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back to article Americans attempt to throw off oppressive, unresponsive rulers on 4th of July

Online activists will leave their offices, bedrooms and basements today and fan out across America to protest against the US government's surveillance of digital communications. The 4th of July protests will see demonstrators descend on more than 100 cities, while some 30,000 websites are expected to show messages demanding that …

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Thomas Jefferson, 1821: "...when all government... in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the centre of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated."

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That's a good Jefferson quote! Mostly people always trot out the same half dozen and ignore much of his other stuff. He was an insightful guy and funny too.

Unfortunately he's referring to States Rights there, not individual rights. The States Rights fight has already been fought and the States lost. They got left with a enough bones to satisfy their egos but the Civil War and the New Deal solidified the power grab from D.C.

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Mushroom

"Americans attempt to throw off oppressive, unresponsive rulers on 4th of July"

Surely "Americans celebrate when they gave up using English on 4th July?"

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Unhappy

"Surely "Americans celebrate when they gave up using English on 4th July?""

Different times, different oppressors.

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States Sovereignty are only minimally less important than Individual Sovereignty, in that the States are closer to the People than the Federal Government.

I agree with Walter E. Williams when he says that the Civil War has been used as the impetus of the Federal Government to oppress the States. The whole "State's Rights" argument using the 10th Amendment as justification for the secession is invalid. This argument was used in violation of the fundamentals underlying the Constitution as expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Sadly, because of this misapplication, the righteous arguments against the government are denigrated and marginalized, and somehow the government continues to come on top. But it does make a convenience argument for oppressing the States, including the ratification of the 17th Amendment which takes representation away from the States and gives it to the mob.

And to that end, I want to make note that it wasn't necessarily the government of the United States which ended slavery. In fact, various detestable federal legislations and Supreme Court decisions worked to solidify slavery. Those we like to call "citizen politicians" who came up from the People and into political positions all the while holding on to and espousing their principles, never giving into popularism or pandering; these are the ones who lead the charge to end slavery. The government didn't run the Underground Railroad; the government didn't provide shelter for free and escaped slaves. The Southern states which seceded from the Union in order to retain slavery were not of the People, but rather corporatists, where politics was heavily invested in the success of the companies which relied upon free labor. Much akin to those who claim that we need to legalize 11 to 20 million people who provide cheap unskilled labor to make our economy grow when we already have a disgustingly high rate of unemployment amongst our unskilled citizens.

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It would be interesting to see a comparison of unemployment rates between the "disgustingly high rate of unemployment amongst our unskilled citizens" and that of the "11 to 20 million people who provide cheap unskilled labor to make our economy grow". I have no idea how that might be done. It also would be interesting to have analysis of the reasons for any difference that might exist.

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As a Brit, there's another way to look at it

Happy B-Ark Day!

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Unskilled citizens.

Unskilled workers are a self-fulfilling prophecy. Last time Apple claimed that they have to offshore their work because companies like Foxconn can provide flexibility and speed in the skilled labour market the like of which simply can't be achieved in the US, it was rightly pointed out that the US, in 1941, took a bunch of unskilled workers and housewives and got them to build one of the most powerful collections of advanced military machinery in history. Workers are as skilled as their employers are willing to make them.

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WTF...

"Among other things this meant that legal slavery continued in large parts of the Land of the Free for some decades after it would have been outlawed had the USA remained British. - Ed"

-- What a stupid thing to say on so many different levels. Regardless of your opinions on the matter of slavery or history, all this bootnote does is distract attention from the important themes of the storey.

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Re: WTF...

perhaps, but it was funny to have read.

I've lived in the US, and the almost religious fervour with which the 4th of July is celebrated does make me think that the taxes they were looking to avoid was a bad plan. 6% at the time of rebellion (~50% in the UK at the time)

Currently ~30% at the low end (varies by state), and 20% in the UK.

Oh, and if you've ever filled in a US tax return, you need to do one no matter if you've not lived in US for a few decades.

hmm. I'll take the uk

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Re: WTF...

Stupid - no, just a fact. As to distracting - maybe not if it reminds Americans the Feds also breach the planet's privacy (yes, i know other governments, including mine, are just as bad) and claim the right to kidnap, torture or incarcerate without trial 95% of humanity - which, just maybe, they have a moral duty to stop by exercising their democra\tic rights.

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Joke

Re: WTF...

Yeah, but that tax thing, seems American companies still think it's 1776 except instead of tea it's Coffee and iWotsits! I'm still waiting for the American public to go throw web pages into the Boston Harbour!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WTF...

So this is a celebration of a bunch of insurgents whose terrorist activities overthrew the legitimate government and prolonged slavery for many years.

Doesn't that sound like what the Taliban are trying to do?

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Re: WTF...

Yeah, a revolution started by a bunch of smugglers who were unhappy about the government of the day *reducing* the import duties for tea but insisting on stricter compliance with the customs rules... LOL!

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Meh

Re: WTF...

Not exactly. At the point NATO invaded Afghanistan, the Taliban were the legitimate government.

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Happy

Re: WTF...

Most importantly, a disgusting waste of tea.

Today ought to be a global day of mourning, to commemorate the loss of so much delicious, life-giving, life-affirming, civilisation preserving, beautiful tea - so wantonly destroyed. In the afternoon Bostonians ought to hang their heads in shame, while watching ceremonial cricket matches, drinking tea and eating cucumber sandwiches. Before moving on to fireworks hot-dogs and burgers in the evening to celebrate independence. The rest of the world should do the same, but without the ceremonial penance for tea-wasting.

We've just installed a coffee percolator in the office, within arms reach of my desk. So I now need to walk downstairs to the kitchen, and show my righteous love of tea by making a cup. Practising what I preach and all that.

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Re: WTF...

Not exactly. At the point NATO invaded Afghanistan, the Taliban were the legitimate government.

Matthew 25,

Interesting. What election had they won to make that true?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WTF...

There was also the slight matter of "No taxation without representation"

The last two words are probably the more important.

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Re: WTF... "No taxation without representation"

when are they going to start that bit?

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Re: WTF...

>> taxes they were looking to avoid was a bad plan. 6% at the time of rebellion (~50% in the UK at the time)<<

It's also worth noting that the taxes were being increased; but also why they were going up. At the time, the British Army were defending the inhabitants of the colonies against attacks by native Americans, French & Spanish troops. There were some colonial militia units attached to the army at the time; but these were few in number and generally only served for a limited time, so the defence of the colonies was being paid for partly by the British tax payers. The increase in tax planned was to try to raise sufficient money to pay for an increase in troop numbers to provide better protection.

I've tried to uncover what the tax levels were after 1781; the only sources I can find don't seem to agree, but it appears that it would have been at least double.

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Re: WTF...

Having drunk what Americans produce when they try and make tea.

I don't think the Boston harbour thing was a protest, just a misunderstanding of the recipe

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WTF...

True, with awful effects right up until the 1970s, some would say, still.

Plus, the British government had made some treaties with native peoples that got in the way of unrestricted land grabbing and settlement at native peoples' expense.

Plus, there was some rather unpleasant terrorism (murder, farm burnings, intimidation) of several hundred thousand or more fellow settlers who were bold enough to prefer to stay with the status quo, silencing a lot more who felt the same way. Many of these moved to Canada (Empire Loyalists) or elsewhere.

Plus, I believe the original tax change was partly because the settlers wanted British troops to "protect" them from native tribes and French and Spanish incursions. this was not cheap, some of the settlers were rather prosperous Britons (such as Washington and his friends) and it was thought reasonable to adjust taxes to pay the bill. After all, they had sufficient representation to demand troops.

Plus, the resulting federation of states has turned out to be one of the most aggressive powers for most of its history, including attacks on the British Isles and British shipping and the 1812 war.

Plus, the new USA fought France and Spain, taking territory from them and even, particularly in the 1812 war, tried to seize Canada.

Plus, the sheer vandalisation of the English language by the mish-mash of non-native-English speakers, making up the sources of the modern USA population, possibly the worst crime of all :).

So, despite the good sides of the whole affair, it is rather deceptive to ignore the realities and that modern USA policies (even Guantanamo is but an echo of Andersonville and others in USA history) are merely a continuation of normal business.

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Re: WTF...

Well .. Alexander Hamilton stockpiled tons of tea leaf in his warehouses in Boston .. before paying a bunch of guys to dump an unpaid load off a Brit Merchant ship .. his profits on that and other business dealings helped finance the Revolution .. which why he was the first Treasury Secretary and is on our $10 bill

Our Revolution was more about Bank of England and Merchant class policies than anything else

yet now we've allowed the Fed to do basically the same for 100 years .. in every country with a Central Bank the average citizens are getting fleeced for trillion$ of assets and give up the largest portion of the fruits of their labors to taxes and fees to a corrupt and rich political class in bed with the military industrial extra-national Corp cabal .. which the Central Banks finance ( because your taxes don't cover it ) selling security-debt in each country's name .. with The People's labor having to pay for it some day ..

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PJI
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FAIL

Re: WTF...

"Interesting. What election had they won to make that true?": you are betraying your worldly ignorance. Just what authority says that a country must choose its government through elections? Actually, what evidence is there, taking most countries into account, that elections produce a more popular or better government than any other form? So, In Europe and N. America, one may expect elections to be the norm. But for large parts of the world, some under the sponsorship of that great democracy, USA, this is not the case, e.g. the change of government from Sadam, or the two of the recent Egyptian changes, or Libya. How about the technocrat government in Italy between the last two elected governments?

How do you even show that most elections are truly open, fair, free of manipulation through money, business interests, ignorance, fear? (USA in particular, but most of Europe too, are all, it seems, just by chance, governed by those with rather more money and rather more commercial connections than the rest of us; just why does a party exist and why does it need so much money to get its members elected?)

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Re: WTF... "No taxation without representation"

There was a point made by some long term Congressman as the vote came up for ObamaCare .. that if a representative is unable to read nor understand a bill and it's consequences .. how can that representative represent the will of his constituents ?

one can not possibly represent another on legislation without understanding the law being proposed

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Re: WTF... (AC @ Thursday 4th July 2013 11:49 GMT)

It's not fascism if we do it. It's not fascism if we do it. Repeat until you believe it.

Minitrue vetted doubleplus good message.

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Re: WTF / PJI

Why are western states ruled by those with more money?

Answer, because the ones ruled by poor people run out of money after it has all been "redistibuted". You would think that money is conserved, like mass and energy, but somehow it just seems to disappear. Then those states go bust, and after some chaos the rich resume control.

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Re: WTF...

well if you are going to bring facts into the discussion....<stalks of uttering 'hurrrumph'>

:D

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Re: WTF... "No taxation without representation"

it's dyslexia m8

no representation with taxation

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Unhappy

Re: WTF...

I never had a problem with the IRS about not filing. Now the one time I didn't file with the State of California, they seized my damn bank account. I was not amused.

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"You are betraying your worldly ignorance."

Not really. The word "legitimate", when applied to governments, usually implies that they arrived where they did via a continuation of the established rules for choosing governments in that jurisdiction. I agree with you that that doesn't always mean democracy -- Hastings, for instance, was about whether Harald or William I was the legitimate king -- but you'd still be stretching the term beyond credulity to use it of the Taliban.

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Hardly.

The theme of the story is Americans attempting to throw off tyranny. It's hardly a distraction from that to point out that, historically, and contrary to their self-image, they're really crap at it.

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Re: WTF...

All except for the slavery bit...

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Boffin

Re: WTF...

So this is a celebration of a bunch of insurgents whose terrorist activities overthrew the legitimate government and prolonged slavery for many years.

What "legitimate government" are you talking about, AC? There were numerous "legitimate governments" in the new world that Britain, France, Spain and others simply ran roughshod over and stole the land from. Perhaps you have heard of them? They are known as Native American Indians.

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Good move ...

Rally the troops. Lets all hope the courageous leaders of these movements all turn up as well.

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Anonymous Coward

November 5th?

On November 5th can Brits burn effigies of William Hague, for aiding foreign spies in their espionage of Brits?

The same spies he claimed had 'legal authority' to spy, are now apologizing to Congress for lying to them. Since Congress are the ones the legal authority comes from, they don't have legal authority and neither does he.

Parliament didn't grant him, and he doesn't get to grant surveillance powers to a military faction in a foreign state.

The laws of Britain are written by Parliament, not by the FISA and FISC courts in the USA and certainly not by the NSA redefining words to have new meanings.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: November 5th?

"On November 5th can Brits burn effigies of William Hague, for aiding foreign spies in their espionage of Brits?"

That sounds like exactly the sort of thing we do in Lewes every year on Nov 5th.....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Effigies?

Fuck that - burn Hague and all his cronies instead!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Effigies?

Careful what you say.

To say such a thing is to open yourself to surveillance as a radical. Even if William Hague is a traitor to his country, you don't even get to *joke* about burning him at the stake.

Surveillance state basics, watch what you say, even anonymously.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Effigies?

Screw that - burn Brown for filling the country with terrorists in the hope that they would vote Labour...

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Unhappy

Re: Effigies?

"Surveillance state basics, watch what you say, even anonymously."

Surveillance state basics, No one is anonymous without taking extreme precautions.

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Cameron really is a bloody twonk.

It would have been so bloody easy for him to have done the right thing when the NSA/GCHQ story broke, and there would have been no political downside. The scheme was started under a previous government, which is a godsend to any politician. He could have explained that it is standard practice for intelligence agencies from different countries to exchange information but claimed that he had not been aware that GCHQ were using this to bypass the laws that specifically limit their powers, nor that the NSA were acting unconstitutionally, and that the practice would immediately be stopped and those responsible for OKing it disciplined. And he could have blamed Blair and Brown. And he would have looked like a bloody good leader, it would have won him votes, done wonders for his popularity, and would even have been consistent with the fickle focus-group-driven policies he likes to claim are his principles (as if he had any). It was a huge bloody great gift-wrapped gateaux of a present for a serving Prime Minister, it was placed carefully in his lap, and he still fucked it up.

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Stop

Re: Cameron really is a bloody twonk.

> The scheme was started under a previous government

Then this would apply to Obama also., particularly with Dubya admitting that Prism was his doing (or probably more accurately, Cheney's doing).

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Unhappy

Television Adverts

The goal of $25k for television adverts might get you a few runs in some small markets at weird times, but that's about all. The placement fees alone will gobble up that cash quick. Even then there's a very real chance the ads won't get shown. Stations/broadcasters here in the U.S. have sole discretion regarding what they allow to air and all the stations that matter nationally are under control of DC so I doubt they'll show them anyway. Sucks really.

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The Government will be quaking in there boots.

Not being a Merkin, and quite thankful they are not still a colony, I'm not sure that the 4th amendment really applies. Hacking into their home computer, yes, but monitoring transmissions across the public internet. How is this different, other than in scale, than informants or undercover people listening to conversations in public places.

It could be argued that eMail is the same as Post, but equally it could be argued that it's often a conversation carried out in a public place.

It's also true that the NSA, CESG, and all the rest might well collect data, but they do not read it all, by any means. They really don't care what you look at, unless it's very illegal, in which case they will get a warrant and really look at everything you do. I'd still love to know how else you would expect security services to gather intelligence and enforce the law in an electronic world.

If you don't want you eMail or data read, then don't use the internet. Store all your stuff locally and don't use internet based backup and file store services, do it yourself. A third party company is not the same as your home, and will do what is best for it's shareholders not you, which means they'll let security services look at most anything they ask for without warrant, on the verbal assurance of an officer.

If you must use the internet then always be careful about what you say, remember libel applies to social media and messaging.

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Re: The Government will be quaking in there boots.

Not being an American it is important for you to remember we're reading your emails and monitoring your traffic too.

Doesn't sound so benign now does it.

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Re: The Government will be quaking in there boots.

"It could be argued that eMail is the same as Post, but equally it could be argued that it's often a conversation carried out in a public place."

Exactly; and the 4th Amendment gives an expectation of privacy for both.

The history between the US and UK can be debated by historians, but the future of the world may rest on whether protesters in the US can reign in the activities of the NSA and other intelligence agencies.

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Re: The Government will be quaking in there boots.

I wrote to my MP complaining about the proposed changes to the snoopers charter and the default Pron filtering, actually got a reply that he agreed and was forwarding it to the Home Secretary. I'll summarise it again here. Ofcourse, this now means that I've stood up and put myself on one of these very lists that I'm about to describe...

These systems once in place can't just be turned off. We're all told once somethings on the internet it's on there forever, the same will apply to data (meta or otherwise) thats gathered by security services.

Once they've got it, they've got it. Today its just looking for keywords, analytics, metadata etc related to terrorism. But what happens when our current "you can trust us" Government is removed? Either by democratic process or something more dramatic?

That network of monitoring stations, listening post and archives of data, they're all still there and still working. The staff are just following orders from above. What today you may feel is your right, to complain about your Police service, write to your paper, write to you MP, vote for someone different, etc. In the future that may suddenly put you on a watch list.

If tomorrow a radical Religious movement was voted in as Government, would you expect the out going Goverment to remove and delete all the security services that they'd put in place to 'protect you'? No, they'd still be there, now just being used by a different Government that has some very different views on who they're protecting from what. (Some may say we're already there)

I know the old quote, 'First they came for...and I said nothing' is over used, but it's valid and frighteningly more and more appropriate.

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Anonymous Coward

They do read it

" but monitoring transmissions across the public internet"

Internet *websites* are public, internet *browsing* is private - it's between you and the website. That's a wordplay you did there.

A TV channel is public, me at home watching the channel is private.

"NSA, CESG, and all the rest might well collect data, but they do not read it all, by any means"

So you accept they *do* read your email, and email is a private conversation usually between me and my kids and is none of your business.

"If you don't want you eMail or data read, then don't use the internet."

The rules say, you have suspicion, you get a warrant, a judge says "yep", and you get to spy on someone. That's constitutionally protected.

What you've changed that into is this: you get a warrant to spy on *everyone* for *everything* on suspicion of *nothing*. You collect all of that data into a giant database under the control of a military leader (the man in charge of Abu Graib prison no less). He then data-mines with new filters depending on what his agenda of the day is. Without a warrant, at his whim.

He also lies to Congress about it, because its so out of legal bounds as to be illegal.

There's are also 97 billion/month unexplained records not covered by FISA or FISC courts so he's even outside the current disclosed data. Phone meta comes under FISA, so that's an extra 97 billion not covered.

3 billion of those are US, so any claim they don't *wittingly* spy on USA is contradicted by their map coverage showing extensive data known to be USA.

If you don't want to stick within the law, then go live in Egypt and join the military dictatorship that just took over there. You have no place in a democracy.

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Devil

Re: The Government will be quaking in there boots.

"Not being an American it is important for you to remember we're reading your emails and monitoring your traffic too."

Not to mention that it's not possible to tell whether any internet communication is undertaken by a US citizen abroad, a non-EU citizen in the US etc etc etc. So the Merkins' claim that they're monitoring only foreign nationals and not *consciously* monitoring Americans is a lie

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