It began innocently enough. In May of 2011, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provided funds for the purchase of snow-cone machines for thirteen rural Michigan counties. According to the grant justification document, the snow-cone machines can make ice to prevent heat-related illnesses during emergencies, treat injuries and provide snow cones as an outreach at promotional events.
On February 14, 2013, it was reported that the DHS intended to purchase 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition. On March 2, it was reported that DHS had converted its fleet of Predator B drones to carry out domestic spying missions. (The new capability will allow federal, state, and local police forces to identify, at night, a standing human being and determine whether or not that person is armed. An additional technological capability will give the Predator the ability to intercept calls and pinpoint the location of cell phones). On March 5, it was reported that the DHS acquired 2,700 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, a platform developed to protect soldiers from IED’s in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Apparently, the outreach events that used those snow-cone machines were wildly successful. But that was only the beginning of the story.
We now learn that Attorney General Eric Holder has confirmed to the U.S. Senate that the President of the United States can kill U.S. citizens in a drone strike on U.S. soil. Let me say that again, according to the attorney general, our president, acting alone, can order a drone strike to kill U.S. citizens on U.S. soil!
How the hell did we get here? How did we become such a collective bed of freakin pansies that wilt at the slightest hint of danger? Where are all the tri-cornered hat wearing Tea-Partiers who were supposed to be so concerned with big government? In all fairness to them, maybe this is not Big Government but merely Big Brother – a seemingly large distinction without a difference. After all, if you aren’t doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear, right? Wrong.
When the Bush administration collected all of our emails in the name of national security, in blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment, nary a harsh word was spoken. We were being made “safe” don’t you know? And when the Federal Bureau of Investigation misused National Security Letters (that somehow don’t required judicial approval) to collect information on fellow agent’s divorce cases (among other abuses), the Bureau was slapped on the hand by the Congress in return for the promise to never do it again. Now Google just reported that the Bureau is using those same NSL’s to surreptitiously collect information on its users.
In light of all of the above, it would appear to the casual observer, that the U.S. government, through the DHS, is readying itself for a war. I wonder where those bad guys are hiding?
I for one had a hard time trying to legitimize the sale and ownership of assault weapons and mega-load magazines. I get it now. Since I am not very good at moving targets at a great distance, I’ll need that combat-size magazine to take out that drone from my backyard. Don’t have a plan yet for those MRAPS though. Snow-cone anyone?
UPDATE: Well, well. Obama decided to join the flipflop club. Despite his previous insistence that he could drone an American citizen in America, he now says, “Nay”:
White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at 1:15 pm. that Mr. Holder’s letter to the Kentucky Republican went out shortly after noon, and just 12 hours after Mr. Paul stages a marathon talking filibuster on the Senate floor demanding clarification of U.S. drone policies and the president’s authority to order strikes on Americans.
Mr. Holder’s letter answers Mr. Rand’s question, “Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill Americans not engaged in combat on U.S. soil,” Mr. Carney said.
“The answer to that question is no,” he said. “A letter signed by the attorney general has gone out in the last half an hour.”
Glad we could get that cleared up.