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Crimes of Aspiration
June 26, 2006 5:04 AM   Subscribe

Gov't Break a Law? Change It The White House is nearing an agreement with Congress on legislation that would write President Bush's warrantless surveillance program into law, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said Sunday.
posted by Unregistered User (34 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Let's be clear: American fascism, if it comes will be in a different form, it is not likely to come in the form of a charismatic leader pulling the political wool over the eyes of right-thinking Americans - for that, the common sense of most American citizens will do just fine in beating it back. But it is likely to come in the form of denigrated civil liberties in the face of governmental and corporate absolutism, coupled with expanded militarism, a structured class system, and an alienated, psychologically disenfranchised citizenry, among other characteristics. The day is hardly likely to come, then, when American jackboots parade down Main Street, but certainly could arrive in the dead of night in no knock entries, sneek and peek searches, National Security gagg letters and detainment without charge; when that all government policy is centered on "national security" issues as defined by a narrow set of corporate self-interests and ideological perceptions about foreign and domestic policy, complete without any true recourse by the citizenry.

The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information and reinterpretation of events in law; support of operations, including spin control, after action reports, or informative accounts when the media the courts and public good is controlled by intelligence and law enforcement (read neopololic dept. of Justice) without asking the people; With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news and the courts to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.
posted by Unregistered User at 5:12 AM on June 26, 2006


Uh, 'sneak' and peek searches .
posted by Unregistered User at 5:15 AM on June 26, 2006


Be careful, comrade; we don't want to commit any crimethink here...
posted by sporb at 5:15 AM on June 26, 2006


They would need a constitutional amendment to make the program legal.
posted by rxrfrx at 5:20 AM on June 26, 2006


While this does not address the unconstitutionality of the previous actions, is the below quoted from the Wired report not exactly part of what most people have been asking for since the disclosure of the program?

"I've talked to ranking officials in the White House, and we're close," Specter said. "I'm not making any predictions until we have it all nailed down, but I think there is an inclination to have it submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and that would be a big step forward for the protection of constitutional rights and civil liberties."
posted by Captaintripps at 5:29 AM on June 26, 2006


Yes, let's be clear!
posted by beerbajay at 5:36 AM on June 26, 2006


*This thread was deleted for the following reason. Samisdat. User Banned.
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:45 AM on June 26, 2006


Would this not be ex post facto? Do-overs suck when only one side gets to use them.

"The sentiment that ex post facto laws are against natural right, is so strong in the United States, that few, if any, of the State constitutions have failed to proscribe them. The federal constitution indeed interdicts them in criminal cases only; but they are equally unjust in civil as in criminal cases, and the omission of a caution which would have been right, does not justify the doing what is wrong. Nor ought it to be presumed that the legislature meant to use a phrase in an unjustifiable sense, if by rules of construction it can be ever strained to what is just." (Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Isaac McPherson, August 13th, 1813)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:45 AM on June 26, 2006


rxrfrx: They would need a constitutional amendment to make the program legal.

Or partisan lackeys on the SCOTUS willing to certify such perfidy "constitutional".
posted by RavinDave at 5:49 AM on June 26, 2006


After the program was disclosed by The New York Times in December, the White House opposed changing the law. Over time, that position has shifted gradually.

It is doubtful if any such law could pass Constitutional muster, but it is an encouraging sign to see the Administration give a nod to the separation of powers and seek the approval of Congress.

It is also encouraging to see the Congress step away from granting the President permanent "emergency" power and trying to codify something into law.
posted by three blind mice at 6:55 AM on June 26, 2006


cardhouse robot sez.
posted by dorian at 7:12 AM on June 26, 2006


They would need a constitutional amendment to make the program legal.

Yeah, unconstitutional laws are still null and void on their face.
posted by oaf at 7:36 AM on June 26, 2006


oaf writes "Yeah, unconstitutional laws are still null and void on their face."

er, no. The law would be entirely legal until someone challenged it; then it would still be applicable for the many years during which the various federal courts would kick it back and forth between themselves. It would really be only null and void if the SCOTUS ultimately said it was unconstitutional, and even then that change would not be likely to happen from one day to the next.

And, frankly, given the current SCOTUS roster, I would find it highly doubtful that a majority of the Justices would deny the Administration much anything these days anyway.
posted by clevershark at 7:49 AM on June 26, 2006


They would need a constitutional amendment to make the program legal.

Yeah, because an administration who'd amend the constitution to deny rights to a subset of the population—with the support of the majority—would never stoop so low as to amend it for something like this.
posted by Zozo at 8:03 AM on June 26, 2006


Expect more civil liberties to be abolished now that domestic terrorists are a "real" threat.
posted by premortem at 8:11 AM on June 26, 2006


They would need a constitutional amendment to make the program legal.

That's not true. Many people say that the program is constitutional, but not legal due to FISA. Update FISA and the program can be legal.
posted by delmoi at 8:15 AM on June 26, 2006


You forgot the PANTS ON FIRE tag.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:16 AM on June 26, 2006


"...American fascism, if it comes will be in a different form, it is not likely to come in the form of a charismatic leader pulling the political wool over the eyes of right-thinking Americans..."

If it comes? What about a band of very non-charismatic neocons pulling the wool over the eyes of Fox-News muddled Americans?

I'm thinking American fascism arrived with the stolen 2000 presidential election. Remember? We all got screwed.

George Bush got Air Force One and Al Gore can be seen slogging his bags through airport security in the making of An Inconvenient Truth.

Gore, who we actually elected as our president, is still out there trying to save the world while Bush is busy as a bee trying to kill us all--but that's a sacrifice Bush is clearly willing to make for his brand of American Fascism.
posted by BillyElmore at 8:21 AM on June 26, 2006


but that's a sacrifice Bush is clearly willing to make for his brand of American Fascism.

Yeah--I like to call it Left-Handed Fascism (or Left-Handed Communism) because it's so sneaky.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:52 AM on June 26, 2006


Expect more civil liberties to be abolished now that domestic terrorists are a "real" threat.

You are so right on premortem,

It appears to me that the public is being prepared for the meme that common criminals can easily be enlisted by terrorists to do their bidding. Therefore the distinction between criminal and terrorist will blur.
posted by Unregistered User at 8:55 AM on June 26, 2006


Expect more civil liberties to be abolished now that domestic terrorists are a "real" threat.

Timothy McVeigh.

Before Al Kay Duh stole the limelight, domestic "terrorists" were already a threat. I don't seem to remember any similar assault on civil liberties in the wake of an attack on the U.S. Federal government in Oklahoma City which killed 168 Americans.
posted by three blind mice at 9:31 AM on June 26, 2006


Unregistered, I was saying exactly that to my mother a couple of days ago.

They're starting on the idea that our neighbors are our enemies. Enemies are everywhere! Watch your neighbors carefully for signs of dissent. They could be attacking your kids next!

Our biggest enemy is the government, not our fellow citizens.... but I hold little hope that the citizens will be able to figure this out anytime soon.
posted by Malor at 9:34 AM on June 26, 2006


42,636 deaths by car crash in 2004.

That's probably about 10 times the number killed in terrorist events in the past 20 years.

Hopefully the governments on this...
posted by chasing at 10:17 AM on June 26, 2006


How about a War On High Fructose Corn Syrup, that's the real killer. Plus it makes you all fat andbloated and blotchy looking.
posted by Artw at 10:48 AM on June 26, 2006


Our biggest enemy is the government, not our fellow citizens.... but I hold little hope that the citizens will be able to figure this out anytime soon.

Ahh, for some reason that remined me of the Ouspensky/Gurdjieff story:

When the mathematician Ouspensky was studying with Gurdjieff, he found it very hard, at first, to understand this unique human capacity to forget where one is, what one is doing, and what is going on around one. He was especially dubious about Gurdjieff's insistence that this forgetting was a type of hypnosis. Then, one day, after World War I had begun, Ouspensky saw a truck loaded with artificial legs, headed toward the front. Educated as a mathematician and trained in statistics, Ouspensky remembered that just as it is possible to calculate how many persons will die of heart attacks in a given year, by probability theory it is possible to calculate how many legs will be blown off in a battle. But the very calculation is based on the historical fact that most people, most of the time will do what they are told by Superiors. (Or, as some cynic once said, most people would rather die, even by slow torture, than to think for themselves.) In a flash, Ouspensky understood how ordinary men become killers, and victims of killers. He realized that normal consciousness is much like hypnosis indeed.
posted by Unregistered User at 11:00 AM on June 26, 2006


three blind mice: I guess my point was lost - wasn't trying to dismiss domestic terrrorism as never being an issue or something to worry about.

But you're completely right - there were no assaults on our civil liberties post-4/19/95. This is a different time, the new 'Merica and there is a WAR on Terror. As soon as the sights are set on domestic threats, you and I become suspects.
posted by premortem at 11:31 AM on June 26, 2006


there were no assaults on our civil liberties post-4/19/95.

The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, signed by Bill Clinton on 24 April 1996.
posted by blucevalo at 12:47 PM on June 26, 2006


so that antiterrorism Act of 1996 is of the same magnitude of the Patriot Act or the War on Terror???

My point is, is that yeah, maybe some erosion of liberties occured in the past... the general population don't notice these, it takes a mudslide.

Bush et al. have triggered a mudslide in my mind. But cynicism and outrage fatigue seem to have taken over....
posted by premortem at 1:12 PM on June 26, 2006


so that antiterrorism Act of 1996 is of the same magnitude of the Patriot Act or the War on Terror???

I didn't say that.
posted by blucevalo at 1:29 PM on June 26, 2006


Folks,

It should be obvious now how the game is being rigged. People in high places are looting all of us on the bottom and finding scapegoats among us they can then frame up to blame for what THEY are doing.

Well, it is time folks to get some "God" in your life. And by God I don't mean Jesus or Allah or Buddha. I mean, it is time to start having trust in a higher good and go out into the world and go after your dreams before you lose that opportunity.

They completely dropped the mask on this Miami 7 thing. Hell, this administration just went into a country on lies and killed at least 50,000 people.Yet they want to paint everyone else a criminal if we don't go along.

Time to acknowledge what is really going on... they intend to frame you up just like they do everyone else.
posted by Unregistered User at 1:51 PM on June 26, 2006


Time to acknowledge what is really going on... they intend to frame you up just like they do everyone else.

Well, if that's the case, then they should proceed very carefully, because I heard a rumor recently (can't remember where) that some free speech activist folks were planning a reverse sting--i.e., by intentionally attracting attention to themselves by espousing constitutionally protected anti-administration views specifically in order to illicit government persecution, all while carefully documenting proof of their actual innocence at every step of the way through the use of hidden cameras, audio recording devices, etc... (a sort of self-imposed round the clock surveillance)... The point, of course, being to lure the powers-that-be into blatantly lying and fabricating evidence over the course of trying to frame innocent citizens simply for exercising their constitutionally protected powers of free speech. Who knows where these reverse-stingers might show up.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:31 PM on June 26, 2006


three blind mice: it is an encouraging sign to see the Administration give a nod to the separation of powers and seek the approval of Congress.

Think about the power relationship you've just described. His Imperial Majesty deigns to recognize the law, and we peasants are supposed to be placated.
posted by oncogenesis at 4:28 PM on June 26, 2006


In other news: Court signals loosening of the last reins on police
posted by homunculus at 5:44 PM on June 26, 2006


Sen. Specter's bill on NSA surveillance is a capitulation to administration claims of executive power.
posted by homunculus at 10:32 PM on July 16, 2006


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