Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Talking (Down) Points 

AMERICAblog does a great job at puncturing the stupidity of the following statement by Dubya spokesman Trent Duffy, regarding the Administration's illegal, warrantless eavesdropping on American citizens:
"This is not about monitoring phone calls designed to arrange Little League practice or what to bring to a potluck dinner," he told reporters. "These are designed to monitor calls from very bad people to very bad people who have a history of blowing up commuter trains, weddings, and churches."
I'm with AMERICAblog here -- if these people have a history of blowing those things up, then hell yeah; wire-tap 'em, follow them, spy on them, then arrest them for the crimes they committed -- after getting the proper warrants and following procedure so that your case doesn't blow itself up in Federal Court, leaving you with nothing.

Beyond that, though, look at Duffy's language. As if his references to Little League and potluck dinner weren't condescending enough (more on which below), something about the phrase "very bad people" just makes my ass itch. That's what you tell a five year-old after one of her parents was shot and killed in an armed robbery. It's not how you explain yourself to the American public. Or should we now call it The War on Very Bad People?

As for the Little League, etc., part of the comments, that's just bullshit. It's pap designed to assuage the Red Staters and Soccer Moms. But, in its patronizing tone, it also leaves out a denial that would probably be untrue were it made. Duffy did not deny that they were spying on people who happen to go to a certain Church (er, Mosque), or who attend certain legal meetings of political groups, or who stand on street corners protesting the war, or blog against the administration, etc., etc.

That's part of what they don't get in the outcry over this whole thing. You say you're only spying on terrorists? Fine. Then do it legally. Get the warrants within your 72 hour time frame. Release the lists to key members of Congressional Intelligence Committees, who can vet them in secret for any patterns of abuse. I can understand the concept of having to keep investigations in secret. That's a no-brainer. If Suspect A finds out he's being watched, then he can tell Suspect B, who passes it along and destroys the chain to Big Guy Z before anything can be done. But -- those conditions of secrecy could have been met by following the FISA laws.

And the Administration's breaking of those laws is what should make the alarm bells go off everywhere. Again, if they're only investigating known terrorists, people "who have a history of blowing up commuter trains, weddings, and churches", then people outside the Administration with the proper security clearances have a right to know. The fact that they're trying to keep it so secret makes me think that they're taking a page from Nixon's book, and using the government to monitor and harrass political enemies.

By the way, is the Administration only concerned with trains, weddings and churches? What about Synagogues? Office buildings? Abortion clinics? University professors? Or do they not want to go after genuine American bred terrorists like Randall Terry, and only focus on the brown ones from overseas?

As long as the Administration stomps its widdle foot and holds its widdle bweaf and won't tell us who those very bad people on its naughty list are, we can only assume that it's everyone not on their list. And we should only treat them like the children they are -- no supper, and straight to bed. That's what you get when you break the rules.

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