View Full Version : Goodbye Constitution

09-15-2001, 04:17 PM
It is my unfortunate duty to report that as predicted, the Constitution has now been suspended _BY VOICE VOTE_ with regards to warrantless surveillance.

"By voice vote, the Senate attached the Combating Terrorism Act to an annual spending bill that funds the Commerce, Justice and State departments for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, "

The full story can be found here:


I'm also disturbed by a complete absence of discussion of this on television and mainstream news websites. During times of crisis, we are required to be most vigilant. The US Senate just dropped the ball.


09-15-2001, 04:30 PM
This is certainly not the first time the Constitution has been usurped in times of crisis.

09-15-2001, 05:08 PM
A quick thought. Just because a law is passed does not make it constitutional. Evidence gathered under such a law may indeed be thrown out of court if the law is found to be unconstitutional.

09-15-2001, 05:34 PM
In its greed for money and power, our federal government has sunk its claws into a myriad of arenas in which they have no constitutional authority. Such functions as education, social security, welfare, corporate welfare, agricultural welfare, medical care, scientific research, and drug policy could be more efficiently and effectively handled by state governments, local governments, private organizations, and/or individual citizens.

If the federal government had concentrated its efforts and resources on it's primary constitutional responsibility of defending American life and property (as was intended by the founding fathers), thousands of Americans might still be alive today.

09-15-2001, 05:40 PM
In case you haven't noticed. We are at War. This is not a criminal investigation. There will be no more criminal investigations. Criminal investigations get us WTC Terror. I'm glad the administration is steering away from a criminal investigation. This is War. War has been declared on our country by people, groups, factions, cells, and countries that do not share the same beliefs as us, and are bent on our destruction. This is not an understatement.

I saw the statement by the IRAQI gov this afternoon. I do believe they promote, sponsor, and encourage terrorism. As far as I'm concerned, we are at war right now with Iraq. It's a new war. There is no doubt about that. I only hope we have the resolve to see it through. Let's not leave our children to fight this battle. It's only a matter of a few years before these terror mongers can produce a few Nukes. They don't want just one, they may have that already. How about setting off 5, one year from now on 9/11/02. This is the nightmare we face if we don't stand strong.

that is all,

dannyboy :o)

09-15-2001, 05:42 PM
This article and especially the related links on proposed cryptography regulations are well-worth reading. Do we really want the government to be able to uncode any and all of our private correspondences or data through backdoor keys in all available methods of encryption? The argument appears to be that this will help decipher the communications of terrorists; but what could the potential harms be? Do we really want to lose the means to some privacy in our communications? I don't think this proposed trade-off is worth it. Not to mention that if there are built-in backdoors for government, those backdoors can be hacked and cracked BY OTHERS too.

09-15-2001, 06:01 PM
"I'm also disturbed by a complete absence of discussion of this on television and mainstream news websites. During times of crisis, we are required to be most vigilant. The US Senate just dropped the ball."

Notice Jim's sentence, "During times of crisis, we are required to be most vigilant."

That's a catch 22 if you ask me. I'm not worried about anyone reading my hot email to my girlfriend? We have to trust our goverment at this point. After all, we did elect them. If in the future it gets abused, we deal with that then. Right now we are in a National State of Emergency. And that's not an understatement.

that is all,

dannyboy :o)

09-15-2001, 06:28 PM
Will this mean they'll be able to see my hole cards on paradise?

09-15-2001, 06:41 PM
From scanning the link Jim provided, and a related link, I did not get the impression that these laws and/or proposed laws are temporary in nature.

Emergency laws are one thing; long-term changes are quite another.

Did you read the link(s),dannyboy ?

09-15-2001, 07:15 PM

That's fine and dandy M. I guess you disagree with my opinion. But, that's ok. I read the original link, but didn't have time to read any secondary link you are referring to. I guess your missing my point, but that's understandable. I've said what I had to say on this thread.

that is all,

dannyboy :o)

09-15-2001, 07:18 PM
I'm sure they have more pressing matters at this time Sammy.

that is all,

dannyboy :o)

p.s. it wasn't even that funny

09-15-2001, 07:22 PM
disregard the p.s.

it was kind of funny, and thought provoking.

that is all,


09-15-2001, 09:05 PM
As someone said above, the law or the particular application of it can be challenged. Also remember the 4th Amendment does not ban all warrantless searches. It does allow for warrantless searches in some circumstances. So this law may not be a radical departure from the usual 4th Amendment analysis. I admit I am not too familiar with wiretapping issues or this new law, so I could be wrong.

Also, eavesdropping and wiretapping laws go pretty far in making the use of illegally intercepted communications a crime. It is not too hard to find yourself committing a felony if you intercept someone's communications.

But this new law bears close scrutiny.

09-15-2001, 10:59 PM
I haven't read the other posts in this thread, but I want to point out that the idea of suspending some of our constitutional rights doesn't necessarily lead to less permanent freedom.

There is a tremendous precedent for this which I suspect that most readers of this forum are unaware. It happened at the beginning of the Civil War and concerned the state of Missouri. For a time it looked like this state would go with the South, and if I remember my reading correctly, the majority of its citizens were leaning that way. But Lincoln couldn't afford to let it go, and he did many things to violate the constitution to assure that the North held it.

Now without going into the details of exactly what Lincoln did (partly because I don't remember my history as well as I would like to) we certainly don't recognize Lincoln as a man who reduced our freedoms and limited our constitutional rights. In fact, he is remembered for just the opposite and correctly so. But at the beginning of the war (and throughout it) he was willing to do what it takes to assure the overall goals of his leadership.

09-15-2001, 11:57 PM
i am oppose to big brother snooping but it may be the lesser of evils.

09-16-2001, 03:01 AM
I really do not understand why some Americans of this forum are surprised or upset by the fact that they were robbed of something. I really expected people like Jim Geary to be more (street) smart than that.

If there's an accident or a murder or a bomb or a weather disaster --or whatever that will frighten passers by and focus their minds onto something specific-- there will always be a wise guy who will take the opportunity and:

Pick the victim's pockets undisturbed, or fondle women and girls without them registering what, or steal valuables from the scene of the incident, etc etc. This of course is sometimes done intentionally, by pros, and it's called TURNING THE MARK, if you wanna impress your pals at lunch break. But is so happens that an operator is alert anough to take advantage of an opportunity when it arises. Now this, it is called MAKING YOUR OWN LUCK.

....On an unrelated note, can yea 'll see that flag that Chuck Weinstock put up still wave, with the same vigor?

09-16-2001, 03:19 AM
and good night.


09-16-2001, 05:04 AM
I did not miss your point. In fact, I made the EXACT SAME point in some threads below.

It seems YOU missed MY point (above), however. That's understandable.

09-16-2001, 05:21 AM
to me are the proposed laws regulating encryption. Take a look at them (if you haven't already done so). The links are on the page of the link Jim Geary provided.

Imagine not being able to send a secure message over the Internet because the encryption companies are required to build-in backdoors for governmental use. Nice to know that nobody in government would ever abuse this ability, and that nobody outside of government would ever gain access to it. Right, yip, sure. This doesn't sound like something that would just be passed into law just for the short-term (if indeed it passes).

09-16-2001, 05:31 AM
. . . So why should the no-holds-barred wiretapping not defeat terrorism?

Besides! The American leadership has promised that as soon as the Drug War is won, the arbitrary confiscations of cash will stop.

That's good enough for me.

09-16-2001, 11:01 AM
The Constitution will survive in the long run. Maybe everyone should try understand one basic truth...


SPM,...justice is mounting...

09-16-2001, 11:36 AM
You are right not to trust the government completely when it comes to any exercise of authority, but the abuse of seizure laws is not really an apt comparison here. If agencies get to keep seized loot to play with or use in budgets, there is an obvious problem because unethical agencies will encourage seizing property where it is unwarranted. There were also times in the drug war craze that the salaries of individuals depended on the property they seized. This is obviously unacceptable. And it is easy to abuse seized assets, like when people connected to law enforcement drive seized vehicles as their personal vehicles. I would still guess that most seizures are done properly, but the potential for abuse is much higher when it comes to property seizures. The anti-terrorist boys will have too much to do to have time to read your mail for their own jollies. And the financial motivation isn't present like when there is a pile of cash and a Corvette they can grab. But any power can be abused of course.

09-16-2001, 12:16 PM
I read a bit more today. I think you are right. Never has the government required products to be easy to search. They can get a warrant for your safe and break it open, but they can't tell you that safes have to be easy to crack. This is a new idea in the law, and perhaps a very bad one.

09-16-2001, 03:59 PM
BTW, High Desert Poker Man,

Are you aware of the case of The US v. One 1978 Eldorado Cadillac Sedan? It's true; a suit was filed against a car. I'm not so much worried about agents usings confiscated property for their personal use, but the abuse of The Bill of Rights in the cause of the War on Drugs.


09-16-2001, 04:54 PM
All seizures are similarly titled. This is because the government is not seeking jurisdiction over the owner, but only over the property. This is why notice requirements and burden of proof issues can change. For instance, there is the obligation for an owner to come forward and contest the seizure, where in a criminal case the burden of proof always remains with the government. (That is not to say there is no burden of proof in a seizure case, but it is way different than a criminal action.)

You should be concerned about financial motivations of officers, because these factors will lead to the abuse of the Bill of Rights in the "War on Drugs." Any given Supreme Court decision on 4th Amendment issues has a certain effect, but out on the street officers aren't concerned so much with the nuances of Scalia's opinion. Good officers are concerned with getting things right, but a lot of Supreme Court opinions are very fact sensitive, and don't have a broad effect on things. For instance, a few years ago the Supreme Court allowed what are called "plain feel" searches. This allowed an officer who was conducting a pat-down for weapons (which has been allowed for years in various circumstances and has prevented numerous injuries and deaths) to sometimes expand the scope of the search to include things he knows are not weapons - i.e. crack vials in the case that started it. At first glance it seems like the opinion would lessen 4th Amendment protections a lot in the "War on Drugs." But the opinion is narrow enough that very few police searches can reasonably fall into this exception to the warrant requirement. But a dishonest officer can "help" things go his way by improper use of the tool.

And things have not been going the government's way exclusively in the Supreme Court. This last term's opinion on infra-red heat imaging devices was a pretty good victory for the civil libertarian view.

09-16-2001, 05:31 PM
I agree; but, still, I am much more concerned about how every amendment, not just the fourth, has and can be abused.


09-16-2001, 05:46 PM
Good points, and I'm not flaming. I am legitimately curious to hear some viewpoints on this. But my Bill of Rights test is this: When drug dealers used "assault weapons" and various gun control groups villified certain weapons, were you in favor of the restrictions which followed? (In my opinion unconstitutional ones.) I have found it odd that many people who rally to defend the 1st,4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 9th Amendments will not give any weight to the Second.(Or the 10th in many cases.)

I don't ask this flippantly or mean it as a flame, as I have no idea where you stand on the 2d Amendment. In fact, I am actually surprised that after this incident there has not been a clamor for more gun control laws. There always seem to be groups who will take advantage of deaths to advance gun control, even when gun laws wouldn't have done anything, as in the recent attack. But I still expected some anti-gun group to push for more controls to provide more "security."

09-16-2001, 05:51 PM
Do you wonder what Frank would have to say about all this? I don't. He pretty much nailed it, about Constitutional rights, testifying in Congress, about a deadly serious issue too, for Americans, the soul of their children.

He's missed.

09-17-2001, 12:48 PM
"...the arbitrary confiscations of cash will stop."

Let me provide you with a time frame: NEVER!!

Once the enemies of liberty have taken a freedom away, they want it gone forever.

These forfeiture laws were unconstitutional when proposed, when passed and at every instant they have been in effect, which now tops two decades. The court system of our country, whose basic and primary function is to protect us, the people, from scurrilous action by our government, has more than failed in their Constitutional obligation: they have taken up sides against us.

I want the Fourth Amendment back. Screw the government.

09-17-2001, 01:10 PM
...allowed summary incarceration of anyone who opposed our entry into the Great War. It was used to round up Reds, labor unionists and conscientious objectors. It was overturned in 1919 by the Supreme Court, who delayed reviewing the law, which was blatantly counter-Constitutional, until its full usefulness in punishing and inhibiting dissent had been realized.

I've always found it ironic that Americans delight in hearing themselves described as "freedom loving"; when in actual fact most Americans seem to despise those freedoms they don't personally exercise and enthusiastically endorse the abolition of them.

09-17-2001, 01:26 PM
Forfeiture laws as they stand and are sometimes applied are indeed unfair. I can't say they aren't constitutional because I am neither a scholar of the Constitution nor a lawyer, but many stories I have read smack of what I perceive as being contrary to the spirit of our Constitution. Especially, the turning topsy-turvy of "innocent until proven guilty" is deeply troublesome.

As for the drug war, it should be apparent that we are losing rather than winning it despite all efforts, since ever-increasing amounts of drugs continue to make their way into the country. Why? Supply and demand, and because "nature abhors a vacuum"...the more illegal and dangerous narcotics trafficking becomes, the higher will be the financial rewards for those willing to take the risks, so there will always be persons who will emerge to occupy this role.

A very eye-opening book is the non-fiction account titled: THE UNDERGROUND EMPIRE: Where Crime And Governments Embrace, by award-winning journalist James Mills. It is now out of print, but it is a great read and incredibly informative. When it was written, convoys of trailer trucks full of marijuana were regularly crossing into the U.S. via legitimate (;-)) border checkpoints; customs agents were getting rich by looking the other way. This is now small potatoes compared to the flood of drugs now entering our country. The account also details the involvements and organizations of the Golden Triangle and feudal lords who became drug lords who literally have their own private armies numbering in the thousands. These armies existed before the drug trade became so important; now they support the feudal lords who are now feudal/drug lords. Mexican operations are exposed, as is a Jewish-American kingpin's operations. The role of foreign governments is inextricably entwined with almost all aspects of the drug trade, and at one time (if not still), the illicit drug trade was, according to this book, the largest economy in the entire world.

No easy answers, but perhaps decriminalization would take the most of the profit and crime out of drugs (just my guess that this might be part of the best solution).

Anyway, the laws of Supply and Demand are pretty much Nature's Laws too---I don't think HUMAN laws will change that, and no matter how many freedoms they take away from us, I don't think the drug war can ever be completely won. Our freedoms and civil rights, however, are continually being eroded in the process.

09-17-2001, 01:47 PM
I just looked at the back of the dust jacket. Here is what it says, in part:

"The inhabitants of the earth spend more on illegal drugs than they spend on food. More than they spend on housing, clothes, education, medical care, or any other product or service. The international narcotics industry is the largest growth industry in the world. Its annual revenues exceed half a trillion dollars---three times the value of all U.S. currency in circulation, more than the gross GNP of all but a half dozen of the major industrialized nations..."

James Mills has won a reputation as one of America's most respected journalists. He has written prize-winning articles for Life Magazine..."

The Underground Empire:Where Crime aand Governments Embrace was published in 1986.

Note: in my previous post, from memory, I wrote that the internation illicit drug trade was said in the book to be the largest economy in the world. I may have been remembering the above quote, which refers to the largest growth industry, not the largest economy.

09-17-2001, 08:50 PM
Just for reference I am an Australian.

Years ago I heard Jello Biafra'a rant on the evils of Diane Fienstein. Since then I have heard the name several times and on every occaision it has been about something that erodes a little more of Americans' rights.

My question is this.

How is it that this person still has the power to influence your lives? Can't you vote her out?

09-17-2001, 09:52 PM
M, for a documented primer on the American government's extensive involvement in world drug trade, I would also recommend Cockburn's "Whiteout". Tell me what you think of it if you have read it.


09-18-2001, 02:20 AM