Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Congressional Probe of NSA Spying Is in Doubt

Senate Republicans, under intense pressure from the Bush administration, appear to be preparing to take a "don't ask, don't tell" approach to shredding of Constitutional rights.

The Washington Post reports
that Bush/Cheney/Rove have been leaning heavily on moderate Republicans in their effort to prevent Congressional hearings on the domestic spying initiative the NSA undertook in apparent violation of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Ohio Republican Senator Mike DeWine, facing a tough re-election campaign this year, has come up with a novel solution: make the illegal activity legal. Here are the key paragraphs:
Senate intelligence committee member Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) said in an interview that he supports the NSA program and would oppose a congressional investigation. He said he is drafting legislation that would "specifically authorize this program" by excluding it from the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which established a secret court to consider government requests for wiretap warrants in anti-terrorist investigations.

The administration would be required to brief regularly a small, bipartisan panel drawn from the House and Senate intelligence committees, DeWine said, and the surveillance program would require congressional reauthorization after five years to remain in place.
So, Republicans want to legislate away the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure. But, they might be willing to allow it to make a comeback in five years; or, maybe not.

There was a time, not very long ago, when conservatives claimed to be for small government and were strict constructionists when it came to the Constitution. Man, that seems like eons ago.

This quote indicates how radically things have changed:
We are confused and we have confused you with a double standard of morality. We try to keep alive a moral code for our individual conduct--"Don't cheat," "Promises are sacred." "Your word is your bond," "Serve your fellow men"--but at the same time, we accept double-dealing at government levels, and we've lost our capacity to get angry when decisions are not based on moral truth, but on political expediency. When small men are granted great rewards for political favors, we excuse it with the expression: "Well, that's politics."
. . . Time to look to the future. We've had enough talk--disruptive talk--in America of left and right, dividing us down the center. There is really no such choice facing us. The only choice we have is up or down--up, to the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down, to the deadly dullness of totalitarianism.

Do we still have the courage and the capacity to dream? If so, I wish you'd join me in a dream. Join me in a dream of a California whose government isn't characterized by political hacks and cronies and relatives--an administration that doesn't make its decisions based on political expediency but on moral truth. Together, let us find men to match our mountains. We can have a government administered by men and women who are appointed on the basis of ability and dedication--not as a reward for political favors. If we must have a double standard of morality, then let it be one, which demands more of those in government, not less.
Those 1966 words of Ronald Reagan deliver a stinging rebuke to those so-called conservatives in Washington who pay homage to his image, but savage his principles.

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