Archive for the ‘Big Brother’ Category
This is the kind of stuff I used to read about in biographies of people who survived persecution in the Soviet Union and other communist countries. I can’t believe it’s happening here, and so many Americans are still asleep!
Remember when you lived in that America where you had freedom of expression? Well, it’s easy to imagine that the old America doesn’t exist any more with the story of the Secret Service agents that harassed a Twitter user because he dared criticize President Obama.
Tom Francois is an outspoken critic of President Obama on Twitter and has some 12 thousand followers that watch his every Tweet. (@Tom_Francois) But apparently his fans aren’t the only ones hanging on his every Tweet.
As Tom found out, the Secret Service has blown in a “follow” to Tom’s feed, too. But instead of laughing as Tom makes funny photoshopped, anti-Obama images and reveling in Obama’s many scandals, the Secret Service was watching and making plans to come pounding at his door to harass him for his political opinions.
On April 11, 2013, he heard relentless pounding on his door shouts of “Police!” The officers introduced themselves as members of The Secret Service and asked if they could “take a look around.”
Since Tom had nothing to hide (and he didn’t want any return visits) – he complied fully with their request. He even signed a consent to search his premises AND an “Authorization To Review Medical and Mental Health Records!”
They asked Tom if he ever left his state or traveled to Washington, D.C.
One Agent asked Tom if he has any intentions of “whacking” the President.” To which Tom replied- “Of course not. I wish him no harm. I disagree with his policies and actions and I make no bones about it. It’s my First Amendment Right and I intend to exercise it.”When I spoke to Tom he said, “Yes, I am EXTREMELY critical of Obama in my posts, but I never cross the line and threaten his being. EVER. It’s just the idea of Obama’s Secret Service intruding on my life when they knew I wasn’t really a threat.”
The Secret Service had a thick FBI file- filled with screenshots of hundreds of posts. Said Tom, “I flat out told them ‘I have NEVER threatened Obama’s life! Yes, I despise him as you can plainly see, but I have that right!’ They actually ADMITTED and agreed with me that I hadn’t threatened Obama.”
They had run a background check and discovered that Tom legally owned two guns- and they asked to see them. Tom showed them his firearms. They asked, “Are they loaded?” Tom replied in the affirmative. “What good are guns if they aren’t loaded?”
So why harass Tom? “The Secret Service officers claimed that “they were concerned that since I have a large Twitter following, and the things I said could be acted upon by some nut case out there! What the hell? They turned my life upside down for THAT?”
Tom didn’t refuse the search because they just would have gone and gotten a warrant. “They would have proceeded to tear my house apart. No thanks. I have nothing to hide. They left empty-handed and my house is still intact.”
When they left Tom’s house, one Secret Service Agent ‘advised’- “Keep in mind, if you step over the line, we’ll come back for your guns.”
After the “visit” to Tom, the Secret Service also visited Tom’s 22 year old daughter- terrifying her and making her fear for her father’s safety. She asked them what they were going to do with the information about her Dad. They said they were going to “turn it over to Eric Holder- he has the last word on what to do, if anything.”
Notice that the raid on this innocent American came only four days before the Boston marathon bombing. While Islamic extremists were planning to kill people in Boston, the government was all worried about a Twitter user that made funny photoshopped pictures of Obama.
Is this America any more?
This is the kind of crap that the KGB would pull in Soviet countries. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
On Thursday the Examiner provided an exclusive report indicating that the Obama administration had implemented a covert program beginning in 2009 that was intended to spy on conservative, evangelical Christian churches.
That program involved infiltration — sending in government operatives to join churches for the purpose of data collection. The government snoops would keep their eyes and ears open for criticism of the Obama administration, talk of Tea Party participation, conversations about gun ownership, and a number of other issues.
But a special report issued today by Fox News indicates that the program went far beyond infiltration and snooping. The IRS was used to harass Christian churches if they were identified as places where large numbers of anti-Obama citizens congregated for worship.
The Obama administration, according to the report, considered any public criticism of administration policies to be political in nature and should therefore impact whether or not these congregations were allowed to gain or keep their tax exempt status.
Daniel Blomberg and Eric Rassbach explain at Fox News:
What most people don’t realize is that the IRS has been acting as the speech police for decades. Ever since 1954, when then-Senator Lyndon Johnson pushed for a law enabling the IRS to punish non-profits who opposed him politically, the IRS has been in the business of government censor. What’s worse is that one of the biggest targets of this censorship has been religious people and houses of worship. In fact, one of the IRS’s first targets in the 1950s was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was subjected to a searching IRS audit because of his religious advocacy for civil rights for African-Americans.
The IRS of course has the crushing power to deny or revoke the non-profit status of a synagogue, church, or mosque if it says something the IRS decides is too “political.” But it can also put houses of worship and other religious organizations through the wringer of intrusive, costly, and time-consuming audits.
There are two ways the targeting works. One way is for an outside group, often one that is anti-religion, to file a complaint asking the IRS to investigate a church they don’t like. The IRS responds to the complaint by opening an investigation and asking the church often hundreds of questions about its activities, with the threat of revocation of non-profit status. This is what lawyers call “selective enforcement” and it is unconstitutional. No one should be singled out in this way, especially because of collusion between the IRS and outside groups with an ax to grind.
The second way the censorship starts is for IRS officials to take their lead from high government officials, including the President, to decide which groups to target for disfavor. This is apparently what happened to the “tea party” groups, but religious groups have also been targeted in this way.
Don’t believe it? Just ask Billy Graham. Last fall, the famed Christian evangelist publicly advocated on behalf of a ballot measure in his home state of North Carolina, taking a position that the President and other high government officials publicly opposed. The tax man was knocking at the door almost immediately. And while the expensive, time-consuming audit eventually ended without any finding of wrongdoing by Graham, a message was sent to every other religious group that might oppose government policy: the IRS can use its audit powers to harass you or shut you down simply for saying what you believe. That kind of intimidation is wrong–and unconstitutional.
Dean Clancy raises some sobering questions about what will happen if the IRS is allowed to enforce Obamacare:
Revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups for discriminatory treatment, and leaked confidential information about those groups to a left-wing outfit, ProPublica, should make us think twice about the White House’s plans to give the IRS even more authority — over our medicine cabinets.
That’s right. The IRS is being put in charge of enforcing the president’s health care law, Obamacare. The controversial law fills 2,801 pages; its various regulations, another 13,000. This mountain of paper forms a stack seven feet high, or, laid end to end, a paper trail stretching for two and a half miles. And it turns out no federal agency is given a more important role in implementing all that red tape than the IRS, the recipient of no fewer than 47 new duties and enforcement powers under the law.
Those duties include imposing tax penalties on individuals and businesses, and providing tax subsidies to millions of people who buy insurance through government “exchanges.” According to the IRS inspector general, the new health care powers and duties “represent the largest set of tax law changes the IRS has had to implement in more than 20 years.”
Hmm. Are we really prepared to put our health insurance system under the same agency that, as we’ve learned from the targeting scandal, took 1,138 days to approve just one non-exempt group’s tax application?
[…] If citizens who hold a disfavored political view are already being harassed with excessive paperwork requests and delays, what’s preventing politically motivated IRS bureaucrats from leaking sensitive health information to groups like ProPublica, or subjecting those with disfavored medical conditions to discriminatory audits?
[…] One of the many troubling facts to emerge from the targeting scandal has been the incredibly personal nature of the questions asked of groups applying for non-profit status. The IRS made some groups disclose all of their employees’ resumes, as well as information about the nature of personal relationships between employees. They even demanded to know the contents of a religious group’s prayers. If this level of detail is required for a rather simple business matter, determining tax-exempt status, imagine what the tax bureaucrats will do with our intimate health-related information.
Back in 2007, Senator Obama said:
“I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom.
That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient.”
It would appear that his tune has changed since becoming president:
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During his speech in San Jose, California on Friday, President Obama took one question from the press on national security monitoring of Americans. Without any sense of irony whatsoever in the aftermath of the IRS’ targeting of conservatives, the administration’s stonewalling on Benghazi, the Department of Justice’s targeting of reporters, the Department of Health and Human Services’ leveraging of private organizations for Obamacare public relations cash, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s secret email addresses, Obama unloaded this line:
If people can’t trust not only the executive branch but also don’t trust Congress, and don’t trust federal judges, to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here.
Obama acknowledged that the U.S. government is collecting reams of phone records, including phone numbers and the duration of calls, but said this does not include listening to calls or gathering the names of callers.
“Nobody’s listening to the content of people’s phone calls,” Obama said.
The Investors Business Daily editorial board opines:
Barack Obama is now not only following George Orwell’s model in his newly uncovered domestic spying practices; he’s copying one of the most shocking aspects of the dystopian society Orwell conjured: telling people the exact opposite of the truth with a straight face.
[…] When a president who promised “the most open and transparent administration in history” must now scramble and assure the country that “nobody is listening to your telephone calls,” it exposes a grave breach of trust.
What’s to worry about? It’s not like they’d abuse this information to target political dissidents or anything.
We already know who Obama & Co. define as “terrorists,” and they don’t include the Boston Bombers or Ft. Hood Shooter.
Somebody’s been drinking too much Kool-Aid:
A poll released Monday shows that despite the uproar over the National Security Agency’s newly leaked surveillance programs, a majority of Americans are fine with the agency’s pervasive reach. Still, a sizable majority is opposed to the vast NSA surveillance net.
The snap poll comes courtesy of the Pew Research Center and the Washington Post. After asking 1,004 American adults for their opinions on NSA surveillance programs like the newly revealed tech-spying program PRISM, pollsters found that 56 percent of Americans have no objection.
Conor Friedersdorf at the Atlantic wants to know:
How is it tolerated by the American people?
That’s the most pressing question. The civic negligence required to reach this point is the thing that most disappoints me about my fellow citizens, who ought to throw out every last member of Congress complicit in the metastasizing surveillance state. I am serious. Look up your representative. In a letter or phone call, demand they take a stand against this, on penalty of you voting against them in a primary or general.
That’s how change happens when the president who promised it turns out to have lied.
We don’t know if the federal government has a similar order for AT&T or any other carrier. Or if they’re spying on Americans’ emails as well. Why? That isn’t the sort of thing President Obama thinks he needs to tell us, and Congress persists in giving him that latitude. Americans, who haven’t been objecting to any of this in large numbers, aren’t even demanding to know whether or not their government is assembling the most sophisticated surveillance state in human history.
Has fear of terrorism done this to us?
Whatever the cause, the current behavior of the American electorate does not befit a free people.
Mark Levin: “We have the elements of a Police State here…our government’s collecting way too much data on ‘we the private citizen’!”
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What’s to worry about? It’s not like they’d abuse this information to target political dissidents or anything.
The National Security Agency and FBI have been engaging in a highly classified program that mines data from leading U.S. internet companies, according to a bombshell report in The Washington Post Thursday night.
The program is code-named PRISM, and the Post reports that it was established in 2007. According to the report, the nine companies that “participate knowingly” in the program are Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.
The NSA and FBI tap directly into the central servers of the companies, obtaining audio, video, photographs, emails, documents and connection logs that “enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time,” according to the Post.
[…] The program was not disclosed publicly, and is only being disclosed now after a whistleblower revealed the program to the Post because of “horror” at its capabilities.
“They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type,” said the whistleblower, described as a career intelligence officer, in a truly harrowing quote.
Donors to conservative causes. Conservative activists and businesses. Pro-military donors. Christian, pro-life and pro-marriage groups. Adoptive families. Pro-Israel groups. The list of IRS victims grows by the day.
What is the administration’s response? Blame the little people, of course!
But the truth is, the little people were following orders from D.C., according to the testimony of a former IRS employee:
Q: In early 2010, was there a time when you became aware of applications that referenced Tea Party or other conservative groups?
A: In March of 2010, I was made aware.
Q: Okay. Now, was there a point around this time period when [your supervisor] asked you to do a search for similar applications?
Q: To the best of your recollection, when was this request made?
A: Sometime in early March of 2010.
Q: Did [your supervisor] give you any indication of the need for the search, any more context?
A: He told me that Washington, D.C., wanted some cases.
Q: Did anyone else ever make a request that you send any cases to Washington?
A: [Different IRS employee] wanted to have two cases that she couldn’t — Washington, D.C. wanted them, but she couldn’t find the paper. So she requested me, through an email, to find these cases for her and to send them to Washington, D.C.
Q: When was this, what time frame?
A: I don’t recall the time frame, maybe May of 2010.
Q: But just to be clear, she told you the specific names of these applicants.
Q: And she told you that Washington, D.C. had requested these two specific applications be sent to D.C.
A: Yes, or parts of them.
Q: Okay. So she asked you to send particular parts of these applications.
Q: And that was unusual. Did you say that?
Q: And she indicated that Washington had requested these specific parts of these specific applications; is that right?
The Cincinnati employee was clearly perturbed that the administration is making low-level employees the fall guys:
“It’s impossible,” an IRS employee responded to an investigator’s question about the allegations that the targeting of conservative groups was due to “two ‘rogue agents.” “As an agent we are controlled by many, many people. We have to submit many, many reports. So the chance of two agents being rogue and doing things like that could never happen.”
Answering a question about the employee’s reaction to news reports that the targeting was contained in Cincinnati and the fault of the Cincinnati office, the employee said that Washington has been throwing them under the bus.
“Well, it’s hard to answer the question because in my mind I still hear people saying we were low‑level employees, so we were lower than dirt, according to people in D.C. So, take it for what it is,” a Cincinnati IRS employee said. “They were basically throwing us underneath the bus.”
Attorney General Eric Holder Investigated For Lying to Congress Under Oath About Targeting Reporters
A law enforcement official has told NBC News that Attorney General Eric Holder is the one who signed the search warrant for the private emails of Fox News reporter James Rosen. The warrant was signed under the guise that Rosen might be a “possible co-consiprator” in violation of the Espionage Act.
Problem is, Holder denied all knowledge – much less involvement – of the DOJ targeting of reporters during sworn testimony before congress.
Last week, and while under oath, Attorney General Eric Holder testified before a House committee that when it comes to “try[ing] to prosecute the press for the publication of material” he has “never been involved in, heard of” such a thing.
Thursday, however, we learned that it was Holder who signed off on the application for a warrant to gain access to the private emails and phone records of Fox News reporter James Rosen. In doing so, Holder labeled Rosen a co-conspirator to obtain classified material under the Espionage Act of 1917.
Congress gave the Attorney General a deadline to clear up the “inconsistencies” in his testimony, but (surprise!), Holder missed it. He’s practically daring congress to subpoena him, but so far they don’t have the spine:
Republican lawmakers want to haul Attorney General Eric Holder back to the Hill to explain questionable testimony he gave on reporter surveillance — though they are stopping short of issuing a subpoena.
In a letter sent Thursday to the attorney general, Republican leaders of the House Judiciary Committee urged Holder to testify on June 18, or some other date before the end of the month. They say his department’s prior response to date “still fails to fully and adequately answer our questions.”
They want Holder to explain his May 15 testimony.
This guy is so used to getting away with everything, it will take a lot more than “pretty please” to get him to comply.
This is no different than taking their fingerprints or DNA, treating them like convicted criminals. What on earth makes them think they have the right to collect such personal data from children without parental consent or even notification?
Two days before their Memorial Day weekend break, kids from at least three different public schools — Bethune Academy (K-5), Davenport School of the Arts (K-5, middle and high school), and Daniel Jenkins Academy (6-12) — were subjected to iris scans without their parents’ knowledge or consent. The scans are essentially optical fingerprints, which the school intended to collect to create a database of biometric information for school bus security.
One mother took to Facebook to decry the outrageous breach after her son informed her of the unauthorized imaging. She posted a face-saving letter from Polk County Senior Director of Support Services Rob Davis notifying families only after the high-definition eye scans had been conducted.
The mom, April Serrano of Kissimmee, Fla., recounted: “I have been in touch with the principal at my son’s school this morning regarding the iris scans. She verified everything my son told me. … She said that she was following instructions from the Polk County School Board (PCSB), and that she knew very little, if anything, about this before it occurred. She just did as she was told.”
The principal “did as she was told,” no questions asked, just like a compliant servant of Big Brother is expected to do. Thank goodness for whistle-blowing parents unafraid to speak truth to mind-numbed power.
[…] “I am outraged and sickened by this blatant disregard for my son’s constitutional right to privacy and my parental rights over my son,” Serrano told me this week. Another affected mom, Connie Turlington, also publicly challenged the school district on local TV station WFLA: “This is a fingerprint of my child. Where does this information live? Who has a hold of it? … My question is: How is it deleted, and how can we be assured as parents that it’s gone?”
These parents are not alone. School districts across the country are contracting with private tracking firms to monitor students. Some are using radio frequency tracking technology (RFID) to log movements. Khaliah Barnes, the open government counsel with the Washington, D.C.-based Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), spelled out the chilling implications for freedom of speech, religion and association in a recent CBN interview: “Imagine for example a student being dissuaded from attending a political interest group because she fears that the tracking technology will alert the principal or other administrators where her political affiliations lie.”
Now, add the threat that the nationalized Common Core student databases pose to students and families. As I’ve reported previously, the feds are constructing an unprecedented nationwide student tracking system to aggregate massive amounts of personal data — including health-care histories, income information, religious affiliations, voting status and even blood types and homework completion.
The data will be available to a wide variety of public agencies….
Holy cow! They illegally got phone records from CONGRESS??
HH: The idea that this might be a Geithner-Axelrod plan, and by that, the sort of intimation, Henry II style, will no one rid me of this turbulent priest, will no one rid me of these turbulent Tea Parties, that might have just been a hint, a shift of an eyebrow, a change in the tone of voice. That’s going to take a long time to get to. I don’t trust the Department of Justice on this. Do you, Congressman Nunes?
DN: No, I absolutely do not, especially after this wiretapping incident, essentially, of the House of Representative. I don’t think people are focusing on the right thing when they talk about going after the AP reporters. The big problem that I see is that they actually tapped right where I’m sitting right now, the Cloak Room.
HH: Wait a minute, this is news to me.
DN: The Cloak Room in the House of Representatives.
HH: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
DN: So when they went after the AP reporters, right? Went after all of their phone records, they went after the phone records, including right up here in the House Gallery, right up from where I’m sitting right now. So you have a real separation of powers issue that did this really rise to the level that you would have to get phone records that would, that would most likely include members of Congress, because as you know…
DN: …members of Congress talk to the press all the time.
HH: I did not know that, and that is a stunner.
DN: Now that is a separation of powers issue here, Hugh.
DN: And it’s a freedom of press issue. And now you’ve got the IRS going after people. So these things are starting to cascade one upon the other, and you have the White House pretending like they’re in the clouds like it’s not their issue somehow.
Nune backtracked the term “tapped” later, confirming that although phone records had been obtained, none of the lines were actually tapped:
The DOJ admitted to obtaining call records from a phone used by the AP in the House press gallery, which is … different from tapping a room used by congressmen to talk shop. How Nunes confused the two, I have no idea. […]
So he was sloppy in confusing obtaining phone records for wiretapping, and what he meant by the cloakroom is that, I guess, if a congressman in the room called up to an AP reporter in the press gallery, the DOJ would know about it from the gallery phone’s records.
The Washington Post confirmed that “The subpoenaed phones records included personal and office lines for several national security reporters and editors as well as “the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery.”
Either way, this is still a monumental abuse of power which serves to chill freedom of the press and intimidate potential sources and whistleblowers who might now think twice about speaking to the press.
Somebody better be going to jail over this.
The media finally discovers that their idol is actually a tyrant, after all, and they are not exempt from his abuses.
The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.
[…] The records obtained by the Justice Department listed incoming and outgoing calls, and the duration of each call, for the work and home phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP.
In all, the government seized those records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown but more than 100 journalists work in the offices whose phone records were targeted on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.
In a letter of protest sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday, AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt said the government sought and obtained information far beyond anything that could be justified by any specific investigation. He demanded the return of the phone records and destruction of all copies.
Holder is now facing heated backlash from Democrats and the normally fawning liberal media. Rich Lowry ironically observes that the media have discovered that they have more in common with the Tea Party and NRA than they’d like to admit:
Another brilliant column from National Review’s Rich Lowry at Politico. Lowry makes the indisputable point that the same media that have spent years attacking the Tea Party, and months savaging the NRA, are now revealing brazen hypocrisy when it comes to protecting their own rights. In spirit and goal, the media are now one with the Tea Party and NRA.
What animates the Tea Party and NRA is a legitimate concern that the government — especially under President Obama — has made a disturbing pivot from their Constitutional requirement to protect our liberties, to infringing upon our liberties. In turn, Obama and his media label us as anti-government crazies suffering from paranoid delusions.
But look at the reaction this week from that very same media in the wake of the Associated Press scandal. Suddenly the media don’t like Big Government doing to them what ObamaCare and background checks will do to the rest of us. Moreover, the very same media that suggest not trusting the government is a form of extremism, is now demanding a law be immediately passed to shield them from government intrusion.
Matt Drudge warns:
Warning to reporters and sources: Assume all your communications are being monitored. Time to move back to the parking garage #longhotsummer
— MATT DRUDGE (@DRUDGE) May 13, 2013
If they’ve already proven themselves capable of targeting conservatives with only their tax information, what will they be capable of when they have even more information on their targets?
If they’ve already illegally released conservatives’ confidential tax information, what’s to stop them from leaking dissidents’ personal health information as well?
Obamacare is not merely a massive overhaul of the health care system. It is also a substantial expansion of the Internal Revenue Service. That’s because the law relies on the tax collection agency to both enforce its individual mandate and administer the tax credits the law offers to subsidize the purchase of health insurance. Following recent revelations that agents in multiple IRS offices, including tax officials in Washington, targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny, a number of former and current Republican legislators are already counseling caution about the agency’s role in administering the law.
Concerns about the agency’s oversight of the health law are well-founded—and not only because of general concerns about the agency’s judgment.
For one thing, the IRS appears to have specifically targeted groups that opposed the health care law. According to The Washington Post, “although some of the groups were explicitly labeled ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot,’ others that came under intense scrutiny were focused on challenging the Affordable Care Act — known by many as Obamacare — or the integrity of federal elections.”
In other words, the agency has singled out Obamacare opponents for unusual treatment. That does not speak well of the agency’s ability to fairly carry out its duties under the law.
Indeed it does not.
The editorial board at Investors Business Daily is similarly concerned:
[O]bamaCare’s individual mandate takes effect in 2014, all Americans who file income-tax returns must deal with and report personal health information to the IRS.
The IRS will require the name and health insurance identification number of the taxpayer, the name and tax identification number of the health insurance company, the number of months the taxpayer was covered by this insurance plan and whether the plan was purchased in one of ObamaCare’s “exchanges.”
Heavy fines will be levied for failure to jump through all the government’s hoops.
The new tax mandates and penalties in ObamaCare will require up to 16,500 new IRS personnel to collect, examine and audit new tax information mandated on families and small businesses, according to an analysis by the Joint Economic Committee and the then-minority GOP staff of the House Ways & Means Committee in 2010.
Will the IRS enforce the mandate rules impartially, or will it go after only those who support individual liberty and oppose government encroachment on it?
Will ObamaCare resisters also be considered enemies of the state?
Who needs a Bill of Rights or due process of law? The same government that claims to be “of the people, by the people, for the people” really considers itself completely above the law and unaccountable to the people.
When will Americans finally stand up to these abuses of power and say, “ENOUGH”?
The Internal Revenue Service doesn’t believe it needs a search warrant to read your e-mail.
Newly disclosed documents prepared by IRS lawyers say that Americans enjoy “generally no privacy” in their e-mail, Facebook chats, Twitter direct messages, and similar online communications — meaning that they can be perused without obtaining a search warrant signed by a judge.
That places the IRS at odds with a growing sentiment among many judges and legislators who believe that Americans’ e-mail messages should be protected from warrantless search and seizure. They say e-mail should be protected by the same Fourth Amendment privacy standards that require search warrants for hard drives in someone’s home, or a physical letter in a filing cabinet.
An IRS 2009 Search Warrant Handbook obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union argues that “emails and other transmissions generally lose their reasonable expectation of privacy and thus their Fourth Amendment protection once they have been sent from an individual’s computer.” The handbook was prepared by the Office of Chief Counsel for the Criminal Tax Division and obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
By that reasoning, a letter or package that leaves your home on it’s way to the intended recipient would would have no “reasonable expectation of privacy” either….except that it DOES.
If the government is not permitted to snoop through your physical mail without a warrant, neither should they be permitted to snoop through your electronic communications.
The ATF, along with the DOJ, allowed hundreds of American guns to fall into the hands of dangerous drug cartels.
But don’t worry. I’m sure they’ll be much more responsible when it comes to your personal information.
A recent solicitation from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) reveals that the agency is seeking a “massive” online database capable of pulling up individuals’ personal information, connections and associates.
On March 28, ATF posted the notice on FedBizOpps.gov, entitled “Investigative System.” The solicitation was updated on April 5 with a few minor changes.
The document says that the system will be utilized by staff “to provide rapid searches on various entities for example; names, telephone numbers, utility data and reverse phone look-ups, as a means to assist with investigations, and background research on people, assets and businesses.”
The system is described as a “massive online data repository system that contains a wide variety of data sources both historically and current that can be utilized in support of investigations and backgrounds.”
[…] The system “provides a means to rapidly check records across the country” and is “necessary in assisting investigators, agents and analyst to find people, their assets, relatives, associates and more.”
The ATF says they will use this system to provide information to Intelligence Analysts, Special Agents, Inspectors, Financial Investigators and Law Enforcement.
Who needs a warrant anymore? Don’t you feel safer?
Melissa Harris-Perry: All Your Kids Belong to Us (Not the Parents)
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I’ve seen the village, and I don’t want it raising my kids!
In a scripted MSNBC promo, Melissa Harris-Perry made the following statement:
“We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had a private notion of children, your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children. So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”
Got that? You kid doesn’t belong to you. He/she belongs to the “collective” – meaning, the state.
Ironically, this is the same woman who calls unborn babies “things that turn into humans.”
How do I put this politely? Stay the **** way from my kids!
So kids belong to whole communities? Didn’t we fight a war back in the 1800s to prove that people weren’t owned by the state or anyone else, but were, in fact, people? Seriously?
But take that out of it. This is amazingly stupid commentary. All of us who own property (real property, not children) pay property taxes to fund a public education system to educate our children. We have democratically elected school boards to make the decisions on how tocollectively educate our kids to common, state approved standards.
It is failing spectacularly. And I suspect that the tangible efforts to improve it, from neutering teachers unions to giving parents choices in where to send their children, are opposed by Melissa Harris-Perry.
I never thought I’d see the day when self-styled progressives advocated the state owning the people.
Ken Shepherd at Newsbusters correctly points out that this is actually Maoist philosophy she’s spewing:
[T]he notion of collective responsibility for children was a philosophy that undergirded the Cultural Revolution in Communist China under Chairman Mao. I bring that up because, as you may recall, another Harris-Perry “Lean Forward” spot contains a reference to a “great leap forward,” which calls to mind the disastrous agricultural reform plan which starved millions of Chinese to death in the 1950s.
The Five on Fox made some great points about this collectivist mentality while discussing this around the table:
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Sarah Palin tweeted a few ingenious responses to this:
Love it! After having spent 22 hours of my life in labor, I heartily agree!
After the justifiable outrage and backlash, Harris-Perry is trying to walk back her statements and blame the views for misunderstanding her. Nice try. This is typical for the Left. They float a trial balloon and then pretend it was all an innocent misunderstanding when they get called for dropping their mask. The mask goes back up, but the ugliness behind it doesn’t go away. They work by desensitizing people over time, so that what sounds outrageous now will actually start to sound reasonable a few years from now. I don’t buy her “backpedaling” for a second.
Sign the petition to adopt the only Constitutional Amendment that will protect children from this kind of power grab – the Parental Rights Amendment!