Friday, December 23, 2005

FISA bill "recognizes no inherent power of the President to conduct electronic surveillance"

JAMES BAMFORD: Well, before I get into that, just one other comment on what we just have been talking about. When the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was created in 1978, one of the things that the Attorney General at the time, Griffin Bell, said -- he testified before the intelligence committee, and he said that the current bill recognizes no inherent power of the President to conduct electronic surveillance. He said, 'This bill specifically states that the procedures in the bill are the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance may be conducted.' In other words, what the President is saying is that he has these inherent powers to conduct electronic surveillance, but the whole reason for creating this act, according to the Attorney General at the time, was to prevent the President from using any inherent powers and to use exclusively this act.

That's from Democracy Now! ("An Impeachable Offense? Bush Admits Authorizing NSA to Eavesdrop on Americans Without Court Approval") and C.I.'s emphasized it repeatedly this week because it's important. It's a point that you don't hear too often in the mainstream media coverage which is strange considering the endless jaw boning over "original intent." Strange too considering that the press is supposedly so interested in figuring out whether or not Bully Boy circumvented the law.

But brains and the mainstream media . . .

I'm late again posting this morning. A "wit" asked if I was late yesterday because I need to figure out the day's talking points? No. I was late because my grandfather and I were crowded around the computer reading C.I.'s posts and then discussing them with my mother. We're all really interested in the government spying on citizens.

Here's a question the "wit" also asked, "Since your grandfather's already in Florida, where will he go to retire? New York?"

Well he is retired. And he went to South Florida.

But due to Christmas (and Wilma) he's been back in the area he grew up in. As a result, he knows a lot of people in the area. We went around yesterday distributing cookies Mom had baked for friends in the neighborhood and my grandfather made sure everyone knew about the spying.

That was interesting, hearing their take on it. They were wondering why there was so much back and forth about whether Bully Boy did something wrong? While the press works itself up into a moral quandry, people my grandfather's age seemed to see it pretty clearly: Bully Boy violated the law.

You listen and just hear their voices filled with anger and with shock.

I hope everyone else is trying to make sure people talk about this.

I also hope you'll check out Kat's latest album review. This is one she did at the request of the oldest member in The Common Ills community, Eli. Eli's a friend of mine (and I'm lucky to be able to say that) and I got his permission to write about why he asked Kat to review Carly Simon's No Secrets.

One of his daughters was having some problems when the album came out and his daughter asked if it would be okay for the granddaughter to stay with him and his wife for a bit. A bit turned out to be a year and a half. She arrived with a suitcase of clothes and Carly Simon's record right before No Secrets. That was the only thing she listened to over and over and he and/or his wife (he's not sure which but says it was probably his wife) mentioned that to someone with kids his granddaughter's age. They were told about No Secrets and thought maybe they could get it and bond with their granddaughter?

So they bought it at a store called Gibson's. (I don't know that store but Eli said put it in because a lot of people would ha ha. It's out of business now, he thinks.) They were both looking at the cover because although Carly Simon's got clothes on, her nipples are prominent through her shirt. They weren't sure what they were getting into but their granddaughter was "monosylalbes" all the time so they were willing to take a chance.

They got the biggest hug and she asked them to listen to it with her. She was really excited.
From there, Eli, who can play a song on guitar after hearing it a few times, taught his granddaughter how to play a few of the songs on guitar. And it just ended up being a really big shared thing for all three of them.

The granddaughter has a daughter now and she's in her late 20s. Eli had sent his granddaughter the review that Kat did of Carly Simon's Moonlight Serenade and she ended up passing it on to her daughter. Her daughter, Eli's great-granddaughter, grew up listening to No Secrets because her mother played it all the time. So Eli had a standing offer from Kat that she'd review something older for him and 2005 was winding down so she reminded him of that. Because of his granddaughter and his great-granddaughter, he picked No Secrets.

I think Kat did a great job with that review. So check it out.