Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Liberties, Shliberties

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but it’s time once again to do a Bizarro-Hyman commentary in which we take Hyman’s exact words and, by making only a handful of small changes, turn Hyman’s commentary from drab to fab. To quote This is Spinal Tap, it’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.

In this case, we’ll use Hyman’s recent commentary on the privacy issues raised by installing “black box” type recorders on cars. If Hyman was actually concerned about civil liberties, he might have said something like this:

It may help assign blame for a terrorist attack. It’s no bigger than your cellular phone. And if you’re making any calls to friends, family, or business associates in Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, or Saudi Arabia, you may very well have one.

It’s called a wire tap, or “bug,” and it’s similar to those things police use to eavesdrop on mobsters. Nearly twenty years ago, the
Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act was passed, which clearly stated that wiretaps were appropriate to use to intercept messages between foreign powers and their agents within the United States. FISA allows the president to order wiretaps without a warrant, but only when it will not acquire information from a United States citizen and when the wiretap can be justified after the fact to the FISA court. Intelligence officials can analyze communication between suspected terrorists to uncover possible planned attacks.

But there are several problems. U.S. citizens aren’t aware if their phone lines have been tapped. And the
president and his attorney general claim they don’t have to get a warrant for a wiretap even after the fact. The Bush administration does not recognize any limitations on its rights to spy on people in the U.S. during the on-going (and, by definition, never-ending) “war on terror.” So privacy concerns arise. Can these devices and their data be exploited and abused? The administration’s wiretapping program should be the subject of intense debate and reasonable government regulation.

And that’s the Bizarro-Point.


At 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, Ted, a classic.

Mark's duplicity indicates his lack of principles. Or at least principles that have any meaning.

If their practices weren't so destructive to a healthy society, I'd just say these selfish, money-first republicans were boring and intellectually vacant.

Alas, they're more than just boring and intellectually vacant.

At 8:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for the bizarro Hyman and once again revealing the hypocrisy of these selfish people.


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