What Civil Liberties do we have left?

I know my blog is long overdue for an update, so this issue really got me started again.

After the Senate’s complete ignorance of anything remotely resembling the American Constitution, they voted 69-28 to grant telecom companies immunity for their role in illegal and unethical wiretaps.  Looks like it’s now okay to monitor communications without a proper warrant.  (The lack of warrant, admittedly, has more to do with the USA Patriot act than the FISA amendment.)

Sen. Obama, the presumed Democratic nominee for President, voted for the amendment.  Looks like his campaign speeches about civil liberties in this country don’t extend quite so far as the Senate floor.  Perhaps he thought that he would be labeled as un-patriotic for supporting the Constitution.  In any case, I had been prepared to support Sen. Obama, however his vote on this issue and changes in his speeches since Sen. Clinton dropped out of the race has made me significantly question that.  Maybe he’d like to use the Constitution for White House toilet paper, if he makes it there.

Also notable is that Sen. McCain couldn’t even be bothered to vote.  I guess he had better things to do, like the never-ending presidential campaign.  Or, perhaps, it just escaped his elderly mind, as things like the Bill of Rights and your job as a United States Senator tend to do once you reach his age.

In any case, it’s a shame that there’s no Presidential candidate who wants to support the people.  Instead, we will continue to have a country driven by a fear of 3rd-world people hiding in caves and remote villages in the Middle East.

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4 Responses to What Civil Liberties do we have left?

  1. jonreagan says:

    David,

    I have to disagree with you. The wiretapping is certainly a good thing, as it makes our country safer. I understand that there is a lot of disagreement over the bill, but keep in mind that the calls being tapped are only those that are going between the US and other nations, ones that have been identified as possible terrorist calls.

    Also, your comment of fear of 3rd worlders living in caves: Have you forgotten?

    Remember 9/11? We were attacked by those cave-dwellers on our own land. In my mind, anything to make our country safer is a good thing, as long as it is within the borders of common sense. Tapping phone calls from suspected terrorists makes sense because the sooner we can catch their plans, there is a lesser chance that hundreds of innocent people (like on 9/11) will die. So what if we hit a few innocent calls along the way. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Besides, the NSA has the intelligence information to make good decisions on what phone calls to tap, so the chance of tapping innocent phone calls are limited.

    I like your blog and I don’t want to start a debate, but that’s just my 2 cents.

    Jon

  2. David says:

    Jon:

    You’re right, some of the terrorists have been living on our own land. That part of my post was a bit extreme, but it was intended to highlight the (in my opinion) futility of much of the claims of the FISA amendment.

    On the other hand, how can we know that they are only wiretapping calls between the US and other nations? Between the Patriot Act and the new FISA legislation, there is no oversight of this wiretapping. Prior to FISA/Patriot Act/etc., there was still a process in place to obtain warrants to perform wiretaps. There were options for the government to obtain the intelligence needed.

    As far as the NSA is concerned, I don’t really think they’re the reputable organization we’d like them to be. For example, I’m not sure how wiretapping delegations to the United Nations (including our allies) qualifies as a benefit to National Security[1]. Let’s also not forget that the NSA was alongside the CIA in providing ‘intelligence’ that the Bush administration claimed indicated that Iraq was in possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction[2].

    1. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/mar/02/usa.iraq
    2. http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/library/congress/2004_rpt/iraq-wmd-intell_chapter8.htm

    I’m not saying Intelligence-gathering is bad, but I am saying that we continue to put ourselves on a very slippery slope that looks like it will end with no warrants being needed for any searches.

  3. jonreagan says:

    David,

    I can see your point. Also, I can agree that things in our government have not been perfect; after all, they are only human. Hopefully the new program will do something to help our national security. I have faith our leaders will not let something go so far as warrant-less searching on all fronts. Something like that would have to go through the Congress, Senate, and the media before reaching the President.

    Jon

    P.S. – We may never know who the NSA is tapping in on, but I guess if we don’t know, then neither do the terrorists who are making the calls. 😉

  4. […] – bookmarked by 6 members originally found by sheintegrates on 2008-10-08 What Civil Liberties do we have left? https://matir.wordpress.com/2008/07/10/what-civil-liberties-do-we-have-left/ – bookmarked by 5 […]

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