This set out to be about poker and our government, but it rambles a bit.
I heard an interview with John Ashcroft on NPR yesterday where he talked about past presidents infringing on human rights during times of war. In his new book, he talks about the fact that Woodrow Wilson surveilled (Ashcroft’s word) all calls in and out of the US during WWI. In WWII, FDR surveilled and started jailing 100,000 Japanese (almost a third of whom were American citizens) on December 8th. Lincoln suspended the writ of habeus corpus and jailed journalists, among others, (see Otis’ link to the Ze Frank parody about the death of Mr. Corpus) so it should come as no surprise that George Bush is doing it now. He’s looking out for our interests. He’s protecting us.
John Ashcroft met with President Bush after 9/11 where the president gave him a mandate to prospectively mete out terrorism, as opposed to what we had been doing, which was react to it. This presumably led to the domestic “warrantless” surveillance program at the NSA and other secret programs, too.
Here is the problem. We are at war, but nobody knows it, or no one cares. The disconnect between the White House and the American people comes down to this fact. In DC, they are peddling like mad (or at least they think they are) in order to protect us, but they aren’t selling it.
They certainly haven’t sold it to me. As a Republican, I am finding it harder and harder to stand behind my government as they continue to erode my civil liberties. Make no mistake, the attack on online poker is an offshoot of this war on terrorism. When government officials begin to take away our civil rights because “it’s in our best interest,” there comes an insatiable greed to take more.
Has history taught us nothing?
I’m not sure what I want. I guess I’m asking our government to either convince me that it’s in my best interest to (hopefully temporarily) give up some civil rights because it is best for my country. Hell, I’ve already taken an oath to die for my country while in uniform. Either that, or stop the nonsense and leave me free to dance while Rome burns.