• Fourth Amendment Of The United States Constitution

    "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 recent capitualtion of the United States House of Representaives to the Bush Administrations demands for TELECOM IMMUNITY in anticipation of the United States Senate following suit shall not stand. Congress is empowered to pass laws. If they pass a bad law it needs to be repealed. This is bad law and this site seeks to have this law repealed. Please Read Carte blanche to illegally spy on Americans by Tom Burghardt
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Total Information Awareness Is Operational Under Obama!

People who care about the privacy of their papers and their persons may remember the furor that arose during the early years of the presidency of George W. Bush about the development of Total Information Awareness in the Pentagon by Iran Contra conspirator John Poindexter. The Total Information Awareness program was intended to design a super database into which the government would pull all kinds of private information, using the powers of the Patriot Act. Everything from medical records to book purchases would be taken from commercial databases and compiled, so that the government could keep files on the details of every American’s private life.

Congress acted then to end the Total Information Awareness program. So what did the Bush Administration do? They just gave it a new name, and moved it to the National Security Agency, and thus was born the program to seize information and spy without a search warrant.

New revelations by former NSA employee Russell Tice confirm earlier reports by a former employee of AT&T: The NSA was gathering ALL electronic communications into a gigantic computer database, using the Patriot Act as a justification. That electronic spying dragnet was further justified by the passage of the FISA Amendments Act.

Your telephone calls, your emails, your text messages, your credit card use, your Internet habits are all being watched by the government. Secret physical searches of homes and offices without a search warrant are also allowed under the FISA Amendments Act. Big Brother is here. Total Information Awareness is alive.

The funny thing that very few people have bothered to mention is that this search and seizure of Americans’ persons and papers is completely unconstitutional. Read the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution:

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.

Warrants are absolutely required for government searches and seizures, and the government has to be specific in applying for warrants about exactly who and where it wants the searches and seizures to apply to. The new Total Information Awareness program gives no such specification – it searches the electronic communications of the entire United States of America!

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that this is just a problem of the past, and that with the Bush Administration gone, the problem is solved. No, as a senator, Barack Obama voted to approve the FISA Amendments Act, and as President he is administering the program without acting to end the warrantless electronic spying at all. Barack Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, confirms that the Obama Administration’s intention is to keep the NSA Total Information Awareness program in place.

If you care about freedom, you need to act now to put pressure on Barack Obama to change course, and to put an end to the Big Brother NSA spying program being used against the American people.


Stand Up For the Constitution: DC Inaugural Demonstration, 1-20-09

1-20-09 Pro-Constitution Activist Demonstration on Inauguration Parade Route on Pennsylvania Avenue.  Web Banner.Since the FISA Amendments Act in the summer of 2008, the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution is essentially a suggestion. The prohibition on searches and seizures of you, your property and your communications used to be a mandate, but now it is just a suggestion to be followed if the President feels like it.

Is that acceptable to you? If not, consider that our next President, Barack Obama, not only voted for the FISA Amendments Act, but declared his intention to employ it as President.

Do you believe dissent is the highest form of Patriotism unless the object of dissent is a Democrat?
Do you believe that an administration must adhere to the Constitution or pay political costs… so long as the administration is a Republican one?

Or do you believe the United States Constitution applies in all seasons? Do you advocate all presidents, Democratic or Republican, should be held to account for their policy decisions?

If you find yourself in the latter camp, then please join us on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009, in Washington, DC. We have secured a permit for a spot on Pennsylvania Avenue. Our purpose: to courteously, quietly but pointedly stand along the route, holding signs that ask our new president Barack Obama, as he passes us by on Pennsylvania Avenue, to fulfill his Oath of Office “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Here are the details, from the Inauguration demonstration web page:

President Barack Obama:
Fulfill Your Oath
Preserve, Protect and Defend the Constitution

Pro-Constitution Demonstration in Washington, DC
Outside the Department of Justice
SW Corner of Pennsylvania and 9th
on the Inauguration Parade Route

January 20, 2009 (presence maintained through the day until the end of the Inaugural Parade)

Support the Constitution by exercising it! Exercise your First Amendment freedom to assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievance. Ask President Barack Obama to keep his Oath of Office to “Preserve, Protect and Defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Demonstration web page:

Will you carry your principled activism into the Obama Era? Will you be there?

Will you spread the word?

Whatever the Results, Protest FISA

This blog seems to have gone dead. Have people moved on to the next issue? Does it matter not so much that by law a president can search through your home, your office, your car and your communications for periods of 67 days… because the law was passed in the summer and now it’s fall? Has the presidential election distracted you?

Well, heck, regardless of who is elected on November 4, you’ll have a FISA Amendments Act supporter in the White House. The organization Columbus for Peace has announced a November 5, 2008 protest at the State Capitol Building at the corner of Broad Street and High Street in Columbus, Ohio — no matter who wins the presidency. If you live in Ohio, meet there at 10 AM.

If you don’t live in Ohio, organize something similar in your neck of the woods. It’s not just time to vote. It’s time to agitate for a better world.

Obama-Bayh? Why don’t you just grind it in a little harder?

Rumors are buzzing around town that Barack Obama may choose Evan Bayh as a running mate in the 2008 presidential elections. Only a resident of Bayh’s state of Indiana would have the conservative cluelessness to call Evan Bayh a “far-left liberal Senator”. On substantive policy matters, Evan Bayh has failed to support legislation to shut down Guantanamo, sat on his hands and let legislation to counter the use of child soldiers wither on the vine, passively permitted government databases to balloon out of control without government oversight, blocked stem cell research, refused to support contraceptive distribution, sat on his hands (yet again) and passively (yet again) obstructed greenhouse gas regulation, refused to support the repeal of the Military Commissions Act, continued to support civilian-blasting cluster bombs and resisted action against loan sharks. When it comes to substantive policy, Evan Bayh is no liberal. He is a block of wood.

But there is a more fundamental basis for us to fear the choice of Evan Bayh as Vice President — the Senator has emerged in active opposition to the fundamental basis for the organization of our political system, the U.S. Constitution. Last year, Evan Bayh voted for the Protect America Act, a bill which temporarily permitted the U.S. government to spy on its citizens and search their communications without the judicial warrant that the Fourth Amendment so clearly requires. This year, Evan Bayh cheerily voted for the FISA Amendments Act, its four-year extension.

By supporting the FISA Amendments Act, Barack Obama’s turned from someone who supported the Constitution in speeches into someone who undermined the Constitution in his actions. The selection of Evan Bayh by Barack Obama as his running mate would reiterate Barack Obama’s turn to the autocratic side of politics. That would be a deeply disturbing signal to me, and I hope it does not come to pass.

Just Go Ahead and Burn the Worthless 4th Amendment

Now that the FISA Amendments Act, the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution just isn’t as important as it used to be. It used to be a mandate, but now it is just a suggestion to be followed kind of, sort of, if that’s OK with you, and if no, then you know, like whatever. Yes, the Constitution has been valleygirled into irrelevance. So why not just burn it?

The wind is blowing too hard in Washington. That’s why.

Advice for anti-spying activism from Frederick Douglass

It’s a hot Sunday afternoon, and no one wants to hear a long-winded political lecture in these conditions.

Let me be brief, then, and offer some advice from Frederick Douglass about what citizens must do to preserve their freedom. Douglass said, “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.”

At Irregular Times, we’re persisting in writing about the danger American democracy is now vulnerable to under the FISA Amendments Act, though we have to acknowledge that the popular political mood is to try to just forget about the constitutional crisis and pretend that nothing happened.

Just yesterday, we started up an online hub for information about the FISA Amendments Act. Every day, bit by bit, we need to keep on creating the materials out of which a sustained movement against the FISA Amendments Act can be constructed.

Remember what Frederick Douglass said: Endurance is the key.

Let’s keep it going.

Incoherence Reveals Childish Fear in FISA Amendments Act

The United States Senate is a place where people try to remain civil with each other on a personal level, no matter how strongly they disagree with each other politically. It was with this attitude that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the floor of the Senate on July 9th and attempted to reconcile his opposition to the FISA Amendments Act with his support for the senators who voted for the law.

Reid’s statement was the apex of his incoherent position. Harry Reid committed to individually vote against the proposed law, but also worked to support efforts to push the anti-constitutional law through to passage. He claimed to lead the Democrats in the Senate for the sake of upholding the Constitution and protecting the freedoms of the American people, but heaped praise on Democratic senators who moved to do just the opposite.

Reid spoke in praise of Senator John Rockefeller, who had led the Democrats in the Senate who sought to approve George W. Bush’s demands in the FISA Amendments Act. Reid tried to explain what motivated Rockefeller to support the FISA Amendments Act, saying,

“I may disagree with the result of what we have on the floor today, and the outcome of what is going to happen today, but I want everyone to know that Senator Rockefeller is a man who works hard. There is no Senator who works any harder than Jay Rockefeller. He spends, with his counterpart and counterparts, Members of the Intelligence Committee, days, days each week in a place that is secure, away from the press, staff, and the rest of the Senate, in trying to figure out what is going on in the world as it relates to bad people trying to do bad things.”

“Trying to figure out what is going on in the world as it relates to bad people trying to bad things” – that is the level of coherence at which the FISA Amendments Act was developed and pushed through Congress. The politics of the attack against the Constitution are designed so that any simpleton can grasp them: The FISA Amendments Act is a law against bad people, and so if you’re against bad people, you should support the FISA Amendments Act.

The tragedy of this kind of kindergarten politics is that it remains willfully ignorant of the fundamental insight that fueled the creation of the United States of America: That often, the most dangerous “bad people” are not rogue criminals, but people who hold high positions in government, and are willing to abuse the rights of citizens in order to gain power for themselves.

The Constitution is in place to serve as a check against the ambitions of people in powerful positions in government. When Congress passes laws that undermine the Constitution, as the FISA Amendments Act does, they do not make us more secure from “bad people”. They make us more vulnerable.

Unfortunately, in the realm of kindergarten politics, the ability to follow that argument falls prey to the childish instinct of blind trust in authority figures. “Bad people” are only strangers, and big strong, powerful people are there to make us safe.

Go back to your desk and play with your fingerpaints, America. The FISA Amendments Act is passed. Don’t worry your little heads about the bad people any more.