Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bob Barr vs Obama & McCain

OK, here's another place Barr is not like McCain... but where McCain is like Obama: the issue of surveillance against the American people. Senators McCain and Obama both support the FISA bill.

Bob Barr's Statement, issued today:
The House on Friday passed legislation that greatly expands the power of the government to surreptitiously surveil phone calls and e-mails of American citizens. If, as expected, this legislation is passed by the Senate and the President, as promised, signs it into law, it will represent the greatest expansion of the government’s ability to conduct warrantless surveillance of Americans ever.

While the Administration will tout this as a bill to “listen in to phone calls with al Qaeda” and other terrorist organizations (a power the government already possesses), the fact is, under this legislation, every phone call or email that takes
place between a US citizen in the United States and any person “reasonably believed to be” overseas, can be surreptitiously surveilled by the government without ever going to a judge. Yes – it is that broad.

It also gives telecommunications companies that previously allowed government agents full access to the private records and calls of their subscribers in violation of the 1978-FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) completely off the hook for such privacy-invasive actions; it grants them prospective immunity as well.
The day before the bill passed in the House by a 293-129 margin, Barr issued the following press release:

Bob Barr Urges Congress: No Surveillance of Americans Without Fourth Amendment Protections

June 19, 2008 6:33 pm EST
Atlanta, GA -- “In asserting his power to conduct warrantless searches of Americans, President George W. Bush has expressed his clear contempt for the Fourth Amendment. So has Sen. John McCain, despite his reputation as a supposed maverick,” says Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate for president. Now the Democratic-led Congress is preparing to approve a so-called compromise that gives the Bush administration almost everything it wants in order to expand dramatically the power of the federal government to surveil American citizens without court orders. “America desperately needs leaders who will stand up for the Bill of Rights,” observes Barr, “not those who flaunt its vital and time-honored protections.”

The president already has the power to conduct surveillance of foreign terrorists. The 30-year old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act provides for court oversight, along with the requirement that the government get a warrant. “The court has virtually never rejected a request,” notes Barr. “Changes in technology require updating the law, not gutting it.”

However, the bill being advanced by the Democratic leadership “would allow the government to listen to millions of phone calls by Americans with neither an individualized warrant nor an assessment of probable cause,” he adds. Although the law would offer some protection when a particular American was expressly targeted, even then “the proposed rules fall short of what the Fourth Amendment mandates.”

Moreover, the bill would immunize telephone companies from wrong-doing, protecting them against law suits even when the firms violated the law by helping the government conduct warrantless searches. Past cases would simply be dismissed. “Conservatives once said, ‘you do the crime, you do the time,’ but no longer,” observes Barr. Now virtually the entire Republican Party is prepared to sacrifice the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans in favor of federal government power.

And the Democratic leadership is ready to do the same. Congressional Democrats privately say that they don’t want to take the political risk of opposing the president. “But the individual liberty of Americans is not a political football, something to be tossed about when an election looms,” insists Barr. “It is the constitutional duty of lawmakers of both parties to defend the Constitution, even when they believe doing so might be politically inconvenient.”

Advocates of abandoning the Constitution warn us that we live in dangerous times. But Americans have long lived in dangerous times. “That didn’t stop the nation’s founders from creating a Constitution that secured individual liberty and limited government,” notes Barr. “It shouldn’t stop us from following the Constitution today.”

Barr represented the 7th District of Georgia in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003, where he served as a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, as Vice-Chairman of the Government Reform Committee, and as a member of the Committee on Financial Services. Prior to his congressional career, Barr was appointed by President Reagan to serve as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, and also served as an official with the CIA.

Since leaving Congress, Barr has been practicing law and has teamed up with groups ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union to the American Conservative Union to actively advocate every American citizens’ right to privacy and other civil liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Along with this, Bob is committed to helping elect leaders who will strive for smaller government, lower taxes and abundant individual freedom.

"Advocates of abandoning the Constitution". I like that tag, for both McCain and Obama.

Please- don't give me this "lesser of two evils" crap when discussing McCain or Obama. It's no more healthy than the "lesser of two eye gouges", or the "lesser of two genitalia mutilations".
It would take some kind of sado-masochism or willful ignorance to go that route this year.
What A Good President Should Be...

...John McCain is Not. Here are some differences between McCain and Bob Barr, per Barr:

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ron Paul's Ongoing Campaign

(Fishers, IN)- While Ron Paul is officially out of the race for the Republican Party's nomination for President, he is continuing his efforts with the launch of Ron Paul's Campaign For Liberty. It's a Political Action Committee with the following as it's mission statement:
The mission of the Campaign for Liberty is to promote and defend the great American principles of individual liberty, constitutional government, sound money, free markets, and a noninterventionist foreign policy, by means of educational and political activity.

With this launch, and without an endorsement of Bob Barr, to read between the lines is to conclude thusly: Ron Paul is continuing to work to "reform" the Republican Party. If you can have a mission statement like this, and not endorse Barr, I'm not sure what else there is to conclude.

I for one am not interested in reforming the Republican Party. I'm not interested in doing anything besides relegating it to the scrap heap of failed American political parties. They'd look good resting among the ashes of the Free Soil Party and the Communist Party USA. Paul gave it a fair shot, but was soundly rejected by Republicans in their primaries and caucuses. Republicans don't want liberty. They had their chance, and stomped on it.

I hope Paul's work of supporting candidates who promote liberty isn't limited to mostly Republicans and a few Democrats. It would render his PAC as the equal of the Club For Growth, which also mistakenly promotes mostly Republicans, and finds itself staring at an ever-growing government, with ever-growing amounts of taxes taken from the people, and ever-growing debt being generated as future taxes on future Americans.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It's Illegal For You, But A Civic Good If We Do It

(Mt. Sterling, OH)- Funny, I thought the City of Indianapolis was against billboards, because they are "ugly" and an "eyesore".

So, here's the City, after removing some commercial billboards after a protracted legal struggle, now installing some of it's own. I guess all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. From the Indy Star report:
A citywide campaign encouraging residents to report crimes launched today as community leaders unveiled a new billboard conveying the message: "It's not snitching -- it's caring."
While city leaders have always embraced the movement, this is the first year it has become a "major city initiative", said Marcus Barlow, a spokesman for Mayor Greg Ballard.
So, shame on me. I was once excited by Mayor Ballard, seemingly in tune with the rights of the people. Forgive me, but in retrospect, I think I was more excited just to see Bart Peterson unelected. 

Some day I'll learn not to get excited when a Republican or Democrat is elected to replace a proven loser. How's that Who song go?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Andy Horning's Platform

(Mt. Sterling, OH)- Andy Horning is the Libertarian candidate for Indiana governor, and he has a unique platform- The Indiana Constitution.

Andy's assertion is that, just like our US Constitution is ignored in the making of laws by the Congress, our state's Constitution is likewise ignored by our state legislature. Where does the governor come into play? The governor signs, or refuses to sign, bills into law. Andy Horning would not sign unconstitutional bills into law.

Check out this link to Andy's blog, where he was commented on the entire Indiana Constitution, bringing the document of 1851 into relevance for today.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Back-Up Beeps

(Mt. Sterling, OH)- I recently reacted to anti-hockey comments made Tiger Woods in a post, and since then, there have been some interesting developments. First, a sort-of retraction by Woods, by way of the Detroit Free Press:
"Oh yeah, I've gotten a lot of grief over that," Woods said Tuesday at Torrey Pines. "I love the sport. I love watching it, but I don't like watching it on TV. In person, it's absolutely incredible, what they're able to do and what they can do. TV doesn't do justice to that. But then neither does -- a lot of sports are the same way".
I'm glad he got a lot of grief. He earned it.  Golf is nearly as exciting as watching paint dry- in person, or on TV, and this retraction scarcely apologizes. In the meantime, I gave Gatorade some grief by sending them an email, expressing my displeasure. Here's their response:

We are sorry that you were offended by a remark the Tiger Wood (sic) made during his news conference at Oakland Hills Country Club.

Please be assured that we're sharing your comments with our sports marketing team. Our sponsorship of the NHL and our partnership with Sidney Crosby as a Gatorade athlete is clear indication of our respect for the sport of ice hockey, the National Hockey League, and the athletes.

Thank you for sharing our thoughts with us, Mike. We hope you will continue to hydrate at your hockey games by drinking Gatorade.

Gatorade Consumer Response
I imagine Michael was a busy guy, washing his hands of Woods. Well, this is all nice, and I appreciate the responsiveness by Gatorade, but Tiger Woods must pay. I'd be satisfied with a short scrap with Link Gaetz.

Game on!