Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Drama of A Fearful Life

Complaining about the various and most dubious acts of the current White House and Congressional leadership seem to be as useful and effective as standing at the beach and screaming STOP!!! at the ocean's waves. The allegations of corruption in Congress, in this state and in many others, in cities and counties all across our nation are rolling out in news reports with the same continual flow of oceanic ebb and flow.

In Blog-land, many writers dutifully note these issues, and often frame their diatribes in lines conforming to one political party view or another (or should I say "deforming facts according to one party or the other"?) As Thomas Pynchon wrote: "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers."

I did note with some interest a post Wednesday on No Silence Here about a former NSA boss speaking before the National Press Club, who was twisting the language of the 4th Amendment in order to fit with the current use of national surveillance. The full story Silence referenced is here at Editor and Publisher, which also printed the 4th Amendment. Here it is:

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."

And here's my big problem with the so-called Patriot Act - it by-passes the requirements of the 4th Amendment of judicial oversight, and if you are one of those who feel so scared and terrified in America that you want to change the Amendment, then please realize that can only be accomplished by Constitutional Amendment and not by a Congressional vote.

If you fear some horrible act may occur without using existing laws governing warrants, the would you please take the time to review the 1978 FISA act, which allows for issuing warrants without a court's oversight as long as BOTH the reasons and probable cause are presented to the FISA judicial authority within 72 hours.
And I suppose you could interpret the amendment to the view "hey, since we can't provide 'probable cause' then we CAN issue a warrant with no judicial oversight!"

Oh, I know - these bothersome Bill of Rights and Constitutional Law require thought and reflection and (dear God!) even study. I suppose it's more dramatic and intense to feel caught in an endless war with a lurking enemy.


  1. Thanks Joe. That's good stuff. i suppose thinking and study require effort, while sitting in fear watching the erosion of the Constitution must not be as difficult. . .
    Keep up your good work!

  2. What was the infamous quote by Bushie about the Bill of Rights being unimportant & old hat? I'll have to look it up.
    You, however, have done your homework.. good reporting!