Well, Kurt disagrees vehemently with me over the usefulness of FISA for protecting Americans. I’m not surprised – Kurt is an excellent apologist for conservative politics. But his headline, “The Professor Fizzles on FISA” misses the point and his response offers nothing in the way of tangible evidence for his position. I argued previously, largely based on Ed Brayton’s assessment, that the Congress allowed provisions of FISA to lapse that are unnecessary to begin with and did not affect the overall strength of FISA. Instead of addressing the argument, Kurt attempts to bluff his way with the usual irrelevant rhetoric taken as argument by most conservatives these days. “Trust us and the Bush administration, we know what’s good for your protection – and if you protest, you’re not only un-American but probably a terrorist yourself”.
Kurt can’t address the issue. Instead we’re asked to identify whether our phones are being tapped by FISA – I guess if I knew that I’d have to draw the conclusion that the FISA provisions Kurt wants really don’t work anyway – if I could figure out who is tapping me, I suspect the terrorists would be able to figure it out. What Kurt wants is for the rest of us to “trust” the Bush administration to do what’s right. That’s not going to happen – the administration is not trustworthy and people are getting tired of being bullied into submission over the fear of another terrorist attack.
Again, what evidence does Kurt offer that I or any others are wrong about FISA? I cite Brayton that we can still listen in on terrorists under FISA and in reply, Kurt offers that the professor is “intellectually dishonest”; I suggest that the provisions dropped were unnecessary for surveillance and Kurt says the professor “uses labels to diminish people”; I point out that under original FISA intelligence officers can retroactively seek a warrant and Kurt responds that the professor exhibits “a high level of agitation”; I suggest Republicans have purposefully confused FISA with provisions of the Protect America Act and Kurt retorts with “the professor is less believable out of his profession”. Wow, I’m stunned – I guess I should have seen the light on FISA long ago. Come on, Kurt, who is really addressing the issues and who is ignoring them in favor of commitment to a political platform? – that may work in Lassen County, but fortunately the nation is much larger and more diverse.
The potentially tangible argument Kurt offers is that offered by Defense of Democracies. They offer nothing more tangible themselves than the fear mongering: if we don’t trust them on FISA and the Democrats don’t renew the provisions, we’re all going to die. They offer nothing to prove that. We are simply to trust them. If I asked Kurt and these folks to write an essay in my college classe on why the Democrats should have renewed FISA they’d all be getting low C’s or Ds.
I ask the question again, Kurt – would you trust a Pelosi Presidency or (heaven forbid!) a Hillary Presidency, with the same FISA abilities you favor? Would you trust them only to be spying on terrorists?