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Happening in America?
Are privacy and freedom vanishing?
By Ken Raggio
Maybe we are not in a true police state, but sometimes it really looks like we are.
Police Searches without Warrants
In March of 2004, a New Orleans Circuit Court (in the case of U.S. vs. Kelly Gould) decided that police officers in Louisiana no longer need a search or arrest warrant to conduct a search of your home or business.
Entry without permission
Then, on June 15, 2006, the Supreme Court ruled at the federal level that police armed with a warrant can barge into homes and seize evidence without even knocking. Yes, police can now legally enter your home without knocking.
The Bush administration has annihilated enormous chunks of Americans' liberties and privacy rights during his term in office.
Phones Tapped by the Feds
ABC News reported in May, 2006 that the NSA (National Security Agency) is tracking the phone calls of 200 million Americans – both home phones and cell phones, and that there is a “high likelihood” that this information was being passed along to the FBI and the CIA.
Federal ID Card
Wisconsin Representative James Sensenbrenner sponsored the REAL ID ACT of May, 2005, requiring that by May 2008 every American carries a national ID card.
Federal Access to Permanent Records of Internet Activities
Then, only a year later, Sensenbrenner, who is also the head of the House Judiciary Committee, proposed a new law that would require internet service providers to record and store information about Americans' online activities so that police can more easily “conduct criminal investigations.” Executives of companies failing to comply with that legislation could be fined and imprisoned for up to one year. All our internet activities will be permanently stored for government inspection.
The Bush administration had opposed such measures, but after the European Parliament adopted similar measures recently, the precedent was set for the U.S. to follow suit. Although such actions are targeted mostly at child pornographers and other online criminals, these data retention processes provide the government with massive resources for surveillance and data mining of citizens. Even emails would be archived and accessible to government agencies.
Presidential Signing Statements
Another troubling development on the American legal landscape is President Bush’s unprecedented use of signing statements. Presidential “signing statements” are a unique instrument available only to the President of the United States to make a declaration pertaining to the constitutionality or non-constitutionality of a piece of legislation he is expected to enforce.
While it is a difficult-to-define instrument, at the heart of the matter is the president’s ability to give a reason why he refuses to uphold or otherwise comply with certain laws. By the use of signing statements, a president may clearly excuse himself from enforcement or compliance with certain laws. He may also make use of the signing statement to put forward his own interpretation of a law to give his opinion weight in a court of law, placing the Executive branch in place of the Legislative branch – defining law. President Bush has issued more signing statements than any other president, and some critics say that he uses them as de facto line-item vetoes, claiming constitutional authority and excusing himself from complying with certain laws by giving his own reasons why he refuses to.
According to Charlie Savage of the Boston Globe, President Bush has used more than 130 signing statements to make over 750 constitutional challenges since he took office. While Bush has never vetoed a piece of legislation, he regularly signs laws into effect and immediately files signing statements to instruct members of the government to interpret the law differently than initially intended. A prime example of such use includes Bush’s use of a signing statement against the “McCain Detainee Amendment” to effectively waive, even re-write, the “torture ban” written into that law. By abusing signing statements, the presidency has effectively become a sovereign and autonomous power unto itself, beyond the reach of law.
U.S. Constitution Ignored by Supreme Court
If the president has become unaccountable to the American people, so has the American Judiciary. Since the founding fathers drafted the Constitution of the United States, and the subsequent Bill of Rights, activist judges have struggled to override and overrule the limitations placed on them by those documents. It has finally happened.
"It is literally true that the U.S. Supreme Court has entirely liberated itself from the text of the Constitution," Justice Antonin Scalia said in a speech in New Orleans on March 9, 2004. "We are free at last, free at last," he said. "There is no respect in which we are chained or bound by the text of the Constitution. All it takes is five hands." That comment referred to the majority vote of five out of nine justices.
Around the country, from the Supreme Court down, judges are “legislating from the bench,” effectively stripping the American public of legitimate legal and Constitutional guidance or protection. No one knows what new crime or liberty might be redefined by an out-of-control activist judge. The American people are vulnerable to every conceivable assault upon our historical value system.
Banks Spying on Private Citizens for Federal Government
And next, there is the Banking Secrecy Act of 1970. The BSA requires your financial institution to act as a spy agency for the government. A Currency Transaction Report (CTR) will be filed with the IRS anytime you have a cash transaction of $10,000 or more (including a daily aggregate at multiple branches). A Negotiable Instrument Log will be filed with the IRS on you any time you purchase a negotiable instrument (money order, cashier’s check, etc.) for $3,000 or more. And a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) will be filed against you with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) any time a customer does ANYTHING vaguely suspicious, such as avoiding reporting requirements, laundering money, or suspicion of violating any law. Officials in financial institutions face harsh penalties for failing to file these reports – huge fines and prison sentences. Customers are rarely aware they are being reported since it is illegal to inform the customer they are being reported.
S.P.P. / North American Union dissolves U.S. Sovereignty
Basic American freedoms are now being lost. The United States government is abdicating its national sovereignty to international powers. Americans will no longer be protected by their own laws, their own police, or their own government. Global forces are quickly taking the place of national forces.
President Bush signed the “Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America” with Mexican President Vincinte Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin in March of 2005. Jerome Corsi claims that this “North American Union” will effectively dissolve U.S. sovereignty, and create a regional entity comparable to the European Union. Some are predicting an “Amero” currency will replace the American dollar, and a supranational security force will control a new international border including all three countries.
Non-U.S.-Owned International Highways Crossing U.S.
Transportation officials in Texas report that international agencies are now purchasing massive amounts of highway rights-of-way spanning Mexico, the United States and Canada, and will be building international highways that are not patrolled, maintained or governed by the United States. In June 2007, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed legislation clearing the way for the construction of this highway from the Mexican border to Oklahoma.
RFID Chips Required in Passports
While the federal government is ramping up to a national ID program, as required by the REAL ID ACT of 2005, it is increasingly apparent that the U.S. is headed quickly into a global ID system. As of October, 2006, new U.S. passports will contain RFID technology that is globally compatible. In Britain, the GUARDIAN reported that a computer expert managed to hack his way into the hi-tech biometric passport system being used by Britain and other countries. This exposes the risk of RFID technology to being easily cloned. That translates into global security risks for all citizens. High-tech criminals will possess the highest technology fake identity, and free people will be at higher risk than ever. Ultimately, the most stringent of all technologies will be forced upon the entire populace – the fulfillment of the biblical mark of the beast.
That’s happening in
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