Mayor Michael Bloomberg appears to be moving beyond dictating what people can drink and eat in his city despite judicial rulings finding his policies in violation of the Constitution. Bloomberg joined the Pavlovian response of politicians this week in calling for a reduction in civil liberties in response to the Boston Marathon bombing. Bloomberg warned citizens that the Constitution will “have to change” to allow for greater security to stave off future attacks.
Bloomberg warned that “The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry. But we live in a complex word where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”
It is statements like this that show a fundamental lack of understanding of our constitutional history and values. It borders on constitutional defamation. We have a Constitution that has survived pressures that could have reduced many systems to a fine dust from depression to social strife. Yet, two brothers plant make-shift bombs built from pressure cookers and Bloomberg wants to take a cleaver to the Constitution. Exactly what part of the Constitution does Bloomberg want to reduce like an over-sized soda? Privacy? The warrant clause?
Bloomberg however feels that the Constitution is not the object that we are fighting to protect but the very thing that is endangering us: “Look, we live in a very dangerous world. We know there are people who want to take away our freedoms. New Yorkers probably know that as much if not more than anybody else after the terrible tragedy of 9/11. We have to understand that in the world going forward, we’re going to have more cameras and that kind of stuff. That’s good in some sense, but it’s different from what we are used to.”
Bloomberg is of course calling for such changes before we even analyze this attack. His call for more cameras ignores that fact that this attack would not have been avoided with such measures and occurred in one of the most heavily surveilled areas of Boston — a point discussed in an earlier column.
While it is politicians like Bloomberg who are endangering our rights, he prefers to blame his proposed actions on the terrorists: “We cannot let the terrorists put us in a situation where we can’t do those things. And the ways to do that is to provide what we think is an appropriate level of protection.” How exactly are the terrorists “putting us in a situation where we can’t” protect ourselves unless Bloomberg is including the Framers among the terrorists.
It appears that, yet again, privacy will be the right to bear the brunt of political responses to the bombing. Bloomberg was quick to say religion must be protected while calling for increased government surveillance of citizens: “You still want to let people practice their religion, no matter what that religion is. And I think one of the great dangers here is going and categorizing anybody from one religion as a terrorist. That’s not true … That would let the terrorists win. That’s what they want us to do.”
No, Mr. Mayor, what the terrorist want us to do is to cause self-inflicted wounds like ripping down our constitutional laws and traditions. They want to show that we are hypocrites. That is the point of terror — to trigger a bigger response to the bombing out of fear and hate. Bloomberg responded perfectly on cue in calling for the expansion of the already burgeoning security state.
We are truly living in dangerous times but the greatest threat can be found in men like Bloomberg who fit the description perfectly of Louis Brandeis: ““The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.”
116 thoughts on “From Big Gulp To Big Brother: Bloomberg Calls For Reduction of Constitutional Protections”
VIDEO: The Real Enemy of the American People is Submission — Interview with John W. Whitehead
May 01, 2013
The Mayor on Stop-and-Frisk
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
Published: May 3, 2013
Mayor Michael Bloomberg trotted out shopworn, discredited arguments this week while defending the constitutionally suspect police program under which hundreds of thousands of innocent New Yorkers have been detained and questioned on the streets every year. His speech, at 1 Police Plaza, castigated civil rights lawyers who oppose what they say is the practice of stopping people based on race instead of reasonable suspicion; Democratic mayoral candidates who want to rein in the stop-and-frisk program; and the City Council, which is considering a perfectly reasonable bill that would create the position of Police Department inspector general, with broad powers to review department policies.
Mr. Bloomberg denied that police officers stop people based on race, adding that members of minority groups were more likely to be stopped because minorities committed most of the crimes. But court documents in the three federal lawsuits that are moving through the judicial system tell another story entirely.
The data in the case of Floyd v. City of New York, a class action being heard in federal court in Manhattan, show that in tens of thousands of cases, officers reported stopping people based on “furtive movement,” a meaningless term that cannot be legally used to justify a stop. Officers also reported that they had made stops in “high crime areas,” when, in fact, some of those areas were not. In many cases, officers said that they had stopped people based on a “suspicious bulge” — suggesting a gun — in their clothing. Yet, according to court documents, officers found only one gun for every 69 stops in which they cited a “bulge.” And guns were seized in only 0.15 percent of all stops.
In addition, only 5.4 percent of all stops resulted in an arrest, and about 6 percent led to a summons. This means that in nearly 90 percent of cases, the citizens who were stopped were doing nothing illegal. In some cases, prosecutors declined to automatically prosecute arrests made in connection with the program because they knew that the stops were illegal.
Mr. Bloomberg’s suggestion that the program has been responsible for historic drops in crime is also implausible. Crime has declined all over the country, including in places that have not used New York’s aggressively invasive techniques. Besides, if crime rates and street stops had a strong correlation, the murder rate would have gone up in 2012, when stops declined by about 20 percent. In fact, the murder rate fell in 2012 to an all-time low.
Mr. Bloomberg’s implication that the program’s critics are more interested in vexing City Hall than in keeping the streets clear of murderers was especially reprehensible. No one is opposed to using effective, constitutional means of fighting crime. The problem is that over the last decade the Police Department has shown utter contempt for Fourth Amendment guarantees of freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. And worse, these tactics have been used largely against young black and Hispanic men.
Mr. Bloomberg may never change his views. But his stubborn refusal to see the program’s dangers has not stopped three civil rights lawsuits from going forward in federal court and the City Council from trying to curb the use of tactics that have alienated minority communities from the police and made law-abiding citizens feel like criminals in their own neighborhoods.
And that’s one of the ways you deter people; they just don’t know whether the person sitting next to you is somebody sitting there or a detective watching.”
Right let’s really make everyone paranoid, afraid of the person sitting next to them. That will help a city get together to help one another.
I am thinking of selling my house and, if any way I can afford it, moving back to NYC. But not with this guy as Mayor.
“Bloomberg: New Yorkers will ‘never know where our cameras are'”
Published time: April 26, 2013 22:49
“New York City police officials intend to expand the already extensive use of surveillance cameras throughout town. The plan, unveiled Thursday, comes as part of a drive for increased security around the US following the Boston Marathon attack.
New York City Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly announced the plan during a press conference with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in which the two announced that the suspected Boston Marathon bombers were planning to attack New York next. The pair said they hope to discourage criminals by using so-called “smart cameras” that will aggregate data from 911 alerts, arrest records, mapped crime patterns, surveillance cameras and radiation detectors, among other tools, according to The Verge.
“You’re never going to know where all of our cameras are,” Bloomberg told reporters gathered outside City Hall. “And that’s one of the ways you deter people; they just don’t know whether the person sitting next to you is somebody sitting there or a detective watching.”
Kelly said the Domain Awareness System, nicknamed “the dashboard,” would centralize already existing data captured on the between 3,500 and 6,000 cameras already placed throughout the city with new technology developed in conjunction with Microsoft. The project is expected to take three years to complete and cost between $40 and $50 million.
The commissioner previously said that at least 16 terror plots had been thwarted in New York City since the attack on September 11, 2001, asserting that such law enforcement success show that the surveillance tools put in place since then have been effective. His boast came in the face of the New York Civil Liberties Union and similar privacy advocates who have asked for more transparency on the issue of police monitoring.
“The privacy issue has really been taken off the table,” Kelly said Thursday. “I don’t think people are concerned about it. I think people accept it in a post-9/11 world.”
Mayor Bloomberg agreed, using the press conference to slam the “special interests” who have objected to his policies. The American Civil Liberties Union, for one, has criticized Bloomberg’s administration for installing thousands of cameras in Lower Manhattan in a surveillance initiative that has since expanded north through Midtown.
“The role of surveillance cameras played in identifying the suspects was absolutely essential to saving lives, both in Boston, and now we know here in New York City,” the mayor said Thursday. “We’ve made major investments in camera technology – notwithstanding the objections of some special interests.”
“People are all worried about privacy,” he continued. “Yes, it is a concern, but given the balance you have between keeping people safe and total privacy, the direction the whole world is going is more cameras and better-quality cameras.””
Coke should sponsor a million sodapop march on the Mansion.
RobinH: To sort through your rant…
RH says: Every war fought was not to maintain our rights and freedoms…
No. The Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War II were truly fought on behalf of freedom and rights. For ourselves, for slaves, and for the world, respectively; if Hitler had not been opposed by the USA I believe he would, in his lifetime, ruled the world. Including the USA. We would not have beat Hitler without the Allies; those Allies and all their resources would have been absorbed into his armies by the time he massed his forces on our Northern and Southern borders.
RH says: why must we also pay for lawsuits [brought] on by dirty cops
They aren’t guilty of anything until they are proven guilty. If taxes did not defend cops, then we would have no cops, even those that serve out of a sense of public service would refrain if it meant they were on their own, and their own pittance of a salary, when some criminal decided to sue.
Taxes must also pay the damages of successful lawsuits; these “dirty cops” are our employees, like it or not; so are the people that hired them, all the way up to the mayor or Congress. We live by majority rule, and we hire executives to handle the public business by vote. We WERE involved in the hiring, to the only extent that such involvement is feasible. In my community the police chief is elected. Nobody would run if they were going to be held personally liable for every bad decision or unexpected outcome of their management. I have managed a division of a large company, such things are unavoidable, and the best one can hope for is to make predominately good decisions. That is just real life, the level of personal control you are implicitly demanding is just not feasible, perhaps you fail to realize that hundreds or even thousands of ‘important’ decisions must be made daily to run even a large city, and you don’t have time to be informed and involved in that many decisions.
RH asks: If we’re so broke how is it they are getting richer while the working poor and middle class are barely getting by?
Slavery is profitable, they get rich the way all people get rich: Buy low, sell high. The less they pay us (that is buying low), the more profit they make.
Plantation owners in the Slave South bought their labor for a few cents an hour, and sold the production of that labor for several times the cost of it.
In modern times the same formula holds. The less they pay us (and less they need us, due to robotics or cheaper overseas labor) the richer they get.
RH says: and have to ask them for permission via permits and if they don’t like your ideas tell you no and you have to pay them for the permits.
Most remodeling does not require a permit, and if they deny you a permit I certainly don’t think you have to pay for it.
There is a very good reason for permits; I have on my office bookshelf the latest ICC International Building Code. Permits prevent you from inadvertently (or intentionally by taking cost-saving shortcuts) endangering others by building a structure which will collapse (say due to high wind or heavy snow or precipitation loading), or trap and kill people if there is a fire. They also prevent you from reducing the property value of neighbors by building, say, a factory in a residential neighborhood, or a store on a road never designed to handle commercial traffic, or by creating an unsightly device (like a wind turbine) that might reduce the resale value of their homes, or a shooting range that endangers them.
As they say, your right to swing your fist ends at my nose (actually well before my nose, but you get the idea). The same applies to your right to build on your own property; you are not the only one affected by the build. Not only your neighbors, but anybody that will ever be in the structure you build has a stake in what you build; and in fact their “stake” may be their life. You should NOT be allowed to cut corners and save money or “take your chances” at the expense of somebody else’s safety or finances.
We are in this world together; we should all have the right to navigate a path we find personally valuable, and we should all have the responsibility to accomplish that without doing it at the expense of others, and we should all bear the responsibility of preventing others from shirking that responsibility. Permits, licenses, inspections, laws and the taxes needed to enforce them are all there to prevent shirkers and free riders. As flawed as all that may be, they are nonetheless necessities, and nobody has ever found a way to make people act responsibly without them. In particular, wishing they would or saying they should just does not work.
Thursday, Apr 25, 2013 08:00 PM EDT
Americans should expect acts of terror
Tom Brokaw was right: Our violent attacks abroad increase the chance of retributive attacks at home
By David Sirota
“The stuff we have done overseas is now brought back into our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost.” — Reverend Jeremiah Wright
In 2008, the hysterical backlash to the above comment by Barack Obama’s minister became a high-profile example of one of the most insidious rules in American politics: You are not allowed to honestly discuss the Central Intelligence Agency’s concept of “blowback” without putting yourself at risk of being deemed a traitor to country.
Now, five years later, with America having killed thousands of Muslim civilians in its drone strikes and wars, that rule is thankfully being challenged, and not by someone who is so easily smeared. Instead, the apostate is one of this epoch’s most revered journalists, and because of that, we will see whether this country is mature enough to face one of its biggest national security quandaries.
This is the news from Tom Brokaw’s appearance on “Meet the Press” last Sunday. Discussing revelations that the bombing suspects may be connected to Muslim fundamentalism, he said:
“We have got to look at the roots of all of this because it exists across the whole (Asian) subcontinent and the Islamic world around the world. I think we also have to examine (America’s) use of drones (because) there are a lot of civilians who are innocently killed in a drone attack in Pakistan, in Afghanistan and in Iraq. And I can tell you having spent a lot of time over there, young people will come up to me on the streets and say, ‘We love America, but if you harm one hair on the head of my sister, I will fight you forever.’ And there is this enormous rage against what they see in that part of the world as a presumptuousness of the United States.”
As one of the establishment’s most venerated voices, Brokaw is not prone to radical statements. But in a nation that often avoids acknowledging its own role in intensifying cycles of violence, it is unfortunately considered radical to do what the NBC News veteran did and mention that our violent attacks abroad increase the chance of retributive attacks at home.
Of course, Brokaw was merely stating the obvious: With America having killed thousands of civilians in its wars, we should be appalled by acts of terrorism — but we shouldn’t be surprised by them. We should know that violence will inevitably come from those like the Boston bombing suspect who, according to the Washington Post, “told interrogators that the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan motivated him and his brother to carry out the attack.”
Noting this is not to argue that such attacks are justified or that we deserve them. It is only to reiterate what Brokaw alluded to: Namely, that blowback should be expected in this age of Permanent War and that one way to potentially avert such blowback in the future is to try to deescalate the cycle of violence.
To be sure, from the Rev. Wright to Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, many have made these points before. But they have typically been ignored or lambasted for uttering the truth. Brokaw, though, can’t be so readily dismissed. He is a Walter Cronkite of his age, and, indeed, his declaration recalls Cronkite’s seminal moment 45 years ago.
Back in 1968, opponents of the Vietnam War were being marginalized in much the same way critics of today’s wars now are. But when such a revered voice as Cronkite took to television to declare the conflict an unwinnable “stalemate,” he helped create a tipping point whereby Americans began to reconsider their assumptions.
In similarly making such an assumption-challenging statement, Brokaw has followed in Cronkite’s heroic footsteps. The only question is: Will America finally listen?
David Sirota is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, magazine journalist and the best-selling author of the books “Hostile Takeover,” “The Uprising” and “Back to Our Future.
Gosh, Gene. I hope you didn’t miss my satirical intent re Article V. And yes, the amendment process may seem difficult. Of course, interestingly, the last two represent the extremes, with the 26th being ratified in a little over 3 months, and the 27th being ratified in a little over 200 years.
So let me restate my point. Whether or not the amendment process may be difficult, it remains the only legitimate method to change the Constitution, since any attempt by the Executive to proclaim a change by fiat, or by Congress to legislate a change, or by the Judiciary to adjudicate a change is not only unconstitutional, but leads to a logical contradiction with respect to the existence of Article V.
Governments worship order. The wealthy worship security. Fascism happily satisfy both needs at the expense of those who possess neither power nor wealth. Whether he admits it or not, Mr. Bloomberg is sliding in that direction.
It’s still early in the decade for American hating trash like Bloombergs/Bushs/Clinton/Obama types & Nuremberg Trials.
We’ll soon see if there are enough true Americans left to stand up against the Fascist Aholes.
He bulldozed the Occupy site, and said something like “no right is absolute”. That was enough legal analysis for him.
Bloomberg would have been prosecuted as a human rights criminal at the Nuremberg Trials had he been a Kraut mayor of say Berlin.
Thank You Mr Gene @Tony your exactly right one of their main sayings is “out of chaos comes order” they know we aren’t going to allow that without a fight!!!!!!!!according to them we are to dumb to live our lives the way we see fit. Not to mention to them we are born to serve them. Every war fought was not to maintain our rights and freedoms it was either to keep us distracted while they steal money,natural resources, or because that country refused to do as told. It is one of the main reasons we are hated. I personally abhor the fact that we lost millions of good people fighting wars based on lies about rights and freedoms they don’t have. for many years they hid behind lies now they don’t they assume we are beaten and have no will or means to resist. I especially hate how they twisted nd changed laws to benefit them and disposes of anyone who dares fight back. Our kids go into the military thinking they are fighting for their country, to protect society they get maimed,mentally and emotionally destroyed and if they make it home it’s thank you have a nice life. They use our taxes to support their lifestyles. We pay cops salaries thru taxes why must we also pay for lawsuits bought on by dirty cops when we Rent involved in the hiring process? And we Damon sure aren’t involved in their crimes? How is a country so broke they are shutting down much needed programs and services yet there’s billions to buy specialized military weapons? If we’re so broke how is it they are getting richer while the working poor and middle class are barely getting by?
They have made it so we literally pay them to work ex. Taxes. You work your ads off to buy a house finally get it paid off and now your ready to remodel it and have to ask them for permission via permits and if they don’t like your ideas tell you no and you have to pay them for the permits. It’s the same scam with insurance companies. Or they take your home or business they eminent domain. They know the p people are getting tired.
Just the other day I asked what happened to the days when you had4-5 politicised running for office now you get 2and both of them ‘re rich and owned by those richer then them
Sorry for going on so I tend to get a riled up when talking about the corporation formerly known s the gov erment
The amendment process found in Art. V was made difficult on purpose to protect the core of the Constitution from politically transitory whimsy creating instability and bad results. Even then, some really bad ideas modifying the Constitution still managed to get through. The 18th Amendment anyone?
Do we need some amendments to the Constitution to adjust for changes in society? Why yes we do. Namely we need on overturning the ridiculous and manifestly bad reasoning in Citizens United and narrowly defining personality as it should rightfully apply to natural beings versus how it should rightfully apply to legal fictions and limiting the influence of legal fictions over our electoral and legislative processes. But repealing (or even relaxing) Art. V is a pathway to madness and the eventual total destruction of the Constitution.
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