Gallup Poll: Satisfaction With Their Freedoms Has Record Drop Among Americans

220px-Scene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_StatesWe have long discussed the erosion of civil liberties in the United States, including the attacks on privacy and other rights by the Obama Administration. It appears that we are not alone in those concerns. A new Gallup poll shows a record drop in the satisfaction of Americans over their freedoms. The massive drop is matched in such countries as Egypt, Pakistan, and Venezuela.

Seventy-nine percent of US residents are satisfied with their level of freedom. That is down from 91 percent in 2006 — a 12 point drop. We were once the highest country in the world on such polls. We have now dropped to 36th place.

That mirrors other studies showing the United States dropping to the same low levels on press freedoms, Internet speech, and other rights.

The White House has been adept in deflecting such criticism with a host of commentators and bloggers who deflect criticism with references to Republicans and the “red menace” or “things could be worse” spin or simply change the subject. However, the expansion of the internal security network in the United States and police powers is obviously having an impact on how Americans now view their rights. Years ago, I wrote a column entitled “10 Reasons Why The United States Is No Longer The Land of The Free.” Things have only grown worse since that column ran. The Obama Administration’s recent effort to strip citizens of privacy protections over their cellphones and records illustrates the extremism of some of these positions. That argument failed to secure a single vote on the Supreme Court for the Administration’s effort to blow a hole in American privacy protections.

The poll on the eve of the Fourth of July captures the dire condition of American civil liberties today. As I wrote years ago, Obama has been a disaster for the American civil liberties movement and the damage done under his tenure will be felt for decades. What is most distressing is that citizens see the decline but feel virtually powerless to do anything about it due to the duopoly of power in this country. Even with universal calls for change, the two parties are again recycling many of the same figures and same policies as prior years. Polls of this kind show a deep sense of dissatisfaction among Americans but also a complete lack of expression of those views through political channels. That is a dangerous situation for any political system when such widespread feelings are left unexpressed and unvented in politics. The political system seems to be operating in an increasingly unconnected and unresponsive fashion vis-a-vis the public at large. There is a sense among many that I speak to that there is a ruling elite and a vast body of the ruled — a modern equivalent to the helot class of ancient Sparta.

I am still amazed that we have come to this point of rapidly declining feelings of freedom and widespread dissociation with our political system. It is not the failure of our constitutional system and only partially the failure of our leaders. It is largely a failure in ourselves that we have become such grumbling drones — powerless, passive, and frankly a bit pathetic. Our government is openly trying to strip away core privacy protections and increase police powers at every level. Yet, we have fallen victim to the “blue state” and “red state” mentality — allowing politicians to constantly deflect criticism by referring to the other side as the greater evil. The result is predictable and, as with this poll, incredibly depressing.

277 thoughts on “Gallup Poll: Satisfaction With Their Freedoms Has Record Drop Among Americans

  1. Excellent post. Indeed, with our record low approval of Congress, we continue to re elect them at nearly a 90% rate. Indeed, we are pathetic and deserve the idiots we keep electing. (my apologies to all the idiots out there in equating them with Congress persons).

  2. I believe the American public sees reality-Corporations that are people with religious rights, the wealthy and powerful received more rights and benefits. Government that does not work for the people. Our congress is ineffective and ridiculous. Our jobs -as the American public- is just to work to help the wealthy get wealthier and sustain a worthless government.I don’t think we should blame Obama as much as we should blame ourselves. Lets vote the fools out, No more ineffective Boehners, no more crazies. We should have the right to fire ineffective politicians and judges who are national power brokers. We should vote on Speaker of the House, the House cannot govern itself. We should have the right to vote on the judges who occupy the Supreme Court. I hate our government. It is not “a government of the people, by the people, for the people. It is government of wealthy corporations, for the greedy wealthy and by the corrupt wealthy. Fire the Supreme Court, fire Boehner, and lets remember who represents us and who represents the wealthy. It is time for the people to take our country back.

  3. Many Americans have come to believe that there are two justice systems – one for the connected and another – much harsher system – for the rest of us.

  4. “According to other polls, the Hobby Lobby ruling plays into the gender advantage the Democratic Party enjoys.

    A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll suggests that the “war on women” thread is resonating, with Obama’s support among women jumping 11 percentage points from March to April. The shift was even more robust among women between the ages of 18 and 49, a key demographic.

    A Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that 50% of women approve of the job Obama is doing compared with 42% of men. Since January, the president’s approval rating has seen a slight uptick among women while men’s opinion of him has been in decline. ” Other polls show the gender gap which will grow exponentially when the Hobby Lobby case is fully reflected in polling.

    Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

  5. We are all to blame! WE are the one’s who have allowed our Republic to slip through our fingers. Consequently, we, the people, have put civil liberties aside, as we seek our own selfish interest and cling to our partisan loyalties, We have purposely ignored the authoritarian powers for fear of ridicule, and in turn, sacrificed our countries constitutional liberties.

    As Common Core proposes to do–we all need to become better critical thinkers. As every good debater knows, we need to look at issues globally (360 degrees). We need to stop enabling our government officials and return it to proper order.

    We need to pick up our battered flag and return to preserving our constitution and the rights of our citizens, who rightful should be the government.

  6. Gigi, It is kind of hard not to cling to one’s partisan loyalties when one party seems to determined to take away the rights of women as evidenced by the Hobby Lobby decision. i think that decision was a game changer for a lot of women.

  7. How is the average American supposed to fight the rich and powerful elite ruling class? Who or what makes the Congress unable to be an equal branch, why or how did the Executive and the Judicial get so powerful? Why or how has the ‘fourth branch’ the bureaucracies, become so powerful? When one has enough money, one can buy the government one desires (or deserves) so it seems. How about some real world solutions? Why continue to set forth he problem over and over again without presenting a path forward? It seems pointless to continue to point out the problem without also outlining the solution to average Americans who don’t have money to make their voices as loud as the well placed monied folks.

  8. No rights were taken away in Hobby Lobby. Religious rights, based in our most fundamental of rights, the First Amendment, WERE UPHELD. Women remain free to buy the 4 forms of birth control not covered. It will cost them $35-65 for the morning and week after pills. HOPEFULLY, only needed once. This preached to the female Dems, non cultist women have common sense.

  9. And to make matters worse as SWM pointed out, the Supreme Court has become an extension of those well placed monied folks and seem to do their bidding. One decision after another from the SCOTUS that shifts the power yet further in favor of those who get to speak with their money.

  10. swarthmoremom, Could not the same be said that one party wants to remove religious rights? It just depends on what side of the fence you are on. How does a govt. forcing you to by anything make you more free?

  11. SWM, why don’t we hear more outrage and alarm being expressed about the obscene power the rich have in this nation?

  12. JT wrote “Our government is openly trying to strip away core privacy protections”

    We allowed our credit information to be owned by companies like Experian which then allowed a Vietnamese cyber-criminal to buy our credit histories (Krebs on Security: “Fact-Checking Experian’s Talking Points”). Google and Facebook are not remotely the only companies making a profit from our personal data, with Acxiom and others quietly selling our private lives (CBS News 60 Minutes: “The Data Brokers: Selling your personal information”). Libertarians like JT need to buy a clue: the government is not even the majority of the problem.

    The Internet changed everything. Most people have no idea that the Internet allowed businesses to outsource. The call center that was formally in North Carolina is now in India thanks to VOIP. The software testing facility that used to be in Illinois is now in India because departments can now share their work remotely (and they can allow their company to be vulnerable to cyber-thieves as we have seen recently). A factory that would have been situated in the South is now in China because its owner can use the Internet to check the status online. And so on.

    Not to mention the amazing proliferation of websites which store photos and videos of people with a business model of blackmail.

  13. A Quinnipiac Poll has Obama as our worst President since WW2. He beat out W by 5 points! Even more interesting, that same poll had people saying now, they think the country would be better off if Romney won. The Quinnipiac results obviously are also related to this Gallup Poll on Obama taking our freedoms. SCOTUS is upholding our freedom in Hobby Lobby. Atheists don’t care about freedom of religion. But the framers of our Constitution did, and so do the vast majority of people in this country.

  14. JT states, “powerless, passive, and frankly a bit pathetic”. Another angle, follow the money trail. Memories tend to fade.

    Where to start with a man like Robert Rubin? A Goldman Sachs chairman who wormed his way into the Treasury Secretary post under President Bill Clinton,
    Rubin presided over one of the most radical deregulatory eras in the history of finance. Rubin’s influence within the Democratic Party marked the final stage in the
    Democrats’ transformation from the concerned citizens who fought Wall Street and won during the 1930s to a coalition of Republican-lite financial elites.

    Rubin’s most stunning deregulatory accomplishment in office was also his greatest act of corruption. Rubin helped repeal Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era law
    that banned economically essential banks from gambling with taxpayer money in the securities markets. In 1998, Citibank inked a merger with the Travelers Insurance group.
    The deal was illegal under Glass-Steagall, but with Rubin’s help, the law was repealed in 1999, and the Citi-Travelers merger approved, creating too-big-to-fail behemoth Citigroup.

    That same year, Rubin left the government to work for Citi, where he made $120 million as the company piled up risk after crazy risk. In 2008, the company collapsed spectacularly,
    necessitating a $45 billion direct government bailout, and hundreds of billions more in other government guarantees. Rubin is now attempting to rebuild his disgraced public image by
    warning about the dangers of government spending and Social Security. Bob, if you’re worried about the deficit, the problem isn’t old people trying to get by, it’s corrupt bankers running amok.

  15. Annie – “How is the average American supposed to fight the rich and powerful elite ruling class? Who or what makes the Congress unable to be an equal branch, why or how did the Executive and the Judicial get so powerful? Why or how has the ‘fourth branch’ the bureaucracies, become so powerful? When one has enough money, one can buy the government one desires (or deserves) so it seems. How about some real world solutions? Why continue to set forth he problem over and over again without presenting a path forward? It seems pointless to continue to point out the problem without also outlining the solution to average Americans who don’t have money to make their voices as loud as the well placed monied folks.”

    Annie, I find myself agreeing with most of what you wrote here. But I do not resent the rich. To me, they aren’t the problem. The problem is the politician or system that allows the rich to purchase the govt. Just because the rich have money doesn’t mean that the politician has to be influenced by it. What we need are politicians who will follow the constitution. Same goes for the Supremes.

  16. Beth, I am sorry your vision is so limited. I am only surprised you did not mention the Koch brothers.

    THE ENTIRE SYSTEM IS BOUGHT AND PAID FOR….it does not matter who is elected to any position.

    Follow the money and you will see it flows to dems as well as pubs.

  17. Saucy, yes! Why aren’t we hearing the same level of alarm and outrage about our privacy being stripped by Corporations? Could it be because the oligarchs have indicated that this is how they want it? Whose ears do these oligarchs have?

  18. Annie wrote “why don’t we hear more outrage and alarm being expressed about the obscene power the rich have in this nation?”

    The answer lies in our history, with Calvinism and Puritanism. Remember that most Americans believe that the saying “God helps those who help themselves” originates from the Bible, when in fact it comes from Ben Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac. The average American cannot distinguish between God and Franklin, though Americans generally claim to be good Christians. Righties place the Founding Fathers on one step below the pedestal of God, even thought they owned slaves. A large number of Americans accept that behavior because they hope to one day become a member of the 1%, even though that is highly unlikely.

  19. nick, Read the details of the Quinnipiac poll. All republicans voted for Obama while the democrats split their votes between Nixon and the younger Bush.It was non scientific. I did some polling at one time so I like to look at how a poll is conducted. Leaving for the shore for a few days and hopefully no internet.

  20. Saucy, I had a radical philosophy professor in college. We called him Radical Ray. He was friends w/ Angela Davis. This was 1972. He would go on rants. He told us the govt. and business would be in cahoots involving credit cards and DEBIT CARDS. Again, 1972, we didn’t have a clue about debit cards, but he explained it. He made the case that both govt. and business wanted a convenient way to track what you bought and what you did. Credit cards were helpful, but debit cards would become ubiquitous and then the govt. would eliminate currency, the last untraceable way to exist in our culture. We only have $100 bills. There used to be 10k bills! Big Brother.

  21. Exactly Saucy, most Americans of average income and intelligence don’t realize the ugly truth… The ‘System’ is rigged against them, guess who rigged it that way?

  22. Jim, Obama has played the class envy card from the top of the deck. Dems have always played the class envy card from the bottom of the deck. You see how the blatant class envy play works w/ some folks.

  23. Annie wrote “Why aren’t we hearing the same level of alarm and outrage about our privacy being stripped by Corporations?”

    I do not understand this myself, but libertarians somehow believe that corporations will “do the right thing” even though we have seen the opposite many, many times. Greenspan believed that there would never be another crash for this reason. Lawmakers prostrating themselves before Saint Ayn often say the same thing.

    I no longer think it matters. Congress is allowed to collect millions in bribes, err, campaign contributions. The only right corporations do not have is the one to vote and I’ll bet SCOTUS finds a way to give them that. We are returning to the days of lords and serfs. But given the U.S. history of Calvinism and Puritanism, it will be a long time, if ever, before we see another revolution.

    P.S. No, I do not believe government should be all powerful. We need a balance.

  24. Saucy, I again wonder where you get your disinformation about libertarians. We speak loudly against the unholy alliance between big business lobbyists and government. That is a HUGE issue w/ libertarians. We love small businesses who act like commandos, fighting the big govt./big business juggernaut. We helped coin the phrase “corporate welfare.” You are continually making stupid assertions,

  25. Saucy,

    Let’s drill into FED Al Greenspan.

    The officially apolitical, independent Federal Reserve chairman backed all of Rubin’s favorite deregulatory plans, and helped crush an effort by Brooksley Born to regulate derivatives in 1998,
    after the hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management went bust. By the time Greenspan left office in 2006, the derivatives market had ballooned into a multi-trillion dollar casino, and Greenspan wanted his cut.
    He took a job with bond kings PIMCO and then with the hedge fund Paulson & Co.—yeah, that Paulson and Co., the one that colluded with Goldman Sachs to sabotage the company’s own clients with unregulated derivatives.

    Incidentally, this isn’t the first time Greenspan has been a close associate of alleged fraudsters. Back in the 1980s, Greenspan went to bat for politically connected Savings & Loan titan Charles Keating,
    urging regulators to exempt his bank from a key rule. Keating later went to jail for fraud, after, among other things, putting out a hit on regulator William Black. (“Get Black – kill him dead.”) Nice friends you’ve got, Alan.

  26. Nick, I never understood the class envy thing. My parents weren’t rich, I’ve never been rich, done well for myself, but never rich. I’ve seen rich people who were complete jerks and I’ve seen rich people who are great people. I’m sure I could never convince people like Annie that without the “for sale” sign in Washington, the rich wouldn’t be able to buy the govt. I would say Annie’s blind spot is envy.

  27. An interesting study would be to look at a politicians net worth before entering Washington and their net worth a year after they leave.

  28. Why was there envy over the slightly higher wages that union employees received by other non unionized working class people? ENVY. And the oligarchs laughed at the fact they got the poor unwashed masses to fight amongst themselves over a pittance.

  29. So, I just added a few things and tried to post again. No Luck! There appears to be content monitoring on this blog, IMO.

  30. Jim, I made a good living but am not rich. I worked very hard, 80 hour weeks w/ my own business. And, the envy analysis is spot on. My biz was PI and I made my money because all people have, to varying degrees, been consumed by the seven deadly sins, envy being one of the worst.

    Being raised in a blue collar family w/ union factory workers and small business owners, we knew good and bad rich. There are good and bad in every group of people. Hell, there are some good liberals!

  31. Jim, DC recently became the wealthiest city in the US. Back in the 70’s, 4% of politicians leaving Congress became lobbyists. Now the figure is approaching 50%! It’s both Dem and Republican, in a duopoly, it doesn’t matter the party, they both feed off the plentiful trough provided by the hard earned money of taxpayers. Read the book, This Town. It will disgust you, but should be required reading to understand the DC culture.

  32. Nick wrote “I had a radical philosophy professor in college”

    He sounds rather foresighted to me.

    Nick wrote “He made the case that both govt. and business wanted a convenient way to track what you bought and what you did … Big Brother”

    I believe that corporations are a far more dangerous threat to our freedom than the usual libertarian devil, government.

    Target uses its customer data to send coupons for baby products to women before they start announcing their pregnancy to their friends. To be facetious, Target does this by noticing that these women buy pickles and ice cream together (actually, read Forbes: “How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did”). Libertarians would say that this is just smart business practice.

    Imagine that in a few years a Republican president is elected, one who campaigned on repealing Obamacare. He does so in his first week of office, along with eliminating that anti-business program, COBRA. So insurance companies once again deny coverage based on preexisting conditions as they did in the past. You have disease X. You read that herbs K, D, and R lessen the symptoms, so you start buying them at Target using your credit/debit card. Target notices your purchases and sells your customer data to employers and insurance companies. You lose your job because your employer is outsourcing your facility to India. You cannot obtain medical insurance because they all know of your disease X. Your medical bills pile up and eventually you lose everything.

    See the problem?

  33. Jill, I have had similar problems on a thread. Go to another thread and comment. Then come back and try here again. That sometimes works.

  34. Saucy, You miss the point. Big Government and Big Business have merged!! To say one is “better” is ludicrous.

  35. Nick Spinelli

    No rights were taken away in Hobby Lobby. Religious rights, based in OUR most fundamental of rights, the First Amendment …
    If you are not a corporation “OUR” does not apply to you.

    Corporations are generally created by state law, and none existed when the First Amendment was penned.

    They are a ‘legal fiction’ that slowly evolved into imaginary friends over time.

    Imaginary friends or imaginary companions are a psychological and social phenomenon where a friendship or other interpersonal relationship takes place in the imagination rather than external physical reality. Imaginary friends are fictional characters created for improvisational role-playing. They often have elaborate personalities and behaviors. Although they may seem very real to their creators, children usually understand that their imaginary friends are not real. The first studies focusing on imaginary friends are believed to have been conducted during the 1890s.” (Wikipedia, ‘Imaginary Friend’).

  36. Nick, I have already done that. There is content based monitoring/censoring on this blog. The Snowden documents talk about it!

  37. I’m not as pessimistic as our host in this regard. Freedom surely is different than when I grew up in the 60s and 70s and due in large measure to more efficiencies in law enforcement and the sheer number of LEOs. There is a potential threat to our freedoms from the ever increasing surveillance state but I see few instances of people being denied their rights without any recourse. The heinous examples of police overreaction pale in comparison to the actual number of uneventful encounters with police who, by and large, do a pretty good job of protecting ourselves and our rights. Likewise I don’t see anyone cowled into accepting what they don’t want by government intervention. We can point to the excesses of the fight against terrorists but that involves a relative few individuals who seem hellbent on denying the rest of us our freedoms. The NSA is a problem but whistle-blowers have brought that issue to the public and there is a push to push back which is encouraging. Surely there are threats to freedom but those dire predictions of elections being cancelled or citizens being herded off to some gulag without trial via the NDAA of 2012 were simply way off base. The Republic may not be as free as it once was but the number of those satisfied (79%) seems to say something. It’s also worth remembering that things are never static on the freedom vs. security battlefront. We can change that paradigm with the next election. If we want to, that is. And if we don’t want to, isn’t that what democracy is all about? We are free as we want to be so long as we can elect.

  38. Nick wrote “I again wonder where you get your disinformation about libertarians”

    From other libertarians.

    Ron Paul was the Libertarian candidate in 1988 so he must have views close to the libertarian mainstream. In the past eight years, he has advocated for the gold in Fort Knox and New York to be sold to reduce the debt. And he has advocated for the U.S. to return to the gold standard. Not to mention that he has often called for an audit of the country’s gold which would cost $15 million. These stories can be found in five minutes via your favorite search engine. One cannot have a gold standard if one does not possess gold.

  39. The four justices appointed by democratic presidents voted against Citizens United and Hobby Lobby. The justices appointed by the republicans voted favorably, and they nearly always for for the corporations. So, yes, the court is partisan, and the republican justices have become corporate tools.

  40. nick:

    “There are good and bad in every group of people. Hell, there are some good liberals!”


    Let’s not get too crazy there, nick.😀

  41. It’s funny that we always see the problems and not the progress. Gay marriage was as taboo as it got in the 70s. Murder rates and drug use were skyhigh. Treatment programs for drug abusers were ridiculed and mistreatment of women by boyfriends and spouses was de rigueur in some households and seen as private matters by the cops. Smoking was seen as healthy or cool and few cared about the nation’s homeless. Child abuse was the dirty little secret. Civil rights for African Americans was met with scorn or outright violence. Things are better and freer in some areas especially in regards to civil rights for for some groups including the young, female and homosexual. Big Tobacco, Big Pharm, Big Chem and many other businesses polluted at will (I speak from experience here as a Kepone survivor) or debased the public’s health with impunity. The air was bad; the water worse. Cartels -foreign and domestic – ruled the markets and few had access to the stock market or investment vehicles. A lot of that has changed and for the better.

    So maybe we need the perspective of time to decide if we were freer then or now.

  42. Mespo, Randyjet makes your point too. His focus on freedoms of speech back in the day as compared to now.

  43. Jim22 wrote “There are ways to escape Target, but you can’t escape the govt”

    Try flying on an airplane, staying in a hotel, or renting a car without using a credit/debit card. Many businesses, e.g. cell phone providers and private toll roads, make it difficult to make payment using other than credit/debit cards. Try buying a motor vehicle, house, or property without submitting to a credit check with the big-three agencies. Try controlling your personal data.

    This is a perfect example of why I was nasty to you before. Target is merely the most colorful example, yet you pounce on it in an attempt to demonstrate that I am deluded, when in fact I am far ahead of the discussion.

    P.S. I have never seen a libertarian decry the usurping of our personal data by corporations, probably because the only way to stop it is via government regulation.

  44. I agree with much of Turley’s column, but I have to take exception that we have lost our freedoms recently. Any student of history knows that the US was a police state for most of our history. The Bill of Rights was a dead letter throughout the US for much of that time.. Within my personal memory and experience, we and I have more freedom now than when I was growing up in the McCarthy era. Prof Turley forgets US history as corporate capitalism took over most of our government at the turn of the 20th Century and especially during WWI. Labor organizers were routinely murdered, framed up and sent to prison by the government. The status of black and minority Americans was one of outright dictatorship for them in which their lives and property had no value or rights. Now THAT time was truly a police state and zero liberty, yet most Americans at the time would have said that the US is a free country. We cannot forget the FACT that the Socialist Party candidate for President, Gene Debs, ran for office from Federal prison for a speech that denounced capitalism and the war. Was the US a “free” country back then? Thousands of people were in prison for criticism of the government. In Texas it was a CRIME to speak German in public, even though it was the second language there. I could go on with tens of thousands of examples, so many in fact, it would take a full LIBRARY to list them all.

    My paternal grandfather had a German name and a business in Boston during the war. Because of that a mob came and burned down his contracting business and his home. He could not speak a word of German, yet he was targeted. Obviously, he survived thankfully for me.

    I think that most people have an appreciation that some surveillance is a legitimate function of the government. Every time I come back into the US, I am asked about my business and a host of questions concerning my travels. I have no problem with that at all. Virtually ALL of the measures Turley decries have been on going for most of the 20th century, only sometimes with and without the cover of law. Then we have the explosion of technology which makes such things even more pervasive.

    My one major disagreement is with his criticism of drone strikes. They are most certainly legal as is being done since they are carried out against ARMED combatants or those assisting such activities. They are not subject to normal law enforcement measures since they are carried out in places that have NO government at all who the US can ask for assistance. So far no person who has objected to these strikes has answered my question as to whether or not FDR would have been wrong to order the 8th Air Force to bomb Ezra Pounds villa in Italy during WWII. Or if the Brits had drones available, to kill Lord Haw Haw during that war. Think that would have been a crime? I most certainly don’t, nor do most Americans. This is exactly the same situation with Obama’s supposed abuse of his powers as CiC. I will object when he kills a person in some country where we DO have legal means of redress and using the drones instead of the law. This is no more a violation of law than issuing wanted posters saying Wanted, Dead or Alive, or cops using their guns to shoot a wanted fugitive who is not willing to surrender. As for the drone strikes, they are perfectly legal under international law and US law. it is no different than the UN bombing a Nazi rally in Berlin where Hitler is to speak. He is a legal target and the US would have been justified in bombing that rally even though it would kill thousands of civilians. So please, let use some common sense.

  45. saucy – I am hoping that my credit card and debit card use will overwhelm them with metadata. They will be so snowed under with metadata they will be unable to find themselves.

  46. Sauce, I used Target because you used it. I too am using it as a general example. All of your examples don’t prove what I said was wrong. You don’t have to use any of those services. But if you do, you have to play by their rules. But I have no choice but obey any govt. rule. Which even your examples have lots of govt. rules dictating how they must be run.

    To your p.s. I guess I would say, if you don’t want your personal data to be used, don’t give it out, keep it personal. If some corporate big wig gets his jollies off by knowing what can of tuna I like, hell, have fun.

  47. swarthmoremom wrote “So, yes, the court is partisan, and the republican justices have become corporate tools”

    One should not be surprised by partisan politics. To paraphrase Clausewitz, SCOTUS decisions are a continuation of politics by other means.

    During his confirmation hearings, John Roberts used JT’s favorite sport in an analogy of “it’s my job to call balls and strikes, and not to pitch or bat,” referring to judicial activism.

    He said:
    “Now, the Court, of course, has the obligation, and has been recognized since Marbury v. Madison, to assess the constitutionality of acts of Congress, and when those acts are challenged, it is the obligation of the Court to say what the law is. The determination of when deference to legislative policy judgments goes too far and becomes abdication of the judicial responsibility, and when scrutiny of those judgments goes too far on the part of the judges and becomes what I think is properly called judicial activism, that is certainly the central dilemma of having an unelected, as you describe it correctly, undemocratic judiciary in a democratic republic.”

    Referring to Brown v. Board of Education, he said that “the Court in that case, of course, overruled a prior decision. I don’t think that constitutes judicial activism because obviously if the decision is wrong, it should be overruled. That’s not activism. That’s applying the law correctly.”

    Ergo, he believes that giving corporations special rights is on par with the elimination of “separate but equal.” That’s all we need to know about Roberts.

  48. Saucy, I guess the libertarian in me would say your examples also provide a great business opportunity for you. Start an airline, hotel or car rental company that caters to people who only want to pay with cash. If there are enough people you will get rich and envied by others here.

  49. J.T.: “The White House has been adept in deflecting such criticism with a host of commentators and bloggers who deflect criticism with references to Republicans and the “red menace” or “things could be worse” spin or simply change the subject.”

    For more on deflecting criticism with the “things could be worse” spin see comments at 10:56am and 11:12am.

  50. So how about solutions? Bob you’re a smart guy, what’s your solution to the issues Professor Turley outlined? I’d like to hear Jill’s solution too if she’d care to share her thoughts, if she could get a comment through the Wordmess. Most of all I’d like to hear Professor Turley’s solution.

  51. no luck as yet, trying again.

    I don’t think of the poll as depressing. I think it is good that people are facing the reality of what has happened to our rights in the USA. Understanding that things are wrong is a necessary first step in righting those wrongs.

    I do agree that there is extreme apathy in our population. I believe that apathy is manufactured. Over at nakedcapitalism there is a link to a story on how FB is manipulating users (marks) emotions. The govt. and corporations do pay people to create false identities and make so many tweets, blog comments and FB posts in order to steer public thinking to “acceptable”, (meaning useful) ways of framing the situation. One of the most successful of these devices is to cast this as a problem of evil Republicans stopping white night Democrats from doing all the great things they would like to do if only Republicans didn’t try to stop them (weren’t in league with them). This particular propaganda is powerful and redirects people from understanding the systemic problems we face.

    If we can understand how we are manipulated, how we are kept apart from others, we may have a chance.

    (See Jaron Lanier’s op-ed in the NYT on FB manipulation if anyone is interested in that topic.)

  52. no luck getting a content based post through. If someone would look into this, I’d certainly be grateful!

  53. Annie – “Jim clings to losing arguments. Your blind spot is growing.”

    That is some good arguing techniques you got there. What is wrong with me saying if the govt. put away the for sale sign this would stop? Corporations are only buying what is being sold. Don’t blame them.

  54. One only has to look at the SEC, the Treasury, Federal Reserve, NRC, as well as others to see that corporation/government is a standard working model. If the corporate folks that are in the NRC keep lowering the regulations for power plants, we may see some of our own Chernobyls-Fukushima event, which would be that industry’s echo of the Wall Street meltdown. Yikes… meltdown.

  55. “The interest in the effectiveness of political messaging is troubling given Facebook’s connections to the Department of Defense. From SCG News:

    In the official credits for the [emotions] study conducted by Facebook you’ll find Jeffrey T. Hancock from Cornell University. If you go to the Minerva initiative website you’ll find that Jeffery Hancock received funding from the Department of Defense for a study called “Cornell: Modeling Discourse and Social Dynamics in Authoritarian Regimes”. If you go to the project site for that study you’ll find a visualization program that models the spread of beliefs and disease.

    Cornell University is currently being funded for another DoD study right now called “Cornell: Tracking Critical-Mass Outbreaks in Social Contagions” (you’ll find the description for this project on the Minerva Initiative’s funding page).

    The Department of Defense’s investment in the mechanics of psychological contagion and Facebook’s assistance, have some very serious implications, particularly when placed in context with other scandals which have broken in the past two years.

    In other words, researchers that the Department of Defense is funding to understand how ideas and news goes viral are doing very similar work for Facebook. The cross pollination is high and means that Facebook users are making a direct contribution not only to the surveillance state having even more data, but to perfecting its methods.

    This revelation is unlikely to have any meaningful impact on Facebook in the US. But European countries have much stricter privacy rules, and this news is likely to intensify political pressure.” find at nakedcapitalism

    Propaganda breeds apathy.

  56. O.K. more content based suppression of speech on this blog. Please go to nakedcapitalism to see an article about how FB is manipulating its users. I believe govt/corporate manipulation is key in the creation of apathy in our population.

  57. Professor, I couldn’t agree more with your spot-on statement that Americans have turned into ‘such grumbling drones — powerless, passive, and frankly a bit pathetic.’ The media is complicit as well. They parrot the government screed and ignore protestors or describe them as fringe or radical. People are afraid to gather in groups and make their voices heard since it may harm them at work, school, PTA, or job hunting. Your words, your face, your actions, your views are all tracked and the corporate spy state can use that information as it pleases to deny you work, advancement, and other opportunities. Taking a day off of work for a protest will get you fired. The job market is still stagnant and that fear of job loss encourages passive behavior.

    Freedom doesn’t come without a fight and that fight seems to be lacking. Fighting between Red and Blue is a distraction that takes away attentions needed to challenge the corporate and government spy state which are truly the enemy of freedom. But people don’t seem to have the capacity to bridge social and ideological bridges that would form a powerful force against the freedom crushing entities.

    Here’s another interesting survey, Professor:

    The South Is Essentially A Solid, Grim Block Of Poverty

    I am always reminded of the Thomas Franks book, ‘What’s the Matter with Kansas’ when I see maps like that.

    In respect for Jamie Dimon and his battle with cancer, I decided to present another bankster criminal that deserves attention and a jail sentence…..

  58. Annie wrote “Jim clings to losing arguments”

    Yes, he does. I took the time to answer his comment regarding credit/debit cards and then he responded as if I had written nothing. I see the light; there is no point in engaging him in discussion.

  59. Jill – I think the media is manipulating the populace into apathy and they are working at the behest of the current administration.

  60. The United States is a corporation that has clearly become a Fascist state.

    FASCISM: a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

    Initially, the privilege of incorporation was granted selectively to enable activities that benefited the public, such as construction of roads or canals. Enabling shareholders to profit was seen as a means to that end. The states also imposed conditions (some of which remain on the books, though unused) like these:
    ◾Corporate charters (licenses to exist) were granted for a limited time and could be revoked promptly for violating laws.
    ◾Corporations could engage only in activities necessary to fulfill their chartered purpose.
    ◾Corporations could not own stock in other corporations nor own any property that was not essential to fulfilling their chartered purpose.
    ◾Corporations were often terminated if they exceeded their authority or caused public harm.
    ◾Owners and managers were responsible for criminal acts committed on the job.
    ◾Corporations could not make any political or charitable contributions nor spend money to influence law-making.

  61. Saucy, yes indeed. I noticed the very same thing about Jim’s mode of debate. Shampoo, rinse, repeat….

  62. Neo:

    Really? You think Obama is a dictator with unfettered authority? All power is centralized? You think the Repubs are oppressed?

    Come on, we all like a little hyperbole, but truly Obama reminds you of Il Duce?

  63. Very good post Jill. You can see how important it is to the defense department (once again, the greater defense industry) that it can manipulate public perception and attitudes. Also is a good illustration of gov/business at its worst, no matter what party one decides to blind themselves under.

  64. mespo727272

    Do you honestly think there is a difference between Republicans and Democrats? Their perceived differences are all superficial. When you buy into the system you are easier to control.

  65. randyjet – I am not sure how old you are, but I was in high school during the McCarthy era. I had plenty of freedom as I am sure you did. Eugene Debs was convicted under the Espionage Act of 1917.
    Unlike Obama or LBJ, Roosevelt did not micromanage WWII so he would not have ordered the attacks on anyone. However, Churchill would have. And there were a couple of assassination teams sent to kill Hitler. BTW, the UN does not exist until after WWII. Still, we did kill lots of civilians, as did the Germans and Japanese.

  66. Neo:

    I think they are different. One wants government to work, the other doesn’t. Both are whores but I think the Dems at least try to help others less fortunate. The Repubs make no such pretense. One appeals to powerful interests and the other just takes their money. They frequently and vehemently oppose each other. Hardly the hallmark of a fascist state.

  67. mespo – SWAT teams, arming government agencies, refusing to deal with Congress, executive orders, more employment in the federal government, control of our health care. You do not find this facistic?

  68. mespo – as a group Republican contribute more to charity than do Democrats. How do you square that with your statement that “Dems at least try to help others less fortunate.?”

  69. mespo727272

    The differences you espouse are similarities in my view. You should seriously consider re-evaluating your thought process as I recommend to everyone, your views on this matter are myopic.

  70. Paul C. Schulte
    mespo – SWAT teams, arming government agencies, refusing to deal with Congress, executive orders, more employment in the federal government, control of our health care. You do not find this facistic?

    Are you talking about George W. Bush?

    Homeland Security, Patriot Act, war over fake WMDs, mercenaries like Blackwater running military operations, torture, Guantanamo, executive orders (more than Obama), control of our healthcare like Medicare Part D, more workers in the federal govt……the list goes on. Americans have this difficult time with history; it always looks better in the rearview mirror….

  71. Jamie – I was upset by Bush, but Obama has put it on steroids. The Dept of Agriculture is buying submachine guns. BTW, the war was over the failure to live up to the dictates of the UN resolutions. On executive orders Obama is only 5 1/2 years into his terms, I don’t think he will disappoint.

  72. Supporting the use of torture and extraordinary rendition;

    Suspending habeas corpus without the existence of insurrection or rebellion;

    Carrying out a policy of warrantless wiretapping as if the 4th Amendment did not exist;

    Issuing executive orders authorizing the extrajudicial execution of American citizens…

    But don’t worry.

    “Things could be worse.”

  73. Paul: “BTW, the war was over the failure to live up to the dictates of the UN resolutions.”

    The Bush administration defrauded the country into war causing the deaths of over 4,500 U.S. soldiers.

    Deaths resulting from implied malice.

  74. Bob, Esq – You and I and Eric have gone over and over this.:) I am not going to rehash it with you.

    However, you could define ‘implied malice’ for me.

  75. Paul C. Schulte:

    I have read all of Eric’s comments on the war in Iraq. Although I do not pretend to be the sharpest tool in the toolbox, I have practiced law long enough to recognize legal doublespeak when I see it. And that is precisely what Eric has engaged in through thousands of words.

    The legitimacy of a decision to commit this country to war is not predicated on UN resolutions. It’s as simple as that.

  76. Mike – what Eric has supplied is enough for the UN. Actually, there is a new story coming out of the East that says that claiming that Bush/Cheney, et al are war criminals is all part of the continuation of the old Soviet disinformation campaign. Putin has never forgotten his KGB roots and many of the old Soviets are just retooling to get back in power.

  77. Paul,
    So… Obama is a war criminal and Bush Cheney aren’t?! Things keep getting stranger and stranger.

  78. Yep, Bob, Esq., it’s been a pattern for years: “Things could be worse.” With a fondness for the word “hyperbole.”

  79. Too many politicians serve the interests of their party or themselves first on the promise of helping ordinary citizens. It is often that they solidify this hold on appealing to single issues that stir up passions to either blindly support them on theirs side while the opposition drums up fear of the other. The problem is general and structural.

    I think Professor Turley addressed this quite well actually. Individuals can be dismissive of the significance of the poll shown here but such a drop in confidence of this nature should be recognized as significant.

  80. Saucy says…”I do not understand this myself, but libertarians somehow believe that corporations will “do the right thing…””

    Would be ok if I said Democrats believe in giving money to people that don’t work. or Republicans believe in taking money from the poor and giving to the rich.

    I consider myself a libertarian which means I believe in the rule of law as defined by our Constitution. When a corporation doesn’t do the right thing (as our major banks did not do in 2006-2009), I say prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

    So how many bankers did our illustrious leader Mr O and his law enforcer in chief Mr H put behind bars?

    Don’t tell me what I believe.

  81. Beth M, we have a tendency to point fingers at everyone but ourselves. I didn’t read where you blamed one Democrat for anything, only Beohner (Republican) and Congress (majority Republican). The entire Washington government is in a shambles for goodness sake. Then you blame the wealthy corporations, but no mention of Democratic run unions, media, and Hollywood. It’s everyone and everything. STOP the bashing of one side of the issues and defending your side. It’s all sides! It’s everyone! It’s you, me, and everyone who lives in this country! I LOVE this country and want to contribute to making it a strong functional country for all. We need our government, but it MUST be limited and it must adhere to the constitution. Period.!

  82. War criminal? We have not had a declared war since WWII. A President could be a war criminal merely for sending troops into harms way. A President who goes to war without a declaration of war is like a dude that walks into a cathouse without a condom. He reeps what he sows. So Obama and Bush need to go to jail for sending troops into harms way without seeking a declaration of war.

  83. The Founders UNDERSTOOD and it was lost in transmission that,

    The Preamble is not only binding, it is the essential American context. The Constitution provides for governance within the parameters of the Preamble.

    Government is limited to security and infrastructure – Justice, Tranquility, Defence and General Welfare.

    All endeavors, businesses and industries shall be conducted by citizens in the free markets of the private sector without governmental interference as the “blessings of liberty” secured for ourselves and our posterity.

    The right to private property and to the “blessings of liberty” preclude redistribution of wealth. As General Welfare was included, the funding of individual welfare was deliberately and intentionally excluded.

    Freedom is self-reliance.

    That is all.

    This page was intentionally left blank by the Founders.

  84. SWM,
    Women’s rights are not being taken away. Taking women’s right away, means that all birth control would be banned, abortion would be illegal, and no woman would be able to get a job at a decent wage.
    As it is, women run the majority of the households in this country, they receive more college degrees than men, many women make as much and more than their husbands/boyfriends, and today, all professions are opened to women.

    Women can purchase birth control for under $10.00 a month, that’s about 33 cents a day. Before Obamacare, the majority of insurances covered the cost of birth control. Women can get an abortion (because they carelessly didn’t use the contraceptives or say no), and the cost is minimal.

    Hobby Lobby STILL covers contraceptives, in fact they offer around 16 different types of contraceptives. THEY ALWAYS DID COVER CONTRACEPTIVES, EVEN BEFORE OBAMACARE! They wanted to opt out of the abortion portion of the insurance, due to their religious beliefs..

    Your an intelligent person, so why do you keep skirting around issues to cover up the evidence in order to make your party look better than it is. You know the truth, or are you in denial?

  85. I should have posted this earlier today. Freedom is a simple concept that is easy to understand and the hardest goal to protect. It seems like people that are not free want to be free but many that are free want government control and support.

    My grandparents came to America from Italy to be free and had no benefits other than the power of freedom. If someone was sick at Ellis Island they were turned back. People had to rely on relatives not the government. Freedom and ability to succeed was all they wanted. All indications are that once people are free they want government to take care of them and the government power is difficult if not impossible to reverse.

    As a senior citizen I have had an opportunity to see positive changes to fix discrimination and increase equal rights to allow people to succeed. That should have been done 200 years ago. This has allowed so much advancement by previously discriminated groups that most fail to see the success.
    But I have also seen more government involvement into areas that complicates freedom. As one example, abortion and birth control is legal today. That is a freedom. But it is easy to understand why religious groups are against both. It is the ACA that causes the complication in the Hobby Lobby case. To cover a small percentage of the population, the government decided to impact every member of society. This causes significant complication that is hard to justify. We then create a new web of laws to compensate for the issues. Before the ACA, the wealthy were already ok, the poor had emergency care but now the middle class pays the price of forced insurance not freedom to choose.

    In a free society, the smartest or best at a skill will generally succeed without regard to birth rights be they rich or poor, male or female, black or white. Families should help the less skilled. The best baseball player or soccer player becomes a professional and is rewarded. The smartest students will succeed in their profession.

    We are losing sight of what our founding fathers debated and created. A free society with limited government and maximum rights.

    All of our freedoms are like the freedom of speech – it’s not allowing speech that we agree with – it’s allowing speech that we don’t agree with.

    We can have a free society or an equal society. I am unable to see how we can have both. We all may differ on what freedom and rights that we are willing to give up but in the end we will all lose.

  86. A random Paul wrote “Would be ok if I said Democrats believe in giving money to people that don’t work. or Republicans believe in taking money from the poor and giving to the rich.”

    Yes to both. And both parties believe in giving large amounts of money to corporations with no strings attached. And both parties believe in accepting large bribes a/k/a campaign contributions.

    “So how many bankers did our illustrious leader Mr O and his law enforcer in chief Mr H put behind bars?”

    The exact number that Bush the Younger did: 0. I’m not an Obamaphile. Or a Bushophile.

    “Don’t tell me what I believe.”

    You are Paul #2. Paul C. Schulte is Paul #1. Unless you want to suffer hurt feelings for no reason, attach a differentiator to your name.

    P.S. The official Libertarian Party platform includes this gem: “Governments, unlike private businesses, are unaccountable for such damage done to our environment and have a terrible track record when it comes to environmental protection.”

    Governments are certainly responsible for environmental disasters, e.g. Rocky Flats and Hanford, but private businesses have an equally sordid history. Research “1948 Donora smog,” “Love Canal,” “Valley of the Drums,” and “Superfund.”

  87. Reblogged this on SiriusCoffee and commented:
    “When most people hear the word `fascism’ they naturally think of its ugly racism and anti-Semitism as practiced by the totalitarian regimes of Mussolini and Hitler. But there was also an economic policy component of fascism, known in Europe during the 1920s and ’30s as “corporatism,” that was an essential ingredient of economic totalitarianism as practiced by Mussolini and Hitler.

    So- called corporatism was adopted in Italy and Germany during the 1930s and was held up as a “model” by quite a few intellectuals and policy makers in the United States and Europe. A version of economic fascism was in fact adopted in the United States in the 1930s and survives to this day…

    So-called “corporatism”… stands in stark contrast to the classical liberal idea that individuals have natural rights that pre-exist government; that government derives its “just powers” only through the consent of the governed; and that the principal function of government is to protect the lives, liberties, and properties of its citizens, not to aggrandize the state.

    Mussolini viewed these liberal ideas (in the European sense of the word “liberal”) as the antithesis of fascism: “The Fascist conception of life,” Mussolini wrote, “stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with the State. It is opposed to classical liberalism [which] denied the State in the name of the individual; Fascism reasserts the rights of the State as expressing the real essence of the individual.” Mussolini thought it was unnatural for a government to protect individual rights: “The maxim that society exists only for the well-being and freedom of the individuals composing it does not seem to be in conformity with nature’s plans.” “If classical liberalism spells individualism,” Mussolini continued, “Fascism spells government.”

    Another result of the close “collaboration” between business and government in Italy was `a continual interchange of personnel between the. . . civil service and private business.’ Because of this `revolving door’ between business and government, Mussolini had `created a state within the state to serve private interests which are not always in harmony with the general interests of the nation.’ Mussolini’s `revolving door’ swung far and wide…

    The whole idea behind collectivism in general and fascism in particular is to make citizens subservient to the state and to place power over resource allocation in the hands of a small elite… Such decisions should be made by a “dominant class” he labeled “the elite.”

    Thomas J. DiLorenzo

  88. Paul C. Schulte: “there is a new story coming out of the East that says that claiming that Bush/Cheney, et al are war criminals is all part of the continuation of the old Soviet disinformation campaign. Putin has never forgotten his KGB roots and many of the old Soviets are just retooling to get back in power.”


    Paul C. Schulte: [steps up to blackboard] “Ahem. OK, here’s what we’ve got: the Rand Corporation, in conjunction with the saucer people — under the supervision of the reverse vampires — are forcing our parents to go to bed early in a fiendish plot to eliminate the meal of dinner. [sotto voce] We’re through the looking glass, here, people…”

  89. Saucy, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” Let me start W/ THE BASICS. There are libertarians who cover A WIDE SWATH of people and beliefs. Then there is the Libertarian party that has a codified set of beliefs that MANY libertarians do not abide. Your lack of knowledge is profound, starting w/ the basics. Jonathan Turley and Barry Goldwater are/were BOTH libertarians. They are quite different in many beliefs. More than anything Saucy, you seem to be a contrarian. I can abide contrarians, as long as they aren’t “contrary” to something they DO NOT UNDERSTAND.

  90. Paul Schulte:

    In my view, the evidence of war crimes by both the Bush and Obama administrations is overwhelming. There is nothing that Putin and the KGB could add to the equation. Besides, the old Soviets are already back in power.

  91. Saucy, My former US Senator, Russ Feingold, is VERY liberal, he is also a libertarian. Some folks just can’t wrap their feeble minds around that very basic fact.

  92. To precious poster:

    Corporations make money.

    People work for corporations.

    Parasites demand free money from corporations and people who work.

    Corporations don’t pay taxes.

    Customers of corporations pay taxes for corporations.

    People who work pay taxes.

    No one gives money to corporations or people who work.

    Power hungry collectivists give money to parasites who don’t work.

    De Tocqueville told us that one man, one vote democracy would “endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”

    That bribe is now approaching $20 Trillion.


  93. Saucy,
    Maybe he’ll tell you that you’re dead to him like he did to Dredd, when he had his falling out with him too, lol.

  94. The only libertarian to vote against the Patriot Act in the US Senate was my favorite vote 3 times, Russ Feingold.

  95. Darren I quite agree with your assessment that such a drop is of concern, but I think it is a good thing for the reason that more people are now aware of government impinging on our freedoms. I disagree with Prof Turley in that we have not come close to any tipping point compared to our past. Just one instance that all should know is the Palmer raids which resulted in tens of thousands of US citizens being imprisoned for political crimes of dissent. Many were simply deported illegally and most lost jobs, homes, liberty, etc.. THAT had a major effect in destroying many leftist publications and organizations because most Americans were afraid of going to prison. Now if we are at such another tipping point, you have to answer he question, how many people are in prison now with all this increased surveillance? How many Americans have been murdered by the Obama administration for simply expressing themselves on politics?

    I have mentioned LOTS of US citizens who HAVE been murdered by previous administrations, though without admitting it. The one that really reeks is the FACT that the US journalists who were the victims of the CIA bombing of the Pastora press conference, were denied any day in court for their injuries under the Reagan administration which approved that bombing. Killing journalists and civil engineers who are working in conflict areas is a FAR different thing than killing US citizens who are participating in armed combat and terrorism against the USA. Most rational people can see the BIG difference. So I and most people have no problem with Obama’s role in that. In fact, it is good that such lists are published since those accused have a chance to turn themselves in to US authorities, and get their day in court.

    If you think the current SCOTUS is bad, the previous ones have endorsed private kidnapping of their enemies and trying them in rigged courts. The kidnapping of the leaders of the Western Federation of Miners by criminals hired by the mine owners, and brought back to Idaho and THEN indicted and tried is a gross example of this. The SCOTUS said it was of no concern that Haywood, Moyers, etc.. were unlawfully kidnapped, so their subsequent indictment was valid as were the verdicts. The editor of the Appeal to Reason was arrested, imprisoned, and denied a speedy trial for over TWO years, so that the government could drain the paper of funds. His “crime” was sending a flyer through the mail advertising a reward of $1000 for any person who would bring back former Gov. Taylor who had murdered one of his socialist opponents. The state of Kentucky had a $100,000 reward on his head and an indictment since the Gov had fled to Indiana to avoid trial. The editor was convicted in Federal court and went to prison, and Taylor got a pardon from the new Governor of Kentucky and avoided trial all together. So just HOW is our past better than now? Is imprisoning tens of thousands of Americans for political though, NOT a pretty good tipping point. In fact, during the McCarthy era, I would bet that most Americans would say the US had lots of freedom, when in FACT, we had little or NONE! If you agree with the regime, you are perfectly free in all dictatorships, and in fact, can make a good profit too. So I put little faith in people’s perception of liberty, I prefer facts to demonstrate such things. When the US starts putting people in prison as a result of all this intelligence gathering, THEN we will have the reality of dictatorship, fear, and peoples perception will be accurate, IF they have the guts to express themselves under such a regime.

  96. Celebrate the freedom of illegal aliens to dominate the country on the

    Farce of July. Let’s thrown in the “free stuff” of amnesty for good measure.

    Can we serve you anything else oh, untouchable ones –

    all you Americans-In-Waiting?

    Anybody see a sleeping giant around here?

    The inmates have taken over the asylum.

  97. I guess that I am being prohibited from posting or something, so my reply to Darren is lost in the ether.

  98. Mike – I would agree that the old Soviets are back in and operating along the same lines as they did during the Cold War. Part of the Bush/Cheney meme is straight from the Kremlin.

  99. Bob, Esq. – the video clip is cute but it really does not show that you are up to date on global diplomacy or the ins and outs of the Kremlin in the new Cold War or even the old one. I cannot spell the author’s name, but the book is available on Gutenburg. It is called Red Horizons. The author is the highest ranking defector from the Romania during the Cold War and give great insight into what was happening then and what it took to bring down the former Soviet state. However, like good Marxists, Marx is their god and there shall be no other god before him. Putin is the new face of the old Soviets.

  100. Paul Schulte:

    I think it just goes to show that you can take the boy out of the KGB, but you can’t take the KGB out of the boy.

  101. Here is some information about govt. propaganda. I have seen these maneuvers in posts many, many times on this blog. This is from a document released by Edward Snowden:

    “Dissimulation–Hide the Real”, while propagating “Simulation–Show the False.” It examines “the psychological building blocks of deception” and the “map of technologies” used to carry out the deceptions, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and “Web Pages”…

    Under the title “Magic Techniques and Experiment,” the document references…”Constructing experience in mind of target which should be accepted so they don’t realize,” and “Optimizing deception channels.” (From Greenwald’s book, page 194.)

    Here I think we see exactly the attempts JT speaks about–attempts to draw away attention from what is happening by creating a false enemy. Obama isn’t doing anything wrong, it’s Bush/Cheney and Congressional Republicans who are to blame for everything.

    This type of propaganda is effective because it relies on something which no rational person should argue: Congressional Republicans and Bush and Cheney have done/are doing truly reprehensible things. Hidden in that truth is the fact that Obama and elite Congressional Democrats are equally engaged in reprehensible actions. This type of propaganda seems to work very well for partisan Democrats. It fits into their worldview, it is soothing and relieves anxiety about what elite Democrats are actually doing.

    By the same token we see attempts to erase history with regards to Bush and Cheney. Again this hiding of the real and replacing it with the false soothes Republican partisans.

    For me, the key is for citizens to understand how desperately we want to be soothed with lies, because this helps us feel better emotionally. Propaganda does this because it was designed to do it. It works until the moment we stop letting it work by seeing reality. Once we can honestly reckon with reality, even though that may be painful, we can band together for a common good.

    Mespo, thanks for getting back my posts!

  102. Kudos to you Jill. I have stayed away from the MKUltra mind control psi-ops for the most part but you brought it forth eloquently. Just realize that Obama has been paid off and works for the Bush cabal so there is no difference, he’s just as guilty as the rest.

  103. Paul:

    We were talking about parties, not individuals. Parties are judged by their platforms and people by their deeds. If Repubs give more it could be for lots of reasons like benevolence or tax considerations. The point is that the positions differ markedly on the uses of government. No amount of private giving could match the governments’s efforts to end poverty and help people. Individuals just don’t have the means or reach to do that. There are some things that governments have to do. Repubs disagree. That makes them different from Dems. They was my point to Neo.

  104. Jill,
    I think Obama’s vote to immunize telecoms that were assisting the Bush Admin violate our basic Rights to Freedom and privacy should have been that icing on the duo-layer cake. But alas… “CHANGE” happened and the dividing lines of L vs. R grew deeper. People clung to their idioms like some buybull and gunz… and plugged their noses in apathy of what their lives have become… chattel for the next oligarchs’ election. Freedom to choose has been rendered neutered. The false paradigm of Blue shirt or Red shirt should be relegated for the infantile among us incapable of making truly informed choices. It appears that our Political Parties need a ‘time out’ for their insubordinate contempt OF our Rights… IMO! They are supposed to work FOR US… instead, we’re electing them to work for BigBrotherCorp.

  105. Annie wrote “I guess Spinelli doesn’t love you anymore Saucy.”

    Is there a teary-eyed smiley-face?

    I’ve met all kinds of libertarians. I’ve met motorcycle riders who demand the right to not wear a helmet, yet somehow they never refuse treatment after an accident because they contributed to their injuries. I’ve met people who vehemently believe that the Gilded Age was the best time ever. Rand Paul recently congratulated Caterpillar on not paying much in the way of taxes and recommended that course of action to other companies, yet he failed to see the basic flaw in his logic: locals would end up paying the taxes to repair local roads, whether they worked at Caterpillar or not. Most libertarians just want to keep more of their money — don’t we all? — forgetting that taxes pay for Interstate highways, water supply infrastructure, sewer infrastructure, local roads, police, fire protection, libraries, etc. The common thread is that they all want to live in today’s society at yesterday’s prices.

    Nickipooh’s just ticked that I corrected him on the identity of the person who famously said, “I want to be [left] alone,” with that person being Greta Garbo. He thought it was Marlene Dietrich who was actually famous for singing “Falling in Love Again (Can’t Help It)” in The Blue Angel.

  106. Neo
    “I have stayed away from the MKUltra mind control psi-ops for the most part…”
    = = =
    So you’re not on FaceBook also?

    Facebook Mood Manipulation Experiment Connected To Department Of Defense

    The highly controversial and possibly illegal Facebook experiment on mood manipulation is reportedly connected to the Department of Defense’s Minerva Initiative. The Minerva Initiative tries to model tipping points for social unrest and is funded directly by the Pentagon as well as indirectly through the National Science Foundation. The project is supposed to help improve relations between the Department of Defense as well as help military planning.

  107. Neo – Obama is part of the socialist/communist cabal started during the Cold War. Obama is the culmination of much work on the parts of lots of people to create a candidate who could become President and then lose the reputation of the United States. We are currently 65th on the ‘Good Country’ list.

  108. All these attacks on the president are as old as the office itself. Washington was “viciously attacked in the press by his second term. His opponents accused him of everything from being an inept general to wanting to establish a monarchy. At one point, he said that not a single day had gone by that he hadn’t regretted staying on as president.” So even during the glory days of freedom when the Republic was new there were cranks proclaiming that the sky was falling and that even Geo. Washington was a dictator in the making. Most critics have never read or understood history. Democracy is not pristine. Nations are not either free or tyrannical. They ebb and flow along a path like a river. You can decry Obama every bit as much as we all did Bush. What is irrefutable is that we enjoy incredible economic and political freedom that most of the world would gladly accept –Doomsayers notwithstanding.

  109. That is correct Max-1.

    I know how the system works and I maintain an extremely small footprint in the virtual world. That’s why I use the pseudonym “Neo”. Every once in a while I change my IP addresses to preserve anonymity.

    In the “real” world I am a Constitutional activist working with many groups.

  110. mespo – that is where we disagree (or at least one of the points). When I talk about Republicans and Democrats I see them as individuals, I never see the party platform. People run on the party platform but rarely follow it or try to get it implemented, except the socialists, who cribbed theirs from the Communists. Democrats like to give other peoples money away, Republican like to give their money away.

  111. Max-1 and Neo,

    I do think it is abundantly clear that elite politicians work for corporate paymasters or, if they are like Cheney, are corporate paymasters. The sooner we see this, the better chance that citizens have of uniting to face down wrongdoing. Elite controllers must keep propagandizing people to “see” the wrong things. It’s essential for them to do so, so they remain in control.

    I am somewhat reluctant to quote from a site that many here will not like, but I think the information contained in this article is stunning and tells us a lot about the real structure of our corporate government, so here goes:

  112. The #1, officially-endorsed Paul wrote “I’m #1!!! I’m #1!!! I’m #1!!!”

    I thought you’d like that.

    “the old Soviets are back in and operating along the same lines as they did during the Cold War”

    I’d go farther back. In 1938, the Soviets started to usurp Eastern Europe, first with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, then the Winter War, then the song-and-dance they played in “convincing” the Baltic States to join the USSR, then delaying its entry into Poland in 1944 until the Nazis killed all of the troublemakers in Warsaw, etc. This is Putin’s game.

    I said this before, but I will say it again. Reagan did not win the Cold War. We did not spend the USSR into the ground (I realize you disagree, but the literature from Eastern Europe is more relevant). If Andropov would have lived until the middle 1990s, he would have been able to pass control to Putin, with the Soviet Union still being intact.

    As I wrote in “The guerrilla solution to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threats to invade Finland if it joins NATO and U.S. President Barack Obama’s JFK moment,” Obama is proving to be his usual unimaginative self in not assisting Finland in joining NATO. Crimea was former Russian territory, but so was Finland.

  113. Paul:

    I don’t know how you can draw inferences about a group from the actions of some of its members. People are too varied and hold allegiances to differing degrees. I look to a group’s leaders or their statements of purpose. I can think of many Repubs that I think would be good Dems and vice-versa based on what they do.

  114. Paul,
    Please provide some evidence of the wild claim that Obama is part of a socialist/communist cabal that was started during the cold war.

  115. I don’t think we should call every criticism of the president an attack. If something is occurring, it is occurring. Speaking the truth is not an attack, it is delineating reality. We must not shrink from confronting reality because it is one of the only ways we will get out of the mess we are in. Speaking truth to power, about power, is important.

    Mindless attacks, attacks made for the sake of grandstanding or obscuring reality are wrong and usually waged by propagandists or their dupes in the population.

  116. on 1, July 3, 2014 at 6:51 pmrafflaw
    Please provide some evidence of the wild claim that Obama is part of a socialist/communist cabal that was started during the cold war.
    I almost posted Dylan’s John Birch Society Blues. Any more crazy commie talk and I just might be forced to.

  117. rafflaw – I am not ignoring you, but it will be tomorrow before I can put it all together.

  118. The interesting thing about Obama is that for a long while, and even to some extent now, members of the right and left believe he is a socialist. That was one way to see how much propaganda surrounds him. Both groups believed this fervently.

    This from a man who was largely employed in the FIRE industry and who has never wavered in putting forward a corporate agenda.

  119. Paul, I will be interested to read your information and appreciate you taking the time to put things together. That speaks well of you!

  120. Darren, In the comments column it says Neo made a comment. It won’t show up in the actual comments section.

  121. AZ,
    VPN is the acronym for Virtual Private Network. I am using one myself. It is a tunneling protocol for my communications that need to remain secure.

    OpSec refers to Operational Security

  122. Saucy, As I said, libertarians have the widest breadth of people. And, not all libertarians even believe in less taxes. As I said, my former beloved Senator Feingold is a libertarian who believes in government. He is in the big libertarian tent. People who are informed know there are libertarians who are almost exclusively civil libertarians, like Feingold and JT. Although, JT is not as tax and spendy as Feingold, they are equally strong on civil liberties. What confounds me about you is that while not a duopoly cultist like many of the ignoramuses here who can’t think out of the box, you don’t seem to get libertarianism. If you truly understood it you might find a home in our big tent. Some people here who deride libertarians are ignorant of what it means. They use Middle School epithets. I think you are educable, they are not, stuck in the duopoly mindset and Middle School.

  123. The #1 Paul wrote “Obama is part of the socialist/communist cabal started during the Cold War.”
    Annie wrote “I almost posted Dylan’s John Birch Society Blues. Any more crazy commie talk and I just might be forced to.”

    Please, no Dylan, He has a voice on par with William Hung and Bono. How about something by Joan Jett? Her recent plastic surgery is awesome.

    What the #1 Paul wrote is just crazy. To believe that people in the 1960s (or 1970s or even 1980s) would imagine that a black president was possible boggles the mind. Now if Paul believes that there are tens of thousands of people who were groomed for the presidency just to cover all of the bases, he might almost make sense. But then we would have enough people to fill a football stadium who want to run for president.

  124. saucy – it didn’t have to be Obama, he just happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right people.

  125. Al Zheimers wrote “What is a VPN or an OpSec?”

    OpSec refers to operational security, habits which protect your identity on the Internet. The simplest parts involve email addresses which have a fake ID and non-trivial passwords. Using a throw-away phone prevents people from tracing you that way. The next step is to mask your IP information by using an VPN (virtual private network) which essentially allows you to start it on your PC, but your Internet traffic appears out of a server in another area or country. It’s often referred to as a tunnel. Almost every website records your IP address; that’s how the ads are targeted to your local area. But a VPN allows you to surf around as if you lived elsewhere. If you are really paranoid, you can use multiple VPNs, making it that much more difficult to trace you (that’s what pros do). The downside of VPNs is a reduction in transaction speed.

    P.S. Computers and security thereof is my business.

    P.P.S. If anyone is really interested, Krebs on Security ( is a good place to start.

  126. Saucy, I am rather puzzled why it is so important for Finland to join NATO now. Back during the Cold War they never felt the need to join, and they were not swallowed up by the Soviets when they were supposedly plotting to take over the world. If the Soviets had invaded Finland back then, the US and NATO would have done nothing at all since they were not members. So please inform us why it is SO important now. There are lots of countries in Europe who are not part of NATO, and they are doing quite well. In fact, Austria was under Soviet occupation after WWII, and they LEFT! So why the need now?

    You also need to know more about WWII and the FACT that the Russian let the Nazis kill off the Home Army in Poland. The FACT is that the London Poles were the regime that was NOT freely elected, and was so stupid as to reject Stalin’s proposed alliance against Nazi Germany. Not only that, but the London Poles were telling their people to shoot the Red Army troops at the first opportune time. This of course was known to Stalin, so I suggest that those nut cases were a problem because they were simply nuts. You cannot urge the Red Army to help and then propose to shoot them in the back when they drive the Nazis out. Try telling the whole story.

    The pre-war Polish dictatorship thought that being an ally of Hitler was just great when he moved to take over the rest of Czechoslovakia and grabbed a good part of it for themselves. Then they get outraged when Stalin became an ally of Hitler. Give us all a Break!

  127. CHICAGO — At a tumultuous meeting of anti-Vietnam War militants at the Chicago Coliseum in 1969, Bill Ayers helped found the radical Weathermen, launching a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and United States Capitol.

    Twenty-six years later, at a lunchtime meeting about school reform in a Chicago skyscraper, Barack Obama met Mr. Ayers, by then an education professor. Their paths have crossed sporadically since then, at a coffee Mr. Ayers hosted for Mr. Obama’s first run for office, on the schools project and a charitable board, and in casual encounters as Hyde Park neighbors.

    Father (in absentia) – a foreign citizen.
    Pastor (“God damn America!”) – Reverend Wright
    Radical Marxist mentor w/plausible deniability – Bill Ayers

    Oh yeah, Roosevelt didn’t know Alger Hiss was a spy either.

    It’s funny how nations function.

    America has its Preamble and Constitution

    but it’s governed by the Communist Manifesto –

    “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

    Now that’s something Bill and Obama can get behind; they appear to agree, no?

    One attempted to fundamentally transform America with high explosive bombs. The other is trying to fundamentally transform America with nationalization, financial and immigration bombs.

    Yep! They agree.

  128. FYI

    A back channel communications server hosted in Iceland has Email, Video and Voice communications (FREE accounts and Pay Accounts both).

    Best part is it’s all encrypted. Prevents prying eyes and we can have open discussion in discussion groups and not worry about our big brother influence.

  129. While the world is waiting for the Global Financial Reset could this message be relevant?

    Occult Message in Speech by Christine Lagarde of IMF

  130. Randy,

    You bring up good points about the past administrations and from my understanding of those they are accurate. The problem is presently these types of abuses need to stop today and too often there are those who look the other way because in doing so either aligns with the ultimate political goals or is instigated by those they support.

    One thing I would like to add is as you mention at the bottom of your comment, when people are being arrested based upon the intelligence gathering might be too late to stop it easily. I have maintained that if the apparatus of a surveillance state is created it only takes a matter of changes of goals in the political class to rapidly convert it to a increasingly authoritarian government.

    Prosecution based upon political opposition was quite prominent in the past especially during the Red Scare and the McCarthy disgrace. This is one reason that I believe the department of justice should remain outside of the president’s cabinet and be a separate entity, with of course some oversight.

    We can surely see this poll is not the only poll showing losses of freedom. We read here several months ago of how the World Press Freedom index, or something of similar name, shows a large drop in the United States’ ranking.

    One problem I see with many citizens here is they have been through various ways cajoled into believing politicians provide the solutions to everything in this country rather than the politicians serving the will of the citizens. Having this misconception only adds to the amount of freedom Americans are willing to give up.

  131. Annie said, “SWM, why don’t we hear more outrage and alarm being expressed about the obscene power the rich have in this nation?”

    The degree of power has been obscured because the media isn’t paying attention to this topic (most are owned by mega corporations) and politicians don’t want us to really be aware of the extent of the problem. Ugh.

    Jim22 said, “Who or what makes the Congress unable to be an equal branch, why or how did the Executive and the Judicial get so powerful? Why or how has the ‘fourth branch’ the bureaucracies, become so powerful?”

    I think Congress lost its status as an equal branch upon the ratification of the 17th Amendment. This amendment changed the way senators were elected. They had been chosen by members of each state legislature prior to the amendment. The amendment now has senators being elected directly by the people of each state. Now it is much more difficult to boot someone from the Hill because enough people in the state have to be paying attention in order for the senator to lose an election (no wonder they stay in power for decades!). If the original method was still in place I could drive over to my state legislator’s office and discuss my concerns with him regarding his vote to choose a federal senator. He might be concerned that I might not vote for him again if he doesn’t then lean on the federal senator. The states lost power because the people at a local level have lost control of the senators.

    I am concerned that the representatives are attempting to represent too many people in their districts, or are getting to gerrymander their districts, which will just make the House reflect partisan politics instead of being more balanced.

    Neither my senators nor my representatives reply to any letters I send with anything more than a bland, stock reply that fails to address anything I’ve written.

    The fourth branch has become powerful because the congress has abdicated its real power for the thrill of being elected over and over and over again and because they gain monetarily.

    Anyway, that’s my theory…

  132. Good article, SWM! I hope more rich folks are paying attention to the discontent than just that author… Perhaps I am too cynical.

  133. rafflaw
    Please provide some evidence of the wild claim that Obama is part of a socialist/communist cabal that was started during the cold war.
    = = =
    I thought it was a Kenyan-Muslim-Sharia Law-Anti 2nd Amendment plot…

    But like the wind, those plots are a changin’

    What ever floats the boat… conspiracy theories need no facts, raff.
    You know that.

  134. @randyjet

    To take things in non-sequential order:

    “You also need to know more about WWII”

    I have read far more about WWII and the Cold War than you ever will. I studied Russian and German in school. I have traveled throughout Europe, from London to Moscow, and not on some cruise ship. I’ve played pool with Russians in dingy Russian bars and always lost. I visited St. Petersburg, Moscow, Volgograd, and other cities. I started at the point most Americans are at, that the U.S. won WWII all by itself. Then I moved to thinking that the USSR won the European portion of WWII almost by itself. I have arrived at a more nuanced view.

    “why it is so important for Finland to join NATO now”

    Is Russia bluffing with its bear-growling about how Finland should be quiet? I discussed this in my latest blog post. I will not re-hash it here.

    “There are lots of countries in Europe who are not part of NATO”

    Not on the Russian border. Belarus and Ukraine do not count.

    “Austria was under Soviet occupation after WWII, and they LEFT”

    That might be the Wikipedia version, but that is not correct. Austria, unlike other Eastern European countries, refused to ever vote to become communist. Then Stalin died and motivations changed, leading to Austria regaining its independence in 1955. There are other minor factors, but that’s it in a nutshell.

    “London Poles were … so stupid as to reject Stalin’s proposed alliance against Nazi Germany”

    Poland beat the Soviets in the Polish-Russian War of 1919-1921 where Stalin was one of the leaders. Stalin never forgot it. Poland was screwed because it is on the other side of Germany. There was nothing the West could do.

    “The pre-war Polish dictatorship thought that being an ally of Hitler was just great”

    Is your name really Erika Steinbach?

  135. NSA ‘totalitarian,’ ex-staffer tells German parliament
    A former NSA technical chief has told Germany’s parliament that the US agency has become a “totalitarian” mass collector of data. German public broadcasters say the NSA targets individuals who use encryption services.

    Testifying, Binney accused the NSA of having a “totalitarian mentality” and wanting “total information control” over citizens in breach of the US constitution. It was an approach that until now the public had only seen among dictators, he added.

    Mass collection was “senseless” and did not help in counterterrorism, and actually hindered the agency’s capabilities, Binney said.

    The NSA represented the “greatest threat” to American society since the US Civil War of the 19th century, Binney added.

    Binney left the NSA as its technical chief in 2001 shortly it began mass scanning in the wake of 9/11 hijack attacks by al Qaeda terrorists on New York and Washington.
    (continued w/ video)

  136. When I think of Freedom… I’m reminded that the only person to be serving time behind bars for the Bush Administration’s use and policy of TORTURE is the whistleblower that revealed the operations. Mission Accomplished, Obama.

  137. I’ll be traveling this next week and passing through a couple of domestic airports to get too and fro. I can rest assured that I’m not on a “NO FLY LIST” as now they’re unconstitutional and I’ve not been alerted since my plane ticket purchase 3 weeks ago. I will, however, count on refusing the backscatter and insist on a publicly viewed pat down so other travelers can witness blanket suspicion without cause. I’m not dumb… I know if I refuse any clearance procedure, I’m NOT FREE to travel via airplane. So, instead of being like a sheep going to slaughter, er backscatter, I’ll opt for the pat down so the public can witness it. It’s my way of making a public statement TO the public about what their Government thinks of THEM!

    Sure, it takes an extra 20 minutes… But in that 20 minutes, hundreds of people will be thinking, “what has he done?” “wow” “oh, I hope I’m safe” “I’m glad I’m safe” “Like he’s gonna do something?” “Why?” etc. I’ll be happy if it percolates even one person to question their role in this… or their Government’s role in suspicion of American citizens.

    Happy 4th everyone…

  138. Max,
    I read about a businessman who always wears a sport kilt and goes regimental. I hear that it creates a lot of red faces at TSA checkpoints. And a kilt is very comfortable attire.

  139. On the contrary, my dearest Nickster, I “get libertarianism.” The problem is that you believe that when someone understands it, it will be wholeheartedly accepted. I am not a follower. I am not a contrarian, but I can see why you would think that. I look at everything and judge it on its own merits.

    As I said before, I believe that the high point of the U.S., economically speaking, was probably in the 1960s, but that is not a hard date. If you remember, bankers earned a middle class income. The UAW was a problem, but then again management also was with its planned obsolescence. Just about everything was manufactured here.

    Given the above — especially the outsourcing — I think implementing a libertarian government today would sound the death knell for the U.S. because it would accelerate outsourcing. People are not going to do the right thing; they will open factories in India and China so they can live the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

    And the quality of everything is pathetic. You surely must remember how good things used to be twenty+ years ago.

    Do the Republicans or Democrats have anything better? Not remotely. The best fix for Congress would be a neutron bomb during a combined session.

    I really do not think you or anyone else here realizes just how much the world changed with the Internet and I’m not talking about viewing cat videos. The Internet enabled outsourcing on a grand scale, to the detriment of ordinary Americans.

    P.S. From my post “America’s lost decade for jobs”:

    decade: job growth
    1940s: 38%
    1950s: 24%
    1960s: 31%
    1970s: 27%
    1980s: 20%
    1990s: 20%
    2000s: 0%

    Taxes went down significantly in the 1980s and 2000s, with the top tax rate during Eisenhower’s terms approaching 90%. But note that job growth pretty much declined since WWII. Therefore tax cuts do not create jobs.

    P.P.S. We worried a lot over whether Italy would become communist after WWII. It was really touch-and-go for a while. But then the economy improved and all of a sudden people no longer thought communism was attractive because jobs were more available. The current transfer of assets from the middle class to the 1% has the same dangers, I think.

  140. Darren, I agree that the extensive surveillance is bad, but by itself, it does not constitute a loss of freedom any more than a cop looking at me while I pass out anti-war leaflets is oppression. Now if as they used to do, the cop arrests me, THAT is oppression. Any system can be abused and establishing a system of mass surveillance CAN be used for ill, but it does not mean it necessarily will be. The fact is that when we did not have such things because technology did not exist, we did have an authoritarian police state back in our history during the McCarthy era. That happened despite the laws and the Constitution. The only reason McCarthy ended was because the whole endeavor was beginning to eat the rest of the system, such as the Army, FBi, and other politicians who did not like the fact that THEIR liberties were gone. It was not because the American people rose up and demanded an end to it. In fact, if a poll were taken back then and the question was is the US a free country, I would bêt the poll would show at least 99% saying yes. This despite the FACT that it was not even close. If you answered that question saying no, at the least most people knew they would lose their job, and at worst, wind up in prison. So the poll numbers do not concern me, and indeed show a healthy skepticism about the role of government. That I find rather encouraging, and in any group of people there will always be the nuts who say we have no freedom at all. At least NOW they are free to say that, unlike before.

    The good thing is that we are having a discussion as to how much the government has a right to know and crafting laws that hopefully will prevent the abuses of the past. I only object to the apocalyptic tenor of much of the discussion and the total ahistorical view of our present situation. We have people here who think that McCarthy and that era were a great time of freedom! An we have others who say that police even asking a question is oppression. I don’t hold that view, though back when the Houston cops WERE actually terrorizing people and me specifically, I DID view them asking a question as an affront.

    I understand the position of Prof Turley since as a lawyer that is his natural job to look for the worst case scenario and to try and limit government as much as possible in matters concerning security. I think that a balance needs to be struck. I doubt that making the AG a civil service position or limiting it is the answer. I do think that what has been done in giving the FBI director a defined term limit apart from Presidential terms is a good move. Thinking back to my civil rights days, if JFK had not appointed RFK as AG, we would have had a lot harder time than what we did. If Nixon had been elected, there would be a lot more dead bodies in the South with a person who he would have appointed. So I am loathe to divorce politics from the AG office completely. The only real guarantee of our liberties are the American people themselves and the people who we elect. When we elected bad people who were partisan political hacks, we lost our freedoms. Abe Lincoln had to do some tough things that restricted freedoms during the Civil War, yet we pulled though, and he did not become a dictator nor did he establish one for his successors. I am certain that if Prof Turley were alive back then, he would be leading the charge against the tyrant Lincoln too. I know it is poor law and governance to say trust to the person, but even without such laws as we have now, that is what it comes down to. Our Constitution did not prevent the destruction of freedom in the past, so I doubt that these current laws will do any worse. Anything can be abused, at least we are on guard against it now with the internet and mass communication that did not exist in our past. So any governmental malfeasance can be found out and reported and fought. The only thing left to do is to raise our voices when the system is abused, and not some half cocked the sky is falling cry at everything.

  141. Max,
    I don’t believe that is the same guy. The one I am talking about just wears his standard issue sport kilt, but regimental. He lets the TSA screener find out for him or herself. I assume he is not too ticklish.

    For those not familiar with the term, “going regimental” refers to the fact the Highland Regiments have a regulation against wearing undergarments with the official Regimental kilt. A member of one of the Highland Regiments, such as the Black Watch, can get an Article 15 if caught wearing boxers or briefs with the kilt.

  142. Chuck,
    I’ll just say this much… the way the internet is constructed, one moment we’re having this conversation on American soil yet the data streams across the WORLD WIDE WEB! (hint, hint) What’s targeting American communications (domestic) when the server is overseas at any given moment?

    I use Yahoo E-mail… but where is THAT server located that transits the data?

  143. Chuck,
    I now that’s not the man you were referencing. I was just showing an example of the extreme someone went too to cooperate with the TSA. They charged him yet he won in a Court of Law.

  144. Gallup Poll: Satisfaction With Their Freedoms Has Record Drop Among Americans

    Yipee, the terrorists no longer hate us for our freedoms

    now they can go back to hating us for our ceaseless meddling.

  145. randyjet
    “… it does not constitute a loss of freedom any more than a cop looking at me while I pass out anti-war leaflets is oppression.”
    = = =
    Does the cop pat you down or demand you go through any screening device BEFORE he allows you to proceed to your destination of passing out leaflets?

    I didn’t think so.

  146. pete,
    Remember when Congress and the Administration told us that they (terrorists*) “hate us for our Freedoms”…
    … Isn’t that way Congress started to legislate away some of those Freedoms?

    Twisted minds only know the reasoning of the Patriot Act… Yet, we’re still being governed by it’s measures. I’ve been asking, who protects the People FROM an out of control Administration if the Legislative Branch abdicates it’s Oath and responsibility to the People from whom they were elected to faithfully represent?

  147. If you use TOR … YOU are a target of the NSA… aka a TORRORIST!

    NSA targets the privacy-conscious

    As revealed by the British newspaper The Guardian, there have been repeated efforts to crack the Tor Network and de-anonymize its users. The top secret presentations published in October last year show that Tor is anathema to the NSA. In one presentation, agents refer to the network as “the king of high-secure, low-latency internet anonymity”. Another is titled “Tor Stinks”. Despite the snide remarks, the agents admit, “We will never be able to de-anonymize all Tor users all the time”.

    The former NSA director General Keith Alexander stated that all those communicating with encryption will be regarded as terror suspects and will be monitored and stored as a method of prevention, as quoted by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in August last year. The top secret source code published here indicates that the NSA is making a concerted effort to combat any and all anonymous spaces that remain on the internet. Merely visiting privacy-related websites is enough for a user’s IP address to be logged into an NSA database.

  148. Max,
    I recall a photo of an attractive young woman at a TSA checkpoint who was handicapped and in a wheelchair. She pulls her coat back and ALL she is wearing under the coat is a sexy bra and panties. That created quite a stir.

  149. Saucy, I am glad you post since we all get a good education in not telling the whole truth. You also did not advance any rational reason for Finland to join NATO when they did not need to join during the Cold War when the Soviets were supposedly bent on world conquest. Is it now that capitalism is now back in charge in Russia the reason for this? Then it would seem that restoring capitalism is the source of Russian “aggression” today. Of course, I can see that Russia might have a problem with getting US troops on their border and might cause a bit of concern. Think that is a legitimate concern at all? Or is Russian history any guide to their response given the FACT the US has invaded Russia before! So just because there are thousands of dead GIs who were fighting the Soviet Union and are still buried there, they are silly to think that the US is not a peace loving country who only wants peace. Or it is more like Mel Brooks said in his parody of Hitler, I want peace, peace. A little piece of France, a little piece of Poland, a little piece of Russia.

    You also reference the war between the Soviet Union and Poland in 1918-19, but you FAIL to tell the FACT that Poland started that war under the dictator Pilsudski. Sort of like referring to WWII, and saying that Britain and France declared war on Germany first. You also did not tell that the Soviet Nazi pact only gave the Soviets what the Poles had stolen from them in that war, and put the border back to what had been agreed in the Treaty of Versailles to the Curzon line which was drawn NOT by Stalin, but the Brit Lord Curzon.

    I am glad you admitted that most of the countries of Eastern Europe voted communist in fairly free elections. That did not last long for a number of reasons too complex to go into here. Austria got its independence back because they had a large Social Democratic party and they agreed to remain neutral and NOT join NATO.

    Then you deny the FACT that Poland joined Hitler is slicing up Czechoslovakia as an ally of Hitler when he decided to take the rest of that poor country which had been betrayed by Britain and France. You also flunk military history when you say Britain and France could not do anything to help Poland when Hitler invaded. They should have immediately invaded Germany ASAP when they declared war. Germany had nothing left with which to stop them on the western front. Instead they simply hid behind the Maginot line and did nothing. Read Manchesters book on Churchill to get an idea of the flavor of the war at that time.

  150. An abstract from Chuck’s Daily-Kos link
    If you read Boing Boing, the NSA considers you a target for deep surveillance

    Since the start of the Snowden story in 2013, the NSA has stressed that while it may intercept nearly every Internet user’s communications, it only “targets” a small fraction of those, whose traffic patterns reveal some basis for suspicion. Targets of NSA surveillance don’t have their data flushed from the NSA’s databases on a rolling 48-hour or 30-day basis, but are instead retained indefinitely.

    The authors of the Tagesschau story have seen the “deep packet inspection” rules used to determine who is considered to be a legitimate target for deep surveillance, and the results are bizarre.

  151. Chuck,
    If we’re on the internet…
    (I guess we’re all guilty by association somehow, by the NSA)
    … We’re no longer allowed to freely associate without suspicion.

  152. Chuck,
    When I was in college, if you weren’t wearing underwear you were “going commando”. I guess it was a spin off from the Scots!!:)

  153. Okay. More Americans are begining to wake up a tiny bit? It would be odd if they didn’t notice at all.

  154. The situation with Russia is they are outside the IMF and Illuminati. They will survive much better without the IMF. Lybia was crushed because it was doing well without the IMF. But the terrorist nations of USA and Israel will not dare attack Russia. With us its just our government, not the people but the people need to wake up a lot quicker.

  155. traveling limey,
    Several years ago, John Perkins was interviewed on All Things Considered, the NPR afternoon news magazine program. He is the author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

    The book is a must-read for anyone who is curious about how big money people and the IMF keep smaller countries under control by what amounts to international loan sharking. Using loan shark techniques comparable to anything the Mafia would use, but on a vastly larger scale. You can buy the book from all the usual suspects, but also from the publisher, and can get a DVD. See the link below:

  156. Prairie Rose – there were originally 12 amendments to the Constitution, one of the two that did not pass was direct election of Senators. In the olden, golden days people could literally buy the job of Senator, which is why the Senate has always been the rich man’s club. Some states did use direct election and eventually, after enough corruption scandals, the 17th amendment (which could have been the 11th) was passed.

  157. randyjet – Finland did not need to join anyone during the Cold War. They were in a semi-protected status where the Soviet Union was not going to expand, but also was not going to contract. There were a lot of back channel deals make during the Cold War and Finland seems to have been part of them. Now with the EU expansions and NATO willing to expand and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Finland is on the table.

  158. Saucy, There is a fundamental flaw in your reasoning as you wax nostalgic for the 1960’s. We must understand and respect history, but trying to go back 50 years shows you do not understand that history is a continuum. The genie is out of the bottle in technology, trade, communication, etc.. The way our culture has changed in these 50 years is probably the most profound in the history of humans. Some of the change is good, some bad. But, there ain’t no going back, dude. Time marches on.

  159. @randyjet

    At first I could not understand your point of view. Now I get it: you are a Bolshevik. You probably obtain most of your news from RT. You are just like the many ignorant right-wing nationalists in Russia, comparable to left-wingers here.

    “You also did not advance any rational reason for Finland to join NATO when they did not need to join during the Cold War”

    Finland did not join NATO because it feared that Russia would do the exact same thing it did in 1939, i.e. invade. I remember seeing National Geographic photos of Finnish fighters escorting Russian bombers away from Finnish territory. And probably most importantly, Finns are an independent people.

    You must be dense to not understand that Crimea is the same as Finland with respect to Russian expansion. Both were previously part of the Russian Empire. Crimea was formally part of the Ottoman Empire and Finland was formally part of Sweden. Both countries were stolen by Russia around 1800. Both were lost by Russia in the 1900s. Russian nationalists want to return to the larger empire, so both countries are at risk. The only difference is that Crimea, like the Baltic States, was a part of the Soviet Union, and Soviet leaders actively promoted the migration of Russians to Soviet republics. That’s why Latvia today is around 40% Russian.

    And speaking of losers, I really love to point out to Bolsheviks that Finns kicked the Soviet’s can for around six months. Tiny Finland prevented the Soviet bear from invading until spring when the ground solidified, allowing the Soviets to use massive numbers of tanks. Officially the casualty ratio was ten to one — Soviets were the ten, of course — but Khrushchev stated in his memoirs that the Soviets may have lost as many as one million casualties.

    And one more thing. There is good evidence that Hitler watched how pathetic the Soviet military was in Finland and decided to invade based on it. “We only need to kick in the front door and the whole rotten edifice will come tumbling down,” said Adolf Hitler.

    “FACT that Poland started that war under the dictator Pilsudski”

    Why do you constantly capitalize that word as if you were writing propaganda? Oops, I answered that in my question.

    Yes, Piłsudski pushed the borders, but that was part of the big civil war that started after the fall of the Russian Empire. Countries were trying to settle old scores and establish historically-based boundaries. You forgot to mention the Polish-Ukrainian War of 1918-1919 which was a good example of that. The Polish-Czechoslovak War of 1919 is another example. Even today, Poles and Czechs makes jokes about each other.

    The Russians/Soviets could not fight their way out of a paper bag until Zhukov was allowed to take over.

    “Austria got its independence back because they had a large Social Democratic party and they agreed to remain neutral and NOT join NATO.”

    Austria was as Nazi as Germany, only it was never official. It pretended to be taken over via the Anschluss — a word used today for “connection in a travel context. After WWII, it pretended to be the victim and the naive Soviets swallowed it. Austrians fiercely fought against communism and never voted for it. Stalin’s death removed the guilt caused by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and so Austria was allowed to leave.

    “You also flunk military history when you say Britain and France could not do anything to help Poland when Hitler invaded”

    I was actually referring to the U.S., but I can see how you got that impression. That history is well known.

    You never looked up Erika Steinbach, did you?
    Der Spiegel (
    – “‘A Bad Character’: Expellee Leader Steinbach Insults Veteran Polish Politician”
    – “Germany’s Expellee Museum: Charges of Historical Revisionism Stir Up Berlin”
    – “German-Polish Relations: ‘Respect for Poland Hasn’t Always Been Germany’s Strong Suit'”
    – “Documentation Center Debate: ‘Expellees Paid a Higher Price for Crimes of Third Reich'”
    – “Erika Steinbach and German Victims of WWII: ‘I Want the Truth, and Nothing But'”
    – “German Expellees Controversy: Steinbach Eschews Post on Museum Board”

    P.S. I do not obtain all of my information from books like so many Americans who pine for the “good old days” of war. I have spoken with the locals in all of the above countries. You should try it sometime.

  160. Nick wrote “trying to go back 50 years shows you do not understand that history is a continuum”

    That is truly amusing considering the comments from Jim22, John, and others about how we should return to a strict interpretation of the Constitution before Marbury v. Madison in 1803. Not to mention the many comments from you and other libertarians about how taxes are too high, clearly pining for the good old days of the 1800s if not the 1700s.

  161. Thanks for the John Perkins ref on IMF dirty tricks, Chuck Stanley. I will check it out with more time. Selling in the Bakken right now so quite busy & watching the weather

  162. Saucy, I finally get your point of view since you must be Polish which would explain a lot. At least you provide humor in your selective history of the area. I really enjoyed you telling folks that yes Pilsudski DID push the borders a bit. Of course, you fail to tell folks he went all the way to Kiev which had been part of the ancient kingdom of Poland and he was seeking to restore the Polish empire of yore. That is not just a little incursion by the way. I guess you could say that Hitler just wanted a little Lebensraum too, so it should not have been seen as a big deal that he invaded Poland to restore what had been German territory. Of course, as most folks of your stripe, you think YOUR sides aggression and attacks, thefts, and other crimes are GOOD. Thank you for at least acknowledging the fact that the Poles DID start the war. Once again, you refuse to acknowledge the fact, that Poland JOINED Hitler in grabbing a slice of Czechoslovakia when he grabbed what was left after Munich. Typical Polish apologist for aggression and anti-Semitism.

    I guess folks might think that putting US troops on the Russian borders might not be a provocation, unless they also knew that the Soviet Union had been invaded by the US before. Most reasonable people would understand that the Russians might be a bit leery of having that happen, especially when the Russian leaders grandfathers were killing invading US troops back in the 1918-20. Why would any reasonable person think that US troops and NATO are not a threat? In fact, it is the US, Britain, France, the leaders of NATO who invaded RUSSIA. So given your endorsement of aggression against Russia, and your extreme nationalism that is the REAL threat. Then to say that Finland and the Crimea are the same is absurd on its face. How many Finns speak Russian as their first language or wish to join Russia? The figures on the Crimea and most of eastern Ukraine are totally different than Finland. Those areas are ethnically Russian in large majority. The only person who thinks the Russians want to take Finland is You and those who want endless wars. There is no legitimate fear or reason for Finland to join NATO. In fact, I would like to know what the rational for NATO to exist at all is. One could make a case during the Cold war perhaps, but now?

    I had to laugh again when you think that spring is the time of year in which the ground solidifies in those parts. I did not know the freeze point of water was so elevated there. So much for your military expertise.

    So what about a Steinbach? Who cares other than those looking for an excuse to fan hatred. Now if the German government or a leading figure of it decides to say something about restoring formerly German lands, THEN I will take notice. Think we need to worry about the KKK today as a major force in US politics? I recall that when I travelled around West Germany in 1967, the railroad cars had a map of pre-war Germany on the wall. The places that were now occupied by Poland, Russia, Czechoslovakia, and it said, Zur Zeit unterfremder vervaltung. That one really drove the Poles and Soviets wild. I went back many times, and those maps are ALL GONE NOW. By having those maps, one could say they were evidence of US and West German drives to invade those territories and restore the German empire. THAT had government sanction, and thus was of FAR more import than some nuts.

    As long as we are talking about such nasty things, I have noted that Hungary, Ukraine, and Poland are seeing a resurgent anti-Semitism, especially in Hungary. So it is good to see that NATO is protecting fascists once again. Think the rest of the US population wants to support such regimes? That is what NATO is doing. Think that we need to endorse a revanchist political movement and support it with out troops and weapons? Think that Russia might indeed have some legitimate concerns about the fate of ethnic Russian in the parts of the old Soviet Union? The Turks sure thought so when they invaded Cyprus and went to war with fellow NATO member Greece. NATO could not even keep the peace within NATO, so what use is it? Except to support fanatic nuts who hate Russians as part of their ethnic background.

  163. randyjet – anti-Semitism in Poland was not a problem until the Partition and even then it was highest is the Russian sections of the Partition. The part of Czechoslovakia that Poland took had actually been taken from them about 20 years before. Russia had Allied troops to back the White until 1920. There were some 5000 American troops there.
    The only rationale I need for NATO to exist is to know that Putin is alive and well. When the Cold War ended, the Marxist just changed to new organizations to run things, much like ACORN. Just put a new name on an old product. Putin has not forgotten the glory days when he was a KGB officer in East Germany. He would love to have the old Soviet empire back.

  164. Reblogged this on Centinel2012 and commented:
    Obama and his minions are remaking America into their vision of a perfect utopian society based on Marxism and a strong central government; it would have been nice if they had asked us if that is what we wanted!

  165. Prairie Rose – “Jim22 said, “Who or what makes the Congress unable to be an equal branch, why or how did the Executive and the Judicial get so powerful? Why or how has the ‘fourth branch’ the bureaucracies, become so powerful?””

    I don’t remember writing this.

  166. When the Cold War ended, the Marxist just changed to new organizations to run things, much like ACORN. Just put a new name on an old product.

    much like the KKK rebranded as the tea party.

  167. What is most distressing is that citizens see the decline but feel virtually powerless to do anything about it due to the duopoly of power in this country.

    Dr. Turley,

    Didn’t you yourself vote for the duopoly?

    Complain on the one hand and perpetuate it with the other?

    Makes your comments carry less weight.

  168. pete – just because some agrees with your position does not mean you agree with their philosophy. The CPUSA is a firm supporter of Obama. Rev. Wright, who hates America, supports Obama.

  169. Paul, Why waste your time on stupid comments by Pete? Do you really think you will change his mind of ignorance?

  170. There is a common misconception that criticism against unions is similar to the class envy against the wealthy.

    The vast majority of the rich are self made. Which means most did not inherit their wealth; they earned it. Many went to college and earned good grades while their friends partied. Many invested every penny they owned to start their own businesses. They worked insane hours and gave up having a life for many years until they earned success. And then those who didn’t stay in school, didn’t wait to start a family, didn’t make the same choices, deeply resent when the wealthy attained success.

    On the other hand, unions achieve vastly higher wages and benefit structures through coercion and threats. The employer is NOT ALLOWED to hire non-union. If the employer does not bow to the union’s demands, they will drive him out of business and physically attack any person, whom they call a SCAB, who dares try to work during a strike. Government union employees are paid by private taxpayers, and yet they get untenably high benefits packages that break the backs of those taxpayers, and are far higher than what is earned in the private sector. And those employees are unifirable. So they are overpaid and under-deliver. There are some excellent union employees, but they get to observe their coworkers phoning it in. Those government unions have caused major cities to go bankrupt because when the recession dragged on, they could no longer afford those untenable benefits packages forced upon them in the boom times by the unions. And teachers unions not only prevent underperforming teachers from being fired and replaced with better ones; they always protect pedophile teachers from getting fired. Instead, they are allowed to retire and have a nice, fat pension to support them after they get out of prison. And, finally, unions force all of their workers to donate to the Democratic Party through mandatory political contributions that are automatically taken out of their paychecks with their dues. Anytime it is proposed that such contributions be voluntary, the union goes to war to fight it. That behavior is anathema to a Republic. The only explanation I can think of for why forcing people to contribute against their will to a political party is not illegal is that unions have bought and paid for many Democratic politicians, who vote against union reform.

    So it is a spurious argument to imply that criticism against unions is envy that someone has “earned” “slightly higher wages” than the private sector. It ignores all evidence to the contrary.

  171. Nate:

    What is so distressing is that at the current time, any other party besides the duopoly merely acts as a vote splitter. Unless a party has enough votes to actually win, all they do is drain votes away from the duopoly closest to it. And yet, the only way another party would ever have a chance is for people to give it a try and vote for it.

    I think a minority party will rise is if there is a major objection to one of the duopoly candidates at the last minute before an election.

    One of the ways in which we can break up the duopoly and any undue influence of unions and the wealthy is the reform of political donations. Involuntary political donations by union members should be illegal. As well as campaign bundling, and any campaign donations above a very modest amount. The amount of money spent nowadays on political campaigns is shocking. If we bring that down to more reasonable levels through reform, it will open the playing field to more parties. And hopefully it will improve the quid pro quo in politics. And it will improve the attitude that the big corporations and unions have undue influence in politics.

  172. Karen,

    I’m not so much concerned about the struggle for power that is politics.

    I’m more concerned that Dr. Turley is losing some of his integrity.

    You don’t have to change the world. You just have to stay true to yourself.

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