The Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
According the American Civil Liberties Union, the president could have extended the act until Congress could figure out how to hammer out a palatable version of the FISA bill. But, says Timothy Sparapani, senior legislative counsel, on the ACLU’s Web site, “The president continues to misrepresent the situation with FISA. Fear mongering and making unsubstantiated claims of lost intelligence does not help Congress reach a resolution.”
No, but it might force Congress’ hand, nonetheless, into passing a version of the bill that has everything Bush wants.
He’s already threatened to veto anything less. But what of those who feel the government is violating their privacy?
“Suck it up,” said the president of the United States, the same guy who led the charge into Iraq to, you guessed it, protect our freedoms.
We’d like to take this opportunity to remind the House that we’d like to see less sucking up and more standing up, please.
The Houston Chronicle:
What this dispute is really about is shielding telecoms from any responsibility for enabling surveillance of customers that might have violated their constitutional rights to privacy.
It’s understandable that Bush would want to prevent court scrutiny of a potentially illegal spying program that operated outside the law for so long. But the administration is putting the protection of corporations and partisan posturing above the constitutional rights of the American people.
The San Jose Mercury News and The Philadelphia Daily News also weighed in with similar concerns tinted with understandable consternation that the legislative branch is failing to fulfill its responsibilities. The issue is only in a round about way about telecom immunity. It is more and more evident it is about Bush undermining any oversight of administration activities. A lawyer at Emptywheel with some experience with telecom legal departments thinks the telecoms are already covered, that Bush and Cheney are the only ones that are making an issue of immunity. In another post at Kos that probably went unnoticed with all the election coverage pouring in georgia10 notes,
Instead of battling, Sen. Rockefeller decided it was more productive to join forces, his aides said. He agreed with the administration that a new surveillance law should give phone companies some type of immunity from lawsuits because they participated in “good faith.”
Psst. Mr. Rockefeller? Sorry to break the news to you, but that “Senator” title you have? It doesn’t mean “Judge.”
So that leaves us with a question. Is it possible that any retroactive immunity that Congress passes will in fact be unconstitutional and challenged as such. I’m not aware at this writing that Congress could pass legislation that made a possible crime legal retroactively.
Jonah Goldberg isn’t only not convincing liberals of his new take on political divisions and reality for that matter. Glenn Beck and Fox News both reach into their rhetorical epitaphs for Democrats and come up with a revival of the McCarthy era with “communists”.