The blogosphere is having a full-blown war over Bush’s unilateral deletion of the 4th Amendment from the Bill of Rights. (See New York Times story here; my comments here.)
Nearly to a blogger, righties are saying damn the Constitution.
One of the High Priestesses of Totalitarianism herself, Michelle Malkin, dismisses those of us who are concerned about a clear violation of the 4th Amendment as “civil liberties Chicken Littles.” “The real headline news is not that President Bush took extraordinary measures to protect Americans in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,” she wrote, “but that the blabbermouths at the Times chose to disclose classified information in a pathetically obvious bid to move the Iraqi elections off the front pages.”
And, of course, the other reason the Times pushed this non-story, according to Malkin, was to promote James Risen’s book about the CIA and the Bush Administration, to be published by The Free Press in January 2006.
One big flaw in this theory is that The Free Press is an imprint of Simon & Schuster, which is the publishing operation of Viacom Inc. It has no ties to the New York Times (although it does publish Wall Street Journal Books). So there’s nothin’ in it financially for the New York Times. Ergo, no compelling reason for the Times to push the book, which isn’t mentioned in the story, anyway.
And the same story appears in the Washington Post, by Dan Eggen. Does Eggen have a book coming out, too?
Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns & Money has a good one-paragraph summation of the rightie position.
You’ll like this: Malkin writes,
Civil liberties extremists pretend there are no tradeoffs, no costs, to putting legal absolutism over national security.
Civil liberties extremists? Legal absolutism? What Bush signed off on was a bleeping violation of the 4th Amendment!
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.
Ain’t no exceptions provided for. The federal government does not have the authority to spy on citizens without a warrant. End of story.
Update: See also — a John Bolton connection? At Kos, Susan G writes, “This is about the very foundations of democracy: Is the government our servant or our master? And is the president, who is elected to execute our laws, allowed to suspend them?”
Has everyone forgotten about Colleen Rowley? She was the FBA agent who knew about several of the 9/11 perpetrators PRIOR TO 9/11 but was not allowed to pursue them (stopped by FBI higher-ups and/or the CIA if I recall correctly). In other words, she had found out prior to 9/11 everything that was needed to stop 9/11 — without the Patriot Act and its curtailment of civil liberties.
I think Patriot Act opponents should point this out more.
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You might be interested in a report I did a few years ago
regarding the NSA spying on us domestically.
It includes a treatment of how they perform Internet email
monitoring, by way of my describing how I monitored the
emails of more than 7000 employees on Wall Street.
The problem with the 4th Amendment is that word “unreasonable.” The Bush administration has transcended archaic concepts like Reality and Reason. It’s only against the Constitution if you believe in the concept of “reasonable” men, and the Bushies don’t live in that Enlightenment-era ontology. That’s how they can keep saying things that are logically self-cancelling to the average listener.
Their searches and seizures aren’t “unreasonable” they’re “NONreasonable.” They exist beyond “reason” and “unreason”, in a power-crazed surreality the Framers never imagined our elected leaders would inhabit.
The Madness of King George W.