According to reports from the Grey Lady (God knows how long they've sat on them), the surveillance of phone calls and e-mails and internet traffic by the Bush Administration was far more extensive than previously revealed. It included huge numbers of (surprise, surprise) domestic telephone calls, and vast data mining of who knows what (because, of course, releasing any aspect of this would be precluded in the name of "national security," which means, of course, that no one other than a high official of the nation is entitled to any security from an abusive government (if it happens to be that of the nation in which they reside, anyway.) Surprise, surprise, regulated communications companies actively assisted the government (like they'd protect your privacy?)
We also learn that the FBI has an extensive program of monitoring mosques for radiation levels, on the presumed assumption that Islamist terrorists would bring fissionable materials to prayer, or perhaps to swap meets at their mosques.
Meanwhile, as I previously observed, the government is trying to take a mulligan with respect to Jose Padilla, the American citizen picked up on American soil who was deemed "somehow too dangerous" to be subjected to our soft and squishy criminal justice system (and those annoying constitutional protections).
Massive government intrusion into our lives with warrantless searches, targeting of specific groups for arbitrary treatment, the arrest of citizens for secret detention without any due process of law, a President who, because of his "war-time powers", need not bother with either Congress or the courts to vet the legality or authority for his actions... I don't know about you, but those events all sound more like those of an authoritarian state than a constitutional republic.
And what's more amazing is that we have an apathetic public who has been weaned on bread and circuses; more concerned with, say, sports, pop culture and the latest electronic gadgets than with the fact that they are waking up in a country that is less of a free country seemingly by the day (oh... but its protecting us from terrorists... something that every American government had done... this one being the least successful at it!)
And we have a well-oiled right wing media machine that works something like you will see this one play out: a harumph from the Times and other commercial media, a call from the Administration that anyone who opposes the government actions is an overt supporter of "the terrorists" and a traitor, quickly seized upon by talk radio and the vast number of right wing blogs, many of which are recipients of Mr. Scaife's largesse, a commercial media that then reports "both sides of the story," when there is only one side, thereby adding to the perception of "scandal-fatigue," followed by whining lefty blogs (of which this is but one, with a small reach at that)... and that's it.
I'm beginning to think that even if this President did something seriously bad, like getting oral sex from a White House intern, the spin machine would work the same way, and nothing would happen...
Wouldn't it be cool to be on the thirty percent side of that lawsuit.
Posted by Thomas Ware at December 24, 2005 1:08 PM