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So, this is how it works...

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Message Jayne Lyn Stahl
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So, this is how it works, we break the law, then we make it law. Reportedly, Senator Arlen Specter who, in the past, appeared to be the "specter of sanity" now thinks the best way to protect our civil liberties, and constitutional rights is by changing the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Act to enable warrantless eavesdropping.

According to the AP today, Specter acknowledged that he and Vice President Dick Cheney "have exchanged letters" about amending the 30 plus year law to incorporate a provision which enables warrantless, unauthorized, spying, and legitimizes this intrusive, and illicit practice. Can it be that the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee who so nobly stood up, during confirmation hearings for Michael Hayden, insisting that he will demand accountability, from the CIA, about any First Amendment infractions, the Senator from Pennsylvania, has now surfaced as yet another White House lapdog? And, more importantly, who's watching the farm when the attorney-general, and the head of a committee designed to reinforce checks and balances, the CPU of congressional oversight, has been corrupted?

While, on the one hand, Specter insists that the president "does not have a blank check," (AP), he is openly working, with Congress, on legislation that will effectively shred the Fourth Amendment's insistence upon "probable cause" granting permission to the NSA to monitor ordinary American citizens by writing warrantless surveillance into the 1978 FISA law. While they're at it, why not change the law to read: Foreign and Domestic Intelligence Surveillance Law, and tell it like it is.

All teachers of American history, political science, and lovers of justice, present and future, please note: this is now how it works in this country: first we break the law then, when we're caught, we make it law.

 

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Widely published, poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter; member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA. Jayne Lyn Stahl is a Huffington Post blogger.
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