Bringing LIBERTY to
Capitol Hill -- 2008
Saturday Morning, February 23, 2008, 10:30am
A Discussion of The President's Saturday Morning
to listen to a replay of the February 23, 2008 Ozarks Virtual
Notes and Summary of the President's Address --
"The Protect America Act"
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. At the stroke of midnight tonight, a
vital intelligence law that is helping protect our nation will expire.
Congress had the power to prevent this from happening, but chose not
How the President Differs from the American vision of
"Liberty Under God":
America's Original Foreign Policy
The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations is
in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political
connection as possible."
— Washington, Farewell Address (1796) [Washington’s
I deem [one of] the essential principles of our
government, and consequently [one] which ought to shape its
administration,…peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all
nations, entangling alliances with none.
— Jefferson, First Inaugural Address (1801)
America was originally a "city upon a
hill" -- Christian values and charity (economic productivity)
were sent around the world. Trade created relationships. America built
rather than destroyed. America was loved and admired.
The Federal Government stopped heeding this wisdom
100 years ago. The 20th century has been a century of totalitarian
foreign intervention. America sends bombs, not assistance and
technology. America is feared and despised.
Iran, 1953 -- U.S. installs dictator who is
worse than the tyrant complained of in the Declaration of
U.S. intervenes in Soviet Invasion of
Afghanistan, funds Islamic terrorists to irritate Soviets.
Iran-Iraq, 1980's -- U.S. supports Saddam
Hussein in his war against Iran
U.S. has military bases around the world
Kuwait -- U.S. supports Arab sheik and his
wives, ignoring the rights of Kuwaiti workers.
U.S. Sanctions and Bombing against Iraq kill
hundreds of thousands of innocent people.
Washington's foreign bullying causes resentment,
and increases terrorist recruiting.
We would be safer and would have no
"need" for permanent "emergency" wiretapping
if Washington D.C. would follow the Constitution and America's
The Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights
"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."
Why was this important to America's Founding
Fathers? Americans today do not know.
Some people in Washington may sincerely
believe that they need to ignore the Fourth Amendment in order
to protect America from attack. Other people in Washington may
know this is not true, but the power would be useful for other
Declaration of Rights, sec. 10, (12 June 1776)
10. That general warrants, whereby
any officer or messenger may be commanded to search suspected
places without evidence of a fact committed, or to seize any
person or persons not named, or whose offence is not
particularly described and supported by evidence, are grievous
and oppressive, and ought not to be granted.
Bill of Rights: Searches and Seizures by Jacob G.
Summarizing the history of the Amendment and showing
that government officials love to
"barge into people’s homes
and businesses and conduct intrusive searches of the premises
and of the persons who are unfortunate to be there at the
time. If they find any contraband, including weapons, they
seize it and take it with them. Not having to answer to any
court, they operate with omnipotent power, and their searches
and seizures ... are arbitrary and indiscriminate."
We must bind down government with the chains of the
Jefferson said. "Power tends to corrupt," as
Lord Acton said.
George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries 1:App.
The case of general warrants,
under which term all warrants not comprehended within the
description of the preceding article may be included, was
warmly contested in England about thirty or thirty-five years
ago, and after much altercation they were finally pronounced
to be illegal by the common law. The constitutional sanction
here given to the same doctrine, and the test which it affords
for trying the legality of any warrant by which a man may be
deprived of his liberty, or disturbed in the enjoyment of his
property, can not be
too highly valued by a free people.
- There is no need to discuss the details of the "Protect
America Act": we should instinctively see its dangers and
oppose it. But the details can be found below.
Saturday Morning Radio Address
"Liberty Under God"
|THE PRESIDENT: Good
morning. This Thursday, Laura and I returned from an inspiring
visit to Africa. In Benin and Tanzania, we met leaders who are
fighting HIV/AIDS and malaria -- and people whose lives have been
saved by the generosity of the American people. In Rwanda, we saw
a nation overcoming the pain of genocide with courage and grace
and hope. In Ghana, we met entrepreneurs who are exporting their
products and building a more prosperous future. And in Liberia, we
saw a nation that is recovering from civil war, led by the first
democratically elected woman President on the continent. Laura and
I returned to Washington impressed by the energy, optimism, and
potential of the African people.
||U.S. Government aid to corrupt
governments in Africa (and around the world) has been a massive
failure. Most of it never reaches the powerless people who need
help the most.
Foreign Aid and
|Members of Congress
will soon be returning to Washington, as well, and they have
urgent business to attend to. They left town on a 10-day recess
without passing vital legislation giving our intelligence
professionals the tools
they need to quickly and effectively monitor foreign
terrorist communications. Congress' failure to pass this legislation
was irresponsible. It will leave our Nation increasingly
vulnerable to attack. And Congress must fix this damage to our
national security immediately.
already have "the tools they need." And "We the
People" have the tools we need to protect us from an
untrustworthy government. Timothy B. Lee, Cato adjunct scholar, comments:
"The last time Congress
overhauled FISA, after the September 11 attacks, Pres. Bush stated
that the new law 'recognizes the realities and dangers posed by
the modern terrorist. It will help us to prosecute terrorist
organizations -- and also to detect them before they strike.'
Those are the rules we'll be living under after the Protect
America Act expires this weekend. There's
no reason to think our nation will be in any more danger in 2008
than it was in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, or 2006."
|The way ahead is
clear. The Senate has already passed a good bill by an
overwhelming bipartisan majority. This bill has strong bipartisan
support in the House of Representatives, and would pass if given
an up or down vote. But House leaders are blocking this
legislation, and the reason can be summed up in three words: class
Block FISA Talks | Electronic Frontier Foundation
|The Senate bill would
prevent plaintiffs' attorneys from suing companies believed
to have helped defend America after the 9/11 attacks. More
than 40 of these lawsuits have been filed, seeking hundreds of
billions of dollars in damages from these companies. It is unfair
and unjust to threaten
these companies with financial ruin only
because they are believed to have done the right thing and
helped their country.
||This is false and deceptive
First, "plaintiffs' attorneys" don't sue, plaintiffs
sue. The suits are being brought by organizations like the Electronic
Frontier Foundation, who also look into government-manipulated
Some of the
Many of these lawsuits are brought by non-profit organizations
that don't have deep pockets to litigate extensive cases.
Second, these companies are not being sued by bad guys
"only because" these companies are patriotic good guys.
They're being sued because they violated YOUR privacy.
Suppose you hired a home security company, and later discovered
that the company had installed video cameras in your bedroom to
spy on your more intimate moments. Would you want to fire that
company? Would you want to sue? Would it bother you that a
peeping-tom company was threatened with "financial ruin?
Phone companies are being sued because they are listening to
YOUR conversations and reading YOUR email -- not that of
of ordinary phone conversations are involved, not a handful of
conversations with terrorists in foreign countries. The issue is blank-check
eavesdropping of domestic
conversations. These companies are not being sued because they
kept the law and protected America, they're being sued because they
broke the law and are destroying our freedoms.
"AT&T should have been standing up for you and your
privacy. In this country we follow the law, we don't just follow
|But the highest cost
of all is to our national security. Without protection from
lawsuits, private companies will be increasingly unwilling to take
the risk of helping us with vital intelligence activities. After
the Congress failed to act last week, one telecommunications
company executive was asked by the Wall Street Journal how his
company would respond to a request for help. He answered that
because of the threat of lawsuits, quote, "I'm not doing it
...I'm not going to do something voluntarily."
In other words, the House's refusal to act is undermining our
ability to get cooperation from private companies. And that
undermines our efforts to protect us from terrorist attack.
||Americans should have the right
to take phone companies to court to allow the Constitutional
process to work out a determination of telecom liability. When you
hired them, you paid for privacy. Your company should be liable
for breaking the contract it made with you.
If the federal government gets a warrant, that represents the
power to coerce. If the government has a warrant, it doesn't
depend on "voluntary" cooperation. The government wants
your phone company and internet provider to voluntarily let the
government listen to your communication without legal warrant,
depending on your telcom company to "voluntary" let the
government spy on you.
"Cooperation" by phone companies with the government
is often far from "voluntary."
|Director of National
Intelligence Mike McConnell recently explained that the vast
majority of the communications infrastructure we rely on in the
United States is owned and operated by the private sector. Because
of the failure to provide liability protection, he says private
companies who have "willingly helped us in the past, are now
saying, 'You can't protect me. Why should I help you?'"
Senator Jay Rockefeller, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate
Intelligence Committee, puts it this way: "The fact is, if we
lose cooperation from these or other private companies, our
national security will suffer."
Telecom companies cooperate with
eavesdropping not out of the goodness of their heart, but because
(once the executive branch has gotten the appropriate warrant)
they’re legally required to do so. That will continue to be true
after the PAA expires. And in any event, the law is pretty clear
on this subject. The only “liability protection” they really
need is to follow it.
There is no evidence that America is at greater risk without this
extension. The government cannot point to a single phone call or
email that it is missing right now.
reconvenes on Monday, Members of the House have a choice to make:
They can empower the trial bar -- or they can empower the
||These lawsuits are not driven by
"trial lawyers," but by people who value the
Constitution. They are not "abusive" lawsuits. The
question is not, "Do you support U.S. intelligence, or do you
support trial attorneys?" That's an unethical way to phrase
it, like, "Have you stopped beating your wife?" The
question is, "Do you support the Constitution?"
The Constitution says it's illegal for the government to spy on
Americans without a warrant. Bush does not deny that the
government has used telcom companies to spy on Americans who have
no connection to terrorism; Bush does
not deny that illegal and unconstitutional acts have
taken place; Bush wants retroactive immunity
from prosecution for these illegal wiretaps. The
intelligence community does not need unconstitutional powers.
|They can help class
action trial lawyers sue for billions of dollars -- or they can
help our intelligence officials protect millions of lives. They
can put our national security in the hands of plaintiffs' lawyers
-- or they can entrust it to the men and women of our government
who work day and night to keep us safe.
||The President and Republicans are
seeking to derail the Constitutional process.
- By forcing the House of Representative to rubber-stamp the
President's bill in the Senate, rather than exercising
independent oversight. Republicans have walked
out on talks, and are boycotting the constitutional
- By denying the Judicial Branch of Government the power to
exercise constitutional checks and balances on Executive
Read this EFF:
AT&T/NSA Class Action FAQ and ask yourself who really
benefits from this litigation: trial lawyers or the American
people and their Constitution.
|As they make their
choice, Members of Congress must never forget: Somewhere in the
world, at this very moment, terrorists are planning the next
attack on America. And to protect America from such attacks, we
must protect our telecommunications companies from abusive
||At this moment, terrorists are
telling children that the U.S. is an atheistic nation that kills
innocent people, and these children are being recruited as
terrorists. WHY are terrorists planning to attack America? This is
the more important question to ask, not "Should the
government have permanent, unaccountable powers to eavesdrop on
America's domestic communication?" America needs to be once
again a Christian nation
that brings tangible and spiritual aid to the innocent. This would
take the wind out of the sails of terrorist recruiters.
|Thank you for
White House Denials:
Five Myths About the House's Failure to Give Our Intelligence
Professionals the Tools They Need to Monitor Terrorists Effectively
Kevin Craig's platform:
America – From the President - by
Paul Craig Roberts
- Bush pressured telecom companies to
break the law in order to enable his
illegal spying. In court documents,
Joseph P. Nacchio, former CEO of Qwest
Communications International, states
that his firm was approached more than
six months before the September 11,
2001, attacks and asked to participate
in a spying operation that Qwest
believed to be illegal. When Qwest
refused, the Bush administration
withdrew opportunities for contracts
worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Nacchio himself was subsequently
indicted for insider trading, sending
the message to all telecom companies
to cooperate with the Bush regime or
Bush Been Spying, Blackmailing
Communicating with Government and Media
- Contact Congress -- this
is from the JBS website, powered by "CapWiz," from Capitol
Advantage. Lots of organizations use capwiz. If you don't want to go
through the JBS, search for capwiz
on Google and find another organization that uses it.
Notice that you can also contact media through this webpage.
- Action E-List
Sign up for the JBS Action E-List and be notified when you can
make a critical difference on important issues.
John Adams once wrote that the American
Revolution began in 1761, when Massachusetts attorney James Otis
began legal challenges to the Writs of Assistance. He lost the case, but
"American independence," Adams wrote, "was
then and there born." Now do the math. That means it took 15
years to convince the rest of America to declare Independence (1776).
Then another seven years of war was required before a Peace Treaty was
signed (1783), and then six years before the Constitution was finally
ratified (1789). That's almost 30 years. (And Jefferson said we
shouldn't go 20
years without another rebellion!) How can we hope to convince
Americans to fight for principles they were never taught in government
schools? We need to be in this battle for the long term. "Eternal
Vigilance is the Price of Liberty."
The Democrat Party Radio Address:
This week, Michigan Congressman John Conyers delivered the
Democratic Radio Address, describing efforts to amend the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act
|Since 1978, foreign
intelligence wiretapping has been conducted under a law called the
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, commonly called 'FISA.' You
may have heard dire warnings about our national security from the
President – but let me assure you that FISA remains in effect
today and allows for rapid court-approved wiretapping to collect
foreign intelligence information, while protecting Americans'
|Last summer, Congress
enacted temporary legislation that amended FISA to provide certain
additional surveillance powers to the intelligence community. [The
House and Senate passed differing bills to make these temporary
changes permanent. These bills need to be harmonized.]
|Last week, because we
knew that we would be unable to harmonize the Senate bill with the
House versions on such short notice, I introduced legislation that
would have provided for a 21-day extension of the short-term
August law, which was otherwise due to expire on Saturday.
President opposed the extension, every House Republican
voted against it, and the extension was defeated.
Block FISA Talks
|Why would the
Republicans do that? Why would they let the temporary August bill
||Because the President wants
permanent, blanket immunity from violating the Constitution. He
does not want the Congress to debate the issue, uncovering the
extent of Bush's illegal wiretapping; he wants unconstitutional
immunity and unaccountability and he wants it now.
for a replay of this edition of the Ozarks Virtual