Bush Curses the Constitution Again

nullThere may be reasonable Internet controversy over the Doug Thompson report that Bush made these statements:

“I don’t give a goddamn,” Bush retorted. “I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.”

“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.”

“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”

“I don’t give a goddamn, I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.”:

Whether Thompson’s sources are correct or not, Bush did more-or-less utter them again today when discussing recent allegations of domestic spying:

So, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, I authorized the interception of international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. This program is carefully reviewed approximately every 45 days to ensure it is being used properly. Leaders in the United States Congress have been briefed more than a dozen times on this program. And it has been effective in disrupting the enemy, while safeguarding our civil liberties.

Bush cited his authority as stemming from Article II of the Constitution. Let’s review the pertinent section of Article II:

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

There’s no mention of domestic spying contained therein. But there is a Constitutional Amendment which does cover the issue:

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.

Bush also stated another source of supposed legal authority:

And after September the 11th, the United States Congress also granted me additional authority to use military force against al Qaeda.

Even if domestic spying was the intent (which I strongly doubt) of Congress at that time they voted, it is irrelevant as Congress does not have the direct power to modify the Constitution. I haven’t seen a single state ratifying an Amendment which throws the Fourth Amendment into the dustbin.

“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”

Bush also went on the attack about the Patriot Act:

Another vital tool in the war on terror is the Patriot Act. After September the 11th, Congress acted quickly and responsibly by passing this law, which provides our law enforcement and intelligence community key tools to prevent attacks in our country. The Patriot Act tore down the legal and bureaucratic wall that kept law enforcement and intelligence authorities from sharing vital information about terrorist threats. It allows federal investigators to pursue terrorists with tools already used against other types of criminals. America’s law enforcement personnel have used this critical tool to prosecute terrorist operatives and their supporters, and to breakup cells here in America.

Again, that pesky little Bill of Rights seems to be the problem, but Bush does not seem at all concerned. Whether Bush did or didn’t utter the words in question, he truly lives them on a daily basis.

Which begs one more question. Since we also are in the middle of a War on Drugs, can Bush and Co. use their authority to violate the constitutional rights of medical or recreational drug users?

Oops, I forgot. They already do.

24 Comments
  1. Guests and illegal aliens in this country do not enjoy the protection of the Constitution that citizens enjoy. I don’t care whether we spy on them or not. They are not citizens.

    I draw the line at spying on U.S. citizens. I do believe law enforcement agencies do have the duty to investigate and arrest any citizen that threatens the domestic tranquility of the rest of us. If they side with the terrorists that want to kill us and we catch them as we would catch a murderer or a person conspiring to commit murder, then by all means arrest them and try them in the courts.

    It appears to me that libertarians are opposed to domestic spying on anyone. Does that include aliens within our borders whether they are here legally or not? Please clarify the libertarian position.

  2. I remember reading somewhere that “all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” and I couldn’t find anything in there saying that those unalienable rights were only endowed by the Creator on American citizens.

  3. Homeland Stupidity

    You read that in the Declaration of Independence, not in the Constitution. What has that got to do with the Constitution?

    Seems to me that you are invoking a Higher Power that endowed those rights on man. I thought libertarians had a nonbelief in a Creator. If a Creator exists, then intelligent design must be a viable alternative to evolution. If that is true, then the assumption can be made that creationism can be taught in public school with evolution.

    The fallacy I see with libertarianism is that it is not consistent. I am having a lot of trouble with that.

    Nowhere can I find in the Constitution that we owe anything to noncitizens. I do not think it was the intent of our founding fathers to extend the priveleges of the Constitution to the entire world.

  4. Homeland Stupidity

    The document says the Constitution of the United States, not the Constitution of the World. Here is another inconsistancy. If we are going to extend the protection of the Constitution to the entire world and most of the world chooses to reject it, then does that then give us the power to force it upon the unwilling or those that would destroy us? Take it one step further to idiocy. If the privileges are to extend to the entire world, then let’s make them all citizens. If they do not volunteer, then use force to make them accept it. You cannot have your cake and eat it to.

    The Constitution applies to the citizens of the USA, no one else until we have one world order under the rule of law with the United States, now the United World. Now isn’t that ridiculous. Of course.

  5. ya know, i don’t know what it is about some people, that they get to reinvent the constitution to say whatever they think (want) it to… i had a commenter on my own blog today tell me that the constitution grants the president these powers… i quoted for him the 4th amendment, but i might have to go back and tell him to come here for a more adequate response to his inanity.

  6. I thought Liberal Democrats were scarey but you the Libertarians top them in being Anti American and willing to give this country away. You could also be considered TRAITORS

  7. The best blog I’ve read is by a fellow calls himself Cerberus. Here’s a link to his article.

    http://www.sparkpod.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/sparkpod.woa/wa/view?1021127

    As for the statement in the comment section, “I thought libertarians had a nonbelief in a Creator” I consider myself a libertarian and have a strong testimony that God is the Creator, that he has a son, Jesus Christ who is the Savior of the world. As far as teaching Evolution or Inteligent Design in our public schools; I have a problem with both, Evolution is being taught as if it were fact rather than theory and those who would impose a particular form of ID or Crationism would be just as wrong. I would prefer to have my children taught that Scientific Principles apply in all areas of fact finding, that theories are just that; something to be pondered, explored with reason and the never ending search for proof via all channels available.

  8. wow frank… what planet are you from? we’re anti american because we believe in the sanctity of the united states constitution? it’s those of you who would wish to dismantle that institution who are truly unamerican. and i notice you didn’t leave a link for us ;)

  9. Immigration is sometimes a necessary action of peoples wishing to better their lives. Immigration-legal or otherwise- would be a non-issue without that other pest called taxation/redistribution of wealth. I think the libertarian philosophy is pretty consistent about taking earned fruit from one man and giving it to another. Eliminate the government sown charity tree and I will bet you will see a different response to immigration. Then it would not matter who was here without citizenship. We could then talk about this encroachment on civil rights without the cloud of animosity that comes from the unfair play of a DIFFERENT game. A person is a person is a person. If you are an American, you treat a person fairly, without regard to ethnicity and legal (immigration) status.

  10. I’m not anti-American nor do I wish to give the country away to anyone. The reality is quite the opposite: I merely wish to take my government back from the tyrants and return it to the people.

  11. Stephen,

    right on, worth the wait…

    by the way, I would encourage you to check out these buttons that are floating around the internet that say “I am pro-victory” with an american flag and f-16 fighter jet (google it). Obviously the anti-american people that are upset about Bush’s “legal” authority in the area of spying don’t fit this category. anti-American, anti-victory, traitors… I never knew freedom from the corrupt voice of power was such a crime

  12. Julian,

    Two points.

    1) From a constitutional perspective, I’d argue that some rights mentioned are for citizens, and others are for all residents of the U.S. I’ll try to do a posting on that over the next few days for clarification.

    2) From a libertarian perspective, I’ll argue that if anyone stands naked on their roof, all in eyeshot have the right to gawk (if she’s cute, I certainly will). But that right ends when one actually trespasses on the property of another to peek through the window. With sex related issues, we call that voyeurism. Not that different with private phone calls and such.

  13. Stephen, I respect your opinion as a libertarian, but I don’t think using quotes from the “urban-legend” codex is doing you any justice. Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand your effort to correlate action to these mythological words, but I’m not seeing the connection you’re trying to make.

    You state:
    “Again, that pesky little Bill of Rights seems to be the problem, but Bush does not seem at all concerned. Whether Bush did or didn’t utter the words in question, he truly lives them on a daily basis.”

    How is Bush not concerned? He stated repeatedly during this press conference the difficulty of balancing an effective domestic terrorist strategy with the rights of American citizens. Would you prefer we did nothing? That’s your right…perhaps you have a better way to defend this country, though I haven’t seen it. Please clarify your libertarian position on combating domestic terrorism.

    How about a similarly scathing report on Echelon? Memory hole anyone?

  14. Zuke,

    I think I disqualified the urban legend aspect well enough. If I didn’t, I’ll be clear: I dont know whether Bush uttered those words or not.

    My point is that Bush has an absolute and utter disregard for the Constitution — worse than most Democrats I’ve run across.

    There is a mechanism provided in the Consititution to handle the balancing act question you mentioned. It is called a Constitutional Amendment. There has been ample time since 9/11 to pass one, and I’ve never even seen one started.

    On terrorism, I say let’s take them out. Self-defense or even related offence is not a problem for me. To illustrate, look at the size of the gun collections of many libertarians.

    At issue is the target of aggressive actions. Libertarians don’t initiate violence, but typically don’t mind ending it once and for all.

    We just prefer to aim our guns at the proper people.

  15. It is better for the American people if any government or police authority that wants to do wiretaps to get judicial oversight. In order to have freedom, there needs to be very few secrets.

    :: Severely off topic ::
    Evolution is a description of how nature works. Humans have been using the tools of evolution for thousands of years. Farmers have been using genetics and breeding to create better crops. Selective breeding has brought us many different dogs. Do you think there was a wild Pug dog that someone domesticated? Race horses, flowers, and even some medicines have benefited from evolution. If humans can do this why can’t your God?

    If your faith needs bolstering, go to church not your government.

  16. In order to have freedom, there needs to be very few secrets.

    This seems a bit oxymoronic to me — unless teh writer meant very few government secrets.

  17. Julian is absolutely wrong in his assertion that the Constitution applies only to American citizens. It applies to all PERSONS within the United States and its territories regardless of citizenship.

    Congress may not make any law depriving PERSONS of the freedom of speech or religion; the right of the PEOPLE to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated; no PERSON shall be held to answer for crime except upon indictment of a grand jury; no PERSON shall be subjected to double jeopardy or shall be compelled to provide evidence against himself; no state shall deprive any PERSON life, liberty or property without due process of law or deny to any PERSON the equal protection of the law.

    The right to vote, however, is reserved to CITIZENS.

    Julian is well advised to take a remedial course of study about the Constitution, devised by the people to describe and limit government, not to limit therights of the PEOPLE.