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. 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?

    • ” 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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:

  9. 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.

    • ” 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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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