Thursday, June 06, 2013

How much longer can we call ourselves a Democracy?

I have been an open critic of the Patriot Act since it was passed in 2001.  I was unhappy when it was reauthorized in 2006, and even more openly critical when it was again reauthorized in 2011.

This week, the predictions of numerous outspoken critics like Senator Bernie Sanders have come alarmingly true, now that the actions of Verizon in providing the communications records of millions of its customers to the NSA have been revealed.

The Patriot Act, I am convinced, is about as directly unConstitutional as a law can get, and is only protected from being struck down by the perfidy of the SCOTUS in shutting down lawsuits against it by disallowing plaintiffs' standing to sue.

There is a reason that the Constitution set the Fourth Amendment in place, restricting the ability of the government to search your person and your effects for evidence of criminal activity, and that is due to the British actions during the Revolutionary period in violating citizens' persons and property looking for just such evidence without so much as a by-your-leave or a single excuse me.  That colonial power used its exclusive possession of military force to allow its agents free rein in turning people's lives upside down both in those searches and in the imprisonment that inevitably followed.  That amendment was put in place to stop the new US government from doing the same thing.

The only reason we aren't up in arms about this latest invasion of our privacy is that we can't see it.  It is invisible, sucking in every little bit or byte your computer or telephone puts out and storing it for possible use against you should the invisible powers doing the sucking decide that you might be a national security risk.  What's more, the very law the government has passed giving itself the power to violate the Constitution prevents your carrier - Verizon in this case - from even notifying you of that violation of your privacy!  Furthermore, should you find out, the SCOTUS has ruled that an illegal disclosure cannot give you standing to sue for relief.

The blame for this is a Congress that has repeatedly reauthorized this illegal and massive violation of privacy twice since its passage.  A Congress that has no backbone and, since President Obama's election, no desire, to stop the ongoing Presidential Power Grab.  Unfortunately, this Congress has even less backbone for this, as Republicans have only one desire - to turn this into another "Obama scandal".


This is not "Obama's" fault, it is the fault of a governmental system that perpetuates the acquisition of and the hoarding of as much power as possible for whichever Branch of government can manage it.  It is enabled by government officials who are blinded by corruption and money wielded by Corporations whose only goal is the acquisition of as much profit as possible.

The solution is for the members of Congress to take their integrity back.  The answer is for them to put some steel into their backbones, stand up to the moneyed interests and refuse to go along any more.

But don't look for any of that.  Congress has been taken by the Republicans, not by the usual process of elections, but by the cowardice of the Democrats, who have refused to take a principled stand against pride, corruption and sheer stupidity and have allowed themselves to be dragged through the muck and the mire of political grandstanding and corruption.

Don't ask me how to fix it.  I'm fresh out of ideas.

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