sábado, mayo 27, 2006

The Wiretapped States of America

You have to love Bush and his team of neocons.

But you have to love the bunch of over payed good for nothings in the US Congress.

Bush managed to get the US citizens to give him and his wild bunch four more years in office despite his lies and his weakness for bombing innocent people just to avenge his daddy. So, the US citizens got what they deserved when Georgie Boy decided to spy on them.

And the Congress said nothing about it, you don't bite the hand that feeds you. But then, one of them got caught with his pants down, and God Almighty, suddenly, some US citizens do have rights, specially those in Congress.

Here you have the note, dedicated to all US citizens that still believe that Bush is a nice person, and that Congressmen are there to uphold the rights of every single person in the USA.

This is the note that appeared at Yahoo News:

Lawmakers, quiet on your rights, roar about theirs

Fri May 26, 7:21 AM ET

Now we know what it takes to make Congress mad enough to stand up for constitutional rights.

When the government snoops on your phone calls and records without warrants, lawmakers barely kick up a fuss. But when the target is a fellow congressman - one under investigation for taking a bribe, no less - they're ready to rumble.

Witness the bipartisan frenzy set off after the FBI searched the Capitol Hill offices of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., on Saturday. The FBI had a court order. According to an FBI affidavit, he was videotaped taking $100,000 in cash from an investor working undercover for the FBI. Agents found $90,000 of it stuffed in his freezer at home, the affidavit said.

Never mind all that. Leaders of the House of Representatives are appalled. They say the search violated the Constitution's separation of powers, "designed to protect the Congress and the American people from abuse of power."

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who rarely agree on anything, demanded that the Justice Department return the "unconstitutionally seized" documents. House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said the episode raised "profoundly disturbing" questions. He set a hearing for Tuesday to ask: "Did the Saturday night raid of Congress trample the Constitution?"

If only those leaders were as profoundly disturbed about executive branch incursions on the rights of average citizens. You certainly have to wonder where they've been for the past several years while the Bush administration ran roughshod over the legislative branch and launched anti-terror programs of questionable legality.

Last December, The New York Times revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) was wiretapping international phone calls without court warrants. Hastert didn't make a peep. Pelosi and other Democrats loudly protested, but nothing came of it. As it turns out, Pelosi was part of a tiny leadership group that had been briefed on the program since October 2001.

The scenario repeated itself this month when USA TODAY revealed that the NSA has collected millions of phone records.

So now the leadership swings into action because the FBI searched a Capitol Hill office for evidence of criminal activity?

This is not to belittle the separation of powers doctrine. It's meant to prevent a president from using investigations and unwarranted searches to intimidate lawmakers in their official duties. The Justice Department might have minimized the outcry by managing the search with more deference to congressional sensitivities. But there's no evidence that the Jefferson raid was an abuse of power.

A more appropriate response from congressional leaders would have been remorse over their failure to do anything meaningful to make members act ethically. Hastert, for instance, replaced a House ethics committee chairman last year after he attempted to enforce some rules. Congressional offices, obviously, should not be sanctuaries for crime, but the outcry from Capitol Hill brought quick action. On Thursday, President Bush ordered the documents seized in Jefferson's office to be "sealed" from the investigators' view for 45 days, while the Justice Department and Congress settle their differences.

What a pity that Congress' leaders haven't used their clout to protect the public's rights as eagerly as they defend their own.

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