December 18, 2005
Enemy of the People
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You've probably heard by now that Bush signed authorizations for 45-day warrantless NSA wiretap sprees 30 times, and that as many as "thousands" of people have been listened in on. Bush has not only defended his unconstitutional invasion of privacy and assault on U.S. civil rights, but is assailing the media for being treasonous enough to actually report it.
"As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk."That's their stock response, that anyone who challenges them is putting the nation at risk. In the name of national security, they believe that we will easily allow the Bill of Rights to be torn to shreds. This is the reason why the "Patriot" Act needs to be trimmed where the freedoms of U.S. citizens are infringed--unless you prefer a nation where the government's claims of security always trump the rights and civil liberties of all Americans.
But Bush claims the wiretaps were "legitimate"--why? Because, they tell us, the powers will only be used against people with terrorist ties. Yeah. Right. That's what they said about the Homeland Security department, that it would only be used to fight terrorism. But when 51 Texas Democratic legislators fled Texas to Oklahoma in an attempt to stop an illegal GOP redistricting scheme, the GOP did not hesitate to use the Homeland Security Department to track the Democrats via an airplane some of them used. If a power exists, it will be abused. That's why such things are forbidden in the Constitution. Sure, we could stop a lot of crime if we just gave up certain civil liberties. But only those whose fear outstrips their desire for freedom and liberty would give up those rights for that cause.
Bush overstepped his bounds, clearly. The New York Times would be the hero--except that it actually withheld the information about Bush's illegal actions for a year--meaning that they had this info possibly just before the 2004 elections, but agreed to withhold it at Bush' request, handing him a huge political victory against the interests of the people of the U.S., and the media at large.
But I suppose that none of this is really new--either Bush's casually destructive disregard for American civil liberties, or the media's lap-dog cooperation with the administration's political goals. Or Bush's attempt to smear any bad news about him as treasonous to the country. Still, it is painful to know how far down we've sunk, not to mention the fact that despite the clear illegality of warrantless searches (Paul Cox details the law very well in his new blog), you know no one will push this beyond a minor PR setback for the administration--though one can always hope this will prove to be the exception.
Posted by: ykw at December 19, 2005 03:51 AM
Posted by: Tim Kane at December 19, 2005 04:59 AM
Posted by: Paul at December 19, 2005 07:41 AM
Posted by: Luis at December 19, 2005 01:06 PM