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Gender: Male
Hometown: North Carolina
Member since: Wed Aug 11, 2004, 06:57 PM
Number of posts: 3,813

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Hooray! More efficient unconstitutionality!!!1!!!

Let's take a look over at that quaint document, the US Constitution, and zero-in on the 4th Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Now, let's remind ourselves that the founders of this country insisted that the only legitimate use of state authority would flow from the powers explicitly granted to the government by this Constitution. Any power above and beyond what the Constitution outlined was illegal and immoral. So what does the 4th Amendment grant to the government, and what does it reserve specifically and inviolably to the People? Well for one, 'unreasonable' searches are off-limits, totally and completely. At least, that's how I read "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated..." Is a broad-based surveillance of entire neighborhoods and cities a reasonable search? I think not. Reasonable searches require some suspicion of a crime before state searches become legitimate.

Reasonable searches also require warrants. Despite present courts' approval of warrantless wiretapping, stop & frisks, car searches based upon flimsy notions of 'probable cause,' etc., the Founders intended all searches to be preceded by a warrant, one that is based "upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." There are few times when a drone survey of a whole city could or should receive a warrant: perhaps when a known violent criminal is on the run and mid-spree in that city, but hardly ever else.

I don't support police helicopters hovering over the ghetto all day either, but at least the costs and risks involved there provide some checks against their over use & abuse. Drones will open the floodgates to the panopticon. Being concerned about this is not unreasonable: your celebration of the surveillance state is.

Ignoring the Constitution is un-American and anti-Democratic.


NPR played its part.

NPR played its part in the build-up to war. Juan Williams & a whole coterie of chickenhawks and right-wingers had nearly unlimited time, while what few anti-war perspectives and speakers allowed on-air got the shortest possible times and the most dismissive of questions.

While I still donate to the local (folk/jazz/bluegrass/acoustic/jam/alternative) music-centered NPR station (WNCW of Spindale, NC - worth your support too!), the Iraq War pretty much marked the end of my donations to NPR 'news' stations.


& Kagan the author...

Who, exactly, is in the side of civil liberties in our government?

This decision is inexcusable, unconstitutional, unreasonable, and tyrannical. But since the Supreme Court has declared it so, it is also the law of the land.


It's only one example of dozens of such conversations i've had.

It's only one example of dozens of such conversations i've had. Roll your eyes all you want, votes are gained door to door, conversation by conversation, issue by issue. In addition to many such conversations i 've had over the years, I door canvassed on behalf of Obama in 2008. The gun conversations were much fewer then, since the AWB had expired and Obama said fewer stupid things about guns during that campaign than Kerry had in 2004 or Gore in 2000.

Now? Good luck avoiding the topic of guns in NC for at least the next six years or so, even if DiFi's & Lautenberg's garbage fails to pass. Now that does NOT mean I am giving up. But the conversation that goes, "Sure, many Dems are idiots about guns, but here is why you shold vote for them anyway," is a lot more awkward and time consuming than the campaign speech I want to have. I WANT to be able to ring doorbells and say, "On ALL issue of civil rights, civil liberties, and the Bill of Rights, Democrats are on your side." That's sweet, that's consistent, and that's easy for voters to understand. Unfortunately, due to proposed gun bans, ongoing extra-judicial killings, doubling-down on the failed war on (some) drugs, and too many other issues, we can't say that yet. But that is where my ideals are, and where this Party needs to go for relevance and success.


I'm calling for a rational consistency.

The Democrats' history with gun control begins in the late 1960's at the earliest. That's hardly some bedrock tradition, nor does any gun control platform rest upon any foundation of coherent principles that I can tell. One can be against innocents & children dying at the hands of crazed crminals (I certainly am) yet seek to redress the roots of these problems in manners that do not undermine yet another piece of the Bill of Rights.

The rational consistency for which I call rests on American traditions stretching back to 1789. It may still be radical (for our Founding Fathers were indeed both liberals and radicals in their day) to demand that the Bill of Rights guide all our policies and laws, and consistently constrain the power of the state, but it's a lot more rational than speaking about Constitutional rights only some of the time, on some issues, and most particularly when an 'R' is president.

I want to see the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 14th, & 15th Amendments enforced more vigorously than they ever have been in my lifetime. I believe that these Amendments enshrine not only Democratic principles, but truly American values. Being forceful about these views, all of the time, is a recipe for electoral success.


I'm horrified, frankly.

I'm horrified, frankly. And yet, in a perverse way, I'm also impressed. The Republicans waste no time when they get power. Just like the B*sh admin in 2001, the McCrory admin of 2013 is hitting the ground running. I can only dream of a progressive Dem doing something similar, some day. Heck, when Gore won the election in 2001 against B*sh, he was too cautious to even declare it so, thus it was left to the Supreme Court to decide. This lily-livered hesitancy got Gore nowhere, just as a similar lack of spirit got the Dalton campaign precisely bupkiss in the way of votes. The NC Democratic Party is barely breathing at this stage.

And then there is the issue of guns. One might say that guns did not figure prominently into the 2012 NC election, and on the surface, one would be right (since the Newtown tragedy did not occur until well after the election). But guns have been a big issue in NC since at least the last 'AWB' of 1994, if not even earlier. I realized this during a conversation with a small-scale shiitake mushroom grower in 2004. By all rational measures, this guy was a natural Kerry vote. But he told me that he would never vote Democratic as long as 'they wanted to take away my guns.' As long as DiFi, McCarthy, Lautenberg, & co are allowed to spout their authoritarian crap about firearms and gun control, I seriously doubt that Democrats will regain a foothold here n NC. There are too many regular folks here who share the opinion of this small farmer.

I've tried to call for Democrats to support the 2nd Amendment, if only because issues of the economy, marriage equality, the environment, due process, reproductive freedom, and so many more are more important for people's day to day lives. But more often than not here at DU, I've been called a troll and a right-winger, despite the fact that I am staunchly and consistently pro-union, pro-reproductive-freedom, pro-marriage-equality, etc. Despite this fact, I plan to stick around here at DU, and advocate on behalf of all natural rights and Constitutional freedoms. I think that a consistent support of the Bill of Rights would be an effective path by which Democrats could regain a foothold in the south, and NC in particular.


Democratic politicians take heed.

Democratic politicians take heed.

Ignore Constitutional rights at your peril.

If dropping 15 percentage points in popularity is no big deal to you, then sure. Go ahead and pass some feel-good laws that will do little to nothing toward stopping actual murder tragedies.

But I'd prefer that my Democratic Representatives & Senators focus on fixing the economy, increasing job growth, protecting the environment (including, Governor Cuomo, banning fracking), defending reproductive freedom, advancing marriage equality, halting the war on drugs and addressing addiction problems via the public health system, improving health care for everyone, and protecting privacy. Expending political capital on unconstitutional gun control measures actually has the net effect of slowing these other pursuits and causes.

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