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It's a fine line between living for the moment and being a sociopath.

Patricia B McConnell: For The Love Of A Dog.

Pema Chodron: The Places That Scare You

Daniel Wallace: Mr Sebastian & the Negro Magician

All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. --Pablo Neruda

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Bush is to Intelligence as wiretaps are to the Fourth Amendment

I keep wondering what the United States would be like, just now, if either house of Congress had a Republican minority.

We'd still be in Iraq. But, oh, how different would be the posturing of Washington back home.

Dubs would be under investigation with the probability of an impeachment vote, for one. That thing about wiretapping without a warrant: I woulda thought kinda worse than lying about a blowjob.

But maybe "...when the President does it, that means that it's not illegal." (Link requires QuickTime)

The single most devastating thing to me about the Bush illegal wire-tapping revelations is the Administration's audacious defense that the additional intelligence is needed in the "war on terror".

Of course, that assumes that we are actually gathering meaningful additional intelligence by illegally spying on Americans. And that assumption requires a pretty big leap of faith, as this Wired article makes plain.

But the more obvious point is staring us in the freaking face: We didn't need illegal wire-tapping in 2001 to know that Bin Laden was determined to strike in the United States (remember the PDB?). We knew he was considering using commercial airliners. We knew suspicious persons were taking flying lessons, and we knew who they were. It wasn't a lack of information. It was a lack of action. Including the President's.

The most striking intelligence failure in the history of US domestic security wasn't a failure of intelligence gathering. It was a failure of intelligent, coordinated action.

So maybe he's arguing he needs more power to gather intelligence illegally because it's hopeless to try to improve his administration's ability to act intelligently.

Long live the Fourth Amendment, no matter what asshole in government claims it doesn't apply to him.

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.

That's written in the founding document of the Nation, which, on two Inauguration Days, the President has sworn an oath to uphold and protect.

With apologies to Ben Franklin: Those who claim to defend freedom while assaulting it are outrageous assholes who don't recognize a totalitarian when they see one in the mirror, and wouldn't know liberty if they found it dancing nakedly joyful in a field of flowers under a bright blue summer sky.

On second thought, they would recognize liberty. And they'd take that joyful fucker down.


(Hat tip to Norm for a couple of those links.)

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