Belaboring the Obvious

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Inches given...

... equal miles taken....

Yet again, the DFHs warn about dangerously empowering the government, and are dismissed as hysterical, and, yet again, are proved to be right.

As Greenwald says at the above link, there's a very clear pattern that has evolved over these last several years, in which Congress ignores warnings, assures everyone that safeguards of liberty are in place, and, predictably, we find a few months later that it was just so much horseshit.

It's been a fairly common theme amongst civil libertarians that we are much more likely to lose our liberties incrementally, rather than all at once, and that those losses will be justified because of internal and external threats--real or imagined--to security. Such has it been ever since Ben Franklin penned his simple aphorism on the relationship of liberty and security.

Of course, one's suspicions should have been raised by the news that the NSA was expanding its collection facilities well beyond its existing Ft. Meade borders, and that doing so would have been a clear signal that new law was intended to expand spying programs, both in scale and kind, rather than placing Constitutional limits on existing programs (and, of course, a careful reading of recent legislation would have confirmed those suspicions). The facts on the ground belied what the Congress critters were saying publicly, as did the actual text of the legislation.

Predictably, even the expanded law was ignored, and infractions are now described as errors, or mistakes, or exceptions--euphemisms, as Greenwald notes, intentionally used to call lawbreaking anything but that. George Orwell noted, over sixty years ago, that political euphemisms were used in a very intentional manner--as a "defense of the indefensible."

Just as with the Supreme Court ruling on access to DNA evidence today, the government continues to believe that only it should have the technological advantage, and this is apparently true with regard to spying, too. The government's attitude, ever since 2001, has been that if it has the technological tools to spy, they should be used, and that warrants and other due process demands are limitations on use. Successive intelligence legislation has badly broken the due process system, and still, the government finds the few remaining limits on use intolerable and simply violates the law at will.

At some point, maybe even this pathetic crop of Congress critters will figure out that they've been punked by the intelligence services, but, frankly, I doubt it. They've willingly subverted their own rights, too, and that loss of rights hasn't yet caused them to seriously question their trade of real liberty for imagined security.


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