The other day, Dennis Perrin made clear some important differences between Iran and the United States. I would like to point out one more.
In Iran, reformist forces are occupying public spaces and refuse to stop protesting the government's abuses and tyrannies.
In the US, the officially "reformist" forces (read: the Hope n' Change Brigade) are dozing supinely as the government spies on them.
Since April, when it was disclosed that the intercepts of some private communications of Americans went beyond legal limits in late 2008 and early 2009, several Congressional committees have been investigating.
Going beyond legal limits here seems to mean spying on a huge number of American phone calls and e-mails, domestic and international. Awesome.
As always, Glenn Greenwald knows the score:
Every time new revelations of illegal government spying arise, the same exact pattern repeats itself: (1) euphemisms are invented to obscure its illegality ("overcollection"; "circumvented legal guidelines"; "overstepped its authority"; "improperly obtained"); (2) assurances are issued that it was all strictly unintentional and caused by innocent procedural errors that are now being fixed; (3) the very same members of Congress who abdicate their oversight responsibilities and endlessly endorse expanded surveillance powers in the face of warnings of inevitable abuses (Jay Rockefeller, Dianne Feinstein, "Kit" Bond, Jane Harman) righteously announce how "troubled" they are and vow to hold hearings and take steps to end the abuses, none of which ever materialize; (4) nobody is ever held accountable in any way and no new oversight mechanisms are implemented; (5) Congress endorses new, expanded domestic surveillance powers; and then: (6) new revelations of illegal government spying emerge and the process repeats itself, beginning with step (1).
Shall we review?
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Ah, the days when people still had papers!
UPDATE: Watch this jaw-dropping, but sadly not surprising, exchange between Attorney General Eric Holder and Russ Feingold, one of the few honorable Democrats still resisting unconstitutional security measures. Holder's evasive and tepid language is a perfect example of how our leaders like to wiggle out of forthrightly repudiating executive power.