A few readers have asked The Eight why we haven't bit on this 'NSA story' much or at all, (Hint: it's not an NSA story, it's a White House story.) Frankly we consider it dog-bites-man news. We would more or less have assumed that Bush had been spying on us since September 11 if not before. We were more amused by the feigned shock and outrage on the left (and in the middle,) than by BushCo's thin excuses (which were also amusing.)
It maybe bears repeating that: 1) We are devoted Orwellians here at The Eight, and so not at all surprised to learn that 'the big ear' has turned inward, as executive power expands, as we move slowly but unceasingly to the state of permanent war that Cheney has always desired. And also: 2) Personal notions of, and eventually functional definitions of, 'privacy' are going to change a lot in the next 50 years. It's unavoidable (see David Brin's "Earth" for more.) For those two and other subordinate reasons, Standing Eight would have persisted in saying that 'the NSA story' is a non-story, until we saw this: See It Now.
A judge of the newly famous FISA court has resigned in protest over 'the President's Program.' (Or is it his pogrom?) Standing Eight are longtime fans of, participants in and advocates for the 'protest quit' of all stripes, and this is a big one. It will make it very difficult for the administration to continue to play the law-abiding tough guys, (the Pat Fitzgeralds of domestic eavesdropping, if you will,) and may (partially,) paint them into a corner as to which defenses are available to them.
We still don't think this will 'bring down' the prez or anyone else, and we won't be surprised if somehow he skates right past it and comes out clean on the other side. But big-ups nonetheless to Judge James Robertson. Keep your eyes peeled, JR, you just might be in line for a Standy Calendar-Replacement-Time Recognition
(Coming soon to Standing Eight: The 'Standys' Calendar-Replacement-Time Recognitions, which are in no way similar to year-end awards, so don't lump us in with those losers.)