Meet the four horsemen of the Constitutional apocalypse: Republican Senators Mike DeWine, Olympia Snowe, Lindsey Graham, and Chuck Hagel. "Apocalypse, what hyperbole!" you say. But how else to label the fact that these four Senators will bring to the Senate a billowing white flag of surrender, and a crown for their King?
Yesterday, these four Senators introduced the "Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006." The bill would legalize the President's crimes. It would allow this Congress to rubber-stamp the administration's violation of FISA and the Fourth Amendment by condoning warrantless spying. According to their ass-backwards approach to oversight, the President can continue to spy on Americans without a warrant for 45 days. After 45 days, the President has three choices:
1. "Stop" the spying: Because naturally, we can trust this government to cease and desist on demand, given its amazing track record of self-restraint;
2. Ask the FISA court for a court order: Because naturally, this President has shown great respect for the FISA court process and would dutifully follow Congressional directives when it comes to applying for a FISA order; or
3. Inform the Intelligence Sub-committee: Because, of course, the President has proven he can be trusted to follow the law and notify intelligence activities about warrantless spying.
The bill is co-sponsored by four so-called "moderates" in order to hide its radical and catastrophic nature. What these four extremists accomplish with their bill is to amend the Constitution unilaterally--without the consent of the states--by nullifying the Fourth Amendment. Warrant? Reasonable cause? Psssh. Remnants of a pre-9/11 world, my friends.
Their bill, by making congressional notification optional, also effectively repeals the National Security Act of 1947, which requires the President keep the House and Senate Intelligence Committees "fully and currently informed of all intelligence activities." If the administration does chose to inform the Intelligence Sub-Committee, the members on that committee cannot disclose any abuses they may learn of. They can't order the government to stop the spying and they can't hold the government accountable for any abuses. Their mouths are sealed shut. Their hands are bound with inaction. They can do nothing but serve as audience for an all-powerful King. As Senate Judiciary Chairman Specter commented, this bill lets the administration "do whatever the hell it wants." And this is "oversight"? The sadder question that needs to be asked is is this America anymore?
So, let's review, shall we? Striking out part of the Bill of Rights? Check. Unfettered Executive authority to conduct massive, intrusive spying on Americans in secret? Check. A paralyzed Congress bound, blindfolded and gagged? Check. Establishing the precedent that the President can flat-out ignore the law of the land? Check. A Congress filled with Rubber-Stamp Republicans who couldn't give a shit about the rule of law as long as they make this scandal go away? Check.
A constitutional catastrophe doesn't look to hyperbolic now, does it?
CONTACT YOUR SENATORS and tell them to reject the DeWine bill, and to support censure instead.
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