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NSA catches cab driver sending $8,500 to Somalia

NSA Nabs Cabbie!

Yes, folks, you heard it here first! The NSA, in the midst of a full-court press to capture our hearts and minds, has revealed the secret of one of its most important cases. It managed to catch a cab driver who was sending $8,500 to Somalia. Countless lives must have been saved in the process!

With impressive results like these, it is obvious why we need a Stasi-like total surveillance state, at a cost of [redacted] billon dollars per year.

23 comments to NSA catches cab driver sending $8,500 to Somalia

  • PapayaSF

    So we need the NSA spying on everyone to catch the terrorists among the Muslim refugees we take in. The simpler and cheaper solution, of not taking in Muslim refugees, is apparently not to be considered.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    @PapayaSF – Are you a white bigoted racist or something? [/sarc]

  • Perry Metzger (New York, USA)

    PapayaSF opines: “So we need the NSA spying on everyone to catch the terrorists among the Muslim refugees we take in. The simpler and cheaper solution, of not taking in Muslim refugees, is apparently not to be considered.”

    I think there’s a much simpler lesson to be drawn from a cabbie sending a trivial amount of money overseas being used as an example by the NSA of their glorious success, though I suppose that if one is the sort of person who believes in threatening violence against peaceful people for crossing so-called “national borders”, any excuse to bring the topic up might be a good one.

  • PapayaSF

    I am not “threatening violence,” just noting the irony of the government allowing the importing of supporters of terrorism and then justifying the surveillance state as necessary to protect us from that threat. But it’s telling that you don’t seem to believe in “national borders,” and think that financial support of a terror group is “peaceful.”

  • John K

    A whole $8,500! This must be the NSA’s Dr Evil moment.

  • Perry Metzger (New York, USA)

    PapayaSF claims, against all evidence: “I am not “threatening violence,”” — but of course you are.

    Laws are enforced by men with guns. They drag people who violate the laws into iron cages. If the people resist, they are shot.

    Now, for some things, like murder or robbery, I am fully willing to sanction the use of men with guns threatening people and taking them to iron cages. These are distinct in that they are acts in which someone has initiated physical violence themselves. If a man beats another man up, there is nothing wrong with someone then using force to drag him to a cage for his violation of the peace.

    However, the act of taking a job freely offered by another human being that happens to be across an arbitrary “border line” painted across a roadway is not an act of violence. The act of accepting a lease on an apartment offered by another human being when the apartment happens to be on the other side of such a line painted on the road is not an act of violence. The act of walking down a road across an arbitrary line drawn on the pavement to get to said job or to move to said apartment is not an act of physical violence.

    Let us be absolutely clear here. You propose to prevent people from walking across such lines painted on pavement. That is what “immigration restrictions” are. To prevent a person from crossing such a painted line on the roadway, which is what you propose to do, violence is needed, or at least its threat, as are the iron cages and other instrumentalities that you ask others to use on your behalf. I note that asking others to perform violent acts on your behalf does not in any way exonerate you; it is merely a form of conspiracy.

    So to repeat: to impose your idea of dictating where free people may live and work and sit in cafes peacefully buying a tea and a pastry, violence is needed, and thus you are advocating for violence.

    I understand, “PapayaSF”, that you do not view yourself as advocating violence, because no one wants to think that of themselves, but that is precisely what you are advocating. Merely because you deny it does not make it entirely and obviously true.

    As for the question of government redistribution programs and the like, if you don’t want those to go to immigrants, then get rid of them instead of threatening peaceful human beings with violence for nothing more than the action of walking down a roadway to seek peaceful employment or shopping opportunities or to rent or buy a home.

    (I myself don’t want redistribution of wealth for anyone at all, even those who by accident happen to live on the same side of the arbitrary painted line on the pavement that they were born on, because such redistribution requires initiation of violence as well.)

  • PapayaSF

    So denying someone refugee status, or even having a national border, counts as “violence,” but giving money to a terror group counts as “peaceful”? Whatever, dude.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    And so we come to the absurdity of libertarian positions concerning open borders. In this, I find myself more in line with the restrictionists like Hans Hermann Hoppe.

  • Perry Metzger (New York, USA)

    “And so we come to the absurdity of libertarian positions concerning open borders.”

    During the Second World War, my father “illegally” crossed the border into Switzerland in the middle of the night. Had he not done so, he would have died.

    I see no reason anyone should go along with a law that will lead to their own death. There is no moral obligation to cooperate with your own destruction. I also see no reason that anyone should feel ashamed of entirely peaceful behavior, and walking down a road and then accepting a job offer and paying for a place to live are entirely peaceful acts.

    If you consider the libertarian position absurd, that is your privilege. I consider the idea that you have the right to use violence to stop someone from hiring another person, or renting them an apartment, deeply immoral, which I think is far worse than mere absurdity.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    There is no moral obligation to cooperate with your own destruction.

    Funny, I was thinking the same thing. I, and my fellow citizens, am under no obligation to take in immigrants, even peaceful ones, if they threaten my preferred demographic, way of life, or even my livelihood, now or in the future.

    If I find certain types of immigrants may pose a threat in the future, why yes, I am certainly going to inflict violence against them to prevent them from coming in, because I’m not going to take the risk that their progeny will find it in their hearts to reciprocate any kindness I show them. Well, we can ask the Swedes or the French what they think of their immigrant-origin citizens.

    That current peaceful islamic immigrant from Somalia may yet turn out fanatical fundamentalist supporters as his descendants. Why are we ignoring that?

    Let’s say your anarcho-capitalist town gets swamped by immigrants. They are peaceful, hardworking, if perhaps a bit dim. They have families, and the children get subverted, for any number of reasons, into lifestyles and ideologies that are, shall we say, not that conducive to a modern libertarian. The older generation passes on, leaving their chafing, resentful youth as the new majority. What do you think happens next?

    I would welcome immigrants, but only on the conditions that:

    1. They can assimilate relatively easily.
    2. Are culturally, ethnically similar to already existing population.
    3. High potential for good intelligence.
    4. Can contribute significantly to the economy.
    5. Are loyal to my nation.

    Expand on that further, and you get the points system practiced by Australia and Canada. In fact, a culturally or ethnically homogenous nation will be less susceptible to internal divisions and probably have less need for nefarious security units to ‘keep the peace’.

    Ignore that, and this is what happens:

    1. Immigrants from Somalia, Chechnya come in. They are generally hardworking, but fail to assimilate culturally and ideologically.
    2. They start partaking in activities that threaten the security of their new country, like setting bombs at a marathon finishing line, or sending money to fundie organizations.
    3. People start to lose trust in their neighbours, even their very own society.
    4. Having lost their trust in each other, who else can they turn to? Voters clamour for more state security to defend themselves.
    5. The state obliges by installing more security measures. These measures inevitably involve the invasion of privacy.
    6. Welcome to the police state!

    I’m not a citizen of the US, UK, or Australia, but I find your rather… suicidal libertarian tendencies amusing. Of course, being in immigration-mad Singapore (where more than half of our population is projected to be foreign-born), I’m hardly better off. At least I take heart in that we have higher standards than the Tsarnaev brothers. And we try to avoid African refugees, thank you very much.

  • Laird

    I’ll not wade into the open borders debate here, but to return to the point of the original post, the fact that the government is reduced to trumpeting this inconsequential conviction as a great victory for the NSA’s security apparatus brilliantly demonstrates just how unnecessary its massive data grab really is. They’re gathering all that data on us not because it provides anything useful but simply because they can. And they probably think it’s great fun, too.

  • Perry Metzger (New York, USA)

    “The Wobbly Guy” writes: “Funny, I was thinking the same thing. I, and my fellow citizens, am under no obligation to take in immigrants, even peaceful ones.”

    You aren’t “taking in immigrants”. “Immigration” is a fake category. “Immigration” doesn’t exist. Why is there any obvious distinction between someone across the fake “border” coming over to shop for a couch and the guy from the next town coming over to shop for a couch? There is no distinction. The categories involved are entirely artificial.

    You persist in claiming this false category is something real. Worse, you claim the right to shoot people in order to maintain this distinction. You actually and honestly claim the right to shoot someone for walking down a street, crossing an imaginary line, and going into a shop to buy a packet of almonds. You claim the right to shoot a person for walking across such a line and trying to rent an apartment. Neither transaction is your business — you’re not involved at all, it isn’t your property being sold or rented — and yet you claim the right to shoot people over it.

    You’re not “defending” yourself, you’re just defending cold-blooded violence and even murder in the service of your imaginary lines drawn on pavement. There is no “self defense” involved, as you contend, just an incredible lack of moral sense.

    “If I find certain types of immigrants may pose a threat in the future, why yes, I am certainly going to inflict violence against them” — fine. How about this. Since you yourself are an advocate of violence and of “borders”, and claims the sole right to decide on your own that certain people might someday “pose a threat” and thus that it is okay to shoot them now, what if some people go to your house and paint a line around it, and label that line “international border”. They promise that if you cross that line they will shoot you. I do not see any way you may consistently claim this is unfair. (I’m sure you will claim it is an entirely different situation, of course, but that’s because you’re inconsistent.) Indeed, I think it would only be justice of the finest sort.

  • Perry Metzger (New York, USA)

    Laird: I think it is worse than that. See my more recent posting on the subject. It isn’t merely “fun”, it is a potential weapon to be wielded against one’s political opponents.

  • the other rob

    Perry: Don’t waste your time on the guy. He’s a racist bigot who, iirc, was advocating genocide a dozen or so topics back.

  • Perry Metzger (New York, USA)

    “the other rob”: I don’t confront such people in the hopes of changing their minds, which is unlikely to happen. I confront them sufficiently to prevent them from seeming reasonable to third parties and to assure that those who do not understand the issue well see both sides.

  • the other rob

    Fair point. Please carry on.

  • jdm

    For what it’s worth, I haven’t advocated “racist genocide” (ever)and I think Perry M’s arguments in this context have consisted primarily of thrashing strawmen.

  • Perry Metzger (New York, USA)

    Is the pseudonym you prefer to advocate racism under “jdm” or “PapayaSF”? I’m losing track, or perhaps you are.

  • jdm

    Perry M, thanks for that clarification. I was thinking you were an interesting, if offbeat, contributor to Samizdata, but you’ve made it clear (to me, a third-party observer), you’re just a sanctimonious jerk.

  • PapayaSF

    Wow, so in addition to having your own, rather unique definitions of “violence” and “peaceful,” you also don’t understand the word “racism”? Here’s a clue: Since Islam is a religion and not a race, opposing it is not “racism.” Or do you think libertarians are “racists” for opposing the most anti-libertarian religion in the world today, and also the one most associated (quite fairly) with terrorism?

    Please stop sullying this otherwise civil website with silly name-calling.

  • Perry Metzger (New York, USA)

    Again, could you please pick a single pseudonym? Is it PapayaSF or is it JDM who wants to shoot people for crossing an imaginary line across the pavement and buying dinner or working at a factory? It is difficult to tell which pseudonym is advocating arbitrary violence against peaceful people merely because of their mental states when you mix the use of two pseudonyms. Or did JDM, who had not previously been in the conversation at all, respond when The Other Rob critiqued PapayaSF by pure coincidence?

  • Ellen

    Perry is definitely making me rethink libertarianism. From now on, I think I’ll call myself a minarchist.

  • PapayaSF

    I am my own person, and not JDM or anyone else. Google the handle and you’ll see I’ll been using it for years. (Though I am not the woman on Twitter, who picked her handle years after I did.) Not that I expect Perry to believe me, but I wanted to get it on the record.

    But really, Perry, try to be less hyperbolic when having a conversation. It’s entirely possible to disagree and remain civil.