Bring It On!

Do You Feel Safe Under The Bush Regime? Sub Title: Requiem for The Fourth Amendment

August 1st, 2008 | by Windspike |

Now that we’ve had almost 8 years of experience in George Bush’s America, are you feeling good about it? Not me.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel one iota safer because of the W, Rove and Co.’s actions since Nine Eleven. Now that I typed that, perhaps I should re-label the circus at the Whitehouse because Rove should be indicted and has been absent for while, but he’s still responsible for some very shady and reprehensible, if not unethical, immoral and illegal, political practices (read: signing statements). Let’s call the lame duck Whitehouse the Condi and Georgie Show for now. But I digress.

Since Nine Eleven, the common myth is that “we are safer here given that we fought them over there.” In reality, the insideous nature of the Condi and Georgie’s practice is that we didn’t need much saving from the terrorists, more than we needed saving from ourselves. Remember the Fourth Amendment?

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.

Well, in Georgie and Condi’s America, that goes right out the window.

Federal agents may take a traveler’s laptop computer or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed.

Also, officials may share copies of the laptop’s contents with other agencies and private entities for language translation, data decryption or other reasons, according to the policies, dated July 16 and issued by two DHS agencies, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

This clearly falls in to the WTF category? Do you feel safer in George Bush’s America? Not me! Turn on your iTunes, click on Mozart’s Requiem, and turn it up loud because our rights have died and were downright squashed, spindled, and mutilated by George Bush and his crack team of GOP politicos.

…..Rex, Rex

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  1. 12 Responses to “Do You Feel Safe Under The Bush Regime? Sub Title: Requiem for The Fourth Amendment”

  2. By Chris Radulich on Aug 1, 2008 | Reply

    “we are safer here given that we fought them over there.”

    also known as we don’t care how many innocents ( including women, children, and babies) are killed in Iraq. Who cares they are not Americans. It is amazing how we are will to hide behind women and children to protect ourselves.

  3. By Craig R. Harmon on Aug 1, 2008 | Reply

    “we are safer here given that we fought them over there.”

    Interesting quote. Who said it?

  4. By Craig R. Harmon on Aug 1, 2008 | Reply

    But, yeh. I feel safer. I feel a hell of a lot safer than I felt on 9/11 and the weeks and months following the attack, especially with the anthrax and faux anthrax letters floating around. Since we’ve had something like zero successful terrorist attacks on the homeland since that time,who wouldn’t feel safer?

  5. By Craig R. Harmon on Aug 1, 2008 | Reply

    In reality, the insideous nature of the Condi and Georgie’s practice is that we didn’t need much saving from the terrorists

    Interesting assertion. Evidence?

  6. By Craig R. Harmon on Aug 1, 2008 | Reply

    As for the 4th amendment, the facts are that not every search requires a warrant (and the text of the amendment doesn’t say that warrants are required in every search.

    In fact, searches and seizures at borders have NEVER required warrants. Border guards can and do stop and search cars every day on nothing more than the guard’s whim. From Wikipedia’s article on the Fourth Amendment:

    Searches conducted at the United States border or the equivalent of the border (such as an international airport) may be conducted without a warrant or probable cause subject to the “border-search” exception.[47] Most border searches may be conducted entirely at random, without any level of suspicion, pursuant to Customs’ plenary search authority.

    This is hardly a stretch that breaks the 4th amendment from that legal doctrine that has been in place, perhaps as long as we’ve had borders. This clearly does NOT fall within the wtf category. This falls under the bau (business as usual) category.

  7. By Craig R. Harmon on Aug 1, 2008 | Reply

    Wikipedia has a separate article on the Border search exception to the warrant requirement. In it, we read:

    Currently, the main area of contention concerning the border search exception is its application to the search of the electronic files and information contained in travelers’ laptops and other electronic storage devices. The United States Government’s position regarding the search of electronic devices is that these devices are functionally and qualitatively equivalent to other closed containers.[10] According to this position, the Government asserts that it may open, login and search through all the electronic information stored on traveler’s electronic devices. The only federal appeals court to address this issue directly, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, agreed with the government’s position and held that “reasonable suspicion is not needed for customs officials to search a laptop or other electronic device at the international border.”[11]

    It’s not popular among criminal defendants or defense lawyers and civil libertarians but, frankly, if you can’t get the Ninth Circuit on board, it’s a lost cause.

  8. By Windspike on Aug 1, 2008 | Reply

    Craig,

    When the Feds come to rip out your hard drive because they want to, with out a warrant, will you be happy about it?

    Wasn’t it some one in the W, Rove and Co that asserted that we must “fight them there, so we don’t have to fight them here?” I forget who, but I’ll do a search for the citation for you later.

    The absence of terrorist attacks is not proof that our actions are stopping them. Moreover, its likely the anthrax folks were locals, not foreign terrorists. No one has been caught for that, btw, even though some one connected just recently killed himself according to reports today.

    I feel that the sacrifice of civil liberties in the name of protection from terrorism is a bigger threat to us than the threat of terrorism. So, no I don’t feel any security, particularly given the actions of the Condi and Georgie road show. In fact, it could be argued that their actions have done more for recruiting terrorists to the legions than preventing terrorism here on the home front. Of course, if you are asking for evidence of this, I ask you for evidence that our government actions has prevented terrorism across the board. Hard to come up with isn’t it?

  9. By Chris Radulich on Aug 1, 2008 | Reply

    I was in NYC on 9/11 and I feel a lot less safe. Not because of the terrorist. They are statistically a minor threat.

    I feel less safe because of our government monarchical tendencies. I feel less safe because of the governments disregard of the sixth amendment. Then there is rendition and our government approval of torture. Not to mention the sviet style show trials and the mess in the justice department.

  10. By Craig R. Harmon on Aug 1, 2008 | Reply

    Windspike,

    I took a plane trip in June to Florida. I crossed no national borders between Indiana and Florida. I had to put my lap-top through scanning and hand inspection so they’re already heading in that direction, even on intra-national flights.

    And yes, I think that’s reasonable. So also do I think what you’re complaining about in this post is reasonable. At least, I find it no less reasonable than searching my car with neither reasonable suspicion or a warrant when I cross to and from Canada in my car, at the border guards whim, which, as I point out, is a well established constitutional search that doesn’t even raise red flags in the courts.

    As for the quote, enter the entire quote from your post — “we are safer here given that we fought them over there.” [quotation marks included] into Google and see what comes up. I think you’ll find that on the entire internets, you are the only one to ever say such a thing. Honestly. Try it! My point is that if you’re going to put quote marks around a string of text and attribute that text to someone, you should be careful to be sure that the person to whom you are attributing the text to actually has said exactly what you’ve put in quotes.

    I didn’t exactly say that the absence of terrorist attacks is proof that our (or Bush’s) actions are stopping them. I said that that absence over the last seven years HAS made me feel safer than after 9/11 and asked who wouldn’t feel safer (meaning of course, safer from terrorist attack) under such conditions.

    No, that absence doesn’t prove that it is Bush’s actions that are responsible but you’ve provided exactly no evidence, let alone proof, that we aren’t safer from terrorist attack or that we are not safer BECAUSE of Bush’s actions. When we’re dealing with national security issues, we are necessarily dealing with information that is not and should not be made public, information about what, exactly, we are doing to protect against another 9/11, what steps we are taking and are willing to take to discover the identity, location, and plans of those who may be plotting another 9/11, information that alerts terrorists how to avoid detection.

    But the thing is, if you are going to assert that “…we didn’t need much saving from the terrorists” or that “the sacrifice of civil liberties in the name of protection from terrorism is a bigger threat to us than the threat of terrorism”, don’t you need to show some evidence that that is the case? I have searched in vain for even rudimentary evidence that that is the case.

    After all, I have no more fear of having my hard drive searched at the airport upon entering or leaving the country than I have of having my car searched at the border. In fact, at least one terrorist attack was apparently thwarted by an alert border guard at the Canada/US border so I actually feel pretty good about this. I do feel safer that we’re doing this.

    Sure it could be argued that Bush’s actions have done more to recruit terrorists but, from what I’ve read, Al Qaeda isn’t nearly so popular today as they’ve been in past years. They’ve been getting their asses kicked in Iraq. According to reports I’ve read, far fewer foreigners are entering Iraq to join the fight against the “Great Satan”.

    Evidence that our actions have prevented terrorism across the board? Depends upon what you mean by “across the board”. If you mean world-wide, I don’t think it has. World-wide, outside of Iraq and Afghanistan, evidence seems to show that terrorist attacks are up since Bush’s actions after 9/11 but, as I say, not one attack upon US soil. Zero. Evidence that Bush’s actions are responsible? Who knows. I don’t want to know. To know would require the world knowing exactly what we’ve been doing and how in order to stop the many plots that have been reported stopped.

    I suppose you could argue that those reports were bogus, plants from the government, that there were never ANY plots but that seems a might too conspiratorial for me.

    But assuming those reports were NOT bogus, that they DID represent actual terrorist plots stopped, I don’t see how we can escape the conclusion that Bush, as chief executive responsible for all law enforcement at the federal level and for ALL intelligence activity around the world, hasn’t had SOMETHING to do with stopping those attacks.

    And yes, proof is hard to come by. In order to have proof that, say, the torture of three high-ranking Al Qaeda detainees HAS led to the prevention of terrorist attacks, one would have to have high level clearance for national security intelligence. I don’t have that. No one I know has that. And even if I did, I couldn’t share that intelligence with you because to do so would land me in prison for a very long time. In short, if I told you, I’d have to shoot you. ;-)

  11. By Lisa on Aug 1, 2008 | Reply

    Don’t worry Chris “Hope” and “Change” is just around the corner.
    Then you can feel alot safer and hopefuly that minor theat of another terrorist attack doesn’t take out the whole city you are in.

  12. By Chris Radulich on Aug 2, 2008 | Reply

    Lisa

    If your are that worried about a terrorist attack, I’m surprised you can get out of bed. Do you realize all the ways you can died by accident in your home? All of which are more likely than a terrorist attack. Then there are all the dangers of driving. You must be a wreck.

  13. By Windspike on Aug 2, 2008 | Reply

    Just a quick question, did any one click on the music while reading the post? Just an asthetic concern on my part. The Mozart Requiem has to be one of, if not my most favorite piece of classical music. I thought it would make a good sound track for the post. Any thoughts?

    Back to the subject. An anon. commentator at my other location had this to say:

    All you bits are belong to us

    There’s no need for the government to confiscate your laptop, they could just ‘borrow’ it for an hour and clone it. They confiscate to demonstrate the power of the state. By its right name it’s called fascism.

    Encrypted 1’s and 0’s pass freely over the internet by FTP or P2P. There’s no way the government is going to catch anyone smart enough to do any damage to the state by inspecting cross-border incoming laptops, flash drives, digital cameras, iPods, DVDs, CDRs, or audio and video tapes.

    Security is a ’show.’ This show is a flop.

    This is an interesting perspective and goes to my point. The sacrificing of our liberties and freedoms have not been a fair trade for more safety and security.

    I do owe Craig an apology for the misplaced quotes, but I am not insane. The fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here mantra was loud and clear in the you are either with us or against us glory days of George Bush’s reign.
    I hope you can forgive me for the egregious violation of grammatical principals (not even remotely equivalent to a signing statement). I’ll reiterate my position regarding the simplisitc dualistic position that George put us in. Don’t you think it would have been much more inclusive and responsible to have instead said, “you are either against us or with us?” The way Bush put it, places Switzerland in the “against us” column, no?

    I appreciate, Craig, that you feel safer. I don’t. We will have to disagree here. In fact, I feel completely violated as an American by the government that has run roughshod all over our constitution, not to mention many other minor offenses much like the Valarie Plame affair, the Alberto Gonzalas political assasination on “activist judges” etc…

    Here’s the telling statement in your comment Craig, at least for me:

    Evidence that Bush’s actions are responsible? Who knows. I don’t want to know

    For me, the President was sworn to uphold the Constitution and not be above the law in the execution of his myriad duties. It appears to me that ignorance is bliss, but the days of trust of because we are the government are long gone. We don’t know, and may never know the complete transgressions of the W, Rove and Co. The difference between me and you is that I want to know, and I believe that the W, Rove and Co should be held completely accountable for their transgressions. My fear is that they have stained the Constitution and the Executive Office to such a degree that we may never pull out of the spiral down the toilet. The end of the Clinton Administration is a direct contrast between the end of the Bush administration and I have to honestly say, I like the feeling of that ending over this one no matter how many interns had to be deflowered for it, to an exponential degree.

    There is no way to know how a Democrat President would have handled the Nine Eleven situation. We are stuck with what we got, and it feels a lot like we have all our tongues frozen to the flag pole with no on left standing to pour water over them to get us loose.

    Likewise, until the truth is told, we will never know the full extent of the damage perpetrated by this President against our whole fabric of society. Certainly, you have every right to feel safer, but the trade off has made my malaise more palpable than Lisa’s constant banter about terrorist transgressors. At some point, the trade of liberty for security crosses the line, and in my book, we passed that about five years ago.

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