Where is the outrage?

Since this particular piece didn’t get that much coverage, I hope the good Judge and FOX News will have no objections to this being used, in full, with full accreditation back to FOX News and Judge Andrew P. Napolitano. This is a piece that needs to be seen by ALL Americans.

Where is the outrage?

By Judge Andrew P. Napolitano
Published June 07, 2012

For the past few weeks, I have been writing in this column about the government’s use of drones and challenging their constitutionality on Fox News Channel where I work. I once asked on air what Thomas Jefferson would have done if — had drones existed at the time — King George III had sent drones to peer inside the bedroom windows of Monticello. I suspect that Jefferson and his household would have trained their muskets on the drones and taken them down. I offer this historical anachronism as a hypothetical only, not as one who is urging the use of violence against the government.

Nevertheless, what Jeffersonians are among us today? When drones take pictures of us on our private property and in our homes, and the government uses the photos as it wishes, what will we do about it? Jefferson understood that when the government assaults our privacy and dignity, it is the moral equivalent of violence against us. The folks who hear about this, who either laugh or groan, cannot find it humorous or boring that their every move will be monitored and photographed by the government.

Don’t believe me that this is coming? The photos that the drones will take may be retained and used or even distributed to others in the government so long as the “recipient is reasonably perceived to have a specific, lawful governmental function” in requiring them. And for the first time since the Civil War, the federal government will deploy military personnel inside the United States and publicly acknowledge that it is deploying them “to collect information about U.S. persons.”

It gets worse. If the military personnel see something of interest from a drone, they may apply to a military judge or “military commander” for permission to conduct a physical search of the private property that intrigues them. And, any “incidentally acquired information” can be retained or turned over to local law enforcement. What’s next? Prosecutions before military tribunals in the U.S.?

The quoted phrases above are extracted from a now-public 30-page memorandum issued by President Obama’s Secretary of the Air Force on April 23, 2012. The purpose of the memorandum is stated as “balancing … obtaining intelligence information … and protecting individual rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution…” Note the primacy of intelligence gathering over freedom protection, and note the peculiar use of the word “balancing.”

When liberty and safety clash, do we really expect the government to balance those values? Of course not. The government cannot be trusted to restrain itself in the face of individual choices to pursue happiness. That’s why we have a Constitution and a life-tenured judiciary: to protect the minority from the liberty-stealing impulses of the majority. And that’s why the Air Force memo has its priorities reversed — intelligence gathering first, protecting freedom second — and the mechanism of reconciling the two — balancing them — constitutionally incorrect.

Everyone who works for the government swears to uphold the Constitution. It was written to define and restrain the government. According to the Declaration of Independence, the government’s powers come from the consent of the governed. The government in America was not created by a powerful king reluctantly granting liberty to his subjects. It was created by free people willingly granting limited power to their government — and retaining that which they did not delegate.

The Declaration also defines our liberties as coming from our Creator, as integral to our humanity and as inseparable from us, unless we give them up by violating someone else’s liberties. Hence the Jeffersonian and constitutional beef with the word “balancing” when it comes to government power versus individual liberty.

The Judeo-Christian and constitutionally mandated relationship between government power and individual liberty is not balance. It is bias — a bias in favor of liberty. All presumptions should favor the natural rights of individuals, not the delegated and seized powers of the government. Individual liberty, not government power, is the default position because persons are immortal and created in God’s image, and governments are temporary and based on force.

Hence my outrage at the coming use of drones — some as small as golf balls — to watch us, to listen to us and to record us. Did you consent to the government having that power? Did you consent to the American military spying on Americans in America? I don’t know a single person who has, but I know only a few who are complaining.

If we remain silent when our popularly elected government violates the laws it has sworn to uphold and steals the freedoms we elected it to protect, we will have only ourselves to blame when Big Brother is everywhere. Somehow, I doubt my father’s generation fought the Nazis in World War II only to permit a totalitarian government to flourish here.

Is President Obama prepared to defend this? Is Gov. Romney prepared to challenge it? Are you prepared for its consequences?

Story Here:
Where is the outrage?

Barack Hussein Obama can offer NO viable defense for this invasion of privacy. Mitt Romney, if he has ANY courage in him, will not only challenge it, he will vow to strike it down once he is elected POTUS.

Are *WE* prepared for the consequences?

I think a more fair question would be; is the regime of Barack Hussein Obama prepared to suffer the consequences that indeed they must if this travesty is allowed to come to fruition?

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10 Responses to Where is the outrage?

  1. BobF says:

    WOW….Outstanding article. Need to do digest this one.

    One thing the Judge mentioned that rapidly caught my attention.

    “When liberty and safety clash, do we really expect the government to balance those values? Of course not. The government cannot be trusted to restrain itself in the face of individual choices to pursue happiness. That’s why we have a Constitution and a life-tenured judiciary: to protect the minority from the liberty-stealing impulses of the majority”

    This life-tenured judiciary is appointed by government. The same government that cannot be trusted to restrain itself in the face of individual choices. This is like the foxes appointing the guards for the chicken coup.

  2. When we in LE utilize air assets — primarily rotor or fixed wing — we are responding to calls for service. Our rotor assets, used mostly at night, are an adjunct to Patrol Services and help to back up ground units, locate missing persons or keep an air eye on a foot pursuit or vehicle pursuit. Fixed wing assets are used for general transport, or long range surveillance with a warrant already in place for a very specific and individual case.

    Drones, however, cruise for their “take.” “Take” is what the alphabet agencies call any information gleaned from intelligence sources. A drone is a source of “take.” The overarchingly-disturbing aspect of a drone is that it exists under a non-mission-specific banner — that is, it is not aimed at an individual or an open case, but instead over the population in general in hopes that some “bad shit somewhere” is going on.

    This IS Big Brother in sheet aluminum.

    I completely DISagree with NON-mission-specific drone application in hopes of some “bad shit somewhere” occurring. This is simply overhead surveillance for surveillance sake.

    I also disagree with the NDAA but by now that’s yesterday’s news.

    BZ

  3. A peek at “Act of Valor” also reveals drone usage.

    BZ

  4. TexasFred says:

    Now all we have to do is get ALL Americans to read this and get off of their lazy, apathetic asses and DO something besides watch Dancing with the American Idols that don’t have Talent…

  5. Katie says:

    Judge Napolitano is absolutely correct. So much has been done by this administration to destroy our freedoms, our rights that the leash the administration has put on us is chafing.

    I’m going to steal this for Monkey in the Middle with the proper Hat Tip to you Fred.

    BTW, have you thought of running for President? You should have. Straight talk, good policy would have made you very popular.

  6. denimflyz says:

    Our state’s governor is confronting the EPA for air surveilance and he is at the moment, currently getting no answers back.
    Last week, on FoxNews there was a brief news note about an incident in Denver or the suburbs about bank robbers, the cops had no descriptions of the vehicle or the perps who did the heist. So the cops “arrested” about 40 people at an intersection, pulled them out of their cars, cuffed them, stuffed them and held them on the street until the robbers were found. It was the last car in this stop that had the perps in it.
    No rights were read at the time, and it tied up the intersection and made a mess of the situation. Being a retired cop’s daughter, I do realize the situation…BUT to detain citizens without any reason is beyond anything I have heard. I watched this on Fox and then Judge Andrew came on and was just livid about this happening to citizens.
    I have not heard any more of this mentioned in the news. Have you, Mr. Witzell? Wonderful posts about all of this. This makes me angry and frightened at the same time.

  7. crunchman says:

    Posted this with a h/t to you and link to Fox on my FB page. I wonder if it’ll even get a single reply?

  8. Nemesis says:

    The Judge is right of course, but how many will take his wise words to heart? Fred has commented that All Americans need to get off their rear ends and read those words, but how many will comprehend them? Allow me to tell you a little story that goes to the heart of this post.

    Some years ago when working in the Hunter Valley district of my home state (wine producing area) my shift supervisor (sergeant) attended a report of a Break and Enter at one of the resorts in Pokolbin, a vineyard that offers special Villa accommodation for those who can afford it. An American couple had been burgled while they were out wine tasting at the many vinyards that dot the area and several items of expensive jewelery had been stolen. The couple had chosen not to use the available safe storage on offer at the resort’s main office and had instead left their valuable items in a bedside dresser. From memory, the items stolen were well into the thousands of dollars.

    The supervisor took a report, arranged for Forensics to attend and fingerprint the villa, then offered advice that any other valuables should be left in the main office safe.

    But this was not good enough for the aggrieved couple. No sir! They wanted the maid, and any other employees of the resort who serviced their villa to be arrested and fingerprinted to prove they were innocent! It took the supervisor some time to make the couple appreciate that in criminal law every one is innocent until proven guilty, not vice versa, and that he was not going to follow through on their suggestion.

    This couple then laid a complaint against the supervisor, which in the end amounted to nothing.

    The mind set of that couple illustrates to me perfectly the thing that goes to the heart of this post, and that is, some people are willing to dodge the rule of law and choose to ignore customs and conventions in order to obtain what they want. They are also prepared to totally disregard common law principles in their personal pursuit of justice and no amount of wise words or self evident truths will ever persuade them from their goal. This mind set is a prime example of what is occurring, not only in America, but in every nation that believes itself to be Westernized.

    The Judge has nailed it, but how many will heed his fine words?

  9. TomR says:

    Smart meters, red light cameras, roving vans with sensors that detect home energy loss, probable cause traffic stops and car searches, no knock warrants. It is almost an infinite list already of govt. interference and intrusion on our privacy. Watch almost any reality cop show and you will see some violation of peoples’ constitutional rights. We are being conditioned to it, inured to it. As technology advances govt will have even more opportunity to encroach on our privacy. Often without us even realizing it. Perhaps even our blog comments and emails are kept in some computerized govt vault to be used against us later.

    It is only going to get worse. We see how technology can be used to make life better and more productive. But we also know that in the wrong hands it can be used to destroy our freedoms and potentially enslave us. We can also look at the trend of govt. in the past 60+ years, especially the last 24 yrs. and see that more and more of those “wrong hands” are in positions of power.

    All we can do is vote(for mostly piss poor candidates) and hope that enough citizens wake up and decide to attempt to reverse the trend of this all consuming steamroller of govt.

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