Wednesday, December 28, 2005


In case anyone's confused

The NSA domestic spying issue is somewhat complicated, dealing as it does with the intricacies of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and roving wiretaps and what constitutes a foreign power and all that. But as far as I can tell, it really boils down to one extremely significant point:

Without oversight, we must assume that the Executive Branch, and by extension the party that controls it, are using their self-appointed surveillance authority to spy on political opponents in order to consolidate power.

It may not be a charitable assumption, but it's the one that our founding documents - and, hell, our common sense - demand that we have. So it doesn't matter WHO the Bush Administration is actually spying on, or WHY they are actually doing it. We set up a system of checks and balances because we know without such a system, the temptation to move toward authoritarianism is too tempting (everybody thinks their authoritarian motives are for the best). THAT is what makes domestic spying with no oversight so gosh darn wrong; THAT is why it is almost uncertainly unconstitutional; THAT is why it must be stopped immediately, hearings held as early as next week, and probably impeachment should follow. It's not that I don't trust George Bush, per se, or any other president. It's that within the system of our democracy, I am effectively prohibited from trusting them. Otherwise, I am negligent, a poor citizen, and most of all a damn fool.

Oh, and for what it's worth, I don't trust George Bush. I frankly will be shocked should it turn out that no wiretappings have been ordered against Democrats, anti-war activists, judges, gay rights organizations, professors, students, bloggers, or anyone else on the unpublished-but-inevitable "enemies list."

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