Saturday, June 21, 2008

How do you split 30 pieces of silver 105 ways?

On Friday, the House passed an update of FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by a vote of 293 -129. The bill includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies that aided the Bush Administration in their efforts to spy on Americans.

In addition to the immunity provision (Title II of the bill) it allows the government to "initiate a wiretap without court permission if "important intelligence" would otherwise be lost." (AP)

AZ delegation votes: Renzi, Shadegg, Franks, Mitchell, Giffords, Flake - yea; Pastor, Grijalva - nay.

I suppose I could expound at length on why this was a horrible move, but it's late, I'm tired, and work starts early tomorrow, so let me sum up -

To Congressman Harry Mitchell, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and the 103 other Democrats who joined the entire Republican caucus (excepting Rep. Tim Johnson of Illinois, who, for some unknown reason, voted against the measure) in supporting the bill that George Bush wanted:
1. One of the rationalizations given to support this bill was that it was "necessary" in order to ensure the safety of Americans. The only problem with that story is that it is put forth by the President and his lackeys, who, as evidenced by the testimony on Friday by former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, lie the way that normal people breathe, and have been doing so for nearly eight years.
2. Some of you might say that it was necessary to compromise to get the FISA update passed. Perhaps it was, but when the President gets everything that he wanted, it isn't "compromise," it's "surrender."
3. Each and every one of you should remember that you were elected to work for your constituents' best interests, not the President's. In no way does retroactive immunity for telecoms or decreased judicial oversight of Administration activities benefit your constituents.

'Nuff said.

For those who wonder why the Republicans seem to be getting a free pass on this one, they're just receiving the benefit of *really* low expectations here - expecting them to start showing concern for their constituents or respect for the Bill of Rights at this point would be the height of foolishness and an utter waste of time.

Daniel Patterson at Daniel's News & Views offers his far more succinct take on the situation here.

ACLU press release here.

Good night.