"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door." The Statue of Liberty (P.S. Please be so kind as to enter through the proper channels and in an orderly fashion)

Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Comeback Congress!

Friday, December 16, 2005, Fox News

Senate Blocks Vote to Extend Patriot Act

"Yeaaah, finally some sense seeping into the Govenment reps again>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>!!!!

Gloatingly Yours,

Lee Harvey

Six days later:

Thursday, December 22, 2005, Fox News

Congress Passes Patriot Act Extension, Avoids its Expiration



So funny, and yet... so sad.


Blogger John said...

Come back, Lee Harvey! You're good for business! :)

10:49 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

You can't have it both ways.

11:17 AM  
Blogger John said...


11:56 AM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

And with such overwhelming support from the Senate too...

Congress Passes Patriot Act Extension, Avoids its Expiration
Friday, December 23, 2005

WASHINGTON — Congress on Thursday approved a one-month extension of the Patriot Act and sent it to President Bush in a pre-Christmas scramble to prevent many of its anti-terrorism provisions from expiring Dec. 31.

( LOL, Even though Bush promised to veto any short term extension, LOL)

The Senate, with only Sen. John Warner, R-Va., present, approved the Feb. 3 expiration date four hours after the House, with a nearly empty chamber, bowed to Rep. James Sensenbrenner's refusal to agree to a six-month extension.

Congress can pass legislation with only a few lawmakers present as long as no member of the House or Senate objects. The Senate session lasted four minutes.

Sensenbrenner, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the shorter extension would force swifter Senate action and had the support of the White House and Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. The Senate reconvenes Jan. 18 and the House Jan. 26.

"A six-month extension, in my opinion, would have simply allowed the Senate to duck the issue until the last week in June,"

( LOL, he has stated that they almost ruined his christmas break, he wasn't gonna let them possibly ruin his Fourth of July break , LOL)

the Wisconsin Republican told reporters.

Most Senate Democrats and a few libertarian-leaning Republicans united against a House-Senate compromise that would have renewed several expiring provisions permanently while extending some other for another four years.

Democrats were pleased with a short-term extension, whether for six months or just a few weeks.

"The amount of time is less important than the good-faith effort that will be needed in improving the Patriot Act to strike the right balance in respecting Americans liberty and privacy, while protecting their security," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.

"We're happy to agree to a shorter-term extension of the Patriot Act," said Rebecca Kirszner, an aide to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. "The important thing is to strike the right balance between liberty and security."

House passage marked the latest step in a stalemate that first pitted Republicans against Democrats in the Senate, then turned into an intramural GOP dispute.

Without action by Congress, several provisions enacted in the days following the 2001 terror attacks would have expired. Bush has repeatedly urged Congress not to let that happen.

The Senate voted Wednesday night to extend the provisions by six months, a turnabout for GOP leaders who had long insisted they would accept nothing less than a permanent renewal of the law. The House approved the measure earlier this month, but a Democratic-led filibuster blocked passage in the Senate, with critics arguing the bill would shortchange the civil liberties of innocent Americans.

"No one should make the mistake of thinking that a shorter extension will make it possible to jam the unacceptable conference report through the Congress," said Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., who led the Senate filibuster. "That bill is dead and cannot be revived."

Bush carefully sidestepped the dispute that developed overnight between Republicans in the House and Senate.

"It appears to me that Congress understands we've got to keep the Patriot Act in place, that we're still under threat," Bush said before boarding a helicopter for a trip to the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md.( so where is that promised veto, lol)

Most of the Patriot Act — which expanded the government's surveillance and prosecutorial powers against suspected terrorists, their associates and financiers — was made permanent when Congress overwhelmingly passed it after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington.

Making permanent the rest of the Patriot Act powers, like the roving wiretaps that allow investigators to listen in on any telephone and tap any computer they think a target might use, has been a priority of the administration and Republican lawmakers.

Some civil liberties safeguards had been inserted into legislation for renewing that law, but Senate Democrats and a small group of GOP senators blocked it anyway, arguing that more safeguards were needed.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said he had no choice but to accept a six-month extension in the face of a successful filibuster and the Patriot Act's Dec. 31 expiration date. "I'm not going to let the Patriot Act die," Frist said.

Bush indicated that he would sign the extension.
( flip flopper, either you will veto or you will sign, -Can't have it both ways, right Kelly?)

"The work of Congress on the Patriot Act is not finished," Bush said. "The act will expire next summer, but the terrorist threat to America will not expire on that schedule. I look forward to continuing to work with Congress to reauthorize the Patriot Act."

Some Senate Republicans shared Sensenbrenner's dislike for the six-month extension.

"We'll be right back where we are right now," said a clearly frustrated Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

12:12 PM  
Blogger John said...

Oh gawd. He was lurking.

Bush wasn't "flip-flopping." He was playing the political game.

The Patriot Act is alive.

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Well gotta keep my eyes on you crazy anti democracy subversives...

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

For your holiday readin pleasure--

Big Lies
Who told the worst political untruth of 2005? It’s a shame the list of contenders is so long.


Dec. 22, 2005 - Every holiday season, we on "The McLaughlin Group" hand out news awards. Some categories, like "Biggest Winner," are easy (My choice was Chief Justice John Roberts, with the oil companies as runner-up). Others are a struggle to fill, like who to insult with the “Overrated” award.

In compiling this year’s list, I had the highest number of entries for the category, “Biggest Lie.” I chose the White House declaration that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby had nothing to do with leaking the identity of a covert CIA agent. They were the principal participants in the effort to discredit former ambassador Joe Wilson because he had raised doubts about one of the pillars of their argument for war, namely that Iraq had tried to buy yellowcake uranium to make a bomb.

Another favorite—heard all the time from the White House—is that “everybody saw the same intelligence we did.” Members of Congress don’t see the President’s Daily Briefing (one of them was the glossed-over pre-9/11 document that warned “Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside the U.S.”), and they didn’t see all the qualifying caveats about Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction, or the doubts about the credibility of the sources the administration was relying on.

Bush is good at stating the obviously untrue. “We do not torture,” he declared despite ample evidence to the contrary from Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo to secret prisons in Eastern Europe. Vice President Cheney went to Capitol Hill repeatedly to lobby for the U.S. right to torture, capitulating only when the vote went against him 90 to 9. Sen. John McCain, who was tortured when held prisoner during the Vietnam War, took on Bush’s No. 2 and stood up for democratic principles. It’s a wonder Cheney has any credibility left after assuring the country in May, “the insurgency is in its last throes.”

The revelation that President Bush authorized spying on American citizens without warrants is a late entry to the year’s “Biggest Lies” list. Bush says he bypassed the law because of the need for speed. He may believe that, but the facts say otherwise.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 established a special FISA secret court designed to act expeditiously. The executive branch can tap anybody’s phone and not even get a warrant until 72 hours after the fact. The FISA court isn’t picky; it’s only turned down five requests out of 19,000 in its quarter-century existence. Bush publicly and proudly says he will continue to break the law. The Washington Post reported that one FISA court judge has resigned in apparent protest, and the others are asking why we have a secret court when it is ignored.

Bush’s explanation is riddled with lies. He says our enemies are watching and threatens The New York Times, which broke the spying story, with legal action. It takes a vivid imagination to believe that Osama bin Laden and his buddies are keeping up with the niceties of FISA courts and would otherwise have no idea their phones might be tapped. Bush says he talks to Congress all the time and that there was plenty of congressional oversight. Not true. The Gang of Eight (leaders of both parties in the House and Senate, plus the chair and ranking members of the Intelligence Committees) were forbidden to take notes or discuss what they were told with colleagues or staff. Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s hand-written letter to Cheney expressed uneasiness about the program. Rockefeller couldn’t have its legality evaluated by staff. He couldn’t even have the letter typed because of the secrecy. That hardly qualifies as congressional oversight.

The cavalier attitude toward the checks and balance of a democratic society is a pattern with this administration. Bush and Cheney regard Congress and the judiciary as obstacles, not as equal branches of government. The polls show that a majority of Americans no longer trust this team, which is why Bush and Cheney are hitting back hard at their critics. If they lose this round over spying, the spillover effect will be devastating for their war policy and on any domestic agenda they hope to salvage. We have no mechanism to deal with a president who has lost the trust and confidence of the American people and has three years remaining in office. Impeachment is a nonissue; it’s not going to happen with Republicans in control of the House and Senate.

What will happen is more open insurrection on the part of senators—both Democrats and Republicans. Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito are scheduled to begin the first week in January. In the weeks since being named by Bush, there have been a series of stories about Alito’s early writings as a member of the Reagan administration. Alito wants us to believe he was a callow young thirtysomething who advocated far-right positions to curry favor for a job. The White House is telling senators that Alito didn’t mean all those things he wrote about disregarding privacy rights and overturning Roe v. Wade—another big lie. No wonder this year’s list was so easy to put together.
© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Doesn't take much to bring him back fighting, does it?

No point in asking him to come back...he never actually went anywhere.

I think you like fighting snakes. :S

Well, he is good for getting everyone's goat. Like watching a bad talk show.

No offense to you John.

4:36 PM  
Blogger John said...

Yes. He's turning the blog of Republicus into an edition of Jerry Springer.

Leftists have a way of making everything trashy, whether they're on a blog or in the White House.

And now he brought Eleanor Clift and her trash-talk with him.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

You'll love this one- I did...

Mr. Cheney's Imperial Presidency

Published: December 23, 2005
NY Times

George W. Bush has quipped several times during his political career that it would be so much easier to govern in a dictatorship. Apparently he never told his vice president that this was a joke.

Virtually from the time he chose himself to be Mr. Bush's running mate in 2000, Dick Cheney has spearheaded an extraordinary expansion of the powers of the presidency - from writing energy policy behind closed doors with oil executives to abrogating longstanding treaties and using the 9/11 attacks as a pretext to invade Iraq, scrap the Geneva Conventions and spy on American citizens.

It was a chance Mr. Cheney seems to have been dreaming about for decades. Most Americans looked at wrenching events like the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal and the Iran-contra debacle and worried that the presidency had become too powerful, secretive and dismissive. Mr. Cheney looked at the same events and fretted that the presidency was not powerful enough, and too vulnerable to inspection and calls for accountability.

The president "needs to have his constitutional powers unimpaired, if you will, in terms of the conduct of national security policy," Mr. Cheney said this week as he tried to stifle the outcry over a domestic spying program that Mr. Bush authorized after the 9/11 attacks.

Before 9/11, Mr. Cheney was trying to undermine the institutional and legal structure of multilateral foreign policy: he championed the abrogation of the Antiballistic Missile Treaty with Moscow in order to build an antimissile shield that doesn't work but makes military contractors rich. Early in his tenure, Mr. Cheney, who quit as chief executive of Halliburton to run with Mr. Bush in 2000, gathered his energy industry cronies at secret meetings in Washington to rewrite energy policy to their specifications. Mr. Cheney offered the usual excuses about the need to get candid advice on important matters, and the courts, sadly, bought it. But the task force was not an exercise in diverse views. Mr. Cheney gathered people who agreed with him, and allowed them to write national policy for an industry in which he had recently amassed a fortune.

The effort to expand presidential power accelerated after 9/11, taking advantage of a national consensus that the president should have additional powers to use judiciously against terrorists.

Mr. Cheney started agitating for an attack on Iraq immediately, pushing the intelligence community to come up with evidence about a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda that never existed. His team was central to writing the legal briefs justifying the abuse and torture of prisoners, the idea that the president can designate people to be "unlawful enemy combatants" and detain them indefinitely, and a secret program allowing the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on American citizens without warrants. And when Senator John McCain introduced a measure to reinstate the rule of law at American military prisons, Mr. Cheney not only led the effort to stop the amendment, but also tried to revise it to actually legalize torture at C.I.A. prisons.

There are finally signs that the democratic system is trying to rein in the imperial presidency. Republicans in the Senate and House forced Mr. Bush to back the McCain amendment, and Mr. Cheney's plan to legalize torture by intelligence agents was rebuffed. Congress also agreed to extend the Patriot Act for five weeks rather than doing the administration's bidding and rushing to make it permanent.

On Wednesday, a federal appeals court refused to allow the administration to transfer Jose Padilla, an American citizen who has been held by the military for more than three years on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks, from military to civilian custody. After winning the same court's approval in September to hold Mr. Padilla as an unlawful combatant, the administration abruptly reversed course in November and charged him with civil crimes unrelated to his arrest. That decision was an obvious attempt to avoid having the Supreme Court review the legality of the detention powers that Mr. Bush gave himself, and the appeals judges refused to go along.

Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney have insisted that the secret eavesdropping program is legal, but The Washington Post reported yesterday that the court created to supervise this sort of activity is not so sure. It said that the presiding judge was arranging a classified briefing for her fellow judges and that several judges on the court wanted to know why the administration believed eavesdropping on American citizens without warrants was legal when the law specifically required such warrants.

Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney are tenacious. They still control both houses of Congress and are determined to pack the judiciary with like-minded ideologues. Still, the recent developments are encouraging, especially since the court ruling on Mr. Padilla was written by a staunch conservative considered by President Bush for the Supreme Court.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Get the gist of this...

"Editorial": definition: An article in a publication expressing the opinion of its editors or publishers.

The FACTS Man...JUST the FACTS!!!

11:35 PM  
Blogger John said...

"Well gotta keep my eyes on you crazy anti democracy subversives..."


"Keep your eye on us," huh?

This clown and his circus troupe have been projecting their own paranoias and what THEY would do if they had the power to "keep their eye" on "enemies of America."

Sorry about the ad hominems, James--and I assume that you, a Libertarian, and perhaps grudgingly, may find yourself on the same side of Lee Harvey in terms of opposition to the Patriot Act (but on principle, not as Satan's Advocate)--but this guy's offensive.

Anyway, meanwhile, the Congress has come to its senses and allows the feds to keep their eyes--and ears-- on the true anti-democracy subversives: Terrorists.

Clift, BTW, is a reliable Leftist hit-person who will ALWAYS peddle her party's line and position--or opposition.

She spews the same, tired-out garbage: Lies about the war, the President is a liar, Valerie Plame and Yellow Cakes, the President is a liar, torture and Abu Ghraib, the President is a liar, and now "the president is keeping his eye on us," and, of course, "The President is a liar."

You're dismissed, Lee Harvey.


I understand your presumed concern about the expansion of the government's war-time powers and the extension of its tentacles, and myself would, in fact, oppose such powers if Leftists were in possession of it (during peacetime, no less)...

...and if there is evidence that any government likewise expanded the "definition" of national security "threats" to include all sorts of nuisances that can be ignored.

But I would highly recommend that you keep your Libertarian boat hitched to the Republican Party, and avoid becoming a bedfellow with liberals like Lee Harvey because of this or that issue.

Despite Lee Harvey's "Me-Too-Like-Ike's" and "I'm a practicing Catholic!" and "I like a strong national identity!" and "Abortion is murder!" he's a Leftist through and through.

He's Orson the Pig from Orwell's *Animal Farm.*

And behold Lee Harvey's own words ("gotta keep my eye on you!"), his unwelcome infringement into the home of Republicus and "Big Brother" attitude here, and the unrelenting bombardment of propaganda to shout his host down and throw pies and try to control the message.

Republicus can delete him at will, and ban him, but he tolerates him on principle (although he has been sorely tempted to banish the polluter, as a friend could attest, but was reminded of his better angels).

Does anyone believe that Lee Harvey--or any other Leftist-- would show equal magnanimity if the roles were reversed?

If anyone truly does, they're naive, or haven't been paying attention.

Republicus was engaged in an anti-war and anti-administration blog elsewhere and VERY rarely brought in other's articles to try and dominate the space of the commentaries.

When he did, they were relevant to the argument at hand.

He DID begin to dominate by the sheer force of his own words and arguments...

...and was then begun to be deleted with increasing frequency.

That was amusing at first, but it then became abhorrent when the material that was being deleted were REBUTTALS to attacks.

The liberal is not about liberty (and make no mistake: many of the most ardent anti-war people who deny they're "liberal" can not help but be contaminated by liberal-think).

They're about control.

They exploit the *true* liberalism of the conservative as an opportunity to get that control, and, once a foothold is gained by the very magnanimity of the conservative, watch out: The conservative is undrmined, demonized, censored, and has commissariats like Lee Harvey "keeping on eye on you."

That's what he's doing here.

And it's a damn good thing Leftists like Lee Harvey are out of power.

ANYWAY, James, regarding the issue at hand--the Patriot Act and subsequent expansions like wire-tapping-- I will presume that a Libertarian like yourself, similarly, by shade if not feather, to one with Libertarian sympathies and leanings like myself, understands and takes issue with the compromising of civil liberty PRINCIPLES in the federal expansions, and recognizes the potential for overreach and the temptations for out-and-out abuse.

However, that Constitutional concern must be measured against the Constitutionally-granted powers of the Chief Executive and Commander in Chief and his sworn duty to protect that very Constitution, which itself is fashioned to protect the citizenry from both overweening government AND foreign enemies, the latter of which the Constitution avails the Chief Executive with the reponsibility and the powers to do so.

So the argument pro or con the Patriot Act is a valid one, and provides enough intellectual conundrums to keep the wheels turning even in the most purist of Libertarian minds.

That being said, President Lincoln's suspension of habeus corpus during the Civil War, and even, perhaps--*perhaps*-- FDR's emergency internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, on hindsight (to mention but a very few times that the federal government hopped the Constitutional fence), is, if not acceptable, than at least understandable and most evidently forgivable, if the enshrining of those two in the pantheon of Presidential Greatness is any indication (botton line, they won their respective wars).

I ask myself three questions:

1) Is the Patriot Act--and the roguish wire-tapping-- working vis-a-vis effective prosecution of the war?

Have any plots been disrupted, and leads materialized?

The answer is yes. Many. Lives have been saved (or appropriately terminated).

2) Is the Patriot Act--and related rogue surveillance-- limited to war-time activity, and targeting the declared enemies of that state?

Yes (...aside from what a breaking story will conclude).

Not just any Muslim-American calling his family abroad, but STRONGLY SUSPECTED--AND ALREADY TAGGED AND TAILED-- AL QAEDA AGENTS OR AFFILIATES.

(again, aside from what a breaking story will indicate)

3) Has any letter of the law been broken in the spirit of pursuing the declared enemies?


The letter of the law gives some pretty potent powers to the POTUS in hunting down the war-time enemies.

If the government begins to use those powers outside of the parameters they were customized for--i.e. prosecution of war-- then the Constitution does begin to warp and yes, hear the Libertarian within Republicus ROAR.

(and he will if the breaking story warrants it)

But President Bush is a decent man and a determined Commander in Chief who wants to protect America from the foreign threat at hand and win the war.

He is not fielding telepone calls from the IRS to "check out" an average Joe's financial activity.

That's an IRS auditor's job, if, when not chosen randomly, someone's returns look cooked to the point of being too-well done beyond rare and medium norms.

The President is not fielding telephone calls from insurance agencies to dispatch a van outside someone's home and spy on them with all sorts of surveillance equipment and gadgets to see if he is truly disabled and not taking his dog out for a morning jog.

Insurance company's hire private dicks to do that.


And he most certainly doesn't care who's playing the digital voyeur with Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson's honeymoon.

They don't care about that stuff.

That's small fry.

That's irrelevant to the prosecution of the war.


So what's going on here?

There's the legitimate intellectual exercize and debate which tries to reconcile the Constitutional-- but somewhat abstract-- principles and ideals of civil liberties--and trying to define when and where they're sacrosanct and applicable--with the Constitutional--and pretty clear-cut-- powers of the Commander in Chief during war-time.

Republicus sees the danger of such powers remaining operative during peacetime and/or with a different administration, like the Clinton one (who, again, saw fit to pilfer the personal FBI files of political opponents during peacetime, and dispatched the IRS like German shepherds on political enemies during scandals), so any qualms he may have about the powers of the Patriot Act and other tentacle-like tools are general, and not Bush-specific.

Republicus would most certainly NOT want the Patriot Act and the other roguish security measures related to its purpose expire at this juncture.

The Democratic opposition and Bush-Hating Leftists like Clift and Lee Harvey primarily argue on partisan and subjective premises and resort to fear-mongering (yes, what they accuse ther administration of engaging in).

They insist again and again that President Bush is a liar, a criminal, a fascist with an "agenda" etc. to imply that we should fear for our privacy.

Recall that the individuals whose "Rights" have been "un-Constitionally" infringed upon, whether in Abu Ghraib prison or by the Patriot Act or by the roguish surveillance, were ALL related in some way to terrorists.

And yet the raving opposition talks of your neighbor--if not yourself--being "woken in the middle of the night with a knock on your door".

Republicus would imagine that, odds are, there is a percentile or two of truly innocent individuals who were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time, and would have benifitted by a speedy trial with a good lawyer, but is certain that the overwhelming majority--at the very least--rubbed elbows with the wrong crowd.

This is war, and there are innocent victims both on the battlefield and in the homeland.

We can only try our best to minimize such instances until the crisis past, and the United States Government has done an excellent job at minimization (many of the more hawkish among us would argue at the expense of unleashing the appropriate aggression).

Who else would have to fear from the Patriot Act and the other powers which have the ability to eavesdrop on a targeted terrorist...

...or subversive?


The same crowd screaming LOUDEST now, and aiding the terrorist agenda and subverting the Commander in Chiefs efforts to beat them in the process.

"Undermining" a war effort can take many forms, and you can be damn sure that those outfits which ultimately abet the enemy--not to mention those who wish death upon the Commander in Chief-- most ASSUREDLY howl about their patriotic "rights" to dissent loudest of all.

So what do they attack?

1) The war itself.

It's not a "real" war, with a "real enemy," but a phantom one to justify the strengthening of the evil Republicans and their tyrannical rule over the American people.

Or, it IS a real war, but created by Bush's Evil America for imperial purposes and to justify their tyrannical rule over not only the American people, but "The Children of the World," to boot (who are damn happy to see a G.I. patrolling the neighborhood or see a Red Cross helicopter or Salvation Army truck saving the day, incidentally).

They attack the administration at every angle, exploiting the general principles of civil liberties and the ideals of privacy to shear off the Libertarians and bring them to their side and to monger fear among the rest of the American population in their own "never-ending war" to politically defeat President Bush.

There is enough oversight--a bipartisan one at that, and vetted by the Justice Department-- to ensure that the uses of the Patriot Act and the other measures remain channeled within the parameters of war prosecution.

(unless the breaking story indicates otherwise)

Clift and her gang attack that point as well and insanely nitpick over procedural niceties in the same way they insanely nit-picked over the Valerie Plame controversy in their rabid desire and attempt to crucify Karl Rove.

And it's no accident that this new "scandal" manifested itself and is ferociously--if not desperately, after the FAILURE of the Impeachment March and the dismal day of Fitzmas--peddled A DAY AFTER THE SUCCESFUL ELECTIONS IN IRAQ with "Now THIS is Impeachable!"

This sudden "Spy-Gate" scandal
is as PATHETIC a battle-cry as "ABU GHRAIB!" and "YELLOW CAKES!" but they need SOMETHING to keep their five-year year old desire for Impeachment alive and enough feathers ruffled to help them in the mid-term elections, which are crucial for the Bush-Hating movement because it can possibly--an electoral long shot at this point-- give them enough seats to file for the Impeachment they've been hissing about FOR YEARS, years before this new "Spy-Gate" even existed in Time and Space.

It's not "Here's Spy-Gate! This deserves Impeachment!" it's "We need to Impeach Bush! Let's make this 'Spy-Gate!'"

3:40 AM  
Blogger John said...

Anyway, Lee Harvey:


3:41 AM  
Blogger John said...

Breaking news:

Report: Domestic Spying Had Wide Coverage

Saturday, December 24, 2005

WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency has conducted much broader surveillance of e-mails and phone calls — without court orders — than the Bush administration has acknowledged, The New York Times reported on its Web site.

note by Republicus: This is the same NYT that broke this story in the same sort of timeliness (in this case, right after the epic elections in Iraq and with the sound recouping of Bush's poll base) that NBC's Dan Rather broke the "Guard-Gate" (whatever) story right before the election.

A "Vast, Left-Wing Conspiracy?"

Not "vast." But sizable.

So Republicus is highly skeptical about the insinuation (i.e. they wandered outside the parameters of fighting the war).

We'll see.

6:38 AM  
Blogger John said...

I've seen. It's within the parameters of the war.

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

What war? and thats not an excuse or a justification.

Unwarranted Executive Power
The pursuit of terrorism does not authorize the president to make up new laws

Unnatural Disaster

AS THE YEAR WAS DRAWING TO A CLOSE, we picked up our New York Times and learned that the Bush administration has been fighting terrorism by intercepting communications in America without warrants. It was worrisome on its face, but in justifying their actions, officials have made a bad situation much worse: Administration lawyers and the president himself have tortured the Constitution and extracted a suspension of the separation of powers.

It was not a shock to learn that shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to conduct intercepts of international phone calls to and from the United States. The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act permits the government to gather the foreign communications of people in the U.S. -- without a warrant if quick action is important. But the law requires that, within 72 hours, investigators must go to a special secret court for a retroactive warrant.

The USA Patriot Act permits some exceptions to its general rules about warrants for wiretaps and searches, including a 15-day exception for searches in time of war. And there may be a controlling legal authority in the Sept. 14, 2001, congressional resolution that authorized the president to go after terrorists and use all necessary and appropriate force. It was not a declaration of war in a constitutional sense, but it may have been close enough for government work.

Certainly, there was an emergency need after the Sept. 11 attacks to sweep up as much information as possible about the chances of another terrorist attack. But a 72-hour emergency or a 15-day emergency doesn't last four years.

In that time, Congress has extensively debated the rules on wiretaps and other forms of domestic surveillance. Administration officials have spent many hours before many committees urging lawmakers to provide them with great latitude. Congress acted, and the president signed.

Now the president and his lawyers are claiming that they have greater latitude. They say that neither the USA Patriot Act nor the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act actually sets the real boundary. The administration is saying the president has unlimited authority to order wiretaps in the pursuit of foreign terrorists, and that the Congress has no power to overrule him.

"We also believe the president has the inherent authority under the Constitution, as commander-in-chief, to engage in this kind of activity," said Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The Department of Justice made a similar assertion as far back as 2002, saying in a legal brief: "The Constitution vests in the president inherent authority to conduct warrantless intelligence surveillance (electronic or otherwise) of foreign powers or their agents, and Congress cannot by statute extinguish that Constitutional authority." Gonzales last week declined to declassify relevant legal reviews made by the Department of Justice.

Perhaps they were researched in a Star Chamber? Putting the president above the Congress is an invitation to tyranny. The president has no powers except those specified in the Constitution and those enacted by law. President Bush is stretching the power of commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy by indicating that he can order the military and its agencies, such as the National Security Agency, to do whatever furthers the defense of the country from terrorists, regardless of whether actual force is involved.

Surely the "strict constructionists" on the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary eventually will point out what a stretch this is. The most important presidential responsibility under Article II is that he must "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." That includes following the requirements of laws that limit executive power. There's not much fidelity in an executive who debates and lobbies Congress to shape a law to his liking and then goes beyond its writ.

Willful disregard of a law is potentially an impeachable offense. It is at least as impeachable as having a sexual escapade under the Oval Office desk and lying about it later. The members of the House Judiciary Committee who staged the impeachment of President Clinton ought to be as outraged at this situation. They ought to investigate it, consider it carefully and report either a bill that would change the wiretap laws to suit the president or a bill of impeachment.

It is important to be clear that an impeachment case, if it comes to that, would not be about wiretapping, or about a possible Constitutional right not to be wiretapped. It would be about the power of Congress to set wiretapping rules by law, and it is about the obligation of the president to follow the rules in the Acts that he and his predecessors signed into law.

Some ancillary responsibility, however, must be attached to those members of the House and Senate who were informed, inadequately, about the wiretapping and did nothing to regulate it. Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia, told Vice President Dick Cheney in 2003 that he was "unable to fully evaluate, much less endorse these activities." But the senator was so respectful of the administration's injunction of secrecy that he wrote it out in longhand rather than give it to someone to type. Only last week, after the cat was out of the bag, did he do what he should have done in 2003 -- make his misgivings public and demand more information.

Published reports quote sources saying that 14 members of Congress were notified of the wiretapping. If some had misgivings, apparently they were scared of being called names, as the president did last week when he said: "It was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important program in a time of war. The fact that we're discussing this program is helping the enemy."

Wrong. If we don't discuss the program and the lack of authority for it, we are meeting the enemy -- in the mirror.

11:59 AM  
Blogger John said...

Republicus pre-empted him (Lee Harvey). By 24 hours.

He said:

"Undermining" a war effort can take many forms, and you can be damn sure that those outfits which ultimately abet the enemy--not to mention those who wish death upon the Commander in Chief-- most ASSUREDLY howl about their patriotic "rights" to dissent loudest of all.

So what do they attack?

1) The war itself.

It's not a "real" war, with a "real enemy," but a phantom one to justify the strengthening of the evil Republicans and their tyrannical rule over the American people..."

Lee Harvey belatedly comes in here with an "exclusive" and--while busy with his roller wall-papering this section with his new, irrefetuble and indisputable Gospel of an expose,' mutters:

"What war? and thats not an excuse or a justification."

There is a war going on and it is a justification.

As Republicus said, he respects arguments from thoughtful Libertarians on this issue, who weigh the principles of privacy rights against the Commander in Chief's responsibility to wage war, and must determine how far they are willing to allow the government to enter the private sphere while waging a war against ideologies which most certainly have cells in America--and occupied by technically-defined American citizens-- which must be infiltrated.

But for the Leftist Bush-Hater to suddenly nitpick on niceties and champion principles which THEY BELITTLED OR DISMISSED OUTRIGHT--or abstractly used to their benefit-- when such principles were outright RAPED by the Clinton Administration they fervently-defended DISQUALIFIES THEM from any serious participation in a debate only the principled Libertarian can engage in with any credibility of integrity.

12:46 AM  
Blogger John said...

And no, the roguish surveillance did not wander outside the parameters of prosecution of the war.

12:53 AM  

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