Friday, January 19, 2007

ACLU Raises Objections Over Expanded Military and CIA Domestic Spying

Crossposted from STOP THE ACLU:

The NY Times continues in their quest to leak out our methods to our enemies.

The Pentagon has been using a little-known power to obtain banking and
credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or
espionage inside the United States, part of an aggressive expansion by the
military into domestic intelligence gathering.

The CIA has also been issuing what are known as national security letters
to gain access to financial records from American companies, though it has done
so only rarely, intelligence officials say.

Banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions receiving the
letters usually have turned over documents voluntarily, allowing investigators
to examine the financial assets and transactions of American military personnel
and civilians, officials say.


Notice that the leaked information claims that it was hundreds, not thousands, of people suspected of terrorism or espionage. This seems to me to lean towards the side of restraint rather than abuse.

If we have enemies within, and we can’t trust our own military to investigate the financial history of those that are suspect then we have bigger problems to worry about than paranoia over privacy.

Government lawyers say the legal authority for the Pentagon and the CIA to use national security letters in gathering domestic records dates back nearly three decades and, by their reading, was strengthened by the antiterrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act.

California Conservative writes:

I’d further suggest that the credibility of this reporting is suspect
because we’re getting this information leaked. If there’s anything that makes me
suspicious of a report, it’s when the information was acquired through a snitch
with an agenda.

If the government’s lawyers are right that the Patriot Act strengthened the
use of national security letters, then it’s reasonable to assume that there’s
regular oversight done on this program. If that’s the case, then we don’t need
to read about it in the NY Times.

I’d further add that it’s suspicious that Eric Lichtblau, one of the
reporters that exposed the NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program, another important
tool in preventing terrorist attacks, is one of the reporters for this article.
Does the NY Times hire Mr. Lichtblau each time they want to tell terrorists
about the tools the U.S. is using in preventing terrorist attacks? Or do they
just keep such subversives on payroll for use during Republican
administrations?


Of course National Security is not the primary concern of the ACLU:

“This country has a long tradition of rejecting the use of the CIA and the
Pentagon to spy on Americans, and rightfully so. Today’s published report that
the Pentagon and CIA have been relying on “National Security Letters” to collect
the financial records of Americans without judicial supervision or Congressional
oversight raises a host of questions that need to be answered. What is the legal
basis for the government’s action? What safeguards are in place to protect basic
privacy rights? How often have the Pentagon and CIA used this claimed authority,
based on what criteria, and was compliance truly “voluntary” or effectively
coerced?

Notice the way they paint up investigating terror suspects’ finances into ’spying’ on innocent ‘Americans’? They do the same thing with the NSA program. They use the typical scare method on the paranoid exaggeration that the ‘government is flipping through American’s checkbooks. It really isn’t surprising. The ACLU jumped the gun when information was leaked over the SWIFT program as well. In that episode the ACLU cast all kinds of allegations of abuse of power but could not cite any statute or regulation violated. As far as I can tell they can’t in this case either.

During the SWIFT program controversy Captain Ed pointed out:

Not only that, but anyone operating within the US banking system — at least at
those facilities insured by the FDIC and FSLIC — the government has access to
data on individual banking customers whenever it wants to access it. Any
institution insured by the federal government has to give federal regulators
access to their records during any extensive examination. Not only that, but
since most accounts pay interest, the IRS also gets all of the information on
these accounts, including taxpayer numbers and other private information.


I think all of that remains relevant in this case as well.

There really isn’t much to wonder about why the ACLU is so concerned about the government investigating financial records. In my opinion there is plenty to be suspicious about the ACLU’s own financial dealings.

The American Civil Liberties Union and 12 other national non-profit
organizations today said they have successfully challenged Office of Personnel
Management’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) requirements that all participating
charities check their employees and expenditures against several government
watch lists for ‘terrorist activities’ and that organizations certify that they
do not contribute funds to organizations on those lists.

Furthermore the ACLU’s hypocrisy on this issue is astounding. Investigating financial records of people suspected of terrorism for National Security is reasonable, but how about for fundraising issues? The ACLU has ’spied’ on their own members’ financial history for just this reason.

The American Civil Liberties Union is using sophisticated technology to
collect a wide variety of information about its members and donors in a
fund-raising effort that has ignited a bitter debate over its leaders’
commitment to privacy rights.

Some board members say the extensive data collection makes a mockery of the
organization’s frequent criticism of banks, corporations and government agencies
for their practice of accumulating data on people for marketing and other
purposes.

The group’s new data collection practices were implemented without the
board’s approval or knowledge and were in violation of the ACLU’s privacy policy
at the time, according to Michael Meyers, vice president of the organization and
a frequent internal critic. He said he had learned about the new research by
accident Nov. 7 during a meeting of the committee that is organizing the group’s
Biennial Conference in July.

He objected to the practices, and the next day, the privacy policy on the
group’s Web site was changed. “They took out all the language that would show
that they were violating their own policy,” Meyers said. “In doing so, they
sanctified their procedure while still keeping it secret.”


So, as the ACLU cries for investigations keep all of this in mind. When it comes to drawing the line between classified information and national security the ACLU’s record has never leaned toward the side of caution or national security. They consistently defend leakers as brave “whistleblowers.” Even after the NY Times leaked details about the vital NSA program, the ACLU wanted more to come out in the open. They have even defended leaks on vital programs like SWIFT, in which we track terror finances, where there was absolutely nothing that even suggested government wrongdoing. They have even fought for accused enemy prisoners to be allowed to see classified evidence against them. The fact that our enemies learn and adjust from such traitorous leaks never seems to phase them.

I think Congress has more important things to investigate, such as who keeps leaking our National Security secrets. This is something they really need to get serious about if we seriously want to win this war on terror. If left up to the ACLU we will be so transparent we are see through.

This was a production of Stop The ACLU Blogburst. If you would like to join us, please email Jay at Jay@stoptheaclu.com or Gribbit at GribbitR@gmail.com. You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll. Over 200 blogs already on-board.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

MORE REPRESSION OF GRASSROOTS LOBBYING!

Crossposted from NANCI B, one of my freinds on Gather.com:

We have to face it folks. The new Democrat Congress does NOT want to hear from the people. They are tired of us sending them emails because a Grass Roots Lobbying Organization has called, written or emailed us to tell us of an issue that they think will be of concern to us.

I have seen info posted on Gather as a result of these Grassroots orgs on issues ranging from family values to the environment; to the political process itself, and to illegal immigration. Grassroots lobbying is the ONLY way we the people can sort through all of the legislation and then let our elected representatives know what we think on a particular issue. To quote Carly Simon: "That's the way I've always heard it should be."

It doesn't matter if your issue is Gay Rights or Global Warming, CONGRESS WANTS TO SHUT US OUT OF THE PROCESS. How? By making the reporting requirements for Grassroots Lobbying Groups so onerous that many will go out of business. Similar restraints are not being placed on the high-priced DC lobbying firms - JUST THE ONES THAT GET THE INFORMATION TO US AND ENCOURAGE US TO PARTICIPATE.

This is important. The House tabled their version of the bill after many complaints. We need to get the Senate to do the same. Contact your Senator and let him/her know what you think about this bill.

I am linking to the AFA review of the section flollowed by the actual language of the bill as posted by Thomas, the legislative website. I know that most of you (Gather members) hate the AFA but theirs is the most cogent review I have received. It doesn't just affect religious issues - it is the environment, money for the war, illegal immigration. I repeat - THIS AFFECTS US ALL!

American Family Association Review: Review of Senate Bill 1 (Section 220)

Proposed Language of the Bill as Posted on Thomas

Truer words can not be said, Nanci!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Indefensible: 10 Ways The ACLU Is Destroying America

Crossposted from STOP THE ACLU, written by Jay, who's being deployed to Qatar for four months, so it will be his last writing here for some time. Good luck, Jay! You're a great American! Here's his post:

I just finished reading Indefensible: 10 Ways The ACLU Is Destroying America by Sam Kastensmidt. I highly recommend it for everyone.

The book covers most of our own top ten reasons to stop the ACLU, however much more extensively. It covers everything the ACLU stands for. From the agenda of silencing the churches and abortion to the sexualization of children...the book covers it in excellent detail.

There have been many great books written on the ACLU. Most focus on the social and religious issues that are under attack. Alan Sears' book, ACLU Vs. America, focused on mainly on these issues, however it did touch upon how the ACLU attacks our soverignty. This book, Indefensible, also focuses on the social issues, but I was happy to see that it devoted an entire chapter on how the ACLU is Impeding America's War On Terror. I'm going to share a few excerpts from sections within that particular chapter.

ACLU Fights Measure To Halt Terrorists' Funding

Only weeks after the tragedy (911), Congress acted to dismantle the financial infrastructure supporting known terrorist organizations. On October 3, 2001, U.S. Rep. Michael Oxley (OH) introduced the "Financial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001," seeking to freeze all accounts directly linked to the "financing of terrorism."

The need for such legislation was deemed so vital to national security that it passed the U.S. House on a vote of 421-1. Almost the entire Congress recognized that this legislation's passage was imperative. Still, on the day before the vote was scheduled, the ACLU delivered letters of opposition to all members of Congress.

"We urge you to oppose the 'Financial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001,'" the letter began. Why? One portion of the bill made it a federal crime to conceal large amounts of "illegally obtained" cash (over $10,000) while traveling. In a desperate and shameful attempt to justify its stance, the ACLU played the race card. The letter argued, "This provision may impact, disproportionately, people of color and immigrants....[because] these groups of people often have a more difficult time getting access to sources of credit and bank accounts and so use cash transactions more frequently than others do."


Under the ACLU's reasoning, impoverished people would be discriminated against by this bill. The likelyhood of impoverished minorities carrying around more than $10,000 in cash and concealing it was supposedly a grave concern for the ACLU. Thankfully the ACLU's efforts to stop this were unsuccessful.

A little more from the book:

Later in the war, the ACLU actually volunteered its legal services to represent suspected terrorists!

In 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments from several alleged "illegal combatants," including two cases involving U.S. citizens and one case involving 14 foreign "illegal enemy combatants." The ACLU filed amicus briefs on behalf of the suspected terrorists in each case, arguing that ll "enemy combatants" cpatured during a time of war should have access to American courtrooms-regardless of their citizenship.

The Pentagon contended that "enemy combatants" should face military tribunals-the standard procedure in all previous international wars. U.S. Solictor General Theodore Olson, whose wife, Barbara Olson, was killed on September 11, when Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, reminded the Supreme Court Justices that the plaintiffs were requesting a "jurisdiction that is not authorized by Congress, does not arise from the Constitution, and has never been exercised by this Court."

Though the U.S. Constitution does not extend rights to non-citizen enemy combatants, judicial restraint did not prevent the moder Court from creating this new right out of thin air.


Thankfully this decision was made moot by the passing of the Military Commission Act. However, the ACLU's war on National Security continues, and giving habeous corpus to non-American citizens is on their New Year Resolution list. It is actually number one on the list, followed by destroying the NSA terrorist surveillance program, and destroying our ability to keep secrets.

Overall the book was well put together and very informative. I highly suggest checking it out.


This was a production of Stop The ACLU Blogburst. If you would like to join us, please email Jay at Jay@stoptheaclu.com or Gribbit at GribbitR@gmail.com. You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll. Over 200 blogs already on-board.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

BISEXUALS AND POLYGAMISTS SHOULD UNITE FOR "GAY MARRIAGE"

I don't get it. I read all kinds of posts and comments on Gather making the point that gay marriage is a "civil right," based on love for a "same sex" partner. They claim that as a "minority," homosexual marriage should co-exist with "traditional" marriage, as it was accepted throughout human history.

Wait, that's not actually correct. Marriage has always been between a man and a woman, but men were, and still are allowed in many cultures, to have more than one wife (who has to be female, by the way). Polygamy was outlawed in the US a long time ago, but what do we tell the newest emerging sexual minority, the bisexuals?

They want to fall in love with one person of each sex, and have the other two fall in love with each other (or do they?). This is a family unit that the state should be forced to recognize, under any conceivable (even bogus) premise, if one follows the liberals' logic. Here's where the polygamists come in. They could weigh in that multiple marriage partners are a civil right that was unconstitutionally revoked by a government intending repression of a religious minority.

I say the polygamists should team up with the bisexuals to form a third party, or join the libertarians. I have some real issues with this radical agenda, but am putting this out there as satire. Put up or shut up, my Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered freinds! Do you want to state your agenda, or not?

A final question (or three) : Could someone love a same-sex partner enough to have a sex-change operation? Is that an answer to the banning of gay marriage? Where on Earth is this debate headed?

NCPPR ROUNDUP on LEAVWORLD

I'm a big fan of the National Center for Public Policy Research, and have a link to their blog on my blogroll. Here's a roundup of some of their latest dispatches:

Letting Medicare 'Negotiate' Drug Prices: Myths vs. Reality
Letting Medicare negotiate drug prices means putting price controls on prescription drugs. It also would mean higher health insurance costs for the private sector, less pharmaceutical research and development, fewer new drugs and lower quality of life for Americans. Go here.

Do Minimum Wage Increases Benefit Workers and the Economy?
The Left contends that minimum wage increases benefit the economy, but the job-killing effect of higher mandatory minimum wages is well documented. Go here.

Black Activists Criticize Use of Taxpayer Funds to Buy New NAACP Headquarters
"Given the District's precarious financial state and its trouble with education and transportation budgets, it's outrageous to use taxpayer money to subsidize the NAACP's relocation," says Project 21 Fellow Deneen Moore. Go here.

Congressional 'Reform' Proposal Would Regulate Ordinary Citizens More Harshly than K Street Lobbyists
A bill is being crafted for Speaker Nancy Pelosi that would treat communications to the general public more harshly under lobbying disclosure law than actual lobbying conducted by high-priced K Street lobbyists. Go here.

'Convict Quotas' Coming to DC?
The City Council of the District of Columbia has unanimously approved a proposal to make ex-cons a protected class under civil rights law. Go here.

I find them a great resource, and very thought-provoking. I can't say enough about their blog, produced by the awesome Amy Ridenour! Go check it out!

Stop The ACLU New Year Resolution

Crossposted from STOP THE ACLU

Judge Roy Moore makes a New Years Resolution that I'm definitely on board with.

Each year the American Civil Liberties Union and other liberal organizations continue their efforts to destroy traditional values that we once assumed were self-evident and beyond question. And each year we sit quietly by doing nothing to stop their relentless assault on our culture and our religious heritage. As our resolution for the New Year, let us join together to defeat the ACLU's anti-Christian agenda and restore our civil and religious freedom.


Most definitely the ACLU's attack on religious freedom is one of many good reasons we should resolve to join together and fight back. We have a whole list of other good reasons. The damage the ACLU has done to our National Security, the War on Terror, and our National Soverignty are at the top of my personal list.

There are many reasons to stop the ACLU's agenda, but what people need to know is how. Everyone needs to get involved. There is a lot that can be done.

One thing to do is to get active. Email, write, or call your elected officials and let them know that National Security is of primary concern. This time last year the ACLU were running full page ad propaganda war against the NSA and the Patriot Act. Even though the Democrats made a show of not clapping for the Patriot Act, in the end they lost that battle. They are still beating the dead horse over the NSA program.

Another thing is to elect people who will appoint Constitutionalist judges. We've made progress in this area over the past year. Last year around this time the ACLU announced their official opposition to the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Many of the ACLU's biggest fans in the Senate fought hard to paint him as a woman hater and bigot, to the point of bringing his wife to tears, but in the end they all lost that battle.

When it comes to religious freedom, the ACLU is America's number one censor. They have compared Christians to terrorists, and even called for jailing people over prayer. The most outrageous thing about this is that when these cases their attorney's fees are paid for by the taxpayer. We have made progress against this in the past year. Currently there is legislation to put a stop to this and we got it passed in the House of Representatives. The bill is still pending before the Senate, and just because we lost the majority is no reason for us to let up.

Support groups that are fighting the ACLU. There are many out there including the Alliance Defense Fund, ACLJ, Liberty Council, and Thomas More Law Center. Join one of them, donate to them, and tell others about them.

Educate the public about the ACLU's agenda. This last one is the New Year's resolution we are making...to continue our fight against the ACLU by educating the public. Join us and over 200 other blogs in helping to expose the ACLU's agenda to the people.

This was a production of Stop The ACLU Blogburst. If you would like to join us, please email Jay at Jay@stoptheaclu.com or Gribbit at GribbitR@gmail.com. You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll. Over 200 blogs already on-board.