Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I Can See You!

The President continued his propaganda campaign to gather support for his flawed efforts in Iraq. Yes, I was for the invasion of Iraq; Yes, I feel I may have been duped by the sales job of the administration and it's cherry picking of intelligence to support their desire to invade Iraq; Yes, I feel that everyone is better off without a SoDamn Who's Insane running a country in a vulnerable area of the world, and yes, I feel we must stay until Iraq is secure and Iraqi's are in control of their own destiny. But none of that means anything if the President can make up his own rules as he goes along.

But after a week of barnstorming ending in a prime time Sunday evening speech to the American People (viewed all over the world) and a press conference addressing specifics of his covert operations, the popularity polls have blipped up, for the time being. Rasmussen polls were hovering in the low 40's for quite sometime, but have been in the mid 40's as of late.
Forty-six percent (46%) of American adults approve of the way George W. Bush is performing his role as President. Fifty-two percent (52%) disapprove.
For the month of December, The President's high water mark was 47% on December 4th, with his low point of 43% registering just a few days later on December 9. This clearly shows a volatility of the opinions of Americans, and suggests that any brief bump after the latest inundation of face time, will be brief.

A stickler for the President could be his authorization of surveillance without court order. I thought the most important question in the press conference was this tidbit:
Mr. President. Getting back to the domestic spying issue for a moment. According to FISA's own records, it's received nearly 19,000 requests for wiretaps or search warrants since 1979, rejected just five of them. It also operates in secret, so security shouldn't be a concern, and it can be applied retroactively. Given such a powerful tool of law enforcement is at your disposal, sir, why did you see fit to sidetrack that process?
19,000 requests with only FIVE rejections. And there actually an opportunity for retroactive authorization built into the law. So what is the difference between this practice and the desire of the President to work outside the letter of the law? The President;s response:
We used the process to monitor. But also, this is a different -- a different era, a different war, Stretch. So what we're -- people are changing phone numbers and phone calls, and they're moving quick. And we've got to be able to detect and prevent. I keep saying that, but this is a -- it requires quick action.
Which, I assume, is the primary reason the current law allows for retroactive authorization.
And without revealing the operating details of our program,
FISA operates in secret, so the operation is still protected.
I just want to assure the American people that, one, I've got the authority to do this;
but there is no need to use this authority since the law provides you with all the tools you need to do the same.
two, it is a necessary part of my job to protect you;
sure, but know need to make up your own rules to do it when the current set of procedures allows for the same protections.
and, three, we're guarding your civil liberties.
Not if you are circumventing the law to spy on citizens without proper legal clearance.
And we're guarding the civil liberties by monitoring the program on a regular basis, by having the folks at NSA, the legal team, as well as the inspector general, monitor the program, and we're briefing Congress. This is a part of our effort to protect the American people. The American people expect us to protect them and protect their civil liberties. I'm going to do that. That's my job, and I'm going to continue doing my job.
But your oath, Mr. President is to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States", and frankly, peeking into people's worlds with out legal authorization is just plain creepy. There are policies, processes and procedures built into the current system that will allow the administration to do exactly what they are doing right now, without skipping a beat. What they are doing instead is pure power mongering arrogance, and I believe the American people will see right through it.

But that's just me!


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