Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Censure sense

by Andrew Swift, DI editorial writer


Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis, has called for censuring President Bush for his National Security Agency wiretapping program. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, was the first senator to express support for censure, and is one of only two who have co-sponsored the bill (Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., is the other). Harkin's principled stand, so unfortunately rare among congressional leaders, is in defense of the sanctity of the American republic, and I wholeheartedly applaud it.

The "mainstream" media have ignorantly focused on the question of wiretapping suspected terrorists. You'd be hard-pressed to find a person opposed to the idea, and neither Feingold nor Harkin is one of them. Rather, the issue is Bush's acknowledgement that he authorized the NSA to eavesdrop on Americans and other persons inside the United States without a court order, as mandated by the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Subchapter I, Section 1809(a) of the act states: "A person is guilty of an offense if he intentionally ... engages in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute." Bush's eager acknowledgement that he authorized these wiretaps leads to the conclusion that our president is a criminal. This is not a matter of politics or ideology. At stake is the accountability of our elected officials to follow the rule of law. No person in our country is above the law.

Spin doctors and propagandists argue that, for "national-security" purposes, the president should not have to wait idly for a warrant before engaging in necessary surveillance. FISA itself makes provisions for this argument: If wiretapping is so urgently and immediately needed that a court order could not be received in time, it is allowed - if a court order is retroactively received within a 72-hour window.

Congress, as an institution, has an obligation to the law and the Constitution. Bush's program compromises the rule of law in this country and makes Congress nothing more than a rubber-stamp under the power of a unitary executive. Amending FISA to allow these wiretaps, as "moderate" Senate Republicans are proposing, ignores the fact: The president broke the law, and he must be held accountable. Harkin's backing of Feingold's motion to censure shows at least one Iowa Senator still wishes to uphold the law.

1 comment:

IndyThinker said...

I agree with your POV that precious few of our "Representatives" are willing to make a stand on the issue of Censure (or most other issues of any importance for that matter).

Bush has most definitely and seriously violated this and many other laws and must be held accountable.

The comment made about the "mainstream" media ignorantly focusing on the issue of wiretapping terrorists instead of the root issue is indicative of a much larger part of the overall problem with bringing Bush to justice.

You who are in the media should see the writing on the wall by now. Bush et al are masters of misdirection and the fine art of scapegoating. The media at large is being targeted now in their latest dodge-the-bullet exercise.

The damage this will do to the credibility of an already compromised media will be just one more nail in the coffin for an industry that used to be seen as a force, not a farce.

We cannot believe what we see on TV, hear on radio and read in the press anymore. In its eagerness to get a scoop, an exclusive or be first with the latest "breaking news story", the Media (all forms) are rushing right past the true story in order to parrot the "official" storyline (plotline ?).

Those of us still interested enough to give a damn are forced to do our own research and dig our own information up through the sludge heaped on it by those who want to bury the real story in the interest of self-preservation.

Fewer and fewer people are willing to do this. Soon, laregly due to media apathy and ignorance, Bush-style "Leadership" will become the rule and not the exception.

The Censure issue has been allowed to fall off the front page and become just one more small story.

A week or so later, it is now barely receiving a mention. This is almost assuredly going to become just another NeoCon victory on just another media-neutered policitcal issue.

Yes, Harkin and a few others have shown enough backbone to press this but without a constant spotlight on this issue by ALL forms of media, BushCo will skate on this one as well.

I say take the spotlight OFF the spinsters and propagandists and keep it on the source individuals. This is the only way to keep the pressure on and ultimately root out the truth.

We The People (I use that term only to remind people it still exists) can easily see the plain fact that Bush is indeed a criminal but if no one will step up and say it loudly, repeatedly and publicly, they win (again).