Ladyrebecca's Musings and Ramblings

The Increasingly Political Thoughts of Rebecca (Becky) Walker

Bush Warns House on Surveillance March 13, 2008

Not really quite sure where to begin on this one. I’ve honestly not read that many quotes of our Commander and Chief, George W. Bush, so I am surprised and appalled by his obvious and transparent fear mongering. In the following article, I am going to underline some key points and then comment (in red) immediately after. If you wish to read the article in its entirety without comment first, click on the title.

Bush Warns House on Surveillance

Published: March 13, 2008

WASHINGTON — With the House poised to vote today on electronic surveillance legislation that the White House has said falls far short of its requirements, President Bush warned legislators strongly Thursday morning against passing what he called “a partisan bill that will undermine American security.”

In clear defiance of the White House, (which is a separate and not higher branch of our Federal Government) the proposal from House Democratic leaders would not give retroactive legal protection to the phone companies that helped in the National Security Agency program of warrantless wiretapping. (So they did something illegal or at least unethical, thereby worthy of litigation and now they want protection. Whoops.) Mr. Bush also threatened to veto any such measure, should it reach his desk. (So why do we even bother with the Senate and Congress if the only laws that are going to get passed are the ones the President agrees with. Why don’t we just let him run the whole damn country?) I’m going to interrupt my rantings to include a quote from Represntative John Coyers, Jr. (D-Mich), “At the same time the administration is trying to intimidate the Congress into giving it additional spying power, we find out yet again that it has abused its authority to pry into the lives of law abiding Americans,” Conyers said in a statement.

The Senate last month passed a bill that did provide such protection and also broadened government eavesdropping powers. (That’s great. Just great. I’ll tell you what the government needs more of…eavesdropping powers. Yup. They do not have enough power. Think how much easier Ruby Ridge would have been if they could have just listened to phone conversations and saved the trouble of sending a man up to trick Randy Weaver into breaking the law. I mean, think of the money we will save if we just give the Feds more power.)

Using tough language on a subject on which he has been persistent and unswerving, Mr. Bush warned (or what? He’ll send them to time out?) House members that “they should not leave for Easter recess without getting the Senate bill to my desk.”

He argued that failure to pass the Senate language would make it harder to detect emerging terrorist threats. (I would really like to hear about some of these emerging terrorist threats they’ve detected so far by eavesdropping on whoever the hell they want to. Oh, wait, that’s right. They are probably being held in the secret prisons which are in secret locations where we can do secret stuff to the them. I forgot.)

“Voting for this bill would make our country less safe,” (right…because removing rights from the populace is such a good way to make your people safe…Idiot.) Mr. Bush said. “Congress should stop playing politics with the past and focus on helping us prevent attacks in the future.” (First of all, Congress is not playing politics with the past [maybe they are but the result is not]. They are preventing, ironically, big companies from being shielded from the consequences of their behavior. Second, if Mr. Bush is really so concerned with future terrorist attacks, maybe he should get us the hell out of the Middle East. If we as a country had kept our word after the first Gulf War and removed our troops from Saudi Arabia, Mr. Bin Laden might still be on our side rather than organizing the bloodies terrorist attacks the US has ever seen.)

Democrats have accused the president of fear-mongering, (I have to agree) saying surveillance can be monitored more carefully without losing its effectiveness.

Administration officials say that the Democrats know that the House version would face probable defeat in the Senate. Mr. Bush has threatened, (There we are again with the threatening.) in any case, to veto such language. But House Democratic leaders have shown themselves more ready than in the past for a fight on national security.

Mr. Bush also argued again that the House Democrats’ approach would unfairly expose the phone companies to lawsuits that could potentially be enormously expensive. (HA HA HA HA. Enormously expensive. Not unjust. Not unfair. Not even unkind or mean, but enormously expensive. That’s great. At last the man has revealed that his god is in fact, the dollar bill.)

“House leaders simply adopted the position that class-action trial lawyers are taking in the multibillion law suits they have filed” against the phone companies, he said. This “would undermine the private sector’s willingness to cooperate with the intelligence community, cooperation that is essential to protecting our country from harm.” (Um, not really. I think he’s saying that if this law were passed, the private sector (that being the general populace, I assume) would see it as a precident of not bending over backwards to cooperate with the intelligence community. Why do they need our cooperation when they can just bug our phone. After all, by not cooperating aren’t we just revealing that we have something to hide, therefore giving them reasonable suspicion that we might be terrorists? And of course, that cooperation is ESSENTIAL to protecting our country from harm. Yeah. That’s what Hitler told the people of Germany. “Your cooperation in turning in your neighbors and friends is ESSENTIAL to protecting our country from harm.” Does that freak anyone else out?)

Instead of giving the companies blanket immunity, as the Senate would do, the House proposal was understood to give the federal courts special authorization to hear classified evidence and decide whether the phone companies should be held liable. (So instead of using a case by case approach, the Senate (and Mr. Bush) want to just pretend that there was never any problem and the phone companies couldn’t have possibly done anything wrong, because after all, they are a big business and stand to loose a lot of money if they are found in the wrong and then where would Mr. Bush and his lap dogs get campaigning money?)

But the president said that this approach “could reopen dangerous intelligence gaps (fear mongering) by putting in place a cumbersome court approval process that would make it harder to collect intelligence on foreign terrorists(fear mongering) and could lead, he said, to disclosure of state secrets. (fear mongering) I would like to read about someone who was a genuine threat and was found through their phone conversations. I’d really like to hear about it. Maybe it’s happened and I’ve simply not been paying attention. If such a case has happened, please leave a link the sources so I can be informed.

Their partisan legislation would extend protections we enjoy as Americans to foreign terrorists overseas,” Mr. Bush said. (Gee, I really don’t see that. If a terrorist is overseas having a phone conversation with someone in the US, and they are seen to be a threat, our government has the soveriegnty to apprehend the person on US soil. So, what protection are they “extending” to foreign terrorist overseas? Oh, that’s right. Mr. Bush has stated that any country that has a terrorists in it (or is suspected of having a terrorist in it) is an enemy of the US. So we can go apprehend them from any other country as well. I think the real problem Mr. Bush has with this legislation is that it would limit the number of countries he can order our troops to invade and would limit the frequency of such action.)

In a statement yesterday, 19 Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee questioned the administration’s arguments.

“We have concluded that the administration has not established a valid and credible case justifying the extraordinary action of Congress enacting blanket retroactive immunity as set forth in the Senate bill,” they said.

Some 40 lawsuits are pending in federal courts, charging that by cooperating with the eavesdropping program put in place after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the phone companies violated their responsibilities to customers and federal privacy laws. (But that’s okay and we should all be thankful that Mr. Bush is willing to set our rights aside to protect us from the evil terrorists. We should not hold the phone companies liable for their behavior. We shouldn’t ask them to be responsible or even ethical. We should give them immunity because…because…otherwise, you are a terrorist-loving, unpatriotic, sinful, ungrateful, tree-hugging turncoat and we don’t like you.)

 

National Security or National Spy-on-your-citizens? February 19, 2008

Filed under: Political — Addicted to Yarn @ 9:37 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The phrase “National Security” brings my blood to a boiling point.

“National Security.”

Not personal freedom. Not individual’s rights. Not uphold the Constitution (though I have problems with the Constitution, at least it’s a standard to which the Federal Government could be held). Just “National Security.”

“National” as in, I don’t have to do anything because I can rest in the group identity of being a part of the “nation.”

“Security.” Most people think of safety and that’s reasonable. But is it reasonable to expect anyone or anything to keep you safe, besides your self? What right do you have to safety you are not willing to guarantee yourself? I have a right to safety because I am willing to cut down anyone trying to harm me or mine. I am willing to accept the increased danger and responsibility of having a firearm in my home because I understand that my family’s safety is my job and no one else’s. The government can not keep me safe nor is it their job. It is my job and mine alone.

An example. I am a parent. It is my job to keep my daughter safe until she has the maturity to make decisions for herself. With this comes a decrease in her personal freedom. She doesn’t get to cross the street whenever, where ever, however, she pleases. She must wait until I am with her. She must wait for my timing. She does not get to eat whatever, whenever she wants. She must eat what I put in front of her, when I put it in front of her (with increasing choices as she gets older). She does not get to play with whomever, whenever, where ever, she likes. I limit her friendships and contacts based on a multitude of factors, many of which she is not yet aware. As she matures, who she chooses to be friends with will fall upon her shoulders more and more but part of her training for adulthood is the limiting of negative influences (she’s four by the way, and the standards for her friends are that they not be overly cruel and that they have supervision and that the TV not be on constantly). She does not have privacy. I listen when she and her friends are talking, making sure that everyone is playing fair and that I am prepared for any questions or comments that may spring from their conversations. I read her mail to her. I listen as she talks on the phone. I do not allow her to play with guns or knives, while training her to respect them and shortly will begin her training in the safe and appropriate use of them. She does not yet bear the burden of defending herself. That burden is mine to bear while she is a child.

However, if when she has reached adulthood, I continue to run her life in this manner, any sane person would say it had become unhealthy and, if one truly thought it through, immoral.

So why do we allow the federal government to make these kinds of rules and restrictions for us? The government has the “right” to wiretap phones without a warrant. “National Security” they say. Bullshit. “National Control” might be a better phrase. They are taking more and more control and the American public grabs hold of that hand and says, “Thank you so much for not making me look both ways before I cross the street. I would hate to be responsible for my own safety.”

We say, “Thank you for listening in on my conversations. I would hate to have to think for myself and try to deduce the meaning of a conversation without your help.”

It’s laziness and an unwillingness to take personal responsibility. If my daughter, upon reaching adulthood, refuses to take responsibility for her actions, I have failed. If she still needs me to decide if a friend is a good influence on her, she has not been trained up in the way she should go. If I must still protect her from playground bullies, then I have failed in my parental duty to teach her to defend herself.

BUT, she shares in the responsibility. I may have been a crappy parent but she could have taught herself those things. And that is where the American people as a whole stand. We’ve had a crappy parent. Our parent (the government) taught us that the police would protect us; they had our best at heart; they knew best for us; they could better decide what we needed to learn in school, who we could learn from; they knew how much we were worth as we entered the job market; they knew what we needed financially; they keep us safe by not allowing us to have guns because we might hurt ourselves.

It is time to wake up, America. The government is not your friend. It is not your parent. It is not your uncle. The government is a business and it is in the business of having, keeping and securing more power. Government has a place. Don’t get me wrong. But it must fear its people and not the other way around.

I don’t believe the United States Constitution to be a flawless document but it’s better than nothing. You might be under the false understanding that the Constitution guarantees certain “unalienable” rights. You are wrong. The Constitution simply spells out the things that are worth fighting for. “Unalienable” means they are yours whether they are recognized or not. The only thing that guarantees a right is the willingness to fight and die for those rights. Americans are so afraid of fighting, the danger and death which it brings, that they are willing to give up all of their rights simply so they don’t have to experience any of the suffering of defending those rights.

I’m not sure the average American deserves those rights. An inability to see that some things are worth fighting for and worth dying for and an unwillingness to fight for something as precious and beautiful as personal freedom denotes a character so small and ill formed, I’m not sure it’s worth saving.

This is the article which inspired this rant. US Court Throws Out Challenge to Wiretap Program

Oh, and check this one out. Amtrack