The head of the FBI says he understands why people worry about the scope of the government's powers, and in fact, he agrees with them. “I believe people should be suspicious of government power. I am,” Director James Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning.
In America today, we’re not yet burning people at the stake, fortunately. Nor are we burning books. But your government is interested in what books you read. They’re interested in what you say in your phone calls. They’re interested in what you write in your emails. -Rand Paul
“This abuse of state power,” writes Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei about the U.S. government’s surveillance of U.S. citizens, “goes totally against my understanding of what it means to be a civilized society.”
Democrat, Liberal, Government, Guns, Bigbrother
Hawaii's governor signed a bill making it the first state to place its residents who own firearms in a federal criminal record database and monitor them for possible wrongdoing anywhere in the country, his office said... Hawaii Governor David Ige, a Democrat, on Thursday signed into law a bill to have police in the state enroll people into an FBI criminal monitoring service after they register their firearms as already required, his office said in a statement.
Democrat, Liberal, Crime, Election, Government, Fascism, Bigbrother, Corruption
In an email exchange last May, Ms. Lerner tells Nikole Flax, then the IRS commissioner’s chief of staff, that she got a call from a high-ranking Department of Justice (DOJ) official who “wanted to know who at IRS the DOJ folks could talk to” about Democratic senators’ push to prosecute conservative groups. “I think we should do it,” Ms. Flax replies, ” — also need to include [Justice’s Criminal Investigation Division], which we can help coordinate. Also, we need to reach out to [the Federal Election Commission (FEC).”
Democrat, Government, Fascism, Bigbrother, Corruption
IRS lawyers flagged groups that they thought were connected to Sarah Palin, Chris Christie, and Newt Gingrich. Another five groups were "flagged as having 'anti-Obama' materials in their applications or on their websites."
Government, Oops, Bigbrother, Constitution
The leader of the secret court that is supposed to provide critical oversight of the government’s vast spying programs said that its ability do so is limited and that it must trust the government to report when it improperly spies on Americans. The chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said the court lacks the tools to independently verify how often the government’s surveillance breaks the court’s rules that aim to protect Americans’ privacy. Without taking drastic steps, it also cannot check the veracity of the government’s assertions that the violations its staff members report are unintentional mistakes.
A U.S. judge has ruled that Google Inc. must comply with the FBI's warrantless demands for customer data, rejecting the company's argument that the government's practice of issuing such requests to telecommunication companies, Internet service providers, banks and others is unconstitutional and unnecessary.
Democrat, Tax, Crime, Election, Government, Fascism
Delaware state officials have told Congress that they likely destroyed the computer records that would show when and how often they accessed Christine O'Donnell’s personal tax records and acknowledged that a newspaper article was used as the sole justification for snooping into the former GOP Senate candidate’s tax history.
Democrat, Liberal, Obama, Character, Fascism, AntiAmerican, Bigbrother
Leslie James Pickering noticed something odd in his mail last September: a handwritten card, apparently delivered by mistake, with instructions for postal workers to pay special attention to the letters and packages sent to his home. “Show all mail to supv” — supervisor — “for copying prior to going out on the street,” read the card. It included Mr. Pickering’s name, address and the type of mail that needed to be monitored.
Democrat, Hypocrisy, Liberal, Government, Obama, Bigbrother
Consumers are already familiar with Internet "cookies" that track their movements and send them targeted ads that follow them to different websites. The IRS has brought in private industry experts to employ similar digital tracking -- but with the added advantage of access to Social Security numbers, health records, credit card transactions and many other privileged forms of information that marketers don't see. "Private industry would be envious if they knew what our models are," boasted Dean Silverman, the agency's high-tech top gun who heads a group recruited from the private sector to update the IRS, in a comment reported in trade publications.
Government, Brilliance, Fascism, Bigbrother, Regulation
A new law proposed by the European Commission would make it illegal to "grow, reproduce or trade" any vegetable seeds that have not been "tested, approved and accepted" by a new EU bureaucracy named the "EU Plant Variety Agency."
Forget police drones flying over your house. How about police coming inside, once a year, to have a look around? As Orwellian as that sounds, it isn’t hypothetical. The notion of police home inspections was introduced in a bill last week in Olympia... “They always say, we’ll never go house to house to take your guns away. But then you see this, and you have to wonder.” -Danny Westneat, Seattle Times
Editorial, Liberal, Government, Fascism, Bigbrother, Energy
Fridges and freezers in millions of British homes will automatically be switched off without the owner’s consent under a ‘Big Brother’ regime to reduce the strain on power stations. The National Grid is demanding that all new appliances be fitted with sensors that could shut them down when the UK’s generators struggle to meet demand for electricity.
Democrat, Liberal, Government, Obama, Bigbrother
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has claimed that agents do not need warrants to read people's emails, text messages and other private electronic communications, according to internal agency documents. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act request, released the information on Wednesday. In a 2009 handbook, the IRS said the Fourth Amendment does not protect emails because Internet users "do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications."
Democrat, Liberal, Government, Obama, Threats, Fascism, Bigbrother
BLITZER: What was said? WOODWARD: It was said very clearly, you will regret doing this. BLITZER: Who sent that e-mail to you? WOODWARD: Well, I'm not going to say. BLITZER: Was it a senior person at the White House? WOODWARD: A very senior person.
Democrat, Liberal, Government, Guns, Character, Oops, Fascism, AntiAmerican, Bigbrother, Constitution
A new bill working through Washington state’s legislature would allow local sheriffs to enter homes of gun owners to ensure their weapons are properly stored. The bill, pushed by Democrats, allows police to search where and how assault weapons are stored — as well as how safely they are stored, according to its text, listed in the state’s online legislative directory as SB 5737-2013-14. The bill reads: “In order to continue to possess an assault weapon that was legally possessed on the effective date of this section, the person in possession shall … safely and securely store the assault weapon. The sheriff of the county may, no more than once per year, conduct an inspection to ensure compliance with this subsection.” ... -Danny Westneat, Seattle Times ... State of Washington 63rd Legislature 2013 Regular Session By Senators Murray, Kohl-Welles, and Kline
Federal regulators are proposing that new automobiles sold in the United States after September 2014 come equipped with black boxes, so-called “event data recorders” that chronicle everything from how fast a vehicle was traveling, the number of passengers and even a car’s location.
Democrat, Hypocrisy, Liberal, Government, Obama, Fascism, Bigbrother
Top U.S. intelligence officials gathered in the White House Situation Room in March to debate a controversial proposal. Counterterrorism officials wanted to create a government dragnet, sweeping up millions of records about U.S. citizens—even people suspected of no crime. Not everyone was on board. "This is a sea change in the way that the government interacts with the general public," Mary Ellen Callahan, chief privacy officer of the Department of Homeland Security, argued in the meeting, according to people familiar with the discussions. A week later, the attorney general signed the changes into effect.
Government, Brilliance, Bigbrother
A rural Oregon man was sentenced Wednesday to 30 days in jail and over $1,500 in fines because he had three reservoirs on his property to collect and use rainwater... The court has given Harrington two weeks to report to the Jackson County Jail to begin serving his sentence.
Tax, Government, Bigbrother
OAKLAND (KCBS) – Bay Area drivers could one day be tracked using a GPS-like device in their cars and taxed per miles driven – a scenario which is part of a proposed long-range study aimed at finding ways to reduce traffic and pollution, while also raising revenues. Members of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments are scheduled to vote on Thursday on whether or not to authorize a study of the proposal. Under the plan, drivers would have to install trackers in their vehicle and officials would tax drivers for every mile they travel.
Democrat, Hypocrisy, Liberal, Obama, Science, Bigbrother
WASHINGTON — A wide-ranging surveillance operation by the Food and Drug Administration against a group of its own scientists used an enemies list of sorts as it secretly captured thousands of e-mails that the disgruntled scientists sent privately to members of Congress, lawyers, labor officials, journalists and even President Obama, previously undisclosed records show.
The era of private conversations on city buses — and even on San Francisco’s iconic streetcars — may be coming to an end. Government officials are quietly installing sophisticated audio surveillance systems on public buses across the country to eavesdrop on passengers, according to documents obtained by The Daily. Plans to implement the technology are under way in cities from San Francisco to Hartford, Conn., and Eugene, Ore., to Columbus, Ohio.
Government, Incompetence, Brilliance, Oops, Bigbrother
When members of the Midwest town’s SWAT team plotted their raid on the alleged home of the person behind some unpleasant remarks published on an Internet forum, they invited a local television crew to accompany them so that they could catch the whole thing on camera. Instead of arresting the author of the ill-tempered posts, however, the Evansville SWAT ravaged the home of an elderly woman and confiscated her 18-year-old granddaughter’s laptop. The SWAT team did not have the name of who they were going after. They barely even had an identity. What they did have to work with, though, was the IP address of a person who logged onto the Topix.com Web forums and made discouraging remarks about local law enforcement.
Government, Bigbrother, Teaparty, Regulation, Bias
The Waco Tea Party submitted an application for tax-exempt status in 2010. Nearly two years after the IRS’s 90-day response window elapsed, the group finally received a reply — a list of over 50 demands. The three-year-old organization was asked to compile every Facebook post and tweet it had ever produced. It was told to submit transcriptions of its weekly radio show — a request that would cost $25,000 to comply with, more than twice the group’s annual budget. It was ordered to explain any “close relationships” with candidates. And when the Waco Tea Party asked the IRS to clarify “close relationship” and “candidate,” the IRS replied, “Send us everything.” To make the demands even more egregious, the over 30,000 pages of demanded information was to be compiled in just 14 days.
Democrat, Government, Bigbrother
LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A bill authored by a Southland lawmaker that could potentially allow the federal government to prevent any Americans who owe back taxes from traveling outside the U.S. is one step closer to becoming law. Senate Bill 1813 was introduced back in November by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Los Angeles) to “reauthorize Federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs, and for other purposes” .
Government, Bigbrother, Constitution
An Orange County couple has been ordered to stop holding a Bible study in their home on the grounds that the meeting violates a city ordinance as a “church” and not as a private gathering. Homeowners Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, of San Juan Capistrano, were fined $300 earlier this month for holding what city officials called “a regular gathering of more than three people”. That type of meeting would require a conditional use permit as defined by the city, according to Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), the couple’s legal representation.
A Florida family is facing fines for hosting a weekly Bible study in their home – an act that city officials argue violates zoning codes. Shane and Marlen Roessiger, of Venice, Fla. are facing a $250 per day fine for hosting Friday night prayer and Bible study gatherings that are attended by as many as 10 people. “It is difficult to understand how it is illegal to have a prayer meeting on Friday night with a half dozen people but it is alright if I invited the same group on Monday evening to watch Monday night Football,” Roessiger said.
Democrat, Liberal, Crime, Guns, Obama, Demagoguery, Corruption
Documents obtained by CBS News show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discussed using their covert operation "Fast and Furious" to argue for controversial new rules about gun sales... ATF officials didn't intend to publicly disclose their own role in letting Mexican cartels obtain the weapons, but emails show they discussed using the sales, including sales encouraged by ATF, to justify a new gun regulation called "Demand Letter 3"... "Bill - can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks."
Democrat, Hypocrisy, Liberal, Obama, Bigbrother
In a conference call with reporters, Mr. Chu said the more-efficient bulbs required would save consumers money over the life of the product, even if the up-front price is higher. "We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money," he said.
After hearing a little more from my stepson and talking to the town police, I discovered that it was the Massachusetts State Police that broke up our lemonade stand.
Government, Incompetence, Bigbrother
Should it be any surprise that six years after the horrible landmark Supreme Court's 2005 case Kelo v. City of New London, which brought about the decision that governments could seize private property for the sole reason of "economic development," the Fort Trumbull site in question is today a total dump, where "economic development" by the local government has ceased to ever happen?
The amendment from Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) to block the president’s broad power to hold American citizens without trial was stripped from the final defense authorization bill in conference, prompting a “no” vote on the entire bill from Lee and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). “The right to due process, a trial by jury, and protection from indefinite detention should not be shorn from our Bill of Rights or wrested from the hands of Americans. It is a dark day in our history that these rights have been stomped upon and discarded,” he continued. In a speech on the Senate floor, Paul called the exclusion of the provision “so fundamentally wrong and goes against everything we stand for as a country that it can’t go unnoticed and should be pointed out.”
East Side woman claims a sanitation agent chased her, threatened her with arrest and slapped her with a ticket for putting day-old newspapers in a city trash can.
In all, more than 60,000 people—including 7,600 in North Carolina—were forcibly sterilized in the United States in the name of “progress.” Progressives of the time lauded the decision in Buck. Individual rights, they firmly believed, should not be allowed to stand in the way of collective progress.
Violence, Government, Bigbrother
The U.S. Department of Education issued the search and called in S.W.A.T for his wife's defaulted student loans.
Violence, Government, Incompetence, Bigbrother
SWAT Team Raids House at 6 AM and Handcuffs Father of Three Young Kids to Execute a Dept. of Education Search Warrant for Estranged Wife's Defaulted Student Loans.
When financial questions arose regarding the Mountain Pure Water Company, Washington did not send a few staffers to inspect documents. Instead, last spring, some 50 armed Treasury agents breached Mountain Pure’s headquarters in Little Rock, Ark. They seized 82 boxes of records, herded employees into the cafeteria, snatched their cell phones, and refused to let them consult attorneys. “We’re the federal government,” Mountain Pure’s comptroller, Jerry Miller, says one pistol-packing fed told him. “We can do what we want, when we want, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Democrat, Government, Obama, Bigbrother
The use of GPS tracking devices is poised to become one of the most contentious privacy issues before the Supreme Court, if it agrees to hear an appeal filed by the Obama administration last month. The administration is seeking to overturn a ruling by a lower court that law enforcement officials must obtain a warrant before using a tracker.
Government, Guns, Bigbrother
The problem is that the man doesn't appear to have committed any actual crimes. Authorities have filed no charges against him. He did recently buy three guns, but he purchased all three of them legally. A spokesman for the Oregon State Police told South Oregon's Mail Tribune newspaper, "Instead of being reactive, we took a proactive approach."
Government, Experts, Bigbrother, Regulation
A raging debate over new legislation, and its impact on the Internet, has tongues wagging and fingers pointing from Silicon Valley to Washington, D.C. The ominously nicknamed Kill Switch bill and its impact on the Internet is stirring debate. Just as the Egyptian government recently forced the Internet to go dark, U.S. officials could flip the switch if the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset legislation becomes law, say its critics.
Imagine you're sitting at home, comfortable on the couch, watching the Food Network, when all of a sudden a heavily armed SWAT team breaks down your door and storms into your living room.
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.
With its "Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs," or CIN, the agency plans to send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run.