Greatest Infringement of Civil Liberties our History
If we aren't already, we will soon experience the greatest infringement of civil liberties US history. The executive branch has already empowered itself with increased surveillance, the ability to hold suspects indeterminably and try them in military courts. Now the GOP is claiming a mandate from a rather narrow mid-term election to pass the Homeland Security Act. But its not that war and security was what won the election, its the absence of critical mass on other issues. What is deeply concerning is we are giving up not only our liberties, but our privacy for uncertain benefit.
Boing Boing quotes a William Safire op-ed:
Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend — all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as "a virtual, centralized grand database."
Now I don't want to make this a poltical blog, but if there is an issue we should all blog about its this. Decidedly absent from recent moves by our government has been real debate on the infringement of civil liberties, whether its effective or even constitutional. Mitch Ratcliff quotes best:
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin
Mitch goes on source and summarize that "From the Homeland Security Act text, the government has the right to any information it wants to examine given it perceives a "credible threat," a term not defined by the bill -- and that which is not defined by the law can be abused by the government to an unlimited degree"
We are creating our own problems here. Once this data is being tracked and captured it will take a significant backlash to stop or erase. And if our government can't provide a link between Sadaam & terrorism (weapons of mass destruction come at great cost and provide Iraq strategic parity, why would they give them away to others who have different objectives?), imagine the links they can make between you and god knows what.