I’m so old I remember when things like this used to freak everybody out.
You don’t need a wiretap to hear what people are saying about the National Security Agency’s phone surveillance program. The program’s details, disclosed in a secret court order leaked to the Guardian, show that at least one major company, Verizon, has been legally required to give the government information about its subscribers’ communications. “An astounding assault on the Constitution,” says Rand Paul. “Obscenely outrageous,” says Al Gore. “Beyond Orwellian,” says the ACLU.
You can quarrel with this program, but it isn’t Orwellian. It’s limited, and it’s controlled by checks and balances.
If there is anything even a casual observer of politics should have learned in the last several years it’s that the notion of “checks and balances” has become a bit…muddy. Congress cedes authority to the Executive branch all the time, letting “laws” that should be voted on in plain site get snuck into our everyday lives through regulations enacted by appointed officials. The hyperactive judiciary often feels the need to legislate from the bench. Let’s face it, the kids are alone on the Slip and Slide while the parents are getting drunk in the kitchen.