Saturday, August 04, 2007

I always feel like somebody's watching me, and I have no privacy (whoa-oh-oh-oh)

[graphic by Dancin' Dave]

Senate Passes Bush's Spy Bill

WASHINGTON (AP)- The Senate voted late Friday to temporarily give President Bush expanded authority to eavesdrop on suspected foreign terrorists without court warrants.
The House, meanwhile, rejected a Democratic version of the bill. Democratic leaders there were working on a plan to bring up the Senate-passed measure and vote on it Saturday in response to Bush's demand that Congress give him expanded powers before leaving for vacation this weekend.
The White House applauded the Senate vote [no shit, Sherlock] and urged the House to quickly follow suit [translated as "baa-aa-aa, baa-aa-aa"].
The bill "will give our intelligence professionals the essential tools they need to protect our nation," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto. "It is urgent that this legislation become law as quickly as possible." Senate Democrats reluctantly voted for a plan largely crafted by the White House after Bush promised to veto a stricter proposal that would have required a court review to begin within 10 days. [can't have some pesky court peering over Bush's shoulder providing any kind of oversight to avoid abuse of those powers, now can we?]
"Al-Qaida is not going on vacation this month," said Sen. Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. "And we can't either until we know we've done our duty to the American people." [or was that "done our doody ON the American people"?] In the House, Democrats lost an effort to push a proposal that called for stricter court oversight of the way the government would ensure its spying would not target Americans. [given the track record for integrity of this current administration, makes sense to me] "The rule of law is still critical in this country," Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., said. "It is exactly when the government thinks that it can be the sole, fair arbiter that we most need a judicial system to stand in and strike the balance." [and that describes the Bush administration to a "t"]
"We can have security and our civil liberties," Tierney said. Before the vote, Democrats excoriated the GOP plan, which Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said "provides a weak and practically nonexistent court review." [hardly a surprise. This is an administration of shadows and secrecy, cloaked with reassurances of "trust us... we're doing everything with your best interests in mind. We just don't want anyone to know what it is"]
Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., angrily chastised his colleagues for bending to the administration's will. "The day we start deferring to someone who's not a member of this body ... is a sad day for the U.S. Senate," Feingold said. "We make the policy — not the executive branch." [Bush's bullying has changed that, hasn't it?] Likewise, civil liberties advocates said they were outraged that Democratic-led Senate would side with the White House. "We're hugely disappointed with the Democrats," said Caroline Fredrickson, legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union. "The idea they let themselves be manipulated into accepting the White House proposal, certainly taking a great deal of it, when they're in control — it's mind-boggling." [it is, isn't it?Didn't anyone tell them they are the majority yet?]

My main problem with it all is that 1.) I don't trust this White House any further than I can throw them. They use the argument of "we only want to protect the American people from evil-doers, and we can only do that if everything we do is kept hidden from the people, the congress, the house and God himself" too much, and 2.) how does having a court issue a warrant to make sure they aren't abusing the surveillance powers to spy on political enemies keep them from ultimately still being able to spy on terrorists?

It's always been my belief that those who most vigorously resist any kind of review or oversight are usually the ones with the most to hide.