Cheney Again Calls For Telecom Immunity
Let me preface by saying I think the current administration – from the top all the way down to appointees who blindly cooperate – should be tried for treason. That way we bring any allegations of bias or slant to the forefront and you know where I stand. No need to bring in theories about what lies beneath the words; the words are out in the open.
That doesn’t make me anti-Republican or anti-conservative. It makes me anti-this-administration, which has about 10 months left to screw with everything, and protesting against governmental abuses of power is the American way – not the liberal or conservative way.
So, what’s fired me up this morning is Vice President Cheney’s latest call to expand the government’s ability to spy on the American people whenever it wants for whatever reason without accountability, whether it is Constitutional or not, and his demand that the people be denied their right to even the pursuit of justice via lawsuits against the telecommunications industry for participating in illegal government activities.
Is there anything less ideologically American than the US government not only abusing its power to get around Constitutional authority but also denying the people their right to hold them (and co-abusers) accountable for it? Wasn’t that the whole point of our break from Britain? The madness of King George, redux.
In a speech to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank (take "think tank" with a grain of salt – it’s really about agenda-pushing, not thinking, like George Soros’ Center for Public Integrity – it’s all language designed to manipulate you), Cheney called for making permanent the Protect America Act, which is set to expire.
A law called the "Protect America Act" is more of that manipulative language, like calling a bill the "It’s Wrong to Kick Grandmothers Act." No politician in his right mind would vote against protecting America, only to have it lorded over him in the next election season. The Act expanded the executive branch’s ability to conduct warrantless surveillance and removes judicial oversight.
Remember all that talk, along time ago, about the balance of powers? The current administration isn’t too crazy about that provision.
Recently the administration has also pushed for surveillance of all traffic going across the telecommunications networks, not just those suspected of terrorism activities, which basically means everybody, Constitutionally protected or not. Nevertheless, in his speech Cheney still played the al Qaeda card:
"Second, the law should uphold an important principle: that those who assist the government in tracking terrorists should not be punished with lawsuits. We’re asking Congress to update FISA and especially to extend this protection to communications providers alleged to have given such assistance any time after September 11th, 2001. This is an important consideration, because some providers are facing dozens of lawsuits right now. Why? Because they are believed to have aided the U.S. government in the effort to intercept international communications of al Qaeda-related individuals."
So, not only is executive branch above the law, but the executive branch wants private companies to be above the law, too, so long as they’re helping the government break the law. I suppose if the government wants to hire a burglar to break into your house without a good a reason, both the government and the burglar should be immune to accountability, too, so long as they label it as an action against terrorism. But how long until they don’t need a convenient label either?
What’s worse, as Ryan Paul illustrates in his Ars Technica article, the Bush-appointed FCC won’t investigate, the buddy-buddy telecoms won’t disclose information to Congress citing it’s classified, and Bush’s Department of Justice is not cooperating with the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Freedom of Information Act request, also a violation of law from the administration.
This type of behavior and abuse of power on behalf of the government are exactly the types of things the framers of the Constitution were trying to prevent, and the Bush Administration has actively worked to operate outside those confines, breaking laws in order to further their agendas. And when the people try to hold them and those that aid and abet them in law-breaking accountable, they want to deny the right of the people to do that, too.
That’s a betrayal of the country. That’s working against the people and the Constitution. That’s treason in my book. I understand it will never happen, and fortunately, their days in government are numbered. What’s sadder, Congress is doing nothing about it – they have an election to think about right now – and neither are the Bush-appointed courts. Some balance of power we have.