Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » January 2006 » Another Letter for the day...

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01/13/2006: Another Letter for the day...

Michael Kinsley has written a really POOR op-ed for the Washington Post: Give me Liberty or let me Think about it. (Click on the link to read this piece of drivel.) So, I sent him a letter:

I was very disturbed to read this absurd op-ed in the Washington Post, “Give Me Liberty Or Let Me Think About It.” I have often thought you were a rather intelligent guy – but this piece is stunning in both is ignorance of the FISA and wiretap law and it's insulting about the issues of the NSA spying program.

You write:
You can note all you want the irony of the government's trampling American values in the name of protecting them. But that irony can be turned on its head. If the cost of losing the war and the cost of winning it are measured in the same currency -- American values, especially freedom -- then giving up some freedom to avoid losing all of it is obviously the right thing to do.

It’s the *giving up* part of this that I take issue with. No Citizen was EVER Asked, Requested, Notified, Informed, or given ANY reasonable opportunity to acquiesce to the “giving up” part beyond that which is already codified in laws (FISA and other statutes) according to our processes of government. And Congress, when asked on behalf of the American people, said “NO” on this issue involving the authorizations to include extending these national security procedures to over the United States and its Citizens for the Government in seeking to prevent terrorism.

Not, that I am arguing the citizenry can’t choose to “give up” liberties, but this is a form of *Taking-without-asking* to do so outside the process for making such changes. If you wish to make some good faith argument how, within our legal process, such a Change would be put forth…have at it. But don’t pretend that is what was done in this instance.

And you further state:
The Fourth Amendment is typical of laws protecting civil liberties in that it doesn't forbid the government to invade people's privacy, or lock them up or take their property. Rather, it requires the government to be "reasonable" and to explain its reasons to someone else.

The Constitution read:
Amendment IV
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.

Yep - "reasonableness" is an element here - but related to getting a Warrant!!

No ambiguity is here, no hard to parse language or intent on that one.

Likewise, FISA was crafted to be in conformity with the Constitution and even to allowing (as reasonable exceptions) the 72-hour emergency warrantless wiretapping and for the 15 days following a Congressional Declaration of War for warrantless wiretapping.

Given the voluminous pieces and information about this Law and the things written in the past few weeks --your ignorance as to these provisions is astounding.

Further, the Oath of Office requires the POTUS to say: “I solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

And under Art III, Section 3: “…he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,”

So - this one puzzles me too:
It could have jumped through the required hoops and been wiretapping away about five minutes later.

[Again, the language of FISA allows IMMEDIATE wiretapping under its 72 hour emergency provisions and for warrantless searches for 15 days following a Congressional Declaration of War. So mis-stating this provision to provide a faux argument is hardly useful and quite insulting. Gee, was I wrong to have expected better of You?]

As for “jump[ing] through the required hoops” -- you mean following the US Laws on wiretapping and working within the Constitution? I don’t recall the ability for the President NOT to jump through the legally required *hoops* on any issues. And you write “could have” but the phrasing is “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” And “SHALL” is a legal command word…nothing iffy, suggestive, may-or-may-not about it. No “could have” as if this is *Optional* at his *Choice*. Moreover, there is no provision for the President to unilaterally change the laws, make his own laws. Nor interpret the laws, nor rewrite the laws or Constitution on his own accord.

So, what ever this pitiful excuses for this Administration and woefully inadequate and insulting arguments you are making here …it’s not for living under the Constitution in the America I KNOW, nor to follow its Rule of Law for it’s President.

Shame on YOU, Mr. Kinsley.

Time for you to go back to the legal drawing board and do THINK ABOUT IT before you write any more inane and misleading nonsense like this on the topic of NSA spying laws and 4th Amendment protections or excusing the President for violating these laws.

Karen on 01.13.06 @ 10:10 AM CST

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