Thursday, August 9, 2007

On Wiretapping

On Monday, August 6, 2007 the House handed President Bush a victory Saturday, voting to expand the government's abilities to eavesdrop without warrants on foreign suspects whose communications pass through the United States.

(President) Bush said, "The Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, has assured me that this bill gives him what he needs to continue to protect the country, and therefore I will sign this legislation as soon as it gets to my desk."

Slowly but surely we are giving the president too much authority to perform surveillance operations. But hey, why did Bush even need this new legislation to pass? Anyone remember this from back in March 2006:

As Senate Republicans wrestled yesterday with legislation for the controversial warrantless wiretapping program, the Bush administration said there is no need for congressional approval and added there have been no abuses since the surveillance began shortly after the 9/11 attacks.

I know, I know, one is focused on domestic wiretapping and the other supposedly on international... but I worry as we continue to bestow more "Big Brother"-like capabilities onto our government.

If you are interested, here is the roll call vote for this bill.

13 comments:

BAWDYSCOT said...

You are sounding more and more like a Libertarian, csm. Add to this the fact the FBI has admitted to violating the safeguards included into the Patriot Act a number of times, I believe we are now looking down the slippery slope and our center of gravity is starting to push us over. A water slide this isn't though we will get sopping wet.

csm said...

Well, I have voted Libertarian in the past (Harry Browne in 2000) and could be persuaded to do so again in the future under the right conditions... and I do like Ron Paul (though he has not picked up enough momentum to make a difference in the Republican primaries - at least not yet)... and being from Pittsburgh originally, I like that the Libertarians are considering the 'burgh as a site for a future convention...

Ceroill said...

I think we got on the downhill of the slope some time ago, guys.

csm said...

In the upcoming election, though, I don't see any choice other than one of the Democrats. I think that will mean President Hillary Clinton. She is the most moderate, and perhaps, therefore, most appealing to the large number of moderate independent who have yet to make up their minds.

There are, of course, those who won't vote for her just because of who she is, but hell, those knuckle-draggers are unlikely to vote anything but Republican anyway.

I'd truly like to see a third party emerge, but I think it will take someone who is independently wealthy to pull it off. Sorta like Perot almost did (until his looney-bird personality became to much to bear). I'm intrigued (somewhat) by the chatter that Bloomberg (current NY mayor) might consider such a run.

BAWDYSCOT said...

I agree with the assessment that it would take a very wealthy person to run against the two dominant parties, but I would like to add it would have to be a very special wealthy person as a regular run-of-the-mill wealthy person probably wouldn't want to change very much. The status quo may have been how they got wealthy to begin with(Bloomberg, maybe?).

I do also think once the Internet gets fully integrated into our society this wealth=winner equation may change. I don't call it(the Internet)the great democratizer for nothing. This may happen, but by the time it does our federal government may have already become irrelevant. Here's hopin'.

Ceroill said...

I'm reminded of a story I read several years back in Analog magazine. The proposed slightly future reality was one in which you could cast your vote by computer. However, it wasn't just the candidate you were voting for. You were also voting on individual bills and processes, dictating exactly where you wanted your tax money to go.

Well...maybe someday. We can daydream.

BAWDYSCOT said...

The other side of that "everyone votes via the Internet" coin could be kinda scary when you are considering who actually will be doing the voting. I realize this is the cornerstone of a democracy, but our Founding Fathers didn't set up a straight democracy, but a Republic of Free States where everyone, who qualifies of course, gets to vote. The fact a 50 headed government may be more unwieldy doesn't negate the fact our government now is also unwieldy and has a tremendous amount of power concentrated in centralized hands and is unwilling to give it up.

csm said...

We are a l-o-o-o-o-ng way away from everyone voting over the Internet. There are many poor families who do not have easy access to the Internet in the same way that the middle and upper classes do. Yes, yes, everyone can access the 'net at the library, but that is not the same as powering up your PC in your underwear in the morning over coffee (yes, I know, nasty visual there, sorry).

And verifying one person/one vote over the Internet is not possible without a lot of security and software - and even then it is possible to usurp. I mean, if my wife, for example, did not want to vote, what is stopping me from voting as her over my Internet connection?

Furthermore, I think we do ourselves a dis-service trying to encourage people who do not want to vote. If they don't want to vote, fine, I'd rather they didn't. Chances are, someone who doesn't care to vote is also uninformed, in which case, better they didn't vote.

Ceroill said...

Oh, I'm well aware of the problems and long off-ness of it, guys and gals. It was a sci-fi story, not a documentary or a proposal for something to be immediately implemented.

jan said...

I think this comment will chap some butts, but I'm for a Constitutional amendment making national elections national. Our system has been gamed.

As far as internet voting, I think it will come about with an internet savvy administration, if trusted. However, I don't see one of those (an internet savvy adminstration that is trusted) happening anytime soon.

Best all!

csm said...

What do you think, Jan, could perhaps the administration of President Gore pull it off?

derF said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
derF said...

jan, do you still have my e-mail address? If you do could you drop me a short note? I've lost your address and would like to have it on hand.