They Just Don't Abuse Civil Liberties Like They Used To

Feeling a little nostalgia for the old days when you could count on some robust civil liberties' abuse. You look at Geoffrey R. Stone's 2004 book "Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism" and it just tells you what a sissy liberties' abuser W is. I mean John Adams jailed a congressman for criticizing his "continual grasp for power." Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus and had the army arrest up to 38,000 civilians suspected of undermining the Union cause. Woodrow Wilson imprisoned Socialist Party leader Eugene Debs for opposing U.S. entry into World War I. And then FDR packed 120,000 Japanese Americans off to detention camps.

Presidents from FDR to Richard Nixon used the FBI to spy on, blackmail and harass their political opponents. The Senate's Church Committee in 1976 blew the whistle on decades of misconduct, including FBI investigations of such nefarious characters as Eleanor Roosevelt, William O. Douglas, Barry Goldwater and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

And what has W done? As I understand he's jailed Michael Moore, blackmailed Nancy Pelosi and threatened Al Gore and others who have used defamatory language against him.... wait, sorry, none of that? You mean all he's done is intercept communications between terrorists and their American connections without a court order?

As Max Boot says today:

"The anti-Bush brigade hasn't had any luck in turning up actual instances of abuse, despite no end of effort. The ACLU compiled a list of supposed victims of the Patriot Act. After examining each case, however, Sen. Dianne Feinstein — no friend of the administration — said "it does not appear that these charges rose to the level of 'abuse.' "

Yes, Ms Pelosi, apparently the bar has been lowered for "impeachable offenses."