Intelligence Gathering

Bush Jong Il is defending the collection of phone call and caller information from major US phone companies — AT&T, Verizon, BellSouth — a program USA Today reported “documents who talks to whom in personal and business calls, whether local or long distance, by tracking which numbers are called” but supposedly does not actually listen in on phone calls.

“We are not mining or trolling through the personal lives of innocent Americans,” Bush said before leaving for a commencement address at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Biloxi. “Our efforts are focused on links to al-Qaida and their known affiliates.”

But the liberty of Americans is being “feircely protected.” How do we know this? Bush himself says so.

Here’s the lesson, and it bears repeating over and over and over again. Government cannot protect liberty from government, the state cannot safeguard freedom from the interference of the state. It is that simple. This is especially true in the era of “the unitary executive,” (a Republican version of the fuhrerprinzip) in which no part of the executive branch may disobey the president, deviate from presidential policy in any fashion, or be held accountable to anything or anyone other than the president.

How that’s a recipe for freedom — anyone’s freedom, except maybe the president’s — is beyond me. I guess that’s why I’m not a Republican.