Shouldn’t There be Some Requirement that Congresscritters Know a Little American History?

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Because otherwise, they sound like this bag of wadded up dick.

During a May appearance on Rachel Maddow Lean Forward Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said gun rights are not “God-given” and any claim that the Founding Fathers wanted U.S. citizens armed so they could repel a tyranny “is insane.”

As an atheist, I couldn’t care less what some drooling douchetard from Connecticut thinks was in the Almighty’s brain! But to claim that as a living entity, you have no right to defend yourself with the most effective tool on the market today is not just absurd, it’s cruel and inhumane.

But Murphy is a leftard, so it’s par for the course.

Murphy’s second claim is equally absurd.  The claim that the Founders wanted an armed citizenry to repel tyranny is “insane.” Yeah. Except for that long list of quotes and writings that clearly state just that.

Including Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist 28:

If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state. In a single State, if the persons entrusted with supreme power became usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions or districts, of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defence. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair.

And the lengthy list of Founders’ quotes on the George Mason University’s website, to include:

“Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American…[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.”
–Tenche Coxe, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

“Whereas civil-rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as military forces, which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.”
— Tench Coxe, in Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.”
–Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia 1787).

In other words, Chris Murphy apparently didn’t take any history classes at Williams College.

Or, he simply partied through his basic American history requirements.

Uh… what?

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Bloomberg is reaching hard up his own ass for this particular bit of retardery.

You see, New York’s crime problem is not the fault of the criminals.

It’s not the fault of the justice system.

It’s not even the fault of the eeeeeeeeevil guns, or Internets or violent video games.

Nor is it the fact that New York is an epic FAIL when it comes to actually prosecuting federal gun control violations.

No.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg blames Virginia and several other southern state’s for the Big Apple’s gun crimes — so now he’s set his Mayors Against Illegal Guns’ sights on the Deep South for a Second Amendment crackdown.

“Despite all we do to keep our city safe, we’re increasingly at the mercy of weak national gun laws and weak gun laws in other states,” Mr. Bloomberg said, according to The New York Post. “We have been attacking this problem from every angle, but we cannot do it alone.”

 He cited Virginia as about the worst, in terms of allowing guns to flow into New York.

I guess the “stop and violate frisk” program isn’t working out so well?

Or the prosecution of people who fail to navigate the huge bureaucratic maze made up of red tape and bullshit in order to be “allowed” to exercise their rights?

Nope, none of those measures are working because… VIRGINIA!

In 2011, guns from Virginia were involved in 322 violent incidents, he said, The New York Post reported. He also said that guns from states other than New York were used to commit 90 percent of the city’s crimes in 2011 – and that’s up from 85 percent in 2009.

That’s what we call “basic economics” shitbag. For other references see “Prohibition” and “Drug war.”

So Let’s Say It Was a Mistake…

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Let’s say that the government accidentally and mistakenly mined data on millions of Americans. Let’s say they meant to focus on some suspects in foreign intelligence cases but wound up targeting innocent citizens suspected of nothing and accessing their telephone and email communications. That’s exactly what officials are claiming transpired when NSA “mistakenly” intercepted communications of innocent Americans.

Ret. Adm. Dennis Blair, who served as President Obama’s DNI in 2009 and 2010, told NBC News that, in one instance in 2009, analysts entered a phone number into agency computers and “put one digit wrong,” and mined a large volume of information about Americans with no connection to terror. The matter was reported to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, whose judges required that all the data be destroyed, he said.

Another former senior official, who asked not to be identified, confirmed Blair’s recollection and said the incident created serious problems for the Justice Department, which represents the NSA before the federal judges on the secret court.

This is one of the problems of allowing the government to snoop as they do.

Let’s assume that this time it was a mistake. Thousands of people have had their privacy compromised, and we knew nothing about it until this fiasco was made public by the Guardian a few days ago.

Let’s assume the government’s intentions were nothing but pure – to protect this nation from another devastating terrorist attack by using the best tools at its disposal.

The problem is it happened, and it can happen again.

It can happen by mistake – through a mistyped digit – allowing government to snoop on innocent people.

It can happen intentionally – through one bureaucrat’s desire to snoop on a paramour who hasn’t paid enough attention to him – allowing government to snoop on an innocent person and find out with whom he or she may be involved, in order to allow one bureaucrat access to the object of his or her “affection.”

It can happen intentionally – through a directive from Washington, as a way to target political opponents or groups – allowing government to snoop on an innocent person or group, allowing politicians to gather data on adversaries and shut them up.

Do you see the common thread here?

Allowing the government such power endangers all of our rights – whether through an inadvertent mistake or intentional abuse – allows the potential for serious compromises and violations of our rights and freedoms as Americans.

And that is distinctly UNAmerican.

Got Verizon?

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Share everything.

Today America woke up to find out that if they are a Verizon customer, their phone records are being collected on a daily basis and indiscriminately sent over to the NSA. They may not have done anything wrong, but that does not matter.

The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19.

Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.

It is no secret that I wasn’t thrilled with the passage of the Patriot Act under Bush and the government powers it broadened. I fully understand the need to protect this nation, and I am acutely aware of the national security threats we face every day.  But it was one of those monsters very few legislators had the time or the inclination to read. They just wanted to look like they were doing something, and that something ushered in a slow, systematic erosion of our rights. And obscenely, the Bush administration had publicly expressed its opinion that individual rights are to be sacrificed at the altar of “national security.”

The Bush administration made no secret of its hopes that the Patriot Act would be broadly interpreted by the judiciary branch. In a letter to Senators Bob Graham, Orrin Hatch, Patrick Leahy, and Richard Shelby, Assistant Attorney General Daniel J. Bryant had the unmitigated goal to state:
 
The courts have observed that even the use of deadly force is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment if used in self-defense or to protect others… Here, for Fourth Amendment purposes, the right to self-defense is not that of an individual, but that of the nation and its citizens… If the government’s heightened interest in self-defense justifies the use of deadly force, then it certainly would also justify warrantless searches.

The majority of the Patriot Act was vaguely innocuous. It provided for more resources for our intelligence community, promoted information sharing, etc. But a few of the sections of this act were odious in nature, and were a precursor to what we are seeing today.

Prior to the September 11th attacks, a wiretap order targeted toward a specific person or group was confined to a particular computer or telephone.  This is no longer the case. The new law allows a court to issue an order that is valid anywhere in the U.S.  that is it may “rove” wherever a target goes, including a public library. Additionally, roving wiretaps and pen trap orders to include searches performed on the internet and keywords typed into browsers.

Under Section 216, a law enforcement agent or a government attorney can get a pen register, which records the telephone number of an outgoing call, or trap and trace order, which records the source of an incoming telephone call. To get such an order, the agent must simply certify to a judge that the information to be obtained is “relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation.”According to case law, information about who sent an email to whom and when holds no reasonable expectation of privacy  much like the address blocks on a regular envelope or telephone numbers, which are necessarily provided to the telephone companies in order to complete a call. Much like the outside of an envelope, or a telephone number that’s dialed, envelope information on emails isn’t protected by constitutional privacy expectations.

However, this is where the constitutional challenges arise. While the sender of a letter can reasonably expect that the contents of a sealed letter will be private, unless no envelope is provided with the address block on the letter serving as an address device for the post office, and while a caller can reasonably expect that the content of his telephone conversation can be private, unless it’s transmitted over public airwavesbecause the content of email messages is invariably contained on the same “page” as the “envelope information”, the courts could reasonably rule that the content of an email message is not constitutionally protected.

The Patriot Act also allowed law enforcement to share information with the intelligence community (CIA, NSA, etc.), and  there’s no judicial review requirement to share wiretap and grand jury information, which effectively allows these intelligence agencies to keep tabs on ordinary citizens under the guise of “national security.”

So here we are…

These days, the FISA ruling has forced Verizon to hand over telephone records to the NSA, including communications between the United States and abroad” or “wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls.”

The standard for FISA approval is actually lower than regular courts, which require probable cause to grant a warrant in a criminal matter, and originally FISA warrants were only supposed to be used for those suspected of acting on behalf of a foreign power. Prior to the passage of the Patriot Act, FISA’s lax standards could only be applied if the actual purpose of the surveillance was the gathering of foreign intelligence. But Section 218 of the bill relaxed that standard to apply to a domestic criminal investigation if the gathering of foreign intelligence information merely constitutes a significant purpose of the surveillance. Not so much anymore.

Information is being collected on every Verizon customer in bulk – without reasonable suspicion of any individual or set of individuals and no specific target.

I fully admit there are things we don’t know. Maybe there is a specific target buried in all that data. But to collect intelligence on millions of American citizens looking for a needle in a haystack sounds like an egregious abuse of power to me.

I also doubt NSA employees are sitting around giggling at the phone sex you had with your significant other last night. Frankly, they have bigger things to worry about.

But if the government is capable of forcing a company to hand over your private information, it also has the power to use that information against you. It knows with whom you’re having conversations and for how long. Corrupt government bureaucrats can now not only target you – and any person that opposes their agenda – but also that person’s friends and family. Suspicion by association.

I don’t trust the government to have that information at its disposal. Do you?

ADDING SOME IRONY: George Orwell’s “1984″ was published 64 years ago today.

It’s not about making the country safer; it’s about Mark Kelly’s career

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The PJ Tatler reports that Opportunistic Hypocrite™ will work to destroy his wife’s good friend Senator Jeff Flake – the Republican from Arizona – if he doesn’t kiss the ring of the hoplophobic left.

Gabrielle Giffords and Jeff Flake appear to be pretty close friends, says the Tatler.

Flake sat next to Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) and helped her to her feet every time she wanted to join in a standing ovation for President Obama at the 2012 State of the Union. When Giffords stepped down from Congress the next day, Flake stood by her side and held her hand.

But that apparently doesn’t matter to the Opportunistic Hypocrite, who has threatened to work to defeat Flake if he doesn’t vote how Mark Kelly wants him to vote.

Mr. Kelly, a retired Navy captain and astronaut, said Senator Flake is “a good friend” of Ms. Giffords. But he gave this warning Tuesday at a Monitor-hosted breakfast with reporters: “If there was the right candidate out there and he [Flake] didn’t support this legislation, … you know friendship is one thing … saving people’s lives, especially first-graders’, is another.”

On Monday, Flake posted on Facebook a statement that he will oppose the bipartisan legislation on background checks drafted by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The measure “simply goes too far,” Flake said.

Gee… I wonder who that candidate could be! It’s not like the “Senator Mark Kelly” option hasn’t been explored before! Especially recently, after Kelly trotted out his injured wife as a prop for his gun control efforts in the Senate.

 The man by her side Tuesday night and always, Giffords’ husband former astronaut Mark Kelly, is her partner in the gun control fight, but now in Arizona he is also being seen as a possible new star who could inherit his wife’s political career.

Jeff Rogers, a friend of Giffords and Kelly and former chair of the Pima County Democratic Party, told ABC News that Kelly would be “an ideal candidate to take on John McCain’s position in 2016.”

McCain, who along with Giffords’ successor Ron Barber (D-Ariz.), gave Kelly and Giffords his visitor pass for the State of the Union speech, will be 80 when he is up for reelection in 2016.

I admit, I would love to rid this government of the crusty old jackhole McCain, but he may be tougher to defeat than Jeff Flake, and frankly Uncle Fester needs a bit of time to prepare for a Senate run and a couple more years to look like a caring husband, who gave up everything to stand by his injured wife.

This is not about the safety of first-graders. History has shown that banning “assault weapons” hasn’t done a whole lot to prevent mass shootings (see: Columbine), and frankly, gun violence had already been on the decline when the Brady Background checks were enacted in November 1993, so it would be disingenuous to claim that background checks were somehow responsible for that reduction.

So why is Mark Kelly doing this?

I think he’s positioning himself for a Senate bid against Jeff Flake in 2018. I think a challenge to McCain in 2016 would be a bit more difficult, as McCain is an entrenched incumbent, but Flake is relatively new to the Senate, so maybe…

In short, I doubt this is about the safety of first-graders. This is about Mark Kelly’s political career.

 

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