Feel The Difference: Al Franken Finds One Surveillance Program He Can Denounce

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.)
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.)
UnknownAfter outraging many civil libertarians for his attacks on Edward Snowden and support of the Obama surveillance programs, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) has finally called for answer on the tracking of citizens . . . by Ford Motor Company.

In a move reminiscent of Dianne Feinstein’s public outcry over drone surveillance, Franken appears to have found a surveillance issue that is sufficently removed from President Obama. He has demanded answers from Ford on the use of GPS information to track customers’ activities.

The controversy began after Ford Vice President Jim Farley said (in a statement later retracted), “We know everyone who breaks the law; we know when you’re doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you’re doing. By the way, we don’t supply that data to anyone.” Strangely, that sounds familiar. If you recall, President Obama insisted that the NSA is gathering hundreds of millions of communications on citizens but that data is not shared with anyone until it is formally approved for disclosure.

Franken is chairman of the Senate subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law. However, that did not motivate him in denouncing the warrantless program of the Obama Administration. We discussed earlier how Franken defended the program by saying “There are certain things that are appropriate for me to know that is not appropriate for the bad guys to know.”

Now, however, he is shocked, shocked by Ford. Franken insists that “I believe this is too little transparency. American drivers deserve better.” Hmmm.

Of course, if this is true, Justice Brandeis warned us years ago about where such things are first learned by companies and citizens alike:

Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a law-breaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.

Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 485 (1928)

Source: CBS

39 thoughts on “Feel The Difference: Al Franken Finds One Surveillance Program He Can Denounce

  1. On a side note, anyone interested should Google ‘Fordlandia’ and check how Mr. Ford destroyed the part of Amazon and his grand plan there. It is worth the read.

  2. Setting up a system of SECRET checks and SECRET balances…
    … Maybe the Constitutional Scholar can explain the Founders vision of checks and balances and how it relates to today’s American Democracy.

  3. well if you understand the program of po lie tricks then you know that no one makes it anywhere in polietricking unless they can be bought, sold and blackmailed.. those who cant be any of the above 3 are killed, ex suicided, heart attacked or car accidents sound familiar to some? im sure it does…. again check out the franklink coverup and boys town scandal along with the clinton chronicles and you’ll begin to put the pieces together like triple digit others are

  4. ford also knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.

    my guess is that ford is selling the data to advertisers. they know where you live, your income group, your age group, where you shop, and where you eat.

  5. I wonder what Senator Franken drives.

    Cars as spyware. Terrible, now the NSA has a way to get past the courts banning GPS tracking without a warrant.

    This week one of my cars just passed 400,000 miles. It’s a 1993. Now, I can see another motivation for getting another 100,000 or more. This spyware alone is enough to keep me from buying a new car.

  6. Never trust Al Franken. When you get paid to say things on tv it carries over to your political life. Maybe he is just a weenie and not a stooge. Moe, Larry Cheese is all I can say. Or how about: Hot sie tot sie, I smell a Nazi.

  7. I am just waiting to see legislation to the effect that GPS reporting equipment is safety equipment that must be maintained in good working order at all times.

  8. “60 Words And A War Without End: The Untold Story Of The Most Dangerous Sentence In U.S. History”

    “Written in the frenzied, emotional days after 9/11, the Authorization for the Use of Military Force was intended to give President Bush the ability to retaliate against whoever orchestrated the attacks. But more than 12 years later, this sentence remains the primary legal justification for nearly every covert operation around the world. Here’s how it came to be, and what it’s since come to mean.”

    January 16, 2014 at 11:52pm EST
    Gregory D. Johnsen Michael Hastings Fellow



    “One person, of course, did envision exactly this sort of open-ended, ill-defined war. But even now, more than a decade after her lonely vote, Barbara Lee still just wants the debate Congress never had in 2001.

    “Let the congressional debate begin,” she told me recently. If the U.S. wants to use force in places like Yemen or Somalia and “if people think its worth it, for whatever reason, then let their member of Congress vote for it. That’s the point.”

    A lot has changed in the 12 years since Stephen Rademaker and his son Andrew took their midnight drive to a smoldering Pentagon. The war that was authorized that night has now moved into its second generation, jumping from father to son. Stephen is out of government and Andrew, now a 27-year-old House staffer, is in. Osama bin Laden is dead and al-Qaeda, at least as it was configured on 9/11, is no more.

    Analysts disagree over whether the new incarnation of al-Qaeda — smaller and more fragmented — is weaker or stronger than it once was. But one thing is certain. It is different. The only thing that has remained the same is that one sentence: 60 words and a war without end.”

    And it’s being fought on the streets of America, in ways that haven’t yet come to light. The “tracking of citizens . . . by Ford Motor Company” is just the tip of the iceberg.

  9. I’ve read 2 books on SNL, having been a big fan since its inception. Putting aside politics, the UNANIMOUS view on Franken is he is an egotistical, pompous a$$hole. Franken and Davis was the most unfunny skit ever. However, I am objective, his Stuart Smalley skits and his movie, were funny. Although I’m a distinct minority regarding the movie since it was a flop.

    And of course, let’s attack Ford, the only company we taxpayers didn’t have to bailout. The bailouts of GM and Chrysler were because of corporate mismanagement and union intransigence. Ford had solid management and a working positive relationship w/ their union. The bailout was more a cookie for the 2 failing unions, as much as the companies.

    This is Franken trying to cover his pompous, smug, ass w/ the libertarian Dems.

  10. @nick spinelli ” UNANIMOUS view on Franken is he is an egotistical, pompous a$$hole.”

    Agreed. But still, he was much funnier then on SNL. I hardly ever get a laugh from him now.

    Besides Phil Hartman played a much more believable, not to say funnier, high level government official than Frankin does – even after years of practice.

    I wish there were some way we could just cancel his appearance – due to lack of interest.

    Actually that may be too harsh. Frankin might have a place in entertainment. I could imagine Frankin doing well in advertising – some of the Ben Stein roles come to mind, and it does appear he is capable of saying anything for money – with a straight face.

  11. That’s one of the reasons that when I purchase a vehicle that it has a spot for an exterior antenna…. You can disconnect the. GPS that is built in and connect the radio to the direct airwaves…..

    Any vehicle that has an internal or roof antenna most likely has gps built
    in….. A friend of mine that’s an engineer for Ford told me how to disable the things….

  12. bfm

    not necessary to legislate GPS operability. just make accurate GPS readings required for anti-theft starting. remember that little chip in your ignition key?

    no GPS reading vehicle won’t start. should make solar flares interesting.

  13. While I disagree with Sen. Franken’s previous non-actions concerning privacy issues, why wouldn’t we all be concerned by any car company or any company not explaining what they are doing with our private information? Wouldn’t it be more correct to congratulate Franken for doing the right thing here and then ask, but by the way, where were you when we needed you on warrantless wiretapping, etc?

  14. The people elected Franken in the hope that he would finally be someone for the people. Ever since his election we can clearly see what a turncoat he is in reality.

  15. ” Wouldn’t it be more correct to congratulate Franken for doing the right thing here ”

    That is a reasonable question. I think the answer depends on what you believe Frankin is doing.

    If you believe Frankin’s position results from his reevaluation or better understanding of the issues then you might congratulate him.

    If, on the other hand, you believe this is nothing more than a cynical attempt to mitigate criticism while maintaining his previous position, then he deserves even more criticism.

    So the question what is the real nature of Frankin.

  16. Obviously, Franken is taking advantage of the revolving door in the government-satire industrial complex. By feeding his private-industry satire colleagues some great new material, he hopes to secure a higher salary as a satirist after his current foray into government is complete. The man’s a genius.

  17. bfm.
    I do believe Franken is doing the right thing concerning Ford and other company’s use or misuse of private information. I do not believe he was right in not standing up against the NSA and the Administration in their continuation and expansion of programs designed to eliminate privacy in most of our communication dealings.

  18. Al Franken was and is an extraordinarily talented comic and writer, and he is also a sensitive and compassionate person. He also had a well developed sense of social justice.

    Now, some of you may be wondering how Al Franken could have changed so, after he became senator. As a public service, I will ‘splain what happened to Al Franken.

    Shortly after Franken became a senator, he was contacted by various well established Washington political figures and by members of the military-industrial establishment. They ‘splained to him how things really work in Washington and who calls the shots.

    Of course, Franken was still a bit naive at this point, and so one of his Washington friends advised him that it was imperative that he “see the light” and quickly if he were to remain a senator for very long. The message was clear: “Al, just go along with the program. Nothing good can happen if you go against the ‘machine.’ Remember what happened to Paul Wellstone? Maybe in time, you’ll be able to actually do some good, but for now, forget it.”

    Message received–and not forgotten.


    WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2002 – Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota was killed today when his campaign plane crashed approaching a small airport in a wooded region in the northern part of his state.

    Mr. Wellstone, 58, a Democrat who was one of the Senate’s most liberal members and was in a fierce fight to win re-election to a third term, perished along with seven other people when the chartered King Air A100 went down near Eveleth around 10:20 a.m. Central Time, the Federal Aviation Administration reported.

    National Weather Service reports at the time indicated light rain and snow were sweeping over the area and visibility was diminishing. People familiar with the last moments of the flight said radio contact had been normal and that the plane had been cleared to make an instrument approach to Eveleth-Virginia Municipal Airport.

    Also killed were Mr. Wellstone’s wife, Sheila; one of the couple’s three children, Marcia; members of the Senate’s staff and the twin-engine aircraft’s two pilots, officials said.


    Unlike the Mafia, the military-industrial complex has no concern about not killing the wives or children of its enemies. In fact, the MIC frequently prefer to do things this way, all at once, in case the children or other relatives might try to avenge the killing. Otherwise, they have to arrange separate hit jobs, like murdering RFK a couple of years after murdering JFK, and then causing JFK Jr.’s plane to crash decades later.


    See, things are easy to understand, once I’ve ‘splained them to you.

  19. Ralph Adamo telling it like it is. Thoughtful liberals here may well be waking from the long coma they’ve been in.

    Sorry. Just kidding. They’ll vote for Hillary! in 2016, for the same reason that rich people go to Southebys: to get spanked.

  20. just so happens that I test drove a Ford this morning. I really liked it but, geez, now do I have to research whether any car I purchase might lend to the Rise of the Machines

  21. And to date there has not been a single pro-MIC politician who has ended up dead in a mysterious plane crash. But those opposed to granting the MIC unlimited powers somehow strangely find a way to die in plane crashed. Three dead Democratic senatorial candidates (Litton – 1976, Carnahan – 2000, and Wellstone – 2002), for example, all died in small private airplanes just days before critical elections.

    As is always the case, these MIC sponsored “events” draw their inspiration and ideas from Hollywood. (For example, the JFK murder was foreshadowed by John Frankenheimer’s “The Manchurian Candidate” and the 911 crime was foreshadowed by an episode from “The Lone Gunmen.”)

    To my knowledge, the first movie to suggest that a political murder was accomplished by a plane crash was “Seven Days in May” (again, by Frankenheimer) released shortly after the CIA sponsored murder of JFK–where presidential assistant Paul Girard (Marty Balsam) dies in a plan crash in which he was carrying a critical “MacGuffin.” (Note: the movie is ambiguous about whether the crash was an “accident” or murder, and does not indicate what specifically caused the crash. But also note that this movie had many things in it which weren’t invented yet. For example, the President (Frederick March) has video-phone conferences, such as with General Scott (Burt Lancaster), even though such technology did not exist in the 1960s.)

    In more recent years, the methodology for murdering Wellstone and the others aboard his plane was a recalibration of the airport approach equipment. The following sequence from Die Hard II (1990) illustrates the methodology:

  22. Mr. Turley needs to hang up his pen, this column is shockingly NAIVE and one-sided. Open a newspaper and turn off the anti-American hate speech outlet Democracy Now. Terrorists are actively seeking targets and Americanos in the crowd so much the better.

    A woman from just 100 miles away was killed by a Taliban terrorist attack in Kabul, while sipping her coffee.

    Your enshrined hero Snowden ILLEGALLY handed state secrets to that out of control seething vindictive ex-patriot nutcase Glenn Greenwald, hence the timing of releases to embarass our great President.

  23. ” Terrorists are actively seeking targets and Americanos in the crowd so much the better”

    That is true. But the question is does NSA spying on every American make us any safer. The evidence is they do not. What they do is violate our constitutional rights. And that violation makes us far less safe from any police state thug who wants to abuse us for… political speech, association, or intimidate elected officials just as J Edgar Hoover did decades ago.

    The fact is we have effective methods to deal with terrorist that have nothing to do with the constitutional violations currently conducted by the NSA.

    It is vital that every citizen who cares about liberty contact your elected official and Obama and let them all know you will not tolerate NSA spying.

  24. bigfatheadmike is of course WRONG. That report to the President clearly stated that the traditional monitoring of International messages is of a GREAT HELP to our security.

    I get the impression the dopes here really do not know how much some people hate America…. Iraq Iraq Taliban Drones Gitmo ring a bell – anyone?
    Just imagine your very own hatred of America amplified by 15.3 times.

  25. This definitely an important topic that Americans understand what is going on. The government is wanting the ability to have surveillance on almost anything citizens do.

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