Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

Debating the Surveillance State

Glenn Greenwald keeps up the good fight in responding to two essays which:

perfectly illustrate the continuous stream of manipulative fear-mongering over the last decade which has reduced much of the American citizenry into a meek and submissive faction for whom no asserted government power is too extreme, provided the scary menace of ‘Terrorism’ is uttered to justify it.

And really, please read the links given via “two essays” above. While this subject sometimes feels like a hobby horse that I’m either riding or beating to death, I continue to believe that it is an issue critical to our society.  And yes, things *have* changed:

Every President until George W. Bush — including Ronald Reagan — was able to keep the country safe while adhering to that surveillance safeguard. But while even the most hawkish Americans in the 1980s — facing the Soviet threat — understood that domestic eavesdropping should be conducted only with judicial warrants, the war cheerleaders of the current decade insist that the far less formidable threat from Muslim extremists means we must vest the Government with the power of warrantless surveillance — even on American citizens, on U.S. soil. That’s how far we’ve descended into the pit of fear-mongering and submission, thanks to the toxic mix of fear-mongers and the authoritarian cowards they exploit.

There’s no excluding of Barack Obama in this paragraph.  Like most presidents, he’s held onto the powers grabbed by the previous one.  This is not a partisan issue.  It’s a fundamental issue.


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  1. the media and an complicit Legislature have gradually escalated the Executive branches power with no check or balance. We treat our president as some sort of king, who has the power to do everything from fixing the economy to killing our enemies. the more power we give up to the president the more it will be abused because absolute power corrupts absolutely. sad but true even in a “democracy”

  2. MB

    That’s correct, Amit, and depending on the year, a near majority of the population doesn’t see a problem with it.

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