Posts Tagged ‘nsa’
Last week, the Washington Post revealed the NSA is collecting list of contacts from individuals e-mail and instant messaging services. This is another in a list of private communications the government is monitoring. After 9-11 we were told that in order to keep America safe from terrorist we had to be willing to give up some freedoms and accept a level of domestic spying.
Supposedly this surveillance was only used to monitor “suspicious” activity but as we are learning millions of individuals are being tracked. According to the Washington Post each day the NSA collects an estimated 500,000 contacts from individual chat services and e-mail accounts. The NSA claims they are not interested in every day Americans, that they are trying to locate terrorist or drug smugglers but with those type of daily numbers that is roughly 250 million people a year they are gathering info on clearly not all of them mean harm to America or are running a drug cartel.
This follows findings earlier this year where the Postal Service is photocopying the envelopes of all mail sent in this country, as well as the story of millions of phone records being collected daily by the NSA. This shows communication records of millions of US Citizens are being collected in bulk regardless if there has been any wrongdoing. It is easy to see how these three programs can create a road map of a person’s life.
Why is the American public allowing this to happen? Are folks unaware, do they assume their data isn’t involved? What was sold to us as protection from terrorism under the Bush Administration has continued on to status quo under the Obama Administration and in some cases grown even larger. Two separate parties, same results, domestic spying and erosion of Freedom. If you believe that your mail, e-mail, and phone calls are private then you need to send a message. A message that you will not sacrifice your Freedom for a false sense of security. A message that the two party system is broken. A message that only the Libertarian Party will defend your rights and fight for Liberty.
Vermont Libertarian Party Calls NSA Surveillance Unconstitutional
While our representatives with as diverse views as Lindsay Graham and Diane Feinstein call Edward Snowden a traitor, others with just as diverse views such as Rand Paul and Dr. Daniel Ellsberg call him a hero. The question that has to be answered is whether what the NSA has done is constitutional or not.
Some Americans at this point might be in favor of the data mining program of the NSA, regardless of its legality, but the constitution protects the minority from having their unalienable rights abridged by the majority. The Libertarian position is that this is clearly unconstitutional under the fourth and sixth amendments in the Bill of Rights.
The fourth amendment provides that the government shall have probable cause and a warrant issued by a court before any searches begin. Perhaps the data mining in and of itself poses no intrusion into the populace’s lives, but there is no oversight once the process begins and the opportunity for abuse by those in power is what the revolutionary war was fought for.
The sixth amendment guarantees citizens of due process. Since this program is conducted in secrecy, those who have been targeted (Verizon, ATT, Facebook etc) can’t get representation as revealing what is going on is unlawful. Citizens don’t know they are having their communications monitored, can’t find out from their providers and can’t reveal anything if they do find out. The evidence is secret so no legal arguments can be made to contradict it, and due process is denied.
The federal government keeps growing and nibbling on the edges of freedom, using safety and security as reasons. This is a good place to draw the line.
About Vermont Libertarian Party
The Vermont Libertarian Party is an affiliate of The National Libertarian Party. The motto of the VTLP is “Small Government, Low Taxes, More Freedom.” The VTLP has been more or less active in the Green Mountain State since the early 1980s. Despite the relatively small size of our state Party, the Libertarian Party is the largest third party in the country and driving a renaissance in libertarian thinking in this country.
Jeremy Ryan, Chair
Vermont Libertarian Party
PO Box 5475
Burlington VT 05402-5475
VTLP treasurer Michael Bandler was quoted in this article that appeared in papers today.
“I think they have betrayed us as consumers,” said Bandler, who is also distressed by the alleged part played by the federal government in the matter. “The threat to this democracy may not be overseas, it may be in Washington.”
John McClaughry had a 90 second radio commentary on the new VTLP Platform and it aired on WDEV yesterday.
Most people don?t pay much attention to Vermont?s tiny Libertarian Party, but they really ought to read the new Libertarian Platform. Her are a few juicy quotations from it.
?We believe, ? it starts out, ?in competitive free enterprise as the source of wealth for our people, jobs for our labor force, and the tax base necessary to support the legitimate demands of government. Confusing regulations and prolonged and often arbitrary enforcement has weakened the economic competitiveness of Vermont businesses. We will identify regulations that are outdated and unnecessary, and secure their repeal. We will identify regulations that ought to be rewritten, and we will rewrite them so they are strict in protecting consumers, business, our communities, and our environment, but certain in their requirements, reasonable in their demands, and swift and fair in their application. ?
On taxation, the platform says, ?We will stop the growth of state government and permanently cap the income tax rate at 2006 levels, rollback the sales tax rate to 5 percent, and cap rooms and meals tax at 9 percent. We will adopt a Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights to limit the growth of government to the rate of inflation, and to require a voter referendum to raise any tax.
The platform concludes with the section on Liberty. It concludes ?We will pass up every opportunity to tell peaceable, independent Vermonters how to live their lives.?
Now is that a great platform, or what?
This is John McClaughry ? thanks for listening.
John McClaughry has been President of the Ethan Allen Institute since its founding in 1993. He was Legislative Aide to Vermont Senator Winston Prouty, 1965-67; a Fellow of the Institute of Politics, JFK School, Harvard University, 1967-68; a member of the Vermont House, 1969-72; Senior Policy Advisor in President Reagan’s White House Office of Policy Development, 1981-82; member of the Vermont Senate 1989-92; and Republican candidate for Governor of Vermont, 1992. He has served on four Presidential Commissions by appointment of Presidents Nixon, Carter, and Reagan, and has been Kirby Town Moderator for the past 34 years.