L. Neil Smith's
Number 280, July 18, 2004

Dotting all the "e"s and crossing all the "i"s

Freedom to Read
by Jim Duensing

Special to TLE

18 Republicans, 191 Democrats, and the only Independent in Congress voted to protect our library and book store records from the prying eyes of federal agents. Before the vote, federal agents need only go to a secret court, the Foreign Intelligence Security Act Court (FISA court), and articulate that they are conducting an investigation and would really like a search warrant for the following people. The court is then obligated to issue the warrant without a showing of probable cause in obvious violation of the fourth amendment's protection against issuing warrants without a showing of probable cause.

After the vote, the process is identical.

The Freedom to Read Amendment failed by a vote of 210 - 210. The Republican leadership held the 15 minute vote open for an additional 23 minutes, until they could twist enough arms to vote in favor of secret federal spying on reading habits.

From the Congressional Record:

Ms. HARRIS, Mrs. CUBIN, Messrs. GILCHREST, BEREUTER, TOM DAVIS of Virginia, BILIRAKIS, KINGSTON, SMITH of Michigan, BISHOP of Utah, WAMP, TANCREDO and Mrs. MUSGRAVE changed their vote from ``aye'' to ``no.''

To view the complete roll call vote on the amendment, click here.

This amendment did not even attack the key elements of the Patriot Act. It only sought to roll back one of the most unpopular provisions of the Patriot Act, Section 215. Section 215 increased the power of the secret FISA court to include searching of domestic library and bookstore records of American citizens.

Section 215 is one of the most unpopular sections of the "Patriot Act", not because it's one of the worst, but only because it has been better publicized than others.

For instance, section 213 allows secret searches of homes based on secret warrants, without probable cause. If the federal government believes that telling the subject of a search pursuant to a secret warrant will in any way jeopardize the ongoing investigation, it may delay notification of the search indefinitely.

While secretly searching your house, they may plant bugs and plant devices which record every keystroke on your computer.

If section 215 deserves to be unpopular, and it does, then, section 213 deserves to be hated by all of the American people. But, section 802 is worse.

Section 802 so broadly defines "domestic terrorism" that it could be applied to acts of civil disobedience. Even public speaking could be considered "domestic terrorism" under the Patriot Act's amorphous definition.

Yet, the pro-government extremist control freaks in Washington can't even throw the American people a bone and remove secret searches of library and bookstore records. They value their power above all else. And, they are willing to defend it against our freedom.

Members of both the Republican and Democrat parties overwhelmingly passed the Patriot Act in the first place. Both parties are to blame for the tyranny that besets our country.

But, not more than the American people.

The American people have put these control freaks into office. They have stood by while these unconstitutional laws were passed. Many cheered and chanted U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A., while the values of freedom upon which our nation was founded were eroded.

If we really want our freedom, we need to vote out every single politician who ever supported the Patriot Act, whether they have since recanted or not. We need to replace them with statesmen who will not pass any unconstitutional laws and who will work to repeal as many as possible.

It does us no good to continue voting against the greater of two evil parties. Let's vote for pro-freedom candidates that will represent us the way we deserve to be represented.

Who will get my support for President? Michael Badnarik.

Who will get my vote for Congress? I'll give you one guess and one hint. His opinions are so good, they ought to be yours.

Jim is a columnist, radio host, and self-defense instructor who is currently running a campaign for U.S. Congress in Nevada's first district. www.VoteForAChange.US—You can make a difference
Originally published at http://www.jimduensing.com/freedom_to_read.html

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