Don’t look in the mirror. You won’t like what you see.
To my generation, nobody ever wanted to grow up to be like mom and dad. Indeed, many of my girlfriends were majorly traumatized when they realized they’d grown up to be “just like Mother.” It appears this is what’s happening to us now as a nation. We’ve grown up to be the countries we were warned against. We’re starting to bear a strange resemblance to countries led by people with names like Stalin or Franco.
If you’ve read the news or listened to the radio today, you know that information about our phone calls is being kept by our government. Not recordings of the conversations; they’re not listening-in. But there collecting stuff–like the number called, the time of day, the length of the call and the geographical location from which the call was made. We found this out yesterday when information about the program, carried out under authority of the Patriot Act, was made public by the Brit publication The Guardian:
“The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.
“The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.
“The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19.”
We’ve since learned this “three-month period” is but part of an uninterrupted string of three-month periods that’s been going on for seven years. We’ve also learned that President Obama and Senator Feinstein thinks this is just peachy keen:
“A White House spokesman said that laws governing such orders ‘are something that have been in place for a number of years now’ and were vital for protecting national security. Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, said the Verizon court order had been in place for seven years. ‘People want the homeland kept safe,’ Feinstein said.”
When I voted for Mr. Obama I knew he wasn’t a lefty, but I assumed he would respect the constitution and work to return our constitutional rights after they’d been stolen from us during the previous administration’s eight year reign. Then again, I also assumed that under his leadership the use of drones, with their inevitable deadly “collateral damage,” would be ended rather than escalated. As for Ms. Feinstein, I can only imagine that George Moscone is spinning in his grave.
Thankfully, not everyone in U.S. politics is completely daft–though it’s doubtful that reason will prevail. Mark Udall is exhibiting an understanding of the importance of our constitutional rights, as is Al Gore:
“Intelligence committee member Mark Udall, who has previously warned in broad terms about the scale of government snooping, said: ‘This sort of widescale surveillance should concern all of us and is the kind of government overreach I’ve said Americans would find shocking.’ Former vice-president Al Gore described the ‘secret blanket surveillance’ as ‘obscenely outrageous’.
I’m outraged, but I’m not surprised. Since Reagan was elected to the White House 32 years ago, I’ve grown used to being outraged. I’ve also learned to not be surprised when players who should know better, like Senator Feinstein, turn out to be nothing more than mere puppets for the machine.
In the morning when he shaves, I wonder who’s face Obama sees staring back at him from the mirror. And Ms. Feinstein, does she realize she’s turned into a kindler, gentler, better dressed version of Maggie Thatcher?
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