Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Beavers' "Don't Spy On Me, Bro" Bill

2014 is an election year, and even though it's only January, the usual political theater has already started here in Wilson Co. (TN). With it cranking up this early, I suspect this election year will be entertaining, to say the least, and the "political theater" business will be booming. The Sheepdog may have a busy year.

State Seal of Tennessee.
State Seal of Tennessee. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Unless you've been in The Outback or marooned on an island recently, you're familiar with the spying controversy involving the NSA and others. There's been court cases, Congressional hearings, and all kinds of political theater involved with the whole mess. Now, Tennessee State Senator, Mae Beavers, has decided to get in on the act, too.

Recently, Beavers announced that she plans to sponsor an "anti-spying bill" during the 2014 Tennessee legislative session. Apparently, local law enforcement agencies have started using some of the latest technological gizmos to tap into cell phone data around crime scenes. The local LEO's are able to get important data without a search warrant and no one ever knows it's happened. Beavers wants it stopped. Bad LEO's.

"Don't Spy on Me, Bro."

Senator Beavers' proposed bill would make such data gathering, without going to a judge and getting a search warrant, illegal. It sounds like a great idea, right? Well, of course it does, except for one thing - we already have two "laws" on the books that prohibit such activity.

English: First page of the Constitution of the...
English: First page of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee, adopted in 1835 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
First, there is the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It contains a protection against "unreasonable searches and seizures." It clearly states :
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.
Second, and closer to home, there is a similar prohibition in Article 1 (the "Declaration of Rights") Section 7 of the Tennessee State Constitution. It states :
That the people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and possessions, from unreasonable searches and seizures; and that general warrants, whereby an officer may be commanded to search suspected places, without evidence of the fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, whose offences are not particularly described and supported by evidence, are dangerous to liberty and ought not be granted.
Both of those sound pretty clear and straightforward, right? So, why do we need another law on the books to prohibit such activity? Why not just enforce the protections contained within the U.S. and Tennessee constitutions?

"Don't Spy on Me, Bro."

Beavers claims to be a Conservative. I've even heard her refer to herself as a "True Conservative." Some even classify her a a "Constitutional Conservative." She has served as Chair of the Tennessee Senate's Judiciary Committee. Therefore, doesn't it stand to reason that a "Constitutional Conservative," who chaired the Judiciary Committee, would know that the U.S. and Tennessee Constitutions already have these prohibitions in place? Or, maybe she forgot? Consider this The Sheepdog's reminder. You're welcome, Senator. Glad I could be of service.

Maybe I'm mistaken, but I thought "Conservatives" were for smaller, not bigger government, and fewer, not more laws on the books. Did I miss something? Or, did I miss a memo where the definition of "Conservative" changed? I bet I know what it is - there's a difference between a  "Conservative," a "True Conservative," and a "Constitutional Conservative." That's got to be it.

Please, "Don't Spy on Me, Bro."

Since Beavers is up for re-election this year, and appears to have a lack of understanding of the State and Federal constitutions, I was glad to find on the Internet today where she officially has an opponent in the Republican Primary in August. He is Clark Boyd, who up until he decided to run against Beavers served as Chairman of the Wilson Co. (TN) Republican Party.

In my opinion, Beavers proposed anti-spying bill is nothing more than the usual political theater that we in Tennessee's 17th State Senate District see outta her every dadgum election cycle. Since most Americans are upset over the NSA's spying shenanigans, I think Beavers, with her latest theatrics, is just trying to take advantage of populist opinion in order to score political points and votes. I suspect her theatrics are only getting started, too, since it's a long way to election time, and she now has an opponent who has formally announced his candidacy. Personally, I'm glad she has an opponent. I'm kinda tired of the same ol' Beavers Theater. Time for a long-needed change.

Tom Brady
Tom Brady (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
However, if we're gonna play the theater game, let's at least have some fun with it. I love football but can't stand Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. In 2012, I got a big kick out of Seattle defensive back Richard Sherman's taunting of Brady after Seattle beat the Patriots. Sherman's "U Mad, Bro?" line was a classic.

In that same spirit, I'm dubbing Beavers' anti-spying bill the "Don't Spy on Me, Bro" Bill.

Pop the corn. Put the Cokes on ice. The show is on.
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