Category Archives: Big Brother

Crikey! The Government Is Monitoring Twitter & Facebook

*Banging head against the keyboard* – the government is monitoring the internet more now than ever.  If I wasn’t so politically charged, I probably wouldn’t care, nor would I really hear much about this, but much of my twitter and Facebook use is for political activism and pontificating on the issues of the day. If that gets me into trouble with the government, then so be it.  I’d rather get carted off for practicing my first amendment right of free speech than for doing something that was truly illegal like stealing my neighbor’s car. 

Both parties are at fault for this obvious breach of personal privacy, but I believe one could make the argument where there are certain circumstances that warrant wire tapping or other similar techniques if it saves lives and stops terrorism.  However, the slippery slope is easily becoming not just a theory, but a reality.  I do not see the need to monitor Facebook or twitter.  These are mainly tools used by citizens to get short points across that consist of 140 characters.  Some people tweet articles, some tweet opinions, some tweet their daily activities, while others tweet photos – why should that be monitored by the government?  Does the government seriously care that I just got back in touch with Sally Muckenfuch from 3rd grade? 

I don’t want to seem like a ‘Debbie Downer’ but would terrorists really be using twitter? “Just strapped a bomb onto my back, headed to airport, can’t wait for virgins.” I am not naive, either, and believe that anything could be used for the wrong purpose, but twitter just doesn’t seem like the place to strategize and plan an attack.  Information can definitely be sent out to meet up, but whole terror plots are difficult to type in 140 characters or less, let alone hope that ADD riddled people already tweeting will follow.  Based on the latest NY Times editorial, however, that is not the intent of the government’s monitor at all though:

The government is increasingly monitoring Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites for tax delinquents, copyright infringers and political protesters. A public interest group has filed a lawsuit to learn more about this monitoring, in the hope of starting a national discussion and modifying privacy laws as necessary for the online era.

Wired magazine reported in October:

America’s spy agencies want to read your blog posts, keep track of your Twitter updates — even check out your book reviews on Amazon.

In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA and the wider intelligence community, is putting cash into Visible Technologies, a software firm that specializes in monitoring social media. It’s part of a larger movement within the spy services to get better at using ”open source intelligence” — information that’s publicly available, but often hidden in the flood of TV shows, newspaper articles, blog posts, online videos and radio reports generated every day.

This is what scares common sense independents about the government — we allow them to have more power than ever should have been necessary and our rights and personal freedoms continue to disappear right from under us because we allow them to be taken PROGRESSIVELY… funny how we appear to be turning into those much storied frogs that are unable to jump out of a pot of luke warm water after it has boiled.

And as Noel Sheppard of Newbusters points out, the fact that this isn’t being reported as much as it would be if a Republican was in office, is just another hypocritical chink in the liberal media’s armor:

So be careful with your next Tweet or Facebook status, for you never know who’s watching.

On the other hand, it will be interesting to see how Obama-loving media follow this story.

After all, the press were constantly bashing the Bush White House concerning electronic surveillance designed to protect the nation from terrorist attacks.

The Times might be pleased with itself by publishing an editorial on this subject in its opinion section, but under the previous administration, this would have resulted in a front page story with thousands of words.

Leave a comment

Filed under Big Brother, Constitution, Double Standards, Hypocrisy, Media, MSM, Progressivism

Cass Sunstein Is Certifiable; Absolutism, First Amendment New Deal & More Executive Power

Cass Sunstein is one of the scarier of Obama’s czars and the fact that he was confirmed by the Senate makes it 10x worse!  Sunstein may be a very nice man, but when it comes to ideology, theory, ideas, and his views on the constitution, it makes me want to pull my hair out and scream.  I’m not sure what it is about the world of academia and the absolute detachment from reality that many hold, but it’s time for America to get past the status  of holding ivy league degrees; the superficial, and vote for people with real world experience.  Teachers do live in the real world, but my question would be whether not they have actually worked in a job or a place where they have implemented these ideas first to see if they actually work and help people, not hurt.

Besides, Cass Sunstein’s idea of Internet regulation, whereby a panel or individual of some sort would decide what is inaccurate or false and ban content via their own opinion (more detail on this can be found in his book entitled On Rumors), he has also argued that animals should be able to have a lawyer and sue humans, and guns and hunting should be banned.  There is much more to Cass Sunstein and his regulatory ideas in Nudge, another book penned by the newly approved czar.

More information about Sunstein is slowly but surely beginning to trickle out as time passes.  Cass Sunstein is a proponent of absolutism which really is a sick, twisted theory of “no liberty without dependency”:

You owe your life — and everything else — to the sovereign. The rights of subjects are not natural rights, but merely grants from the sovereign. There is no right even to complain about the actions of the sovereign, except insofar as the sovereign allows the subject to complain. These are the principles of unlimited, arbitrary, and absolute power, the principles of such rulers as Louis XIV. Intellectuals have assiduously promoted them; think of Jean Bodin and Thomas Hobbes.

A new intellectual champion of absolutism has now emerged. Mild-mannered University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein has been advancing the radical notion that all rights — including rights usually held to be “against” the state, such as the right to freedom of speech and the right not to be arbitrarily imprisoned or tortured — are grants from the state. In a book co-authored with Stephen Holmes, The Cost of Rights, he argued that “all legal rights are, or aspire to be, welfare rights,” that is, positive grants from the state. There is no difference in kind between the right not to be tortured and the right to taxpayer-subsidized dental care.
In his new book, The Second Bill of Rights, Sunstein seeks to give constitutional status to welfare rights. The title comes from Franklin Roosevelt’s 1944 State of the Union address, in which he proclaimed that “necessitous men are not free men” and proposed a “second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all.” Among the rights FDR proposed were the rights to “a useful and remunerative job,” “a decent home,” “adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health,” “adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment,” and “a good education.”

To further understand the radical nature of Sunstein’s theories, it’s imperative that we also take a look at his proposed First Amendment New Deal which would act as a new Fairness Doctrine, following the same lines of his Internet regulation ideas.

President Obama’s newly confirmed regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, drew up a “First Amendment New Deal,” a new “Fairness Doctrine” that would include the establishment of a panel of “nonpartisan experts” to ensure “diversity of view” on the airwaves.

Sunstein compared the need for the government to regulate broadcasting to the moral obligation of the U.S. to impose new rules that outlawed segregation.

Until now, Sunstein’s radical proposal, set forth in his 1993 book “The Partial Constitution,” received no news media attention and scant scrutiny.

In the book – Sunstein outwardly favors and promotes the “fairness doctrine,” the abolished FCC policy that required holders of broadcast licenses to present controversial issues of public importance in a manner the government deemed was “equitable and balanced.”

Sunstein introduces what he terms his “First Amendment New Deal” to regulate broadcasting in the U.S.

It appears that Sunstein and Lloyd are two peas in a pod.  Both of these men believe that commercial broadcasting companies should fund strictly public broadcasting.  He also proposes more “democratic” means of control like “compulsory public-affairs programming, right of reply, content review by nonpartisan experts or guidelines to encourage attention to public issues and diversity of view.”

Believe it or not, that’s not the worst to come out of Sunstein’s mouth or from his pen lately.  Sunstein actually believes that Obama and those working as part of his administration should interpret federal laws, not the federal courts.

“There is no reason to believe that in the face of statutory ambiguity, the meaning of federal law should be settled by the inclinations and predispositions of federal judges. The outcome should instead depend on the commitments and beliefs of the President and those who operate under him,” argued Sunstein.

This statement was the central thesis of Sunstein’s 2006 Yale Law School paper, “Beyond Marbury: The Executive’s Power to Say What the Law Is.” The paper, in which he argues the president and his advisers should be the ones to interpret federal laws.

See why I’m pulling my hair out and screaming? This is sheer insanity and the man still argues that this is all constitutional!

2 Comments

Filed under Big Brother, Constitution, Czars, Establishment, Fairness Doctrine, FCC, Media, Net Neutrality, Obama Administration, Progressivism, Radicals, Sunstein

FCC Implementing Net Nuetrality Rule (Monday)

Tomorrow, the FCC will make an announcement that it proposes to implement a new net neutrality rule for the Internet. We had been warned previously that rather than a new Fairness Doctrine, other rules/laws would be passed that could potentially affect content of the Internet and over the airwaves. 

Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, plans to propose a new so-called net neutrality rule Monday that could prevent telecommunications, cable and wireless companies from blocking Internet applications, according to sources at the agency.

Genachowski will discuss the rules Monday during a keynote speech at The Brookings Institute. He isn’t expected to drill into many details, but the proposal will specifically be for an additional guideline on how operators like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast can control what goes on their networks. That additional guideline would prevent the operators from discriminating, or act as gatekeepers, of Web content and services.

The guidelines in place today have been criticized by applications developers like Google and public interest groups for not going far enough to clarify what is defined as discriminatory behavior. Comcast is fighting in federal court an FCC ruling that it violated the guidelines by blocking a video application last year. AT&T and Verizon have said existing rules are sufficient, and more regulation is unnecessary. However, they have also said they wouldn’t fight against an additional guideline that focuses on discriminatory behavior.

Julius is not somebody who is non-partisan either.  As any appointees, they have connections to a political party and ideology.  Julius was Obama’s communications and Internet campaign manager during the 2008 election.  As we have discovered with Mark Lloyd and Cass Sunstein, Genachowski is probably no different. 

After reading various comments and arguments for this rule, I can understand how people believe net neutrality would be a good thing.  Most people who are unaware think that more regulation will actually help the consumer, and if that truly is the case, I would be all the more for it.  However, cable, phone, Internet, and wireless companies are some of the most highly regulated companies in the United States, but people still despise them.  Since there is already so much government interference wouldn’t it be safe to say that the government would inevitably make things worse rather than better? 

One issue at play is that enterprises like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, etc. use “public” airwaves but they pay billions of dollars in licensing fees for the privilege of using the AIR! The government is already regulating that “air” and the argument has to do with the amount of regulation that already exists. To force mobile carriers to treat all internet traffic the same is ridiculous because this kind of free for all will crash many of the major carriers’ networks! There is a natural free market revolution going on which is allowing these private companies to upgrade their networks to meet the demands of their customers. Government intervention is not the answer. AT&T is responding to anger in NYC and SF by adding tons of capacity to meet the needs of its users before they leave AT&T for another carrier. If the government forces net neutrality on wireless carriers, all iPhone and smart phone users will take all of the bandwidth in order to watch streaming video and music, which sounds fine if you are an iPhone user but think about the downside and unintended consequences. If these major wireless carriers are forced to treat all traffic the same there will be no more unlimited data packages for $35/month. They will start to charge per MB in order to ensure their networks dont crash for all of their users. There were no wireless data networks to speak of 10 years ago and now we have 3G and 4G LTE coming everywhere within the next 18 months. The free market is doing this not a govt mandate, unfortunately, what a lot of people have failed to recognize is the reality and universality of the “law of unintended consequences”.

Which brings to the forefront, the second issue: at face value, net neutrality sounds like a great idea. Unfortunately, nearly everything the government does ultimately warps the motives of companies and individuals in a bad way.  The presumption by most is that the government actually has the ability to “make things better”. In my experience, that is almost never the case.  The slippery slope argument is not fear-mongering, when one merely needs to look back through history to see plenty of laws that were intended for the right purpose, which were used for something incredibly distorted and wrong. The content originally regulated would most likely be something routine and mundane – very basic data, however, it could suddenly change to ideological content.  Mark Lloyd has been talking about diversity on the Internet and over the airwaves, as well as anti-discrimination.  Sunstein, the newly appointed regulation czar feels the same way and would like to regulate the Internet based on any perceived falsehoods – who decides what is false and what is not – there is too much room for political bias. 

If this is implemented officially, I want to hear what those lauding it say after 5 years, and after majorities switch hands to the other party.  I better not hear any outcry from the liberals if Republicans come into power and continue to use net neutrality…

1 Comment

Filed under Big Brother, Constitution, Czars, Fairness Doctrine, FCC, MSM, Net Neutrality, Obama Administration, Progressivism

Internet Power Grabs and Information Control

There are more power grab attempts taking place right under our collective noses.  The only reason that some of us know about these bills and plans is due to the Internet and the investigative reporting by bloggers and online journalists.

CNET.com recently came across a bill that was drafted by Democrat Senator Jay Rockefeller from West Virginia. This bill is significantly smaller than those that have been getting pummeled down our throats and rushed through congress in the recent months. The bill is only 55 pages long and some of the provisions in this draft make sense, but others raise serious concerns.

The section in question is the one which would give the president complete control of the Internet should a cybersecurity threat or emergency arise.

The new version would allow the president to “declare a cybersecurity emergency” relating to “non-governmental” computer networks and do what’s necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for “cybersecurity professionals,” and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.

“I think the redraft, while improved, remains troubling due to its vagueness,” said Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance, which counts representatives of Verizon, Verisign, Nortel, and Carnegie Mellon University on its board. “It is unclear what authority Sen. Rockefeller thinks is necessary over the private sector. Unless this is clarified, we cannot properly analyze, let alone support the bill.”

Representatives of other large Internet and telecommunications companies expressed concerns about the bill in a teleconference with Rockefeller’s aides this week, but were not immediately available for interviews on Thursday.

This should raise red flags for everyone on both sides of the aisle. Not only could this be a hindrance on our freedom of speech via the Internet, but this gives the central government complete control of an important information gathering tool that has been predominantly unregulated, and has worked quite well for people of all ages to stay informed no matter what ideological side one may fall on.

If this bill were to pass and ultimately there was an instance where the President deemed it necessary to control the Internet, there is no telling, at what point, the control would stop.  There is also no telling who will have that very same control in the next 4 or 8 years when new presidential elections take place and the pendulum swings.

Who would decide what’s an emergency and what is not?  The current administration and cabinet positions are so heavily politicized, that it wouldn’t surprise me if a crisis was created just to stifle dissent on the Internet.

The government also has various agencies and even private companies that monitor the Internet and Cybersecurity so why would the President need to have that control all by his lonesome?  The answer is he doesn’t need that power and he shouldn’t have it!

The fairness doctrine will not come to pass because too many people in mainstream America know what the bill entails. The new fairness doctrine will come through bills like these being slipped through Congress, the Regulatory czar Cass Sunstein, who believes in controlling the Internet or any other source of information that he deems untrue/disingenuous, or through the FCC Diversity ‘Czar’ Mark Lloyd.

If Mark Lloyd’s Prelude to a Farce and his beliefs about Hugo Chavez’s magnificent revolution, or Cass Sunstein’s book On Rumors, where he wants to regulate the Internet, is not enough to make a person cringe, then Obama’s new plan to harvest information from social networking sites should.

NLPC has uncovered a plan by the White House New Media operation to hire a technology vendor to conduct a massive, secret effort to harvest personal information on millions of Americans from social networking websites.

The information to be captured includes comments, tag lines, emails, audio, and video. The targeted sites include Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr and others – any space where the White House “maintains a presence.”

In the course of investigating procurement by the White House New Media office, NLPC discovered a 51-page solicitation of bids that was filed on Friday, August 21, 2009. Filed as Solicitation # WHO-S-09-0003, it is postedat FedBizzOps.com. Click here to download a 51-page pdf of the solicitation.

So why is the Obama administration so interested in all of this control?  Why is there no outcry from the left?  The Patriot Act looks like child’s play compared to the expansion of government under Obama in only 7 months.

Leave a comment

Filed under Big Brother, Congress, Constitution, Czars, Democrats, Double Standards, Hypocrisy, Obama, Obama Administration, Progressivism

Major Garrett Vs. Robert Gibbs (Video)

The rank arrogance and complete ignorance of Robert Gibbs makes my blood boil.  He always comes off sounding like an kindergartner who can’t answer a question and makes snarky comments because he has no clue. 

Major Garrett asks a very valid question about these email lists that David Axelrod has and how people are being contacted who have never signed up for anything remotely associated with the White House or Obama.  My guess would be the flag@whitehouse.gov email campaign for snitching.  Many conservatives did in fact send emails in essence raising their hands saying I think health care is ‘fishy’ or put be down as a member of the mob, etc.  If this is the case which I believe Major is implying this is a huge deal and would mean that the White House is in fact using flag@whitehouse.gov to collect names and make lists.

Leave a comment

Filed under Big Brother, David Axelrod, Media, Obama Administration, Robert Gibbs