"Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!"
– Alfonso Bedoya as Gold Hat, the Mexican bandit, to Humphrey Bogart in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
We are fast approaching the day when men with badges can regularly spy on you, arrest you, collect private information about you, and even jail you without so much as a warrant. In fact, that day is already here. There are legions of government bandits armed with stinking badges and guns and little else. They are employed by the IRS, the DEA, the ATF, the TSA, the U.S. Park Police, and the FBI – all under the jurisdictional umbrella of President George Bush's too-German sounding gift to the nation, the Department of Homeland Security, cum Abteilung der Heimatland-Sicherheit.
Name a U.S. civilian agency or cabinet department, and it likely has a SWAT team on call ready to take down a 5-year-old toting a cap pistol or command Google or Facebook to hand over records of their subscribers' identities and activities.
They are the first line of offense – no, that's not a slip of the keyboard, I meant offense – of a federal government that has become authoritarian and is on its way to becoming totalitarian. When that day comes, they won’t need no stinking badges, either. You'll be theirs for the taking. I doubt the Gestapo or the KGB wore name tags and first flashed their gold shields before accosting their victims.
But even a gang of weapons-toting, riot-equipped goons armed with a warrant isn't necessarily any better than vigilantes come to hang you high, because the warrant isn't necessarily correct or right. It will probably have been issued by a liberal/left/Progressive judge who is copasetic with a totalitarian agenda.
Of course, there is the NSA and its $2+ billion data storage facility in Utah that will capture and keep every phone call, email, weblog posting, and other electronically generated communication in this country which the government deems necessary to seize and analyze in the interests of "national security."
But, what are in the interests of "national security" anymore? It's a broad term that could be taken to mean not just collecting intelligence to defend this country from its enemies. I highly suspect it also means to protect the status quo of a welfare state and the current political establishment from criticism and opposition. I think all the data collection on private citizens' political preferences and personal habits points to a government whose stomach is grumbling hungrily and loudly for total control.
The recent IRS scandals surrounding the years-long Alinsky-style profiling, targeting, and isolating of conservative, patriotic, pro-Israel, and religious organizations seeking tax-exempt status under IRS rules is one example. The DOJ's legalized theft of Fox News reporter James Rosen's phone records is another instance together with the raids on the Associated Press's phone files, as well, all signed off on by that master of dissimulation, Attorney General Eric Holder.
Let us not forget Cass Sunstein, former administrator of Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs where he displayed his penchant for censorship. He retired from the Obama administration to join the faculty of Harvard Law School in a double professorship. Sunstein's legal philosophy is that federal judicial decisions should conform to the executive branch's perquisites of power, and that one's freedom of choice should conform with whatever the federal government has deemed to be good for the individual. It will offer you A, B, C, and D, and you are "free" to choose one of those, but nothing else in the alphabet. He calls it "libertarian paternalism."
Nor should we forget Janet "workplace violence" Napolitano, head of the DHS, who has also exhibited a desire to detect and rein in any individual or organization whom she and her fellow statists deem a threat or potential threat to the status quo of the political establishment. Its $15 million study of "hot spots of terrorism," conducted at the University of Maryland, focused on "right-wing extremists":
The study says right-wing extremists are “groups that believe that one’s personal and/or national ‘way of life’ is under attack and is either already lost or that the threat is imminent.” Further, right-wing extremist groups “believe in the need to be prepared” by taking part in “paramilitary preparations and training or survivalism.” Groups may also be “fiercely nationalistic” and “suspicious of centralized federal authority.”
Right-wing extremism also involves a belief in “conspiracy theories that involve grave threat to national sovereignty and/or personal liberty,” the study claims.
Interestingly, in an oversight that is not explained, the report barely mentions radical Islam. Instead the study lumps religious terrorist groups into one category and describes them as “groups that seen to smite the purported enemies of God and other evildoers, impose strict religious tenants or laws on society (fundamentalists), forcibly insert religion into the political sphere.” [Italics mine]
Americans have every right to be suspicious of expanding federal authority and credit conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories, however, no matter how credible, as a rule discount the role of an unopposed political philosophy. Bandits needn't conspire to steal liberties or subjugate men when they encounter no opposition to their depredations. Nature will not tolerate a vacuum, nor will statists, liberals, leftists, and Progressives.
The story circulating like wildfire around the Internet and weblogs at this moment is that Bill Killian, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, will on June 4th address a meeting sponsored by the American Muslim Advisory Council of Tennessee on civil rights restrictions on speech in the "social media" as it applies to Muslims – that is, speech that criticizes Muslims and Islam, not speech by Muslims that could be defined as "bigoted" or "hateful." It will be about "inflammatory speech," which could mean anything, even a scholarly disquisition on the origins and practice of Islam. Judicial Watch reports that the event, called "Public Disclosure in a Diverse Society," will
feature the region’s top DOJ official, who serves as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, and an FBI representative. The goal is to increase awareness and understanding that American Muslims are not the terrorists some have made them out to be in social media and other circles, according to a local newspaper report. The June 4 powwow is sponsored by the American Muslim Advisory Council of Tennessee.
The area’s top federal prosecutor, Bill Killian, will address a topic that most Americans are likely unfamiliar with, even those well versed on the Constitution; that federal civil rights laws can actually be violated by those who post inflammatory documents aimed at Muslims on social media. “This is an educational effort with civil rights laws as they play into freedom of religion and exercising freedom of religion,” Killian says in the local news story. “This is also to inform the public what federal laws are in effect and what the consequences are.”
So, civil rights laws will be "interpreted" to identify "harmful" statements made on Face Book and other social media and help the DOJ and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to lodge suits against anyone expressing his freedom of speech if it offends Muslims and Islam.
The DOJ political appointee adds in the article that the upcoming presentation will also focus on Muslim culture with a special emphasis on the fact that the religion is no different from others, even though some in the faith have committed terrorist acts, Christians have done the same. As an example he offers that the worst terrorist attack in the U.S. prior to 9/11 was committed by American Christians in Oklahoma City. He also mentioned the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting last year in which another Christian, an American white supremacist, fatally shot six people and wounded four others.
Worldwide, there have been over 20,000 acts of Islamic terrorism since 9/11. Killian, in an effort to "diversify" acts of terrorism, can only cite two incidents of non-Muslim committed acts of terrorism, that old fall-back, Timothy McVeigh and the Sikh temple shooting.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which the U.S. government is only too happy to cooperate, as well, is pressing on with its plan to have the U.N. criminalize any speech that "defames" or "denigrates" religion or belief in a religion. While the wording of Resolution 16/18 implies any religion, the chief objects of the resolution are Islam and Muslims. Deborah Weiss, in her FrontPage column of February 28th, "OIC Ramps UP 'Islamophobia' Campaign," reports that
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has long been on the forefront of the Islamist mission to establish the equivalent of Islamic blasphemy laws in the West. Now, during its 12th Islamic Summit held in Cairo February 7-8, 2013, the OIC set forth new and creative ways to silence, and ultimately criminalize criticism of Islam.
That would include cartoons, unflattering or not, of Mohammad and Muslims, newspaper and weblog commentaries about Islam, and scholarly studies of Islam. Presumably it would also include Face Book and other social media remarks made by subscribers about Islam and Muslims.
One of the OIC’s primary aims for at least the last fourteen years has been the international criminalization of speech that is critical of any Islam-related topic, including Islamic terrorism, Islamic persecution of religious minorities and human rights violations committed in the name of Islam.
Since 1999, the OIC has set forth UN resolutions that would “combat defamation of religions.” These resolutions condemned criticism of religion, but in the OIC’s interpretation, it applied only to Islam. True statements of fact constituted no exception.
The OIC is not concerned with unflattering or inflammatory speech about or portrayals of Christians, atheists, Hindus, apostates, Jews and other non-Muslims. Muslims would be exempt from the "law" and have the freedom to defame and denigrate infidels without worry of recrimination or prosecution.
Most European countries, including Britain, already have such laws on their books and readily arrest and prosecute violators of speech laws that express some form of opposition to the Islamization of their countries. These laws were created at the behest of powerful Islamic organizations in those countries, and also by dhimmified politicians fearful of Muslim riots lest "Islamophobes" not be punished for opposing or criticizing Islam and the wholesale invasion of their countries by Muslims – an invasion by invitation of political leaders beholden to multiculturalism and "diversity." The recent spate of arrests by British authorities of Britons who have expressed their anger or contempt for Muslims and Islam, after the hacking-to-death of a British soldier by Muslims in London, are cases in point.
The U.S. is not far behind and virtually the only thing stopping the criminalization of freedom of speech against Islam and Muslims is the First Amendment. The same forces are at work in this country through organization like CAIR, the ICNA (the Islamic Circle of North America), and their numerous sister organizations. Weiss reports that:
In 2011, at the State Department’s request, the OIC drafted an alternative resolution that was intended to retain freedom of expression and still address the OIC’s concerns about alleged Islamophobia. The result was Resolution 16/18 to Combat Intolerance Based on Religion or Belief.
But the OIC had some very creative interpretations of the language embodied in the new resolution. By its manipulation of words such as intolerance and incitement, giving new meanings to what many thought was plain English, the OIC made it clear that it had not dropped its ultimate goal of protecting Islam from “defamation.”
Hillary Clinton is one of the chief promoters of the OIC's push to suppress American hostility towards Islam and to gag Americans when it comes to telling the truth about Islam. Through the auspices of the State Department, she attended an OIC convocation in December 2011 in Washington D.C. held to discuss how to do an end-run around the First Amendment. Clinton has demonstrated numerous times her willingness to accommodate Islam (in the Benghazi issue, she has proven she is willing let jihadists and terrorists get away with murder). At that high dudgeon meeting of Muslims and secular enemies of freedom of speech, there to instigate the "Istanbul Process," Clinton pontificated:
In the United States, I will admit, there are people who still feel vulnerable or marginalized as a result of their religious beliefs. And we have seen how the incendiary actions of just a very few people, a handful in a country of nearly 300 million, can create wide ripples of intolerance. We also understand that, for 235 years, freedom of expression has been a universal right at the core of our democracy. So we are focused on promoting interfaith education and collaboration, enforcing antidiscrimination laws, protecting the rights of all people to worship as they choose, and to use some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming, so that people don’t feel that they have the support to do what we abhor.
For the OIC, however, "peer pressure" and "shaming" won’t be enough. The OIC wants the U.S. to enact laws that conform to its end, which is the designation of all critical speech about Islam as "hate speech." The OIC wants laws with more enforceable teeth in them than in a sorority rush. Clinton knows this. It doesn't make a difference to her. The law will not apply to her.
Had enough of Islam? Then we'll turn to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the white-haired doyenne of compulsory health care. Michelle Malkin in her May 3st article, "Obamacare 'Navigators': Another Sebelius Snitch Brigade?" wrote:
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius controls a $54 million slush fund to hire thousands of "navigators," "in-person assisters" and counselors who will propagandize and enroll Obamacare recipients in government-run health insurance exchanges. This nanny-state navigator corps is the Mother of all Community Organizing Boondoggles. It's also yet another Obama threat to Americans' privacy.
A reminder about Secretary Sebelius' sordid snooping history is in order here. In August 2009, HHS and the White House Office of Health Reform called on their ground troops to report on fellow citizens who dared to criticize their federal health care takeover. Team Obama issued an all-points bulletin on the taxpayer-funded White House website soliciting informant emails. Remember? "If you get an email or see something on the Web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to email@example.com," the Obamacare overlords urged.
Most Americans already thought that something was very fishy about Obamacare, and so many sent that message to firstname.lastname@example.org that the site had to be taken down.
However, what is a "navigator"? It has nothing to do with Columbus discovering America. It has much to do with government snoops rifling through your personal history to determine whether or not you deserve medical care under socialized medicine. That is a discovery of a different nature.
Obamacare navigators will have access to highly personal data from potential "customers" to assess their "needs." That means income levels, birthdates, addresses, eligibility for government assistance, Social Security numbers and sensitive medical information. They'll be targeting both individuals and small businesses. Anyone they can lay their grubby hands on. Who's getting the navigator grants and training? "Community groups" in 33 states that naturally include socialized medicine-supporting unions and Saul Alinsky-steeped activist outfits.
All in all, the foregoing isn't even half of what is going on in the way of the government's stealthy encroachments on freedom of speech, the First Amendment, and your life as an independent individual free from government coercion. If it doesn't scare you, or at least cause you to think twice about the state of the country, you are either on the side of the bandits, with or without stinking badges, or brain dead.