What follows are six major changes to traditional constitutional procedure that have happened the past six months, none of which through the change process required in Article V of the Constitution, but each will adversely affect the distribution of power in this country and how we define liberty in the future. This time period could very well be the most radical six-month period of constitutional change in U.S. history. Should we be concerned with, or worse, frightened by, our own government?
We begin on New Years Eve with the President signing into law the 600 plus page National Defense Authorization Act which, among other things, authorizes the military to seize and transport U.S. citizens from U.S. soil to Guantanamo Bay on the presumption that they are terrorists. The threat of potential indefinite incarceration without recourse to lawyer, judge and trial is unconscionable in a free society. The new law ends the writ of habeas corpus found in Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution and Posse Comitatus protection (protection from ones own armed forces). It also lays waste to much of the Bill of Rights, notably Amendments 4, 5, 6, and 8. Its intimidation potential will impact free speech, press, and assembly as well. Local law enforcement is essentially bi-passed.
Then in February, The National Operations Center (NOC), a part of The Department of Homeland Security, released its “Media Monitoring Initiative” giving itself permission to “gather, store, analyze, and disseminate” data on millions of users of social media, primarily Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. So far they appear less concerned with the information on the average Joe or Jane, although all is kept just in case, as they deal with unmanaged journalists and bloggers. These are defined as those who use “traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed,” such as myself. Targeted are those who post articles, comments, or other information to popular web outlets. It is a clear violation of the 4th Amendment in the Bill of Rights. Continue Reading →