FISA capitulation

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Jack Balkin sums up the problems with Democrats’ capitulation last week to Bush’s continued demands for a police state via revision of FISA:

The passage of the new FISA bill by the Senate and now the House demonstrates that the Democrats stand neither for defending civil liberties nor for checking executive power.

They stand for nothing at all. […]

I hope the Democrats are justly proud of themselves for their cowardly contributions to this slow-motion destruction of our constitutional system.

Scarecrow at FDL calls us “a nation represented by sheep,” and this isn’t far off the mark. Cenk Uygur writes at HuffPo that “It is not possible to be too hard on these vacillating, spineless, rudderless, clueless clowns:”

The president has been running an illegal warrantless wiretapping program since 2001. He has been continually and brazenly breaking the FISA law. He finally submitted the program to the FISA court recently. And a FISA judge said earlier this year that the program was not legal. Now how do the Democrats hold the president accountable for breaking this federal law?

Did they impeach him for high crimes and misdemeanors? Did they censure him? Did they cut off funding? No, not only did they not do any of these patently obvious things, but instead, they turned around and changed the law to give him the authority to ignore the courts. How do you not call them weaklings? How am I supposed to take it easy on them? How can this possibly be justified?

[…]

There is absolutely no justification for these Democratic votes that helped Bush make his illegal program legal. On top of abdicating their constitutional responsibility to check an out of control president, they have also done something politically retarded. In one fell swoop, they have capitulated to a grossly unpopular president, justified his talking point that national security is on the line and given Republicans leverage over themselves.

Kevin Drum’s two-parter at Washington Monthly on “Figuring out FISA” (part one and part two) gives a nice primer on the issues involved, and James Risen’s NYT piece is also useful.

Perhaps recognizing the magnitude of the error in caving in to Bush, Speaker Pelosi observed that “Many provisions of this legislation are unacceptable, and, although the bill has a six month sunset clause, I do not believe the American people will want to wait that long before corrective action is taken” and requests that Congress amend FISA “as soon as possible after Congress reconvenes.”

After considering several options, my Quote of the Day (h/t: ThinkProgress) is from Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY):

This bill is not needed to protect America from terrorists. The only purpose of this bill is to protect this administration from its own political problems and cynicism, and its own illegal actions it has taken outside the law without any authorization.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on August 6, 2007 2:13 PM.

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