Friday, February 08, 2002

Great, dense email exchanges going on between Warren and myself. The most recent from his coast included this challenge: You say the "far right" is about reducing the freedoms of the people. That implies that the "near right"; i.e. George W, myself, are at least a little bit interested in that same goal, if in a more sensible manner. And that's not true. You can't name one conservative position that I hold that equates to less freedom. And I bet you can't name one that George W. holds if it doesn't contain the word "fetus."

Gee, how much time do we have here? Let's do this one issue at a time. First, we'll start with the recent revocation of 4th Amendment Rights accomplished with the USA Patriot Act. As usual, Bush's henchman in this operation is John Ashcroft. The opportunity was afforded by Sept. 11th Attacks and co-conspirators were the lame-ass Democrats who supported this bill so wholeheartedly. Read all about it via Nat Hentoff in John Ashcroft v. the Constitution.

From the article:

Keep in mind that the new law's definition of "domestic terrorism" is so broad, as we shall see in future columns, that entirely innocent people can be swept into this surveillance dragnet. You are not immune.

As law professor and privacy expert Jeffrey Rosen points out in the October 15 New Republic, "If [unbeknownst to you] your colleague is a target of [the already in-place] Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Investigation [with its very low privacy standards], the government could tap all your [own] communications on a shared phone, work computer, or public library terminal."

For review, the Fourth Amendment states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, household papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, will not be violated; and no warrants will issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or things to be seized."

Of course, one could argue that the writers of the constitution didn't specifically mention email and phones, so those shouldn't be included as areas of protection afforded by the constition. If you believe that sort of strict reading, I'd like to remind everyone that the writers of the constitution used flintlocks, so the 2nd Amendment must only protects the rights of citizens to own flintlock rifles and pistols.

The funny thing about the USA Patriot Act is that pisses off the right as well as the left. Forget Nat Hentoff for a moment. My luthier friend who lives in the Everglades amid constant fear of attack from UN helicopters, views the Patriot Act as an blantant intrusion into personal privacy.

It's strange the issues where the far right and left meet.

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