Go read the rest here.
So we fight erosion of civil liberties at every turn, no matter what the justification from the State might be. That is the 'eternal vigiliance' of which Jefferson spoke. The Constitution doesn't guarantee any rights. The Senate doesn't safeguard our liberties. The President doesn't protect us. Only we the People do. Once we abdicate our responsibility to be skeptical of our government, to engage in oversight, to scrutinize its every deed, we lose that liberty we're supposed to defend.
America is not unique in the makeup of her people. We can just as easily slip into despotism as the Germans, or the Russians, or the Japanese. What makes our nation unique is the recognition by a bunch of smart folks that government can help solve problems, but it must be watched lest it become a problem. Why is it, then, that so-called conservatives don't trust the government to collect taxes to provide vital services, yet are perfectly fine with granting it the power to kill, to regulate a woman's body, to snoop in our private conversations, etc, without so much as a by-your-leave from the very people from which it derives its most basic powers?
read the rest here!!
On Saturday, the 17th, Mr. Bush made a live televised speech in which he admitted to having ordered the National Security Agency to conduct domestic surveillance. In justifying his actions, he cited the “…constitutional authority vested in me as commander-in-chief” and powers granted him by Congress in the Patriot Act and in the Authority for Use of Military Force (AUMF) enacted on September 18, 2001.
In light of these events, the body politic must seek the answers to three vital questions:
- Has Mr. Bush exceeded his constitutional authority as commander-in-chief;
- Did Congress exceed its constitutional authority by granting Mr. Bush outside-the-box powers with the Patriot Act and the AUMF; and
- Did the judicial branch fail in its duty to keep the legislative and executive branches inside the bounds of their constitutional authorities?
Hail to the Chief
Since September 11, 2001, President Bush has exercised extraordinary — some would say unprecedented — executive authority. The Bush administration has consistently justified its actions by playing on a widely held misconception that, when it comes to defending America, the executive branch is granted a broad set of formally defined war powers. But a study of the U.S. Constitution and laws derived from it shows that the notion of sweeping presidential authority in time of war is almost entirely illusory.