I never thought that any one particular issue was an end unto itself. I think these little issues we see cropping up, here and there, are just scouting issues, so to speak. The way an ant will come and do some recon on a place to signal if it is safe for the others to come.
It’s like moving violation citations. All the traffic ordinances aren’t there or enforced for your safety. the fact is, the ratio of infraction to accident is minuscule. I know people who’ve sped their entire driving lives, and the only accidents they’ve been in are flat tires or being rear-ended in a near dead stop.
Honestly, if it was about safety, then why would it make sense to take a picture of me speeding, and send me a citation a month or two later. If it was that dangerous of me, you’d have stopped me then and there, and gotten me off the roads immediately.
One level of cynic says: road piracy. They are doing this just for revenue. While that isn’t untrue, I don’t know if that’s the whole rationale.
Another level of cynic says: these are portal laws. That is, they are pulling you over for speeding, but they are using that as an excuse to detain you for something else. I can’t get you for the desired crime, so instead I’ll use this totally pointless law to hold you, arrest you, and prosecute you instead.
I’m not glorifying Al Capone, but neither the feds nor the local police could make a strong enough case to get him on any of his major felonious charges… so he wound up going away for tax evasion. He was a major crime boss and the only thing they had on him was tax evasion, and that’s only because he bragged about it.
Tax evasion was the portal law. It’s victimless, technically voluntary in the US, and otherwise rather benign, but it’s on the books and gave them a way in which to put him in jail for something.
You see it all the time in movies especially. Can’t get the cartel leader on human trafficking, so I’ll get him on not declaring accurate values at customs.
If “portal” is the wrong word, then certainly “fail-safe” works.
I’ve mentioned before how politicians will introduce policies through regular legislation first. If they can’t get it done outright, they bury it in some massive omnibus bill later. That’s how you get student loan legislation buried in the Affordable Care Act.
All the surveillance stuff the government is doing isn’t because they are afraid of something or because they have a particular interest in your goings. It’s not even some pre-crime mechanism that would prevent a crime from happening. If that were the case, then most of the school shootings would’ve been prevented since the perpetrators tend to be fairly vocal in their intentions all over social media.
The surveillance is more about control. It’s to start categorizing people and the type of “citizen” they are. This isn’t about safety, it’s about obedience and compliance. Remember the case of the FBI staging a six month to year long sting on an Amish dairy farmer over shipping raw milk over state lines? That was a mad flex of taxpayer dollars.
I’m writing this a few days after the three year anniversary of “15 days to flatten the curve”. It’s clear now that this was never about safety either. The ethics of lock-downs and quarantines from a public health perspective were non-existent. The ethics of forcing a vaccine on people for a virus no one understood and an inoculation no one had fully tested, were non-existent. People are finally admitting the false premises upon which people based their mask and distancing edicts.
It wasn’t about safety at all if you’re putting vulnerable people in with infected people out of the gate in assisted living homes for the elderly.
This was more about control than it ever was about your safety. And that’s the real agenda: control. It’s not that the government cares that you went to a doctor’s appointment. But as data aggregation becomes more sophisticated, knowing your routines can lead to anything from selling your metadata to marketers, to strangers knowing you are vulnerable, to government perhaps taking measures against you as a means of cost control.
The marketers we’ve all experienced to some degree; the data leaks that leave us vulnerable to others is known well enough even if you haven’t experienced it directly; and what was once mocked at absurd, people are in fact being given euthanasia as an alternative to living with chronic disease as a cost saving measure.
It’s lost its preposterousness. Things are funny when you believe there is no chance of it being real. They are less so, when they become existential threats.
I saw one snippet of Chris Rock’s recent release on his bout with Will Smith. He explained how he is significantly smaller than Will Smith. So much so, they don’t audition for the same parts, and even in animation, Chris Rock plays a zebra while Will Smith plays a shark.
When the issue of “entanglements” between Smith’s wife and his son’s friend arose, Chris Rock spoke about all of Smith’s critics. But out of everyone who criticized Smiths relationship with Jada Pinkett Smith, he came for the one he knew he could overtake without issue.
Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know. But the principle of coming for those you think you can overtake is very real, and especially so for bullies like the government.
The ATF is still trying to remain relevant all these years after Waco and Ruby Ridge. They weren’t relevant then, and they are even less so now. Yet, here they are, parsing income data from the FBI to see if they can find some indiscretion among law abiding citizens.
The ATF and FBI, despite their massive combined surveillance resources, still managed to miss several red flags of shooting incidents. So despite their abject failure, they still want more access to information.
There was a brief moment where credit card companies were tracking gun purchases. They reversed course when customers got upset.
That doesn’t mean no one is tracking, however. According to documents recently acquired from a FOIA request, here’s what was (and was not) found:
ATF agents requesting warrantless surveillance by the FBI for lawful reasons such as low salaries, past firearm purchases, and sending “bizarre” messages.
FBI’s secret monitoring service that tracks people by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for gun purchases for mere “potential violations of law.”
There are no instances of the FBI denying any ATF request to put a person under warrantless surveillance in all the documents released so far. Moreover, there are no documents showing the monitoring periods ended. As we previously reported, the FBI told the ATF that it will renew the NICS flags of 30 to 120 days and limitless times if requested.
One could argue that they are looking for gun dealers… but the criteria for which they are searching is that they are poor. “How do you have a gun when you’re poor?” The cases cited are indeed of people who, on paper, are of little means. Whether they are in fact indigent is yet to be confirmed.
Buying expensive fire arms, with little reported income could be more indicative of tax avoidance than arms dealing. Yet, the ATF is having the FBI track these people because the presumption is: your claimed income is comprehensive, but your gun purchases are illegitimate.
Targeting the perceived poor is also a bad look. If you’re poor and doing anything that requires money, that’s enough to obtain warrantless searches on people? That’s what counts as probable cause?
The means by which they obtained the incomes of these individuals was not disclosed, but the ATF insists it was all “legal”. Everything they see the individuals they are tracking doing is also lawful. So what gives?
These are the smaller actors they know they can take down. It’s like coming for food stamp fraud when your Department of Defense can’t even pass an audit. Yes, food stamp fraud is wrong. But so is unaccountable spending with one-sixth of the US federal budget. It’s like buying a lavish home and cars, eating out every day, and then switching car insurance policies to save a few hundred dollars.
What are you doing? Where are the real priorities? Why is creating criminals out of thin air getting so much man power from an agency that is struggling to be significant?
It’s difficult to take regulators and their subsequent rules seriously when they spend so much to produce so little, and have to trounce the rights of lawful individuals to do it.
Would it be okay if wealthy people bought a bunch of firearms instead? Are they less likely to be up to no good? We have a bunch of millionaires in congress to suggest such a presumption is unwise.