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Fourth Amendment to the Constitution

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable search 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."

Sixth Amendment to the Constitution

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense."

"[H]ow do the people cry foul when their liberties are imperiled, if public officials can break the rules, lie to us about it, and then wave the wand of national security to silence us?" -- Bill Moyers, 1987

"Those who believe that the pendulum will swing back naturally have forgotten the lessons of the communists in Russia and the lessons of the fascists in Spain. In Russia, it took from 1917 to drive the Communists out of power and in Spain it took from 1936-39 to 1975-76 and Franco's death to drive the fascists out of power. So we may be in for a long ride." -- Former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who was a victim, along with his wife Valerie Plame Wilson, of a Bush administration smear campaign, quoted in Raw Story

The Right's Contempt for Civil Liberties

"Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind." -- General William Westmoreland

"We are turning into a nation of whimpering slaves to Fear -- fear of war, fear of poverty, fear of random terrorism, fear of getting down-sized or fired because of the plunging economy, fear of getting evicted for bad debts, or suddenly getting locked up in a military detention camp on vague charges of being a Terrorist sympathizer." -- Hunter S. Thompson, quoted by Maureen Farrell

"The [Bush] administration's patterns of behavior are counter to the core elements of our constitution: justice, liberty, church-state separation, religious freedom, freedom of speech, the press, assembly, and privacy. These were placed there, in part, as bulwark against such political dangers as theocratic rule, deception, and lies. It seems the administration is the most secretive in our history. With such secrecy, it will not be easy for the people to plumb the depth to which we have been deceived. ...Corrupting the truth, corrupting government, and corrupting science have much in common. Such crimes are done in secret, and are done with lies. The current administration is doing this with considerable zeal. What a tragedy if we choose lies, dogma, secrecy, and superstition. They are the cobblestones for the road to Abu Ghraib, the road to Auschwitz, the road to hell. " -- physicist Michael Gilmore

"The senior managers of the Bush administration make no secret of their contempt for the rules of democratic procedure (inefficient, wrongheaded, and slow), of their distrust of the American people (indolent and immoral, undeserving of the truth), of their disdain for the United Nations (sophomoric idealisms embraced by weak nations too poor to pay for a serious air force). Better understood as utopian anarchists or radical nationalists than as prudent conservatives, they offer to the weaker nations of the earth (as well as to those of their fellow citizens whom they name as un-American) a choice similar to the one presented by the officers of the Spanish Inquisition to individuals charged with heresy -- 'Profess your faith in us, or we will burn you at the stake.'" -- Lewis Lapham

Religious zealot Pat Robertson wrote in his 1991 book The New World Order about the United Nations and its predecessor the League of Nations: "It may well be that men of goodwill like Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter, and George [H.W.] Bush, who sincerely want a larger community of nations living at peace in our world, are in reality unknowingly and unwittingly carrying out the mission and mouthing the phrases of a tightly knit cabal whose goal is nothing less than a new order for the human race under the domination of Lucifer and his followers." -- quoted by Al Franken

"The variants on the gag rule now add up to such a large number that although I've yet to see a comprehensive list, I can read the handwriting on the government wall. Money is beautiful and must be sheltered from the tax authorities and the rain; mere human beings, by nature unstable and rebellious, must be placed under strict surveillance and control. Heavy concentrations of large capital remain at liberty to do as they please -- to poison rivers, cut down forests, charge cruel rates of interest, experiment with lethal chemicals, deny medical care, eliminate species, repudiate debts, live handsomely beyond their incomes. Unincorporated individuals wait for instructions and about where and when they can sing or talk or smoke or dance. If not going off to prison for possession of a single joint of marijuana, they submit to the censorship of their careless and ill-kempt speech -- corporations dismiss employees for passing salacious e-mail, the city of San Diego forbids the use of the word 'minority' on any municipal piece of paper, no more than fifty people may assemble on the steps of New York's City Hall. The FBI searches large-scale street demonstrations for 'anarchists' and 'extremist elements,' arrests at random any participant deemed eligible for a lesson in obedience. When President Bush travels around the country to praise the freedoms for which America is presumably famous, the Secret Service sends advance scouts to set up 'free-speech areas' for citizens wishing to voice objections or display signs critical of the president's policies. Quarantined behind chain-link fences at a discreet distance from the presidential motorcade (preferably out of earshot and far enough away to avoid notice on the evening news), the protesters remain free to shout at one another." -- Lewis Lapham

"Jefferson believed that the tree of liberty needed to be nourished every now and then with the blood of revolution. I don't know whether the time has come again to storm the palace and seize the radio station, but the government now in Washington doesn't meet the specifications of the one envisioned in the Declaration of Independence. The signers of the Declaration staked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor on the proposition that when government becomes oppressively corrupt, it is not only the right but the duty of the people to revolt. So it was said and believed in Philadelphia in 1776; so it can be said and believed nearly anywhere in the United States in 2004. We have a government in Washington that doesn't defend the liberty of the American people, steals from the poor to feed the rich, finds its wealth and happiness in the waging of ceaseless war. Where else do we turn except to politics, and how else do our politics get made if not with the voices of dissent? Rightly understood, democracy is an uproar, and if we mean to engage the argument about the course of the American future, let us hope that is proves to be loud, disorderly, bitter, and fierce." -- Lewis Lapham

Playing the Race Card

"Theorists on the right have labored over many an exhaustive, redundant dissection of the black alliance with white liberals. The standard conservative breakdown depicts black Democrats as benighted, immoral, easily bribed, and even more easily frightened. It is hard not to wonder why conservatives so glibly insult the people they supposedly wish to attract and persuade, but they can't seem to help themselves. Rather than take responsibility for their own racial isolation, Republicans tend to deflect the blame. With some justice, they complain that Democrats 'play the race card,' using scurrilous advertising to scare black voters. They while that civil rights leaders -- memorably denounced by former [black Republican] Representative J.C. Watts as 'race-hustling poverty pimps' -- have sold out to the liberals. Conservatives assign all blame to the Democrats for the culture of welfare that allegedly fostered black dependency on government. (These critics usually forget the other once-downtrodden ethnic groups, like the Irish, the Italians, and the Jews, whose upward striving relied heavily on public assistance, government employment, and patronage.) 'It was only when [blacks] vested their beliefs in the Democratic Party, and allowed government to control their lives,' Watts declared, 'that they encountered deepening poverty, decaying families, and a sick welfare system that penalizes women for wanting to marry the father of their children and mothers for saving money.' ...Blaming liberals only postpones the day when conservatives will deal with black alienation from them and their party. This is a topic of the greatest sensitivity, because acknowledging the truth would require a harsh reassessment of right-wing icons and the abandonment of self-deluding myths. Many conservatives prefer to believe that they are being victimized by a cynical conspiracy of blacks and liberal Democrats." -- Joe Conason

The 1964 Sea Change in Republican and Democratic Racial Politics, and Beyond

"The Republican 'southern strategy,' as Richard Nixon originally framed it, permits Republican candidates to appeal to 'angry white males' while providing plausible deniability to the fair-minded of both sexes. Trent Lott praised openly the neo-Confederate Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) at meetings of their members in 1992 and 1995 and then later claimed he thought the CCC was just a 'benign conservative' group. Ronald Reagan preached his support for 'states' rights' at his 1980 presidential announcement right outside of Philadelphia, Mississippi, which just happened to be where three black civil rights activists had been murdered in the summer of 1964. And, of course, George H.W. Bush's 1988 presidential campaign benefited from the broadcast of the notorious Willie Horton ad, a political commercial featuring a black parolee who committed a brutal murder after his release. Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP, explained the process: 'It's clear...[that George W. Bush] and his party have long depended on attracting support from this virulently racist minority element in their party and they come back to it time and time again. And when they're uncovered they profess ignorance.'" -- Eric Alterman and Mark Green

Joe Conason points out that it wasn't all that long ago that the GOP, as the party of Lincoln and emancipation, "held a virtual monopoly on the allegiance of black voters." Over a third of black voters went for Eisenhower in 1956 and Nixon in 1960. The change came in 1964, when civil rights opponent Barry Goldwater stood as the Republican presidential candidate; only 6% of black voters pulled the lever for Goldwater. But Goldwater merely heralded a sea change in Republican/conservative thinking: the modern conservative opposition to civil rights and the subsequent alienation of black voters can be traced back at least as far as the burgeoning influence of William F. Buckley's National Review in the late 1950s. Buckley "parroted the code phrases of the segregationists" in his calls for the preservation of states' rights and the "'civilized standards' of southern white society." Buckley even supported disenfranchising many white voters it if would ensure that blacks could not vote: "I am not ready to abandon the ideal of local government in order to kill Jim Crow," he declared in 1961. Buckley led the conservative charge against the civil rights movement, blaming the 1965 Watts riots on the "anarchic teachings" of Martin Luther King Jr. and even stating that King brought about his own assassination through his own rhetoric "about the supremacy of the individual conscience.

Though more a libertarian than a real segregationist, Goldwater attracted the votes of many white supremacists (as did George H.W. Bush, another opponent of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, during his bid for the Senate). Goldwater insisted that the 1960 Republican acceptance of a civil rights plank in the party platform be removed in the 1964 convention, and resultingly, carried only his native Arizona and five Deep South states. Nixon was, in contrast, a racial moderate, though as Conason notes, "his remarks about blacks in private were filled with gutter bigotry." Nixon waffled on the race issue; he reached out to black Republicans but simultaneously embraced hardshell racists like Strom Thurmond and Pat Buchanan. Most notably, Nixon's "southern strategy" of reaching out to segregationist Dixiecrats and bringing them into the GOP would, in Conason's words, "remake the Republican Party in their own intolerant image."

The two Dixiecrats who came to epitomize Republican racism were the eminent senators Trent Lott of Mississippi and Jesse Helms of North Carolina. Helms, a former conservative commentator on a North Carolina television station, built a political organization based on the support of white supremacists. Both Helms and Lott have been celebrated by their GOP colleagues; years later, the Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes would cite Helms and Ronald Reagan as the two most influential conservatives of the late 20th century. (Reagan was warm and welcoming to blacks in public, but in private he was far closer to Helms's virulent racism than most observers ever realized: as governor of California, he consistently opposed civil rights legislation, and continued his opposition as president.) Conason writes, "Looking back on all this unpleasant history, what most black Americans may remember is that conservative Republicans placed the freedom to discriminate above freedom from discrimination. If the conservatives weren't racist themselves, they were squishy soft on racism in their own ranks. And rather than abandon the appeals to bigotry that had consolidated Republican power across the South, they devised sophisticated arguments to rescind the gains of the civil rights era. ...To anyone familiar with this shabby history, the inescapable question is not why more minorities don't flock to conservatism and vote Republican. The wonder is why any would at all." -- Joe Conason

Southern political analysts Earl and Merle Black theorize that the national Democratic party managed to hold on to Southern Dixiecrats for years by making an implicit deal -- no Democrat would tamper with segregation if Southerners supported key economic legislation. In the early 1960s, the Kennedy and Johnson administrations will break that pact, and trigger a fundamental realignment of the two parties. James Moore and Wayne Slater write, "Conservative blue-collar Democrats, often those with a strong evangelical streak, began moving to the Republican party. White liberals, moderates, and minorities were becoming the dominant expression of the Democratic party." -- Moore and Slater

"Liberals can point to a prouder history that begins with abolitionism, the progressives' most compessling cause from the end of the colonial era through the Civil War, and continues through the present, when Democrats have taken on the politically difficult task of defending affirmative action. Without the determination of liberals -- including liberal Republicans who no longer have a place in their own party -- there would have been no civil rights legislation: no Civil Rights Act, no Voting Rights Act, no Title IX, no affirmative action, and no steadily expanding black and Latino middle class. The honorable path has brought rewards, but it certainly hasn't been free of risk. When northern liberal Democrats took the first tentative steps toward breaking with their segregationist colleagues at the 1948 party convention, they set in motion a process that forfeited the southern states almost entirely to the Republicans over a period of four decades. When Lyndon Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, he told his aides that he had just lost the South for the Democrats for at least a generation. The more firmly liberals pressed toward full equality for blacks and other minorities, the more trouble Democratic politicians experienced in the urban and suburban North as well, especially among blue-collar and middle-class ethnic whites. The defection of the 'angry white man,' which began with the George Wallace campaigns in 1968 and 1972 and culminated in the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994, was yet another consequence of the Democratic devotion to civil rights." Since then, Democrats have shown an appalling willingness to abandon their own ideals of civil equality in an attempt to staunch the electoral bleeding and win voters back to their candidates. -- Joe Conason

Tolerance, Intolerance, and the American Political Paradigm

"Let's say I go out every night, I meet a guy and have sex with him. Good for me. I'm not married." -- conservative commentator Ann Coulter

"I think Rush is right. Racism in this country is dead. I don't know what the n*ggers will find to gripe about now." -- Rush Limbaugh listener

"It's certainly true that liberals don't reflexively condemn gays and lesbians, unmarried parents, the promiscuous, or the divorced. It's true that conservatives do condemn such people, vigorously and often. And it is nevertheless also true that conservatives indulge in promiscuous sex, both straight and gay; that conservatives get divorced, sometimes repeatedly; and that conservatives -- or at least a few high-profile conservative politicians -- have been known to produce babies unblessed by wedlock. If the right can't quite adhere to its professed purity, the left doesn't quite live up to its rakish reputation. There are plenty of boringly [and happily] married Democrats, even in New York and Hollywood. But liberals usually aren't as judgemental as conservatives about human weakness, and tend to accept, if not admire, the libidinal foibles of their leaders, from FDR to JFK to Martin Luther King Jr. With their tolerant humanism -- or their tolerant religious faith -- liberals tend to be more realistic than conservatives who profess a phony Puritanism. After seeing so many of these reactionary clowns caught with their pants around their ankles (and on fire), it should be obvious that the public figures who most ardently denouce sin are often the most abandoned sinners. They only exceed their private shame with their public shameless. What America lacks today is a modern Moliere or Mark Twain capable of doing literary justice to these moral imposters." -- Joe Conason

"These members of Team Hate [Gerry Spence's term for a group of conservative columnists, including Nancy Grace, Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and others] are the new conservative mouthpieces for a power structure that's selling us into a murky, dead world where people can no longer love, where God is money, where the earth is a commodity to be destroyed for profit, where people are but digits in a money machine, where the ideals of a Christian society are mocked so that greed is now its favored value, where the good Samaritan is a piteous fool and violence against our fellow creatures is celebrated in the name of Christ.

"We have become a culture that is fed hate, that has grown to crave hate, a hate-addicted culture that, like any psychotic entity, can destroy itself absent treatment at the hands of those who still retain their ability to love and to forgive.

"The argument here is that the new conservative hate culture in America is leading us resolutely and irretrievably to the Fourth Reich. And Team Hate provides the mouth-pieces that spew its dangerous propaganda." -- attorney and author Gerry Spence, quoted by Buzzflash

The Biter Bit

The conservative punditry is certainly not immune to the temptations of the flesh that they routinely accuse Democrats of embracing. Rush Limbaugh has been divorced twice, and his third wife is an aerobics instructor he met on the Internet. John McLaughlin, a former Jesuit priest, is on his second wife and has settled at least one sexual harassment suit brought by a former employee. George Will's wife once threw his office furniture and other belongings out on the lawn of their suburban Maryland home after she found out he had had an affair with another conservative journalist. Right-wing reporter and pundit John Fund carried on a lengthy affair with a woman in California; when her teenaged daughter arrived in New York, Fund seduced the daughter as well. And it's hard to take the moralistic polemics of right-wing talk show host Laura Schlessinger seriously when a quick Internet search turns up pornographic photos of Schlessinger posing for the camera wearing nothing more than a grin on her face. (Schessinger tried to claim that the photos were faked, then got the courts to shut down the Web site displaying the photos because they were her personal property, but by that point the photos were already in circulation.) It's worth noting that Schlessinger posed for the photos with a man who was not her husband; her husband apparently knew nothing of the photos. -- Joe Conason, Bartcop (Warning, this page contains pictures that most Republicans, and many Democrats, would find objectionable.)

In response to a 2004 Delphi message-board comment made by a conservative that recommends killing enough of "them" to make them change their minds, an old-line libertarian conservative responds:

"Kill enough of them to make them rethink their position. Ah, the new national motto for the USA. Here, let me start the list of those who conservatives feel the need to "rethink their position":

War protestors -- here and abroad

All liberals

All those traitors that don't support our beloved President

Pro-choice advocates and those baby killers

Jews and (insert heathen religions here) who just keep refusing to get on board with the Christian agenda

Welfare recipients getting a free ride from hard-working Americans

Union organizers with their commie fair wage and safe workplace crap

Godless Commie/lib teachers who object to teaching our kids about creationism and Jesus Christ our Lord and keep spewing that pagan monkey business

Those sick homos and anyone who thinks homos have rights

Anyone who isn't white, Christian, doesn't think like me or look like me

Anyone connected to, however remotely and even if they just happen to live in the same country, anyone on this list. Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out until they "rethink their position."

If I missed anyone, feel free to add to the list. I don't want to, God forbid, leave anyone out. -- "Lenalady," July 2005

Conservatives, those pretenders to a high moral throne, have compiled a list of depravities and serious moral lapses that would frankly gag a rat. In the religious corner are the sex-maddened Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggert, both forced to abandon their lucrative television evangelical empires after their sexual escapades were made national sensations. Behind them lurks the Korean evangelist and conservative financier Sun Myung Moon, guilty of a laundry list of extramarital affairs, illegitimate children, personal violence, and generally bizarre behavior.

In the political corner stands former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani and his extremely public infidelity; the Wall Street Journal's John Fund, who can boast of not only seducing a California mother but her daughter as well; George Roche III, president of right-wing Hilldale College, whose affair with his son's wife ended in her suicide; anti-abortion crusader Earl "Butch" Kimmerling, who sexually abused his foster children; Mike Trout, former cohost of Focus on the Family's radio program before his extramarital affair forced his resignation; Jon Grunseth, conservative Republican candidate for Minnesota governor, who destroyed his political career by allegedly swimming nude with friends of his teenage daughter; rising Georgia GOP star Mike Bowers, whose "profamily" campaign for governor came to an untimely end after his ten-year affair with his secretary was revealed; conservative radio host Dr. Laura Schlesinger, whose raunchy nude pictures taken by a man not her husband blazed their way across the Internet; Mark Chmura, the former Packers' tight end whose fledgling political career ended in a drunken hot tub prom party; California GOP representative Bill Thomas and his long-term "relationship" with pharmaceutical lobbyist Deborah Steelman; Richard Delgaudio, the Republican fundraiser who gave America Paula Jones and whose career was marred by child pornography convictions; and Ken Calvert, another California Republican who remains in Congress even after being arrested with a prostitute in 1994, who continues to receive perfect scores and adulation from the Christian Coalition, and who had the temerity to thunder during the 1998 Clinton impeachment, "We can't forgive what occurred between the President and Lewinsky."

And that's just the heterosexual end of the paradigm. Conservative homosexuals crowd the GOP closet, beginning with rabid anti-Communists J. Edgar Hoover, Whittaker Chambers, and Roy Cohn, who slammed gays up until the day he died of AIDS. While GOP senator Orrin Hatch once labeled the Democrats as "the party of homosexuals," closeted gays continue to crop up in the moralistic, judgmental ranks of the modern Republican party: the late direct-mail maven Marvin Lievman; Robert Bauman, a congressman and the founder of Young Americans for Freedom; the late Terry Dolan, who chaired the National Conservative Political Action Committee; Arthur Finkelstein, the Republican political consultant whose clients included Jesse Helms, Alfonse D'Amato, and dozens of other 'profamily' legislators, who now lives in suburban Boston with his male lover and adopted son; and former conservative David Brock, the celebrated journalistic 'hit man' whose conscience led him to abandon conservatism, write books exposing the right, and found Media Matters for America. Brock confirms that a large network of closeted gay Republicans exists in Washington, a network he had direct experience with. And who can forget John Paulk, a supposedly "ex-gay" who claims to have been converted from homosexuality by fundamentalist Christianity. Paulk was caught in September 2000 in one of Washington's most notorious gay bars; his position with James Dobson's Focus on the Family group was temporarily suspended, but Dobson eventually reinstated Paulk, blaming "Satan" for Paulk's relapse. A month after Paulk was caught cruising, lawyer Matt Glavin of the Southeastern Legal Foundation, whose personal crusade was keeping gays out of the Boy Scouts, was charged with making sexual approaches to a male park ranger. Glavin resigned from the SLF to, in his words, "protect my family."

"Grown men should not be having sex with prostitutes unless they are married to them." -- Jerry Falwell

Joe Conason writes, "No self-respecting liberal would argue that the left has any monopoly on morality. Any such claim would not survive mention of Ted Kennedy, Jesse Jackson, and Bill Clinton. What liberals do claim is that they care about families and children just as much as conservatives do -- and that their more tolerant, humane policies do more to help families than the selfish and self-righteous approach of the Republican right. ...The real enemies of the family are conservatives who seek to polarize income upward, to rip away the social safety net, and to impose an antiquated moral code that they only pretend to honor themselves." -- Joe Conason

"With the exception of the right to bear arms, one would be hard pressed to name a single constitutional liberty that the Bush administration had not overriden in the name of protecting our freedom. Privacy has given way to Internet tracking and plans to recruit a corps of 11 million private snoopers.... Physical liberty and habeas corpus survive only until the President decides someone is a 'bad guy.' Property is seized without notice, without a hearing, and on the basis of secret evidence. Equal protection has fallen prey to ethnic profiling. Conversations with a lawyer may be monitored without a warrant or denied altogether. ...And the right to a public hearing upon arrests exists only at the Attorney General's sufferance." -- Georgetown law professor David Cole, quoted by Eric Alterman and Mark Green