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Posts Tagged ‘Patriot Act’

constfree

The U.S. Constitution has apparently been suspended in parts of America in an effort to protect its borders from everything from illegal immigration to terrorists.  Rightful to protect its border, except that the border has been seemingly redefined to include a 100 mile wide strip that goes around the entire “external boundary” of the entire United States.

“The extraordinary authority that the U.S. government possesses at its borders is spilling into regular American streets, affecting large populations of its citizens. Nearly two-thirds of the entire population of the country now lives within 100 miles of the U.S. land and coastal borders, an area that has been designated by the government as a “Constitution Free Zone”.  http://www.naturalnews.com/024734.html  and posted similarly at  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/10/22/163652/37/734/638977

Could all liberties are put aside if you are rightly or wrongly id’s as having done something wrong?  Would there will be no guarantee of The Bill of Rights protection, no referring to case law and no lawyers to argue on your behalf? 

The ACLU lays claim that “Border Patrol agents are not remaining confined to a border security purpose.”  http://www.aclu.org/privacy/37293res20081022.html and it’s blog http://blog.aclu.org/?s=constitution+free+zone says that “U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is allowed to exercise extraordinary authority that would not normally be permitted under the Constitution.

(ATS) traveler risk assessment program, identity and tracking systems such as electronic (RFID) passports, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI),  Secure Border Initiative Network (SBINet) or “virtual border fence” and unmanned aerial vehicles (aka “drone aircraft”) all monitor movement.   

The Department of Homeland Security is in itself, necessary.  Agents of the FBI, CIA, NSA must cooperate to protect the homeland, but using the word ‘homeland’ outside of a historical discussion of Germany has allowed law enforcement authorities access to broad powers and is just a creepy reminder of Gestapo tactics.  To assume an abuse of power is fear mongering, but fair minded caution must be exercised.  The Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act, and FISA-Protect America Act were enacted post 9-11 for good reason and have been tweaked numerous times to keep America Safe with as little intrusion as possible.

It becomes paramount that we question how secure the technology is in foreign countries and in our own country.  http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9930.shtml  The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America author James Bamford writes about how spying on American citizens has been outsourced to companies closely linked to Israel’s intelligence services. “With unrivaled access to sources and documents, Bamford details how the agency has conducted domestic surveillance without court approval, and he frames it in the context of the NSA’s ongoing hunt for information about today’s elusive enemies. http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Factory-Ultra-Secret-Eavesdropping-America/dp/0385521324

The Department of Homeland Security “claims that data gathered for law enforcement purposes will be “in compliance with privacy and civil liberties laws and policies of the United States,” the GAO found that “by broadly sharing information with non-federal users, who are not bound by the Privacy Act, personal information could be at risk of being used in ways not specified when it was originally collected.” Considering that some 70% of U.S. intelligence assets are employees of private security and defense contractors, NAO is a civil liberties disaster waiting to happen.” http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=BUR20081109&articleId=10864

The far side would have us believe that we have a ruling oligarchy that professes an agenda of militarism, corporatism, and socialism that encroaches itself upon citizens at the expense of the general population with more domestic control and intimidation.  Maybe the far isn’t so far off? Obama has proposed a mandatory civilian force http://www.rightpundits.com/?p=2318 with equal funding to the military which is already on active duty on our soil http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/09/army_homeland_090708w/, Charles Rangle has a Draft Bill just lying in wait http://www.talkleft.com/story/2006/11/19/152217/04  , “The Bailout” has the government owning banks and Obama’s policies in waiting have been compared to Marxism. http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2008/10/01/are-bailouts-marxist/

For now, we will wait to see what decisions Obama makes to shield our country from danger and protect her citizens.  “Let’s be clear here and shed whatever illusions one may have about the outcome of last Tuesday’s election. Despite the overwhelming rejection of the Bush administration and their surrogates by the American people, the incoming Obama administration will pay lip-service to civil liberties and the rule of law. This however, will amount to no more than a better public relations campaign, image management and product roll-out. America rebranded.” wrote Tom Burghardt  http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=BUR20081109&articleId=10864  His blog can be found at http://antifascist-calling.blogspot.com/

For now though our Bill of Rights are safe.  In an all too plausible court case, The Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision narrowly “ruled to uphold the Bill of Rights, the very tenets upon which American society is based. “After carefully considering the relevance of the 10 inviolable rights that comprise the ideological foundation on which our nation is built, the court finds that these basic freedoms remain important for the time being, and should not be overturned,” read the majority opinion authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who cast the tie-breaking vote. “Until such time as it can be definitively proven that citizens no longer require the protections provided by the Bill of Rights, it shall remain the principal legal guidance for the United States of America.” The Supreme Court’s latest decision comes on the heels of last month’s 6-3 ruling to abolish the pursuit of happiness from the three inalienable rights guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence. http://www.theonion.com/content/news_briefs/supreme_court_upholds_bill?utm_source=onion_rss_daily   Kudos to Justice Anthony Kennedy for saving The Bill of Rights and shame, shame, shame on those Justices who sought not to protect the Bill of Rights and who did solemnly swear to uphold those rights. From Wiki-  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oath_of_office#Federal_judicial_oaths

For readers are not familiar with The Onion, the Supreme Court Ruling is a satire and did not occur.  No Court has had issue with the Constitution Free Zone, yet.  When standing behind, beside or in front of the ACLU, keep in mind it may not stand up to protect all of The Bill of Rights either, “ACLU doesn’t mean all of the original 10 amendments because its policy No. 47 says, “Except for lawful police and military purposes, the possession of weapons by individuals is not constitutionally protected,” thereby ignoring the Second Amendment.”  http://www.stoptheaclu.com/archives/2008/09/06/aclu-very-selective-in-upholding-bill-of-rights/

Defending our borders, The U.S. Constitution and our privacy laws is a balancing act that will require Obama’s political vision be clear and forthright through out his entire Presidency.   Good luck with that theory of  a President being forthright though. Obama himself has barred the public from seeing his birth certificate, college transcripts, medical background, etc., so I’d say Obama’s privacy has been protected pretty dang well here in America.

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