Chris Christie: Your NSA Fears Are Bullshit And Civil Liberties Advocates Are Extremists

from the unelectable dept

The nice thing about hating both of America’s stupid political parties is you get to make fun of everyone. That said, occasionally one political candidate or another says something so stupidly wrong to support a stupidly wrong political position that your brain screeches to a halt aghast. Today’s cerebellum stopper is Chris Christie, who most commentators seem to think is going to be running in the next presidential election. If he continues this line of, “Civil liberties are for extremists and NSA spying concerns are baloney because 9/11″ rhetoric, however, it’s probably going to be a short foray into the primaries.

Civil liberties advocates’ fears about the government’s intelligence efforts are “baloney,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will say Monday during a speech in the early primary state of New Hampshire, calling for expanded American military and intelligence programs.

The government is not the enemy when it comes to fighting terrorist threats, he will say, according to a copy of his prepared remarks provided by his political action committee.

Christie went on to say in that speech that the American people should not listen to Edward Snowden, because Snowden is a criminal, and also Vladimir Putin, and especially because 9/11, obviously. It’s an interesting political move, I think, considering that a majority of Americans believe the government has overreached on domestic spying, but I’m not here to tell Christie how to run his campaign. I am here to tell him that he isn’t allowed to make plainly false claims about this country’s ideals and the people that developed them, however.

“There are going to be some who are going to come before you and are going to say, ‘Oh, no, no, no. This is not what the Founders intended.’ The Founders made sure that the first obligation of the American government was to protect the lives of the American people, and we can do this in a way that’s smart and cost-effective and protects civil liberties. But you know, you can’t enjoy your civil liberties if you’re in a coffin.”

This, in case you’re confused, is absolute nonsense. That’s not to say that protecting American lives wasn’t high on the founding fathers’ list of things to do. It certainly was. It appears just below protecting their freedom, however. Christie suggesting that it was the founding fathers’ intention to negotiate some compromise between freedom and safety is fiction. Man, if only there was some catchy phrase from a historical figure that could some this all up for me in an easily reproducable, easy-to-tweet to Christie fashion.

Damned extremists, always trying to, you know, start the country that Christie is now going to run for chief executive of. There are other examples, of course, although the chief example of the founding fathers’ willingness to put freedom before safety is probably, oh I don’t know, the Revolutionary War. I wasn’t there, but I’m pretty sure that war wasn’t all that safe.

Look, the point of all this is that 9/11, while certainly not forgotten, is in the rearview mirror and can’t be invoked as the boogeyman to push bad, freedom-thieving policy on Americans any longer. We’ve had over a decade of that and it just isn’t going to work any more. But, hey, if Chris Christie wants to make himself un-electable, I’m all for it. Give me a better candidate or give me death.

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Comments on “Chris Christie: Your NSA Fears Are Bullshit And Civil Liberties Advocates Are Extremists”

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Vidiot (profile) says:

Pillow talk?

“… according to a copy of his prepared remarks provided by his political action committee.”

Hmmm… wait a minute. How did his PAC get an advance copy of his remarks? Does that mean his campaign is in direct communication with his PAC? Better set out some more traffic cones, Chris.

(Or, as we in his home state call him, “Governor Chubby”.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

They are enough.

the problem is that we ‘The Electorate’ can not be bothered to back them up.

Every time someone says… do what cops tell you, battle it out in the court where the odds are stacked against you, you can’t harm someone when they are harming you, call the police, you don’t have a right to protect yourself, Rosa Parks should have sat her ass at the back of the bus…

well you get the idea.

We failed and now we get to pay for it. Unless we get off of this 2-party bullshit ride per President George Washington’s warning, the government will Murder and kill us for standing up for ourselves or we will have to Murder and kill back in defense of ourselves.

When you serve on a Jury, start exonerating people when they are hit with a law you think is bullshit! Their guilt at that point is moot, they should have never been tried to begin with.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

You really do not understand the legal concept of Juridical persons? Legal entities? No, I think what you want is to deprive groups of people you don’t agree with with their First Amendment rights, while reserving those rights for the groups of people you do agree with.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

No businesses should be treated like persons. Here is why… it help kills the 3rd party doctrine.

Yes I can see the attraction to not treat a business like a person with the same rights but its a fools errand because the only reason to do so is to push petty political agendas. And as long as your okay with removing humanistic rights from a business, then you have no standing to complain when your rights are removed either.

Businesses can still be regulated while they get to maintain their rights… it is stupid on its face to say you don’t have rights any more when you decide to run a business. It only breeds more corruption.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

3rd party doctrine has nothing to do with corporations having constitutional rights. According to the 3rd party doctrine if I give data to ANY entity corporate or an actual person there is no reasonable expectation of privacy if the government goes to that entity to request it because you don’t have any control over whether they will choose to respect your privacy or not in keeping that information confidential. That really should have nothing to do with whether the government should be allowed to compel them to disclose it without due process under the 4th amendment should they choose not to reveal it.

jsf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

I’ll agree that businesses are people when the same penalties can be applied to them as to actual individual people. For example when a business can be sent to prison for committing a crime, instead of just paying a fine.

The problem today is that businesses get all of the benefits of being treated as a person, but very few of the same penalties apply. Businesses get away with crimes every day that an individual person would go to prison for.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I never said that legal entities don’t deserve some rights, just that those rights should not necessarily be the same rights that individuals are guaranteed by the Constitution and that the rights (as well as limits on those rights) need to be more clearly redefined such that bribery of government officials to effect a quid pro quo for the special interest of wealthy corporate entities cannot be allowed to continue masquerading as “free speech” to the detriment of democracy and the majority of the citizens of the country.

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:


1. They could Hide money as easily..
Goto a bank as a person and get a second account in a different name..TRY IT..
2. How many Lawyers show up for a Person? when Corp money isnt behind them?
3. searching a Persons home is as Easy as THINKING something is happening, compared to Corps, and you HAVE TO KNOW and PROVE it before you even enter the door.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

One, corporations should not be treated as people. The corporation should not have first amendment rights. Its owners have first amendment rights, and can exercise them as individuals, the employees including the board/president/CEO on down all have first amendment rights and can exercise them as individuals. The Corporate entity should not have First Amendment rights, as its speech is merely the speech of its owners/board/Executives.

On the other hand, I do believe the .1% is perfectly capable of funding major political campaigns in the absence of corporations, and so you actually have a point if you consider a broad logical interpretation of the comment you are responding to. That said, campaign contribution limits, and/or public election funds backed by greater scrutiny and restrictions on ‘independent’ political adverts (imposing the same restrictions on everybody) could greatly reduce the influence of deep pockets on politics.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies, corporations are legal entities with First Amendment rights. There are other NGOs with First Amendment rights also. Unions, media companies such as the New York Times’ and Los Angeles Times’ parent companies are corporations. The parent companies for nearly all broadcast networks and television stations are corporations. Each and every one of them have First Amendment rights. To attempt to deprive any one of them of those rights is totalitarianism.

Almost Anonymous (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

No. That is some of the stupidest drivel I’ve ever read. The INDIVIDUALS who make up corporations have First Amendment rights. Giving corporations the same rights effectively gives the CEO/President/Whatever of the corporation the clout and speaking power of the voices of all its employees, many of whom will not agree with all of the CEO/President/Whatever’s speech or stances. How in the hell do you justify that? Because he owns the company, he speaks with the company’s voice?

The Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution for living, breathing people. They never even dreamt of the concept of allowing an amoral money making entity have an equal say in our country’s politics.

Almost Anonymous (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Why yes, I have, thanks for asking. Right now I’m studying the human condition. In particular, I’m studying a hypocrite who knows that large groups of people formed solely for the purposes of obtaining large amounts of money should not be granted the same rights as those already granted to individual humans in our society, and yet this hypocrite argues that it makes sense and is true and just because a bunch of rich people paid a bunch of slightly less rich people to say it is so.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

The INDIVIDUALS who make up corporations have First Amendment rights

That’s correct for the most part. But behind all corporate speech, there’s always individuals doing the speaking. There’s always someone you can point to who wrote or authorized the speech.

Giving corporations the same rights effectively gives the CEO/President/Whatever of the corporation the clout and speaking power of the voices of all its employees, many of whom will not agree with all of the CEO/President/Whatever’s speech or stances. How in the hell do you justify that? Because he owns the company, he speaks with the company’s voice?

So how do you justify the existence of the New York Times? They are a for-profit corporation and they routinely endorse candidates for office, and certainly 100% of their employees do not share the opinion of the official endorsement. Yet the paper clearly has a First Amendment right to endorse.

And to answer your last question: Yes. He owns the company so he can speak with the company’s voice. He can also paint his factory neon pink or change from making cars to making tricycles if he feels like it, no matter mow much the workers disagree with the decisions. It is, after all, his company.

The only issue I have is with direct donations from corporations, since that can be used to bypass donations limits (if I can only donate $5000 per year, someone with a company shouldn’t be able to donate $10000 by having their company do a donation too.) Donations shouldn’t be considered “speech” even if they have an expressive component – the speech component of it is really just an endorsement of the candidate, which they should be perfectly free to do completely separate from any donation.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Ah. So you are one of the people who believe that corporations are people. Ok. You apparently also like to ignore the numerous legal distinctions made between corporations and people, which exist because they are not the same thing. Copyright treats a corporation differently then a person for instance. We also have a body of law designed to handle criminal penalties for corporations, because we can’t treat a corporation like a person in criminal punishment, because they are inherently different.

Its a logical question. When a corporation speaks, who is actually doing the speaking. What is the source of that speech? The corporation has no will of its own, it can only act at the will of its employees, generally the will of its executives. This distiction of ‘whom is doing the speech’ can be seen often in the social media landscape. When facing a ‘rogue’ employee, his speech is readily distinguishable from the corporation’s, even if his prior speech through the same channels were his own work, at his own direction, without significant input from his superiors. So who was talking?

This question is important, because if the COrporation can only act on the initative of its executives, then is a political contribution not a political contribution made under someone else’s name? Because that is an illegal donation. In fact, that very question has been debated amongst campaign finance experts because of a growing tendency to create shell LLCs or shell corporations designed to be the name plate on official reporting.

Newspapers, TV Networks and similar media companies, aside from ones which require anonymity, normally display who is speaking, along side the speech. In fact, it is often contractually mandated. If it was the corporation’s speech being protected there, they wouldn’t need to tell you whose speech it was.

The same protections now offered a corporation could be retained without requiring a corporation to have its own rights. The point of giving a corporation rights is to hide the names of the people actually doing the speech. PACs and SuperPACs destablize the political landscape by allowing those who pockets are big to speak more than those whose pockets are small. Moreover, they allow private individuals to hide their campaign contributions by donating most heavily in the last 3 months, when reporting wont happen until after the election. Not only can the targets of PAC or SuperPAC speech not determine who is speaking to them (For instance “The Coalition for Community-Driven Broadband” sounds far more consumer friendly then “The Coalition of AT&T, Comcast, and Time-Warner”, as a rhetorical example), they often can not generate effective counter speech, though there has been progress in that regard.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

When you serve on a Jury, start exonerating people when they are hit with a law you think is bullshit! Their guilt at that point is moot, they should have never been tried to begin with.

Ah, Jury Nullification. I’ve heard of that before.

If you’re planning on doing something like that, your best strategy is to maintain simply that you were not convinced by the prosecution. If you breathe a word about it before voir dire is complete, you’ll find yourself tossed out of the jury pool. And if it gets mentioned in open court, the judge may well declare a mistrial.

It is not inconceivable that a judge might throw you out of the jury during the trial if a fellow juror makes mention to the judge of your questioning the law at hand.

Rapnel (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I think that the electorate chose to use a system, the legal system, to deal with these overwhelmingly(imho) unconstitutional intrusions. If that system is failing us then, reasonably, that failure falls squarely on the lawyers. It is when complete failure is realized that the electorate must face the question of whether or not they are willing to “back them up” – when the legal system fails (the real one and not this hokey-shit made up secret one) then “we”, those that believe our liberties are dear, have no choice other than to fight or succumb to a New World Order, on that has been freed from the shackles designed by the Founders.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Negative. The bloodsucking bastard lawyers are a symptom of the problem. It is #1 the criminal lying to the jurors by the justice system. A lot of people in the profession are vastly ignorant of what they are now doing because lying in court is such a well accepted activity. The ones that started these problems… well they knew just exactly what the hell they were doing and most of the upper levels of the court system have probably figured this out but dare not say a word because to do so reveals they themselves to be the very corruption they just realized they are.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: I'm getting a lot of work out of my Rumsfeld paraphrase.

You create a society with the people you have, not the people you wish you had.

Whenever we decide to blame the people (or blame a demographic of the people) it just goes to show that no, the US Constitution wasn’t enough. Human beings are not angels, and we don’t have the capacity to always know our personal best interests, and vote for them (rather than values voting or defensive voting).

There are many many ways our government could be improved that we already know but cannot change due to too much disenfranchisement. And then we have problems we know will eventually wreck the next iteration that our framers knew when they made this one. I think they hoped the system would stay intact long enough that we could fix it.

People are people. You can demand rationality of a single person, but not of a voting bloc. Certainly not of a population. Non-point-source vigilance always becomes a tragedy of the commons.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: be careful what you wish for

Nothing is new under the Sun.

Humanity still deals with the same problems they dealt with 100 years ago. Corruption, corrupt bastards in politics treating citizens as serfs. We took care of them in the past, we can take care of them again if need be.

Chris Christie has made it clear he thinks himself a king and superior to us. Anyone voting for this clown deserves no liberty.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: be careful what you wish for

Humanity still deals with the same problems they dealt with 100 years ago.

It is a much more ancient problem than the last 100 years, society has always had difficulties and failures in keeping tyrants and totalitarians at bay. The ancient Greeks were familiar with the problem, and gave us the word tyrant.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: be careful what you wish for

“The one who cares,” according to the Rolling Stone. I quite like Senator Sanders, and believe he is a decent person.

While I don’t agree with all of his policies I think he’d have a leavening effect on political discourse if elected POTUS. It’s gone too far to the right; he might bring it back to the center.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: be careful what you wish for

Sanders attempts to keep the spotlight on the real issues at hand (ie. income inequality, corporate greed, etc.) instead of wedge issues that are designed to divide and conquer the poor like everyone else. He is EXACTLY the kind of candidate we need to elect.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: ...Give me a better candidate...

Any majority wins election system will naturally form into 2parties. game theory predicts it pretty well and YouTube has a few really good videos on it.

To do away with it, you’d need a ranking voting system where lowest scoring candidates are thrown out and votes recounted until a majority winner was found. This would allow you to vote for who you wanted without putting your least favorite candidate into office

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: ...Give me a better candidate...

Again, the real problem is that money corrupts and as soon as you only need to define an “us versus them”, you are forcing a debate of attack ads in the name of zero sum game and good words people like to keep own voters voting.

Any FPTP election system is a fertile ground for us versus them. The only way to improve the system in a feasible manner would be implementation of some of the proportionality election advantages like what you suggest. Voting in general elections should probably not happen more than twice for economic and participation/legitimacy reasons.

Anonymous Coward says:

A key concern of the founding fathers was keeping Americans safe from the “USA”. It’s a main reason for separation of powers, states rights, and a host of other constructs.

The entire bill of rights is specifically designed to keep people free from the government. It also, in large part, makes keeping the peace and “hunting bad guys” hard by design. Just think how much easier the governments job would be if nobody else had guns, couldn’t speak out against the government, could be forcibly detained, could be randomly investigated, etc. they realized that by making those things easy, it also made abuse easy.

David says:

"Give me a better candidate or give me death."

I think that after these primaries you should be ready to kill yourself.

Now Obama was actually a pretty good future president, like Carter is a pretty good former president, and either received a Nobel Peace Prize for his performance in the respective category.

It’s just to bad that regarding presidents in office, the U.S.A.’s recent batting average is abysmal.

And the current lineup does not really offer much in the line of even a glimmer of hope. We’ll get another greasy puppet animated by corporations and the military.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Troubling

If he were running for fantasy senate, it wouldn’t be nearly so bad. But no, he’s “exploring” running for reality president, according to wikipedia.

… though seeing him in a senate debate with trolls, hobgoblins, and lawyers doesn’t sound that bad. Would he use mace-and-chain, or go trident-and-net, do you think? Maybe Longsword and environmental impact statement?

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

That’s not to say that protecting American lives wasn’t high on the founding fathers’ list of things to do. It certainly was. It appears just below protecting their freedom, however.

Actually, in a very literal sense it appears just ahead of protecting their freedom:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men

Just saying…

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Not a list of government duties? What does “that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men” if not exactly that? Sorry, but if you’re going to make claims that directly contradict the plain meaning of the text as-written, the onus is upon you to support your interpretation.

This is outlining the philosophical justification for the existence of an ideal government, and putting Life ahead of Liberty is actually very important. If we truly valued Liberty (the right to choose to do as we wish) more highly than protecting Life, there would be no valid reason for a government to outlaw any number of harmful things, up to and including murder.

JP Jones (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Although I agree, it’s sort of a moot point anyway. Until there’s some actual evidence that the mass spying programs actually are saving our lives I’ll take my liberty.

If we take this to a logical extreme for fun, the question then becomes why doesn’t the government just lock everyone up in solitary confinement? They’re unlikely to be killed there.

Huh, the U.S. has the highest prison population in the world. I guess it’s a work in progress?

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Until there’s some actual evidence that the mass spying programs actually are saving our lives I’ll take my liberty.”

Even if there’s actual evidence that the mass spying programs are saving our lives, I would prefer to have liberty instead.

I’d rather live free in a dangerous world than unfree in a safe world.

Anonymous Coward says:

Save Lives?

Any politician who truly wanted to save lives would be pushing legislation to bad automibiles.

2,996 people died from the 9/11 attacks.

Motor Vehicle Deaths in the US each year:
2001: 42,196
2002: 43,005
2003: 42,884
2004: 42,836
2005: 43,510
2006: 42,708
2007: 41,259
2008: 37,423
2009: 33,883
2010: 32,999
2011: 32,479
2012: 33,561
2013: 32,719
Total: 501,462

Simple fact is, terrorists are not a threat and never have been. Anyone afraid of terrorists yet rides in motor vehciles clearly lacks the ability to make rational decisions and should be ignored.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Save Lives?

Of course, but that’s because everyone and their mother is out to stop terrorists. No one is actively monitoring and policing roads, so everyone gets into accidents all the time. The answer is clearly sweeping real-time data collection on your every action while you drive.

Anonymous Coward says:

You pussy! Shut up and take that waterboarding like a man! Why in my day…

“The government is not the enemy when it comes to fighting terrorist threats, he will say, according to a copy of his prepared remarks provided by his political action committee.”

Unless the government decides that you are a terrorist threat.

“Any politician who truly wanted to save lives would be pushing legislation to bad automibiles.”
No, any politician who wanted to save lives would push forward for self-driving automobiles and cleaner, more sustainable energy, even at the expense of Big Oil & Big Coal.

Rich Kulawiec (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’m with you on the clean energy front — and, hopefully, the end of the oil/gas/coal industries that are destroying the planet.

But not on the self-driving cars. We’ve only seem a tiny glimpse of the enormous scope and size of security problems with smart cars because most of the research has been censored, silenced, and threatened out of publication. A self-driving car is a bot waiting to happen and it’s not a question of IF, but only a question of WHEN, a self-driving car will be successfully remotely hacked.

Imagine what happens on I-95 in downtown Philadelphia at 7:20 on a Tuesday morning when every Honda on the road for miles in each direction simultaneously receives and executes a command to make a 90-degree left turn.

Far-fetched? Yeah. It is. And so was the idea of individual botnets with 10+ million members, not that many years ago.

Anonymous Coward says:

Chris Christie doesn’t have any interest in anything beyond his current position.

He was asked to run and say some really stupid stuff directly by the Republican Party to make their existing candidates seem sane by comparison (Remember Michelle Bachmann who claimed she was a witch and could actually FLY? – same thing).

It’s an attempt to fill space with nonsense, pushing ‘lesser’ stories about Republicans who’ve taken bribes etc and are in the running to the ‘backpages’. They do this every damn year.

ECA (profile) says:


I have to mention..
WHERE is the invasion INTO our country that forces the military to Wonder off into other nations, to BLOW UP, MORE civilians then terrorists?

Fighting for all humanity and democracy, in other nations is an interesting thought, and means we have MISSED allot of wars to wage it in..

All I see, fighting in other nations is only Pushing Corporate yearnings, with a CHEAP military force, that THEY dont pay for. Esp. when they arnt paying Taxes.

Palinsky says:

Christie is a well documented low-life

For those of you not in the tristate- NY-NJ-CT area you might not be aware of how corrupt the Christie administration is considered. Every week, like clock-work there is a new allegation of corruption, cronyism, theft, or nepotism.

He is a low-life incapable of a civil act of introspection or any sense of fair play. He even screws the Police, which according to his rhetoric should be high on his list of people to please. So tell me who is for this thing?

That fat Jabba the Hut monstrosity is as close to a terrorist we have in public office. On the upside we know where he is.

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