Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

December 16, 2005
By: Hilzoy

I just wanted to echo what Shakespearer's Sister said about the report that Bush signed an order allowing the NSA to spy on US citizens without a warrant.

This is against the law. I have put references to the relevant statute below the fold; the brief version is: the law forbids warrantless surveillance of US citizens, and it provides procedures to be followed in emergencies that do not leave enough time for federal agents to get a warrant. If the NY Times report is correct, the government did not follow these procedures. It therefore acted illegally.

Bush's order is arguably unconstitutional as well: it seems to violate the fourth amendment, and it certainly violates the requirement (Article II, sec. 3) that the President "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed."

I am normally extremely wary of talking about impeachment. I think that impeachment is a trauma for the country, and that it should only be considered in extreme cases. Moreover, I think that the fact that Clinton was impeached raises the bar as far as impeaching Bush: two traumas in a row is really not good for the country, and even though my reluctance to go through a second impeachment benefits the very Republicans who needlessly inflicted the first on us, I don't care. It's bad for the country, and that matters most.

But I have a high bar, not a nonexistent one. And for a President to order violations of the law meets my criteria for impeachment. This is exactly what got Nixon in trouble: he ordered his subordinates to obstruct justice. To the extent that the two cases differ, the differences make what Bush did worse: after all, it's not as though warrants are hard to get, or the law makes no provision for emergencies. Bush could have followed the law had he wanted to. He chose to set it aside.

And this is something that no American should tolerate. We claim to have a government of laws, not of men. That claim means nothing if we are not prepared to act when a President (or anyone else) places himself above the law. If the New York Times report is true, then Bush should be impeached.

The Law:

Here is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Its Section 1809a makes it a criminal offense to "engage in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute."

FISA does authorize surveillance without a warrant, but not on US citizens (with the possible exception of citizens speaking from property openly owned by a foreign power; e.g., an embassy.)

FISA also says that the Attorney General can authorize emergency surveillance without a warrant when there is no time to obtain one. But it requires that the Attorney General notify the judge of that authorization immediately, and that he (and yes, the law does say 'he') apply for a warrant "as soon as practicable, but not more than 72 hours after the Attorney General authorizes such surveillance."

It also says this:

"In the absence of a judicial order approving such electronic surveillance, the surveillance shall terminate when the information sought is obtained, when the application for the order is denied, or after the expiration of 72 hours from the time of authorization by the Attorney General, whichever is earliest. In the event that such application for approval is denied, or in any other case where the electronic surveillance is terminated and no order is issued approving the surveillance, no information obtained or evidence derived from such surveillance shall be received in evidence or otherwise disclosed in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding in or before any court, grand jury, department, office, agency, regulatory body, legislative committee, or other authority of the United States, a State, or political subdivision thereof".

Nothing in the New York Times report suggests that the wiretaps Bush authorized extended only for 72 hours, or that normal warrants were sought in each case within 72 hours after the wiretap began. On the contrary, no one would have needed a special program or presidential order if they had.

According to the Times, "the Bush administration views the operation as necessary so that the agency can move quickly to monitor communications that may disclose threats to the United States." But this is just wrong. As I noted above, the law specifically allows for warrantless surveillance in emergencies, when the government needs to start surveillance before it can get a warrant. It explains exactly what the government needs to do under those circumstances. It therefore provides the flexibility the administration claims it needed.

They had no need to go around the law. They could easily have obeyed it. They just didn't want to.

Hilzoy 4:02 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (371)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

They had no need to go around the law. They could easily have obeyed it. They just didn't want to.

Or, they think they don't have to.

Posted by: DH Walker on December 16, 2005 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, there was a title to this post ('Above the Law 2'). Maybe the site is confused by its similarity to Shakespeare's Sister's title.

Posted by: hilzoy on December 16, 2005 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Excellent post, Hilzoy.

But I have a high bar, not a nonexistent one.

Right on.

Posted by: Shakespeare's Sister on December 16, 2005 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe the site is confused by its similarity to Shakespeare's Sister's title.

I've had to put mine in manually, FYI.

Posted by: Shakespeare's Sister on December 16, 2005 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with you, H. Both in the height of the bar, and that this conduct is clearly impeachable. What really astounds me, however, is that the NYT sat on this story for a year.

I had lost much of my respect for the TImes over the Judith Miller affair. Now I hold them in utter contempt. I won't even let my puppies shit on that worthless rag.

Posted by: Brautigan on December 16, 2005 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

I remember reading a post on "secret laws". Could this be an incident where the preznit had "secret authority?"

Posted by: ktmnyny on December 16, 2005 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

An initial press report on any subject is almost always incomplete. If you really are set on a drastic remedy like impeachment it couldn't hurt to wait a few days until you know a little more than you do now.

Posted by: Zathras on December 16, 2005 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

...two traumas in a row is really not good for the country, and even though my reluctance to go through a second impeachment benefits the very Republicans who needlessly inflicted the first on us, I don't care. It's bad for the country, and that matters most.

Nothing quite like shutting up for the good of the country.

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on December 16, 2005 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

The Bush administration's argument is that the president is commander-in-chief, and we are at war, and there are no limits on the commander-in-chief's war-making powers. Therefore the president is in effect the dictator for the duration of his term. Anyone who objects is at best unpatriotic and at worst a traitor.

Posted by: Joe Buck on December 16, 2005 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with you all the way on this one. If this, the torture business and waging this unprovoked, insane war of aggression in Iraq based on doctored intelligence aren't all hallmarks of tyranny, what is?

I think it's time to think seriously about impeachment, and I'm not being flip.

Posted by: The Crowd Goes Wild! on December 16, 2005 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Brautigan: I won't even let my puppies shit on that worthless rag.

Don't be cruel. If I were a puppy I'd enjoy taking a dump on the NYT.

Zathras: An initial press report on any subject is almost always incomplete. If you really are set on a drastic remedy like impeachment it couldn't hurt to wait a few days until you know a little more than you do now.

This is a blog, not the House of Representatives. Impeachment will have to wait until the Democratic majority is sworn into the House in January 2007.

Posted by: alex on December 16, 2005 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Section 1811 of Chapter 36 contains some exceptions for a time of war. You could probably slip around this one by saying that, like with many other wars we've fought in the past decades, Congress never actually "declared" war.

Still, it's pretty hard to say that we aren't at war right now, or try and get around the intention of that exception.

Posted by: tbrosz on December 16, 2005 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

While the scruples you express about impeachment strike me as wise in principle, in practice it seems to me that adhering to a rule of, "Let's not put the country through consecutive impeachment traumas" sets up a perverse incentive. That is, if Democrats adhere to such a rule, then Republicans will quickly realize that they can immunize themselves against impeachments by aggressively impeaching Democrats on the least of pretexts. It is obvious that the current gang will have no scruples about doing so.

Posted by: Mike Molloy on December 16, 2005 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Excellent post. That is to say, I agree.

:)

Posted by: cdj on December 16, 2005 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

I'm all for using this episode as a political club, and to the extent that calling for impeachment is a part of whacking 'em upside the head, well and good. But it seems to me that, unfortunately, impeachment is almost impossible in this case, and the legal case is not beyond debate.

As to the former, impeachment of course is a political action and not a legal one. The House can impeach an official for the most trivial alleged offense, and conversely even an open-and-shut felony is no guarantee of impeachment. An impeachable offense is what the House decides is an impeachable offense, no more and no less. Given that, about the only possibility I can see for impeachment is if there is a true political earthquake in '06 that gives Pelosi the gavel and brings in a cadre of legislators as ferociously opposed to this administration as the class of '94 was to Clinton. (I think it would also require an issue around which to organize an impeachment movement, but Iraq almost certainly would do for that.) This isn't impossible, but from what I've seen, so far nobody thinks it's particularly likely.

As to the latter, the argument that the administration's defenders seem to be using is the tried-and-true one that a wartime president has extraordinary latitude to do what s/he believes is necessary to conduct the war. This is not entirely specious -- Madison, for example, acknowledged it even as he cautioned against a state of perpetual war, in part precisely because of the imbalance in power war creates -- and it seems to have been accepted both by the courts and by the public in many cases. So even if the statute was already adequate to our (alleged) security needs, and even if it seems like the administration contravened it on its face, they're holding something of a trump card.

So whack away, I say. But let's not expect much more than to chip away a bit at his approval ratings, and maybe motivate some donations to Democratic candidates.

Posted by: bleh on December 16, 2005 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Joe--

Yes, that's right. That is Yoo's argument in his recent book--that the president's powers are essentially only trammelled by Congress' power of the purse.

The only remedy we have for this is impeachment, isn't it? I mean, if the president is going to say that he need not follow statutes, doesn't that also mean that he need not follow rulings by courts?

As someone said upthread, this story needs to develop a bit more substance. But I think it's already clear that the president views himself as above the law.

Posted by: Jay on December 16, 2005 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Still, it's pretty hard to say that we aren't at war right now, or try and get around the intention of that exception.

Bush ordered the NSA to break the law. Period. He should be "held accountable" or whatever the buzzword is today and pay for this.

Posted by: The Crowd Goes Wild! on December 16, 2005 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: it's pretty hard to say that we aren't at war right now

It's quite easy, and accurate, to say we aren't at war right now. We won Iraq War 2 when the Iraqi military ceased effective resistance. What we're losing is Iraq Occupation 1 (just as GHWB predicted we would).

It's no different than the 7 year occupation of Japan and Germany after WW2. Nobody claimed that we were still at war in 1946.

Posted by: alex on December 16, 2005 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Repukelican think:

1) God's Law
2) Man's Law

the bushcriminal speaks to God (or maybe is God).
Therefore, violation of US Law by the bushcriminal - no problem.

Posted by: yowzer on December 16, 2005 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

It's quite easy, and accurate, to say we aren't at war right now. We won Iraq War 2 when the Iraqi military ceased effective resistance. What we're losing is Iraq Occupation 1 (just as GHWB predicted we would). It's no different than the 7 year occupation of Japan and Germany after WW2. Nobody claimed that we were still at war in 1946.

Ouch.

tbrosz = PWNED.

Posted by: The Crowd Goes Wild! on December 16, 2005 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Still, it's pretty hard to say that we aren't at war right now, or try and get around the intention of that exception.

No, it's pretty easy. No sacrifices, no tax increases, no changes in any personal behaviour by any of the real elite in this country... I'd say that's business as usual.

Always looking for an excuse for these guys, eh? Shameless.

Posted by: craigie on December 16, 2005 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, 9/11 changed everything. Geez.

Bleh said succinctly what I was already thinking - that impeachment, whether deserved or not, seems wholly impractical within the current make up of the House.

Posted by: E. Henry Thripshaw on December 16, 2005 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

it's pretty hard to say that we aren't at war right now

If the mere fact that American troops are engaged in combat operations somewhere in the world is enough to say that the US is "at war," then we've been at war pretty much continuously since 1941. If that's the case then there would literally be no limit on the President's powers, and he would be a dictator in all but name.

Posted by: Stefan on December 16, 2005 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

It's no different than the 7 year occupation of Japan and Germany after WW2. Nobody claimed that we were still at war in 1946.

A shorter, better version of my response.

Posted by: craigie on December 16, 2005 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: "Still, it's pretty hard to say that we aren't at war right now, or try and get around the intention of that exception."

Some of us would consider your reasoning circular: Bush's invasion of Iraq is a second reason that Bush should be impeached.

Bush invades another country based on fixed intelligence.
But starting a war wrongly is impeachable!
HaHa! You can't impeach the POTUS. There's a war on!

Posted by: PTate in MN on December 16, 2005 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

the easy defense is "national security".

there is Absolutetly No Way Congress would go against the president knowing they'd be charged with "wanting to make it harder for the President to keep us safe".

might as well pretend this story never surfaced. throw it on the heap with the torture stories, the indefinite detention, illegal war, bogus WMD claims, etc.. "national security" trumps everything.

Posted by: cleek on December 16, 2005 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

war crimes are easily as contemptable as illegal spying on US citizens, if not more so inasmuch as they involve the death, maiming, and torture of innocent people. Bush should have been in prison long ago.

Posted by: gak on December 16, 2005 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

If that's the case then there would literally be no limit on the President's powers, and he would be a dictator in all but name.

Which is precisely the goal, of course. That's why the War on Terror (TM) is so important - it will never end. So they will never have limits.

Tbone, do you really not see this?

How about if they declare war on the weather? Would that make it a little more obvious?

Posted by: craigie on December 16, 2005 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

(by the way, I use the name Tbone in an affectionate, Bushian kind of way. You rascal you. heh heh heh)

Posted by: craigie on December 16, 2005 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

The Bush administration's argument is that the president is commander-in-chief, and we are at war, and there are no limits on the commander-in-chief's war-making powers. Therefore the president is in effect the dictator for the duration of his term. Anyone who objects is at best unpatriotic and at worst a traitor.

I've mentioned this before several times, but I think there's a real misunderstanding in this country about the Founder's motivations in making the President Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The point of that designation was not to make the president some sort of supreme warlord or generalissimo who would have unhindered powers during wartime, it was to emphasize that the executive civilian authority, and not the military, was to have the final say. The title was meant as a bulwark against military dictatorship, which makes it all the more ironic that the rabid Republicans are using it as an excuse to bring that about.

Posted by: Stefan on December 16, 2005 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

"It's no different than the 7 year occupation of Japan and Germany after WW2. Nobody claimed that we were still at war in 1946."


but, but, but...the wah on terra, its a new kind of wah - endless until the bushcriminal says so.

Posted by: zoot on December 16, 2005 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

it's pretty hard to say that we aren't at war right now

We have a Constitution that says we're not at war until Congress declares it. Oh I know, that's a technicality. Republicans think every law they break is a technicality.

Posted by: Gary Sugar on December 16, 2005 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

it's pretty hard to say that we aren't at war right now

Where's the Declaration of War?

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on December 16, 2005 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

I like your style Hilzoy. Indict. Impeach.

Posted by: Hostile on December 16, 2005 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

So how do we make this happen? He needs to be impeached. Impeaching him will be a cleansing experience, not a trauma.

Posted by: lily on December 16, 2005 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

So the Bush White House is reviving the Nixonian theory that the President is "as powerful a monarch as Louis XIV, only four years at a time". I thought the Supreme Court put paid to that thirty years ago?

BTW, what's the legal situation with using the DIA for domestic spying? Is that covered by the Posse Comitatus Act?

Posted by: Idiot/Savant on December 16, 2005 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Impeaching him will be a cleansing experience, not a trauma.

Not so very different from an enema, really.

I'm sorry, it had to be said.

I'll go back to work now...

Posted by: craigie on December 16, 2005 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

So I guess if I were to some up your and most of the left's views on the whole 911 thing it would be to say: it would be better that we be willing to die as a nation, slaughtered to the last man, than to violate our own laws or Constitution.

On the subject, I would have to disagree with you.

I value the freedom not to get my ass blown off ahead of my freedom to curse out the government on my cell phone without them listening to me.

I would note that in the Declaration of Independence that even Thomas Jefferson put the right to life ahead of liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I want to live and that is more important than whether or not someone is spying on me doing it.

If you are worried about someone spying on you, don't do anything that is illegal.

While you are all up in arms about people listening to you talk on your cell phone, I'll bet most of your readers are all in agreement about taking away my right to defend myself with a gun.

I guess you and I have far different idea of what freedom really is. After serving 10 years in the Navy at least I can say I was willing to step out and defend you right to your views. What have you ever done for defending mine?

Posted by: wayne on December 16, 2005 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Hilzoy: "...I think that the fact that Clinton was impeached raises the bar as far as impeaching Bush...."

RAISES the bar?? You've got to be kidding. The "trauma" to the country has been caused by Bush; impeachment is the surgery to remove the cancer and begin the healing.

Posted by: bluebird on December 16, 2005 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Hostile: you forgot the third bit: Indict, Impeach, Imprison.

But instead his successor will probably pardon him, just like Ford pardoned Nixon.

Posted by: Idiot/Savant on December 16, 2005 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Dems who bitch about impeachment on the grounds that cheney et al are just as bad amaze me.

Succinctly - it's not as though republicans worried about Gore being worse than Clinton, is it? And in their eyes, he was much worse than Clinton.

The point is that the entire republican party will be shown to be a disgraced coven of traitors.

Posted by: cdj on December 16, 2005 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK
Section 1811 of Chapter 36 contains some exceptions for a time of war.

It doesn't contain "some exceptions". It specifically authorizes 15-day Presidential authorizations in times of declared war without a warrant.

You could probably slip around this one by saying that, like with many other wars we've fought in the past decades, Congress never actually "declared" war.

And since the provision applies only in times of "declared war", you would be completely correct as a matter of law in so arguing.


Still, it's pretty hard to say that we aren't at war right now, or try and get around the intention of that exception.

The intention of the exception is to recognize a formal Congressional declaration of war, and only such a declaration, as an authorization for a very specifically delineated expansion in executive authority under FISA. Were the intention otherwise, Congress would have omitted the modifier "declared".

Therefore, the only people looking for a way around the intent of the law are those, like you, arguing that a provision expressly limited to apply in declared war should be interpreted to apply without a formal declaration of war.

Posted by: Sheep Everywhere on December 16, 2005 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

This is clearly impeachable, if true.

Clinton's offense was lying in a civil case brought against him. Scummy and stupid, though arguably not a high crime or misdemeanor.

Ordering US intelligence agencies to illegally spy on US citizens inside the US? Yeah, that's a high crime.

Posted by: phleabo on December 16, 2005 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Tbone, do you really not see this?

They see it. Some of them say it explicitly, like Steve White's post below about how these detainees are clearly not covered by the constitution.

They're just monarchists. After 200+ years the country is still full of those who'd rather see the law subservient to the executive instead of the other way around.

Posted by: Boronx on December 16, 2005 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, as others have noted, it's really quite easy to say we're not at war, because, we're not. You can't have a war against an emotion, which is what bush's war on terror is loudly proclaimed to be.

And no man, especially the guy at the top, is above the law. No person, no entity, no body.

For impeachment to succeed, for a conviction to follow, the legitimacy of the charge must be proved in a court of law, and in that sense, it is eminately doable. Impeachment is a legal remedy, politics be damned. Conviction is the harder part, but if it's deserved, it'll happen.

And bush oh so deserves it.

Posted by: Duckman GR on December 16, 2005 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

bluebird -

Yes, raises the bar. So that there is not even the slightest appearance of impeachment-due-to-vengeance, as well as what the OP said about one impeachment being bad, and two being worse.

Posted by: cdj on December 16, 2005 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

We had to burn the Constitution to save it.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History\ on December 16, 2005 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

I defend every individual's rights to everytime I speak out against fascist polices enacted by the Bush administration.

Posted by: D. on December 16, 2005 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK
The only remedy we have for this is impeachment, isn't it? I mean, if the president is going to say that he need not follow statutes, doesn't that also mean that he need not follow rulings by courts?

If he doesn't have to obey when Congress passes a statute, what obligates him to obey when Congress tells him to pack his bags and vacate the White House?

Posted by: Sheep Everywhere on December 16, 2005 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Boy, you slaughtered that strawman, wayne.

Posted by: tinfoil on December 16, 2005 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

it would be better that we be willing to die as a nation, slaughtered to the last man, than to violate our own laws or Constitution.

...well, sometimes you have to sacrifice everything to preserve what you are. Even Jesus Christ knew that.

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on December 16, 2005 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

I've got to stop those jokes, I keep forgetting to reset by name. The last two "Sheep Everywhere" were me.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 16, 2005 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

"I was for the Constitution before I was against it"

Posted by: cdj on December 16, 2005 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

So how do we make this happen? He needs to be impeached. Impeaching him will be a cleansing experience, not a trauma.

Yeah, everybody knows that Cheney is the guy pulling all the strings in this administration. Might as well give him the title. What? You say we'll impeach Cheney too? Well, ok, I guess I could get used to President Hastert. Hmmm? He's gone too? Well how does President Ted Stevens grab ya? Yikes! I see now that the Republicans have a cleverly installed an impeachment-proof Presidential line of succession.

Posted by: shudder on December 16, 2005 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

The point of impeachment is not as a substitute for election to get a more ideologically acceptable person as President. The point is to:

1) Establish accountability of the President to the law,
2) Incapacitate the present wrongdoer,
3) Deter future wrongdoing.

You get a good President by electing one. Impeachment isn't a tool to get a good President, its a tool for constraining all Presidents to keep them accountable to the legal (especially Constitutional) limitations on the office.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 16, 2005 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

I smell your fear, wayne.

You stink of it.

Always love that "then don't do anything illegal" crap, excellent argument, misses the whole point completely, but hey, horsehoes, right?

Koresh, what if you're in the way of something some rich guy with access wants? Maybe he likes the view better from your house, or he wants to build a condo project on your property but doesn't want to pay for it. Gets his buddys in the Gest, er, Secret Service to spy on you, gin up some bogus evidence, and get you hauled off to the hoosegow. Then what?

But they would never do that, right? Just like they'd never do propaganda, right? Or make up shit intelligence to start a war, right? Or impeach a president for a personal matter that while il-advised, was not illegal, consenting adults and all, right?

Posted by: Duckman GR on December 16, 2005 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

The Times article portrays the Justice Department as at worst an accomplice, and at best dragging its heels to investigate the possible breaches of the law Hilzoy is suggesting.

So impeachment may seem like a pipe dream now, but that's precisely because its looking too far ahead. What is possible now, is getting an Independent Prosecutor assigned to investigate these allegations. Further down the line, if the investigation bears fruit, impeachment will gather support as the investigator will keep the story alive, dragging it into the 06 election cycle.

What needs to happen now, then, is getting such a prosecutor.

Posted by: dk on December 16, 2005 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

I think impeachment would be particularly tough in this case. While the President may be breaking the law, it is an area of law that relies almost entirely on Court opinions and not on statutes. This means this area of the law is always arguable, and open to interpretation, and so the argument for Bush would say somehting along the lines of "the President is certainly entitled to make his own interpretations of the Const in light of laws and Supreme Court precedent, and we can't punsish a president for interpretting the law in good faith, even if he is incorrect." I imagine thy would also, though rather speciously, point to the line-item veto by Clintonm, or other examples through history where the sitting President took an action and was later deemed by a court to have acted unconstitutionally.

I am not saying this isn't bad, or even impeachable, but it will be a tough case on this grounds, and the Republicans will certainly tunr it around on the Democrats as soon as anything even resemble this case.

As for Presidents disobeying courts, Nixon seriously considered it when the Supreme Court ordered him to produce certain documents, but ultimately decided not to. THIS would be a clearly impeachable offense: willfully disobeying a direct order from the court. This basically would undue our entire system of laws, ad would probably be the worst thing a President could possibly do, other than treason.

Posted by: Nick T. on December 16, 2005 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

So, the only remedy for El Presidente is impeachment. What about the people who did the wiretaps? Can they be prosecuted, pour encourager les autres?

Posted by: Idiot/Savant on December 16, 2005 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

You get a good President by electing one. Impeachment isn't a tool to get a good President, its a tool for constraining all Presidents to keep them accountable to the legal (especially Constitutional) limitations on the office.

If Bush and Cheney wind up like Nixon and Agnew, I might not always agree with President Hastert, but at least there's the chance he'd be scared straight into responsible government.

But they would never do that, right?

Of course they don't. They never turn on the true Party members! Isn't that right, Mr. Trotsky and Captain Rohm?

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on December 16, 2005 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK
For impeachment to succeed, for a conviction to follow, the legitimacy of the charge must be proved in a court of law, and in that sense, it is eminately doable. Impeachment is a legal remedy, politics be damned. Conviction is the harder part, but if it's deserved, it'll happen.

Impeachment and conviction on the articles of impeachment require the charge to be proved to the Senate. It is a political remedy, law be damned. Its largely intended as a remedy for the kinds of offenses for which remedies in civil and criminal law are inadequate to serve the national interest, an inherently political judgement. The only way a "court of law" gets involved is that, in the case of Presidential impeachments (but, oddly, not Vice-Presidential impeachments) the Chief Justice rather than the Vice President presides over the Senate.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 16, 2005 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

...well, sometimes you have to sacrifice everything to preserve what you are. Even Jesus Christ knew that.

Heh... of course that's not even remotely the case here. Just more evidence that rightwingers are chickenshits who don't believe in anything enough to do more than harass people about social greetings. Or, you know, undermine entire systems of government.

Posted by: latts on December 16, 2005 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK
So, the only remedy for El Presidente is impeachment. What about the people who did the wiretaps? Can they be prosecuted, pour encourager les autres?

Both they and the President (though impeachment, in his case, is a practical, if only debatably legal, necessity first) may be prosecuted for the criminal violations of FISA, and possibly for other crimes related to that (such as conspiracy, solicitation, etc.)

Posted by: cmdicely on December 16, 2005 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Wayne,

You can be comforted by the fact that no one, ever, will confuse you with Patrick Henry.

Posted by: D from WA on December 16, 2005 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Fear of the trauma of another failed presidency led the Democratically controlled congress to give Reagan a pass on Iran-Contra and not follow it to its conclusion. This only embittered and emboldened the radical right wing of the Repubs.

If, for fear of another "trauma," we allow the Bush administration to walk away from this, then the next time they steal an election and use a national crisis to do whatever they damn well please then God help us and our children and our children's children.

And speaking as a father, I say that we not rest until Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Condi and the whole sorry crew are making little one's out of big ones at Leavenworth.

Posted by: KJJG on December 16, 2005 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

If being "at war" gives the President unrivaled powers, then we've been at war for some time. What makes "The War on Poverty" or "The War on Drugs" any different than GB's self-declared "War on Terra"??

If simply declaring "We're at war" makes it so, can the President simply IGNORE the constitution?

Posted by: Punchy on December 16, 2005 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Just playing devil's advocate: the administration might well argue that the Congressional resolution was their war declaration, and also that the US has not formally declared victory in the war. Bush called it a victory, said "mission accomplished," but to my knowledge has not formally declared victory (for one reason, because then the detainees would quite possibly have to be released).

These guys are outlandish and totally unsubtle, but they're not stupid. They put together a BS finesse answer to everything they come up with.

Posted by: torridjoe on December 16, 2005 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

When does Bush say "How many divisions has the Pope?"

Posted by: craigie on December 16, 2005 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

If the New York Times report is true, then Bush should be impeached.

There were already multiple reasons why Bush should be impeached, beginning with the stolen election of 2000.

So what? Republicans have majorities in both houses of Congress and they will never, ever take any such action against Bush.

That's why the Democrats -- and I mean every single Democratic member of both the House and the Senate -- should boycott all activities and work of the Congress, walk out, and shut down the legislature in protest, until the Republicans agree to hold Bush and Cheney accountable for their crimes.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 16, 2005 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

So I guess if I were to some up your and most of the left's views on the whole 911 thing it would be to say: it would be better that we be willing to die as a nation, slaughtered to the last man, than to violate our own laws or Constitution.

On the subject, I would have to disagree with you.

Wayne, that is so craven that I have a lot of trouble believing you would admit it. To summarize:

A People Who Would Sacrifice Liberty for Security Will Lose Both, and Deserve Neither

Posted by: Baldrick on December 16, 2005 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Great googly-moogly (to quote a better, smarter Nixon):

So I guess if I were to some up your and most of the left's views on the whole 911 thing it would be to say: it would be better that we be willing to die as a nation, slaughtered to the last man, than to violate our own laws or Constitution.

What a fucking coward. I'd die for the Constitution and what it explicitly says before I'd die for a whimpering bootlicker like you.

I value the freedom not to get my ass blown off ahead of my freedom to curse out the government on my cell phone without them listening to me.

Then I suppose you'd also support draconian gun laws, because chances are far, far, far greater an American with a gun will kill you than a terrorist. My Christ you are a mincing, shrieking coward.

I would note that in the Declaration of Independence that even Thomas Jefferson put the right to life ahead of liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

And I would note that the Declaration of Independence is wholly irrelevant here.

I want to live and that is more important than whether or not someone is spying on me doing it.

You should have moved to Iraq when you had the chance. Or the Soviet Union. You could have most likely lived, and stayed even safer under immense government surveillence.

If you are worried about someone spying on you, don't do anything that is illegal.

What happened to conservatives in this country? They used to yell and scream about black helicopters and would have rather screwed Jane Fonda than let the government have this kind of power without even a small note of disapproval. Look you hysterical child, Barry Goldwater would chew your type up and shit you out. I wish there were more Republicans like him these days -- and that's terrifying.

While you are all up in arms about people listening to you talk on your cell phone, I'll bet most of your readers are all in agreement about taking away my right to defend myself with a gun.

Well, we're not, but if we were couldn't we just say that we value our right not to have our ass blown off by the likes of you? After all, that's what you JUST FINISHED SAYING about our civil liberties.

I guess you and I have far different idea of what freedom really is. After serving 10 years in the Navy at least I can say I was willing to step out and defend you right to your views. What have you ever done for defending mine?

You are a fucking coward. You have no clue what freedom is. None. I know Navy guys who'd personally slap you like they used to slap hysterical women in old movies for such cowardice. Your paranoid shrieking over one terrorist attack in the city where I live shames us all.

That said, I've defended your rights too. Support the ACLU sometime. They have a more robust definition of freedom than unilateral disarmament to authority.

Posted by: n.o.l.t.f on December 16, 2005 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, Ben Franklin said that.

Posted by: Baldrick on December 16, 2005 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK
I think impeachment would be particularly tough in this case. While the President may be breaking the law, it is an area of law that relies almost entirely on Court opinions and not on statutes.

Er, no, its a criminal violation of a particular statute. It no more relies on court decisions than does the legal interpretation of every other statute.

This means this area of the law is always arguable, and open to interpretation, and so the argument for Bush would say somehting along the lines of "the President is certainly entitled to make his own interpretations of the Const in light of laws and Supreme Court precedent, and we can't punsish a president for interpretting the law in good faith, even if he is incorrect."

Sure, the President can make that argument, but, in fact, it is wrong. Impeachment and removal is a political sanction designed to protect the Constitution and the nation from abuse of the powers of public office. A "good faith" overreaching of power is just as damaging, and the inclination to repeat it just as much of a future threat to the Constitutional order, as one that the actor knows to be out of bounds. Ignorance of the law is no excuse for executive malfeasance.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 16, 2005 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

The NYT aided and abetted these criminals and nothing concerns me more now than WHAT THE FUCK ELSE ARE THE CONCEALING...! Impeachment deserved for many, so many offenses against our constitution, our commonweal, our commonsense, our values and the fuckin' NYT sat on clearly impeachable actions, AS A FAVOR TO THESE PEOPLE!?!?!

In fucking effable...there simply aren't words...

Posted by: Russ on December 16, 2005 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Every morning since September 2001, I blink my eyes twice over my Wheaties, to make sure that I am not just dreaming all this.

The way this administration has exploited what amounted to a lucky sucker punch by 19 suicidal fanatics, continues to astound me. As historical perspective, President James Madison had to hide in the woods outside Washington D.C. as the British burned down the White House in 1812, and he didn't repeal the Bill of Rights, invade a country unrelated to the perpetrators and torture innocent people, as a result.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - Invading Iraq after 9-11 made about as much sense as invading Mexico after Pearl Harbor.

Now, back to the issue at hand - Despite what happened on 9-11, there was no need to throw the 5th Amendment guarantees against unreasonable search and seizure out the window. This action by Bush was an unwarranted, extraConstitutional, ill-advised power grab. Nothing more. Just like Hitler used the burning of the Reichstag to consolidate his power, Bush used 9-11 to consolidate his.

Thank God it is all unraveling now.....

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on December 16, 2005 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

So I guess if I were to some up your and most of the left's views on the whole 911 thing it would be to say: it would be better that we be willing to die as a nation, slaughtered to the last man, than to violate our own laws or Constitution.

Strawman. Besides, no one with whom we're currently at "war" has anything near the capability to do this.

I value the freedom not to get my ass blown off ahead of my freedom to curse out the government on my cell phone without them listening to me.

The two aren't mutually exclusive. We should see to it that our representatives work to ensure both kinds of freedom.

I would note that in the Declaration of Independence that even Thomas Jefferson put the right to life ahead of liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I don't know that Jefferson listed "life" first for any reason other than it read better that way. A "life" without the other two is not the kind I want to live, in America or anywhere else.

If you are worried about someone spying on you, don't do anything that is illegal.

Ah, but there's the rub, isn't it? How do we know that what's being spied on is putative "illegal" activity, and not just "stuff the Administration doesn't like"? From what we've heard over the last few days, the latter is more likely. Spying on Quakers, for God's sake?

While you are all up in arms about people listening to you talk on your cell phone, I'll bet most of your readers are all in agreement about taking away my right to defend myself with a gun.

I don't think the 2nd Amendment means what the gun fetishists think it does - read the Founders' first draft of it sometime - but I'm not especially set on taking away your gun, no.

I guess you and I have far different idea of what freedom really is. After serving 10 years in the Navy at least I can say I was willing to step out and defend you right to your views. What have you ever done for defending mine?

Speaking out against the unlawful use of Presidential power is defending your freedom. And I resent the implication that only those who served in the military have earned the "right" to speak up. The quasi-religious reverence for the military is one of the worst aspects of the country, not to mention one of the most often exploited.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on December 16, 2005 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Wayne, great work with that straw-man.

Here's the John Madden break-down: See, you set up the argument as, on one side, everyone in America dying - Bam! - versus any law that just might one day make us somewhat safer, regardless of how invasive or hapahazardly it's used - Bam!
Smashing!

Perhaps you're not aware of that thing called The Law, or The Constitution and their synergy. Great use of that one line by Jefferson, but clearly we have decided as a society that safety can not utterly overrule our rights or our laws. That's exactly what you fought for.

That's the extent of the argument you deserve based on your "just don't do anything illegal" garbage.

And in fact out of appreciation for your service to our country, which I do respect and appreciate, you avoided getting just explitives.

Posted by: Nick T. on December 16, 2005 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

I was implying that the Senate would be that Court of Law, not that a regular Court of Law would sit in judgement of these traitors.

The "damned law" would be the Constitution, so it would be a case of both politics and law be damned, and as remedies.

You can't use the Constitution like you would a book of legal precedents, which is why strict constructionists are so full of it, btw, but it does give the legal remedy, impeachment and conviction. How we achieve that is a political matter. But get there we can, and must.

So we're both right! And the trolls are sad!

Posted by: Duckman GR on December 16, 2005 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

As a retired Ambassador who had oversight of the NSAs most sensitive operations at Bad Aibling, Germany from 1987-1991 it was difficult to convince others what I knew to be true: the NSA scrupulosly followed both the law and Constitution in protecting the rights of Americans under the 4th Amendment. Since 1997 I have taught courses in intelligence in which I taught my students that having learned from the mistakes of the 1950s and 1960s, NSA was "squeeky clean," going in some cases to absurd lengths to ensure they were not even close to the edge when it came to warantless surveillance of Americans --- both in the United States and abroad.

I've just sent an email to as many of my former students I can locate to tell them I was wrong. I can only express my disappointment that senior leaders at NSA did not resign in protest. Lt. Gen. Michael Haydn, who instituted these changes, is now the Deputy Director of National Intelligence. He testified before the 9/11 Commission and argued that if we were going to weaken civikl liberties in the name of national security, this should be done only after long, serious and public debate.

At the most, he violated the law; at the least, he violated his honor as a gentleman and should resign --- now!

Posted by: Ambassador David Fischer on December 16, 2005 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

dk: I like the idea of Fitzgerald redux. But I'm not sure it's practical in this case, because the facts don't seem either complicated or mysterious. Bush signed a directive authorizing certain well-defined actions, and officials at the NSA clearly took those actions. The legal basis for the directive certainly is subject to argument, as are the relationship to and applicability of the FISA statute, but those are legal issues, not factual ones.

If this is going to result in any legal action, it seems to me it could start with either (1) a sitting federal prosecutor in any jurisdiction in which violations of the FISA took place bringing criminal charges against officials at the NSA, or (2) a US citizen whose communications were illegally monitored either filing a criminal complaint or bringing a civil suit for damages (or both).

That would certainly help to keep the whole stinking mess in the news for a while. Anybody know anyone who's been making calls lately to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran ... ?

Posted by: bleh on December 16, 2005 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

And I would note that the Declaration of Independence is wholly irrelevant here.

I think it's relevant-- the point of that clause, though, which poor fwightened Wayne doesn't understand, is that the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were inalienable in the sense that they were not to be casually abridged by one's own government.

Posted by: latts on December 16, 2005 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

How often in history is a naked power grab masquerading as legitimate impeachment (Clinton) over matters wholly personal (blowjob) immediately followed by a blatantly criminal regime crying out for lawful impeachment & conviction, and yet insulated from justice by the same partisan advantage in congress which allowed for the previous travesty?

Posted by: obscure on December 16, 2005 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Not to pile on, but that guy Wayne really is exceptionally stupid.

Posted by: oof on December 16, 2005 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

what amounted to a lucky sucker punch by 19 suicidal fanatics,

This has always been my take on what happened. It was a big, fat, dumb, lucky crime.

Larger men wouldn't have started screaming like little girls as a result.

Posted by: craigie on December 16, 2005 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

I was ready for impeachment when the evidence of torture came to light but felt it would be preferable to dump the administration through the political process. Impeachment should be very rarely used--not for lapses in judgement or personal behavior.

It's unfortunate that this president's egregious actions come so soon after the Republican misuse of the impeachment process but we can't change that.

Is there any question that implementing a regime of torture and illegal spying on American citizens are high crimes? Not from where I stand.


Posted by: BroD on December 16, 2005 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK
So I guess if I were to some up your and most of the left's views on the whole 911 thing it would be to say: it would be better that we be willing to die as a nation, slaughtered to the last man, than to violate our own laws or Constitution.

Yes, I smell the fear, too. The fear that your entire ideology, everything you believe in, is utterly bankrupt and exposed as a fraud, naked for all to see. And you'll say anything to distract us, no matter how laughable.

Whatever happened to conservative respect for "limited government?" Who would have expected a conservative to trust a run-of-the-mill federal agent with unfettered access to the private lives of any citizen the happen to deem suspicious? Didn't you people used to call U.S. agents "jack-booted thugs?" Or was that only when Janet Reno was Attorney General?

It was always a fraud. And now we all know. And you do, too.

If you are worried about someone spying on you, don't do anything that is illegal.

Why such pathological hatred for America and everything it stands for? Why such rage at the American way of life? And why not move to a Communist country where you'll find many more people who share this view?

I guess you and I have far different idea of what freedom really is. After serving 10 years in the Navy at least I can say I was willing to step out and defend you right to your views. What have you ever done for defending mine?

Cue the violins.

Your freedom has been won for you in ballot boxes, legislatures, and courtrooms across the nation, fought for by dedicated activists, relentless journalists (when we had them) and by your hated A.C.L.U.

Posted by: Mme DeFarge on December 16, 2005 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

The NYT has had this information for "about a year." Does that mean they knew it (and covered it up) before the last election?

Posted by: anandine on December 16, 2005 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK
I like the idea of Fitzgerald redux. But I'm not sure it's practical in this case, because the facts don't seem either complicated or mysterious.

The need for a special prosecutor is not one of the complicatedness of the facts, but the necessary independence from the people who are the subjects of the investigation. Unless someone -- perhaps a sitting US attorney -- is delegated authority to pursue the case independent of supervision of superiors in the Justice Department, its hard to have confidence in the integrity of any criminal prosecution.

And, of course, there are facts that are not known, including who the particular targets were on both sides. This is important because there are cases where warrantless searches are allowed. Now, the NY Times description of what it has been told by sources clearly seems to violate those parameters, but such a story is inadequate basis for prosecution. Someone needs to investigate to get the facts in a form that will be presentable in a court of law, and that investigation needs to be carried out with substantial independence.

Posted by: USA PATRIOT™ on December 16, 2005 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

What statute? Is there one about this exactly. If there then you are right and I was unaware of it.

But certainly you can't mean the 4th Amendment by itself.

Also, I didn't say this wasn't impeachable but that clearly the President must overstep the bounds of the Constitution where it has not been defined by the Supreme court from time to time, and many people, esepcially the public will never be able to distinguish between Clinton and the line-item veto and this. I'm just saying it will be hard to sell, and hard to not open the door to Repubs going for impeachment next time there is an example of a dem doing something like the line-item veto.

Posted by: Nick T. on December 16, 2005 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know that Jefferson listed "life" first for any reason other than it read better that way.

Alek Hidell

He was channeling Locke, who listed "life, liberty, and property as inalienable natural rights.

Posted by: anandine on December 16, 2005 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

I bet Rear-Admiral Gun-Packin' Tough-Talkin' Wayne doesn't even live in a city or state that was attacked on 9/11. I do.

Nor does he recall that all four such places voted for Kerry (and, therefore, against Our Dubious Leader and his dubious policies).

And adding to the chorus: It is exactly loud dissension and discussion that preserves freedom, not wiretaps and blind obedience. While it is necessary to follow orders on the battlefield, this nation is not a battlefield from coast to coast.

Posted by: Jeff in NYC on December 16, 2005 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

"The way this administration has exploited what amounted to a lucky sucker punch by 19 suicidal fanatics, continues to astound me."

There is evidence in abundance that not only did the administration know what was going to happen, they also conspired to make it even easier for the son of a close family friend to help with the installation of a quasi-military dictatorship.

Posted by: Redacted on December 16, 2005 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

what amounted to a lucky sucker punch by 19 suicidal fanatics,

Yes classic overreaction. As I said at the time, it is necessary to increase safety measures to prevent any further attack, but it is also necessary to look at causes of the original motivation to attack us. And it is simplistic to say it is because they hate us for our freedom. Give me a break. There is nothing that can be done that can completely erase the possibility of another attack, so to ignore the root causes, is ultimately foolish. So yes, lets keep eroding our civil liberties in our cowering reaction to terror!

Posted by: E. Henry Thripshaw on December 16, 2005 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

You're right, you should give up the pseudonyms. Now you're USA PATRIOT for longer than I suspect you intended.

I still intend to nominate you for Attorney General in the Hidell Administration, though. So hurry up and pass the bar.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on December 16, 2005 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK
What statute?

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- in particular, the criminal provision, 50 USC § 1809 -- prohibits such surveillance under color of law without specific statutory authority, and makes it a federal crime punishable by fines and up to 5 years imprisonment.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 16, 2005 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

Nick T: in addition to the bits I mentioned in my post, there's this exception:

"Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for a period not to exceed fifteen calendar days following a declaration of war by the Congress."

Note: "following a declaration of war by the Congress" -- nope.
Not to exceed fifteen calendar days" -- nope.

And, as I said before, this applies more generally:

"A person is guilty of an offense if he intentionally

(1) engages in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute"

Posted by: hilzoy on December 16, 2005 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

So I guess if I were to some up your and most of the left's views on the whole 911 thing it would be to say: it would be better that we be willing to die as a nation, slaughtered to the last man, than to violate our own laws or Constitution.

Wayne, terrorists do not pose an existential threat to us. Even if they managed to get hold of a nuke, it would just be one. They could maybe take out one city, maybe even MY city (if they were smart they would go after it, but they aren't that smart). I would be expensive, and painful, and man oh man would it piss me off. But it would not destroy America as a whole.

Osama bin Laden would like you to think that he poses an existential threat to the US. And he might at that, if he can trick us into betraying our own principles. Principles enshrined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

In the past 5 years, Al Qaeda has maybe killed 5000 people total, about 3000 of which were US citizens. That's their best shot. I don't call that an existential threat.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on December 16, 2005 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

It's quite easy, and accurate, to say we aren't at war right now. We won Iraq War 2 when the Iraqi military ceased effective resistance.

I'd say they're resisting quite effectively right now. They might not be wearing uniforms, but we're not fighting a bunch of amateurs, in case you hadn't noticed.

Posted by: chuck on December 16, 2005 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK
So I guess if I were to some up your and most of the left's views on the whole 911 thing it would be to say: it would be better that we be willing to die as a nation, slaughtered to the last man, than to violate our own laws or Constitution.

No, if there were such an existential threat, whoever violated the law to prevent it should be prepared to openly, directly, and forthrightly acknowledge the violation and present their defense of it, and be prepared to accept the judgement of the appropriate authorities -- Congress, the courts, etc. -- as to whether the exigency alleged really justified the action.

If you believe your nation will be destroyed if you do not act, you act -- and then you accept responsibility for that act.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 16, 2005 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Just listening to the people on the right defend this reveals that in fact, the terrorists have won. We have given up our liberty for security.

Posted by: James Ryan on December 16, 2005 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Brava! Hilzoy, Brava!

Posted by: Thanatos on December 16, 2005 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Over at the corner, they are whining about the leak of classified information that must have occurred for all this to be made public. no mention of how spying on your own citizens should be an anathema to a conservative.

Posted by: lib on December 16, 2005 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Just listening to the people on the right defend this reveals that in fact, the terrorists have won. We have given up our liberty for security."

Actually James, it shows us who the real weak willed appeasers are. They are the ones who want "give up" our rights and liberties without a fight.

Posted by: Thanatos on December 16, 2005 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

If he doesn't have to obey when Congress passes a statute, what obligates him to obey when Congress tells him to pack his bags and vacate the White House?

It was only when the generals told Nixon that the military wouldn't protect him when the U.S. Marshals showed up at the White House to remove him from the Oval Office that he decided it was time to board the helicopter for Whittier.

Having seen the lying, dishonorable gang of generals who play footsie with Bush and the Cabal, I'm afraid I don't see anything similar happening even if, in 2007, a Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress stands up and throws the bum out.

Posted by: Basharov on December 16, 2005 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

It seems to me that the administration has committed innumerable impeachable offenses in addition to this one in connection to the "War on Terrorism"

Posted by: Jeff Gimprich on December 16, 2005 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

This is a great post. My one quibble is that I don't think that the Clinton impeachment was traumatic for the country. It was an embarrassing waste of time for the national government, but most of the country didn't care.
And although it did distract the President in many ways, and arguably harm the country because he couldn't focus on certain problems,but it really wasn't all that "traumatic" for most people at the time.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on December 16, 2005 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

Doctor Jay: Osama bin Laden would like you to think that he poses an existential threat to the US.

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney would like you to believe that Osama bin Laden poses an existential threat to the US, except when they'd rather you forget about Osama bin Laden and think that Saddam Hussein poses an existential threat to the US, except when they'd rather you forget about Saddam and think that Iran poses an existential threat to the US, except when they'd rather you forget about Iran and think that some vaguely defined "Islamofascism" movement will always and forever pose an existential threat to "the free world" and this requires never-ending war and the imposition of a permanent military-industrial dictatorship in the US.

In the past 5 years, Al Qaeda has maybe killed 5000 people total, about 3000 of which were US citizens. That's their best shot. I don't call that an existential threat.

Particularly since TEN TIMES that many Americans are killed EVERY YEAR in automobile accidents and everyone considers this to be normal and acceptable.

In terms of the numbers of American lives lost, the 9/11 attacks amounted to a one time, ten percent per year increase in transportation-related fatalities in the USA. A statistical blip, not an existential threat.

Nuclear terrorism might be an existential threat, but nuclear weapons have been an existential threat not only to the USA but to all life on earth, ever since they were invented. And the threat from the nuclear weapons that are still under the control of both the American and Russian military, which could easily be accidentally launched as has almost happened on several occasions in the past, are a much greater threat than the chance of a single weapon falling into the hands of terrorists. But few people today concern themselves with the threat from the thousands of nuclear weapons still maintained on hair-trigger alert status by both the USA and Russia.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 16, 2005 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Thanks for the clarification. Impeach that fucker!

Posted by: Nick T. on December 16, 2005 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

"So I guess if I were to some up your and most of the left's views on the whole 911 thing it would be to say: it would be better that we be willing to die as a nation, slaughtered to the last man, than to violate our own laws or Constitution."

In a word, Wayne. Yes.

That is if you are willing to actually believe so strongly in something, your rights and liberties and the constitution and laws that grant and guarantee them, and are willing to die for what you believe in. You obviously, lack that strength of your convictions. You are a moral coward, are you not?

Posted by: Thanatos on December 16, 2005 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Well... Looks like Hilzoy's on his/her way to blogospheric fame & fortune... LOL

Posted by: cdj on December 16, 2005 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Off-topic, but worthy of note: Democratic (for practical purposes, Green) Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, and Republican (for practical purposes, Libertarian) Rep. Ron Paul of Texas introduced a resolution in the House today regarding Iraq.

Kucinich Introduces Bipartisan Legislation To Allow Iraqi Parliament -- Not US House of Representatives -- To Vote On The Future Of US Occupation

Kucinich/Paul Legislation Would Have Sovereign Iraq Vote On The Future Of US Occupation

WASHINGTON - December 16 - Irony defined. On the same day the United States House of Representatives debates a bill to have the House of Representatives decided the length of the US occupation of Iraq, Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) and Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) introduced bipartisan legislation calling on the United States to support a vote in the Iraqi Parliament on the future of the US occupation of the country.

Kucinich issued the following statement today on his legislation:

"The new permanent elected body in Iraq, not the US House of Representatives, should vote on the length of the US occupation. It is their country. What Iraq needs and what Iraq wants in terms of continued US military occupation should be determined by the Iraqis, not the US occupying force or politicians in Washington.

"Over and over this Administration has compared Iraq's progress towards democracy with our nation's struggle over 200 years ago. Using the Administration's own analogy, it is time to allow Iraq the chance to write its own Declaration of Independence.

"Iraq has passed a Constitution, and has held elections to have a permanent elected body. Iraq, by all measurable means, is a sovereign nation. As such, it should be able to debate and vote on the most important issue facing their nation-the US occupation. The Administration has repeatedly stated that if the Iraqis ask us to leave, we will leave. Poll after poll in Iraq indicate that the Iraqi people overwhelming oppose the US occupation.

"It is now time for this Administration to live up to its word, and allow Iraqis to make the most important and basic decision about the future of their country. The Iraqi people cannot fully be free until decisions about their future are made in Baghdad and not Washington."

The Kucinich/Paul resolution will make it the sense of Congress, "that the new permanent Council of Representatives should debate and vote on whether or not a continued U.S. military presence in Iraq is desired by the government of Iraq; and that such a debate and vote should be conducted in an open and transparent manner, and occur as soon as practicable."

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 16, 2005 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK
It was only when the generals told Nixon that the military wouldn't protect him when the U.S. Marshals showed up at the White House to remove him from the Oval Office that he decided it was time to board the helicopter for Whittier.

Having seen the lying, dishonorable gang of generals who play footsie with Bush and the Cabal, I'm afraid I don't see anything similar happening even if, in 2007, a Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress stands up and throws the bum out.

I think if you scratch the surface, a lot of those playing footsie are either doing so out of concern for their own career or belief that only by playing along can they mitigate the harm that is being done to the military.

I think if impeachment and removal are on the table, those concerns no longer work in the same direction they do now. Though, perhaps, they wouldn't telegraph a position before the Senate conviction was a fait accompli.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 16, 2005 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Hilzoy, you have finally made the big time.

Posted by: ral on December 16, 2005 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

We are again seeing an example of the hubris of this administration. Clearly, they know what is best for us....law or no law. Or is this even more than hubris, is there a way that we can find out if this is another enemies list.

Posted by: Sam Kelman on December 16, 2005 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Not to go too far afield, but how would BushII's SC appointments likely view the proposal?

Posted by: MarkB on December 16, 2005 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK


Samuel,

I think you underestimate the amount of fear that was out there over the propects of a President Gore. In this case I think most people are comfortable with a President Cheney.

Posted by: rdw on December 16, 2005 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

You have no idea how RELEVANT your post is to something going on far, far away, on the other side of the world. THANKS.

Posted by: Rizalist on December 16, 2005 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

I love the "civil liberties" argument from people who have already tried and convicted Bush. LOL
Innocent until proven guilty. One newspaper story tells all sides of the sory? Really?

Posted by: Don Surber on December 16, 2005 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

The NSA is spying on us?

Really?

http://orwellian.org/Cryptography_Manifesto.txt

We will win this war against Eurasia, no matter what it takes.
It's more important to be safe than have Constitutional rights.

We got fooled again.

Posted by: George Orwell on December 16, 2005 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

I agree that this is clearly an impeacheable offense, if the impeachment clause means anything.

Of course, there have been a few other such offenses committed lately. Like, yanking an unarmed American citizen out of the lawful custody of a court with a blatantly illegal "order" fingering the man as an "enemy combatant," and then holding him without charges for years in a military prison. Or like conspiring to start an illegal, aggressive war in defiance of the UN treaty, not to mention Art. 1, section 8.

One thing I don't get is your "trauma" theory of impeachment. To my mind, the fact that Clinton was recently impeached for frivolous and phony reasons by basically the same Repuke Congress that holds power today should LOWER not raise the raise the bar for W. That is, it should LOWER the bar if all those "rule of law" impeachers weren't just rank hypocrites.

Posted by: Vergniaud on December 16, 2005 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: I think you underestimate the amount of fear that was out there over the propects of a President Gore. In this case I think most people are comfortable with a President Cheney.

Belatedly, the brain-dead, scripted, programmed, neo-brownshirt Bush-bootlicking mental slaves show up, regurgitating the turds that they gobble from Rush Limbaugh's stinking toilet bowl and the bile that they slurp from the toxic sewer that is Fox News.

rdw, you are a veritable fountain of inane drivel.

Gore won the election in 2000. Bush stole it because he's a gangster, a thug and a thief, and that's all he's ever been or ever done all his life.

Cheney's approval ratings are in the cesspool under the basement.

And you are living in a little bubble of a rightwing fantasy world, and you have absolutely no clue about what "most people" think.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 16, 2005 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK
I love the "civil liberties" argument from people who have already tried and convicted Bush. LOL Innocent until proven guilty.

I think you misunderstand.

"Innocent until proven guilty" refers to how government treats those subject to its power, not how individuals form opinions of the government. It is a limit designed to protect the people from arbitrary and unjustified action of the government, and reflects the premise that government must prove its action is necessary when it intrudes on the life, liberty, or property of those subject to its power.

Those challenging the apparent government overreach here are not in anyway acting inconsistent with the idea of "innocent until proven guilty" in civil liberties. Indeed, we are acting as demanded by the principle which underlies that protection.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 16, 2005 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

"I think you underestimate the amount of fear that was out there over the propects of a President Gore. In this case I think most people are comfortable with a President Cheney."

Hah, what is cheney's approval rating again? 20%? While Al Gore won slightly over half the vote in a presidential election.

You really are a total idiot aren't you, rdw?

Posted by: jefff on December 16, 2005 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK
Hah, what is cheney's approval rating again? 20%? While Al Gore won slightly over half the vote in a presidential election.

Your main point is correct, but Gore won slightly less than half the vote, but slightly more than Bush.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 16, 2005 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

There is precedent for this.

History of the Office of Censorship

From December 19, 1941, until August 15, 1945, the Office of Censorship had the power to censor international communications at its "absolute discretion." With a staff of more than 10,000 censors, the office routinely examined mail, cables, newspapers, magazines, films, and radio broadcasts. Its operations constituted the most extensive government censorship of the media in U. S. history and one of the most vivid examples of the use of executive emergency powers.

Classified as "confidential" until 1971, the thousands of pages of the authoritative History of the Office of Censorship, written and compiled by the managers of the office, are being published for the first time.

Posted by: Historian on December 16, 2005 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Most Americans comfortable with a President Dick Cheney?

What fucking DIMENSION do you live in, rdw?

Conservatives seem to fall into three camps these days: batshit insane; shrieking, lily-livered take-anything-you-want-just-don't-let-the-bad-man-hurt-me cowards like Wayne upthread; or both.

Posted by: mercury on December 16, 2005 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

OK, here's my question.

According to the Times article, any number of members of Congress have been informed of the program, including at least one identified Democrat, Senator Rockefeller of W. Va, and I would expect many others.

If this is a violation of the law so extreme and clear cut that it warrants impeachment, why have we not heard a word of public protest from these Democratic Congresspeople?

I find it a bit hard to accept that only cowardice would explain this reluctance, but could be convinced otherwise.

At the very least, their reticence on this point demands a real explanation.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 16, 2005 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK
There is precedent for this.

Really? Which criminal statute in force at the time did FDR violate in setting up the Office of Censorship? None? Congress actually authorized the Office? Then how is that precedent?

Posted by: cmdicely on December 16, 2005 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

Just to follow up on my post, it's going to be pretty hard to press for impeachment if Democratic Congresspeople essentially acquiesced to the program for years, don't you think?

Posted by: frankly0 on December 16, 2005 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: In this case I think most people are comfortable with a President Cheney.

According to opinion polls, most people are uncomfortable with a Vice President Cheney, let alone a President Cheney.

But since Cheney actually is President in all but name, this is all moot.

When the NSA illegally spies on Americans, it is Cheney's doing, not Bush's doing. Bush signs whatever piece of paper Cheney tells him to sign.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 16, 2005 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

This is against the law.

No, it's not.

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. Both before and after the enactment of FISA, courts have recognized the President's inherent authority to conduct foreign intelligence surveillance. See, e.g., United States v. Butenko, 494 F.2d 593, 608 (3d Cir. 1974) (en banc) (grounding exception to warrant requirement in the President's Commander-in-chief and foreign-affairs powers; noting that the country's self-defense needs weigh on the side of reasonableness); United States v. Truong Dinh Hung, 629 F.2d 908, 914 (4th Cir. 1980) (citing the President's foreign affairs power as justifying an exception to the warrant requirement).

Posted by: Al on December 16, 2005 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK
According to the Times article, any number of members of Congress have been informed of the program, including at least one identified Democrat, Senator Rockefeller of W. Va, and I would expect many others.

According to the article, its not clear how much anyone in Congress was told. Presumably, the facts that are the clearest indicators of criminality that the Times learned from its sources are also the ones that it is least likely that the Administration would share with Congress.

If this is a violation of the law so extreme and clear cut that it warrants impeachment, why have we not heard a word of public protest from these Democratic Congresspeople?

Presumably, at least in part, because the information that was shared with them does not include the clear indicators of criminality.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 16, 2005 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

You may be right that members of Congress were not informed of the full scope of the program and how it was actually implemented. I certainly don't doubt that that's a possibility, given the history of the Bush WH.

I'd like to see some evidence that that's so. What I want, as I said in my post, is some kind of account from them about why they didn't make a clear protest against the program, if it plainly violated established law.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 16, 2005 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

if it plainly violated established law.

It didn't. In fact, virtually every court that addressed the issue has concluded that the President has the inherent power to collect foreign intelligence information, and that such surveillances constituted an exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment.

Posted by: Al on December 16, 2005 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0, these are the same Congresscritters who, when they voted for the "use of force" resolution, pretended they didn't know that W planned to invade Iraq no matter what. It's basically the same senate that let the Supremes usurp the Congress' constitutional and statutory power to decide disputed presidential elections in 2000. If they cared a fig about preserving the Constitution, they would never have passed the atrocious PATRIOT Act.

Posted by: Vergniaud on December 16, 2005 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK
The Constitution vests in the President inherent authority to conduct warrantless intelligence surveillance (electronic or otherwise) of foreign powers or their agents

Among the facts the acts here illegal is that the surveillance was not exclusively limited to foreign powers (which, under FISA, includes agents of such powers).

Posted by: cmdicely on December 16, 2005 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

Vergniaud,

Certainly Democratic Congresscritters have indeed acted like cowards.

But this bad? I don't know.

All I'm really saying is that there's something here that doesn't add up. Either they are even more cowardly than I could imagine, or they were not properly informed, or the law isn't so clear.

I'm awaiting some kind of explanation of the apparent anomaly here.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 16, 2005 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

clinton was impeached for lying about a bxxxjob...that raises the bar?

Posted by: supersaurus on December 16, 2005 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

Among the facts the acts here illegal is that the surveillance was not exclusively limited to foreign powers (which, under FISA, includes agents of such powers).

FISA is irrelevant to this discussion.

As long as the surveillance has as its purpose the gathering of foreign intelligence information, under all the relevant caselaw, it is permitted as an exception to the Fourth Amendment

Posted by: Al on December 16, 2005 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

"clinton was impeached for lying about a bxxxjob...that raises the bar?

Posted by: supersaurus "

read it again. You are having a reading comprehension problem. A Bush moment, if you will.

Posted by: B on December 16, 2005 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

OK smartalec Bushlicker tbrosz, here's the relevant dope on survaillance in time of war:

TITLE 50 > CHAPTER 36 > SUBCHAPTER I > 1811 Prev | Next

1811. Authorization during time of war

Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for a period not to exceed fifteen calendar days following a declaration of war by the Congress.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Well, did Bush do it through the AG, did he do it for only 15 days, was it following a *declaration of war* by Congress?

W-anker!

Posted by: Neil' on December 16, 2005 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Al: the surveillance is permitted by *what* as an exception to the Fourth Ammendment? Show the actual text in context, not just empty boasts.

W-anker!

Posted by: Neil' on December 16, 2005 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

TITLE 50 > CHAPTER 36 > SUBCHAPTER I > 1811 Prev | Next

Again, FISA is irrelevant. The surveillance was conducted under the President's inherent authority, which has been upheld in numerous courts over a long period of time. See cites above.

Posted by: Al on December 16, 2005 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Al and rdw are smarter than Chris Matthews, and they are both as dumb as a bag of hammers.

Posted by: B on December 16, 2005 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

permitted by *what*

As I stated above, the President's inhernet authority as Commander in Chief.

Again, this has been upheld any number of times in court.

Posted by: Al on December 16, 2005 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK
FISA is irrelevant to this discussion.

No, it isn't.

As long as the surveillance has as its purpose the gathering of foreign intelligence information, under all the relevant caselaw, it is permitted as an exception to the Fourth Amendment.

Even granting, arguendo, that that is true (and I think you considerably overstate the case in suggesting that the question begins and ends with purpose), the question here is not limited to -- or even primarily -- "was this action forbidden to the Government by the Fourth Amendment", but "was this action prohibited to the President under the law."

FISA is clearly relevant here.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 16, 2005 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

Hilzoy: And this is something that no American should tolerate.

The acts of the Bush administration that "no American should tolerate" have been numerous and unceasing since he and his gang of career criminals seized power in a bloodless coup in 2000 by blatantly stealing the election. And yet Americans "tolerated" that, and have "tolerated" numerous criminal acts by Bush, Cheney, et al since then.

We claim to have a government of laws, not of men. That claim means nothing if we are not prepared to act when a President (or anyone else) places himself above the law.

"We" were not "prepared to act" when Bush seized power in a coup by stealing the election in 2000.

"We" were not "prepared to act" when it was revealed that Bush's criminal negligence was directly responsible for allowing the 9/11 attacks to succeed.

"We" were not "prepared to act" when Bush launched an illegal war of unprovoked aggression against Iraq in 2003 based on what were known at the time to be lies.

If "we" were not "prepared to act" in response to such monstrous crimes, then what makes you think that "we" will be "prepared to act" in response to this sort of thing, which is a predictable action of a government that is a criminal enterprise through and through?


Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 16, 2005 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

When does Fitzgerald start looking for the leakers of this national security secret ? Maybe he could stop pursuing Joe Wilson's photo ops long enough to nail these traitors.

Posted by: Mike K on December 16, 2005 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

"was this action prohibited to the President under the law."

FISA is clearly relevant here.

The Constitution trumps FISA.

If the warrantless surveillance is permitted as part of the President's inherent power under the Constitution (as the courts have found), then "the law", for purposes of the statute, means that Constitutional power.

Posted by: Al on December 16, 2005 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know whether it violates the law but it certainly points out why we need divided government. Its almost as if we have a Stuart King advocating divine right. The President pays no price for his behavior. He does not have to defend or explain his actions. There is no debate as to whether the spying is legal or civil liberties are being harmed. No reason to care about procedural safeguards. The innocent swept up in the activity are left with no recourse. The President is confident that if anything comes to light the GOP Congress will simply refuse to have hearings and every one will look the other way. Until one party rule ends there is simply no mechanism to reign in a well intentioned administration that crosses the line. The only reason we now know about these actions is the fear some people had during th 2004 campaign that Kerry would be elected and they could face prosecution. they were covering their buts. This administration would have been so much better off today and with its historical legacy if it had someone there who could look the President in the eye and just say no!

Posted by: aline on December 16, 2005 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

Love to stay and chat, but I gotta go now, folks. Sorry!

Posted by: Al on December 16, 2005 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

Bush authorizing NSA to spy on US citizens within the United States troubles me. Equally troubling is that some NYT editors were either cowed, or so insulated from their profession that they forget that their first duty is to publish the truth.

Posted by: oscar meyer on December 16, 2005 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

Al,

Read FISA.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode50/usc_sup_01_50_10_36.html

Note what it allows the President to do, with and without FISA warrants, and what it does not. Pay particular attention to section 1802 and the definition of "United States person" in 1801.

Now, read section 1809, providing for criminal liability for violating FISA.

While the President may have some inherent powers to gather _foreign_ intelligence, FISA limits those powers as applied domestically. You cite United States v. Truong Dinh Hung; that case embraced the FISA regime of enforceable standards for foreign intelligence surveillance separate from those for domestic criminal investigation.

If the NY Times article is accurate, the President authorized electronic surveillance of United States persons within the United States without FISA warrants.

Posted by: asdf on December 16, 2005 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

Which criminal statute in force at the time did FDR violate in setting up the Office of Censorship?

That would be the First and Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Posted by: Historian on December 16, 2005 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK


I think that the fact that Clinton was impeached raises the bar as far as impeaching Bush

I stopped reading after this line. You might as well say "I am a complete ass with no credible position on this matter."

Idiotic.

Posted by: loser on December 16, 2005 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

Just listening to the people on the right defend this reveals that in fact, the terrorists have won. We have given up our liberty for security.

Actually, we're giving up both. Or the Waynes are, anyway (although he probably doesn't believe the crap he was spewing either; it's just an anti-liberal bludgeon). All of these acts are deliberate attempts to diminish & render our civil liberties meaningless, not to protect us from external threats, but to consolidate domestic power for the benefit of a single political party.

Bush stole it because he's a gangster, a thug and a thief, and that's all he's ever been or ever done all his life.

Yep- just one who's in the lucky sperm club.

BTW, anyone else feel like Al wrapping himself in the Constitution must be sort of like burning a flag?- it's designed only to get attention.

Posted by: latts on December 16, 2005 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

Damn, this Hilzoy post is ALL over the internet!

Posted by: WhoSays on December 16, 2005 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

[T]hat case [United States v. Truong Dinh Hung] embraced the FISA regime of enforceable standards for foreign intelligence surveillance separate from those for domestic criminal investigation.

That's exactly right. This authorization was for foreign intelligence purposes not criminal investigation. So your argument is invalid.

Posted by: Historian on December 16, 2005 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

The Constitution doesn't really give the President a lot of power, does it? And CIC just means, that he gets to order the military around - it gives him/her no other powers, such as to violate laws, spy on anyone, etc. Where the hell do the Bushites/neocons/Republican-plutocracy hegemonists get these inflated ideas of executive power? Above all, how do they get away with calling that "conservative?"

Posted by: Neil' on December 16, 2005 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, even though it would be appalling, is Al right in the sense that the Courts have usually upheld strong executive powers? How could they have done that - what is going on?

Posted by: Neil' on December 16, 2005 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

geez, rdw's GOP cheerleader outfit must be cutting off the blood supply to his/her/its brain...

I think you underestimate the amount of fear that was out there over the propects of a President Gore.

And yet, strangely enough, a million plus more people voted for him than Bush the Lesser. Funny, that.

My hat is off to Hilzoy, all those who demolished wayne's pathetic cowardly rant and tbrosz, who showed us for good and all that his only claim to libertarianism are a pathological hatred of taxes and a bottomless well of intellectual dishonesty. Applause all around.

Posted by: Gregory on December 16, 2005 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

Neil pondered: Where the hell do the Bushites/neocons/Republican-plutocracy hegemonists get these inflated ideas of executive power?

Well, you've got the tiny group of the ultra-rich, hereditary, neo-fascist, corporate-feudalist ruling class of America, who want to have a King to rule the country on their behalf, and then you've got the unfortunately large group of brain-dead, scripted, programmed, neo-brownshirt Bush-bootlicking mental slaves who don't really want to be citizens of a democracy, but to be subjects of a King. It's a match made in hell.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 16, 2005 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

Neil': how do they get away with calling that "conservative?"

It's very conservative. You seem to think of conservative in the traditional American sense of supposed principles of the early days of the Republic. Think back further - the Divine Right of Kings. Heck, it's even hereditary.

Posted by: alex on December 16, 2005 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

Neil:

Well, did Bush do it through the AG, did he do it for only 15 days, was it following a *declaration of war* by Congress?

Apparently through the AG.

"Wanker?" What are you, like fifteen years old?

Posted by: tbrosz on December 16, 2005 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

From his posts, SecularAnimist appears to be approaching the "plak tow" state of Bush Derangement syndrome.

Posted by: tbrosz on December 16, 2005 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe it's because I'm not in the system but, why is everyone so surprized that the Shrub would spy on people who have anti bush bumper-sticker. I've assumed for years that the thought police were keeping tabs on me. Not that I wear a foil hat, ever since the BS we heard about invading Iraq in the first place I realized that these people will stop at nothing to keep their regieme. And, most people are either not capable of or not willing to think.

Posted by: just a dumb-ass on December 16, 2005 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: From his posts, SecularAnimist appears to be approaching the "plak tow" state of Bush Derangement syndrome.

You never get tired of licking that yummy dog shit off the bottom of Bush's boot, do you tbrosz? Anything for a tax cut.

Criminal negligence that allows terrorists to kill 3000 Americans, an illegal war of aggression based on lies that kills thousands of innocents, torture, illegal spying on Americans, blatantly corrupt cash & carry war profiteering, America's economy mortgaged to Communist China, our energy and environment future sacrificed to the profits of Bush's cronies in the oil companies -- it's all good, as long as the tax cuts keep comin'.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 16, 2005 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

just a dumb-ass wrote: why is everyone so surprized that the Shrub would spy on people who have anti bush bumper-sticker. I've assumed for years that the thought police were keeping tabs on me.

You are right. None of this is new. The Nixon administration did essentially the same thing in the Vietnam era, and the Reagan administration did the same thing during Reagan's terrorist war in Central America. It is to be expected that Bush would be doing this.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on December 16, 2005 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

The funny/sick thing about this is that the Bushies think that if the President does it then it isn't illegal (didn't work for Nixon but they ignore that). They believe that during war the President is an Emperor without restraint. Problem is, that has never been true. The Constitution explicitly states that the law applies to Presidents no matter what. The impeachment bit indicates that Presidents can be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors. If a President cannot violate laws by virtue of being President, then the impeachment portion doesn't make sense...but the Founders knew exactly what they were talking about: Presidents CAN violate the law and it is impeachable, regardless of when it occurs, whether peacetime or wartime. No difference. The Constitution ALWAYS applies.

It is entirely appropriate to discuss impeachment in this case. If Bush and his Intel dick suckers who buy the false Yoo Doctrine violated the LAW, then Bush is impeachable and those dick suckers are convictable.

Yoo needs to be shipped back to S. Korea where he hails from. From there he can migrate north to N. Korea which appears to be what informs his ideas of governance. This is THE problem with allowing fresh, new, foreign-born citizens hold ANY position of authority in our government. Not being born and reared here, they don't GET the whole Constitution, Bill of Rights, Rule of Law thing. All too often they come from less-than-democratic countries and are infested with anti-democratic ideals. This is also a reason why our Constitution forbids such people from being eligible to be President.

Yoo makes me sick and Bush, well, he's beneath contempt.

THIS is impeachable. MUCH more serious than lying about getting a hummer from a consenting adult.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on December 16, 2005 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: Apparently through the AG.

One out of three ain't bad. Not legal, but better than batting a .000

From his posts, SecularAnimist appears to be approaching the "plak tow" state of Bush Derangement syndrome.

Yeah, but his problem is that he disregarded good advice. Just like they tell people who are afraid of heights "don't look down", we said "don't think about the next three years". He didn't listen.

Posted by: alex on December 16, 2005 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

Historian,

The Office of Censorship had nothing to do with domestic spying. Glad to see that you know google - Now go back and scroll down to Michael Sweeney's book about that Office - It is from the University of North Carolina press. This was largely a volunteer program. The Office was headed by an Associated Press honcho.
It "violated the First and Fourth amendments" - Oh really, where was this ajudicated?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 16, 2005 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

Neil,
The courts go back and forth on how much power they let a President use. When you are talking this level though, the rule is gernally simple: Presidential claims ofemergency power are upheld if and only if Congress backs the President up. When there has not been time to consult Congress they generally will try and keep the plates spinning until Congress makes up its mind or is totally bogged down. The best justification for this appraoch is in jstice Jackson's excellent concurrence in Youngstown Sheet and Tube v. Sawyer which dealt with Truman seizing steel mill where there was a strike in during the Korean War. I hope this helps.

Posted by: jalrin on December 16, 2005 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

Al,

Read FISA.

OK, one last time before I go out for the night: FISA is not relevant. The surveillance was not done pursuant to FISA. It was done under the President's inherent power as Commander in Chief to conduct foreign intelligence investigations. This power has been repeatedly held up by the Courts as constituting an exception to the warrant requirements of the Fourth Amendment. I've provided the cites for two such cases above. So please stop citing back to me an irrelevant statute.

Posted by: Al on December 16, 2005 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK
..."Wanker?" What are you, like fifteen years old?Posted by: tbrosz

You need to review the discussion of the applicable law in the thread above. It is not the Abu Gonzales' call. As for being fifteen years old, you are the one with the Darth Vader helmet in a photograph. Bush swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. He violated it. Bush lickspittles like you are anti-American.

Posted by: Mike on December 16, 2005 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

Rapide!

Aller cherche la guillotine!

Posted by: t-t-t-trolls r us on December 16, 2005 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

Aller cherche la guillotine!

Shouldn't that be "Allons..." or "Allez..." not to quibble over a good joke.

Posted by: LW Phil on December 16, 2005 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

I think the thing here is that Bush, through his usually stupidity, has now acknowledged by his ignorant actions that this is going on. Surely, no one here assumes that this activity just started in 2002? American citizen illegal surveillance has been going on for decades by the government. Now Bush, in all his ignorance, has exposed it. Now everyone has to act weird about it so that it will appear that they didn't condone it or know it was happening. Bush has always lacked the intelligence to handle the job of president and now has burned the power structure. I wouldn't recommend that he go riding in an open topped convertible in Dallas right away.

Posted by: MRB on December 16, 2005 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

Impeachment?

Hilzoy is hysterical, folks!

Posted by: GOPGregory on December 16, 2005 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

Merde!

Aller chercher = bring or go fetch

Posted by: t-t-t-trolls r us on December 16, 2005 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

Hilzoy is hysterical, folks!

Are you old enough to remember June 17, 1972? If I may be permitted, The mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine.

Posted by: LW Phil on December 16, 2005 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

"The Office of Censorship had nothing to do with domestic spying."

Opening (and possibly censoring) all the international mail and all the international telegrams from 1941-1945 "had nothing to do with domestic spying?" That's far more than anything Bush has tried to do. Do you think it not be tagged as "domestic spying" if Bush tried to invoke it today?

"This was largely a volunteer program."

On the part of the press! Citizens who had their mail tampered with were not volunteers in the matter!

"The Office was headed by an Associated Press honcho."

So having a press person overseeing it makes it OK? If Bush were to appoint Ann Coulter to oversee the NSA effort would that make it palatable to you?


Posted by: Historian on December 16, 2005 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Senator Feingold was able to put together a coalition of Senators and prevent a vote on re-authorizing the Patriot Act.

But what good does that do - and, in fact, what good is any Congressional action - when the Bush Admin can do whatever it wants to, and its supporters agree that's OK, because the President has absolute power?

Is that where we are now? The President is essentially an absolute monarch?

Posted by: CaseyL on December 16, 2005 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Al - remember when the Mayor of San Francisco decided that the law banning gay marriages was unconstitutional and decided to ignore it? Remember how conservatives screamed that, among other things, it is up to the judicial branch to determine whether or not a given statute is unconstitutional?

Apparently the Attorney General's office decided that FISA didn't apply to them - and just defined it out of existence in much the same way they tried to redefine torture. I expect the courts will reject this tortured logic, uphold the constitutionality of FISA, and allow prosecution of the various guilty executive branch personnel to the extent permitted by their possible "advice of counsel" defense.

Posted by: RepubAnon on December 16, 2005 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

"So I guess if I were to some up your and most of the left's views on the whole 911 thing it would be to say: it would be better that we be willing to die as a nation, slaughtered to the last man, than to violate our own laws or Constitution."


Wayne, if you served in the Navy then you swore an oath to do precisely that on a personal level; to defend the Constitution of the United States with your very life. Every member of the armed forces swears likewise.

Where is your promise now, Wayne, you oathbreaker? Where is your honor? You have none.

Apparently ten years in the Navy wasn't enough to pound through your thick skull what every other "liberal" on this page seems to understand: a gut-level conviction to defend the Constitution and, by extension, the United States.

Posted by: guerrillaScholar on December 16, 2005 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

Histarical,

Apparently, it would be OK for Bill O'Reilly - He wants to bring back the Office of Censorship - The walking Adams Apple is his buddy - Bill wants it because of the ABC report that we had sent suspected terrorists to foreign countries for interrogation. Practically went beserk about "loose lips" - he does like very tight moist trembling lips though.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 16, 2005 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and as for the "President can do anything he wants so long as he mentions foreign intelligence needs" theory, you might want to read this:

Warrantless National Security Electronic Surveillance.In Katz v. United States,151 Justice White sought to preserve for a future case the possibility that in national security cases electronic surveillance upon the authorization of the President or the Attorney General could be permissible without prior judicial approval. The Executive Branch then asserted the power to wiretap and to bug in two types of national security situations, against domestic subversion and against foreign intelligence operations, first basing its authority on a theory of inherent presidential power and then in the Supreme Court withdrawing to the argument that such surveillance was a reasonable search and seizure and therefore valid under the Fourth Amendment. Unanimously, the Court held that at least in cases of domestic subversive investigations, compliance with the warrant provisions of the Fourth Amendment was required.152 Whether or not a search was[p.1256]reasonable, wrote Justice Powell for the Court, was a question which derived much of its answer from the warrant clause; except in a few narrowly circumscribed classes of situations, only those searches conducted pursuant to warrants were reasonable. The Governments duty to preserve the national security did not override the guarantee that before government could invade the privacy of its citizens it must present to a neutral magistrate evidence sufficient to support issuance of a warrant authorizing that invasion of privacy.153 This protection was even more needed in national security cases than in cases of ordinary crime, the Justice continued, inasmuch as the tendency of government so often is to regard opponents of its policies as a threat and hence to tread in areas protected by the First Amendment as well as by the Fourth.154 Rejected also was the argument that courts could not appreciate the intricacies of investigations in the area of national security nor preserve the secrecy which is required.155

The question of the scope of the Presidents constitutional powers, if any, remains judicially unsettled.156 Congress has acted, however, providing for a special court to hear requests for warrants for electronic surveillance in foreign intelligence situations, and permitting the President to authorize warrantless surveillance to[p.1257]acquire foreign intelligence information provided that the communications to be monitored are exclusively between or among foreign powers and there is no substantial likelihood any United States person will be overheard.157 You cited a couple of Court of Appeals cases - got the precise language? Some of us don't have Lexis/Westlaw accounts to check and see whether the cases really say the President can eavesdrop on US citizens just by saying the magic words "foreign intelligence." The Supreme Court's decision in Katz seems to contradict your assertion of a broad presidential power to eavesdrop on US citizens on US soil, even for 'foreign intelligence" investigations.

Posted by: RepubAnon on December 16, 2005 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

"Hilzoy is hysterical, folks!"

Uh, Hilzoy is one of the most emphatically non-hysterical thinkers I've ever come across. She's guest-blogging here, and a good thing, too, but is ordinarily found at Obsidian Wings, being rational.

Truth and light, Hil, and thanks.

The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind. - Thomas Paine

Posted by: javelina on December 16, 2005 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

The walking Adams Apple is his buddy

Lovely turn of phrase.

Posted by: LW Phil on December 16, 2005 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

Mike:

As for being fifteen years old, you are the one with the Darth Vader helmet in a photograph. Bush swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. He violated it. Bush lickspittles like you are anti-American.

That picture was a Photoshop joke for my kids, and got uploaded to the internet by some friends. I don't really mind it, since I don't take myself as deathly seriously as some people here apparently do. Poking fun at myself is not quite the same as abusing other people with foul language, names, and immature hysterical mouth-foaming.

Posted by: tbrosz on December 16, 2005 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

And Javelina would know -- she's known me for -- oh God -- twenty eight years.

(Can that possibly be true?)

Posted by: hilzoy on December 16, 2005 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

RepubAnon,

In the Katz, wasn't a pay phone used? Therefore, the court held that a user of the phone had an "expectation of privacy".

Whereas, later, I believe that a drug dealer had been arrested in Kansas. The police had intercepted his cell phone conversations. His lawyer tried to use Katz, but the Kansas Supreme Court held that since the cell used radio frequencies there was no "expectation of privacy" - Perhaps this was upheld by the Supremes, but I can't recall.

The attorney who argued Katz taught Criminal Procedure at West Los Angeles School of Law in the late 70s.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 16, 2005 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

immature hysterical mouth-foaming

Thomas Mycetes Bass! I'm ashamed of you! No more rocket fuel until you play nice with the neighbors...

Posted by: Tyco Bass on December 16, 2005 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely wrote: Therefore, the only people looking for a way around the intent of the law are those, like you, arguing that a provision expressly limited to apply in declared war should be interpreted to apply without a formal declaration of war.

Since the term "formal declaration of war" is not actually defined, as you have pointed out in your own previous postings, why are the War Powers Act, the resolution authorizing the war on Iraq, and the resolution of support (that quoted the war powers act, which itself quoted the Consitution), not legally a declaration of war? You seem to have argued this issue all over the place without deciding whether the Iraq war was or was not "declared".

The scale of denial of civil liberties to Americans does not come close to previous episodes in American history (Palmer raids, Alien and Sedition Acts, Civil War and WWII, Truman's attempted seizure of the railroads), so the histrionic language needs to be toned down. The senior senators of Maine and Pennsylvania are ready to investigate and take action, and already this news contributed to the success of the filibuster of the renewal of the Patriot Act (an ambiguous outcome in practical terms, but symbolically inportant.)

Posted by: papageno on December 17, 2005 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist wrote this: There were already multiple reasons why Bush should be impeached, beginning with the stolen election of 2000.

Really Secular Animist, you need to join the reality-based community. Nobody stole the 2000 election.

Posted by: papageno on December 17, 2005 at 12:03 AM | PERMALINK

Let me see if I understand this. Your position is that if Osama bin Laden were to call a new Mohammad Atta located somewhere in the US tomorrow to confirm that the final time and place of the next big terror attack on a major US city was in place and ready to go; that lacking a specific FISA warrant wiretapping that telephone call would be illegal, the information derived from it must be destroyed, and anyone involved in listening in to that call should be prosecuted or impeached. Is that right?

Posted by: Able Bravo on December 17, 2005 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

Let me see if I understand this. Your position is that if Osama bin Laden were to call a new Mohammad Atta located somewhere in the US tomorrow to confirm that the final time and place of the next big terror attack on a major US city was in place and ready to go

Way to whack at that strawman. Here's a helpful hint: Mohammad Atta wasn't a US citizen.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on December 17, 2005 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

"... except in a few narrowly circumscribed classes of situations, only those searches conducted pursuant to warrants were reasonable"

And of course intercepting the domestic end of a three-minute telephone call from a known terrorist located overseas who is discussing a terror attack on the United States would clearly fall into one of those "narrowly circumscribed classes of situations" where waiting for a warrant would cause the loss of the intelligence thus derived, would it not?

Posted by: Able Bravo on December 17, 2005 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

You seem to have argued this issue all over the place without deciding whether the Iraq war was or was not "declared".

What constitutes a war then? Grenada? Somalia? The re-flagging of the Kuwaiti tankers? The air raid on Libya? The Kosovo bombings? Bosnia? KFOR? Lebanon? The Bay of Pigs?

Last I checked, we were still a nation of laws and not of men. You want to play like we're at war, then get Congress to enact an outright declaration of war.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on December 17, 2005 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

And of course intercepting the domestic end of a three-minute telephone call from a known terrorist located overseas who is discussing a terror attack on the United States would clearly fall into one of those "narrowly circumscribed classes of situations" where waiting for a warrant would cause the loss of the intelligence thus derived, would it not?

Memo to NSA readers: Citizen Able Bravo has nothing to hide. Feel free to tap his lines and pillage his computer.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on December 17, 2005 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

Way to whack at that strawman. Here's a helpful hint: Mohammad Atta wasn't a US citizen.

And this is not about US citizens. It is about persons located in the United States including lawfully admitted aliens -- as Atta was. He had a valid visa.

But I can even concede that and have bin Laden calling Jose Padilla, a US citizen, to discuss a dirty bomb attack on a US city giving the time and place of the attack. Do you still claim that the wiretapping of that call must be terminated and any government agent found listening to that call should be prosecuted?

Posted by: Able Bravo on December 17, 2005 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

This is just a disgrace to the NYT. It's too late for me to boycott them, cuz I stopped reading them over Judith Miller. Same for WaPo and Woodward. But something needs to be done. Maybe a boycott of their advertisers. Why don't the so called journalists at these rags do something? Like a strike. They better do something to restore their credibility or they are gonna be out of work sooner or later.

Posted by: jussumbody on December 17, 2005 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

Do you still claim that the wiretapping of that call must be terminated and any government agent found listening to that call should be prosecuted?

If they don't have a warrant, yes. I repeat: This is a nation of laws, not men.

But again, it's not like upright citizens such as yourself have anything to hide from the government. So you wouldn't have any problems with the Feds tapping your phones, right?

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on December 17, 2005 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

Last I checked, we were still a nation of laws and not of men. You want to play like we're at war, then get Congress to enact an outright declaration of war.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History

Dig into your dustbin and you would learn that most of the military engagements the US has fought have not been declared wars but approved by congress and thus legal. Korea was a stretch because Truman used the UN as authority for the Korean war and had no congressional approval.

So as a nation of men and laws we appeaer to be doing OK in the military engagement/war department..

Posted by: Coach on December 17, 2005 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

Dig into your dustbin and you would learn that most of the military engagements the US has fought have not been declared wars but approved by congress and thus legal. Korea was a stretch because Truman used the UN as authority for the Korean war and had no congressional approval.

Korea was not a war, correct. If you have a time machine, we can hop in and jump back there to discuss matters with Congress.

So as a nation of men and laws we appeaer to be doing OK in the military engagement/war department..

Which is relevant to my point, how?

A second shoutout to NSA readers: Citizen Coach also has nothing to hide, feel free to tap his phone lines as well.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on December 17, 2005 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

Thomas Mycetes Bass! I'm ashamed of you! No more rocket fuel until you play nice with the neighbors...

Awww, Tyco, I'm tired of sitting in the dark and being fed bullshit...

Posted by: tbrosz on December 17, 2005 at 12:35 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, another one for the NSA folks: Citizen tbrosz not only has nothing to hide, but he's also provided us with his email address. So feel free to tap his phones and raid his email files!

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on December 17, 2005 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

Able Bravo: read my post. specifically, the part about the statute. It provides for exceptions in cases in which there isn't time to get a warrant. But it also says you have to carry out certain procedures, which were not carried out in this case. So if Atta had been a US citizen, it would have been possible to eavesdrop, legally, on his conversation. But not without obeying the conditions set out by the law, which Bush chose to ignore.

Here's the text of the relevant part of the law (link above):

"Notwithstanding any other provision of this subchapter, when the Attorney General reasonably determines that

(1) an emergency situation exists with respect to the employment of electronic surveillance to obtain foreign intelligence information before an order authorizing such surveillance can with due diligence be obtained; and

(2) the factual basis for issuance of an order under this subchapter to approve such surveillance exists;

he may authorize the emergency employment of electronic surveillance if a judge having jurisdiction under section 1803 of this title is informed by the Attorney General or his designee at the time of such authorization that the decision has been made to employ emergency electronic surveillance and if an application in accordance with this subchapter is made to that judge as soon as practicable, but not more than 72 hours after the Attorney General authorizes such surveillance. If the Attorney General authorizes such emergency employment of electronic surveillance, he shall require that the minimization procedures required by this subchapter for the issuance of a judicial order be followed. In the absence of a judicial order approving such electronic surveillance, the surveillance shall terminate when the information sought is obtained, when the application for the order is denied, or after the expiration of 72 hours from the time of authorization by the Attorney General, whichever is earliest."

Posted by: hilzoy on December 17, 2005 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

I love the fact that you lefties get all worked up over something that has absolutely no facts to support it. The NYT is well known for it's bias and penchant for making up the news. They have nothing to offer other than 'anonymous sources'. Like the little old lady said "Where's the beef!"

Posted by: Coach on December 17, 2005 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

Criminal negligence that allows terrorists to kill 3000 Americans, an illegal war of aggression based on lies that kills thousands of innocents, torture, illegal spying on Americans, blatantly corrupt cash & carry war profiteering, America's economy mortgaged to Communist China, our energy and environment future sacrificed to the profits of Bush's cronies in the oil companies -- it's all good, as long as the tax cuts keep comin'.

It's well known that bush is neither learned nor a great intellect -- his college grades and standardized test scores were only marginally better than John Kerry's. but compared to that drivel, Bush sounds like a genius.

Posted by: papageno on December 17, 2005 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

I love the fact that you lefties get all worked up over something that has absolutely no facts to support it.

I love the fact that Coach has no problem with the Feds tapping his lines without needing a warrant.

They never come for the party loyalists, of course. Isn't that right, Comrade Trotsky? Comrade Bukharin? Comrade Liu?

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on December 17, 2005 at 12:47 AM | PERMALINK

Which is relevant to my point, how?

A second shoutout to NSA readers: Citizen Coach also has nothing to hide, feel free to tap his phone lines as well.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History

I was just pointing out to you, in your ignorance, that there was no requirment to declare war to engage in a military engagement. Historically speaking the last declared wars we fought were in WWII. Military engagements go all the way back to the late 1700's.

Pointing out that you don't know what you are talking about has nothing to do with my stance on illegal wire taps. Of course lefties like you and the NYT don't need the facts to to make charges of illegallity.

Posted by: Coach on December 17, 2005 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

Coach has no problem with the Feds tapping into his lines as long as they tap into Fat White Guy's as well - Oh, they only need one tap - Never mind.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 17, 2005 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry if I cover old ground as I don't have time to read all of the comments.

A techical note. Impeachment is only part of the process of removing a sitting president. The oter part is the trial. While Clinton was impeached, the Senate at his trial did notvote in sufficient numbers to remove him.

I have been advocating impeaching and removing Bush, oh the stink, for a year or more now on grounds relating to his Iraq war. This surveillance matter just adds another count. In my opinion, does really want to create a new, old reality in American life and politics. If you have the power you get to say what is going to happen. Forget about the laws, if they get in the way of the president's intentions.

Posted by: pete on December 17, 2005 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

So I guess if I were to some up your and most of the left's views on the whole 911 thing it would be to say: it would be better that we be willing to die as a nation, slaughtered to the last man, than to violate our own laws or Constitution.

I guess you and I have far different idea of what freedom really is. After serving 10 years in the Navy at least I can say I was willing to step out and defend you right to your views. What have you ever done for defending mine? - Wayne

Wow, I was all ready to hop all over dubya and then came Wayne. I will begin by saying that I was in the Navy for four years attaining a rank of HM2 before being honorably discharged and before I signed up I had a moment where I had to decide if I were willing to put my life on the line for the people I most despised. Did I want to die defending the rights of Klansmen so they could infect others with their hate? Would I die for the rights of neo-nazi skinheads to be the kind of assholes that skinheads tend to be? Could I die for the self-righteous christian bastards that constantly demeaned me for being a vile atheist?

I signed up because I believed in the Constitution and the country as a whole, even if bits of it made my skin crawl. I would lay down my life to preserve it and that goes for defending it against DOMESTIC as well as foreign threats! All I wanted to do was preserve life by becoming a Hospital Corpsman, I was never some ooh-rah kill-em-all type, but your cowardice makes me sick! What kind of shameless pussy are you anyway? Why the hell did you sign up? College money? Did daddy make you? Was it that or prison?

Damn but you make me violently ill, I have known many people in military service but none that would put voice such craven gutless words. Goddamn. Thanks for the service I guess, it's too bad you didn't believe in the thing you were sworn to defend.

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on December 17, 2005 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

Awww, Tyco, I'm tired of sitting in the dark and being fed bullshit...

Now Tommy, you know that's how little mushrooms grow. We wouldn't want you to leave the green mist and enter into the harsh sunlight of corrupt political machinations. Besides - its horseshit, not bullshit. Much more nourishing for young spores.

Posted by: Tyco Bass on December 17, 2005 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

Tyco:

Now, don't go getting a big head over this. You're just mad because I dropped a Brumblium paperweight on your foot last week. Wow, now there were some compressible bones...

BTW, you sound like you've been dipping into those mushrooms that turn blue when you pick them.

Posted by: tbrosz on December 17, 2005 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

This is the same Bush that can't put two sentences together without stumbling over his words if he isn't reading from a script? Better grades than Kerry? Perhaps but an absolute earsore to hafta hear converse.

Posted by: robbymack on December 17, 2005 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

you sound like you've been dipping into those mushrooms that turn blue when you pick them

Ha ha, you're being metaphorical again! I have been meaning to speak with you in regards to your Kool-Aid habit. Are you sure you should be drinking as much as you have been? You know, they say it's very habit forming, and the artifical content can cause unprovoked anger, especially when all you imbibe is cherry. Now be nice to the rest of the children, and I'll let you come back to Basidium, provided you obtain enough government funding.

Night, night -

Uncle Tyco

Posted by: Tyco Bass on December 17, 2005 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

And seriously what does a declaration of war ON FUCKING IRAQ hafta do with domestic spying? Are we about to be attacked by an airforce emanating from Najaf? Is the Basra navy gonna launch a massive submarine blitz toward our shores? We declared war on a tactic that's been around in one form or another FOREVER. You can't defeat terrorism anymore than you can beat drunkdriving. You juss hafta be able to minimise the risk from each. Should we make every single driver blow into a steering wheel mechanism to make sure he/she is sober before getting behind a wheel? It sure would eliminate the scourge of DWI and all its related hardships.

Posted by: robbymack on December 17, 2005 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK

After the Veterans Day speech that made me think my head was going to explode (that was where Chimpy accused *democrats* of rewriting history), I went down to my local license plate office and got myself a fine plate that I've been sporting since just after Thanksgiving:

MPCH W

Depending on how many letters your state allows, you might get the whole word. Anyway, I say we go for all fifty states, with as many variations as possible.

Posted by: JMG on December 17, 2005 at 1:42 AM | PERMALINK

These are all talking points originating from those legal geniuses over at Powertools. The same ones that predicted the Wilson's would be indicted. Bush will be impeached before the end of his term. The GOP could actually save their party from being consigned to the dustbin of history if they acted "pre-emptively" to protect it, rather than wait for the inevitable Democratic majority in 2006. One way or another, it's no longer a question of " if" but "when".

Posted by: Bye-Bye Bushy on December 17, 2005 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

One way or another, it's no longer a question of " if" but "when".

You have more confidence in the intelligence of the American electorate than I do. Remember P.T. Barnum - Karl Rove's mentor.

Posted by: LW Phil on December 17, 2005 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

My apologies H. L. Mencken

Posted by: LW Phil on December 17, 2005 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK
Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded...

In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people...

[There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and . . . degeneracy of manners and of morals. . . .

No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. . . .

Seduction of minds. How some things never change.

Posted by: James Madison on December 17, 2005 at 1:55 AM | PERMALINK

Check out a site dedicated to the absurdity of saying "It's All George Bush's Fault!"

http://www.itsallgeorgebushsfault.com

Regards,
Notta Libb

Posted by: Notta Libb on December 17, 2005 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

There is no law being broken. International communication interception does not require a warrant. United States to any International destination or the REVERSE is not protected under the 4th amendment. This all is developed under FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE. ANY internal (DOMESTIC TO DOMESTIC) wiretapping still requires a warrant, pursuant to the 4th amendment.

Using the UBL to Atta analogy, it would not matter one whit whether or not Atta or UBL was inside the US at the time. If BOTH had been in the US, a warrant would be requred for the surveillance. Since communication would have occurred to a foreign source, no warrant is required.

Also, if your US/Foreign communications give details of a criminal plan in the US and it's not related at all to any foreign intelligence, the folks doing the surveillance on your foreign correspondence would likely alert the FBI about your plotting a crime and the FBI will get a warrant authorizing DOMESTIC surveillance on you as well.

Our current President has not committed any crime. I am sure that the Congressional Intel committees are fully aware of the scope of this. The rest of us do not know the full scope of this program as it is a CLASSIFIED program.

The real issue is whomever leaked information about a CLASSIFIED program should be prosecuted for damaging National Security.

Posted by: Guest on December 17, 2005 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

Should we make every single driver blow into a steering wheel mechanism to make sure he/she is sober before getting behind a wheel? It sure would eliminate the scourge of DWI and all its related hardships.

That would probably be better than the system we have now, which allows for the arrest and conviction of people who are less a danger to others on the road than inattentive or sleepy sober drivers, who are far more numerous and cause far more accidents, fatal and otherwise. NHTSA pads the stats. If an intoxicated pedestrian, (one beer) is involved in a traffic accident, it become an alcohol related statistic. Ridiculous. MADD and other organizations like it have been taken over by neo-prohibitionists. Yes. The Prohibitionist party is still with us. Google it. They are the longest running third party in America and they will never be happy until they can rid the "demon rum" from us, again.

The problem with your idea is once the car was started, what's going to stop you from drinking and driving, or having a sober person start it for you. The system we have now is no better, but if a reliable level of BAC measuring could be achieved by cutaneous means from hands on the wheel, and a reasonable level of intoxication be established, (.08 is ridiculously low), it might work.

Posted by: Drunkard on December 17, 2005 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

Check out a site dedicated to the absurdity of saying "It's All George Bush's Fault!

Oooh, what a post! I'm convinced! I've renounced the left. George and Jesus! Forget Jesus...George, I worship you, I have seen the light thanks to the divine servant Notta Lib...hmm that's a subtle pseudonym, wonder what it means???

Posted by: dante on December 17, 2005 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

One way or another, it's no longer a question of " if" but "when".

You have more confidence in the intelligence of the American electorate than I do. Remember P.T. Barnum - Karl Rove's mentor.

Posted by: LW Phil on December 17, 2005

I'm a big fan of Mencken, and his predecessor of cynicism, Ambrose Bierce. Barnum said there was a sucker born every minute, but even a sucker can only be taken so many times. If you read the trolls on this thread, you begin to realize that they are running out of suckers. The stuff they are coming up with doesn't persuade children.

Posted by: ByE -Bye Bushy on December 17, 2005 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

The real issue is whomever leaked information about a CLASSIFIED program should be prosecuted for damaging National Security.

Exactly! And we need to prosecute the Wilsons, too!

Posted by: American idiot! on December 17, 2005 at 2:15 AM | PERMALINK

The real issue is whomever leaked information about a CLASSIFIED program should be prosecuted for damaging National Security.

And the Clinton's, and Carter, and Ted Kennedy, and JFK, too, for failing us at the Bay of Pigs!

Posted by: Guest Idiot on December 17, 2005 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

PATRIOT, n.
One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the whole. The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors.

PATRIOTISM, n.
Combustible rubbish read to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.

In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first.

Posted by: Old Gringo on December 17, 2005 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

The stuff they are coming up with doesn't persuade children

True, but even the best of them; tbrosz, Joe Schmoe, red state Mike, aren't engaging in dialogue, but regurgitating talking points. I don't consider myself omniscient, but I'm not sure the other side has the same caveat.

Posted by: LW Phil on December 17, 2005 at 2:22 AM | PERMALINK

RIGHT, n.
Legitimate authority to be, to do or to have; as the right to be a king, the right to do one's neighbor, the right to have measles, and the like. The first of these rights was once universally believed to be derived directly from the will of God; and this is still sometimes affirmed in partibus infidelium outside the enlightened realms of Democracy; as the well known lines of Sir Abednego Bink, following:

By what right, then, do royal rulers rule?
Whose is the sanction of their state and pow'r?
He surely were as stubborn as a mule
Who, God unwilling, could maintain an hour
His uninvited session on the throne, or airHis pride securely in the Presidential chair.

Whatever is is so by Right Divine;
Whate'er occurs, God wills it so. Good land!
It were a wondrous thing if His design
A fool could baffle or a rogue withstand!
If so, then God, I say (intending no offence)
Is guilty of contributory negligence.


LIBERTY, n.
One of Imagination's most precious possessions.

The rising People, hot and out of breath,
Roared around the palace: "Liberty or death!"
"If death will do," the King said, "let me reign;
You'll have, I'm sure, no reason to complain."
Martha Braymance


Ambrose Bierce

The Devil's Dictionary

Posted by: Old Gringo on December 17, 2005 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

but I'm not sure the other side has the same caveat.

The "other side" is smaller than you think. They just have a bullhorn, smoke and mirrors.

Posted by: Bye Bye Bushy on December 17, 2005 at 2:30 AM | PERMALINK

I lack the patience to read through 235 comments. But as (1) an attorney who (2) voted reluctantly for Bush, I agree that the Times' allegations are very serious indeed. I'm not sure whether they should amount to impeachible offenses -- not "they don't", but I'm really not sure yet. They certainly merit further investigation. I also support investigating who leaked the information, and why -- this may also represent a criminal offense by the leakers. Though if they're protected by "whistleblower" laws, fine.

I also thought it was proper to impeach Clinton for lying under oath in a civil case -- and I thought it fair enough that he escaped conviction on that charge. I'm neither a Republican nor a Democrat, and it surprises me little to see members of either party abusing their authority. I just want to see them called to account for it, and this seems to me the best argument to date for a legal attack on President Bush.

Posted by: Shelby on December 17, 2005 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

Mencken also said...

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin cutting throats. -- H.L. Mencken"

Do you suppose he was a terrorist, or a patriot, or both?

Posted by: Old Gringo on December 17, 2005 at 3:26 AM | PERMALINK

@ Hilzoy

Sooooo.... if I understand you correctly instead of Bush overseeing the approval of the NSA to spy on what is described as selected national security targets during a time where there were domestic national security threats, he should have instead let the NSA conduct the same surveilence on all US citizens all the time at their own discretions like his predecessors did.

Bush signing stuff and therefor acknowledging that he knew what the NSA does on a daily basis being the problem here. Right.

And yet the impeachment of Bush for this is compared to Clinton's lying impeachment rather than his non-impeachment for the exact same thing. Right.

Posted by: Tank on December 17, 2005 at 4:10 AM | PERMALINK

THE CIVIL WAR
Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the war and this is what the Supreme Court had to say about that and other infringements on civil liberty:

Ex Parte Milligan (1866)

"The constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and peace, and covers with its shield of protection all classes of men, at all times and under all circumstances. No doctrine involving more pernicious consequences was ever invented by the wit of men that any of its great provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of Government."

http://usinfo.state.gov/usa/infousa/facts/democrac/26.htm

Posted by: Steve J. on December 17, 2005 at 5:21 AM | PERMALINK

"Section 1811 of Chapter 36 contains some exceptions for a time of war. [...]
Posted by: tbrosz on December 16, 2005 at 4:21 PM"

According to the NYT, the order was signed in 2002. Iraq is irrelevant.

Posted by: SP (at work) on December 17, 2005 at 5:48 AM | PERMALINK


"If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." - President James Madison

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on December 17, 2005 at 5:56 AM | PERMALINK

What a great piece. Looks like the NYT may've started the ball rolling to possible impeachment. Now wouldn't that be a coup (so to speak) for them? One they don't deserve since Keller seems to have valued the story he had so little that he allowed it to sit on the shelf for an entire yr.

This story has just as much drama & complications as Plamegate/Millergate.

BTW, I've written a post about this at my blog & would love to know if any political cartoonists have written about this yet. I've only found a single cartoon about it (& it wasn't good or funny enough for the enormity of this story). Pls. e mail me at richards1052 at comcast dot net if you know of a link to something good.

Thanks, Richard

Posted by: Richard Silverstein on December 17, 2005 at 5:58 AM | PERMALINK

On the contrary, a second impeachment, this time on substantive and real grounds would be GOOD for the country, and constitute the healthy catharsis of justice, rather than a "trauma" for the nation.

The idea that impeachment would be a "trauma" is utterly and completely ludicrous.

It would be GOOD for the country to exercise the very mechanism identified as the just recourse for the damage inflicted on the body politic through "high crimes and misdemeanors." Effective redress of grievances and the effective, operative demonstration that ALL are accountable before the law would demonstrate that we still have a FUNCTIONING and HEALTHY country -- something we can't count on at this point, given the evidence in hand.

You're acting like America is some sort of weak sister, when
impeachment is a good and necessary medicine that improves the national spirit. We know Bush has long ago crossed that line; without acting on impeachment, we allow the wound to fester and infect the body politic as a whole.

______
I always like what I've read by hilzoy, but this makes NO sense:

"I am normally extremely wary of talking about impeachment. I think that impeachment is a trauma for the country, and that it should only be considered in extreme cases. Moreover, I think that the fact that Clinton was impeached raises the bar as far as impeaching Bush: two traumas in a row is really not good for the country.."

Oh dear me, the country fain would swwooon!! Impeachment is NOT the trauma; the violations of the Constitition, the abuse of power, and the impunity before the law, the unresponsiveness to the people and to the national security interest, and the unaccountability in relation to the other branches of government -- THOSE are the trauma to the nation. Impeachment is no trauma at all -- it is the refreshing catharsis of a people made whole and a nation restored. It is the reparation of a betrayal, of a breach of trust.

But do not think it the COUNTRY that is the weak sister here. You do not need to protect us from the terrible, awful ordeal of actual redress of grievances! Redress if grievances, through the mechanism of impeachment, is where the gratifying, healing work of justice is carried out!

What's worse is the sloppy, sloppy thinking laid bare in the quote.

hilzoy writes that "Moreover, I think that the fact that Clinton was impeached raises the bar as far as impeaching Bush."

On the contrary, Clinton's impeachment LOWERS the bar in terms of the ease with which we ought to consider and undertake impeachment. If it's so damn imperative to impeach a Pres over a private matter, then surely a preemptive, undeclared war for which there was no evidence -- along with multiple violations of the law re civil liberties should FAR MORE EASILY SUFFICE in meeting that criterion.

If Bush's crime were the same as Clinton's, it would surely make no sense, whatsoever, to go easier on Bush simply because it had just been done during the previous few years.

If it was necessary the first time, then it would be equally necessary the second time.

Lastly, have you not been paying attention? AT ALL? These latest revelations are hardly a surprise; are hardly news; and are hardly the first in a stream of news stories that easily rise to the level of both necesssary and sufficient grounds to initiate and complete impeachment proceedings.

What gives? I know you're not that obtuse.

Posted by: SomberoFallout on December 17, 2005 at 7:23 AM | PERMALINK

>>An initial press report on any subject is almost always incomplete. If you really are set on a drastic remedy like impeachment it couldn't hurt to wait a few days until you know a little more than you do now.

But they didn't wait on the WMD information spouted by Judith Miller.

Carolyn Kay
MakeThemAccountable.com

Posted by: Carolyn Kay on December 17, 2005 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

Impeachment won't happen with a Republican Congress, sad to say.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 17, 2005 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

This time we will get it right!

Posted by: Benjamin Wade on December 17, 2005 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

You guys need to watch more MSNBC. I learned on "Scarborough Country" last night that the problem wasn't the spy thing at all; it was the "biased media" for having the gall to RUN the story on what should have been a good day for bush, being after those nice elections in Iraq. He and pat buchanan worked up a fine froth about it. He purported that it was deliberately timed to rain on the afterglow.

After the commercial break, he sheepishly backed down though, having actually SEEN the front page of the Times. As he showed us, five of the six columns above the fold were consumed by an enormous color photograph of, yes, happy, voting Iraqis, in the service of a great big story about same.

Way over at the edge (the LEFT edge of course) was one tiny column, with that scrunched headline type, containing the start of the spy story.

But our pal Joe Scarborough assured us that even though he was wrong about the times, the washington post really, truly did bum out the good news about the purple fingers and all. He didn't show the front page though.

It was hilarious.

Then it was time for the next story, some wheeze from months ago about a sting operation with a phony child entrapping supposed molesters, complete with (already shown) video of confrontation with the would-be molesters. No clear reason given for hauling this out right now, when there happened to have been a spying scandal breaking.

Hmmmmm...

Posted by: clicktosubmit on December 17, 2005 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

Raised the bar? For going after a private matter?

In Johnson's case, they went after him for political matters - He fired Stanton in defiance of the Tenure Act - He also had vetoed the Freedman Act and the Civil Rights Act. The Radical Republicans were furious with his soft handling of Southerners.

So we have one private matter and one of political disputes and we can't go after Twig for violations of the law?

Benjamin Wade was correct in 1868 - If it had not been for that damnable Kansan, and Profiles in Courage be damned, Johnson would have been convicted.

If they could come so close on purely political matters, then surely we should be able to go after this criminal. However, Bob's point is well taken.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 17, 2005 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

Secular, jefff, Mercury,

The angst over Cheney is vastly overstated for a number of reasons. For example unlike Gore Cheney hasn't spent his time as VP running for President so he's never done the peacock act of constantly preening for cameras. He's been content to stay in the background and running the country totally obvilious to his own polls.

In fact, I think he takes great pleasure in tweaking the useful idiots. You are aware he often selects a smaller plane for travel so he can evict more of the press poll including the NY Times.

Once it becomes clear he's going to be the next POTUS Karl Rove and Ken Mehlmen will swing into action with a PR campaign reminding us of his lifelong devotion to the good ole USA.

I'm not quite sure why libs are so GaGa over impreachment aside from the silly notion it won't make Slick Willies impeachment look so bad. You'd do better to get him to sell a few hundred pardons.

In any event you should be aware there is a large number of conservatives who would have preferred Cheney over GWB in the 1st place.

There won't be an impeachment anyway except on the lefty blogs but I'd think after 20 of them you'd be getting better at it. This is just a stupid as the rest of them.

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

Ah yes, once again Wootenthewitless crawls out of his hovel to regale us all with his tremendous knowledge - Still want to talk about the "acting Senator from South Carolina, Max Cleland, voting against the Patriot Act because of concerns for the unions, and the good right to work people of South Carolina voting him out"?

A little too much "Christmas Swill from the White House" do you in, Witless?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 17, 2005 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

The angst over Cheney is vastly understated for a number of reasons. For example unlike Gore Cheney hasn't spent his time as VP running for President because he's actually already the acting president and George is just the figurehead. He's been content to stay in the background and running the country totally obvilious to his own polls knowing that he's being paid well by his Halliburton masters. He cares about money and power not popularity.

In fact, I think he takes great pleasure in thumbing his nose at the law and subverting the constitution. You are aware he often selects a smaller plane for travel so he can evict more of the press poll including the NY Times so there's no one around to report on his criminal activities.

Once it becomes clear he's going to be the next one indicted by Fitzgerald for his treacherous leaks and corruption Karl Rove and Ken Mehlmen will swing into action with a progaganda campaign lying to us about his lifelong devotion to the good ole USA.

I'm not quite sure why cons are so GaGa over impreachment aside from their fear that it will be all over for them and they'll be exposed. You'd do better to get George to sell a few hundred pardons. Even without impeachment Dick and George are in real dandger of being arrested for war crimes and crimes against humanity and sent to the Hague with their buddy Milosevic if they're caught when they leave the country after their terms are up.

In any event you should be aware there is a large number of conservatives who would have preferred Cheney over GWB in the 1st place.

Posted by: wdr on December 17, 2005 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

There is no stomach in this country for another impeachment. What the country really wants is a return to a civil thoughtful society, real Congressional oversight, and for the next three years to come as quickly as possible.

Posted by: aline on December 17, 2005 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Hilzoy writes, "And Javelina would know -- she's known me for -- oh God -- twenty eight years. (Can that possibly be true?)"

Let's see, Fall 1977 -- yep, your math is accurate. Aigh. (Think I'll prove ongoing youthfulness by going for refreshing 3-mile run now -- or then again, not.)

Re other posts, quoting Mencken and Bierce is always highly entertaining, but don't y'all find that it's usually all too easy to find a Mencken or Bierce quote that contradicts the one you just used, or takes it in a direction you didn't want to go?

The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind. - Thomas Paine

Posted by: javelina on December 17, 2005 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Its OK to talk about impeachment if you wish, but realize that this is just masturbation.
This country has a failed constitution. Only Presidents hated by Congress have impeachment proceedings and Congress will always fold when the final vote comes- just as they refuse to vote yes or no for declarations of war since WWII, they back off when it comes to actually removing a President from office. We have a Potemkin separation of powers- the executive does what he wants, always in the name of national security and Congress gets rich from lobbyist donations. This is the kind of government that the world needs?
Bush was assured by John Yoo that he has the right to do anything- torture, bomb and spy. Why not impeach Yoo, Rice and the other bootlickers in Bushs crowd? They do his dirty work. I know that Yoo is now ensconced in the allegedly liberal bastion, UC Berkeley.

Posted by: anciano on December 17, 2005 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

thirdpaul,

No, but I'll be plently happy to talk about the Ex-Senator of Georgia who listened to Tommy Daschle and Slick Willie and voted against the homeland security act and was EVICTED from office after a brilliantly managed campaign by George W. Bush and the architech, aka, Karl Rove.

If you remember that was in 2002 when Bill Clinton, so bitter at GWB for denying him a 3rd term and extending his record as the worst party leader of the 20th Century, thought he had a shot to defeat Jeb Bush running a 2nd term for Governor of now Red State Florida. Except is was merely another example of Bill Clinton letting his passions manage his brain. At least his time is wasn't his zipper. In any event Slick Willie decided to tranfer campaign funds from Georgia to Florida in the hopes of defeating Jeb Bush in an amount in excss of $5M.

I think Bill's comment at the time was:
"One Bush down, One more to go!" actually that could have been McAuliffe but what matters is Jeb won by 14% so it's clear Bill's incredible, historic political instincts were a frikkin disaster. Ask Max, thanks to the loss of those millions he lost and is still bitter abot it. If you can't locate Max try Roy Barns. He was the incumbant governor. Roy even had to cancel plane tickets to Iowa where he was planning to campaign for the 2004 Presidential race. Oops!!!

So 3rd Paul, this narrative more to your liking?

If you wonder conservatives tremble at the thought of the smartest man in politics, of this age or any other, William Jefferson Clinton, getting back to running the party you can understand our great fear. Even though it's going on 12 years now our bitter memory of how he outsmarted us in 1994 is still painful. I can't tell you how much I dread this 2006 election cycle knowing we're in for our 6th consecutive ass whupping. You've got us just where you want us!

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

wdr,

And who pray tell will arrest George and Dick?

The French? I think not!

You could elect Jimmy Carter again and they still wouldn't have the balls. Cowards have a nose for danger. They know Jimmy would be paralyzed but Jacques understands the Marines would eliminate Carter just as quickly as they would eliminate him.

To be honest, I'd love to see it happen. Red State America would vote to nuke France in a heartbeat.

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

wdr,

give up on cheney and fitz. cheney doesn't talk to reporters so he didn't leak anything and he didn't testify in front of the grand jury so their's no possible obstruction.

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

If you wonder conservatives tremble at the thought of the smartest man in politics, of this age or any other, William Jefferson Clinton, getting back to running the party you can understand our great fear.

The smartest, and, as it turns out from a recent survey, far more popular than Bush:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush ranks as the least popular and most bellicose of the last ten U.S. presidents, according to a new survey.

Only nine percent of the 662 people polled picked Bush as their favorite among the last 10 presidents. John F. Kennedy topped that part of the survey, with 26 percent, closely followed by Bill Clinton (25 percent) and Ronald Reagan (23 percent).

http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2005-12-16T194126Z_01_DIT670778_RTRUKOC_0_US-BUSH-PRESIDENTS.xml&archived=False

Posted by: Stefan on December 17, 2005 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

The "other side" is smaller than you think. They just have a bullhorn, smoke and mirrors.

and the WH, Senate, House, Most Governorships, Most State Houses, the Supreme Court and best of all, they don't have Howard Dean, John Kerry, Teddy Kennedy or Slick Willie.

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

cheney doesn't talk to reporters so he didn't leak anything and he didn't testify in front of the grand jury so their's no possible obstruction.

Cheney doesn't talk to reporters?!? And yet I could swear I've seen him giving interviews on TV, read interviews with him in newspapers, etc. Is this just one of Cheney's many look-alikes who does that?

And yeah, Cheney leaked. And you don't have to testify in front of a grand jury to get charged with obstruction.

Posted by: Stefan on December 17, 2005 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Cowards have a nose for danger.

Which is why Bush, Cheney, DeLay, Lott, Gingrich, Wolfowitz, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, etc. refused to fight in Vietnam and why so many chickenhawks today such as Johan Goldberg and Michelle Malkin are afraid to fight in Iraq.

Posted by: Stefan on December 17, 2005 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

As I look at this whole issue, it continues to strike me that there's something here that we don't yet grasp.

As I pointed out upthread, one fact anomalous with the claim that this would be a clear violation of the law is that, presumably, a number of Democratic Congresspeople on the Intel committee seemed to have acquiesced with Bush's decisions here, at least to the extent that, for years, they never went public with any kind of protest.

On the other hand, we have other members of Congress, including the Republican Senator Arlen Spector, who are demanding an investigation of the matter. So is what Bush did a flagrant violation of the law, or not?

In any case, calling for impeachment under these murky circumstances seems premature. Maybe it's a good political strategy -- I've always believed that every political argument needs a fanatic to overstate the case so that the public can take that argument, divide it in half, and find the correct place to be. But it's hardly realistic, at least given what I've heard so far, to think that impeachment is a serious option here, even should the Dems come back to power in Congress in 2006.

What I DO think is that Bush can and should be damaged politically by this move. There is a reason the NSA has not been allowed to conduct surveillance domestically in the past, and that case can be made effectively before the American people.

I also wish Hilzoy would make some effort to establish the entire context of the laws concerning this action by Bush. It's easy to quote a particular law that Bush certainly appears on its face to have violated, as she has done. But this strikes me as a bit naive. What we don't know is how that law interacts with other laws or regulations or customs that may apply to the case, including the whole issue of separation of powers and the issue of being "at war". Absent this context, quoting this law means rather little. And the fact that a number of Democratic Congresspeople, who presumably have some sense of this context, did not register a protest, suggests that the entire context presents a less clear picture than one might at first conclude (although rank cowardice in them, or insufficient disclosure, might also explain it).

Posted by: frankly0 on December 17, 2005 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

stefan,

Ok, allow me to be clearer. This is hard for you I understand. Cheney talks to reporters in the same way Rumsfeld talks to reporters. In groups, with witnesses and almost always on videotape. There are no private telephone conversations or exchange of gossip. Reporters do not have Cheneys phone number at the office or at home and when they call hisoffice they do not get through.

You may be confusing them with Colin Powell. Colin served his purpose exceedingly well at the UN and with a media way to PC to ever attack a black man but his leaking got to be too mch nad he had to go.

As GWB said very recently. He values Cheney's advice because he's so very shrewd and he knows it won't be on the front page the next day.

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

The key to understanding the NSA spying, the Patriot Act provisions opposed by Feingold and others, the torture policy of the Bush administration, the selling of the Iraqi war, and any number of other issues is this: we are good Americans, they are not, thus any tactic we take is justified, and any avoidance of accountability is justified.

The Bush Administration wants to avoid accountability at all costs. Their MO for implementing policy is: any action is permissible so long as we can avoid going to jail. Only wimps are concerned with abiding by the law, or, the spirit of the law. Its us against them and them is anybody who disagrees with us.

So, how do they approach such matters as NSA spying, Patriot Act provisions opposed by Feingold and others, the torture policy of the Bush administration the selling of the Iraqi war? They get their political appointees in the Justice Department to write CYA documents, and then go to it. Often, these documents will remain secret for a good period of time.

It does not matter that most legal minds in the country will disagree with their legal justifications. People wont find out until much later.

It does not matter that that Congress never had the chance to pass judgment via debate, oversight, or merely by committee chairs (and ranking minority members) being notified.

It does not matter that the courts, if they had the chance, would rule against procedures approved by the Presidents executive orders, etc..

Nobody likes to handcuff a President when he is trying to deal with a real threat like terrorism. Certainly, few responsible people like to impeach a President for any reason. The Bush Administration takes advantage of this reluctance.


Posted by: little ole jim from red country on December 17, 2005 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

stefan,

What is it with liberals and poularity polls? I'll never get it. These are Presidents not prom queens.

We are all familiar with the problem of a contemporary evaluation. Especially with libs who tend toward hysterical when they're out of power. Look at Ronald Reagan. He was just as despised by libs in 1988. They were babbling about impeachment then as well. Today, aside from a few liberal acdemic freaks, who just knew that wall was going to fall at any moment anyway, Reagan is a God.

In a recent poll of sane historians Reagan was ranked 6th, JFK 19th and Clinton near 27. And let's face it as the people who fell for that camelot crap die off Kennedy will end up in the very middle. Clinton will remain below the midpoint because almost nothing happened and so many scandals outside the impeachment capped by the pardon sales.

The last thing I'd like to see is Howard Dean replaced at the DNC but if it has to happen please put in Bill Clinton. Maybe you can lose another 54 seats in 2006.

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney talks to reporters in the same way Rumsfeld talks to reporters. In groups, with witnesses and almost always on videotape. There are no private telephone conversations or exchange of gossip. Reporters do not have Cheneys phone number at the office or at home and when they call hisoffice they do not get through.

Nonsense, of course he does. I know several reporters who've spoken to Cheney in private, either in person or on the phone.

Posted by: Stefan on December 17, 2005 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

stefan,

This chickenhawk thing is as dumb as the prom queen thing.

We know GWB is among the brave because he flew jets in the TANG. If you don't believe me ask Dan Rather!

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

For all who believe that impeachment would leave the government in shambles...IT COULDN'T BE ANY WORSE THAN RIGHT NOW!!!

Posted by: H. Stevens on December 17, 2005 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

We know GWB is among the brave because he flew jets in the TANG

Yes, but half the time he was flying high on cocaine.

Posted by: Stefan on December 17, 2005 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

No, we won't impeach him with this Congress, but yes, this abuse is yet another justification for impeachment. (If I were King, he would have been in prison years ago.) For a sample of the long list of abuses that would qualify for Articles of Impeachment, google "impeach bush". While you're at it, sign the petition at www.impeachbush.org.

Posted by: grant on December 17, 2005 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

What is it with liberals and poularity polls? I'll never get it. These are Presidents not prom queens.

Oh, please, please, please, don't say something that absurd!

Do you have ANY memory of how many times and in how many ways right wingers would take ANY argument against Bush when Bush was at his height of popularity, and use that popularity as reason unto to itself to trash the argument?

Look, you guys had your easy days of glory when Bush was on top of the world and had his Teflon intact and could seem to do no wrong. Now his reputation is in the pits, and everything advantage he got when he was up is now another thing kicking him down.

Why don't you guys just suck it up and deal with the hard times as well as the good, instead of mewling like little children?

Posted by: frankly0 on December 17, 2005 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

stefan,

rummy and dick have the same policy. no gossip and all interviews are recorded. Each gets a written transcript of all interviews. Radio spots are done live so there's no editing and TV spots can be pre-taped but interviews run in there entirity.

They are well schooled with the MSM. They will not do a 20 minute interview with ABC if they are only going to show 3 minutes. They insist no editing be done to answers or they will not get the interview.

A while ago Rummy blasted Tim Russert on his TV show for taking his "we go to war with the army we have" totally out of context. He would not have done the show without that opportunity and he forced Russert to listen to him read the entire statement he made at that time and the fact Russert played a cheap trick.

In fact that sort of stuff doesn't work as well as it used to and Russert did more damage to himself than to Rummy.

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0

what hard times? The economy is booming and we've won a historic victory in Iraq. They just had an election with a 70% turnout. You can ignore it all you want. History won't.

Let's see, "GWB Free's 60M muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq starting a wave of freedom and liberty throughout the world."

"Bill Clinton meets with Yasir Arafat more than any world leader"

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

what hard times?

Uh, the hard times in which Bush has the popularity of Joey Buttafuoco. You know, the only kind of hard times Bush has ever cared about?

Posted by: frankly0 on December 17, 2005 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

rummy and dick have the same policy. no gossip and all interviews are recorded.

Except, of course, that this isn't true. They have frequent on background and off the record conversations with reporters.

Posted by: Stefan on December 17, 2005 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

BUSH STRIKES BACK [Byron York]

The president just delivered a very tough radio address -- live, not on tape, as is the usual practice -- responding to the controversy over the New York Times report on National Security Agency surveillance. The gist: the surveillance program is critical to security, legal, and carefully reviewed at various intervals -- and the leak of its existence was illegal:

This is on nationalreviewonline.com if interested. GWB will not be impeached. congress will have to investigate itself 1st and the NYTs 2nd. It seems with all of those ruling the Times lost in the Plame case their reporters could be in very serious legal jeopardy, as well as a few CIA types.

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Wooten The Witless,

Much too nice a day in Oregon to argue with an imbecile - Cold, but blue skys.

You showed your utter stupidity yesterday when you claimed that Max Cleland was an acting Senator from South Carolina and had voted against the Patriot Act because of union concerns.

You have not admitted to said stupidity.

Roy Barnes lost to Sonny Perdue because Sonny pulled the Race Card with the Stars and Bars flag debate in Georgia.

Max Cleland lost to "football knee" Saxby because of the "Patriotism card".

Bill Clinton could not run for a 3rd term because of a "little known amendment" that also precludes Twig from continuing the stench he has created.

Continue spewing your stupidity for the day, Witless.
Joyeux Noel, mon cher.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on December 17, 2005 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

The economy is booming and we've won a historic victory in Iraq.

Hey, we've won in Iraq! Time to bring the troops home!

Posted by: Stefan on December 17, 2005 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0

Have it your way. I'm telling you conservatives don't do the prom queen thing. Polls can say whatever you want them to say. We had the only poll that mattered last Novemeber.

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

stefan,

And coming home they are. As we speak 20,000 have started the trek and in the 1st Qtr another 20,000 will return. We'll be below 100,000 by mid summer and 75,000 by the next elections.

Considering we'll have pulled over 100,000 out of Germany since 2002 and 25,000 out of Japan and Korea GWB will have as many as 50,000 fewer troops stationed overseas than Slick Willie.

In fact, and this is way too early to call, but if the Sunni have quit the insurgency we'll pull more than 100,000 troops out by the summer and be below 40,000 by the election.

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

3rd Paul,

I did in fact admit I said SC rather than GA and I said patriot act rather than homeland security.

I was wrong. I was in error. You were correct and I was wrong.

But I wasn't wrong about Max. He is most definitely NOT a Senator.

I wasn't wrong about Roy. He is most definitely NOT a governor.

I'm not quite sure which of those fact you see as more important but I have my opinion.

Congrats my friend!

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

3rd paul,

I didn't realize the 3rd term thing would be so far over your head. My bad.

You see some Presidents are so popular that when they leave office after their 2nd term and their VP gets elected President some reporters give credit to the popular ex-President. Many refer to GHWBs term as Reagans 3rd term.

I don't think that's true or fair, at least in that case.

If Gore had won many pundits would have given credit to Bill Clinton and we all know Bill Clinton well enough to know he would have taken credit. It would have been commonly referred to as Bill's 3rd term.

Clinton did in fact see it as an opportunity affirmation of his Presidency but getting a rebuke. He was very bitter at GWB and remains so. His activities in the 2002 Governors race in Florida were the result of an irrational desire to unseat Jeb Bush for revenge on George. Clintons influence was toxic in both states. Jeb won by 14%. GA is now RED.

I do think Bill is a brilliant man and politically savvy. One of the worlds mysteries will be his excellent management of his own career but his disasterous management of the party. How could his own instincts be so good yet he be so toxic to others? My only guess is a combination of his own political skills being overstated and/or his lack of control over his negative passions, something he dealt with his entire life, clouded his judgement.

His attempt to beat Jeb is viewed as one of the worst political judgements he's ever made. It doesn't compare to 1994 but at least then Newt gets credit for a great job. This mistake was Bill and Bill alone.

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK
There is no stomach in this country for another impeachment. What the country really wants is a return to a civil thoughtful society, real Congressional oversight, and for the next three years to come as quickly as possible.

There is no such thing as "real Congressional oversight" if grave crimes are committed by the Executive without accountability -- which means, for such crimes, impeachment -- and there is no possibility of a return to "civil thoughtful society" without that, either. Since the resignation and pardon of Nixon -- supposedly to help heal the nation and avoid the national pain of a trial for his crimes -- the national dialogue has become increasingly poisonous. I suggest that was is needed is an emphatic demonstration that the President is not a dictator so long as he can hold office, that he can and will be held accountable through impeachment, removal, and criminal trial when he flagrantly violates the law and the Constitutional order of government. Only then will there be the possibility of a return to some kind of normalcy.

Posted by: cmdicely on December 17, 2005 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Fools

the CIA
MOTTO for
SIGINT
IS

'IN GOD WE TRUST
all ELSE ARE
MONITORED'

Posted by: Acksyn JAcksyn on December 17, 2005 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Why are the comments on Political Animal being censored?

When I attempted to post my previous comment, I originally used the word "forceful" instead of "emphatic". I received this message when I tried to post:

Your comment could not be submitted due to questionable content: f*orceful de

(without the asterisk)

Someone want to explain that?

Posted by: cmdicely on December 17, 2005 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

What the hell???

Posted by: Stefan on December 17, 2005 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

forceful

Just a test to see if it is still being censored.

Yes, as we pointed out yesterday--Bush will be impeached. The Congress will have to bring charges and begin the impeachment process.

This is a high crime and an abuse of Presidential power. Regardless of who is in the White House or the Congress, this crime sails over the top of that and is so repugnant that an impeachment trial will now have to go forward.

Or not.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 17, 2005 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Testing...

forceful

forceful

forceful

Posted by: frankly0 on December 17, 2005 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

In fact, and this is way too early to call, but if the Sunni have quit the insurgency we'll pull more than 100,000 troops out by the summer and be below 40,000 by the election.

That's a bold prediction -- that "if" all military resistance to the occupation ends, then the occupying forces will be able to stop combatting that military resistance. In simpler terms, it's merely saying "if people stop fighting us then we'll be able to stop fighting them." Pretty big "if."

Posted by: Stefan on December 17, 2005 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Well, that's strange.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 17, 2005 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Testing,

fuck

fucking

fuckable

Seems OK so far....

Posted by: Stefan on December 17, 2005 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Must have been a bug of some kind. There are a few blogs that won't let you type certain words.

I stopped commenting on "In These Times" because Mr. Rabbit and I were slaying a vicious air force troll and when I went to post:

"...that is the chink in your armor..."

It refused to allow the word chink because of the racist connotation that goes along with it.

So which members of the House are going to step forward and become the managers for the Impeachment? It should be a bipartisan effort and it should not include the likes of Duncan Hunter.

As for the Senate, Feingold was on CNN this morning and he looked to be about the only sane person in this debate. His lone vote against the Patriot Act is starting to look extremely wise right now.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 17, 2005 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

We have a separation of powers for a reason. Congress will never control the WH unless we get a weak President. GWB is a fighter pilot. Teddy K has his place and that's where he'll stay.

You can't hyper-veniliate every time some flake utters the "I" word. At least find out what's happened before the mindless speculating. You've done it so often it no longer has any effect. It's now associated with political partisanship with a halflife of 6 seconds outside lefty blogs.

BTW: This is normalcy. Bill Clinton created the constant campaign after 1994 sowe get all hardball all the time. This is what it is. Liberals cheer everytime Senator Levin puts a hold on an administration apppointment. Exactly what do you think is going to happen if Hillary wins in 2008? I'd bet right now she gets less than 1/2 her appointments thru before the mid-terms.

Get used to it.

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

rdw,

Except that the laws Bush43 broke by authorizing the NSA to collect on US Persons was enacted and signed into law by order of President Ronald Reagan.

Irony is a bitch, isn't it?

This is way, way beyond normalcy at this point. You have the President of the United States going on television this morning to tell the entire world that he is above the law.

No good American can put up with that.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 17, 2005 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

pale rider,

I think Russ is the most honest, principled and sanest of the democratic Senators. Although I realize he's the more geniune lefty of all the serious candidates I respect him. If I knew the Democrates were to win in 2006 I'd hope it was Russ long before Hillary, Kerry, Edwards, Dean, Richardson, Biden, etc.

Does he really have a shot?

Everything I read says he Clintons are a shoo-in.

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

DUM DUM DA DUM DUM BEAT THE IMPEACHMENT DRUM

Low bar, high bar--Bush vaulted over all bars by leading the nation to a bloody, destructive war based on a continuous feed of lies. Add America the Torturer and now America the SpIed On and Bush is due for triple impeachment.

But there is an URGENT practical case to be made for impeachment. It is arguably the best or only way to salvage anything of Bush's Iraq horror. If the US fully repudiates Bush/Cheney in a successful impeachment, we can then turn to the Iraqis, neighboring nations, and the wider world and declare that America--having drummed out the criminals--is now prepared to sit down and work out an international solution, backed up, of course, with the pledge of resources necessary to rectify the mess we caused.

Impeaching Bush is the only viable Iraq exit strategy.

Posted by: geo on December 17, 2005 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Pale rider,

You are whistling into the wind. There's no there, there.

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

rdw,

What is the Presidential line of succession, by the goddamned way?

And what the fuck does Senator Kennedy have to do with this?

I would think long and hard about this: Rep. Dennis Hastert should be President. For the good of the country, both Bush and Cheney should sort of get the message and step down.

What should terrify every American is that Senator Ted Stevens is fourth, as the President pro tempore of the Senate.

Yes, Condi Rice is fifth. Chertoff has been moved up, Snow is ahead of Rumsfeld and Gonzales.

This has gone way, way beyond politics at this point. We now have the criminal presidency.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 17, 2005 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

The there that IS there is what Bush said on TV this morning.

That clip where he says that everything he did was consistent with his constitutional powers--an absolute lie.

He violated the law signed by President Reagan in 1982 that clearly forbids collecting information on US persons.

It must terrify you to know that your President is going to now face certain impeachment and trial, probably some type of jail term, perhaps 10 years.

Terrifying.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 17, 2005 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

I stopped commenting on "In These Times" because Mr. Rabbit and I were slaying a vicious air force troll and when I went to post:"...that is the chink in your armor..." It refused to allow the word chink because of the racist connotation that goes along with it.

It's a slippery slope, isn't it? Pretty soon you're only typing gobbledy-gook.

Posted by: Stefan on December 17, 2005 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

If Clinton had done this, he would certainly have been impeached and removed from office. I would have wholeheartedly supported that if he had just done what Bush did.

No, sorry trolletariat--spin all you want, your President faces impeachment, removal from office, and at least ten years in prison.

It had to have been Andy Card that wrote that speech this morning--it all but convicts Bush and all but cements the case for impeachment. No way Karl Rove would have okayed the speech.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 17, 2005 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

Normally, one would not see such a niggardly post from you.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 17, 2005 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Pale,

Bet you a guinea you're wrong -- but then you'd only welsh on the bet.

Posted by: Stefan on December 17, 2005 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

And now I'm going to hell....ah well, it was a good ride while it lasted....

Posted by: Stefan on December 17, 2005 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

I'm late the the discussion, but isn't all this talk about Presidential ability during time of war moot as the war officially ended several years ago???? We are there now to assist and maintain the peace, no? We are not in an offical period of declared war these days.....

Impeach. If anything, it will help people to remember the constitution and the laws by which this country was founded upon. (I know, impeachment is not a legal proceding, but it will get people talking about right and wrong with regard to the law, and hopefully about something more important that oral sex).

PAX

Posted by: AC on December 17, 2005 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

Keep it up and I'll wop you upside your head.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 17, 2005 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

This is the best explanation for the significance of what Bush did this morning.
Hey, don't believe me. Let's get a lawyer in here.

Martin Garbus:

Martin Garbus is a partner in the law firm of Davis & Gilbert LLP and one of the country's leading trial lawyers. Mr. Garbus aggressively represents his clients in the courts and in the media. He has appeared before the United States Supreme Court as well as the highest state and federal courts in the nation. His devotion to ethics, justice and the law has earned him respect among the legal community and beyond as well as prominent awards. Time Magazine has named him "legendary . . . one of the best trial lawyers in the country," while Newsweek , the National Law Journal and other media agree that Mr. Garbus is America's "most prominent First Amendment lawyer," with an "extraordinarily diverse practice." The National Law Journal named him one of the country's top ten litigators.

He wrrites this:

Today, for two separate reasons, has been an incredible day in America. First, the United States has legitimized torture and secondly, the President has admitted to an impeachable offense.

First, the media has been totally misled on the alleged Bush-McCain agreement on torture. McCain capitulated. It is not a defeat for Bush. It is a win for Cheney.

Torture is not banned or in any way impeded.

Under the compromise, anyone charged with torture can defend himself if a "reasonable" person could have concluded they were following a lawful order.

That defense "loophole" totally corrodes the ban. It is the CIA, or the torturing agency, who will decide what a "reasonable" person could have concluded. Can you imagine those agencies in the interrogation business torturing on their own in trying to decide what is reasonable or what is not? What is not "reasonable" if the interrogator (wrongfully or rightfully) believes he has a ticking-bomb situation? Will a CIA or military officer issue a narrow order if he knows his interrogator believes, in this case, torture will work?

The Bush-McCain torture compromise legitimizes torture. It is the first time that has happened in this country. Not in the two World Wars, Korea, the Cold War or Vietnam did the government ever seek or get the power this bill gives them.

The worst part of it is that most of the media missed it and got it wrong.

Secondly, the President in authorizing surveillance without seeking a court order has committed a crime. The Federal Communications Act criminalizes surveillance without a warrant. It is an impeachable offense. This was also totally missed by the media.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 17, 2005 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

No matter. This is just another crime in the series. Bottom line: GW Bush is NOT GUILT by reason of the Presidency. That's a fact, and it's not a new one, either:
NOT GUILTY!


Posted by: Reg on December 17, 2005 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider,

You forgot your meds today. You are way over-excited and will soon be very depressed.

As much as I agree with Martin on the torture ban, it is pure PR and like campaign finance reform, a waste, Martin has no idea about impeachable crimes.

Bush not only approved the eaves-dropping, he's done so 30 times.


Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

GWB is a fighter pilot.

RDW

LMAO! I'll have what he's having, barkeep!

Pilgrim, you don't know when to shut up.

Posted by: John Wayne on December 17, 2005 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

John,

OK excuse my English.

George W. Bush WAS a fighter pilot.

Don't take my word for it. Ask Dan Rather.

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

As a political manouver, the Democrats in the House should push for impeachment on this just to put Republicans in the uncomfortable position of having to explain why they supported impeaching Clinton over his sexual conduct, but refush to support impeaching Bush over breaking the law.

Can't wait to see how the Republicans try to rhetorically wiggle of of that!

Posted by: MattW on December 17, 2005 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

AC,

Of Course we remember the constitution and that's not because of the impeachment but due to the efforts of the brightest legal minds of our age such as Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia. In 2001 the US Supreme Court wisely and bravely stepped in and stopped the Florida Supreme Court from highjacking a national election.

Think about it. If not for 7 Supreme Court justices 30M Afghans would not be free and the Hussein family would still be killing innocents.

Actually George won all the recounts anyway but it was important for the top courts to restore the law.

They did and America remains the greatest nation on Gods green earth.

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

I know how to drive a car. That doesn't mean I'm a race car driver. You know how to type. That doesn't mean you are a writer. Bush was in the TANG and he was there to keep his useless chickenshit ass out of being a real fighter pilot. Good men died so cowardly craven scum like you and Bush can afflict us till you die of old age. You make me puke. Hurry up and die and please don't have children that live.

Posted by: John Wayne on December 17, 2005 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

About McCain's torture bill -- aside from the fact that unpleasant treatment or pressure is not "torture" -- McCain himself allowed that in an emergency "sometimes you do what you have to do" or something to that effect.
The problem with having a feel-good law on the books covering a gray area is that those who "do what they have to do" (which in dire enough circumstances most people support within reason) can be hung out to dry, scapegoated.

On this whole NSA business... I'm not thrilled about it but Bush's people DID inform oversight members of Congress from BOTH parties, as well as informing some of the relevant judges.

Don't let NYT lead you too far out on a limb.

Posted by: newscaper on December 17, 2005 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Mattw,

Why on earth would the Democrats want to keep bringing up Bill Clinton? Do you really want to continue to be the party of last century?

Here's what the GOP will say, "The question isn't why did we impeach Bill for lying under oath to a federal judge but why DIDN'T we impeach him for selling 200 pardons to people like Marc Rich and people who helped Hillary.

Give the GOP a shot to drag Hillary into it. Real smart!!!!

Of course with this group of leaders I understand why you go back to Slick Willie all the time but it's not smart.

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

If memory serves, the French had a rather effective way of dealing w/ recalcitrant monarchs. Something about cake...

Posted by: bob the nihilist on December 17, 2005 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

So let me try and put this together. Bush violates his oath of office and the Constitution by ordering illegal wire taps that he could have gotten through legal methods to obtain intelligence against people that could never be used in court? He then gets around that by picking these persons up as people of interest and then declaring them enemy compatants which means they can be held un-charged for an indefinite period of time and without the benefit of legal counsal. Which means he can then take these "enemy combatants" to secret prison around the world and "question" them using methods not approved or sanctioned by the Geneva Conventions? And Bush can order this simply by being Commander-In-Chief because his legal people say he can do whatever he wants because we are in a narrowly defined war against an unnamed foe?
Did I get most of that right?
And Bush has the arrogance to accuse the people who exposed his illegal actions as the bad guys?
How can anyone of either party, especially the so-called conservatives defend these practices & actions?
I'm left here wondering, this is America?

Posted by: Nathan on December 17, 2005 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

John Wayne,

Sorry but I fit that conservative stereotype that says we're breeding liberals out of existance. At age 52 I have 4 kids and 3 grandkids.

If you are aware of the theory of evolution and natural selection this should not be a shock. How perfect is it that the zero population growth folk, all far left, are not having any kids? It's very good for humanity the morons don't pass their gene's on.

I think if you look backward at the last couple/few censuses and consider the forecast for 2010 you'll see I know of what I speak. The blue states are clearly depopulating.

My kids have also been raised correctly. They know for example if it's in the NY Times it's wrong. If it's on ABC it's probably wrong. One of my proudest teaching moments was watching Jum Lehrer interview Bill Clinton in early January just after the Monica story broke but well before the dress was 'discovered'.

I was with my two oldest who were 18 and 20. It was perfect. Jim asks Bill if there "WAS" a relationship. Bill answered, "Jim, There IS no relationship".

I immediately caught it and laughed and told them to listen to him lie using the tense. Jim Lehrer also caught it immediately and repeated the question. Bill repeated the lie. MY kids were incredulous. They were actually pissed at Lehrer for letting him get away with it.

I explained to them the protocol of respect the President gets and that Jim actually went far to expose him. Fox of course played that clip again and we talked about it and in fact the 2nd born brought it up in her HS class and they spent an entire class on ethics, politics and the press on the question of "Did Jim Lehrer and the Press do their job?"

Needless to say this was a big deal for another year and I looked quite the wise man. The part of the classroom discussion that surprised me the most was the consensus among the kids Clinton was a pig. I met the teacher a few months afterword and he thanked me for starting an animated dicussion. He told me the pig thing wasn't so much the sex part but the idea of a 53-yr old man hitting on a 21-yr old was disgusting to them. The fact he was President and she unemployed and rather dimwhitted didn't help but to a person the girls thought, and I suspect still think, Bill Clinton is a pig.

They were also shocked that a President could lie to a reporter in an interview and the reporter, knowing it, would just sit there and allow it. Merely repeating the question to them was being a coward.

It's funny how different generations see things. Suffice to say these kids have zero respect for the media.

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan,

This is the greatest nation on Gods green earth.


BTW: If this was such an outrage why did the NYT's sit on the story for a year?

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK


"This is the greatest nation on Gods green earth.
BTW: If this was such an outrage why did the NYT's sit on the story for a year? "

Generally speaking, I'd argree with that. I love my country and it is painful for me to see this administration destroying one of the most perfect things about it. Interesting that you chose to not dispute what I wrote or seek to defend it. I'm sorry but I'm unwilling to see the fabric of our country so easily torn apart.
And as for the NTY, that is an excellent question and one that I hope is answered.

Posted by: Nathan on December 17, 2005 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

I have to say that I just love rdw's posts. I even think he's surpassed Chuckles as my favorite poster. There's a true purity to his posts: no thought, no facts, no logic, no reason, nothing but slavish devotion to his heroes. Add in the additional fact that he routinely gets his facts wrong, as he does above, and what you have is a train wreck -- you know you shouldn't watch, but you just can't help yourself.

Guys, the secret to deal with rdw is just to look and laugh and move on. You can't argue with him because his mind is shut tight and he's completely immune to facts, logic, and reason. You can't learn from him, either, since he truly knows nothing. But man, he can spin fantasies forever.

Posted by: PaulB on December 17, 2005 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan:

The reason the NYT stated in the article is because the Bush people they interviwed about it asked them to sit on it for national security reasons.

They have, however, become disgruntled about it -- oe perhaps it's different people now, I'm not exactly sure.

In any case, the NYT still withheld details for national security reasons.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 17, 2005 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

nathan,

The fact the NYT's sat on this HUGE story the freakshow on this thread thinks means certain impeachment do a lot more than raise an excellent question.

It tells you the NYT's is in total disagreement as to the significance of this story.

Unless of course you're thinking they knew GWB was having fun and wanted to 'allow' him another year on the job.

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

There a song about Revolution.... 'talking bout a revolution ....."

is it not about time? what is up the elected demo's.... are they just brain dead or just happy to have money and not take any heat for any decisions?


btw - i saw bush on line last night in a chat room, his avatar was Chewbaka.....

hardly american

;-)

Posted by: AC on December 17, 2005 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

You're wrong (but when did that ever stop you before?)

The NYT is running with the story because people in the NSA got furious and said go ahead.

Have you read the comments of these career security agency people?

No of course not. You just copped the summary of the argument from Lucianne and NewsMax, like you do everything else.

Which explains why you think Hitlery will be the coronated nominee :)

Get you head out of the wingnut blogosphere's ass.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on December 17, 2005 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

AC,

Of Course we remember the constitution and that's not because of the impeachment but due to the efforts of the brightest legal minds of our age such as Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia. In 2001 the US Supreme Court wisely and bravely stepped in and stopped the Florida Supreme Court from highjacking a national election.

Think about it. If not for 7 Supreme Court justices 30M Afghans would not be free and the Hussein family would still be killing innocents.

Actually George won all the recounts anyway but it was important for the top courts to restore the law.

They did and America remains the greatest nation on Gods green earth.


Oh No You Didnt!

Wisest and brightest minds? Well I would like to agree with that, and in many respect I do. However there are questions about the election.... Thomas and Scallia, well, are, might as well be, cronies. Of course I don't know this personally or as a fact, but I imagine they veiwed the election and thier decisions as favoring that they thought was right. Decalaring it a victory is sad. It spoke for very few people, except those wanting Bush.

And you make your arguement less convincing by intorducing the Hussein aspect (while at the same time confusing the issue with 30 M afgahns).

As tireless as this discussion is, Huseein was hardly the enemy after 9/11. When will you understand that? OIL is the issue in Iraq, and perhaps, the history from GW's dad.

We freed/saved 30M afgahns? From what???? Thier own poverty? Sure we are giving them food, supplies for winter, this and that.... is that what you want?? Yet another Welfare Nation that is not even in this Nation? I thought the right (wrong) was against Welfare.... what have we done in Afghainstan other than blow it up? Where is Osama??????

Of course don't get me started on how we kiss the Saudi's ass...... Please, by now you have read the news.... it's 2005.... Saudi's were the hijackers, mainly, under the 'control'/doctrine, if you will of Al Quada.....


What in the hell does Iraq have to do with anything....

Sorry for getting off topic....

Posted by: AC on December 17, 2005 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

paulb,

I am glad you like my posts.

No facts? I think you'll find out that Jim Lehrer did in fact interview Slick Willie just after the story broke on 1/22/98

JIM LEHRER: The news of this day is that Keneth Starr, independent counsel, is investigating allegations that you suborn perjury by encouraging a 24-year-old woman, former White House intern, to lie under oath in a civil deposition about her having had an affair with you. Mr. President, is that true?

"There is no improper relationship"
There is no improper relationship and I intend to cooperate with this inquiry, but that is not true.

JIM LEHRER: No improper relationship, define what you mean by that.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I think you know what it means. It means that there is not a sexual relationship, an improper sexual relationship or any other kind of improper relationship.

JIM LEHRER: You had no sexual relationship with this young woman?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: There is not a sexual relationship. That is accurate. We are doing our best to cooperate here, but we don't know much yet, and that's all I can say now. What I'm trying to do is to contain my natural impulses and get back to work. It's important we cooperate. I will cooperate, but I want to focus on the work at hand.

**********
Slick Willie indeed!!! Did you check out his use of tense. BTW, he did this same thing during his testimony. This led to the famous, "depends on what the meaning if is, is".


What's not logical about 18-yr old kids thinking the 54-yr old President hitting on a 21-yr old unemployed dimwitt is repulsive. To an 18-yr old that's like getting it on with Grandpop! It didn't ocur to me at the time either but it is perfectly logical. Gennifer Flowers made all the sense in the world. It was wrong but at least she was an adult and rather hot.

So tell me Paul, where's the lack of reason or logic? I'll admit picking up on that use of tense wasn't rocket science especially for anyone remotely familair with Bill Clinton but still, it was a fantastic teaching moment.

Tell me the truth, looking back, don't you just look at what he was doing at that moment, and the entire 6 months, and chuckle? What was it like to be Slick Willie. You've lied to the entire world repeatedly and you know there's a dress out there.

I saw severel interviews with Jim Lehrer on that exact exchange. He was being criticizd for not pushing Clinton harder. He said he thought it was so obvious and he wanted to respect the office he decided that just asking the question a 2nd time, and letting him answer again in the same way, or not, was enough for his audience to make their own judgement. He said he knew immediately there was much more to the story.

The Bill Clinton book I'll buy is the one where he explains what he was thinking during that 8 months. I think he knew immdiately he was caught. It had to be slow torture.

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan,


Can't be true.

They were still asking them to withold it. Nothing changed from the Gov't position.

The NYT's knew a book was soon to come out and wanted to beat the story. They don't give a rats ass about security and would sell their soul to impeach Bush.

They sat on it for a year!!!

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1

I think hillary is a lock because she gets over 40% in every poll and no on else gets over 8%.

I am assuming it is impossible you'll nominate Kerry again althought you shocked me the last time.

Al Gore is even more insane than Howard Dean.

I am assuming Edwards and Biden will get less than 1% of the vote combined.

I thought Bill Richardson was a reasonable candidate but he's got to get his minor league baseball ecord cleared up. That's going to take a while.

There's also the fact Hillary is a human ATM machine and her husband is his own Federal Reserve branch.

For all her flaws she's also a female and that's 60% of your party. I suspect a large percentage of them think "it's time."

She's clearly going to carry NY, Ca and ILL in the primaries.

You tell me. Who can possibly beat her?

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Each president recites the following oath, in accordance with Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

This is the president's oath. It is not to protect citizens from national security threats. He is subservient to the constitution, it is not subservient to him. Impeach Bush.

Posted by: DeAnna on December 17, 2005 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

DeAnna,

That's why he ran everything by the Justice department and the Congress and reviewed it every 45 days.

Don't you get tired of these bizarre impeachment claims every 3 weeks?

No one is listening. At this point GWB cold actually commit an impeachable offense and no one would believe it.

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

At this point GWB cold actually commit an impeachable offense and no one would believe it.

Make that, he actually did commit an impeachable offense, everyone knows that he did, there are people in Washington DC screaming about it, and this is the elephant in the room.

Had to have been Andy Card that sent him in front of the cameras today. This is the worst political gaffe in American political history. Bush as much admitted that he is not guilty by reason of being the President.

Tell Dick Nixon that. Better yet, someone seriously needs to explain how the President is above the law, regardless of whether the nation is at war or not. Don't even think of bringing up Lincoln and suspending the writ of habeus corpus--completely separate issue and has no bearing here. Bush did not consult with anyone, he merely told an intelligence agency to break the law and he broke the law by ordering that agency to do it. Not even in the same category.

And once again, how ironic is it that the law Bush violated was signed into law by President Reagan?

rdw and the trolletariat can spin til they're blue in the face but this is the day--December 17, 2005--that an American President stood up and told the American people that he is above the law.

Write it down.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 17, 2005 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider,

No chance. No credible outlet is picking up the theme. All you are doing is scaring Jay Rockerfeller.

Posted by: rdw on December 17, 2005 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Bush laughs and hoots at left wing intellectuals because they don't get it. It's simple. It's all about winning and he means liberals and Democrats because that's all he really knows. There are no rules (the Zeus chip/Rumsfeld). The "context" us up for grabs. Words are weapons, meat to the mob, scapegoats/the blame game/usual suspects. Trust and innocence are "fair game". Circus Maximus. Experience with applied denial/opposition/duplicity and an inclination toward forgeting preferred. Anything that moves may be a potential profit center, stay alert to respond, to report. Join up with the winners; forget collateral damage/road kill. We'll write the history of our era (and defend it). That's Bush. I don't think it is America. I'm going to give Arlen Spector the stage for awhile (is it possible he could recover from his dutiful performance as the designated Anita Hill hatchet, + the "magic bullet"?). He is a rare one that is continually reinventing himself. Who knows?

These are the birth pains of new relations. Time is the wild card. All else is just comedy.

Posted by: borderfisher on December 17, 2005 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Bush laughs and hoots at left wing intellectuals because they don't get it. It's simple. It's all about winning and he means liberals and Democrats because that's all he really knows. There are no rules (the Zeus chip/Rumsfeld). The "context" us up for grabs. Words are weapons, meat to the mob, scapegoats/the blame game/usual suspects. Trust and innocence are "fair game". Circus Maximus. Experience with applied denial/opposition/duplicity and an inclination toward forgeting preferred. Anything that moves may be a potential profit center, stay alert to respond, to report. Join up with the winners; forget collateral damage/road kill. We'll write the history of our era (and defend it). That's Bush. I don't think it is America. I'm going to give Arlen Spector the stage for awhile (is it possible he could recover from his dutiful performance as the designated Anita Hill hatchet, + the "magic bullet"?). He is a rare one that is continually reinventing himself. Who knows?

These are the birth pains of new relations. Time is the wild card. All else is just comedy.

Posted by: borderfisher on December 17, 2005 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

this is getting more true every day:

help stop this country from becoming a fundamentalist theocracy aiding and abetting a kleptocratic war profiteering police state that continues to remove civil liberties from americans on the premise of fighting a never ending war on a transitive adverb

Posted by: tofubo on December 17, 2005 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

Lord almighty! Can somebody PLEASE turn down the rdw? It's getting stupid in here.

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on December 17, 2005 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

Quote: "And once again, how ironic is it that the law Bush violated was signed into law by President Reagan?"

Less ironic than there being no problem with the NSA spying on all US citizens under all recent presidents but there being a problem when Bush authorises them to spy on those linked to al Qaeda.

After 330 posts THIS is the first time the word "echelon" has appeared on this page. Kind of like having 330 outraged posts about taxation without mentioning "IRS" and that in neither case are these new programs.

Posted by: Tank on December 17, 2005 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

It is time to Impeach George W Bush!

He is not above the law.
He lied to Congress about WMDs in IRAQ.
He violated the Geneva Convention on Tortures.
He leaked a CIA operative identity during a time of war.
He orders illegal wiretaps.
He is not above the law.

IMPEACH THIS CRIMINAL NOW!!!

Posted by: Olivette on December 17, 2005 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

echelon

Actually, it's a meaningless cover name for a program that has had several different names. Able Danger was a form of open-source research that was similar to what civilians call echelon.

The fact that it hasn't appeared here doesn't signify much. The actual name of echelon is out of circulation.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 17, 2005 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

"I value the freedom not to get my ass blown off ahead of my freedom to curse out the government on my cell phone without them listening to me."

Fortunately for us all, there were a lot of guys at places like Saratoga and Gettysburg and Midway who disagreeded with you . . .

Posted by: rea on December 17, 2005 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

@ Pale Rider on December 17, 2005 at 10:07 PM
Actually, it's a meaningless cover name for a program that has had several different names. Able Danger was a form of open-source research that was similar to what civilians call echelon.

So every telephone call email and fax of every US citizen every day of the year in every year is considered "open source" research.
Yet when numbers linked to al Qaeda are specified for monitoring this is a gross violation of privacy of the American public.
You getting dizzy spinning like that ?

The fact that it hasn't appeared here doesn't signify much. The actual name of echelon is out of circulation.

Ah right. So that's the reason nobody has acknowledge this scandal is and has always been standard practice under all recent administrations.... because the word is antiquated and out of date. Sure.

Posted by: Tank on December 17, 2005 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

why do these briandead americans say that bush has unlimited war powers.well dumfucks when a war is brought about by lie's and deciet this dirtbag president should not be impeached he should be arrested along with chaney and the rest off the vile pus neocons,and secondly 911 was carried out by our own government and should have no war powers what so ever we should be taring and feathering these bastards for what they have done to this country and iraq.nuf siad.

Posted by: ron hornback on December 17, 2005 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Tank,

No, echelon was a key word search tool. The use of key word searches in open source is merely a way of using the same technique.

Echelon is best described as a data mining tool, regardless of what it is culling information out of.

You must have me confused for a Republican spin bot. What the President authorized NSA to do is an impeachable offense. Echelon was just something we used to scare the Europeans into thinking we had something that we really didn't.

I think you were very smart to bring it up, and I praised the fact that you brought it up on another thread because it is somewhat relevant to the discussion. It is more relevant to think of 'echelon' as a technique for data mining that was also applied in the Able Danger program (both existed at the same time, by the way).

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 17, 2005 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

This is a response to "wayne" waaaay up near the top:

"So I guess if I were to some up your and most of the left's views on the whole 911 thing it would be to say: it would be better that we be willing to die as a nation, slaughtered to the last man, than to violate our own laws or Constitution."

YES. EXACTLY. BINGO.

Take a trip with me, wayne. Let's go to Ancient Greece where a man named Socrates has been convicted of corrupting youth and sentenced to death. *Nobody* wants Socrates to actually die, not even the men who sentenced him. They go so far as to help Socrates' students plot an escape for him. But Socrates understood something that I don't think you quite get, wayne. See, Socrates' whole body of teaching was dedicated to respect for the laws of the people, and he knew that if he were to disobey those laws, he would be worse than a corrupter of youth. He would be a hypocrite. Socrates decided that he would rather die according to the law of the people rather than live as a hypocrite.

If our laws mean nothing to us as a nation, then we have no nation worth living for.

"If you are worried about someone spying on you, don't do anything that is illegal."

And when our government decides that visiting progressive websites is illegal, what will your excuse be? When our president is allowed to make secret decisions and just magically have them be legal, he can make whatever he wants "illegal" and nobody has any warning until the punishments come.

"After serving 10 years in the Navy at least I can say I was willing to step out and defend you right to your views. What have you ever done for defending mine?"

The rights laid out in the Constitution *are* your rights. I defend them every time I speak freely, practice my religion without government control, choose what to print and read, petition my government for redress of grievances, defend my right against illegal search and seizure, refuse to incriminate myself, demand a just and speedy trial where my offenses and accusers are known to me, stand up against cruel and unusual punishments, honor and defend the right of all persons over the age of 18 to vote in fair and democratic elections, honor and defend the rights of the states to create and operate under their own laws and governments, expect my government to abide by the checks and balances of the three-branch system of government, and defend and respect the many other rights and provisions of the United States Constitution.

All you've done, when you consider military service objectively, is threaten to kill people.

Posted by: AKC on December 17, 2005 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

It's about time we put the brakes on an Administration which creates laws that violate our constitutional rights, and then also brakes the laws that were put in place to protect those rights. The same rights that were given to us by the hearts and lives of our soldiers. Those same soldiers that are now giving their lives for a personal interest war.

Posted by: LadyRobn on December 17, 2005 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

pale rider, ladyrobn,

Bush won't get impeached for the same reason the French will never arrest him. The Marines will kick the crap out of them. Read on.


Marine Wife Takes Message to the Top


I have some exciting news to tell you Yesterday, I went to the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center here in DC and saw President Bush speak on the Iraq War.
After he spoke he greeted people in the audience. When he came near me I said, "President Bush my husband is in Iraq." He immediately made eye contact with me and came over to me.

I had a picture of Patrick in my hand and I said, "Here is my husband." He got a funny expression on his face, and I looked at my hand holding Patrick's picture and noticed that his picture was backwards (I was showing President Bush the back of the picture that was blank).

I instantly turned the picture around and President Bush took it out of my hand and looked at it. Then he turned it over and took a Sharpie out of his suit jacket and asked, "What is your husbands name?" I shouted out, "1st Lt Francescon!"

He smiled then asked, "What is his first name?" Completely embarrassed I said, "Oh, Patrick." As President Bush was signing the back of Patrick's picture, I thought to myself"Okay, here is my chance to tell the President that Patrick is honored to call him Commander-in-Chief."

But those words didnt come out of my mouth. I instead said, (and I know that Patrick would have not said this, and is going to be humiliated when I tell him I said this) "President Bush my husband loves to serve for you! He loves you!"

It was a little over the top, I knowI was just so nervous and excited that I became another personI don't know who she was...oh, well!

After President Bush wrote "Patrick, thank you and God bless! --George Bush" on the back of Patricks picture, President Bush then gave me a big hug and then KISSED me on my forehead and said, "Sweetie, everything is going to be alright."

I told him thank you and asked him if I could get my picture taken with him. He complied and you will find this picture attached to this email along with a couple of others.

Thank you for letting me share my exciting news with you. And thank you President Bush!

Posted by: rdw on December 18, 2005 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK


Pale Rider, other impeachment freaks

Ain't gonna happen, read on

One of the critical points argued in regard to President Bush's angry pushback on the NSA leak is that his executive order violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). People have the impression that FISA requires warrants from the FISA judge, but that isn't what FISA says at all. In fact, FISA gives the government wide latitude in warrantless surveillance of international communications even when one point originates in the US -- as long as the person in the US does not qualify as a "US person":

In fact, the only people who need to make this call are the President and the Attorney General, and it doesn't even make the accidental or tangential exposure of communications with US persons a crime. It only requires that the AG ensure that mitigation procedures have been applied to ensure compliance with FISA. The only way that one can violate this law is if the law gets intentionally violated. In other words, one would have to prove that Bush intentionally ordered the surveillance of a qualifying US
person.

In fact, the only people who need to make this call are the President and the Attorney General, and it doesn't even make the accidental or tangential exposure of communications with US persons a crime. It only requires that the AG ensure that mitigation procedures have been applied to ensure compliance with FISA. The only way that one can violate this law is if the law gets intentionally violated. In other words, one would have to prove that Bush intentionally ordered the surveillance of a qualifying US person.

Posted by: rdw on December 18, 2005 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

When are we going to wake up to the fact that this administration has done nought but circumvent or completely broken laws, lied us into a war, refused giving data to oversight committees and has run roughshod over every principle we hold dear. Impeachment should dog this administration into oblivion.

Posted by: Salvatore on December 18, 2005 at 7:50 AM | PERMALINK

salvatore,

Give up on the impeachent thing. We need a high crime. Policy disagreements won't do. There's no illegality here.

George follows the law and understands what is is.

You only have 3 years and 1 month left. You are going to drive yourself crazy. You need to focus on getting a credible candidate in 2008 because ater the census in 2010 it gets even harder. If you don't think hillary can win you might want to consider a new address.

Posted by: rdw on December 18, 2005 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

rdw: Cheney talks to reporters in the same way Rumsfeld talks to reporters.


"It's been pretty well confirmed that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April." - DICK CHENEY 2001 ON MEET THE PRESS

"We have seen no evidence that [the contacts] ever developed into a collaborative operational relationship. Nor have we seen evidence indicating that Iraq cooperated with al Qaeda in developing or carrying out any attacks against the United States." - 9-11 COMMISSION REPORT


on 6/19/04 CNBC:

GLORIA BORGER, TV SHOW HOST: You have said in the past that it was, quote, "pretty well confirmed."

CHENEY: No, I never said that.

CHENEY: I never said that.

CHENEY: Absolutely not.

as for rummy?

"We know where they are. They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad." -- Donald Rumsfeld, March 30, 2003


"I never believed that we'd just tumble over weapons of mass destruction in that country." -- Rumsfeld, May 4, 2003.


"To be responsible, one needs to stop defining success in Iraq as the absence of terrorist attacks." - Def. Sec. Don Rumsfeld 12/6/05


"We do know of certain knowledge that he [Osama Bin Laden] is either in Afghanistan, or in some other country, or dead." --Donald Rumsfeld

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on December 18, 2005 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

Apparantly the Department of "Homeland Security" is monitoring
inter-library loan requests; this is a system set up so citizens can
request a book that may not be available at his/her local library, but
the library will have it sent from another library on loan.
A senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents two months
ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's tome on Communism
called "The Little Red Book."
I am the daughter of a librarian; I grew up in libraries. I have
always held strong the belief that libraries are havens of information
and knowledge. The fact that requesting a book, ANY BOOK, in America
would be problematic for our government is deeply disturbing.

http://www.southcoasttoday.com/daily/12-05/12-17-05/a09lo650.htm

Posted by: freedom fighter on December 18, 2005 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

.nuf siad.

Posted by: ron hornback

It's funny how some asshole lefty can write a paragraph and do nothing but lie and whine. I love it!

Posted by: Fat White Guy on December 18, 2005 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

This is the time where it would be really awesome if we had some kind of opposition party who would actually do something about this.

"Government with a one party system" - One billion Chinese can't be wrong.

Posted by: opposition party? on December 18, 2005 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

rdw --
You caught Clinton lying w/verb tenses, but can't catch Bush's overt lies about facts, nondenial denials, and slipshod semantic lies that elide the issue just as Clinton did in your example?

You're the one wearing the blue dress now.

It's clear that Bush's open violations of the law and Constitution far exceed any possible definition of "high crime and misdemeanor." It's not policy, it's principle. And impeachment is the only recourse. Bush and his apologists can only twist in the political winds, trying to get the rest of the country -- you know, the three-quarters who disagree with you and still have a hold on reality -- to go along with Bush's "definition of what the word is IS." Compared to Clinton's personal issues, Bush's breach of our trust and betrayal of our defining Constitutional principles and laws are no less than a vicious and conscious usurpation of American democracy itself.

Bush has warped the function and structure of American governance itself. And Bush has openly asserted that he is accountable to no one -- no branch of government, no law, no precedent, and not even those facts riding the tide of history.

Jim Lehrer, by the way, didn't go anywhere near so far with Bush's Cabinet officials & advisors as he did with Clinton. I've watched him let Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, and Powell lie and lie and lie about the veracity of intelligence, the lies that took us to war, and about the 2100 dead friends & neighbors who died in Iraq for Bush's betrayal of the Constitution and this country. Lehrer's watched this treason play out right in front of him, without ever bothering to raise a pertinent question or truth-squad the lies for which he offers a mighty platform.

With Bill Clinton, he at least asked the damn question.

You hold yourself to the same standard that you use to measure Bill Clinton. When you recover, we'll await your apology. Until then, try to get the stains out of YOUR blue dress. It's the talk of the nation.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on December 18, 2005 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

freedom fughter,

that story is a fraud designed to scare liberals. as if thy're not already terrified

Posted by: rdw on December 18, 2005 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

sombrero.

they called him slick willie for a reason and it started long before he ran for President.

GWB is as honest as the day is long. He's never lied.

being wrong on WMDs is not lying. He will not be impeached nor will any other President in our lifetime. That unique honor belongs to Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton lost his law license. The clip with Jim Lehrer is in the Smithsonian.

Posted by: rdw on December 18, 2005 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

thisspace,

there are several international agencies who stand by the intelligence on ATTA in Czechslovakia.

the commission report did not dispute it. they just did not confirm it.

the point about these two talking with reporters is they do not talk to them in secret or to spread gossip. both want everything taped or live with witnesses because they know reporters lie. they will not put themselvs in a position where they can be misquoted and defenseless.

rummy did not want to interview with Bob Woodward and refused until Bus asked him to do so. Rummy had the sessions taped so woodworde could not pull any crap.

Posted by: rdw on December 18, 2005 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

I am so sock and tired of all this wining leftist crap from you fucking asshole traitors!

Bush is our president and we are at fucking war you assholes!

Where is you decency?

We have to monitor the activities of civilians in order to spot threats among them.

I know, I am inside the government and if you guys knew one tenth of what goes on in there, you would flip out and start screaming in fear. Or more likely you would pee your pants.

We are lucky to have a president as wise as this who is willing to sidestep absurd laws designed at hampering our work. Soon we will have some mass arrests and you guys will start crying more and more, but in the end, you will never know how much good our hero has done for us, he has saved us!

Posted by: Matthew Sweeney on December 19, 2005 at 7:35 AM | PERMALINK

Impeachment would not be bad for the country. In fact, it would show the world that we are not a bunch of mindless bozos. Impeachment would help restore a sense of diginity and honor to our besmirched name thanks to GW.

Posted by: Crede on December 19, 2005 at 8:17 AM | PERMALINK

The "trauma" of the Clinton impeachment is looking more and more to me as a cynical pre-emptive strike on our political and social courage.
It is in retrospect, IOW, almost as though the Republicans KNEW the illegal plans that were afoot and would occur, once the 2000 election was stolen.

BTW, I disagree with the term "trauma"; "drama", yes, and a salacious one at that, but impeachment as "trauma"?

BRING IT ON.

Posted by: babydeebie on December 19, 2005 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

HA! "Matthew Sweeney" swears up a storm, and then writes, "pee"! LOL!!

Oh, and Bush has never lied? OMG! Scotty, beam me up to THAT Universe! I'll bet there are UNICORNS there, too!

Spying on civilians is necessary? Hmmmm. Wonder why we had to fight the Communists, then. We could instead have learned their techniques.
Oh, wait.

Posted by: babydeebie on December 19, 2005 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

"and even though my reluctance to go through a second impeachment benefits the very Republicans who needlessly inflicted the first on us, I don't care. It's bad for the country, and that matters most."

This is flawed thinking. Exposing and getting rid of the criminal element in the Whitehouse is of far greater importance than us feeling bad about an impeachment. Unjust or petty impeachment procedings such as the attempts to try to impair Clinton's presidency hurt the country but getting rid of a criminal who has no regard for are laws of our land is of the utmost importance.

Posted by: Jeff on December 19, 2005 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

George W. Bush WAS a fighter pilot.

Yeah? Who'd he fight?

Posted by: Stefan on December 19, 2005 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

tbroz and others:

We are not at war until Congress declares war. We are currently at "authorized use of force". While that surely feels like war to the US forces being shot at, for Constitutional purposes it ain't war.

This is the danger of this quasi-war situation. We now have President Bush saying that being at war gives him the authority to do virtually anything he thinks is a good idea. But the "war on terror" is a war with no endpoint. There is no one to surrender in this fight! This war will continue until a President says it's over. And it can be extended to cover any country that any president says it should cover.

Is this really a conservative value? And is this a level of power that conservatives want to see invested in the next President Clinton?

We have always been at war with Oceana.

Posted by: zak822 on December 19, 2005 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

zak822,

The next President Clinton is certain to have more balls than the last President Clinton. I'd like her to have all the power she needs.

Posted by: rdw on December 19, 2005 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

stefan,

He didn't fight anyone.

Guess what? Rummy was a Fighter Pilot a well.

He didn't fight anyone either.

We have at least 5 different carriers on patrol now loaded with fighter pilots. Many of them have never been in a fight. They'll all figher pilots.

BTW: Mary Mapes is STILL in the news denying the TANG evidence was fraudalent. Thank you God! The gift that keeps on giving.

Posted by: rdw on December 19, 2005 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Prez says we need to be able to act quickly. Ok, sure. But 9/11 happened over FOUR YEARS ago! The time for quick action to spy on people ended FOUR YEARS ago! Since then, there's been more than enough time to actually legalize whatever it is we need done. In FOUR YEARS, we defeated Hitler and Tojo. We invented the goddamn atom bomb! The idea that for FOUR YEARS, we've been running the country on an emergency basis outside the law is just absurd. If the MSM lets Bush get away with the bs he was spouting this morning, this country is over as a free nation.

Posted by: Evelyn on December 19, 2005 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

We certainly didn't defeat communism in FOUR YEARS, yet the time & money we spent was well worth it. The fight against Islamist fascism is just as worthwhile as the fight against communism - which has strong historical ties with Ba'athism. It is also as worthwhile as the fight against nazism - which has strong historical links with Islamism. The idea that the US is "over as a free nation" because we monitored calls to foreign terrorist operatives gives hysteria a bad name. Let Bush's enemies in Congress hold hearings about the alleged "illegality" of these wiretaps if they dare. It would be a classic example of giving the Democrats enough rope to hang themselves. If they fall into this trap, the Democrats will be doing Karl Rove's work for him.

Posted by: ryuge on December 19, 2005 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly