Thursday, July 10, 2008

Imagine What Would Be Happening Right Now If They Had Just Cut the Heart Out of the Second Amendment?

Image: Salvador Dali, Premonition of Civil War

Imagine What Would Be Happening Right Now If They Had Just Cut the Heart Out of the Second Amendment?

By Richard Power

For the historical record, four important points --

1. The issue of immunity for telecommunications companies is secondary. It pales in contrast to the damage done to FISA and to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

2. Senator Obama and others are being self-serving and misleading when they characterize the legislation as a "compromise" in an effort to justify their votes.

3. Yes, if Senator Obama had voted against it, he would have been walking into a political trap; but, of course, he also walked into a political trap by voting for it.

4. As wrong as this legislation is, and as shameful as Democratic support for it is, it is not the only issue is at play in this election, and there is no sane alternative to doing everything within your power to get Sen. Obama elected.

Beyond these four points, I refer you to the ACLU:

... in a blatant assault upon civil liberties and the right to privacy, the Senate passed an unconstitutional domestic spying bill that violates the Fourth Amendment and eliminates any meaningful role for judicial oversight of government surveillance. The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 was approved by a vote of 69-28 and is expected to be signed into law by President Bush shortly. This bill essentially legalizes the president’s unlawful warrantless wiretapping program revealed in December 2005 by the New York Times. ...
The FISA Amendments Act nearly eviscerates oversight of government surveillance by allowing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to review only general procedures for spying rather than individual warrants. The FISC will not be told any specifics about who will actually be wiretapped, thereby undercutting any meaningful role for the court and violating the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
The bill further trivializes court review by authorizing the government to continue a surveillance program even after the government’s general spying procedures are found insufficient or unconstitutional by the FISC. The government has the authority to wiretap through the entire appeals process, and then keep and use whatever information was gathered in the meantime. A provision touted as a major “concession” by proponents of the bill calls for investigations by the inspectors general of four agencies overseeing spying activities. But members of Congress who do not sit on the Judiciary or Intelligence committees will not be guaranteed access to the agencies’ reports.
ACLU, 9-7-08

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

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