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I suspect this is not going to be about what you think it is. But, please, do continue…
As I continue to press through more wonderful essays by Christopher Hitchens, I came across this little gem in one titled Clive James: The Omnivore from The Atlantic, April 2007 (Page 148):
“In whichever way a democratic system might be sick, terrorism does not heal it; it kills it. Democracy is healed with democracy.” – Virginio Rognoni
As I reflected on the first sentence of that, my mind wandered back to a panel discussion on a weekend Fox Business show hosted by Charles Payne with several (surely very conservative?) guests that I happened to witness in, I believe it was, September 2014. Fortunately, I have access to an unofficial, completely amateur, partial transcript:
Mr. Payne: …Is there a point that you think the government should be able to go to keep us safe?
Guest 1: See, I think I’m different to, when it comes to millennials. I am willing to sacrifice some civil liberties for national security…”
Mr. Payne: What is some?
Guest 1: Well, that’s the thing, though. I like being ignorant to it. I don’t really want to know. I can sleep well at night not knowing all of this stuff. I’d rather not.
Mr. Payne: “What if they know it all? You OK with that?
Guest 1: Yea, but that’s because I’m not doing anything illegal, I’m not doing weird stuff. … I’m really not a threat but if whatever you take from me can help you stop something in the future, fine…
Guest 2: I’m OK with it too. You can look into emails, anything. If I know that when I walk through Times Square every single day to get here that I’m safe, you can look into anything. Is there some embarrassing things in there? Absolutely. But if I’m going to be safe you can do it. And I think millennials need to realize that they’re putting 95% of their stuff freely onto the internet so I think they’re going to be OK with most of it.
Guest 3: Unfortunately, they’re not. I wish they were. It makes me so angry, this issue. We-need-to-be-safe-and-secure. The only way to do it is to have old fashioned spying and now it’s spying with technology…
Mr. Payne: Old fashioned spying on ourselves?
Guest 4: Yes, let them spy on us, Charles. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in. Because you are willing to put…and by you I mean whoever…are willing to put your stuff out there you have to be willing to take the risks to be watched because you’re throwing your life on the line by putting it out there. So let them…
Guest 5: I mean listen, I’m not doing anything kooky, go ahead. We all put our information out on Facebook…me not so much…but I know a lot of people. That’s what content generation is all about. So…
Mr. Payne: So the things that you Google…you’re OK. Everything that you put out there…you’re OK with the government…? I think you guys are nuts, a little bit. It’s not about whether you are doing something right or wrong. It’s about liberties that were given to us, particularly in the Constitution. I’m going to tell you, you guys are opening up a door that to something…you’re giving away a right…
Guest 3: Our forefathers, when they wrote that Constitution, didn’t actually know that Al Gore was going to invent the internet, so they didn’t know how to handle it when they wrote the rules. Maybe they would have thought of stuff differently…
Mr. Payne: Well, I think they should check on people that are calling back and forth to Yemen or hot spots in Syria but…I’m worried about this one…
Well, at least Mr. Payne appeared to be sane. But clearly, where Mr. Rognoni said “it kills it,” one should read that as, when paired with the proper number of generations deposited from the sphincter of the Comprachicos of the Mind US Department of Education, it induces suicide. Built of ignorance, it becomes a choice.
That brings us to current days and current choices. And, to once again paraphrase Hans Gruber, if you want that choice – life or death of this little experiment in republican democracy – boiled down to the simplest form, “I give you the F-I-S-C.”
Helpful as always, Powerline continues to document the play-by-play in a series titled: We now know: FISA court must go. To great national silence, we are largely missing the story:
…the biggest scandal in American political history. It is a scandal involving a plot to take down a presidential candidate and president. How many FBI and DoJ officials involved in the Russia hoax remain at their desks inside the FBI and the Department of Justice doing their thing? The number should be few, but it would be a service if you would kindly let us know.
So far as we can tell, every one of the four Carter Page FISA warrants relies in substantial part on the Clinton campaign’s Steele Dossier. On their face these warrant applications appear to lack verification of the allegations deriving from the Steele Dossier. Each of the applications is heavily redacted, yet we know that this is the case with respect to the third and fourth applications based on the Horowitz IG report. The first and second applications can’t have been much better. …
Did any of the four judges who signed off on the applications notice? Has the court undertaken a review of its own role in this matter? Again, it would be a service if you would kindly let us know.
…This is not a case in which “mistakes were made,” i’s not dotted and t’s not crossed. The FISA court itself now stands revealed as an accomplice of those involved in the wrongdoing against Carter Page and everyone else whose communications with him were seized under the illegal surveillance authorized by the court. The target was of course Donald J. Trump. What we have here is a theatrical production of the sound and fury variety.
Oh, and did you know that both of your crummy parties are trying to quietly sneak through the reauthorization of this killer of liberty under the smokescreen of virus hysteria? See Rand Paul Is Poised to Scuttle the FISA Law and America Would Be Safer If He Succeeds by Streiff at Red State for details.
While I would have to change the word “significant” to “minor” in the first sentence (I was highly skeptical but generally supportive at the time), I largely agree with his final passages:
I will say this, my opposition to FISA represents a significant walk back of the position I held when it was expanded with the pass of the USA Patriot Act. At that time I could not imagine the Department of Justice and the FBI ever conspiring to directly influence a presidential election. I could not imagine that a federal judge, knowing that the essential liberties of an American citizen were about to be violated, would spend longer reading a McDonald’s menu than reviewing the underlying evidence. In the Army the view most of us held of Military Police officers was “giving a 19-year-old a badge and a gun and telling them to enforce the law is like giving a 3-year-old a can of gas and book of matches.” I should have realized that admonition applied equally to other law enforcement officers who were entrusted with the unbounded authority to investigate whatever the hell they wished to investigate.
This law is too dangerous to the values of the Republic to be allowed to continue in force. We’ve demonstrated that we do not have men and women within Justice, within the FBI, of sufficient character to be given this authority. Rand Paul is right to block its speedy passage. And President Trump would be a fool to not veto it if it should pass.
This deserves more attention. And debate. And a whole lot less of the tried-and-true political process maneuverings of the Ruling Class Managers.
Good Day.Published in