Snowden: Govt Making Permanent Record Of Our Private Lives

In a must watch segment on MSNBC’s Last Hour with Brian Williams, Edward Snowden made the bombshell revelation that the current state of big brother surveillance is such that the government is essentially making a permanent record of our private lives. Snowden’s fear is that this information can and will be used against private citizens for intimidation, harassment etc .

Snowden explained to host Brian Williams how the government and some private companies are using our private cell phones against us–absolutely shocking stuff. Snowden said the government now considers hacking into people’s phones a legitimate investigative tool. He says the government will seek out vulnerabilities in your phone’s software to get into(hack) your phone. Once inside, everything you can do with your phone, they can also do remotely. They for example, can video record your living room, your children, your visitors and yeah liberals, even your kinky bedroom activities.

Specifically Snowden said, “Hacking has increasingly become what governments consider a legitimate investigative tool. They use the same methods and techniques as criminal hackers, and what this means is that they will try to remotely take over your device. Once they do this by detecting a vulnerability in the software your device runs such as Apple’s IOS or Microsoft’s Windows, they can craft a special kind of attack code called an ‘exploit’. They then launch this exploit at the vulnerability on your device which allows them to take total control of your device. Anything you can do on that device, the attacker, in this case the government, can do. They can read your email, they can collect every document, they can look at your contact book, they can turn the location services on, they can see anything that is on that phone instantly and send it back home to the mother ship. They can do the same with laptops. “

Another bombshell revelation by Snowden was that in many cases, the government doesn’t even need to hack into our devices, they can get all this information from our good friend Google. Who knew?

And just in case you thought Yours Truly was being facetious earlier with the assertion that the government can record your kinky bedroom activities, listen to Snowden himself explain how easy this is.

Host Brian Williams posed a very important question to Snowden about the usual refrain from law enforcement officials and some members of the public that “If you are not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.” Snowden says absolutely you should be worried because these seemingly innocent pieces of information the government collects about you daily can be aggregated and used to create a profile of you which the government then shares/sells to private entities who use them to make decisions about you–some of which may not be accurate.

Snowden specifically said, “Our devices are casting all of these records that we do not see being created, that in aggregate seem very innocent. You were at Starbucks at this time, you went to the hospital afterwards, you spent a long time at the hospital. After you left the hospital you made a phone call. You made a phone call to your mother. You talked to her until the middle of the night. The hospital was an oncology clinic. Even if you can’t see the content of these communications, the activity records, what the government calls ‘metadata’, which they argue they do not need a warrant to collect, tells the whole story. And these activity records are being created and shared and collected and intercepted constantly by companies and governments……As they sell these, as they trade these, as they make their businesses on the backs of these records, what they are selling is not information….what they are selling is us……..”

Bottom line folks, there needs to be a debate about big brother surveillance in general and in particular whether the 4th amendment right to privacy even exists anymore given the latest technological advancements. Another legal issue that needs serious attention is the question surrounding warrants. Law enforcement officials, when confronted about these highly invasive techniques often throw out the answer, “we had a warrant” which we all assume makes all their invasive techniques “legal”. The question that is never asked, and for which yours truly would really like to get an answer to is this–Do the judges who supposedly issue these warrants know exactly what they are authorizing law enforcement officials to do with these technologies? Do they for example know that they can be used to record people in their bedrooms, follow people around on a 24-hour basis etc? Are there mechanisms in place to find out if these devices are abused by law enforcement officials? All these are serious questions that need to be addressed for everybody’s sake–law enforcement officials, the courts, and the increasingly suspicious public.

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out.

You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com

Trump Family’s Deceptive Trade Practices

A CNN Special Report by Erin Burnett exposed some stunning deceptive practices employed by the Trump family in their real estate dealings. Some of the deceptive statements the Trumps used to lure in real estate investors are borderline criminal fraud. According to the CNN Special Report, the Trump family essentially embarked on real estate projects worldwide and then made false media pronouncements that their properties were sold out in an effort to lure in investors. Non-suspecting investors then pumped money into what they believed were very profitable Trump properties only to be hit by bankruptcy notices resulting in severe losses. The full CNN Special Report titled “The Trump Family Business” is available here but the relevant clip is below

In 2009 Ivanka Trump for example told CBS regarding the Trump Tower Toronto project, “We have projects all over the world that are incredibly successful and that are virtually sold out…from Hawaii to Toronto to Istanbul.” However according to Erin Burnett, bankruptcy papers filed for the Toronto project years later totally contradicted Ivanka’s statement to CBS. Turns out a whopping 75% of the “sold out” Toronto building remained unoccupied.

Similar shocking deceptive practices were also employed at Trump’s SOHO project where Ivanka told reporters in 2008 that 60% of the units had been sold. It later turned out upon further inspection that contrary to Ivanka’s assertion, only 15% of the units had been sold. Even more troubling about the SOHO project is the fact that there were email exchanges between Ivanka and Trump’s eldest son Don Jr showing that the two were willfully lying to investors about the occupancy rates at Trump SOHO. This apparently led to a lawsuit which the Trump family settled with the terms remaining secret.

Bottom line as Erin Burnett’s Special Report points out, a lot of these real estate investors who were lured into investing based on gross misrepresentations by the Trumps, ended up losing large sums of money. These were not just harmless sales gimmicks employed by the Trumps. Even though it is unlikely that any criminal prosecution could be initiated against Trump’s adult children(statute of limitations), the only decent cause of action for them given their current status in society(Presidential children) would be to make a public apology to the investors who got crushed by their deceptive trade practices.

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out. 

You may reach the author via email at author@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com

TrumpSwamp–NY AG Sues Trump Family Over Trump Foundation Corruption

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood has slapped the Trump family with a $2.8 million lawsuit claiming among other things that the Trumps used the Trump Foundation, a non-profit organization, to conduct “unlawful political coordination with the Trump presidential campaign” and “repeated and willful self-dealing transactions” in violation of both state and federal law.

Interestingly the NY AG in addition to filing the lawsuit also sent referral letters to the Internal Revenue Service(IRS) and Federal Election Commission(FEC) for “further investigation and legal action”

There is nothing in the NY AG’s lawsuit that is particularly shocking, or a “bombshell” as the mainstream media calls it because by now the public is very aware of the corrupt business dealings of the Trump family. To this day the public is still longing to see the elusive Trump tax returns, mostly because people are convinced there are a lot of corrupt business dealings hidden there.

There is however an interesting detail in the NY AG's lawsuit that caught Yours Truly's attention--a handwritten note by Donald Trump directing Trump Foundation staff to settle a legal dispute involving his Mar-a-lago Hotel--a clear cut violation of the law

Straightforward/clear cut violations of the law like these have traditionally provided the mainstream media with an easy opportunity to question politicians and inform the public. In the age of Trump however, even slam dunk media opportunities like these seem to go by the wayside, with the mainstream media either afraid or unwilling to confront Trump. Democrats however have no choice but to confront Trump not only on this clear cut violation of the law but also on the other troubling issues raised by the NY AG lawsuit.

Bottom line TrumpSwamp/Corruption by Trump Admin and Trump family is an issue Dems must push hard during this midterm 2018 campaign season. As you can see from the lawsuit, the state and federal violations are so numerous and flagrant that they are impossible to justify. As Yours Truly has repeatedly stated, there are a lot of Independents and even Republicans out there who are also fed up with TrumpSwamp/Corruption and are shopping for alternative candidates in Midterm 2018. Dems need to be those alternative candidates

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out