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Tomorrow, Congress Will Pass a Bill Permitting PHYSICAL SEARCHES without Warrant at its Sole Discretion. Put Down the Chips, Put Down the Remote and Call Your Representative. Now.

This post is also available as a podcast. Listen in if you like.

H.R. 6304 is a bill being pushed so fast that it hasn’t even shown up on Thomas yet for the public to read. Should it pass the House of Representatives tomorrow as scheduled, Americans will be stripped of the legal standing to challenge the constitutionality of warrantless searches and seizures. Don’t let the authoritarians in Washington, DC distract you with some kind of claim that this is about protecting citizens by watching foreigners with funny names like Ahmed and Abdul; H.R. 6304 specifically authorizes the U.S. government to spy on American citizens with out a warrant too. All the government will have to do to is 1) Go ahead and do it, 2) file a piece of paper not asking permission but just telling a judge it has done so. As long as it 3) says — not proves, just says — that the information has to do with public safety, it can go ahead and spy on American citizens without a warrant and use any information without any authorization or even post-hoc requirement that the information be deleted. Don’t believe me? Go ahead, read H.R. 6304 for yourself. Read pages 44-46 especially closely. (Thank you to the Electronic Freedom Foundation for finding and posting a copy of the text to the web. This is a mirror of that file.)

You think this is just about intercepting phone calls? No, it’s not. It’s about physical searches, too. Read pages 73-77 of H.R. 6304. Come on, do it. Those pages say that a presidential administration can, without a warrant or even the prior approval of a FISA judge, engage in any physical search whatsoever so long as 1) later on, the administration files a piece of paper not asking permission but just telling a judge it has done so. As long as it 2) says — not proves, just says — that the information has to do with public safety, it can go ahead and engage in ANY physical search, ANYWHERE, WHENEVER it wants — then use the information as it sees fit, even if some judge later on says that the search was unjustified. Because under H.R. 6304, who ultimately determines whether a presidential administration’s warrantless surveillance was necessary? Yes, that’s right folks, the presidential administration itself. Page 77. Read it.

Unlimited electronic surveillance and physical searches by the American government everywhere on the planet, including right here at home — and all the American government has to do is tell a judge after the fact, without proof and without recourse that it was necessary for national security. All in a secret room with words your lowly citizen ears will never hear, because of course this is all to be confidential.

Just trust the government and let it do whatever it wants. Is THAT American?

Do you trust your government? You shouldn’t, because you know and I know that the government has screwed people over in the past. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. H.R. 6304 if passed will grant the President of the United States absolute power, and that should never be permitted in the United States of America. You should demand that someone be looking over the executive’s shoulder. And that’s what the 4th Amendment to the Constitution is all about:

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.

H.R. 6304 violates the letter and the spirit of the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. If you care about this country, if you care about freedom, stop eating your potato chips, look up the phone number of your member of Congress and place a call today. Right now.

I know, you just heard about it. I understand — I just heard about it too. They’re trying to pull a fast one on us. Tomorrow it will be too late.

12 comments to Tomorrow, Congress Will Pass a Bill Permitting PHYSICAL SEARCHES without Warrant at its Sole Discretion. Put Down the Chips, Put Down the Remote and Call Your Representative. Now.

  • Oh, but Jim, there’s a more important story that has got Americans’ attention tonight, so that they can’t worry their pretty little heads about it.

    Jamie Lynn Spears had her baby! And it’s a girl!

    I mean, come on, with that news, who cares if the government can search through our homes without any reason? Who needs the Bill of Rights when Jamie Lynn Spears has had her baby?

  • Tom

    i’m so disappointed (okay, disgusted) with the democrats who are just caving in all over the place – on FISA (which sucks anyway), the oil companies getting their oil wells back in Iraq, and now this (to add to all the other crap these fascists have put on us).

    When our government has been bought by corporations with no allegiance to the U.S. how are we supposed to get it back? The courts are stacked, Congress follows the money and the president is doing exactly what they ask of him (“Hey George, can you get our oil wells back for us? We’ll give you a bunch of money and see to it that you get to be president . . . “)

  • disconnect me

    it looks like they have severeley limited the debate on this bill
    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c110:1:./temp/~c110XM5Rkx::
    and the text still isn’t online at Thomas.

    The house switchboard is supposed to be open at 9 AM eastern time, you should be able to get through to your rep now 202 224-3121.

    For some reason the house email service doesn’t seem to be working for me, my rep’s local office recommends sending any letter by Fax.

  • Paulson

    Do you know who led the surge to restrict debate on the bill? New York State Democrat Michael Arcuri – a Democrat who also supported the Military Commissions Act. Democrats like him make me ashamed to be a Democrat.

  • sam

    Yeap…called them…said GO for it….when you have nothing to hide…it’s not a problem….

  • It’s not a problem to have the government spying on you if you have nothing to hide? Is that the new Republican position: Big government, we love it?

    If you have nothing to hide, Sam, why don’t you send ME copies of all your private emails, and let me listen in on all your phone conversations, Sam?

    Come on – I’m making the offer. If you have nothing to hide, what’s the problem?

  • sam

    Because you haven’t the abilty to protect me from folks…like yourself…..

  • I’ll protect you Sam. Sure I will. Now give me the keys to your house, and your social security number.

    Unless you have something to hide, Sam. What are you trying to hide?

  • sam

    I have alarm system and Life Lock….you can’t do squat….Ah the free market place….and as for something to hide….from loones like you everything….cause I’m one of the “haves” and you are one of the “have nots”….from the Government…the can check all they want…because at the moment they don’t want anything I have. You on the other hand scream for privacy of your grocery list….

  • Why do you need an alarm system and lifelock? You must have something to hide, Sam. What are you trying to hide?

  • Sam

    Hiding from the likes of you…who want to take my hard earned money….my guns…my Christmas Yard decorations….my SUV….list list goes on….

  • D_FLA

    This may be the next saddest day in the history of this nation……

    I can’t help but think they must have dirt on members in congress – I have often wondered something … suppose that the Anthrax Scare was really a way to get complete access to the offices of Congress to “Clean them” and they have just gathered enough dirt to blackmail them into submission? I mean, how many more cases of Anthrax have we heard about?

    Maybe we need to tell Congress, look, we know you are going to mess around in Airport Bathrooms and we will be okay with that – just stop voting like this or there will be cameras installed in those same bathrooms.

    Hey Sam, listen for one second – it works like this. Now there is NOTHING TO HIDE, and when one of your pain in the butt liberal gun hating anti-Christmas money sucking Democrats gets into office, they can come and get whatever they want. Privacy is not a PARTISAN ISSUE! It is a RIGHT that we must continue to FIGHT FOR – be it to hide your guns or his hard earned money, her bible, his booze, her copy of To Kill A Mockingbird, his free market insider information, her stock trade, her big idea for a new solar powered SUV, his business plan, your sleazy phone conversation with Christina three weeks ago Sunday (we know about her)…. and on a Church night…for shame…. Do you get it? So if you think your lifelock and alarm system are going to take good care of you, if you think a free market can survive not knowing whether the NSA agent listening to you has a brother who is the CEO of your competition…well what a happy day it must be in your world. Yay!

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