For political junkies, the news that MIT professor and ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber has agreed…
CFIF on Twitter CFIF on YouTube
Jonathan Gruber to Testify Before House Committee

For political junkies, the news that MIT professor and ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber has agreed to testify before the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee is must see TV.

Gruber has stirred up a hornet’s nest of negative press for the controversial health care law because of statements he’s made at academic conferences over the last few years. Helpfully summarized by the folks at American Commitment, Gruber’s comments include calling American voters stupid and admitting to writing ObamaCare’s text in a tortured way to avoid a straightforward cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.

Also appearing at the hearing will be Marilyn Tavener, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to explain – presumably with a straight face –…[more]

November 25, 2014 • 05:03 pm

Liberty Update

CFIFs latest news, commentary and alerts delivered to your inbox.
Jester's CourtroomLegal tales stranger than stranger than fiction: Ridiculous and sometimes funny lawsuits plaguing our courts.
Obamites Must Stop Mollycoddling Islamists Print
By Quin Hillyer
Thursday, April 25 2013
[T]o what can we owe the suspicion that the Obamites anti-profiling atmosphere contributed to the FBI’s laxity?

All of us should be foursquare for civil liberties. But that doesn’t mean we need to be stupidly, willfully blind about the nature of threats that face us. Please allow some leeway, then, which usually isn’t allowed to (or requested by) good journalists, to mix known facts with educated speculation, to this end: Was the FBI’s failure to track Tamarlan Tsarnaev a matter not just of bad luck or incompetence, but actually the result of outlandish policy choices by the Obama administration?

The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday rightly criticized the FBI for its failures, writing: “Tamerlan Tsarnaev did not appear at the Boston marathon out of nowhere. The FBI had interviewed him and he had posted jihadist videos on the Internet. Someone dropped the ball, and dozens of Americans will be scarred forever. The public deserves a full accounting from FBI Director Robert Mueller, not merely an apologia.”

But its most important paragraph was the previous one:

"The FBI's explanation so far is that its agents asked Tamerlan if he was a terrorist, and he said no. The bureau looked and found no other evidence, so it closed the books and in any case had no legal authority to do more. But it would have had such authority if it had sought a surveillance warrant from the FISA court that was established precisely to be able to monitor potential terror risks. Why didn't it seek such a warrant?"

My suspicion is that it didn’t seek such a warrant in part because President Obama and his whole team have made such a point of discouraging anything that could possibly have even the appearance of “profiling” Muslims in the United States. With political bosses so determined to eradicate “profiling,” FBI agents must be running scared.

That’s the only explanation I can imagine for not continuing surveillance of somebody who had been reported by a foreign government to have extremist ties, whose public electronic communications were full of Islamic rage and jihadist sympathies, who attended an Islamic religious center with extremist ties, who had been detained for anger issues (abusing his girlfriend) – and who, quite strangely, showed no visible distress about the murder of a good friend.

Granted, hindsight is 20/20. But the whole point is that it should not have taken hindsight; it should have taken at least semi-vigilant contemporary oversight all along.

Meanwhile, to what can we owe the suspicion that the Obamites anti-profiling atmosphere contributed to the FBI’s laxity? Well, it’s documented: The administration has issued orders just short of a fatwa against anything officially linking Islam with terror.  It removed hundreds of FBI training documents containing what it claimed were inaccurate descriptions of Muslims.

Also, according to a key FBI document, “Mere association with organizations that demonstrate both legitimate (advocacy) and illicit (violent extremism) objectives should not automatically result in a determination that the associated individual is acting in furtherance of the organization’s illicit objective(s).” Indeed, the Obama Justice Department has gone even farther, not only refusing to follow obvious potential links between angry Islamism and terrorism but also leaving open the possibility of criminalizing speech (like this column) that dares criticize Islamic practices.

(Note, by the way, that the hesitation to rule out such criminalization came from Tom Perez, whom I have written about here on numerous occasions.)

And it was two full years ago that the Obama Department of Homeland Security killed a counter-terrorism policy it portrayed, again, as being insufficiently sympathetic to Muslims. While it is certainly not clear if that particular program would have resulted in closer tracking of Tamarlan Tsarnaev, it represented just one more in a long list of actions that strongly discouraged attitudes of vigilance against specifically Islamist threats.

To be clear: It is no crime, no ethical problem, nothing suspicious at all to be a Muslim. Anybody who says or acts otherwise is no friend to the American tradition of freedom of conscience about religion, and of individual human rights. Nonetheless, there is a distinct difference between mere Islam and Islamism. The latter should arouse at least mild suspicions – and, when combined with specific warnings that a particular individual might be dangerous, it should certainly lead to enough oversight to notice hateful encomiums to jihad on social media sites.

None of which is to say that even heightened observation of the Tsarnaevs would necessarily have stopped the Boston bombing. It is incredibly easy, in a free society, to take a subway while wearing a backpack and then abandon the backpack in a large, casually attired crowd.

This is not a game of pinning moral blame on the Obama administration. The blame, the evil, is the Tsarnaevs’ alone. Yet, as we move forward, it is crucial that the questionable Obamite policies be reviewed – and probably reversed.

Question of the Week   
Which one of the following individuals authored the book ‘The Conscience of a Conservative’?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"The Fifth Amendment states: 'No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury.'The Constitution does not consider the grand jury to be a rubber stamp. It is a core protection. It stands as the buffer between the government prosecutor and the citizen-suspect; it safeguards Americans, who are presumed innocent, from…[more]
 
 
—Andrew McCarthy, National Review
— Andrew McCarthy, National Review
 
Liberty Poll   

Forget the heavy, brain-exploding stuff, just for a while. What’s your favorite Thanksgiving pie?