Home / Change for the Worse: The Assault on the 4th Amendment

Change for the Worse: The Assault on the 4th Amendment

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“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…”

The Who’s line is as true now as it was in 1971 and as true as the similar old French saying, “the more things change the more they stay the same.” The same idea is repeated again and again in folk wisdom from every culture, which suggests that it’s based on a shared element of human experience. Change is inevitable, but too often its results are only superficial.

In this case the deja vu we’d rather not be experiencing all over again comes from the Obama administration’s diligent efforts to outdo his much-reviled predecessor when it comes to shreedding our constitutional rights in the interest of national security. Like President Bush, President Obama seems intent on focusing his efforts on rendering the Fourth Amendment utterly meaningless. You know that amendment. It reads:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches 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.”

It’s the amendment that reminds government and other entities that we have an absolute right to privacy which they can’t just violate at a whim. It’s been under assault for years and eroded away more and more with each new governmental initiative to protect us from the latest bogeyman or from ourselves. The War on Drugs with its asset seizures and warrantless searches has been wearing away at our rights for more than 30 years, but nothing has done more harm than the War on Terror which took the cold-war era Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and expanded it into a blanket authorization to execute thousands of warrantless wiretaps against US citizens, often with very little justification and virtually no accountability.

FISA was already blatantly in violation of the 4th Amendment before the Bush administration got hold of it. They took the blanket authorization for unlimited wiretapping which was implied in the legislation and ran with it, making it the justification for datamining and automated content scanning of telecommunications completely outside the scope of the technology available when FISA was written, but arguably authorized under the overly broad language of the law. When challenged, they went to the compliant congress and got amendments to the FISA Act in 2008 which protected many of their practices and reduced the level of accountability in the act still further. The ACLU has launched a lawsuit over the constitutionality of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, but to date it remains in force, giving unprecedented power to the federal government to basically scan and listen to any telecommunications with no prior approval.

Although you might think that President Obama, riding in on his white horse last November, might be here to save us from the Bush administration’s assault on our rights, it turns out that when it comes to warrantless surveillance, they’re enthusiastic supporters of the program and are even willing to take the idea of complete lack of accountability for violating our privacy to a higher level. In a motion to dismiss the case Jewel vs. NSA the Obama Justice Department they reiterated the Bush-era argument that cases against FISA cannot even be brought because they “would cause exceptionally grave harm to national security.” Going even further than Bush did, they also argue that the idea of ‘sovereign immunity’ makes the Department of Justice completely immune from any prosecution for violating the rights of citizens. Not only do we not have the protection of due process under the 4th Amendment, but now we have no standing to sue and even if we do get a case in court the government is immune from any prosecution. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation interprets it, “Essentially, the Obama Adminstration has claimed that the government cannot be held accountable for illegal surveillance under any federal statutes.” So we might as well lie back and take whatever they want to do to us, because those 4th Amendment rights are just gone forever.

This is a strange and ironic change from candidate Obama who said he wanted more transparency in government, but perhaps even more ominous is the latest move from the administration to take complete control of the internet under the newly proposed Cybersecurity Act of 2009 which follows an earlier act which would establish a “Cybersecurity Czar” to oversee internet security. This bill will give the president the ability to “declare a cybersecurity emergency” and shut down or limit internet traffic at any time “in the interest of national security,” a situation whose parameters are left undefined. What’s worse, it gives the Secretary of Commerce “access to all relevant data concerning (critical) networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access.” This is another attack on the 4th Amendment, giving completely unaccountable federal officials total access to internet communications without any safeguards of the rights and privacy of citizens. There’s no requirement for a warrant, no need for probable cause, no liability for any harm done and not even any requirement for reporting or limitations on how these powers can be exercises.

This proposed act runs directly counter to the protections provided in the 4th Amendment and also the Electronic Communications Privacy Act which was passed in the 1980s to reaffirm that privacy rights applied to internet communications. The act is supported by powerful congressional Democrats and by the Obama administration, so it stands a reasonably good chance of passing, and it’s just the first step in a comprehensive strategy to expand government control over the internet and what goes on there. The good news is that unlike FISA and its recent amendments, this bill has not yet passed into law and it’s possible that with enough public opposition it might be altered to include safeguards for the privacy rights of citizens while still addressing legitimate national security needs.

With FISA and the expansion of FISA under the Bush administration we saw too much of our liberty legislated away in the name of national security. It is now clear that the Obama administration wants to continue and expand on that trend. It has never seemed more believable that the future of universal surveillance and the elimination of personal privacy envisioned in George Orwell’s 1984 might become a reality. The 4th Amendment was a powerful and definitive statement on privacy rights, but as things stand today it is almost as if it never existed. It is not being observed or enforced and seems to mean nothing to the bureaucrats of the security establishment or the current administration.

We may very well need protection from terrorists and malicious hackers and cyberwarfare, but safety from those threats has much less value if we lose our basic freedoms in the process. It is fundamentally wrong to treat all citizens as criminals to catch the real criminals or to take away everyone’s privacy to expose hidden enemies. The emergence of new technology and new mediums of communication does not make our old-fashioned rights obsolete. We just have to find new ways to preserve and protect those rights within the new worlds which technology has opened up for us. As we go forward, the preservation of our rights and protection of citizens from government as well as external threats, must be our highest priority.

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About Dave Nalle

Dave Nalle is Executive Director of the Texas Liberty Foundation, Chairman of the Center for Foreign and Defense Policy, South Central Regional Director for the Republican Liberty Caucus and an advisory board member at the Coalition to Reduce Spending. He was Texas State Director for the Gary Johnson Presidential campaign, an adviser to the Ted Cruz senatorial campaign, Communications Director for the Travis County Republican Party and National Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus. He has also consulted on many political campaigns, specializing in messaging. Before focusing on political activism, he owned or was a partner in several businesses in the publishing industry and taught college-level history for 20 years.
  • Anytime our rights and freedoms are eroded away is a scary time for me. What is truly amazing is that some people will surrender them if they are thinking they will be taken care of. That’s a pretty high exchange if you ask me.

  • Dave, Joanne,

    I got this e-mail today. There is no URL attached to it, so I am forced to repeat it here in its entirety.

    It is worth reading – especially for those who are still in love with the “Blessed of Hussein”. If it scares me, it should definitely scare you.


    By Tim Wood

    Professor of History at Southwest Baptist University
    Bolivar, Missouri

    I am a student of history. Professionally. I have written 15 books in six languages, and have studied it all my life. I think there is something monumentally large afoot, and I do not believe it is just a banking crisis, or a mortgage crisis, or a credit crisis. Yes these exist, but they are merely single facets on a very large gemstone that is only now coming into sharper focus.

    Something of historic proportions is happening. I can sense it because I know how it feels, smells, what it looks like, and how people react to it. Yes, a perfect storm may be brewing, but there is something happening within our country that has been evolving for about ten – fifteen years. The pace has dramatically quickened in the past two.

    We demand and then codify into law the requirement that our banks make massive loans to people we know they can never pay back. Why?

    We learn that the Federal Reserve, which has little or no real oversight by anyone, has ‘loaned’ two trillion dollars (that is $2,000,000,000,000) over the past few months, but will not tell us to whom, or why, or disclose the terms. That is our money. Yours and mine. And that is three times the $700B we all argued about so strenuously just this past September. Who has this money? Why do they have it? Why are the terms unavailable to us? Who asked for it? Who authorized it? I thought this was a government of ‘we the people’, who loaned our powers to our elected leaders. Apparently not. One important point missing is the fact that the Federal Reserve is a PRIVATE COMPANY not anything to do with the government.

    We have spent two or more decades intentionally de-industrializing our economy. Why? We have intentionally dumbed down our schools, ignored our history, and we no longer teach our founding documents, showing why we are exceptional and why we are worth preserving. Students by and large cannot write, think critically, read, or articulate. Parents are not revolting, teachers are not picketing, and school boards continue to back mediocrity. Why?

    We have now established the precedent of protesting every close election (now violently in California over a proposition that is so ‘controversial’ that it wants marriage to remain between one man and one woman!). Did you ever think such a thing possible just a decade ago? We have corrupted our sacred political process by allowing unelected judges to write laws that radically change our way of life, and then allow mainstream Marxist groups like ACORN and others to turn our voting system into a banana republic. To what purpose?

    Now our mortgage industry is collapsing, housing prices are in free fall, major industries are failing, our banking system is on the verge of collapse, Social Security is nearly bankrupt, as is Medicare and our entire government, and our education system is worse than a joke. (I teach college and know precisely what I am talking about.) The list is staggering in its length, breadth, and depth. It is potentially 1929 x ten. And we are at war with an enemy we cannot name for fear of offending people of the same religion, an enemy who cannot wait to slit the throats of your children if they have the opportunity to do so.

    Now we have elected President a man no one knows anything about, who has never run so much as a Dairy Queen, let alone a town as big as Wasilla , Alaska All of his associations and alliances are with real radicals in their chosen fields of employment, and everything we learn about him, drip by drip, is unsettling, if not downright scary. Surely you have heard him speak about his idea to create and fund a ‘mandatory civilian defense force’ stronger than our military for use inside our borders. No? Oh, of course. The media would never play that for you over and over, and then demand he explain it. Sarah Palin’s pregnant daughter and $150,000 wardrobe is more important to the media.

    Mr. Obama’s winning platform can be boiled down to one word: change. Why?

    I have never been so afraid for my country and for my children as I am now! This man campaigned on bringing people together, something he has never, ever done in his professional life. In my assessment, Obama will divide us along philosophical lines, push us apart, and then try to realign the pieces into a new and different power structure. Change is indeed coming. And when it comes, you will never see the same nation again.

    And that is only the beginning.

    I thought I would never be able to experience what the ordinary, moral German felt in the mid-1930s. In those times, the savior was a former smooth-talking rabble-rouser from the streets, about whom the average German knew next to nothing. What they did know was that he was associated with groups that shouted, shoved, and pushed around people with whom they disagreed. He edged his way onto the political stage through great oratoryand promises. Economic times were tough, people were losing jobs, and he was a great speaker. And he smiled and waved a lot. And people, even newspapers, were afraid to speak out for fear that his ‘brown shirts’ would bully them into submission. And then, he was duly elected to office as full-throttled economic crisis was at hand [the Great Depression]. Slowly but surely he seized the controls of government power, department-by-department,p erson-by-person, bureaucracy-by-bureaucracy . The kids joined a Youth Movement in his
    name, where they were taught what to think. How did he get the people on his side? He did it promising jobs to the jobless, money to the moneyless, and goodies for the military-industrial complex. He did it by indoctrinating the children, advocating gun control, health care for all, better wages, better jobs, and promising to re-instill pride once again in their country, across Europe , and around the world.

    He did it with a compliant media. Did you know that? And he did this all in the name of justice and ….. change. And the people surely got what they voted for. (Look it up if you think I am exaggerating.) This is same as what Obama is doing, so should be addressed as Mein Fueher or COMRADE Obama???

    Read your history books. Many people objected in 1933 and were shouted down, called names, laughed at, and made fun of. When Winston Churchill pointed out the obvious in the late 1930s while seated in the House of Lords in England (he was not yet Prime Minister), he was booed into his seat and called a crazy troublemaker. He was right, though.

    Don’t forget that Germany was the most educated, cultured country in Europe It was full of music, art, museums, hospitals, laboratories, and universities. And in less than six years — a shorter time span than just two terms of the U. S. presidency — it was rounding up its own citizens, killing others, abrogating its laws, turning children against parents, and neighbors against neighbors. All with the best of intentions, of course. The road to hell is paved with them.

    As a practical thinker, one not overly prone to emotional decisions, I have a choice: I can either believe what the objective pieces of evidence tell me (even if they make me cringe with disgust); I can believe what history is shouting to me from across the chasm of seven decades; or I can hope I am wrong by closing my eyes, having another latte, and ignoring what is transpiring around me.

    Some people scoff at me, others laugh, or think I am foolish, naive, or both. Perhaps I am. But I have never been afraid to look people in the eye and tell them exactly what I believe, and why I believe it.

    I pray I am wrong. I do not think I am.

  • Ruvy,

    I’m sorry to say, but this man is off his rocker. It may appeal to your sense of urgency and Messianic hope, but I view the author of this unsigned email as a raving lunatic. There’s something about the tone that just doesn’t sound right. We all know we’re in a pickle but come on! This man is foretelling Armageddon.

    However bad things might turn, it’s not the end of history. The race will survive.

  • Ruvy, I agree with Roger. This simply doesn’t make any sense. At all.

    You’re right, though, it is scarey, in the sense that having such a total loon in the education system can only produce more madness.

    This is a perfect example of how your beliefs are getting in the way of your mind and serves only to undermine your own position. Well played!

    Roger, it was signed…

  • STM

    Did you hear about the peanut that was mugged?

    It was a salted.

  • I meant no URL.

    It’s a funny part, though, Chris, you being scared of a fanatic roaming the corridors of our educational institutions.

    It’s a hilarious picture, can’t stop laughing.

  • M a rk

    Surfer dude – just tell me what happened with the damned hamburgers!

  • More inattention, Roger? I thought you were past that now.

    As to the guy, if you don’t think someone who believes all that rubbish being in a position to influence people from an apparent position of respectability is scarey. He’s not a fanatic, he’s just yet another faithist with an axe to grind.

  • Of course they can. But a faithist (as you call ’em) or a fanatic, it’s the same thing to me. And it does cut a funny picture, don’t you think?

    I don’t worry about those guys. There’ll always be around. So what can you do but laugh?

  • Dave,

    Great article. I’ve read about everything except the Cybersecurity Act. That’s good to know about. And bad to find out about. (sigh)

  • Cindy, nice to see someone actually read the article rather than just reading Ruvy’s spam from some nutjob in Missouri.

    There’s a reason why someone ends up teaching at Southwest Baptist University and not a larger and more reputable institution.


  • Why, Dave, I’ve read it before. The first piece by you regarding which we almost totally agree. Good job!

  • Or perhaps I’m coming around.

  • I haven’t written anything on this topic since like 2007 when Bush was mucking with FISA, and whole new vistas of badness have opened up since then.

    Today it came out that the NSA has been routinely ignoring even the new relaxed FISA rules and monitoring phonecalls with no accountability at all.


  • The article Ruvy quotes in #2 is just hilarious.

  • STM

    Mark: “Surfer dude – just tell me what happened with the damned hamburgers!”

    Temporary hiccup. Bad timing. It just happened to coincide with a huge community promotion we were doing with them. We’ve had to hold on to it for the time being.

  • Well, I’m glad you are so entertained by this professor of history. Folks used to laugh themselves hoarse at the idea of Hitler running Germany. They used to snigger at Mussolini and his Blackshirts. Austrian police agents in Vienna would ask sarcastically of themselves, “Who’s going to run this Socialist revolution? Herr Ulyanov sipping his coffee at the Café Internationale?”

    The dictatoship slowly emerging in your country – one that you are reporting on, Dave, but refuse to acknowledge – the very same way you refused to axknowledge the economic crisis you country faced – is also going to be a thigh slapper.

    But I’ll get to do the laughing (and crying for my own family there) as you (and they) discover that you’ve been screwed over royally by the “Blessed of Hussein”.

  • Ruvy,

    The very tone of that letter just doesn’t strike me right. The guy is a raving lunatic. How in hell did he ever get to be where he’s at is beyond me. Must be some kind of screwed up school.

    I’m surprised they’re letting him put out these chain letters as feelers. They ought to lock him up. A menace to society.

    Anyway, that’s my impression. And I did laugh my ass off.

  • Ruvy,

    [Personal contact info deleted]

    I fleshed him out. He does work for SBU. So Ruvy, perhaps you can contact him and offer him a lecture tour.

    Since he’s got no audience here to speak of, he might do better elsewhere. And it will rid us of at least one nut.

  • Ruvy,

    Here is the link to Southern Baptist University.

    If you look under faculty, you’ll get all the info on Prof. Woods.

    Who knows, he might make a splash.

  • Ruvy’s post is interesting, whether or not you agree with the professor of history or if you believe that Ruvy is an alarmist. He’s also right that in the 1920s, everyone in Germany (including the Jews) thought Hitler and the Nazis were just a bunch of flaky nut jobs and that the common people were too sensible to fall for that line of bull. It took less than ten years for the country to do a 180.

    History repeats itself, but looking back doesn’t seem to bring any wisdom. We have to learn the freaking hard way, just like bullheaded teenagers.

  • Ruvy may not be an alarmist, Joanne, but that guy surely is. And if Ruvy starts hanging around with Mr. Woods, God help Ruvy. So don’t you give him any encouragement. We love him as he is.

  • Ruvy,

    You’re saying:

    “Well, I’m glad you are so entertained by this professor of history.”

    I wonder if I would get this kind of distinction and recognition among my BC fellow members if I had a sheepskin to my name. I was within few seminars of completing two or three PhD programs but my travails and paramours took me elsewhere.

    So seriously now, would you attribute greater weight to everything I post on BC and consider it pearls of wisdom if I produced my credentials?

    Just wonder.

  • Ruvy, no one rational in Texas takes anyone who teaches at a Baptist university seriously. I wonder if his school bans dancing like Baylor does.


  • I posted the link to that honorable institution of higher learning a few comments above.

    What I’d like to see is Ruvy and Mr. Woods on a lecture tour, together. I’d even buy me some tickets.

  • Glenn Greenwald’s blog is interesting today:

    The NYT’s predictable revelation: new FISA law enabled massive abuses

    Since being elected President, Barack Obama has done everything in his power to block judicial proceedings that would examine allegations that the NSA has been abusing its eavesdropping powers and illegally intercepting the telephone and email communications of Americans. Put another way, Obama — using radical claims of presidential powers of secrecy — has been preventing disclosure of the very abuses disclosed by this article and preventing legal scrutiny, all by claiming that even George Bush’s illegal NSA spying programs are “state secrets” that courts must not adjudicate. That’s what the “state secrets” controversy is about — Obama demanding that courts be barred from examining or ruling on any of these abuses and imposing consequences, based on his claim that these activities are so secret that they must never see the light of day.

    (out of order)

    But key Democrats [and, needless to say, the GOP minority, which (other than Ron Paul) unanimously supported the bill] ran around spouting pure propaganda, telling the public that they were supporting this new FISA bill because it would safeguard and even enhance civil liberties protections.

    Did anyone want this? I mean, these people are representing your interests. So, most of you must not mind if the government spies on you with impunity, right?

    Maybe they didn’t actually read it.

  • STM

    Just yesterday it was the first amendment under siege; now the fourth amendment is being assaulted.

    Next it’ll be the 9th getting mugged.

    America appears a very violent place.

  • Let’s repossess all the guns. That will be like pulling their teeth out. Make ’em into lovable puppies.

  • But key Democrats [and, needless to say, the GOP minority, which (other than Ron Paul) unanimously supported the bill] ran around spouting pure propaganda, telling the public that they were supporting this new FISA bill because it would safeguard and even enhance civil liberties protections.

    To be fair, the new FISA bill does include some additional civil liberties protections. It makes much clearer the principle that FISA is only supposed to apply to non-US citizens and communications to and from foreign sources.

    However, it also lowers accountability even more. I can understand why congressmen supported it, but they really aren’t considering the larger picture which is that FISA itself is unconstitutional.


  • Greenwald’s blog makes a case for this Dave, you may wish to read it.

    …widespread eavesdropping abuses enabled by the 2008 FISA bill…aren’t a bug in that bill, but rather, were one of the central features of it. Everyone knew that the FISA bill which Congressional Democrats passed — and which George Bush and Dick Cheney celebrated — would enable these surveillance abuses. That was the purpose of the law: to gut the safeguards in place since the 1978 passage of FISA, destroy the crux of the oversight regime over executive surveillance of Americans, and enable and empower unchecked government spying activities. This was not an unintended and unforeseeable consequence of that bill. To the contrary, it was crystal clear that by gutting FISA’s safeguards, the Democratic Congress was making these abuses inevitable.

  • It is interesting to compare the reactions to the BC article which claims that the First Amendment is seriously endangered because of isolated statements by members of a few rather crackpot “cults” — not Governmental actions — and to the text provided by Ruvy in Comment #2 dealing with the possible future consequences of actual Governmental actions.

    If any threat to the First Amendment is presented by the groups cited in the former article, it seems to be minuscule. On the other hand, the threats noted in Ruvy’s Comment #2 are grounded in Governmental actions and possible future follow-on abuses; I find the recent summary of the DHS directive far more worrisome than a few isolated nongovernmental statements by cult members.

    Today, when Secretary Napolitano was interviewed on Morning Joe, it was required that only one question be asked about the DHS directive summary, with no follow-up allowed. The directive has been summarized but the text has not been released, and apparently will not be. This, in the age of governmental transparency.

    Perhaps the lack of derision in the one case, and the overabundance of derision in the other, are related to the principal that we can easily conceive of a few thousand dollars, but find a trillion dollars incomprehensible. The statements complained of in the BC article are easy to understand and condemn, while the sort of problems raised in the text in Ruvy’s Comment #2 are pernicious beyond comprehension. That does not mean that there is no cause for concern, or that someone who warns about them is, ipso faco a “nut job.”


  • The DHS report summary is “just routine,” so obviously there is little if anything about which to be concerned. However,

    The senior Democrat of the House committee with oversight of the department said the most recent report raises privacy and civil liberty issues. “This report appears to have blurred the line between violent belief, which is constitutionally protected, and violent action, which is not,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., wrote in a letter to Napolitano.

    He may well be a right wing nutjob; there is nothing about which to be concerned, just move on, folks.


  • Cindy, as a rule I usually assume that Greenwald is full of crap unless there’s overwhelming evidence otherwise. He’s so relentlessly partisan and his viewpoint is so one-sided that he’s hard to take seriously.

    In this case, the bill as written, does not support his contention particularly well. What the FISA amendment does is basically to loosen restrictions on those types of wiretaps allowed under FISA, while at the same time making much more absolute and clear the restrictions on those wiretaps NOT allowed under FISA.

    So what it says is basically that if you are wiretapping foreign calls and foreign citizens there are virtually no requirements or qualifications or need for record keeping. But at the same time it strictly prohibits wiretapping US citizens at all, including outside of the US.

    This is what the act says, regardless of Greenwald’s assumptions. The problem with the NSA appears to be that it did not follow those guidelines.


  • Thank you, Joanne, for your kind words, and Dan for recognizing the possible dangers your country faces.

    I do not know that I’m in the position to argue with Professor Woods – I do not live in the States anymore – thank G-d!

    But this – no one rational in Texas takes anyone who teaches at a Baptist university seriously is a pack of shit. Dave didn’t take warnings of a financial collapse seriously either. My question is why should we take Dave’s opinions seriously?

    Professor Woods is not writing a Baptist screed, he is warning of events as he sees them – as a history professor and more importantly, as a student of history. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Just because a skunk warns me that the dam upriver broke doesn’t mean that I’ll turn my nose up at his warning – though I may turn my nose up at the skunk himself.

  • Obama released 4 Bush torture memos. (Apparently partly blacked out.) In a bad move he gave immunity against prosecution to CIA personnel who took part in torture. Why give immunity before an investigation is even done? The ACLU coverage–with the memos and criticism.

  • Cindy


    Greenwald is basically discussing the NYT article by the reports who investigated FISA in the first place.

    In The New York Times last night, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau — the reporters who won the Pulitzer Prize for informing the nation in 2005 that the NSA was illegally spying on Americans on the orders of George Bush…

    So, do you like them any better? If not you are on your own. The argument convinced me.

  • So Ruvy,

    Would you accord me a far greater credence were I to tell you I’m a professor of philosophy?

    Just kidding.

  • And we still haven’t resolved the question of Prof. Woods’ lecture tour. Is it on or off?

  • Dr. Demento PhD.

    B.S. – (self-explanatory)
    M.S. – More of the Same.
    PhD – Piled Higher and Deeper.

  • Titles and distinctions. What wouldn’t we do for success?

  • Ruvy might at least wish to consider the possibility that Prof. Wood’s identity has been misappropriated before he gives too much credence to spam emails.

  • Well, Lisa.

    Prof. Woods is listed among the faculty of the SBU. I suppose it is ascertainable whether he was the rightful author.

  • Wow. You’ve done it. I’ll be darned.

  • Ruvy,

    I’ve told you something was fishy about this guy. A phony-baloney.

    In a way, I’m sorry. There goes the lecture tour.

  • A word to the wise,

    An excerpt from Prof. Wood’s disclaimer of the spam email (see comment #2 and the link by Lisa McKay, #41):

    “Along the way, I’ve also learned that websites such as http://www.snopes.com and http://www.truthorfiction.com are excellent tools for investigating online hoaxes.”

  • Clavos

    Americans tend to give far too much credence and authority to people with Prof. before, and PhD after, their names.

  • Well, Ruvy fell for it like it was gospel truth.

  • I generally do not like being made a fool of. I suspect most folks don’t. This went to the fellow who sent this out.

    Having posted this “professor’s” letter at Blogcritics, where I hang my hat, and having been hoisted on my own (or your) petard, I send you this “spike”. The side of crow can be obtained for a mere 7 shekels. Put some black pepper and chili on it – it’ll taste better. There are definite problems with this guy’s identity…..

    Mind you – I tend to agree with the what this fellow wrote – as you do. But it would be nice if he had the balls to do it under his own name…

    Enjoy, Shabbat shalom.

  • Baronius

    The author’s name and credentials don’t really matter. They weren’t enough to persuade the disbelievers when we thought he had a doctorate, and they’re not enough to convince people that he’s wrong now that we find out it’s falsely attributed. What we really consider is his argument, just as we would consider any argument that gets posted here. And on those terms, it doesn’t hold up.

  • I’m surprised you don’t find any humor here. Even Ruvy does, to his credit.

  • STM

    Silver Surfer, OA (Ordinary Australian)

  • STM

    Mrs Silver Surfer, LO,HLAs WcC(Loud, opinionated, hot-looking Aussie sheila who can’t cook)

  • Newbie


    You rule, but I was wondering where all the outrage for the war in the middle east went? Did the media fall asleep on the job or is it because a democrat is in the white house. I would hate to think it was political, but jeez, I’m starting to lose faith in this country. Anyway, love to read you, hope to think democratic leadership could create some jobs as they have the majority.

  • I’m there with you.

  • Thanks, Newbie. I’ve been thinking about writing something on the ridiculous Afghanistan misadventure, but I’ll just get accused of more Obama bashing. IMO Afghanistan makes less sense than Iraq did and escalating it is pretty much insane. There’s nothing to be gained there at all.

    But no one wants to talk about that part of the world anymore, except maybe the possibility of the new Israeli government nuking Iran.


  • Dave, #55,

    I’m not so sure. What about the oil pipeline? Isn’t that the major reason? Otherwise, it wouldn’t make much sense.

    Have you seen “Charlie Wilson’s War?”

  • And I wouldn’t worry much about the criticism you might get. It’s not a popular venture, anyway, plus, you’ve got to write what you believe it, screw public opinion. And it’s less than a moral issue than a political one.

    A ripe topic for full-fledged discussion.

  • I’ve been thinking about writing something on the ridiculous Afghanistan misadventure, but I’ll just get accused of more Obama bashing. IMO Afghanistan makes less sense than Iraq did and escalating it is pretty much insane.

    Dave! Please write this! I would love to read this. Who cares if you get accused of Obama bashing? What’s new?