Outrage fatigue or not, I’m responding to this new one, U.S. secret eavesdropping
[because spying on U.S. citizens takes my o u t r a g e to a whole new level]:
President Bush said Saturday he personally has authorized a secret eavesdropping program in the U.S. more than 30 times since the Sept. 11 attacks and he lashed out at those involved in publicly revealing the program. …
Appearing angry at times during his eight-minute address, Bush left no doubt that he will continue authorizing the program.
Since one of the groups reportedly identified as “a threat” was a Quaker meeting in Florida, I infer the system has run amok: Won’t people realize — even those with little more than a passing idea of Quakers — that a commitment to peace, not terror, is the most consistent quality of Quakers?
That the system in place is too indiscriminate to distinguish nonviolent peacemakers from terrorists? That if it can’t make that distinction, no one’s safe from being targeted?
That you have no way of knowing whether you’ve already been targeted?
Won’t people realize that if a present president can step outside the law to eavesdrop without cause on those people now — for almost any value of those people — a future president may just as readily eavesdrop without cause on you later?
Or toss you into Gitmo without recourse?
This is a precedent that characterizes dictatorships, not honest democracies. Of course it must be forcibly rebuffed in its entirety if we want to keep calling the U.S. a democracy, much less an exemplary one.
I have little confidence in my current congressional representatives’ willingness to rectify wrongs — heck, one is a member of the egregious RSC — but I’ve written them today anyway because
I’m glad to still have representation, even if it’s currently only nominal
presumably there exists some outrage sufficient to rouse them to responsible, laudable action — and this one pegs the outrage meter for a lot of people
as all congressional representatives do, they deserve to hear their constituents’ views and requests, whether they ever intend to heed them
(Also, the RSC lists itself as being dedicated to “the protection of individual and property rights,” so this seems an excellent opportunity for its members to demonstrate said dedication.)
So I write my senators and representative:
This morning I heard the President of the United States say, as I understood him, that he intends to continue to violate federal law and the U.S. Constitution by authorizing spying on U.S. citizens with no oversight by the courts, or accountability to you in Congress or to us the people.
This is [a] grave mistake: No person is above the law, especially not the U.S. president, ostensibly its chief enforcer.
The point of a checks-and-balances system is that no one entity going off the rails can bring down the entire system. Any system, governmental or mechanical, that can be taken down by the failure of one of its parts is not a failsafe system; it is a broken system. But our government’s design is not broken: Congress is the mechanism designed by the Founders to respond to Executive Branch failure to abide by the law, to contain the damage being done to the whole.
As your constituent, I respectfully and forcibly request that you make an immediate clear public statement denouncing this gross misuse of U.S. military and intelligence resources.
No system of government that breaks its own laws and spies on its own citizens without cause or warrant can properly be called a democracy. Hence I will account your statement as defending democracy itself.
BTW, Scott Bateman provides a succinct audio summary of today’s presidential address as an animated short film.
[Many expletives were deleted in the publishing of this entry.]
I am not an expert just as IANAL, but I infer that the terms “wiretapping” and even “eavesdropping” don’t capture the full reality of what’s happening: I expect to learn that significant amounts of U.S. citizens’ phone-, email-, and of course webpage data are being bulk scanned and data mined.
This would explain the “screw getting warrants” attitude — because warrants aren’t feasible at the scale they’re engaging — and how Mr. Bush can say as recently as 2004 that literal wiretaps still require a court order.
It’s seeds of Big Brother, writ large.
Hmmm, what’s the distinction between “warrant” and “court order”? I see I’m using them interchangeably, but they’re probably legally distinct terms.
Developing research from the amazing Soj:
JPEN: The military is using NSA intercepts to spy on Americans
This, along with James Moore’s report Wednesday (author of Bush’s Brain) about being on the No Fly Watch List for at least a year — and numerous others reporting they’re on it, too — has kinda pressed my paranoia button. Damn. We used to be better than this.