It is odd the the Washington Post (Bush Compromises On Spying Program) in a news story, not an editorial mind you, thinks that Bush suddenly decided to act like a good citizen and yield some of his power grab back to Congress and the courts. Nothing could be further from the truth, The Specter Monstrosity
1. At least with respect to terrorism-based electronic surveillance, all of the limits Congress imposed on electronic surveillance in FISA are in effect repealed. The statute does not require the Executive branch to meet any statutory standard for terrorism-based surveillance, and eliminates the FISA provision that prescribes FISA and Title 18 as being the “exclusive means” of electronic surveillance, i.e., the provision that principally limits what the President can do. [UPDATE: Eric Umansky writes: “One other thing flagged by the [Washington Post] in the 28th paragraph [of its story]: ‘Specter agreed to repeal a section of the original FISA law that made it the exclusive statute governing such intelligence programs.’ . . . . [T]hat might have been worth mentioning, oh, say, 27 paragraphs higher.”]
The Supreme Court, through the Scholars Address NSA Spying Issue in Light of Hamdan
Earlier this year, a group of leading constitutional scholars’ penned two letters criticizing the legality of the Bush administration’s NSA spying program. In light of the Court’s recent decision in Hamdan, they have written a third letter to Congress arguing that the legal reasoning behind the Hamdan decision firmly supports a conclusion that the NSA spying program is illegal.
The scholars’ letter contends that the Court in Hamdan “addressed arguments regarding the military commissions that are very similar (in some respects identical) to the DOJ’s arguments regarding NSA spying, and the Court’s reasoning strongly supports the conclusion that the President’s NSA surveillance program is illegal.”
I just keep thinking of this quote from William O. Douglas, ” As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there’s a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.”
The same people that support this decision and Bush are the same ones that think they own the flag and are the ultimate arbiters of all things patriotic. There is little that is patriotic about tearing down own freedoms brick by brick. This week they managed to tear down a whole wall and most of the nation has simply ordered a pizza and opened a beer. That is the barometer at which many Americans and their representatives have come to measure freedom, as long as they can shop and pick up their paycheck all is well.
Phil Carter on the tragic consequences of allowing standards to be lowered for military recruitment, An Object Lesson in the Importance of Standards
It’s a tragic case in nearly every respect — but especially for the Iraqis involved, and for the effect this atrocity will have on our efforts to secure and rebuild Iraq.
Not that Bush and his cult care.
“In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible… Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.”– George Orwell
The young King went over to one of the weavers, and stood by him
and watched him.
And the weaver looked at him angrily, and said, ‘Why art thou
watching me? Art thou a spy set on us by our master?’
‘Who is thy master?’ asked the young King.
‘Our master!’ cried the weaver, bitterly. ‘He is a man like
myself. Indeed, there is but this difference between us–that he
wears fine clothes while I go in rags, and that while I am weak
from hunger he suffers not a little from overfeeding.’
‘The land is free,’ said the young King, ‘and thou art no man’s
‘In war,’ answered the weaver, ‘the strong make slaves of the weak,
and in peace the rich make slaves of the poor. We must work to
live, and they give us such mean wages that we die. We toil for
them all day long, and they heap up gold in their coffers, and our
children fade away before their time, and the faces of those we
love become hard and evil. We tread out the grapes, and another
drinks the wine. We sow the corn, and our own board is empty. We
have chains, though no eye beholds them; and are slaves, though men
call us free.’
from A HOUSE OF POMEGRANATES by Oscar Wilde