Sunday, June 22, 2008

People Who Think We're Stupid


This guy... this guy is just pissing... he's pissing all over us. He's pissing on you. What does it taste like? Chief, what does it taste like, 'cause you know what, it tastes like piss to me.

But I'm pleased that in Title I, there is enhancement over the existing FISA law. Reaffirmation, I guess that's the word I'd looking for. A reaffirmation that FISA and Title III of the Criminal Code are the authorities under which Americans can be collected upon.

It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance – making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people. It also firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance in the future.

There was broad consensus in the Congress that if a suspicious pattern of communications is found and a U.S. person is targeted, there needs to be approval granted by the FISA court. And, as Nancy Pelosi insisted, it needed to be established that the FISA law was the only way to legally wiretap an individual--in other words, under this law the Executive can't just go ahead and do it.

To review: FISA legislation specifically says it "shall be the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance...may be conducted." President Bush chose to ignore that and to this day claims that nebulous Article II powers give him the ability to perform whatever surveillance he wishes, regardless of the law. Now Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama and Joe Klein (among others) tell us that we can rest easy now that we have reaffirmed the very exclusivity that Bush ignored in the past and reserves the right to ignore in the future.

Perhaps the next time we are capture a diabolic serial killer we should remind him that murder is illegal and yes, we totally meant it when we said it the first time -- then let him go free after wagging our fingers slightly. Problem solved!

At some point laws must be enforced but this Democratic Congress has proven repeatedly that it won't enforce the law. Impeachment was off the table from day one. Private citizens are allowed to openly flaunt subpoenas. Now Bush ignores FISA exclusivity without consequence.

Why will Bush honor FISA exclusivity this time around? Not a trick question.

Is Joe Klein dumb enough to believe that simply restating the exclusivity of FISA will prevent Bush from further wrongdoing? Perhaps -- he certainly is a dope about FISA-related issues. (As I've covered previously) Is Nancy Pelosi? I doubt it. Is Barack Obama? Almost certainly not. He cannot honestly believe that "reaffirming" the exclusivity of FISA has meaning. It's just a line to feed to the dumb American public -- AKA us. Up to this point I've been impressed at Obama's willingness to treat the public as something other than rubes and suckers. But the question here is "is he that stupid or does he think we are?"

Perhaps nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public, but feeding nonsense logic-free rationalizations to that public is hardly the politics of change.

Note: Hunter at DailyKos made a very similar set of posts, but similar to how Leibniz and Newton independently invented calculus this is an example of great minds thinking alike.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Congress has proven repeatedly that it won't enforce the law"

Um: legislative branch *makes* the laws, *executive* branch enforces them.

So, no, Congress won't enforce the law.

Autumnal Harvest said...

Actually, under certain circumstances, Congress does enforce the law. When confronted with lawbreaking by the executive branch, Congress can enforce the law through impeachment. And in the course of investigation, for impeachment or legislation, it can issue and enforce subpoenas, through its Sergeant at Arms. Of course, I can understand that you would forget about such oddities, and there's no way of knowing if Margalis was thinking of such cases. Unless. . . Hmm. . . Unless I read the sentences immediately after the one that you quoted:

". . .Congress has proven repeatedly that it won't enforce the law. Impeachment was off the table from day one. Private citizens are allowed to openly flaunt subpoenas."