February 21, 2008

He's just a hero in a long line of heroes
Looking for some lonely billboard to grace

Leila Cartier, Unearthed, 2005

* FISA battle more politics than policy. excerpt:

"Call it a game of political chicken: Four days after the Bush administration lost its authority to sidestep the courts when eavesdropping on some U.S. residents, House Democrats and the White House remain embroiled in a high-profile rhetorical battle over what the change means for the nation’s security. But even as Republicans and intelligence officials warn of an imminent Apocalypse—and Democrats warn of an executive branch gone wild—some of the nation’s top legal experts say that neither side has got it right.

"'It’s mostly a political game,' said Orin Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University specializing in electronic surveillance. 'Both sides are exaggerating dramatically.'

"At issue is legislation to expand a federal spying law—the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act—to allow the National Security Agency to intercept foreign-to-domestic communications without court approval when the target is the foreign party. In August, Congress passed the Protect America Act, which provided that authority. The law also granted amnesty to the phone companies that cooperated with the White House under the program. Earlier this month, the Senate passed a bill to make those provisions permanent, but House leaders left Washington last week without acting on the legislation. As a result, the Protect America Act expired on Feb. 16.

"The outcry from the White House was immediate. National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell told Fox News Feb. 17 that the nation is in 'increased danger, and it will increase more and more as time goes on.' Intelligence officials, he said, 'do not have the agility and the speed that we had before to be able to move and try to capture [terrorists’] communications to thwart their planning.'"
"Another topic of contention remains how the new surveillance law should approach the telecommunications companies that cooperated in the administration’s unwarranted wiretapping program. The Senate bill offers immunity—critics say amnesty—to those companies, reasoning that the private sector would refuse to participate in future surveillance activities if they thought they might be sued as a result. On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told CNN’s 'Late Edition' that House Democrats are 'more interested in seeing companies in court than they are seeing terrorists in jail.'

"Other legal experts warned of the precedent that might be set if Congress succeeds in scaring private companies from cooperating with the government in times of national emergency. Robert Turner, associate director at the Center for National Security Law at the University of Virginia, said Americans should be prepared to sacrifice some privacy and civil rights for purposes of security. 'You have to be able to act with speed and dispatch,' he said, 'even if it means there’s some collateral damage. There’s no solution to that. It’s just a part of war.'

"Added Turner, who was a senior White House lawyer under Ronald Reagan: 'I think we ought to be grateful to the companies that cooperated.'"
"Looking forward, legal experts predict that some compromise will emerge in the coming days. Based on Congress’ record battling the White House on national security issues, some add, it will probably resemble something much closer to the Senate bill. 'If past is prologue, the Democrats will cave, Saltzburg said. "They just don’t seem to be able to hold out for the long fight.'"

* Record covers by R. Crumb.

* Baltimore artist (and propriator of bmoreart) Cara Ober has a show opening March 8, 2008 at DC's Randall Scott Gallery. The show runs until April 12, 2008.

* The Caribbean play DC's Velvet Lounge Saturday February 23, 2008.

* "Always speak the truth, think before you speak, and write it down afterwards." -- Lewis Carroll


Blogger Brewmasters said...

r crumb link not working

great stuff there

11:17 AM  
Blogger hackmuth said...

Link should be working now.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. How did you find my work? Leila

3:46 PM  

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