National Fourth Amendment Defense Day
UPDATE: And on Capitol Hill, the clocks are striking thirteen. At least in the House. I'm sure that in the Senate, cooler heads will prevail, Obama will heed the wise words of Lord Kos, make a great speech.... ]
[I propose June 20, which is sooner rather than later, because this thing is greased; read on for the detail.]
[See the Strange Bedfellows Coalition:
Ron Paul supporters, the ACLU and liberal blogs are uniting
Excellent! See their money counter at the bottom of this post!]
Have you read the Fourth Amendment lately?
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 Fourth Amendment, along with the other amendments to the Constitution that form our Bill of Rights, came into effect on December 15, 1791.
The Framers of our Constitution -- and the voters in the states that passed the Bill of Rights -- understood how tyranny worked, and they took a dim view of King George breaking into their homes, rummaging through their desks, opening their mail, and reading whatever the Fuck he wanted, whenever the fuck he wanted to, without going to a judge for a warrant, and without having to explain what he expected to find when the warrant was executed. The Framers had already had a bellyful of kings.
The Framers understood tyranny, even though they didn't have computers in 1791. And if the Framers had computers, it's plain as day they wouldn't have wanted King George breaking into their hard disks, rummaging through their desktops, or reading their data--whether the data was email, documents on your hard disk, your telephone calls, your Google searches, or the sites that you surf.
Tyranny is tyranny, no matter the technology.
So it's simple and crystal clear: The Fourth Amendment means that the government doesn't get to read your data--to the Framers, "paper"--without a warrant.
It's simple. And anybody who tries to make it complicated is trying to fuck you.
Well, surprise! The Democrat leadership is trying to fuck you. How?
For those who came in late:
The government has been reading all your email without a warrant. This is a felony. The excuse was 9/11, but the government was pushing the program before 9/11. The government did this with the help of the telcos, since they own the networks. The telcos had to have known the program was illegal, but went ahead anyhow, profiting enormously, even though (surprise!) the Bush administration didn't pay its bills.
So, some brave people decided to defend the Fourth Amendment by suing the telcos, with the goal of (a) holding the telcos accountable for illegal acts, and (b) exposing the scale of the program, which is, of course, secret.
So now, the Democrat Party is giving the telcos a sloppy wet kiss in the form of retroactive immunity from the lawsuits.* Some so-called Democrats -- Jello Jay Rockefeller, Steny "Putting the 'Ho' In" Hoyer**, and Blue Dog traitors -- are giving the telcos some tongue; and others, like Leader Nance and "Give 'em Hell" Harry Reid, can't even be bothered to tell them to get a room. And some true Democrats, like Russ Feingold and Chris Dodd, are defending the Constitution. Understand that there's no good reason for any of this except servicing huge corporations; there's no political price to be paid. Last I heard, there wasn't a public outcry in favor of letting the government read all our mail, and the telcos are about as popular as the last dropped connection or fucked up bill that you had.
What I'm proposing is that on June 20, all the blogs who read this post their defenses of the Fourth Amendment, and explain what they're doing to protect it, and then go cross-link crazy. Again, the issue is very, very simple:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons [online], houses [including computers], papers [including digital paper, like email], and effects [including digital effects, like cell ohone calls, documents, and Google searches] , 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.
It's a simple issue. I'm all for the D's winning the election, but they shouldn't be doing it by giving the government the tools of a tyrant and destroying our Constitution.
NOTE Leah suggested that I write this post. Needless to say, as emptywheel pointed out on June 10, and I pointed out on a week later, and BTD points out today, Senator Obama, as the presumptive Democratic nominee and party leader, is a, perhaps the, key player in preserving the Constitution and making the Bush administration accountable. (Just as he was on January 4, 2008). His staff may be reached via voice at (202) 224-2854, or via fax at (202) 228-4260. Naturally, you'll be polite! Note that both Hillary and Obama said they would filibuster a previous version of this bill.
NOTE * It would take a lawyer to muster the proper level of outrage here, but I believe it's extraordinary, unprecedented, for Congress to intervene in an ongoing lawsuit to force a result. What do we have a court system for if they can do that?
NOTE Of course, there's no reason to think they won't open physical mail, too. Where does it end? Answer: It won't.