There is a very unpretentious reason why The Gadfly's views are so blandly mundane on this subject. The Gadfly remembers quite clearly this little event occurring in the not too distant past of our dying democracy:
The USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 is an Act of the U.S. Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. The title of the act is a ten letter acronym (USA PATRIOT) that stands for Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001.
The act, as a response to the September 11 terrorist attacks of September 11th, significantly weakened restrictions on law enforcement agencies' gathering of intelligence within the United States; expanded the Secretary of the Treasury’s authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and broadened the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrantssuspected of terrorism-related acts. The act also expanded the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, thus enlarging the number of activities to which the USA PATRIOT Act’s expanded law enforcement powers can be applied.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriot_Act
Read that information again dear readers. It took your government a grand total of 6 weeks after the 9/11 attacks to thoroughly and permanently shred the 4th amendment to the Constitution - you know - that quaint little section dealing with the ability of the government to perform unreasonable searches and seizures without judiciously sanctioned warrants and probable cause? One might just as well throw the 1st amendment in to that shredding machine as well - due to the fact that journalists are being spied on and government whistleblowers are being jailed left and right.
Six weeks -- even before all of the tattered and bloodied remains of the World Trade Center tower's victims had been fully recovered -- that is how long it took your cowardly and foolish political leaders to drive the final nail into the coffin containing the dusty remnants of the founding father's dreams of a nation that was meant to be the beacon of man-made law and democratic principles for the whole world to emulate.
Hell -- our fractious politicians usually spend 6 months infighting among their own caucuses on major legislative issues before ever even creating actual bills to be sent up the chain. And then even those bills are usually fought over with their political adversaries for another 6 months. In the end 9 times out of 10 these bills die during the long, arduous legislative process.
Yup - 6 weeks folks - the amount of time it took for America to slit it's own democratic throat - all in a fit of timorous fear and panic.
The bottom line is - the Police-State train left the station on October 26, 2001 kids -- and it ain't coming back. And while the predominance of culpability can be laid squarely at the feet of our gutless political rulers, it takes an equally gutless and supine citizenry to allow them to get away with it so effortlessly in the first place.
So that is why The Gadfly truly is not all that agitated about this shit. In fact, The Gadfly will let a fellow blogger known as The Rude Pundit to put it all in to a crystalline perspective for you:
No president is ever going to give back the powers that were granted to George W. Bush in 2001. If you're scared that Obama has them, well, shit, a bunch of us warned you that Bush wasn't gonna be president forever. And even if the Patriot Act were, through some miracle, overturned in court or legislated out of existence, it's too late: the web of surveillance has been put in place. You can bet that its future legality has already been set up.
It is a frightening thought, yes, that our responsibility as citizens is not to try to reclaim our lost privacy. What revolution will accomplish that? It ain't gonna happen. It's sad, frustrating, enraging, and ultimately exhausting and enervating. That boat has sailed, and it ain't ever returning to port.
What we are left with is merely electing people who we believe will be wise shepherds of this power to invade our privacy whenever they wish in order to "protect us" from "terrorists" or the fake existential threats of the future. That is a sad reduction of democracy. That is the opposite of hope, no? Merely wanting to be led by people who won't harm us?http://rudepundit.blogspot.com/2013/06/nsa-phone-record-collecting-and.html
And as to the final word on the related subject of our nation's self ascribed bravery and the intelligence of the "great" American people and the verdict on how their stewardship of this divine gift that we were presented with called democracy has turned out - The Gadfly leaves you dear reader with the oh so prescient words of the late, great George Carlin: