Saturday, March 11, 2006

Sure, Driving Sober is ONE Way of Driving, But...

... it's not the ONLY way.

Anonymous Liberal has a solid post over at Unclaimed Territory today. The past that jumped out at me -- and is the theme that A.L. riffs on -- was an astounding quote from last January by President Bush, which somehow I missed. The quote, and A.L.'s take:

in his January 26 press conference, the President said the following:

"And FISA's still an important tool. It's an important tool, and we still use that tool. But, also -- and I looked. I said, 'Look, is it possible to conduct this program under the old law?' And people said, 'It doesn't work in order to be able do the job we expect to us do.' And so, that's why I made the decision I made. And, you know, 'circumventing' is a loaded word. And I refuse to accept it, because I believe what I'm doing is legally right."

*** In this breathtakingly incoherent response, the President admits that the NSA program is inconsistent with FISA, but at the same time suggests that FISA is important, that it is just one tool in his executive toolbox. This is, to put it mildly, totally absurd. FISA expressly and unambiguously provides that its procedures "shall be the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance . . . may be conducted." In other words, FISA is not a tool, it's THE tool.

This exclusivity provision is not some minor detail or statutory afterthought. It is the key to the entire FISA framework, a provision that, if removed, would render the statute meaningless.

There's more; please, go and read. Meanwhile, I'm going to go scramble some toast, maybe toast some eggs, since any way you do a thing is OK once you've gone through the rabbit-hole ...

Want to do something about it? Participate in the Pennsylvania Roots Project, putting pressure on Penna. Sen. Arlen Specter, head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, right here. (And if you're feeling mean, give Olympia Snowe and Chuck Hagel some of the chastisement they deserve.) Whatever you do, don't just sit there being mad. It's bad for your heart. Write a letter or pick up the phone.

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