Nixon, Although Sneaky, At Least Had His Capable Moments
Molly Ivins is one of my favorite columnists. She has a great political mind and an amazing ability to put the right words together that always seem to hit the point. She did this particularly well in her August 21, 2006, piece, “Big Brother Bush,” posted on AlterNet. It drew some comparisons between Richard Nixon and George W. Bush, with the latter not even finishing as a contender. “Testy Kid,” as she describes Bush, can’t even uphold the Constitution that put him in office.
Nixon Also Gave Us Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld
Ivins cites as an example of Bush’s Big Brother, the Pentagon’s giant data-mining program called Total Information Awareness (TIA), designed to tie databases together world-wide, and use the data to spy on anyone they chose. After pressure from just about everybody, the TIA was shut down, or as Molly puts it: “As often happens with this administration, it turned out they just changed the name and made the program less visible.”
Working in the background during all this time were graduates of Nixon’s regular classes on Deceit: 101, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, taking the reins on every available means to pry into the lives of innocent Americans.
TIA Sets Stage for NSA Spying
Then someone convinced the gung ho Bush that using the very secretive National Security Agency (NSA) to do this surveillance of U.S. citizens could keep it all under wraps and, once again, the Constitution be damned, full speed ahead. Fortunately, the New York Times exposed this attempt, and it ended up in Judge Anna Diggs Taylor’s court. Her decision was that the NSA’s warrant-less surveillance authorized by George W. Bush was unconstitutional.
This decision, of course is being appealed by the administration, and you will want to read in The Village Voice August 26, 2006, article, “George Bush: Recidivist,” by Nat Hentoff, on how the Justice department strong-armed Taylor to dismiss the case.
If You Can’t Beat ‘em, Discredit ‘em
Although Bush and his cronies once again used their hackneyed strategy, “if you’re agin us, you must be wrong,” a respected law professor, Laurence Tribe, recognized as one of the foremost constitutional law experts and Supreme Court practitioners in the U.S., considers her decision “splendid.”
But then, along came Republican Senator Arlen Specter to prop up the President and try to bail out the entire administration for violating the law, and the Constitution. Nat Hentoff strikes again on September 1, in “Arlen Specter’s Sellout,” his article on Specter’s attempt to pass legislation giving the administration a way to prevent going to the slammer. This, when Specter has stated before his belief that Bush did violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which requires a president to present programs of this nature to a special court for approval.
How Did We Get Here, and What Do We Do Now?
If you really don’t know how we got to this point where our privacy is in constant jeopardy—and I doubt many don’t—I will tell you much in the same way George Orwell told his readers in the classic novel, 1984: Big Brother is watching you. Although simple, it predicted a tyrannical state in the future that could usurp all our freedoms. I believe we are very close to realizing Orwell’s prediction. If we don’t wake up and take control of our privacy, Big Brother is imminent.