I want to preface this column with a passage coming from our Declaration of Independence “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” Please note the operative this operative word, “liberty” and this phrase “consent of the governed” Also please take note of this operative word, “destructive”
In reading this Washington Post article, Collecting of Details on Travelers Documented U.S. Effort More Extensive than Previously Known, we the American people have just lost America. Then again it is not surprising given the tract record of this government from the passage of both Patriot Acts to the Military Commissions Act of 2006.
This act in documenting the travels of ‘we the people’ under the guise of fighting the war on terror is the very destructive force our founding fathers warned us of within the Declaration of Independence.
The opening paragraph of this WP Post article is bone chilling, “The U.S. government is collecting electronic records on the travel habits of millions of Americans who fly, drive or take cruises abroad, retaining data on the persons with whom they travel or plan to stay, the personal items they carry during their journeys, and even the books that travelers have carried, according to documents obtained by a group of civil liberties advocates and statements by government officials.”
What I do find offensive given the illegal immigration issue is that ‘we the people’ are being targeted instead of those who come across our borders illegally. This is certainly the Orwellian world George Orwell warned us of which YourDictionary.com defines as being “a futuristic totalitarian state”
One of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin also warned us “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety"
What I find offensive is that these records will be stored lumping in ‘we the people’ for fifteen years. According to the Post it will “help border officials distinguish potential terrorists from innocent people entering the country.” Excuse me; but what border are they speaking of when one does not even exist?
It even reports that this data mining and let us call it so, will monitor our “personal habits” more so than has been previously been reported. I do not want my government being that upfront and personal concerning my habits. Do you?
We are told through this report that ‘we the people’ are generally unaware of what these records have to say and have the ability to correct any errors. In being unaware of these records being collected; isn’t that un-Constitutional? The fourth amendment specifically states, “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.” Where exactly is probable cause for this data mining? I would also say that any travels by Americans if monitored they are not secure in their persons, papers, and effects. I would also state that the monitoring of law abiding citizens is unreasonable.
The very items as you will read below that are unreasonably being searched and seized are “names, addresses and credit-card information, as well as telephone and e-mail contact details, itineraries, hotel and rental car reservations, and even the type of bed requested in a hotel.”
Okay, my fellow Americans who have been asleep at the switch for far too long; when are you going to wake up and realize our country is gone? We who have not been asleep at the switch have warned all of you time and time again, yet you did not listen. Were “American Idol” and “Survivor” more important than your country?
This is not the country our founders wanted for us as they sought to sever our ties with Great Britain who they saw as a tyrannical form of government.
According to John Gilmore who is a civil liberties activist in San Francisco "The federal government is trying to build a surveillance society," Did ‘we the people’ consent to this form of government? No, the federal government along with the help of both political parties chose it for us. Yes, I blame both Republicans and Democrats equally for this move.
The only presidential candidate that has openly stated he will do away with Homeland Security is Congressman Ron Paul. When will the rest of them get on board? He is the only one who lives and breathes the United States Constitution while the rest of them tear into our civil liberties. On the Democratic side, it was Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Edwards, Senator Dodd, and Senator Biden who voted for the Patriot Act and sanctioned the formulation of this agency. If you care about civil liberties they are not the candidates for you. On the Republican side, Senator Brownback and Senator McCain also voted in favor of ripping into our civil liberties.
In this day and age when one should have a healthy distrust of this government, I do not believe Russ Knocke’s assertion they are not interested in the books we choose to read. Knocke is a spokesman for DHS. Then on the other hand he said, “if there is some indication based upon the behavior or an item in the traveler's possession that leads the inspection officer to conclude there could be a possible violation of the law, it is the front-line officer's duty to further scrutinize the traveler." In fact, I will go on record saying, I do not trust the government at all.
I know of many peaceful and law abiding Muslims. Will they be racially profiled should they carry the Koran aboard any plane?