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.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Secrets and Activism

Secrets in the world of politics and government are a mixed bag. Voters want their ballots to be secret and verifiable to them. Our current president (OCP) wants domestic spying to be secret, as well as most everything else about his adminstration's record. Candidates sometimes expose their opponents' secrets in order to hurt them. Though I am an Internet activist, I keep my real name a secret from the blogosphere, unlike the courageous bloggers who take a more open journalistic approach.
But one cannot be secretive and be an activist/ protestor/ community worker/ etc. And it takes courage. They are "out there" for everyone to see and to admire, or to punish like Josh Wolf. Some organize or join marches, some write letters and sign their names, some circulate petitions, and some come to Washington or other seats of government to try to change that to which they have strong objection. My current "strong objection" is to the current FISA law as recently amended by Congress. I write about it often.*
Secret government domestic spying programs with no oversight began early in this century. Today the history of the Bush administration's assault on the constitution's Fourth Amendment is a disgraceful one. Congress has abandoned its responsibility for providing a "check" on the administration's efforts to spy on its own citizens without any warrants. And so we are left again and again to the mercy of the Judicial branch to provide the balance and protections of our constitution.
Shhh! It's a secret - Today a three-judge panel will hear a big domestic spying case (8/15/07) in San Francisco, according to David Kravets at Threat Level- Wired Blogs. (Hat Tip to Citizens for Legitimate Government for the link). OCP and his lawyers are telling the court that they cannot hear the case because it is a secret. To quote Kravets,
The Bush administration is facing serious judicial headwinds Wednesday when it urges a three-judge federal appeals court panel to dismiss lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the president's warrantless, domestic eavesdropping program.

In December, 2005, Bush . . . confirmed a warrantless, domestic surveillance program by which the National Security Agency eavesdropped on electronic communications in the United States if one person connected to the communication was outside of the United States and thought to be associated with terrorism. Among other allegations, the lawsuits charge that AT&T unlawfully gave the NSA virtually carte blanche access to the telecom's network, allowing the government to siphon communications from millions of Americans without a warrant.

The administration will urge the appeals court on Wednesday to dismiss the cases. The administration's key claim is that the lawsuits threaten to expose government secrets, and therefore Supreme Court precedent dictates the lawsuits must be thrown out -- an assertion that often prevails in court. Two lower court judges, however, balked. The administration appealed to the 9th Circuit.
This is no secret. Many people in the United States are upset about the latest turns of events regarding FISA. We were upset to learn about the program when it first became public. ANd we have gotten increasingly incensed as each new chapter unfolds. Stay tuned.
Out in the open - Each Wednesday South by Southwest highlights activism.
  • United for Peace and Justice -a very big movement that is pointing currently towards Oct. 27, 2007: National Mobilization to End the War in Iraq. 10 Massive Demonstrations for Peace Across the U.S. Also has listings of protests, etc. happening in your state or area

  • General Strike 9/11 - Michael Collins of The Smirking Chimp headlined (8/13/07), "GENERAL STRIKE IN USA on Sept. 11, 2007 – 9/11." Here is the simple recipe. To quote, “No School * No Work * No Shopping. Hit the Streets”

  • - Protests - "The Aggressive Progressives," rich with all kinds of references to opportunities for action
*Previous S/SW Posts on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act:
Saturday, December 31, 2005: Civil liberties have staying power in the long run
Friday, January 20, 2006: Executive vs. Judiciary vs. Legislative
Saturday, August 19, 2006: Journalists, Scholars & Lawyers vs. OCP
Friday, September 22, 2006: Domestic Intelligence or Domestic Spying?
Saturday, August 04, 2007: Senate "caves" - what else is there to say?
Sunday, August 05, 2007: A Sad Day for the Fourth Amendment
Tuesday, August 07, 2007: A Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Primer
Wednesday, August 08, 2007: Dems get mixed reviews
Thursday, August 09, 2007: FISA Vote - Correction
Friday, August 10, 2007: A bit of credit is due
Sunday, August 12, 2007: What is important about freedom?
Cross posted at The Reaction.
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betmo said...

check out enigma's latest post at the sirens carol. i am not sure where i am at these days. some days i feel like fighting with everything i have for my home- and others- i wonder if i should accept the inevitable. how are you?

Carol Gee said...

from enigma: ". . . I asked, feeling ill,” How MANY people did this happen to?”
“More than you can imagine. Perhaps 1000’s. It is very very imporant that you do what I tell you. That is all I can tell you. Please know that many do not know what happened to their Vote”.

betmo, this was a gut-wrenching post. Thanks for the heads-up, and for your own pulse-check.
As for me, I'm still "out there," from the comfort of my study. I get a lot of visits to my blog from government offices such as the Justice Department and the Sergeants-at-Arms of the House or Senate, etc., but I remain able to not edit myself too much.
I will vote in all races. If the election were tomorrow, it would probably be Dodd. That's only because he still carries his copy of the constitution from Senator Byrd around in his pocket.
We don't really know what's inevitable, so we must continue the fight, b., my friend.