This next part is true, however.
The blogosphere is a lovely luxury for political junkies. We can now talk about politics in polite company, when it used to be against the rules. The blogosphere presents us with a kalaedoscope of varied opinion. You can find someone with whom to argue, if that interests you, or as is my preference , someone who will be a like minded kindred spirit. And it feels free to me, in that I can use the Internet without charge, if I pay my DSL bills and keep my virus killer under contract. There are many other luxurious aspects to the blogosphere, to which each of you can attest.
This part is true, as well.
The Bill of Rights in the Constitution gives us “permission slips” as well as our marching orders as we bloggers and readers make use of this very valuable citizenship resource, the Internet. Thus, I am allowed to speculate about an issue that has been bothering me since December of 2005, when the existence of a massive secret NSA program of surveillance was revealed by a whistle-blower to the New York Times.
This is my question for speculation.
Why is it that so many in government refuse to acknowledge the fact that the surveillance program is a massive violation of civil liberties? It has been a surprisingly widespread movement that includes good people, as well as those who are not well motivated. It is a trend that advocates ignoring basic Bill of Rights protections against unreasonable search and seizure.
And other questions bother me.
What are the reasons for operating outside the law? Could it be kept secret out of fear of revealing crucial espionage “sources and methods?” Could it be denied because it is illegal? Could it be allowed to persist because officials feel more beholden to corporations and governmental institutions than to the public at large? Could it be part of a concerted move towards fascism? Could it be that officials are so afraid of terrorists that they are willing to let themselves and all their personal information be available to the government without any legal probable cause?
It is pure speculation, but I believe that —
Almost all of our electronic communications are funneled through government databases. Understand that there are not yet valid reasons for being suspicious of us, no “probable cause.” Complicated algorithms deduce which of the communications could cause suspicion and need to be analyzed by agents. Going to court to get a surveillance warrant for an individual or company comes after the data mining, not before. This seems to me like unreasonable search and seizure, a violation of our Constitutional rights to privacy, to be “secure in our homes,” etc., etc.
This is my final speculation.
It seems to me there is a three legged stool of motivation holding up this assault on our basic civil liberties. The seat is made of secrecy. The first leg’s name is Vice President Cheney and his easy willingness to operate outside the law. The second leg’s name is President George Bush and the powerful allure of a Unitary Presidency. The third leg’s name is for those members of Congress who either have an irrational fear of being seen as unpatriotic, or alternatively, who have obligations to campaign contributors and/or corporations. I am sure there are other potential explanations of which I have not thought.
And I ask, am I the only one who feels this way?
View my current slide show about the Bush years, “Millennium,” at the bottom of this column.
(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)
My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.