Civil Liberties

Bush vs. the Bill of Rights: A Timeline

|

Big kudos to Phil Leggiere for compiling this time line with links of questionable actions from the Bush administration vis a vis government secrecy and our Constitutional rights as citizens of these here United States. As great a candidate for mass-mailing to all your loved ones as I've seen in a long time.

[Hat tip: R.U. Sirius.]

NEXT: Bioethanol Boondoggle

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Site blocked at work πŸ™

  2. I got as far as October 2001.

    It was too depressing to continue.

  3. Please don’t encourage mass-emails. It’s a downward spiral until we’re talking footprints in the sand and reasons why men are like dogs or beer.

    That’s gotta violate some sort of human right. And Bush is behind the e-mails about footprints in the sand.

  4. Continue to get away with enough shit and the public becomes desensitized to it, allowing the getting away with of more shit.

    Ugh…

  5. Simple frog-water phenomenon, Taktix.
    All those Bushies just think it’s a nice warm bath right now, until Hillary takes over.
    Then it’ll become lava.

  6. Site blocked at work πŸ™

    Warren, you work for the government, don’t you?
    πŸ™‚

  7. Abdul,
    Start making sense or I’m going to huck rocks at you.

  8. Start making sense or I’m going to huck rocks at you.

    This would be an act of extremism Jamie.

  9. I’m shocked, shocked to find that Bush’s disregard of civil liberties and paranoic secrecy justifications predate Sept 11, 2001.

    Not really, but I would be if I were a dumbass.

  10. sumbudy shud turn it into a purty graph

  11. And now here is a list of all terrorist attacks since 9/11:

    1)

    That is all. Freedom from fear is the greatest freedom of all.

  12. Just a minor quibble…the title makes it seem like ol’ Dubya is some all-seeing eye like Sauron, when in fact, there is plenty of blame to go around the 3 branches. That timeline reads like a fucking conspiracy of cabals.

    Might as well read “Bill of Rights under Lott” or Fritch or Pelosi or Renquist. Not to defend Dubya, but they all have blood on their hands.

  13. I am NOT suggesting that the Bushies haven’t been especially bad about this sort of thing, but I would be interested in similar timelines for other administrations.

  14. US Supreme Court rules that medical necessity is not a permissible defense against federal marijuana statutes

    So Bush was responsible for a unanimous Supreme Court decision? Back to civics class you patchouli-stinkin’ communist hippies.

  15. am NOT suggesting that the Bushies haven’t been especially bad about this sort of thing, but I would be interested in similar timelines for other administrations.

    But….but….that wouldn’t fit the narrative!

  16. Not to defend Dubya, but they all have blood on their hands.

    And all have been roundly condemned in these parts. The rest of America won’t listen. It’s like shouting into a hurricane. That does it, Tullamore Dew time!

  17. Depressing stuff no doubt. For an even scarier synopsis of the Bush years, go check out Naomi Wolf’s “Ten Steps to Close Down an Open Society” at the Huffington Post.

    But does anyone think the Democrats will reverse course? Sure, a few of them would be less likely to continue on the same course, but is it enough to just stop. I think we’ve got to reverse directions and get our freedom back. But the candidates aren’t talking about this stuff–they’re focused on health care, social security, gas prices, etc. How can anyone honestly give a shit about those things when it’s clear we’re headed towards a fascist regime?

  18. John,

    Naomi Wolf seems pretty critical of the administration. Has our thug class dragged her off to the gulag for a little waterboarding torture yet? Or did that work as well as the Great Purge of the few courageous academics who dared to criticize Bush. The HuffPo piece is classic derangement syndrome.Crying Wolf even.

  19. “but I would be interested in similar timelines for other administrations.”

    Yeah – particularly FDR – a president who instigated massive violations of the Constituton on a far greater scale than any other president – violations that have had a far greater real-world effect on the lives of US citizens (and for far longer too) than anything George Bush has done.

  20. And now here is a list of all terrorist attacks since 9/11:

    1)

    And here is the proof that massive violations of constitutional civil liberties have stopped a terrorist attack on American soil:
    ________________________________
    That is all.

  21. Case-Studies: Lisa Simpson’s Tiger-Repellant Rock
    A nice illustration of a fallacy from The Simpsons:

    After a single bear wandering into town has drawn an over-reaction from the residents of Springfield, Homer stands outside his house and muses, “Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol is working like a charm!”

    Lisa sees through his reasoning: “That’s specious reasoning, dad.” Homer, misunderstanding the word “specious”, thanks her for the compliment.

    Optimistically, she tries to explain the error in his argument: “By your logic, I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.” Homer is confused: “Hmm; how does it work?” Lisa: “It doesn’t work; it’s just a stupid rock!” Homer: “Uh-huh.” Lisa: “… but I don’t see any tigers around, do you?”

    Homer, after a moment’s thought: “Lisa, I want to buy your rock…”

    Correllation does not imply causation. Just because two things occur together, does not mean that one caused the other. Homer argues that as the Bear Patrol vans are correlated with an absence of bears, the former must have caused the latter. Lisa, tongue in cheek, argues that as the presence of her rock is correlated with an absence of tigers, the former must have caused the latter.

    At least Homer recognises that the two arguments are on a par, even if he fails to recognise that both are examples of the correlation not causation fallacy.

    http://www.criticalthinking.org.uk/tigerrepellantrock.html

  22. Freedom from fear is the greatest freedom of all.

    So it’s a shame you’re so scared of al Qaeda thta you’d give up freedom to assuage your fear.

  23. Geotpf,
    the whole rant could have been summed up:
    ‘correlation is not causation’

    pretty familiar with that idea around here.

    However, I do appreciate the Simpsons reference.

  24. Taktix? | December 4, 2007, 4:56pm | #

    Continue to get away with enough shit and the public becomes desensitized to it, allowing the getting away with of more shit.

    Ugh…

    Agreed. It has been a slippery slope for a few decades now.

  25. FREEDOM IS NOT FREE!

    AND IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE COUNTRY, YOU ARE VERY FREE TO LEAVE.

  26. You Bush haters are a bunch of ignorant, paranoia junkies. I thought REASON was a bit better than this…
    I WAS WRONG.

    Our civil liberties have not been taken away, we are fighting a war! Smarten up, and don’t drown in all that KOOL AID!

  27. “AND IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE COUNTRY, YOU ARE VERY FREE TO LEAVE.”

    I don’t think you can legally leave the USA without a valid passport / visa. Your logic is one big steaming bowl of FAIL.

  28. Funny how things had already started way before 9/11.

    makes one ponder….

  29. I don’t think you can legally leave the USA without a valid passport / visa.

    Actually, there is no requirement to have a passport to leave the country. The problem arises if you try to return.

    On the other hand, airlines are reluctant to carry you to another country if you do not have proper documentation since they have to return you if you are denied entry to the country of destination. If you have a return ticket they do not have as big a problem.

  30. Begin/Off topic rant/

    Please people, it is not that hard to become properly informed in matters such as your rights in international travel, the rights of immigrants etc. These are all matters of public record.

    It is not that hard to become acquainted with your legal rights as to, for example, what happens if you fall in love with and marry someone who is a foreign national. What happens if you have a child in his/her country? What happens if you try to return to the USA and bring your beloved with you?

    Now, if you spend some time looking at US immigration law, you will find it is a Byzantine labyrinth from which you are unlikely to emerge without the aid of an expert guide.

    Complain about all things if you will, but be sure you actually know whereof you complain.

    /Off topic rant/end

  31. And all have been roundly condemned in these parts. The rest of America won’t listen. It’s like shouting into a hurricane.

    Agreed, but the point remains, he might as well called the post “Bill of Rights While I ate Cheerios? for Breakfast Every Morning” or “While Celebrities Adopted Foreign Brown Babies.”

  32. Funny how things had already started way before 9/11.

    makes one ponder that Democrat operatives are trolling for the civil liberties vote among the young and those with short memories. Otherwise why begin with Bush and use some examples that have nothing to do with the Executive Branch and others that have nothing to do with the Bill of Rights.

  33. Pretty weak link that only links to, and doesn’t cite (i.e., name/date/pub name) its sources.

    Plus, JaneHarman’s name is on the last one he mentions.

    Overall, none of these are much to get excited about.

    FJE78312-OPCEN-393FE-CD32-42-383-GDE92-213LI-ON493
    BLOCK-12934-UEQUD-EUEWY-37192-JAUE3-JCEUQ-DSUEW

  34. FJE78312-OPCEN-393FE-CD32-42-383-GDE92-213LI-ON493
    BLOCK-12934-UEQUD-EUEWY-37192-JAUE3-JCEUQ-DSUEW

    Is this his next inexplicable tic, soon to replace WordsRunTogether ForNoReason?

  35. SIV, Yeah frickin annoying. I’m sure most people here have seen it over and over on medical marijuana and the drug war in general (on other boards typically). As if the Clinton admin and Democrats ever gave a flying F about the suffering of cancer patients. Yeah, that’s it, they were just about to legalize when the Republicans grabbed power in 2000. Just to annoy those sorts of dumb-asses, I plan on spending most of ’08 proclaiming Bush the best president we ever had. Keeping a straight face will be the toughest part, but I think it will be well worth it.

  36. Anonymo the Anonymous: please ignore that bit. I composed my comment in notepad together with something else, and then mistakenly pasted the whole thing into the comment box.

    Hopefully Reason could delete that part of my comment, as well as your quote containing that part of my comment. It’s just something else and it has nothing to do with Reason or this post or the other commenters.

  37. I blame GWB for a lot of things, like proving beyond the shadow of a doubt the Republicans are BIG SPENDING DONKEY WEE KNEES. But, the Republic was on a sled to hell with greased runners LONG before GWB swore the oath. Like Hank Williams Jr sang about, GWB is just carrying on a family tradition. And I mean that in both ways, metaphorically and in actuality.

  38. SIV wrote:

    Naomi Wolf seems pretty critical of the administration. Has our thug class dragged her off to the gulag for a little waterboarding torture yet? Or did that work as well as the Great Purge of the few courageous academics who dared to criticize Bush.

    Ms. Wolf has not been arrested, but we’re not at that stage yet.

    Interestingly, however, she has been added to the “terror watch list” for airline travel, which means she gets the full bag-and-body search every time she goes through a TSA checkpoint.

    Five-foot-four Jewish mother of two. A terrorist threat? No, just a critic of the Bush administration. And there are many others who have been put on “the list” for speaking out.

  39. Hey, raise your hands and say “YEAH!” if your a George W. Bush fan!

    *crickets*

    Ok, now with that disclaimer out of the way,

    that list

    1) Conflates the nefarious, with the problematic, with the bureaucratic, with the incompetent, and with the (dare I say it) maybe slightly useful and necessary. A little perspective and context in these things would be nice when compiling stuff like this, otherwise you’re just one step away from the ‘gang stalking’ crowd.

    2) Doesn’t contain too much more stuff then I imagine we would have seen from a Gore Administration with an AG Louis Freeh justice department. I too would have liked the list maker to start in the 90’s (or really, with the ’37 Marihuana Tax Act). That the list the politically hackish of course doesn’t make it wrong, but it does make it less persuasive.

  40. “Freedom from fear is the greatest freedom of all.”

    Bread and circuses…

    Actually, the best line I have for this comes from Stephen Colbert:

    “Live Free, or do whatever it takes so I don’t die.”

    I think he mentioned

  41. accidentally clicked submit…

    As I was saying,

    In that same segment, I think he mentioned the increased Presidential power and his REAL reason for running for president:

    “Because I would be insane to let someone have that kind of power over me”

  42. Funny how things had already started way before 9/11.

    Starting with, who, Wilson? Roosevelt?

    Not that the domestic side of the WOT hasn’t been a gigantic clusterdoggle, but its hard to say it did anything more than accelerate pre-existing trends.

  43. Please keep my name out of your mouth. Thank you.

    Sincerely,

    FJE78312-OPCEN-393FE-CD32-42-383-GDE92-213LI-ON493
    BLOCK-12934-UEQUD-EUEWY-37192-JAUE3-JCEUQ-DSUEW

  44. Interestingly, however, she has been added to the “terror watch list” for airline travel, which means she gets the full bag-and-body search every time she goes through a TSA checkpoint.

    That kind of factual assertion is often enhanced by linky.

    And I, for one, don’t really regard a self-interested and uncorroborated assertion by Ms. Wolf that she is on said list as much in the way of proof.

    Not that the TSA isn’t easily stupid enough to put her on the list, of course.

  45. For all of the abuses that we all acknowledge, there certainly is a lot of “yeah, but” going on hier. GWB is president. the buck stops there. He’s the ultimate one to blame.

    For all of the “[Gore/HRC/Reno] would be worse”, we’re not there right now. We have abuses that are right in front of our noses that have been committed by GWB et al. Let’s focus on that. Or is there a problem with condemning behavior?

  46. We have abuses that are right in front of our noses that have been committed by GWB et al. Let’s focus on that. Or is there a problem with condemning behavior?

    Why not just give credit where credit is due? By focusing solely on Bush, the rest of the thugs get off with nary a hand smack. I get what you’re saying, but you end up with statements that simply aren’t true.

    You also avoid the taint of BDS. Blaming Bush for all ills is a good way to be ignored as just another frothing partisan.

  47. You miss the point – we have plenty of real abuses going on. Fantasizing about how things would be in another administration takes away from things.

    And it’s not blaming bush for all ills. It’s pointing out specific things that have happened under his leadership.

    Deflecting the issue away from that very important fact makes those who do it seem like a partisan who was caught and uses the “but officer, I’m not the only one”.

  48. Or:

    there is so much (justified oftentimes, but other times purely hysterical) hatred of Janet Reno, that many people forget that Ruby Ridge was a first bush problem. Basically a free pass.

    We cannot have any free passes, and minimizing the abuses of this administration cannot happen. Otherwise, when people object to HRC if she were to do something outrageous, you’d look back and see quasi apologies for this admin, and the cycle will continue. Only that time, the people who’re quasi defending GWB hier will be out, a-gunz a-blazin with no qualifications or pulled punches.

    And THAT is a problem for this citizen.

  49. And it’s not blaming bush for all ills. It’s pointing out specific things that have happened under his leadership.

    Deflecting the issue away from that very important fact makes those who do it seem like a partisan who was caught and uses the “but officer, I’m not the only one”.

    VM–We’re just going to have to disagree hier. Claiming that Supreme Court decisions or congressional action fall under the auspices of Bush’s “leadership” is the free pass you are protesting.

    Bush should get hammered for what Bush did: executive orders, bills signed (or not vetoed), wars launched or SCOTUS appointments. Being a proponent of free will, I operate under the assumption that the other perople working against civil liberties did that all on their own. They deserve the bitch slap for what they did, not what people want to lay at Dubya’s feet through convenience.

    Why not have a timeline of Bush and Clinton? Why stop there? Why not take it back to Reagan or Carter? That’s where the taint of BDS comes in.

    I know I’m not defending Bush. My point is simple: put the blame where it belongs (and, yes, don’t fantasize how it might have been different if someone else were at the helm. Let’s just accept the concept that its going to suck no matter who is in the White House.)

    Just as the POTUS doesn’t deserve the credit when things, like the economy, are going well, it doesn’t deserve the tarring of the actions of others which it had no control over.

  50. oh – we’re actually in agreement! Mea culpa for misunderstanding you!

  51. No worries! I hate it when we argue. πŸ˜‰

  52. pttttffff.

    (actually – what you’re saying shouldn’t have gone over my thick skull today – was just listening to someone go on and on about blaming GWB for everything, conveniently forgetting that it was the DEM Senate that voted carte blanche! or how Lehey (IIRC) was gung ho about post oklahoma city bombing civil liberties restrictions)

  53. >>
    Why not have a timeline of Bush and Clinton? Why stop there? Why not take it back to Reagan or Carter?
    >>

    Seems to sum up some objections to providing a timeline of the public facts about key congressional, executive and Supreme Court actions related to civil liberties in the past few years. That — and the fact that the title emphasized that it all took place under Bush.

    That was the assignment — to create a timeline related to civil liberties under the Bush Administration. Most projects, most articles, have a beginning and an end. There will be other projects. I wrote extensively about the attacks on civil liberties under Clinton.

    It’s amazing that people here are so jumpy and defensive about Bush . Also, the sense of entitlement expressed– why don’t they make me a bigger timeline?! — is amazing.

    I’ll resist the urge to say that some of the comments here seem amazingly childish and simpleminded. I’m not saying that. No, not at all. You don’t need some living cartoon character who calls himself RU Sirius telling you that you’re acting immature, no way.

    RU

  54. RU–That was pretty much a rhetorical question.

    I think I’ve been very clear about my own very limited objection. It’s a fantastic piece you’ve put together, it’s very sobering, it just comes off as partisan and scapegoat-ish, which limits its effectiveness with certain audiences.

    YMMV.

  55. “””Yeah – particularly FDR – a president who instigated massive violations of the Constituton on a far greater scale than any other president – violations that have had a far greater real-world effect on the lives of US citizens (and for far longer too) than anything George Bush has done.””””

    I really disagree with that conclusion. Bush can monitor FAR more than anything FDR could do because of technology. Lots of data travels across the Internet. Don’t think that 128 bit encryption matters to the NSA. Pretty much anything you view on the Internet can be viewed by the NSA. The surveillence mechanisms are far greater today

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.