Saturday, August 02, 2008

Discussions about Washington DC and John McCain

Recently, friends and I have been discussing John McCain. Essentially the Republican nominee for President of the United States. I have several Conservative friends, and just as many more Democratic leaning friends. My Conservative friends all expect me, a known conservative, who has spoken long and often about Conservative values, to offer my whole hearted support for John McCain. They are surprised and even dismayed when I tell them I am not supporting him, I am in fact, in absolute opposition towards him. 

I am Conservative. That means I believe in Conservative ideals, and values. It means I don't see the Constitution as a living document, but a very dead document. My interpretation of that document doesn't change on a case by case basis, but is as absolute as the intent of the document.

John McCain has violated the Constitution more times than we think he has. He's probably done it more times than I know about, but I'll stick to what I am certain of. 

McCain Feingold. This law violated the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. That Amendment says that Congress shall pass no law. It doesn't say that the Supreme Court shall overturn any law Congress passes which violates freedom of speech. It says that Congress shall pass no law. That means no law shall be passed which abridges freedom of speech. No Congressman should ever vote for a law which abridges freedom of speech, the press, or Religion. Yet, McCain Feingold was passed, and it was signed into law. Many of those who voted for it, or who signed it, said they believed it violated the Constitution. Yet they passed it anyway. That is absolutely wrong. McCain put his name to it, and claimed it would get the money out of politics. It didn't, but it did abridge the freedom of speech. You can't run a negative advertisement about a politician for sixty days before a General Election, or thirty days before a primary. That means free speech is abridged. McCain did this, and a whole bunch did it with him. 

The PATRIOT ACT. We violated two sections of the Constitution with one portion of this act, which I will highlight here. The famed National Security Letters. These violate the fourth, fifth, and sixth Amendments to the Constitution.

The Fourth Amendment states that you shall not be subject to search and seizure without a warrant. What it means is this. A cop can't search you without probable cause, and must have a Warrant to search your residence. The Warrant must state in detail the area to be searched, and what they are looking for. The National Security Letter circumvents this. It states you must surrender the information the FBI want's you to, or you will be arrested and go to jail. No Judge reviews this to determine if the FBI has probable cause to search your person or property. No reason is given, other than they believe you might have some information that is useful to them. That is wrong, and unconstitutional. Again, Congress, including John McCain passed this law. 

Yes, before we go any further, I know the National Security Letters were first used back in the 1970's, and were made more strict in 1986, and all of that. I can't fix what was, I can only act upon what is. Status Quo means the mess we're in right now, and I'd prefer to focus on that. 

The Fifth Amendment states among other things, that you have a right to due process of law and a right against self incrimination. Yet, under the National Security Letter, you are in fact required to answer questions, and provide any documentation that the FBI wants. Perhaps the problem is that the Elected Leaders are spending too much time carrying around a copy of the Constitution, and not nearly enough time reading the thing. 

The Sixth Amendment states that you have a right to council to assist in your defense. That means even when being questioned by law enforcement, you have a right to an attorney. The National Security Letter says you don't have a right to an attorney. It says you are prohibited from contacting anyone, including an attorney, until you are authorized to do so by the FBI. 

Personally, I always hoped that the FBI would present me with a NSL, so I could then turn to a phone and call my Attorney. I just really wanted to hear the Agent read me my Miranda Warning rights informing me of my right to an attorney, for the crime of contacting my attorney. That delightful image aside, let's look at seizures in use by the Department of Homeland Defense which violate those little things called the Bill of Rights.

US Customs and Border Patrol agents are apparently free to seize any laptop or other electronic device they feel like, and hold it as long as they want, sending it anywhere they wish to have the data decrypted, inspected, or translated. I know, you're telling me we have to do this for Homeland Security, and if we don't, the Terrorists win. 

Friends, can we look at this honestly for a moment? Do you really think that the Terrorists are still waltzing through the checkpoints? They're streaming across the borders with the rest of the illegal immigrants disguised to look like everyone else. They don't need to smuggle information into the nation in a laptop, it's all online. Google Earth offers good quality photos of targets, information is all online these days. All the potential terrorist has to do is memorize his target, and wait until he's given the order to go. Now, work with me here friends. Pretend you're a Terrorist, and you are going to hit the Sears Tower. Do you really think you would need to bring a laptop with you containing all the technical data needed to plan an attack? 

I could easily find any and all information I wanted at just about any public library. 

The Constitution was written not to empower Government, it was written to limit Government. It's time our Government realized they were limited, not the people. 

John McCain was instrumental in all these travesties of what is right, and wrong. That is why I can't, and won't support him for President.

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