But I Don’t Want Internal Safeguards . . .

Once we established the supposedly constitutional right to abortion, grounded in the right to privacy, it was just a matter of time before the genuine right to privacy came apart in our hands. A nation that does not know what privacy is can hardly protect it. You can’t guard what you can’t define.

The NSA surveillance program, on paper, works like this. They vacuum up all this data, and store it in cyber-bins, and then, if something in the computer searches of the metadata arises that makes them want to peek into one of the bins, they have to go to a (secret) court to get permission to do so. Feel better?

Even if this were a good idea, which it isn’t, the reason this scandal is so damaging is that has come hard on the heels of a series of other revelations, all of them demonstrating that the government simply cannot be trusted with the information they have on you.

Never forget that Obama got his start in national politics by arranging to have the sealed court documents in his senatorial opponent’s divorce case made public. And the DOJ lied to one of those safeguard courts about James Rosen being a co-conspirator in a leak case, and they lied so that they could then rummage through all his stuff at will. And the acknowledged IRS abuses show that the IRS systematically targeted political opponents of the president in their reviews of applications for 501(c)4 status. That is bad enough, but we also have the widespread allegations that the IRS has also been targeting political opponents of the president with audits. This tactic has, in principle, someone facing prison time simply because he donated money to the Romney campaign. Welcome to the new America, kid.

Now the defense of the NSA’s activity is that in order to “protect Americans” they have to “collect” all this metadata, put it on the shelf, and then if probable cause ever arises in the case of a particular somebody, they go off to get a warrant to look into the box they already have stored on the premises, all convenient like. And we believe this, why? If they didn’t go get that warrant, who would know? How trustworthy have they been with our data so far? Not at all, you say? Ah.

But they have internal safeguards! Ah, but that’s where they make their blunder. They are asking me to trust them, and I don’t. I don’t want internal safeguards. I want external safeguards.

And besides, who was in charge of these internal safeguards? Edward Snowden?

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6 thoughts on “But I Don’t Want Internal Safeguards . . .

  1. It’s like the “Affordable Healthcare Act” which makes healthcare unaffordable-to know what’s in the act we must first pass it.
    The NSA thingy is about keeping America secure-saving it from terror. In order to save America we must first destroy it.

  2. This is right on the money. It all comes down to idolatry anyways. This time, it’s power and control. The government feeds off of its rulers’ thirst for power. And we sit idly by and watch it happen. All in the name of safety.

  3. Doug,
    May I suggest an inaccuracy there.
    From what I read of the IRS scandal it might be better put:

    “IRS systematically targeted supposed political opponents”

    You didn’t have to actually be a political opponent, you only had to seem like one to them, then you got the fine tooth comb.

    Which is only to reinforce your point which is well made.
    God bless.

  4. Doug, for once I agree with you. I only have a couple of things to add.

    First, the real problem is not Obama, it’s the American public, which by and large supports giving the national security apparatus whatever tools it claims to need so we can feel safe from the terrorists. In a sane, rational world, like the one the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights were written for, the public would rise up and demand change; instead, polling data says the public is mostly OK with these surveillance programs.

    Second, the next problem is the judges. Lawyers for the NSA can lie to courts about James Rosen and whatever else they like, because there is no penalty for doing so. They aren’t going to be disbarred, they aren’t going to be held in contempt, they’re not even going to get scolded. If we had a sane, rational judiciary, the government would only have to be caught in a lie one time for the courts to no longer take them seriously. Instead, courts seem not to care about the integrity of their own processes.

    Third, we need to give up the quaint fiction that we are a free people and just admit that this is a police state, and has been for some time. Such liberties as hadn’t already been killed off by the war on drugs are now being strangled by the war on terror. This nation is ruled by “the people”, and we have civil rights, only in the same sense that Betty Windsor rules England: Mostly as a figurehead, with a few reserve powers that are almost never exercised. Our politicians give lip service to liberty, just as English politicians give lip service to the crown, and then do as they please.

    But all of this comes back to mostly being a nation of sheep. We really do get the government we deserve.

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