Friday, August 18, 2006

The Yus and Joe Waiver

My friends Yus and Joe are loudly inveighing against the court's decision yesterday that the Bush adminstration broke the law by spying on American citizens without first submitting to judicial or Congressional oversight. Yus and Joe seem to think it's ok for the president to act like a King, and ignore the law, if there's a chance even one life can be saved, whereas sensible people would prefer the president keep us safe without also trampling on the Constitution.

Sounds impossible? Not at all. The N.S.A (the agency behind the spying) always had the privilege of spying on Americans suspected of having terrorist connections - but first the spooks had to get a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Since its inception in 1978 the court has granted almost 19,000 warrants and turned down just 5. So why did Bush direct the N.S.A to go around the court? Why did Bush illegally and unilaterally decide that warrants were no longer needed? Why did he unnecessarilly expand executive power? Shouldn't it concern us that this inchoate and endless war on terror is being used to justify and excuse all manner of abuses?

I've read history (and also Animal Farm) so I know that all totalitarian systems begin innocently. I don't suggest that Buch is a tyrant, but if he rolls back constitutional protections he's make it easier for the next president (a liberal Democrat, perhaps) and the president after her to continue gradually adding to the power of the state. Let Bush begin the eviscoration fo the Bill of Rights, and a future President Clinton or Lamont go even further. Does the possibility that a pointy-headed liberal elite might one day have the power to act entirely without checks and balances make you nervous? It terrifies me.

For those of you who are more confident, however, I have the following proposal. (borrowed from here.)

If you (Chaim, Yus, Joe, Naphtuli, NotHappy, CWY, Larry, Moe, Curly, etc.) are so gosh-darn certain that W and his cronies are kind, benignant, and immune to all forms of error and corruption, I suggest you sign and return the following Waiver:

I, ___________________, hereby waive any rights of privacy in my person, property, association, thought and/or expression that I have, had or claim to have under the federal and state constitutions, statutory law or regulation of the United States or any political subdivision thereof, decisional law, common law and/or any other source of authority, real or imagined, to the extent the waiver of such rights is, in the sole judgment of any military, law enforcement or national security employee of the United States, deemed necessary to prosecute the war on terror.

This waiver applies both retroactively and prospectively.



Cut-and-paste the above waiver and e-mail it to, or or write the words "I am a gullible, mindless sheep who deserves neither liberty nor security" in the comment section.

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