This year is flying by rapidly and the news moves so lightning-fast that a huge event in February is ancient history in April. I am a regular working person with a full-time job who blogs as a side gig so I am a little behind on the news cycle. This post was written February 4th, a couple days after the release of Devin Nunes memo that revealed the FBI FISA warrant abuse.
My method is this: I write a first draft — in longhand in my special “first-draft” notebook. I let the first draft percolate several days and then write a second draft — in longhand in my special “second-draft” notebook. By the time I type it out and post it on my blog it is the third draft. It’s a process I’ve worked out over the years and I like it. It’s not efficient or expedient, but neither efficiency or expediency is high on my priority list right now. What is at the top on my priority list is getting closer to the truth about the world we live in.
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When assessing my reaction to the Nunes memo, which was released to the public Friday February 2, 2018, the first step is to figure out my comfort level with powerful government agencies that can spy on whichever American citizen they want for whatever purpose. Let me set aside for a moment whether the powerful agency can use fictional documents to get a warrant on you. Let me first consider whether I like the idea that highly-trained taxpayer-funded investigators can spy on me at will. Okay I have considered the issue: I don’t.
Before 9/11, perhaps most people found surveillance of the American people abhorrent. Then the shock and horror of the 9/11 event softened the mindset of the masses and made it easier for the government to sneak into our everyday activities. Some say this was the reason the event happened – or at least one of the reasons. Even it was not a planned inside job, they absolutely did jump on it as an opportunity to tighten the surveillance on us. So now, as revealed in 2013 (?) by Edward Snowden, they are always spying on us. This FISA surveillance of an individual is nothing more than taking the usual spying to a more focused level.
I looked up surveillance on Dictionary.com:
Surveillance: n. Close observation of a person or group, especially on under suspicion.
By that definition, we are all inherently under suspicion. What is it we are all under suspicion for? Likelihood of undermining some State agenda that we had no part if creating? Wanting to live according to our rights as human beings or maybe just the ones defined in the U.S. Bill of Rights? I don’t know — just a couple of wild guesses off the top of my head. If they were surveilling us just for our protection and to make sure we didn’t kill each other, maybe I could have some tolerance for it. But certain events, such as the Las Vegas massacre and other wiggly massacres, in which the FBI interviewed the supposed perpetrators kind of point to the idea that preservation of lives is not a priority of government law enforcers and secret agencies.
My initial reaction to the memo is anger albeit a sort of jaded anger because there is nothing in the memo that I did not strongly suspect. There was an abundance of evidence reported in both the mainstream and alternative media that the “dossier” was a sham piece of trash paid for by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign (which according to Donna Brazil were one and the same thing). But I did not know the mundane details about who signed what form and how many times they renewed the warrant to surveille Carter Page.
My second, and more lasting reaction, is a sense of profound sadness that it has come to the point that we need a scrupulously drafted, legally precise document by a Congressional Intelligence Committee even to get some of the people concerned about a secret police force and what the secret police feel free to do. Maybe this memo will help me get motivated to really reflect hard on how a free country is supposed to operate. All my life I have been told I live in a free country, and now I see that I don’t and perhaps never have.
It would be a great idea to re-read the U.S. Constitution. As the real law of the land that all of our government officials swear to uphold, the U.S. constitution is, by definition, the way things are supposed to work in this country. My personal preference would be a completely free humanity, for of law, free to choose, and wise enough to choose the good. But even in such a world, the happiness of the human race would depend upon obedience to the highest law, God’s law of love, the law that holds all things together. I don’t think we have evolved to the level of consciousness that would make this level of freedom possible, so we still need to abide by the best and least restrictive man-made law we can come up with, and I don’t believe we have yet come up with any man-made law that is better than the U.S. Constitution.
It is troubling that we have been unable to live up to such a simple set of laws and have not been able to hold our elected officials accountable for upholding them. Maybe I will do a series of blog posts on different parts of the Constitution. Maybe there are things that should be changed or modernized but we are not in a good position to make such assessments until we thoroughly understand what it says, what concerns underlie each part, and what are the possible implications of changing it. The first step is understanding; the second is caring. Or more likely, understanding and caring are equally important.
We have a time-tested electoral system that enables us to elect a President in an orderly way that is as fair as possible to the various interests that exist under the flag of the United States of America. The vote of each legal U.S. voter is supposed to count. The FBI, the CIA, the NSA, or any of the other secret police agencies are not actually in the Constitution. They are, if they exist at all, supposed to be part of the executive branch, answerable to the President elected by the people using the electoral college system. As such, agencies like the FBI are supposed to be non-political law enforcement organizations.
Speaking of the executive branch, I was a bit shocked by the extent Barack H. Obama involved himself in the 2016 presidential campaign. Of course, I realize any President would be likely to support the candidate of his own political party; but to insult and ridicule the opposing candidate, to aggressively campaign as if your life depended on it for one candidate over the over seemed to me tacky, gauche, and unethical. The way he was throwing the weight of the most powerful office on earth around in favor of HRC was eye opening to say the least.
In my humble opinion, a fair election would let each candidate speak for his or her case and let the people make up our minds unhampered by noisy Presidents, pop starts, propaganda-driven media, and pastors all telling us who we should vote for. Who believes BHO supported HRC because he sincerely believed you and I would be better off with another President Clinton? Do you think he had some other reason? What do you think it was?