So the NSA is finally getting examined for its potential for abuse, although it's obviously happening about six or seven years too late. And it will likely lead to no changes. But hey, better than a kick in the teeth, right?
It's hard to figure out what's creepiest about the whole NSA debacle; sure, they can read and listen to anything you ever do, but what might be even worse than that is how incredibly shrouded in secrecy this all is. As recent congressional hearings have demonstrated, most of the law makers who supposedly authorized PRISM and other such plans have no idea what's going on, the extent to which these things are happening, or even what they're capable of doing.
Here it's a good time to think back to grade school civics class -- what's the point of a legislative and judicial branch? In theory, they act as, say it with me kids, checks and balances on executive power. You know, so we can't have a president who grants himself the king-like power to decide who can be executed without so much as a trial. Er...bad example, but you get the idea.
So how, I wonder, are these other two branches to act as either check or balance when they don't have any idea what the executive branch is doing? This is yet another example of how insanely Orwellian our government is getting -- "This secret program is vital to your safety. So vital, in fact, that you can know nothing about it. Hell, Congress and the Supreme Court can know nothing about it. But don't worry, we won't abuse these powers we exercise in secret which will never be reviewed by anyone else ever."
But what's funniest to me is that I remember vividly as a young child learning that the Soviets had this secret force called the KGB that would spy on people and intercept their communications, even people who had broken no laws and posed no threat to anyone. This was, of course, yet another example of how they were a totalitarian society that didn't understand freedom. What kind of sick bastards would spy on their own citizens? Especially on citizens who had broken no laws but were only advocating for more transparent government and more democratic rights? How could anyone condone such terrible atrocities? That's something that would never happen in the land of the free!