The Police State and Who Owns It...
Vis-a-vis all this leftist catterwauling over the "abuse of Executive power"; get over it. You would do the same thing, if you could, only I would question your motives long before I would consider questioning those of President Bush and Company.
The Left somehow manages to operate under the contradictory premises that while civil rights are ultimately the most important of fundamental rights, that the exercise of ever-incresing and overreaching governmental power is also required in order to bring about a progresive Utopia. To a democrat, the use of wiretapping in order to uncover terrorist plots is not a worthy use of governmental power, however, using the same witretapping process to thwart an attack on an abortion clinic would be responsible use of governmental authority.
The argument boils down, basically, to this:
1. Democrats (and the even nuttier fellow-travelers on the Left) believe that republicans (and especially THIS CURRENT batch of republicans) cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, have the interests of the common man at heart. Republicans are greedy, avaricious, heartless moneygrubbers who seek only to create the conditions under which Haliburton and Enron-style mega-opolies, Wall Street and the Old-Money Rich can prosper, typically by infringing on the rights of the Common Man and exploiting him, for profit. Profit is the key word. A republican is a combination of Simon LaGree, the Marquis de Sade, King Croesus and Sauron (of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy), who is motivated only by the acquisition of wealth and power for his/her own selfish ends. The use of NSA wiretaps in order to mine information on terrorist activities is merely the wedge by which the door is kept open, simply to gather information which can be used for personal profit by the Dick Cheney's and Ken Lay's of this world.
2. Democrats, being conspiracy theorists by nature, believe that if the current government is listening to and for terrorists now, that perhaps one day it might attempt to expand the terrorist label to what they consider non-terrorist groups. There are many on the left who believe that Al Queda, Hamas, et. al., are not terrorists groups at all, but more akin to legitimate representatives of "oppressed" people who have legitimate gripes. Sort of like the local Lion's club or something. The only difference between Usama Bin Hidin' and Rigobetrta Pichu, for example, is that one chose to write a piece of fiction adopted as wholesale truth in order to advance a political agenda. The other merely advances his political agenda by way of explosives and airliners. In other words, Al Queda is engaging in "legitimate political discourse" (hence all the "America deserved 9/11" talk from the left). It follows that if the US government can listen in on the telephone conversations of a legitimate group, and label them "terrorists" for merely having the audacity to "protest" in a more creative, albeit violent, way, then the government can label any group with which it disagrees as "terrorist". Pro-abortion groups, Pro-gay groups, Labor Unions, and a whole laundry list of left-leaning organizations, foundations and such might simply be labelled "terrorist" or "terrorist-supported", and thus, be ripe for eavesdropping. Leftisit really DO think this way.
3. Democrats worry not so much about the government finding out about terror attacks as much as they worry about what else might be found out in the process. For example, if an NSA wiretap seeking terrorists instead found evidence of child pornography ring or a major drug deal, does the government have the right to act upon that evidence? If the statute or whatever authorizing the NSA to search for terrorists uncovers unrelated criminal activity, and acts upon it, is that a function of good government or an example of the abuse of Executive power? This is the unresolved question that frightens democrats (and leftists) the most. It is also the question left curiously unanswered.
4. Finally, democrats are up in arms over the "abuse" of federal authority not beacuse they have genuine concerns about national security, but rather, because they don't have control over it. The arguments being put forward today over NSA wiretaps are the same arguments being made about the Patriot Act. They are not arguments over legal principle (although they will be framed that way) but over WHO has the power and authority. In the old days of the Patriot Act, it was John Ashcroft, considerd by the left to be the rerincarnation of Mussolini. Since Ashcroft is gone and has been replaced by a Hispanic --- minorities are notoriously taboo for criticism in leftist circles --unless they're church-going-Uber-conservatives) --- they can no longer make the argument based upon appearances and personalities.
When you come right down to it, the argument reveals far more about the democrats and how they think than it does President Bush and his efforts to protect the country. What he dimwits are telling you, simply, is not what this Administration plans to do with all that wiretapping data, but what the DEMOCRATS THEMSELVES would do with it.