Monday, January 28, 2008

Was it Stalin, Goebbels or Karl Rove?

Someone once said that if a lie is repeated often enough, it becomes the truth.

Clearly, Mike Rogers has been paying attention to this dictum. He had a guest op-ed in the Sunday Press & Argus titled, "Playing politics over SCHIP legislation."

cue the violins...

In a masterful blending of half-truths and full fictions, Rogers set up the usual SCHIP bogeymen (Illegal aliens! No oxygen for Grandma! You'll pay for Donald Trump's health care!), and takes credit for "co-authoring" legislation that was supposedly included in the SCHIP bill.

There have been any number of blogs rebutting the misinformation about SCHIP, including some here at MRN.

Then Rogers goes a step beyond bashing a program to help working families. He throws in a little extra, shall we say, misinformation about the proposed economic stimulus package and the FISA bill.

Mr. Rogers' idea of stimulating the economy is making a one-time payment of a few hundred dollars to families who need real jobs. Guess he hasn't noticed that our state leads the nation in unemployment. Thankfully, Governor Granholm, Senators Stabenow and Levin, and five other members of the MI delegation are paying attention, and they're working to include extended unemployment benefits as part of the stimulus package.

Mr. Rogers is also ringing alarm bells about FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. In a nutshell, FISA allows US law enforcement and intelligence professionals to obtain warrants from special courts. FISA courts are secret; the classified evidence for a warrant is not made public to protect sources and methods. If US law enforcement or intelligence professionals are in hot pursuit, without time to request a FISA warrant, the court allows them to obtain a retroactive warrant. At no time since FISA's inception in 1978 has the court refused a warrant.

FISA does need to be updated -- communications technology has changed dramatically in the last three decades. But Rogers & Co. are arguing that FISA hampers these investigations, and we should just keep on going with the unconstitutional warrantless wiretaps that the Bush Administration holds so dear. They're also worried about providing immunity for telecom firms, who leaped to assist the administration in warrantless wiretaps. A quick peek will show that Mr. Rogers has received a nice chunk of campaign cash from telecommunications firms like AT&T and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

Last but not least, Mr. Rogers' teary plea for the Democrats to stop being so gosh-darned mean included this little gem:

As we look forward, it is crucial to end political gimmicks such as the veto override vote

The "gimmick" to which Mr. Rogers is referring is actually part of Section I, Article 7 of the United States Constitution. (The Congressional Research Service has an excellent summary of how this works.)

I'm sorry that warrants and constitutional guidelines are "gimmicky" to you, Mr. Rogers.


Tim said...

where'd this quote come from?

"As we look forward, it is crucial to end political gimmicks such as the veto override vote"

Kelster93 said...

The quote came from the P&A article

eighth paragraph