Thursday, June 26, 2008

Prevarication, Kossack style

Many Democrats routinely invoke the Constitution as the supreme Criteria that all Americans must agree to, and, yes, we should respect Constitutional and secular principles, it seems, at least on pragmatic grounds: we can't all be Nietzsches dreaming of the arrival of Uebermensch (and Uebermenschism, even of the watered down L-Ron sort, is not so conducive to mental health). That respect extends to the 4th Amendment, the stoner-leftists' favorite chant: they are generally worried about being busted for dope, and pot shakedowns do occasionally violate the 4th, unfortunately (When it comes to meth or crack, violate away Ossifers). We should not picture the Constitution as carved on marble slabs, however. Anyone who knows something about the modern Law business knows that the real maxim of American law (and arguably English common law) equates to something like "maxims (even Constitutional ones) can and should be broken when it is expedient or profitable to do so."

Here's a deeep thought regarding the sacred 4th from one of the DailyKOS teamsters:

"""""Your telephone number pops up several times on the call list of someone the FBI believe is involved with Al Qaeda. The FBI go to the FISC, and ask for a warrant to wiretap your telephone. The wiretap reveals nothing about terrorism - turns out they were wrong number calls - but the FBI do hear you talking about who will bring the weed to your backyard barbeque.

Based on that, the FBI get a warrant to raid your home on the day of the barbeque, and in they swoop, charging you with possession with intent to distribute. That's a felony.

"What gives you the right to storm into my back yard?" you ask. The FBI agent presents you with the warrant, and its affidavit, and you see that they've been wiretapping you. "What gives you the right to spy on my phone calls?" you demand.

"We have a FISA warrant," the agent answers. And off you go to trial.

At trial, your attorney moves to exclude the search warrant that let them into your backyard, on grounds that you're not a terrorist, there is no conceivable evidence to suggest otherwise, thus no FISA warrant should have been issued, thus the wiretap is illegal, and all information gained from it is "fruit of the poisoned tree." But there's a problem:

Not even your trial judge can see the FISA affidavit. It is classified, "sources and methods" information. The prosecutor can show the judge that a FISA warrant was indeed issued, but that's as far as it goes.

Because you can't see the factual allegations underlying the FISA warrant - not even the trial judge can see that - you cannot challenge the validity of that warrant. It's not reviewable. Not at trial. Not on appeal. Not ever.""""""

Heh. Note the well-placed pot reference: a deception tactic, and what I term the "bogus hypothetical" fallacy, typical of many Kossacks (and paranoiacs, links und rechts. Some call it the "what if" fallacy, and it's similar to "ignorantia elenchi" pseudo-arguments). Yes, the FBI, now armed with FISA, and the PatAct, will be cracking down on some suburban pot smokers, as well as Al Qaeda! Pure hyperbole. The point was that given extreme circumstances (i.e. muslim terrorism), some tweaking of the 4th might be justifiable, and the Dems agreed to that, as RF Kennedy had agreed to similar bendings of the rules back in the 50s (and one needn't love Annie Coulter to know that American leftists did tend to ignore the real dangers of Stalinism).

The rousing rendition of the "4th Chant" in regards to the Patriot Act thus seems rather ironic if not pathetic. DailyKOS has a reputation for a sort of moderate leftism, and it was moderate leftists (Hillary, Pelosi, Kerry, Feinstein, etc etc) who joined forces with the GOP and supported the PatAct (and have continued to do so): FISA’s a Dem policy (brought about under James Carter, that snakey baptist do-gooder), hardly less J-Edgarish than Nixonism. Kid Obama hisself voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act.

We will grant this person is not entirely misguided. The PatAct sort of snooping does perhaps endanger liberty, as do warrantless searches (which we should reject). Moreover, when the authori-tays charge an ordinary citizen with a crime, he should know what the charges consist of, and what the evidence consists of, and what the warrant was based upon. Yet Al Qaeda and many terrorists are not ordinary citizens. The FISA warrants are used with suspected foreign criminals, not US citizens, unless they have some odd connection to the foreign suspects (and foreigners do not have same rights under 4th either--a point lost on the Sally Fields Union). Moreover precedent exists (as the Kossack legal-beagle should realize) for this type of scenario: when the Feds get a wiretap to bust the mafia for transportation of heroin or whores, and hear them plotting (or reminiscing about) the deaths of their rivals, they can move on the murder case[s].

Those of us who respect the 4th may not care for that, but better preventing brutal crimes and death via a bit of Constitution-tweaking--even snooping--instead of ranting about precious liberties while Sendero Luminoso or the Hezbollah or Doomsday baptists move in next door and start to plan for the revolution of the proletariat (or jihad, or rapture). There's no 4th Amendment in North Korea or Nigeria: be assured of that.


Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Good point (I wish in fact that more people would make it). Only those "Americans" who are cavorting with the thugs are being spied upon. A lot of hyperbole coming from the left on this one. I do, however, favor the stipulation that the administration eventually get a warrant (the length of the grace period we can no doubt quibble over).

J said...

Thanks. Re-reading it, the writing seems a bit more conservative than I intended, perhaps. I'mn against the PatAct in principle: but one can understand some Constitution-tweaking given 9-11 (which was NOT due to US Govt involvement), and the real dangers of terrorism. Or at least heightened awareness, without J-Edgar like fear.

The real issue is the typical Kos- like manipulation which makes the Democrats appear like the great protectors of liberty, due process, Constitutional rights, etc. when they marched hand in hand with the GOPers.

Diane Feinstein was even to the right of most GOPers when the fun started in 2001, arguing for a national security program, cyber-ID cards, retinal screening, who knows what. Yet few if any leftist bloggers have the spine to take on the Feinstein-like Snitchocrats (and her galpal Harman has followed in her footsteps, er talon-steps).

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

The yard-sticks are incongruent. I think we can definitely agree upon that.

J said...


The hundreds of Kos-bots who responded to this joke-diary overlooked another other fairly obvious point: where are these sorts of cases? If this person is a real lawyer, he/she/it could have referred to a real case , where this sort of "gross miscarriage of justice" occurred, where the FISA/PatAct led to the arrest of innocent, or mostly innocent: it's unsubstantiated. (In fact I have read of a few cases where the PatAct has led to some nasty business).

In other words, the diarist is just BSing: these are merely scare tactics, that is cyber-scare tactics-- and the KOS teamsters mistake it for profound insights (about any well-connected Biff or Bunny can buy a JD these days).

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