Rights under attack


To The Editor:
I find it commendable that Tea Party Patriots care enough about the constitution to be starting a petition drive to defend the 2nd amendment. 

While I’m not sure that restrictions on the kinds of weapons citizens can own violates the constitution, I agree that citizens can’t just be spectators and must speak out when necessary.  But over the course of Bush’s eight years and Obama’s four years and counting, those who would defend the constitution must bear a heavy burden. 

Bush’s policy, embodied by Gitmo of locking people up forever without charge or access to lawyers, violated both the 5th amendment, if applied to U.S. citizens and the much older principle of habeas corpus. 

The war against Iraq violated the UN charter and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands. Bush lacked the audacity or perhaps political capital to lock up Americans without charge. 
Obama, with a more legitimate mandate and immune to criticism from the left, believes he has the right to kill Americans without the benefit of trial or jury and has killed three Americans and hundreds of civilian foreigners overseas with drones, a violation of the 5th amendment’s paramount right to one’s life. 

When Senator Rand Paul held up the confirmation of Obama’s nominee for CIA Director John Brennan, himself an early advocate of the unconstitutional Bush torture policies, until Obama would guarantee that he would not target non-belligerent Americans on US soil for extra-judicial murder by drone, it took the Obama administration nearly 24 hours to condescend to admit, in a two-sentence note from the attorney general, that the president lacks that power. 

Bush engaged in warrantless wiretapping, a violation of the 4th amendment for which he was widely criticized.  Obama does it today as a matter of policy and no one makes a peep. 

The NSA is spending billions of dollars building a super computing facility in Utah on the scale of the Pentagon to capture all phone calls and e-mails.  Will that equipment purge data that is unrelated to militant actions against the US?  Would anyone dare to speak up when it doesn’t?  Obama has prosecuted whistleblowers with a zeal that would make Dick Cheney blush. 

If anyone has the idealism to reveal government wrongdoing, Obama’s Justice Department uses them as an example of what happens to trouble makers; think Thomas Drake or of course, Bradley Manning, whose leaks revealed a wonton disregard for human life on the part of the U.S. military and, as thanks for his idealism, is facing the death penalty for “aiding the enemy.”  

Yes, the government wants to take away your assault rifles and high capacity magazines but it’s also doing away with evidence, due process, privacy, and the rule of law.  Better start 4th-, 5th-, 6th-, 7th-, and, 8th- amendment petitions as well. 

Matt Frisch,