Monday, August 18, 2008

Who's Watching Your Back?

Buried on the bottom of the eighth page of the Sunday Chicago Tribune is an article entitled U.S. proposes to ease domestic spying rules.I caught the story as a blurb on MSN's online news on Saturday and thought that it would drop into obscurity like most of these sorta dry administrative manoeuvres. The Times story was a slightly more informative than MSN, but below the fold on page eight does not a raise even a ripple.
The gist of the story is that The Bush administration has redefined the role of local police departments in the Global War On Terror. Now, any local police department that receives federal aid (over 18000 state and local) will be allowed to collect intelligence on groups and individuals that they believe to be engaged in terrorism or supporting any group that helps terrorists. This information will be held for up to ten years and forwarded to Homeland Security. Effectively, local police departments will be required to spy on citizens on the basis of any type of suspicion. Not since the sixties and seventies have we had the spectre of local police becoming "Red Squads" and combing the activities of anti-government groups and individuals. Except today we have "Enemy Combatants" and Gitmo.
As I was mentally composing this post, Keith Olbermann on Countdown covered this story. I was glad that it is getting wider distribution, but both KO and the Trib believe that this is a move by the Bushies to institutionalize domestic spying. Certainly you can't have a hard time believing that the administration that wipes it's butt with the constitution would have any compunction against wider domestic spying but I have one little problem: There appears to be a very good chance that the next President of the United States is going to be a colored guy named Barack.
I somehow have this really tough time imagining that the Bush handlers really want to leave this police state to a Democrat. Particularly this Democrat. So what does this lead you to believe? That the Rethugs think (or worse, know) that they are going to win in November.
Occam's razor says that this is just another of this crowds' ongoing movement towards the police state and that it's just part of the momentum that's been built up over the last seven years but I just can't shake the fear that this election is going to make the last two look fair. Only November will tell.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Solemnly Swear...

I viewed a recording yesterday of Nancy Pelosi at a book event in California. This was a pay-to -get-into event which should have been filled with the faithful and of little notice the world at large. What made it noteworthy was that about thirty protesters attended the event along with the supporters. As protesters, this group broke the pattern of chanting and disrupting the event and went right to the heart of the matter and demanded that Pelosi justify her position vis-a-vis the prosecution of crimes by the executive branch. At one point Pelosi states: "I take an oath of office to uphold the constitution of the United States and don't tell me that I don't do that,” A fuller account can be seen at Democraticunderground
I will pause here to offer this: The oath Nancy Pelosi swore to when she took office as a member of the House of Representatives.

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God."

The central, nay only, requirement of this oath is the preservation of the rule of law, to defend the constitution of the United States. This is what Americans have fought and died for since it's ratification. And note that it includes domestic enemies, a phrase that was added after the civil war to remind members that not just foreigners can endanger the liberties that the constitution promises us all.

As long as Nancy Pelosi hold the office of Speaker of the House, every time she appears in public someone needs to stand before her and say:

Madame Speaker, The President of the United States and the Vice-President of the United States have, by their own admission, broken the laws of the United States to a level which may be construed as Treason. They have admitted to actions which the world has deemed War Crimes. Why have you not followed the oath of office to which you swore, and brought these crimes before the body of which you are leader? Why have you shirked your duty and ignored your oath and not sought the impeachment of these officials as is required by the Constitution? Why have you stated that you will not even consider impeachment even though the oath you swore requires you to? How can you stand before the people of the United States and the world and refuse to do that to which you swore?

If Nancy Pelosi finds that she can not appear in public without someone asking her these simple questions maybe the time will come where she actually has to answer these questions.