George Bush: still above the law

I've written about how George Bush is Above the Law before. But this time he's outdone himself. Let me explain why this violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is so much more egregious than his previous transgressions. It's not that he violated a federal statute -- he's done that before. It's not that he circumvented the constitution -- he's been there before. It's his defense that makes this case stand out so much.

The President and his Attorney General claim that the President has the "inherent authority" as commander in chief to violate FISA and the Fourth Amendment. They also say Congress's authorization of military force after the September 11th attacks gave the President broad authority to ignore the strictures of this federal law and use whatever force internationally and domestically that he saw fit.

This obviously leads to the question of ... what other laws has he felt compelled to ignore? What other statutes does he feel authorized to violate? What other amendments have proven inconvenient and been sidestepped?

If the President feels he has the authority to clearly break one federal law, how many others does he feel he has the authority to break? If the President doesn't need to abide by the Fourth Amendment, does he have to abide by any of the rest?

And if you're a Republican who adores this President so much that you will stand by his every decision, I urge you to finally use some caution here. If you set the precedent that a President can ignore any of the amendments he feels impede the security of this country, what will stop a Democratic president from ignoring the second amendment to take away the guns of potential "enemies of the state"?

If this President has used the FBI and the Pentagon to spy on anti-war and other political opposition groups domestically, what will stop a Democratic President from spying on right-wing militia groups and pro-life organizations that might turn violent?

President Bush is playing his favorite game -- opening up Pandora's Box and seeing what flies out. If you thought that was a bad idea in Iraq, wait till you get a load of it here.

Once you allow the President to be above the law, there is no telling what could happen. Even if you like this President, there will one day be a President you don't like quite as much. It's almost as if the founding fathers were right to limit the powers of the executive branch. Smart fellows, those founders were. Maybe it's not such a good idea to ignore that little constitution they wrote.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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