Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Navy Yard Shooting, assault on the capital, government shut down and the NSA.

In the wake of the Navy Yard shootings and the possible IED car assault on the two prominent Capital Hill targets one might wonder, can we ever have too much information on our citizens? Looking back at the anti government thinking and action by Timothy McVeigh and today's anti big government forces shutting down or Federal government and the national security implications of the shut down, perhaps more information on all American citizens is necessary. It appears both private citizens and public policy makers are a growing threat.
Given the range of other security threats and the growing destructive power increasingly available to any individual, group or nation it would seem the NSA should be spying more on anyone, anywhere and all the time by any means (one weaponized smallpox virus could ruin our whole day).
In spite of Constitutional constraints (4th Amendment) today's federal statutes appear to enable such surveillance. The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court seems to authorize the NSA’s collection of any information about any person anywhere and at any time without identifying the person or showing probable cause of criminal behavior.
Such general searches were condemned by our nation's founders. From the likes of radical Sam Adams to the more conservative George Washington. From the individualistic Thomas Jefferson to the pro big-government perspective of Alexander Hamilton. The literature of their day clearly implies that the soul purpose of the Fourth Amendment was (and still is) to prohibit general warrants. Individualized probable cause and specifically identification of the target was/is required.
But since 2004 this hasn't been the case. Meetings between the Senate Select Intelligence Committee and Gen. Keith Alexander and Deputy Attorney General James Cole suggest that the FISA court has permitted the NSA to seize more than just telephone records. Internet and texting records, utility and credit card bills, banking and social-media records, and digital images of appear to be fair game. And their doesn't appear to be any upper limit on the number of Americans’ records seized or the nature of those records.
The FISA court judges are sworn to secrecy. They are not allowed to keep records of what they have done. And, there is no one to oppose what the NSA seeks. The Court doesn't listen to challenging testimony. This isn't a court and it certainly isn't constitutional. It is federal judges secretly approving the secret wishes of the government. These judges are not performing a judicial function. But it does appear to be a vital security function.
The US government was intended to work for us and derive its powers from the consent of the governed. Have Americans given consent for increased security and reduced privacy by their silence after Sept 11, 2001? What do we want in the future as threats to our security increase?
There are well over 4,500 official federal crimes. Any NSA investigation could likely find something wrong with anyone if it looked long enough and hard enough. Lavrenti Beria, Stalin’s chief of secret police once proclaimed “Show me the man, and I will find you the crime.” History teaches that any government unconstrained by law or force eventually finds a heretic. With the awesome power of the US Government do we really want to relinquish our Fourth Amendment or raise arms agaist it in real or perceived violations?
Andrew P. Napolitano, former Judge of the Superior Court of NJ said “If the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — which are the stated reasons for forming the United States of America in the first place — means anything, its means that we all possess the inalienable right to be different and the inalienable right to be left alone.” But can the US continue to exist with the internal, external and celestial threats we face if we don't have the right intelligence fast enough to respond adequately to prevent the civilization killing technologies ubiquitous globally or the natural events that are inevitable in our future.
The NSA with FISA powers has now given our federal government the potential for an authoritarian state far more odious than any other in history. Only by enforcing all inalienable rights globally can we begin to reduce the threats we face and the shrink the size of the security minded federal government we now live under.

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