"Big Brother probably is watching already anyways"

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There's a growing rumor that New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, the uncrowned king of smoking bans, might run for president. Fred Siegel (read California Tim Cavanaugh's review of his Rudy bio here) grabs a radio interview with Bloomberg where the mayor pooh-poohs the scare over small planes flying into buildings (good) and declares, basically, the end of privacy.

In terms of putting cameras up on every corner, you know, if it fights crime, I guess. The civil liberties issue of somebody watching you, that's come and gone. There are cameras today at virtually every corner. So many buildings, so many stores have cameras that whenever there's a crime one of the first things police do is they go to all the buildings in the neighborhood and say, "Do you have cameras? Can we look at the tapes?" This issue of Big Brother watching–Big Brother probably is watching already anyways and you can have an intellectual debate as to whether it's right or wrong, but in a practical sense it's here, and we're not rolling it back.

Yes, this carefully considered view of the government's ability to monitor you is exactly what we'll need in the next president.

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  1. Shorter Bloomberg:

    Right or wrong the state will do what it want…suck it bitches!

    As for his presidential ambitions I seriously doubt that Bloomberg would win a GOP primary. Good luck winning the South Mr Bloomberg. They really love your type there.

  2. Yes, and we can also have an intellectual debate over whether it’s right or wrong to have a vacuous jackass for a President, but in a practical sense it’s here and we’re not rolling that back either. So Bloomberg’s complete lack of appreciation for debates about civil liberties should not be an obstacle.

  3. I’m not sure but it seems when people are talking so highly of Bloomberg or Rudy that they forget about the megolamania and control issues that these two have.
    Why is it that people and the press are spending so much time on the Patriot Act while their locally elected officials are putting up cameras on every corner. In NYC Bloomberg doubled parking violation fines (average $120) and sends the police down my street every day checking registrations and inspections. He has hired hundreds of additional “sanitation police” who jobs are to go through our trash and ticket those who are not recycling properly. Which is interesting considering our rycycled trash costs about 4 times more to dispose of than regular trash. This in addition to the smoking ban which in “order to protect people” specifically forbids restaurants and bars to erect overhead protections to shield smokers from the elements but excludes Bloomberg’s cigar smoking clubs.
    If people elected anyone from New York regardless of their supposed political party this country would be screwed.

  4. If he becomes the GOP nominee I will fucking campaign for the Democrats.

  5. I think you guys are missing the good points of that interview. First of all, in opposition to the many politicians who are calling for essentially the shutdown of New York’s airspace in response to Cory Lidle’s little plane mishap, he is a voice of sanity in saying new restrictions aren’t necessary.

    Second, he didn’t exactly sound enthusiastic about the “cameras on every streetcorner” idea. (Yeah, I guess, if it fights crime . . .). Sounds more like a politician trying to dismiss an issue he doesn’t want to argue about to me.

    Also, I’d like to add that there’s a big push to raise the legal age for buying cigarettes in NYC to 19 or even 21, which Bloomberg has opposed on the grounds that increasing availability of “quit smoking” programs is a better way to deal with adult smoking than restricting freedoms.

  6. yeah but have you seen his daughter? apparently shes good on a horse

    http://www.nhs.org/news/pressreleases.php?f=georginabloombergwinsitallnewy.html

  7. There is a big difference between stores having tapes survelliance tapes and big brother. Now if the NYPD had instant access to those cameras pre-crime, then i’d be worried.

    i also don’t feel like my liberty is infringed by a camera, even in a place like NYC- because to the camera i’m just a customer right?

  8. Brian:
    I will admit Bloomberg was a small voice of sanity with our NYC council (51 of the most dangerous people in the country). Who can not move fast enough to ban or tax something.
    But his track record of restricting freedoms, raising taxes and fees, extending rent control, tax exclusions for his friends in real estate and hollywood are pretty pathetic.
    What is so amazing, compared to the officially “elected” democratic officials around him, is that he occasionally does sound sane.

  9. I dunno, his argument about big brother watching strikes me more as realpolitik than “I support it because it’s already here” that David seems to take it as. On its face there’s nothing really wrong with saying “look, it’s already here, we should deal with it” as opposed to sounding like a wild hyena shouting “big brother! 1984!”. But then we libertarians have never been known for trying to deal with government excess in any way except total annihilation. My point is that he’s hardly “declaring the end of privacy” than simply noting what everyone else has – namely, that the lack of privacy is a reality we have to live with.

  10. Bloomberg is just being honest – the surveillance society is not going away, regardless of whether he becomes President or somebody does.

    And keep in mind that the examples he’s referring to mostly are corporations and private individuals doing the photographing, which libertarians should be fine with.

    Otherwise, you’d need the State to pass laws restricting people’s freedom to use a camera…

  11. Bloomberg is just being honest – the surveillance society is not going away, regardless of whether he becomes President or somebody else does.

    And keep in mind that the examples he’s referring to mostly are corporations and private individuals doing the photographing, which libertarians should be fine with.

    Otherwise, you’d need the State to pass laws restricting people’s freedom to use a camera…

  12. Art,

    What freedoms has he restricted besides smoking? There may well be others, I just can’t think of any.

    I realize he initially raised taxes in order to balance the budget, but I believe he lowered them again after it was balanced. Am I wrong? (The taxes in question were property taxes, and since I don’t own property I’m not sure exactly what happened.)

  13. Well if big brother’s already watching, then there’s no need to increase the number of police officers or prisons. Or is he telling me that Big Brother’s watching but is also incompetent?

  14. Or is he telling me that Big Brother’s watching but is also incompetent?

    Of course he is. That’s why they’re funding all the 9/11 conspiracies.

  15. Brian:
    Let me refresh your mind
    The way NYC proerty taxes are design they garantee an increase every year of approximately 15%. That was not enough after 9-11. Between Bloomberg and the City Council property taxes went up 44% to 60% in 2002-2003. Other wise Bloomberg was going to close the zoo and shut off the lights on the bridges to save 5 million dollars out of a 50 billion dollar budget. They result was a multi billion dollar suplus the following year which was quickly pissed away. Since then the tax rate as well as the market value increase have continued to go up resulting in an 80% increase in 4 years. Parking fines and speeding tickets already among the highest in the nation, were doubled in 2002. Very expensive electronic parking meters are being put in place so peole cannot use up the time left on the meter( and they are a pain in the ass to use).
    Sales taxes were increased to fund the MTA. The mortgage tax, which is the most fucked up tax of about 2% of the amount you borrow was increased. Cars which started being seized by Rudy from DWI offenders was extended to those bringing in fireworks from out of state, which was not hard because of the undercover policemen sent out of state to find them. The 8,500 tickets written last year for having a bag on a subway seat (new law) may not be Bloomberg’s fault but the outlawing of NY residents buying cigarettes out of state and then sending tax bills to those citizens who do is all Mikey.

  16. “What freedoms has he restricted besides smoking?”

    Far be it for me to resort to my pet issue, but Bloomberg continues to believe that he should be able to sue gun manufacturers for massive damages because criminals, ya know, commit crimes with guns.

    He also wanted to force other states to institute gun bans just as draconian as those in New York City, because he blames NY’s neighbors for NYC’s ridiculous level of gun crime.

    Bloomberg can go commit an act of self-love that’s illegal in Texas as far as I’m concerned.

  17. A mortgage tax??? Did Mayor Gotti come up with that one?

  18. Oh and by the way Dan T it is illegal to photograph bridges and tunnels in NYC and although it is not illegal to take pictures in the subways the police will arrest you noe the less.

  19. Is it just me, or does Bloomberg look like a middle-aged Grinch?

  20. Poor fellow looks barking mad. Any relation to Charles Windsor beyond his shirtmaker ?

  21. Poor fellow looks barking mad. Any relation to George III?

  22. Sounds more like a politician trying to dismiss an issue he doesn’t want to argue about to me.

    God forbid he exercise any principled leadership and actually oppose it, then.

    And keep in mind that the examples he’s referring to mostly are corporations and private individuals doing the photographing, which libertarians should be fine with.

    But the leap he makes to having the state do it is precisely the leap libertarians are not fine with.

  23. Bloomberg raised property taxes 18% across-the-board. Rather than repeal the increase when the surplus arrived, he started sending annual $400 “rebate” checks to home, condo and co-op owners, but none to the business owners and other commercial landlords who got walloped by the hike. He, in effect, created a brand new way of redistributing wealth.

    Bloomberg’s latest gig is a ban on trans-fats in restaurants, which the NYC health department is poised to enact in the next year or so.

    The notion of “President Bloomberg” scares the crap out of me.

  24. Bloomberg is such a terrible mayor and NYC taxes are so intolerable that nobody lives there anymore.

    Oh, wait…

  25. Bloomberg is such a terrible mayor and NYC taxes are so intolerable that nobody lives there anymore.

    Oh, wait…

  26. Bloomberg is such a terrible mayor and NYC taxes are so intolerable that nobody lives there anymore.

    Oh, wait…

  27. Really, RC Dean? He’s going to ban trans-fat restaurants. I’m glad I live in the “free” state of Ohio, then.

    This is emblematic of a mind-set that Dems and Reps both have – that things need to be banned to protect people from themselves. Can we ban stupid politicians? That might help…

  28. it would be nice to move away from this “representative democracy” garbage and have some good old fashioned oligarchy or something. as long as its benevolent oligarchy, or unarchy or whatever

  29. As others have pointed out a good many of those cameras Bloomberg is referring to are privately owned. Law enforcement would merely be asking to look at the records, just as they would interview the employees of businesses around a crime scene and ask if they saw anything. Considering tapes are bit more reliable (within some limits) at identifying than eyeballs and human memories, I’m not sure what Bloomberg said that was such a horrible threat to our rights.

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