How Can The Fourth Amendment Be Guaranteed in an NSA Monitored World?

NSA

“Our government” has undercut the fundamental and universal principle that “We the People” have the right to privacy, and that they (the Federal Government) must be transparent.  But when was the 4th Amendment unconstitutionally violated by our own government?  Was it when the nuclear bomb was created in secret (out of potential necessity) back during the Manhattan Project?  Or, perhaps it was as far back as the Civil War, when Lincoln (also out of apparent political necessity) used federal forces against the Southern states to preserve a “more perfect Union.” 

The demise of our inalienable right to privacy, and the destruction of the “limited government” political philosophy can actually be traced further back in our Nation’s history.  In fact, the First Continental Congress deliberated behind closed doors, because they didn’t want the “Peoples” of the independent states to protest the creation of a new form of government before they could even set it in motion with the ratification of the Constitution.  You see they needed a marketing scheme to sell the idea of a stronger more unified government to “the People,” and so they sold the old paradigm (monarchy) with new window-dressing (federalism, separation of powers, and checks and balances) on the people of “these United States” with the Federalist Papers.  Why did they go through so much trouble?

Well, “Americans” were weary of monarchy, and of all of the tyrannical abuses of power that arose from such consolidated systems of oppression when they followed “Machiavellian” political approaches – i.e. “it is better to be feared than to be loved.”  So, ironically, the Constitution itself became the vehicle for gradual consolidation of political and economic power by the wealthy land-owning elite of America, but the States, through the power of “the People” (or State citizens – land owners in each state at that time) were supposed to “check” the power of the General government through their State representatives democratically elected. 

But guess what, when Abraham Lincoln decided to use force against the people of the Southern states (albeit for a just cause), he set a problematic precedent of power in motion that ensured the States and the people (a.k.a. the ruling elite within those states) would be very, very wary of attempting to “check” the General government ever again.  In other words, “honest Abe” sent a message (via General William Tecumseh Sherman) to those attempting to exercise “the People’s” power in the States, get with the Federal Government’s program, or get “burnt to the ground” (see history of Atlanta, Georgia). 

So much for our Jeffersonian agrarian limited form of government (and the anti-Federalists and John C. Calhoun’s right of secession arguments).  If allowed to gain political clout (like the concept of popular sovereignty), the right of secession by the States would have been an excellent means of ensuring the Federal government never got too big for it’s britches! 

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas ruled the “right to privacy” was found within the “penumbras” of the Constitution, but his logical and majority interpretation of the Constitution has been undercut ever since by Federal information and collection gathering agencies and organizations engaging in unconstitutional violations of privacy ever since! 

Likewise, the ability for a state or states to be able to peacefully withdrawal from “the Union” (a.k.a. the Not-So-United “States” of America) when it (the government) has stopped representing the interests of “the People” needs to be revisited in our modern political era.  At present count, EVERY state (all 50) in the Union has petitions to peacefully withdraw from the Union!  These petitions (along with Congress’s and the President’s current approval ratings) speak volumes of the growing discontent in this country over how are country is being led.  Not since Watergate have a sufficient number of American’s trusted their government sufficiently to give it sufficient credibility to claim it represents the wishes of the American people. 

The Federalists (John Jay’s, James Madison’s, and Alexander Hamilton’s) political ideas birthed the military-industrial complex Dwight D. Eisenhower so prophetically warned us about at the end of his Presidency.  All that was needed was time and turmoil for our government to grow into a Leviathan (see Thomas Hobbes).  What am I talking about?  A three (or perhaps four, if you count the media) headed hydra that has utilized various crises (the American Revolution, Shay’s Rebellion, the Civil War, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, the War on Drugs, and 9-11) as a justifiable pretext to grow into a monster that is undermining “the People’s” and the once independent State’s fundamental rights, powers, and freedoms! 

However, each time, we are told by our government when it over-steps it’s constitutional authority, or when we lose yet another freedom, that their actions are “a necessary evil” to strengthen the Federal Government’s hegemony in the name of forming or protecting our “more perfect Union” (to supposedly protect us from enemies both foreign and domestic).  But at this point, some 250 years later, who do we really need protection from?  What real redress do “the People” have when their own mutated form of government becomes the enemy of our God-given inalienable rights? 

I consider myself to be a patriotic American, but I believe we must question the intentions and authority of our government from time-to-time to ensure an America we can be proud of.  Unfortunately, I must admit it has been quite a while since I have been able to recognize the idealistic “America” I was taught about in school.  Both domestically and abroad our country has been doing things it should be ashamed of (see the COINTELPRO operations, and/or the various successful and unsuccessful attempts of the CIA to overthrow various democratically elected political leaders around the world – most recently Hugo Chavez).  Recent (and not-so-recent) evidence does appear to reveal that our form of government is no longer willing to honor the basic tenets of our Constitution – i.e. the Bill of Rights or the Geneva Convention and International Law.  Why? 

The answer is that it would appear those with the real “reigns of power” in this country believe they cannot effectively and efficiently combat global terrorism (the most recent crisis that cannot possibly ever really be won without a Pyrrhic victory) without first violating domestic and international laws.  But when our political leaders turn a blind-eye to NSA surveillance of American citizens (and other presumably innocent until proven guilty citizens of other countries) without a warrant, they not only violate our Constitution, but they violate international law as well.  Every NSA monitored call, text, e-mail, or blog, when combined with Defense Department drone-strikes,  violates not only the privacy of another nation’s citizens, but without sufficient proof and over-sight, it is nothing more than state-sanctioned murder.  It is also a clear violation of any other nation’s sovereignty, and a violation of the Geneva Convention’s rules on how war is to be conducted.  When Americans tolerate these illegal and unethical tactics for even a moment, they are not living up to their own ideals, and they are basically saying like the Greeks did so long ago, that “the ends justify the means.”  Also, it sends a clear message to the international community that “all bets are off” regarding international law!  So, what does all this mean?  The original “Social Contract” for why governments were ever formed has been broken, and anarchy may soon once again reign supreme throughout the world.  If this occurs, then a “state of nature” will once again prevail where “might makes right,” instead of mutual compromise and a united coalition of countries fostering a new (perhaps less violent and oppressive) world order -i.e. an empowered United Nations implementing it’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

So, what should the “average Joe” in America do about it?  Well, to be honest, the “average Joe” is now too busy trying to find enough “Benjamins” just to pay rent (since post “Cold-War” Defense spending and the “Dole state” have led to the demise of the middle-class) and the ability for most Americans to own their own home.  But, hey, even if you are swamped with bills for things you may not even really need, get your head out of the sand, and look around at what is going on! 

What are the alternatives?  We can either just continue to trust our governmental leaders, and hope they will hold themselves accountable; or we can elect new governmental leaders to replace the old ones (and hope they do something new to fix the problem); or perhaps someone can suggest yet another amendment to the Constitution to hopefully finally solve the problem;  or here is a novel idea, why don’t we hold a Constitutional Convention to address the unconstitutional actions of our government; or people like me can just continue to exercise their first amendment rights and rant about it on blogs like this one (until we are silenced); or, perhaps before they start knocking on all our doors in the middle of the night (see the history of Joseph Stalin), and we begin disappearing to re-education work camps for our non-conformist political views (see the history of Mao Zedong), as a very last resort, if our reasoned arguments and/or non-violent civil disobedience (see the history of Mahatma Gandhi / Martin Luther King) doesn’t get the job done, perhaps it really is time to follow the writer of the Declaration of Independence’s advice!  For as Thomas Jefferson so eloquently stated at the founding of our fledgling democracy, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.”  Now I realize that sounds pretty radical and perhaps even seditious, but hey, the Boston Tea Partiers seemed a bit too radical and seditious as well until the Boston Massacre and the American Revolution turned them into Patriots instead of thieves and destroyers of the King’s property!

Now, don’t get me wrong, as a man of conscience who supports non-violent change, I sincerely hope calmer heads will prevail, and that it will never come to that, because violence seldom makes anything better, only worse.  But if those in power will not listen, or be moved by the plights of those without (who suffer daily from the abuses of those in power), if the ruling elite throughout the world are all just going to take a Marie Antoinette “let them eat cake” economic and political stance on the issues, then perhaps it is yet time again for a few elitist heads to roll! 

If revolution or peaceful mass political demonstrations like those that Gene Sharp advocate have been good enough for the Vietnamese, the Croatians, the Soviets, the Arabs, the Turks, and now the Brazilians, then why shouldn’t the citizens of the “greatest country in the world” lead us into a new dawn of international democratic empowerment and renewed respect for the rule of law throughout the world? 

The roots of this movement are much older than most realize, because they arose in the signing of the Magna Charta, and were further grown in the secession of the American colonies from the British Empire.  They were “watered” by the political turmoil of the American Revolution, the People’s response to the Alien and Sedition Acts, the rise of Jacksonian Democracy, the urban improvements of the Progressive era, and the work-place improvements of the Labor Movement, and of course, by the tumultuous political and cultural movements of the 1960s.  But unlike our parents, we cannot let political assassinations, Kent State massacres, water-cannon, police attack dogs, and “police riots” like those that occurred during the 1968 Democratic Convention break our free spirits!  Likewise, with the demise of the middle class, we don’t have the luxury of being pacified by materialistic distractions anymore.  Now, only the “opiate of the masses,” the idiot box, and illicit and prescription drugs seem to keep us from recognizing the chains that bind us, and keep us from demanding our inalienable rights. 

The time has come yet again, another political and economic paradigm shift is long past due, and I would rather we develop into a one world humanity of confederated Nations that respect each other’s diverse cultures, religions, and customs, than into a world of corporate colonialism micro-managed by authoritarian multinational corporations and self-interested rogue political regimes who do not see the true value of the human capital in the countries they exploit domestically and internationally. 

So what shall it be?  If we’ve found ourselves yet again in the philosophical “state of nature” that political philosophers like John Locke, Jean Jacque Rousseau, and Thomas Hobbes wrote about so many years ago, then I ask of you my fellow citizens of the world; are we to live like enlightened human beings, or like savage animalistic creatures? 

Shall we continue to sit idly by, and watch this generation eat it’s own young with idiotic economic policies?  Will we sit on our thumbs, and passively watch innocent civilians in foreign lands get blown to bits on TV screens?  Is this the new Manifest Destiny?  Or will we have the courage, like generations of patriots before us, to speak out against the socio-economic injustices we bare witness to?  Will we turn a blind-eye to domestic and international tyranny, or will we strive to create new and improved political and economic systems to prevent the extinction of liberty and “the pursuit of happiness” in our own life-times?  I am but a humble messenger, and thus I should not be killed for delivering the message, but the system is broken, and we need a new social contract that encompasses and incorporates the technological advances of the 20th century so that democracy can be viable yet again.

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Be a Positive Influence On Others!

Be a Positive Influence On Others!

Brighten the lives of those around you, be a force for good not evil in this often dark, hostile, and dreary world. “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14:16).

“If you bring f…

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”
Jesus Christ

Jesus (/ˈzəs/; Greek: Ἰησοῦς Iesous; 7–2 BC to 30–36 AD), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth, is the central figure of Christianity, whom the teachings of most Christian denominations hold to be the Son of God.[13] Christians believe Jesus to be the awaited Messiah of the Old Testament and refer to him as Jesus Christ or simply Christ,[14] a name that is also used by non-Christians.

Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that a historical Jesus existed,[c] although there is little agreement on the reliability of the gospel narratives and their assertions of his divinity.[21] Most scholars agree that Jesus was a Jewish teacher from Galilee, was baptized by John the Baptist, and was crucified in Jerusalem on the orders of the Roman prefect, Pontius Pilate.[22] Scholars have constructed various portraits of the historical Jesus, which often depict him as having one or more of the following roles: the leader of an apocalyptic movement, Messiah, a charismatic healer, a sage and philosopher, or an egalitarian social reformer.[23][d] Scholars have correlated the New Testament accounts with non-Christian historical records to arrive at an estimated chronology of Jesus’ life.[25]

Most Christians believe that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, performed miracles, founded the Church, died sacrificially by crucifixion to achieve atonement, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven, from which he will return.[26] The majority of Christians worship Jesus as the incarnation of God the Son

Disappointment

Disappointment is found when one wishes it was not around, it slithers into our lives like a snake just waiting to strike when we are at our most vulnerable.

The tree of knowledge is watered by disappointment, and fertilized by fighting friends, when you find yourself wishing they would leave for a while, just so things weren’t so hostile, you know you have strayed from the path of brotherly love.

So when you know disappointment has crossed your path and hardened your heart at the very moment when it should have been softened, don’t let friendships and bonds with loved one’s languish as they do so often.  Instead, find away to make amends, to once again be the best of friends, and don’t let them walk out that door not knowing how you really feel.  Our fragile bonds with each other are all that really makes meaning in our lives, nothing else matters.   

You come to a p…

You come to a point in your life when you really don’t care what people think about you, you just care what you think about yourself.
Evel Knievel

Evel Knievel (/ˈvəl kɨˈnvəl/;[1] October 17, 1938 – November 30, 2007), born Robert Craig Knievel, was an American daredevil, painter,[2] entertainer, and international icon. In his career he attempted over 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps between 1965 and 1980, and in 1974, a failed jump across Snake River Canyon in the Skycycle X-2, a steam-powered rocket. The over 433[3] broken bones he suffered during his career earned him an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the survivor of “most bones broken in a lifetime”.[4] Knievel died of pulmonary disease in Clearwater, Florida, aged 69. According to the British paper The Times writing his obituary, Knievel was one of the greatest American icons of the 1970s. Knievel was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999.

The Toy Revolution: A Decline of Imagination in the American Empire

The Toy Revolution: A Decline of Imagination in the American Empire

by

Kenneth Kuykendall

As a child, I remember that if you gave me a card board box to play in, I was happy as a “jay-lark” in spring.  I would ride down hills on my big Tonka 18 wheeler trucks like they were roller-coasters, give me some old lawn mower wheels, and a soap-box racer (or a sorry excuse for one) soon would roll off my own “make-shift” assembly line.  Old boards, some rusty nails, and some old rope or cable, man I had the makings of a brand new tree-house!  I could jump more hot-wheels with my bicycle than Evil Knievel could jump buses, and who cares if the narrow ramp (usually a board leaning against a cinder-block) would sometimes slip off the block causing devastating crashes for me.  I still have the scars on my knees to remember those death-defying stunts of my wonder years.

But as I grew older, I noticed my brother collecting all these expensive plastic He-man dolls, GI-Joes, and Transformers.  We were still living in a world of imagination and fun, but it seemed to take more and more money and plastic toys to get there.  Of course, at the time I didn’t know better, but ATARI made it all clear.  I loved Defender, Space Invaders, Combat, and Centipede!  But with the advent of video games, and all the games and accessories you had to buy to keep playing, fun and playing in a “world of imagination” (now inside the TV screen) was becoming an expensive endeavor.  Plus, looking back now, I have to ask myself, was this computer generated world of imagination really inspiring me, my brother, or other children to really still even use our imaginations and sense of wonder?  We played in those imaginary worlds, but under very set patterns, and with specific levels and themes.  Then again, Nintendo did have awesome Mario Brothers and Donkey Kong games!  And if you could get to level 8 you were a “true gamer!”

However, sometime after candy cigarettes went out of fashion, and ring pops lust their luster, I realized things were getting out of hand in the toy department.  The whole world seemed tangled up like a runaway slinky, and I just felt like my life was becoming a rubix-cube I couldn’t solve.  Barbie and Ken were still around, but Barbie was becoming so independent, and Ken’s role now seemed nothing more than that of holding Barbie’s purse.  Of course, he could still get a ride in the passenger’s seat of Barbie’s big red sports car, but rest assured, he was definitely no longer in the driver’s seat (if he ever had been).  The Care bears helped me to regain some perspective on things, but then the Telli-tubbies came around by the time I was in college, and confusion once again reigned supreme.  Ironically though, considering the types of imaginative trouble I was getting into at that time, their happy giggles just seemed “right up my alley.”

It is clear however, that all this stuff, all these plastic symbols of love, cheapened that love somehow, because they all served as stand-ins for the real thing.  Baby-sat by the TV, pre-occupied by the computer, but what happened to my boyhood imagination?  What happened to kids being entertained with something as simple as a card-board box?  I can’t help but wonder, as I sit her typing this story on my expensive plastic covered lab-top, what did happen to our imagination, is it still out there somewhere waiting discovery yet again?  Am I tapping into it now?  I hope so, because I miss my childhood fun in the sun with nothing more to entertain my brother and I than our imaginations and the surrounding countryside.

“It’s not what …

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist.[1] He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state.

Thoreau’s books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry total over 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions were his writings on natural history and philosophy, where he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern day environmentalism. His literary style interweaves close natural observation, personal experience, pointed rhetoric, symbolic meanings, and historical lore, while displaying a poetic sensibility, philosophical austerity, and “Yankee” love of practical detail.[2] He was also deeply interested in the idea of survival in the face of hostile elements, historical change, and natural decay; at the same time he advocated abandoning waste and illusion in order to discover life’s true essential needs.[2]

“The first pana…

“The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.”
Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) was an American author and journalist. His economical and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works. Three novels, four collections of short stories, and three non-fiction works were published posthumously. Many of these are considered classics of American literature.