Are Americans, Divided By ‘Liberal Vs. Conservative,’ Missing What’s Really Happening To America?

Can one imagine how difficult it was for America’s founders to actually make the decision to separate from Great Britain? England was the Motherland. The Crown was the central government. For all of their lives, the government of Great Britain was the only government they had ever known. The history of England was their history. Not only that, these men had never experienced any other system of government. Neither was there history to guide them. A monarchical form of government was all they knew. The “divine right of kings” was inculcated into their hearts and minds via virtually every established institution, including the Church, from the time they were born.

The Magna Carta had paved the highway of philosophy for the acceptance of self-government and individual liberty, but it was hardly practiced. King John signed the charter under extreme duress and then spent the rest of his reign in bloody retaliation against those who had pressed him to accept it. For over five hundred years, the Magna Carta lay as a noble idea but with little practical application. The Enlightenment philosophers wrote and theorized much about the principles contained in the Great Charter; but, again, until America’s founding generation came on the scene, nothing much of substance had been achieved. It was America’s Founding Fathers and founding generation that took the principles of the Magna Carta and the Enlightenment philosophers and actually used those principles to birth a new nation.

But how did they come to such a decision? Imagine the consternation. Imagine the inner conflicts. Communities were divided. Friends were divided. Families were divided. Brothers were divided. Parents and children and husbands and wives were divided. Yet, make the decision, they did. They pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to the cause. They obtained liberty and independence for their posterity–at great cost.

Granted, the decision to separate from the British Crown was not made overnight. Thomas Jefferson explained the process of reasoning behind the separation in the Declaration of Independence. Hear him:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.

How could Jefferson have been any clearer? He and the rest of America’s founders were convinced of “a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism.”

Noah Webster’s Dictionary Of The English Language (1828) defines “design” as verb: “To project; to form in idea, as a scheme.” And as noun: “A scheme or plan in the mind.” And, “Purpose; intention; aim; implying a scheme or plan in the mind.”

Hence, America’s founders were convinced of a scheme, a plan, and an intention in the minds of those within the British Crown to “reduce them under absolute Despotism.” Yes, friends, America’s founders were convinced there was a CONSPIRACY within the hearts and minds of the British government to enslave them. Hear Jefferson again:

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design…

When abuses and usurpations which pursue invariably the “same Object” continue unabated over a long period of time, this is NOT an act of happenstance; it is by “design.” Somewhere along the line, the eyes of America’s founders were opened to the conspiracy within the British government to enslave them. Once their eyes were opened to the conspiracy, the rest, as we say, is history.

I submit that what we have in America today are basically two groups of people: those whose eyes are opened to conspiracy, and those who eyes are blind to conspiracy. This is exactly as it was in 1775 and 1776. Christian or unchurched, Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, if one is blind to the conspiracy to “reduce [us] under absolute Despotism,” one cannot truly comprehend the real danger or the real war.

And, sadly, it appears that most people today do NOT see the CONSPIRACY. All they see is Republican and Democrat; conservative and liberal; right and left; Christian and Muslim; religious and secular; FOX News and CNN, etc. Until Americans awaken to the same “design” that our founders awakened to, they will not be able to obtain a solution to our country’s malaise, as they are blind to the real enemy.

Mind you, not everyone in the British government in 1775 had it in mind to enslave the Colonists. Not every British soldier, not every British magistrate, and not every British agent had a personal goal to enslave the colonies. They were just following orders; their eyes were blind to the plans and objects of those who were orchestrating the conspiracy. And, of course, those within the colonies who supported the British Crown were, likewise, blind to the conspiracy. Thank God, enough of our forebears were enlightened to the design of the Crown to be willing to cast it off.

I will say it plainly: there is a design (conspiracy) within Washington, D.C., and its allies to reduce us under absolute despotism.

Come on, folks, think: when has it mattered to a tinker’s dam which party controlled the White House or Congress? No matter which party is in charge, the central government in D.C. continues to get bigger and bigger and more and more oppressive. Regardless of whether the President is a Democrat or Republican, NOTHING changes in regards to America’s foreign policies or our economic policies. Regardless of party, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) dominates our foreign policies; and the Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) dominates our economic policies. Regardless of party, an American Police State and surveillance society continue to mushroom, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) continue to exert more and more control over the American citizenry, and states and communities continue to fall under the heel of federal overreach.

Both parties in Washington, D.C., are led by warmongering zealots who use war, not only to enrich themselves, but also to carry out their preconceived plans of perpetual war for the purpose of paving the way for international bankers to control the world’s economies and for the purpose of subjecting the American citizenry to greater and greater infringements of their liberties.

In this regard, militant Islam is but a tool of the globalists. As long as Americans think that Islam is our enemy, they are blind to who the real enemy is. Our enemy is NOT Islam; our enemy is the cabal of globalists who are manipulating militant Islamists. The same people (the CFR and their fellow travelers) who took one of our strongest allies in the Middle East (Iran) and turned it into one our (supposed) greatest enemies are the same ones who are manipulating all of the wars of the Middle East, as well as bringing Russia and China to the brink of global conflict.

I submit the conspiracy of the British Crown has returned; and what used to be an indefatigable, recalcitrant, and vigilant independent republic (the United States) has become little more than a puppet of the old European monarchy. What the Crown could not accomplish through military force, it has accomplished through international banking.

The Federal Reserve wields absolute control over U.S. economic policy; and yet, no one really knows exactly who all of the members of the FRB even are. One thing is known: many (if not most) of them are NOT even U.S. citizens. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, foreign bankers have been controlling U.S. financial policy for the better part of a century.

In like fashion, the CFR virtually controls U.S. foreign policy. And the goal of the CFR is the reduction of national sovereignty and the rise of global government. Listen to Admiral Chester Ward.

Rear Admiral Chester Ward, who was the Judge Advocate General of the Navy from 1956-1960 and a former member of the CFR, but withdrew from the organization after realizing what they were all about and warned the American people about the dangers of this and similar organizations (such as the Trilateral Commission). He said, “The most powerful clique in these elitist groups have one objective in common–they want to bring about the surrender of the sovereignty and the national independence of the United States. A second clique of international members in the CFR . . . comprises the Wall Street international bankers and their key agents. Primarily, they want the world banking monopoly from whatever power ends up in the control of global government.”

Admiral Ward also said: “The main purpose of the Council on Foreign Relations is promoting the disarmament of U.S. sovereignty and national independence and submergence into an all-powerful, one world government.”

Now, observe that the administrations of both Republican and Democrat presidents are littered with CFR members. Under President George H.W. Bush, CFR members comprised 20% of his cabinet; under President Bill Clinton, CFR members comprised 34% of his cabinet; under President G.W. Bush, CFR members comprised 22% of his cabinet; and under President Barack Obama, CFR members comprise 36% of his cabinet. And these figures do not take into account how many CFR members are scattered throughout the national news media.

Can one imagine how people would react if twenty or thirty percent of a given presidential administration’s cabinet members were from, say, the Christian Coalition–or, even the ACLU? If the Christian Coalition had that many members in a presidential administration, people on the left would be screaming bloody murder. And if the ACLU had that many members in a presidential administration, people on the right would be screaming bloody murder. As it is, the CFR DOES have that many members in EVERY presidential administration; and no one from the right or the left even says “boo.” It’s because they (from both left and right) are blind to the conspiracy.

These international conspirators can be found in London, Brussels, Washington, D.C., New York City, Tel Aviv, etc. In terms of U.S. foreign policy, these conspirators completely control the neocon agenda. That doesn’t mean that every politician who embraces the neocon foreign policy agenda is him or herself aware of the conspiracy. In the same way, not every federal officer within the DHS is aware of the conspiracy. Not every soldier who is fighting these perpetual wars of aggression is aware of the conspiracy. But as with many in the old British monarchy, they are the pawns of the conspirators.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Sam Adams, et al., were only able to declare and fight for independence and liberty after they understood that they were dealing with “a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism.”

Until the American people, including our State legislators, governors, city mayors, councilmen, county sheriffs, district attorneys, congressmen, senators, pastors, educators, journalists, etc., awaken to the conspiracy that seeks to enslave us, we will never have the sagacity and strength of will to properly resist it. This means that many of the current battles in which good people are engaged merely play into the designs of those who seek our enslavement. We can’t win the war until we know who the real enemy is.

P.S. On Sunday, April 19 of this year, I delivered the famous sermon of Pastor Jonas Clark that was originally delivered on April 19, 1776, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Battle of Lexington. Pastor Clark was the pastor of the men who fought that historic battle, which began America’s War for Independence. Obviously, this message was delivered just a couple of months before our Declaration of Independence was signed. I preached this message word-for-word. And I tried to deliver it with the same zeal and passion in which it was originally preached.

The vast majority of today’s Christians NEVER hear a message that remotely resembles the kind of sermons that the pastors of Colonial America delivered. And since April 19 fell on Sunday this year, I delivered Jonas Clark’s powerful message regarding the Battle of Lexington and American liberty so people could listen to the kind of preaching that Christians in Colonial America heard routinely. Pastor Clark entitled his message, “The Fate of Blood-Thirsty Oppressors and God’s Tender Care of His Distressed People.”

My delivery of this awesome message is on DVD. I offer this DVD to my readers in the hope that many of you will purchase copies of the DVD and let your friends, relatives, fellow Christians, pastor, etc., hear true Colonial American preaching. Again, this is word-for-word the message of Jonas Clark delivered on April 19, 1776, concerning the Battle of Lexington Green and America’s fight for liberty.

I have never heard anyone deliver Rev. Clark’s famous message. As far as I know, this is the only verbatim recording of this historic message in existence–preached with the same kind of passion and fervor as it was said Pastor Clark delivered it.

To order my delivery of Jonas Clark’s message, go here:

Jonas Clark’s Famous Message Of April 19, 1776

© Chuck Baldwin

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

An Open Letter To Marco Rubio: I Am Ashamed I Ever Worked On Your Behalf

Mr. Rubio,

I have read your opinion piece published on May 10, 2015. I understand that this is your opinion, but I am puzzled how you can hold these opinions and still claim to be conservative member of a party that claims to be supporting the Constitution.

Specifically, you claim that the Patriot Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act are essential to the protection of our “national security” and that we must continue these clear violations of our 4th Amendment and our Right to Liberty to keep us “safe.” To the contrary, with these “permissible” intrusions, we have seen a massive increase in power of government in general and the power of the executive in particular, increased control over the people, and a decreased respect for the Rights of the people throughout America. Faisal Shahzad, the Boston Bombing, and the Garland Shooting are clear examples of when the government was continually monitoring these “terrorists” and still allowed the violence to occur; so tell me again how critical it is to do away with the 4th amendment?

You claim that “Bulk metadata includes phone numbers, the time and duration of calls — nothing else. No content of any phone calls is collected.”  You contradict your own claims in the very next sentence: “The government is not listening to your phone calls or recording them unless you are a terrorist or talking to a terrorist outside the United States.” (emphasis mine)  What you are truly telling America is that the government IS listening to our phone calls AND recording them–but “trust us, it’s only when we think you are a terrorist.”  I’m sorry, sir; I cannot garner that much trust for my government–and you should not suggest you expect it.  May I remind you that on two separate occasions, the DHS and DoD have declared the definition of “terrorist” to be so broad as to include many within the Republican party!

“Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are…rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”  This report also claims “return of military veterans…could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks. “ DHS Office of Intelligence & Analysis Assessment April 7, 2009

“Nowadays, instead of dressing in sheets or publicly espousing hate messages, many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place.” January 2013, DoD Training on Extremism

Knowing that these are the OFFICIAL definitions of a “terrorist,” how can you possibly expect Americans to trust this government with such a gross violation of our Liberties?

Your statement that “Despite recent court rulings, this program has not been found unconstitutional, and the courts have not ordered a halt to the program” is disingenuous at best and borders on complete propaganda.  Production of just one case contrary to your claims shows your dishonesty. I will give three:

On March 15, 2013, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston declared that the Patriot Act section 2709 “violates the First Amendment and the separation of powers principle…The government is therefore enjoined from issuing NSLs under 2709 or from enforcing the nondisclosure provision in this or any other case.”

On December 16, 2013, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon entered “an order that bars the Government from collecting, as a part of the NSA’s Bulk Telephony Metadata Program, any telephony metadata associated with their personal Verizon accounts and (2) requires the Government to destroy any such metadata in its possession that was collected through the bulk collection program.”

On May 7, 2015, a three judge panel consisting of Circuit Judges Sack and Lynch, along with District Judge Broderick, ruled that the National Security Agency program that is systematically collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk is illegal, stating that “the telephone metadata program exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized and therefore violates § 215.”

In these three court cases, we have seen that actions taken under the Patriot Act have been deemed unconstitutional and illegal, bulk metadata collection has been ordered to a halt, and the National Security Agency’s exercise of section 215 of the Patriot Act has been deemed illegal.

Mr. Rubio, you then try to justify these false claims by clarifying that “In fact, this program has been found legal and constitutional by at least 15 federal judges serving on the FISA Court on 35 occasions.” This is simply more propaganda intended to deceive the public. Who are the FISA Courts?

  1. They are federal courts appointed by the federal government whose only job is to review “applications submitted by the United States Government for approval of electronic surveillance, physical search, and other investigative actions for foreign intelligence purposes.”
  2. “Most of the Court’s work is conducted ex parte as required by statute, and due to the need to protect classified national security information.”
  3. Consideration of the Constitution is secondary to national security needs. (See Rule 5(a))

So let’s get this straight, Mr. Rubio: you expect the American people to be comforted by the fact that 15 federal judges, appointed by the federal government, whose rules and procedures by definition place national security over the Rights of the people, and whose judgments are held in secret with no accountability, have determined the government’s actions to be legal?  Tell me again how you believe in the bedrock principles of America. One of your flowery speeches quoting the founders while you pander to real conservatives who haven’t figured out who you are should do nicely.

You claim that “There is not a single documented case of abuse of this program.”  Not a single “documented” case of abuse in a system shrouded in secrecy, hidden by “national security” claims, conducted ex parte, protected with gag orders? Wow! That indeed is impressive. I would find your argument more credible if you simply start yelling, “I AM OZ; pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, you young whippersnapper!”

Your Alinsky-like use of threats of future violence puts you in dubious company, to say the least. Don’t you guys get tired of trotting out some boogeyman to scare the people into trading Liberty for a false sense of security?  Every attack that gets through your vaunted dragnet is used by you as proof that we need to sacrifice more and more liberty. Somehow, we are supposed to believe that the reason some nutjob blows something up is that the people are too free!  Your opinion (demonstrated by your rhetoric) that the Constitution is outdated, that the founders were ignorant fools, is the very thing I labor to combat every day. I am ashamed of ever having worked on your behalf. You have been a sincere disappointment to say the least.

Here are some words that you, Mr. Rubio, should take to heart: “The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it.”  John F. Kennedy

You, sir, are a cheerleader for the very thing JFK wisely warned Americans to guard against. I don’t care whether you call yourself Senator or President; your used car sales pitch for security is not worth my son’s Liberty. And you, sir, ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Sincerely,

KrisAnne Hall

www.KrisAnneHall.com

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

‘We The People’ Need To Circle The Wagons: The Government Is On The Warpath

“The government is merely a servant―merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn’t. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.” ― Mark Twain

How many Americans have actually bothered to read the Constitution, let alone the first ten amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights (a quick read at 462 words)?

Take a few minutes and read those words for yourself—rather than have some court or politician translate them for you—and you will be under no illusion about where to draw the line when it comes to speaking your mind, criticizing your government, defending what is yours, doing whatever you want on your own property, and keeping the government’s nose out of your private affairs.

In an age of overcriminalization, when the average citizen unknowingly commits three crimes a day, and even the most mundane activities such as fishing and gardening are regulated, government officials are constantly telling Americans what not to do. Yet it was not always this way. It used to be “we the people” telling the government what it could and could not do. Indeed, the three words used most frequently throughout the Bill of Rights in regards to the government are “no,” “not,” and “nor.”

Compare the following list of “don’ts” the government is prohibited from doing with the growing list of abuses to which “we the people” are subjected on a daily basis, and you will find that we have reached a state of crisis wherein the government is routinely breaking the law and violating its contractual obligations.

For instance, the government is NOT allowed to restrict free speech, press, assembly, or the citizenry’s ability to protest and correct government wrongdoing. Nevertheless, the government continues to prosecute whistleblowers, persecute journalists, cage protesters, criminalize expressive activities, crack down on large gatherings of citizens mobilizing to voice their discontent with government policies, and insulate itself and its agents from any charges of wrongdoing (or what the courts refer to as “qualified immunity”).

The government may NOT infringe on a citizen’s right to defend himself. Nevertheless, in many states, it’s against the law to carry a concealed weapon (gun, knife, or even pepper spray); and the average citizen is permitted little self-defense against militarized police officers who shoot first and ask questions later.

The government may NOT enter or occupy a citizen’s house without his consent (the quartering of soldiers). Nevertheless, government soldiers (i.e., militarized police) carry out more than 80,000 no-knock raids on private homes every year, while maiming children, killing dogs, and shooting citizens.

The government may NOT carry out unreasonable searches and seizures on the citizenry or their possessions. NOR can government officials issue warrants without some evidence of wrongdoing (probable cause). Unfortunately, what is unreasonable to the average American is completely reasonable to a government agent, for whom the ends justify the means. In such a climate, we have no protection against roadside strip searches, blood draws, DNA collection, SWAT team raids, surveillance, or any other privacy-stripping indignity to which the government chooses to subject us.

The government is NOT to deprive anyone of life, liberty, or property without due process. Nevertheless, the government continues to incarcerate tens of thousands of Americans whose greatest crime is being poor and brown-skinned. The same goes for those who are put to death, some erroneously, by a system weighted in favor of class and wealth.

The government may NOT take private property for public use without just compensation. Nevertheless, under the guise of the “greater public interest,” the government often hides behind eminent domain laws in order to allow megacorporations to tear down homes occupied by less prosperous citizens in order to build high-priced resorts and shopping malls.

Government agents may NOT force a citizen to testify against himself. Yet what is the government’s extensive surveillance network that spies on all of our communications but a thinly veiled attempt at using our own words against us?

The government is NOT allowed to impose excessive fines on the citizenry or inflict cruel and unusual punishments upon them. Nevertheless, Americans are subjected to egregious fines and outrageous punishments for minor traffic violations, student tardiness and absence from school, and generally having the misfortune of being warm bodies capable of filling privatized, profit-driven jails.

The government is NOT permitted to claim any powers that are not expressly granted to them by the Constitution. This prohibition has become downright laughable as the government continues to claim for itself every authority that serves to swell its coffers, cement its dominion, and expand its reach.

Despite what some special interest groups have suggested to the contrary, the problems we’re experiencing today did not arise because the Constitution has outlived its usefulness or become irrelevant–nor will they be solved by a convention of states or a ratification of the Constitution.

No, as I document in my new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the problem goes far deeper. It can be traced back to the point at which “we the people” were overthrown as the center of the government. As a result, our supremacy has been undone, our authority undermined, and our experiment in democratic self-governance left in ruins. No longer are we the rulers of this land. We have long since been deposed and dethroned, replaced by corporate figureheads with no regard for our sovereignty, no thought for our happiness, and no respect for our rights.

In other words, without our say-so and lacking any mandate, the point of view of the Constitution has been shifted from “we the people” to “we the government.” Our taxpayer-funded employees—our appointed servants—have stopped looking upon us as their superiors and started viewing as their inferiors. Unfortunately, we’ve gotten so used to being dictated to by government agents, bureaucrats, and militarized police alike that we’ve forgotten that WE are supposed to be the ones calling the shots and determining what is just, reasonable, and necessary.

Then again, we’re not the only ones guilty of forgetting that the government was established to serve us as well as obey us. Every branch of government, from the Executive to the Judicial and Legislative, seems to be suffering this same form of amnesia. Certainly, when government programs are interpreted from the government’s point of view (i.e., the courts and legislatures), there is little the government CANNOT do in its quest for power and control.

We’ve been so brainwashed and indoctrinated into believing that the government is actually looking out for our best interests, when in fact the only compelling interest driving government programs is maintain power and control by taking away our money and control. This vital truth, that the government exists for our benefit and operates at our behest, seems to have been lost in translation over two centuries dominated by government expansion, endless wars, and centralized federal power.

Have you ever wondered why the Constitution begins with those three words “we the people”? It was intended to be a powerful reminder that everything flows from the citizenry. We the people are the center of the government and the source of its power. That “we” is crucial because it reminds us that there is power and safety in numbers, provided we stand united. We can accomplish nothing alone.

This is the underlying lesson of the Constitution, which outlines the duties and responsibilities of government. It was a mutual agreement formed by early Americans in order to ensure that when problems arose, they could address them together.

It’s like the wagon trains of the Old West, comprised of individual groups of pioneers. They rarely ventured out alone but instead traveled as convoys. And when faced with a threat, these early Americans formed their wagons into a tight circle in order to defend against invaders. In doing so, they presented a unified front and provided protection against an outside attack. In much the same way, the Constitution was intended to work as an institutionalized version of the wagon circle, serving as a communal shield against those who would harm us.

Unfortunately, we have been ousted from that protected circle, left to fend for ourselves in the wilderness that is the American frontier today. Those who did the ousting—the courts, the politicians, and the corporations—have since replaced us with yes-men, shills who dance to the tune of an elite ruling class. In doing so, they have set themselves as the central source of power and the arbiters of what is just and reasonable.

Once again, we’re forced to navigate hostile terrain, unsure of how to protect ourselves and our loved ones from militarized police, weaponized drones, fusion centers, Stingray devices, SWAT team raids, the ongoing military drills on American soil, the government stockpiling of ammunition, the erection of mass detention centers across the country, and all other manners of abuses.

Read the smoke signals, and the warning is clear: It’s time to circle the wagons, folks. The government is on the warpath; and if we are to have any hope of surviving whatever is coming at us, we’ll need to keep our wits about us and present a unified front. Most of all, we need to restore “we the people” to our rightful place at the center of government. How we do that depends largely on each community’s willingness to get past their partisan politics and blind allegiance to uniformed government officials and find common ground.

To put it a little more bluntly, stop thinking like mindless government robots and start acting like a powerhouse of citizens vested with the power to say “enough is enough.” We have the numbers to stand our ground. Now we just need the will.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Will Congress Shut Down Illegal NSA Spying Program?

Last week, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the NSA’s metadata collection program was not authorized in U.S. law. The PATRIOT Act, under which the program began, was too vague, the court found. But the truth is the Act was intended to be vague so that the government could interpret it in the broadest possible way.

But this is really more of a technicality because illegality and unconstitutionality are really two very different things. Even if Congress had explicitly authorized the government to collect our phone records, that law would still be unconstitutional because the Constitution does not grant government the power to access our personal information without a valid search warrant.

Even though the court found the NSA program illegal, it did not demand that the government stop collecting our information in this manner. Instead, the court kicked the ball back in Congress’ court, as these provisions of the PATRIOT Act are set to expire at the end of the month and the Appeals Court decided to let Congress decide how to re-authorize this spying program.

Unfortunately, this is where there is not much to cheer. If past practice is any lesson, Congress will wait until the spying program is about to expire and then in a panic try to frighten Americans into accepting more intrusions on their privacy. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already put forth a new bill as a stop-gap measure to allow time for a fuller debate on the issue. His stop-gap? A five year re-authorization with no changes to the current program!

The main reform bill being floated, the FREEDOM Act, is little better. Pretending to be a step in the right direction, the FREEDOM Act may actually be worse for our privacy and liberties than the PATRIOT Act!

One silver lining in the court decision is that it should exonerate Ed Snowden, who risked it all to expose what the courts have now found was illegal U.S. government activity. That is the definition of a whistleblower. Shouldn’t he be welcomed back home as a hero instead of being threatened with treason charges? We shouldn’t hold our breath!

This week, Snowden addressed a conference in Melbourne, Australia, informing citizens that the Australian government watches all its citizens “all the time.” Australia’s program allows the government to “collect everyone’s communications in advance of criminal suspicion,” he told the conference. That means the government is no longer in the business of prosecuting crimes, but instead is collecting information in case crimes someday occur.

How is it that the Australian government can collect and track “pre-crime” information on its citizens? Last month, Australia passed a law requiring telecommunications companies to retain metadata information on their customers for two years.

Why do Australia’s oppressive laws matter to us? Because the NSA “reform” legislation before Congress, the FREEDOM Act, does exactly what the Australian law does: it mandates that U.S. telecommunications companies retain their customers’ metadata information so that the NSA can access the information as it wishes.

Some argue that this metadata information is harmless and that civil libertarians are overreacting. But, as Ed Snowden told the Melbourne conference, “under these mandatory metadata laws, you can immediately see who journalists are contacting, from which you can derive who their sources are.”

This one example of what happens when the government forces corporations to assist it in spying on the people should be a red flag. How can an independent media exist in the U.S. if the government knows exactly whom journalists contact for information? It would be the end of any future whistleblowers.

The only reform of the PATRIOT Act is a total repeal. Accept nothing less.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Rand Paul: ‘We Will Be Filibustering’ Renewal Of PATRIOT ACT Provisions

In an interview published Monday, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said he will filibuster a renewal of provisions within the USA Patriot Act.

“I’m going to lead the charge in the next couple of weeks as the Patriot Act comes forward,” Paul told The New Hampshire Union Leader.

We will be filibustering. We will be trying to stop it. We are not going to let them run over us. And we are going to demand amendments and we are going to make sure the American people know that some of us at least are opposed to unlawful searches.

The Hill noted that Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., would also filibuster a short-term extension of some of the Patriot Act provisions.

If passed, the extension would give Congress more time to sort out differences beyond the June 1 deadline to renew the law. Those critical of the Patriot Act assert the law gives too many surveillance powers to the government.

Paul launched his presidential campaign last month, and this move could give him more exposure in what is quickly becoming a crowded field on the Republican side. Six candidates including Paul have announced their candidacy for president on the GOP side:

  • Sen Ted Cruz, R-Texas
  • Paul
  • Sen Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
  • Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark.
  • Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina
  • Retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

In March 2013, Paul filibustered for nearly 13 hours with several of his Senate colleagues against what they described as the danger of drone strikes to U.S. citizens on American soil, Politico noted at the time.

The filibuster delayed a vote on President Obama’s nominee to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, who was ultimately confirmed.

h/t: The Hill

Do you support Rand Paul? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth