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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Eavesdropping 

It's a simple debate, although not the one Bush and Co. are trying to make it. It's not about whether we should listen in on terrorists - of course we should. And if you think the FISA court (which has denied < 1% of the tens of thousands of warrant requests it's received since its inception) would disagree, you're obviously someone who thinks Sean Hannity is a great thinker (and you probably also believe him when he tells you that the people who revealed the "terrorist surveillance program" are traitors).

It's about whether the President has to follow the rules - one of the truly revolutionary concepts our founders came up with. There's a law and it gives the government up to three days to get the paperwork together after it starts wiretapping. So emergencies or "ticking time bombs" or any other wild hypothetical that doesn't involve a time machine is not a justification for going around the law. They complain about paperwork, but you'd think that if they can spend 1/4 million at one of their staged photo-ops, they'd have enough money to pay enough people so all the paperwork got filled out and everything was within the law. But they Bush have decided to ignore that law. And who ignores the law, rather than petition the goddamn LEGISLATURE to change it? Kings. Dictators. Despots. Fucking Saddam Hussein for chrissakes.

Worse yet, the Bushies have decided that the law doesn't say what it clearly says - that unless there's a warrant it's illegal to listen in on US citizens' conversations.

And if you don't believe that they'll feed you a line about how the authorization to respond to 9/11 says what it clearly doesn't - that warrantless wiretapping was something Congress endorsed, nevermind that it wasn't something they even considered when they passed the bill.

And if you still don't agree? Then they'll argue that the Constitution itself gives the President powers that it clearly doesn't - essentially the power to act without interference from any other branch of government in "wartime" (nevermind the part about how the President shall take care that the laws are faithfully executed). I'd mention how they're defining "wartime" as the next 20+ years, but that's another rant entirely.

And if you're a person with a functioning brain who calls BS on the above, I'm sure their legal team is working hard parsing the Magna Carta, the 10 commandments, and Hammurabi's code for a last-ditch argument that what they're doing is legal.

It's simple. Bush. Has. Broken. The. Law. Repeatedly over the last 4 years. He proudly admits it, declares that he will continue to do so, and dares Congress to do anything about it.

It's time for our representatives to show the same outrage about this they've shown about the ceding of port security to a foreign government. It's time for somebody to tell our spoiled, entitled, never-earned-a-goddamn-thing-he's-been-given-in-his-life President something he's not used to hearing. He'll rant and rave and pratter on about security and terrorism, even call those who stand up for the Constitution and the rule of the law traitors, but they have to stand firm.

It's time for somebody to tell George W. Bush NO.

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