Saturday, December 17, 2005

Thank You, Russ Feingold

by Tom Bozzo

Granted, the revelation of the administration's latest (and among the least deniable) criminality seems to have put a wind at the back of the effort to stall the reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act (*). Still, you gotta think that Feingold's original and sole opposition to the act, and subsequent electoral demolition of an opponent whose national security platform was more-PATRIOTic-than-thou, planted the seed that it was politically feasible to stand in its way.

Indeed, I'm so thankful that I can forget about the occasional cognitive dissonance pertaining to certain Bush appointees whose commitment to preserving those rights is, or was, suspect to say the least. It's certainly less problematic than the anti-civil-liberties pandering of a junior senator from New York who should stick to her day job.

(*) From a framing standpoint, I'm opposed to shortening the short title to the less acronymic-looking "Patriot Act," with its obvious implication that opponents are less than patriotic.
"As a result, "I authorized the National Security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to Al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations," Mr. Bush said. "This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security.""

what is illegal about that?
Saying it's consistent with the law, and it being consistent with the law, are different things, unless you're telling me that we now live in a dictatorship.

There are also at least two other statements in your quote that are not obviously true.
so, again, what is illegal about that?
Sigh. Spying on U.S. citizens without a warrant, except under specific emergency procedures, is a criminal violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. (Cf. the Washington Monthly link in the post for additional details.)
intercepting international communications from a US citizen isn't illegal though, is it?

If you are going to accuse Pres. Bush of being a criminal (again), you should be able to back it up, and you still have not. Plamegate, redux?
It is generally illegal. See 50 USC 1802(a)(1)!

Bryan, I'm going to have to insist that further comments along this line be accompanied by a sworn statement that you'd have left the exact same comments if Hillary Clinton were president.
Two issues: 1 - I think that Hillary Clinton might be a pretty good president, and I don't know that any possible hypocrisy on my part would even occur in that case. I assume your comments would be equivalent if Hillary were president too... and I wouldn't be surprised if the next Democratic president authorizes these types of surveillance (barring Russ Feingold, who fights for privacy at all costs).

2 - Whether or not I like a particular law is irrelevent to the issue, i.e. I generally think the gov't should leave us alone. At the same time, if the law allows the Pres. to do something that we feel conflicts with our liberties, then the proper course of action is to challenge that law in the courts or through Congress.

Finally, I predicted to the blogwife that King Kong would bomb at the box office, and it is doing much poorer than expectations so far. My predictions have been pretty good as of late. Bush skates.
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