The Bulletproof Patriot
Back in early 2012 I published an April Fool's article glamorizing a nonexistent federal Constitutional Convention in Cheyenne . While that post was a hoax, this one is not.
On December 7 of last year, 97 state legislators from 30 states met in Mount Vernon, Virginia, the home of George Washington, to discuss the objectives and strategy of the growing movement to call a Convention of States under Article V of the Constitution for the purpose of proposing amendments , specifically those dealing with a balanced federal budget and Congressional term limits, both of which enjoy significant popular support across party lines, with a balanced budget requirement polling as high as 85% .
Per Article V :
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
I had the opportunity to attend a townhall meeting organized by Colorado State Senator Kevin Lundberg last week, one of the key figures in the Article V movement. I will publish additional details on the Article V Convention in the coming weeks, but for now consider the following key points regarding how such a convention would play out and how it would likely be organized.
- Calling such a Convention would require a joint resolution being passed by 2/3 (34) of the state legislatures. As of this writing, at least 18 states already have such a resolution in place, including the State of Colorado. Several other states are actively pursuing this resolution and multiple parallel efforts are underway and gaining steam. There is a very real possibility that all 34 necessary resolutions will be in place prior to 2016.
- There is no possibility of a so-called "runaway convention," similar to the one that produced the Constitution we currently enjoy, as an Article V Convention would occur within the bounds of the existing Constitution and would be limited to the issues addressed within the state resolutions (most of which are limited to a balanced budget and term limits).
- While an Article V Convention has never occurred in our history, it is a lawful and reasonable 'relief valve' to enact Amendments similar to the power that Congress possesses each and every day. The Article V process being followed is simply the proscribed alternative channel for proposing Amendments when the Congress refuses to act. Let's not forget that the ultimate power of governance within our federalist system does not lie with the Congress - it lies with the States and the People, and this is their method of righting grievances.
- Any Amendments offered by the Convention would still require ratification by 3/4 (38) of the states, either by their legislatures or by a separate ratification convention. This is the normal process that has historically been followed when Congress has proposed Amendments.
While the scope of the current Article V Convention push may seem rather limited, keep in mind that even passage of a balanced budget amendment would make significant inroads towards reducing the scope and power of the federal government and stuffing it back into the box of enumerated powers that were originally intended. The expansion of government into virtually every facet of American life did not begin in earnest until the creation of the Federal Reserve and the establishment of the Income Tax (16th Amendment) in 1913, both of which are relics of the Progressive Era of Woodrow Wilson.
Before the federal government had the ability to directly tax its citizens and establish a fiat currency (which began in 1913 and became more or less complete when the gold standard was illegally set aside in 1971 in violation of Article 1, Section 10 ), the federal expenditures rarely exceeded revenues and never by greater than 15%, which happened only once in 1909 . Today, spending routinely exceeds revenue by 25% or more (and as high as 67% in 2009) and the national debt stands at $17.411 trillion , or 102% of GDP .
Debt is not wealth. It's time to put a stop to the never ending growth of government and shackle it back to the powers enumerated in Article 1, Section 8.
Liberty or death,
The Bulletproof Patriot
Come February 7, 2014, the Treasury will lose the legal authority to continue borrowing money without regard for the nation's debt ceiling. The ceiling was last officially suspended on October 17, 2013. The day prior to the suspension, the outstanding debt stood at $16.747 trillion. When the suspension passed, the debt increased by $329 billion overnight and today stands at $17.342 trillion  .
Over the previous period, in which the Treasury was permitted to act without regard to a borrowing limit, it borrowed an average of $2.51 billion per day (not including the overnight jump on Oct 17), equivalent to an annual deficit of about $916 billion or about 24% of the $3.78 trillion the federal government expects to spend in 2014 .
The authority to increase this borrowing limit further is dependent upon Congress passing yet another "compromise" piece of legislation soon, which is why Progressives everywhere are salivating over the leveraging power they seem to think they possess after the media fallout from the "government shutdown" last year, the impacts of which were rather minor and not felt anywhere near as far as some have convinced themselves into believing.
Presumably, that would be the reason for Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) to express concern that the House Republicans may raise a stink over a new debt ceiling bill not being properly originated as the Constitution requires :
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said leaders are still trying to determine whether they will move a clean debt ceiling bill first or allow the House to act.
The Senate in the past has initiated the process of increasing the debt limit. But with the narrow timeframe, some members expressed concern that Republicans could gum up the process by arguing such a bill would have to start in the House, citing the portion of the Constitution that requires bills involving revenue to originate in the House.
To be perfectly honest and clear, which would be a stark change of course for Senator Durbin, the object "gumming up the process" wouldn't be House Republicans. It would be the Constitution. Per Article I, Section 7 :
All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
The purpose of this Constitutional requirement was to further divide the powers between the People and the states, since the Senate was originally intended to be comprised of members appointed by the various state legislatures, a balance which was thoroughly destroyed during the Progressive Era of the early 1900s, when "reformers" convinced the states that it was somehow a good idea to cede their representation in Congress to the whims of the public at large, a move which has done more to destroy the framework of the Republic than perhaps any other in our history. The resulting 17th Amendment provided for both the House and the Senate members to be elected directly by the People . Under the original intent of Article I, reserving the power for raising revenue to the House guaranteed that those who would end up paying for any spending that Congress engaged in had the first and only say in which revenue-related bills would appear in Congress. The Senate (the states) could only propose or concur with amendments to such bills, but could not propose bills themselves.
Nothing about this process or the purpose of it is unclear. But, to Senator Durbin (along with many others in Congress), the requirement to have all revenue-related bills originate in the House is outdated, dusty, and old. This is a very dangerous precedent to continue because it furthers the general disregard for Constitutional principles, which were established for a very good reason, that being to guard the Peoples' liberties first and provide for the needs of the nation second.
To be perfectly clear, any debt ceiling bill which originates in the Senate is flatly illegal, and any member voting in favor of such a bill, in clear violation of Article I, Section 7, is a danger to the functioning of this free Republic and should be immediately dispatched from Congress.
Liberty or death,
The Bulletproof Patriot
I'm about as skeptical of government as they come, but even I didn't see this coming. In last night's Magical Dance of the Self-Congratulatory Turds, the President announced that he will be directing the Treasury to create a "new" retirement plan option which allows for direct, automated purchasing of U.S. Treasury savings bonds through employer payroll deductions, similar to how many Americans can choose to automatically invest in 401k plans .
The President pitched this as a brilliant new retirement savings mechanism to help those without pensions or 401ks which would offer the mystical promise of a guaranteed "decent return with no risk of losing what you put in ." The President also called on Congress to make the myRA plan "automatic" for all employees, presumably with the eventual goal of legislating a required contribution to the myRA bond plan similar to the existing required contribution to the plundered and empty Social Security Trust Fund.
Let me be the first to point out that all of these retirement "savings" plans, the 401k and pensions included, would be wholly unnecessary if we lived in a world without a central bank openly debasing the currency by 2% per year (their official inflationary "target") and runaway federal deficits and money printing reducing the value of our currency well beyond the Fed's "target" rate; the result being, of course, that anyone who stashes cash intended as retirement savings into a safe rather than into a bond or some other market will immediately lose 2% of the value of their savings every year that it sits idle. In most other circumstances, we'd refer to this as "theft."
Retirement plans are equally a scam because in order for you to "gain" 2% per year, or whatever the rate of return on your retirement fund is, somebody else must lose 2% per year. If your 401k returns an 8% gain on the year, somebody somewhere else must lose 8% on the year, unless government makes up the difference by printing money or borrowing (or both). It is not mathematically possible to perpetually increase the amount of money in everybody's retirement account by 8% per year without an equal loss on the other side of the balance sheet.
The problem is, they're not just a scam. They're a forced scam. You can't simply hold cash in the bank because it will be destroyed by inflation and be worthless upon your retirement, so your next best option is to buy into the perpetual debt paradigm and "invest" through a 401k with the goal of beating inflation.
Now, all Americans already have access to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) wherein they can contribute a portion of their earnings to be invested into various areas, one of which includes Treasury bonds. So, if IRAs are already available to all Americans, what is the purpose of the new myRA program?
Well, if we boil all of this down, at their core, most retirement accounts and this new myRA bond scheme are designed as ways to funnel additional funds into the federal government's coffers (since many 401k investments already purchase Treasury bonds or other securities) as a result of the government-created threat of inflation, something which could be controlled to be effectively zero by a responsible central bank interested in preserving a "stable currency" as the Fed constantly claims in their FOMC minutes. If inflation was properly controlled to near zero, by expanding the money supply proportionally with population and organic economic growth, there would be no need for 401ks, IRAs, or myRAs!
Thus, the American concept of "retirement" is in reality an indirectly mandated cash funnel directly to government, because those who choose to keep retirement savings in cash will be immediately screwed by inflation. So, the cash frequently flows instead into Treasury bonds, which supposedly keep pace with inflation so that the value of the cash isn't diminished over time. This creates the false appearance that everybody wins - the government takes in more cash today to blow on hookers and booze and the retirement saver is 'protected' from inflation by the helping hand of government.
The truth is, the moment the federal government loses control of the currency, 401ks and myRA's will be just as worthless as cash stored under the pillow, because the success of both programs is completely dependent upon continuing the national debt charade into eternity (or at least as long as the saver lives). If the charade ends, everyone is equally screwed, except those with tangible assets of real, intrinsic value, such as land or other physical items that naturally retain their value through usefulness.
What makes the myRA program even worse is that the interest paid on the bonds will be the same as that paid on Thrift Savings Plans, which currently pay at 1.5% per year . Since 'official' inflation since 2010 has run between 1.5% and 3.2% annually , myRA plans aren't even keeping up with inflation. So, technically, they're a money hole that is only slightly better than holding cash in hand.
So, if the myRA program is essentially a dumbed down, more limited, version of the IRA that doesn't even beat inflation, why bother with it at all? Why not simply advertise IRAs to the low- and middle-class and encourage them to take control of their own futures?
I contend the reason is that the Treasury needs another source of quick money now that the Fed is tapering off bond purchases .
I predicted several times that the Fed would not reduce bond purchases, at least not permanently, because the federal government and the illusion of GDP growth and economic improvement is completely dependent on the Fed's continuing to monetize the debt. The trick is, the replacement for the "taper" is now going to be coming directly out of the pockets of everyone who signs up for myRA accounts, which will automatically "invest" workers contributions directly into Treasury (savings) bonds.
The federal government has found a new way to monetize the ongoing debt while making it appear to be good for the poor!
Liberty or death,
The Bulletproof Patriot
In Part I of this post I argued that the National Security Agency's (NSA) use of general warrants to obtain massive amounts of data unrelated to any actual or perceived crime represents an illegal violation of the right of Americans to be secure in their property by preventing government from both seizing and searching such information without a specific court order . Additionally, I argued that the FISA Court itself is acting in violation of Article III by determining its own orders to be Constitutional without being presented with an actual dispute between parties, something which is required for any other court action of this sort.
Further to both of these points, the FISA Court and NSA are actively engaged in an additional and perhaps even more egregious violation of your civil rights by actively facilitating, along with the FBI and DEA (and perhaps others), the arrest and prosecution of individuals with illegally obtained evidence, which is intentionally covered up during court proceedings, something which the agency calls, "parallel construction."
In other words, because evidence obtained against an individual through FISA-granted NSA mass surveillance (i.e. without a specific warrant as the 4th Amendment requires) would be unlikely to withstand Constitutional scrutiny in a criminal trial, agents are actively encouraged to produce plausible alternative cause to have obtained said evidence which would be acceptable to a court. In other words, agents are encouraged to actively lie in open court and while under oath regarding the trail of evidence and means by which it was obtained.
Here's how it works, according to a former law enforcement recipient of such information as detailed by Reuters :
- The NSA, under a FISA Court-issued illegal general warrant, data mines information obtained from mass surveillance and discovers, without probable cause, that a particular individual is involved in running drugs across the border thanks to information from his smart phone or other electronic communications.
- NSA, in conjunction with the DEA's Special Operations Division (SOD), notifies federal authorities in the area where the subject is located and tells the agent to, "be at a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain vehicle."
- The federal agent notifies local authorities to find a reason to search that particular vehicle at the truck stop and to have a drug sniffing dog on hand.
- Local authorities locate the vehicle and initiate a traffic stop for a broken tail light, failure to stop, speeding, or any number of other "reasonable" probable causes.
- Local authorities bring in the drug dog, the dog signals on the car (presumably), and the vehicle is searched on the dog's signal.
- Drugs are located, the suspect is arrested, and the case proceeds to trial.
- At trial, the local authorities are specifically instructed to lie about the NSA and SOD's involvement and to cover up the real cause for the vehicle search (NSA bulk surveillance without a warrant) with the plausible cause for the search (broken tail light).
- Suspect is convicted, having never known that the pretense for his arrest was an illegal general warrant issued by the FISA Court and having no opportunity to challenge said pretense as is his Constitutional right.
So, we now have documented evidence of the federal government routinely committing perjury in criminal trials in order to cover up the method by which the evidence against the suspect was obtained because the method used to obtain said evidence is flatly illegal and will fail to stand up to lawful scrutiny.
A few things:
- This is a clear violation of the suspect's right to examine the evidence against him, including the method by which it was obtained, as guaranteed to him by the Sixth Amendment.
- This is a clear violation of the suspect's right to due process as guaranteed to him by the Fifth Amendment.
- This is a clear violation of the suspect's right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures without warrants issued upon probable cause as guaranteed to him by the Fourth Amendment.
The American judicial system depends upon a fair and honest accounting of the evidence presented against a man standing trial because we supposedly value the rights of the individual above all other things. If we are now in the business of permitting active perjury in court and outright lies regarding the method used to obtain evidence in a trial, the United States is officially dead.
Until and unless every last one of the people involved in this wanton abuse of civil liberties is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and remanded to a pound-me-in-the-ass federal penitentiary, the laws of the United States are, by federal example, no longer valid nor supreme.
Govern yourselves accordingly as a free and moral people.
Liberty or death,
The Bulletproof Patriot
A very small percentage of the population is paying any attention at all to the ongoing deteriorating state of world affairs, although the once minuscule number has at least begun growing, albeit probably too late to make a difference. Most Americans are comfortable simply sitting in the easy chair and fawning over the latest episode of The Bachelor and lapping up the latest Bureau of Lies and Scams (BLS) unemployment figure, assuming that the recent drop to 6.7%  indicates that the "recovery" is well underway, exactly as the President has been claiming for the past five years (while simultaneously avoiding taking responsibility for any of it) and as he will continue claiming in tomorrow's State of the Union address.
A systemic collapse is not a single, one time event, so if you're sitting around waiting for "it" to happen, you're more than likely going to be waiting an awfully long time. A systemic collapse is much more likely a series of events over a somewhat more extended period of time which occurs in progressively worsening fashion until the country you once knew fades out of memory and the 'new' normal becomes the accepted status quo. The inability of most of us to see this is not unexpected, particularly for older generations. In their experience, we've simply always had an economy which, despite some bumps along the road, has lead to expanding GDP through domestic growth and innovation. Jobs were plentiful and warnings about the ever increasing national debt and government's reliance upon large amounts of borrowing to fund basic social programs were inconvenient distractions from the otherwise splendid life outside our front window and the shiny new $60,000 truck in the driveway, purchased on a 3.9% loan from the nearest bank. The sun still rises, most of us still pile into the car at 6:30 am and fight the traffic to the office, and food is still on the table at night. We also still think our children will live better than we do.
The problem with all of this is that it ignores reality - the raw numbers themselves indicate that we are in the early stages of a systemic collapse today. It's already happening all around us, it's just moving slowly enough that most people can still adapt to the changing circumstances and reasonably accept them as the new normal without constantly having to be reminded that things are changing - higher gasoline prices, higher food prices, higher tuition prices, etc. There will be periods of substantial and obvious upset (the "it" events) as we decline further, but the trend will be smooth and people will, by and large, be caught both surprised and unprepared when the Titanic eventually hits the ocean floor, wondering why they weren't warned of the iceberg years ago as they cling to the floating door and watch Leonardo DiCaprio sink silently away.
Recall just a few years back when you were terrified about being laid off along with the millions of others who found themselves out of work in the "worst economic crisis since the Great Depression" and how many people you were competing against for each job application? That situation still exists today. Literally the exact same situation, because the foundational structure of the economy has not improved - at all. We have not cured the "too big to fail" banks or the shadow/fractional reserve banking system (if anything, it's now worse than it was in 2007), we have not cured massive derivatives exposure (which today may be as high as $1.5 quadrillion), and we have not made legislative changes conducive to thriving business growth or innovation (if anything, we have inhibited it).
To fix our problems, we simply turn to government and have it legislate what all private insurance policies must cover and mandate that you purchase a policy. Then, we call the resulting debacle a "marketplace" and blame Capitalism when it fails. Problem solved.
In January 2008, the percentage of the working age population employed was 62.9%. Today, it's 58.6% . In other words, 4.3% of the working age population today is out of luck and hasn't "recovered" at all - that's 10,750,000 people. Since the federal government doesn't count those who have given up looking for work as unemployed, the official unemployment rate falsely suggests that the employment situation is improving . Mathematically, it is not. The only reason anyone believes and feels that things have improved in the past few years is thanks to the papering over of the situation by the Fed and the extraordinary future mortgaging power of the Treasury. We have succeeded in filling the 10 million job crater from 2008 not with jobs (as the President repeatedly claims) but with mountains of IOUs, every single one of which will eventually come due.
So, when the President re-re-re-re-re-focuses on "jobs" and the economy in tomorrow's speech, consider just how much success he has had during his tenture thus far and use that as the reference point to evaluate his future plans. Obvious, abysmal, and repeated epic economic failure in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 does not bode well for magical success in 2014.
Back on topic - all of this papering over and intentional ignorance of the true state of affairs will continue to happen, at least for a while, until the next stage of the game arrives. Don't blink - signs have appeared over the weekend suggesting the next stage could be about to begin.
On top of the compounded problems with the nonexistent "recovery," questionable behavior and capital controls have begun to creep into foreign banks in what should be a shocking revelation to any working man, woman, or child.
Over the past week or so, stories have been floating around in several major media outlets regarding a looming $500 million default in China's speculative gold mining trust market, which would have blown a hole in the credibility of China's own shadow banking system . Today, we discover that the entire deficit has been covered by some sort of "arrangement" behind closed doors . Problem? Yep - we have no idea who spontaneously came up with the $500 million to cover the losses and the trust manager isn't filling anyone in. My guess is that we will eventually find out that it was the Chinese authorities who funded the backdoor bailout (either directly or through another bank) to prevent this crack from spreading further.
This is the exact same sort of crap that was happening in 2007 , before Round 1 of this crisis began.
It has also been reported by the BBC that HSBC Bank has begun limiting cash withdrawals to less than about $7,500 without a "satisfactory explanation of what the money [is] for ." Excuse me? Either cough it up or I flip a coin and return with either a gun or a Police Officer and take what is rightfully and lawfully mine. After widespread public outrage, HSBC revised the restriction (to make it "voluntary") and posted the following statement on their website :
Statement on large cash withdrawals
26 Jan 2014
As a responsible bank we must track all financial transactions. Cash presents more risk, and in particular financial crime risk, than other payment methods. It also leaves customers with very little protection if things go wrong. Therefore, we need to monitor particularly closely movements of cash in and out of the banking system. This is why we ask our customers about the purpose of large cash withdrawals when they are unusual and out of keeping with the normal running of their account.
Since last November, in some instances we may have also asked these customers to show us evidence of what the cash is required for. However, it is not mandatory for customers to provide documentary evidence for large cash withdrawals, and on its own, failure to show evidence is not a reason to refuse a withdrawal. We apologise to any customer who has been given incorrect information and inconvenienced.
Asking the right questions, protecting our customers and reducing the risk of money laundering, fraud and other crimes, means we are doing the right thing and fulfilling our responsibilities as a bank and to society at large.
In other words, the money in your account isn't yours and access to it is to be determined by a bank teller who may have barely completed high school. What possible business is it of the bank's if I choose to roll in a wheelbarrow, pile it up with $250,000 from my own account, and dump it out a window in midtown Manhattan? None.
But you're too stupid to figure that out for yourself. So sit back, relax, and look forward to Recovery Summer - Part 5. Coming this June!
Liberty or death,
The Bulletproof Patriot
Discussion regarding the revelations provided by Edward Snowden concerning the expanse of surveillance powers taken by the federal government through the National Security Agency (NSA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are encouraging but, while quite relevant and important, have failed to address a very important point worth considering and which has been largely ignored: the NSA's authorization to carry out such surveillance comes in the form of warrants that are clearly in violation of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against 'General Warrants' and orders which appear to violate the Article III requirement that the Court can only involve itself when presented with a multi-party case in which both parties have interest in the outcome of a specific dispute.
Surprised? Don't be. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court has never been reviewed for Constitutionality by the Supreme Court, under which all other courts are inferior as specified in Article III .
In Colonial America, one of the earliest widespread grievances (and indeed one which eventually contributed to the execution of the American Revolution) was the Crown's use of Writs of Assistance, otherwise known as General Warrants. In the Colonial context, these warrants provided general search and seizure authority (mostly to combat smuggling) without expiration . Many such warrants were even transferable between parties (as they contained no specific description of who or what was being searched or seized) and did not require the executor of the warrant to repair any damage caused during the search, effectively creating a band of Crown-blessed thugs who operated without any judicial or legislative oversight and who could enter any property at any time for virtually any reason, so long as the reason could be loosely justified under the warrant.
In response to the scourge of Writs of Assistance, the Congress proposed the Fourth Amendment on September 28, 1789, which was ratified two years later. The text of the amendment is quite clear and contains language requiring warrants to issue only upon probable cause and explicitly prohibiting the use of General Warrants :
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Both requirements are paramount to the American understanding of the supremacy of the rights of the individual over the whims of government, and the Supreme Court has more or less held this requirement intact as the text of the Fourth Amendment specifies, with certain limited exceptions for exigent circumstances  in which law enforcement immediately involved in a pursuit or investigation of a crime does not have reasonable time to pursue a warrant for search or arrest.
In circumstances wherein probable cause cannot be demonstrated to a judge (probable cause being a reasonable suspicion, supported by some amount of evidence, that an actual crime has been committed ) or exigent circumstances cannot be demonstrated, no warrants shall issue. The same goes for warrants which do not specifically describe the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.
The UK Guardian published a leaked FISA court order last year which contained a request by the FBI (with the cooperation of the NSA) to force Verizon to produce call details for all domestic communications occurring on their network on a continual basis :
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that, the Custodian of Records shall produce to the National Security Agency (NSA) upon service of this Order, and continue production on an ongoing daily basis thereafter for the duration of this Order, unless otherwise ordered by the Court, an electronic copy of the following tangible things: all call detail records or "telephony metadata" created by Verizon for communications (i) between the United States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls. This Order does not require Verizon to produce telephony metadata for communications wholly originating and terminating in foreign countries.
The order from the FISA court fails to "particularly describ[e] the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized" and instead lumps in all call records between all people including calls placed wholly within the United States between two American citizens. In other words, the FISA court is in the business of issuing General Warrants, which are specifically prohibited by the Fourth Amendment and which helped ignite the first Revolution.
The fact (as far as we currently understand) that the FBI and NSA have not data mined this continual stream of call information from Verizon is immaterial, as the Fourth Amendment prohibits the seizure of such information as well as the searching of it.
In 1979, the Supreme Court ruled on the case of Smith v. Maryland, in which it determined that a pen register located at the telephone company's switchboard (to record call data) was not a violation of the Fourth Amendment because the caller voluntarily provided his call details (the number) to the phone company and therefore recording of such information did not constitute a "search ."
Given a pen register's limited capabilities, therefore, petitioner's argument that its installation and use constituted a "search" necessarily rests upon a claim that he had a "legitimate expectation of privacy" regarding the numbers he dialed on his phone.
This claim must be rejected. First, we doubt that people in general entertain any actual expectation of privacy in the numbers they dial. All telephone users realize that they must "convey" phone numbers to the telephone company, since it is through telephone company switching equipment that their calls are completed. All subscribers realize, moreover, that the phone company has facilities for making permanent records of the numbers they dial, for they see a list of their long-distance (toll) calls on their monthly bills. In fact, pen registers and similar devices are routinely used by telephone companies "for the purposes of checking billing operations, detecting fraud, and preventing violations of law." United States v. New York Tel. Co., 434 U.S., at 174 -175.
Bullshit. An individual voluntarily providing call details (in the form of numbers) to a telephone company with which he has a private contract does not mean he intends to simultaneously and voluntarily provide the same information to government.
Petitioner in all probability entertained no actual expectation of privacy in the phone numbers he dialed, and even if he did, his expectation was not "legitimate." First, it is doubtful that telephone users in general have any expectation of privacy regarding the numbers they dial, since they typically know that they must convey phone numbers to the telephone company and that the company has facilities for recording this information and does in fact record it for various legitimate business purposes. And petitioner did not demonstrate an expectation of privacy merely by using his home phone rather than some other phone, since his conduct, although perhaps calculated to keep the contents of his conversation private, was not calculated to preserve the privacy of the number he dialed. Second, even if petitioner did harbor some subjective expectation of privacy, this expectation was not one that society is prepared to recognize as "reasonable."
So, if a caller uses his personal cellular phone and takes no apparent action to attempt to conceal the number he is calling, that information (which was voluntarily made available to the phone company) can be simply assumed to be voluntarily made available to Police? Cellular calls made in the United States are encrypted (albeit poorly ) - doesn't this constitute a REASONABLE EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY THAT YOUR ENCRYPTED INFORMATION WILL NOT BE VOLUNTARILY MADE AVAILABLE TO GOVERNMENT??
When petitioner voluntarily conveyed numerical information to the phone company and "exposed" that information to its equipment in the normal course of business, he assumed the risk that the company would reveal the information [442 U.S. 735, 736] to the police, cf. United States v. Miller, 425 U.S. 435 . Pp. 741-746.
When the caller "voluntarily conveyed" his information to the phone company, he had a reasonable assumption that his information would not be provided to the Police without the production of a warrant as is his RIGHT grated to him by God and (supposedly) protected by government.
We discovered just the other day that the NSA is additionally involved in vacuuming up some 200 million or so text messages around the world each and every day  . The report in the Guardian suggests that the NSA kindly scrubs American messages from the data which is made available to the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), but mentions in the opening paragraph that the NSA uses this database "to extract data including location, contact networks and credit card details." The data appears to be intentionally scrubbed at the UK GCHQ end, but there is no appearance that the data has been scrubbed from the U.S. end.
It seems to me that messages sent over an encrypted network between two private parties, both of which reside within the United States, and which contain private information such as credit card numbers were intended to be kept private ("private" meaning "not immediately offered to the Police or other government officials without a warrant") and therefore are well within the protections of the Fourth Amendment.
All of this is also, of course, happening under what is almost certainly guaranteed to be a general warrant from the FISA court which in and of itself violates the Fourth Amendment.
In addition to what look quite plainly to be illegal general warrants used for everything under the sun and the broad misinterpretation of the Fourth Amendment by the Court, the FISA court has also involved itself in issuing one-sided interpretations of the law to a single party (without a dispute having occurred) in order to authorize certain surveillance programs, an activity within which other courts have historically been prohibited from engaging.
When the Constitution was being debated in 1787, the Convention was concerned that a powerful legislative branch could assume unto itself a de facto power as super legislature by simply choosing to involve itself after legislation has been passed by Congress and issuing opinions on Constitutionality whenever it pleased . To prevent this occurrence, Article III requires a legal controversy or case  before the Court can become involved in interpreting the law. This is the reason that the Supreme Court could not instantly rule on the Constitutionality of the individual mandate contained within Obamacare, but rather had to wait until the dispute had made its way up the ladder of the District and Appellate courts and then only chose to involve itself after conflicting opinions had occurred between the various Appellate circuits. Without a dispute between two affected parties, the Court cannot be involved in interpreting the law or deciding the Constitutionality of a particular law or program.
Therefore, the practice in which the FISA court is engaged, in which the federal government is the only party involved in the contribution of testimony before the court, and in which the court then issues orders upholding the NSA surveillance programs as Constitutional , are flatly in violation of Article III and bear exactly zero weight under the Constitution.
There is nothing wrong with a Court interested in issuing search warrants for electronic information and doing so in secret (to preserve national security), so long as the warrants are issued in accordance with the Fourth Amendment and can be produced and reviewed by an interested party (i.e. a person on trial who needs to examine the evidence being presented against him and the process used to collect such evidence), as is his RIGHT under the Sixth Amendment :
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
Until and unless the NSA's practice of bulk data collection on Americans is terminated and those involved in the collection prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, we will continue to slide down the Progressive tunnel watching our liberties evaporate before our very eyes as we sell ourselves out to a false sense of security.
Liberty or death,
The Bulletproof Patriot