Fight back against government intrusion

When Senator Barack Obama announced his support for strengthening the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to include more opportunities for the government to monitor our lives, it was a preview of things to come. Little did we know that when he declared he would have the most transparent presidency in history he was talking about our activities--not his.

We now know that upon becoming president, Obama ordered his security people to monitor not only phone calls overseas with the specific goal of counterterrorism surveillance, but all domestic calls by Verizon (and probably other companies) customers over at least a three-month period.

He's really got us. Cell phones and the Internet have become such a major part of our personal and business lives--how could we ever cut back on those activities in order to protect ourselves from government intrusion?

Well, although it won't be easy, I've decided that I can make some changes will help to rein-in at least some of my exposure to privacy abuse:

1. I'm going to a "cash whenever possible" mindset. There are many times that I use a debit card when I could pay with cash. For me, the benefits of cash outweigh the inconvenience.

2. I'm done with grocery, gas, casino, etc., membership cards. The few perks I get from these aren't worth entities being able to track how much beer I buy and how much I spend on slot machines.

3. I'm going to create an email account to be used strictly for situations where I have to provide account information for signing-up for something. I might be "creative" with the information I provide to establish this account.

4. I'm going back to submitting my IRS forms via printed forms. I was told by an agent that people who submit forms online are much more likely to be selected for an audit. Essentially, you're doing the work of the agency in transferring your information to an electronic format.

Just think how we could put the government into an information vacuum if we all just started to pay with cash!

No votes yet

I shut my phone off most of the day, and whenever I leave the house now. BTW, going to "cash" took me about two weeks to get used to. I write 3-4 checks a month now.

I never use my cell on the road, because it's off when I'm in the car. It's with me for emergencies. If I have to make a call to somebody, I pull into a parking lot. I have assumed for years that everything we do is monitored. I think "they" know who anybody on a posting board is - IF they want to know. Lots of times I leave my phone home and on when I'm elsewhere - on purpose - to confuse any "entity" that thinks they can track me. Because the whole idea just irks me to pieces. I was discussing "Big Brother" maybe 25 years ago with my doctor. He said: "If you have so much as one bank account, rest assured that big brother knows where you are." Probably, to a degree, but we don't have to make it easy for corrupt administrations to abrogate our constitutional rights.

I also put my cell phone "network" setting to "don't show outgoing number". I had to actually call my carrier to find out how to do that... not easy to find the right menu. BUT - I think government agencies can over-ride that - because once I called Social Security & DID NOT leave a call-back number & had my "don't show ... number" setting on - and they called me back anyway. Private individuals and companies can't do that. So that alone got my suspicions up about government electronic capabilities.

There are privacy pouches for phones that can be purchased somewhere online. The container blocks scanning of your phone & various cards, such as credit, and those drivers licenses with the RFID chip (Real ID they call it) that several states are still fighting.

I've always been a cash person - but don't use it exclusively. For one thing, money orders are free at my Credit Union.

There are lots of ways to stay off the grid - but it takes thought and planning. One warning that involves this and other posting sites. Whatever password you use here - make sure you do not use the same password for any of your e-mail addresses. I am 100% convinced we have a hacker on this board. Also, change your e-mail passwords fairly frequently. And whatever e-mail address you supplied here - make sure you don't have any personal info at that e-mail address... just in case.

I like your phone idea. I also shut-off the location/tracking feature on my devices unless I need it for directions, weather, etc.

I support these sorts of moves, but don't totally abide by them. If the government can hold what brand of peanut butter I buy against me, then I'd like to see them try. So I'm going to keep using my Kroger's card. Let some agency in Washington DC pore through my peanut butter records.

I still didn't comply with all that crap from the US Census, which is a bigger fist in their gut to be sure. (Note that I allowed the government to count my household, as a number, with no other information. That's all that the US Constitution authorized the Congress to collect, and so that's all I gave 'em.)

They send it out between 10-year Censuses. It comes with a threat of being fined if you don't complete & return. Many disgusted taxpayers throw those out. One acquaintance received 3 of them and tossed all 3. I don't think anybody actually gets fined - and have read lengthy discussions about this on-line. But with this unprincipled, corrupt administration, you never know what they might try.

Yes, they threaten to fine you under USC Title 18. Sadly for them, being in the Census, the US Constitution doesn't mention any such power. The Congress is only empowered to enumerate (i.e. count) Americans every decade. That's it. The American Community Survey (the survey you mentioned) has no legal power.

And so due to the threat, just ignore them, as you've said. After all, if they do file an indictment, who are they going to indict? The court has to find out who's there in the household, and if you didn't answer with your name anyway....

"I was told by an agent that people who submit forms online are much more likely to be selected for an audit."

That's because the vast majority of people file electronically today. And people with "weasely" tax returns, like taking the EIC or filing big deductions, are very prone to filing electronically, since it's the fastest means of getting that refund.

This has become a kind of conventional wisdom: that the Republican Party has gone so far right Reagan himself wouldn't fit in.

But, I'm here tonight to call bullsh*t on that. Ronald Reagan was an anti-government, union-busting, race-baiting, anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-intellectual who cut rich people/s taxes in half, had an incurable case for the military-industrial complex, and said Medicare was socialism that would destroy our freedom. Sounds to me like he would fit in just fine.

Now...I know over at Fox News right now, they're already putting out a fatwa on me. For committing the cardinal sin of taking in vain the sacred name of Ronald Reagan. It's a name like Jesus Christ. You can say it, but only in a good way. Like, "Jesus Christ, bless this chili dog."

Not like, "Jesus Christ, look at the ass on Rihanna!"

But, what they cannot contest is that even though Reagan did a few things today's GOP would not like, he wrote the playbook for them on every issue of consequence. Sure, he raised taxes a few times. But, when you look at where he started with taxes and where he ended, this is where our income inequality problems began. He invented "voodoo economics."

On race, his ideas couldn't have been more Tea Party if he shouted them from a Rascal scooter. He ran on states' rights. He invented the notion that black people get all the breaks...constantly telling the story of the "Chicago Woman"--wink, wink--who has "80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards, and her tax-free cash income is over $150,000."

And that woman today is RuPaul.

Actually, that woman never existed. Reagan just made sh*t up. Something else he pioneered for his party of today.

He described the New Deal as fascism, Medicaid recipients as "waiting for handouts," unemployment insurance as "prepaid vacation for free-loaders. And once said, "A tree's a tree. How many more do you need to look at?"

He was the original, official pitchman for bat-sh*t. When they hold up signs that say "No Socialized Medicine," where do you think they got it from? We got it from you, Dad, we got it from you. [slide of Reagan record album]

RECORDING OF RONALD REAGAN: "If you don't do this and I don't do it, one of these days, you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in America when men were free."

Drama queen much? Worst of all, Reagan inspired a whole generation of people who hate government, to get into government. Both sides really should stop pretending he was something other than the man most re
You know, I get why Republicans worship Reagan. They're the religious party. Worship is in their DNA. They can't help it. They love him beyond logic. Last year, they tried to elect his haircut. [slides of Reagan and Mitt Romney]
They want him on a stamp so they can lick his backside.

But, why are Democrats conceding the argument on Reagan? Obama talks about him like he's a "brother from another mother." "He changed the trajectory of America." Yes, but not for the better.

When you mainstream Reagan, the far right becomes the new middle. He wasn't a friend to all Americans. He was "Patient Zero" for everything you're fighting against now. He was the original "teabagger."

Stop agreeing he was a saint, especially when his two miracles were turning water into polluted water, and walking on the poor.

Thank God!

I was just thinking to myself "If I don't get to hear what Willard thinks about Ronald Reagan I'm going to shoot myself."

Thank you Willard for saving me from a potential suicide!

MikeyA

Yes, but the lack of an accompanying, unrelated video was disappointing.

 photo militarywelfare_zpsc24d5ab0.jpg

Just this one itty bitty difference between an actual welfare queen and a member of the military--THE MILITARY MEMBER ACTUALLY DOES SOMETHING FOR HIS/HER MONEY.

You may want to Google "transfer payment."

Willard, I am not bothered by your posts because I recognize they are juvenile and just an ATTEMPT to upset me and also because I am confident in the work I do, work I have done, judgements I have made, achievements I have met. My career has been one of continued success and your posts don't take away from that.

So in the end you didn't insult me.

The people you insulted is every other member of this board who has a brother, sister, son, daughter, cousin, niece or nephew in the military. The vast majority of them are good and sacrificing people who do a service to all of us. You insulted them and their families on this board.

What's sad is you probably didn't even realize that until I just pointed it out to you.

MikeyA

I think you neglected to tell our conservative friends that this is a transcript from Bill Maher. Neither of us is that good a writer.

Yes, you are correct . This is his "new rules" from Mahers last show.
I knew Nancy liked to give head and Reagan made a lot of his decisions based on what Nancys tarot cards said, but I didn't know he was that big of a dick. He ruined this country.
No wonder Republicans are so F'ed up now. I wonder if Bonzo was a teabagger to?

The problem I have with the PRISM program is it was approved of by the FISA court.

The FISA court doesn't have jurisdiction for what US citizens do on American soil.

Now Americans making calls to other countries, or non-US citizens making calls within America both fall under FISA's scope and why I had no problem with the wiretapping in the US in those situations.

US citizens on US soil do not fall within the FISA jurisdiction and any court order or warrant they sign pertaining as such is a violation of the 4th Amendment.

MikeyA

What worries me, and I suspect you, is the complexity of this issue and the degree to which most Americans will engage it. It is infinitely easier to point at non-state terrorists or rogue nation states who seek to do us harm, than it is to wade into the constitutional nuance implicit in this issue.
I don't worry too much about big brother; after all, he is us. But at the margins, this issue threatens our freedoms. As a member of the military, I am conflicted . . .
-Respectfully

I share your conflict.

The best part about the Patriot Act was that it had an expiration date. I wasn't excited about it's renewal.

I am willing to give up on a little bit of freedom for a little bit, but when it's for good I want to know. I also was against the immunity provisions for the websites and carriers and I'm glad they didn't pass.

MikeyA

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