By Debbie Morgan, staff writer, www.TakeBackWashington.com, April 2, 2010
The Federal Government is stealing our civil liberties, one by one, but they are brazen about taking our Fourth Amendment rights. Our privacy is no longer our own. This actually began, in earnest, during President George W. Bush’s reign, when the Democratic House and the Republican administration acted complicitly by pushing several pieces of unconstitutional legislation through Congress. Who could have known just how much of privacy would be lost?
The USA PATRIOT Act would be a good place to start. This egregious act, and its extensions, allowed for “sneak and peak” searches, among other things, without our knowledge. If we were deemed “suspected terrorists,” constitutional laws no long applied. “They” could sneak into our homes, without a warrant, and look at whatever “they” deemed necessary, including our computers. The Fourth Amendment clearly states that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.”
If we examine the suggestions, on the state level, with regards to the formation of the Fourth Amendment, it is clear that our founding legislators meant for us to retain our privacy at all costs. That to search “without information upon oath” was considered “grievous and oppressive” and the Constitution should never be interpreted to permit “Congress to infringe upon the just liberties of peaceable citizens.” In a letter from May 1789 to Paine Wingate, Jeremy Belknap writes about a speech given by Lieutenant Governor Samuel Adams and his “‘devout and fervent wish’ that the ‘people may enjoy well grounded confidence that their personal and domestic rights are secure'” ¹
In 2007, the FISA Amendment debates began. It was revealed that several big Telecomms were caught data mining our personal conversations and e-mails. Cries of our inherent Right to Privacy were met with fierce opposition as our nation was “fighting terrorism.” The public was told their definition of privacy would have to change. Deputy Director of National Intelligence Donald Kerr said that, “Privacy no longer can mean anonymity.” The new definition, according to a 2007 Boston Globe article, would be “that government and businesses properly safeguard people’s private communications and financial information.” Government and BUSINESSES!?! Communications and FINANCIAL information!?! ²
It’s now time for the 2010 Census. The Constitution provides for an accounting of inhabitants of the united States for federal representation and funding. The Census, however, is asking not only how many people live in your household, which, consequently is all they need to know, but also how many live there on a regular basis, if someone living there also resides elsewhere, even temporarily, whether you own, rent, etc, your telephone number, each person’s first and last name, age and date of birth, and of what race they are. The information is supposed to be confidential, but it will become public after 72 years. Why do they need all that information? The well-documented film Camp FEMA explored the internment of Japanese Americans, and Representative Michelle Bachmann expressed her belief, on many occasions, that the Census was used to round up those particular Americans.
That brings us to the mammoth new health care “law.” (Remember when employers offered health care as a bonus to lure hard workers to their companies?) Where is it Constitutional to force the public to purchase anything? It’s not! The purchase of ANYTHING is my private decision! During the House debates, Texas Rep Ted Poe brought that subject up. He stated the very fact that the bill forced citizens to purchase anything was totally unconstitutional. As for the health care bill, its self, Arizona Rep Jeff Flake made a few statements that reflect most of the views of people I know. He said that we do, indeed, need healthcare reform. We need to find ways to lower the costs while improving the care. He also observed that the new law does not address these concerns. It does, however, set mandates (to purchase healthcare) and increase taxes.
During the House debates, Rep John Boehner states that no Representative believed the bill was adequate. Yet, they still voted for it. This brings me to Senator Feingold’s comments after the FISA Amendment Act passed. He did not vote for it, but said the only way to get it overturned would be to elect a Democrat as president. Unfortunately, the Democrat elected into office was one of the very ones that voted FOR the sweeping spy bill! Obama said he didn’t like the bill, but he voted for it anyway. Is that what we send these representatives to Washington D.C. to do?
Regardless of recent legislative history, you may be asking yourself, “What has a health care bill got to do with my privacy?” Does anyone really know what’s in it? Concerns from HR 3200 have been brought up by a YouTube video that has been circulating lately. For instance, are the concerns mentioned even in the final health care bill? There were several versions of the legislation (which brings to mind, did all of our representatives read EVERY version of the healthcare legislation proposed?). HR 3200 had more than 1700 pages. The bill that passed, HR 3590, has 900-plus pages. As I did my research, I found three different acts referenced on one page, alone, from which lawmakers pulled regulations. One of those is the Social Security Act and another is the Internal Revenue Code. By supporting this health care legislation, are we to assume that our Representatives have read (along with the health care bill!) every section of every “Act” referenced in the bill?
Here are a just a couple of alarming “finds” within the health care legislation:
The new legislation is mandating that employers insure their employees or pay taxes (which are really fines). On page 22 of HR 3200, the bill states that the Government will audit the books of employers who self-insure. This is also in HR 3590, on page 777. What would be the reason to “audit” an employer’s books, especially if they are providing insurance? Where is the protection from unreasonable searches for the employer?
The original bill talks about Electronic Funds Transfers and the government having access to a “real time determination of an individuals financial responsibility” and the use of “electronic funds transfers…to allow automated reconciliation with the related health care payment.” That, too, is in the newly passed health care bill. On page 29 the bill references Electronic Funds Transfers, relating it to Section 1173 of the Social Security Act, Standards to Enable Electronic Exchange. Does this mean, like some suggest, the Health Advisory Board (or whatever they deem to call the governing body) will have access to our financial records or banking accounts on the spot? Again…Fourth Amendment!
It bears repeating that the health care bill is in gross violation of the Constitution, simply on the matter of forcing citizens to purchase something. It is worth noting, too, that several States’ Attorneys Generals found the bill unconstitutional, filing lawsuits against the government almost immediately as the bill was passed. It is also clear to see what may have been in the works as our privacy was redefined to include “that government and businesses properly safeguard people’s private communications and financial information.” The ninth amendment to the Constitution clearly states, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
The Federal Government is treading all over us! This is not the time to be complacent. The ninth amendment, along with the fourth amendment (and tenth, for that matter) clearly state that we shall lose no rights, yet Congress has taken it upon itself to relieve us of a fair few.
It is time to draw our line in the sand, MO State Representative Cynthia Davis and others say in the upcoming film Don’t Tread On Me.³ Are we going to sit idly by and let them take rights that are not theirs to take? Are we going to continue to ignore what is happening on Capitol Hill and let the government (a government WE elect, a government that is supposed to answer to us) get away with this erosion of our inherent rights? It is time to get the attention of our representatives. It is time to make our stand, to scream from the rooftops and the street corners and from the top of our lungs…DON’T TREAD ON ME!
¹The Complete Bill of Rights: The Drafts, Debates, Sources and Origins, Edited by Neil H Cogan, Oxford University Press, New York/Oxford, 1997
²This is from a November 2007 Boston Globe article that is no longer available. The article, Definitions Changing For Peoples Privacy, was in response to a speech Kerr gave to the GEOINT. The following are all related articles:
Donald Kerr speech http://www.dni.gov/speeches/ 20071023_speech.pdf
Definition Changing for People’s Privacy
http://www.privacydigest.com/ 2007/11/13/definition% 20changing%20peoples%20privacy
³For more information about the upcoming documentary Don’t Tread On Me, please visit:
Representative John Boehner’s Remarks During the Healthcare Debate
Know the TRUTH about the Government Health Care Bill H.R.3200 – Key Points
The accompanying document
Social Security Act, Section 1173
14 State Attorneys General File Suit Against health Care Reform Law
Three versions of the Health Care Legislation:
Hr 3590 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
http://frwebgate.access.gpo. gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname= 111_cong_bills&docid=f: h3590enr.txt.pdf
HR 3962 The Affordable Health Care For America Act
HR 3200 America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009
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