Saturday, January 21, 2006

Been There, Done That...

To those who are most concerned with the recent revelations about the NSA, and electronic surveillance, think about this: three months after 9/11, your elected representatives, in Congress, voted to enact something called the USA Patriot Act which many of them openly admit to not having read. This same pernicious piece of legislation is currently being peddled by this administration, and its attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, as being necessary to combat the "war on terror."

Anyone who takes more than a casual glance at several sections of the so-called "Patriot Act" will see that built into the legislation are violations to the First and Fourth Amendments including, but not limited to, electronic surveillance, wiretapping, and "delayed notification," a policy which enables law enforcement to search your home, sans warrant, confiscate what they consider evidence ("seizure"), and not let you know about the search until afterwards, if at all.

Why is this an issue now? In the coming weeks and months, when the Justice Department orders hearings into who leaked the classified information about the NSA's activities, and when one prominent New York newspaper gets hauled over the coals again, remember you saw it here first---any prosecution of newspapers, reporters, and/or editors, for outing the administration's practice of spying on its citizens is nothing short of an all out effort to deflect attention away from those provisions in the USA Patriot Act which will finalize effronts to the First and Fourth Amendment. One prominent Democratic senator, Dianne Feinstein, has recently co-sponsored a bill to criminalize flag desecration. Scary, but true, we may soon need an amendment to criminalize desecration of the Constitution.

Let's keep the focus where it belongs--not on the press, but on legislation, and leaders, who p0se the most egregious, ongoing, and longterm threat to our civil liberties in the name of protecting our national security.