Gun's don't kill people. People with guns kill people.


"No body could have done a better job than Obama, with the economy he was handed —including me!" —Bill Clinton—

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Constitution Is Irrelevant

There has been a lot of news recently about renewing the Protect America Act and a heated argument about its merit and whether or not it undermines the 4th Amendment.

The fourth amendment of the Constitution provides its citizens protection from unreasonable Search and Seizure.

It reads as follows: "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."

The new act allows a broader approach to gathering information without a warrant that specifies the person place or things to be seized. And it provides protection against prosecution for those (the phone companies) who supply the information seized.

According to an opinion expressed by the ACLU it said: (Quote) "Which means that U.S. persons are no longer protected from warrant-less surveillance as long as the underlying premise is that the surveillance is “directed at” a person overseas.

In effect, the government may now scoop up all communications coming into or out of the United States, as long as it is targeting no one American in particular and the program is “directed at” the foreign end of the communication. Whether the (intended) target or not, American phone calls, emails and internet use will be recorded by our government, and without any suspicion of wrongdoing.

This is simply an unconstitutional program (blanket) warrant that doesn’t state with specificity the things to be searched or seized. Such warrants – whether issued by a court or an executive official, have long been held unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment.

The flaw is exacerbated by the fact that there is no court supervision whatsoever.

Further, it relies solely on “minimization procedures” to protect the American end of communications. Minimization procedures have always been secret – no one knows what they require or how much protection they offer. There is nothing in the referenced 50 USC 1801(h) that would require American communications to be destroyed or in any way prevent them from being used and disseminated. It is ultimately a “trust us” scenario where the AG gets to secretly decide how to handle U.S. information." (End of quote) The bold copy is my emphasis.

Love or hate the ACLU their opinion is unbiased and presents a clear and notably significant point of view.

The WH rationale for this deliberate circumvention of the 4th amendment's requirement for a (specific) warrant, is said to be the rapid advancement of technology. The WH position is that FISA is too slow in its response in this era of disposable mobile phones. Thus, giving terrorist an opening to inflict damage before we can respond. Is that supposition true? Or is this simply an attempt to erode the Constitution by fiat?

In my mind this raises the question: Has the Constitution become irrelevant due to technologic advances, as president Bush suggests?

Or is it still worthy of protecting it with our lives if necessary? Like say, in Iraq where this president has repeatedly said we are defending the freedoms provided to us by the Constitution? He can't have it both ways. It is this type of hypocrisy has brought about the rabid mistrust of the current administration and its pronouncements.

What I would suggest to President Bush is that he bring this, heretofore, secret discussion before the American people in an open manner before he starts fiddling with the fundamental underpinnings of our Constitution which he has sworn to protect from enemies both foreign and domestic.

"The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion". —Edmund Burke—

*Edmund Burke was an Irish political philosopher, Whig politician, and statesman; he is regarded by many as the "father" of modern conservatism.

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