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Our Constitution Has Been SUSPENDED...oh, has it now?

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posted on Feb, 16 2008 @ 02:45 AM
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When telephone companies break the law to appease the government by allowing illegal wiretaps without proper paperwork...

And then the Congress grants immunity.

It's a complete circumvention of the rule of law.

Two branches of government remove the judicial branch from ever being able to determine what is legal and what is not.

You have laws in place, break them, and grant immunity across the board. This stopped being a government by the people, for the people.

Game. Set. Match. The people lose.




posted on Feb, 16 2008 @ 10:13 AM
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Originally posted by Angry Danish
When telephone companies break the law to appease the government by allowing illegal wiretaps without proper paperwork...

And then the Congress grants immunity.

It's a complete circumvention of the rule of law.

Two branches of government remove the judicial branch from ever being able to determine what is legal and what is not.

You have laws in place, break them, and grant immunity across the board. This stopped being a government by the people, for the people.

Game. Set. Match. The people lose.



When the United States government approaches a phone company and asks or requires their assistance…how can, with any fairness, someone say or believe at the end of the process the company is culpable?
If Congress grants the company immunity, by doing so they have proved they still have their power. The President is not the sole choice. He is not running under an un”balanced” system.
Immunity is granted all the time in court cases and trials and is a common/essential practice. People are mislead, they are set up, they unknowingly are made parts of large crimes they had no intention of being part of. These things are understood and so immunity is granted. It actually gives them a freer way to explain their role and at the same time sheds much better light on the motives behind the crime. It infinitely helps to lead and give an inside view of what happened. When immunity is granted, people no longer have to worry or govern what they say because they are concerned about incriminating themselves. Immunity is not evil, it can fuel an investigation.



posted on Feb, 16 2008 @ 03:17 PM
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Originally posted by _Johnny_Utah_
When the United States government approaches a phone company and asks or requires their assistance…how can, with any fairness, someone say or believe at the end of the process the company is culpable?


Quite simply, because these companies knowingly held a binding contract to protect the confidentiality of the business their subscribers conducted while using their services.

By asking or "requiring" these companies to dishonor these lawful covenants, the governmental agency involved would itself be breaking the law, as has Congress, IMHO, by granting retroactive immunity from prosecution for these egregious violations of trust.

This act by Congress will have only demonstrated that they have the power to rubber-stamp their approval to whatever unlawful and unconstitutional activity the Executive Branch/Justice Department, FBI, NSA, et al., will have chosen to conduct.

There is no honorable power in acquiescence to pressure enabling criminal behavior.



posted on Feb, 16 2008 @ 03:59 PM
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reply to post by goosdawg
 

It isn’t quite that simple.
The law not only looks at things which are right or wrong, it also says, “What would a reasonable person do?” That makes a big difference when it comes to motive.
When the virtually infinite power of the government is pressed on a person (corporation), and they are compelled to do something they wouldn’t otherwise do…that makes a big difference as it pertains to intent. Things we would consider crimes happen all the time and no charges are pressed because there was no motive or negligence. People have accidentally killed others, but since they did nothing wrong nor did they intend for it to happen, it is ruled as an accident. People are forced to commit crimes, because if they do not they will be harmed or their family will be harmed. A “reasonable person” would do the same thing…so the crime is not on them, it is on the coercer.
The phone companies only did what a reasonable person would do.



posted on Feb, 16 2008 @ 05:50 PM
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Originally posted by _Johnny_Utah_
The phone companies only did what a reasonable person would do.


Respectfully, I must disagree.

Only the reasonable carriers refused to cooperate with the unlawful request of a governmental agency.

They knew that the law was on their side to do so, and yet many companies chose to disregard the law and allow secret and generally considered to be illegal surveillance on their own customers.


Under federal law, any person or company who helps someone "intercept any wire, oral, or electronic communication"--unless specifically authorized by law--could face criminal charges. Even if cooperation is found to be legal, however, it could be embarrassing to acknowledge opening up customers' communications to a spy agency.
Source | c|net News.com | Some companies helped the NSA, but which?

I understand your point concerning the grant for immunity to assist in an investigation into whether the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance project approved by President Bush in fact "gives the executive branch too much unchecked authority to eavesdrop, without a court order, on communications between Americans and people 'reasonably believed to be outside the United States.'"

But the tactic now being deployed is to, in essence, make an end run around any investigation by granting immunity and codifying into law that which is currently considered to be unconstitutional.

As Sen. Chris Dodd said:


Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who cosponsored the unsuccessful amendment with Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), said it's dangerous to "grant that retroactive immunity without insisting the courts, as they're designed to do, determine the legality or illegality of this program."
Source | c|net News.com | Senate shields phone companies from spy lawsuits

I find this quote to be particularly chilling:


But Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, argued the immunity is an "essential" part of the bill. "If we permit the carriers who may or may not have participated in this to be sued in court, then the most important partners the government has, the private sector, will be discouraged from assisting us in the future," he said just before the vote.
Source | c|net News.com | Senate shields phone companies from spy lawsuits

(In an aside, why would carriers who "may not" have participated in "this" have reason to fear being sued?)

I feel it's very important that those in the private sector be discouraged from assisting unlawful governmental requests in the future.

I think any reasonable person who demands that our hired civil servants abide by the Constitution they're sworn to protect would agree.

That is, if it's still in effect, otherwise, we the people, haven't got a legal leg to stand on.



posted on Feb, 16 2008 @ 07:04 PM
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reply to post by goosdawg
 

Don’t get me wrong here. I am not saying I agree with what was done or even condoning the actions taken by the phone companies. I understand them, though, and if I was in the same place, I would more than likely act in the same way.
I am saying a reasonable person would do the same. Take a look at this.
www.law.cornell.edu...
Here is part of it what is on the site.
Ҥ 1510. Obstruction of criminal investigations
(a) Whoever willfully endeavors by means of bribery to obstruct, delay, or prevent the communication of information relating to a violation of any criminal statute of the United States by any person to a criminal investigator shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
(b) (1) Whoever, being an officer of a financial institution, with the intent to obstruct a judicial proceeding, directly or indirectly notifies any other person about the existence or contents of a subpoena for records of that financial institution, or information that has been furnished to the grand jury in response to that subpoena, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both. “
Now knowing this is the penalty and you have the FBI, CIA, and NSA standing in front of you, how does a reasonable person act? Add to it, it is at a time when the nation is at war and there is great concern about another terror attack happening…would you still say no? You are also being told by doing this you can prevent another 9-11 or something much worse from happening. Put a selfish or self serving note in there too (even reasonable people are selfish). What if you did say no and a monstrous terroristic event happened? Without a doubt it would come out that you refused to help. Think of the suits and lost business. A company which employs thousands, could be shut down.
Whether or not the government could enforce the penalties, well, that is another story. But to have the mass of the Federal Government virtually at your door and telling you to help them or else…it would be very hard to say no.



posted on Feb, 16 2008 @ 09:03 PM
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reply to post by _Johnny_Utah_
 


I appreciate the link you provided, JU, but I'm unclear on how it relates directly to our discussion, since it appears to apply predominately to financial institutions.

Thanks for the clarification on your position, nevertheless.

Allow me to likewise clarify my earlier statement.

I was incorrect to say that Congress has approved retroactive immunity to the telecom carriers who "may or may not" have allowed undisclosed spying to be unlawfully conducted on their customers.

Only the Senate has approved retroactive immunity, the House version approved in November does not.

A compromise will have to be hammered out before sending it on to the pResident to apply his veto if he doesn't get what he wants, namely, retroactive immunity for the carriers who knuckled under to the secret spying requests.

Which would, IMHO, eventually put the responsibility back on the Executive branch to justify over stepping their Constitutional powers, should the lawsuits against the carriers be allowed to proceed.

Many carriers have stated publicly that they did not share information, I applaud their integrity.

For a list of many who did the right thing, you can examine the information presented on this link:

c|net News.com | Some companies helped the NSA, but which?

Those carriers who side-stepped the question with vague legalese should immediately be suspect.

It a shame they weren't as concerned with the legality of their actions when considering whether or not to allow unwarranted spying on their customers.

When it comes time to renew service contracts, one may wish to consider the ramifications of how one's particular carrier answered the question.



posted on Feb, 16 2008 @ 11:10 PM
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reply to post by goosdawg
 


Okay, you got me thinking…this is fun.
If the companies knew there was no way for the government to compel them to comply, I will agree with you…there should be no immunity.
I only wonder what tactics were used to get them to comply. If the fed’s used faulty or misleading means, I still think the companies deserve immunity. The guilt rests on the feds then (yes, though I am Bush supporter… I mean the President too). If a company believes everything is in line and they are following the law as it is presented to them…how could they know it was illegal? They wanted to follow the law and were mislead. I think that makes a huge difference.
Here is section from an article I found. I know internet articles don’t count for much, but I think this story is pretty straight forward.

“…But supporters of the plan said the phone carriers acted out of patriotism after the Sept. 11 attacks in complying with what they believed in good faith was a legally binding order from the president. Republicans were able to garner the support of 19 Democrats and Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut...”

Here is the link. There is a Youtube clip on there, but I didn’t listen to it, so I have no idea if it has any meaning to the story.
www.veracifier.com...



posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 02:32 PM
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It's worth noting that former A.G. Alberto Gonzales had a knack for bully-ing when he wanted certain things. He may have simply said, " cooperate now and we'll give you a verry big legal shield later on, which will protect you for all time."

Look at this from the telecom's point of view. A legal shield is to them a license to plunder. Why would they say no to that?



posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 09:02 PM
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Why was this thread moved to politics? The suspension of the Constitution is a conspiracy of the highest order, not a political debate.

Anyone here still believe that the Constitution is actually still in force?



posted on Feb, 17 2008 @ 09:10 PM
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Originally posted by jackinthebox
Why was this thread moved to politics? The suspension of the Constitution is a conspiracy of the highest order, not a political debate.

Anyone here still believe that the Constitution is actually still in force?

Gools moved it. He/she said it seemed more like a US political issue.

I asked similar questions...said it was a judgement call...okay.



posted on Feb, 18 2008 @ 11:54 AM
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Well, I don't own the site, but I disagree with the call to move it.

On topic, does anyone here still believe that the Constitution has not been suspended?

The evidence is rather clear, the Constitution has been suspended as an effective instrument of law. Even if Congress did have the authority to restore it, which they do not without Presidential authorization, they have not bothered to do so.



posted on Feb, 19 2008 @ 02:07 PM
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reply to post by jackinthebox
 
The constitution has been suspended, in effect, by the Patriot Acts(Patsy Acts), thats what it was designed for. As for times when this act is not in affect I'd say that's a good arguement.

It has definately seen better times. It is constantly amended to, loopholed and twisted by the judicial branch. The original document including the original bill of rights has been not really suspended by govt. but nullified through hosts of unneccesary additions to it. The judicial branch then makes rulings on their interpretation of it. These problems stem from the fact the federal govt. was never intended to be so big and uncontrollable. The reason for such disconect from the people is obvious, there is no local connections to it. Our state govt.s are just puppets of the ruling parties.



posted on Feb, 19 2008 @ 03:52 PM
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I'm pleased to announce that:


Washington, DC – The Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives stared down the White House today (2/14/2008) and decided to stick with their version of revisions to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The House voted to adjourn without letting the phone companies off the hook for breaking the law by helping the government spy on Americas. The House is leaving town and allowing the unconstitutional Protect America Act to expire this weekend.
Source | ACLU | House Stands Up to Threats from the White House on Domestic Surveillance

Unfortunately that doesn't mean the unlawful spying will stop immediately:


Fredrickson said that although the Protect America Act is set to expire this weekend, it doesn’t mean the new mass, untargeted surveillance programs authorized under that act will expire. Certain provisions of the Protect America Act will live beyond the law’s expiration date, including:

· Orders under the Protect America Act can last for up to a year. Orders issued in the past six months will continue through their internal expiration date. So, for example, if the attorney general and director of national intelligence issue year-long orders on 2/15/08, they will run uninhibited until 2/15/09. (See PAA Section 6: Authorizations in Effect - Authorizations for the acquisition of foreign intelligence information pursuant to the amendments made by this Act, and directives issued pursuant to such authorizations, shall remain in effect until their expiration.)

· Orders are not specific to individuals and can pick up new targets in the future. Although the orders are secret, we know the authority granted to the executive branch allowed them to create whole programs of surveillance that are not confined to any specific individual or facility – in fact, that breadth is precisely what the PAA is about. So, as programs continue, it stands to reason agents can pick up new suspects, phone lines, email accounts, etc., without the need to return to court.
Source | ACLU | House Stands Up to Threats from the White House on Domestic Surveillance

So, Neo-Fascists take heart, you still have up to a year to trample our Constitutional liberties.

That is, if we still have any.



posted on Feb, 21 2008 @ 10:23 PM
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reply to post by goosdawg
 


Maybe that is why Congress adjourned without any further action. That knew that it wouldn't make much difference anyway.
Besides, do you really think that just because they are not ALLOWED to continue, that they WON'T continue all the surveillance that they want. They'll just be very quite about it, and who will know. Why let a little thing like Congress or the Courts to stop them?



posted on Feb, 21 2008 @ 10:55 PM
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reply to post by ProfEmeritus
 


Unfortunately, you're likely correct concerning the adjourning of the House.

With their record of non-confrontation when it comes to the Imperial Presidency, it would be out of character for them to do anything proactive at this point.

And, yeah, "they" spied secretly before, and "they" will continue to spy on whomever, whenever "they" please; a "damn piece of paper" isn't going to stop that.



posted on Feb, 22 2008 @ 04:58 PM
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Originally posted by ProfEmeritus
reply to post by goosdawg
 


Maybe that is why Congress adjourned without any further action. That knew that it wouldn't make much difference anyway.
Besides, do you really think that just because they are not ALLOWED to continue, that they WON'T continue all the surveillance that they want. They'll just be very quite about it, and who will know. Why let a little thing like Congress or the Courts to stop them?

Maybe Congress did this…
Who knows if…
What is that? That’s no answer to anything.
You are supposing ideas. That’s how rumors start and…conspiracies.
They start with no basis in fact and through paranoia of those have total distrust of the government. They become “supported” (if even a word that strongly can be used) and are connected together with other speculations, like constellations. Fill in the blanks with parts or semblances or thought and somehow….poof! You have a “theory.” Shazam! You have a “plot.”
The point in fact is, the Constitution is what all our laws are governed around. Presidents would not be impeached, laws would not be ruled “unconstitutional,” and the President would not serve in terms stated in law…if the Constitution was not valid or was no longer the law of the land.
Do you honestly think Bill Clinton, and the monstrous ego he has, of all people would serve only 8 years? You don’t think he would have stayed in office? You think he would have gone through the embarrassment of impeachment if he was a man not governed by the Constitution?
When “what if’s” become the source of an argument…there is none.



posted on Feb, 22 2008 @ 05:43 PM
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reply to post by _Johnny_Utah_
 


Time after time people like Bush get away with things like the USA PATRIOT Act because of people who offer excuses for them are good at twisting logic, so much so, that they can't tell when they're being lied to because it is exactly what they have been saying. You obviously didn't read the PATRIOT Act. It's ok. Neither did most of congress. But I did. All ORIGINAL 342 pages that came out 14 days after 9/11 and was passed just a few days later after no debate, and no review. That document was WAITING for a moment like this to be placed into law. And some laws ARE violations of the constitution...Why do you think the majority of voting Americans on both sides of the isle want the Act repealed? Why do you think so many Americans are against NAFTA or the NAU of the Texas trans national highway, or Echelon, or the war in Iraq and the torture this government condones and engages in regularly. Basically going against everything we said we wouldn't do. Most of it is anti-constitutional in every aspect. And people are lied to about it. Or they don't get the whole story. Or they are given small fragments to eventually concede to when the WHOLE document is tearing our constitution to shreds. Illegal search and seizures can now take place. No courts involved, no warrants, no charges, indefinite jail sentences without judicial review or charge, Military style tribunals can be held in which the death penalty can be invoked without a jury present and in many cases with out legal council or privacy of legal council. These tribunals can be done in secret, without any media access at all..They can make you disappear and you can't scream loud enough for anyone to hear you. That is anti constitutional. I don't care if it is law. READ THE DOCUMENT. Google it. Look at it in it's present form and in it's past form and you will notice that it is the same thing with prettier words. All you said is that it was law. But you gave NO explanation as to why it ISN'T anti-constitutional. Read it and come back to the debate with weapons in hand.



posted on Feb, 22 2008 @ 07:18 PM
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reply to post by _Johnny_Utah_
 


Are you seriously still trying to argue that the Constitution has not been suspended? You have shown no solid evidence to back your claim, and ample evidence has been provided which proves you wrong.



The point in fact is, the Constitution is what all our laws are governed around.


"Law" is no longer practiced under Constitutional authority in the US. Our courts now practice a system of statutory public policy. The 6th Edition of Black's Law Dictionary states the following:



Public law. That branch or department of law which is concerned with the state in its political or sovereign capacity, including constitutional and administrative law, and with the definition, regulation, and enforcement of rights where the state is regarded as the subject of the right or object of the duty, . . . That portion of law which is concerned with political conditions; that is to say, with the powers, rights, duties, capacities, and incapacities which are peculiar to political superiors, supreme and subordinate.

Public policy doctrine. Doctrine whereby a court may refuse to enforce contracts that violate law or public policy.

Public policy. Community common sense and common conscience, extended and applied throughout the state to matters of public morals, health, safety, welfare, and the like; it is that general and well-settled public opinion relating to man's plain, palpable duty to his fellow men, having due regard to all circumstances of each particular relation and situation.


Johnny Utah sais:


Presidents would not be impeached, laws would not be ruled “unconstitutional,” and the President would not serve in terms stated in law…if the Constitution was not valid or was no longer the law of the land.


Why wouldn't Presidents be impeached? Oral sex in the Oval Office is not un-Constitutional, yet Clinton was impeached. Impeachement has nothing to do with the Constitution. Just because there are statutes of public policy which are followed and enforced, does not mean they are based on Constitutional authority. Public policy is the "law of the land," not the Constitition.

As far as laws being ruled "unconstitutional" you have to ask your self this. Why are laws ruled to BE Constitutional, when clearly they are not? Take the subway bag searches for example. Warrantless invasion of privacy, that has NOT been ruled unconstitutional, when it is in fact in direct contradiction with inalienable rights protected by and defined in the Constitution.



Do you honestly think Bill Clinton, and the monstrous ego he has, of all people would serve only 8 years? You don’t think he would have stayed in office? You think he would have gone through the embarrassment of impeachment if he was a man not governed by the Constitution?


Again, your examples have nothing to do with the Constitution whatsoever. Just because the Constitution is no longer valid, does not mean there is anarchy. It just means there is a new order in place calling the shots.

[edit on 2/22/0808 by jackinthebox]



posted on Feb, 22 2008 @ 09:26 PM
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reply to post by jackinthebox
 
I love how defenders of President Clinton STILL say it was about oral sex. Sorry…there’s a little more to it, buddy. I don’t care what he does or who he does it with…when he lies under oath…that’s when the problems begin. As Attorney General of Arkansas, Bill Clinton had people sent to jail for perjury…yet, somehow it’s not against the law for him to do it when he is President? Come on…you know better than that. Unconstitutional would be letting a President get away with perjury.

Things are “ruled” constitutional. How are they ruled…by the a judge's perception of what the Constitution says. It's always been that way. I will agree with you, I don’t think they are Constitutional, but nevertheless a judge ruled them to be by way of his/her interpretation. If the Constitution was suspended…it would have never made it to the judge to begin with. The court would have no say.

I will say this once more…
Public Policy is policy, because and only because, it has been ruled to be Constitutional OR it is unchallenged to not be so in court.
You can think or feel differently, but that is how it is.
Now you say I haven’t proven it isn’t suspended. Anecdotal cases where there a interpretations WE (that is me too) don’t agree with…is not proof of the reverse.
You are the one who said, either on this thread or the other one, that the President is a dictator. My examples ARE reasons and evidence supporting my original statement…the Constitution is not some abandoned document nor does the President have free reign over the country.





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