Yep, that's what this whole New York Times disclosure of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program is all about -- the stupidity of the American people.
Today's San Diego Union-Tribune editorial page boldly steps forward and defends the the Times' disclosure of the program because -- well, apparently because journalists have to stick together.
The Times and other publications, including this one, were entirely correct that the public's right to know about the bank-tracking program – which raises important questions about individual privacy and the president's powers to act without judicial oversight – outweighed the Bush administration's claim of secrecy.
Individual privacy with regard to bank records? Hello! Apparently everyone on the 4th floor has their accountants do their tax returns for them. And the government doesn't have the right to monitor money coming into this country? Is the U.S. the new money-laundering capital of the world?
This reminds me of the idiot who was shocked -- shocked, I tell you -- that the Customs service would have the gall to open mail coming into the country from overseas.
It's the second part of the Union-Tribune editorial that is really the focus of a lot of what's got much of the mainstream media in an uproar -- the lack of judicial oversight. In this warped view of our Constitution, the executive branch -- and to a lesser extent the legislature -- only has power when the judiciary allows it to have power. Conservatives have been complaining for ages about the imperial judiciary and an oligarchy of judges, but much of the media has wrongly internalized this concept.
Administrative subpoenas, the kind used by the TFT program, are completely legal and judicial review is not necessary to use them. The president has inherent power to gather intelligence to defend the United States from attack -- power that does not require a judge's permission to be legal.
In coordinated assaults, Bush called the Times' disclosure of the bank-tracking initiative “disgraceful,” and Cheney declared it made “the job of defending against further terrorist attacks more difficult. ...” The vice president's claim is credible only if you believe terrorists had absolutely no inkling, until they read it in The New York Times, that their international financial transactions were subject to government monitoring.
I love this argument -- because it's so incredibly lame. If this was already common knowledge, then why is it news? Why is it on A1 and not A34?
And this argument is also hilarious(ly bad), because it's obvious that some terrorists didn't know about it -- because they were still using it! Do you seriously believe that the Democrat and Republican heads of the 9/11 committee, along with all of these government officials would've begged the Times not to run the story if the system was no longer useful?
I'd also like to encourage people to call the Union-Tribune and demand a correction to this little bit of the editorial:
Similarly, the George W. Bush administration was unable to prohibit the Times from disclosing the clandestine NSA initiative of intercepting Americans' telephone calls and e-mail without search warrants, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. [emphasis added]
Is there any evidence whatsoever that the NSA program violated the Fourth Amendment? Any? Do they have any judicial ruling on that one? Nope, didn't think so.
The Constitution masterfully apportions power among three branches of government and, for good measure, guarantees a free press as the government's watchdog. George Bush and Dick Cheney long have displayed their disdain for such constitutional scrutiny, but our democracy is immeasurably stronger because of it.
It's becoming apparent that the editorial writer never even read the story, because the TFT program did have congressional oversight! Oh, I guess we're talking about the judiciary again -- where all of the power of government rests.
We are at war, but these people just don't get it! It's been nearly 5 years since the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and I've still got to show my ID badge to get into the parking lot of the Union-Tribune each day -- I didn't before the attacks -- why? Why if we're not at war? Why if there's no danger? Why? Why? Why?
The arrogance of the media knows no bounds.
How in the h-e-double hockeysticks did I get myself into this business in the first place?