We watched/listened to most of the Democratic debate tonight. In our opinion, Hillary showed better than most pundits seemed to think. We were particularly amused by her reference to the SNL sketch we linked to in our last post. No doubt she read about it first here at OL&L.
After the debate, we watched (re-watched, actually) a few episodes of Prison Break Season 2 with our dad and brother. It may seem funny to some of you, but while watching, it occurred to us why so many on the left are paranoid about FISA, Gitmo, the Patriot Act, etc. Prison Break is one of many shows in which the evil actor is [is: homer nods] some nebulous, nefarious organization called simply, "the company." This "company" tortures, listens in on phone calls, falsifies evidence, starts wars, buys elections, kills people (lots of 'em)--everything the paranoid left has ascribed to the Bush administration for the last 7+ years.
Somewhere along the way, people started to blur the lines between news and tv drama. Of course, Prison Break isn't the only show to blame. Each successive season of 24 comes up with another set of corrupt government/business people who are bent on destroying American civil liberties (at the least), world domination, and killing lots of people.
The more we think about it, the more we realize how common these themes have become. Somehow, this corrupt government/business meme has become incredibly popular. Even Heroes, (ah, Heroes) with its hope for a better day (the good doctors narration in these shows makes us want to bang our head against the wall, repeatedly) has bought into the tired sinister government/business take-over-the-world through the US meme.
We don't think the paranoid left or anyone else is stupid. We're sure that, if asked seriously, they would admit that these types of things happen only in Hollywood. But it's impossible to deny the subtle influence these shows have on our attitudes towards government and corporations.
Sure, it's only in TV and the movies, but what if? What if the government is killing off its opponents and listening in on every critical conversation about President Bush? What if Gitmo and the secret hidden bunker-prisons in Eastern Europe are full of, not terrorists, but liberal Democrats? What if?
This probably sounds all too familiar to all you 9/11 truthers out there.
The point of all this is to ask for a little bit of sanity when it comes to discussing our intelligence gathering and security issues. The government is not listening in on the conversations you have with your friend in Berkeley about how great that Keith Olbermann is or how much you hate Rush Limbaugh. The only conversations this legislation applies to are ones that originate and end in other countries. We personally think it's ridiculous that there should be any legislation about this type of intelligence gathering.
The only reason it has come under the courts purview is because like every phone call made in the world, it's routed through some US based servers. This does not make it domestic spying. Even then, their computers are looking for specific words from a hot list developed from their intel contacts. They're not listening to every overseas conversation where someone mentions the word "terrorist." Remember, terrorists don't refer to themselves as terrorists and when they talk to each other, they usually use a lot of code.
This is why we were so disappointed when House Democrats decided to go on vacation rather than passing the bill that had already been passed with a bipartisan majority in the Senate. Whether they were appeasing their trial lawyer-donors or appeasing the paranoid left or whatever, it was highly irresponsible. They were, in effect, playing politics with national security.
In Congressional elections this fall, Republican candidates can justly say that Democrats went on vacation rather than passing intelligence security legislation designed to let us listen to terrorists' conversations. In England or France or Germany, they would laugh that this is even an issue--that somehow there would be limitations on listening to overseas communications.
And they're right, it is ridiculous.
If you have tips, questions, comments, suggestions, or requests for subscription only articles, email us at email@example.com.