July 10, 2008

FISA and the dumb things people do

Well, to start Digby has a good recap and some information on the folks who voted against cloture in the Senate. Obama's not one of them so don't freak out. He lost his balls in a tragic polling accident (well, tragic because he didn't have the huevos to stand up to a President with a 28% approval rating). The NYT ran a great op/ed about this but, sadly, the Republicans in the Senate decided to ignore it. As well as a minority of the Democrats.

A few thoughts...

  • We don't need this bill to modernize FISA. Forget the fact that we have a FOURTH AMENDMENT protection against unreasonable searches and seizures without warrants. The reality is that the terrorist threat we face NOW is not that much different than the threat we face from drug cartels. Or the threat we faced from organized crime. We can fight it with the same tools we've always used... signal and human intelligence.

    This bill allows for a dragnet, broad access to telecom infrastructure in the US, in an effort to capture terrorists communicating. So, let me tell you how this'll go... One terrorist decides to have some fun. He makes calls to 200 people, at random, in the US, using IP phones. He uses a voice activated computer program and peppers the conversation with bits and pieces of code, code the government is looking for. The next thing you know, there are thousands of federal agents combing the US picking up these people and asking them questions. If you're one of them it's going to suck.

    And it's going to waste resources we don't have, looking for a threat that's not there, and doing nothing to stop real threats. Sleep well, kids

  • The political implications are enormous... Congress just caved into a crazed, weak President. Including our nominee. How DO you handle something like this? Easy. You pass the bill without immunity and with restrictions on unconstitutional wiretapping. Bush, true to form, vetoes it. Congress overrides the veto by beating the hell out of Republicans in a PR war. Like they did on Medicare which Junior John just caved on after Rick Noriega beat the hell out of him. THAT'S how you do things.
  • Let's all take a moment to remember that this shields the illegal actions of Bush and the telecom companies. It does so by creating a precedent... Let's call it the Nuremberg Precedent. The Nazi's at Nuremberg claimed they were not responsible for their actions because they were just following orders. Though not as severe as killing 6 million people, the telecoms DID violate the constitutional rights of millions. And their excuse was that they were doing it under the orders of Bush which they, reasonably, should have known were illegal. So, ANYONE can claim an 'acting under orders' defense.
  • The ACLU has already pledged to take this to court. Throw them some money and support, the same money and support you were going to throw to Obama. He'll win anyway but we can't afford not to stand up for our rights. Since it's clear he won't.

    Posted by mcblogger at July 10, 2008 12:58 AM

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