Saturday, August 03, 2013

What's the Point?

I'm reading that The People's Deputies in the US Congress may soon be making some more well-intended efforts at putting some limits around our growing Stasi-style surveillance regime:
Members of Congress are considering 11 legislative measures to constrain the activities of the National Security Agency, in a major shift of political opinion in the eight weeks since the first revelations from whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The proposals range from repealing the legal foundations of key US surveillance powers to more moderate reforms of the secretive court proceedings for domestic spying. If enacted, the laws would represent the first rollback of the NSA's powers since 9/11.
The Guardian has spoken to six key lawmakers involved in the push to rein in the NSA, and those involved in the process argue there is now an emerging consensus that the bulk collection of millions of phone records needs to be overhauled or even ended.
Justin Amash, the Republican congressman whose measure to terminate the indiscriminate collection of phone data was narrowly defeated 10 days ago, said he was certain the next legislative push will succeed. "The people who voted no are, I think, hopeful to get another opportunity to vote yes on reforming this program and other programs," he said.
In the Senate, Democrat Ron Wyden said there was similarly "strong bipartisan support for fundamental reforms", a direct consequence of revelations about the nature and power of NSA surveillance. "Eight weeks ago, we wouldn't have had this debate in the Congress," he said. "Eight weeks ago there wouldn't have been this extraordinary vote."
All right, and I will go ahead and attribute good intentions to most or all of these legislators, Rep. Amash in particular. I have a question, though.  Amendment 4 of the US Constitution seems fairly clear and simple:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
If Amendment 4 is being ignored -- and it is -- by our commissariat, and if Amendment 4, like the rest of the Constitution, is effectively wastepaper as a result -- and it is -- then what makes these folks think anything they would pass, even if signed into "law," would fare any better?  If the triple-secret rubberstamp FISA court uses the Bill of Rights to wipe its highly-classified butt on, what higher use will they have for an Amash amendment, or its possible equivalent (even assuming the Peace Laureate signed it)?

Fellow subjects, the regime is lawless.  From the secret FISA court, to O'Bomber's kill lists, clear down to the local thug cops who beat, tase, and kill at will, basically for funsies and with no legal repercussions, they don't follow their own alleged rules.  I don't think they ever really have followed them, but they've lost any semblance of respect for, or fear of, the serfs.  We've reached a point at which they've ceased to make any real effort to cover up their lawlessness any more.  Something may stop this ... but it won't be laws, and it certainly won't be the fabled "ballot box."

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