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Because We Haven’t Actually Always Been At War With Eurasia.

The headline is my answer to this headline.

In typical ODE columnist fashion, Kristen Brock takes a completely nutty position and then manages to completely miss the point. Her column, I’d like to note, is called “Illustrating Absurdity”, to which I say (as an English compatriot might): Quite.

Let’s go ahead and get down to the naughty bits:

However, the FISA court isn’t always fast enough, or it sometimes serves as an obstacle in and of itself. Because of the FISA court’s reluctance in granting domestic wiretap warrants, the FBI decided not to file for a warrant to search Zacarias Moussaoui’s computer because it had been turned down so many times in the past. If the warrant had a good chance of being granted, the U.S. government would have known about the Sept. 11 attacks months in advance.

This would be true…if FISA didn’t provide a 72 hour window to obtain a retroactive warrant. That’s right, kids, under FISA the government can get a warrant after it’s already searched whatever the bejesus it was interested in. The rest of the column rambles off into Jimmy-Carter-Did-It-Too-And-Clinton-Was-Worse la-la land before coming to this gem of a penultimate paragraph:

As a Republican, I cringe at the thought of the government being given more power in the — usually vain — hope that it is given back. In this instance, however, I try to remind myself that every administration since the 1960s has been using these programs, and I still have my civil rights intact.

The last time the GOP cringed at the government being given more power was at least a decade ago, and we’ve all seen that, really, that only boiled down to partisan politics after all. And, frankly, this kind of crap going on against American citizens violates (just off the top of my head) the Fourth Amendment and the due process clause of the Fifth. Do you remember those, Kristen? They’re in what’s called the Bill of Rights. You do know what that is, right? As for the government yielding back power once it’s granted, I’ll point you to the “temporary” Federal Excise Tax that was started in 1898 to fund the Spanish-American War.

Last, but certainly not least, there’s the final paragraph:

Is the president’s practice of authorizing spying without warrants a bit frightening? Of course. But is it an impeachable offense? Hardly. The Democrats need to cut their losses, drop the issue and focus on something that’s actually important.

I think she’s right here folks, those pesky Democrats (admittedly likely doing the right thing for the wrong reason) should shut up and let Bush 43 go ahead and wiretap any citizen he feels like without a warrant. I mean, Jimmy Carter did something similar and they like Carter! And, besides, it’s not like Bush has suspended habeas corpus the way Jefferson tried to in order to get Aaron Burr for treason or the way Lincoln did during the Civil War….Oh wait.

  1. Unless you have Israeli sapphires sitting in your hands, or in a safe deposit box with a hold on it until 2010. :(

    The latter, thanks to my grandpa…recently deceased.

  2. Andy says:

    It’s all a crap shoot on the stock market…

  3. Andy, you will know that gold, gold stocks, as well as putting money into oil shares, actually helps out a portfolio. Plus, if you can get an investment into Israeli Sapphires, you may just be able to speculate enough to pay off your college loans after 5 years.

    Currency is for wimps like George Soros.

  4. Timothy says:

    Beanie babies.

  5. Ian says:

    Mine are all in Joey Harrington rookie cards, so I think I’m safe.

  6. Andy says:

    I hope your investments aren’t in dollars, let alone any other fiat money….

  7. No, Gabrielle, I’m doing what I usually do…get my investments together, contact some good people for when I take my gigantic 10K mile road trip, and get ready to have a gigantic party that will offend everyone, especially any Europeans who try to crash it.

  8. Andy says:

    I think we all need to hit the gym a lot more before TEOTWAWKI….

    Thanks Olly. Unsurprizingly, I heard the same argument on tuesday as Tabarrok gave, but in all seriousness.

    Ian, as always, your sick and twisted remarks are on point. 😉

  9. Gabrielle says:

    So, SR are you hunkering down with your cache of weapons, waiting for the end?

  10. Timothy says:

    So are mixed metaphors…stop me before I write again.

  11. ian says:

    Oh but each bite is so delicious.

  12. Timothy says:

    Well, to be fair, presidents have been acting like imperial tyrants since, well, since Jefferson and the whole Burr debacle. I, however, get really fucking sick of “WELL THEY DID IT TOO!” as a defense. It’s childish, and it hides the real issue: if you give government power, it will likely go right ahead and abuse it. Somebody else doing it too does not excuse one’s own actions, if that were the case BTK could’ve gotten a lot of milage out of “Bundy was WORSE!”

    That things like this NSA business have been going on since at least the invention of the telephone, more likely since at least 1804 makes me think that freedom doesn’t die a glorious death in a hail of gunfire, but rather is picked to death one tiny bite at a time.

  13. One of the wonderful things about the use of common sense is that you know things about the world that others really don’t.

    Many claim that the US can be changed for the better, especially in the tide of wiretaps and whatnot. The reality is that the US is headed for a certain doom, and when the presidents from Truman all the way down to GWB used wiretaps in such a way, it set the ball in motion for more things to be taken away.

    For everyone to be outraged only now, when it’s obviously too late to turn back unless we all went into open revolt, shows just how blind the US people are.

    The only way is to educate people and get ready for the worst.

  14. ian says:

    Since she went to the trouble of comparing Bush’s actions to those of Lincoln and FDR, the least Brock could have done is told us what the victory conditions of our current war are.

  15. olly says:

    Andy, not to spoil the Orwellian fun or take issue with your (somewhat puzzling) first paragraph, but what Tabarrok is doing here is making a witticism about the “living Constitution” line, his point being that it’s an argument that can lead to places that its usual progenitors may find unpalatable.

    Should I have used [SATIRE] tags?

  16. Timothy says:

    Olly: That’s a great Tabarrock quote.

    I get your point (nice use of bold by the way), and I’d be fine with requiring a warrant for all interceptions of calls made from American soil or to American numbers. That might actually slow intelligence operations down, but I’m decreasingly convinced that would even matter. As one commenter over on H&R pointed out, it seems weird to be saying that FISA is a step in the right direction for due process.

  17. Andy says:

    More and more republicans are joining their socialist brothers on this view that the state is god. So many forget that the wealth we enjoy today is due to the free market despite governments attempt to crush it. I would like to go to the past where 13 independent states worked in concert, under no central contract or governance, with the help of France and Spain, won their independence from a tyrannical government.

    Today, people interpret the contitution in order to advance their political power or to gain advantage over a competetor.

    No, let us not be bound by the ideas of liberty and tyranny. Let us put those those ideas down the memory hole….

  18. olly says:

    Forgive me for not getting that worked up about the citizenship of these hypothetical wiretappees. Welcome to my world, American citizens. (Yes, I’m aware that there’s an important legal distinction. Sauce for the goose, is all.)

    Tim, your boy Alex Tabarrok had the best quote on this one:

    “Liberals are claiming that President Bush has violated constitutional restrictions on torture and spying on Americans. Don’t they understand that the constitution is a living document that must be reinterpreted in light of new events and understandings? An originalist reading of the constitution would throw us back into the primitive past when the minimum wage was unconstitutional. Fortunately, conservatives know that constitutional interpretation must change with the times and never more so than now. We live in a different world. The Founding Fathers may have been great in their time but they did not face the problems that we face today and we should not be bound by their 18th century ideas of liberty and executive tyranny.”

  19. Andy says:

    Facism or socialism…sounds like our last presidential election.

  20. Ian says:

    Good post, Tim. And I’m not just saying that because it’s exponentially better than the first comment on the ODE site.

  21. Andy says:

    I suppose my biggest concern was that she didn’t care it was an invasion of privacy, because the law will always be above silly things such as natural rights.

    As long as the government passes a law, executive order, regulation, statue or ordinance before questionable action is committed, no critisizm can be solvent huh? If you do read this Kirsten, just remember the frog in hot water.

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