Hat Tip: BB
Remembering the meaning of Memorial Day
Ted Cruz on Twitter:
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 24, 2015
STAGE 1: Identify the issue.
Any Progressive can make an issue out of anything. That’s the Power of the People! Just name it and blame Republicans. Many issues never go beyond Stage 1 because they are so readily and widely embraced by the masses. Examples include free cell phones, free gas, and free Obama money from his stash. Whatever the issue, throw it at the wall and don’t worry if it doesn’t stick—there are at least six more ways to make sure it does!
STAGE 2: Promote the issue.
Exhort media minions to give saturation coverage to the latest issue, to build consensus, create buzz and subsequently demand. People who never thought this was something they should have, and have happily lived without it for years, will start thinking this is something they should have and absolutely cannot live without—especially if they’re persuaded that not having it is why they’ve never been as happy as they previously and mistakenly believed. Blame Republicans. If it still shows signs of sliding down the wall, then proceed to the next stage.
STAGE 3: Say it’s a MORAL issue.
Remember back in the 80’s, when evangelical Christofascism was infecting the country at fever pitch, and Progressives tried to combat it by saying you can’t legislate morality? When that didn’t work, we simply expropriated the word and changed the definition like we do with everything else. Now, morality refers to support of the Progressive agenda, and you’d better believe we’re going to legislate it to the hilt! Whatever it is Progressives want to do, it is the MORAL thing to do. Ergo, to oppose it is simply…immoral.
And who among us wants to be immoral? Don’t we all want to do the right thing? The correct thing? All we want to do is help people so they can live better lives—what’s wrong with that? It’s moral, isn’t it? Somewhere down the line, there are supposed to be grand and glorious rewards for being moral, for without them, who would bother?
To say it’s a moral issue is like giving the masses a mild laxative—sometimes all people need is just a gentle little push, something to soften them and ease the passage. At this point, we usually get government funding, and maybe a czar to oversee it. The media continues to do its part to promote it, while celebrities begin sporting the appropriately colored awareness ribbons.
Yet there will still be those who are either too confused or ignorant to see the light. That, or they’re simply…immoral. Or amoral. Either way, they’re so not moral that they’re perfectly happy to see that issue slide down the wall till it plops on the ground. Blame Republicans. But that’s when we must implement the next stage.
STAGE 4: Declare the issue a CRISIS!
Sometimes Progressives will skip over the first three stages to Stage 4, in which case, this is where it really starts. You don’t get anything through Congress or the courts simply by saying it’s “nice to have.” No. It is a CRISIS! Lives are in danger! Planet is in peril! Time is running out! We must start taking steps to begin taking action NOW!
A crisis receives even more funding, and the establishment of a government agency to impose regulations that will eventually bring it under control—but only as long as funding continues and keeps pace with inflation.
The media will continue beating their drums. In addition to the awareness ribbons, celebrities make speeches about it at awards shows, and start incorporating it into the plot lines of their movies and “Very Special Episodes” of TV shows, etc. The masses must be made aware of the CRISIS!
But there will still be scoffers. Skeptics. Deniers. Those who say there is no crisis. Those who say that no matter what the crisis, it’s always been here and hasn’t hurt anyone or anything. Those who say it’s just another wealth redistribution scheme. Those, especially at the corporate level in the private sector, who spend millions, billions, and gazillions to convince the masses that there is no crisis, all to protect the ill-gotten profits they stole from those same masses! Why, they’ll say that it isn’t even an issue, let alone a crisis! Blame Republicans. People dependent on being told what to think will be tricked into believing these lies instead of the current truth.
That’s what we Progressives call “a messaging problem.” Therefore, we must double down and move to the next stage.
STAGE 5: Call it a HEALTH issue!
All we want to do is help people. All we want to do is help them make better decisions, the right choices, so they can live healthy, happy, productive lives without fear of death, disease, or destruction. How can anyone with an ounce of compassion be against that?
But sometimes it’s not enough to say lives are in danger, or the planet is in peril. Sometimes we have to be more specific, because some people, dagnabbit, just aren’t satisfied with vague generalities. This is why “individualism” is such a bad idea—it encourages people to dwell on the nitpicky details of how an issue, even when it’s been elevated to the level of crisis, will personally affect them and their selfish little private world.
So let’s make it personal! Bring on the testimonies! Call on those who will share their heartbreaking stories of how their health, and by extension their lives, have been ruined because of the crisis! Blame Republicans. Poverty, income inequality, climate change…all of these things have an adverse impact on a person’s health and well being.
Show pictures of suffering children. Crumbling glaciers. Rising floodwaters. Drowning polar bears. Smokestacks belching out billows of black smoke. Oil-soaked baby animals with huge, sad brown eyes. Tearful Native Americans standing at the side of the road with heaps of garbage at their feet. Don’t just tug on those heartstrings—yank ’em taut and play ’em like a Strad!
Then show the masses what it all leads to: Starvation! Disease! Non-breathable air! Undrinkable water! Carcasses! Stink! Gross! Death! Destruction! Doom!
Only one thing will solve these problems and reverse the inevitable before it’s too late—more government funding! Yet there will still be those who don’t care. Who just want others to die quickly. Who don’t want to spend the mere few pennies a day per person it would cost to eliminate these horrors forever and ever and ever.
That’s when we roll out the next stage.
STAGE 6: Enshrine it as a CIVIL RIGHTS issue!
Nothing shuts down dissent like calling it a civil rights issue, because anyone who opposes anything to do with civil rights can be labeled a bigot, a hater, or any kind of phobe. Civil rights always trump all other rights, and this allows us to shame the haters and bigots and make them feel like the outcasts they are, on the extreme fringe, the wrong side of history!
Once an issue is consecrated as a matter of civil rights, the masses will hold marches and rallies across the country to demand it. There may be riots and vandalism, and many innocents will be hurt or jailed, or even killed. Blame Republicans.
The issue will finally go before the people for a vote—and if it doesn’t pass, no problem! The courts will overturn it because it is a civil right! And the people will keep marching and rallying and blaming Republicans until that happens!
Nothing is more sacred than a civil right…except, perhaps, the government that keeps it sanctified through continued funding and special protections and privileges for anyone the civil right touches.
In the meantime, there will still be bigots and haters who are just too shameless to be shamed. Haters gotta hate. There will still be those who insist that religious rights and so-called inalienable rights endowed by some mythical being should matter. And there will still be enough of them to block the march of progress, and with it the necessary funding, without which all will be lost if we don’t make the decision to do something to take the needed steps to start action now, before it’s too late!
Which brings us to the next stage…
STAGE 7: Dammit! Can’t you people see the crisis is not just a moral issue or a health issue or a question of civil rights? It’s a matter of NATIONAL SECURITY!
To not treat it as a matter of National Security is, as President Obama recently told graduates of the Coast Guard Academy, a “dereliction of duty.” Members of the military can be court-martialed for it. Under conditions of war, they may be executed for it.
When something is declared a matter of National Security, anyone who does not treat it as such is willfully endangering millions of lives and the future of the entire planet. They are seditious. They are enemies of the State. They are guilty of treason and crimes against humanity. Therefore, they must forfeit all. We kept warning them millions would die, didn’t we?
Throw them against the wall. Don’t worry if they don’t stick. This time, we want them to drop to the ground.
And don’t forget to blame Republicans.
Every week on Monday morning, the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture or daily living. This week’s question: Do you think the Patriot Act should be renewed? Why?
GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: Really in favor of Amitai Etzioni’s bit in Nat’l Interest:
Many of the commentaries elicited by the tenth anniversary of the Patriot Act are as polarized as other elements of our public discourse. On the one hand, there are those who argue that the threat of terrorism is vastly exaggerated, that fear-mongering is used to deprive Americans of their basic rights, and that terrorists could be dealt with as just another kind of criminal—by the police and civilian courts. Then there are those who maintain that anyone who opposes reasonable security measures is aiding and abetting the enemy and that torture and extraordinary renditions have shown themselves to be vital to aborting major additional attacks on our homeland.
If one moves away from such one-sided, overarching positions, one realizes that we face two major legitimate goals—protecting national security and respecting individual rights—and that neither should trump the other. The tension between them can be worked out. Indeed, this key thesis is reflected in the Fourth Amendment, which holds that there be no unreasonable searches and seizures. That is, the Constitution recognizes that some searches do not violate rights and are fully legitimate. And it provides a criterion for determining which are acceptable: those that a reasonable person will recognize as proper. Needless to say, such recognition changes over time—for instance, after events such as 9/11.
One next examines various new security measures included in the Patriot Act on the basis of their reasonableness rather than condemning or embracing the act wholesale. It contains 161 provisions, only about ten of which have been seriously contested by anybody. Moreover, many of the security measures that have troubled many Americans—including the use of torture, indeterminate detention and extraordinary renditions—are not part of the Patriot Act. True, it was originally enacted in great haste. However, it has since been reviewed and extended several times.
The most important provisions of the Patriot Act seem to meet the criterion of reasonableness.
Phones: Before the Patriot Act was passed, authorities had to obtain a court’s permission to tap a phone, but the warrant had to be “particularized” to a given instrument, reflecting the days when most people had just one phone. Cell phones made this narrow rule obsolete. The Patriot Act changed this requirement to attach warrants to a suspect, rather than to one of his instruments in particular. It merely allowed the law to catch up with technological development.
Libraries: Critics have been outraged by the right of the government to search the computers of public libraries. Actually, the term “library” is not mentioned in the act. The bill authorizes searches of “books, records, papers, documents and other items… to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.” Critics singled out libraries because such searches evoked more public outrage than if one referred to the actual wording of the bill. While critics argued that this measure would or could have a chilling effect, this observer, at least, is unaware of credible evidence to support this claim.
Homes: The “sneak and peek” clause has been particularly vilified. The act grants authorities the right to search a home without notifying the owner for a period of days. But how long is enough? Russ Feingold favored seven days; Republicans in the House wanted 180 days. But there was little discussion of the grubby details of conducting such a search. How long does it take to de-encrypt a PC? To translate messages? To find collaborators? Clearly, some delay seems reasonable. This provision was amended in 2005 to detail that notification must be provided within 30 days (unless the facts of the case justify a longer delay, which must be overseen by a court and consists of periods of 90 days).
E-mail: Another reasonable new measure changed search warrants from local to national when dealing with the Internet. E-mail often is stored remotely on the servers of Internet service providers (ISPs). Under old laws, search warrants applied only to the jurisdiction in which the search would take place. This meant that if a suspect in, say, New Jersey had e-mail stored on a server located in, say, Silicon Valley, an agent would have to travel across the country to obtain a warrant to seize the e-mail in the jurisdiction in which the server was located. Under the Patriot Act, judges in districts with jurisdiction over particular crimes are allowed to grant search warrants to seize electronic communications stored outside that judge’s jurisdiction.
There is room for debate about how far we need to go to protect ourselves. However, the fact that there has been no successful attack for ten years—and that those that were attempted in the U.S. (that we know about) were particularly inept—should not lull us into letting our guard down. One cannot ignore that survey after survey shows that there are many millions of people throughout the world (and some right here, at home) who hate our guts and wish us harm.
We need to recall the words of a terrorist who explained: “You need to be lucky all the time; I need to be lucky just once.” And we ought not to confuse the main features of the Patriot Act—which meet the criteria of reasonableness—with other new security measures, measures that have crossed the line that separates what free societies will do to defend themselves and that which they consider repugnant.
We would rather absorb some risk to our security than behave like, well, terrorists.
Don Surber: No. We never needed it nor do we need a Department of Homeland Security. Bush went all liberal kooky after 9-11. Time to roll the laws and the bureaucracy back.
Bookworm Room: I like Don’s pithiness. I’d add only that I prefer a prepared (i.e., armed and educated) citizenry to a dangerously overreaching government.
Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason: The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (USA PATRIOT Act) was passed in reaction to the terrorist attacks in America on 9/11/2001. It was not until 2013, with the leaks to the media by Edward Snowden, that the general populace became aware of the massive amounts of metadata being collected by the National Security Agency on each and every one of us. The PATRIOT Act gave the government too much power and should not be renewed as written.
The USA Freedom Act (H.R. 2048) passed the House by a 338-88 vote this month. It restricts the bulk collection of these massive amounts of calling records (metadata) under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. It limits collection to instances where there is “reasonable, articulable suspicion” that a “specific selection term” used to request call detail records is associated with international terrorism. The government must use a specific selection term, which represents an “individual, account, or personal device.” This should end the bulk collection of everyone’s phone records and is a move in the right direction to targeting a specific person and communication device; someone deemed to be a person of suspicion with intent to commit acts of terrorism. The House bill also requires the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court to have more transparency, and puts much needed restrictions on the activities of the NSA.
The primary duty of our federal government is to protect its citizens. The threats from radical Islam, as well as other enemies intent on committing acts of terrorism, are real. The USA Freedom Act is not perfect, but it is a step in the right direction. It scales back the powers given to the federal government through the USA PATRIOT Act, protecting our liberty and privacy rights while allowing for specific targeting of true threats to our homeland.
The Independent Sentinel: I do think it should be renewed but not in its present form.
They are giving themselves unlimited power.
We should abolish the Department of Homeland Security. An department within the FBI would have been sufficient.
Well, there you have it!
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum and every Tuesday morning, when we reveal the week’s nominees for Weasel of the Week!
And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning.
It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it… or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.
About 500 people managed to squeeze into the room to see Brigitte Gabriel’s keynote speech at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on April 17th. It was a historic opportunity to speak directly to leaders who have the power to put a stop to the systematic slaughter of non-Muslims.
Brigitte gave an impassioned speech, drawing from her own experiences growing up in Lebanon. She urged the UN and its member states to recognize the horrors being inflicted on Christians by the Islamic State and other radical groups, while calling to action the thousands watching. “We must take action,” she said. “As a nation if we can, as individuals if we must.”
We must not close our eyes to this modern day holocaust, as the massacre of Christians across the Middle East is a perilous threat to our civilization as a whole.