Douglas French

The topic of drones came up on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. Advertising guru and pro-drone Donny Deutsch pushed back against a skeptical Joe Scarborough saying, “What’s the big deal? There was no due process at Waco.” It’s just a difference in technology, he said. “It’s a more advanced way of dealing with problems,” Deutsch contended with a straight face.

I guess Donny figures that the government will never consider him to be a problem.

Scarborough fumbled around in response, saying something to the effect that the then attorney general (Janet Reno) thought children were in imminent danger.

Scarborough, however, rightly wondered, “I’m not sure how you save the children by burning the place down.”

Many Americans didn’t care about civil rights when Janet Reno’s ATF agents stormed the Branch Davidian compound, and they don’t seem to care now.

Many Americans seem to be either blissfully ignorant, or foursquare behind this Game of Drones. All this droning on about drones came to light because of a memo of approved drone targets leaked to The New York Times and the confirmation hearings for the CIA chief position. Obama’s selection is the droneinnator himself, John Brennan.

A year ago, a poll showed that 83% of Americans are all for using unmanned drones against suspected terrorists overseas, and nearly six in 10 strongly support the practice.

Maybe that doesn’t get your blood pressure up, but in the same poll, people were asked if they supported using drones to target American citizens who are suspected terrorists. Two-thirds said they supported using drones on Americans too!

That kind of result makes me think the rest of us should sleep in shifts.

What’s scary is that Mr. Deutsch describes himself as a liberal. And since he has his own company and works in advertising, he must have at least some sympathy for capitalism. Yet he’s all for trusting the government to blow up supposed enemies and ask questions later.

So what kind of mixed-up ideological mess is Deutsch? The same as many young people, according to The New York Times. In a Page 1 piece titled “A Growing Trend: Young, Liberal and Open to Big Government,” Sheryl Gay Stolberg writes that even in states like Montana, young people are steering the electorate toward Democratic candidates.

Instead of going to college, reading Atlas Shrugged, graduating, finding a job and embracing individualism, young people are graduating under a pile of debt they can’t see out of, moving back in with their parents and looking for help from Uncle Sam.

“At the same time, this is not a generation of socialists,” Matt Singer of left-leaning Forward Montana told the Times. “They are highly entrepreneurial and know that some of what it takes to create an environment where they can do their own exciting, creative things is having basic systems that work.”

A study by the Pew Research Center says under-30 voters are the only group that says government should do more to remedy problems.

“My analysis has been for a while that it’s going to come down to not whether the government should address certain problems, but how,” Ruy Teixeira of the Center for American Progress told the Times.

So young people think too little regulation caused the financial crisis and is the reason they can’t get jobs. Government is not the enemy, as Reagan once said, but is, instead, what built individual businesses and success stories, as Obama pointed out. Oh, and it keeps us safe by blowing up bad guys, whether they have U.S. driver’s licenses or operate overseas.

Yes, it’s all just simple problem-solving, as Mr. Deutsch puts it.

One of the problems law enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security have is keeping an eye on all of us. The United States is a big country. There are lots of people breaking the law each and every day. People growing pot. People making moonshine. People buying too much Sudafed. In fact, there are so many laws that we all break a few without even realizing it. The days of criminal intent are long gone. Ignorance is no defense.

But the manpower required to police us all is expensive. In many places, union contracts call for cops to retire in their 50s at 100% of their highest salary. Law enforcement needs a cheaper way to keep an eye on us lawbreakers.

There is a pent-up demand from law enforcement for drones. For the moment, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has blocked the use of unmanned aircraft for surveillance purposes, due to concern about clogging the skies with flying robots that crash more often than piloted aircraft.

The folks at the FAA are being pressured to lighten up and permit the use of drones by government agencies. The result of that pressure is HR 658, which authorizes appropriations for the FAA through fiscal 2014, and buried in it are the provisions to begin a “drone-apalooza” with 30,000 unmanned aircraft.

According to Jay Stanley of the ACLU, “This bill would push the nation willy-nilly toward an era of aerial surveillance, without any steps to protect the traditional privacy that Americans have always enjoyed and expected.”

Among other things, HR 658 will require the FAA to streamline its process within 90 days for government agencies to operate drones. The bill requires the FAA to allow government public safety agencies to operate drones weighing 4.4 pounds or less, as long as certain other conditions are met. The agency will be required to establish a pilot program within six months to create half a dozen test zones for integrating drones “into the national airspace system.”

Maybe this doesn’t scare you. Perhaps you drive the speed limit, pay your taxes and
go to church on Sunday. Remember, the government decides who is guilty and who is innocent. When the Constitution was written, there were three federal crimes. Now there are thousands. Logic doesn’t matter. Criminal intent doesn’t matter. The idea that the punishment must fit the crime went bye-bye with Nixon’s war on drugs.

As outrageous as this is, there is little public outcry. Opinion-makers like Donny Deutsch say it’s all good, as long as it keeps us safe. Normally, the younger generation would be questioning authority and storming the barricades. Instead, they’re worried about their financial security.

That leaves only a few of us to protest this outrage. The Laissez Faire Club has created a petition to stop HR 658 and derail the nomination of John Brennan as head of the CIA. We are looking for 150,000 signatures to make the pro-freedom, pro-privacy message heard.

Make your voice heard by signing here. And remember, if we’re going to hit our 150,000 target, we’ll need your help passing this along to your friends too.

What little privacy we have left is in danger.

Douglas French

Original article posted on Laissez-Faire Today

Douglas French

Douglas French is a Senior Editor for Agora Financial. He received his master's degree under the direction of Murray N. Rothbard at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, after many years in the business of banking. He is the author of two books, Early Speculative Bubbles & Increases in the Money Supply, the first major empirical study of the relationship between early bubbles and the money supply, and Walk Away, a monograph assessing the philosophy and morality of strategic default. He is founder and editor of LibertyWatch magazine.

  • thepercolator

    America is F’d! Seriously researching other countries to move too and denounce my citizenship to this Fascist Police State!

  • Freemon Sandlewould

    Donny DeutchBag

  • 2 funny

    Land of the Free, home of the Brave…*er* … home of the Committee of Public Safety.


  • MikeMoskos

    I wonder what government will thinking of drones when people start building their own to watch government:

  • Pingback: Trackback

  • Pingback: Trackback

Recent Articles

5 Min. Forecast
How to Profit On the Back of an “Activist Investor”

Dave Gonigam

Since the invention of the "shareholder rights plan" (i.e. the "poison pill"), most companies are relatively immune to hostile takeovers. But according to Dave Gonigam that could all change thanks to one activist investor. And if you're savvy enough, you may just be able to follow his lead for big gains. Read on...

Why Americans Shouldn’t Worry About Income Inequality

Jim Mosquera

As the markets have continued to rally over the last several years, more and more people have touted the problem of "income inequality" in the US. But as Jim Mosquera explains, this perceived problem will likely sort itself out with the arrival of one specific market event. Read on...

One ETF to Play Asymmetric Warfare

Addison Wiggin

Almost one year ago, substation telephone cables were maliciously cut in San Jose, CA. In 20 minutes, 17 transformers were knocked out. A year on, similar threats have cropped up. Today, Addison Wiggin explains why these threats are so serious for the safety of the global economy... and shows you one way to play it...

What Small-Caps are Saying About the Current “Bubble”

Greg Guenthner

The big problem with declaring bubbles is that it really does you no good. Unless you're attempting to measure and time market moves, you're also blowing hot air. But if you keep watch for negative divergences, you have a much better shot at figuring out big market moves than the latest bubble-busters. Greg Guenthner explains...

A Simple Strategy for Investing in the US Energy Boom

Byron King

Too often investments are made in a vacuum. But as Byron King demonstrates, the global economic crash... easy money... and technological advancements are all interdependent. In particular, that connection has changed the investment calculus in the resource market. Read on to learn how...

How Gold Will Respond to Declining Discovery

Henry Bonner

Oil isn't the only resource to experience "peaks." Due to a major contraction in gold exploration over the past few years, the mining sector is no longer mining gold at its replacement rate. In other words, the amount of gold above ground is running out. And according to Henry Bonner, it will get worse before it gets better...