August 12, 2007

Jonathan Alter on the new FISA law

And speaking of enhanced power.
Talking Points Memo | : "I hate to sound melodramatic about it, but while everyone was at the beach or "The Simpsons Movie" on the first weekend in August, the U.S. government shredded the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, the one requiring court-approved "probable cause" before Americans can be searched or spied upon. This is not the feverish imagination of left-wing bloggers and the ACLU. It's the plain truth of where we've come as a country, at the behest of a president who has betrayed his oath to defend the Constitution and with the acquiescence of Democratic congressional leaders who know better. Historians will likely see this episode as a classic case of fear -- both physical and political -- trumping principle amid the ancient tension between personal freedom and national security. [...]

Democrats obtained a sunset clause that requires the whole thing to be reauthorized in six months. But real damage has been done. At a minimum, we have suspended the Fourth Amendment for the time being."
Emphasis mine.

Constitutional protections. We used to believe in them. We used to. Evidently, that is pre-9-11 thinking. Back before the terrorists had scared us into giving up basic civil liberties. Shame on Bush and Cheney. Shame on the Democrats for caving on this one. Shame on the entire Republican establishment for giving us this administration.


steve s said...

I would say that the assault on the Constitution has been going on for a long time. Not the this minimizes the contribution of GWB (his record is atrocious). Occasionally I see some hope. There will be a Sup. Ct. decision that strengthens the BOR. Congress let the Assault Weapons Ban expire. These are not enough, in my mind. Bush has shown no restraint whatsoever and Congress doesn't seem to want to challenge him. I have yet to see a candidate that has an all-around good record of supporting the BOR (except for maybe Ron Paul, but he will never get the nomination).

On the local front, a brutal murder of an elderly woman in Lansing, has prompted the Mayor, Virg Bernero (D) to institute a program where the City will install video cameras all over the downtown are and in many neighborhoods. During the press conference, there were questions regarding privacy concerns and possible abuse. His response was, "if you aren't doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to worry about." I am not a supporter of these measures. I know that people are scared, but a massive surveillance program seems strangely Orwellian.

Streak said...

I would suggest that Bush's disregard for the BOR is worse than any out there. His record, as you note, is atrocious, and even that sounds nice. His disregard for our very constitutional system is amazing.

steve s said...

I can't speak for other states, but I agree that it is worse than anything that I have seen in Michigan, locally and at the state level. Congress shares some of the blame for the Patriot Act, since they signed it.

I applaud the Dems for getting a sunset provision on FISA. I wish they would do that with more new laws, then they would be forced to justify an ongoing programs.