Archive for Freedomworks

The Government Can Legally Read Your Old Emails— Here's How to Stop Them

are-you-kidding

Did you know that the government can legally read your emails that are older than 180 days without a warrant?

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It’s true. Your old emails are not safe.

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Believe it or not, the current privacy laws on the books do not apply to emails.

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That’s because the Electronics Communication Privacy Act (ECPA) was written… in 1986.

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As it stands, ECPA leaves dangerous loopholes for the government to violate our online privacy.

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…Cause a lot has changed since 1986 ….

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In 1986, brand new computers looked like this…

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Cell phones looked like this…

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This was all the rage…

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And, oh yeah, the World Wide Web didn’t even exist yet.

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Let that sink in. The law that is supposed to protect our digital privacy is older than the web.

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Anyone else getting the feeling that the 1986 electronic privacy law is a little outdated for today’s world?

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So, how about updating Electronics Communication Privacy Act (ECPA) for the 21st century?

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A bill called the Email Privacy Act would do exactly that.

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It would simply modernize the law to make sure that privacy protections also apply to emails.

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It’s a crucial step in getting the government out of the private lives.

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In a time where so much of our private and sensitive information is stored online, it’s important to ensure that the government cannot snoop through our emails.

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Because privacy protections on our emails shouldn’t expire after 180 days.

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That’s why you should call your reps and tell them to support the Email Privacy Act.

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Click here to see FreedomWorks letter of support for the Email Privacy Act.

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Key Vote YES on the Lee Amendment to Return Highway Funding to the States

As one of our over 6.5 million FreedomWorks activists nationwide, I urge you to contact your senators and ask them to vote YES on the Lee Amendment to H.R. 5021, the bill to bail out the Federal Highway Trust Fund. Senator Lee’s amendment would prevent future bailouts of the poorly managed Highway Trust Fund by gradually returning that money and authority to the states.

The Highway Trust Fund was designed to be a self-sustaining program, funded via revenues from the federal gas tax. Instead, a combination of loose management of where the funds go and declining gas tax revenues has led the fund to periodically run nearly dry. Congress has continually avoided structural reform of the fund by just bailing the trust fund out with funds from elsewhere.

With the fund running short on resources once again, Congress is not only substituting a cash bailout for a real solution, it is using budget gimmicks to supposedly offset the cost. Kicking the problem down the road once more – until May 2015 this time – is not good governance.

Senator Lee’s amendment – which contains the text of his Transportation Empowerment Act, S. 1702 – offers a real, long-term alternative to the government’s transportation funding woes. Shifting the funding and revenue responsibilities for highway maintenance back to the states largely eliminates the spending that is otherwise wasted on bureaucratic federal middlemen, and cuts most of the federal strings attached to the money. This independence means that states will have the opportunity to actually fund the highway and infrastructure projects that are necessary, with an incentive to use that money more efficiently than the federal government ever does.

Please contact your senators and ask that they vote YES on Senator Lee’s amendment to H.R. 5021. FreedomWorks will count a vote on this amendment as a Key Vote when calculating our Economic Freedom Scorecard for 2014. The scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes Members of Congress who consistently vote to support economic freedom.

If the Senate fails to pass Senator Lee’s amendment to solve the Highway Trust Fund’s woes in the long-term, FreedomWorks will also count a NO vote on H.R. 5021 as a Key Vote for 2014.

Sincerely,

Matt Kibbe
President and CEO,
FreedomWorks

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Get Glenn Beck's Action Plan

This Action Plan is a work in progress—designed to help you make a real difference in your community. We’ve worked with education experts, grassroots organizers, teachers, and concerned Americans from around the country. Now we need your input.

The Action Plan contains resources, a grassroots checklist to mark your progress, and messaging advice.

We CAN stop Common Core. Please take a look at the Action Plan and give us your feedback by leaving a comment. Let’s get started!

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The Case That Could Doom ObamaCare Moves One Step Closer to the Supreme Court

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia made a crucial ruling today that should make ObamaCare supporters nervous. After hearing the case Halbig v. Burwell (formerly Halbig v. Sebelius), a three-judge panel ruled 2-1 that the federal government cannot legally distribute insurance premium subsidies or enforce the individual or employer mandates in states which have not created their own health insurance exchange. The case will likely go before the full D.C. Circuit Court, which would be the last stop before a likely journey to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Halbig v. Burwell is the one of four nearly identical cases moving up the legal chain across the country which all challenge one central flaw in ObamaCare. As written, the law very clearly states that its health insurance premium subsidies flow through “an exchange established by the state”. Because of the way ObamaCare is structured, this also means that the unconstitutional insurance mandates also cannot be legally enforced except via a state-created exchange.

Without its mandates and subsidies, ObamaCare has no means of coercing individuals to buy its one-size-fits-all, unaffordable health insurance, and the law falls to pieces. 36 states have deferred to the federal government or to a federal-state partnership exchange, meaning that the D.C. Court of Appeals decision theoretically neutralized ObamaCare in over two-thirds of the nation.

You can find the full text of the judges’ decision HERE.

This massive defect in ObamaCare is the reason why FreedomWorks encouraged states to “Block the Exchanges”, and empowered grassroots activists to send tens of thousands of messages and phone calls to legislators in states which were considering a state exchange. Without the massive (and successful) outcry from activists in over a dozen states, our best chance of overturning ObamaCare in the states would be on far more tenuous ground.

Of course, the federal government will appeal the decision to the full D.C. Circuit Court, and from there the conflicting opinions on this and similar cases across the country will likely force the case into the U.S. Supreme Court. It will be some time yet before we get a Supreme Court ruling. Once the issue reaches the Supreme Court, however, even Justice Roberts would have a hard time interpreting the law as saying anything but what it says – that over a vast majority of the nation, ObamaCare’s mandates are powerless.

That should have supporters of big government health care nervous.

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Obama is Proof Why We are Cynical of Politicians

Democracy and Power 105: The Politician Seeks Power

The desire to rule is the mother of heresies. —St. John Chrysostom

Obama is Proof Why We are Cynical of Politicians

In a recent speech imploring people not to be cynical about DC politics, President Obama admitted to past devious statements and political ploys when he declared, “I’m just telling the truth now. I don’t have to run for office again, so I can just let her rip.” [Wow.]

The President’s quote is totally consistent with Hillary Clinton and President Obama admitting they made major decisions on the Iraqi war for their political gain. Retired Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was dismayed by their behavior. As I previously wrote:

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates witnessed Hillary Clinton tell President Obama that she opposed the 2007 surge in Iraq because he was running against her in the Iowa primary. Gates reported, “Hillary told the president that her opposition to the [2007] surge in Iraq had been political because she was facing him in the Iowa primary. . . .” Keep in mind, Clinton had previously supported our war in Iraq.

Gates recalls Obama’s response to Clinton’s admission, “The president conceded vaguely that opposition to the Iraq surge had been political. To hear the two of them making these admissions, and in front of me, was as surprising as it was dismaying.”

**Dismaying is an understatement! ** Try, appalling or horrific. Two of the most powerful people in the world admit political ambition influenced a momentous policy discussion. Policies changing the lives of millions of people. Life and death decisions impacting thousands of Americans and Iraqis. Policy edicts that disrupted and destroyed lives throughout the Middle East – Libya to Afghanistan. Lethal government force that will have enormous repercussions for many years to come to the people in harms way and the United States.

Tolstoy understood the universal quest for power:

In order to get power and retain it, it is necessary to love power; but love of power is not connected with goodness but with qualities that are the opposite of goodness, such as pride, cunning, and cruelty.

James Madison, the knowledgeable force creating America’s Constitution, knew our leaders must be virtuous:

“The aim of every political Constitution, is or ought to be first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust.”

Of course, Mr. Obama also repeatedly said, “You can keep your insurance and your doctor.” He has also asserted, that there is not even a smidgen of corruption at the IRS…then there is the Benghazi cover-up. Enough said.

America is badly in need of virtuous people to become elected leaders. These days, very few politicians are virtuous and even fewer are virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public offices.

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The IRS' Lost Email Contagion

Whoops! There goes another batch of emails.

Precedent is a powerful thing. Once something has been established as acceptable behavior, there will inevitably be a flood of eager followers. That is why trailblazers get all the credit. The brave souls who test the waters, who first go where no one else dares, who push the envelop and set the stage for the rest of us. In many walks of life, such as science, exploration, and philosophy, these people are heroes, pushing mankind forward even when it is dangerous to do so. In politics, however, the trailblazer all too often covers territory that would have been better left unexplored.

Lois Lerner is one such trailblazer. Far from being a hero, she taught the nation’s bureaucrats that they can destroy evidence of wrongdoing without consequence. The results have been quite predictable.

Shortly after the announcement that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had conveniently lost or destroyed all the relevant emails that might implicate Lerner’s superiors in the targeting of conservative groups, there was an almost audible click as the power of this previously unthinkable tactic dawned on other regulatory agencies. At first, the IRS claimed only to have lost Lerner’s emails. Then the number expanded to six individuals related to the case. Now, the IRS has bumped that number up to “less than 20,” a characteristically vague claim that probably means “19.” But the IRS was far from alone in this tactic.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was the next agency to capitalize on these revelations, misplacing a collection of emails related to an investigation of suspected collusion in a decision to block the opening of a gold and copper mine. After waiting a few weeks to make sure there would be no repercussions, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has now jumped right on the bandwagon as well.

The FEC is now claiming to have destroyed emails belonging to April Sands, a former co-worker of Lois Lerner who resigned her post after admitting violating the Hatch Act, a law that prohibits employees of executive branch government agencies from engaging in political activity on the taxpayer’s dime. Sands sent out tweets attacking Republicans and praising Barack Obama, as well as taking part in a partisan webcam discussion from FEC offices.

The rash of missing emails is hindering Congress’ ability to conduct investigations into misconduct, a vital function of a working, representative democracy. More important than these individual cases, however, is that regulatory agencies are now learning that their actions have no consequences and no accountability. They can do anything they want, and if they get caught, they can simply destroy the evidence.

Regulatory agencies are already run by unelected czars able to bypass Congress and effectively make laws unilaterally. With the removal of the last shreds of accountability from these bureaucracies, their power becomes almost limitless. It’s utter lawlessness, and it should terrify every American who values their freedom.

The FEC is only the third agency to destroy evidence related to a congressional investigation. If nothing is done, many more will doubtless follow. So far, two federal judges have ordered that the IRS explain their missing emails under oath. It is important for individuals to keep the pressure on Congress to get to the bottom of these scandals and hold agencies accountable for their misconduct. We can’t afford a precedent of lawlessness.

Help Hold Lois Lerner Accountable

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Our Response to Blacklisting at the NAACP Conference

On Monday, I was honored to host the Empower Liberty Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada. When the NAACP declined to allow me or the Rev. C. L. Bryant to speak at their convention, we were happy to hold our own summit to address the issues that matter to the black community today, to talk about the ideas the NAACP doesn’t think they should hear.

Think of it, the NAACP’s leadership is blacklisting blacks who have different ideas about the role of government in our lives. Tragically, this once venerable organization that sought to advance all blacks now segregates blacks based on political views. If you are a black liberal you get to sit at the counter – you get a voice, but if you are a black conservative you sit outside.

The issues facing the black community are too serious to ignore, however, which is why we gathered on Monday to address them head on.

We believe empowering individuals is the best path for prosperity. The NAACP believes in empowering the state. It’s a model that has been tried, and that hasn’t worked.

For far too long, the black community has lagged behind other demographic groups in the U.S.

Blacks suffer from sky-high unemployment rates, now at 10.7 percent; blacks have the lowest average incomes; black children are trapped in failing public schools, and are the victims of deplorable crime ridden urban areas like Chicago.

For far too long, organizations like the NAACP have witnessed these horrible trends and they have not changed course. Instead, the NAACP stubbornly sticks to liberal policies and politicians despite their proven failures. Instead of challenging these losing policies, the NAACP promotes them.

Instead of embracing school choice the NAACP rallies against it, supporting the government monopoly that sets our children up for failure.

Black families with lowest average incomes are hardest hit by rising energy prices, yet instead of promoting the cheapest forms of energy, the NAACP rallies against them, promoting the president’s policies that he admits will cause electricity costs to skyrocket.

High electricity prices disproportionately harm black families. In Ohio black households spend 6.3 percent of their annual budget on electricity while all households spend 3.5 percent.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s new rules for power plants will force electricity prices higher adding to the black economic burden. More money spent on utilities and gasoline means less money for food, rent and clothes.

Even though we were denied a speaking slot at the NAACP for the second year in a row, FreedomWorks was pleased to be able to set up a booth in the exhibit hall where we were able to interact directly with activists and address some of the concerns the NAACP refused to touch.

Each of the panelists appearing at the summit – myself, Rev. C. L. Bryant, Brenda Flank, Lesli Brower, and Wayne Dupree – has been verbally attacked for their views. I’ve been called a House Negro, Aunt Jemima , a sell-out, a traitor and worse. But the NAACP leadership does not defend black conservatives. No, the group criticizes them.

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Happening on the Hill: 21 July, 2014

Capitol Hill Update, 21 July, 2014

House & Senate/Schedule: The House and Senate are both in session this week and next week. They will leave town for their five-week August recess on August 1st.

Legislative Highlight of the Week: The Senate is likely to take up the House-passed bill to bail out the structurally insolvent Highway Trust Fund, H.R. 5021. The plan would raise about $10 billion to fund the Trust Fund through May 2015, relying mostly upon budget gimmicks to pretend to pay for the new spending. While Majority Leader Reid and his Democratic cohorts are discussing votes on a few amendments of their own, they are likely to once again shut down most or all Republican amendments to this bill. Senator Mike Lee will offer an amendment that would gradually return highway spending directly to the states.

Senate/Taxation: The Senate will spend much of the week on the Bring Jobs Home Act, S. 2569. Sponsored by Senator John Walsh (D-MT), this bill would give a tax credit to businesses which bring assets back to the U.S. from overseas, while penalizing businesses for any assets they move out of the country. This bill completely ignores the root cause of the supposed problem it is meant to solve – the reason businesses continue to send more of their money, factories, and employment overseas is because the United States continues to impose the largest corporate tax burden of any industrialized nation, while most countries overseas are reducing theirs.

House/Education: On Wednesday and Thursday, the House will consider two education-related bills.

  1. H.R. 3136, the Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act, sponsored by Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), would create a pilot program for colleges to evaluate students based on actual knowledge and competency gained rather than just credit hours received.

  2. H.R. 4984, the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Counseling Act, sponsored by Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), would require that all students who are given federal student aid be given counsel on the financial consequences of taking on student debt.

House/Taxation: On Thursday and Friday, the House will consider two bills related to tax credits.

  1. H.R. 4935, the Child Tax Credit Improvement Act, sponsored by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), would allow the child tax credit to increase from its current $1,000 by indexing the amount to inflation. This bill would also allow married couples to receive the same credit as a single parent, eliminating what basically amounted to a marriage tax penalty.

  2. H.R. 3393, the Student and Family Tax Simplification Act, sponsored by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), would make permanent the temporary tax credit for tuition and other educational expenses, and would simplify other education-related tax provisions.

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My Opening Statement at the Empower Liberty Summit

We are gathered here today to start a conversation about solving long standing issues that are negatively impacting the black community. Sadly, our views are not welcome at the NAACP.

For two consecutive years, the national leadership of the NAACP has refused to allow me or Rev. C.L. Bryant an opportunity to participate in their formal agenda. Think of it, the NAACP’s leadership is blacklisting blacks who have different ideas about the role of government in our lives. Tragically, this once venerable organization that sought to advance all blacks now segregates blacks based on political views.

If you are a black liberal you get to sit at the counter – you get a voice. If you are a black conservative you sit outside. Black conservatives need not apply. I refuse to be silenced – we refuse to be silenced. Our message is too important to be silenced.

The issues facing the Black community are too serious to ignore. That’s why we are here today. FreedomWorks through our Empower.org effort, rented this room so we can discuss ideas the NAACP does not want you to hear.

The contrast between our views is stark. We believe empowering individuals is the best path for prosperity. The NAACP believes in empowering the state.

The NAACP is blacklisting us because our ideas will expose their failures – it’s that simple.

For far too long, the black community has lagged behind other demographic groups in the U.S. Sky-high unemployment rates now at 10.7 percent; Lowest average incomes; Failing public schools, and Deplorable crime ridden urban areas like Chicago. Absolutely deplorable. For far too long, organizations like the NAACP have witnessed these horrible trends and they have not changed course. Faced with the crisis in the black community the NAACP stubbornly sticks to liberal policies and politicians despite their proven failures. Instead of challenging these losing policies, the NAACP promotes them.

Across America black children are trapped in failing public schools. The NAACP supports this failed system of a government monopoly on schools. Instead of embracing school choice the NAACP rallies against it. Black Americans are suffering economically. Black Americans have the lowest average income compared to other demographic groups. Black families with lowest average incomes are hardest hit by rising energy prices. Instead of promoting the cheapest forms of energy, the NAACP rallies against them.

The NAACP promotes President Obama’s climate change regulations despite that fact the consequences – using the president’s words – will make electricity prices skyrocket. High electricity prices disproportionately harm black families. The numbers don’t lie.

In Ohio black households spend 6.3 percent of their annual budget on electricity while all households spend 3.5 percent. Blacks have almost twice the burden of the rest of Ohio.The Environmental Protection Agency’s new rules for power plants will force electricity prices higher adding to the Black economic burden. More money spent on utilities and gasoline means less money for food, rent and clothes. In addition, the national leadership of the NAACP does not support black conservatives when we are attacked for our views.

Each of us standing before you has been verbally attacked for our views. I’ve been called a House Negro, Aunt Jemima , a sell-out, a traitor and worse. We are just citizens. We are just exercising our right to speak our mind and not be silenced. The NAACP leadership does not defend black Republicans. No, the group criticizes them.

It’s outrageous that the national organization gave Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) a failing grade for civil rights while it gave a former Klansmen. Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) a 100%. That’s right the late Senator Byrd (D-WV) was a member of the KKK.

We are not a nation of cowards as Attorney General Eric Holder likes to claim – the real cowards are the leaders of the NAACP who stifle debate. The leadership would rather support a Klansman than a black conservative Senator or other black conservatives. It’s time for a change and I’m thrilled to be joined by other blacks who want to discuss real solutions for serious problems.

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Tomorrow: FreedomWorks and Glenn Beck to Outline Next Steps to Defeat Common Core LIVE in Theaters Nationwide

WHAT: FreedomWorks and Glenn Beck will host a live, interactive night of action against Common Core in local theaters across the nation tomorrow. “We Will Not Conform” is not an event- it’s a strategy session. Viewers will act as participants, engaging with education experts to craft a comprehensive plan to defeat Common Core in real-time.

FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe, Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin, Founder and President of WallBuilders David Barton, FreedomWorks Director of Messaging Ellen Wheeler, and more will participate in the event live from Dallas.

WHEN: The event will stream live on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 from 8-10:00 pm ET and rebroadcast on Tuesday, July 29.

WHERE: The event will take place in Dallas, TX and broadcast to theaters nationwide. Participating theaters can be found at http://www.fathomevents.com/event/we-will-not-conform-live/more-info/theater-locations.

WHY: FreedomWorks believes in that education should be in the control of parents and the community, not federal bureaucrats and special interests in DC. “We Will Not Conform” empowers activists to advance the fight against the federal education takeover, and provides an opportunity to connect with like-minded activists in their area.

For more information, please visit www.wewillnotconform.com or contact Jackie Bodnar at JBodnar@FreedomWorks.org.

Get Your Ticket Here

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