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lquadland10 (< 20)

More rights taken away.



July 09, 2008 – Comments (5) | RELATED TICKERS: FSLR , AUY , GLD

More rights taken away.

5 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On July 09, 2008 at 10:18 PM, devoish (86.34) wrote:

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July 9, 2008
3:10 PM

Mandy Simon or Liz Rose, (202) 675-2312;
James Freedland, (212) 519-7829 or 549-2666;

 Senate Passes Unconstitutional Spying Bill and Grants Sweeping Immunity to Phone Companies
ACLU Announces Legal Challenge to Follow President’s Signature
 WASHINGTON - July 9 - Today, in a blatant assault upon civil liberties and the right to privacy, the Senate passed an unconstitutional domestic spying bill that violates the Fourth Amendment and eliminates any meaningful role for judicial oversight of government surveillance. The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 was approved by a vote of 69-28 and is expected to be signed into law by President Bush shortly. This bill essentially legalizes the president’s unlawful warrantless wiretapping program revealed in December 2005 by the New York Times.


“Once again, Congress blinked and succumbed to the president’s fear-mongering. With today’s vote, the government has been given a green light to expand its power to spy on Americans and run roughshod over the Constitution,” said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “This legislation will give the government unfettered and unchecked access to innocent Americans’ international communications without a warrant. This is not only unconstitutional, but absolutely un-American.”


The FISA Amendments Act nearly eviscerates oversight of government surveillance by allowing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to review only general procedures for spying rather than individual warrants. The FISC will not be told any specifics about who will actually be wiretapped, thereby undercutting any meaningful role for the court and violating the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure.


The bill further trivializes court review by authorizing the government to continue a surveillance program even after the government’s general spying procedures are found insufficient or unconstitutional by the FISC. The government has the authority to wiretap through the entire appeals process, and then keep and use whatever information was gathered in the meantime. A provision touted as a major “concession” by proponents of the bill calls for investigations by the inspectors general of four agencies overseeing spying activities. But members of Congress who do not sit on the Judiciary or Intelligence committees will not be guaranteed access to the agencies’ reports.


The bill essentially grants absolute retroactive immunity to telecommunication companies that facilitated the president’s warrantless wiretapping program over the last seven years by ensuring the dismissal of court cases pending against those companies. The test for the companies’ right to immunity is not whether the government certifications they acted on were actually legal – only whether they were issued. Because it is public knowledge that certifications were issued, all of the pending cases will be summarily dismissed. This means Americans may never learn the truth about what the companies and the government did with our private communications.


“With one vote, Congress has strengthened the executive branch, weakened the judiciary and rendered itself irrelevant,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “This bill – soon to be law – is a constitutional nightmare. Americans should know that if this legislation is enacted and upheld, what they say on international phone calls or emails is no longer private. The government can listen in without having a specific reason to do so. Our rights as Americans have been curtailed and our privacy can no longer be assumed.”


In advance of the president’s signature, the ACLU announced its plan to challenge the new law in court.


“This fight is not over. We intend to challenge this bill as soon as President Bush signs it into law,” said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project. “The bill allows the warrantless and dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international telephone and email communications. It plainly violates the Fourth Amendment.”


For more information, go to:


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#2) On July 10, 2008 at 1:15 AM, StockSpreadsheet (67.65) wrote:

As Benjamin Franklin said, "Any society that will give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and will lose both".  Unauthorized/illegal wiretaps should not be allowed, and hopefully their use will be banned by the Supreme Court.  I hope the ACLU can win their case and that an injunction can be mandated by a court during the appeals process.  I always thought that the Patriot Act gave up too many of our freedoms in the name of pursuing terrorists and now the government is trying to expand their powers by restricting our freedoms more.  With the Executive and Legislative Branches trying to do a power grab, our only hope is the Judicial Branch.  With enough media attention, if they don't support the power grab, maybe this can become a political issue with the elections coming up.  The only thing that the Legislative and Executive Branches fear is the power of the ballot box.  Maybe that power can be used to at least temporarily turn back this tide.

One can only hope and vote.


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#3) On July 10, 2008 at 2:20 AM, DarkToast (31.92) wrote:

Vote from the rooftops


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#4) On July 10, 2008 at 2:43 AM, hall9999 (93.45) wrote:

  I'm all for moaning about the government taking away our rights.  And it does seem as if Bush continues to get a lot of what he wants despite the Republicans no longer holding a majority in congress.  But what the ACLU is saying in the press release quoted above doesn't seem quite right.

  There have been several versions of this bill that were discussed and voted on.   For example:

"...allowing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to review only general procedures for spying rather than individual warrants. The FISC will not be told any specifics about who will actually be wiretapped, thereby undercutting any meaningful role for the court and violating the Fourth Amendment..."

This stuff was in an earlier senate version.  The bill that was voted on yesterday (H.R. 6304) lays out much more oversight and requires more specifics about who is being wiretapped.  From what I've read, this bill is a compromise between the earlier Senate bill and one drafted in the House. Perhaps that is why 21 of 49 democrats voted in favor of it.  The main compromise seems to be the amnesty for the telecoms.  Apparently many more dems would have voted for the bill if that wasn't included.

 BTW, if you're interested, you can look here to see if your senator voted for or against it.

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#5) On July 10, 2008 at 8:15 PM, lquadland10 (< 20) wrote:

Thanks all. I keep voting for anyone who runs against them and yet they are still here. Write in vote for Ron Paul is my next vote.

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