Posts tagged “Big Brother

When Judges Drink the Big Brother Kool Aid

If one needs to wonder why the United States — once the land of the free — has slowly morphed into a surveillance state, all they need do is listen to what a Supreme Court justice recently said.

“At an interview the National Press Club on Thursday,” reports BreitbartTV. “Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg talked about their views of the First Amendment.”

Marvin Kalb, the event’s moderator, questioned Scalia on the constitutionality of the NSA’s domestic spying of American citizens. Is it possible that the NSA’s grab of metadata, which the agency combines with algorithms to paint of portrait of individuals, is unconstitutional, Kalb asked?

“No, because it’s not absolute,” said Scalia.  “As Ruth has said there are very few freedoms that are absolute. I mean your person is protected by the Fourth Amendment but as I pointed out when you board a plane someone can pass his hands all over your body that’s a terrible intrusion, but given the danger that it’s guarding against it’s not an unreasonable intrusion. And it can be the same thing with acquiring this data that is regarded as effects. That’s why I say it’s foolish to have us make the decision because I don’t know how serious the danger is in this NSA stuff, I really don’t.”

What is scary is this statement was made by a man who took an oath to uphold the Constitution — a document that supposedly protects its citizens from government abuses.

First, Justice Scalia might want to checkout the NSA’s charter, which limits that agency to collecting foreign intelligence and prohibits it from spying on American citizens within the United States.  That job belongs to the FBI.

Second, if Justice Scalia is so inclined, could he explain the constitutionality of a foreign intelligence surveillance court approving a warrant for 150 million non-specific targets for the purposes of gathering the telephone records of American citizens.  A warrant or a subpoena, based on such a wide-swath of targets and absent probable cause of individual wrong doing, does not jibe with the Fourth Amendment.

This statist rationale — cut from the same cloth that Supreme Court once used to uphold the 1917 Espionage Act, which permitted censorship of newspapers — is proof that, when it comes to individual liberty, our courts have become government rubber stamps.

“Where did our nation’s judges get their law degrees from?” asked Devin Sharif, who brought Scalia’s statements to the attention of SF,  “China or Russia?”

Hummmm

—————————————————————————————————–

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014


The One Last Hope? Rand Paul and the Right Side of History

If Rip Van Winkle fell asleep in 1990 and woke-up today, would he recognize the United States as the land of the free?  Initially, he might, until, of course, he picked-up a newspaper (news on the Web did not exist in 1990).  Then, it wouldn’t take Mr. Van Winkle long to realize that the freedoms Americans had formerly recognized were auctioned off by federal, state, and local politicians, to leaders of high-tech companies who made significant campaign contributions.

Like crack addicts, politicians, especially those on the state and federal level, are constantly on the lookout for their next fix.  When the money tree shakes, the politicians scramble to collect the falling dollars.  Only a dolt would believe that this cash is simply handed over to the campaign committees of politicians with no strings attached.  And the news media, which treats politics like a sporting event, is all too willing to play the role of an official score keeper by portraying candidates as viable based on the amount of money stuffed away in their campaign war chests.

After all, it is the desire for campaign cash — that pipeline of revenue skimmed from the goods and services that the public and/or the government over pays for — that underwrites a politician’s lust for power by maintaining or securing committee chairmanships.  Unfortunately, this practice of money-hungry politicians on steroids has transformed America into a nation of ‘freedom on paper only.’  It has also turned our political leaders, such as the President and his director of National Intelligence, into prevaricators.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/07/27/1227008/-Clapper-Admits-He-Lied-to-Congress-in-Letter-Posted-by-Senator-Wyden

Only one national political figure, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, has sought to mobilize those of us — the taxpayers — who over pay for the goods and services used to fund these de facto campaign kickbacks. Speaking, at all places, the University of California-Berkeley, Paul drew a standing ovation from a crowd of millenniums as he denounced the American surveillance state.

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/rand-paul-privacy-university-of-california-berkeley-104834.html

Sen. Paul is conveying a message eerily reminiscent to that of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill — from the shores of New York City, to the beaches of Waikiki, an electronic iron curtain has descended across the American continent. All of us are being watched, not just by the NSA, the FBI, the intelligence fusion centers operated by state and local police, but also by the U.S. military.

Today, the Washington Examiner reported that the U.S. Navy’s Law Enforcement and Information Exchange (LinX) is keeping tabs on Americans by collecting data compiled from criminal histories, arrest reports, traffic citations, and even field interview cards filled out by cops on the beat.

http://washingtonexaminer.com/navy-database-tracks-civilians-parking-tickets-fender-benders-raising-fears-of-domestic-spying/article/2546038

“More than 1,300 agencies participate, including The FBI and other Department of Justice divisions, the Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon,” notes the Examiner’s Mark Flatten. “Police departments along both coasts and in Texas, New Mexico, Alaska and Hawaii are in LinX.”

Herein, lays the problem with the Republican Party, which supposedly is an advocate for limited government.  The neo-conservative wing of the party has yet to see a government surveillance program that it does not like.  When voters, especially young people, hear GOP candidates speaking in glowing terms of limited government, many simply roll their eyes and think, ‘Why do they support a foreign surveillance court that gathers the telephone records of every American? Hum, sounds more like China than America.’

Recently, a student of mine drafted a paper that purported to show how Republican appointees to state and federal courts — most notably the U.S. Supreme Court — have “stripped away” many of the rights citizens maintained just a few decades ago and “turned American into a virtual police state.”  Admittedly, even though I have used many of these judicial changes to my advantage as a detective, I had to concur with his thesis.

Which begs the question: as the wave of totalitarian electronic surveillance presents itself, is it possible that Rand Paul can save the Republican Party from a generation or more or resounding Presidential election defeats?

Along with an electronic iron curtain reference, when it comes to Big Brother creeping further-and-further into our lives, Senator Paul might want to incorporate this Churchillian theme into his repertoire of freedom:  ‘But if we fail to control the monster of technology, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of high technology. Let us, therefore, brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the United States lives for a thousand years, people will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’

————————————————————————————————————————————————

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014


Book Review: A Government of Wolves

Is America slouching towards a police state or is our nation already an “electronic concentration camp?”

In his recently released book, A Government of Wolves: the Emerging American Police State, John W. Whitehead, the president of the Rutherford Institute, makes a strong case that our out-of-control federal government has already crossed the Orwellian line of no return.

To make his point, the author quotes Milton Mayer, who made the following observation:

“What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security.”

Mayer, however, was not pontificating about post-9/11 America.  Instead, his observations concerned the rise of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.

In A Government of Wolves, Whitehead details the methods and technologies that the federal government, as well as its co-opted local law enforcement ‘partners,’ uses to keep tabs on all Americans.  The debate, as he sees it, is weather the new “electronic concentration camp” is more in line with George Orwell’s 1984 or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, since both novels offer slightly different versions of how the government seized the freedoms and privacy of the populace.

Personally, I think the Huxley scenario—that the culture is so consumed by entertainment and technology “that the citizenry does not realize they occupy a prison until it is too late’—is spot on.  A thriving democracy depends on a high percentage of knowledgeable voters, and, quite frankly, the knowledge most voters possess is the equivalent of sixth grade reading level.

Earlier this month, noted conspiracy theorist Mark Dice released a ‘man on the street video,’ showing what occurred when some college-educated people where asked to sign a petition asking President Obama to ban the Bill of Rights.  Proof that Low Information Voters (LIVs) abound, many signed without hesitation.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/07/09/watch-and-weep-heres-a-video-of-people-signing-a-petition-to-repeal-the-bill-of-rights/

These are the sheep, too caught-up in the latest episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, to realize that they are being led to the political slaughter.  As long as the politician that they support gives his blessing, LIVs apparently are too busy to even care that their government is lying about the IRS scandal, NSA spying, or the establishment of a police state in the name of security.

Another assertion Whitehead makes is that the local police are being turned into a federally subsidized army; whereby, the federal government continues to borrow and print money while offering ‘grants’ that equip police departments with drones, cellular telephone tracking equipment, armored personnel carriers, and other high-tech gadgets, such as LED lights that cause nausea.

Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal echoed this concern in an article entitled, Rise of the Warrior Cop.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323848804578608040780519904.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEFTTopStories

Whitehead also makes a case that, in the near future, society will be divided into two broad categories of classes: the watchers and the watched.  In the United States, over 850,000 people—either contractors or government employees—are involved in the implementation of the Patriot Act-based surveillance state—the one that was supposed to keep tabs on terrorists. Of course, the term “terrorist” is rather subjective, which is why A Government of Wolves notes that intelligence fusion centers have monitored libertarian groups and other organizations that believe the federal government is too large, too intrusive, or no longer abides by the Constitution.

One a scale of one to ten, with one being the worst, the Spingola Files gives A Government of Wolves a nine.  For those who cherish freedom, for the government lap dogs in the mainstream media, and for students of criminal justice, this book is one that you should make a point to read.

———————————————————————————-

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013