Your LEGAL RIGHTS to basic American freedoms are being eroded, infringed, and violated. What are *you* going to do about it?
The Bill of Rights - If we don't have this, they can do *anything* they want to whoever they want, and we don't have a democracy any longer.
WHY the Constitution and Bill of Rights are important Their history and meaning
Compilation on Civil Liberties
by the Global Dialog Project - Here's what you need to know about how your freedoms are being affected
9-11's Endangerment of Civil Liberties
-Legislation related to the attack of September 11,2001
Text of the USA Patriot Act - It has some necessary provisions, but is unacceptably unconstitutional in specific parts.
--The USA PATRIOT ACT
----Domestic Spying - yes, on YOU
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Do You Believe in
Freedom, or Not?
Ask our Presidential candidates how they will uphold the Bill of Rights and OUR basic freedoms!
A few examples of how YOUR freedoms are disappearing
What You Can Do - DO IT NOW!
We've waited long enough. We've sat through debates, campaign speeches, rhetoric, evasion, and obfuscation, and our presidential candidates have barely addressed one of the most important issues of our time: the erosion, nay, the outright destruction of our freedoms, guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Look, people, without the Bill of Rights we're just PRETENDING to have a democracy.
Without basic American freedoms, everyone from the President to your local policeman can lock you up, screw you over, and determine the course of your life. Without it you don't have the right to speak your mind, go where you want, have a lawyer defend you, own a gun, or have privacy in your own house. If these aren't fundamental rights to you, if you don't understand that these *exact things* are what patriots have given their lives for, then I suggest you consider the alternative. It's called tyranny, dictatorship, and fascism, and every whittling away of our freedoms leads us down a path where we don't have a voice, or a choice, about the future. It doesn't matter WHAT giving these things up 'buys' us, including a little more 'safety'- itself a dubious claim. America wasn't built on safety, it was built on liberty!!
Safety without freedom means you're an animal safe in a zoo cage, not a free human being - what do you choose?
A few examples of how YOUR freedoms are disappearing:
- Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion? (aka the First Amendment): Replaced by 'free speech zones', loyalty cards to attend political events, gag orders, FBI spies taking notes on your church, and 'detainments' for carrying signs - all a kick in the balls to democracy and freedom.
- Freedom from search and seizure without probable cause: the right to privacy (aka the Fourth Amendment):
The USA Patriot Act torched this one - they can sneak into your house without showing you a warrant or telling you they're doing it (USAPA provision 213)
- AND the FBI doesn't even need to show probable cause to investigate you, search you, or put surveillance on you! (provision 218 of the USAPA).
- Right to a lawyer, a fair and speedy trial, and to know the charges against you (aka the Fifth and Sixth Amendments)
Thousands of American Muslims were picked up after 911, held for more than a year, and then released without charges - Ashcroft's record is 0 for 5000. Meanwhile, President Bush now has sole power to declare citizens and non-citizens 'enemy combatants', preventing them from calling a lawyer or family, letting anyone know where they are, and putting you into a black hole of detainment without trial for years on end. If you're OK with President Bush having this power, then try to remember you may not want the NEXT President down the line deciding this kind of thing.
- No cruel or unusual punishment - (aka the Eighth Amendment)
Shipping people to Guantanamo prison camps in Cuba, or to other countries that don't HAVE this amendment, and allow torture is already occurring. Not to mention Rumsfeld-approved torture at Abu Ghraib. I mean -
C'mon people!! Torture is something the BAD GUYS do - and we're supposed to be the GOOD GUYS!
It is our core American rights and freedoms - freedom of speech, of assembly, and of the press, and rights to privacy and a fair trial, that allow us to be advocates for the environment, for peace and justice, for business or healthcare or children, nuclear power or sustainable energy, right, left, or independent.
Basic American rights and freedoms are the political ground we stand on: they provide the stability for us to speak without fear and to act from our conscience on matters we care about. As the War on Terror erodes these freedoms, our ability to access government information, to speak on behalf of our causes, and to live without fear, are being undermined by the very officials who have sworn to uphold them.
We need to know for certain which candidate will best safeguard the freedoms and rights we hold dear. We need specific guarantees from the candidates that they will return OUR freedoms to us, that they will not declare martial law and subvert the Constitution, and that liberty is the most important thing to us as Americans. Without these, we run the risk of a new President who has the power to become a dictator.
So, please, if you care at all about the freedom you have been blessed by as an American, protect those rights for yourself and your children by demanding answers from the candidates about how they WILL protect our rights.
For us to be assured that our basic freedoms will NOT be compromised, we need explicit promises on how these candidates will uphold the Bill of Rights, and how they will maintain the freedoms that define America.
Therefore we call on you, TODAY, to immediately contact the campaign headquarters of one or more candidates and ask for specifics of how they will protect our freedoms. Ask them if they will repeal the unconstitutional parts of the Patriot Act. Ask them if they will rescind FBI edicts which allow domestic spying on American citizens without a warrant. Ask them if they will put a stop to the parts of Patriot Act II that are already passing Congress. Ask them what they will do to make good on the sacred oath they swear to uphold the Constitution. We all deserve to know their answers.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
WHY support your constitutional freedoms now?
This is it. This is the year that we, as citizens and as a nation, decide whether we will uphold the Bill of Rights - or not.
This is the year we will decide whether we will affirm our constitutional rights as American citizens - or not. The year we will claim freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and rights to bear arms, to privacy, and to fair trial - or the year we allow these freedoms to be infringed, degraded, and violated.
It is up to us to decide if we truly care about freedom, about truth, and about the rights that have defined being 'American'.
It is up to us to decide if we will hold our elected officials accountable to protect those rights, as they have sworn to do.
It is up to us to take action to safeguard these freedoms and to raise our voices in their support - for voices in federal and state government have been cowed, silenced, or deluded into believing that we must give up our rights. Those that should be leading us in the tradition of Jefferson and Madison, to a nation under the rule and protection of law, of and by and for the people, are now actively destroyhing the rights we take for granted.
The Bill of Rights was written as a statement of rights NEVER to be diminished in any way - these rights were the bottom line for the formation of our union, and the contract that holds us together as a people and a culture of freedom.
Now those rights are threatened - by illegal searches made legal, by removal of judicial checks and balances, by wholesale invasions of privacy of every person, business, and organization in this country. They are threatened when our right to dissent is targeted by the FBI, when our email and phones can be tapped at will, when our financial, medical, educational, and all other records can be accessed by merely a letter from the FBI demanding that information, with no justification or proof of wrongdoing. (This last power was granted the FBI when President Bush signed the Intelligence Authorization Act on the day Saddam Hussein was captured).
It is up to US.
Presidential Executive Orders signed by President Bush have established military tribunals, along with secret detainments, secret evidence, and secret trials. They give President Bush the power to single-handedly label American citizens 'enemy combatants', thus stripping them of civil liberties, including rights to due process. In a blow to freedom of speech and association as guaranteed by the First Amendment, the FBI is allowed to conduct surveillance of religious services, internet chat rooms, political demonstrations and public meetings of any kind- actions not seen since the days of COINTELPRO operations that targeted activists like Martin Luther King, Jr.
Additional proposals by the Bush administration have included plans for organized spying by mailmen, cable installers, and service people (the TIPS program); creation of a dossier on every American with complete personal, medical, financial, communications and other data (TIA, the Total Information Awareness program); and reconfiguration of the internet for ease of surveillance, allowing direct monitoring of all internet and email communications without the need for a warrant.
Plans to extend the USA PATRIOT Act were in the "Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003"
were leaked from the Justice Department February 7. The new Act would remove judicial oversight on phone taps and search warrants, allow police spying on American citizens and groups, and in some cases strip Americans of their citizenship and rights. Critics of the plan charge that trampling the Constitution is not necessary to national security. Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, top Democrat on the U. S. House Judiciary Committee, said the legislation "turns the Bill of Rights completely on its head."
"The rights of all men are diminshed if the rights of any man are denied."
-John F. Kennedy
Real patriotism defends and supports not just the symbols, but the founding principles our forefathers fought and died for: those rights granted by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. To remove these freedoms can only lead us away from democracy, and our foundations as a nation of liberty and justice sworn to protect the rights of all. - V.Gremillion
....a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles...is absolutely necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty and keep a government free.
Ask the Presidential candidates what they will do to protect *your* rights and freedoms!
Demand the media report on this issue - now before it's too late!!
See this National Media Contact List
Cities Defend the Bill of Rights
Cities around the country are passing Resolutions supporting the Bill of Rights! 359 cities, counties, and communities (as of Oct 25,2004) have passed resolutions upholding the Bill of Rights. Hundreds of other communities have them in process.
NOTICE YOU HAVEN"T HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT THIS!! WHY NOT???
Citizens throughout the state, whether Democrat or Republican, have successfully passed resolutions that uphold our fundamental, and constitutionally guaranteed, freedoms. Won't you join us? Read these pages, or contact www.bordc.org to find out how you can participate.
READINGS - Security vs. Liberty?
Freedom And Security? : How A Hayekian Fights Terror The free world can remain so only if governments separate terrorism from crime and limit as well as empower their police forces, says KONRAD HUMMLER.
Judge Rules "Unconstitutional" Key Provisions A judge has ruled that key aspects of the USA Patriot Act are unconstitutional.
Camps for Citizens: Ashcroft's Hellish Vision
- JONATHAN TURLEY L.A. Times
A professor of constitutional law at George Washington University discusses Ashcroft's plan for U.S. citizens' constitutional rights
Civil Liberties and National Security
A conversation with Harold Koh, Norman Dorsen, and John Deutch, >American Academy of Arts and Sciences
No Due Process For Enemy Combatants
"Chief Justice Rehnquist held that...'the Government may detain individuals whom the government believes to be dangerous.'" FreeRepublic.com "A Conservative News Forum"
Paying for security with liberty
- Michael Ignatieff
"They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Ben Franklin
Lawyer's Committee on Civil Rights - After September 11th
Organizational statements and letters regarding the USA Patriot Act, the detention of non-citizens, military tribunals, and the FBI's new powers.
Observer Liberty Watch campaign Documents the negative impact of 9-11 on British civil liberties
Anti-Terror Legislation So Far by About.com. Reviews the USA Patriot Act and other anti-terrorist legislation.
Turning your back on Leader Bush is now illegal
Ohio State's graduating class told they would be expelled if they turned their back on Bush in protest...'thundering ovation' expected instead
U.S. citizen in military prison indefinitely - without benefit of lawyer or trial
-- ...despite fact that Deputy of Defense says: "I don't think there was actually a plot beyond some fairly loose talk."
U.S. introduces laws that 'mirror the worst excesses of some dictatorships'
The might of corporations undermines democracy
Do Americans want to struggle to create a rich democracy, or are we going to roll over and accept a democracy for the rich?