Speech at Restore the Fourth (July 4th 2013)

As a follow up to my last post, I decided to include the full text of the speech I gave at this rally. For video of the speech, go to Rochester Indy Media (where you can also see a picture of my dad looking bad ass/terrifying as he did in most of the media coverage.

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Thank you all for being here! It’s so great to see such a diverse crowd out here: Conservatives, Liberals, Greens, Libertarians, Socialists, TEA Partiers and more all united together to demand that we restore the Fourth Amendment.  Restore the Fourth is here to demand an end to unconstitutional spying on American citizens and ensure that all government surveillance is constitutional, limited, and clearly defined.

Our goals are as follows.

1. Conduct a congressional hearing and a criminal investigation into the extent and constitutionality of domestic government surveillance programs.

2. Enact reform  to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to make clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity and phone records of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court.

3. Hold those involved in government surveillance programs accountable to stringent and transparent judicial oversight.

4. Create an independent and transparent supervisory body to ensure that government surveillance activities are constitutional.

5. Remove THE LIAR James Clapper from his position as Director of National Intelligence.

We have a petition going around that will send this list of demands to our Federal Representatives. Be sure to sign it.

Now a lot of you are here because a man named Edward Snowden. We have to be careful not to get distracted and make the story about him; we have to remind the media that the story is about our privacy. Snowden is merely a messenger, shining light on the dark secrets of our national security state. A catalyst driving us to action. A nucleus urging all of us to combat intrusive practices that stifle dissent and protect whistleblowers who bring these illegal programs to attention of the American people.

Now a lot of people will say: It’s fine that we collect Meta-Data if it prevents terrorism.

Ok, sure. We’re fine with surveillance that’s specific and limited as outlined by the Fourth Amendment.  But we won’t allow fear to consume us: privacy protection, due process, and the rule of law keep our society SAFE AND FREE. We will not be scared into giving up our Constitutional rights!

Don’t fool yourselves into thinking we can JUST put a new people into office. Let’s not HOPE that the next person will do better.  Hold their feet to the fire. We the people of Restore the Fourth don’t want empty promises, we want results! We need to take these unconstitutional powers away from the government  so no one can abuse them.

We need to pass laws in Congress! We need to get active against Fourth Amendment infringement at the State and Local level too! Nullify federal laws and reign in abuses of State and Local police forces.

Are we going to let the Federal Government destroy the Fourth Amendment? NO!

Are going to let New York State violate our privacy! NO!

Are we okay with local collaborators infringing on our liberty? NO!

So what are we going to do? We’re going to Restore the Fourth!

It’s important that we join together in the future, if for no other reason than to ensure that we maintain our ability to dissent and criticize our government when leaders have gone astray. It’s essential for preserving not just privacy, but all of our rights: 2nd Amendment rights, Free Speech, Due Process.  I hope this is just the start of many great partnerships to come. Together, we can keep our Republic.

Thank you.

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