OpEdNews Op Eds

Thom Hartmann: Reclaiming The Issues: "Why Is Bush Spying On Democrats?!?"

By       Message Thom Hartmann     Permalink
      (Page 1 of 3 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Author 1486
Become a Fan
  (119 fans)
- Advertisement -
Every time Democrats and progressives speak out about George W. Bush's spying on Americans without mentioning that he may also be spying on Democrats, they're playing into Karl Rove's "National Security Frame" and actually strengthening Republican electoral chances in November.

To short-circuit this, Democrats need to invoke the ghost of Richard Nixon.

If they don't, even Pete Hoekstra's new revelations that there are even more as-yet-unreported secret spying programs that Bush has been hiding from Congress will be used by Rove to say to average voters, "See? We're really looking out for you!"

The Bush administration doesn't deny it has been spying on Americans - they brag about it. They're listening to our phone calls, reading our emails, and looking at our bank transactions. They're gathering databases about our medical records, what we charge on our credit cards, and where we travel.

When Democrats point out that this is illegal without a court order, Rove simply floods the airwaves with Republicans who say, "We're doing it to protect you!"

The average American doesn't think this all the way through, and the Rovian frame may sound commonsensical. In fact, it's at the heart of the right-wing's subversion of democracy.

For example, when some unfortunate and nearly illiterate idiots talked about attacking New York last week, the Bushies and the corporate press trumpeted the sting operation that led to these clueless wannabees' arrest as a "triumph in the war on terror!" Limbaugh intoned sternly that liberals would have prevented the United States from discovering such criminals, and all over America dittoheads nodded in agreement.

What's been entirely lost in the discussion about Bush administration spying is why so much of what Bush is doing is illegal.
- Advertisement -


And that takes us back to Richard Nixon, the last Republican to have an active domestic spying program without judicial or bipartisan congressional oversight. The one whose Bush-like abuses led to the FISA and other, similar laws.

Nixon said he was spying on Americans to keep us safe from communists. We were in the middle of a war, after all. The Soviets were out to get us (and armed with real weapons of mass destruction), and the North Vietnamese weren't far behind. He had to spy on Americans, he said, to protect the liberties of Americans.

Problem was, he had turned the tool of domestic surveillance against his political enemies (and those who weren't, like journalist Daniel Schorr, but whom he believed were). Nixon was spying on Democrats, and trying to cover it with the fig leaf of "national security."

Set aside all the highbrow talk about separation of powers and intent of the Founders, and this is what the FISA and other, similar, laws boil down to - stopping the president from spying on his political opponents. To prevent political abuse, he has to check in with a judge or a congressional committee before using our super-spies.

Imagine if Bill Clinton had been found to have a domestic spying program going on - even after the bombing of Oklahoma City and the first World Trade Center hit. Republicans would have been foaming at the mouth. "What's he hiding?! It must be that he's spying on us!!"
- Advertisement -


Yet Democrats seem unwilling to even raise the possibility of Bush administration political espionage, and the compliant corporate press hasn't raised a peep. Even though there's a precedent for Republicans - and, more recently, Bush Republicans - spying on Democrats.

Remember November of 2003? Using naked political espionage, Bush Republicans used intelligence gained in an illegal spying operation to outflank Democrats.

Republicans in the Senate - including a staffer for Republican Senator Orrin Hatch - hacked into the computers of several Senate Democrats, including Ted Kennedy and Dick Durbin. Reading Kennedy's and Durbin's correspondence, the Republican operatives discovered the strategy the Democrats intended to use to attack Republican high court nominees. They leaked fifteen bits of Kennedy's discussions to The Wall Street Journal and other Republican-friendly sources, who used the information to successfully trash and thwart the Democratic plans.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

 

- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It

Take action -- click here to contact your local newspaper or congress people:
Why is Bush spying on Democrats?

Click here to see the most recent messages sent to congressional reps and local newspapers

http://www.thomhartmann.com
Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon


Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

S&P Blames Republicans, Mainstream Media Fails to Report It

Globalization Is Killing The Globe: Return to Local Economies

The Great Tax Con Job

The Truth about the Trust Fund-- Destroying Social Security to Destroy the Two Party System

The Deciding Moment: The Theft of Human Right

Healthcare: First They Came for the Banksters