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January 7, 2006

It’s Time to Speak of Serious Matters

The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has issued their report, looking into the legality of the domestic spying program initiated 4 years ago by the President, in the wake of 9/11. Unsurprisingly, their conclusion is that it violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and they, quietly but thoroughly, demolishes the Administration’s argument that the Sept. 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force authorized the Administration to circumvent FISA1 at their pleasure.

Anyone with even a vestigial interest in the Rule-of-Law in this country ought to read it. It’s heavily laden with footnotes, but if you skip those, not too difficult to make your way through.

Administration loyalists have, predictably, decried the New York Times for compromising National Security with this revelation2. As Glen Greenwalt convincingly demonstrates, they don’t know what they’re talking about. (He’s been doing some excellent blogging on the NSA spying scandal.)

There’s no getting around the fact that the Adminstration has flagrantly, unrepentantly violated the Law of the land, and vows to continue to do so. They’ve had 4 years to propose changes to FISA (beyond those of the USA Patriot Act), if they felt there was an argument (which would pass Constitutional muster) for doing so. Instead, they decided to simply ignore FISA. Evidently, the Rule-of-Law is not on their radar screen. Everyone wants the President to have the tools necessary to fight the War on Terror. No one but a partisan hack would conclude that shredding the Constitution is the way to provide those tools.

So, where does that leave us? The current Majority in the Senate is, alas, of the opinion that Impeachment is a partisan club, to be wielded against one’s political opponents, rather than a solemn tool to ensure that the Executive adheres to the Rule-of-Law. Without tremendous public pressure, we’re unlikely to see substantive hearings, let alone Articles of Impeachment.

Perhaps a bumper sticker campaign is in order

WHO DO YOU HAVE TO BLOW TO GET A PRESIDENT IMPEACHED AROUND HERE?!

KING GEORGE? DIDN’T WE FIGHT A REVOLUTION ABOUT THAT?


1 And engage in torture and arbitrary detention without trial and …. But let’s not stray from the current subject.

2 Arguably, by sitting on the story for over a year, the New York Times compromised our National Security by ensuring the reelection of George W. Bush. But that’s probably not what Hindraker had in mind.

Posted by distler at January 7, 2006 2:33 PM

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It’s time to get a bumper sticker

I decided I like the first one well enough to order a bumper sticker with that slogan from bumperactive. Don’t be too surprised if you see it driving around town.

Posted by: Adam Rice on January 9, 2006 6:18 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: It’s time to get a bumper sticker

I’ll be sure to honk, if I see you …

Posted by: Jacques Distler on January 9, 2006 10:30 PM | Permalink | PGP Sig | Reply to this

Re: It’s Time to Speak of Serious Matters

The President’s claim that he is not bound by FISA will have to find its way to the Supreme Court; that is what “rule-of-law” really means, no? And GWB has been enthusiastically trying to stack the court with new justices who agree with him on this point.

So far he has got one in easily and the second looks poised to make it in smoothly too, in spite of pointless huffing and puffing by the Democrats. You should put the heat on them, not the administration. I’ve been waiting months for them to play the filibuster card they so carefully negotiated with the Republican majority.

Posted by: Dick Thompson on January 16, 2006 11:57 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

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