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A Faerie's Farthing

Flitting through the internets looking for sparkly bits. All content mine and not to be reproduced without permission.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Passing Bills and Passing the Buck

Passing Bills and Passing the Buck

The Stepford Senators strike again! After a lot of tough talk about insisting on an investigation of shrubya's domestic spying, several members of the (R) Senate caucus have done an about face, after pressure from Cheney and are now pushing a bill to remove the spying program from FISA oversight.

Republican Senate DeWine says he will introduce a bill sanctioning the program, explicitly exempting it from the requirements of FISA. Both Hagel and Snowe are said to be in favor of the bill. So suddenly, Republicans are comfortable with the President breaking the law? Where was the bill in the 90s condoning Oval Office blow jobs and Presidential perjury? Oh, that's right. The lawlessness of a President is exempted only when that President wears a 10-gallon hat and calls himself a "conservative."

This all raises a very interesting point: If they have decided it's necessary to pass legislation exempting the program from FISA, this is a tacit admission that the program is, indeed, illegal. Which is as it should be. Yes; the program would have been legal before FISA, but Nixon ruined that for all future presidents. His abuse of the ability to conduct domestic surveillance necessitated oversight by the FISA court. Given historical precedent for abuse of surveillance programs and absent any guarantees against future abuse, oversight of such programs is absolutely essential.

Please call DeWine, Snowe, et al to demand an investigation and tell them that removing the program from any external oversight would be doubleplus ungood. I can't believe they're even considering such a thing - do they have no respect for themselves as a co-equal branch of government?

This craven maneuver also removes any accountability from the equation. Again, since a bill is now deemed necessary to legalize the spying, it is incontrovertible that shrubya was breaking the law. The response to that should not be "oh...ok. well, let's just make that activity legal so it'll be ok." He broke the law and he needs to be held accountable for that before any decisions are made on revising said law. Any other course of action is a travesty of our constitutional system.

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