Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!

Saw a TV ad last night excoriating the U.S. House for not passing Bush’s law letting the phone companies off the hook (sorry) for helping violate our constitutional rights.

I have a few problems with this whole issue.  The President is quoted in today’s SJ-R (2/26/08) stating, “…what we had asked them to do was legal.”  So, problem number 1 is – what’s the problem?  Why do we need a law granting retroactive immunity for a legal activity?

My main problem isn’t with the phone companies.  I don’t agree with their decisions, and I’m not sure how you keep companies from doing it again if there’s no perceived risk.  It’s easy to see, though, how they were between a rock and a hard place.  Who do you think would’ve been thrown under the bus if an attack occurred while they were waiting for the FBI to get its paperwork in order.

My real problem is the cognitive dissonance — if this is really critical enough to further circumvent the Bill of Rights, shouldn’t it be important enough to PAY YOUR PHONE BILL ON TIME?!?  Like last month when the phone companies cut off all kinds of surveillance wiretaps because the FBI can’t seem to work an Accounts Payable system.

I propose the House recommend a compromise bill granting the “intelligence community” the power — in extreme cases — to pay their bills and bypass whatever rat hole they disappear into now.  If they can demonstrate competence with that, then we can discuss them taking another whack at the Constitution.

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