S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

We could be one of the dangers

Fear breeds fear. It is useful to understand the dynamics of fear-based reactions to a perceived danger. The current administration exhibits certain traits indicating that it makes some of its decisions based on feelings of the fears engendered by the attacks of 9/11/01.
It is now 2006. The dangers seem to center around fear of U.S. citizens.
According to CBS News, the government sees bloggers as one of the dangers to be studied in simulation games. To quote from the story,
Department of Homeland Securty's "Cyber Storm" wargames worldwide
simulation challenge in Washington,
Thursday, Feb. 9, 2006. (AP)
More than 115 government agencies, companies and organizations participated. The government concluded its "Cyber Storm" wargame Friday, its biggest-ever exercise to test how it would respond to devastating attacks over the Internet from anti-globalization activists, underground hackers and bloggers. Bloggers? Participants confirmed parts of the worldwide simulation challenged government officials and industry executives to respond to deliberate misinformation campaigns and activist calls by Internet bloggers, online diarists whose "Web logs" include political rantings and musings about current events.
Old fears - "Loose lips sink ships": The current administration has had a markedly secret style since its inception. But certain people in the government have not been willing to adopt this style 100 per cent. Thus a lot of secrets have been coming out in recent months.
One of the biggest secrets became widely known at the end of 2005. As a consequence agents of the federal government may now be preparing to have a closer look into the leak to the New York Times of the existence the NSA domestic surveillance program. Yahoo News carries this Reuters report on the possibility of a grand jury investigation. To quote,
Federal agents have interviewed officials at several law enforcement and national security agencies in a criminal investigation into The New York Times' disclosure of a U.S. domestic eavesdropping program, the newspaper reported. . . . the investigation was focused on circumstances surrounding its disclosure late last year of the highly classified program. Officials and others interviewed by the Times said the investigation seemed to lay the groundwork for a grand jury inquiry and possible criminal charges, the Times said. Many described the investigation as aggressive and fast moving, with the initial focus on identifying government officials who have had contacts with Times reporters, particularly those in the newspaper's Washington bureau.
Fearless U.S. citizens are part of the solution. As long as we do not succumb to irrational fears, we remain part of the solution to fear-based decision making. This recent poll indicates that we, unlike the current Bush administration, are still able to make rational judgments. A recent Harris poll showed that the government should not suspend their civil liberties in order to protect them from terrorist attack, reports Reuters. Quoting from the Feb. 10 story,
Most Americans believe a president should not be allowed to suspend constitutional guarantees in order to fight terrorism, a poll released on Friday said. The poll, taken for the American Bar Association in the wake of the controversy generated by President Bush's domestic spying program, found the public divided over whether government eavesdropping on personal communications could ever be justified.
. . . The Harris Interactive telephone survey of 1,045 adults taken February 3-6 found that 77 percent have reservations about the fundamental issues raised by the eavesdropping controversy, the ABA said in releasing the survey.

Some Republicans lawmakers no longer fear Karl Rove's threats of political retribution (see previous post). They are showing a heartening capacity to behave bravely, along with their Democratic colleagues. Legislation may emerge that would curb the current administration's claim of the right to eavesdrop on American citizens. Details from this Reuters story include this exerpt,
Democratic and Republican lawmakers called on Thursday for stronger congressional oversight of President George W. Bush's domestic spying program, despite a new White House gesture of openness toward Congress. A day after the White House began sharing details of the program with the two congressional intelligence committees, Republican Sen. Mike DeWine of Ohio said Congress still needed to adopt new legislation to ensure the program was legal under the Constitution. . . DeWine and other members of the Senate Select Committee on intelligence got their first formal briefing on the program on Thursday from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and deputy U.S. intelligence chief, Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden.
Release from fear. Unity of purpose, confidence in the inate strength of our system of government, and trust in the power of truth can keep us out of fear-based thinking. We are not the danger here.

No comments: