Chipping Away at Liberty and Freedoms
Infringement of one person’s liberty and freedom is an assault on all.
Liberty: The state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life.
Freedom: The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. Absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government.
Slowly our liberties and freedoms are being eroded. the 4th Amendment is under assault as well the 1st Amendment. Oh heck, let’s not forget the 2nd Amendment.
The 4th Amendment of the Bill of Rights states “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” This assault has been ratcheted up since the 9/11 attacks. As we the people we have been complacent, for the most part, whether out of fear, or false flags created by our government. While it must be acknowledged there doe exist threats to America both domestic and foreign we must evaluate the types of threats as they relate to the chipping away of our fundamental freedoms. Benjamin Franklin was quoted as saying “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
All of us would surely admit there has always existed forms of domestic threats. There are those which to some are perceived as a threat and to others interpreted a mere exercise of their right to protest, redress for what they feel are wrong doings a good example, I think, was the Shays Rebellion of 1786, 1787 in western Massachusetts. There exist many examples the protests against the Vietnam war being one of our generation. Each however screams out, in my opinion, for scrutiny of our government’s action/inaction in not only creating the atmosphere that incubated the cause but how the power of militia, law enforcement from the FBI, the Executive Branch, Congress, DOD etc. handled or mishandled the issue. As in the Shay Rebellion or the Vietnam war protesters they both suffered the full force of the power of government (recall Kent State). We can all agree that domestic tranquility was interrupted however the power of the government was, to me, at the very heart of the threat.
Domestic crimes as those in the minds of J. Edgar Hoover or say that of the former President Nixon which led to the infiltration of groups. spying on folks, break-ins and such were an infringement of liberty and freedom not to mention the breaking of laws. As in Fast and Furious an overzealous government took actions that they alone believed they possessed the power or right to act believed themselves above the law, they broke the laws, and no one paid the price for the those actions accept those who were murdered and those of us believing in the 2nd Amendment having the the right to bear arms or purchase arms surely infringed upon.
Then there are domestic crimes committed by citizens that are horrific in nature. Perhaps a good example in recent memory was that of Tim McVeigh, the Oklahoma bombing. While I understood McVeigh’s frustration caused by his interpretation of our government’s action in WACO Seige I certainly would never condone the method he chose to fight against government misuse of its powers but I was alarmed by the misuse of our governments actions. While I hold repugnance for the choice those made to live at the WACO compound I hold immense repugnance for the actions taken by those at the federal level. Ruby Ridge siege is yet another example. In the past week the LDS polygamist thinking the world may end and their comings and goings were being questioned by authorities our country is fortunate that this did not turn into a siege (while I do not like polygamist, what they do seems not to break existing law).
Domestic crime such as an American citizen choosing to blow up a plane in his act of wanting to commit suicide or as the recent killings in Connecticut of innocents can not be prevented by infringements of others rights. The fact is this type of crime will always be there. There are among us those that suffer from mental illness, hatred of others or just plain gooks. Removing rights of others can not be justified, can not be allowed to be legislated away. Laws can not stop the human condition, evil, of this type. Surveillance by camera or other means would not have stopped these horrific crimes. I suppose the adage “where there is a will there is a way” can be said to apply. Anti suicide laws are an example of laws that seek to punish in all sorts of ways. The justice systems may deem a persons act of suicide to have an ‘indirect’ component and thus an aid to the act. Since the justice system can not punish the person who commits suicide the ‘long arms of the law’ may chose to punish anyone they can build a case on, perhaps invented case, freely and codified law allows them this option. Who among us could wage, monetarily, a fair fight against the allegations, few I would think. While I digress here a smidgen the point is that when we allow freedoms to be infringed upon each of us can be caught in the snare of the law. As with the recent Connecticut Holocaust, to me, the most obvious deterrents of choice of weapons was not to ban weapons used but personal responsibility for the Mother to have secured her weapons. Even that personal choice may not have worked, the son had at his disposal other ways to kill her and gain access to locked up guns, again, “where there is a will there is a way”. The other ‘possible’ prevention was access to the mental health system. Good luck on this one. Taxpayers fund millions upon millions to this system, it is broken but no matter how much money, if it was working well, would not prevent many acts of violence against the innocent. Allowing for example our government to data mine social media entries of all citizens then search for stem words of interest by the government would not prevent this type of crime. Do we allow the infringement of freedom of speech to drive the incarceration of one who types out words that are obnoxious, off the wall. What it does is accomplish the invasion of each of our privacy thereby possibly snaring perfectly innocents of the crime of one’s freedom of speech.
Something to Think About
DHS has been systematically arming your local police with the best of available equipment and training. Basically these local police are becoming arms of the federal. This arming makes swat teams of yesteryear look like toy soldiers we might buy our kids at Walmart. This can not work out well for many reasons the first being our debt and deficit. Read Senator Tom Coburn’s report Safety at Any Price: Assessing the Impact of Homeland Security Spending in U.S. Cities but this is not the scariest implications. What is more pressing is that we the peoples liberty and freedom’s are at stake. The federal has trained and built a mighty force that can, and would most likely be used, against any group of Americans seeking redress for issues of concern to them. We may not agree with a group and their issue but we must ask ourselves is it legitimate to send in goons. Well certainly if that group was bombing or killing people however can we be assured that a peaceful protest of huge size would not feel this force visited upon them. Peaceful assembly may very well find itself contained by the federal especially if the federal perceives the power they have enjoyed is at stake.
Foreign threats have always existed against these United States and sadly they will not be eliminated. The oaths of office to protect against both foreign [and domestic] threat is not a negative it is the right of Americans to expect this of our appointed and elected it is only when the executive, legislative and courts negate the Constitution under the guise of protection against threats that is the root of a despotic government.
I contend that it is the acts of our national government that is at the root of the threats from the foreign more so than ever before. No I don’t think that all we do is wrong, nefarious or in the best interest of the United States however a bushel full can be said to be just not in our best interest and that the national action in no way represents the wishes of the American people. Yes we elect the yahoos but we also expect them to conduct themselves in ethical and moral ways. We often re-elect the culprits without taking stock in their prior actions. That responsibility is clearly on our own shoulders.
We the peoples did not create Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, the ugly rulers of Iran, the Taliban, Al Qaeda and the like but our government aided this process it was our government who helped to set the stage for their emergence and when they emerged we most often bolstered their despotic reigns. We armed many as we are now doing with the Muslim Brotherhood. We then plunge our nation into all out war when the national government makes the decision they no longer serve our interest.
We as Patriots need to clearly define what is or can not be considered of national interest we can not allow our government to drive that agenda. National interest, “often referred to by the French expression raisin d’État (English: reason of the State), is a country‘s goals and ambitions whether economic, military, or cultural”. Whom among us would agree that it is in the best interest of the social fabric of American society to have the state (the federal) to impose in such a big way Islamic culture in the United States? While the Constitution enumerates this area to the federal the Constitution does not state that we the peoples do not have a say on their policy’s. We elect members of Congress and as well the President it is through this avenue we hold power.
What is in our interest as a nation is different than one’s own best interest. What we the people have done through our complacency is to allow the state to make decisions for ‘what is in our best interest’. The very notion of giving the state this all encompassing power can safely be said to not turn out well for individual citizens. National interest relative to foreign interest will in the short term give many special interest groups short term gains however these special interest groups in the end may not be served in the long term. The losses of lives and monetary worth is sacrificed for greed, power and my all time favorite for justifying nefarious behaviors and actions and that is American leadership being lost.
Now What the Heck Does this Have to do With Liberty, Freedom?
The answer for me is a ‘heck of a lot’. Our government in their ‘twisted way’ has enacted laws that directly infringe on our, the American citizens, liberty, freedom and assumed rights of privacy. I encourage all to read and research and come to your own conclusions. To begin your research begin with FISA, the NDAA, Patriot Act those are only the tip of the iceberg.
Jurist search regarding FISA
EPIC on FISA
FAS Federation of American Scientist
Members of the FISA Court as of 2012
List of U.S. Intelligence and Security Agency’s (think they share with each other?)
Read Here for a good source with analysis of the Patriot Act.
To learn how your representatives voted on a issue go to Project VoteSmart.
I am not making the argument that all areas of these act’s are unnecessary at the juncture we find our nation dealing however we must look at each relative to our individual loss, giving away, of our individual liberty, freedoms and assumptions of privacy. We must each as Patriots give deep and serious thought, considerations, to the actions by our national government that drove the reasons that brought the government to enact such Acts. Without a complete analysis the erosion of our individual rights will surely continue.
Senate Intelligence Committee, Senators Mark Udall and Ron Wyden also said that the FISA contains a loophole that allows the government “to circumvent traditional warrant protections and search for the communications of a potentially large number of American citizens.”
I also think it worth pointing out that FISA states implicitly that no State in the Union trumps the federal. Your State has been rendered helpless in protecting its own citizens from abusive behavior from the federal. If the federal wants to take a States citizen into custody without a warrant and hold that person indefinitely without trial nor access to an attorney, as I read it they can and this can be done with orders from the President or the Attorney General which also trumps the use of the FISA court in obtaining a warrant. That citizen is in effect disappeared. Yes while there exist the homegrown terrorist who wish to do us harm, do we really want to deny anyone rights just because of suspicion of probable activity or in such a case they carried out a horrific act? Yes we all would say the person should pay the ultimate price for their actions if carried out but FISA trumps all prior law that has carried out the rights of citizens to a speedy
trial, rights to access to an attorney and all other aspects associated which taken in the whole separates, makes us exceptional, in the world for our adherence to the rule of law, with built in fairness and protections to a trial by jury of our peers. FISA tramps on that rendering the U.S. no different in some ways of that of a despotic government of Iran, Iraq, Libya. What’s next a quickie firing squad? We must ask ourselves is this the kind of country, federal government we want? You and I could be that victim some day or your children, grand-kids or their kids.
Section 25 of the Arizona Constitution states Section 25 The style of process shall be “The State of Arizona”, and the prosecutions shall be conducted in the name of the state and its authority.
We can come up with many examples where “its a Federal crime” is codified in Federal Law and the Supremacy Clause is a trump card, as I stated before once the federal dips their hands in a bucket there seems to be zero end to their authority. The notion of liberty, freedom and access to the justice system be damned.
Such things as prerogative writs , habeas corpus, quo warranto, prohibito, mandamus, procedendo, and certiorari be damned when it comes to the FISA, at least that is how I read the federal’s broad and loose power.
Denying these rights to one, no matter how heinous and distasteful the allegations, is to deny to all citizens. I think we must keep this thought under consideration.
An Aside, A Comment
If one was so driven to compare the Constitution of Arizona to say that of the Commonwealth of Virginia or that of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, both steeped in our nations history, Arizona’s pales, appears in comparison an afterthought, lame in content, meat, I would say.
Let’s Look at Some Hypothetical
There exist precedence that DOJ has relied upon to justify access to phone records (which include the origin of the call such as GPS coordinates, where the call was made to including that location, who owns the phones etc) technology has evolved and well according to DOJ so must they. Make no mistake your local law enforcement is doing the same. The precedence goes back to access to banking information and the notion that those records can not have a presumption of privacy since those records are maintained by the financial institution and thus belong to them e.g. they are technically no longer yours.
In a New York Times article in July 2012 wireless carriers have been flooded with 1.3 million requests read article here. There is an ongoing debate between the Federal and carriers concerning retention lengths of time that they store records which includes text messages here is an article from NBCNEWS Technology that may be of interest. We must ask ourselves if 1.3 million warrants were obtained legally get at the record data. FISA is informative and as well NDAA with regards to this. FISA section 803 Preemption allows no State to interfere nor hold a carrier responsible in any way for providing electronic data surveillance to the Federal. We must also recognize that what the Federal agency’s do so will State’s agency’s. FISA is loose concerning giving immense latitude when they obtain records. Permissions are granted with reporting by justice up to seven days past the actual search and seizure. With so many requests being reported, if they all are reported, how the heck do we think FISA courts could respond to them let alone a Senate subcommittee months later from a report that is required. The Attorney General can authorize without a court order. Do we have faith in our current Attorney General? The President of the United States is granted broad latitude as well.
Codified law also states that phone carriers be reimbursed for each request. Folks that adds up to a lot of dollars the taxpayer is fronting or worse our government borrows to pay for, either way we or the next generation will foot the bill.
Now for the Hypothetical
Suppose you received a wrong number call or text message from a suspected terrorist either from this terrorist located in the U.S. or in a foreign country plausible we all receive from time to time wrong number calls. Oops now you are part of the data record they seek. To add to this scenario lets suppose you are a regular blogger and have made comments the government would find offensive. Lets add a few more ingredients suppose you own a cache of weapons, hunting, designated assault weapons — you belong to a Militia group, no matter that the groups goals are non-combative, but DHS has deemed the group as possible domestic terrorists, things are looking pretty dismal at this point. They take you in, plus anything else they want to confiscate e.g. computer, printed records in your filing cabinet, books you have read etc. Now they hold you somewhere putting you through unthinkable anguish in essence you have been disappeared. Ask yourself when might you be allowed an attorney or for that matter when might you be allowed to a visit from a loved one. Now lets suppose the government comes to its senses, certainly no guarantee they would, and after months you are released there exist no redress for the harm to you and your family. An apology would not meet the muster. Its quite possible you would be financially bankrupt, morally bankrupted and friends would have fled. The evening news would have reported that so-n-so was taken into custody for suspicion of terrorism, so-n-so’s files and computer was confiscated, the video is shown on TV well needless to say you are ruined instantly. After the initial sensation news is aired its history and no follow on story will occur noting your innocence, disappeared
When we allow our government to move closer and closer to a despotic one each of us are in danger of being innocently caught in their snare. When we turn a blind eye to codified laws that erode liberty because we believe that it is not intended for ones own self rather its intention is to catch bad guys well I think that notion to be one that deserves more consideration.
Recall the famous First they came statement by Pastor Niemoller
“First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a catholic.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me”.
We have an opportunity to speak out to save our liberty, freedom. The opportunity window is closing fast.
We can no longer be caught up in slogans such as we ‘live in the land of freedom and the home of the brave’. Yes we have brave warriors fighting for our government however can we actually justify the wars they are asked, commanded, to fight. I don’t think so. Are we now assured of freedom?
The war on terror make no mistake can and is being used to justify unthinkable horrors on innocents. Those innocents are by-and-large located in foreign countries but we should not dismiss the notion that Americans innocence is a casualty. If a person residing in America can be whipped away and held indefinitely we must ask ourselves can this happen to me, a family member, a colleague or friend. In today’s America I believe the answer is yes it can, if not today then surely in the near future if we all stand by and let it happen chip by chip off the block of liberty and freedom. When we allow TSA under the tutelage of DHS subject we the people to searches and confiscation of little pen knives, grannies plastic knitting needles, a baby’s formula (many other examples exist) and we comply under the guise that this is for our own good our own safety have we not given away our liberty and freedom? I think we have. We have turned over immense power to the national government. This power now agreed to by we the people through our silence, let us not deceive ourselves in thinking that that power will be relinquished voluntarily by the federal government, no way the horse left the barn. Can we be safe in thinking that this power taken unto the federal will not go further, I think not. The war the federal defined is the war on terror it is a perpetual war by nature with that in mind the Acts that have been enacted and refined (and we should recognise there will be more, recall the attempt of SOPA-PIPA) will be there in perpetuity unless an aggressive campaign is launched to reset .
We all are subject to privacy infringements whether through market forces, the crook on the street gathering data from your smartphone and the government without restraints scrubbing our e-mail, social media posts, blog posts, text messages, other phone data can we make an argument that we ‘live in the home of the free” my answer is no — the marketeers have been given a green light by Congress to collect and sell your habits on line and while you shop and travel around these United States and its reaches go abroad. We exist in data warehouses, data marts of all sorts and we live in government data stores and that data can be pulled any way they so choose to build a case against anyone of us. Living off the grid is not easy. One would have to become a total hermit. Relinquishing all forms of possible ways of recording one’s personal data be it a bank account, receiving a SS check, having a utility bill, purchasing a vehicle and on and on. Even your cell phone in quite mode is track able with the sim-card in place. Frankly there is little hope of escaping surveillance. What is the answer? Well it starts with tying the hands of government and those who profit from selling your habits. This task rests with we the people. It is not in the interest of our government to stop this insanity.
Definitions of Terrorism or Terrorist?
Well asking this question opens a can of worms. What may be one’s recognized terrorist may be anther’s freedom fighters. Acts of terrorism may be contested based on ideology. Different definitions exist among various entities of the federal government. Domestic groups may end up on a watch list based on developed criteria or even by a bureaucrats tainted beliefs, a stroke of a pen or keyboard entry.
In today’s world context Britain could easily have made the argument that those Boston Tea Party folks were in fact engaging in terrorism and thus terrorist. Equally those who were fighting in the American Revolutionary War, a rag tag group with no uniforms to speak of, were all terrorist participating in terrorism.
There exist no definitive definition on the world stage for either terms, no agreement to date that countries belonging to the UN can settle on. Two reference of interest can be found on Wikipedia (others are sure to exist) they are Definitions of Terrorism and History of Terrorism.
For us main street people we sorta recognize when we see it and we have a filter that seems to work most of the time that allows us to know the minute difference between an act such as the 9/11 attacks and the ones such as the recent Connecticut massacre. The line is blurred at the federal and this will not work out well for we the people. This is an area that we must remain diligent in holding on to liberty and freedom. Under the loose use of these two terms permission to tramp on an individuals rights, liberty and freedom is ever present.
I ask, do you trust your government? Invariably when I ask this question of people the answer is no. With that in mind can we possibly believe that the government would not use FISA against any one of us? Many of us would grit our teeth, spit and have a tissey that these Acts are not meant for the “legal” American citizen with nothing to hide. Well I would respond that is supposed to be true but guaranteed, I don’t buy.
The law as set forth in FISA established a FISA court in an effort by the government to monitor phone calls of foreign suspected terrorist now graciously granted to the domestic homeland grown variety and obviously it would follow that of calls made to a person residing on American soil. Well on the surface who among us would argue against such a lofty goal if we could trust our governments intentions.
Does Our Governments at All Levels Follow the Laws They Enact?
Not one if us with our facilities of mind could possibly answer in the affirmative. Our government breaks laws period. Sometimes they choose to ignore standing statutes for political reasons such as illegal invasion and other immigration laws on the books for whatever reason that seems prudent Other laws such as illegal search and seizures are ignored as well. The illegal activity can be completely covered up or masked in other ways which often when caught results in excuses that go unpunished. Heck our federal government breaks international laws that they have agreed to when it suits their interest. Codified law to me is a pact that our government makes with we the people or in the case of the international with other nations. The basic point I am making is that when our government says this or that law does not apply to an American citizen, it will not be used against one of our own, I simply can not buy their promises. The government by their own actions are not credible.
Regulations Against Corporate Speech
I include this as an example of an overreaching government in its efforts to limit free speech. Oh we can say that applies to corporations not individuals. Its a precedence, in my opinion, if allowed to stand, it is being contested, that very well could morph into regulating individuals speech. It is an assault of the 1st Amendment. See . . .
Liberty, freedom is without doubt under siege.
Let’s Explore Liberty and Freedom More Relative to the Cyber World
This too is a can of worms. It holds many facets that can and I predict will infringe more on our liberties and freedoms. Already we have witnessed the long arm of the government. The revamped FISA and such has already been amended to cover the governments rights to scrub your data, I have already talked about this. Let’s look at this area in another light. We have heard our Congress and their security arms talk incessantly about cyber-security. Cybersecurity issues are real. We have already witnessed DHS “practicing” the shutdown of the world wide web. Can we actually believe it has all to do with threats from abroad. No I don’t believe that. Suppose a group, lets use the Tea Party as an example, who begins to wage a protest that the government disapproves of, it could occur with Obama in the White house, and DHS decides it would be a good tactic to stop internet access so that the TP was restrained from communicating with its voluntary members. Would our liberty and freedoms be removed? Of course. Is this scenario possible in today’s America. Well I think so. My point is that when we allow our government to take legislative actions that diminish liberty, freedom for one class of people, even under the argument that it is a national security issue, you can count on being the next class in the domestic security arena.
Another facet is when our government attempted to solve a problem they helped to create was to attempt to solve the issue with SOPA-PIPA legislation note the government owns part of the blame the other half belongs to corporations. There was a monstrous uproar led by those in the tech industry and Congress backed away. Guarantee however it will surface again in some form and perhaps quietly be enacted as an amendment to some dog-eared legislation while no one on main street is watching. SOPA-PIPA was a piece of legislation that you and I could unknowingly go in foul of. The SOPA-PIPA origins can be traced back to the ACTA Treaty for which the United States is a signatory. A good article I think would be this or another for some perspective regarding ACTA, SOPA-PIPA. For a read on ACTA (Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) read here. My point is that civil liberties were and are under the gun.
Can We Allow the UN to Define Liberty, Freedom?
No we can’t. Are they trying to, well yes. As long as free democracy nations allow liberty and freedom to be defined at an international level, by members of the UN, our liberty and freedoms will be infringed upon. In an article in the Slate titled The World Doesn’t Love the First Amendment The vile anti-Muslim video shows that the U.S. overvalues free speech. A little more than 50% of UN member states could give a rats butt about liberty and freedom. ACTA Treaty is an example of treading in murky and frightening water full of alligators.
The UN will take this grand prize unto themselves if we allow. If we do not reset our federal government our government most likely would be drawn to nefarious liberty, freedom killing edicts and treaty’s backed by the UN or ill advised nations.
Our ability to maintain our liberty and freedoms, the right to bare arms, is closing in on us. If we continue to standby and let the agenda of the federal enact laws that have no regard, respect of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence already ignored in a big way, not to mention the wonderful archives of our Founding Fathers we will lose the gift they gave us.
We can not allow the federal to use frightening scenarios, false-flags and the like to whittle away at our liberty and freedom. Benjamin Franklin said it well “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
It is fair to ask that consideration be given to the fact that it is our federal government’s behavior in big part that has led to our national security issues. Let us not allow the federal to negate we the peoples liberty and freedom for their mistakes.