Monday, August 6, 2007

Big Brother is Definitely Watching

Jack Balkin is a law professor at Yale, and there's a nice piece on his Balkinization Blog about how the Democrats showed absolutely no backbone in trying to resist the Bush administration's desire to spy on Americans. Here's a link to the complete article, and here's a small bit worth quoting:

"The passage of the new FISA bill by the Senate and now the House demonstrates that the Democrats stand neither for defending civil liberties nor for checking executive power.

They stand for nothing at all.

Conversely, the new bill shows that the Republican Party can get the Democrats to surrender almost any civil liberty– indeed, to give the President just as much unchecked power as he might obtain under a Republican controlled Congress– simply by playing the fear card repeatedly and without shame […]"

Today, Balkin posted a follow-up piece about a letter Bush wrote to Congress requesting "comprehensive reforms" to the new law. In a bizarrely worded passage, Bush asks for "meaningful liability protection to those who are alleged to have assisted our Nation following the attacks of September 11, 2001." I guess assisting our Nation is a risky enterprise, especially if the president himself has to shield you from such allegations. What he's talking about is protecting telecom companies who can and should be prosecuted for participating in a wiretapping operation which was fully illegal until this past weekend.