But the real job of the tens of thousands of screeners at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is to protect Americans from a terrorist attack.
Yet a decade after the TSA was created following the September 11 attacks, the author of the legislation that established the massive agency grades its performance at “D-.”
“The whole program has been hijacked by bureaucrats,” said Rep. John Mica (R. -Fla.), chairman of the House Transportation Committee.
“It mushroomed into an army,” Mica said. “It’s gone from a couple-billion-dollar enterprise to close to $9 billion.”
As for keeping the American public safe, Mica says, “They’ve failed to actually detect any threat in 10 years.”
“Everything they have done has been reactive. They take shoes off because of [shoe-bomber] Richard Reid, passengers are patted down because of the diaper bomber, and you can’t pack liquids because the British uncovered a plot using liquids,” Mica said.
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Monday, September 12, 2011
Remember this face in case you have the good fortune to run into him.
Tom Engelhardt, a fellow at the left-leaning The Nation Institute and a professor at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, says it’s time for the United States to “bag” remembrance of the September 11 attacks.
In an op-ed for Al Jazeera English, Engelhardt calls for an end to all things 9/11 and asks, “haven’t we had enough of ourselves?”
In Engelhardt’s view, there’s no need to read the names of those lost, to bring past and current presidents together, to honor first responders or to have moments of silence.
Many members of the mob to which I refer, embrace a school of thought that Shelby Steele recently wrote about in the Wall Street Journal. As Steele points out, many opponents of AE seem to be suffering from some type of guilt over America's unique greatness and, while facts make it impossible for these folks to actually deny America's greatness, enemies of AE believe America's greatness is due, not to the Blessings of God nor a superior national virtue, culture, and form of government - all which have historically promoted individual liberty, entrepreneurship, and a standard of living envied by the world - but, rather, we are great due to our history of oppression - in other words, we cheated to attain our greatness. Steele gets inside the minds of the anti-AE crowd:
"Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."
On September 2nd, American Spectator ran this feature article on the Obama/Ayers relationship. At the time of this writing it was up to 601 comments so clearly this relationship is of interest to many. First of all, I don't really like these sorts of guilt by association articles. Yes, Ayers has done some bad things in his life. Yes, he associated with some bad people. And yes, he probably got off with less punishment than he otherwise would have because his family is politically connected. But I don't like this guilt by association stuff because it comes off like a right-wing version of a SPLC smear. According to SPLC style reasoning, Conservative Candidate X somehow associated with some know wrongthinker, therefore he is evil. The sleaziness of this "logic" is obvious, so we shouldn't copy it. The fact that Obama was closer to Ayers than he let on does not mean he supports bombing the Pentagon.
If an outside the mainstream conservative is active in outside the mainstream conservative circles, he will almost invariably come in contact with people whose views he does not share and would not want associated with him. Likewise, anyone running in certain leftist circles in Chicago was bound to run into Ayers, not to mention the fact that he lived in the same neighborhood as Obama. It seems to me that one effect of this sort of guilt by association is to drive potential future candidates into the mainstream where they aren't as likely to run into "unsavory" wrongthinkers that some wag is later going to throw up in their face. Is this something serious conservatives want to encourage? Does it serve our interests to copy and hence validate SPLC style reasoning?
What is important about the closer than reported Ayers/Obama relationship is not to imply that Obama condones violent activism. (He might have at one time, but that isn't established simply by the fact that he knew Ayers better than he let on.) What is important is that his association with Ayers places him in circles that are likely farther left by degree than if he was hanging out with Mayor Daley for example. It also illustrates that he lied about the extent of that relationship.
It also strikes me that this sort of guilt by association (left and right) encourages people to be uncivil for the sake of protecting themselves. Is it not possible to have relationships and friendships with people with whom you disagree? Had Obama met Ayers at a Chicago cocktail party was he supposed to run the other way in order to protect his future political viability? What should matter is what Obama or Conservative Candidate X say they believe and what their records suggest they believe, not that they scrupulously avoided any association that might later be held against them.
All that said, the most striking thing about this article is what it does not mention about the Ayers/Obama relationship. It is a long, well documented article, but it fails to mention even in passing the explosive allegation that Ayers might have ghost-written Obama's memoir. Surely Regnery was aware of this allegation. It would be impossible to research a long article like this and not be. So that suggests that the ghost-writing allegation was intentionally not mentioned. Why? Was the evidence examined and found wanting? (If that is the case, why not say that since the allegation is already out there and well known?) Or was it not mentioned so as to avoid any association with anything that might be considered conspiratorial? (For whatever reason, while the ghost-writing allegation is a separate issue and only ancillary related to the whole "birther" thing, it has nevertheless been largely subsumed under the "birther" umbrella.) I strongly suspect the later.
American Spectator gained prominence in the Clinton era as the primary outlet for the explosive Troopergate story, so AmSpec may retain a residual reputation as a magazine willing to broach the conspiratorial (It seems to based on a few of the comments.), but as far as I know since the Troopergate backlash AmSpec seems to have actually been reluctant to tackle the conspiratorial.
While I realize that individual blog posts and articles don't necessarily reflect the editorial beliefs of the magazine, I can't recall any posts or articles that were sympathetic to those who have doubts about, in one way or another, the Obama narrative, and I do recall some that were not sympathetic. Did AmSpec commision a forensic evaluation of the long form birth certificate upon its released? Has AmSpec addressed the Connecticut Social Security number issue? Have they addressed the fishy draft registration card? Have they addressed the authorship issues? I will be happy to stand corrected if I am wrong, but as far as I know they haven't. And all these issues could be addressed without embracing "born in Kenya" orthodox birtherism. All these issue could be addressed as simple curiosity about a narrative that is clouded in mystery and secrecy, hardly something that would allow any fair-minded person to brand them as a conspiratorial rag.
Far from being a magazine that conspiracy mongers, I sense in the post-Troopergate AmSpec a magazine that actually scrupulously attempts to avoid the taint of conspiracy. How else do you explain a four page article on the Obama/Ayers relationship that doesn't even mention the 800 pound gorilla in the room, the ghost-writing allegation?
We already have a deliberately incurious mainstream media that looks the other way and actively covers for Obama. A primary role for "respectable" right-wing journalism ought to be to examine objectively those things the mainstream media is intentionally overlooking, not serve as fellow guardians of acceptable opinion.
One problem with the whole birther debate from the beginning is that it has been almost entirely hashed out by partisans on either side, a protective deliberately incurious look the other way mainstream media along with left-wing Obama hacks vs. convinced birthers in the "outside the mainstream" right-wing blogosphere. This is not a dynamic that favors getting to the truth. If AmSpec could get over their apparent conspiracy squeamishness then maybe they could play the role of objective seekers of truth that should normally be played by the "regular" press if we had a functioning one which we don’t. A good place to start would be examining the Dreams from My Father authorship controversy. Maybe that could be part two of the Regnery Ayers/Obama relationship expose.
I wish that was the case and he didn't set this up on purpose.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said that Attorney General Eric Holder is so "" and that President Obama should consider removing him from office.
Issa made the comments on the Laura Ingraham show while commenting about the controversial "Fast and Furious" gun-tracking program.
"He doesn't want to admit that it was felony-stupid," Issa said of the operation, which was run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which allowed assault-type weapons to be illegally purchased and smuggled across the border.
Every time you think about this toughness on the border and ID cards and REAL IDs, think it’s a penalty against the American people too. I think this fence business is designed and may well be used against us and keep us in. In economic turmoil, the people want to leave with their capital and there’s capital controls and there’s people controls. Every time you think about the fence, think about the fences being used against us, keeping us in.
When Ron Paul said these words at the Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debate, many were quick to dismiss him with laughter. Is this guy crazy? Does he know what he is talking about? It surely can’t happen here!
It surely can’t happen here.
The generation of my grandfather back in the 1920s and 1930s in Bulgaria thought the same. “Communism? It can’t happen here.” The nation, joining the wrong side in the World War, severely weakened by the military defeat and the reparations, was recovering with quick steps. Even during the War, the small nation had fought on two fronts, pinning down in the South the allied armies of Yugoslavia and Greece, aided by a significant British and French expeditionary corps, and in the North, pushing the Romanian and Russian front all the way up to the Danube Delta; and this was achieved without any major tax raise. (There were tax revolts when the taxes were raised to 10% during the war.) There was every reason for national pride and self-confidence, and after the war Bulgarians set out to recover economically with the same zeal they fought against multiple enemies.
By the mid-1930s, the results were obvious: The GDP per capita of the nation reached 46% of the GDP per capita of the United States, leaving Bulgaria only a little behind Germany and Austria. (The data are quoted from Adam Tooze, Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy, Penguin Books, 2008, pp. 136-7.) The victors of the war, Romania (21%), Greece (38%), Poland (20%), and Czechoslovakia (39%) were lagging behind. Due to the low government regulations and low taxes, the nation wasn’t even affected by the Great Depression; in fact, if anything, the traditional focus on agriculture and food production strengthened Bulgaria’s economic position in the Depression.
The economy was growing, people were getting wealthier, the nation was rebuilding and recovering. No one believed anything like Communism was possible in Bulgaria. “Communism?” a newspaper editorial said at the time, “It’s for the Russians. It surely can’t happen here.”
"At ease, Marines, and be seated" orders the gruff Gunnery Sergeant. "Now turn to Chapter 8 in your Military Constitutional Law text," he continues. "Today we discuss the appropriate conditions for shooting a colonel who is issuing an order which would violate the Constitutional rights of American citizens. Our first scenario involves gun seizures..."
Absurd, isn't it, to think that this sort of education is conducted among our armed forces? Yet, millions of citizens indulge this unspoken fantasy each time they imagine that the military exists to preserve our freedoms.
Not so today. In the aftermath of Katrina, armed and uniformed soldiers patrolled the streets and disarmed Americans. Some uniformed soldiers were captured on film lamenting that "I can't believe that we're doing this to Americans." Yet, they did it anyway, lamentations notwithstanding. But why?
To answer that, we need to understand the principles of military command and education. For veterans, this discussion is unnecessary. For the vast number of non-veterans, especially those who harbor that most dangerous and ill-advised fantasy of a Constitutionally-aware military, this discussion is essential to survival.
|When To Shoot The Colonels|
"When to Shoot the Colonels": A West Pointer's ad seriatim commentary upon Baugh's essay.
"If you treat a man like an enemy, if you presume him to be so, he will oblige you by being your enemy. To do otherwise would be foolish on his part."
Reprise on 'When to Shoot The Colonels'
"I am willing to bet that 50% or more will act unconstitutionally against their fellow citizens come the Crunch."
(I, unfortunately, agree. BT)
Here are the 13 reports of police misconduct tracked in our National Police Misconduct News Feed for this weekend of September 10-11, 2011:
- West Covina CA settles suit for $1.5mil to family of man shot 15x by cops claiming he took the baton they beat him with and attacked them with it after they detained him for being suspicious  bit.ly/oDIada
- 2 Chicago IL cops sued by man claiming they beat him for taking photos of them dragging a man down street with their police cruiser.  bit.ly/pxNES7
- Washington Co NY settles claim for $83k to family of 83yr-old man struck by cruiser chasing car w/o lights or siren  bit.ly/n1g280
- Doña Ana Co NM agrees to pay hospital bill for 19yr-old who was billed by the hospital that subjected her to a fruitless body cavity search that was ordered by the police.  bit.ly/nglAu3
- Sacramento Co CA settles suit for $400k to 2 men whose drug convictions were overturned thanks to recording  bit.ly/ptyOIC
- BART CA police considering restrictions on media coverage of protests after detaining journalists at last protest  bit.ly/q7p1bd
- Orleans Parish LA deputy arrested on agg rape, kidnapping & sexual malfeasance in office charges involving inmate  bit.ly/pyo9ji
- 2 McCracken Co KY deputies reprimanded and apologize to dad of teen girl used in drug bust without his consent  bit.ly/rlNigF
- Cuyahoga Co OH deputy investigated after questioned for allegedly stalking women around park while on sick leave  bit.ly/oaBJij
- Portland OR cop arrested on drunk driving charge after found passed out in car while off duty  http://bit.ly/qh0wzR
- Key West FL cop suspended after arrested on drunk driving and hit & run charges after crashing into parked car  bit.ly/pWb56j
- Mission TX police officer arrested on drunk driving charge after stopped by trooper for several alleged violations  bit.ly/qmYiOc
- Mission TX police labor lawyers say police chief got preferential treatment despite gun being stolen from car  bit.ly/rk7kWd
As our long-time readers probably already know, we try to stick to using reports that pass a credibility bar in order to maintain the integrity of our statistical data in the face of a public that is highly skeptical about the issue of police misconduct. Sometimes reports come in that I have a difficult time determining if they pass our credibility tests due to any number of factors. Sometimes they are cases where there is culpability on both sides or when they present a new kind of issue that isn’t in the realm of typical misconduct. When that happens, I don’t like to judge them myself, but instead put them up for readers to debate about and vote on.
There were a couple of these kinds of reports this weekend… so please review and let us know what you think…
Where – Keene NH
Allegations – Excessive force and wrongful arrest
Considerations – Where the arrests lawful and, if so, was the level of force used justified?
Report – http://freekeene.com/2011/09/10/keene-law-enforcers-use-violence-to-shut-down-live-free-or-dance/
Was this a case of misconduct?
The phrase "collective responsibility" is rather pleasant sounding, with its implication that, perhaps, we should all collectively take responsibility for our own actions. What parents should not teach their children such things? But for at least the past 150 years "collective responsibility" also has a specific meaning with regard to U.S. military policy. In the military context, "collective responsibility" is a euphemism for the mass murder of innocent civilians. It is a phrase that was used by General William Tecumseh Sherman himself, long preceding today’s nonchalant dismissal of the murder of civilians in foreign countries as "collateral damage."
The idea is that if the U.S is at war with another nation it is not only the combatants who are legitimate "targets" but all inhabitants of the "enemy nation," women, children, the disabled, everyone. As such, it is the primary cause of "blowback," or retaliation for the intentional murder of noncombatants by the U.S. military. It is common sense to expect the people of other countries to retaliate for such atrocities, even committing acts of terrorism against us. But most Americans seem to be so brainwashed in the lies and propaganda of "American Exceptionalism" (the idea that whatever foreign policy the U.S. pursues is virtuous by virtue of the fact that it is the U.S. foreign policy) that they simply cannot imagine why anyone from any foreign country would want to harm us. In their ignorance they are prone to believe such fantasies and absurdities as the theory that Middle East terrorists attacked us on 9/11 because they hate the idea of freedom.
William Tecumseh Sherman was indeed the founding father of terrorism perpetrated by the U.S. government and disquised by the language of "collective security." Sherman biographer William Fellman (author of Citizen Sherman) quotes Sherman as saying this about his fellow American citizens from the Southern states: "To the petulant and persistent secessionists, why death is mercy, and the quicker he or she is disposed of the better . . . . Until we can repopulate Georgia, it is useless to occupy it, but the utter destruction of its roads, houses, and people will cripple their military resources" (emphasis added). Sherman was referring here to his plans for the civilian population of Georgia after the Confederate Army had left the state.
Referring to his plans for the civilian population of Northern Alabama, Fellman quotes Sherman as saying that the "Government of the United States" had the "right" to "take their lives, their homes, their lands, their everything . . . . We will take every life, every acre of land, every particle of property . . . " And he was not referring to slaves when he used the word "property."
In a July 31, 1862 letter to his wife Sherman wrote that "the war will soon assume a turn to extermination not of soldiers alone, that is the least part of the trouble, but the people . . . . There is a class of people, men, women, and children, who must be killed . . ." (emphasis added).
With the rapid expansion of railroads in the 1840’s and 1850’s. Ordinary people were traveling in large numbers, and there was a need for cheap luggage, so thousands of carpetbags were manufactured. They were made by saddle makers in many town and cities and were many sizes and shapes. They were called Carpetbags because the makers would buy old carpets and construct the bags from the pieces of carpet that were not completely worn out. This how Carpetbags could be manufactured cheaply; they sold in Dry Goods for $1 to $2.
By the 1860’s carpetbags were carried by almost everyone, Men, Women, well to do, middle class and not so well to do. Carpetbags were the first suitcases made in large numbers. When you traveled during the Civil War (1861-1865) and though the 1870, you packed your Carpetbag. This became a way to identify an outsider (traveler).
During the civil war Reconstruction Period (1865-1870) many people for the Northern States went South because it was so poor that there many opportunities for a person with money even a little money. For example you could own a farm by paying the past due taxes for as little as $25. All these outsiders (identified by their Carpetbag) were called Carpetbaggers and still are in many places. It became the term to refer to a Yankee who moved to the south and usually meant a “damn Yankee and not to be trusted, a scoundrel”. Probably the worst Carpetbaggers were the politicians who used their positions in the corrupt Reconstruction Government to enrich themselves through bribes, graft and other despicable acts at the expense of native Southerners. Today the dictionary defines a Carpetbagger as “an outsider involved in politics”.
Brief History of Carpetbags and Carpetbaggers
Surviving a gunfight isn’t what you think it is. Don’t let conventional wisdom get you killed. A well place round to “center mass” in your attacker may not take him out of the fight. Lots of people stay in the fight after “center mass” hits, and some even win it. If you expect to win your gunfight, you have to make sure that you have effectively ended the threat of your attacker. One, two or even several well placed “center mass” shots may not do what you think it will, and learning to recognize this before you gunfight may save your life.
There is a self styled self defense “expert” under every rock, and perhaps two behind every bush, these days. If you have a pet theory on what might work on the street then you can probably find a champion for that idea who actually charges people to teach them that skill. But few of the experts out there have ever been in gunfights, and even fewer have studied real gunfights to see how things really work out when the bullets really fly for blood.
There are more misconceptions out there than I can cover in one article but the one that probably gets to me the most, even over all the caliber wars that rage interminably in the print and cyber media, is the nearly universal acceptance that shooting a miscreant “center mass” with ________(fill in your favorite make, model and caliber) shooting _________ (fill in your favorite ammunition) hyper speed truck killer is practically guaranteed to get the job done.
Having studied in this field from a number of decades, I have run into plenty of cases where bullets did not do what folks would have assumed. And I have now collected enough of these that I think that rather than being anomalies, they are actually closer to the norm. Center mass hits in a gunfight do not in most cases end the fight. Erroneous assumptions can get you killed!
There is a well known video in training circles in which a Highway Patrol officer shoots an armed subject 5 times “center mass” (this is not my assessment but the statement of his immediate supervisors which are interviewed on the full version of the hour long tape) with his 4” .357 Magnum revolver firing hollow point ammunition. All 5 hits failed to do the job and the subject was able to fire one round which struck the officer in the armpit. That round wondered around in the chest cavity and found his heart. The officer unfortunately died at the scene and his attacker is alive today.