Your Own Government-owned Cyberganger

5/12/2006

Let’s review. The outfit that cherry-picked WMD intel, blew a CIA agent’s cover, turned Iraq into a George Romero film, and whose duty roster features key cronies under indictment for everything from shoplifting to soliciting a minor, is once again using our democracy as a diaper. This should not surprise.

Yesterday’s revelation about the NSA’s call-tracking feature confirmed what we should have already feared, if not known. To borrow a phrase from Mr. Cheney, it’s been pretty well confirmed that the agency enshrined to protect us from “foreign adversaries” is sucking up every electron of our day-to-day lives in order to…well, you figure it out.

If you are among those that think Bush’s interest is limited to our “calling patterns,” you should drop by. We can discuss some investment opportunities. But if you’ve been using your brain for processing input, you will have gathered enough of your own intelligence to know that the ultimate consequence of their intentions will be the creation of your own government owned cyberganger. An electronic, instantly retrievable, you that contains everything from your pizza preferences to your PSA count. And, if government database development experience is any teacher, it’ll be chock-full of errors. See you at sunny Guantanamo.

In the coming days, we’ll doubtless learn a lot more about the extent of the NSA’s potential to weave our data into a rug with which to smother the Fourth Amendment. In recent weeks, we’ve spoken of Dubya’s subpoenaing oodles of Google searches and drug testing our sewage. We’ve known for some time they are after our banking and medical records. Seems Bush wants to know everything about us, except about our guns. Don’t want to piss off the NRA you know.

With this as a backdrop, it was with considerable consternation that I read in today’s Washington Post that 63 percent of those asked in a hasty survey were okay with King George’s latest venture. Know that as sleepy newsboys were tossing the morning edition nowhere near your front porch, a gaggle of federal law enforcement agencies was raiding CIA headquarters. Seems another Bush compatriot sold out his office. Not that that has anything to do with this.

As I read that perplexing poll, I could not help but think how they might have phrased the question in a way that would awaken America to the seriousness of this. Maybe, “if George W. Bush were to reach inside the waistband of your undies and grope around, would you approve?”

The administration has not only lowered expectations, it has redefined trust. What happened to the land of three strikes and you’re out? Bush has taken a wrong turn at every critical intelligence juncture. He’s weakened our nation with a dazzling display of incompetence and deceit, yet he gets a pass when he declares himself sole arbiter of the course of our democracy in its digital age.

These clashes were inevitable because technology inevitably changes things. That said, the die is about to be recast on personal liberties in this data-driven nation. We are wandering in the wilderness and we’ve entrusted our freedom to a guide who can’t see past his eyebrows.

To Bush, it’s simply not up for discussion. He hasn’t even the time for the feckless, indictment riddled Congress that bears his party’s stamp of approval. The Justice Department? Sorry, they don’t have the special clearance needed to investigate Bush’s deeds. We the people? Forget it. Principle one of the Bush doctrine is that he must know everything about us, and we can know nothing about him.

To this failed and flawed leader, we bequeath our beloved Bill of Rights.

Mr. President, when you’re finished with it, please send me a copy, I’m sure you know where to find me.

If you got this far, you might also enjoy: “You can’t call it terror if you’re not afraid of it.”

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