Saturday, June 8, 2013
Barry, My Liege :
Your faithful servant has observed several of the discussions about domestic spying in the United States of America.
It appears that you have attempted to create a judicial review process, however flawed it is.
But, My Liege, this spying apparatus creates problems for our country which transcend simple fixes.
History teaches that governments with power use that power until and unless they are forced to stop.
Regardless of the bureaucratic mechanisms created today to control that power, history teaches us that there will come a time when those restraints will be disabled. The bureaucratic mechanisms do not constitute an effective restraint on abuse of power.
We now have a system which spies on every citizen and which has the power to assassinate any citizen which threatens that system.
Today the system targets foreign terrorists. Perhaps tomorrow the system will target me since I do not maintain respectful silence.
Here is a link to an interview with Edward Snowden, the patriot and man of conscience who leaked the details http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance
And, My Liege, you are well aware that wealth and power are concentrated increasingly in our country.
One of the effects of that wealth concentration is what I live with every day.
My city of about 400,000 has 15 police officers for every 10,000 residents while Chicago has 45. Last weekend there were 17 shootings with one fatality.
Most nights I hear shots fired. When the shots are close by, I look out the window and frequently see the shooters escaping by driving toward the freeway. And, you know what, I usually see at least two very nice, new cars.
If there are burglars in your house, the police advise you to wait outside until an officer will take a report in a few hours.
Home burglary is an organized business where innocent appearing folks - like mothers with babes in arms and children aged between 8 and 12 - walk or drive the street looking for houses where people leave for work every day. Then they use a cell phone to call in the address to the gang leaders.
People leave good neighborhoods because home burglaries average two per week.
The probable cause of this dilemma is the financial system failure which reduced property values, thus wreaking havoc with the city budget. And, as you recall, the same people are still in charge of the financial system and there have been no effective reforms.
And, now, My Liege, the same crooks who created the crisis have the money and tools to spy on citizens and continue extracting money from the poor.
In short, that is the problem with the spying system, My Liege : the system permits the same people who profit from the system to control the system. The name for this is 'tyranny'.
History has shown us also that the only systemic solution to the problem of power concentration is a divided government with effective checks and balances.
Now, we do not have effective checks and balances.
They have been abandoned as a result of the War on Terror.
My Liege, you spoke of trade-offs in our battle for security and you have called for the repeal of the Patriot Act. One wonders if it is even possible conceptually to change the system.
I would suggest that we have gone too far toward security and have lost our freedom as a result.
We suffer from it.
Your faithful servant.