In a dangerously flawed decision unsealed today, a federal district court in Virginia ruled that a criminal defendant has no “reasonable expectation of privacy” in his personal computer, located inside his home. According to the court, the federal government does not need a warrant to hack into an individual’s computer.
This decision is the latest in, and perhaps the culmination of, a series of troubling decisions in prosecutions stemming from the FBI’s investigation of Playpen—a Tor hidden services site hosting child pornography. The FBI seized the server hosting the site in 2014, but continued to operate the site and serve malware to thousands of visitors that logged into the site. The malware located certain identifying information (e.g., MAC address, operating system, the computer’s “Host name”; etc) on the attacked computer and sent that information back to the FBI. There are hundreds of prosecutions, pending across the country, stemming from this investigation. Continue reading »
Perhaps the greatest irony of this past year has been the mind numbing and irrational anti-free speech wave that swept across facets of so-called “liberal” America.
This regressive movement was most readily apparent on college campuses, where hordes of sheltered and emotionally stunted students demanded restrictions on free speech in order to prevent themselves from being offended by an ever expanding list of unhappy thoughts and words. However, what is far more troubling, albeit much less public, are attempts by two fascist academic authoritarians, to convince the American citizenry to relinquish their First Amendment rights in the name of fighting ISIS. One of these men is a close advisor to President Obama.
– From last year’s post: Glenn Greenwald Confronts American “Liberals” Trying to Destroy Free Speech
It seems everywhere you turn, U.S. politicians at all levels of government are incessantly scheming to figure out ways to further erode the civil liberties of the American public. Earlier this month, a particularly egregious example emerged from the state of New York. It relates to an anti-First Amendment executive order issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo, followed one day later by similar legislation introduced by a state Senator. In case you aren’t up to speed on the issue, here’s a little background.
The agency’s source of power has always been fear.
And now is the time to capitalize upon it.
Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson has seized upon the Orlando shooting and is… rather predictably… using the specter of terrorism as a pretext for instituting gun control on a wider scale. (Of course, he isn’t alone.)
A New York Times editorial advocates for a new law allowing a secret court to take away citizens’ right to own a gun at the discretion of the federal government.
Citing the Orlando terror attack that left 50 dead including the shooter and 53 wounded at a gay nightclub, the piece advocates for a “no-buy” list similar to “no-fly” lists. Under the law, suspected terrorists would not be able to buy a gun. In an attempt to ensure the integrity of the lists and preserve due process, the author proposes people only be added to this no-buy list after a secret court rules they are ineligible, similar to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court hearings where the federal government obtains permission to wiretap. Under this proposal, an American who has never been convicted of a crime could be denied their right to buy a gun simply because a secret court decided it should be that way. Continue reading »
Painting by Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com
This post explains the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution – and provides a scorecard on the extent of the loss of each right.
The 1st Amendment protects speech, religion, assembly and the press:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The Supreme Court has also interpreted the First Amendment as protecting freedom of association. Continue reading »
Supporter urges Clinton to take on “the sons and daughters of Charlton Heston”
Hillary Clinton plans to use executive orders to chip away at the gun rights of American citizens.
During an event in Philadelphia, a Hillary-supporting gun control advocate rose to urge Clinton to take on “the sons and daughters” of former NRA icon and legendary actor Charlton Heston. Continue reading »
America: Land of the free and future home of censorship? A new study by Pew Research shows that American Millennials are far more likely to support the government banning offensive speech about minority groups than other generations.
And as predicted….
From the article:
“This is what we do not understand. The targets bombed by French warplanes were mostly abandoned by ISIL fighters.”
French authorities are still largely in the dark regarding how many people were ultimately involved in the attack and with suspected “mastermind” Abdelhamid Abaaoud out of reach in Syria, police are focused on locating Salah Abdeslam who allegedly helped with logistics and rented a black Volkswagen Polo used by the gunmen who stormed the Bataclan concert hall. Continue reading »
By inserting individual arbitration clauses into a soaring number of consumer and employment contracts, companies like American Express devised a way to circumvent the courts and bar people from joining together in class-action lawsuits, realistically the only tool citizens have to fight illegal or deceitful business practices.
Thousands of cases brought by single plaintiffs over fraud, wrongful death and rape are now being decided behind closed doors. And the rules of arbitration largely favor companies, which can even steer cases to friendly arbitrators, interviews and records show.
The sharp shift away from the civil justice system has barely registered with Americans. F. Paul Bland Jr., the executive director of Public Justice, a national consumer advocacy group, attributed this to the tangle of bans placed inside clauses added to contracts that no one reads in the first place.
“Corporations are allowed to strip people of their constitutional right to go to court,” Mr. Bland said. “Imagine the reaction if you took away people’s Second Amendment right to own a gun.”
– From yesterday’s New York Times article: Arbitration Everywhere, Stacking the Deck of Justice
I’ve followed the dangerous trend of the increased corporate use of arbitration clauses in contracts for several years now, and yesterday’s New York Times investigation into their civil liberties destroying nature, is one of the best pieces I’ve seen on the subject to date. Continue reading »
– Big Win for Animal Lovers: Judge Strikes Down Ag Gag Law in Idaho (Natural Society, Aug 14, 2015):
Calling the law unconstitutional
Activists who try to film animal abuse on Big Ag farms often face a fine of up to $5000 for whistleblowing on the industry. But just a few short weeks ago, a federal judge ruled that Idaho’s controversial ‘ag gag’ law was unconstitutional, and said that criminalizing undercover documentation violates both free speech and the equal protection clauses of the constitution.
U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill made his decision crystal clear in a 28-page ruling: Continue reading »
– Use RICO Laws to Prosecute Global Warming Skeptics, says Senator (Ice Age Now, June 3, 2015):
That’s right – a sitting U.S. Senator is suggesting that RICO laws be applied to global warming skeptics,says the Weekly Standard.
“Unless, of course, we’re just going to scrap any pretense of political neutrality on questions of free speech. Top men like Sheldon Whitehouse can make sure we don’t hear anything that we don’t need to hear about scientific research and legally punish anyone who publicly disagrees. Otherwise, the natives get restless….” Continue reading »
“If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.”
– Norman Braksick, president of Asgrow Seed Co., a subsidiary of Monsanto, quoted in the Kansas City Star, March 7, 1994
– Court Declares Vermont’s Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Law Constitutional (Center For Food Safety, April 27, 2015):
Ruling Denies Big Food’s Preliminary Injunction Motion
April 27, 2015 (Washington, DC)–Today, Center for Food Safety (CFS) hailed the just-issued federal court decision from the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont affirming the constitutionality of Vermont’s genetically engineered food labeling law, Act 120. The ruling fully denied the preliminary injunction motion brought by the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association, Snack Food Association, and other plaintiffs to try and halt the law’s implementation, and granted the State of Vermont’s motion to dismiss on several claims.
“This important ruling affirms the constitutionality of genetically engineered food labeling, as well as the rights of Vermonters and U.S. citizens across the country,” said George Kimbrell, senior attorney for Center for Food Safety and counsel in the case. “Americans are demanding the right to know if their food is produced through genetic engineering, for health, environmental and many other reasons. This decision is a crucial step in protecting those rights.” Continue reading »
– Congress Is Trying To Reauthorize Key Patriot Act Provisions by Sneaking it Into ‘USA Freedom Act’ (Liberty Blitzkrieg, April 17, 2015):
Yet with Section 215’s lifespan now stretching to a matter of weeks, supporters of broad surveillance powers have yet to put forth a bill for their preservation – evidence, opponents believe, that the votes for reauthorization do not exist, particularly not in the House of Representatives.
More likely, according to a multiple Hill sources, is a different option under consideration: making the major NSA reform bill of the last Congress the point of departure for reauthorizing 215 in the current one.
The bill would not abridge NSA collection of Americans’ international communications, nor prevent the NSA or the FBI from warrantlessly searching through its troves of them for Americans’ identifying information. Nor would it restrict a constellation of surveillance efforts authorized by a Reagan-era executive order. Even a recently disclosed bulk domestic phone records collection dragnet by the Drug Enforcement Agency would be untouched.
“We should be demanding more reforms than the intelligence agencies are gladly willing to offer us,” said David Segal of the activist group Demand Progress.
– From the Guardian article: NSA and FBI Fight to Retain Spy Powers as Surveillance Law Nears Expiration
June 1, 2015 is a very important day for American civil liberties and the Constitution. On that day, Section 215 of the Patriot Act, one of the most egregious pieces of legislation passed in U.S. history, will expire automatically without reauthorization from Congress. Naturally, this is causing a panic attack within the heart of the NSA, FBI and all the authoritarian lackey legislators in Washington D.C. With the chances of a clean reauthorization next to none, these crafty “representatives” and their puppeteers need to figure out a way to sneak it into another piece of legislation. What better way to do this than making it a part of something that ostensibly appears to be reining in surveillance powers. Enter the USA Freedom Act. Continue reading »
Flashback and an absolute must-watch for all those that haven’t seen this yet.
Feb 14, 2014
America: Freedom to Fascism is a 2006 film by Aaron Russo, covering a variety of subjects, including: the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the income tax, Federal Reserve System, national ID cards (REAL ID Act), human-implanted RFID tags, Diebold electronic voting machines, globalization, Big Brother, taser weapons abuse, and the use of terrorism by the government as a means to diminish the citizens’ rights.
Tags: Aaron Russo, Banking, Congress, Constitution, Documentary, Dollar, Fascism, Fed, Federal Reserve, Fraud, Global News, Government, IRS, Microchip, New World Order, Politics, Rockefeller, Rothschild, Society, Taxpayers, U.S.
… it would have been easier to ask how many we have still left!
Painting by Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com
– Pop Quiz: How Many Constitutional Rights Have We Lost? (Washington’s Blog, 27, 2015):
How Many Constitutional Freedoms Have We Lost?
This post explains the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution – and provides a scorecard on the extent of the loss of each right. Continue reading »
From the article:
“This past month, one Congressman finally said that enough was enough and proposed a new bill to bring back our First Amendment rights.
Then they killed it.
Just two weeks after the bill was submitted, it was squashed.”
– Congress Proposes Bill To Restore First Amendment Rights… Then Kills It (Sovereign Man, Jan 23, 2015):
To this day, many governments around the world maintain a tight grip on dissent.
Students in Thailand have been arrested for using a three-fingered salute they saw in the movie Hunger Games.
In Turkey, Twitter, Youtube, and other social media sites have been blocked. And in Russia the word “crisis” has been banned from use in public.
You can see the backlash of insecure governments against the free expression of their citizens everywhere. Continue reading »
– Costa Rica Court Labels Approval Process for GMOs ‘Unconstitutional’ (Sustainable Pulse, Jan 16, 2015):
In a ruling Thursday lauded by Costa Rica’s anti-GMO activists, the country’s Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, struck down the government’s regulatory framework on genetically modified organisms, declaring the process of approval for GMO projects unconstitutional.
Source: The Tico Times
In the court’s opinion, Chief Justice Gilbert Armijo Sancho wrote that the regulations violate the Costa Rican Constitution because the secrecy allowed to GMO companies in terms of the genetic information of their products violates the constitutional right to freedom of information. Continue reading »
– Now We Know The Plan: More Surveillance and a Patriot Act For Europe (SHFTplan, Jan 15, 2015):
The irony is almost worse than 9/11.
Then, President Bush responded by stating, with bravado, that they attacked us because they hate our freedoms.
This time, the attack against the publication of satirical Mohammed cartoon, was not only an act of terrorism, but an attack on the spirit of free speech.
And the government response this time? After staging a photo op of world leaders, various heads of state have proposed new waves of surveillance and repressive attempts to ban encryption and violate the freedom of speech in communication devices through new spy policies and laws.
On Sunday, as more than 3 million people flooded the streets of Paris in support of the free speech principles that Charlie Hebdo embodied, a group of 12 European ministers issued a joint statement calling for internet service providers to more swiftly report and remove online material “that aims to incite hatred and terror.”
Establishing a framework to enhance police work and intelligence sharing concerning the actions of alleged terrorists and extremists, the joint statement from 12 European ministers and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder declares the intent to: “counter violent extremism” and “fight against radicalization, notably on the Internet,” in part through the “swift reporting [and removal] of material that aims to incite hatred and terror.” Meanwhile, it aims to beef European border control, “step up the detection and screening of travel movements” and enhance law enforcement, particularly in “working to reduce the supply of illegal firearms throughout Europe.” Continue reading »
As a side note: Rand Paul – like the Bush’s, the Clinton’s and Obama – is an elite puppet.
Dec 19, 2014
“Jefferson and Madison and William O. Douglas and everybody that took a stand for human liberty would be turning in their graves,” roars Judge Andrew Napolitano about President Obama’s decision to use drones on American citizens.
The syndicated columnist, Fox News senior judicial analyst, and outspoken libertarian sat down with Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie to discuss his new book, Suicide Pact:The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Assault on Civil Liberties. Continue reading »
– Supreme Court rules cops can search your car and seize evidence even if the stop was unlawful (Natural News, Dec 22, 2014):
Police officers are able to use evidence in court that they seized during a traffic stop even if turns out that the cops pulled a car over initially based on their misunderstanding of the law, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled.
In an overwhelmingly lopsided 8-1 decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts, justices said that such stops do not violate the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
As reported by The Associated Press (AP): Continue reading »
– Judge Rules Abuse of Executive Orders are Unconstitutional (Armstrong Economics, Dec 20, 2014):
A federal judge, Judge Arthur J. Schwab of the Western District of Pennsylvania, used a deportation decision to probe the constitutionality of President Obama’s executive order on amnesty, declaring it “unconstitutional.”
It is about time that Executive Orders are challenged in court for they are absolutely unconstitutional since they smack of a dictatorial abuse of power that denies the people the right to decide the fate of their nation.
Indeed, Texas and other states have already initiated lawsuits challenging the order. Nonetheless, the key here is that ANY such Executive Order is unconstitutional violating the entire concept of a Republic where it is at least a pretense that it is a government by the people rather than a king acting on a personal whim. This is what the law should be – not because of the subject-matter, but any issue. Continue reading »
– EFF in Court to Argue NSA Data Collection from Internet Backbone Is Unconstitutional (Electric Froniter Foundation, Dec 16, 2014):
First Public Court Challenge to “Upstream” Internet Spying
Oakland – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will argue on Friday before a federal court that the National Security Agency (NSA) is violating the Fourth Amendment by copying and searching data that it collects by tapping into the Internet backbone. The hearing on a motion for partial summary judgment in Jewel v. NSA will be at 9 am on Dec. 19 before Judge Jeffrey White at the federal courthouse in Oakland.
Jewel was filed in 2008 on behalf of San Francisco Bay Area resident Carolyn Jewel and other AT&T customers. EFF has amassed a mountain of evidence to support the case, including documents provided by former AT&T technician Mark Klein, which show that the company has routed copies of Internet traffic to a secret room in San Francisco controlled by the NSA. Other whistleblowers—including Thomas Drake, Bill Binney and Edward Snowden—have revealed more detail about how this technique feeds data into the NSA’s massive databases of communications. Since June 2013, the government has confirmed that it searches much of the content it collects as part of its “upstream” collection without a warrant. The government claims the content searches are justified under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act and do not violate the Fourth Amendment. Continue reading »
– 17 States Sue Obama Over “Unconstitutional” Executive Action On Immigration (ZeroHedge, Dec 3, 2014):
A year ago, following the whole Supreme Court farce, a bevy of states proved there are more than just “idiot voters” left in the US, when they decided to sue Obamacare outright over one or more of its provisions. They were promptly shut down by a judicial system that is as corrupt as the government itself (needless to say, both working at the behest of their true financial puppetmaster: Wall Street). And yet, in the aftermath of the now epic fiasco that is Obamacare, and not to mention the violent reaction to the administration as demonstrated in the midterm elections, the president may have a tougher time to brush away the next round of adverse reactions against his latest hugely unpopular executive order, one involving the amnesty of over 5 million illegal immigrants.
According to AP, Texas is leading a 17-state coalition in suing over the Obama administration’s recently announced executive actions on immigration. Continue reading »
Gerald talks with John Stadtmiller on the upcoming fall edition of the Trends Journal and the latest trends and news anyalysis