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Readers of 'Cracking the Code- The Fascinating Truth About Taxation In America' have taken control of their own resources, in accordance with, and respect for, the law. A few of these good American men and women are generous enough to share their victories in upholding the law, for the edification and inspiration of everyone. At the moment the shared refund checks, closing notices, and so forth total


October 17th, 2006:



"...freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus; and trial by juries impartially selected. These principles form the bright
constellation which has gone before us, and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation."

- Thomas Jefferson

Guest Commentary

I endorse nearly everything said in the following commentary and Keith Olbermann film... but nothing other than the admirable and important passion in the second film identified in this article.  I leave the url info in place out of respect for the article's author, but not as an active link.  Those who wish to see it will have to navigate to it by their own efforts.  Many will find it highly offensive-- the author's brief warning about "f-bombs" is woefully inadequate.  Don't miss the Olbermann film, but watch the other entirely at your own risk.


My own comments on the 'Military Commissions Act' will be found below...


Every once in a 217 years of our US Constitution an event comes along that is relevant to every listserv in the United States of America -- because it concerns the most basic possible right under the US Constitution that provides the framework for our entire country and our elections.    As described further below, that overarching framework radically changed October 17, 2006, which therefore greatly affects this listserv and operates as a once in 217 year exception to its relevance rules.  Put another way, this list owes Freedom a funeral since freedom is now dead.   So here it is:
Habeas corpus -- it's your most fundamental legal right, your right to go to a court and get an order requiring the government to prove that it is holding you in prison with proper legal authority to do so. Without that right, one necessarily lives in a dictatorship.  President Bush today on October 17, 2006 signed a bill repealing that law, meaning that the administration need not comply or show compliance with law any more with regard to who goes to prison or Gitmo. 
While it supposedly applies just to terrorism cases, that doesn't prevent it from ending the rule of law in the United States for our newly all-powerful Executive.  This is true not just because terrorism is construed so broadly in the prohibition of "material support" for terrorism (which by the way has already been held to include a lawyer's press release on behalf of a terrorist client) but because the administration NEED NOT PROVE IT'S REALLY TERRORISM because they don't need to answer to any court in the land at any time.
Even "Justice" Scalia wrote in the Hamdan case that "the very core of liberty secured by our Anglo-Saxon system of separated powers has been freedom from indefinite imprisonment at the will of the Executive. "   That very core of liberty died on October 17, 2006 with the signing of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and its elimination of habeas corpus.
Oh yeah, it also legalized torture wholesale.  While misleadingly purporting to prohibit a few forms, upon full analysis it prohibits none.   But who's going to know since your relatives won't be able to find out where you are anyway, right? 
And today also a lawyer was sentenced to 2 and a half years in prison for the simple act of issuing a press release on behalf of a terrorist client in prison.  While this terrorist is a genuine terrorist, there's nothing in the law that distinguishes between serious terrorists and innocent terrorists (if there is such a thing) but in any case, remember, they don't need to comply with habeas and show that you are guilty anyway!   At most, they just think to themselves "this guy's a terrorist" and you disappear into the torture chamber with no right to be heard from, even indirectly through your lawyer, which you have no enforceable right to anyway. 
Even public opinion will likely not catch up with this because people will just disappear and who knows, maybe the missing person just went off on a lark or a fugue to start a new life, right?
Consequently, on October 17, 2006 freedom died in the United States of America.  We now live in a dictatorship.  We live in a dictatorship even if you think George W. Bush will be a wise and beneficent king or dictator.  It is defined as the possession of absolute power as opposed to checks and balances.
In the Keith Olbermann commentary at the first youtube link below; I agree with Professor Turley (Constitutional Law) that people "really have no idea how significant this is."  Turley says we now have an "absolute ruler" which is really just another way of saying dictatorship.   He's not kidding.  I'm not kidding. 
I'll be releasing an extended (and devastating, early readers say) critical piece on this within 48 hours, but in the meantime and after that please consider the importance of this issue is at a WHOLE OTHER LEVEL.   It's not an "issue" that we form polite activist groups to respond to.  
The Executive Branch now has full discretion to imprison anybody they want to without charge or trial or bail and there will be nothing anybody can do except beg the King.  I.e. there's no rule of law applicable to the administration.  EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN LAW was essentially repealed, because the administration need not prove to anybody that it has complied with the law by indefinitely detaining you, your relative or anyone else. 
Keith Olbermann's commentary, with Professor Jonathan Turley
The only thing I don't agree with Turley on is this:  There is not a giant Yawn, there are a lot of people shocked, many crying, millions disturbed, millions more waking up.  It's always hard to be among the first to know and to wait for the rest of the country to catch up, but somebody has to be in that position.  Let's not, because we are among the first millions to wake up, send out the message that getting the American dream back is relatively hopeless based on the Yawn seemingly heard today.  After all, there is no media echo besides Olbermann to get the word out and reinforce it.  But there will be.  I also disagree with Turley's approach, even as he makes strongly worded comments that are nevertheless scholarly and restrained in tone and volume, because it's inappropriate and (if you believe in Constitutional rights) not unlike talking in a similar dispassionate tone when a masked man walks into your local elementary school with automatic weapons drawn. 
For a more appropriate tone, here's another two minute video below that was filmed right before this bill was signed but it nevertheless applies to this situation, and gives advice on what to do when "they come for your freedom."  Paul Revere said "the Redcoats are coming".  Today, "the Redcoats already came."
This situation of legalizing torture and eliminating habeas corpus is WAY WAY WAY "out there" in terms of extreme.  Bush and his administration are incredibly isolated now, seeking to legalize the very things we prosecuted ourselves in WWII like waterboarding.  If I hear anyone even IMPLY that we live in a free country, the correction will be swift.  WE DO NOT LIVE IN A FREE COUNTRY ANY MORE.  PERIOD.
The hopeful note is this:  We can recognize how incredibly isolated both in the world and in our own country this Administration is, and we can turn away, and withdraw any remaining support and respect.  But, if we react just in fear, whether fear of Gitmo or fear of torture or fear of terrorists, the dark curtain of dictatorship will descend further and their power will consolidate.   In the end, Americans will not be denied freedom in a struggle for freedom on their own soil.

Freedom is Under Attack

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6waWS0Y3Ubc   (f-bomb warning, but appropriate IMHO in this context)
Paul Lehto
Attorney at Law
Permission granted to distribute in full with attribution.


Freedom In America Is NOT Dead...


...but its mortal enemies are increasingly showing their hand, and it is in greater need of defense today than it ever has before.  The analysis by Jonathan Turley and Keith Olbermann presented above is entirely correct as to the manner in which this oath-breaking, treasonous power-grab under the ludicrously contrived pretext of "war on terror" will play out, if allowed to do so.  IF YOU DON'T ACT TO OPPOSE IT, YOU WILL ALLOW IT TO PLAY OUT.


To Oppose This, You Have To Recognize That A Casual Attitude Won't Cut It


As I observe in part three of the title essay in 'Upholding the Law and Other Observations':

So, What Do We Do?

First, we open our eyes, and, like the little boy in the Emperor’s New Clothes, recognize and admit some disquieting truths.  Among them is that restoring the rule of law-- the true law-- is going to be resisted by the entrenched beneficiaries of the prevailing status quo, and is thus going to require dedication and sacrifice.  It is not going to be accomplished by a part-time effort. 

John Adams, speaking during the time of the American revolution, instructs us thusly:

“I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.”

Adams’ formula worked out, as far as it went.  But he stopped short in his prediction-- incapable of imagining, from the perspective of his own immersion in affairs of substance and moment, what would actually come to pass in the fullness of time.  Had he looked further, he would have reluctantly continued, “…so that my more distant descendants have the leisure to study television, and the sports page.” 

We cannot afford such distractions.  We must turn off the tube and tune in to reality.

We must study politics, and war.


Edmund Burke, a British Member of Parliament and contemporary of Adams, addressed parliament in 1775 regarding the aspirations of the colonists for liberty, observing that,

“In this character of the Americans, a love of freedom is the predominating feature which marks and distinguishes the whole: and as an ardent is always a jealous affection, your colonies become suspicious, restive, and untractable, whenever they see the least attempt to wrest from them by force, or shuffle from them by chicane, what they think the only advantage worth living for.”

Burke goes on to further describe aspects of the American character, and the reasons why Britain cannot succeed in maintaining the subjugation of the colonies.  His last argument (prior to dryly pointing out that three thousand miles of ocean hinder the British purpose) is this:

“Permit me, Sir, to add another circumstance in our colonies, which contributes no mean part towards the growth and effect of this untractable spirit. I mean their education. In no country perhaps in the world is the law so general a study. The profession itself is numerous and powerful; and in most provinces it takes the lead. The greater number of the deputies sent to the congress were lawyers. But all who read, and most do read, endeavour to obtain some smattering in that science. I have been told by an eminent bookseller, that in no branch of his business, after tracts of popular devotion, were so many books as those on the law exported to the plantations. The colonists have now fallen into the way of printing them for their own use.”

Burke correctly recognized that it was the American’s knowledge of the law that made them a people impossible to hold under illegitimate power.  Not because that study reveals a magic spell that makes tyrants and would-be tyrants dry up and blow away, but because a study of the law arms the student with the moral certainty needed to sustain the long-term commitment which the struggle for liberty against the ambitions of despotism always requires.

We must study the law, and arm ourselves with the moral certainty that the defense of liberty requires.


Thomas Jefferson observed that,

“It is the natural course of things that government should gain ground and liberty yield.”

In saying this, Jefferson did not mean that the defense of liberty is a fool’s game.  He meant that like rust-- its counterpart in the physical world-- political corruption never sleeps, but those against whom it contends, do.

Those sons and grandsons of John Adams, who set aside the study of the arts of politics and war, turn their attention instead to other pursuits once the battle for liberty seems well-fought, and won.  They install their servants into positions of responsibility and immerse themselves in their families, their businesses, and their pleasures.  They lose the habit of jealously guarding their rights.

They become complacent, and distracted, and when the servants offer to take charge of certain of their affairs, those distracted and complacent sons and grandsons are compliant.  It is then not long before those distracted and complacent sons and grandsons return home to find that the locks on the house have changed, and the helpful servants hold the keys.

The fact is, the battle for liberty is never over.  Power WILL be exercised over everything that it can be in this world.  Who exercises it is determined not as a matter of right-- which can be sorted out, and written down, and considered finished.  Who exercises power is determined as a matter of will.  Frederick Douglass explained this to us when he thundered,

“Power concedes nothing without a demand.  It never did and it never will.  Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them, and these will continue till they have been resisted with either words or blows, or with both.  The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they suppress.”

Rust never sleeps, and neither can we.  We must put aside our distractions; abandon our complacency; and study the law, and the arts of politics and war.

Order This Book




Understand That This Goes Beyond Mere Politics


This is not a partisan issue.  This is not a matter of 'Democrats versus Republicans', or even 'Statists versus Individuals'.  This is a matter of would-be tyrants with a raw and despicable contempt for the rule of law versus anyone and anything that stands in the way of their degenerate ambitions to seize, secure, and exercise power OVER YOU AND ME.  There is nothing even remotely legitimate or honest about this ambition.  Just to furnish the simplest and most obvious illustration: Even if there WERE a war against "terror" or "terrorism" going on (which there most emphatically is not-- and it is a ridiculous concept in any event...), nothing would justify or legitimize the provisions of the "Military Commissions Act", the "USA Patriot Act", or any other draconian expansion or consolidation of power in response.  It should not yet have disappeared down the collective memory-hole that as recently as 17 years ago, a 44-year-long, intense, world-ranging conflict with an enemy backed by the resources of the largest nation on the planet, armed with 30,000 nuclear weapons, and with well-established practices of infiltrating its agents and operatives into America on a constant basis, and working its will through state-less client organizations all over the world as well, was successfully concluded WITHOUT the use of warrantless wiretaps, the suspension of habeas corpus, torture, etc., etc..


The simple fact is, these measures DO NOT serve the purpose of defending against an enemy of the American people.  The ONLY purpose these measures serve is that of allowing the executive to do things that it ISN'T CAPABLE OF DEFENDING AS LEGITIMATE, since the sole practical effect of each of these measures is to eliminate the executive's obligation to make such a defense.


Habeas Corpus, for instance, is NOT a "get-out-of-jail-free card".  All habeas corpus provides is a (usually) one-shot chance for a prisoner to argue (in front of a representative of one of the three branches of the government established by the Constitution, by the way, who was appointed by the executive, with the approval of Congress) that he or she hasn't actually done anything wrong (or isn't really an "unlawful enemy combatant", etc.).  The only thing the government has to do in order to continue to hold the prisoner in the face of a writ of habeas corpus is make a rudimentary case that there IS legitimate cause for doing so.  That is, habeas corpus acts solely to prevent the government from holding as prisoners those whose imprisonment cannot be even rudimentarily justified.  That's all it does.  The only reason for wanting to be rid of it is to facilitate illegitimate imprisonments.


The other loosening-of-the-reins measures relentlessly sought by this administration, and the political hacks behind it (whose efforts in this regard, and presence in Washington, far predates that of George Bush) are of the same character.  They all serve to put the acts of the executive behind closed doors, and to spare it the obligation to defend the lawfulness of its acts.  Why?


"The innocent have nothing to fear", is the sly subtext of the administration's campaign for the usurpations for which it lusts.  Well, that concept cuts both ways.  If the administration's intended use of power is innocent, why is it seeking to prevent the courts, and the public, from overseeing its activities?  Why is it striving so hard to see to it that its targets will not have a fair chance to challenge the legitimacy of its dealings with them?  What is this administration afraid to have exposed to the light of day?


I will answer my own questions: The power being claimed by this administration has nothing to do with its phony "war on terror".  This power is being claimed in order to eviscerate the political process.  The purpose is to put teeth behind the proposition-- already vigorously flogged by this administration and its equally corrupt apologists-- that opposition to anything done by the executive amounts to "giving aid and comfort to enemies of the United States"-- the determination of the nature, extent, and activities of which the executive has arrogated solely to its own discretion, of course.  I'm sure that it has escaped no one that the Bush administration has long been working hard to establish the proposition that domestic policy of every sort is intimately intertwined with the overall "war effort", hasn't it?


If Americans don't stand up now-- around the water-cooler, in the classroom, in the courtroom, in church and in the streets-- and make clear that the Rule of Law will be upheld and enforced-- come hell or high water, and the convenience or approval of the state be damned-- it won't be long before it will be too late for words.  Whistling past THIS graveyard will quickly see those vocalizing, and rallying opposition to anything the government wishes to do without the inconvenient restraints of Constitutional limitations on its authority, and the need to answer to the people, silently begin to vanish into the opaque custody of the executive and its shiny new Star-Chamber mockery of due process.  Frankly stated, this measure is a key component of a fast-tracked assault on the fundamental processes of self-government that every American patriot that ever shed blood for his country was acting to defend.  (See Chris Floyd's article below on the new "DHS" initiative to sift data for "unfavorable" opinion of the administration and its policies...)


What we face in this crisis goes beyond politics-- it is, in fact, inherently apolitical, and political considerations are not only immaterial, they are counter-productive.  Take your allies where you find them, in what has now become a struggle to preserve the very structure of law under which civilized political processes can continue.  Standing up now will likely mean standing beside people who disgraced themselves apologizing for the offenses of previous political hacks, and even some who served as cheerleaders for the current gang in recent years, prior to waking up.  So be it.  Right now, if Hillary Clinton called for a meaningful show of opposition to this administration, I'd be there.  (She still wouldn't get my vote later, but I'd be there today.)


Defend And Uphold The Rule Of Law Everywhere And In Everything


The key characteristic of the enemies of the law is that they are relentless in their efforts.  They attack reason and right on all fronts, all the time, knowing that corruption is self-sustaining.  A citizen that can be persuaded, or intimidated, into compromising the rule of law in one area will find the next compromise easier to make.  WE MUST BE AS RELENTLESS AND OVERT IN OUR DEFENSE OF THE RULE OF LAW AS ITS ENEMIES ARE IN THEIR ASSAULT UPON IT.


Among other things in that regard,


  • Re-claim the control over your purse-strings that the Founders intended for you to exercise, by learning and invoking the truth about the "income" tax.  Make no mistake about the moral and practical power this represents-- it is enormous.


  • Get out of your chair and on your feet.  Thousands of you have joined state groups, but I doubt that five hundred of you have ever actually met in person.  The internet IS critically important.  But in terms of political and social impact, and motivational energy, hitting the "send" and "receive" buttons in our jammies between sips of coffee or beer isn't even in the same league as assembling with our compatriots, live and in person.


  • Raise your voice and speak the truth.  The enemies of the law rest their ambitions on the fact that a large swath of American society is disengaged from reality.  Help change that fact.


  • Keep your powder dry.


"The establishment of the writ of habeas corpus ... are perhaps greater securities to liberty and republicanism than any it [the Constitution] contains. ...The practices of arbitrary imprisonments have been, in all ages, the favorite and most formidable instruments of tyranny. ... To bereave a man of life, or by violence to confiscate his estate, without accusation or trial, would be so gross and notorious an act of despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the whole nation; but confinement of the person, by secretly hurrying him to jail, where his sufferings are unknown or forgotten, is a less public, a less striking, and therefore a more dangerous engine of arbitrary government."

- Alexander Hamilton

(Not someone I'm often inclined to quote, or speak favorably of.  But hey, even a stopped clock's right twice a day...)


Speak Now, Or Lose The Chance!


To get this bumper sticker, send $5 and a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Lost Horizons WOT, 232 Oriole Rd., Commerce Twp., MI 48382



By the way, retroactive immunity for Bush administration officials from war crimes prosecution is buried in the MCA...





That's Not All, Of Course...


The Department of Homeland Security (sic) is pushing right now for the next step: government permission required for Americans to leave or enter the country.  More on that later..., and also on this little gem, buried in the "John Warner National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2007", signed the same day as the MCA:




(1) IN GENERAL.—Section 333 of title 10, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

‘‘§ 333. Major public emergencies; interference with State and Federal law


(1) The President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to—

‘‘(A) restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that—

‘‘(i) domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order; and ‘‘(ii) such violence results in a condition described in paragraph (2); or

‘‘(B) suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such insurrection, violation, combination, or conspiracy results in a condition described in paragraph (2).

‘‘(2) A condition described in this paragraph is a condition that—

‘‘(A) so hinders the execution of the laws of a State or possession, as applicable, and of the United States within that State or possession, that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law, and the constituted authorities of that State or possession are unable, fail, or refuse to protect that right, privilege, or immunity, or to give that protection; or

‘‘(B) opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.

‘‘(3) In any situation covered by paragraph (1)(B), the State shall be considered to have denied the equal protection of the laws secured by the Constitution.

(2) PROCLAMATION TO DISPERSE.—Section 334 of such title is amended by inserting ‘‘or those obstructing the enforcement of the laws’’ after ‘‘insurgents’’.  [Section 334 is a curfew measure -PH]


A remarkable 62-year-old explanation of what's going on in Washington today...


By the way, some have sought comfort in the proposition that the despotic enactments discussed above are actually confined by jurisdictional, Constitutional, statutory or case law considerations.  They imagine, for instance, that the fact that the definition of "State" relevant to Section 1076 of the JWNDAA only "...includes the unincorporated territories of Guam and the Virgin Islands," means that section 1076 is therefore not a threat to most Americans.  This is a dangerous misconception of the practical reality of the situation.  These enactments are not passed with the intention that their actual use will be confined to Guam, and those behind them understand that what actually falls within the scope of a legislative act is immaterial if most Americans don't understand that scope, or if a victim of the law's misapplication is given no opportunity to make the argument, because his demand for that opportunity is dismissed out of hand by his ignorant jailers...


By the way, II (posted just after the Democrats took control of the federal legislature in 2006):

No one should be so naive as to imagine that anything whatever has changed regarding the assault being carried out under cover of the "War on Terror" on America liberty and the Constitution intended to secure that liberty by virtue of the 2006 midterm election results.  Neither Democrats nor Republicans have ever demonstrated any interest in repealing the bad legislation of their predecessors upon taking control of Congress; and, for that matter, most of the crew who will now have that control were themselves party to the passage of the USA PATRIOT ACT, the MCA, the REAL ID Act, etc., etc..


Indeed, current House Minority Leader and likely Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi has already indicated that re-fitting the reins on Leviathan is not high on the Democrats agenda.  As CNN reports,

"Pelosi has said that in the first 100 hours of her speakership she will push for action implementing all 9/11 Commission recommendations on national security, raising the minimum wage to $7.25, eliminating corporate subsidies for oil companies, allowing the government to negotiate Medicare drug prices, imposing new restrictions on lobbyists, cutting interest rates on college loans and supporting embryonic stem-cell research."

Financial Times quotes Pelosi from the campaign trail:

“Jobs, healthcare, education, energy independence, a safer America, a dignified retirement – that’s what the Democrats are all about and we’re going to do that in the first 100 hours.”

Restoring governmental respect for the spirit and letter of the Constitution is prominently absent from this agenda.


Furthermore, even if Pelosi were honest enough to acknowledge that her party has been empowered at this juncture for the purpose of repairing the damage done under "neoconservative" rule over the last six or more years (rather than to enact the same stupid agenda that cost the Democrats control of Congress during the '90s and had kept them out since), George Bush has a well-established record of disregarding even a Congress controlled by his own party.  Bush has consistently demonstrated his contempt for the legislative branch with hundreds of "signing statements" over the course of his time in office, explicitly declaring his intention to ignore anything within any law which he doesn't like, and particularly anything which threatens to curb the dictatorial power of his "unitary executive".  (Which alone, amounting as it does to a deliberate usurpation of the legislative function, is enough for impeachment.  To selectively obey the law is to re-write the law.)


The simple fact is, socialists can find uses for police states just as readily as fascists can.  Thus, it is critically important that the brief transitional period lying before us (which is actually very fluid, Nancy Pelosi's preferred agenda notwithstanding), be capitalized on by those of us defending liberty and the rule of law, rather than by those content with the status quo, as is typically the case.  American elections in which Tweedledum is replaced with Tweedledee generally work AGAINST the true interests of the electorate.  By furnishing the appearance of change, such a hand-off usually serves to take the steam out of popular anger over the latest offenses of government, and transform the crowd that had been marching on Washington into a crowd just milling about and debating new arrangements for the deck chairs.  We must not let that happen.


Some of those in Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, DO want to do the right thing, and they need to be encouraged and supported by evidence of continuing public focus on the bleeding wounds administered to the rule of law in recent years under cover of the "war of terror" stalking horse.  It would be nice if everyone knocked out a letter-to-the-editor or two expressing the real reason they voted out the last Congress.


More important still is that we diligently continue our individual efforts to uphold the law, and that we maintain our personal sense of the immediacy of the ongoing threat to our liberties. 


If you haven't done so yet, get educated, get agitated and get activated.


If you are there already, stay that way.



"Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us.  We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them."
-Thomas Jefferson (Declaration of the Causes and Necessities of Taking up Arms, 6 July 1775)


Click here to read the story of the first American declared an "unlawful enemy combatant" and "black-bagged" on American soil...

...and here to learn what the Bush administration is doing to see to it that you never get to hear about this sort of thing again.


Click here for a few words about the Bush administration's efforts to immunize itself against liability for its crimes...


...and here for a little more about some of those crimes.




REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOU MAY HAVE HEARD, warrantless wiretapping HAS NOT been "authorized"...


The simple fact is, Congress hasn't got the power to issue such an "authorization", and the executive is prohibited from acting on such "authorization" even when it is pretended.


The Fourth Amendment may be an enormous inconvenience to the state (just as it is meant to be), but it is still the law of the land, and Congress has no power to change it, or disregard it.  Nor does the executive; nor does any court.


Similarly, Congress is legally incapable of issuing "retroactive immunity" to telecomm felons.  All that august body can do is declare that IT won't participate or cooperate in prosecutions of crimes it chooses to view with favor-- or has been blackmailed into facilitating. (It's amazing how much cooperation can be secured from political careerists by those who have been spying on anyone they wish for years and years without oversight-- including, one must presume, members of Congress...)


In fact, Congress is specifically prohibited from even trying to supply anyone with "retroactive immunity".  Article 1, Section 9 of the United States Constitution says: "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed."  The ex post facto clause prohibits Congress from instituting any change-- positive or negative-- in the legal consequences of someone's behavior after he or she has already acted.  Equality before the law is the principle involved: No friends of Congress get specially favored; no enemies get specially disfavored.


Also involved is the practical principle that actors are entitled to know the rules of the playing field, and must, or they cannot act.  To punish anyone for engaging in behavior not identified as punishable is conducive to paralysis, as well as unjust.  At the same time, because the risk of punishment is relied upon by all to restrain and direct the behavior of those with whom they deal, to decline to punish behavior identified as punishable is equally paralyzing.


It is also a recipe for chaos, in that it necessitates the administration of private justice to punish, and thereby deter, as well, bad behavior.  Let's remember that in the instant case, for example, although the telecomm's behavior violated a number of specific federal statutes, the offenses committed were not committed against the federal government, but against individual Americans.  The private communications turned over to a third party for its perusal without permission were yours and mine.


Frankly, though, this should be a moot point.  Congress can just leave it to the President to issue pardons if what these companies did was so virtuous and important.


Of course, by the time the trials were over there would be a different President than the one in whose crimes these telecomms participated...  I guess the current gang in Washington doesn't have much confidence in the strength of its arguments about the righteousness of the behavior being shielded here.


Although there has been some creativity exercised in deploying the "pardon" power in the past, any rational construction of that power confines its application to offenses of which the beneficiary has been already convicted, rather than blanket pardons of "offenses that may have been committed [during XXX] or [in connection with XXX]".  To illustrate the point with an extreme, but therefore easily understood example, imagine that it should be later discovered that the beneficiary of a "blanket pardon" had committed a murder during the relevant time or events...


The possibility that these bad actors would be exonerated by juries isn't being considered even for a heartbeat.


All in all, this overall oligarchic effort to evade the Fourth Amendment, and institute and exploit a total surveillance apparatus, is a deep dive into the sewer and all of us that let it happen are being carried along through the slime.  But it's also just another in a long series of pretenses during which the scoundrels involved-- at least, the wiser of them-- are carefully watching the rest of us out of the corner of their eyes to see if we're going to finally rein them in and growl, "Nice try, guys, but we haven't given you the power to do any of that.  Heel!"


If we don't, hold your breath.  We'll be going even deeper real soon.


Aren't You Really, Really Glad You've Taken Control Of Whether Any Of YOUR Money Goes To Washington, Just As The Framers Intended?



Click here for an important civics lesson


To learn how the United States Supreme Court has, with near-perfect consistency, upheld the letter and spirit of the ever-more-important Second Amendment, and the simple legal sleight-of-hand by which Congress has beguiled the ignorant into believing otherwise in regard to all federal gun laws,

See 'Gun Control And The Federal Government' in

'Upholding the Law and Other Observations'.


I hardly need to belabor the point, in this forum, that the power of direct (involuntary) taxation is also denied the federal government, in an acknowledgement of individual sovereignty from the same vein as that from which the Second Amendment springs.  Just as the government created by the Constitution is expressly prohibited from any effort or initiative to disarm the people, or, implicitly, to compel them to use their arms in its service, it is prohibited from seizing their property, or compelling them to relinquish property against their will.


And no surprise, of course.  Is it conceivable that the same Framers who pointedly ensured that the citizenry retained the means to shoot their rogue governors would have stuck at ensuring the power of the citizenry to simply withhold money from those same governors?  Or, to put it another way, is it conceivable that the same Framers would have provided for the purposes behind the Second Amendment, and yet allowed, to the government against which that Amendment is furnished, the power to take from the people the means by which they put food in their stomachs, or bullets in their guns?  The questions answer themselves.


'Crack the Code-...' and discover that this vital authority remains entirely in the hands of individual Americans, as intended.