• Privacy and Santa’s No-Fly List: Naughty or Nice?

    December 21, 2012

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Democracy

    The greatest civil rights challenge of our times is playing out in real time around us, the question of whether our rights of privacy will be forever taken away. The Constitution enshrines these rights in the Fourth Amendment, but in reality the Founders found them inalienable, rights that simply are and truly need not be specifically called out. That said, being practical men, they jotted down some things in the Bill of Rights just to be sure.

    The Fourth Amendment was in fact adopted as a response to the British abuse of writs of assistance, a type of broad search order, during the American Revolution. Instead, per the Fourth, search and seizure should be limited in scope according to specific information agreed to by the issuing court. The concept goes deep into our collective Western history; Sir Edward Coke, in Semayne’s Case in 1604, famously stated “The house of every one is to him as his castle and fortress, as well for his defense against injury and violence as for his repose.” Semayne’s Case acknowledged that even the King did not have unbridled authority to intrude on his subjects’ dwellings.

    Yet a mere two hundred some years later the whole thing is in shambles as evil men and women, people now in government who wouldn’t qualify as product in the Founder’s bed pans, seek to manipulate technology to blow away our rights. The Founders declared that we were free from the government searching our homes without a court-issued warrant, itself requiring the government to prove that such a search was necessary and limiting its scope. Various Court challenges along the way progressively interpreted the physical searches of the Founders’ days to include “searches” of mail, phone conversations and the like. Now, claiming as all tyrants do, that new rules are necessary to protect us (How does destroying our rights protect our rights?), the amazing ease of searching people electronically is being used to squash the concept of privacy. With snooping tools, packet sniffing, telecom cooperation and supercomputing, the government invades our privacy at will.

    But so what? Doesn’t Santa himself keep a close eye on us, relegating every boy and girl to his own no-fly list, naughty or nice? If you have nothing to hide, why are you hiding?

    The obvious first response is that in an era of paranoia, with “terrorists” lurking in every airport line and behind every Tweet, one does not wish to test his/her ideas of what to say or what to possess against secret government standards (if standards exist at all). For example, the New World Order agency TSA handcuffed and body searched a college student at the Philadelphia International Airport for several hours over the possession of Arabic language flashcards. The kid was returning from his home in a Philly suburb to Pomona College in California, where he was studying Arabic. Though he has used his language skills to work in Egypt through a State Department program, TSA cited as justification “his passport, with travel stamps from several Mideast countries.” TSA also noted the kid carried “a book critical of U.S. foreign policy.” In such a twisty-turney world of paranoid officials, only a fool would claim that she has nothing to hide and thus unrestrained search is not a threat.

    But the more serious and far-reaching reason the Founders worried about unfettered search by the government is that protection of privacy underlies many of the other rights we cherish, most obviously those of the First Amendment guaranteeing free speech. Free speech includes the right to write something as well as the right to own and read something. Thought is expressed via “speech” (emails, conversations, Facebook) and searches of those media strike directly at the very notion of free speech. The Fourth Amendment is necessary to protect the First Amendment. It is no surprise that 24/7 surveillance was a key component of Orwell’s nightmare future in 1984.

    So spare a thought (but don’t write it down for God’s sake!) this holiday season for those less fortunate than you, those without the right to privacy, those whose rights to free speech are being challenged by a government whose electronic ticklers reach deeper and deeper into their lives.

    Wait, that’s us, isn’t it? Better watch out, better not cry Citizens. And watch your back.




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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • pitchfork said...

      1

      quote:”So spare a thought (but don’t write it down for God’s sake!)”unquote

      Oh, I’ll write it down alright.

      Today is my birthday. The day the world was supposed to end. But unlike my last 67 birthdays, this one is sad. Very very sad. I woke up, with a strange feeling. Something in the pit of my stomach that told me today is different. Couldn’t put my finger on it at first, but I knew something very nasty was on the horizon. Like an incessant drum beat from afar. I’ve been aware of this feeling for a while now, but, everyday life had a way of overcoming it, like tinnitus. When you wake up, it’s not there, but over the next 10 minutes or so, you become aware of the ringing, beeps, whistles etc, but soon, the challenges of the day allow your brain to ignore it..as if it really isn’t there. Until you stop to rest. And there it is…the unending sounds. The longer you rest, the louder it becomes, until you think you are going to go crazy.

      Today, I have gone mad. Not from tinnitus mind you. But from anger. Yes, I am mad. Stark raving, unmitigated MAD. Almost uncontrollable MAD. Spit in their face mad. Scream and yell mad. Make a protest sign and parade on main street mad. Write a letter mad. So mad I might make a mistake and end up in jail mad.
      But in the final analysis, it’s actually HOPELESS MAD. Mad at the thought that there is nothing I can do to stop this other madness. The madness that has taken over my country. A madness that continues to drag humanity into hell.

      I knew this day was different though. Something has changed. Like the change from dream state to reality. The drum beat is louder. Like a marching army..closer..and closer and closer. You realize, it is actually so close, that you better start doing something. Something to prevent whatever this is, from affecting your life. And this is why this day is different. FEAR. For the first time in my entire life..I feel fear. Real, substantiated fear. Fear so real, it overcomes all other feelings. Fear, so deep, a unintentional mind response makes your muscles contract. As if you are facing an opponent who wants to KILL YOU. And that my friends is what I feel today. My government, without one shred of conscience, would kill me for no reason other than I despise them.

      But instinct is a strange animal. When it comes to self preservation, all other concerns drop to the wayside. Hunger, love, desire..nothing can overcome self preservation when comes to instinct.
      And that instinct is why I feel different today.

      Yesterday, I read about our Congress, who in their latest bid to sink deeper into the cesspool of evil, removed Senator Fienstiens amendment to the 2013 NDAA. I shuddered as I read the various statements from our despicable and evil Congress
      I now know, to these treasonous bastards “I” am THEIR ENEMY. No different than any other enemy that would threaten their existence. I am simply a potential corpse worthy of nothing. Zilch. Zero. Nothing. And that is what dawned on me this morning.

      In that light, I am removing these chains of fear, and replacing them with resolve. My eyes are now focused. My mind is now clear. My heart is now rejoicing, and the nausea in the pit of my stomach is gone, as I now understand what I must do.

      Rick Fitzpatrick

      12/21/12 8:27 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      2

      Pitch,

      We can agree “It’s a Mad Mad World” but I don’t believe in an evil conspiracy. Having worked for the “evil empire” for over 30 years, I found the highest levels of government riddled with idiots, who, feeling the pressure to do something, do something STUPID. They know not what they do.

      “Many journalists have fallen for the conspiracy theory of government. I do assure you that they would produce more accurate work if they adhered to the cock-up theory.” — Sir Bernard Ingham

      12/22/12 1:47 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      3

      12/22/12 2:05 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      4

      And this: http://cryptome.org/2012/12/gao-13-153r.pdf

      Money was the root of the stupidity in “Mad World.”

      12/22/12 2:42 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      5

      12/22/12 5:35 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      6

      ps. I haven’t got a clue why that section turned red.

      12/22/12 5:37 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      7

      Pitch- in some Bible versions red is used to denote the actual words of the Christian Savior. Yikes! From now on I’m gonna watch myself around you! I don’t want to be sharing a hill with three posts all set up for a simple group crucifixion. There is indeed a conspiracy of stupidity but one unknown to the idiots who decided they just have to be in charge of something momentous.

      12/22/12 6:22 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      8

      Even the evil Roman empire was brought down by its own stupidity.

      12/22/12 6:56 PM | Comment Link

    • Eric Hodgdon said...

      9

      68 years, that’s a few more than I.

      Collusion is, I have always thought, more precise than conspiracy, and maybe more so just people taking advantage of the situation. However, Mr. Pitch Fork is largely correct in his illustrated analysis of the government, federal.

      Whether P. Fork is feet-on-the-ground serious or not, for myself my intentions are to encourage and promote the restructuring of the gov., fed. or remove it by force of the People acting to such an end using Non-Violence*, and to make a new structure, federal, or other, government.

      Here’s a link to some basics: http://www.movements.org/how-to/

      I grow exhausted each day from the continual helplessness of others who will identify difficult to deal with issues, but are unwilling to consider action to correct those issues. So, it’s baby steps for these people, if young, and elderly steps, if not young.

      * To be clear, “Non-Violence is NOT pacifism,” “it is warfare without violence,” “it is armed-force without weapons.”

      12/22/12 9:06 PM | Comment Link

    • Eric Hodgdon said...

      10

      @PVB

      Banning the things people dislike grows as a population grows and eventually these self-induced disruptions from ever more laws, can and do become an acute threat to the civility and safety their creation was meant to prevent. As more laws pile-up, as they are written as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ type, laws becomes more removed from the situations they were meant to address and become absent their justification, so it seems to me, which is to say the enforcement element becomes an evil or harmful action itself.

      12/22/12 9:09 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      11

      quote:”Whether P. Fork is feet-on-the-ground serious or not, for myself my intentions are to encourage and promote the restructuring of the gov., fed. or remove it by force of the People acting to such an end using Non-Violence*,” unquote

      Serious with a caveat. Where I’m currently at in my station in life, conflicts with my desire to do something significant. In that regard, I have two distinct directions for my actions. One, is offensive, meaning I can only write to my Congresscritter and post my displeasure with what I see happening on various blogs/online news sources etc. Not that that will do anything, but it’s all I have other than defensive, having now Pledged my Allegiance to the flag of The Law of Unintended Consequences…

      http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/UnintendedConsequences.html

      12/22/12 9:59 PM | Comment Link

    • Eric Hodgdon said...

      12

      @pitchfork

      The econlib.org had this:

      quote:”For example, the warnings earlier in this century that population growth would lead to mass starvation helped spur scientific breakthroughs in agricultural productivity that have since made it unlikely that the gloomy prophecy will come true.”:unquote

      However, the author failed to continue on. The continuation must then indicate the consequences of ‘scientific breakthroughs in agricultural productivity’ which are, but not limited to the below:

      1) the mono-crop flop – these remove lesser desired types and reduce the overall health of the crop in question by eliminating natural intermixing of material;
      2) RoundUp Ready crops, so farmers can continually spray the poisons and create the SuperWeed;
      3) GMO crops, yea, let’s all have a bowl of cereal or something which has human/mouse DNA in it;
      4) Anti-biotic ear tags to continually medicate healthy animals, thus creating SuperBug resistant little bugs, to thus encourage further developments which then repeat…

      All of the benefits from “scientific breakthroughs in agricultural productivity” are and have been counter-productive by reducing the ‘health of land and its animals.’

      And so thus, with more food comes more people which then requires more food which then allows for more people which then requires more food….

      So, when does any action not create a reaction to create further actions and reactions?

      Lastly, age is never a factor and irrelevant to success, however, my original comment was not aimed at you, but was of a general nature. We can now see the un-intended consequence of our actions leading to this quite stimulating discussion.
      I thank you.

      12/24/12 8:01 PM | Comment Link

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