More Safety, Please

MarkM
By MarkM on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 - 7:49am

Bloomberg says the Constitution needs to be interpreted differently after Boston.

http://politicker.com/2013/04/bloomberg-says-post-boston-interpretation-of-the-constitution-will-have-to-change/

If "they" hate us for our freedoms, surely the hatred is dwindling.

12 Comments

Travlin's picture
Travlin
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He outted himself
Mayor Bloomberg wrote:

“The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry,” Mr. Bloomberg said during a press conference in Midtown. “But we live in a complex world 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.”

And he wonders why so many people distrust him?  Many suspected this was his position.  My only surprise is that he has come out and blatantly said so. 

Nice find MarkM.

Travlin

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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not surprising

Travlin', as a former New Yorker I am not at all surprised. Bloomy, as we call him, was a lifelong democrat who switched to the republican party right after 9/11 and said we needed a businessman to put the city back together. He's always held such beliefs.

Travlin's picture
Travlin
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Desperate?

Hi Wendy

Can you give us some insight into why people voted for this would-be tyrant?  Folks in fly-over land are genuinely puzzled.  Were they that desperate to “save the city” and saw him at their only hope?

Travlin

KathyP's picture
KathyP
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Authoritarianism

Authoritarians exist in both political parties.  If you haven't already done so, you'll find it enlightening (and entertaining) to read Bob Altermeyer's book, The Authoritarians.  It's available free on the web.  http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/    It really helped me understand the mindset and behavior of so many public (and private) figures.  You'll definitely find Bloomberg described perfectly.  You'll also discover where you fall on the authoritarianism continuum.

Travlin's picture
Travlin
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Thanks, but

KathyP

Altemeyer wrote:

If, on the other hand,  you’re way ahead of me, and believe the extreme right-wing elements in America are poised to take it over, permanently, I think you can still get a lot from this book. The studies explain so much about these people. Yes, the research shows they are very aggressive, but why are they so hostile? Yes, experiments show they are almost totally uninfluenced by reasoning and evidence, but why are they so dogmatic?

  Source

Thanks for your post, but after reading the preface I think I’ll pass on the book.  As you say, authoritarians exist in both parties and all walks of life.  His remarks above apply equally well to many on the left, and everyday life.  The preface indicates the author has very selective vision, which casts doubts on his research methods and conclusions.  Since you read the book, please tell me if my impression is mistaken, and what you found useful.

Travlin

KathyP's picture
KathyP
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Thanks, But

Travlin,

Thank you for following up on my suggestion.

You are correct in detecting a point of view in Altermeyer's preface. He does believe that strong “authoritarian leaders” who are able to rise to powerful government positions can cause a great deal of loss of individual civil liberties if left unchecked. Likewise, “authoritarian followers” can willingly accept outrages encroachments of their and others' liberties and can be led to behave in ways that contradict their own most deeply cherished moral convictions. Altermeyer does not think this is a good thing, in fact he sees militant authoritarianism as a threat to our democracy.

He did not begin his journey into this area of research to support this point of view. Instead, as he explains in his introduction, he stumbled into it in 1965 because he failed a question in his Ph. D. qualifying exams on the authoritarian personality. He was then required to write a paper to prove that he could learn something about this area of research. His work wasn't particulary well noticed until it was cited around 2005 in John Dean's book, “Conservatives without Conscience.”

Anyhow, this thread began with Mayor Bloomberg's hubristic statements about changing our interpretation of the Constitution, and your question about what possesses people to vote for such an authoritarian leader. Altermeyer provides some clues.

I will add that you will find his research methodology to be sound, and the conclusions he draws from his findings to be valid. His work is not the last word on this topic, but it sure is fascinating. Personally, I found it helped me begin to understand the very different world views held and expressed by friends and neighbors. For example, when my next door neighbors returned from an extended trip to the Southwest, they witnessed several incidents of excessive force (in my view) used by police in apprehending brown-skinned persons. They actually said that seeing that made them feel safer. In my opinion, such trust in authority and tolerance of abuse of power is incomprehensible. But seeing them as having a good dose of the “authoritarian follower” personality helped me at least understand where they were coming from.

If I had an authoritarian personality, I would insist that your read the book for your own good and personal safety, and if you had an authoritarian follower personality, you would comply. But, I'm not and you're probably not so I appreciate your follow up and respect your discerning intellectual curiosity.

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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Travlin, re Bloomberg:

Can you give us some insight into why people voted for this would-be tyrant?  Folks in fly-over land are genuinely puzzled.  Were they that desperate to “save the city” and saw him at their only hope?

I'll try, Travlin. Mind you, I never lived there but I lived in New York City's shadow 50 years and worked there on and off for 20 years. There are a lot of dynamics at work so I will list them.

  • NYC has a population of over eight million (2012 census). Less than half of the population is white (non Hipsanic). For the most part Democrats seem to control each ethnicity or race as some sort of voting block. In my opinion, every so often the policies that derive from this pandering approach to governanace plunge the City into economic chaos resulting in massive debt, critical cuts in essential services, racial tensions, and widespread worsening poverty. Then they seem to vote in a liberal-leaning Republican mayor long enough to clean up ssome of the mess and keep the City standing upright. Rudy Gulliani was one of those reformers.
  • Bloomberg switchedfrom Democrat to Republican and rode in on Guiliani's coattails at a time when NYC's economy had been shattered by 9/11. He was comfortable to New Yorkers in that he ran a major NYC financial company (Bloomberg fiancial news network) so he seemed to have the expertise to fix the city's shattered finances, and he came from one of the most powerul voting blocks, the NYC Jewish community. (For those of you who are unaware of this fact, there are more Jews in NYC than in Israel.) Bloomberg was a multi-millionaire and only took a $1 symbolc salary. He seemed to view his work as mayor as a public service. After all the power-grabbing vote-block representing mayors in recent memory this sounded...refreshing.
  • Applying his business expertise to government, he really did streamline a lot of things and get the city back on its feet. NYC laws were brought up to national codes, and services were run though an actually sane and helpful central clearinghouse. Things like 311 were instituted, which streamlined people's access to such a large governement.

So "Bloomy," as the press there calls him (NYC loves to give its mayors nicknames) is rather popular, and his little excursions into screwing up our civil iberties are seen as almost harmless excentricities after the vote-block pandering of his predecessors.

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
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Militarized society: No thanks.

Welcome to American Israel.
I think I'll stay away from the East Coast problems.

Aaron

Travlin's picture
Travlin
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Thank you Wendy

Hi Wendy

Thanks for your detailed reply to my question.  I owe you at least two now if there is anything I might be able to help you with.  Your explanation was so good I can even understand why people voted for him.  I still think they are badly misguided, but they would probably think the same of me.

The repeated cycle of mismanaged finances reminds me of the famous headline from the late 70s, “Ford to New York City – Drop Dead”, when President Ford refused to back a federal bail out for them.  To many people in fly over land NYC can seem like a foreign country that happens to be within our borders.  They seem to have little respect for the rest of us, or share our values and culture.

My sense is that much of the population of NYC is poor, and hard pressed.  Many are first or second generation immigrants who have fled even worse conditions.  They don’t have a history and culture of liberty so authoritarian practices here still feel like freedom to them.  That may work in NYC but Bloomberg is badly mistaken if he thinks the rest of us will toe his line.

He is one of the leading advocates for national gun control and has reportedly spent many millions of his own money on this issue.  As I remember he sent agents to other states to try to buy guns illegally at gun shows to demonstrate how easy it was to do.  The sales were refused and his agents were criminally charged.  Among gun rights bloggers, his organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns is know as Illegal Mayors Against All Guns because so many of them have been imprisoned for serious crimes.

I have no direct experience with Bloomberg, but most of the sources I’ve read give strong reasons to dislike him.  After reading his statement I quoted in post 1 I have no doubt that he does not understand what this country is about.

Mayor Bloomberg wrote:

 “The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry,” Mr. Bloomberg said during a press conference in Midtown. “But we live in a complex world 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.”

Thanks again for helping me understand why he is successful locally.

Travlin

 

TreeGap's picture
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Re-interpreting

I'm chiming in with the following as it relates to how seemingly "way-way-out-of-touch" concepts are introduced to the national dialouge as a means to propose societal changes that some would like to see come to pass.  Introducing the concept is the first step.

For example, earlier this Spring, we had Melissa Harris-Perry from MSNBC telling us that our kids... are not our kids.

"We have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to their communities…Once it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the households, then we start making better investments.

(Source:

)

Harris-Perry was roundly criticized for her comments and later claimed her words were purposefully misinterpreted.

Now, let's assume Ms. Harris-Perry did mean what she said..., what would be the purpose of introducing the concept, "Kids belong to their communities?"  Why would we need to do away with the, "private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families?"

Is it about making better investments?   Or.., something else?

Hmmm...

Shortly after the Harris-Perry dust up, I was interested to read this article concerning a "Big Society" initiative in England. 

Serco, a leading private contractor, is in line to win a multimillion-pound contract to run the National Citizen Service, proposed by the prime minister as a “big society”, non-military version of national service for youngsters aged over 16’.

(Source: http://barcode1966.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/serco-rules-britannia/)

The author of the article hit the nail on the head with his observations about the privatization of efforts formerly provided by Charities.

"So to be clear, the government has stripped the cash from charities that care passionately for the young in their community and have worked tirelessly and have strong trusted links with them built over decades. Instead, they have given millions to a company that will being trying to replicate that, ....but in a way to make profit for it’s shareholders. This is absurd!!"

The unbelievable creepiness that this "Big Society" initiative is being coordinated by Serco is..., well..., kind of unbelievably creepy.  Last month, Serco reported a 27% rise in profits, yet maintained its prison and healthcare outsourcing contracts from the UK government has not lined its coffers. (Google: Schools to Prisons, Prison Profits).

I see in the Serco initiative echoes of a 2006 interview with Rahm Emmanuel, Obama's former Chief of Staff, in which he discussed a book he'd co-authored with Bruce Reed, "The Plan: Big Ideas for America."  In this interview, Emmanuel said, "citizenship is not an entitlement program."  He then described... wait for it,....  "Mandatory National Service!"  Well doggies!

"Everyone from the ages of 18 - 25 will serve three months of basic training in a kind of in civil defense.  That universal sense of service between the ages of 18 - 25 will give Americans fortunately a sense of what they are as Americans and a contribution to a country, and a common experience."

(Source:

)

Emmanuel figures Americans need his particular brand of "Big Idea"  to help us all get "a sense of what we are as Americans."  (Of note, Mr. Emmanuel is an Israeli-American who served in the Israel Defense Forces, a service requirement for all Israeli youth.)

Last Summer, Mr. Emmanuel's idea was re-purposed by Karen Whitney, President of Clarion University.  She writes, "From the sons and daughters of truck drivers and tycoons, all would serve. We would all benefit both personally and as a country."

(Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karen-m-whitney-phd/students-national-serv...)

Of the 4 comments Ms. Whitney received on her article, two were quite astute.

  • "F- Slavery!  The government steals too much already."
  • "All would serve," excepting Karen M. Whitney, Ph.D.

If you're listening carefully you can hear high-minded words and concepts persistently introduced to the national dialouge—concepts, if implemented, would fundamentally change what it is to be a U.S. Citizen.

This isn't unintentional.

MarkM's picture
MarkM
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Posts: 837
TreeGap wrote: If you're
TreeGap wrote:

If you're listening carefully you can hear high-minded words and concepts persistently introduced to the national dialouge—concepts, if implemented, would fundamentally change what it is to be a U.S. Citizen.

This isn't unintentional.

I think they have been persistently introducing them for years and they have already fundamentally changed what it is to be a U.S. Citizen.

No, it is not unintentional.

TreeGap's picture
TreeGap
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Fundamental Change

MarkM,

Yes, I believe you're right.

The plight and suffering of the Native American Indians comes to mind when I think about what is happening to the U.S. population.  The Native Americans were unable to conceive the total-takeover the Europeans desired—it was beyond belief.   I think the future the would-be-architects desire is something U.S. Citizens would not believe is possible. 

Personally, I like my small town life and think the American system of personal freedom is great. Submitting to a "mandatory national service" isn't something I'd be willing to do.

Dark as it sounds, I think these people are so profoundly wealthy they are basically now in the business of people farming for the purpose of maximizing resources and profit from one end of the planet to the other.

 

 

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