[ExI] The Total State

Amara Graps amara at amara.com
Sat Jun 21 05:50:52 UTC 2008

>If this case is allowed to stand (the Texas CPS officers do not face justice
>for their crimes) it looks to me as if the constitution allows the state
>governments to become a tyrannical dictatorships, in complete control of the
>population, perfectly legally.  It allows these governments to control the
>population by legally abducting their children.

Didn't the ACLU represent some of the FLDS mothers?

>All this time we have been worried about abuse of the war powers act, when
>the *real* time bomb in the constitution was elsewhere and even more

I wonder if you've read the news in the last 24 hours? The telecoms who
cooperated with the NSA in domestic spying are not legally liable for
their actions. The House (democrats) not only gave the telecoms
immunity, but expanded the NSA's spying powers on Americans. So much
for the Constitution's Fourth Amendment.

I don't know any more what to think. Governments reflect the people who
elect them, so this is what the Americans must want. But all I can see
is a horrendous monster growing more out of control by the day. This
is not an environment in which I want to raise my child.



"The bill allows the National Security Agency to order phone companies,
ISPs and online service providers to turn over all communications that
have one foreigner as a party to the conversation. If any Americans are
party to the conversation, the government is supposed to mask their
names, but these procedures to minimize privacy-invasion are easily
overridden. The longstanding Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
required specific court orders to wiretap phone and internet lines
inside the United States, but did not regulate spying conducted on
non-U.S. soil.

Under the so-called FISA Amendments Act of 2008, the government would
need a court order to wiretap an American overseas, regardless of where
the tap was. Under the current regime, targeted taps aimed at Americans
overseas requires the sign-off of the attorney general.

The nation's telecoms will soon be freed from some 40 lawsuits accusing
them of eavesdropping illegally, if the bill is passed into law as
expected. The legality of the retroactive amnesty isn't clear, and
groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier
Foundation will likely challenge the provision on constitutional


House Falls Down on the Job

The House of Representatives today has fallen down on the job. By
passing the FISA Amendments Act (293-129, with 105 Democrats in favor),
they voted to give this lame duck President an undeserved parting gift
by passing immunity for telecoms that helped the President violate the
Constitution by participating in the NSA's massive and illegal spying

While Speaker Pelosi and President Bush describe it as a "balanced bill"
with "bipartisan support," the millions of Americans whose privacy
rights have been violated by the President's illegal spying program seem
to have been left out of the equation.

Senator Bond's gloating statement to the New York Times showed the true
picture: "I think the White House got a better deal than even they had
hoped to get." The Washington Post wrote that the bill "hands President
Bush one of the last major legislative victories he is likely to
achieve." And the San Francisco Chronicle, writing from Speaker Pelosi's
home district, called the vote "weak, timid, spineless."

To say that EFF is disappointed in the House Leadership's support for
this bill is an understatement. Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader
Hoyer, so vocal in their opposition to telecom immunity last March,
capitulated to a dangerous "compromise" that gives the telecoms and the
Bush Administration what they have been demanding for over a year:
Protection from court cases that threaten to uncover the extent of the
President's illegal spying program.

Many Democrats stood up for the rule of law, and they deserve our
thanks. Senators Conyers and Nadler have been consistent and vocal in
their staunch opposition to immunity. Senator Feingold has spoken out as
well, saying that the bill "is not a compromise, it is a capitulation."

Republican Senator Arlen Specter has shown himself more supportive of
the rule of law than Speaker Pelosi on this issue: "I am opposed to the
proposed legislation because it does not require a judicial
determination that what the telephone companies have done in the past is
constitutional. It is totally insufficient to grant immunity for the
telephone companies' prior conduct based merely on the written assurance
from the administration that the spying was legal."

As the fight moves to the Senate, we now look to Senators Leahy, Dodd
and Feingold to lead the opposition to the immunity provisions in the
Senate version of the bill. Contact your Senators now and tell them to
stand strong.


House Approves Unconstitutional Surveillance Legislation (6/20/2008)

Contact: (202) 675-2312 or media at dcaclu.org

Washington, DC - Following a vote in the House of Representatives
sanctioning warrantless wiretapping and handing immunity to
telecommunications companies for their role in domestic spying, the
American Civil Liberties Union expressed outrage at representatives who
voted for the unconstitutional legislation. The bill, H.R. 6304, or The
FISA Amendments Act of 2008, passed the chamber by a vote of 293-129,
and is expected to be voted on in the Senate next week.

The following may be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, director of the
ACLU's Washington Legislative Office:

"It's Christmas morning at the White House thanks to this vote. The
House just wrapped up some expensive gifts for the administration and
their buddies at the phone companies. Watching the House fall to scare
tactics and political maneuvering is especially infuriating given the
way it stood up to pressure from the president on this same issue just
months ago. In March we thought the House leadership had finally grown a
backbone by rejecting the Senate's FISA bill. Now we know they will not
stand up for the Constitution.

"No matter how often the opposition calls this bill a 'compromise,' it
is not a meaningful compromise, except of our constitutional rights. The
bill allows for mass, untargeted and unwarranted surveillance of all
communications coming in to and out of the United States. The courts'
role is superficial at best, as the government can continue spying on
our communications even after the FISA court has objected. Democratic
leaders turned what should have been an easy FISA fix into the wholesale
giveaway of our Fourth Amendment rights.

"More than two years after the president's domestic spying was revealed
in the pages of the New York Times, Congress' fury and shock has
dissipated to an obedient whimper. After scrambling for years to cover
their tracks, the phone companies and the administration are almost
there. This immunity provision will effectively destroy Americans'
chance to have their deserved day in court and will kill any possibility
of learning the extent of the administration's lawless actions. The
House should be ashamed of itself. The fate of the Fourth Amendment is
now in the Senate's hands. We can only hope senators will show more
courage than their colleagues in the House."

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