You Call Down the Thunder

Here, ladies and gentlemen, is my CIA rant. I gotta get this out of my system – I was babbling about it pretty much all day after the speech, so otherwise, I’ll be doing this for practically EVAR until I write thoroughly about it.

(for those of you who don’t know, CIA stands for Congress in Action. it’s where US History students get assigned a representative, an issue, and must argue for or against this issue based on the opinions of their representative. this involves a lengthy research paper, a short speech, and an open debate.)

My representative is an ultra-crazy Democrat from Texas, strangely enough. I don’t exactly agree with her on 75% of everything, but thankfully, for this, I can argue my true opinion. The topic I presented was a fake bill providing for the legalization of Bush’s warrantless surveillance program. My job was to explain why this is a bad thing.

All around, I’ve actually had trouble with delivery of my content. I have really excellent content (if I do say so myself), but in both the paper and the speech, I’ve had issues with getting that message across. In the paper, I had serious length issues. I barely pulled it up to 6 full pages (although this can depend on which text editor you use), which is kind of the minimum. I had plenty of sources and research to use, but I ended up having to quote excessively, which I wasn’t too pleased about.

I initially had trouble coming up with convincing arguments, but in the end, it came around like this:

  • the bill is improper:
    • violates IV Amendment (surveillance is unwarranted, and entirely unreported)
    • violates all provisions of FISA (exceeds the full year under which the president may conduct warrantless surveillance)
    • not provided for under the PATRIOT Act/AUMF (intended for action against the September 11 terrorists, and none others)
  • the bill is ineffective:
    • america faces much larger issues of security:
      • we’ve failed in the war on drugs (it’s a $65 Billion business in America alone)
      • we’ve failed in our border control (60 million people travel through the US yearly, 7 million living on american soil illegally)
    • the targets are hardly traceable considering the aforementioned facts
  • the bill is unnecessary:
    • warrants provide necessary checks & balances against abuse in the system
    • warrants are easily obtained (usually less than 24 hours), and not necessary for up to 72 hours under FISA, therefore meaning they do not hinder time-sensitive situations
    • aforementioned time-sensitive situations are EXTREMELY rare

That pretty much sums up my arguments. I tried to communicate most of that in my speech, but I was REALLY nervous and it was REALLY cold in that room, so I stopped a lot, coughed a lot, and apparantly scratched my nose a lot. Apparantly my “content was great, delivery was not so great”. Because of my bad delivery, a lot of my points didn’t reach home.

The ensuing debate was very infuriating. The “Republicans” were ABSOLUTELY obnoxious – they’d clap whenever anybody said anything supporting their side, and kept using the SAME argument over and over even though I’d proven them wrong (ex. they kept saying time-sensitive situations were still threatened, I kept quoting FISA, which provided exactly what they needed). I also didn’t get to address the biggest point which was “if you have nothing to hide, then why does it matter?”, because Khoa (the Speaker of the House) kept picking the same people. I really hope they let us finish it tomorrow.

So, yeah, that’s CIA. I’ve had fun with it.

And I’ll reap the whirlwind.

[edit: This is entirely unrelated, but I found this snippit from a BBC article on a truly awful military idea very funny.

“During WWII: Attach a bomb to a cat and drop it from a dive-bomber on to Nazi ships. The cat, hating water, will “wrangle” itself on to enemy ship’s deck. In tests cats became unconscious in mid-air.”