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This Day in My History


2000:
  What Happened to Candy Canes?
2001:
  If You Need Me, I'll be Jumping Off a Bridge Somewhere
2002:
Hottest Gift of the Year!!!

2003:
 I Shoulda Listened to the Goat
2004:  Up on the Housetop


2005 Christmas Letter


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IN MY OPINION
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"Rainy Day"

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Master list of links to (most) videos
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PATRIOT SHMATRIOT

21 December 2005

OK...my dander is up again.

After three years of silence, suddenly you can't shut the man in the White House up.  He's everywhere.   He's dropped the arrogant "we are right, come hell or high water" and "stay the course" talking points and now he's everywhere saying that there were mistakes made and he has to take responsibility for them.  The first time he did it, it sounded like he was choking on the  words, but he's getting used to the sound of them rolling around in his mouth.  If there is such a thing, he is projecting arrogant humility.

But now it's all coming tumbling out.  The torture that they adamantly stated this country never does. Now it's...well, maybe....  It amused/angered me at his press conference this morning when he talked about Saddam and his torture of prisoners and how that doesn't happen in a civilized society.  Uh.....  Oh right.  We didn't torture them here...we sent them to non-civilized countries to be tortured.  Nice little loophole.

And now it's revelation of the violation of people's civil liberties and how that's OK because He is the President and He Can Do Such Things.

Nevermind that Congress thinks he has violated the law and even says that if he had gone to them for permission, he could have received it.  (Somehow he thinks he has gotten this permission from Congress.  I guess he just forgot to tell them.)

On Face the Nation Sunday, Sen. Joseph Biden said,

"I'm the guy that drafted the FISA Act 25 years ago...one of the three people....  It's a secret court allowing the president to wire tap anybody, intercept anything up to 72 hours.  They can, in the meantime,  go into that court and say, 'I need to do this.'  If there is a reason the court thinks is under the Constitution permissible, they're allowed to do so.  If it turns out theyr'e not allowed to do it, they have to destroy the evidence."

"So I just don't get it.  He already has the authority under the FISA court to go in and intercept anything he wants to up to 72 hours.  This is neither legal nor is it necessary, what he's been doing.  It is a little bit frightening how broadly he asserts his authority as commander in chief, where the guy hasn't shown good judgement on torture or a lot of other things."

Bush has compromised our fundamental freedoms, has gone against the "democracy" that we are fighting to give the Iraqis. 

Clinton got a blow job.

Who got impeached?

You buying Bush's "I am president and I can do whatever I want and what I'm doing is necessary to safeguard American freedoms" line?  Check what happened to a Dartmouth student when he attempted to complete an assignment for his class on the cultural revolution in China.

Is this the country you want to live in?

I'll tell you, I'm starting to get uncomfortable writing journal entries like this.  Really!  I fully expect some guys in black suits to come striding up to my door and cart me off to Tashkent for a little humane interrogation for my frequent outbursts expressing my frustration with the guys in power.

I say that only partly tongue in cheek.  That would never happen in this land of the free.

Or would it?  Ask Kalid al-Masri.

I honestly don't know any more.

I honestly have the thought in the back of my mind that maybe, just maybe, I am setting myself up for some sort of government reprisal by expressing myself so openly.

And that scares me more than anything.  It scares me because I no longer trust my government to do the right thing.  I no longer believe that my government will play fair, will uphold the Constitution, will treat all its citizens fairly.

When I wrote recently that I had never been so ashamed to be an American, I received private e-mails (unless my e-mail is being monitored, of course) of agreement, but the writers said even though they felt that way they were afraid to say so in public.  Is this the country of freedom of speech?

It scares me that I worry that the growing rumors are all true, that people are being tracked for purposes of fishing and hoping to find "something."

It scares me that a kid who is doing research for a university paper can be interrogated by the National Security Agency because he requested a book by Mao Tse-Tung from his university library.

Terrorists are a threat to this country.  9/11 proved that.  But I think that my government is an even bigger threat to what has made this country special.  I fear that my government is more of a threat to our personal freedoms than any terrorist.

I laugh sardonically when we extol the virtues of the democratic society we are trying to help Iraq achieve, while at the same time we seem to be working to overturn all of those democratic freedoms and giving one person more and more power.

As the debate about making the Patriot Act permanent and strengthening it in the process (read:  give the executive branch of the government even more power to spy on American citizens without any checks and balances by the legislative or the judicial branch), I told Walt last night that taking a humongous leap of faith and just supposing that everything the man in the White House is telling us about the necessity for overturning all of our cherished rights to privacy in the name of winning the war on terror.  Just suppose that is all true (and I don't believe it is), by making the Patriot Act permanent, we are giving this same power in perpetuity to whoever is in the White House, which could then be used for whatever situation might arise 10, 20, 30, 50, 100 years down the road.

We would be destroying the entire system of checks and balances on which this country was founded and that is just wrong. wrong. wrong.

** Just before I posted   this, I heard a clip of G.W. himself, speaking in 2004, where he said, and I sort-of quote... "You have to understand that wiretapping requires prior authorization.  That's in the constitution.  I want to assure the American people that nothing has changed." **

Ben Franklin's quote is often used, but it bears repeating again, and again.  "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty nor security."

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10/25/05