Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Spy vs. Spy: A real cartoon affair

I have been upset over the conduct of the Bush Administration with regards to its determination to use American lives in implement a forced form of government in a Middle Eastern country that doesn’t necessarily want such a system.
All the corruption and lying has been exasperating and the blatant display of greed has been humiliating. The overt disregard for victims of Hurricane Katrina by totally incompetent government lackeys has been tragic.
But the revelation by the New York Times of domestic spying by the Bush White House, using the National Security Administration (NSA), has really got my blood boiling because it is a complete rape of the U.S. Constitution and everything this nation stands for.
The question becomes, “Who is the enemy?” Is it as Pogo/cartoonist Walt Kelley once penned, “I have met the enemy and he is us.”
If we crack on one of our basic freedoms, we damage them all and we cease being the United States of America. This President should not brag about what he’s done and swear to continue to do it. Bush should stop reading the Iraqi Constitution that he bought (in blood and billions) and look at our own, which no one can duplicate because it is unique. It fits just us!
We don’t need the bleeding Patriot Act to secure our freedoms. We just need to act like Americans and defend what is set forth in the Constitution.
Traditionally, Americans HATE being spied upon by their government and President Bush shows no contrition in his action by not only confirming the report, but in fact, seeming to be quite proud.
The 1978 FISA law states clearly that you cannot wiretap a domestic call involving a United States citizen without a court order. It doesn’t say that the order has to be made public. But you need to give a reason to a judge. It’s all about the freaking Constitution.
If it starts here, when will it end? Frankly, I don’t trust this administration one iota (by the way … how big is an IOTA?) to harness itself and to tell the truth about the limits of what it is doing?
Our answer to others is this: WE, the USA, are different from other countries. Our freedoms are far more extensive and ultimately, precious beyond anyone’s comprehension. We don’t give them up for nuthin’ - even when the President of the United States wants us to give them up.
I ask ‘Who would be next?” You? Me? When, by God, would it, and will it, end?
Hollywood made a not-so-great Denzel Washington-Bruce Willis movie, “The Siege,” in the late 1990s, which did open an interesting debate about putting Arab-Americans into forced detention merely because of their ethnicity (following the first World Trade Center bombing). It brought forth all the arguments about citizen safety, profiling and imminent threat. The Hollywood answer was obvious, but it doesn’t make it wrong.
This nation treated American citizens as enemies in World War II only because of their heritage. Oddly, because no one could automatically tell who was a German and who wasn’t, no one of Teutonic descent was ever deterred. Only if you were Japanese. It was wrong then; it is wrong to behave like that now. Circumstances don’t wash the stink off it.
Bush has also taken direct aim at the press for doing its job (his statements are laughable considering just how hard his administration has tried to manipulate and falsify commentary and reporting). It’s gotten to the point where we are seemingly afraid of everyone - xenophobic to the nth degree ... and we blame everything on 9/11 - from Katrina response to immigration to the Cowboys loss against the Redskins last Sunday.
But I guess you’re NOT paranoid if someone is REALLY after you.
I want to quote a posting from Jim Mitchell on the Dallas Morning News' editorial blog.
“Let me take a quick crack at the “if you aren’t doing anything wrong, why do you care?” argument. Two quick reasons:
The American understanding of privacy is that it is protected unless there is a compelling reason to tinker with the protections. Even then there are clear rules of behavior. And even if you aren’t doing anything wrong, the idea of your conversations becoming something that the government can listen in on runs counter to this principle.
Probable cause
I want to know that the executive branch has to show probable cause to an independent third party. That’s a reason for requiring the executive branch to go into a court, open or closed, to provide a reason for a wire tap. I also suppose a lawyer could make an argument that unauthorized wiretaps amount to an illegal search especially if notes or other information is kept in a government database. On another level, the protection from having to show a motivation that vaguely approaches probable cause is the reason police officers aren’t allowed to pull over people at random.
I know that in times of war, the executive branch gets more leeway than if the nation weren’t at war. That is what the Patriot Act debate is all about - it’s essentially an expansion of war/police powers without having to use those politically charged words.
The president has made it clear that he wants to change the rules with the Patriot Act. But civil libertarians and others have made it clear that they want some limits to expanding executive powers. What is troubling to me is that the president seems to be taking a position that he doesn’t have to abide by the warrant rules.”
When Bush and his minions do these things, I (and others) begin to care less and less about Iraq and ITS future.
And doesn’t AG Alberto Gonzales look like some mousy version of Renfield. All he has become is a “yes” man; not the nation’s lawyer. At least … not THIS nation.

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