Friday, July 11, 2008

Wanta know what we lost when our spineless Congress approved the FISA law?

Read what Chris Hedges has to say, via Kevin Drum:

This law will cripple the work of those of us who as reporters communicate regularly with people overseas, especially those in the Middle East. It will intimidate dissidents, human rights activists and courageous officials who seek to expose the lies of our government or governments allied with ours.

....The reach of such surveillance has already hampered my work. I was once told about a showdown between a U.S. warship and the Iranian navy that had the potential to escalate into a military conflict. I contacted someone who was on the ship at the time of the alleged incident and who reportedly had photos. His first question was whether my phone and e-mails were being monitored.

What could I say? How could I know? I offered to travel to see him but, frightened of retribution, he refused. I do not know if the man's story is true. I only know that the fear of surveillance made it impossible for me to determine its veracity.

Read more.

People, how much are we willing to give up to feel safe from terrorism? What will there be left to defend when we become just like the repressive governments we so proudly differentiate ourselves from?

"But we've never been attacked on our own soil before!"

Baloney. In the War of 1812, the British went so far as to burn down the White House. No one felt the need to bypass the constitution then. That's because it was still clear to Americans that what we had fought for in the first place was to be free from invasion of their privacy. The 4th Amendment was still fresh in their minds:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonably search and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probably cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
Now we've allowed the government to not only invade our privacy without permission, but to do it without even telling us. They don't have to show probable cause, because it might help the terrorists. This means that right now, the government can wiretap the Obama campaign and find out everything that's going on there. (They already did this during the Kerry campaign, but now they can do it legally, so no one has to go to jail for it.)

Of course, if Obama is elected, he can also post government spies on his Republican opponents in the next election. This is not a partisan issue! This is about what it means to be an American.

We need to get a sense of perspective. For instance, five times as many people die each year from lack of health insurance (18,000) as did from terrorist attacks in the U.S. in the last decade. Where's the panicked rush to provide universal healthcare even if it means riding roughshod over our constitution?

According to experts, global warming is causing an extra 150,000 to 160,000 deaths a year worldwide already.

There's an easy cure for terrorism. It doesn't involve stripping U.S. citizens of their rights. No wars are necessary. No tougher immigration policies need to be enacted. All we have to do is behave honorably in the world.

When we stop supporting evil regimes (think Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, China, Burma, etc.) and stop overthrowing or meddling with popularly elected regimes (Venezuela, Iran in 1952, Guatemala in 1954 to name just a few) and stop supporting and arming terrorists when it's convenient for us (the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, contras in Nicaragua, even anti-Saddam terrorists in Iraq who later became anti-U.S. terrorists), our terrorism problems will vanish.

There are no terrorist attacks in Norway. That's because Norway sees its main international goal as making the world a better place. They use their vast oil wealth to better the lives of others, not support attacks against them.

Finally, when we throw the billions of dollars that now subsidize the oil and biofuels industries into a Manhattan-style research program for renewable energy, we will no longer need to compromise our principles to secure our oil supply. And it may help reduce the 150,000 to 160,000 deaths a year worldwide from global warming.

Instead of spying on our citizens, let's do something that will actually make a difference and show what a great country we are. This is what morality is all about.

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At 7/29/08, 6:12 PM, Blogger Gail Jonas said...

This is the second post put up by a friend that I've read today. Both address, in different ways, the seriousness of global warming.

For me, the paradox is dealing with a group of local people who are upset about how much GHG a new mega-development in Healdsburg is going to produce while members of this group continue to vacation in far-away lands.


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