by Barbara Miller
Remember party lines '" where multiple families shared the same phone line? Remember how good we got at sliding a finger under the receiver to hold down the button while we carefully removed the receiver from its cradle? How we tucked the mouthpiece end under our chin so our breathing couldn't be detected? Then we let the button come up verrrry slowwwwly.
Turns out the Bush administration has been giving us the finger for several years. This is not a new thing, but the most recent example has set off a perfect storm of furious and justified indignation.
Our government (i.e., the Government of the United States of America) has been tracking domestic phone calls by collecting records from AT&T, Verizon and Bell South. Those are just the ones we know about. We are told that these three behemoths collectively deal with nearly three-quarters of U.S. telephone transactions.
The Big Three are quick to claim they have operated within the law. Maybe. It's small comfort in a nation where the law is being end-run and stomped repeatedly by the Bush Bunch.
Got Qwest? You're lucky. They've refused to play the game. Apparently thought there was something a little off-putting about the National Security Administration's request for private records. (Subliminal message: Michael Hayden. Foxes and hens, folks, foxes and hens.)
Got Qwest? Not so lucky. If you're talking to someone whose provider is one of the Big Three, your number has been harvested. "We gather together . . . ."
Feeling used and abused? Feeling like a bit player in a Kafka piece? Fed up and rising with the appalling and seriously un-American shenanigans of these folks? Take a number.
So what is my point? My point is that our Constitution is beginning to resemble a piata. These people are pounding the hell out of it. And we are told to behave like good girls and boys. Don't get excited. Don't get angry. Trust us.
Here's the deal. Failure to trust does not necessarily reflect the pathology of the truster. Show me something'"anything!'"that even remotely suggests that the Bush Bunch is trustworthy. Please!
I don't like being flimflammed and bamboozled by the President of the United States. I don't like shutting down every time he opens his mouth. I don't like it when my mind begins to draw comparisons between the Russia of my youth and the USA of this very day.
This time around, Bush assures us that rounding up phone records is all in a day's work. "Our efforts are focused on links to Al-Qaeda and their known affiliates. So far, we have been very successful in preventing another attack on our soil." Post hoc ergo propter hoc.
For four years, we've endured attacks on our soil and selves, and they have been perpetrated by this administration. Just once, show me the truth. Even if it requires impeachment.