It’s not often, in these dire days, I burst out laughing when the Bush administration, or one of its lackeys, makes yet another insane assertion. (Ed.: Mark, “insane” is superfluous here, given the source.) But I couldn’t contain myself recently when I read this lead by Laurie Kellman of the Associated Press:
“President Bush's choice for attorney general [Michael Mukasey] told senators…the Constitution does not prevent the president from wiretapping suspected terrorists without a court order.”
Wow. That’s quite the claim, dontcha think, considering the Fourth Amendment kind of implies -- you know, in an unequivocal, iron-clad, irrefutable implying sort of way -- that wiretapping without a search warrant is, well, gosh, just so darn unconstitutional. (If confirmation’s needed, I suggest consulting any fifth grade American history class.)
Then again, maybe Mukasey’s never read that far. Maybe he lost interest in the Constitution and put it aside after getting bored by the Third Amendment: “No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”
Admittedly, the Third is rather musty, especially since perpetual war has rendered moot that bothersome “time of peace” clause. Plus, there’s no mention in it whatsoever of Blackwater or private security contractors. Or “mercenaries” (which is just as well since that term is just so, you know, accurate).
Hmph. Maybe the Founding Fathers weren’t so bright, after all.
As long as we’re discussing things constitutional, I’m reminded of what George W. Bush averred when both Republicans and Democrats, in an inexplicable fit of crafting legislation that would actually benefit Americans, proposed to expand the federally-funded S-CHIP health insurance program that covers poor kids. The price tag, roughly equivalent to what Dubya’s weapons industry pals skim from the cauldron of death known as Iraq every four months, was simply too much for the original compassionate conservative to bear as he grimly warned the bill (which he vetoed) could lead to “government-run health care for every American.”
The Constitution actually weighs in on this. Right at its beginning, too, where it says it was “ordain[ed] and establish[ed]” to, among other things, “promote the general welfare.”
Seems to me it’s kinda hard to beat guaranteed health care for promoting the populace’s general welfare.
I’m tellin’ ya, it’s gotten pretty wacky around here, this crazy little place we call America. Mukasey states the Fourth Amendment doesn’t mean what it says, Dick Cheney claims the vice presidency doesn’t belong to the executive branch (remember that one? another hoot!), millions of sick kids can go to hell and we’re told our civil liberties must be abolished so we can save them. Sheesh. Next thing you know, Dubya’ll be telling us something totally bizarre like -- well, just to use a ridiculous example -- like Iran is poised to touch off World War III, what with its 10,000 nuclear warheads to America’s zero and all. (Uh, I may need to recheck those figures.)
Upon further reflection, though, and despite my initial guffaw, I must admit Mukasey and his ilk are actually correct: the Constitution doesn’t preclude warrant-less searches.
Because it no longer exists.
I know: a lot of people don’t see it that way. To them, America still looks the same. They can still go further into debt ordering utterly useless crap from QVC on seventeen different channels and the rapture’s still right around the corner, just like it’s been for 2,000 years. Plus, they’ve never been thrown in jail.