Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Privacy rights...

I received the following content from the Sovereign Society today and decided to pass this important perspective on via my blog. These are things you may not know--and may not want to hear. In my opinion they are fundamental to our personal and national freedoms based on constitutional rights...

Let’s start with a freedom quiz:

Did You Know …

1) The U.S. government uses your travel records to create a “risk assessment” profile, to decide if you’re a security risk and whether you’ll be allowed to travel?

2) The government can access your prescription drug records under their “Prescription Drug Monitoring Program”?

3) President George W. Bush’s wiretapping and communications surveillance has not gone away, but been expanded under President Obama?

4) The Patriot Act is unconstitutional and allows government agents to secretly access any financial information about you they want?

5) The FBI and the U.S. military admitted to obtaining information on thousands of U.S. citizens without the search warrants that the Fourth Amendment requires?

Even More Snoop Power, Coming Soon

The Obama Justice Department is trying to convince federal courts to extend warrantless surveillance powers beyond even what the Patriot Act provides.

The government now wants free access to ALL private e-mail and Internet browsing records and pending legislation in Congress may do exactly that.

Including those who are not suspected of any wrongdoing! And without any warrants, or judicial supervision of any kind!


Libertarian columnist Glenn Greenwald writes, “It is unsurprising that the 9/11 attack fostered a massive expansion of America’s already sprawling Surveillance State. But what is far less understandable, is that this growth shows no signs of abating even as we approach almost a full decade of emotional and temporal distance from that event…Simply put, there is no surveillance power too intrusive or unaccountable for our political class provided the word ‘terrorism’ is invoked to justify those powers.”

Americans, of all people in the world, should be ashamed of themselves if they are willing to stand by and watch their hard-won freedoms diminish … or disappear.

'What Do I Have to Hide?'

This question infuriates me.

It’s bad enough when the government asks, but worse when free people ask themselves.
I’ll answer for both.

The government, wanting surveillance of your finances and every other aspect of your life, reasons: “If you aren't doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?”

Here’s your answer – to the government, your friends who don’t value their own privacy and any other askers:

Privacy is an inherent human right. It is a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect.

Why do humans clothe their bodies? Why do we live in houses? Is not privacy central to just about every aspect of our lives?

Do you share your finances with everyone you meet? Do you spill every secret thought that goes through your mind to the next stranger who walks by?

So isn’t privacy a very intimate part of who we are?

And if we wanted our e-mails read by anyone other than the person to whom we’ve written them, wouldn’t we instead blog or “tweet” them to the world?

Personal Freedom vs. Government Control

The real choices are personal freedom and liberty versus government control of our lives and our fortunes.

Tyranny -- whether it arises under threat of terrorist attack, alleged solutions to banking problems or under any other form of scrutiny -- is still tyranny.

Liberty requires security plus privacy.

Widespread surveillance, whether by police or nosy bureaucrats, is the very definition of a police state.

It is up to us to champion our privacy. Personal and financial, even (and especially) when we have nothing to hide.

The Government Already Has All the Authority it Needs to Fight Real Crime

The truth is that government really doesn’t need these enormous policing powers.

Under the U.S. Constitution and laws, government already has authority to investigate and prosecute anyone it has probable cause to believe has committed, or is planning to commit, a crime.

It also has authority for surveillance of anyone it has probable cause to believe represents a foreign power or is a spy. Even if the person is not suspected of any crime.

And honestly, these ever-expanding police powers that destroy our liberty and privacy likely won’t increase our safety. Yet, they’ve destroyed our constitutional rights.

When I was 15-years-old, I swore my first oath to support and defend the United States Constitution when I served as a young page in the House of Representatives. And I took that same oath to uphold the Constitution as a member of Congress (a Republican and a conservative).

Every congressman and senator currently serving has also “sworn their allegiance.”

Knowing this oath, how can we explain Congress’ continuing support of unconstitutional laws? Laws like the Patriot Act destroy guarantees against unreasonable search and seizure.

My answer: fear. It's not justified fear of "terrorism" -- but cowardly fear of politicians not getting re-elected. Politics rules, and to hell with the U.S. Constitution!

Faithfully yours,

Robert E. Bauman JD
Former Congressman from Texas

A couple famous quotes in closing...

“Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”--Benjamin Franklin

“The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.”--John F. Kennedy

"Nations grown corrupt
Love bondage more than liberty;
Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty."
~John Milton

"Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance." ~Woodrow Wilson

"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." ~James Madison, speech, Virginia Convention, 1788

1 comment:

Bonnie said...

And how about that wonderful new Arizona law ?!