Sunday, May 14, 2006

The band REM once sang, “It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine”. Well it may soon be the end of the world as we know it, but I don’t feel too good.

Some days I worry. I wish I didn’t. I wish I could just shut up, shut down and become a shut in addicted to reality TV. But alas I’m a sappy old school Democrat, who borders on being a Socialist really. Plus I’m a guilt-ridden practicing Catholic. Who will keep practicing until I get it right I tell you. So I worry. I’m good at it and see no real reason to squander my gifts. I’d like to think that what has me rather worried right now isn’t a big deal. I’d like to think it would all just go away. I’d like to think this is all going to work out well. I worried I have a perfectly good reason to worry.

Remember back to all the fuss over the wire-tapping without a warrant? Even though there are these little things called FISA courts that basically hand out warrants like Halloween candy. God I miss the good old days.

Now we have learned that the National Security Agency or NSA is collecting the phone records of almost all the calls made in the United States. The NSA is not alone in this act. Three of the largest telecommunication firms have allowed them to do it. AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth all allowed the NSA access to their records without so much as a single warrant. Those three companies have allowed the NSA access to some 2 trillion phone calls. This may be the largest database ever assembled. The NSA are such overachieving little Fascists.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re reading this without a care in the world. You’ve doing nothing wrong so you have nothing to fear. Let the NSA go through your phone records. It’s only the terrorists that need to worry. You see friend one of the costs of freedom is being forever vigilant against those would take that freedom away. If you really don’t see the problem with the NSA accessing your phone records then what else would be just fine? How about if they go through your bank statements or credit card records? How about if they mount cameras on every street in America to monitor your activity? How about if all cars have to be equipped with GPS devices to track where you travel?

There’s some fascinating irony in all this. Despite the fact the NSA is intruding on Americans privacy without so much as a warrant, they are themselves highly secretive. They are such a secret organization that they blocked a Justice Department investigation into the wiretapping controversy because the Justice Department lacked proper security clearance. You read that correctly. They even consider themselves above the federal government.

Something else caught my eye as I was getting ready to write this and I feel it relates to this. President Bush wants to use National Guard troops to keep out illegal immigrants coming in from Mexico. . It’s not like our National Guard isn’t over-burdened as is anyway. This despite the fact we not of a single terrorist who has ever came in from Mexico. One did come in across the Canadian border, but they’re white, so I guess that’s not a big issue

If you’ve read this blog for a while you remember I wrote quite a bit about fascism some time ago. There are two overpowering components of fascism. One is the dominance of the military. The other is the power that corporations possess. Let’s see, the NSA, an organization ran by a Gen. Hayden, is operating as if it is above the law. Large telemarketing corporations are willingly surrendering people’s personal information to the government without a warrant. Also let us remember the amount of money that corporations and the military have drained from the government for this so-called “war on terrorism”. Please remember that many of our soldiers lack proper body armor and regularly lack things like clean drinking water. Halliburton however is making a fortune from this horrible war. Our military budget is about 450 billion dollars. China spends the second most at about 50 billion. Our military budget is greater than the next 20 largest foreign military budgets combined.

When people find out I’m a pacifist I hear the line about how the military protects my freedom and I should appreciate them for that. I bear no malice against the military. I want all our soldiers to be safe and sound. Actually I would like the world to be safe and sound, but that’s just me. Anyway I find it odd that in spite of all the death and destruction Iraq and Afghanistan for our freedom. We are losing our freedom here every day. Every day something new is uncovered about this government that makes me more apprehensive. I hope Congress gets a backbone and puts an end to this madness, if not it’s going to be up to us. It’s the price we pay. If the government fails us we have to stand up and raise our voices and say, “Enough!” George Bush and his band of criminals have done enough damage. If Congress doesn’t put an end to this God only knows what he will do next. God only knows what he may have done in addition to the things we know. It’s truly scary.

As much as I think Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Rice need to go spend some time at the Guantanamo Bay hotel. I would settle for Congress ending this search of the citizen’s private records, destroying the database that contains those records and ending the wiretapping without warrant nonsense. I hope they can do this. If they cannot then we will have to. If we have to fight back it may get messy. If we don’t fight back then our freedoms will continue to erode. Then all that great minds like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine and all our forefathers gave to us. All that so many sacrificed so much for and that so many lives were lost for will be gone. It would be a terrible tragedy to be given such a wonderful government and to lose it. I worry we may have lost too much already.

“The basis of a democratic state is liberty” Aristotle

"We hold in our hands, the most precious gift of all: Freedom. The freedom to express our art. Our love. The freedom to be who we want to be. We are not going to give that freedom away and no one shall take it from us!" Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider

"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it." George Bernard Shaw

3 Comments:

Blogger Publius said...

So many things to say here, like how is Sir Thomas Paine one of our forefathers? But more importantly, the issue of border security between the U.S. and Mexico is a bigger problem than border security between the U.S. and Canada because millions of people and millions of pounds of drugs are not coming across our northern border; it has nothing to do with race and everything to do with laws. You speak of the law when it comes to wiretaps; why not speak of the law when you discuss illegal human and drug trafficking into this country from Mexico.

11:18 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Hello,

I know that Thomas Paine isn't traditioonally one of our forefathers. But to diminish what the man wrote and the utter brilliance of the man is a crime.

Also I see this whole border issue with Mexico as a worthless issue. Certainly we should have secure borders. But this nonsense of building fences and posting troops is waste of precious resources.

The drugs issue is a sad joke. The whole war on drugs is a losing effort. The war on drugs is more of a war on the poor specifically African-Americans.

The Mexicans who do come across are looking for one thing, oppurtunity. Isn't that what America strives to be? Isn't America the land of oppurtunity?

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how is thomas paine NOT a founding father? his name is synonymous with the american revolution. his contribution is without doubt. there are many who contributed more to the beginnings of this noble democracy than those who offered their delegate signature (which often depended on the political geographical/economical clout of each individual)to the constitution.

who is william few? don't know. but i know who thomas paine is.

6:21 AM  

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