“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride.
It seems trite to invoke the words of the late Eric Blair these last two months. Today would have him rolling over in his grave enough to win a break dancing competition. Congress is set to vote later today on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014. This bipartisan proposal, called Amash-Coyners Amendment, would prohibit NSA funding from being used to collect data on persons who are not suspects in actual terrorism investigations. The proposal is receiving broad support from the twitter-verse, and a Washington Post poll today said that 74% of Americans believe that the NSA's programs infringe on some American's privacy rights. The same poll shows that nearly half of respondents believed their privacy rights are being personally violated.

The White House has responded by going into damage control overdrive. General Alexander held an emergency four hour briefing with members of the committee who are set to vote on the amendment. The briefing was classified and held behind closed doors.

The White House issued the following statement on the proposal: “In light of the recent unauthorized disclosures, the President has said that he welcomes a debate about how best to simultaneously safeguard both our national security and the privacy of our citizens. The Administration has taken various proactive steps to advance this debate including the President’s meeting with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, his public statements on the disclosed programs, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s release of its own public statements, ODNI General Counsel Bob Litt’s speech at Brookings, and ODNI’s decision to declassify and disclose publicly that the Administration filed an application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. We look forward to continuing to discuss these critical issues with the American people and the Congress.

However, we oppose the current effort in the House to hastily dismantle one of our Intelligence Community’s counter-terrorism tools. This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process. We urge the House to reject the Amash Amendment, and instead move forward with an approach that appropriately takes into account the need for a reasoned review of what tools can best secure the nation.”

Thus, coupled with Obama's famous welcoming of dialogue on the issue of NSA spying, the above statement caused the dictionary program on my desktop to have a divide by zero error. So far the national conversation sanctioned by the White House, by its own admission, consists of the President meeting with a powerless Oversight Board that he himself appointed; the President's demonstrably false statement to the public; General Alexander's false and misleading statements to the public; General Alexander's declassification of his latest application to the rubber stamp FISA court; and Bob Litt's speech to a right wing think tank.

Before my dictionary began smoking, it left me under the impression that a conversation involves two parties both talking and listening. Debate used to mean two or more parties debating different sides of an issue. Neither of those things are what the above White House release describes. Taken together the actions described in the release might be called a “harangue” or “rationalization” or a “monologue.” George Orwell warned us about this sort of thing, loudly, but he is busy doing a head-spin in his coffin right now.

As the White House says it, “looks forward to continuing to discuss these critical issues.” we can assume that it means more one-sided communication designed to get us to accept our lot in post-constitutional America.

While the justification for spying on the whole world was written in secret documents that are now destroyed and later codified in by secret court decisions that Congress can not read, the White House has maintains that an open Congressional vote on the subject is not a “an informed, open, or deliberative process.” When the mechanism being debated is secret, and Congress has been blatantly and illegally lied to about it, one wonders what informed and open mean to the White House.

In the process of “making the least possible untruthful statements” to Congress, NSA head General Clapper redefined collection from vacuuming up the conversations and metadata of nearly everyone on the planet to mean actually reading the data after it had been not-collected, but merely intercepted, purloined and stored.

Similarly, when the Bush administration claimed it did not torture, it felt it was not lying because it had secretly redefined torture. Although the rest of the world uses the common sense, UN approved, human rights friendly version of the word torture, to our government torture means physical harm to the point of near death. This allows Democratic Party stalwarts to provide cover for medical torturers, and for our prison system to torture people this very minute.

The abuse of language has grown so bad that a kill list is now a disposition matrix, which Obama reviews every Tuesday morning to decide who will be killed with drones. Should the Amash-Conyers amendment pass, one wonders if the NSA will simply redefine the word “ suspect” to include every human being on the planet, as it seems to have when charging Bradley Manning with aiding the enemy for releasing war crimes footage to the public.

Late Breaking Update:

The Amash–Conyers Amendment was defeated about two hours ago in a close vote 205-217 with Representatives under what Conyers termed “heavy pressure” from house leadership and the administration. The coalition to defend the NSA brought together Nancy Pelosi, Michelle Bachman, John Boehner and Peter King in the kind of bipartisanship that only a human rights crime can cause congress to unite.

As reported by the New York Times, who mistook the close vote for a broad mandate from the people, Representative Nadler vowed that the fight will go on “It’s going to end — now or later. The only question is when and on what terms.”

Meanwhile this reporter is making origami roses to place on headstone of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, immediately after I towel the president's warm urine off of it.