Monday, June 23, 2008

Whining on FISA

Let the Whining begin!
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance," Rep Trent Franks (R-AZ) intoned on the floor of the House of Representatives, purporting to invoke the authority of Thomas Jefferson on behalf of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which passed the House by a 293–129 vote yesterday.

If we wanted to pick nits, we could note that this is a misquotation, that Jefferson didn't write it, and that the "eternal vigilance" alluded to in that hoary aphorism is most assuredly not the government's unfettered power to eavesdrop on Americans' international communications without a warrant. But forget it, he's rolling. Why spoil such a rare bipartisan lovefest with quibbling over details?

Floor debate on the measure, which expands executive branch surveillance authority and provides retroactive amnesty for telecoms implicated in warrantless NSA wiretapping, consisted largely of mutual congratulation. Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) lauded the bill as a shining example of "what we can do when we come together," a sentiment echoed by Rep James Langevin (D-RI), who said that the compromise "illustrates what this House can do when it deliberates with care, holds steady against fearmongering, and acts in the best interests of the country and its citizens."

Hmm. I guess I'd say that if he doesn't want to pick nits he may wish to get his facts straight. First there isn't any expansion of power to the executive branch. He may wish to note that the power merely carries over from the last FISA legislation. And I still haven't heard any logical explanation for allowing the telecoms to be punished for good faith actions when required by the government.

You'd think this was a libertarian tirade, except its not. It's just poorly thought out whining.

Read it yourself. Then go out and get facts from someone that has a clue.

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