Saturday, November 03, 2012
By William Fisher
Thank God, we are almost finished with the stupidest, least helpful, most
irrelevant, presidential contest in living memory.
Garnished with the most brainless series of "debates" in the history of
At least, when it began -- during the primary -- some of it was fun, in a
prurient way. Women came forward to accuse Herman Cain of crotch-grapping. Rick
Perry couldn't remember the third of the three Cabinet departments he was
promising to abolish. And so forth.
Funny? Yes, up to a point. After that, downright embarrassing. Not for the
candidates; they're free to make total fools of themselves -- and they did.
Embarrassing for the country.
Just think of it. The people who thought they would be absolutely dandy leaders
of the richest, most powerful country in the world, unable to enunciate a simple
But what there was of fun soon melted into disaster -- when people began to
realize what wasn't being debated. Climate change. Immigration. Our
off-the-charts incarceration rate. Our so-called "war on drugs.' Racial
profiling. Our military-industrial complex. Our vanishing middle-class. Our
abandon of the mentally ill. And on and on and on.
There is arguably only one other kind of issue so elemental that its omission
conceals the incendiary material that could actually bring us down.
It is our civil liberties -- the freedoms we are guaranteed in the first ten
amendments to the Constitution -- the Bill of Rights.
By which I mean such issues as prisons, extraordinary renditions, Guantanamo,
indefinite detention, military commissions, gun crime, warrantless wiretapping,
National Security Letters, the Drone Kill List, Afghan corruption, infiltrating
Muslim mosques, the rule of law, religious freedom, judges who aren't
ideologues, and on and on and on.
In hour after hour after catatonic hour, the words "civil liberties' were not
mentioned once. Not once.
Yet there are no values that come even close to constructing the picture of
America these freedoms help us build and maintain.
And on these, our candidates were silent.
To my in-box this morning came an article written by an Internet friend of mine.
It urged me to "not vote, or vote independent." Well, as Rachel Maddow likes to
say, "That would be fulfilling someone else's plan."
And indeed it would. So, no I won't sit this one out. I'll vote for Barack Obama
as far superior in everyway to the tin-man of Washington.
I'd rather vote for Gordon Gecko.
And hope we do better four years from now.
By William Fisher
So they’ll try again later this month, when the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case. Its decision, say the whistleblowers, could define the government’s ability to monitor innocent Americans’ international communications without a warrant.
Binney and Wiebe write, “Our touchstone was the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures and its guarantee that warrants could be issued only with probable cause and against specific targets. Whenever we suspected that an American abroad or someone inside the United States might be involved in terrorism or espionage, we carefully gathered the evidence and presented it to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which meets in secret to protect classified information. Only if that court gave us permission would we monitor an American’s communications.”
- Violates the First (freedom of speech, freedom of the press) and Fourth (against unreasonable searches and seizures) Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
- Invests the National Security Agency with sweeping power to monitor Americans’ international phone calls and emails without a probable cause or warrant requirement, so its effect is to allow the NSA to conduct dragnet surveillance, not just surveillance directed at suspected terrorists and criminals.
- Does not provide for meaningful judicial review or congressional or public oversight.
“Dedication to Open Government” is another principal the NSA says it is committed to. Its web site says, “It is our goal to make NSA/CSS records available to the public in a timely manner and in accordance with applicable laws and policies.”