American readers: Defend your privacy NOW
Two weeks ago I wrote about how Vice President Dick Cheney is pushing for the expansion and permanence of the expiring surveillance law (i.e., that which allows warrantless wiretapping). Congress is now on the brink of a vote on the euphemistically named Protect America Act. Ed Brayton of Dispatches from the Culture Wars reports that Downside DC is urging citizens to write and call today—as in right now—and pressure Congress to vote against this anti-privacy act, or to at least vote for some key amendments to the legislation. Click here to send an email (just follow the appropriate links). If you want to do even more, you can call your legislators. Brayton argues that “this is a very key comment in American history; the continued relevance of the 4th amendment (which guards against unreasonable search and seizures) is, quite literally, at stake” (note on 4th amendment in parentheses added by me).
What jumps out to me about this law is how it in conjunction with the also euphemistically named PATRIOT Act and the pervasive intransparency of the government with regard to national security issues could serve to squelch protest and social movements that the government deems undesirable. Once a government learns about the churning of organized dissent they could potentially declare the dissenters to be enemies or threats of the state and detain them indefinitely without warrant. America will no longer be America. Under the guise of protecting freedom from terrorists, the American government could become the primary freedom-revoking terrorist to the American people.