Thursday, November 12, 2009

Do's and Don'ts of FISA Reform

So, the fine folks over here - are working to hold our President's feet to the fire, on comments he made during the campaign and even once in office. They have made great stride on the letter being composed by an interested group of individuals and I have made some small - minor, really - proposed changes.

Recommended changes:

Paragraph One, sentence one - replace 'executive' with 'Executive'

Paragraph Three, sentence one - restructure the sentence so that the specific date can be included, as in: "Two bills were the subject of the House Judiciary Committee Patriot Act hearing on Wednesday, XX/XX/2009"

Paragraph Four, sentence one - include the specific month, after the phrase: "last month"

Paragraph Seven, sentence one - can we just say: "In the House Judiciary Committee Hearing of XX/XX/2009, "?

Letter overall: let the word 'liberty' stand by itself. Preceding it with 'civil' just weakens the word; we have a Statue of Liberty, not a Statue of Civil Liberty. This is the 'sweet land of liberty' and that is what gets people out of the chairs to sing about!

These may all seem to be at the level of a nit-pick and perhaps they are; so herewith:

We need this letter to make clear in no uncertain terms, that the trade-off between security and liberty is false. Can we include the Franklin quote, even just by reference or allusion? Before our Republic was even Declared, much less founded, Franklin was in the Pennsylvania Assembly, noting -

Yet this is the very tradeoff that FISA asks us to make? We must always question the Executive, when it attempts to usurp authority from the other, co-equal branches of our federal authority! How can it be, that lawyers in the Executive branch can be completely convinced of the necessity for a search and yet lawyers in the Judicial branch cannot be similarly convinced? And lawyers in the Legislative branch need not even be consulted or informed? How is that possible?

And we cannot be cowed by exigent circumstances - not in a world in which I can get 24/7/365 answers to questions as mundane as "who was the Red Sox first baseman in 1987"; not when children as young as four have cell phones; not when people read tomes as lengthy as 'War and Peace' on screens that fit in the palm of their hands - no! 'Exigent circumstances' is naught but a process question and any society that has a 911 system to reach police officers at any hour of the day, is surely adept enough to divine a means to reach a judge from anywhere at anytime!

So, I hate to say: "Take it back. Make it stronger." - but there it is. We did not knock on doors and cajole our neighbors, so that this president might stand by and acquiesce to all of the inane ideologies that pass for conventional wisdom, within the confines of the four corners that are the design of our nation's capital - if no longer the practice. We put in that work, to elect this President, as we had some specific actions we needed him to take. One of those actions - just one and perhaps the most important one - was to restore our republic to a nation made of laws and not of men. We have bourn the brunt of what it means to be led by the hearts of men and we know that even the heart of the best of us can be turned by the darkest of circumstance. We did not vote for that.

No, we voted for a republic (if not a Republican) and a republic that holds dear and uplifts the notion of liberty.

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