The Founding Fathers of this country believed strongly in the private ownership of property. After all, many of them owned their own lands before they revolted against the king. Much of the Bill of Rights deals with the rights of the individual when it comes to the police and court system. Protected rights against illegal search and seizure, self-incrimination, the right to face your accuser, and cruel and unusual punishment.
At some point, someone in the government figured out that if you were convicted of a crime, the government could just seize your property. Not just land, but any assets.
It seems like every time I turn around, law enforcement is trying to do something more, trying to blur the line a little more when it comes to catching crooks. Things that don’t look like they violate the Constitution on the surface, but are full of malice as you look deeper.
For example, Homeland Security, and more than a few local law enforcement are purchasing tanks, armored personnel carriers and semi-automatic rifles with large capacity magazines. The Federal government, across several departments is purchasing billions of rounds of ammunition, while the Pentagon is set to destroy millions more.
Perhaps most disturbing is how law enforcement is starting to act. In New York, they stop and frisk random people, mostly blacks, in complete violation of the Fourth Amendment.
In Los Angeles, the ATF had notified a gun dealer that they wanted their computers and customer lists, because the shop sold what’s called a lower receiver for AR-15s. The company went to court, and got a restraining order against the ATF, but the ATF raided the shop anyway, in defiance of the restraining order. It should be noted that these same lower receivers was what started the siege in Waco, Texas back in 1992.
In Chicago, I believe, they are trying to get a system up and running that can predict crime before it happens. That’s the basis of the movie Minority Report.
And to top it all off, they are beginning to seize the assets of people suspected of committing a crime. That’s right. You don’t actually have to commit a crime anymore to become a criminal. You simply need to be suspected of being one. I read a recent story about a man who owned a hotel, and the Feds want to seize it, saying it was suspected that it was a front for drug dealing and prostitution. The owner of the establishment says that if it is, he has had nothing to do with it, and that he is unaware of any such thing happening.
No matter, say the police. Seizing it from him will put an end to whatever may or may not be going on there.
Shouldn’t law enforcement have to prove, in a court of law, that these things are happening before they can seize it? Shouldn’t that fall under “illegal search and SEIZURE”?
These seized assets are then sold off and the proceeds are put into a fund for law enforcement. Sometimes, these funds are squandered. One police chief in Florida, I believe, bought himself a whole bunch of new toys, including a new office, then laid off some police officers, citing the lack of budget for them.
The police like to keep all things internal. I think this is because if we really knew what was going on, we would blow a collective gasket.
Of course, law enforcement claims that all of this, the seizure of property from people suspected of crimes, cameras, illegal wiretaps, and warrantless searches are all effective tools to nabbing the bad guys.
They are effective tools for nabbing innocent people as well. They might as well say “hey, it would be so much easier if you would just give up your rights”.
And that is exactly what they want. It would be so much easier if we could just tear up that pesky Bill of Rights, or modify some of them to give greater government control.
There are voices out there who say that tyranny is hiding just around the corner. You’re naive if you don’t see it.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
The Feds claim that Cliven Bundy has been illegally grazing his cattle on Federal lands for two decades. The family claims that that right has been purchased from the Federal government as far back as the late 1800’s, and that their right is grandfathered in.
So, what is the source of this friction?
Bundy’s beef with federal land management officials dates back to 1993, according to federal officials, when Bundy’s allotment for grazing his cattle on public land was modified to include protections for the desert tortoise.
In other words, some bureaucrat decided that these animals were “threatened” and need to be protected. It is yet another case of the government putting animals before humans.
One has to consider that these animals have a very low reproduction rate. That in itself is going to threaten the species, not allowing some rancher to graze his cattle on Federal land.
Here’s where the government expose their hypocrisy.
They are trying to stop this man from grazing his cattle in order to protect these tortoises. Meanwhile, back in 2013, the BLM killed hundreds of desert tortoises that were in shelters because they didn’t have the money to keep them. (http://www.kingsnake.com/blog/archives/1561-BLM-to-kill-hundreds-of-desert-tortoises-as-its-conservation-center-runs-out-of-money.html) (Note, the Washington Post link has disappeared)
Instead of turning them loose in their native habitats, the government chose to kill them instead.
That’s a great way of protecting them.
What this tells me is that it is not so much about saving tortoises as it is flexing government muscle. The government is cracking down because it can, and now things are heading to yet another confrontation between the government and the people. It looks like it could possibly be another Waco or Ruby Ridge.
The BLM has deployed not just armed agents, but snipers and helicopters as well.
I understand the FBI having weapons, but the BLM? Why is it that every government agency is suddenly becoming a militarized “law enforcement” agency? The BLM. The ATF. The IRS. The Department of the Treasury. The United States Post Office. All purchasing ammunition for the Federal government. This country is becoming a police state like never before.
In accordance with a law signed by Obama back in 2012, the BLM set up so-called “free speech zones” to corral protesters into a little area where they could neither be seen nor heard. The government did this as well back at the 2012 party conventions so people going in and out of the conventions would not be exposed to the riff-raff.
The First Amendment clearly states Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
There are those who argue that telling people where they may have their free speech is not an abridgment of that right. But it is. Telling people where and how they are allowed to exercise their rights is as much a violation of their rights as telling people what they can and can’t say.
Protesters have been ignoring that little “free speech zone”, and the BLM has begun arresting people because of it. The governor of Nevada has called this action intimidation. Yes, that’s what stormtroopers do. They intimidate, and that is exactly what these jackbooted thugs are doing.
They have been tasering people, and even arrested the rancher’s son for videotaping them, a practice the courts have said over and over is perfectly legal. Watch the video for yourself:
All because they refused to be contained in their “free speech zone” cage.
My wife asked an interesting question, though. Why doesn’t this rancher graze his cattle on his own land? Doesn’t he have enough?
Unfortunately, that’s an answer that we may never get.
Two Federal courts have ruled against Bundy, and has created this standoff. Bundy insists that he isn’t doing anything illegal, because he believes that the Federal government doesn’t really own that land. It raises the question of Federal land ownership and the Constitution.
My position is that the Constitution, Article I, Section 8, clause 17 specifically limits what purposes the Federal government can own land. Article IV, Section 3, clause 2:
The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.
The Supreme Court has ruled that this clause gives the Federal government unlimited powers concerning property ownership, a position I strongly disagree with. You cannot read the different sections of the Constitution in a vacuum. While this clause says that the Feds can make the rules for property they own, Article I clearly defines what that property can be used for, and it is not unlimited. A friend of mine has stated that my understanding of the Constitution differs from the Supreme Court’s understanding. It does. I do not see the Constitution based on “precedence” and “case law”. I base my understanding of it on the Constitution itself, and on my research of it. If I find my interpretation to be incorrect, and I have, my understanding of it changes.
The Federal government owns nearly 85% of the State of Nevada. That is nearly 7/8 of the State! The State that is not a State! That should be their motto. The Federal government owns 53% of the State of Oregon, and not a single fort, magazine, arsenal or shipyard in sight.
Why does the Federal government need so much land?
There are those who argue that under this interpretation, the Louisiana purchase, the Gadsden purchase, the purchase of Alaska and Florida would have been unconstitutional. They could very well have been. Thomas Jefferson, who made the Louisiana Purchase was himself unsure of the Constitutionality of it, but at the same time, the Federal government did not hold onto it for long, instead dividing it up into territories as quickly as possible and turning the new territory into states.
It may have just been easier to take the land, like we took Texas, California, Nevada and Utah from Mexico.
There is an interesting paper on the internet about the Constitutionality of Federal land ownership and how it has been interpreted over the years that can be found here: http://www.law.umaryland.edu/marshall/crsreports/crsdocuments/RL34267_12032007.pdf. It is a very interesting read.
How much land should the Federal government be allowed to own? I have no problems with the Federal government owning property for the purposes of military bases and naval yards, but I do not agree that the Constitution allows for National Parks and National Forests, of which Nevada has none. I’m not even sure Nevada has any trees.
The policy of Federal retention of lands actually began in 1976, even though states, and sometimes the Federal government (under Reagan) tried to force divestiture of these lands. The reality is that this is a bigger issue in the west where the Federal government owns more land than they do in the east. According to this paper (https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42346.pdf) the Federal government owns 28% of all the land in this country. Over 1/4 of this nation!
Federal land ownership is concentrated in the West. Specifically, 62% of Alaska is federally owned, as is 47% of the 11 coterminous western states. By contrast, the federal government owns only 4% of lands in the other states. This western concentration has contributed to a higher degree of controversy over land ownership and use in that part of the country.
And so, we have the basis of the conflict between this rancher and the government. If the government were wiser, it would offer to sell the land to the rancher rather than confiscate his cattle.
If we had a wiser government, it would divest itself of a lot of this land, and work towards paying the national debt off. After all, isn’t that the sole purpose that the Federal government was formed for, to pay off the collective debt from the war?
let’s hope this gets resolved peacefully, and it does not escalate into another Ruby Ridge or Waco.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
Yesterday, a 34 year old black woman from Stamford, Connecticut was tragically gunned down by capitol police following a brief chase throw the Capitol Mall yesterday. It was discovered later that she had her two year old daughter in the back seat, who was unharmed.
Of course, politicians can’t wait to make political hay out of tragedy. After the lockdown, Texas Representative Sheila Jackson Lee immediately got on the House floor (after the lockdown was lifted), and blamed it on the shutdown and on Republicans. This is what passes for debate nowadays. This is our government at work.
The media is reporting that this woman “reportedly” had mental issues. The NY Post goes as far as quoting CNN about search warrants, and ABC about mental health issues, and we know how good ABC’s reporting is (see the 2012 Aurora shooting for details). So, because two other news outlets reported this as fact, we are just supposed to accept it as fact. This is what journalism has become. Reporters have become lazy. Instead of doing their own jobs, they just let ABC or CNN do the work for them, then they put it in print.
A website by the name of The Cal Report said: On Thursday, a woman died as a result of driving recklessly in the capital district, crashing first at the White House barricades, and then apparently panicked when she saw the police and secret service chase her with guns drawn.
No, a woman died as a result of police shooting her. The first reports were that she had shot at them first, which was not true at all. She was not armed.
According to the Washington Post, she struck a barrier and a Secret Service agent at a White House checkpoint. She then fled the scene.
I heard on the radio today that she believed the President was going to lock down Stamford. Is this why she decided to pay a visit to the White House?
She rammed a barricade, and hit someone with her car. Okay. Does anyone stop to consider that at that moment, she realized what she was doing was wrong, and panicked? Most media outlets paint the picture that she just drove up and rammed the barricade. In reality, it was the result of an argument she got into with security officials at the barricade she hit.
It’s possible that this panic is what led her to lead police on a Hollywood style chase through the streets of Washington DC. Here’s it where it gets strange.
The Post reports: During the chase, police officers opened fire twice, both times in areas busy with tourists and office workers.
The police opened fire in areas busy with tourists and workers? Did they lose their ever lovin’ minds? Didn’t that happen in New York City just last year, and several innocent people were injured by bullets shot by the police?
After the incident, Congress thanked the Capitol Police and gave them a standing ovation.
Where’s Jesse Jackson? Al Sharpton? Have they discovered there is no money to be made here?
The question that is yet to be answered, and CNN has started asking if teh shooting was justified, did she deserve to die because of this? She hadn’t shot at police, they shot at her, in crowded areas.
Ultimately, she got her car stuck on a barricade, and police could have apprehended her then. I know they had her surrounded earlier, and she threw it in reverse, hit another cop car and sped off, but she wasn’t stuck then.
Of course, it’s easy for me to say. I wasn’t there in the heat of the situation. I’m not trying to justify the woman’s actions.
All I want to know is this: Did this woman deserve to die for her actions?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
“I want to make clear, once again, that [I am going to lie to you and tell you that] America is not interested in spying on ordinary people,” said President Obama a week ago.
This phony scandal won’t go away.
Okay, the part in brackets is mine, but whenever the President says that he wants to be clear, that means he’s lying.
When you get down to brass tacks, he is telling the truth, as far as that goes. America is not interested in spying on ordinary Americans, but the government is.
The Washington Post broke a story today that says that the NSA has broken privacy laws thousands of times per year during their data mining of your personal information.
Thousands of times.
Once or twice is a mistake. Thousands is a trend.
Welcome to the new police state, where the government has hundreds of databases so they know everything about you.
Whether or not you own a firearm.
Your financial records.
Your phone records.
Your Facebook/Tumbler/Instagram/MySpace/twitter posts.
Your Google searches.
Where you ate lunch last Thursday.
What you ordered.
Your financial transactions.
Your medical records.
Your driving records.
Your tax returns.
Your school records.
What does the government need with all of these records, if not to spy on us, the ordinary Americans?
The Obama administration has provided almost no public information about the NSA’s compliance record. In June, after promising to explain the NSA’s record in “as transparent a way as we possibly can,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole described extensive safeguards and oversight that keep the agency in check. “Every now and then, there may be a mistake,” Cole said in congressional testimony.
Didn’t Obama promise in 2008 to be the most transparent administration in history? He’s beginning to make Dick Cheney look ethical.
Every now and again there may be a mistake?
The Founding Fathers thought that the role of government was to secure the rights of the people, but the nature of government is to oppress people and protect itself, to look out for its own best interests, not ours.
Constant violations of the 2nd, 4th, 5th Amendments, yet we still have people who rationalize it by saying “it’s been going on for years”.
Does that make it any more right?
Government has moved from doing the work of the people, to doing the work of those who have a nefarious agenda.
We import food from China. CHINA! Where their food regulations are so loose, that pretty much anything goes. No wonder we have are having so many outbreaks of e coli and other diseases.
We give money to countries like Egypt, arm Syrian rebels who are in reality, our enemy while people starve here. We pass legislation for healthcare that will ultimately screw the poor and middle class, all the while lying and saying it will help us. It may help one person, for every 100,000 it screws over.
The government is out of control. These agencies, like the NSA and the IRS don’t feel they have to answer to Congress, then we are told there is Congressional oversight.
Where? Where is this oversight?
The IRS has refused to testify before Congress over the Tea Party scandal. The CIA problem in Benghazi was glossed over behind closed doors, and the department head was scapegoated. The NSA insists there is nothing to see here, and is twisting itself into pretzels trying to hide it, as is the CIA.
Erstwhile Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is being pushed by the media to run in 2016. That’s who they want for President in 2016.
Our relations with foreign countries have deteriorated under her watchful eye, while she was off in Australia at wine tastings and banquets. Our relationship with Israel is strained, Putin openly mocks Obama. No one hears from China anymore. Al-Qaida is back in business. Current Secretary of State Lurch can’t get an appointment with world leaders even if he pretends to be someone else.
Yet Bush was mocked because we weren’t “respected” in the world.
This nation is in need of another Ronald Reagan to save us. Since he left office, we have had a President who vomited on foreign dignitaries, a President who was more interested in blow jobs than his job, a President who ultimately drove the economy into the ground, and a useless President who has been unable to do anything right, be it foreign relations, recovering the economy, growing jobs or whatever. Instead, he and his family traverse the world and vacation on the taxpayers dime.
Where have the Ronald Reagans gone? Where are the statesmen?
If ever the country was in need of a statesman, it is today.
America has survived bad presidents before, but that doesn’t mean it will continue to do so, and that it can survive a string of them.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
A Federal judge ruled yesterday that New York City’s policy of “stop and frisk” was unconstitutional. In other words, it’s against the law.
Nanny Bloomberg, who knows what’s best for us all has suffered his second defeat this year.
Stopping someone on the street an d frisking them just because goes against the Fourth Amendment, no matter what the Nanny proclaims. Searching someone without probable cause or a warrant is not allowed. It doesn’t matter if the person is black, Latino, Hispanic, Asian, or white.
Bloomberg maintains that the police have confiscated thousands of guns, and they have saved countless lives.
In other words, this is an extension of Bloomberg’s war on the Second Amendment.
To stop a black man and frisk him as he walks down the street, then confiscating a gun just because he may have one? What made you think he might be carrying a gun? Was he brandishing it?
Oh, he was “fidgety”, looking over his shoulder? Walking a certain way?
Seriously? That’s your probable cause?
But what this amounts to is a victory for a community that feels that they get no justice in the court system. Blacks are suspicious of police, and with good cause. Look at New York and how the cops treat them. Look at Los Angeles, which has had a corrupt police force for decades.
We’ve come a long ways from the days of Adam-12.
A black man goes on a murder spree in Los Angeles. Instead of bringing him in, the police (sheriff) burns him alive. It conveniently leaves little evidence.
I’ve read quite a bit about the stop and frisk program, and I agree that it is wrong, but it won’t stop Bloomberg and his anti-gun crusade.
In his mind, the ends justify the means, no matter how many people he has to trample over to get what he wants.
Bloomberg is the epitome of what’s wrong with our government. He’s a Democrat in disguise.
He is like most other Democrats whose policies hurt the black community, yet they continue to vote for the Dems, election after election, to their own detriment.
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“[CNN’s] Jessica [Yellin], I am not a dictator, I’m the president,” [Obama] said while speaking to reporters in the White House Press Briefing Room.
Do you remember that? It isn’t the first time Obama lamented that he’s not a dictator, or an emperor. However, his history has shown that when he says something, he generally means the opposite. I’m not sure if the man can tell the truth from his lies anymore.
At a recent dinner for kids who had won a recipe contest, when asked what his favorite food was, he immediately said “broccoli”.
Far be it for me to suggest he’s full of shit, but this is the man who eats steaks with wine, burgers, pizza, donuts, excuse me, pastries, and hot dogs. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t eat healthier foods, but come on, broccoli your favorite food? Seriously?
No reports if his pants actually caught on fire.
Last week, Obama pushed back the employer mandate of his signature healthcare law, but left the citizens in the lurch. We are still required to comply with the mandate, but Obama’s corporate masters aren’t.
The truth is, Obama doesn’t have the power to arbitrarily suspend laws, or not enforce ones he doesn’t like, or rewrite them, for that matter.
Article II, section 3 of the United States Constitution specifically states:
…he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed…
So, when Congress failed to pass the Dream Act, it is not within the President’s authority to issue an executive order that suspends immigration enforcement for conditions that exactly mimic the Dream Act.
When Obama signed Obamacare into law, that did not give him the authority to suspend or delay portions of it.
It’s just another sign that Obamacare is not working, and it isn’t even off the starting block yet.
Even the English, back in 1689, didn’t put up with the King arbitrarily suspending laws. In the English Bill of Rights, Parliament wrote:
Going beyond the mere suspension of laws he doesn’t want to enforce, the IRS is doing the bidding of someone in the administration in intimidating political opponents, and the government has decided it needs to investigate itself.
The NSA is spying on us, with the permission of a secret court that Obama swears is transparent.
Now there are more revelations that are even more chilling.
In Obama’s War on Whistleblowers, he has now ordered Federal workers to spy on each other.
That’s right, Big Brother is watching, and if he isn’t available, your co-workers are.
While I normally don’t care what Federal workers do to each other, ordering them to watch each other and report “suspicious” behavior, with penalties if you don’t report something, is bizarre. It seems like something a paranoid schizophrenic would do.
That’s what it all comes down to. This administration has become very paranoid.
Aren’t they creating a hostile work environment? Suddenly, staying late at the office to finish a report due the next day is considered “suspicious” behavior.
Tyrants always tend to be paranoid. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin. All paranoid.
It has already been shown that Obama is a sociopath. Here are some of the signs of a sociopath. How many apply to this president?
- Glibness and Superficial Charm
- Manipulative and Conning
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.
- Grandiose Sense of Self
Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”
- Pathological Lying
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.
- Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.
- Shallow Emotions
When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
- Incapacity for Love
- Need for Stimulation
Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.
- Callousness/Lack of Empathy
Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others’ feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.
- Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.
- Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet “gets by” by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.
Not concerned about wrecking others’ lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.
- Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.
- Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.
- Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.
Other Related Qualities:
- Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them
- Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them
- Only rarely in difficulty with the law, but seeks out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired
- Conventional appearance
- Goal of enslavement of their victim(s)
- Exercises despotic control over every aspect of the victim’s life
- Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim’s affirmation (respect, gratitude and love)
- Ultimate goal is the creation of a willing victim
- Incapable of real human attachment to another
- Unable to feel remorse or guilt
- Extreme narcissism and grandiose
- May state readily that their goal is to rule the world
Some of these may be debatable, as we will never really know for sure, but many are based on the perception of the man. Does he really feel empathy for the parents and survivors of the Sandy Hook shooting, or does he just see them as a means to an end?
He wants to tax and regulate certain businesses into oblivion, while raising the costs on the citizens.
Yet he wants to prevent confusion on employers by illegally delaying implementing some of the provisions on Obamacare, while continuing to stick it to the citizenry by requiring they purchase insurance anyway.
How can he get away with such tactics? Because Congress doesn’t call him on it. Oh, sure, they whine, bitch, complain and kvetch about it, but do nothing to put him in his place.
We have often been told that the President is the most powerful man in the world. He shouldn’t be, and by the standards of the Constitution, he doesn’t have much power at all. Most of the power that are exercised by Presidents today have been stolen from Congress.
We have had troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for years, but never a declaration of war. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq I, no declaration of war.
Congress loses its power because it doesn’t exercise them.
That’s how the executive power grows, by stepping in where Congress fears to go.
That’s exactly what Obama has been doing. If Congress won’t act, he will, despite the fact that he doesn’t have the Constitutional authority to do so.
Even if Congress acts, he still does what he wants, despite the fact that he doesn’t have the Constitutional authority to do so.
He builds on what the last President did, even though he and his followers decried it as evil and eroding our civil liberties before he took office.
He is so paranoid of the people, that he, and Congress, are trying to take our rights away from us.
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, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
This government has become destructive to those ends, under the guise of “protecting” us.
I like my rights. I cherish my rights, and am loathe to give them up.
In today’s political climate, that would be considered “unreasonable”.
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It came out over the weekend that not only is our government spying on us, the American people, it is spying on our allies as well.
When we elected Obama as our president, he said that we would be more liked and respected in the world.
As long as they didn’t find out we were spying on them.
Of course, Secretary of State Lurch defends it, saying that “spying on allies is not unusual”.
This came after the revelation that the US had bugged 38 embassies and foreign missions, including the European Union nerve center in Washington DC.
IngSoc is alive and well.
Lurch seems to be less Secretary of State, and more the Minister of Minitrue.
For those who don’t get the references, you need to read George Orwell’s 1984.
The Germans are starting to like us less and less.
Given our history, we Germans are not willing to trade in our liberty for potentially better security.
Of course, there are many Americans who don’t trust him, either.
To be certain, there are a number of Americans who just shrug their shoulders and say that they’ve been doing this for years.
That doesn’t make it right, and it doesn’t mean it should continue.
The NSA can justify it all they want, but “We’re just gathering intelligence” is not a valid excuse in my book.
This is why so many Americans are loading up on weaponry. Whenever we just shrug our shoulders and say that’s the way it is, the government steps on our throats just a little more.
Why does our government think this sort of activity is acceptable?
Oh, that’s right. They are keeping us safe and combating terrorism.
I’m surprised that Obama hasn’t droned German Prime Minister Angela Merkel yet.
The NSA and FBI are becoming the new Gestapo, and that should send chills down anyone’s spine. Obama’s critics are intimidated into silence. The power of the government is used to intimidate opponents during the election, or prevent them from running campaigns.
Oh, and Obama’s defense for spying on the EU and our allies?
“Well, everyone else does it!”
That’s the kind of argument I would expect from a five year old.
It appears that Obama’s stint in the Choom Gang has killed so many brain cells and left him emotionally stunted.
Honestly, I know politicians lie, but I don’t think I ever remember a president who was so full of excuses and lies as this man. Of course, we can’t be sure that it is him who is running the country, and not Valerie Jarrett. Or George Soros.
After I had originally written and published this, I heard on the news that Obama had this to say in Tanzania:
It’s okay, because we work so closely together that we all share all of this information anyway.
What a knucklehead.
It appears that this administration, that this man, will stop at anything to find out about his enemies and do anything to destroy them.
He is doing his best to shackle us, and, it appears, shackle the world at the same time.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
We all like scary stories, right?
Here’s one for ya.
Whenever I use my wife’s tablet to search for something on Google, it often comes up and says precise location unknown, or asks if it can use my location in a search.
I always tell it no, if I don’t shut that feature off all together.
There is no reason that Google needs to know my precise location, but that doesn’t guarantee that the information isn’t sent to Google headquarters anyway. In fact, there are no guarantees that that your location information is not being transmitted every time you go somewhere.
There are things about the world today that we just take for granted as just being the way things are. Grocery stores gather data about your purchases through club cards so they can tailor ads to you. You bank doesn’t just keep information about your financial transactions, they keep records about when and where the purchase took place, and in the case of online purchases, your order information is out there as well.
“Metadata is information about what communications you send and receive, who you talk to, where you are when you talk to them, the lengths of your conversations, what kind of device you were using and potentially other information, like the subject line of your emails,” said Peter Eckersley, the technology projects director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital civil liberties group.
The government continues to claim that it doesn’t read the contents of our emails, or know the content of our conversations, but in the case of emails, that data is readily embedded in the code of the email as it is sent.
“Metadata is the perfect place to start if you want to troll through millions of people’s communications to find patterns and to single out smaller groups for closer scrutiny,” he said. “It will tell you which groups of people go to political meetings together, which groups of people go to church together, which groups of people go to nightclubs together or sleep with each other.”
In order to narrow massive amounts of data down to smaller groups, the government has to be able to read some part of the email in order to find the keywords they are looking for.
“That’s certainly enough to know if you’re pregnant or not, what diseases you have, whether you’re looking for a new job, whether you’re trying to figure out if the NSA is watching you or not,” he said, referring to the National Security Agency. Such information provides “a deeply intimate window into a person’s psyche,” he added.
So, if you have been searching for porn, the government knows it. If you’ve been searching for loopholes in Obamacare, the government knows it.
And if you bitch about the government day in and day out, the government knows it.
Well, at least DHS doesn’t have those same search powers.
That’s absolute contempt for the American people if I’ve ever seen it. In the midst of controversy and scandal about the government spying on us, DHS complains that it’s not fair that they don’t have those kinds of spying powers. Who else is going to watch those violent militias out in the middle of nowhere?
I knew Napolitano had balls. I just didn’t realize they were that big.
There is virtually nothing that is hidden from the government anymore.
Courts have ruled that we don’t have an expectation of privacy with these sorts of things, because we don’t make an effort to secure it.
Our financial transactions are done on “secure” lines, but beyond that, what are we to do, exactly? The vast majority of us aren’t programmers, so what are we supposed to do to? Not use the internet? Not have a computer or a smartphone?
Those are some suggestions that some people have made, but in the digital age, that’s just unrealistic.
You can’t even trust your gaming console anymore. Microsoft, producer of the Xbox One had entered into an agreement with the NSA to watch you 24/7.
Of course, once the story broke, Microsoft did a 180 and claims they are dropping the provision that you have to be online every 24 hours. Microsoft is also dropping the provision that you can’t play a used game on your Xbox. In other words, they are trying to put shops like Gamestop out of business, and keep people like me, who purchases used games, from playing them. What’s wrong with buying a game from someone else? Generally, once a game has been played, it just takes up space on the shelf.
But I digress.
At a hearing Wednesday on Capitol Hill, FBI Director Robert Mueller said metadata obtained under Section 215 of the Patriot Act had helped authorities “connect the dots” in investigations that had prevented 10 or 12 terrorist plots in recent years. Mueller defended the collection of metadata, saying there were plenty of safeguards in place that protect Americans’ privacy. He warned against restricting or ending the program.
“What concerns me is you never know which dot is going to be key,” Mueller said. “What you want is as many dots as we can (get). If you close down a program like this, you are removing dots from the playing field.”
But not at the expense of our privacy! The government has no right to watch us like hawks. If you watch their numbers, however, they always jump around. The number has jumped from 1 to 10, to 12, to 50 or so. Everyone knows the one they missed.
No matter where you go, what you do, Big Brother is watching. It used to be chilling to us, the thought that our government would watch us, but it has become a reality. In Orwell’s 1984, there were devices everywhere that constantly fed video feeds back to the Party, and very few places to hide. The hero, Winston, had to go into a little alcove to write unseen about the evils of the government, a crime that was punishable by death.
As with the novel 1984, we are constantly told that it is for our own good, our own interest, our own safety.
So, how does the government react to this?
“Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems. Some of these same voices also do their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, and creative, and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.”
This was just before the revelations came rolling out.
But the New York Police Department, home to Nanny Bloomberg, is reacting by expanding their surveillance net to fight crime as well as terrorism. And who is in charge of the NY police Departments? Ultimately, it’s the Nanny.
These programs do not have the oversight of all of Congress. They are run by a handful, a select few. There were members of Congress who were surprised when they were told all of Congress knew of these programs. There were those in Congress who were trying to tell that there was something bad happening.
Now it has been revealed that the FBI has been flying drones above us for at least the last 3 years.
Does it make you feel better to know that your government is watching you if it means you are safe?
Are you willing to surrender your rights so you can feel safer, more secure?
Can you guarantee that these will never be expanded in the future, and abused even more?
Do you really want to do that to your children?
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Just when it seemed that the government could not be any further out of control than it is, enter PRISM.
PRISM is, rather, was, a top secret program that the NSA and FBI used to tap directly into the central servers of the major internet companies: “Collection directly from the servers of these U.S. Service Providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.”
Photos, video chats, audio chats, financial transactions and data, emails, Facebook and other forum posts. Nothing escapes the prying eyes of Big Brother.
Trillions of phone calls, posts, chats, videos all parsed through these agencies. Supposedly the NSA is prohibited from spying on Americans.
And the CIA is prohibited from operating in the US, too.
How can they possibly troll through trillions of different pieces of data without spying on Americans?
The FBI and the the NSA (along with potentially other government agencies) have just pissed on the Fourth Amendment, and shown their absolute disdain for it. Police are constantly whining about having to get warrants, reading Miranda rights, and having to follow the rules of probable cause. They also don’t like lawyers getting involved during questioning.
There was a controversy over the Boston Marathon bomber not being Mirandized, and shutting his mouth as soon as he was. It is amazing the number of people who don’t know that they don’t have to say anything to the police, or that they can have a lawyer present during questioning. That’s why we have Miranda. Miranda does nothing other than inform you of your rights. It doesn’t grant or confer rights, merely informs you of those that you have.
Gaining phone records may not be illegal (the Supreme Court ruling in 1979 that you willingly gave numbers you dialed to the phone company and knew they kept records of it), but that does not make it right. Things have changed since 1979, with the advent of the personal computer and the cell phone.
People posting on Facebook or other forums may not have a reasonable expectation of privacy, since they are posting on public forums. I don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy for what I post on this blog, but I think I do have an expectation of privacy when it comes to my account information.
That goes for private emails, bank transactions, credit/debit card transactions, chats of any kind through Skype, or even the contents of private phone calls.
I think people finding out about Verizon’s phone records were shocked to learn that news. Many did not put together until later that it wasn’t just Verizon, but if they were giving up that data, carriers such as AT&T and Sprint were as well.
But this is not just Obama’s administration. This was all set up under Bush with the Patriot Act.
I had a brief discussion with one of my aunts last night, and she said that she was tired of people blaming Bush for everything.
I’m not blaming him for everything.
He did drive the economy into the ground. He and Cheney set up the modern police state.
Obama came into office and whined about it, and has done virtually nothing about it, except expand the police state.
I’m not blaming Bush, but if you are outraged over the actions of the Obama administration, but felt that the Bush administration’s actions were justified, you are a hypocrite. You can’t have it both ways.
An aunt told me last night that the Bush administration only targeted outbound calls of suspected terrorists, not Americans.
That’s what they said, anyway. There is mounting evidence (if only circumstantial) that this has been going on since the Bush administration.
“Everyone should just calm down and understand this isn’t anything that is brand new,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), who added that the phone-data program has “worked to prevent” terrorist attacks.
That’s always the Court Jester’s response. It isn’t anything new, so we should just accept it. The government knows what’s best.
How does this ass clown keep getting reelected? Are the people of Nevada that stupid?
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is glad that the government is trolling everyone’s phone records.
This is why Senator Feinstein wants your guns, because she knew the people would be pissed if they ever found out the truth.
This is a direct result of the Patriot Act, and like most laws, it is short sighted and has created unintended consequences and abuses.
Not that the government would ever abuse such a law (wink, wink).
Whenever the government gets caught with its hand in the cookie jar, their knee jerk reaction is “Uhhhh, National Security. We’ve caught lots of terrorists and foiled lots of plots with these methods”?
So, where are these terrorists that have been caught? Gitmo? I thought Gitmo wasn’t accepting new applications. I thought the president wanted to close it down.
So where are they? Victims of presidential drone strikes?
Technology, it appears, is like fire. It is a great and wonderful tool and plaything. It keeps us warm, allows us to roast marshmallows and hot dogs while we are out camping (and trying to stay warm). It incinerates incriminating evidence. (J/K)
But if we are negligent, that tool can suddenly spread out of control and become a raging forest fire.
The computing power of today’s smartphones makes the early personal computers look like microwaves.
With the constant innovation of today’s technology and computing power, the government has discovered that it can harness this power for its own purposes.
Those who believe that government is inherently good have received a serious blow to the solar plexus with these repeated revelations.
The idea that government, or at least as it was conceived in the Constitution, is inherently good may be true.
It’s the people who seek power, or are easily corruptible by power, who aren’t.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
It’s been a busy day, here at Observation Post Central. I’m starting to feel more and more like I need to go hide in my bunker.
This morning, I wrote a bit about the latest scandal to break; the handing over of millions of phone records by Verizon to the National Security Agency.
The NSA assures us they never actually listened in on the conversations, but that they have caught terrorists with this method.
So, how exactly did you catch terrorists by knowing who they called without actually knowing what was said? Suppose Terrorist A called Citizen B to invite him over for a party, in order to make him seem like a normal guy? Does that make Citizen B a terrorist by default?
I’ve heard it said that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court came into being under the Patriot Act, but all information I find points to its formation in 1978.
Regardless, it is a safe bet that if they are prying into the records of Verizon customers, they are almost certainly prying into AT&T and Sprint customers as well.
In addition, news stories said that this was started in April of 2013. It most likely has been going on at least the last 10 years, it was renewed back in April.
If the government is doing what is right, why do they feel the need to be so secretive?
What I wrote this morning was written while I was angry about the whole affair. I’m still angry, but there have been some new developments into domestic spying.
Let’s start with South Carolina Jackass Senator Lindsey Graham.
Graham clarified that under the law, “you just can’t track people’s phone calls,” and said there must be a reasonable belief that the people being surveilled are involved in terrorism.
Okay, so let me see if I have this straight. There must be a reasonable belief that the people being surveilled are involved in terrorism.
Are you saying, sir, that millions of Verizon customers are involved in terrorism? These were not a few records that were seized, these were everybody’s. These include records of calls to your stylist, your bookie, and in some cases things you would rather keep quiet, like calls to phone sex lines.
Hey, to each their own, but the government doesn’t need to track it.
“I don’t think you’re talking to the terrorists. I know you’re not. I know I’m not, so we don’t have anything to worry about,” he said. “I am glad that NSA is trying to find out what terrorists are up to overseas and inside the country.” [emphasis mine]
The Obama administration defended this outrage, claiming national security again.
To keep this nation secure and protect our people, we have to spy on you, your comings and goings, your phone calls, your private conversations.
Ever wonder why the government is pushing so hard for databases?
Gun registries. DNA registries. Fingerprint registries. Financial data registries. Bank registries. Health record registries. A registry of every phone call ever made.
The registries never end.
It’s more invasive and insidious than that, though.
The FBI wants all software makers to create back doors into their software so they can listen in any time they want.
Erstwhile and disgraced CIA director David Petraeus said, back in March of 2012, “Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters — all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing,”
In other words, every electronic device that has a wireless connection to the internet can be tapped by the government.
The Digital Age is an amazing thing, but it is contributing to the erosion of our civil liberties. If law enforcement or the government creates a toy that helps them monitor us, they always make devices designed to defeat them illegal.
It’s okay for them to spy on you, but it is illegal for you to protect your privacy.
Google hands over emails and private information on request, not even on a subpoena!
The bigger question is, where was the American media on this story? They have been asleep at the wheel for the last five years.
This story was broken by The Guardian in the UK!
Oh, that’s right. It was only the phone records of ordinary citizens, not journalists, so there is no reason for them to run with this story.
I guarantee this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is probably so much more that we don’t know about yet.
The mere fact that more and more people are becoming outraged over this should tell the government that they are doing something wrong. That they have forgotten that they serve us, and not the other way around.
There is a reason gun sales are at a record pace. There are a lot of people who recognize what’s going on.
As a friend of mine once said, our ancestors would be shooting by now.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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