Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Congressional Cowardliness: Good for Bush - Bad for the US

Saturday's capitulation by Congress to Bush and his administration's desire to pay more attention to citizens' private communications than to National Intelligence Estimates and real intelligence gathering has, understandably, got a lot of knickers in knots (including my own). By making a previously - and rightfully - illegal act into a legal one, Congress has ensured that private communications with friends, business contacts and loved ones in other countries are now within the purview of a power-hungry administration. Because you know our letters and packages are next.

Good one, guys. And here I thought you Dems were elected to stop this mad, mad, mad administration.

Oh, they say that they're doing it for us and have limited the law to a six month period, to end in February. And several of the Dems that said, "Sure, Bush, go ahead and infringe on the privacy of law-abiding American citizens," have said that they'll be working to fix the law. Speaker Pelosi's her blog said that S. 1927, "[...]contains many provisions that are unacceptable and she does not believe that the American people will want to wait that long before corrective action is taken." Question for all of you Dems who decided to capitulate: if this law is so very broken that it requires fixing, 1) why wait until September to start fixing it and 2) why even pass it at all? A bad law is a bad law. Pure and simple. And if y'all think Bush and Pals are going to let the sunset clause take effect, you have another think coming. Even if they do, they'll just bully Congress again and, yet gain, Congress will cave. They did it with the Patriot Act - you can be damned sure they'll do it with the Protect America Act.

BTW, California's own Senator Feinstein "defended her vote for the Republican version of the spy bill in part by circulating a letter she had received from McConnell describing the ways that the intelligence community would safeguard U.S. citizens' privacy under the new espionage authorities." Because they've been doing such a great job of that in the past, when wiretapping was illegal. Yeah, that's pretty damned believable.

Not surprisingly, protesting has commenced. MoveOn has got a petition urging Congress to reverse their capitulation. The ACLU "will today file legal papers with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) requesting that it disclose recent legal opinions discussing the scope of the government's authority to engage in secret wiretapping of Americans." Even the telecoms have gotten in on the act, though there is speculation they're doing it more to avoid lawsuits than to protect US citizens' privacy.

Let's keep screaming. Contact your senators and represnetatives. Let them know that this is an unforgivable act by the very people we elected to curb the abuses of the Bush administration.

Let's protect our privacy.

No comments: