Do you have any idea how hysterically I laugh at most of you all; and in particular, currently, at Republicans bending over backwards to defend "abuses of power" they would not have tolerated for an instant in the previous administration of the office of the chief executive? They wouldn’t tolerate lying about a blow-job (and they shouldn’t), but they will tolerate just about whatever from the guy who heads the other team (and they shouldn’t).
Let me clue you in on something: when the government does something you don’t like, it uses the exact same power it used to do something you do like. Another clue: government is the abuse of power.
What’s my point? Simply this: I know very well and good how things are done around here. I understand that there are imperatives, such as killing primitives who have vowed and continue to vow to kill us. I understand that the power of the State is the only way that’s going to happen, now, and whether it is or is not the power of the State that got us into this and all of the many murderous predicaments of the past is immaterial. Things have to get done–today.
But I’m certainly not going to delude myself into thinking that the State is "abusing power," or isn’t "abusing power." The State is absolute power, absolutely all of the time. When it doesn’t exercise it fully, it’s merely a convenient pretense. It’s more efficient. You know, even Hitler had "sense" enough to feed the Jews he was later to gas and cremate. He even boosted "morale," from time to time. It was more efficient. You can’t exterminate and dispose of six millions all at once, you know.
The Republicans are right about one thing. This wiretapping business is not unprecedented. Of course it’s not. Look: killing the primitives that need to be killed is not a precise business. Innocent Japanese Americans were imprisoned during WWII. That was the State freely exercising more of its absolute power because it was the most efficient way to deal with the real Japanese spy risk. Was it unjust? Of course it was, but it’s wasn’t for a second unprecedented or unusual. Read the sorts of abuses of innocent people that went on during the U.S. Civil War.
It’s all just government doing what it does, and nobody ought to be surprised by it. Someday, when people finally learn that they don’t need the State or God any more than they need their wisdom teeth or appendix, things will change, en masse. In the meantime, there’s nothing interesting or surprising going on.