Thursday, May 21, 2009

Is Orwell Dead? Big Brother Isn't! (Part 2)

Not Everyone Is Cheering Fed's New RoleBy Sudeep Reddy
June 18, 2009
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Reserve would become the nation's most powerful financial overseer, an approach that is becoming a flashpoint as lawmakers and consumer groups attack the central bank for its role in creating and handling the financial crisis.
Obama Proposes Sweeping Regulatory Changes
WSJ's Damian Paletta discusses President Barack Obama's new plan to overhaul supervision of financial markets.
The proposal, if passed into law, would represent one of the biggest changes ever in the Fed's role. The central bank would win power to monitor risks across the financial system, and sweeping authority to examine any firm that could threaten financial stability, even if the Fed wouldn't normally supervise the institution. The nation's biggest and most interconnected firms would be subject to heightened oversight by the central bank.
President Obama said the plan would ensure "that lines of responsibility and accountability are clear" by placing authority in the Fed's hands.
Critics who wonder about the wisdom of the move say the Fed failed to use its authority to address loose lending practices and the housing bubble that pushed the U.S. into a recession. The Fed responded aggressively after the crisis began, but some argue those actions were overly secretive.
A movement is spreading in Congress to force the Fed to disclose the identity of institutions that borrow from the bank, a move officials say would discourage firms from seeking needed emergency funds. A large group of House members is pushing to audit the Fed.
"I don't have a lot of faith in the Fed being able to handle that big a universe," said John Taylor, president of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a group of 600 community organizations.
Senate Banking Chairman Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.) and House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D., Mass.) both said Wednesday the Fed's role is the biggest potential source of friction in the plan.
Mr. Dodd said there is well-founded concern the Fed's responsibility for monetary policy, including setting interest rates, could conflict with its role monitoring systemic risk. Fed officials have said they can handle multiple responsibilities. "There's not a lot of confidence in the Fed at this point, and I'm stating the obvious," Mr. Dodd said.
Mr. Frank said most of Mr. Obama's proposals reflect a broad consensus on Capitol Hill. But "the interplay between the Fed and the rest of the regulators on systemic risk" will be a thorny issue. Some lawmakers want an interagency council, another feature of the plan, to have greater responsibility for systemic risk, and the authority to act. Obama administration officials believe a committee approach would allow problems at financial institutions to fester without a clear regulator responsible for addressing them.
"How much power the Fed is going to have is going to be probably one of the most controversial issues about this plan," said Robert Litan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He said he thinks the Fed's role in the new regulatory framework is likely to be changed by lawmakers.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner reiterated the administration's determination to make the Fed the systemic regulator. "I do not believe there is a plausible alternative," he told reporters.
Fed officials said they took action throughout the financial crisis because the central bank was often the only institution with the power to prevent turmoil. The regulatory overhaul would provide a mechanism for the government to unwind failing nonbank financial institutions, freeing the Fed of the need to act. The central bank has also taken steps to release details about its lending programs.
Despite a major conceptual change in the Fed's role, central bank officials believe perhaps only a handful of additional firms would fall under their supervision. They are also expected to make a case to keep the Fed's consumer-protection responsibility -- with some tweaks -- instead of giving up that role entirely, as envisioned under the plan.
The regulatory overhaul proposed by the Bush administration last year also would have given the Fed responsibility for financial stability. But that plan would have removed its role of supervising banks. Fed officials quietly objected, saying it would be hard to guard against systemic risks without also performing routine bank examinations. The proposal gained little traction amid an escalating financial crisis.
The Obama proposal would require the central bank to seek approval from the Treasury secretary before invoking emergency lending powers. It also calls for the Fed to work with the Treasury and outside experts to review the Fed's structure and governance, including the role of the regional Fed banks. A report due by Oct. 1 would be used to propose changes to the Fed's structure "to improve its accountability and its capacity to achieve its statutory responsibilities." —Jonathan Weisman and Damian Paletta contributed to this article. Write to Sudeep Reddy at
Moving Towards Tobacco Prohibition
Posted by Ron Paul (15 June 2009),tx14_paul,blog,999,All,Item%20not%20found,ID=090615_2978,TEMPLATE=postingdetail.shtml
Last week, another bill was passed and signed into law that takes more of our freedoms and violates the Constitution of the United States. It was, of course, done for the sake of the children, and in the name of the health of the citizenry. It’s always the case that when your liberty is seized, it is seized for your own good. Such is the condescension of Washington.
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act will give sweeping new powers over tobacco to the FDA. It will require everyone engaged in manufacturing, preparing, compounding, or processing tobacco to register with the FDA and be subjected to FDA inspections, which is yet another violation of the Fourth Amendment. It violates the First Amendment by allowing the FDA to restrict tobacco advertising in multiple ways, as well as an outright ban on advertising any cigarettes as light, mild or low-tar. The FDA will have the power of pre-market reviews of all new tobacco products, and will impose new user fees, meaning taxes, on manufacturers and importers of tobacco products. It will even regulate the amount of nicotine in cigarettes.
My objections to the bill are not an endorsement of tobacco. As a physician I understand the adverse health effects of this bad habit. And that is exactly how smoking should be treated – as a bad habit and a personal choice. The way to combat poor choices is through education and information. Other than ensuring that tobacco companies do not engage in force or fraud to market their products, the federal government needs to stay out of the health habits of free people. Regulations for children should be at the state level. Unfortunately, government is using its already overly intrusive financial and regulatory roles in healthcare to establish a justifiable interest in intervening in your personal lifestyle choices as well. We all need to anticipate the level of health freedom that will remain once government manages all health care in this country.
Actions in Congress such as this tobacco bill are especially disconcerting after we thought we were beginning to see some progress in drawing down the wrong-headed and failed war on drugs. A majority of Americans now think marijuana should be legal, taxed and regulated, according to a recent Zogby poll and over 70 percent are in favor of allowing medicinal use of marijuana. Bills like this take us down exactly the wrong path. Instead of gaining more freedom with marijuana, we are moving closer to prohibiting tobacco. Our prisons are already bursting with non-violent drug offenders. How long will it be before a black market in tobacco fills the prisons with non-violent cigarette smokers?
Hemp and tobacco were staple crops for our founding fathers when our country was new. It is baffling to see how far removed from real freedom this country has become since then. Hemp, even for industrial uses, of which there are many, is illegal to grow at all. Now tobacco will have more layers of bureaucracy and interference piled on top of it. In this economy it is extremely upsetting to see this additional squeeze put on an entire industry. One has to wonder how many smaller farmers will be forced out of business because of this bill.

Obama Shadow Government ExpandingOver 20 Czars for the sole purpose of controlling we-the-people
By Sher Zieve
Saturday, June 6, 2009
A shadow government has been defined as a “’government-in-waiting’ that remains in waiting with the intention of taking control of a government in response to some event.” With the Obama Shadow Government (which he has staffed and continues to staff with old Soviet-styled “Czars” who are accountable ONLY to him) the “some event” appears to be a series of events that Dictator in Chief Barack Hussein Obama and his followers have created themselves and brought to bear upon the current—traditional—US government. Have any of you heard dissent from anyone in the Democrat-controlled US Congress? We certainly won’t hear any from the now almost completely State-run Obama media.
With his now-over-20 Czars whose sole purpose is to control We-the-People and our currently-being-flushed-down-the-toilets way of life, Obama has almost completed the foundational building of his totalitarian regime. One of Obama’s soon to be instilled (again with NO accountability to Congress or anyone other than the new US dictator) is a “Pay Czar” who will determine what We-the-People (beginning with CEOs and then extending to the proletariat-poor [by Obama-design] working class) are allowed to earn. Big Brother has arrived and he hates all of us—except those who genuflect before him and willingly give him all of their possessions.
Obama’s Totalitarian CzarsIncluded amongst (but certainly not limited to) the dictator’s czars are a “Health Czar” (who will determine who can and cannot receive medical care—one presumes Conservatives will be SOL) to oversee Dictator Obama’s Universal Healthcare (which will soon after its implementation provide healthcare for few and eventually no one save the Obama Elite), a “Car Czar” (who is 31 years of age and an attorney who has never even run a small business) to determine what cars are allowed to be manufactured in the USA, a “Great Lakes Cleanup Czar” (in saner times the comment to this appointment would be “He has to be kidding!”), a “Cyber Czar” to determine the content of the US Internet—NOT to check on real terrorists—including who may and may not post commentary (Obama’s opposers will soon be banned) and now his “Pay Czar.” The US Constitution is now moot and—via lack of use or importance to the current administration—null and void. In other words, We-the-People no longer—officially—exist.
Tipping point for end of US Republic reached
The “tipping point” that ends the USA’s Republic that many had wondered about has now been reached. Not one of our so-called “leaders” is really even questioning the usurper to the US presidency. Either they don’t care, are afraid of the dictator and his exponentially-increasing power or agree with him that American citizens can no longer be allowed to be in charge of their country and its policies. Oh—and for those of you who still think you can vote Obama and his Commissars out of office in 2010 and 2012 respectively you can forget it. Obama is planning to rule the USA for life. Once his almost absolute power over us has been attained—and with his current speed that will be VERY soon—the Republic will be officially ended. Obama has no plans to relinquish power over the USA and its citizens—ever. He and his cohorts have already—although unofficially—disbanded the US Constitution and rendered it effectively moot. Soon, its end will be official. Leftist judges are now ruling—with increasingly wild abandon—against this Constitution. Judi McLeod and Jean Coutu ask in their recent column “End of Live Free or Die Rally end of free assembly for America?” It strongly appears the answer is “Yes.”
When even Russian columnists see the USA as now being a communist country it remains a mystery as to why so many living in it refuse to admit it. Tragically, it seems that most of these American sheeple will never wake up.
Shadow Government:
Home: No place for Bible study
County demands pastor spend thousands on 'Major Use' permit to host friendsBy Drew Zahn© 2009, WorldNetDaily
Posted: May 22, 2009
A San Diego pastor and his wife claim they were interrogated by a county official and warned they will face escalating fines if they continue to hold Bible studies in their home.
The couple, whose names are being withheld until a demand letter can be filed on their behalf, told their attorney a county government employee knocked on their door on Good Friday, asking a litany of questions about their Tuesday night Bible studies, which are attended by approximately 15 people.
"Do you have a regular weekly meeting in your home? Do you sing? Do you say 'amen'?" the official reportedly asked. "Do you say, 'Praise the Lord'?"
The pastor's wife answered yes.
She says she was then told, however, that she must stop holding "religious assemblies" until she and her husband obtain a Major Use Permit from the county, a permit that often involves traffic and environmental studies, compliance with parking and sidewalk regulations and costs that top tens of thousands of dollars. And if they fail to pay for the MUP, the county official reportedly warned, the couple will be charged escalating fines beginning at $100, then $200, $500, $1000, "and then it will get ugly."
Remind the world who's really in charge with the "Worship GOD, not GOV" magnetic bumper sticker from WND.
Dean Broyles of the Western Center for Law & Policy, which has been retained to represent the couple, told WND the county's action not only violates religious land-use laws but also assaults both the First Amendment's freedom of assembly and freedom of religion.
"The First Amendment, in part, reads, 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,'" Broyles said. "And that's the key part: 'prohibiting the free exercise.' We believe this is a substantial government burden on the free exercise of religion."
He continued, "If one's home is one's castle, certainly you would the think the free exercise of religion, of all places, could occur in the home."
Broyles confirmed the county official followed through on his threat. The pastor and his wife received a written warning ordering the couple to "cease/stop religious assembly on parcel or obtain a major use permit."
"The Western Center for Law and Policy is troubled by this draconian move to suppress home Bible studies," said the law center in a statement. "If the current trends in our nation continue, churches may be forced underground. If that happens, believers will once again be forced to meet in homes. If homes are already closed by the government to assembly and worship, where then will Christians meet?"
On a personal note, Broyles added, "I've been leading Bible studies in my home for 13 years in San Diego County, and I personally believe that home fellowship Bible studies are the past and future of the church. … If you look at China, the church grew from home Bible studies. I'm deeply concerned that if in the U.S. we are not able to meet in our homes and freely practice our religion, then we may be worse off than China."
Broyles also explained to WND that oppressive governments, such as communist China or Nazi Germany, worked to repress home fellowships, labeling them the "underground church" or "subversive groups," legally compelling Christians to meet only in sanctioned, government-controlled "official" churches.
"Therein lies my concern," Broyles said. "If people can't practice their religious beliefs in the privacy of their own homes with a few of their friends, that's an egregious First Amendment violation."
WND contacted a spokeswoman for San Diego County, who acknowledged the description of the incident seemed "bizarre," but who was unable to locate the details of the account. She simply could not provide comment yet, she said, until she could become familiar with the case.
Broyles said the WCLP is nearly ready to file a demand letter with the county to release the pastor and his wife from the requirement to obtain the expensive permit. If the county refuses, Broyles said, the WCLP will consider a lawsuit in federal court.
Broyles also told WND the pastor and his wife are continuing to hold the Bible study in their home.
Full Assault on Capitalism and Free Speech
By Dr. Laurie Roth
May 22, 2009
This Monster has many socialist tentacles
Nationalized BanksControl central, the Obama administration continues to intrude upon, manipulate and take over industry after industry. First we have seen the intrusion and distortion with America’s banks. We know now that many Banks needed help from the Tarp fund AND MANY DID NOT, but amazingly all the main banks were forced to take Tarp funds or they were told no one would get any. Now many have been told they are not allowed by congress to pay back the money…..certainly not on THEIR terms and from THEIR realities. Of course, watch this Government spin their plans to control, run and manipulate the banking industry.
Control of the automobile industry
We see the same control, manipulation and some lenders even say threats with the auto industry. Chrysler was forced to merge with Fiat whether many involved wanted to or not. The CEO of GM, Rick Wagner was fired by the President. That kind of action has never been done in the history of our country. So we see the transformation and control of the entire auto industry, morphing them into businesses that make expensive, environmentally sensitive cars that no one would want in a million years. Forget getting a date for the prom Ted. When you pick your date up in your Tinker Toy sized green car that blows out legalized THC out of the tail pipe she will run and hide under the bed!
Control over Talk RadioThe last time around the Fairness Doctrine push got clobbered by the masses and radio broadcasters so boldly, it was pulled. Mr. Smooth, President Obama came out and said he was against the Fairness Doctrine on national TV. I knew instantly when he stated that he was planning to work the powers he has and the FCC to change verbiage, then push it even harder, under the radar and with new definitions. That is exactly what is happening. According to the Texas Association of Broadcasters Bulletin, Volume 4, Issue 5, May 2009, FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell visited three Texas markets talking about several items but also…….drum roll, the agency’s “localism” proceeding. McDowell cautioned broadcasters that the now-dormant localism proceeding would be front and center once the new FCC commissioners are appointed.
This is the Fairness Doctrine Pie squared and on steroids!
Commissioner McDowell was also saying that stations would have a mandatory 24-7 staffing requirement and demand the main studios be in the city of license. As it is now for common sense economic reasons, many stations don’t need staffing around the clock, nor could they afford it! Many station and network owners, small, medium and large cluster their main studios together in one building to also save money. These two idiot requirements alone would start closing if not bankrupting many radio businesses. Of course that is what they want. Talk Radio is the enemy. We are the last bastion of freedom of speech for the people and usually say what is really on our minds.
Another rule designed to control and destroy talk radio is the FCC’s push (as soon as the new FCC commissioners are appointed) to propose community advisory boards, which would have mysteriously defined power to influence programming and license renewals.
This will be HEAVEN for the special interest groups on the left!
CAIR, Gay Activist groups, Extreme groups representing Illegal aliens, Pro Abortion groups etc…will line up to be on various community boards. This will be too perfect of an opportunity to destroy freedom of speech by leveling complaints about conservative or Christian programming, thus affecting license renewals!
We are seeing a socialist take over right before our eyes!
So far we have seen the take over of major chunks of the Auto industry, banking industry, and soon the medical and health industry.
In the line up of horror and rights violations will be the continued push into place, as Obama promised he would do, of FOCA, the Freedom of choice act. You know, the bill that would trump all states rights and sovereignty, force all hospitals, Christian, Catholic or otherwise, and all doctors, even if they thought it violated their Hippocratic oath, to give abortions on demand!
Also in the line up of horrors will no doubt be more slanderous reports from Homeland Security and various Fusion centers targeting “domestic terrorists” being pro lifers, Christians, those supportive of 2nd amendment rights, state and federal sovereignty, border security, less taxation and Government accountability and supportive of freedom of speech and Capitalism.
Just as Obama lied about his not being for the Fairness Doctrine, but really was, he and Secretary Napolitano also stand behind what was said in the April release of the Homeland Security Report. We heard the usual, half-baked and lame apology from Napolitano, implying a misunderstanding by Vets who were rightfully upset by being named as potential terrorists. You watch, they will work hard on forcing the Fairness doctrine to quiet Talk Radio and Broadcasters and leak various reports identifying more domestic terrorists. Watch what may come out around the next series of Tea Parties July 4th. Expect something….some plants in the various Tea parties to cause trouble and take pictures, some manipulation and a series of lies to follow.
What can we do?We must work VERY HARD in our various states to get behind REAL conservatives who will defend sovereignty, capitalism, freedom of speech, our laws and the constitution. Work hard to help them get elected so we can take back the House in the mid term elections, then the Senate. Let’s pray and hope that this next four years that the Republicans and other conservatives get REAL CLEAR on their message and principles. They must stop compromising. Conservatives must deliver REAL candidates who can compete, have guts and can communicate from passion and love for their country.
FCC’s Warrantless Household Searches Alarm Experts
By Ryan Singel
May 21, 2009
You may not know it, but if you have a wireless router, a cordless phone, remote car-door opener, baby monitor or cellphone in your house, the FCC claims the right to enter your home without a warrant at any time of the day or night in order to inspect it.
That’s the upshot of the rules the agency has followed for years to monitor licensed television and radio stations, and to crack down on pirate radio broadcasters. And the commission maintains the same policy applies to any licensed or unlicensed radio-frequency device. “Anything using RF energy — we have the right to inspect it to make sure it is not causing interference,” says FCC spokesman David Fiske. That includes devices like Wi-Fi routers that use unlicensed spectrum, Fiske says.
The FCC claims it derives its warrantless search power from the Communications Act of 1934, though the constitutionality of the claim has gone untested in the courts. That’s largely because the FCC had little to do with average citizens for most of the last 75 years, when home transmitters were largely reserved to ham-radio operators and CB-radio aficionados. But in 2009, nearly every household in the United States has multiple devices that use radio waves and fall under the FCC’s purview, making the commission’s claimed authority ripe for a court challenge.
“It is a major stretch beyond case law to assert that authority with respect to a private home, which is at the heart of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure,” says Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyer Lee Tien. “When it is a private home and when you are talking about an over-powered Wi-Fi antenna — the idea they could just go in is honestly quite bizarre.”
George Washington University professor Orin Kerr, a constitutional law expert, also questions the legalilty of the policy.
“The Supreme Court has said that the government can’t make warrantless entries into homes for administrative inspections,” Kerr said via e-mail, refering to a 1967 Supreme Court ruling that housing inspectors needed warrants to force their way into private residences. The FCC’s online FAQ doesn’t explain how the agency gets around that ruling, Kerr adds.
The rules came to attention this month when an FCC agent investigating a pirate radio station in Boulder, Colorado, left a copy of a 2005 FCC inspection policy on the door of a residence hosting the unlicensed 100-watt transmitter. “Whether you operate an amateur station or any other radio device, your authorization from the Commission comes with the obligation to allow inspection,” the statement says.
The notice spooked those running “Boulder Free Radio,” who thought it was just tough talk intended to scare them into shutting down, according to one of the station’s leaders, who spoke to on condition of anonymity. “This is an intimidation thing,” he said. “Most people aren’t that dedicated to the cause. I’m not going to let them into my house.”
But refusing the FCC admittance can carry a harsh financial penalty. In a 2007 case, a Corpus Christi, Texas, man got a visit from the FCC’s direction-finders after rebroadcasting an AM radio station through a CB radio in his home. An FCC agent tracked the signal to his house and asked to see the equipment; Donald Winton refused to let him in, but did turn off the radio. Winton was later fined $7,000 for refusing entry to the officer. The fine was reduced to $225 after he proved he had little income.
Administrative search powers are not rare, at least as directed against businesses — fire-safety, food and workplace-safety regulators generally don’t need warrants to enter a business. And despite the broad power, the FCC agents aren’t cops, says Fiske. “The only right they have is to inspect the equipment,” Fiske says. “If they want to seize, they have to work with the U.S. Attorney’s office.”
But if inspectors should notice evidence of unrelated criminal behavior — say, a marijuana plant or stolen property — a Supreme Court decision suggests the search can be used against the resident. In the 1987 case New York v. Burger, two police officers performed a warrantless, administrative search of one Joseph Burger’s automobile junkyard. When he couldn’t produce the proper paperwork, the officers searched the grounds and found stolen vehicles, which they used to prosecute him. The Supreme Court held the search to be legal.
In the meantime, pirate radio stations are adapting to the FCC’s warrantless search power by dividing up a station’s operations. For instance, Boulder Free Radio consists of an online radio station operated by DJs from a remote studio. Miles away, a small computer streams the online station and feeds it to the transmitter. Once the FCC comes and leaves a notice on the door, the transmitter is moved to another location before the agent returns.
Overdressed Latest British Crime
It’s a blimey 'bling’ thing:By Judi McLeod
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Take off your jewels and gew-gaws in Merry Old England, where wearing too much ‘bling’ can get your reported to Crimestoppers.
The Gloucestershire Police Force “is encouraging members of the public to report people wearing too much ‘bling’ during the recession. (, May 12, 2009). “They are also urging people to shop anyone who drives flash cars or buys expensive items without the apparent means to afford them during the credit crunch.”
Guess Obamamania, and its corporate crackdown, has finally hit the Brits.
Now let’s get this straight, Gloucestershire Bobbies: If you dress to the nines, you’ll get shopped to Crimestoppers. If you dress down to go shopping, you’ll be shopped to Crimestoppers for buying outside your means. It’s egalitarian sackcloth time for all!
Still, British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith insists it’s a privilege to come to England.
The Gloucestershire police have come up with a cutesy name for their campaign, which they’re running with Crimestoppers. They are calling it ‘Too much Bling? Give Us a Ring’.
They likely expect international terrorists to check in before arrival, too.
The rest of the world must ponder how far British authorities will go to do anything but arrest real criminals and world terrorists.
Smith, who seems obsessed with the ghost of Michael Savage, has banned unsavoury characters already in prison from coming to her country.
It’s all about values. Smith explained her recent ban as necessary because it is “important that people understand the sorts of values and sorts of standards that we have here, the fact that it’s privilege to come....”
“If people have so clearly overstepped the mark in terms of the way not just that they are talking but the sort of attitudes that they are expressing to the extent that we think that this is likely to cause or have the potential to cause violence or inter-community tension in this country, then actually I think the right thing is not to let them into the country in the first place. Not to open the stable door then try to close it later,” she said.
Chances are remote that Smith has opened the stable door and recently had a look at what’s already in her country.
As for Crimestoppers and Gloucestershire cops we can only hope it’s not your tacky Auntie Gertie with her ropes of pearls and crown jewels that won’t get arrested for too much bling, but Prime Minister Gordon Brown instead.
The file containing Mr. Brown’s toilette routine was inside a rucksack found in the back of a black cab at London’s King’s Cross station earlier this week.
“Confidential notes” as detailed as any magazine article telling how Brown should apply his make-up had been left in the taxi by a careless aide.
Not for Gordon Brown to stand in long lineups with housewives at Harrods for a make-up lesson. Meanwhile, there’ll be more time for tea breaks back at the precinct if the public agrees to turn in `Burglars in Bling’.
Says Gloucestershire’s Chief constable Dr. Timothy Brain (that’s right, Brain): “In the current time of financial uncertainty, those who live a lavish lifestyle with no discernible, legitimate income become even more apparent.
“By flaunting their ill-gotten gains criminals signal contempt for everyone who works hard, and act as very poor role models for the younger members of society.
If the coppers are on the hunt for too much bling, they should ignore Auntie Gerties and go after the politicians.
'Electronic Police State' report cites U.S.
Ultimate Big Brother 'basics are in place'
By Bob Unruh
Posted: May 10, 2009
© 2009 WorldNetDaily
In what may be the first assessment of its kind, a private company that offers a range of privacy products for computers and other technology is ranking the United States No. 6 in the world for having the most aggressive procedures for monitoring residents electronically.
The report, called The Electronic Police State, assesses the status of governmental surveillance in 52 nations around the globe for 2008.
The document was released Cryptohippie, Inc., which was set up in 2007 through the acquisition of several little-known but highly regarded providers of privacy technologies.
Not surprisingly, China and North Korea ranked No. 1 and No. 2, with Belarus and Russia following up. But the United Kingdom (England and Wales) ranked fifth followed by the United States.
"Most of us are aware that our governments monitor nearly every form of electronic communication. We are also aware of private companies doing the same. This strikes most of us as slightly troubling, but very few of us say or do much about it. There are two primary reasons for this," the report said.
"We really don't see how it is going to hurt us. Mass surveillance is certainly a new, odd, and perhaps an ominous thing, but we just don't see a complete picture or a smoking gun," the report continued. Also, "We are constantly surrounded with messages that say, 'Only crazy people complain about the government.'"
The report mapped the world, showing the most advanced electronic police states in red, orange reflecting strongly developing electronic police states and yellow showing nations that are developing, but lagging:
Red nations have the most advanced electronic police state capabilites
Red nations have the most advanced electronic police state capabilites
Company spokesman Paul Rosenberg told WND the biggest obstacle, however, is that the image of a "police state" dredges up visions of Nazi Germany's thugs breaking down doors in the middle of the night and hauling people off to blacked-out trains or Stalin's USSR rounding up "offenders" for imprisonment.
"That's how things worked during your grandfather's war – that is not how things work now," the report said. "An electronic police state is quiet, even unseen. All of its legal actions are supported by abundant evidence. It looks pristine," the report said.
To create the rankings, which also included Singapore, Israel, France and Germany in the top 10, his organization searched its worldwide sources for information, checked against a number of other published reports, and assigned a value of 1 to 5 to 17 different factors:
Daily documents: How much is required day-to-day for residents to present state-issued identity documents or registration.
Border issues: What is demanded for a border entry.
Financial tracking: The state's ability to search and record financial transactions.
Gag orders: The penalties for revealing to someone else the state is searching their records.
Anti-crypto laws: Bans on cryptography.
Constitutional protections: Either a lack of protections or someone overriding them.
Data storage: The state's ability to record and keep what it uncovers.
Data search: The processes to search through data.
ISP data retention: The demand for ISPs to save customers' records.
Telephone data retention: States' requirements for communications companies to record and save records.
Cell phone records: The saving and using of cell phone users' records.
Medical records: Demands from states that medical records retain information.
Enforcement: The state's ability to use force (SWAT teams) to seize someone.
Habeus corpus: Either an absence of such rights or someone overriding them.
Police-Intel barrier: the absence of a barrier between police and intelligence organizations.
Covert hacking: State operatives meddling in data on private computers covertly.
Loose warrants: Warrants that are being issued without careful review of police claims by a truly independent judge.
The listings of China, North Korea, Belarus and Russia, all known for their repression of freedom, weren't surprising. Nor was the listing of the United Kingdom with its recent programs to copy and store virtually every telephone call, e-mail and text message within its borders.
But Rosenberg said there's more going on in the United States than many believe want to believe.
The nation's "basic system of gathering evidence and sorting it later is really dangerous," he said. "It's permanent. It's not going to go away."
It goes so far that a person's alcohol consumption actually could be tracked by government agents, if they chose, through credit card documentation, he told WND.
"In an Electronic Police State, every surveillance camera recording, every e-mail you send, every Internet site you surf, every post you make, every check you write, every credit card swipe, every cell phone ping… are all criminal evidence, and they are held in searchable databases, for a long, long time," the report said.
"Whoever holds this evidence can make you look very, very bad whenever they care enough to do so. You can be prosecuted whenever they feel like it – the evidence is already in their database," the report continued. "Perhaps you trust that your ruler will only use his evidence archives to hurt bad people. Will you also trust his successor? Do you also trust all of his subordinates, every government worker and every policeman?
"If some leader behaves badly, will you really stand up to oppose him or her? Would you still do it if he had all the e-mails you sent when you were depressed? Or if she has records of every porn site you've ever surfed? Or if he knows every phone call you've ever made? Or if she knows everyone you've ever sent money to?" the report asks.
"This system hasn't yet reached its full shape, but all of the basics are in place and it is not far from complete in some places," the report said.
Rosenberg told WND the organization also sought input on the status of electronic surveillance around the world from organizations including the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Reporters Without Borders, Freedom House, the Ludwig von Mises Institute and The Heritage Foundation.
Following the top 10 were: 11. Malaysia, 12. Ireland, 13. United Kingdom, Scotland, 14. Netherlands, 15. South Korea, 16. Ukraine, 17. Belgium, 18. Australia, 19. Japan, 20. New Zealand, 21. Austria, 22. Norway, 23. India, 24. Italy, 25. Taiwan, 26. Denmark, 27. Hungary, 28. Greece, 29. Canada, 30. Switzerland, 31. Slovenia, 32. Poland, 33. Finland, 34. Sweden, 35. Latvia, 36. Lithuania, 37. Cyprus, 38. Malta, 39. Estonia, 40. Czech Republic, 41. Iceland, 42. South Africa, 43. Spain, 44. Portugal, 45. Luxembourg, 46. Argentina, 47. Romania, 48. Thailand, 49. Bulgaria, 50. Brazil, 51. Mexico, 52. Philippines.