Sunday, November 28, 2010
Ebert also describes the unique challenge he faces as a passenger who has no choice but to present himself at airline security with bandages around his neck and large quantities of liquid food:
Meanwhile Chaz and Millie. my care provider, are trying to get through security with my medicines, my cans of liquid food, stuff like that. They have a letter from the doctor, but usually the TSA supervisor has to be called over. I understand that. My policy is to cooperate, because these are not evil people and they're only trying to do their jobs. (emphasis added)
They're only trying to do their jobs. Where have we heard that before?
Public acquiescence to misconduct by those in uniform is a necessary precondition for tyranny. For example, Kim Jong Il may be madder than a hatter, but he requires armies of bureaucrats and administrators drawn from the ranks of ordinary people, and ordinary people obeying those bureaucrats and administrators, to maintain North Korea as a hermit kingdom.
I am not suggesting that TSA's porno scanners and pap smear pat-downs are evidence that America is descending into tyranny, but the fact remains that evil cannot take hold in a society without public acquiescence to misconduct by those in uniform, and it is therefore critical that Americans do not develop the habit of suppressing our anger, objection, and humiliation with the justification that TSA staff are just good people trying to do their jobs.
Nor should we reassure ourselves that America is sufficiently different from other societies that have gone mad, that it couldn't possibly happen here.
In 1971, Stanford University professor of psychology Phillip Zimbardo designed and conducted a two-week experiment into the psychology of prison life.
From 75 student volunteers, he selected the 24 determined to be the most psychologically healthy and randomly assigned them to play the roles of prisoners or prison guards in a mock prison set up in a Stanford University building.
The experiment, now known as the Stanford Prison Experiment, was shut down after only six days, because the guards became sadistic and were subjecting the prisoners to escalating levels of cruelty. Even the prison guards who did not personally mistreat the prisoners did nothing to stop the cruelty inflicted by their fellow student volunteers.
A bunch of middle-class college kids, given uniforms and power over others, quickly began to personify a unique species of evil, that of people in uniform acting under government authority.
And now our government is insisting that law-abiding Americans must acclimate ourselves to physical humiliation at the hands of uniformed government employees, because it's for our own protection. For the love of a free society, we must resist.
Cross posted at Right Klik.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
(h/t Red State) The website Torrent Freak has a fascinating story about the Obama administration's seizure of websites associated with sharing copyrighted material and with producing/selling counterfeit merchandise:
Following on the heels of this week’s domain seizure of a large hiphop file-sharing links forum, it’s clear today that the U.S. Government has been very busy. Without any need for COICA, ICE has just seized the domain of a BitTorrent meta-search engine along with those belonging to other music linking sites and several others which appear to be connected to physical counterfeit goods.
Visitors to seized websites are greeted with the graphic pictured above. Seized sites include such threats to homeland security as:
I don't deny that copyright and trademark violations are a serious problem, but American law enforcement has more pressing matters to concern itself with.
At least we know what kinds of threats the Obama administration takes seriously. They can't close the borders, and they are looking for the weapons of mass destruction in women's vaginas, but darn it they'll pull out all the stops to protect you from a counterfeit Burberry scarf.
Feel safer now?
Friday, November 26, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I moved a few years ago, and I had no choice but to carry my jewelry onto the airplane in my carry-on. Mostly, a box with multiple rings.
The ring box caught the attention of the TSA personnel working the x-ray machine, and they decided to take the ring box elsewhere for further examination.
Problem is, they weren't letting me accompany my jewelry, and the TSA employee in posession of my jewelry would not wait for the x-ray staff to finish scanning the rest of my carry-on items. As a TSA employee began hurrying away with my jewelry, the TSA staff at the x-ray machine were detaining me on the grounds that they needed to run my flip-flops through the machine a couple more times. Oh, yeah.
I'd heard about the way TSA theft rings work in tandem to separate passengers from their valuables, and I refused to stand there as my jewelry disappeared into the chaos of the airport and they refused to eject my flip-flops from the x-ray machine.
I crawled up on the x-ray machine belt ("Ma'am, get off the belt!"), pulled the tray out, grabbed my flip-flops and chased down the TSA employee who was hurrying away with my jewelry. And then I sat with the TSA employee in what looked like an employee break room as she swabbed my grandmother's diamond ring with Q-tips to test it for explosives.
Right. The TSA employees knew they were looking at jewelry when they saw it in the x-ray machine. I am convinced that, had I not chased the TSA employee down, my ring box would have been a bit "light" by the time I recovered it, if I ever did.
While we are focusing on the TSA's new role as perpetuators of "security theater" and sexual assault, don't forget that TSA employees already have another longstanding shameful practice, that of stealing from passengers.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
To be sure, QE-2 will probably work as well as QE-1, which means it probably won't do much to spark an incredibly weak economy staggering under the weight of 9.5 percent unemployment. But that doesn't mean Bernanke deserves all the crap he's getting. He doesn't because attacking Bernanke obscures some of the big problems facing the American economy as we conclude the second year of President Obama's hope and change agenda that clearly isn't working.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
‘Come, you sons of hounds, and I will give you flesh’.
And that the attitude that must be presented to the enemies of liberty; Taliban in Afghanistan, or Progressives closer to home. Thinking you stupid, they will continue to say that you ‘vote against your own interest’, and turn down their bread-and-circus substitutes for Liberty. Liberty ain’t cheap, and rejecting Progressivism may resemble pain for a while. That’s not pain. That’s Socialist weakness leaving the country, and don’t let these liars sell you otherwise. Stand and deliver, the way a Progressive cannot, for, at heart, modern Progressivism is a synonym for cowardice.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Of course he was using a firearm, he's a cop. Cops don't have the luxury of limiting their exposure to criminal penalties by leaving their firearms at home, they need their guns to protect the public and to protect themselves while they are protecting the public. The gun enhancement penalizes cops for the work they do and the hazards they are uniquely exposed to simply as a consequence of showing up for work.
Friday, November 5, 2010
I've heard it said that politics makes strange bedfellows, but this is ridiculous. I have no choice but to defend Keith Olbermann.
On Friday, MSNBC suspended famously partisan Keith Olbermann of "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" for having violated an ethics policy barring campaign donations. MSNBC's action is misguided and bizarre, and should be immediately reversed.
It is deeply hypocritical of MSNBC to invoke an ethics policy as a guardian of journalistic objectivity and purity after it has allowed itself to evolve into the go-to cable channel of the Left.
MSNBC gave Olbermann a forum to engage in highly partisan rhetoric in front of millions of viewers night after night. The value of that forum to Leftist causes and candidates, in terms of Olbermann's ability to shape the dialogue and persuade viewers, is immeasurably great, far greater than $8000 Olbermann reportedly gave to a handful of Democratic candidates in the last campaign cycle.
For MSNBC to be shocked, shocked that its on-air personalities have ideological leanings is, well, shocking. Say what you will about Keith Olbermann, he never pretended to be anything other than what he was, and throwing him under the bus in a grasp for objectivity is both transparently desperate and ineffective.
Those of us who complain about media bias will not be satisfied with a sacrificial lamb like Olbermann. The news analysts aren't the problem, the sickness at the heart of liberal media bias is analysis masquerading as straight news.
Olbermann might be a symbol of what's wrong at MSNBC, but he isn't all that's wrong at MSNBC. Put him back on the air, and stop insulting your critics by offering us his neck.
Cross-posted at Right Klik
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
All day long, Americans streamed to their polling places.
These polling places were not surrounded by armed guards, and voters were able to walk in freely, without fear of retribution.
The results are a clear repudiation of the policies of the nation's sitting President, and numerous incumbents have lost their jobs or leadership positions.
And yet no doors will be kicked in tonight. No one will disappear.
When Americans return to work tomorrow, the streets will be free of tanks, troops, and gunfire.
There will be some grumbling. But there will be no blood.
And it takes my breath away, every time.