S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

A Sad Day for the Fourth Amendment

(Image - "Bill of Rights": National Archives and Records Administration)
The Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution is a very old and faded document. Today it is even more faded due to what Congress did to the Bill of Rights (NYT) before going out for its August recess. The public has every right to react negatively.
We are able to ask what happened because of the *First Amendment. It guarantees free speech and a free press, as well as free assembly to ask the government for redress of grievances. We are aggrieved because of the Bush administration and Congress' most recent assault on the **Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Fourth Amendment guarantees our rights to lawful and reasonable search and seizure with a court issued warrant.
Sunday will not be a day of rest for some of us in the blogosphere. We will be reacting ourselves at The Reaction - and looking closely at the public's reaction - to Senate and House passage of something called the "Improving Foreign Intelligence Surveillence To Defend The Nation and Consitution Act of 2007." One of my favorite bloggers, "MeteorBlades" at DailyKos titled a post, "Enough Already with the Pathetic Excuses," that captures some of my own anger. To quote the opening,

I know what a lot of you 57 Democratic Representatives and Senators are going to be saying over the next month while you’re speaking on the home turf. You did it to protect Americans. You didn’t want to take a chance. You had to stand up to the terrorists. You really had no choice.

If anybody asks why in hell you chose to legalize what the Cheney-Bush team has been doing illegally since 2001, you’re going to tell us you did it for our own good. You amended the 29-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act – originally passed to put some modest restrictions on agencies whose outrageous and frequently illegal behavior had been exposed by journalists and the Church Committee – to make us safe. You’re going to tell us you’ve got our backs.

You’re going to claim we can depend on you to be tough against terrorists even though you just put your foreheads to the floor at the feet of the most loathsome duo ever to sink their talons into the office of the Presidency. You’re going to tell us you couldn’t stand up to the blackmail, although that's not what you'll call it. You’re going to say Democrats can’t afford to appear weak.
More on FISA from the blogosphere - Even though I may be in the spiritual doldrums, my curiosity led me to check around. A couple of my blog favorites, Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake, and Faiz at ThinkProgress also wrote great posts in the same vein. Ironically the occasion of the YearlyKos meeting seemed to occupy Jay Rosen, Juan Cole, Josh Marshall (interviewing Steve Clemons), and Barbara of The Mahablog.
It will not be sad forever - Neither psychological angst, personal challenges, summer doldrums, cynicism, nor burn-out will deter alert bloggers from committment to this issue. Stay tuned for more.
  • The U.S. Constitution online.
  • The Bill of Rights - The First Twelve Articles of Amendment.
  • *Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
  • **Amendment 4 - Search and Seizure. Ratified 12/15/1791.

    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.
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Anonymous said...

A sad day, indeed.

Carol Gee said...

I am curious about our high level of upset. Much of the Sunday talk was focused on the election "horse race." Is everyone but a few people asleep? What is it that is so wrong about this congressional action? Are we over-reacting; are we looking for trouble?
Thanks for stopping by, lapopessa!