Friday, May 19, 2006

Re: Big brother is watching, listening, and following you

Ryley posted a very good response to my post last week on the NSA stuff. I thought it was good enough to share are a post in and of itself:


First of all, I find your Hiroshima simile here both gross and fallacious. Almost as disturbing as you claiming you have “readers” that were “after your opinion on the issue.”

I too am disturbed, but not so much by these recent events specifically, but by the president they set. The fact is the average American has nothing to worry about…NOW. But…the government is on pretty shaky legal ground with this thing. If they haven’t broken constitutional law, they have definitely bent it severely. My question is: Where does it end? Will we see a snow ball effect? A journey of a 100 miles starts with one step. Is this the first step in a terrifying attack on our privacy?

Ultimately, though, the recent turn of events is a positive one. It has revealed a need. Like you said, Steve, one way or another, the Bush administration and the American intelligence community has our best interest in mind, but like I said, they are on shaky legal ground here. The reason? The new information age.

The current laws governing intelligence (as far as wire tapping and such) were written in the late 70’s and early 80’s and are grossly outdated, if not completely arcane. Lawmakers back then didn’t foresee millions of cell phones. They didn’t foresee being able to communicate instantly with someone halfway across the world with a couple of strokes on a keyboard. AND they didn’t foresee religious fanatic animals flying commercial jet liners into skyscrapers while screaming “Allah is good! Allah is great!”

Note to the Islamics: In no way do I mean to say that this is the norm. I realize this was the work of a few fanatics. Hey, I’m Christian. We’re worse. Ever hear of the crusades?

As stated above, Republican or Democrat, this recent revelation (oddly timed, don’t you think, coming just a week before the republican president is trying to get a new CIA director confirmed????) has shined a bright light on a dark and desperate need.

Law and policy must be updated to meet the needs of the current information age and to address a new evil. The Bush administration has our best interest in mind, but wire tapping must be regulated. There must be checks and balances. The main priority must be assuring that this doesn’t snowball, that our rights and liberties aren’t infringed upon more than is absolutely necessary.

As much as I hate how this issue, this “scandal” has been used as political currency, a lame attempt to stone-wall the confirmation of a highly qualified candidate for CIA director, I appreciate that it has raised the level of debate in this country. Ask 1000 Americans and 999 of them are all for unregulated, unrestricted wire tapping on international calls. And “unregulated and unrestricted” accurately describes our policy now and always. But…the issue of domestic wire tapping has never adequately been explored and/or debated.

It’s about fucking time.

I hear whispers, experts telling me that if such a program were in place before September 2001, that some, if not many, of the 911 hijackers would have been identified and captured. If this is the case, then such a policy should be strongly explored/considered. But obviously, the privacy of Joe American must be carefully protected.

This is not a black and white issue. The truth is somewhere in the middle. There must be a delicate balance. Don’t get caught up in the political mudslinging. Make your own decision.

I value my privacy, my “freedom” as much as anyone, my rights as an American, but what I value more is an America where you can head into the office and not be worried some maniac is going to fly a plane into it. An America where you can get on a subway and not be worried the brown man with the backpack is up to no good. That is freedom. Not having to live in fear.

Discussion is needed. Turn the TV off and talk.

Either way, I’m moving to Canada, land of hockey, Degrassi, the Mullet, and Allanis Morrisette…Fuck all ya’ll.


Well put Ryley. Degrassi rules!



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