Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

CPAC v ACLU: Clash of US values

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-02-09

US conservatives have created the evil twin of ACLU (American Civil Liberies Union), the ACRU (American Civil Rights Union), as discussed in the "Democracy in America" blog (RSS at The Economist.

The ACRU seems to press for the rights of executive government at the expense of the rights of individuals so dear to the hearts of the US founding fathers.  The ACRU in particular seems dead against the third and fourth amendments to the US consitution which prevent officialdom subsuming authority over the home, with their vigorous propaganda in favor of renewal of the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA 1978) that patently intrudes on private lives and property of citizens, and thus wants to prevent US values from applying to the world in the name of spreading US valuess across the world.

The real dispute is over what kind of oversight is necessary when the government eavesdrops on U.S. persons." In any event, this stance may explain why the placard listing the components of the Bill of Rights that the ACRU “vigorously defends” jumps rather abruptly from the Second Amendment to the Fifth.

Scenes from CPAC: Strategic omissions edition Democracy In America (2008-02-08)

Unable to resist finding out how the US rabid right selectively defends the US constitution, I looked at their mission statement, which even has a subheading "Individual Liberty and Federalism" which seems in favor of individual liberty as long as it doesn’t interfere with the whims of the federal executives.  Sure enough, the ACRU mission statement does skip from the second to fifth amendment.

The ACRU defends the President’s prerogatives to secure U.S. borders and protect its citizens (like FISA); we support common sense reforms to protect the sanctity of American citizens’ votes; we defend our fundamental First Amendment rights of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and the Boy Scouts’ right to adhere to their moral values; we defend our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms; we support judges that revere the Constitution as written; and we believe in limited government. Unlike the ACLU, the ACRU defends the rights of all Americans – not just the politically correct few.

Well blow me down, those critical early amenders of the US constitution were "politically correct".  So, what are the amendments the ACRU wants to ignore?

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.

Fouth 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, even the most rabid righties admit that in the process of domestic surveillance to intercept foreign communications, those of US citizens are collected.  (They won’t admit that US citizens are targetted, as they undoubtedly are).

I’d also suggest that in the modern world with "papers" should be interpreted as any form of communication such as email, and that "soldiers" would include the bots that the military and paramilitary use to invade electronic networks, and include as part of Microsoft operating systems (as noted by geeks looking at a whole lot of system libraries with functions that had "nsa" in their names).


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