into quasi-civil libertarians, being employed by the Transportation Security Administration:

H/T: We Won’t Fly

Ron Paul introduces the American Traveler Dignity Act

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) has introduced legislation to end the harassment of Americans by TSA officers by making travelers to go through full-body scanners and subjecting them to “pat downs” as they try to board their flight.

Explaining TSA screening

Some of you may be flying next week for Thanksgiving, so here is a video explaining the Transportation Security Administration’s new screening techniques, which amounts to government-sanctioned sexual harassment:

The security of a free state

One thing that is beyond debate, regardless of ideology, is that the day of September 11, 2001 is a date that change America forever.  We all watched in horror as thousands died in the aftermath of the more heinous terrorist attacks we could have possibly imagined.  The next weeks were spent listening to stories of heroism and survival as we learned more and more about what happened on board the planes and in the Towers.  “Never Forget” became our mantra as Congress tried to do all it could to prevent the horrors of that day from repeating itself.

It was a day that may have destroyed our freedoms forever.

In the aftermath of that day, the PATRIOT Act was signed into law.  We learned the phrase “Department of Homeland Security”.  We found out about terms like “enemy combatant”.  Security became a buzzword as we were told how vital it was to root out the terrorists regardless of where they were.

Today, nine years later, our nation is a different place in many ways.  New and innovative ways to supposedly catch terrorists are being applied to ordinary Americans without probable cause.  We are being told that to protest invasive measures is essentially giving succor to terrorists who may try to attack.  We are hearing of people who are being told that they have no choice in the matter.

Many people have claimed some extraordinary things have happened at the hands of TSA, but John Tyner of Sand Diego, CA was smart enough to record the whole thing on his cell phone.  He has written about his experiences, saying:


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