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"Your 'reality', sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
— Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von M√ľnchhausen

Spies Like Us

Is it just me, or has the threat of terrorism become the ever-present boogeyman used to justify ever more egregious violations of our constitutional rights?

The latest on this front comes in the form of another secret presidential order (cf. Executive Order 13233) signed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. As reported by the New York Times:

Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.

... The previously undisclosed decision to permit some eavesdropping inside the country without court approval was a major shift in American intelligence-gathering practices, particularly for the National Security Agency, whose mission is to spy on communications abroad. As a result, some officials familiar with the continuing operation have questioned whether the surveillance has stretched, if not crossed, constitutional limits on legal searches.

Like the Patriot Act, whose provisions are so sweeping that they allow government agents to obtain personal information without any link between the individual and terrorist activites, this order is a violation of our constitutional protections against unlawful prosecution. I feel like I should be shocked, but there has been so much evidence of unchecked abuse of power by a one-sided legislature, that it's hard not to be jaded.

I ask the voting public to consider one thing: what will happen if this is allowed to continue? Why should we authorize our representantives to betray our trust? Terrorism is real, there's no denying that. We should do everything we can to protect ourselves. But without careful consideration, thoughtful debate, the checks and balances that form the foundation of our brilliant democracy do not work. The laws will reflect the agenda of the ruling party instead of reflecting the will of the people. If we do not achieve some kind of balance in our congress, then we will be dismantling our own future, brick by brick, willfully trading away our freedom for imagined protection from a spectral threat.


Comments on Spies Like Us
  Comment from Blogger Herself at Friday, December 16, 2005 8:32:00 PM
Yes! Yes! Cross over children into the Left!
  Comment from Blogger Red Bull at Tuesday, December 20, 2005 4:36:00 PM
It's true. I'm becoming one of them! Agh!

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The Red Bull Diary is the personal pulpit and intellectual dumping-ground for its author, an amateur game designer, professional programmer, political centrist and incurable skeptic. The Red Bull Diary is gaming, game design, politics, development, geek culture, and other such nonsense.