Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Constitutional Crisis

It's likely you didn't get the chance to watch Bill Moyers recent PBS installment on impeachment, but if you're interested -- and you should be -- you can still see in online. I say "unlikely" because there's just so much to try to keep track of that I wasn't even aware of it -- and I've been all over this issue since they invaded Iraq illegally --- until I was made aware through one of my email alerts from

The thing that struck a cord for me was when The Nation's John Nichols said he doesn't believe Congressfolk understand the constitution, that it is their DUTY to check abuse of power and that impeachment is the appropriate tool. This must be the case because I think impeachment is such a "duh!" How can we be electing people to office, any office, who don't know the constitution backwards and forwards? But does that mean they must all be lawyers or law experts? What about people like Wellstone? And while we're at it, shouldn't they also be speed-readers so they can get through those 400-page amendments that are thrown in at the 11th hour to understand what it is they are voting on?

And I was infuriated to learn today that Congress is set to provide Bush with more wiretapping authority. Let's do the time warp again. This is from and ACLU email received today:

Bush lied by omission when he called on Congress to "modernize" FISA. In his Saturday radio address, he said, “this important law was written in 1978, and it addressed the technologies of that era. This law is badly out of date — and Congress must act to modernize it.”
What Bush conveniently failed to mention is that FISA has been updated more than 50 times since 1978, including multiple times since Bush was elected president, to keep up with changes in technology and the needs of the intelligence community. What President Bush is proposing is not an update or even a modernization — it’s a complete overhaul that will strip Americans of their rights.
The FISA “modernization” bill is actually an administration power grab — expanding the National Security Agency’s access to all of our international telephone and email communications — regardless of any known connection to terrorists. And the plan rubberstamps the illegal warrantless wiretapping program the Bush administration has been engaging in for the past six years.
The president is lying to the people, spinning his proposal as a modest reform to allow spying on calls from one foreigner to another foreigner. But the White House has repeatedly rejected bipartisan legislation to do just that. The administration won’t be satisfied until it’s torn down FISA’s sensible legal safeguards. President Bush wants to monitor every U.S. citizen’s calls and e-mails, without a warrant or any court oversight — whenever you call or e-mail with someone overseas.

I sent my email and made my phone calls. I was pretty worked up but the staff taking the calls were very professional.

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