“The ‘War on Terror’ is over.”
~ Anonymous State Dept. official, April 23rd, 2012, ‘The Post Al Qaida Era,” Michael Hirsh, The National Review
On April 23rd, 2012, Michael Hirsh reported on the National Journal blog site that he was told by an administration insider that “the war on terror is over.” Cool. Fast forward to June 5th, 2013. Forbes informs the American public that,
In a top secret order obtained by the Guardian newspaper and published Wednesday evening, the FBI on the NSA’s behalf demanded that Verizon turn over all metadata for phone records originating in the United States for the three months beginning in late April and ending on the 19th of July. That metadata includes all so-called “non-content” data for millions of American customers’ phone calls, such as the subscriber data, recipients, locations, times and durations of every call made during that period.
Lefties will point out that it was Bush’s “PATRIOT Act” that allowed for such intrusive policies to exist, and that’s true. Absolutely true. It is also absolutely true that Bush’s “PATRIOT Act” was set to expire at the end of February, 2011, but was extended by Obama’s “PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act” on May 26th, 2011, in a move that was condemned by both the ACLU and The Nation‘s John Nichols on February 8th, 2011, when he called it, “a worse Patriot Act stance than the GOP.”
What’s most disturbing isn’t the surveillance of private phone calls; I’m sure most Americans would agree that they want those suspected of terrorism with connections to rouge states in Africa and the Middle East to be investigated, considering. But suspects and rouge states weren’t the focus of this umbrella investigation; you and I were. According to Forbes,
“It is hereby ordered that [Verizon Business Network Services’] Custodian of Records shall produce to the National Security Agency…all call detail records or ‘telephony metadata’ created by Verizon for communications (i) between the United States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls,” the Guardian’s copy of the order reads. “This Order does not require Verizon to include telephony metadata for communications wholly originating and terminating in foreign countries.”
So what gives? If the War on Terror is over, then why the surveillance? And if it’s not over, then why target millions of American citizens instead of a suspected few? Why wouldn’t the FBI want the phone traffic “originating and terminating in foreign countries”? I mean, isn’t that where the enemy operates?
These are valid questions that all Americans deserve to have answered no matter what side of the partisan fence they’re on, because an over-reaching government affects everyone. Take note that the FBI didn’t demand that Verizon hand over all calls between “conservatives,” or all calls between “liberals,” but ALL CALLS. Yes, that means you.
Ok well, let’s ask Eric Holder.
Oh wait, he’s refused to answer those questions.
Is this shocking to anyone? It should be. An administration that doesn’t feel compelled to answer to Congress is a scary thing. What’s next?
What’s next is the IRS scandal’s trail leading right back up the food chain. On June 2nd, 2013, Jake Miller of CBS News reported that,
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., citing the testimony of IRS employees who spoke to his committee behind closed doors, argued Sunday that the tax agency’s targeting of conservative groups was not the result of a few “rogue agents” in the Cincinnati field office, as the IRS and the Obama administration have insisted, but the product of a direct order from IRS headquarters in Washington.
You would think that this cluster f*** of nonsense would be enough for concerned Americans everywhere to join together in a common cause; but no. It seems that some people are so fully committed, so completely unable to release the psychological investment they have made in a political candidate, that they would rather deny any shady business than to stick up for their own rights and the rights of their fellow citizens.
On June 5th, 2013, hack MSNB reporter Martin Bashir once again managed to squeeeeeze out 15 minutes of fame by claiming that any attempt to link President Obama to the IRS scandal, or any scandal, is, “the latest weapon in the war against the black man in the White House.”
I see. Deflection, distraction, and denial. Got it.
Using race, gender, and ethnicity as an excuse for not performing up to par is the typical way out of a tight spot when you’re a kid. I tried pulling this crap on my mother in fifth grade when I wanted to quit ballet. “I don’t feel comfortable,” I whined. “I’m the only Hispanic there! I’m too fat! Everybody else is white and skinny!” “Tough,” was her reply. Translation: nice try, but no cigar. In our house, race, gender, and ethnicity didn’t cut it as an excuse for anything. “There are kids that were born without arms painting portraits and swimming in the Olympics, and you can’t do what because WHY?”
See, my mom understood something very innate about using a crutch; it becomes a handicap. ‘Equal’ means ‘the same.’ If your race, gender, or ethnicity renders you somehow special, then you are no longer ‘the same,’ and cannot be considered ‘equal.’ It becomes one more reason why people might consider you incompetent and unable to meet the standard. One more excuse for them to keep you from participating. Once more way to limit your choices. My mother hadn’t traveled all the way from communist Cuba to the U.S. for a life of choice and participation, only to handicap her American-born girls; and so, crutches were off the table.
Apparently, however, crutches are all the rage at Mr. Bashir’s table. Mr. Bashir’s implication that all presidents are accountable for their actions and susceptible to investigation except “the black man in the White House” implies that the “black man” isn’t the same. If not, why not? I would like to ask Mr. Bashir exactly what he believes the role of the Commander in Chief is? What power, if any, does he believe the President wields? What exactly, in Mr. Bashir’s eyes, is the POTUS accountable for, and to whom?
Is this a legit gripe? Or is this just one more paper-thin attempt at whitewashing some really ugly facts?
I took Civics and Government throughout my academic career, and I swear I recall something about “the buck” stopping “here,” something about the American President’s office being the most powerful in all the world, and therefore, the office with the greatest responsibility. Lately though, I feel like I’ve brain dumped and either forgotten everything or maybe was instructed incorrectly. Or maybe I just couldn’t grasp the intricacies of GOV101; but who could blame me? After all, I’m only a girl.