Talkin' trash to the garbage around me.

16 December, 2005

Spying on those you protect

Yet another non-surprise coming from Bush administration:

Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.

Another "I told you so" moment for those of us on the Left. I suppose the real question for us is how many more times we have to be right about BushCo before the right-wing dead-enders have the scales fall from their eyes. I'd wager more times than it takes licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

Snark aside, SusanG, a brand new frontpager over at the Big Orange Site, nails the significance of the issue:

This is about the very foundations of democracy: Is the government our servant or our master? And is the president, who is elected to execute our laws, allowed to suspend them?[emphasis in original]

We are heading into an election year when every House seat will be up for grabs. It's up to us to make every race about these constitutional issues. As concerned citizens, we can urge Democratic leaders to force the argument in this direction, but there is another action we can take as individuals to make this more of a reality.

I suggest that those of us who are represented by Republicans in the House contact our representatives and get them on record over the next few weeks on three specific questions:

1. Does the president have unlimited power in a time of war, particularly an undeclared one?
2. Do you believe the government has a right to spy on its citizens with no regulating oversight?
3. Do you support a full and open Congressional investigation into the executive branch's authorization of spying on American citizens?

These questions, depending on how they are answered, may well prove to be a gift we can give to every Democratic challenger in the year ahead. It will force GOP reps to take a stand, if as constituents we don't let them get away with obfuscating. Insist on a clear-cut answer. Demand a yes or no. And keep ready at hand the letters or emails you receive back. It's time to force this issue. It's time for all of us to do our part. It's time to re-deliver this government into the hands of the people it was elected to represent.

If our constitutional rights aren't a bi-partisan issue, I don't know what is.

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