Summary: The Second Republic, our political regime built on the Constitution, is dying. Not from an external foe, as our armed forces reign supreme on land, sea, and air. These people have slowly, inexorably chipped away at the Constitution. Emboldened by their success, now they rip out its heart. In this post we look upon one face of the enemy.
“… treason has ever been our greatest foe.”
Gandalf the Grey, in Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring
The fourth and fifth amendments are the very heart of the Constitution. Without their protections the remainder is but poetry. Pretty words. During Bush Jr the fourth amendment was shredded. Under Obama the fifth has been shredded. Witness one of the enemies, exultant at his victory. At our defeat.
In the following video we see Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaking at the Senate session debating the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 on 30 November 2011 (transcript from the Congressional Record; text and the below video from C-Span). This man shows no sign of understanding the most basic aspects of our system, and displays a near-classic example of totalitarian thinking.
You can see transcripts and videos of the entire debate at C-SPAN. Here is one typical excerpt (6:15 pm):
That is the point. Why would you say that if you are in Afghanistan, we can blow you up, put you in jail forever, but if you make it here, all of a sudden we cannot even talk to you about being part of al-Qaida. What a perverse outcome, to say if you make it to America, you are home free. You cannot be interrogated by our military or our CIA; you get a lawyer. And that is the end of the discussion. That is what you would be doing.
That is crazy. No Congress has ever decided to do that in other wars.
If we do that here, we are changing the law in a way that makes us less safe. That is not going to be on my resume.
Graham makes this point repeatedly. The President has assumed the authority to capture and hold forever — or kill — anyone on foreign soil he deems an enemy. Including a US citizenk, without charge or trial. So why not take the next step and allow him to do so in the US? We’re on the slippery slope to tyranny.
These people will strip us of protections won over centuries of struggle since Magna Carta in 1215. To protect us from what? Al Qaeda, a rag-tag organization which might no longer exist in meaningful form? Whose remnant appear to be mostly losers in the US, who often assemble operations only with the aid of the police or FBI. The various nationalist jihadist groups fighting for control of their nations, often against US-backed tyrants (eg, Egypt, Yemen)? The losers the police and FBI coddle, support and encourage to become terrorists?
These people are our enemies. They are winning. Until we realize this no defense can succeed.
We can retake both parties and our government. We have the power, but lack the will.
The First Ammendment is also under attack
- Criminalizing free speech, Glenn Greenwald, Salon, 1 June 2011
- The DOJ’s escalating criminalization of speech, Glenn Greenwald, Salon, 4 September 2011
- “Does Posting Jihadist Material Make Tarek Mehanna a Terrorist?“, Adam Serwer, Mother Jones, 16 December 2011 — “How the outcome of Mehanna’s trial could rewrite the line between speech and crime.”
- “I Guess Posting Videos Online Can Make You a Terrorist“, Adam Serwer, Mother Jones, 20 December 2011
- “Convicted for words, not deeds“, Salon, 21 December 2011 — “Verdict on Massachussetts Muslim marks further erosion of fundamental U.S. rights”
For more information
- Forecast: Death of the American Constitution, 4 July 2006
- See the last glimmers of the Constitution’s life…, 27 June 2008
- Another step away from our Constitutional system, with applause, 19 September 2008
- Another step towards fascism: “Silencing the Lawyers”, 31 May 2010
- The Feds decide who to lock up for life (not just at Guantanamo), another nail in the Constitution’s coffin, 2 June 2010
- Code red! The Constitution is burning., 5 August 2010
- An Appalling Threat to Civil Liberties and Democracy, 8 August 2010
- Every day the Constitution dies a little more, 1 September 2010 — About US government assassination programs
- What do our Constitution-loving conservatives say about our government’s assassination programs?, 2 September 2010
- Cutting down the tree of liberty, 9 September 2010 — Government secrets trump fair trials.
- The guilty ones responsible for the loss of our liberties, 11 September 2010
- War is the health of the state, 18 September 2010
- A great philosopher and statesman comments on the Bush-Obama tweaks to the Constitution, 10 October 2010
- This week’s news: many stories showing that the Constitution is dead, 8 December 2010
- Conservatives tells us not to worry about the Constitution’s death, 23 March 2011
- Tearing the Constitution is a bipartisan sport!, 4 April 2011
- Watch the Constitution die right now as we burn a 2452 year old vital legal precedent, 11 October 2011
- Let’s gaze upon the corpse of the Fourth Amendment, 12 October 2011
- RIP, Constitution. The Second Republic died this week. Of course, we don’t care (that’s why it died)., 5 December 2011
This post originally appeared at Fabius Maximus and is posted with permission.