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 )
“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 )
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?
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
The surveillance programs that the NSA has been running have long been established under the Patriot Act of 2001. We all pretty much knew that.
When it was the Bush Administration running the show, Republicans were fine with it while Democrats claimed that we were being watched by the government. The Bush administration assured us they were only watching terrorists.
Most of us were okay with that in the aftermath of 9/11. After all, the government assured us they weren’t watching us, they were only watching the terrorists.
With the recent revelations about the government watching us, our phone calls, our locations, our internet transactions and everything we do we find out that the Bush administration was indeed watching us. It has extended into our private emails and bank transactions. That’s where they crossed the line.
We know it wasn’t just the NSA, but the FBI as well, and now, apparently the IRS wants in on the spying game.
With the revelations from Edward Snowden last week, the government has been scrambling to defend the program. We’ve received dribs and drabs of defense from both Congress and the White House.
There are those who have set out to discredit Snowden.
We have learned that Snowden worked for Booz Allen Hamilton and the NSA for less than 3 months. Could it be possible that he’s a spy? It does seem awfully odd that he’s hiding in China of all places.
In addition, Extremetech claims that PRISM is “the name of a web data management tool that is so boring that no one had ever bothered to report on its existence before now. It appears that the public Prism tool is simply a way to view and manage collected data, as well as correlate it with the source.”
If you look at the article, the graphic shows that the government is collecting information about your emails, if not the actual emails themselves. This is what is making everyone so upset.
In short, the government is telling us to “just trust them”. (I had this same idea as another blogger that I will link to later in this article)
This nation was founded on the notion that government can’t be trusted, that if not limited, the people in the government will abuse their powers. We are seeing today that they were absolutely right.
A friend of mine posted this on Facebook yesterday:
Things that I thought everyone knew:
1. Stores have price clubs because they benefit from having your purchasing info. They collect it and keep it, and most sell it.
2. The government has always sniffed electronic communications for key-words.
3. Ever since the phone company went to computer switching, there have been records kept of every single phone call made. Ever. Including yours.
4. Government agencies are not run and operated by the government. They are run and operated by people. Some of those people are stupid, some are lazy, some are just plain bastards. Even worse, some are true believers in a group/cause/religion/whatever, and will use their positions to benefit their group or to hurt those opposed.
5. Many “liberals” we hopping mad about the patriot act and complained and bitched for months as it was being discussed and passed. The guys who tried to label us as traitors and terrorists are EXACTLY the same guys who are mad about the Patriot Act now. So kiss my ass. We exactly told you so.
Okay, so you exactly told us so. Does that make its continued use and expansion any more right than it was under the Bush administration?
We have learned that this has gone back as far as 2006, well into the Bush administration’s reign.
Grocery stores have club cards for two reasons.
- To entice you to join to enjoy lower prices so they can keep tabs on what you buy. This actually has a legitimate business purpose.
- To fuck people who don’t join by charging them higher prices.
- To sell to other marketers.
None of that is illegal or unconstitutional, however that last one should be outlawed. Companies should not be allowed to sell that information to other companies. The Constitution limits the government, not businesses.
Safeway is not the government. They keep track of what you buy, not who you email or who you call. Argument #1 is nothing more than shiny object argument. Look over here! These people did the same thing!
If you are like me, and don’t like stores tracking what you buy, shop at another store that does not track your purchases. It really is that easy. It isn’t so easy to get out from under the government.
We’ve also been told that Congress must be okay with it.
Not all members of Congress are okay. Senators Ron Wyden (D- OR), and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee tried crying foul as far back as 2011 (December 2012 according to this article), but was unable to provide details.
Every time something the government is doing that is potentially wrong, they quickly open the closet and pull out the twin boogeymen of National Security and Terrorism.
The NSA claims this program has allowed them to disrupt dozens of alleged plots, while other experts say that isn’t true.
What did foil dozens of attacks was surveillance in the mosques. That is, while it was allowed to happen.
If it isn’t bad enough that our own government is watching us, it has come out that the government snooping doesn’t extend to mosques. It isn’t that the Boston Bombers weren’t Verizon customers, it’s that the government is so afraid of being perceived as Islamophobes that they skip over the mosques, the breeding ground of Islamofascism. They would rather infringe on our privacy rather than be perceived as bigots and go after the enemy where they live.
The ACLU and CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) sued the FBI for sending undercover agents into mosques in order to surveille them.
Fuck CAIR and fuck the ACLU. CAIR is nothing more than a terrorist front group, anyway.
The government has a credibility problem. Congress has a 10% approval rating, yet these knuckleheads will all get reelected in 2014.
The New York Times, in an editorial last week said that Obama has lost all credibility, an editorial that was later softened as the editorial staff appended the words on this issue to the end of that sentence. With that change, the New York Times has lost any shred of credibility it had left.
Congress has lost all credibility, and that’s what it has come down to. Credibility and trust.
SocioPolitical Dysfunction has an excellent essay on the government and trust/credibility. Tracy is more studied and less reactionary than I am.
Tracy is absolutely right. It all comes down to trust. Just because something is legal, as Tracy points out, does not make it right.
Do you trust your government to do the right thing?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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 )
It never fails that whenever an attack happens on our soil, those out there waiting in the wings to take more power for themselves, and rob us of our liberties start coming out of the woodwork.
Michael Bloomberg is one such person, and he is nothing less than a tyrant and a despot.
The man known for arbitrarily and capriciously banning sugary drinks in New York said yesterday that “the people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry, but we live in a complex word where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”
You have a legitimate worry about privacy, but tough shit. We’re going to eliminate it anyway.
We need more cameras to watch over us and protect our public safety.
Cameras didn’t stop the bombing. Cameras didn’t stop hijackers from flying airplanes into buildings.
“Look, we live in a very dangerous world. We know there are people who want to take away our freedoms. New Yorkers probably know that as much if not more than anybody else after the terrible tragedy of 9/11.”
You mean like the choice to buy a Big Gulp or a Super Big Gulp?
“Clearly the Supreme Court has recognized that you have to have different interpretations of the Second Amendment and what it applies to and reasonable gun laws … Here we’re going to to have to live with reasonable levels of security.”
But you don’t want to take away our freedoms.
Note how he smoothly slipped gun control in there. I wasn’t aware that the bombers killed and maimed people with guns. Oh yeah, they didn’t have permits for the guns they used to shoot at police. If only we had a law that would require them to obtain permits. Wait, Massachusetts does have such laws! And they weren’t followed? What a surprise!
“It really says something bad about us that we have to do it. But our obligation first and foremost is to keep our kids safe in the schools; first and foremost, to keep you safe if you go to a sporting event; first and foremost is to keep you safe if you walk down the streets or go into our parks. We cannot let the terrorists put us in a situation where we can’t do those things. And the ways to do that is to provide what we think is an appropriate level of protection.”
It’s really for your own good that we curtail your freedoms and rights, because there are those out there who want to take your freedoms and your rights from you.
“What we can’t do is let the protection get in the way of us enjoying our freedoms. You still want to let people practice their religion, no matter what that religion is. And I think one of the great dangers here is going and categorizing anybody from one religion as a terrorist. That’s not true … That would let the terrorists win. That’s what they want us to do.”
Says the man who has stepped up surveillance of the Muslim Community.
We cannot categorize anybody from one religion as a terrorist, yet over and over, these acts are perpetrated by people of ONE SINGLE RELIGION! I don’t see the Jews blowing themselves up. I don’t see Christians blowing themselves up. I don’t see Buddhists blowing themselves up (they are more into self immolation). I don’t see Hindus or Sikhs blowing themselves up.
ONLY FRICKIN’ MUSLIMS!
Bloomberg is a benevolent tyrant. He doesn’t want to do these things because he wants to, he has to do these things, because if we retain out Second Amendment, Fourth Amendment or Fifth Amendment rights, then the terrorists win!
He wants to take care of us because we can’t do it on our own.
There is very little in the Constitution that can be interpreted differently. The only thing open for interpretation is our rights.
As much as I loathe to use Alex Jones as a source, this video is chilling. This was during the house to house search for the terrorist suspect who had fled Friday. Because the police are looking for a suspect, they toss out everyone’s Fourth Amendment rights.
It is NEVER okay, under ANY circumstances to violate the rights of the citizens. These people didn’t do anything wrong, yet they are being treated like criminals.
Is that what it looked like when the Japanese Americans were rounded up and taken to internment camps?
Is that what it looked like when the Nazis rounded up the Jews?
When they come to confiscate your weapons, I expect it will look like this.
December 7, 1941: Pearl Harbor. End result: Japanese Americans rounded up (while German Americans were left alone), and we were left with a much larger standing army.
September 11, 2001: World Trade Center/Pentagon. End result: Homeland Security and Patriot Act. More government watchdogs.
April 15, 2013. Boston Marathon bombing. End Result: ???Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
Lars Larson, local right wing talk show host provocateur, has taken the side of the Obama administration when it comes to using drone strikes to kill American citizens, no matter where or what the circumstances. According to his rationalization, making the use of drones illegal in all circumstances is foolish, and akin, in his eyes, to the gun control logic. He also believes that using a drone to kill a citizen without due process is the same as a cop killing someone without due process.
Mr. Larson has been becoming more of a national figure as of late, becoming a fixture on Fox News, particularly on Megyn Kelly’s show. Methinks he is gunning to become the new Rush Limbaugh.
I listen to Lars a lot, and I agree with him on a lot of subjects, but this isn’t one of them. Simply put, I think Lars is being foolish and drinking the kool-aid, as he puts it.
For the gun control argument, we, as individuals are guaranteed certain rights. The government does not have rights, it has powers. There is a big difference there. Powers can be given or taken away, or restricted. Rights can’t be taken away. They can be restricted, but only until the people have had enough of it.
Yes, cops kill people without due process all the time. However, this falls under the category of justifiable homicide when a cop shoots a perpetrator or suspect when the subject is a threat to police or others. An imminent threat, so to speak. They are on the scene.
A drone strike, however, is planned out. The drone has to be armed with the intention of killing. The government/law enforcement officials have to know exactly where you are, and not be on the scene, or unable to reach the scene. If they can reach the scene, there is no reason for drones.
But drones also means the possibility of collateral damage/deaths.
There is a huge chasm between justifiable homicide and homicide.
The danger does not lie necessarily in this president doing this, but on some future president expanding on it, and taking it to our skies to kill our people.
Don’t think it will happen? The Obama administration has already expanded on the Bush administration’s killing of an American citizen as “collateral damage”, to specifically targeting an American citizen overseas.
It isn’t that far of a leap to expand it to the American skies. In fact, the argument can be made that law enforcement has already murdered citizens, not justifiable homicides, but possibly pre-meditated murder. The government virtually wiped out the Indians. Law enforcement murdered people at Ruby Ridge, Waco, and recently down in Los Angeles when the cabin Chris Dorner was hiding in was deliberately set on fire.
I have no issues with law enforcement using drones like they use helicopters today to track suspects, but if they say they have no intention to do something, that’s when you should get worried. The government has a history of killing people in its way.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
The long weekend is over, but I never really take a rest from politics, even if I don’t write anything. I often participate in debates, sometimes heated, and sometimes I learn a thing or two.
The main thing I learned from a friend this weekend is that if someone is talking about gun control, they’re not talking about the Second Amendment.
How can you have a discussion on gun control without a discussion of the Second Amendment?
A friend of mine on Facebook started asking if we were fooling ourselves about the gun control debate, to which I responded “There is no debate. Shall not be infringed. End of discussion”.
Of course, he didn’t like that answer, so he started pulling out stats. Homicides dropped 50% per capita in Illinois (not Chicago, but the entire state) and they tightened gun restrictions. Texas, on the other hand, loosened theirs and homicides dropped by a third. So his conclusion was that whether gun laws work or not depends on the area.
People never look at the obvious stat to me: Incarceration. Maybe homicides are falling because people who commit these crimes are being locked up in huge numbers. Chicago is an area where firearm homicides are too common. This will continue, because the victims and the people of the community live with the fear that if they talk to the police, they are next, so the perpetrators have no fear of being caught. Until the people of Chicago take their neighborhoods back and start helping the police, this will only get worse. It saddens me that anyone has to live with that level of fear.
I also learned that if you believe the government is trying to take your rights away, you are crazy, and if you say so, you are ranting. I guess I rant a lot, because I believe the government is trying to take our rights away. Not all at once and not in a rush, but slowly, over time so we won’t notice.
The police everywhere are working hard to subvert the Second Amendment as well as the Fourth.
The Chicago Police Superintendent, Garry McCarthy said that lobbying groups backed by legal guns owners (the NRA, et. al.) are corrupt:
“If there was special interests affecting police work, I believe that would be called corruption. So, if it has do with donating money versus a popular vote, I think we have a bigger problem in this country and somebody’s gotta wake up to that,” said McCarthy.
He also went on to say that he believes the Second Amendment is a threat to public safety.
Here’s the real gem: McCarthy went on to express his belief that judges and legislators should rely on public opinion polls when interpreting our Constitution.
Because the Constitution is all about opinion polls.
Mr. McCarthy, you really need to read your Constitution. The First Amendment specifically protects the right of the people to petition the government to address grievances. The NRA gives money to candidates who they believe will further their interests. Nothing wrong with that. No one says the candidate has to take it.
Notice that it is the people who are corrupt in his eyes, not the government or the candidates who take the money.
How do these idiots get into these positions?
Actually, I think he’s less idiot and more “I would rather see guns in the hands of the police than in the hands of citizens” type person. Most people like to complain that gun control laws only target law abiding citizens, not criminals. It’s not just that, but disarming the population makes it easier for a police state to rise.
I also learned that if you are required by law to let the sheriff into your home for a “look-see”, that’s not a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
I always thought the Fourth prevented such drop in inspections.
I’m not banging on all of our police officers. There are many who are very nice, conscientious people who take their jobs seriously. They put their lives on the line daily, and I am sure the job is very stressful, not just on them, but their families. However, there are some cops who get on power trips and abuse their suspects, thinking they are above the law.
Look at the Chris Dorner situation this last week. LAPD shot up two cars and injured 3 innocent people in their hunt for Dorner. I’m not condoning what Dorner did, but the LAPD did not make themselves look good. Then there was the whole cabin fire thing. The Sheriff’s Department denies burning it down intentionally, but the audio suggests differently.
Then there are the drones that will be taking to the skies in large numbers. Some states and cities are banning them, but not all. Law enforcement is lobbying hard for them, just as they are lobbying for warrantless wiretaps and the ability to snoop on you on the internet. The Department of Homeland Security is interested in smaller drones, you know, the ones we can’t see while they are in flight.
I have no problem in calling them out in a search, like they had wanted to in the Dorner hunt, but I do take issue with them wanting to fly them all day, every day, just because.
Then we have the president, who has decided that he is judge jury and executioner of American citizens if he, or some other “well informed, high level” government official decides they are an “imminent” threat. That these people were overseas is of little consequence. How long before another President decides that if the government could do it over there, they can do it here?
It’s been a busy weekend. We’ve learned even more about the governments attempts to subvert our rights:
- The First Amendment right to petition the government to redress our grievances: Threat to public safety/corruption
- The Second Amendment: Threat to public safety; attempted confiscation by Missouri and Minnesota of all firearms.
- Third Amendment: Right to privacy subverted by spy drones.
- The Fourth Amendment: Washington’s attempt to get police into homes without probable cause/warrants, government spying on internet activity, spy drones
- The Fifth Amendment: Executive branch’s judge/jury executioner drone program, attempted confiscation of legal firearms by State governments.
- The Sixth Amendment: National Defense Authorization Act of 2012; see section 1021 and 1022. Allows the government to detain anyone for indefinite amount of time without Due Process, speedy trial, facing ones accusers, or going before a judge.
- The Eighth Amendment: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment. Does anyone seriously think that bails and fines are not excessive these days?
I told my friend that just because the government may have acted like this in the past is not a valid excuse for them to continue, that it is not a valid reason for us to sit back and take it. There comes a time when we must say “Enough!” and stand up to the government and tell them that good government does not come from an opinion poll, nor does it come from oppressing the rights of the people. It does not come from government borrowing money hand over fist to pay for everything. The government is not a friend, and definitely not a sugar daddy.
If speaking out in defense of one’s rights makes me crazy, then I guess I’m crazy.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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