Court Rejects Evidence From Warrantless Search Of Phone Six Years After The Gov't Seized It

from the doing-nothing-since-2012-doesn't-make-it-still-2012 dept

There are a number of exceptions to warrant requirements, and the government is willing to utilize every one of them to salvage evidence obtained from an illegal search. Sometimes the arguments work. Other times -- like in this instance where six years elapsed between searches -- there's no credible argument for failing to seek a warrant. (via FourthAmendment.com)

Jason Gandy's cellphone was seized and searched "at an international border" in 2012. The phone was held for 48 hours for a forensic search. This did not reveal the contents of the phone, but created an electronic record of what was contained on the phone. The court's description says the search only produced a "technical description" of the phone's contents, but did not expose the contents themselves.

Like it or not, this search -- even a forensic search -- fell under the "border exception" to the Fourth Amendment, which allows law enforcement to search devices for border/national security reasons without having to come up with reasonable suspicion, much less probable cause.

That search was lawful. It was the second search that broke the rules, including one handed down by the Supreme Court in 2014. From the decision [PDF]:

In July 2018, six years after the initial border search, the government conducted a warrantless search of Gandy’s cell phone. On July 11 and 13, 2018, the government produced to the defense the evidence discovered during the search and stated the intent to offer the evidence as evidence.

Maybe the government thought it was grandfathered in to the pre-Riley warrantless phone search standard. Maybe the government just didn't care. Maybe it thought the long list of exceptions would save it, especially the one related to searches at international borders. But it definitely realized it had screwed up when Gandy moved to suppress the evidence, because it did this:

On July 13, after Gandy moved to suppress the newly produced text messages, the government applied for and obtained a warrant to search the phone. The agent who signed the search-warrant affidavit was not the same agent who conducted the 2012 search. The affidavit merely states that the cell phone had been in the Department of Homeland Security’s custody since it was seized at the border in 2012.

The government argued it could perform a warrantless search six years after the phone was seized while nowhere near the border under the border search exception. The court responds with, "Well, why don't we just get rid of the Fourth Amendment altogether, then?"

The government’s second, warrantless search of Gandy’s phone did not occur at a border or at the time of the crossing. It happened six years after Gandy returned to the United States after being denied entry to the United Kingdom. Gandy and his phone have both been in custody since 2012, within the United States. Searching Gandy’s phone had no connection to the government’s interest in preventing illegal entry or contraband smuggling at an international border. Extending the border-search exception to the government’s warrantless search would “both undervalue the core Fourth Amendment protection afforded” cell phones under Riley and “‘untether’ the [border-search] exception ‘from the justifications underlying it.’”

The court also notes that holding a phone for six years before performing a warrantless search removes any question of "exigency" from the discussion. It also refuses to entertain the government's "independent source" argument.

The independent source doctrine does not apply. The government has not shown that the search done—again—after the government got the search warrant was untainted by the earlier, warrantless search. [...] The government has not shown that “there is a reasonable probability that the contested evidence would have been discovered by lawful means in the absence of police misconduct.”

And there's no "good faith" here either. The law was completely settled by the time agents warrantlessly searched Gandy's phone.

The good-faith exception does not apply to the government’s second, warrantless search of Gandy’s phone. That search occurred in July 2018. Under the “law existing at the time of [the July 2018] unconstitutional search,” it is clear that the search was not justified by the border-search exception. The government conducted the search years after the Riley Court clearly held that “what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple—get a warrant.”

It's a strong opinion that expresses very clearly the multiple ways the government screwed up. Unfortunately, the "border exception" remains intact. This allows the government to seize devices, hold onto them for months or years, and search them at its leisure. If the border exception were truly about preventing the smuggling of contraband or drug/human trafficking, you'd think searches would be performed as soon as possible, rather than allowing more than a half-decade to elapse between searches. But as long as people's property remains solely in the control of the government, the more likely it is that searches will be performed whether or not the government truly has an articulable reason to do so.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    David, 27 Jul 2018 @ 12:26pm

    Strange conclusion.

    But as long as people's property remains solely in the control of the government, the more likely it is that searches will be performed whether or not the government truly has an articulable reason to do so.

    Getting a warrant requires "articulable" reason, reason that must not be predicated on a clearly illegal prior search.

    That's what this verdict is about, so your conclusion appears strange juxtaposed to relating the verdict suppressing the search based on a post-fact warrant.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 1:19pm

      Re: Strange conclusion.

      We could break this down in multiple ways. Below are two of them.

      1) The general feeling on Techdirt's editorial staff is that the damage occurs at the time of search, not when the evidence is accepted by the court. Thus, evidence being rejected by the court does not erase the damage which was already caused by the illegal search.

      2) The warrant submitted for the search of the phone contained "articulable" reasons which did not rely on the information found during the prior search. It did not, in fact, contain any mention of the prior search. This leads to two issues.

      First, this decision still allows for the government to copy any and all data now without a warrant, then go back and actually "search" that data whenever getting a warrant might become practical.

      And second, while the government messed up in this case by attempting to submit evidence obtained from the warrantless search first (thus admitting that the warrantless search occurred), there is nothing stopping them from (in the future) performing the search, deciding if the evidence is worth it, then applying for a warrant later without ever revealing the initial search. Or alternatively, using that initial search to guide additional police work, or identify likely third parties that could be subpoenaed for the information. As we've seen many times, they are quite used to evidence laundering.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 1:27pm

    What was on the phone? What was he charged with? And, when did the alleged crime occur?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 1:30pm

    Trafficking

    If the border exception were truly about preventing the smuggling of contraband or drug/human trafficking, you'd think searches would be performed as soon as possible, rather than allowing more than a half-decade to elapse between searches.

    I'd think the searches wouldn't be performed to a phone. It's rather difficult to fit a human, or significant amounts of contraband substances, inside a modern (or 6-year-old) smartphone. Border searches were never meant to be a deep background check reviewing everything a person's ever done, which is often what a phone search is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bruce C., 29 Jul 2018 @ 10:55pm

      Re: Trafficking

      CP is contraband...and they could be looking for circumstantial evidence of smuggling like emails.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2018 @ 8:07am

        Re: Re: Trafficking

        CP is contraband...

        Careful, the usual method of "importing" this would be over the internet, and do we really want our packets to be delayed for customs inspection? We'll catch only the stupidest people by searching physical media.

        and they could be looking for circumstantial evidence of smuggling like emails.

        In other words, a fishing expedition. It's not reasonable. They might as well subpoena Google et al. for my records every time I want to cross a border.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 27 Jul 2018 @ 3:10pm

    Exist on Our Knees or Live on Our Feet? The Choice is Ours

    Like it or not, this search -- even a forensic search -- fell under the "border exception" to the Fourth Amendment, which allows law enforcement to search devices for border/national security reasons without having to come up with reasonable suspicion, much less probable cause.

    Like it or not? Is simply another way of saying "You can't fight city hall". Au contraire we can. We need not live on our knees grovelling to the powers that be - neoserfism American style.

    We do not have to take the US governments specious claim of the "border exception" to the Fourth Amendment while genuflecting to their claimed authority.

    Changing criminal/tyrannical government policy takes sweat/sacrifice. If every person the US government unconstitutionally harassed at the border - while on a fishing expedition trolling for evidence - refused to genuflect upon command the government's detention chambers would be quickly overflowing, the fractions of Americans in government issued costumes would be trapped in a blizzard of paperwork and the courts would grind to a halt. Unfortunately this would not be convenient for most Americans and thus will never be put into action. (The Dead Kennedy's had it nailed with their 1987 album titled: "Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death")

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cKcwwEZ9Kw

    Cast-off the criminal/repressive US government yoke.

    Revoke your consent/support to be governed by a criminal US government.

    How many millions of humans need be murdered?

    Tortured?

    Kidnapped and Indefinitely detained without charge?

    Forced to exist in poverty?

    Surveilled with out cause?

    We have the power to change this criminal and exploitative system of government. The only thing lacking is the collective will power to do so. A divided population is an easily controlled/subdued population.

    Republican/Democratic parties threw a large majority of Americans overboard generations ago.

    It is time to return the favor.

    It is a battle of ideas and the GOP/Dem parties bipartisan and defective handwork these past decades is on full display for any persons willing to see.

    GOP/Dem parties have brought the large majority of Americans failure writ large economically/socially/politically.

    GOP/Dem Parties have debased our culture, our currency and our humanity. They steal our children under the guise of benevolence and security enlisting them in a poverty draft then shipping them off overseas as cannon-fodder to fight/torture/die in elective wars based wholly upon lies and waged solely for profit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 27 Jul 2018 @ 3:42pm

      Re:

      The two major political parties exist nowadays because of tradition and shitloads of funding, and they will nt be destroyed by a single nutjob declaring war against what amounts to the entire political system of the United States, but go off I guess.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Personanongrata, 27 Jul 2018 @ 4:18pm

        Re: Re:

        The two major political parties exist nowadays because of tradition and shitloads of funding, and they will nt be destroyed by a single nutjob declaring war against what amounts to the entire political system of the United States, but go off I guess.

        Thank you quitter for you ignorant two cents.

        As for the nutjob label that is in the eye of the beholder.

        If you need to resort to labels and name-calling you have lost the debate before it began.

        Congratulations.

        If rather than action people resorted to defeatism in 1776 America would still be ruled by the British Crown.

        If people quit during the civil rights movement the policies of segregation and Jim Crow would still be officially sanctioned. (The world is not and has never been nor shall it ever be perfect)

        If people gave up and went home during the anti-war movement that forced an end to the American War in Vietnam (as the Vietnamese called the barbaric genocide) US government bombs would still be falling on Hanoi and US GI's still used/abused as poverty draft cannon fodder today.

        Defeatism what is it good for? Living your life it bondage?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 4:54pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You're not gonna beat the American political system with a bunch of rah-rah bullshit, and you're certainly not gonna get rid of the money behind the power any time soon. Even a more "Revolutionary War" kind of direct action would fail. Good luck with your flowery speeches, though!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Thad, 30 Jul 2018 @ 10:03am

        Re: Re:

        The two major political parties exist nowadays because of tradition and shitloads of funding

        And first-past-the-post.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 31 Jul 2018 @ 5:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Indeed. What we need is a sustained campaign for proportional representation.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            The Wanderer (profile), 1 Aug 2018 @ 6:24am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I'm not sure that's going to produce a sufficiently good result.

            The first question is, proportional to what? The only answers I've been able to think of that make any sense are "party" and "candidate", and both have problems.

            If it's by party, how do you decide which parties get counted, and/or get to be on the ballot? (And this might also magnify the problem of how the parties decide who to pick for whatever seats they get.)

            If it's by candidate, how do you handle a case where the proportions of the vote for the candidates cannot be remotely evenly split into the available seats? (For a contrived example, something like 250 votes in a three-seat race where two candidates each get 120 votes and two other candidates get 5 votes apiece.)

            IMO, nothing short of ranked-preference voting is going to be a nearly optimal solution - and even most forms of that have their weaknesses; the one with the fewest that I know of is the Condorcet method, which has only one design weakness (the remote possibility of a true tie, which at that point can IMO legitimately be broken by random draw).

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 27 Jul 2018 @ 5:48pm

    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 4:54pm

    You're not gonna beat the American political system with a bunch of rah-rah bullshit, and you're certainly not gonna get rid of the money behind the power any time soon. Even a more "Revolutionary War" kind of direct action would fail. Good luck with your flowery speeches, though!

    Truer words have never been typed: You're not gonna beat the American political system with a bunch of rah-rah bullshit.

    The bunch of rah-rah bullshit is meant to get people to think outside the box and understand we do not need to exist on our knees at the mercy of a US government overlord.

    Pogo: "We have met the enemy and he is us."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pogo_

    All of the problems afflicting persons in the US are problems created by humans. This means there are human solutions to the problems. The first step in developing potential solutions is to recognize the problems. Then debate potential solutions. Then put the solutions into action.

    There are plenty of recent historical examples for us to follow/use:

    Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi led their fellow humans in sustained actions of mass civil disobedience that shook the heavens and changed the world for the better.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahatma_Gandhi

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King_Jr.

    T he sustained mass civil disobedience served multiple goals one was exposing the existing power structures (ie status quo) as corrupt for all the world to see thus helping to garner international support for their causes. Another goal was to put the officials/authorities on notice that people were no longer going to sit idly by and take the institutionalized abuses any longer.

    Change begins within each and every human being. To paraphrase Gandhi/King:

    We must all be the change we would like to see in the world

    Or as the old Rabbi answered when questioned about how we should treat our neighbors:

    Treat everyone like you yourself would like to be treated.

    To make claims that we can not effect change within the US government is to quit before we get off the couch and thus playing right into the hands of the powers that be that have so well-conditioned a great many of us into being defeatists.

    King/Gandhi (etal) actually stood up and placed their lives in danger while pitted against the worlds most powerful governments and succeeded where others prognosticated failure.

    Bloodshed is not the solution it only plays into the strength of the criminals infesting government.

    You're not gonna beat the American political system with a bunch of rah-rah bullshit but we can beat the American political system with new ideas that will work to shatter the entrenched duopoly.

    Every person not suffering from myopia can clearly see the decades of failure that the GOP/Dem parties birthed and own. It is their tar baby and they need to be forced to embrace it as the failure it has devolved into being.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 9:04pm

      Re: Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 4:54pm

      If you think "new ideas" can beat billionaire-financed political campaigns, well, good luck to ya. I'll be over here in reality, where "new ideas" mean nothing without the support of the wealthy. You can be an idealist all you want; if you refuse to be pragmatic about your chances of success in a less-than-ideal world where money talks and bullshit walks into the Oval Office, however, I can't help you.

      But again, good luck with those speeches!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 11:04pm

        Re: Re: Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 4:54pm

        Political campaign financing - that’s interesting. DId you see the complaint filed by the Florida senator against Twitter? He has an interesting point, IMHO. When companies like Twitter or Google (or Techdirt) are silencing certain parties to the benefit of other parties, especially if those parties are US senators (or political candidates), perhaps they are participating in political campaign financing without disclosure. What do you think? It seems like an interesting argument to me. His point (if I understood it) is that you cannot simultaneously claim immunity from lawsuit because you are simply a publisher and then “tilt the scales” in one direction or another. At that point, you are “flying under the radar” in a political campaign and should (a) lose your protections from lawsuits and (b) estimate and report the value of editorial decisions to the Federal Election Commission. This could have huge effects on Twitter, Facebook, Google, all of ‘em, maybe even small firms like Techdirt. I think this fellow Matt Gaetz has a very interesting argument that will be heard in court. Techdirt has a lot of “legal beagles” that browse here - anyone have an opinion? There’s an election coming, something like 100 days! Wow. I saw Steve Bannon on Hannity today - he said this will be a national referendum on Trump, because if Democrats win, they will immediately move for impeachment. So, this election, this November, might be more important than 2020. Wow. Federal Election Commission, Twitter, Google and Techdirt. Wow. Interesting times. Maybe even the Email guy will chime in, I think you might want to be careful about censoring him, after all, you would probably have to report that to the FEC, too, right, if you try to influence his campaign. Maybe you’ve already done that, I’m not sure.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jul 2018 @ 2:56am

          I was going to give your comment a serious reply…until I remembered that I figured out your gimmick a long while ago. While you may not be sticking completely to that gimmick, you give yourself away by the way you construct sentences, the overuse of interesting, and the not-so-vague reference to Shiva Ayyadurai. You are no less annoying and no more intelligent now than you were a year ago, and you are not here for an actual conversation. Kindly fuck off back to the void from which you reappeared, then stay there.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Jul 2018 @ 3:21am

            Re:

            Wow. That’s harsh. Any comment on the actual question regarding campaign financing? Any comment on Twitter stock price? Any comment on “shadow-banning”? Anything? Just a personal attack based on your imagination and ill-will? How about some foul language, you are kind of famous for that. You have almost 2,000 comments on your profile. Can’t you do better than a simple ad-hominem attack on a stranger?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jul 2018 @ 3:24am

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 28 Jul 2018 @ 5:59am

              Re: Re:

              Anything relevant to the article at all, or still trying to turn everything into a solicitation for Shiva sympathy?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 28 Jul 2018 @ 6:15am

                Re: Re: Re:

                I was responding to the other poster, who said “If you think "new ideas" can beat billionaire-financed political campaigns, well, good luck to ya. I'll be over here in reality”.

                I thought this was interesting, especially in the context of Techdirt. Techdirt is financed by crazy left-wing billionaires. And yet they are so fearful that they are compelled to censor comments that they deem “threatening”, as this one is, no doubt.

                I believe, as the previous poster did (the eloquent one) that “new ideas” can indeed crush “religious” sites like Techdirt. Silence all you want, everyone knows that the “hidden” posts are the most interesting.

                Nothing is more powerful than an idea that whose time has come. I believe that. More powerful than Techdirt (no matter how tyrannical). Trump has some ideas. If you have better ones, let’s hear them!

                I was commenting on a comment, I suppose. Is that OK? Or did I break some kind of “rule” here? 555

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Jul 2018 @ 8:06am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  You know, I was thinking the other day, meditating actually, and something so profound came to my mind. I was thinking about how Trump feels every day when he wakes up. Try it, just try to imagine how he feels. First, you have to imagine that you really, really love yourself. You have to love yourself enough to call yourself a “very stable genius” in public and on TV in front of everybody. Then, with all that self love, imagine that you validate it by winning an American election that everyone said you would lose (big). And you are sleeping in the White House, knowing that other people may well think even more highly of you than you think of yourself. Total validation for a really huge self loving ego that proved the whole world wrong. I want that feeling in my life, too. Imagine how it feels to simultaneously be (perhaps) the most self-loving man in the world and the most powerful man in the world because other people love you even more than your love yourself. Amazing, no? Worth meditating on, really. Trump’s daily life. Long may he enjoy it (because we all enjoy it too).

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 28 Jul 2018 @ 8:41am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Yes, I think you have hit upon something important in your meditations. I am guessing you are a Buddhist, perhaps Trump represents the ultimate evolution of the spirit and his arrival and subsequent residence in Nirvana (the White House) is his state of perfection. That is, the fate he was destined for, likely after hundreds of previous lives dedicated to spiritual awakening and refinement (and sales, apparently). He certainly is a star that generations of young men will navigate their life by, aspiring to greatness that will (probably) never be repeated in such grand fashion. Reach for the stars, American children, and let Trump light the way to your future and your destiny as you pave the road with your own blood sweat and tears to your own Nirvana (whatever that might be). Inspiring, no? Image how good it feels to be Trump ommmmmm (index fingers on thumbs as a lotus flower). Ommmm.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jul 2018 @ 8:51am

                      If you are going to sockpuppet, at least have the puppets “write” like separate people.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                        identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 28 Jul 2018 @ 5:22pm

                        Re:

                        I suppose you would be an expert in such things, that is, an expert in posing as separate people. Why don’t you give us all a lesson in the “right” way to “write” like separate people.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • icon
                          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jul 2018 @ 11:27pm

                          Re: Re:

                          an expert in posing as separate people

                          Nah, fam, I am only someone who has seen a lot of attempted sockpuppeting and know when someone is doing it badly. In this particular case, we have:

                          • An attempt at a conversational tone to distract from the empty bullshit rhetoric, reminscient of con artists and self-help gurus
                          • A lack of contractions; I try to avoid them as well, so I notice when that happens
                          • Similar views on a subject that gets brought up in both posts; e.g., the uncritical implication that Donald Trump is a demigod of a man
                          • A two-word sentence with the exact same phrasing (“[Adjective], no?”) in both posts
                          • An overuse of parenthetical phrases

                          If that is not the same person who posted those two replies immediately above my prior post in this comment thread, someone is either damned good at impersonating “Hamilton” (who I and several other posters have long suspected of being Shiva Ayyadurai), or the similarities between those two posts in both structure and rhetorical style are a complete coincidence.

                          As for knowing the identity of the person making those posts, that is easy enough to deduce from seeing that particular rhetorical style over and over again in a multitude of posts from the past year or two. While I cannot put the exact nature of their rhetorical style into specific words, it is recognizable and distinct from the posting style of others. I share a couple of quirks on that list above with “Hamilton”, yet my rhetoric could never be confused for his. For starters, I have never praised and will never praise Trump with the same kind of textual fellatio found in those posts.

                          Now, does that count as a good enough lesson for you?

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                            identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2018 @ 1:49am

                            Re: Re: Re:

                            I’m not sure. I think YOU are Shiva Ayyadurai (just kidding). Ok, it’s me, the cat is out of the bag, the horse has left the barn, and my front door (zipper) is open. Gotcha! You guys are obsessed with that Email guy, aren’t you? I recognize obsession, I’m afflicted, too! AHHH! Techdirt Addiction, worse than opioid addiction. Joking with Stephen - I need to go back to my imaginary doctor and discuss my feelings about you. I have noticed that your language has cleaned up, that’s a blessing, no? (Oops)

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • icon
                            The Wanderer (profile), 29 Jul 2018 @ 2:54am

                            Re: Re: Re:

                            Not to mention the "all in one single dense paragraph" thing, which while not enough on its own (or a universal signature of that particular commenter) does contribute to the overall picture.

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                              identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2018 @ 6:26am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              It is likely also relevant that you seem to measure, quantify and analyze various metrics like spacing of words while completely ignoring the ideas raised. Wow. You guys are serious, good for you. Are you the FBI? Is that you, Jim Comey, behind the scenes? I think I used the same super spy analytical skills when I was about 6 along with my secret decoder rings from my cereal box. “All in one dense paragraph” - did you learn that in “super spy” school at Quantico?

                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                                identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2018 @ 6:57am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                Y’all are missing the point entirely and completely. There are some posters who simply must be ignored, because they are bad evil people, maybe not even people, they are trolls! Not even HUMAN! Ignore their writing, ignore their ideas, they are EVIL! EVIL TROLL ALERT! IGNORE THEM! SHAME THEM! MOCK THEM! THEY ARE EVIL EVIL EVIL EVIL EVIL TROLLS!!!!

                                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                              • icon
                                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Jul 2018 @ 7:37am

                                Well, someone is jealous of people with a better-than-sixth-grade level of literacy.

                                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                • icon
                                  The Wanderer (profile), 29 Jul 2018 @ 10:15am

                                  Re:

                                  I'm not sure "literacy" is quite fair; we have at best indirect evidence of his(?) degree of ability to read (with or without comprehension), and he(?) can at least type and spell fairly well.

                                  "Composition skills", maybe.

                                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                                    identicon
                                    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2018 @ 10:58am

                                    Re: Re:

                                    Well, the good news that you all appear to be socialist foreigners with no ability to influence the US election at all. That’s a relief! It’s not like you actually vote, or can explain who or what you are voting for! Whew!

                                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                    • icon
                                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Jul 2018 @ 12:10pm

                                      Re: Re: Re:

                                      Can you?

                                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                                        identicon
                                        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2018 @ 1:19pm

                                        Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                        Sure - I like Trump! Vote Republican! Yay!

                                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                        • icon
                                          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Jul 2018 @ 1:39pm

                                          I would rather drink bleach and watch Bleach simultaneously.

                                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                                            identicon
                                            Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2018 @ 7:32pm

                                            Re:

                                            What a glorious and fulfilling day this has been, especially this exchange with you, Stephen. With just a few thoughtful paragraphs, we have managed to lay out our political philosophies for everyone to consider. My philosophy is the American philosophy, and it has to do with ideas, candidates who promote ideas, and people who choose the best combination of ideas and candidates by voting in a free and public election. Your philosophy is to force your ideas onto others, and if they do not comply, murder them, or murder yourself, in a horrible and disgusting way (drinking bleach). There, that was simple, right? You played your hand and I played mine. In the next election, we will see which argument and metaphor motivates more people.

                                            Just one more thing, Stephen - would you actually be in favor of just eliminating Trump’s entire administration? Banish them to another country, or imprison them, or kill them? What do you actually want to do to them, Stephen? I want to vote for them. What do you really want? Humiliate them, scream them out of restaurants, give them life sentences of public hatred? Spell it out for us, you authoritarian monster.

                                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                                              identicon
                                              Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2018 @ 7:48pm

                                              Re: Re:

                                              Did you see that Republican advert about “unhinged” Democrats? Wow. Reminds me of your exchange with Stephen. Madonna blowing up the White House, Jonny Depp talking about assasination, Anti-Fa beating people with bicycle locks, burning cars at the innoguration, even puny Joe Biden taking Trump “behind the gym”. Wow. It’s really something, Democrats have devolved into a violent mob. What a self-defeating tactic. I think Democrats are going to get CRUSHED in the next election! No one likes violent mobs or drinking bleach. Yech!

                                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                            • icon
                                              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Jul 2018 @ 8:19pm

                                              Re: Re:

                                              What do you really want?

                                              Trump and his cronies out of office, a beachfront house, and Gianna Michaels riding my dick.

                                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jul 2018 @ 7:30pm

      Re: Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 4:54pm

      I like your writing. I can see your point about “tar baby”, but this same expression can be used with any organization that has a history. No organization (or person or relationship) long survives without blemishes, scars, and dark ugly stuff that can’t be shaken off. At the moment, we have a leader of the Republican Party that has promised and delivered on a lot of new ideas. And we have an important election less than 100 days away. Do you agree that now is the time to unite behind Trump because he has the best ideas and the best track record? What I mean is to vote in the Republican ticket in the House and the Senate and then let new leaders like Jim Jordan be the new speaker for the House. Voting is like a miniature version of Ghandi and King conviction. The alternative is to have the Democrats take over and impeach the President. Is that really a better alternative?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Jul 2018 @ 8:28pm

        Re: Re: Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 4:54pm

        Yup, I think you nailed it. The next election is really about Trump promises, policies and exection, and little else. The first curtain has a republican house, a republican senate, and a republican president to lead it. The second curtain has an (Democrat lead) impeached president and the ensuing chaos (payback - hey - it’s politics!). There really isn’t a third curtain. So pick one. (Monte waves his arm and smiles for the camera) Curtain Number One or Curtain Number Two?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Jul 2018 @ 10:50pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I choose the curtain that has candidates who are not trying to…

          • …curtail or even revoke the civil rights of LGBT Americans
          • …rip families apart at the border
          • …roll back environmental protections
          • …take a chainsaw to the public education system
          • …destroy foreign relations with long-standing allies
          • …wreck the American economy with trade wars and tariffs
          • …make voting harder for everyone
          • …make voting districts benefit their party and theirs alone
          • …ignore Russians hacking our election systems
          • …give cover to racists
          • …push Christianity as the official American religion by way of “religious freedom” (read: religious privilege) laws
          • …force services like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook into favoring their ideology and beliefs with special “don’t ban us plz” treatment
          • …undo Network Neutrality
          • …destroy the social safety net that keeps a lot of poor people from going hungry and homeless
          • …repeal or make worthless the Affordable Care Act so the healthcare system returns to a pre-Obama hellscape without any actual plan to fix it

          …and generally trying to make life better for a significantly small subset of Americans at the expense of all others.

          If those principles seem to unfairly damn one party more than the other, do not blame me for that. They brought that damning upon themselves.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2018 @ 12:05am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Where are you voting? Nirvana? I’m talking about the next Vote in the USA!

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Jul 2018 @ 12:47am

              So am I.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2018 @ 1:26am

                Re:

                Come on, Stephen, get a grip on reality, please. The vote is about impeaching Trump and little else. Is that REALLY what you want? Let’s have a show of hands - who would vote to impeach Trump, and who would vote to empower him? “Wreck the American economy”? Are you joking? Do you have a retirement plan? Have you check it lately? Do you have a job? Are you making more money with your investments and your income now or before? Be honest! If you are not a blood sucking socialist toad, then you are happier now than you were two years ago.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Jul 2018 @ 6:09am

                  The vote is about impeaching Trump and little else. Is that REALLY what you want?

                  I mean, ideally, it would be Trump and his entire administration getting the boot, so…yeah, damn right.

                  Also, I noticed that you only mentioned the economy while ignoring all the other points I raised. Not willing to say that you approve of all those things happening, then?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2018 @ 6:33am

                    Re:

                    My old friend Stephen, you know I always have a lot to say. Consider, for example, the longer term history of the Republican Party: Lincoln was a Republican, and he worked pretty hard regarding minority rights, in many ways. Trump offered a pretty interesting deal about DACA that could actually get done, something like a million and a half new citizens, if I remember. I didn’t go point by point because I think it is tiresome. The real question is are you better off now than 2 years ago, and what will you do about 2 years from now. The reality is republicans own the White House for two more years, nothing can be done about that. So, should we have chaos and confusion, or give Trump a chance to keep on “rolling” his economic plans? Just to be clear, you would go for the Democrats winning the house and the senate, impeaching trump, and waiting 2 more years for the next change. You like that option, right? Come on, Stephen, Make a decision - Gandhi’s calling! Tell us what you really think, everyone is interested!

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Jul 2018 @ 7:36am

                      Re: Re:

                      Go back to Hetero World where you belong.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                        identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2018 @ 8:14am

                        Re: Re: Re:

                        That comment is truly hard for me to understand. I think you are saying something about sexual orientation, right? Hetero-sexual, right? Interesting. Go back to my hetero-sexual world, because THIS WORLD is not where I belong, this world not being a hetero-sexual world. What kind of world is this, Stephen, can you spell it out for us? Home-Sexual, Trans-Sexual, Neither-Sexual, maybe something else? From your (esteemed) point of view, what “world” are we in, here at Techdirt, on this thread, with regards to sexual orientation? Do you ever imagine what hetero-sexual world is like? Does it seem strange to you? It’s not that different, really, it’s a small thing. One can’t spend ALL the time with sex, after all, you have to eat and sleep, and eating requires money and sleeping someplace comfortable requires money too. So maybe we have more in common than you think! Maybe we could be best friends! Come on over, Stephen, you’re a smart fellow, and Republicans all the way back to Lincoln were inclusive! We like you just the way you are, really! Tell us how you plan to vote (you will vote, right?)!

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • icon
                          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Jul 2018 @ 8:52am

                          I would pity you for your idiocy, but that would require me to have an emotional investment in you beyond my snarky replies to your comments.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2018 @ 7:11pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          This spiel coming from the guy who based his rebuttals on the gender of the other individual? You're not fooling anyone, Hamilton.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                            identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2018 @ 8:30pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            Hey did you guys see the Matt Caldwell advert? Wow, holding a shotgun, saying he likes the NRA and Trump, and wants votes. Didn’t see it? Oh, is that because Facebook blocked it? Uhoh, Federal Election Commission again. You guys are next! What’s your stock price, anyway? Oh, no stock? Hmm.. Twitter stock got hammered, Facebook stock got hammered, but with no stock, what will happen to Techdirt? Shunned, probably, no advertisers. Naw, that’s not likely, too many lefties have money to throw at tiny companies like Techdirt. Maybe a court case, what do you think? Suppress political speech at your own risk, I’m predicting it here first! Three things are hard to hide for long - the sun, the moon, and political suppression!

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                            • icon
                              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Jul 2018 @ 8:49pm

                              Facebook is under no legal, moral, or ethical obligation to remain “neutral” in regards to speech, political or otherwise. If Zuckerberg wants to kick conservatives off the platform for saying dumb shit and being dumbshits, he has the right to do so. The government cannot legally force him to host conservative speech on Facebook any more than I could.

                              Techdirt’s writers and admins are no more obligated than Facebook to host speech they do not want to host.

                              Die angry about it.

                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                                identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2018 @ 9:02pm

                                Re:

                                There you go again with your murderous threats! Not a good look, Stephen.

                                I’m not sure, but I think you might be mistaken.

                                “So I believe that Twitter may have illegally donated to the campaigns of my opponents by prejudicing against my content,” Gaetz said.

                                See that word - illegally?

                                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                                  identicon
                                  Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2018 @ 9:11pm

                                  Re: Re:

                                  Gaetz is a senator, and makes laws! If it’s not illegal now, it will be soon! Buckle up kiddies!

                                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                                    identicon
                                    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2018 @ 9:22pm

                                    Re: Re: Re:

                                    My suspicion is if people were effetely communicating a conservative message, they got caught in Twitter’s troll trap.” The Trump ally also told Carlson he believes the agency has the power to take appropriate action against the social networking giant. The FEC can “absolutely then institute fines, just like they can institute fines and punish against any company that illegally makes a corporate donation to a political campaign,” Gaetz told Tucker.

                                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                • icon
                                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 29 Jul 2018 @ 9:26pm

                                  There you go again with your murderous threats!

                                  NARRATOR: It was not a threat.

                                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 8:00pm

    out_of_the_blue is not going to like this, is he?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 9:59pm

    When is the average citizen that does not care about privacy going to accept that when cases like this occur get thrown out, after counter suits occur for wrongful imprisonment, that we the taxpayer are footed with the bill?

    It's like everyone nowadays just wants to bankrupt the country just as long as they don't have to give in that they were wrong on about a really petty political debate with their friends and family. Grow up and learn to admit that you are a human being that can make mistakes, especially small ones in meaningless conversations.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.