After Edward Snowden broke the story that the NSA was spying on every single American Citizen, it almost seemed like “we the people” started to care …
It almost seemed like “we the people” were pissed about the Government’s gross violation of the American people’s natural (and constitutionally protected) rights to privacy …
Then, it just kind of faded away.
Edward Snowden is still a man without a country and can’t return home to the USA without fear of being imprisoned (or maybe even killed).
The whistleblower suffered for leaking this important information, but did the government?
Is your privacy at thing of the past? Maybe not, if guys like Rand Paul have anything to say about it.
Here’s the story …
May 2015, an important month for your privacy and liberty
In case you have not been following what’s been going on this month with the PATRIOT act, I’ll let the good Judge Andrew Napolitano explain …
“A decision last week about National Security Agency spying by a panel of judges on the United States Court of Appeals in New York City sent shock waves through the government. The court ruled that a section of the Patriot Act that is due to expire at the end of this month and on which the government has relied as a basis for its bulk acquisition of telephone data during the past 14 years does not authorize that acquisition.
This may sound like legal mumbo jumbo, but it goes to the heart of the relationship between the people and their government in a free society. Here is the backstory and the latest.
The Patriot Act is the centerpiece of the federal government’s false claims that by surrendering our personal liberties, it can somehow keep us safe. The liberty-for-safety offer has been around for millennia and was poignant at the time of the founding of the American republic.
The Framers addressed it in the Constitution itself, where they recognized the primacy of the right to privacy and insured against its violation by intentionally forcing the government to jump through some difficult hoops before it can capture our thoughts, words or private behavior.
Those hoops are the requirement of a search warrant issued by a judge and based on evidence — called probable cause — demonstrating that it is more likely than not that the government will find what it is looking for from the person or place it is targeting. Only then may a judge issue a warrant, which must specifically describe the place to be searched or specifically identify the person or thing to be seized.
None of this is new. It has been at the core of our system of government since the 1790s. It is embodied in the Fourth Amendment, which is at the heart of the Bill of Rights. It is quintessentially American.
The Patriot Act has purported to do away with the search warrant requirement by employing language so intentionally vague that the government can interpret it as it wishes. Add to this the secret venue for this interpretation — the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to which the Patriot Act directs that NSA applications for authority to spy on Americans are to be made — and you have the totalitarian stew we have been force-fed since October 2001.
Because the FISA court meets in secret, Americans did not know that the feds were spying on all of us all the time and relying on their own unnatural reading of words in the Patriot Act to justify it — until Edward Snowden spilled the beans on his former employer nearly two years ago.
The feds argued to the secret court that they were entitled to any phone call data they wanted — usually sought by area code or ZIP code or the customer base of telecom service providers — so long as they claimed to need it to search for communications about terror-related activities, and they claimed they needed everyone’s records, and they claimed the Patriot Act authorized this.
The secret court bought those claims and — fast-forward to today — the feds now have immediate access to our phone calls in real time. They can turn on our cellphones in our pockets and purses and use them as listening devices without us knowing it, and they have physical access to all telephone carriers’ equipment whenever they wish, which today is 24/7.
Some members of Congress reject this. Foremost among the outraged in the Senate is Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. It is none of the government’s business, he argues, what we say on our phone calls. If the NSA wants to hear us, let them present probable cause to a judge identifying the person they want to hear and seek a search warrant. Mr. Paul’s is a genuine outrage from the only voice among those running for president who is faithful to the Constitution.
Other senators, foremost among them Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, also running for president, are pretending outrage by offering a Band-Aid to replace the Patriot Act called the Freedom Act. The Freedom Act gets the NSA physically out of the telecoms’ offices, but lets them come back in digitally whenever one of these secret FISA courts says so, and the standard for saying so is not probable cause as the Constitution requires. It is whatever the government wants and whenever it wants it.
The so-called Freedom Act would actually legitimize all spying all the time on all of us in ways that the Patriot Act fails to do. It is no protection of privacy; it is no protection of constitutional liberty. It unleashes American spies on innocent Americans in utter disregard of the Fourth Amendment.
Earlier this week, Mr. Paul announced that he feels so strongly about the right to be left alone, and takes so seriously his oath to uphold the Constitution, and believes so certainly that our phone calls are none of the government’s business that he plans to filibuster all attempts to permit this to continue. For that alone, he is a hero to the Constitution. Perhaps his friend Mr. Cruz will return to his constitutional roots and join him.
How do we know that the Freedom Act is a Band-Aid only?
Because the NSA supports it.”
Why the PATRIOT act should be repealed …
Even the courts are now agreeing that the PATRIOT act is illegal.
Is it or was it ever even necessary?
In a word. No.
As the good judge Napolitano pointed out this debate has been around since the founding of America. The first American put it this way:
“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
–Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
Rand Paul spent 10+ hours filibustering for you against the PATRIOT act last night. Do you even care?
Earlier on May 20, 2015, Rand Paul’s office told reporters that holding the floor past midnight — his planned filibuster — would prevent Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from filing cloture on the Patriot Act and related bills…
By the way, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had already put forth a new bill as a “stop-gap measure” to allow time for a fuller debate on the issue. What was this stop-gap? Simply a 5 year re-authorization with no changes to the current PATRIOT act.
That’s business as usual in the Senate — which is why a lot of things never change — they know bills are going to expire for years, wait till the last minute, then claim there’s no time to debate them — so they get extended for a time period …
It’s one of the reasons that power given to the state is almost NEVER given back.
That was Rand Paul’s reasoning for holding the floor for so long, to prevent that tactic from being employed before the Senate left before holiday …
What can you do?
Well, it’s a step in the right direction …
According to The Hill, “… Key parts of the Patriot Act are not set to expire until the end of the month, The National Security Agency (NSA) will begin winding down a controversial program run under that law this week, according to the Justice Department.”
I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the Government to restrain itself though …
Do two things:
1. Support guys like Rand Paul when they stand up for you and your rights. I’m not saying “Rand Paul for President” (yet) … but I am saying #StandWithRand and anyone else who stands up for constitutional liberty in Washington …
2. Take your privacy into your own hands. Do all you can to make it at least “hard work” for the Government if they want to snoop on you. Be careful what you put online.
McConnell, get your head out and for once act like a Patriot and do not continue support for the Patriots Act. Let the act die and protect our American citizens from government intrusion. You are either a true Patriot or a do nothing leader, currying Obama’s favor. The American people are watching.
President Obamas communist America. How do you like it so far?
@James: at least he’s on the way out!
I totally agree with your report, AND with Rand Paul’s stand. That strong position that Rand Paul takes to defend our (remaining?) liberties is reason enough to support him for President against anyone else NOT willing to take a similar stand. Without our liberties (as provided by the constitution), we Americans have no more (or even less?) than peoples in other countries!
@Gary: thanks for the comment!
From what I’ve seen, it seems that the problem is the “me and mine” attitude. Most people are doing their daily routine and living a normal life (as they know it), so they aren’t concerned. It’s the “it’s not affecting me, so I’m not concerned” syndrome. Then there are those who are struggling just to survive and they are so busy doing what they have to do just to hold on, that they “don’t have the time to be concerned”. Add to that, the fact that the government is creating so many distractions causing legitimate fears among the people that this particular problem is not on top of their list.
@George: those are some very, very astute observations. thanks for the comments
I have been watching this unfold, and I must say , Rand Paul is the man of the hour. I support him for standing for my freedom, well every ones, and should let the patriot act expire. We do not need it, I would rather have my freedom, and not trade it for security. I can deal with my own safety. I have not made up my mind on who to vote for, but you can bet it will be for one who is for the constitution.
You’re all right! Rand has my vote! What we don’t need is another Commie (Hillary) in 2016 as it would be more of the same!
Our government is trying to make us all pussies. For instance if I tell you I’m going to punch you in the nose I can go to jail for terroristic threats. I’m in my 70s and we used to punch each other in the nose when you pissed us off. Today the gov’t wants to stick it’s nose into every aspect of our lives, even personal disputes. I grew up in Jersey, Hudson county, I’m one of those guys who when you piss me off I will get in your face and still to this day, I will duke it out with you. I’m sure the gov’t thinks that I am a horrible person. Growing up we learned that if you stick your nose into someone else’s business it got broke. It didn’t take too many before you learned your lesson, or you got seriously hurt. Maybe it’s time we started punching the gov’t in the nose. I’ve got the balls to do it, do you?
@Bud: love it. Yes the Gubment has turned America soft that’s for sure. Great points about minding your own business too.
Rand’s the man. I fully supported Ron last time. Unfortunately, just like his dad, he will never get the nomination. The republican party will do everything possible to make sure it doesn’t happen just as they did to Ron. We need to abolish the two party system and let some new blood have a chance.
I think all Americans owe Rand a well deserved thank you! Our constitution is one of the greatest documents ever created. If the government would follow it we would All be happier folks! So far he has my vote!
I hope most people see thru Rand Paul who is a Liberal Dem pretending he is a Republican. He is just like his father another mistake to have ran for the White House. We already have had 6 yrs of hell and we dont need more liberal nuts to ruin our country. I would say if you are not doing anything wrong you dont need to worry about phone calls being watched and if you are doing something wrong you need to be taken out right away. Do you really want all those Muslins planning attacks against us in their churches while they take all our welfare and our kids die to protect them. Wake up
@Joseph: So much for liberty.
We owe Snowden a Medal Of Honor for telling the Americans the truth and he should be given the Right to return Home to America without any ado!
Unfortunately I am too busy with my own drawn-up anti-mind control pt2 of a 2pt petition to the DOJ to look at possibly valid mind control cases, do the prep-work for prosecution, then mind control victims can continue to get court cases run — but this time not a pricey reward for psychological damages, etc., but I am calling for 25 yrs imprisonment for mind controllers for anything less than death, & the death penalty for death of MCVs. But I don’t want to stop there, MC should have a bill versions for both houses of congress making it illegal to do. The president would sign it. If a case goes bad then they can appeal to the Supreme Court, if further education on the subject needs to be done in a presentation to the Court so that none of it is missed.
So, I can kind of relate to what you said above because, as a MCV I am surveilled — a privacy rights violation extraordinaire.
Since I’m working hard on getting signatures for that, I don’t have the time to do a petition, but you here could at Care2, which has 27-30 million members across the US & around the world, so you could warn everybody abroad about what’s really going down here.
Let them know the powers-that-be are trying to subjucate this country to the coming New World Order that the first Bush pres. talked openly to the American citizenry. Old Europe’s crowned heads that remain royal houses of the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha line want to get back the power they lost, & they’re really jealous of the US. However, our own Rockefellers are heavily involved working with them through a CIA connection to make this happen, because the Rockefellers are only into money-affirmation & out-front power — & most certainly not the interests of the American people.
So, now is the time to act. Go from political underground to activists. Use your knowledge of the political state we’re in to inform the masses & get a ground-swell of support to reach upward, &, through the sheer force of petition signature numbers from here & abroad, make congress listen to you. They will if you force them to take a serious look at the issue & do the right thing here, by virtue of the tactic of flooding their offices with those petition signatures, whether they be one long list or blocks of them at a time.
Good luck. We all have to do our part. Stand up & be counted, because all of our collective asses are on the line.
Do a petition that’s anti-big brother, flooding the congressional offices to bend them to your will. That’s how successful activism works — all the time.
Can’t do it myself, too busy on my second part of a two-part petition on anti-mind control that calls for the strongest measures to date.
Go from knowing to acting on what you know! :-)))
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