Big Brother is on his way and it's up to us to yell...stop!

The Obama administration is attempting to make it easier for the FBI to force companies like your phone company or cable company who provide your internet service to turn over to the FBI details of your personal Internet activity without a court order - if they say some magic words for which they'll need no proof. So far, all they're asking for without a warrant are the e-mail addresses of people you talk with, the times and dates on which your e-mails were sent and received, and your personal internet browser history. Government lawyers say “content” is not included in these searches of your computer without your consent and without a court warrant. At least yet. The Fourth Amendment, in its entirety, says, and I quote, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." It definitely does NOT say that the FBI can come into your home electronically and search your personal papers and effects - in this case your computer - WITHOUT bothering to demonstrate probable cause to a judge, having a witness swear under oath that you're probably committing a crime, and have that judge then issue a warrant that specifically names the documents on your computer they want to search and seize. This is one of those areas where the Tea Party and Progressives are both concerned. Big Brother is on his way and it's up to us to yell...stop!


Larry-T's picture
Larry-T 12 years 44 weeks ago

I just got an update from Politico:

Ousted Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod says she will sue blogger Andrew Breitbart, the Associated Press reported.

MugsysRapSheet's picture
MugsysRapSheet 12 years 44 weeks ago

Thom, regarding Tea Party complaining of "tyranny"...

Couldn't you define "tyranny" as: when a vocal minority threatens the majority with violence if they don't get their way?

DRichards's picture
DRichards 12 years 44 weeks ago


In a murder trial, if the police obtain evidence illegally and can't make their case otherwise, most of us accept the principle that a person we believe to be guilty should go free. We do this because we don’t want to live in a police state.

Our right to privacy, to avoid arbitrary search and seizure, to presumption of innocence . . . in other words our right to due process trumps any single crime or conviction. It's why we have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Sometimes it’s excruciating to see vicious criminals walk, but we tolerate it to defend our collective and individual rights.

If we can accept this in a trial of a professional assassin or worse, why would anyone be willing to give up those rights for some broken windows and a few trashed police cars?

While some of Toronto’s citizens have put it all behind them, there a many who are demanding to know why fundamental Charter rights were violated during the policing of the G20 weekend . . . and more importantly, they want accountability so it doesn’t happen again. They believe as I do, that we must defend individual freedom against arbitrary state action...

DRichards's picture
DRichards 12 years 44 weeks ago

From the Globe and Mail:

The only person charged under the controversial G20 five-metre rule appeared in court Wednesday, only to find the charges did not exist.

David Vasey, an environmental justice organizer, was arrested near the security fence in downtown Toronto on June 24 and brought to the Eastern Avenue detention centre. Hours later, he was released and told he had been charged under the Public Works Protection Act, a law quietly updated to include the summit site for the duration of the G20.

Mr. Vasey signed a promise to appear in court. But after showing up Wednesday, he and his lawyer discovered that the case was not on the docket and there was no information pertaining to the charges. His lawyer, Howard Morton, says it's unclear if Mr. Vasey was ever charged at all, despite what he was told at the detention centre.

gharlane's picture
gharlane 12 years 44 weeks ago

Link please?

C'mon, it's not too hard to provide a link in your main story in the OP, so we can all read where the story is coming from, follow up, get more details, fact check, or whatever. Rather than sending hundreds of users all over the web chasing the story -- you've obviously read it, so just link it up please.

gerald's picture
gerald 12 years 44 weeks ago

The noose is tightening around average Americans' necks.

finisher11's picture
finisher11 12 years 44 weeks ago

Thom----Have you checked out the OIL SPILL in Michigan? Nearly a million gallons in the Kalamazoo River heading toward Lake Michigan.

n8chz's picture
n8chz 12 years 44 weeks ago

Privacy is a lost cause for reasons rooted in technology, not law. What is needed is reciprocal transparency, meaning we the people must have the advanced data mining tools to get a high-resolution picture of what's going on.

Blue Mark's picture
Blue Mark 12 years 44 weeks ago

Several years back Timkin High School in North Canton, OH switched to "abstinence only" (or as I call it - "ignorance only") sex education.

surprisingly ... just a couple of years later - in 2005 - there was a population explosion at the school when 65 of their 490 female students were pregnant.

DRichards's picture
DRichards 12 years 44 weeks ago

The great recession is over? How come no one told me?

And Alan Blinder (economist, banking consultant and former Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System) and chief Moody's economist Mark Zandi wrote a paper yesterday called How We Ended the Great Recession:

How We Ended the Great RecessionA source on Capitol Hill sent this to me, telling me that the paper is making the rounds on the Hill.
In the paper, Blinder and Zandi congratulate the Bush and Obama administrations for saving us from the Great Depression 2.0:

Eighteen months ago, the global financial system was on the brink of collapse and the U.S. was suffering its worst economic downturn since the 1930s. The Great Recession gave way to recovery as quickly as it did largely because of the unprecedented responses by monetary and fiscal policymakers.

In other words: "Mission Accomplished".

In the real world, however, the economy is on the second leg down of the crash, and the government's policies have not addressed the real problems. See this and this (no wonderconsumer confidence is plunging but Wall Street is partying like it's 1999).

Indeed, while Blinder and Zandi and Congress are patting themselves on the back for a job well done, the facts simply do not bear out their claims. As just one example, they claim that the TARP bank bailouts helped the economy. But as I pointed out in March 2009, the bailout money didn't actually go to any productive economic uses:

The bailout money is just going to line the pockets of the wealthy, instead of helping to stabilize the economy or even the companies receiving the bailouts:

  • A lot of the bailout money is going to the failing companies' shareholders
  • Indeed, a leading progressive economist says that the true purpose of the bank rescue plans is "a massive redistribution of wealth to the bank shareholders and their top executives"
  • The Treasury Department encouraged banks to use the bailout money to buy their competitors, and pushed through an amendment to the tax laws which rewards mergers in the banking industry (this has caused a lot of companies to bite off more than they can chew, destabilizing the acquiring companies)

And as the New York Times notes, "Tens of billions of [bailout] dollars have merely passed through A.I.G. to its derivatives trading partners".


In other words, through a little game-playing by the Fed, taxpayer money is goingstraight into the pockets of investors in AIG's credit default swaps and is not even really stabilizing AIG.

The super-wealthy have been bailed out, and life is great for them. For everyone else, things are not so good.

The system is rigged to benefit the elites and their sycophants at the expense of the country. See this, this, this, and this.

And - because Congress members tend to be wealthy, and because they can engage in insider trading without having to worry about pesky things like the law - they continue (with only a handful of exceptions who challenge status quo thinking regarding finance and war) to make decisions which benefit their own bank accounts, instead of working for the American people.

making progress's picture
making progress 12 years 44 weeks ago

Stephen Colbert - "Ownership Society"

This is really brilliant! He uses Thom's society of pee-ons mantra in his "The Word."

janicemccann59's picture
janicemccann59 12 years 43 weeks ago

I believe this is the consequence of deregulation.

Zero G's picture
Zero G 12 years 43 weeks ago

Big Brother is on his way and it's up to us to yell...stop!

Yes, well...

Big Brother is, and has been here for years. We've been tailed, survailed and pre-emptively jailed at many protests from the political conventions of both parties, meetings of the G-8, or G-20, or FTAA etc., etc. This is nothing new. From McCarthyism and HUAC, COINTELPRO, through to the illegal wiretapping of the W. Bush and Obama maladministrations. Meet the new boss...

And this is the guy that we are told we must support in order to save the Supreme Court? An accurate reading of the facts would logically lead to dispair, the National Security State and a functioning democracy are not compatible. So, here's to an irrational urge to plug ahead...Damn the warrantless torpedoes!

Rod Zero's picture
Rod Zero 12 years 43 weeks ago

I live in a town that openly prays before city council meetings, has military style "eye in the sky" patrolling at night, has 5 super Wal-marts with a population of 500,000, publicly backs the nAZi law and the mayor has openly said he wants to be king despite already doing as he pleases and disposing of any who get in his way while he flies in his private jet. Big brother and the future of America is here in Lancaster, CA already.

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