Friday, May 12, 2006

Why Does Bush Want Your Phone Records?

The recently revealed secret compilation of millions upon millions of Americans phone records by the NSA is simply beyond the pale for so many reasons.

First, all those phone companies just laid down and gave up the records, excepting Quest of all the major companies. They did this without letting customers know that they did and did it even though they didn't have to, ask Quest. In an interesting backlash, customers are deluging phone companies with questions, complaints and service switching. People are reading that fine print of their phone contract and finding that their providers are skipping a fine line. There may possible be lawsuits against providers that couldn't act as Quest did, and I'm betting Quest gets a big jump in business.

Second, how long before the Bush government renames the NSA, the KGB. That proverbial slippery slope is getting slicker almost every time we turn around. We have known about anti-war groups being spied upon. We found out about the domestic spying program that was initially denied by George Bush on his 2004 campaign trail, "we get warrants." And now we find data mining of our phone records. How many other spying programs are aimed at everyday innnocent Americans that are still being kept secret? I have to think plenty. And would you believe the Bush government if they said no more programs exist? I won't, Bush has lied about one of these intrusions, why wouldn't he lie about others?

Third, at what point is anyone held accountable for playing fast with our Constitution? When will we have investigations into the domestic spying program and now this phone record collecting? My immediate previous post pointed out that the NSA refused to give security clearance to the Justice Department to investigate the NSA. I suppose the NSA would do the same thing for this newest revelation. It's up to Congress to do the investigating, they do have security clearances, yet the Republican led body won't do their job. Is it any wonder that polls have the Republican Congress in the low 20% approval ratings? You have to wonder whether there is something being covered up by Republicans that an investigation(s) would reveal. They wouldn't languish with such low approval ratings if they could help improve those ratings by investigating these issues that many Americans, liberal and conservative, are alarmed by.

Fourth, almost the same time as Bush announces his new nominee for head of the CIA this phone record story comes out. Air Force General Michael Hayden who once headed the NSA was not truthful about the domestic wiretapping and doesn't think it should be illegal and even should be expanded, is Bush's choice. Immediately politicians from both parties were not happy with Bush's selection of a military man to head up a civilian agency. It's a line not often crossed in Washington simply because of shades of military rule. In America, civilians control the military, not the other way around. So Bush opts for a candidate that is sure to create controversy. You can assume this is a confirmation hearing that either might not even happen or that will be tough to pass for Hayden.

Fifth, our government has proven time and again that they can be inaccurate, mistaken, flawed, and even down right illegal in various matters concerning things we aren't aware of. We know that the terrorist watch lists have been nailing non-terrorist simply because their names were close to suspected terrorists, to include nuns and a 22 month old baby. It has been found clearing your name from these watch lists can be difficult. Would I think our government would be perfect in their analysis of phone record data? No, they've never proven they are perfect in anything except not being perfect.

Sixth, this so-called war on terrorism is more and more seeming like a ruse to keep tabs on all of us. Collecting so many millions of phone records seems an awful wide net. How many terrorists do we have in America anyway? And now it seems we are all suspects. Are you a terrorist? It seems the NSA thinks you might be. Americans are loosing freedoms faster than we can count them. Apparently our new first freedom is to always be suspected of being a terrorist.

I'm sure there are seventh, eighth and ninth points I could elaborate on, but six seems a good place to stop for now. Is collecting our phone records an outrage? Sure, particularily when combined with the other outrages of the Bush Administration. A touch more than half the country now believe that Bush should be impeached for one reason or another. Bill Clinton only induced about a third of polling desiring impeachment. What gives? To me this might be the biggest outrage of all, that Bush easily outpolled Clinton for impeachment, yet Bush just keeps going and going and going....


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