[Ppnews] U.S. constitution for dummies
Political Prisoner News
PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jan 2 14:57:00 EST 2006
- Jon Carroll
Monday, January 2, 2006
Perhaps you have been unable to follow the intricacies of the logic
used by John Yoo, the UC Berkeley law professor who has emerged as
the president's foremost apologist for all the stuff he has to
apologize for. I have therefore prepared a brief, informal summary of
the relevant arguments.
Why does the president have the power to unilaterally authorize
wiretaps of American citizens?
Because he is the president.
Does the president always have that power?
No. Only when he is fighting the war on terror does he have that power.
When will the war on terror be over?
The fight against terror is eternal. Terror is not a nation; it is a
tactic. As long as the president is fighting a tactic, he can use any
means he deems appropriate.
Why does the president have that power?
It's in the Constitution.
Where in the Constitution?
It can be inferred from the Constitution. When the president is
protecting America, he may by definition make any inference from the
Constitution that he chooses. He is keeping America safe.
Who decides what measures are necessary to keep America safe?
Who has oversight over the actions of the president?
The president oversees his own actions. If at any time he determines
that he is a danger to America, he has the right to wiretap himself,
name himself an enemy combatant and spirit himself away to a secret
prison in Egypt.
But isn't there a secret court, the FISA court, that has the power to
authorize wiretapping warrants? Wasn't that court set up for just
such situations when national security is at stake?
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court might disagree with the
president. It might thwart his plans. It is a danger to the democracy
that we hold so dear. We must never let the courts stand in the way
of America's safety.
So there are no guarantees that the president will act in the best
interests of the country?
The president was elected by the people. They chose him; therefore he
represents the will of the people. The people would never act against
their own interests; therefore, the president can never act against
the best interests of the people. It's a doctrine I like to call "the
triumph of the will."
But surely the Congress was also elected by the people, and therefore
also represents the will of the people. Is that not true?
It's sounding more and more as if your version of the presidency
resembles an absolute monarchy. Does it?
Of course not. We Americans hate kings. Kings must wear crowns and
visit trade fairs and expositions. The president only wears a cowboy
hat and visits military bases, and then only if he wants to.
Can the president authorize torture?
No. The president can only authorize appropriate means.
Could those appropriate means include torture?
It's not torture if the president says it's not torture. It's merely
appropriate. Remember, America is under constant attack from
terrorism. The president must use any means necessary to protect America.
Won't the American people object?
Not if they're scared enough.
What if the Supreme Court rules against the president?
The president has respect for the Supreme Court. We are a nation of
laws, not of men. In the unlikely event that the court would rule
against the president, he has the right to deny that he was ever
doing what he was accused of doing, and to keep further actions
secret. He also has the right to rename any practices the court finds
repugnant. "Wiretapping" could be called "protective listening."
There's nothing the matter with protective listening.
Recently, a White House spokesman defended the wiretaps this way:
"This is not about monitoring phone calls designed to arrange Little
League practice or what to bring to a potluck dinner. These are
designed to monitor calls from very bad people to very bad people who
have a history of blowing up commuter trains, weddings and churches."
If these very bad people have blown up churches, why not just arrest them?
That information is classified.
Have many weddings been blown up by terrorists?
No, they haven't, which is proof that the system works. The president
does reserve the right to blow up gay terrorist weddings -- but only
if he determines that the safety of the nation is at stake. The
president is also keeping his eye on churches, many of which have
become fonts of sedition. I do not believe that the president has any
problem with commuter trains, although that could always change.
So this policy will be in place right up until the next election?
Election? Let's just say that we'll cross that bridge when we come to
it. It may not be wise to have an election in a time of national peril.
A brief primer designed to help you understand the workings of our
new, streamlined American system of government.
The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the PPnews