Freedom & Privacy Worldwide is Eroding
"Even the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages was tolerant by modern standards. Part of the reason for this was that in the past no government had the power to keep its citizens under constant surveillance. The invention of print, however, made it easier to manipulate public opinion, and the film and the radio carried the process further. With the development of television, and the technical advance which made it possible to receive and transmit simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end." --1984, George Orwell
How Stores Spy on You
You are being watched when you shop, and that information can be matched with other data to help build a profile of you. ShopSmart looks at the various ways we are all being tracked by stores, banks, and others. And now some stores even have a "booty cam" in dressing rooms!
Video cameras record your every move. Your face and car’s license plate are captured and filed in searchable databases. Hidden cameras classify you by age, sex, and ethnicity, and even detect your body language and mood. Even your bank account records are being pried into. The main goal of these surveillance methods, of course, is to get you to shop more and spend more…
Privacy is more precious than ever, and getting scarcer. Government agencies continue to push legal boundaries with surveillance cameras, drones, GPS tracking devices, x-ray scanners, stop-and-frisk searches without a warrant, sometimes without a suspicion of wrongdoing. It’s not just law enforcement agencies that are doing it. The tax man is in on the action, too.
The American Civil Liberties Union found this out by posing a simple question to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS): Do you obtain a warrant before reading the public’s emails, text messages and other electronic communications? The bureaucrats naturally responded with 247 pages of documents, which reveal that the IRS thinks it can read anything it pleases. Who needs a judge’s approval?
The cavalier attitude is codified in the 2009 edition of the IRS handbook, which declares the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures does not protect emails because users “do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications.” Citing the hopelessly obsolete Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, which was written a few years before Al Gore invented the Internet, IRS snoopers argue they only need a subpoena to browse through emails that have been opened or that are more than 180 days old
Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/apr/16/the-irs-snoops/#ixzz2QiOt73MS
Read ID Act-Another government privacy-bashing scam
Looks good on the surface but read between the lines…
The Real ID Act creates a federal identity document that every American will need in order to fly on commercial airlines, enter government buildings, open a bank account, and more.
Worker Biometric ID Under Consideration in US: Socialist Senator Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham have proposed a new national identity card. The Senators would require that "all U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who want jobs" obtain a "high-tech, fraud-proof Social Security card" with a unique biometric identifier.
It creates huge administrative burdens for state governments, while providing only minimal federal funds for implementing its onerous requirements. At the same time, it does nothing to combat terrorism, and puts us at greater risk for invasions of privacy and identity theft.
It means even less privacy and more costs…Stop the scam
Snapshots of how your liberty and privacy are vanishing in the so-called "Land of the Free"
Washington, D.C., the world capital of political insanity
AG Eric Holder affirms that the president can order killing of Americans on U.S. soil
DHS modified Predator drones for domestic surveillance
Thousands of drones are flying in U.S. skies — under the radar
Drones arouse privacy fears
Google: FBI “secretly spying” on our user
U.S. to let spy agencies scour Americans' finances...
(Reuters) - The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document seen by Reuters.
The proposed plan represents a major step by U.S. intelligence agencies to spot and track down terrorist networks and crime syndicates by bringing together financial databanks, criminal records and military intelligence. The plan, which legal experts say is permissible under U.S. law, is nonetheless likely to trigger intense criticism from privacy advocates.
Financial institutions that operate in the United States are required by law to file reports of "suspicious customer activity," such as large money transfers or unusually structured bank accounts, to Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
The Federal Bureau of Investigation already has full access to the database. However, intelligence agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, currently have to make case-by-case requests for information to FinCEN.
The Treasury plan would give spy agencies the ability to analyze more raw financial data than they have ever had before, helping them look for patterns that could reveal attack plots or criminal schemes.
The planning document, dated March 4, shows that the proposal is still in its early stages of development, and it is not known when implementation might begin.
Financial institutions file more than 15 million "suspicious activity reports" every year, according to Treasury. Banks, for instance, are required to report all personal cash transactions exceeding $10,000, as well as suspected incidents of money laundering, loan fraud, computer hacking or counterfeiting.
"For these reports to be of value in detecting money laundering, they must be accessible to law enforcement, counter-terrorism agencies, financial regulators, and the intelligence community," said the Treasury planning document.
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Using the illegal unPatriot Act GOVERNMENT VIOLATES PRIVACY ACT OF 1974
For years we heard about the Mark of the Beast and I always discounted it. However, the government has mandated the use of a Socialist Slave Number on all Americans just like the Nazis used on Jews and other concentration camp conscripts.
Comrades, you are now REQUIRED to have a socialist slave number to be born, enrolled in school, apply for any government benefits, for medical treatment, to open any kind of financial account including non-interest bearing accounts and even pre-paid debit cards, to serve in the military, to apply for many utilities, etc.
Despite wording in the Privacy Act of 1974 which prevented the collection and use of a Social Security number to open non-interest bearing financial accounts (later to include pre-paid debit cards) one cannot do much of anything without the slave number - even a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is no longer accepted for most transactions.
The Privacy Act of 1974, Public Law 93-579, was created in response to concerns about how the creation and use of computerized databases might impact individuals' privacy rights. It safeguards privacy through creating four procedural and substantive rights in personal data. First, it requires government agencies to show an individual any records kept on him or her. Second, it requires agencies to follow certain principles, called "fair information practices," when gathering and handling personal data. Third, it places restrictions on how agencies can share an individual's data with other people and agencies. Fourth and finally, it lets individuals sue the government for violating its provisions.
There are, however, several exceptions to the Privacy Act. For one thing, government agencies that are engaged in law enforcement can excuse themselves from the Act's rules. Agencies have also circumvented information sharing rules by exploiting a "routine use" exemption.
The government maintains an average of 40 files on every citizen and they are now inter-dependent using your slave number as its universal identifier. It’s my prediction that once ObamaCare is fully implemented, each of us will be issued a medical ID using the SSN as its unique identifier. This will be the next step in complete citizen control…don’t have the ID or SSN number, you can’t work, buy or sell goods, get credit, get into school, get medical treatment. It’s already happening but the sheeple don’t see it.
Hell, our IRS shakes down and blackmails the banks in other sovereign nations such as Switzerland in order learn about “secret” money stashes. This is what happens when a state turns rogue and is headed toward totalianarism.
Big Brother is Watching: History of Government Surveillance
"If you think the government is watching your every move, that's crazy--but if you think the government is too good or too honest to try it, that's naive. Whether in the name of fighting crime, communism, terrorism, anarchy, military enemies, or just in the name of patriotism, our government has watched us before and will watch us again. As technology improves, privacy as we know it will inevitably evaporate; the best we can hope for is the power to watch the watchers."Read more...
Notes & Resources
Mushrooming Government Capabilities to Control Society
The rise of the Police State in America continues to build as the Poor Man has reported on so often since the creation of the anti-citizen Patriot Act…
This is a subject that is so big, wide, and dynamic that in many cases, even members of Congress do not understand the extent of bureaucratic planning to control our lives. Or that the Department of Homeland Security's big-picture plans, tactics, and technology are based on population control tactics originally developed and used in Iraq.
For example, airport screening bureaucrats, whose authority Americans are being conditioned to accept without question, are no longer limited to airports. The Transportation Security Administration and many other agencies are expanding airport-screening technologies and systems to cover all forms of ground transportation. Complete with traveler checkpoints and individualized tracking of cars, trains, telephones, and computers.
Ever heard of government-developed software called ThinThread or Trailblazer? These computer programs collect and correlate data from emails, phone calls, credit card payments, ATMs and internet searches and then combine it all to analyze each person and produce a police profile.
The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is now engaged in a massive secret surveillance operation on Americans, according to one of its creators, Bill Binney, who quit after 32 years at the NSA rather than be a party to what he calls “a civil liberties nightmare come true.”
A few months ago, I reported that the NSA is building America’s largest-ever spy center in the Utah desert – and it will be watching you (if it isn’t already). This is the same NSA that 10 years ago secretly saddled us with the Constitution-busting ECHELON spy program.
This Utah NSA project is just one part of a snooping system. Presidents Bush and Obama’s massive surveillance of all our telephone calls and Internet activity has been exposed, but not stopped. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You may have read about iris scanners, RFID chips that trace movements and purchases, voice analyzers and fingerprint readers … or you might simply look up and see the millions of CCTV cameras arrayed in public places that use Trapwire, which allows for quick police analysis of live feeds from surveillance cameras.
Now, the FBI has announced the Next-Generation Identification program (NGI), a plan to spend $1 billion of your tax dollars to build a new type of facial recognition database that will allow FBI agents to identify suspects and “people of interest” using security footage from public cameras.
What Does NGI Mean to You?
The NGI program is already operational as a pilot program in some areas, and the FBI says NGI will be ready for national use in 2014.
Government and police agencies will combine a person’s face with other biometric data like fingerprints, iris scans and voice identification to determine their identity. NGI starts with millions of criminal records and drivers’ licenses, but it’s only a matter of time before the government taps into the wealth of photos stored on social media and image sharing websites such as Facebook.
Undoubtedly, secretly tracking people’s movements constitutes a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights, but the FBI ignores that and claims NGI is legal under guidelines established by the U.S. Privacy Act!
Shades of Steven Spielberg’s action film Minority Report, based on a story by Philip K. Dick, offered movie audiences a chilling, special-effects, techno-vision glimpse of a future in which the government and police are pervasive and omnipresent. And if you step out of line, dark-clad SWAT teams will ensure your compliance.
Our government’s increasing disregard of our personal liberties...
The Drug-Sniffing Laser
And you thought the beagle sniffing out your illegally imported Spanish ham at the airport was annoying. Well, now comes a laser system that can detect drugs or gunpowder from more than 160 feet away. It can also detect your adrenaline level.
And here’s the best part… it can detect whatever it seeks at microscopic levels, but more on that in a moment.
The Department of Homeland Security is looking to deploy these scanners at airports to increase protection.
Dusting for Footprints
Turns out your footprint – and the way you walk – is as unique as your fingerprint. And a new technology known as “biometric insoles” will keep track of where you’re going.
The insoles are reportedly 99% accurate. They’ll make their debut in a few government and corporate facilities that require security clearance, since the insoles are less time-consuming than retina scans. Within three steps they can determine that you are, indeed, you – even if your stride or footfalls change because you’re tired or moving quicker than normal.
Smile! You’re on Drone Camera
Already, the FAA has issued certificates for more than 60 local, state and federal organizations to fly drones across America. Some are for research, like those deployed by universities in Texas, Alaska and elsewhere.
Others are flying under the banner of various policing organizations from the Department of Homeland Security to the FBI to police and sheriff’s departments in Miami, Houston and Seattle, among others. And you can bet those departments aren’t using their drones for benevolent flyovers at local parades. Indeed, some police departments have proposed arming their drones with tear gas and rubber bullets.
These are not big, bulky drones like you see on the nightly news guiding missiles into the barracks of terrorists hiding in Afghanistan. We’re talking drones the size of a model airplane, weighing just a few pounds and outfitted with tiny, high-resolution cameras… used for surveillance… of Americans.
Government predicts that by the end of the decade, 30,000 drones will be patrolling American skies like a swarm of bothersome mosquitos – one drone for every 126 square miles.
Back in the 90s I was a contributing editor to Privacy Times and had written a manual on privacy protection and relied on EPIC as a resource…this group has been in the forefront of civil rights protections.
As all of us know, there has been an assault on our freedom and rights from politicians and bureaucrats:
Here are some recent updates…
A federal district court has ruled that EPIC "substantially prevailed"
in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that resulted in the disclosure
of information about the agency's plan to deploy body scanners at bus
and train stations, sporting events, and other public venues. EPIC also
obtained documents detailing the development of body scanner technology
that would be deployed in roving, so-called "Z-Backscatter" vans.
EPIC has several related FOIA lawsuits concerning new systems
of mass surveillance.
The Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has also issued a ruling on
EPIC's recent petition on the controversial body scanner program.
After the court's initial 2011 ruling mandating that the TSA
"promptly" undertake notice and comment rulemaking, a year passed
without agency action. EPIC then urged the court to require the
Secretary of Homeland Security to begin a public comment process or
suspend the program. The agency subsequently replied that it "finalize
documents" by February 2013.
The Department of Homeland Security has released its 2012 Privacy
Office Annual Report to Congress. The report details the expansion of
the National Counterterrorism Center's five-year retention policy for
records on US Persons, the agency's social media-monitoring initiatives,
and privacy training for fusion centers personnel; however, it does not
discuss several new DHS-funded initiatives, including the Future
Attribute Screening Technology, or FAST, a "Minority-Report"-like
proposal for "pre-crime" detection. Also, according to the report the
Transportation Security Administration has still failed to adopt
privacy safeguards for airport body scanners.
Two DHS Privacy Office investigations led to the finding of agency non-
compliance. One of those investigations involved DHS's use of social
media monitoring. EPIC filed a FOIA request on DHS' social media
monitoring program in April 2011, then filed suit against DHS in
December 2011 in order to force the disclosure of documents related
to the monitoring program, which searched for both suspicious
"keywords" and dissent against government programs.
US House Renews Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Powers
The US House has voted to reauthorize the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.
The Act authorizes surveillance programs intended to target foreign
agents, but allows collection of private communications of US
citizens without individualized suspicion. In May 2012, EPIC
Executive Director Marc Rotenberg testified before the House Judiciary
Committee on the legislation and recommended new oversight procedures.
The Senate has yet to consider the measure. EPIC recently submitted a
"Friend of the Court" brief to the US Supreme Court in Clapper v.
Amnesty International USA, a case involving the FISA Amendments Act.
EPIC publications and other books on privacy, open government, free
expression, and constitutional values can be ordered at:
A New Breed of High-Tech Crony Capitalists
Get Rich by Feeding Off Our Freedoms
With the wind-down of the Afghan and Iraq conflicts, these same legions of high-tech companies were at risk of not having a reason to exist, and worse, of losing their biggest source of taxpayer-guaranteed profit. Unfortunately, these are very well connected interests. And like all lobbies, they need a huge new mission to justify their existence and expand.
Enter the Department of Homeland Security – which has put numerous high-tech companies that helped the military set up population control systems in Iraq to work doing the same thing here at home.
Perhaps most disturbingly, DHS is creating an artificial domestic market for all this new technology – aggressively making grants to local law enforcement agencies designed to get them into the domestic intelligence collection business (Fusion Centers) as well as militarize local police departments with the latest shiny new crowd control equipment.
The end result is the birth of an iron triangle of powerful interests that are heavily vested in unprecedented levels of federally directed policing of the general public. Kinda like the ethanol scandal, except in this case we are being robbed of our freedoms, not just our tax dollars.
A recent Wall Street Journal story, "High Tech Surveillance Comes to Small Towns," notes the proliferation of high-tech trade shows that cater to the urgent central planning agenda of the federal government, especially Homeland Security. These citizen-tracking technology expos are attracting numerous small town local police departments – many of which are flush with DHS grant money and a long shopping list for the most advanced and prestigious new military weapons being made available to them.
It’s Always a matter of ‘follow the money’ when it comes to politicians…
High-tech companies selling these intrusive surveillance and crowd control technologies do so at secretive conferences which are closed to the media. The Journal reports that small sheriffs' departments are particularly enthusiastic about the most popular training sessions offered by these trade show organizers, such as "Online Social Media and Internet Investigations" and "Exploiting Computer and Mobile Vulnerabilities for Electronic Surveillance."
Because the alliance of high-tech companies working in cahoots with the political class is helping to spawn an advanced national population control grid that Uncle Sam's armies of stodgy bureaucrats could never have created on their own.
For example, new government documents show TSA is planning a national campaign to expand Mobile Body Scanners to train stations and all forms of ground transportation. Part of a broader TSA program to expand road and highway test checkpoints throughout the country.
The agency's so-called VIPR (Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response) system is part of a federal program known as "Checkpoint USA," where federal VIPR teams "screen" travelers.
Here is a rundown of a few of the other James Bond toys and tactics being pushed by federal bureaucrats:
>Car makers are being "encouraged" to install black-box tracking systems in all new cars.
>Some $31 billion has been spent since 2003 to create "mini-CIA" domestic "Fusion Centers" – where local police monitor the political activities of private citizens, then send that data to Washington. Considering that "constitutionalist" and "patriots" are identified in federal documents as possible terror threats who should be watched, these fusion centers are a genuine cause for concern.
Thuggish tactics... FDA unleashes undercover operations to bring off-the-grid rural farming communities such as the Amish to heel – under the pretense of curbing raw milk sales across state lines.
New portable facial-analysis lie detectors – some units are based on thermal imaging technology – are being developed for wider use as in a national checkpoint system.
Feds are pushing so-called "smart meters" to replace traditional electric meters to monitor, analyze, and yes, control how families use power. Ideal for electricity rationing scenarios and monitoring power usage levels that exceed some bureaucrat's notion of how much we should be allowed to use. A new suitcase-sized cellphone crashing device is being perfected for distribution to local law enforcement – the system can shut down protestors' phones and disable cell cameras. Local police departments are now getting the Mobile Utility Surveillance Tower (MUST) – an armored surveillance command post designed to cope with hostile urban crowds.
Notably, the Homeland Security Department is rolling out freedom-threatening technologies and initiatives for deployment nationwide, including:
>Grants to local governments for "FBI Mobile," a portable biometric data collection system first deployed by the military to create IDs for urban-war-zone residents.
>Covert naked-body scanners for checking out the general public on U.S. streets, a product being developed by Rapiscan Systems.
Active Denial System (ADS) "Pain Ray" for use here at home. Shockwave Area Denial System, which can taser citizens within 100-meter ranges. Laser Blinding Dazzler system, which causes temporary blindness in protestors. Mass-deployed sedatives to incapacitate crowds. Screaming Microwave system and ear-splitting noise machines for crowd control throughout the U.S.
Can’t regulate gun sales…No problem, let’s target ammo
Federal regulators have been very busy making ammunition harder to get and more expensive. The Ammunition Accountability Act, now under consideration in 18 states as part of a broader federally driven regulatory effort, would make all ammunition traceable – an attempt by the political class to limit what they see as the threat posed by private firearms.
Put another way, the government is going to regulate the ammunition market, and you know what that means. So if you have a gun, you may want to buy an ammo reload kit while you still can. Off the grid ammo? That's what we have come to!
At a recent FBI press conference. Agent Casey Carty, an FBI supervisory special agent, postulated in February that anti-government activists opposed to taxes and regulations pose a growing threat to local law enforcement officers in the United States
Yet another Very Recent Power-Grab!
Then we have passage of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which has a sneaky provision. It subjects U.S. citizens directly to military arrest and detention.
Elements are systematically being put into place to create a national population surveillance and control grid with the potential for instant activation. It could go into full effect in any national emergency.
The still incomplete national grid system is far more complicated than the few points I brought out in this story. But, suffice it to say, we are reaching a point soon where we will be only one emergency, one "triggering event" away from seeing what happens when the whole apparatus is activated for the first time.
21 Cutting Edge Strategies to Protect Your Privacy-Free Download
More Privacy Tools to use for safer internet use
Experiencing The Police State Security
Your surfing sessions tracked by websites, search engines and social networks, but often your Internet service provider (ISP), web browser, government and potentially hundreds of online tracking companies.
Whether it's to collect valuable (read: sellable) marketing data or prevent terrorist activity, movie piracy or kiddie porn, everything you think you're doing privately in the comfort of your home is anything but private.
There are many different solutions that can hide your Internet connection, allowing you to remain anonymous while online.
Some are websites, such as free "online proxy servers" that conceal your identity — simply point the web address (URL) to the proxy server and surf right from their website
proxy.org for a list of great options).
Others prefer Virtual Private Network (VPN) software that encrypts your online sessions. The browser-independent Hotspot Shield from AnchorFree, for example — available for Windows, Macs, iPhone and Android — channels all web activities through a personal VPN and secures all Internet communications by turning all HTTP traffic into the safer HTTPS (which is what your bank uses for a safe connection).
Free to use but with more features packed into the "elite" version ($29.95), Hotspot Shield is ideal for email and instant messaging, too, and reduces the likelihood of identity theft because you're not leaving a digital footprint -- including cyber-snoopers and rogue connections at:
Wi-Fi hotspots, hotels, airports, etc.
Security measures and experiencing the police state security are a big talk in every single nation today. With so many world changes, events of violence, life threatening and altering measures having taken place, especially in the last two decades, security measures have gone to great heights of individual scanning and recording.
Big Brother is becoming all-pervasive, and thousands of new technologies are currently being developed that will make it even easier to spy on you.
Capturing Fingerprints From 20 Feet Away
Can you imagine someone reading your fingerprints from 20 feet away without you ever knowing it?
This kind of technology is actually already here according to POPSCI....
Gaining access to your gym or office building could soon be as simple as waving a hand at the front door. A Hunsville, Ala.-based company called IDair is developing a system that can scan and identify a fingerprint from nearly 20 feet away. Coupled with other biometrics, it could soon allow security systems to grant or deny access from a distance, without requiring users to stop and scan a fingerprint, swipe an ID card, or otherwise lose a moment dealing with technology.
Currently IDair’s primary customer is the military, but the startup wants to open up commercially to any business or enterprise that wants to put a layer of security between its facilities and the larger world. A gym chain is already beta testing the system (no more using your roommate’s gym ID to get in a free workout), and IDair’s founder says that at some point his technology could enable purchases to be made biometrically, using fingerprints and irises as unique identifiers rather than credit card numbers and data embedded in magnetic strips or RFID chips.
Mobile Backscatter Vans
Police all over America will soon be driving around in unmarked vans looking inside your cars and even under your clothes using the same "pornoscanner" technology currently being utilized by the TSA at U.S. airports....
American cops are set to join the US military in deploying American Science & Engineering's Z Backscatter Vans, or mobile backscatter radiation x-rays. These are what TSA officials call "the amazing radioactive genital viewer," now seen in airports around America, ionizing the private parts of children, the elderly, and you (yes you).
These pornoscannerwagons will look like regular anonymous vans, and will cruise America's streets, indiscriminately peering through the cars (and clothes) of anyone in range of its mighty isotope-cannon. But don't worry, it's not a violation of privacy. As AS&E's vice president of marketing Joe Reiss sez, "From a privacy standpoint, I’m hard-pressed to see what the concern or objection could be."
Unmanned Drones In U.S. Airspace
Law enforcement agencies all over the United States are starting to use unmanned drones to spy on us, and the Department of Homeland Security is aggressively seeking to expand the use of such drones by local authorities....
The Department of Homeland Security has launched a program to "facilitate and accelerate the adoption" of small, unmanned drones by police and other public safety agencies, an effort that an agency official admitted faces "a very big hurdle having to do with privacy."
The $4 million Air-based Technologies Program, which will test and evaluate small, unmanned aircraft systems, is designed to be a "middleman" between drone manufacturers and first-responder agencies "before they jump into the pool," said John Appleby, a manager in the DHS Science and Technology Directorate's division of borders and maritime security.
The fact that very few Americans seem concerned about this development says a lot about where we are as a nation. The EPA is already using drones to spy on cattle ranchers in Nebraska and Iowa.
Law Enforcement Using Your Own Cell Phone To Spy On You
Although this is not new technology, law enforcement authorities are using our own cell phones to spy on us more extensively than ever before as a recent Wired article described....
Mobile carriers responded to a staggering 1.3 million law enforcement requests last year for subscriber information, including text messages and phone location data, according to data provided to Congress.
A single "request" can involve information about hundreds of customers. So ultimately the number of Americans affected by this could reach into "the tens of millions" each year....
The government is not the only one that is spying on you. The truth is that a whole host of very large corporations are gathering every shred of information about you that they possibly can and selling that information for profit. It is called "data mining", and it is an industry that has absolutely exploded in recent years.
One very large corporation known as Acxiom actually compiles information on more than 190 million people in the U.S. alone....
The company fits into a category called database marketing. It started in 1969 as an outfit called Demographics Inc., using phone books and other notably low-tech tools, as well as one computer, to amass information on voters and consumers for direct marketing. Almost 40 years later, Acxiom has detailed entries for more than 190 million people and 126 million households in the U.S., and about 500 million active consumers worldwide. More than 23,000 servers in Conway, just north of Little Rock, collect and analyze more than 50 trillion data 'transactions' a year.
Street Lights Spying On Us?
Did you ever consider that street lights could be spying on you?
Well, it is actually happening. New high tech street lights that can actually watch what you do and listen to what you are saying are being installed in some major U.S. cities. The following is from a recent article by Paul Joseph Watson for Infowars.com....
Federally-funded high-tech street lights now being installed in American cities are not only set to aid the DHS in making “security announcements” and acting as talking surveillance cameras, they are also capable of “recording conversations,” bringing the potential privacy threat posed by ‘Intellistreets’ to a whole new level.
Automated ISP Monitoring Of Your Internet Activity
As I have written about before, nothing you do on the Internet is private. However, Internet Service Providers and the entertainment industry are now taking Internet monitoring to a whole new level....
If you download potentially copyrighted software, videos or music, your Internet service provider (ISP) has been watching, and they’re coming for you.
Specifically, they’re coming for you on Thursday, July 12.
That’s the date when the nation’s largest ISPs will all voluntarily implement a new anti-piracy plan that will engage network operators in the largest digital spying scheme in history, and see some users’ bandwidth completely cut off until they sign an agreement saying they will not download copyrighted materials.
Word of the start date has been largely kept secret since ISPs announced their plans last June. The deal was brokered by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and coordinated by the Obama Administration.
Spying On Us Through Our Appliances
Could the government one day use your refrigerator to spy on you?
That is exactly what CIA Director David Petraeus says is coming....
Petraeus says that web-connected gadgets will 'transform' the art of spying - allowing spies to monitor people automatically without planting bugs, breaking and entering or even donning a tuxedo to infiltrate a dinner party.
'Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies,' said Petraeus.
'Particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft. Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters - all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing.'
Petraeus was speaking to a venture capital firm about new technologies
These are just a small part of techno advances that we know about. The government is always seeking new ways to spy on its citizens…perhaps we should produce a new version of the classic movie 1984 to show just how invasive and insidious ‘our’ government has become.
How much freedom are you willing to give away?
When and where do American citizens draw the line?
The U.S. government has shown clearly through word and action that its concerns are not with the average American, and that its loyalties rest with decidedly smaller and more elite interest groups.
When any government decides it is no longer concerned with the freedom and prosperity of a nation, no matter how righteous that government claims to be, we MUST, as citizens, ask ourselves whether that government is still useful.
The progression of the past decade has seen a hailstorm of legislation and executive orders that impede personal liberties and erode Constitutional protections in place for centuries. So many trails towards totalitarianism have been blazed recently that it is becoming difficult to track them all, and yet, I do not think many in our country have asked themselves what this means to their future. What kind of rights are you ready to hand over to government? How many aspects of your life should the establishment be able to dictate?
The Power To Invade Your Privacy
The U.S. government has long held at least a private belief that it should be allowed access to every aspect of a citizen's personal life. In the past, the excuse of criminal suspicion was a standard rationalization, but this expanded beyond the targeting of individuals to broader surveillance of the populace as a whole with the advent of the drug war. Financial records especially became subject to government perusal without warrant and generally without any criminal charges filed.
This trampling of the 4th Amendment over a fabrication of a "war" on substances that by all rights should be legal anyway was just a taste of what was to come. With the explosion of the war on terror (another fabricated conflict), the application of mass surveillance became standardized. The Patriot Acts and the FISA bill, both upheld by so called "Republican" and "Democratic" presidents, have opened the door for centralized electronic spying in the name of "national security". Never before has the world seen such an unbridled assault on the private lives of common citizens. The big brother grids of the Soviet era are child's play compared to the data mining of the 21st century, and this tyranny is made possible by the marriage of government and corporate interests, working in tandem to ensure an ever tightening net.
The Power To Silence
From the DHS, to the private Federal Reserve, to Google and Facebook, the tides of opinion and social observation are being tracked, catalogued, and flagged for future intervention. With active programs now in place to identify and isolate negative online criticism of these institutions as well as to marginalize freelance web journalists and more mainstream media icons with a strong voice, the general public is finally beginning to see what we in the Liberty Movement have been warning about for years.
The invasion of privacy is merely the first step in the process of silencing dissent.
The Power To Financially Destroy
Of course, much of the economic distress that we suffer today was generated by the corrupt activities of the Federal Reserve (a privately controlled banking cartel) and global financing conglomerates like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, however, the government's complicity in these activities cannot be denied. It was the Congressional repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act that gave international banks the ability to derivitize massive numbers of mortgages and create the ongoing implosion of the housing bubble. It was the SEC that turned the other cheek for years while credit fraud flooded markets and ratings agencies gave AAA status to toxic and basically worthless assets. It is the U.S. government to this day that defends the Federal Reserve's nonstop quantitative easing, the destruction of the dollar, and increased deficit spending driving our nation even deeper into debt.
The passage of the bailouts despite an 80% opposition from the public sent a stark message; the governm ent does not care what you think about the economy, and will do what it pleases, even if it means destroying your means of fiscal survival.
The Power To Imprison Without Trial
The NDAA is truly a perfect representation of the kind of power the government would like to have over the people, no questions asked. The Obama Administration's half hearted promises to not use the provisions of the legislation to detain American citizens indefinitely without trial are little comfort, especially when one considers that the man has not kept a single positive promise since taking office in 2008. Frankly, I would have slightly more respect for the president (which isn't much) if he had the guts to come out and admit what the language of the NDAA clearly states; that American citizens can and will be designated as enemy combatants under the rules of war, and that anyone, regardless of citizenship, can be labeled a "terrorist" for any reason by the executive branch.
The Power To Militarize
Federal fusion centers and funding for local law enforcement has irreparably damaged state and county objectivity and opened the door to a steady diet of anti-liberty propaganda for police officials across the nation. Some eat it up, some don't. However, the issue here is one of intention. Why does the federal government feel the need to arm divisions of local law enforcement with automatic weapons, predator drones, and even tanks? Why is Congress going out of its way to free up FAA regulations to allow police organizations unprecedented access to predator drones, up to 30,000 by 2020, for use in civilian airspace?
I recently applied for a driver’s license renewal online in California and seeing what they wanted me to agree to really brought home how far our police state has progressed. Is there any way to get around having to agree to a complete invasion of privacy in order to drive in this State?
Joan in Sacramento
I was curious to find out exactly what you were asked to do when you went to renew your license and here's what I found. Read it and weep:
Certification/Disclosure Information Acknowledgement
Please read the following and click the box below to confirm you have read and agree with the information:
- I agree to submit to a chemical test of my blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining the alcohol or drug content of my blood when testing is requested by a peace officer acting in accordance with Vehicle Code §23136 or §23612.
- I understand that if I'm under 21 years of age, I cannot legally drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.01% or more. Driving with a BAC of 0.01% or more, refusing to take, or failing to complete an alcohol screening or drug test, results in a one-year suspension of my driving privilege.
- I am the person whose name appears on the renewal notice used to process this application. The mailing address shown on the renewal notice is valid, existing, and accurate. I agree to accept service of process at this mailing address according to §415.20(b), §415.30(a), and §416.90 of the Civil Procedure Code.
- I understand that DMV will add convictions reported by other states' licensing authorities to my driving record, which may result in sanctions against my California driving privilege pursuant to the applicable sections of the California Vehicle Code.
- Social Security Number Collection Disclosure - You are required by law to provide your social security number or your application will be denied. Authority to collect the social security number is 42 U.S.C. 405 and California Vehicle Code Sections 1653.5, 4150, 4150.2, 12800, and 12801.
It will be used in the administration of driver license laws and motor vehicle registration laws and to respond to requests for information from the:
- Franchise Tax Board for tax administration
- Any agency operations pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 601 et.seq.
It will be used to aid in the collection of monies owed in connection with:
- Failure to pay fines or failure to appear in court by an applicant
- Aid to Families with Dependent Children
- Child Support
- Establishment of Paternity
WOW! All I have to say about this is make sure you’re using a PO Box as your home address (not a USPS government mailbox – a box at one of those neighborhood businesses with “PMB” mailboxes). One of the main steps on the road to de-slaving yourself is to make sure the authorities don’t know where you live. NEVER give out your home address to anyone but trusted friends and family if you can help it. Utilities end up getting it, but anyone else providing services to your home doesn’t need it.
Your Privacy Is Yours
"I Lived. I Died. Now Mind Your Own Business." That's how I want my tombstone to read.
What do I have to hide? Everything! Which is to say, every piece of personal information someone or something demands to know is something I don't want to tell because no one has the right to demand access to my life.
The right to privacy rests largely on a presumption of innocence. It assumes that -- in the absence of evidence of wrongdoing -- an individual has a right to shut his front door and tell other people (including government) to mind their own business.
Today, this assumption has been twisted inside out so that a desire for privacy means you have something to hide. You are expected to prove your innocence by revealing every financial transaction, by filling in pages of government paperwork, by allowing state agents to frisk your person and property when you board a plane or enter a public building. These invasions rest upon the presumption of guilt.
Privacy is also is the single most effective means of preserving freedom against an encroaching state. The act of closing your front door expresses the key distinction between the private and public spheres.
The private sphere consists of the areas of life over which you, as a peaceful human being, exert absolute authority and into which the government or any other uninvited party cannot properly intrude. Traditionally, the home or family is viewed as the private sphere. But it also includes the food you eat, your sex life, the books you read, your opinions of life.
The public sphere consists of the civic duties you owe to others. In a free society, these duties include paying your bills, respecting the equal rights of all and living up to contracts. In the current society, a set of designed duties require you to pay ruinous taxes, to restrain your own rights and to abide by a mushrooming mass of laws.
Historically, privacy has stood on the side of liberty as a bulwark between the individual and government, between freedom and social control.
Imagine a world in which you do not report your income; there are no government forms or census data; registration of everything from birth to marriage is optional; no permission is needed to open a business or travel abroad. Imagine a world in which personal data are private.
How could the tax man collect money without knowing your income or address? How could the military draft your children into war without knowing where to find them at home or at school? How could the censor punish your reading habits when no record exists of which books you buy? The machinery of the state is paralyzed without information about who you are.
Information has always empowered the state. On his infamous 1864 march through Georgia, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman used county maps with information about livestock and crops in order to loot and pillage more efficiently.
After the 1942 bombing of Pearl Harbor, the American military used census data to locate Japanese-Americans and herd them into detention camps. The IRS has routinely compared the names on foreign government lists with those on its own in order to locate "hidden" assets.
The difference today is the higher efficiency of data collection, due to technology. Most people's employment, financial, medical, military, educational, housing, marital, telephone, travel, Internet, automobile and family records are now stored or easily accessed by government.
It is no coincidence that statist governments are renowned for wiretapping, surveillance, identification papers, informants, secret police and censorship. The control of information throughout society is akin to the control of blood flow through a body; it is vital to functioning.
The difference today is technology... and the active cooperation of businesses like Facebook and Google, who curry government favor by catering to all requests for information. Technology converts the collection of data into an art form.
At this point, it is useful to take a "time out" to assert that the collection of data and issuance of documents can be a valid function of a free society. Quite apart from facilitating social control, identifying (ID-ing) people can function as a free-market mechanism of authentication. It authenticates those who should have access to bank accounts, property titles or inheritance; it certifies people as being skilled -- for example, as a thoracic surgeon. But this authentication does not involve exploring their bank accounts, sexual preferences, reading habits, travel plans and political beliefs.
In asserting its superior claim over any free-market function of identifying people, the state does not outlaw competition; the state merely renders the free-market function irrelevant. The state makes its ID a de facto condition for functioning well in daily life. The state and its documentation have become the only way for a person to "prove" his or her identity and, thus, to access the basic rights and "niceties" of life. The "unidentified" human being cannot board a plane or train, nor drive a car. He cannot open a bank account, cash a check, take a job, attend school, get married, rent a video (let alone an apartment) or buy a house. The unidentified person is a second-class citizen to whom the government closes off much of life and almost all opportunity to advance through labor, education or entrepreneurship.
Meanwhile, those who are "identified" by the state are vulnerable to having their bank accounts frozen, their access to health care denied, credit cards canceled, wages garnished, records subpoenaed. To become known to the state is to become vulnerable to a myriad of invasions that come from the government knowing exactly where and how to find you.
Those who resist being inventoried present a problem for the state. The first line of statist attack is to accuse them of being "suspicious" -- that is, of having criminal or shameful reasons for refusing to answer questions.
"If you have nothing to hide…" the remark begins; it always ends with a demand for compliance. Invoking privacy has gone from being the exercise of a right to an indication of guilt.
This is a sleight of hand by which privacy is redefined as "concealment" or "secrecy"; of course, it is neither. It is merely a request for the personal to remain personal. As well as enabling freedom, privacy is part of a healthy, self-reflecting life.
Everyone has areas of utter privacy to protect. Some people wear lockets containing photos of deceased relatives; others daydream about a forbidden love; still other people lock the door while luxuriating in a hot bubble bath; or perhaps, they write a love letter that is meant for one other set of eyes only. These acts are a line drawn between the private and public sphere; they constitute a boundary over which no other human being can rightfully cross without invitation.
If a neighbor took it upon himself to read letters in your mailbox or copy down the details of deposits in a bankbook he "encountered" in your desk drawer, you would feel violated and enraged by the invasion. What is wrong for your neighbor to do is also wrong for a government agent to do, because there is only one standard of morality. Theft is theft; invasion is invasion. You have the right to slam the door on the face of anyone who says differently. A peaceful human being owes no debt to any other person.
Hold the state up to the same standard as your neighbors... because there are no double standards of right and wrong. Privacy is a right, not an admission of guilt. Your identity properly belongs to you... not to the state.
Even Judges are Angry About Violations of Liberty
Alex Kozinski is the chief judge of the Ninth Circuit, the biggest, baddest circuit around. That circuit just got done granting police in their jurisdiction the power to intrude onto someone’s property and install vehicle tracking devices without a warrant. Alex Kozinski disagrees with that power.
Vehicle Tracking Devices: New Technology vs. Fundamental Liberty
The right to exclude intruders into your private thoughts, property and affairs is a fundamental human right. This concept is so fundamental to Western legal systems that in 1604 Sir Edward Coke was able to declare that a person’s home is their castle. The Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution and countless other documents also reflect this fundamental principle of freedom.
For example the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution requires the government to have a warrant based on probable cause before they can intrude on someone’s privacy without their consent. In other words, they need a really good reason.
Vehicle Tracking Devices And Other Legal Erosions Of Better Privacy
In the past few years the government has permitted searches for worse and worse reasons. Sometimes, they need not have any reason at all. All branches of government have contributed to the decline. The executive branch vigorously pushes the boundaries of acceptable behavior while enforcing the law, legislatures pass Patriot Acts and other laws which erode privacy, and judiciaries interpret the language of the Constitution with no regard to the underlying principles, interpreting some provisions into dead letters.
In US v. Pineda-Moreno, police snuck onto a man’s private property in the middle of the night, without a warrant, and put one of the police GPS vehicle tracking devices on a car. The vehicle tracking device tracked his every move which the government collected.
Theoretically the police probably violated a few fundamental principles of law. They came on the land without permission (trespass to land) and they messed with this guy’s stuff (trespass to chattels). Practically, however, damages for minor intrusions like this are usually very limited and in this case, the police will probably claim sovereign immunity and not pay for the wrong they committed. The individual police officers will not be held liable either.
Here are some of the highlights of Alex Kozinski’s dissent in US v. Pineda-Moreno.
“Having previously decimated the protections the Fourth Amendment accords to the home itself (citation omitted) our court now proceeds to dismantle the zone of privacy we enjoy… The needs of law enforcement, to which my colleagues seem inclined to refuse nothing, are quickly making personal privacy a distant memory. 1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it’s here at last…
“The panel authorizes police to do not only what invited strangers could, but also uninvited children—in this case crawl under the car to retrieve a ball and tinker with the undercarriage. But there’s no limit to what neighborhood kids will do, given half a chance: They’ll jump the fence, crawl under the porch, pick fruit from the trees, set fire to the cat and micturate on the azaleas. To say that the police may do on your property what urchins might do spells the end of Fourth Amendment protections for most people…
“In determining whether the tracking devices used in Pineda- Moreno’s case violate the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee of personal privacy, we may not shut our eyes to the fact that they are just advance ripples to a tidal wave of technological assaults on our privacy.
“If you have a cell phone in your pocket, then, at the government’s request, the phone company will send out a signal to any cell phone.
connected to its network, and give the police its location. Last year, law enforcement agents pinged users of just one service provider—Sprint—over eight million times. The
volume of requests grew so large that the 110-member electronic surveillance team couldn’t keep up, so Sprint automated the process by developing a web interface that gives agents direct access to users’ location data.
“You can preserve your anonymity from prying eyes, even in public, by traveling at night, through heavy traffic, in crowds, by using a circuitous route, disguising your appearance, passing in and out of buildings and being careful not to be followed. But there’s no hiding from the all-seeing network of GPS satellites that hover overhead, which never sleep, never blink, never get confused and never lose attention. Nor is there respite from the dense network of cell towers that honeycomb the inhabited United States. Acting together these two technologies alone can provide law enforcement with a swift, efficient, silent, invisible and cheap way of tracking the movements of virtually anyone.
To prevent the police from putting GPS vehicle tracking devices on your car, park it in a garage, enclosed in a wall or fence, or sweep the vehicle before driving it. To prevent government intrusions in other ways, use encryption to encrypt emails, prepaid cell phones, anonymous web surfing, and lots of other tools. These all keep the government honest and prevent them from intruding upon your private places without having a really good reason…
Be very careful about what you put up on Facebook or Twitter. The entire world can see it....
According to the ACLU, state police in Michigan are using "extraction devices" to download data from the cellphones of motorists that they pull over. This is taking place even if those pulled over are not accused of doing anything wrong.
The following is how an article on CNET News describes the capabilities of these "extraction devices"....
The devices, sold by a company called Cellebrite, can download text messages, photos, video, and even GPS data from most brands of cell phones. The handheld machines have various interfaces to work with different models and can even bypass security passwords and access some information.
One of the most liberty-killing pieces of legislation in recent years was the Patriot Act. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Republicans and the vast majority of Democrats will never vote against the renewal of the Patriot Act because they don't want to look "soft" on terrorism.
About the only U.S. Senator to stand up against the Patriot Act is Rand Paul. He is doing all he can to fight a one man battle against the Patriot Act but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is doing his best to extend the Patriot Act without any debate taking place
If you display the wrong political message on your car, you may find law enforcement officials cracking down on you.
A 73-year-old Virginia resident was recently kicked out of a national park for displaying a sticker promoting "Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty" on his car.
The following is an excerpt from a recent Rutherford Institute report about this incident....
The Rutherford Institute has come to the defense of a 73-year-old Virginia resident who was allegedly ordered by a park ranger to remove his car from a national military park in South Carolina because of political messages attached to his vehicle. Jack Faw, whose ancestors fought in the historic battle memorialized at Kings Mountain National Military Park, contacted The Rutherford Institute after being told by a park ranger that the decal promoting a political organization associated with Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), which was displayed on the back window of Faw's car, was not allowed in the park.
Life on the plantation, just say ‘yes suh, massah!”
please don' hits me. massah. i goina be good from naw on…
The Middle Class -- Merely plantation slaves, sharecroppers on the Kings Land.
We can’t say it too often -- the U.S. middle class faces daunting challenges, and must change the way it works, thinks, and plans. Income has stagnated for decades (see this recent CNN piece, among many others), while educational and medical costs surge by the year. Job security is a distant memory.
But that’s old news. More jarringly, the very concept of “employment” is being redefined as we speak. Every worker -- not just temps and freelancers -- is becoming “contingent,” if not in name, in function. A company may call you an “employee,” but with diminishing benefits and nothing to count on, your job is like 12-step sobriety -- you have it one day at a time.
Multinational corporations have become incredibly skilled at avoiding taxes. It has become routine for big companies to shift profitable operations to divisions in other countries where tax rates are lower. It has also become routine for big companies to set up "sham headquarters" in tax havens around the world. Many U.S. corporations have even renounced their status as American companies in order to avoid paying taxes.
According to Forbes, the United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
We’ve become a nation of sharecroppers. Plantation slaves. We never truly ever own anything, our government does. Don’t pay your property tax and the states takes away your home. Fall behind on child support and the state will take away your licenses, home or other property or your freedom. Forget to renew any government issued permits in regard to your automobile, the state will impound your vehicle. Hunt a deer without a permit, the King will fine you. Don’t pay your annual tribute, face fines and/or imprisonment.
In the US you can longer do what you want on ‘your property’ without permission from the overseer! Whether Americans want to admit it or not, it's the single greatest fear in their lives: fear of the government. Americans who don’t obey are coerced at the end of a gun barrel. The US has the most armed agents in the world.
Who really controls our country…
Free markets do not set interest rates in this country - the Federal Reserve does.
In addition, the Federal Reserve has a tremendous amount of regulatory power over U.S. banks and the entire financial system. Most Americans simply do not realize how much power the Federal Reserve has over our banks. Just last year Federal Reserve officials walked into one bank in Oklahoma and demanded that they take down all the Bible verses and the Christmas buttons that the bank had been displaying.
Like the communist Chinese, the Federal Reserve is not elected and it is essentially accountable to no one.
Our politicians and our business leaders have pursued economic policies that are so self-destructive that it defies explanation. We have no free trade policies left in this country.
According to the Federal Reserve, more than two-thirds of Americans have seen their net worth decline during this economic downturn. In fact, the Fed says that between 2007 and 2009, the wealth of the average American family declined by 23%.
Perhaps it is time for Americans to read…
Animal Farm by George Orwell-worth re-reading…How a revolutionary government could be worse than its monarchist predecessor, but it also could apply to many political organizations, labor unions, and the like. The key lesson is that the organization's bosses often manipulate the organization for their own benefit, and end up being as bad, if not worse, than the real or imaginary evils from which they are protecting their followers. The sheep will only bleat.
How the government spies on its citizens
Step out of line, the man come and take you away.-Buffalo Springfield
The Poor Man has written extensively on how our government monitors every financial move you make. From the New Hire Database, your medical files, your financial records, etc. The government has setup a large network of institutions which spy on you…the post office, the bank and more. The government maintains roughly 44 files on every adult in the US, effectively gutting the Bill of Rights.
Nothing is private anymore, as a vast spying system, known as Echelon, can intercept everything from your most confidential financial transactions to communications between senators and congressmen to cables between foreign officials.
Technologies and techniques honed for use on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan have migrated into the hands of law enforcement agencies in America writes the Washington Post in its continuing series, “Top Secret America.”
The Post reports:
“Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators.
The US Department of Justice this week released slides from a presentation deck titled Obtaining and Using Evidence from Social Networking Sites. The document was released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
For over fifteen years, the CIA, with assistance from numerous government agencies, conducted a massive illegal domestic covert operation called Operation CHAOS. It was one of the largest and most pervasive domestic surveillance programs in the history of this country. Throughout the duration of CHAOS, the CIA spied on thousands of U.S. citizens. The CIA went to great lengths to conceal this operation from the public while every president from Eisenhower to Nixon exploited CHAOS for his own political ends."
One example is the Defense Department's Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA)
Consider this from William M. Arkin of the Washington Post:
"CIFA already has these authorities, has its own agents, and collects information on common American citizens under the guise of "sabotage" and "force protection" threats to the military. Since 9/11, functions that were previously intended to protect U.S. forces overseas from terrorism and protect U.S. secrets from spies have been combined in one super-intelligence function that constitutes the greatest threat to U.S. civil liberties since the domestic spying days of the 1970's."
"On May 2, 2003, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz signed a memorandum directing the military to collect and report "non-validated threat information" relating to U.S. military forces, installations or missions. His memorandum followed from the establishment of the Domestic Threat Working Group after 9/11, the intent of which was to create a mechanism to share low-level domestic "threat information" between the military and intelligence agencies."
Then we have the "Total Information Awareness" program whereby "Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend — all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as "a virtual, centralized grand database."
Under PATRIOT, civil liberties, especially privacy rights, have taken a severe blow:
The law dramatically expands the ability of states and the Federal Government to conduct surveillance of American citizens. The Government can monitor an individual's web surfing records, use roving wiretaps to monitor phone calls made by individuals "proximate" to the primary person being tapped, access Internet Service Provider records, and monitor the private records of people involved in legitimate protests.
PATRIOT is not limited to terrorism. The Government can add samples to DNA databases for individuals convicted of "any crime of violence." Government spying on suspected computer trespassers (not just terrorist suspects) requires no court order. Wiretaps are now allowed for any suspected violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, offering possibilities for Government spying on any computer user.
Foreign and domestic intelligence agencies can more easily spy on Americans. Powers under the existing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) have been broadened to allow for increased surveillance opportunities. FISA standards are lower than the constitutional standard applied by the courts in regular investigations. PATRIOT partially repeals legislation enacted in the 1970s that prohibited pervasive surveillance of Americans.
PATRIOT eliminates Government accountability. While PATRIOT freely eliminates privacy rights for individual Americans, it creates more secrecy for Government activities, making it extremely difficult to know about actions the Government is taking.
PATRIOT authorizes the use of "sneak and peek" search warrants in connection with any federal crime, including misdemeanors. A "sneak and peek" warrant authorizes law enforcement officers to enter private premises without the occupant's permission or knowledge and without informing the occupant that such a search was conducted.
It’s terrifying to watch as so many traitorous politicians and government officials at all levels work so hard at gutting our freedoms...
Compiled from various resources. Get 21 Strategies for Protecting Your Privacy at:
Watch this related video:
Find Your Dream Homestead
From Mother Earth News magazine, by Dave Wortman
Looking for that perfect place where the sky is vast, the soil is fertile and your neighbors offer genuine small-town friendliness? Good housing deals are available in many areas of the country. To attract residents, some Midwestern towns have turned to drastic measures — such as land giveaways. But even if you can’t find a free land deal, there are many ways to find an affordable homestead.
For some, a dream homestead means secluded rural acreage. But for others, an ideal homestead may be in a small town, where you might find less expensive housing and a lot large enough for a garden, some fruit trees and a few chickens — plus the benefits of nearby community amenities. There are some locations where you can still find your dream homestead without breaking the bank. And with the fallout from the recent mortgage crisis, land prices — at least in some areas — are tumbling, offering an even better reason to jump into the game.
Between July 2005 and July 2006, the population of the nation’s rural areas as a whole grew by just 0.6 percent. In rural parts of the American Plains, many areas have seen a steady decline of population since the early 1900s — and most have been hemorrhaging population for years. To turn the tide, local governments are often eager to entice newcomers to boost their tax base for schools and other essential services.
If you’re simply looking for a low-cost home, many of the same areas of the country where land is affordable offer good housing deals, too. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that home values in the Midwest and Deep South are among the most affordable in the country.
To turn the tide of population decline, many Midwestern towns have turned to land giveaways — an option that is hard to pass up. Most of these towns have been flooded with thousands of requests. By November 2006, 74 of the 80 free lots in Marquette, Kan., had been given away. The programs have appealed to a broad cross section of people, from young couples with children to retirees who have come from as far as California and Louisiana.
If a free lot isn’t enough for you, consider that most of these towns also offer other incentives, such as property tax rebates over five to 10 years, building permit fee waivers, down payment assistance, complimentary memberships to local country clubs, and help finding jobs.
Even federal elected officials from Midwest states are hoping to lure newcomers with enticements of land. Several legislators have banded together to co-sponsor a $30 billion “New Homestead Act.” If enacted, it would provide special tax credits for homebuyers and small business startups in rural America (for the current status of the bill, go to thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:S.1093:).
LOOK BEYOND THE LISTINGS
Even if you can’t find a free land deal that suits your needs, there are many ways to find an affordable homestead.
The first tip is to make your intentions known to as many people as possible, says Gene GeRue, author of “How to Find Your Ideal Country Home.” “Land seekers should contact realtors, banks, lawyers, insurance brokers, appraisers, tax collectors and auctioneers for leads on stressed properties.” If you spot a piece of land you like, find the owner and ask if it’s for sale. They might be more willing to sell than you think.
Land given away by the U.S. government under the 1862 Homestead Act is long gone, but the federal government does occasionally sell public land. Homesteaders will be most interested in public land, most of which is located on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in the 11 Western states. The downside is that the agency must sell the land at no less than fair market value. And most plots are located in areas short on water or with poor soils that have little agricultural potential.
Abandoned farms may provide another enticing and affordable option. Frequently, a small plot of poor soil can be improved with proper management so that it will serve nicely as a garden. If your goals are primarily agricultural, soil surveys are a handy tool to assess the fertility of soil (visit websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov).
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Before you start your search for land, first make a list of criteria to guide you in your decisions. Are you planning to farm the land, and if so, is the plot large enough, and is the soil fertile? Are there any signs of contamination, wetlands or flooding? A quick search of a property’s environmental history through Web sites such as Environmental Data Resources (www.edrnet.com) will help you avoid potentially contaminated well water, leaking underground tanks and other potential hazards.
Think about what you’d like from a community. Is the rural life right for you? How will you support yourself? While today’s small towns have better access than ever before to cable, cell phone and high-speed Internet service (making more room for work-at-home careers), rural life can be isolating at times. You might want to consider the commuting distance to larger communities, where jobs and amenities may be more available. Thorough research is the best guarantee of purchasing land that fits your needs.
Excerpted from Mother Earth News magazine, the original guide to living wisely. Read the full story at www.MotherEarthNews.com or call (800) 234-3368 to subscribe. Copyright 2008 by Ogden Publications Inc.
Live on Less!
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
These days, many people are getting inspired by the ideas of simple living, self-reliance and being able to live on less. Not only are more people looking for ways to go green, but in these uncertain economic times, it just makes sense to try to stretch every dollar as far as possible. At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we believe that saving money, protecting the environment and living a satisfying life all go together. In that spirit, here are a few of our best ideas for how to save money on food.
Starting a garden, or expanding the garden you already have, is a good first step. It’s amazing how much you can grow in even a small gardening space. We recently featured a report from the Dervaes family, who measured the output of their one-tenth of an acre in Pasadena, Calif. When they did the math, they discovered they had raised more than 6,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables in a single year!
Planting a kitchen garden is a great strategy for greener living because it’s an efficient use of resources. You simply can’t get more local than food from your own backyard. There are other benefits, too — homegrown produce can be picked at the peak of ripeness, for maximum flavor and nutrition. And then there are the money savings. We were amazed when garden writer Rosalind Creasy reported that her 10-by-10-foot garden produced more than $700 worth of organic food in one season!
If you already garden, you know some garden supplies can be pricey, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to grow your own food. One way to save is to forgo commercial fertilizers and use free, homegrown options such as grass clippings, shredded leaves or compost. It pays to start from seeds whenever possible instead of buying transplants, and you can stretch those dollars further by organizing a seed swap with other gardeners. You can even learn how to save your own seeds from plants you grow yourself. Tomatoes are one simple crop to start saving seeds from and beans are another.
You can raise your own meat, eggs and dairy products, too. Even in urban and suburban areas, local ordinances often allow you to keep a few backyard chickens. If you live in a rural area and have more land, you might also consider cattle, goats, sheep, pigs or ducks — whichever animals best fit your available space and resources. The value of the meat and dairy products you produce will usually add up to far more than you’re spending. Homesteader Gwen Roland tracked her expenses for raising a flock of meat chickens and calculated she was spending just $1 per pound for delicious, free-range meat.
Another way to save on your food bills is to change your cooking and grocery shopping habits. These simple steps can help you reduce your food bills:
* Cook at home, from scratch when possible. Make big batches and use leftovers.
* Take your own lunches and snacks to work or school.
* Eat produce that is in season and locally plentiful.
* Buy cooperatively, in bulk or directly from producers.
* At grocery stores, shop the sales and use coupons.
* Build your diet primarily around plants and whole grains, eating meat more sparingly and choosing less expensive cuts when you do.
It’s also a good idea to hone your cooking skills and learn more about brewing and home food preservation. Consider drying, freezing, canning and fermenting your garden harvest. Learn to cook some new foods from scratch to enjoy both terrific flavor and money savings. We’ve found that if you bake your own bread, you’ll only spend about 50 cents per loaf, and homemade cheeses cost about a third of what you’d pay in the grocery store. If you drink alcohol, you can save money by brewing your own wine, beer or cider, and the taste is fabulous, too. Yep, “housework” can pay off very nicely!
Excerpted from MOTHER EARTH NEWS, the Original Guide to Living Wisely. To read more articles from MOTHER EARTH NEWS, please visit www.MotherEarthNews.com or call (800) 234-3368 to subscribe. Copyright 2010 by Ogden Publications Inc.
A Greener Shade of Clean
From Natural Home magazine, by Kim Erickson
Nothing feels as comforting and welcoming as a tidy, well-tended home. But a clean home isn’t necessarily a healthy one. As you peruse the cleaning aisle’s furniture polishes, air fresheners, carpet deodorizers and stain removers, you may realize that a full product arsenal could contain literally hundreds of chemicals and include dozens of safety warnings — not to mention cost a small fortune. Fortunately, you can create nontoxic, inexpensive counterparts to nearly every conventional cleaning product with items found in your pantry.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes that conventional cleaning products make a significant contribution to indoor air pollution. In one study conducted at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, researchers found that the chemicals in everyday household cleaners can trigger the onset or worsening of asthma. Children with asthma can experience respiratory symptoms in a newly cleaned home. At least one study also suggests a possible link between prenatal exposure to low doses of common cleaning chemicals and attention deficit disorder or even autism in children.
Exposure to these everyday products can also affect your heart. Results from the Detroit Exposure and Aerosol Research Study, which were recently presented at a scientific session of the American Heart Association, showed that people exposed to pollutants — including household cleaners and air fresheners — experienced a narrowing of blood vessels and an increase in blood pressure.
Even seemingly benign products can cause health problems. Glass cleaners often contain ammonia, an eye irritant that can cause headaches and lung irritation. Disinfectants often harbor phenol and cresol, two petroleum derivatives that can cause dizziness and fainting. The polishes that make our floors and furniture shine include nitrobenzene, a carcinogen and reproductive toxin that can also cause shortness of breath and nausea.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are toxic chemicals released by common cleaning products that can remain suspended in the air for days after use. Able to cross the bloodbrain barrier and placenta, VOCs can depress the central nervous system; irritate the eyes, nose and throat; and reduce pulmonary function. Long-term exposure can contribute to a variety of cancers.
The good news is that you don’t need to rely on these toxic chemicals for a spotless house. You can power through most household dirt with inexpensive and effective homemade cleansers. Plus, you can customize your cleaners with bacteria-busting essential oils.
ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER AND DISINFECTANT
Just as effective as popular antibacterial cleansers, this formula is perfect for kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
2 cups hot water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon washing soda (similar to, but more caustic than, baking soda)
15 drops tea tree essential oil
15 drops lavender essential oil
Combine all ingredients in a reusable spray bottle and shake well. To use, spray on surfaces, especially cutting boards, countertops and toilets. Wipe with a dry cloth.
Whether you’re using microfiber cloths or old cloth diapers, these do-it-yourself dusters offer the convenience of disposable furniture wipes without the guilt of contributing to the landfill. Make several dustcloths at a time.
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon lemongrass
Dustcloths or rags
Freshly cut lemon peel
Combine water, vinegar and essential oil in large bowl. Soak dustcloths in the solution for 30 minutes. Squeeze out cloths, leaving them slightly damp. Lay cloths flat and place a couple pieces of lemon peel on each one. Fold each cloth in half or thirds and roll up. Place each cloth in a glass jar along with an extra piece of lemon peel. Cap tightly with a screw lid. To use, unfold cloth and discard peel. Dust as usual. Launder dustcloths when dirty and infuse again with essential oil and lemon peel.
CREAMY NONABRASIVE CLEANER
Perfect for acrylic and fiberglass surfaces, this smooth cleanser won’t scratch tubs, stovetops or laminate countertops.
1/4 cup borax
Vegetable oil-based liquid soap (also known as castile soap)
1/2 teaspoon lemon essential oil
In a small bowl, combine borax with just enough liquid soap to create a thick paste. Add essential oil and blend well. To use, scoop a small amount of cleaner onto a damp sponge. Scrub surface and rinse well.
PRE-VACUUM CARPET FRESHENER
This fragrant odor eliminator will leave your home smelling fresh without posing a danger to pets or children.
1 cup dried lavender flowers
2 cups baking soda
10 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops rose geranium essential oil
Crush lavender flowers and mix with baking soda, breaking up any clumps. Add essential oils and blend well. To use, sprinkle on carpets. Wait 30 minutes, then vacuum as usual. Store leftovers in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.
Excerpted from Natural Home, a national magazine that provides practical ideas, inspiring examples and expert opinions about healthy, ecologically sound, beautiful homes. To read more articles from Natural Home, please visit www.NaturalHomeMagazine.com or call 800-340-5846 to subscribe. Copyright 2009 by Ogden Publications Inc.
You can also find useful green cleaning products atwww.GreenIrene.Com/PoorMan