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SQ BUG [message #33395] Wed, 30 August 2006 10:08
Ilia is currently offline  Ilia   Canada
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Kansas City Star

Bush keeps chipping away at what U.S. stands for

ýThe 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 causeÍţ

ˇ Amendment IV, U.S. Constitution

Recently, a federal judge in Detroit took the crown from the imperial presidency of George W. Bush.

ýThere are no hereditary kings in America, and no power not created by the Constitution,ţ U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor wrote.

The judge claimed the White House had violated individual rights of speech and privacy. ItÝs the second time a federal court thumped Bush on the head over the Constitution.

He didnÝt get it then; he doesnÝt get it now.

Judge TaylorÝs remarks came in a ruling that struck down as unconstitutional the administrationÝs warrantless wiretapping of people without probable cause.

President Bush had secretly conducted this domestic spying initiative using the National Security Agency. He claimed it was necessary to national security.

Judge TaylorÝs opinion matters more than most because it is a judicial rebuke. The very Constitution that Bush willfully violates makes such judicial input and oversight possible.

Given the legal pool available to the White House, one must assume the president is familiar with the Constitution that he and the vice president find obsolete. The legal experts for Bush and Dick Cheney further a political agenda and their own careers.

This White House relied on faulty legal advice and still does. But bad legal advice is not a good excuse for misconduct.

The current U.S. attorney general behaves more like a consigliere, aiding and abetting a criminal enterprise with legal finesse and redacted documents.

Alberto Gonzales, sworn to uphold the Constitution, acts as though he still is presidential counselor. Like former Attorney General John Ashcroft, Gonzales doesnÝt enforce the laws; he enforces an ideology. ItÝs not Republican; itÝs totalitarian.

This administration has used fear as a weapon to do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, to anyone it wants and preferably in secret. It seeks to muzzle the press and punish insiders who blow the whistle.

This presidency has acted without congressional oversight or input. It has intimidated librarians through dubious national security letters that kept them from testifying about privacy invasions under the USA Patriot Act.

It has made telephone companies complicit in domestic spying by having them turn over phone records without customer notification. Your e-mail, bank records and medical records no longer are private under the Bush regime.

This administration canÝt bring Osama bin Laden to justice, but it knows who text-mailed you, what periodicals you read and can open your mail. Civil liberties have irresponsibly become collateral damage in the war on terror.

The White House mission is not just paranoid, itÝs pathological.

This administration circumvented the secret court (FISA) that was a post-Watergate remedy to executive abuse. Gonzales and others explained that Bush used the NSA rather than waste time consulting FISA, which issues speedy warrants. The president has legal authority as commander in chief, he insisted. ItÝs noteworthy that he didnÝt say this under oath.

Thankfully, in her Aug. 17 ruling, Judge Taylor recognized a pattern of abuse of power.

Unfortunately, the administrationÝs appeal allows the White House to keep up the dirty work until perhaps the Supreme Court intervenes.

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