When the New York Times announced in their lead article on the front page of their Christmas Eve edition that the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating Goldman Sachs for allegedly self-dealing, it was a moment of surprise for many and, for others, a moment of clarity and confirmation.

The FBI’s preliminary crime statistics for the first half of 2009 show the crime rate falling all across the nation despite high unemployment and a deep recession. Even murder and manslaughter dropped 10 percent during this time.

Did you know that, technically, it is illegal to cram a week’s worth of medications into one convenient bottle? And if airport screeners want to randomly check your carry-on for valid prescription labels, they may — and without probable cause, too? Remember Rush Limbaugh and baggage screeners’ inspection of his bottle of Viagra? Suddenly, actions nobody ever thought about are suspect to bureaucrats, whose primary purpose in life is to ensure increases in the size of their workforces and budgets. The Drug Enforcement Agency is just one more government entity that now has a role in Homeland Security.

AmericaIt is a bucolic region of verdant meadows, rolling hills, and babbling brooks, a largely peaceful place where big city hustle and bustle and crime are very far away. Yet, like a pig in a beauty contest, within this pastoral setting lies something incongruent: a Jihadist training center. In this compound, women are taught to slit throats and mount assault-weapon attacks and, presumably, some brand of Islamic piety is the order of the day. But this place isn’t found in the Mideast’s Fertile Crescent or in sub-Saharan Africa. It's name is Islamberg. It's in the town of Hancock.

George Orwell, in his chilling classic, 1984, described how people could commit crimes without any physical act at all. This type of offense, a "thoughtcrime," was not originally coined by Orwell. Victor Kravchenko, the high ranking Soviet official who left his slave empire while he was stationed in America in 1944, used the word "thoughtcrime" in his 1946 book, I Chose Freedom. Our minds are free, or so America from colonial days on has maintained. We are free to wish for whatever we want, provided that we take no overt measures to implement a crime.