Can You Hear Me Now?

bush-obama-morphingNo matter what you think of Obama – that he’s the best President ever, or the worst in history, you have to be surprised by today’s revelation that his wiretapping of innocent Americans supersedes any devious plot the collective minds of Bush Crime Family could devise.

Irony is the Teabaggers have been searching low and, well, lower to find something to stick on the President to diminish him in the public view.  From the ridiculous assertion that he’s from Kenya, or is a closet commie, or that he associates with domestic terrorists, or that his health care plan would murder your sweet auntie, they have been tireless in their inane, misguided pursuits.   meanwhile, he’s secretly carried out domestic surveillance that is closer to Mussolini than Karl Marx.

Not only can he order drone strikes against us, he’s also able to monitor all our cellular “transactions” without any oversight or accountability to anybody.  How Cheneyesque.  Makes me nostalgic for the statue-draping, oil-anointing-Singin’ John Ashcroft.

This is from today’s Guardian of the UK:

Barack Obama built up much of his electoral base as a critic of George W Bush’s policies, from war to surveillance. In office, he has pursued many of the same policies even more vigorously, and nowhere is this more true than in his hoarding of executive power. The administration’s collection of phone records data, and its legal defenses thereof, illustrate the problem acutely.

In opposition, Obama criticised Bush’s policy of spying on citizens’ phone calls – under the rubric of the so-called Terrorist Surveillance Programme – and threatened to filibuster a bill being pushed through the Senate in 2008 to retroactively legalise the practice. He voted for the bill, but protested that he was doing so reluctantly. He claimed to oppose the attempt to give legal cover to the previous administration and the companies colluding in its actions.

Yet, once in office, Obama continued the policy of intrusion on a vast and indiscriminate scale. The same can be said for his attorney general, Eric Holder, once a firm critic of the Bush administration’s spying, now a firm practitioner of the same. Perhaps most alarmingly, the Obama team has continued with the same legal doctrines.

Prior to the 2008 amendments of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa), the law stated that the government could not spy on domestic calls unless a court believed there was probable cause to believe the target of surveillance was an agent of a foreign power. It would be a mistake to underestimate the Bush administration’s legal virtuosity, however. Just as it displayed considerable creativity in legalising Guantánamo and torture, its justifications for warrantless wiretapping inventively cited the post-9/11 Authorisation for the Use of Military Force as an implicit repudiation of sections of FISA.

What kind of Constitutional abuses can’t be explained away by the totalitarian blanket of the Patriot Acts and the never-ending War on Terror? What are the limits to the invasions of our privacy and denial of our civil liberties?

Perhaps the Teabaggers haven’t jumped on this “scandal” because the Luddites devoted so much time to the knuckle-dragging “Freedom Isn’t Free” defense of the Bushies when they began their Constitutional demolition derby 12 years ago.  But if they were to protest now, I’d forgive the hypocrisy.  This time.

–KBM

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