William’s blog: The Mac Manifesto
by William Mac
August 14, 2007
“LOOK! A CARROT!”
Americans are prideful people, especially us down home Southern folk. That’s right, we ain’t gonna take no flack from nobody, ‘specially not them Yankees up ther’. So, instead of reading them ther’ New York Times and Washington Post, we’re reading the local newspapers that be talkin’ ‘bout stuff we can understand, ya hear? Well, unfortunately, my Southern kind down here — and all of the other Americans sprinkled throughout this great land — are being led around by the same giant carrot on a string. Of course, there isn’t a giant carrot out there, not that I know of, but I’m using a metaphor like a good writer should. Metaphors are fun, and make people sound smart and witty, so I’ll use some more metaphors: Americans are chasing after the same dollar bill on a string; Americans are chasing after the promise of change… on string. Oh hell, I’ve got nothing. The point is, it doesn’t matter what newspaper you’re reading, because chances are that the bulk of the national and international news stories you’re reading in any popular and readily available newspaper (both local and national) are stories wired in by the AP (Associated Press).
So, even my uncontrollable and incredibly independent southern kin ‘round these parts are being lied to, mislead, and entertained so that congress can pass another bill that they, and most other Americans, will not like. So, what is that entity that is toting around all of those giant witty metaphors on a string? That would be the Associated Press, along with the corrupt and self-interested owners of newspapers like The Washington Post or New York Times. Our daily bread for news—the almighty AP—is nothing more than a manipulative and vague tool to get Americans thinking that they are being informed, when really they’re being hyped up by the “big” news stories, then becoming distracted, and tricked into allowing themselves to be lead around by a ___(insert metaphor here)____ on a string. While the Associated Press is doing its job, Congress will take advantage of the people’s distraction and pass an unpopular bill or law. Wait, what just happened? We ask out loud, why weren’t we told? Well ladies and gentlemen, you were told, but you were distracted by that giant goddamn…whatever-it-is.
One such example of this can be found in a story posted today on Dandelion Salad entitled “New Spy Law Broader Than Thought By Robert Parry”. The article states:
Before the Democratic-controlled Congress caved in on George W. Bush’s warrantless-wiretapping powers, White House lawyers slipped in two provisions to give the President even more authority – and less accountability – than he claimed on his own. And the U.S. press corps largely missed that part of the story.
Robert is on the right track here, but I’ll tell you right now that the U.S. press corps did not miss that part of the story. In fact, I wrote about this on the day of July 31st, 2007, which was a full week before the FISA update was passed. In the blog I predicted the passing of the bill by stating the following:
Now, here is President Bush trying to update FISA with “four new key reforms” and urging congress to pass the bill. This would effectively make these illegal wiretapping acts seemingly legal. This is the same thing that people are fighting against, and while everyone is concentrating on the Gonzales allegations and court activity, President Bush is trying to pass a bill effectively making these crimes legal. This is how congress and administrations have ALWAYS gotten away with unpopular bills that rape our rights. They either wait for or create a diversion that they can hide behind, and while no one is paying attention, they pass the bill, it then falls behind in the news reports due to the “bigger” stories in circulation, and no one ever even knows what happened. Well, not this time.
Unfortunately it did happen this time. How did I find out about this? Well, through the AP of course. Just listen to this recording released several days before I even wrote about it:
Yet, now what are we doing? We’re complaining. As soon as this FISA update was passed by congress on a Friday, I woke up the next morning to scathing criticism and loud complaints resounding throughout the blogosphere. Everyone was throwing in their 2 cents. It was another Bush Bashing marathon “Down with that evil tyrannical son of a bitch!” and of course “why didn’t I know about this?” You didn’t know about it because you allowed yourself to be drawn in by the glitz and glamour of the bigger stories in circulation. You followed the giant carrot just like you’re supposed to, and congress screwed you just like they wanted. Because, at the end of the day, you don’t matter; all that matters is what the corporations and manipulators want to do. Worse yet, the Associated Press writers, and the corrupt newspapers aren’t going to give you the straight story, especially not when they’re syndicated with, owned by, or paid off by corporations, economic hit men, and government officials in order to ensure that the story will not be circulated… or, at least so the story will wind up in some obscure location, in a tiny little space where no one will think to look.
Don’t follow the big news stories so blindly; don’t be led around by the headlines. Look deeper into what you hear on the television and read in the newspapers. Hang on every word, and when you hear something that seems odd don’t dismiss it, research it. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, our government may be lying, Bush may be a bastard, the Associated Press may be making us its bitch, but the responsibility and blame lies in you, and me. The responsibility lies in the American people to get up and do a little more leg work, because if all we can do is complain after the fact, then nothing will change.
Bush’s Radio Address
July 28, 2007
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This week I visited with troops at Charleston Air Force Base. These fine men and women are serving courageously to protect our country against dangerous enemies. The terrorist network that struck America on September the 11th wants to strike our country again. To stop them, our military, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals need the best possible information about who the terrorists are, where they are, and what they are planning.
One of the most important ways we can gather that information is by monitoring terrorist communications. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — also known as FISA — provides a critical legal foundation that allows our intelligence community to collect this information while protecting the civil liberties of Americans. But this important law was written in 1978, and it addressed the technologies of that era. This law is badly out of date — and Congress must act to modernize it.
Today we face sophisticated terrorists who use disposable cell phones and the Internet to communicate with each other, recruit operatives, and plan attacks on our country. Technologies like these were not available when FISA was passed nearly 30 years ago, and FISA has not kept up with new technological developments. As a result, our Nation is hampered in its ability to gain the vital intelligence we need to keep the American people safe. In his testimony to Congress in May, Mike McConnell, the Director of National Intelligence, put it this way: We are “significantly burdened in capturing overseas communications of foreign terrorists planning to conduct attacks inside the United States.” To fix this problem, my Administration has proposed a bill that would modernize the FISA statute. This legislation is the product of months of discussion with members of both parties in the House and the Senate — and it includes four key reforms: First, it brings FISA up to date with the changes in communications technology that have taken place over the past three decades. Second, it seeks to restore FISA to its original focus on protecting the privacy interests of people inside the United States, so we don’t have to obtain court orders to effectively collect foreign intelligence about foreign targets located in foreign locations. Third, it allows the government to work more efficiently with private-sector entities like communications providers, whose help is essential. And fourth, it will streamline administrative processes so our intelligence community can gather foreign intelligence more quickly and more effectively, while protecting civil liberties.
Our intelligence community warns that under the current statute, we are missing a significant amount of foreign intelligence that we should be collecting to protect our country. Congress needs to act immediately to pass this bill, so that our national security professionals can close intelligence gaps and provide critical warning time for our country.
As the recent National Intelligence Estimate reported, America is in a heightened threat environment. Reforming FISA will help our intelligence professionals address those threats — and they should not have to wait any longer. Congress will soon be leaving for its August recess. I ask Republicans and Democrats to work together to pass FISA modernization now, before they leave town. Our national security depends on it.
Thank you for listening.