“How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!”~Samuel Adams
By Alden L. Benton
The march to destroy the Constitution and the freedoms it guarantees continues in the Democrat-controlled Senate. This time the target is the Fourth Amendment.
The Fourth Amendment clearly spells out the rights of the people against unwarranted search and seizure, stating:
“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.”
Amendment 4 to the Constitution of the United States of America, ratified December 15, 1791.
In November, Wired reported a victory for privacy, the rule of law, and the Constitution. On November 29, according to Wired, “A Senate committee on Thursday [November 29, 2012] unanimously backed sweeping digital privacy protections requiring the government, for the first time, to get a probable-cause warrant to obtain e-mail and other content stored in the cloud.”
The measure, an amendment to the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, removed “a provision that allows the government to acquire a suspect’s e-mail or other stored content from an internet service provider without showing probable cause that a crime was committed.”
Before this amendment, the government could obtain electronic content without a warrant if it had been stored on a third-party server for more than six months and if they thought the information might be useful in an investigation.
On Tuesday, AllGov reported that the Senate dropped the amendment and sent the bill to the president. Given the president’s demonstrated lack of respect for the Constitution and the protections it establishes, he will probably sign the bill.
Earlier this year President Obama continued the Bush administrations attack on the Fourth Amendment by directing the Justice Department to defend policies, including warrantless wiretapping, challenged by an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit.
The onslaught also continues every day at airports throughout the nation. The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) intrusively gropes individuals, searches their belongings, and subjects passengers to electronic scans before they can board an airliner. This farce is perpetrated without warrants, without probable cause, and often without any reason at all.
This is an outrageous attack on our person, let alone a gross affront to our Constitutional freedoms. There are over 58,000 TSA employees and they boast on their blog of 10 good catches in 2011. Their top 10 includes:
- Snakes, turtles, and birds,
- A science project,
- Inert landmines
- Inert hand grenades,
- A plastic weapon called a tactical spike,
- A stun gun disguised as a cell phone
- A flare gun and flares in carry-on luggage
- Two throwing knives
- Over 1,200 firearms
- A loaded pistol
- Small pieces of C4 explosive in checked luggage.
Granted, most these “catches” represent security threats. However, in the same year (2011), more than 638 million passengers flew in the United States. Most of these items could have been discovered by a simple hand check of carry-on luggage, a scan of checked baggage, and if necessary, a simple pat down. In fact, the elaborate and intrusive system of the TSA did not detect or catch the would-be shoe bomber or the underwear bomber.
The TSA, warrantless wiretapping, and warrantless searches are all symptoms of an ever-expanding intrusion of government into our daily lives. As I have noted before, Dennis Prager says the larger the government, the smaller the citizen.
The scope, the level of intrusion, is increasing at an alarming rate. Technological advances, while beneficial to our society and economy, have made us more vulnerable to the creeping power of the state. It is in our response to these issues, however, that separates conservatives from Democrats and many Republicans.
The foundation of conservatism is a firm belief that the rights of man come directly from our creator, not from other men, and the idea that the power of government resides in the governed flows directly from this. The third piece of this triad is the idea that government must be limited to ensure that the other two parts prevail.
If you are tired of being groped at the airport, being told how to run your life or how to educate your children, it is time to stand up and say NO to any further expansion of government power before the federal monster overwhelms us all.
Even giants can be slain — just ask David.
“Our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty.” ~Samuel Adams
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©2012 Alden L. Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
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