This demonization of ideas which don't square with the notion of an imperial presidency is a failsafe tactic employed by this administration whenever it happens to find itself on shaky legal and ethical footing--which is to say, it's employed quite often. Criticism of the war was dangerous, as now, the mere idea that the government should be obey [sic] the Fourth Amendment is a "grave threat" to national security.
Read that last sentence again: "the mere idea that the government should [ ...] obey the Fourth Amendment is a "grave threat" to national security."
What kind of lunatic would come up with such a thought? In this case, it was Abu Al Gonzales, he of the torture memo, the guy who said the Geneva Conventions were "quaint" (and I bet you thought I was going to say Bush, didn't you?).
Now, Abu Al is saying that supporting the Constitution of the United States is a "grave threat to the liberty and security of the American people." Which specific part of that "goddamned piece of paper" irked the administration asshats this time? Oh, right, it's that troublesome Fourth Amendment. You know which one I mean:
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.
Yeah, I can see how the Bushies would say that one just causes problems. For them, at least.
Georgia10 goes on to say: [emphasis added]
For them, the greatest impediment to the war on terrorism launched that day was never bearded men wagging their fingers on grainy videotapes and promising streets filled with blood, but a vocal citizenry fiercely dedicated to enforcing the rule of law.
It is that bloc of citizens, those who call out this administration on its illegaties [sic], who are viewed as the enemy, as the "grave threat". It is us, who refuse to give up liberties in a spat of communal cowardice, who scare the shit out of them. For our dissent, our diligence, and sheer strength in numbers operate as the ultimate threat to that which they seek to protect the most: their power.
And the amazing part is that so many people -- so many Americans -- still see these thugs as America's "defenders". They're not defending our country, they're destroying it, and much more surely than bin Laden could ever hope to.
If it hadn't been for the Constitution, the neocons might never have come to power: they might have been silenced themselves, just as they are trying now to silence us. If it hadn't been for the Bill of Rights, Bill Clinton -- had he been as truly evil as the neocons would have us believe -- would surely have sent Lizard Boy Gingrich and the rest to the 90's version of Gitmo.
And they should be careful in pulling this crap now, for the Dems are taking the majority come January. If the Rethuglicans want a "unitary executive", they may rue that... what if the unitary executive were President Hillary Clinton?
I can hear the neocons now: [source: Wikipedia]
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
Then, for even more, we go to Vyan:
In discussing Abu Al's feelings on the warrantless wiretapping, Vyan quotes Gonzales: [Emphasis Vyan's]
"We believe the president has the authority under the authorization of military force and inherent authority of the constitution to engage in his sort of program, but we want to supplement that authority," he said.
Vyan then comments:
Both of these men [618: Cheney and Gonzales] took an solemn oath to "Uphold the Constitution", yet both seem hell-bent on violating it's very tenets.
Abu presents a false hobsons choice between the possible loss of "liberty" due to a devestating terrorist attack - which even in the worst case scenario is less likely to be as deadly and damaging as Hurricane Katrina - against the very real fact of lost liberty happening right now as a result of the Bush administrations Imperialist actions.
They claim this type of survellance has been "highly succesful", yet the FBI considers the thousands of false leads and dead-ends they've generated so far to be "a waste" of time and resources. Resources which could and should be better spent on credible leads gained through legal means.
There is also the problem that evidence gathered against real terrorists who are actually captured using extra-legal means - is inadmissable under the fruits of the poison tree doctrine. (Of course this may be exactly why Bush has pushed so hard for the use of Military Commisions and the abondoning of Habeas Corpus)
Newly empowered Congressional Democrats have already found that the Bush Administration has been regularly violating at least 26 Federal Laws - including FISA.
But it has to be said that this type of nonsensical counter-factual politicing by appointed Civil Servants is dangerous to the foundations of our Democracy itself. It is a far greater danger in the estimatation of many legal and constitutional scholars - than anything Al Qaeda has done, or will ever do.
The deepest cuts to liberty are those which are often self-inflicted.
The last link in Vyan's quote leads (via his diary and the "Truth 2 Power" blog) to a chilling article at Talking Points Memo Muckraker, detailing how the Bushistas may have broken over two dozen federal laws and regulations -- some of them multiple times. The article is based on a report (unreleased, of course) from the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee. The report quotes Michigan Representative John Conyers:
The laws implicated by the Administration’s actions include federal laws against making false statements to congress [sic]; federal laws and international treaties prohibiting torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; federal laws concerning retaliating against witnesses and other government employees; executive Orders concerning leaking and other misuse of intelligence; federal regulations and ethical requirements governing conflicts of interest; the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act; communications privacy laws; the National Security Act; and the Fourth Amendment.
This is similar to something I said a while back:
A couple of people are now starting to start about applying the RICO (Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) law to the Bushies. Now, I was a cop, not a lawyer, so I'm not that familiar with the intricacies of RICO, but I remember how quickly it put an end to a lot of groups ranging from street gangs to the Mafia. Maybe it should be considered. Lord knows they're corrupt enough.
If I have ever seen a "corrupt organization", it is Bush's (well, Rove's) Republican Party.
The verdict of this court is in:
We find for the plaintiff, the United States Constitution.
See ya in Gitmo, boys.
Oh, and you guys don't get lawyers, either. You're "enemy combatants", after all.