Archive for April 12th, 2012

By JC

Just a quickie here today to tie together Jhwygirl’s recent uncovering of another of Missoula’s nanny state laws and the shrinking 4th Amendment with Lizard’s ongoing analysis of foreign policy American Imperialism and the democratic party, and Political Nihilism.

For those who pay attention to such things, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 last week to cement in place some foreign policy tactics in a withering of 4th Amendment protections. David Bromwich does an excellent job connecting the dots between democrats’ lilly-livered approach to both reigning in American Hegemony, and  protecting civil liberties in his recent article “Strip Search Nation (Including The Authoritarian Catechism):”

What might easily not be known about this case [Florence v. County of Burlington]… is that the Obama administration sided with the authoritarians on the court in supporting the right of prison officials to command a strip search. A Justice Department lawyer, Nicole A. Saharsky, offered these words to clarify the view shared by President Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder: “When you have a rule that treats everyone the same, you don’t have folks that are singled out. You don’t have any security gaps.” The Obama case for abrogation of the fourth amendment in prison thus turns on a lofty non-discriminatory aim: the safety and democracy of prisons. A level playing field of humiliation.

But is it true to say that no “folks” are “singled out” by such a procedure? Albert Florence [whom had been arrested for not paying a fine, which in fact he had already paid] is a black man. In 2009, blacks made up 13.6 percent of the U.S. population, but they were 39.4 percent of the prison population. So let us say it straight. The Obama-Holder view favors the universal application of the strip-search to a situation where some folks, after all, have been singled out as an observable pattern of the usual practice of the system.

Well, of course we all want to say this could never happen to any of us, but here is what the Obama Administration just acquiesced to for treatment of any of us being brought into custody for any reason–yes even a cell phone texting, non-fine paying warrant, in Missoula:

Petitioner [Florence] claims that he also had to open his mouth, lift his tongue, hold out his arms, turn around, and lift his genitals. At the second jail, petitioner, like other arriving detainees, had to remove his clothing while an officer looked for body markings, wounds, and contraband; had an officer look at his ears, nose, mouth, hair, scalp, fingers, hands, armpits, and other body openings; had a mandatory shower; and had his clothes examined. Petitioner claims that he was also required to lift his genitals, turn around, and cough while squatting.”

So think about that next time you get all cocky about thumbing your nose at Missoula’s nanny laws.

But to link this move with our country’s foreign policy escapades, Bromwich offers the following:

“Foreign policy has come home in the form of pepper spray, Tasers, and strip searches. But there is a practice closer to the Florence case. A mass experiment in the reduction of political self-respect occurs and is reinforced every day, in every airport in the country, in the body scans and pat-downs performed by the TSA. Some of the latter work is necessary, of course, while a strip search of a man with a parking ticket is not necessary. Still, the common experience and the exceptional one are clearly related. The government wore people down and achieved acceptance of the first practice, and that prepared the way for official endorsement of the second. Once again, a political and moral aberration has been redescribed and turned into an approved policy…

Justice Breyer wrote in his dissent: “such a search of an individual arrested for a minor offense that does not involve drugs or violence — say a traffic offense, a regulatory offense, an essentially civil matter, or any other such misdemeanor — is an ‘unreasonable search’ forbidden by the Fourth Amendment, unless prison authorities have reasonable suspicion to believe that the individual possesses drugs or other contraband.” You do not have to be an elaborately educated or refined reader of the Constitution to judge that such indeed is the meaning of the fourth amendment.

The words are great and they deserve to be remembered. Here is what the fourth amendment says:

~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.~

How steep is the descent from these words to the new rule by which a majority of the Supreme Court, with a president and an attorney general at their side, have now elected to challenge the constitutional presumption against arbitrary searches and seizures? We will know for sure when we see the next in the series of anti-Constitutional experiments begun by Bush and Cheney and continued by Barack Obama.”

I’ll leave you all with this wonderful little ditty Bromwich included (after the jump), to remind you of your place in the democrat version of the New World Order: Continue Reading »

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