Democratic Underground

Go to the Light!

January 4, 2006
By Sheila Samples

Folks at the White House stay pretty busy these days just trying to untangle the lies George Bush keeps telling every time he opens his mouth. For example, back in April 2004, Bush explained to a cheering audience and an unchallenging press corps in Buffalo about "eavesdropping" on Americans: "When you think 'Patriot Act,' constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because..." he said earnestly while leaning over the podium, his hand on his heart "...because we value the Constitution."

Bush? I think not. From his actions and manner of speech, it is doubtful that Bush has read either the U.S. Constitution or the holy book upon which he placed his hand twice and swore to preserve, protect and defend it.

After the New York Times reported last week that Bush authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to cast a wide net to spy on American citizens' e-mail and phone calls without seeking warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court, Bush went on the offense, saying yeah, he did it, and he was gonna keep on doing it, cause he was the president and - like he told the Washington Post's Bob Woodward - that means he doesn't have to explain to anybody why he does anything.

That apparently includes the FISA court, which has the audacity to require "probable cause" before approving wiretaps on American citizens. In Bush's defense, when you're huntin' and chasin' and smokin' out evil lurkers and plotters and planners, you don't have time to stop and fill out two or three million pieces of paper. Like Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says, the Constitution is a quaint little thing, but we live in a new world order now, and any constraints on "this president" are just too cumbersome.

In an October speech, Bush said, "Our country is at war, and the executive branch has an obligation to protect the 'Merican people. We are aggressively doing that. We are finding the terrorists and bringing them to justice." Bush paused for effect, then added, "and anything we do is within the law."

Vice President Dick Cheney agrees. He says they must have complete control and flexibility and unlimited power, even if this means they have to make up the law as they go along. While speeding home from the Middle East in time to break a Senate tie on a bill that raises Medicaid payments for the poor and elderly (while at the same time allowing states to cut their Medicaid services) and cuts child-care payments for social bottom-feeders, Cheney snarled that there "is a hell of a threat" out there, and the president's authority under the Constitution must be "unimpaired."

Cheney says "the vast majority" of Americans support Bush spying on them, and warned that any "backlash" would not be against Bush, but against the critics who dared question Bush's illegal and quite possibly treasonous bits of derring-do. Cheney is adamant that he - er, Bush - is above any court and outside any law. Those who disagree can just go (insert word depicting doing sexual "wild thaing") themselves.

Besides, Cheney might have added, they've been doing it for four years - collecting information on American citizens by tapping directly into the U.S. telecommunication system's main arteries without first getting warrants - and nobody seemed to care. According to the Times, these corporate behemoths supported and assisted the spying operation, storing information on citizens' calling patterns and giving it to Bush since 9-11.

Got that, sports fans? Since 9-11. And the NSA is not the only one. According to Capital Hill Blue's Doug Thompson, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and "dozens of private contractors are spying on millions of Americans 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year."

It got so blatant that a former NSA agent who quit in disgust over use of the agency to spy on Americans, told Thompson, "We're no longer in the business of tracking our enemies. We're spying on everyday Americans."

And, when there's treason afoot, one can hardly leave out the vicious and wacky Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. A couple of years ago, Rumsfeld had this great idea for not only spying on Americans, but building a profile on every citizen who travels, uses credit cards, talks on the telephone or works or plays on a computer.

He called his new toy the "Total Information Awareness" (TIA) Program, and put the disgraced Iran-Contra felon John Poindexter in charge of it. When a furious Congress killed the program, Rumsfeld said, "Fine. They can have the name." He then moved it to the Pentagon's covert "black bag" program, out of Congressional sight or oversight, and renamed it the "Terrorist Information Awareness" (TIA) system. Thompson says the program is "alive and well and collecting data in real time on Americans at a computer center located at 3801 Fairfax Drive in Arlington, Virginia."

It's difficult to gauge either the height of awareness or the depth of outrage of the American public because the corporate media steadfastly refuses to shed even a glimmer of light on the myriad of scandals this administration is hiding out there in plain sight.

The shock of 9-11 thrust the people of this country into a depressing twilight zone, a "loyalty-oath" atmosphere where they stumble around in the dark, afraid to speak - afraid to think. Any anger they feel about the president of the United States committing an impeachable offense by covertly spying on them and openly admitting it will fade as the media psycho-flogs them into believing the criminal here is the whistleblower who shone the light on the illegal surveillance, not the traitor who broke the law.

The irony of Bush, the NSA and Gonzales whipping up a criminal investigation into who dared tell the public that they were breaking the law will be lost on far too many Americans. Those who do understand, yet choose to stand mute and hope for the best should weigh the loss of their civil liberties against the violence, murder, vicious lies, and especially the sheer animosity Bush feels toward all but the wealthiest Americans.

They should take a look at the backgrounds and goals of the beady-eyed war vultures who control Bush; who are urging him to destroy everything in his path - not the least of which is the U.S. Constitution. They should ask themselves what they would do if they woke up in the middle of the night to find an invader in their bedrooms, pawing through their personal belongings. Would they silently bow their heads, or would they turn on the light and scream bloody murder at the top of their lungs?

Truth doesn't just radiate light - it IS light. If Americans would raise their heads and look around, they would see there are flashes of light everywhere - especially on the Internet.

Americans have come to a fork in the road and, like the great philosopher Yogi Berra once said, they need to take it. They need to go to the light.

Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites. Contact her at: rsamples@sirinet.net.

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