What's this Blog About?

Politics in Wisconsin as they roll up to every level... and some other thoughts that may cross my mind are explored here from my lefty point of view. My values shape my opinions. You'll always find them in here. Let's have some fun exploring why Liberal values are American values!

Your comments are both welcome and encouraged!
(The watercolor is called Magnolia Tree for Momma, by Audrey Crawford)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

CALL NOW! To Stop Congress on NSA Warrantless Spying!

For me it's the precedent it would set. Anytime any President in the future decides to ignore the Constitution or the Bil of Rights, they could do it and feel that with a friendly Congress, they had blanket protection after the fact. It's dangerous to our entire democracy and way to close to totalitarianism for my taste.

Let me give you an example (although blanket spying without judicial review ought to be enough for you), the next President decides that he doesn't like the protests outside the White House. This is an American tradition followed by Americans from all political backgrounds. He or she declares all of Washington D.C. a "terrorist zone" and in doing so declares that no holding signs, shouting or gathering in groups will be allowed in the terrorist zone (all of D.C.). Then the President declares it is in the name of National Security and sets out 100's of DHS police to surround and infiltrate the Capitol of our country.

They arrest 1000's of Americans who exert that they have a right to free speech and free assembly under the first Amendment. They hold them indefinitely without court review as terrorists.

A Federal judge years later declares the terrorist zone unconstitutional and states that it must be disbanded immediately and the people arrested released or tried.

The President with a friendly Congress ignores the courts, continues to arrest and detain protestors without taking them to court - holding them indefinitely, and writes a bill stating that the President has the right to declare "terrorist zones" anywhere in the country in the name of National Security and that all rights of American citizens to protest in those zones can be suspended indefinitely. Congress takes the bill as written by the President to give authority after the fact to suspend the Constitution at will and without judicial review.

They are debating the bill in Congress and you have a decision to make as an American: ignore it or be a Patriot and make a phone call.

I ask you what the hell's the difference between suspending the 1st amendment and suspending the 4th amendment? The above scenario is happening now almost exactly as written but to the 4th Amendment using NSA spying instead of "terrorist zones", only it's worse, the President wrote a blanket protection and will not tell Congress everything the protection will cover or everything he has done or what the protection protects.

As far as I'm concerned this bill is treason and anyone who votes to suspend our Constitution and create a totalitarian presidency is a traitor to America. They swore an oath to protect and defend our Constitution against all threats foreign and domestic.

A vote to allow this bill flat out breaks this oath.

Think I'm exaggerating? Read these stories of ordinary Americans under surveillance.

Congress doesn't even KNOW what they are voting to protect the President from!!!

Which amendment will we allow the President and a rogue Congress to suspend next???

They are debating the bill now and we expect an attempt to vote TODAY! Remember to remind them (except some of the senators) that they are up for reelection and you will remember their decision on Election Day.

Particularly important Congress people to call in Wisconsin to urge to put on the brakes are first and foremost F.Jim Sensenbrenner. If you're in his district, let him know you will vote on this issue. Then, all of us in or out of the district should call Mark Green's office. He's running for Governor and calls statewide could be effective. Next on the list is Paul Ryan and then Tom Petri. If you are in a Democrats district call and let them know they have your support when they vote to stop this bill.

For the Senators, call them BOTH. Ask Senator Kohl to support any and all attempts to bring this bill to a vote including a filibuster. Call Russ Feingold's office and thank him for his earlier filibuster threat and encourage him to stand his ground.

Remember again, an election is just 54 days away and your calls to your congressmen and women in the current political climate WILL make a difference!!!!!

Do something patriotic for your self, your children, your friends and neighbors and most importantly for you country today....take a few minutes and make some calls!!!

From the ACLU website:

  • For all members of Congress
    The recent terror plot exposed in the United Kingdom highlights the need to make sure our anti-terrorism resources are focused on al Qaeda operatives and not wasted on innocent Americans who have done nothing wrong.
    Civil liberties and the war on terrorism are not mutually exclusive. You have the duty to keep me safe and free.
  • For your U.S. Senators
    Please oppose S. 2453, which would legitimize the president’s claim that he has the power to spy on the phone calls and emails of Americans at will, without an individualized warrant or any independent check.
    It would even empower the government to capture and read any emails sent by Americans, as long as the government does not know if all the recipients are physically located in the U.S. -- a standard virtually impossible to prove.
    Also oppose S. 2455. It gives the president the authority to sidestep the judicial review for wiretaps on Americans required by the Constitution and destroys our fundamental Fourth Amendment and First Amendment rights.
  • For your Representative
    Please oppose H.R. 5825. It would allow the president to secretly search Americans’ homes and listen to their phone calls without warrants for months at a time if there were an attack, and would make judicial review for wiretaps optional, even after 90 days of warrantless surveillance.
    Like the Cheney-Specter bill, it would allow the NSA to capture and read any emails sent by Americans, as long as the government does not know if all the recipients are physically located in the U.S. -- a standard virtually impossible to prove.
More information on the bills:
1. The Cheney-Specter bill makes following the protections in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act totally optional. The bill would change the law so that foreign intelligence surveillance of Americans could be conducted without following FISA’s requirement of individualized judicial review of wiretaps. The bill would change the law to allow the president to ignore FISA’s protections and unilaterally decide which Americans to wiretap, indefinitely and without any mandatory check to protect individual rights. The bill also gives President Bush support for his currently untenable argument that FISA does not apply in wartime by deleting the provisions saying FISA does apply in wartime. If the bill passes, presidents will have multiple avenues to circumvent the statute, rendering moot its protections for Americans’ civil liberties.
2. The Cheney-Specter bill does not require President Bush to get a warrant for every wiretap of every American currently subject to the NSA’s illegal warrantless wiretapping. President Bush’s so-called “concession” to submit a “program” to the FISA court to approve is not required by the bill—it’s conditional. Only if the bill passes exactly as it was written by the White House or with additional White House changes has President Bush “promised” that he will submit one of his secret surveillance programs to the FISA Court. Nothing in the bill requires him to do so, and the Cheney-Specter bill has stacked the deck so that the court will hear only the administration’s arguments and is directed to approve surveillance without ever knowing the name of every American wiretapped and any facts supporting such surveillance. Nothing in the bill requires any future president to get approval of programs of surveillance let alone actual warrants based on evidence a particular American is conspiring with al Qaeda.
3. The Cheney-Specter bill legalizes President Bush’s illegal spying although Congress doesn’t really know all that he has directed the NSA to do regarding people in the US. The bill rewrites FISA to legalize the surveillance President Bush is currently conducting in defiance of the law. Yet, the administration has stonewalled congressional attempts to learn the true scope and nature of all of the illegal surveillance the administration has secretly authorized. Specter, himself, has called President Bush’s NSA program illegal “on its face,” yet his bill provides statutory power to do more than the president has admitted and it expands the NSA’s power to search Americans’ calls, e-mails, and homes without any warrant under FISA.
4. The Cheney-Specter bill allows law enforcement to enter Americans’ homes and offices without a warrant. Landlords, custodians and “other people” would be required to let law enforcement officers to access Americans’ computers and telephones, and no warrant is required, simply government say-so—under the expanded powers in the bill. This measure flies in the face of the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
5. The Specter bill does not enforce the Fourth Amendment’s requirement that no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause stating with particularity the things to be searched and seized. Specter’s bill so broadly redefines whom can be spied on without a warrant that countless Americans would be subject to secret NSA surveillance. All international phone calls and emails would be subject to warrantless surveillance under the bill’s changes to the law. Plus, emails and other Internet traffic would be subject to monitoring if the government did not know the physical location of every recipient of an American’s email. Furthermore, the bill creates a new type of generalized surveillance power, which, while it requires court approval, does not require the government to identify each target in the US, the basis for such surveillance or the method of monitoring each American—wiretaps, bugging or other devices. Under this exceedingly low threshold, the NSA could win approval for conducting surveillance of countless Americans while keeping secret from the courts and Congress who is being monitored and even whether the spying approved actually helps protect against terrorism.
Take action! Tell your members of Congress to oppose the Specter-Cheney Bill and other dangerous proposals that threaten your rights.

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