Tuesday, August 07, 2007

On the comments below

If you read colonial history, you will find that one of the driving forces behind revolution was the concept of the "general warrant." These odious documents authorized the king's agents to search anyone at any time for any reason.

Taxes? Hardly. A popular shibboleth, granted, but colonial leaders knew that 1) the taxes levied were consumption taxes, which individuals could control and avoid, 2) the colonists were taxed far less than inhabitants of the home islands and 3) representation wouldn't have changed a damn thing.

But the searches? Those were VERY real and incredibly offensive to both revolutionary leader and the everyday blacksmith. In the view of the framers, such interferences with privacy justified what we now call "regime change." [Editor's note: another key concern was the tendency of European princes to make war for sport. To deal with that, the framers gave warmaking powers to Congress and required a war expenditure vote AT LEAST every two years, thanks for ignoring that part, folks.]

On this bill, Geoffrey Stone of the University of Chicago Law School [Editor's note: Yours truly was admitted to the U of C Law School, but 1) I couldn't afford it and 2) there is an underground tunnel from the law school to the law dorm. I never would have seen the sun!] said that the
amendment authorizes the government to wiretap or intercept any international communication, even if one of the participants is an American citizen on American soil, as long as the intercept is undertaken for foreign intelligence purposes and is "directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States
Think about that. Gone is "probable cause," that must be found by a judge. Now it is the ATTORNEY GENERAL who REASONABLY BELIEVES that the intercept is for "FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE PURPOSES." And those are WHAT?

So, if Mrs. Pete goes to Europe (as she always does) and calls me, our conversation is now fair game. Thanks guys.

1 comment:

schmidlap said...

Yes, yes, but that's all very complicated. History is hard.

See, there are people who think that any parts of the Constitution with big words aren't worth fighting for, and should be elided if Republicans say so.