Friday, February 15, 2008

Our professionals tell me that they don’t have all the tools they need to do their job

Despite his threat to inconvenience all of us by not going on his Africa junket if the House failed to pass his spying bill, Bush did not cancel his Africa junket. After all, they promised him he’d get to see an elephant!

He did, however, meet with Republican congresscritters this morning (possibly no one has yet dared tell him that Republicans are no longer the majority in either house and that he should really try meeting with Democrats), and then made a statement to the press which was remarkably pissy, even for him, which I give in full and without interjection to preserve its flavor – and I just realized I’m describing it as having a pissy flavor, which, you know, ick:
We also just discussed a serious problem facing our country, and that is the fact that House leaders blocked a good piece of legislation that would give our intelligence community the tools they need to protect America from a terrorist attack.

The American citizens must understand -- clearly understand that there still is a threat on the homeland, there’s still an enemy which would like to do us harm, and that we’ve got to give our professionals the tools they need to be able to figure out what the enemy is up to so that we can stop it.

The Senate passed a good bipartisan bill that makes sure our intelligence community has the tools necessary to protect America from this real threat -- and I want to thank you all, and thank the Democrats in the United States Senate who worked closely with Mitch and John to get a strong piece of legislation, with a 68-vote majority, out of the Senate.

And this bill comes to the House of Representatives and it was blocked. And by blocking this piece of legislation our country is more in danger of an attack. By not giving the professionals the tools they need, it’s going to be a lot harder to do the job we need to be able to defend America.

People say, oh, it doesn’t matter if this law hasn’t been renewed -- it does matter. It matters for a variety of reasons. It matters because the intelligence officials won’t have tools necessary to get as much information as we possibly can to protect you. And it matters because these telephone companies that work collaboratively with us to protect the American people are afraid they’re going to get sued.

And the American people have got to understand these lawsuits make it harder for us to convince people to help protect you. And so by blocking this good piece of legislation, our professionals tell me that they don’t have all the tools they need to do their job.

And so now the House and Senate are off on a 12-day recess without getting the people’s business done. And when they come back from that 12-day recess, the House leaders must understand that the decision they made to block good legislation has made it harder for us to protect you, the American people, and we expect them to get a good bill to my desk -- which is the Senate bill -- as soon as possible.
“Working collaboratively with us”. Yeah, I think of the phone companies as collaborators too.

His vocabulary is actually getting smaller, isn’t it? Refers to “good” legislation five times and to that good legislation being “blocked” another five times. The word “blocked” presumes that there is something unnatural in the legislative branch actively participating in shaping legislation, and yes, you can see where he might have gotten that idea. His refusal to countenance a temporary extension of the existing godawful act suggests he is less interested in keeping those “tools” (a word which appears six times) or preventing the terrorist act which would put 9/11 into the shade with which he has been threatening us all week, than with getting the D’s to once again give him that cowering subservience which is to him a drug so much more powerful and addictive than the booze and coke that fueled his 20s and 30s.

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