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In my posts The Most Dangerous Branch and The Most Dangerous Branch, Part 2, I laid out the theory held dear by the Wingnuts that the President, when acting as Commander in Chief, is akin to an absolute monarch and why that theory is simply a disgusting absurdity.

Today in the Washington Post, neocons Bill Kristol and Gary Schmitt double down on this nefarious theory:

This is presumably one reason why President Bush decided that national security required that he not simply follow the strictures of the 1978 foreign intelligence act, and, indeed, it reveals why the issue of executive power and the law in our constitutional order is more complicated than the current debate would suggest. It is not easy to answer the question whether the president, acting in this gray area, is "breaking the law." It is not easy because the Founders intended the executive to have -- believed the executive needed to have -- some powers in the national security area that were extralegal but constitutional.

Following that logic, the Supreme Court has never ruled that the president does not ultimately have the authority to collect foreign intelligence -- here and abroad -- as he sees fit. Even as federal courts have sought to balance Fourth Amendment rights with security imperatives, they have upheld a president's "inherent authority" under the Constitution to acquire necessary intelligence for national security purposes. (Using such information for criminal investigations is different, since a citizen's life and liberty are potentially at stake.) So Bush seems to have behaved as one would expect and want a president to behave. A key reason the Articles of Confederation were dumped in favor of the Constitution in 1787 was because the new Constitution -- our Constitution -- created a unitary chief executive. That chief executive could, in times of war or emergency, act with the decisiveness, dispatch and, yes, secrecy, needed to protect the country and its citizens.

To be succinct, this is simply a lie. As I explained in my previous posts:

A Supreme Court opinion cited by Yoo/Bybee to support their assertions of plenary Presidential power is The Prize Cases, decided in 1863. To Yoo/Bybee, the Prize Cases stand for the proposition that the President has unfettered power to act to defend the security of the Nation. But what did the Prize Cases actually say? The Prize Cases involved the seizure of certain vessels who tried to defy the blockade of the South declared by President Lincoln prior to the formal declarations by Congress of an insurrection. Subsequently, four months later, Congress did make such declaration. So does this buttress Yoo/Bybee's point? Let's see:

By the Constitution, Congress alone has the power to declare a national or foreign war. It cannot declare war against a State, or any number of States, by virtue of any clause in the Constitution. The Constitution confers on the President the whole Executive power. He is bound to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. He is Commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several States when called into the actual service of the United States. He has no power to initiate or declare a war either against a foreign nation or a domestic State. But, by the Acts of Congress of February 28th, 1795, and 3d of March, 1807, he is authorized to called out the militia and use the military and naval forces of the United States in case of invasion by foreign nations and to suppress insurrection against the government of a State or of the United States.

If a war be made by invasion of a foreign nation, the President is not only authorized but bound to resist force by force. He does not initiate the war, but is bound to accept the challenge without waiting for any special legislative authority. And whether the hostile party be a foreign invader or States organized in rebellion, it is nonetheless a war although the declaration of it be "unilateral." . . . This greatest of civil wars was not gradually developed by [p669] popular commotion, tumultuous assemblies, or local unorganized insurrections. However long may have been its previous conception, it nevertheless sprung forth suddenly from the parent brain, a Minerva in the full panoply of war. The President was bound to meet it in the shape it presented itself, without waiting for Congress to baptize it with a name; and no name given to it by him or them could change the fact.

. . . Whether the President, in fulfilling his duties as Commander-in-chief in suppressing an insurrection, has met with such armed hostile resistance and a civil war of such alarming proportions as will compel him to accord to them the character of belligerents is a question to be decided by him, and this Court must be governed by the decisions and acts of the political department of the Government to which this power was entrusted. "He must determine what degree of force the crisis demands."

. . . If it were necessary to the technical existence of a war that it should have a legislative sanction, we find it in almost every act passed at the extraordinary session of the Legislature of 1861, which was wholly employed in enacting laws to enable the Government to prosecute the war with vigor and efficiency. And finally, in 1861, we find Congress "ex majore cautela" and in anticipation of such astute objections, passing an act approving, legalizing, and making valid all the acts, proclamations, and orders of the President, &c., as if they had been issued and done under the previous express authority and direction of the Congress of the United States. [p671]

If this is support for the Yoo/Bybee view, I don't see it. Lincoln took up arms, via blockade, against the insurrection, formal and declared, of the Southern states. What that has to do with the matters at hand is not clear at all to me. Moreover, Congressional acts are cited as authority for the President's actions. Surely this does not argue for unfettered Presidential Commander in Chief power. In essence, the Prize Cases, the Apollon case and others cited by Yoo/Bybee relate to the President's ability to act in defense of the country when the country is attacked. Think Pearl Harbor. The question of waiting days or weeks for Congressional action to act in defense of the Nation is what those cases were about. If Bush were to have acted to stop the 9/11 attacks without Congressional authorization then the analogy would hold. But unless Bush is acting in ways to stop specific attacks that are imminent and by known parties now, then these analogies do not hold. What Yoo/Bybee argue for is that the President can turn the country into a police state by invoking Commander in Chief powers. And this is simply ludicrous.

What this means is that in times of EMERGENCY in which the President must respond to immediate and imminent attack or dangers, then, arguably, he has the power to act to defend the country. But a program of continual surveillance, for a period of years is NOT such a situation. It is not even arguably such an occasion. It is an absurdity, indeed, a lie, of immense proportions to even posit such a thing.  

Indeed, this is the poorest of examples that those who argue for such inherent authority could possibly find for this. Why? Because Congress has already enacted laws regarding the types of issues this surveillance program raises. Since 1978, there has been a law on the books, followed by every President in every circumstance - the FISA law. Congress has SPOKEN on the issue. What the President has done is deliberately violate the law, and no exigent circumstances justify it. None. This is a PROGRAM, not an isolated instance. It is simply untenable.

The Bush Administration and the defenders of his illegal acts are instead arguing for an unfettered President as Commander in Chief. An absolute monarch as President. It is unprecedented in the annals of our history.

Have other Presidents argued for this power? Yes. And the Supreme Court has rejected this view. I'll discuss the case that did so on the flip.  

In a case, much discussed, and misquoted by the Right Wingnuts today, United States v. U.S. District Court for the E.D. Michigan, the Supreme Court was faced with the following argument from the government:

The United States charged three defendants with conspiring to destroy, and one of them with destroying, Government property. In response to the defendants' pretrial motion for disclosure of electronic surveillance information, the Government filed an affidavit of the Attorney General stating that he had approved the wiretaps for the purpose of "gather[ing] intelligence information deemed necessary to protect the nation from attempts of domestic organizations to attack and subvert the existing structure of the Government." On the basis of the affidavit and surveillance logs (filed in a sealed exhibit), the Government claimed that the surveillances, though warrantless, were lawful as a reasonable exercise of presidential power to protect the national security. The District Court, holding the surveillances violative of the Fourth Amendment, issued an order for disclosure of the overheard conversations, which the Court of Appeals upheld. Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act, which authorizes court-approved electronic surveillance for specified crimes, contains a provision in 18 U.S.C. 2511 (3) that nothing in that law limits the President's constitutional power to protect against the overthrow of the Government or against "any other clear and present danger to the structure or existence of the Government." The Government relies on 2511 (3) in support of its contention that "in excepting national security surveillances from the Act's warrant requirement, Congress recognized the President's authority to conduct such surveillances without prior judicial approval."

There's the theory. Now here's the answer:

But we do not think a case has been made for the requested departure from Fourth Amendment standards. The circumstances described do not justify complete exemption of domestic security surveillance from prior judicial scrutiny. Official surveillance, whether its purpose be criminal investigation or ongoing intelligence gathering, risks infringement of constitutionally protected privacy of speech. Security surveillances are especially sensitive because of the inherent vagueness of the domestic security concept, the necessarily broad and continuing nature of intelligence gathering, and the temptation to utilize such surveillances to oversee political dissent. We recognize, as we have before, the constitutional basis of the President's domestic security role, but we think it must be exercised in a manner compatible with the Fourth Amendment. In this case we hold that this requires an appropriate prior warrant procedure.

. . . We cannot accept the Government's argument that internal security matters are too subtle and complex for judicial evaluation. Courts regularly deal with the most difficult issues of our society. There is no reason to believe that federal judges will be insensitive to or uncomprehending of the issues involved in domestic security cases. Certainly courts can recognize that domestic security surveillance involves different considerations from the surveillance of "ordinary crime." If the threat is too subtle or complex for our senior law enforcement officers to convey its significance to a court, one may question whether there is probable cause for surveillance.

Nor do we believe prior judicial approval will fracture the secrecy essential to official intelligence gathering. The investigation of criminal activity has long involved imparting sensitive information to judicial officers who have respected the confidentialities involved. Judges may be counted upon to be especially conscious of security requirements in national security cases. Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act already has imposed this responsibility on the judiciary in connection with such crimes as espionage, sabotage, and treason, 2516 (1) (a) and (c), each of which may involve domestic as well as foreign security threats. Moreover, a warrant application involves no public or adversary proceedings: it is an ex parte request before a magistrate or judge. Whatever security dangers clerical and secretarial personnel may pose can be minimized by proper administrative measures, possibly to the point of allowing the Government itself to provide the necessary clerical assistance.

Thus, we conclude that the Government's concerns do not justify departure in this case from the customary Fourth Amendment requirement of judicial approval prior to initiation of a search or surveillance. Although some added burden will be imposed upon the Attorney General, this inconvenience is justified in a free society to protect constitutional values. Nor do we think the Government's domestic surveillance powers will be impaired to any significant degree. A prior warrant establishes presumptive validity of the surveillance and will minimize the burden of justification in post-surveillance judicial review. By no means of least importance will be the reassurance of the public generally that indiscriminate wiretapping and bugging of law-abiding citizens cannot occur.

What is most important here is that, unlike the idea forwarded by Yoo and Kristol and company, it is clear that the Supreme Court believed that the Fourth Amendment DOES APPLY to the President acting as Commander in Chief.

With that determination alone we can say with doubt that the notion of an unfettered plenary power of the President acting as Commander in Chief is sheer dangerous fantasy, forwarded by the most dangerous group of men and women to govern in this country since the Nixon Administration.

Originally posted to Armando on Mon Dec 19, 2005 at 11:47 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is a scandal (4.00)
    of immense proportions.

    The truth us the President should be impeached and removed from office for this action.

    That is not a political possibilty at this time of course.

    But it does not make it any less true.

    The SCOTUS is extraordinary.

    by Armando on Mon Dec 19, 2005 at 11:59:07 PM PST

    •  Going way out there, (none)
      if the Dems made major gains in the 2006 elections, could they then impeach?

      Unlikely, so unlikely, but is it even possible?

      One of the most bitterly funny things I've read about this here.

      •  And way off topic: (4.00)
        Armando, when the hell do you sleep?
      •  Cheney for Pres (none)
        As Bobcat Goldwaith once said (on I believe it was David Letterman), "It's like trying to pick which dildo you want to get fucked with."
        •  Yes, and I just heard (none)
          on NPR that Cheney was cutting short his Middle East trip and coming back to Washington to preside over the Senate and vote in a tie breaker "if needed". What kind of legislative subversion are they planning?

          "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition" - Monty Python

          by MadRuth on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:14:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  If possible, would it be desirable? (none)
        Even if they could pass articles of impeachment in the House, I doubt they could convict and remove in the Senate.  Why waste the time?  Unless Bush persisted in his behavior past the 2006 elections, it might be more worthwhile to conduct investigations, uncover wrongdoing, and pass laws to ensure that similar wrongdoing doesn't happen again - or is at least less likely to happen again.
        •  The chimp was very clear today (4.00)
          he said..he is going to keep up with the illegal phone taping and intecepts of email (he didn't say illegal..I added that, as it is true and he is in denial)...the criminal came right out and said it. I can't believe how boring it must have been for the Chimp to have gone through all of my emails to my French friends the past 3 years. "Oh..we have a member of Dkos...let's track the unamerican Bush hater...oh..he is emailing someone in France...even better...get all of his communications...lock the sucker down....and then they read...me:"how much snow is up on Mont Blanc?"

          *This site is slower than Bush's reaction on 9/11.*

          by Chamonix on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 01:11:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The runs are wide... (none)
            ...and some are steep. And you can rent gear at the bottom.

            On Mont Blanc.

            Pass it on.

          •  The fact that the President can afford to say (4.00)
            something like that, means to me, there are laws missing from stopping him to do so. He must be very sure about the lack of laws that could stop him immediately, check on him, and hold him accountable.

            He can still do whatever he wants to for the remainder of his term. He knows it, that's why he is doing it and announces it even aggressively and proudly.

            Sure sign your constitutional laws can't be used to prevent a hostile, undemocratic take-over by determined ideologists. Something is definitely missing.

            What good is it if you need years to argue over your laws when during those years tremendous damage is done to the country?

          •  ..I've started.. (none)
            ..wearing my swim trunks under my clothes and I'm a-ready to be waterboarded!  

            Bring it on you pathetic chimp!

          •  and Bush also proposed... (none)
            a jaunty new replacement for the presidential seal:

            Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

            The person who says it can't be done should not interrupt the person doing it. --Chinese proverb

            by isis2 on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:15:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Impeachment (4.00)
          Perhaps, but I want this man to face the consequences of his actions. Doing the right thing - it is what it is.
          •  I've always dismissed... (none)
            ...the idea of impeaching Bush as a practical and political impossibility, but this issue has changed my mind.  These actions are so blatantly illegal - no matter what Gonzalez and Yoo say - that it's time for us more moderate and pragmatic democrats to add our voices on the side of impeachment.  It's no longer a matter of pissin' in the wind.
        •  They impeached Clinton (none)
          over lying about blowjobs, then used the impeachment to weaken Gore in 2000.

          Bush has committed much more serious crimes, and can only be called to account by impeachment and trial.

          Gun to a gunfight!

          The Republicans want to cut YOUR Social Security benefits.

          by devtob on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 06:11:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I faxed my congress people and asked them: (4.00)
      To demand the President:

      Immediately reverse this directive.

      Promise to desist from warantless spying on American Citizans

      Cooperate fully with a bipartisan investigation into this policy

      Release the texts of the directive that led to this spying.

      Petition the FISA court to grant warrants for all such surveillance by this administration since 2001.

      Identify all residents of the US who were targets of this unconstitutional surveillance between 2001 and 2005  for whom the FISA court refuses to grant a warrant.

      And if he won't, it's time to talk about impeachment.

      Now I know the reality, but if we take the House, or If Bush gets radioactive enough, things might change.

      despot : 1. A master; an absolute or irresponsible ruler or sovereign. 2. One who rules regardless of a constitution or laws; a tyrant.

      by wrights on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:09:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  he won't cuz he knows he's wrong+illegal (none)
        •  I know he won't (none)
          He can't, probably, because he's maybe using this info for political opponents.

          That's exactly why the wording is the way that it is.

          despot : 1. A master; an absolute or irresponsible ruler or sovereign. 2. One who rules regardless of a constitution or laws; a tyrant.

          by wrights on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 04:06:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Thats better than me- (4.00)
        I thanked them (Rockefeller and Byrd) for speaking out yesterday and then asked them NOT to vote for the Patriot bill.  If Bush wants it so bad, he shuldn't be allowed to have it.  God knows what he is using it for already that we don't know about).  I thanked his speech- no president is above the law.  It is a corker.  Byhttp://byrd.senate.gov/... for

        You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

        by murrayewv on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 03:39:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I believe (4.00)
      It's important to start the proceedings for impeachment. These are criminal acts, and must be recognized as such by Congress. Both Democrats and Republicans have been stunned by Bush's admission of spying on US citizens, and his defense - as you have pointed out - is so weak as to be nonexistent. This is the time for the Democrats in the House to stand up and say, this is it. We're done. Begin the investigations for impeachment.

      If he is not reigned in over an admitted crime now, what will he come up with knowing he is above the law?

      American Bar Association on the Impeachment Process

      Bush - the ultimate example of the Peter Principle.

      by PatsBard on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:13:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Without control of the House (4.00)
        who will do this? Like Iraq policy, it is important to understand what Dems can and can not do now.

        The SCOTUS is extraordinary.

        by Armando on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:21:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But we can tar them with it. (none)
          If Democrats in the House publicly and persistently push for an impeachment inquiry, following, of course, the hearings that are presently being demanded, the wiretaps can be made a huge campaign issue in November.

          Create a persistent theme:  the Republicans are the party of invasion of privacy.  Whether it's the privacy of your bedroom via sodomy laws, the privacy of your relationships via regulations on marriage, the privacy of your body via abortion, the privacy of your library records and many other things via the Patriot Act, or the privacy of your communication via warrantless wiretaps, the Republicans are the party that wants to snoop around into your private affairs.  The Republican Party is the party of Big Brother.

          I think this theme can carry the day in November.

          The Chimperor Has No Clothes

          by DC Pol Sci on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 04:56:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  it is the only theme (none)
            that would work in Kansas. Give them something to REALLY be afraid of (guv'mint in my private bid'ness) and the stranglehold of fear that the social conservatives have had on the bottom third of the bell curve for brains will be broken for good. The NRA will be siding with ACLU on this one.
        •  So what provision IS in the Constitution (none)
          to stop a President-Run-Amok when the Congress is in bed with him??

          Republicans to Americans: "Are there no prisons?...And the Union workhouses?...Are they still in operation?"

          by adigal on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:11:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  None, I fear. (none)
            Skeptics though they were, the framers had, as it turns out, too great a confidence in the rationality of people.

            -9.25, -7.54

            Yikes. Good thing I don't have guns.

            by Marc in KS on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:33:20 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ha! (none)

              Republicans to Americans: "Are there no prisons?...And the Union workhouses?...Are they still in operation?"

              by adigal on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 07:13:00 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  True (none)
              but Jefferson was a realist and during the dark reign of Adams he realized that without the freedom of the press to speak truth to power, their cause & the Republic would have been lost.

              October 19, 1823 Jefferson writes to Monroe:

              [T]he energy of [the Aurora], when our cause was laboring and all but lost under the overwhelming weight of its powerful adversaries, its unquestionable effect in the revolution [it] produced in the public mind... arrested the rapid march of our government towards monarchy...

              The Aurora was the American Aurora based out of Philly, founded by Ben Franklin's grandson, Benny Bache, who fought bravely against the tyranny creeping into the "American dream".

              Unfortunately there is no similar paper today... the blogs are the only thing that comes close and most Americans don't read the blogs.

          •  Electing a new Congress n/t (none)

            Sometimes you cover your ass with the lame excuses you have, instead of the lame excuses you wish you had. (-3.00, -5.49)

            by litigatormom on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 08:52:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I am tempted to say Armando (none)
      is presenting conjecture as fact, but I won't.

      Does Armando NOW believe that election could have been manipulated?

      Could Diebold be an instrument to continue the process and provide few more years to win the 'war on terror'?

      Giving unlimited power to George Bush is like giving a hand grenade to a monkey.

      by Ruffledfeather on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:43:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •   A Time to Impeach (none)
      Via AlterNet, Doug Ireland's article posted this morning:

      President Bush may find himself in deep trouble after ordering and defending illegal wiretaps of U.S. citizens -- a crime for which Richard Nixon was impeached.

      It all went to hell when Reagan got elected President. -- DinStL

      by Disgusted in St Louis on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:46:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But he's wrong. (none)
        Nixon wasn't impeached.  The House Judiciary Committee voted articles of impeachment, one of which indeed concerned illegal wiretaps, but Nixon resigned before the full House voted on them.

        Let's be careful here.  We can sound awfully stupid if we start saying Nixon was impeached.  Nixon certainly would have been impeached--and removed (which is, I think, the only reason he resigned.  The votes were there, and he was told that they were), but he was not impeached.

        The Chimperor Has No Clothes

        by DC Pol Sci on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 06:37:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Question. Was Clinton impeached? (none)
          My father-in-law insists he was, and I say not.  Was he?

          I am not your beast of burden: I will not be forced to carry your baggage.....Humanistic Property Manifesto (-5.13, -4.77)

          by panicbean on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:40:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes he was (none)
            Impeachment is brought in the House. It then goes to the Senate for a decision. It was not sustained in the Senate. I always feel impeachment is similar to an indictment in regular criminal law. Then you have a trial and the Prosecution has to present evidence beyond a reasonable doubt of guilt for a conviction. So the Senate Hearings acted as Clinton's trial. The Senate was the Jury & it was presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. So he was found Not Guilty of high crimes etc... by a majority of the Senate.

            It was a disgusting spectacle all around & obviously the Rethugs are so hypocritical it's not even funny. The ones who are not in denial surely know that Bush deserves impeachment. After all it is their party that set the standars so low.

            Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought- John F. Kennedy

            by vcmvo2 on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 07:34:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Not a political impossibility (4.00)
      We have to get past this idea.

      The truth is none of us KNOW what is politically possible anymore.

      Make the repugs decide to impeach or not when trying to keep their seats.  See what is politically possible then.

      Let's stop being smug about impeachment.  None of us has a clue what is going to happen.

      ---- Take a pill or talk?----

      by apotropaic on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 06:48:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is a scandal (4.00)
      of historic proportions.

      Kristen Breitweiser's The King's Red Herring

      "President Bush should be stopped in his tracks with regard to his use of 9/11 scare tactics to circumvent constitutional laws that are meant to protect U.S. citizens. His justification for doing so -- the inability to conduct surveillance on the 9/11 hijackers -- is a red herring. History will bear out the truth -- our intelligence agencies held a treasure trove of intelligence on the 9/11 hijackers, intelligence that was gathered through their initially unencumbered surveillance. President Bush should busy himself by investigating why that information was then stymied and not capitalized upon to stop the 9/11 attacks."

      She goes on to make her case.

      •  Its hard werk (none)
        to figger out why we dint yooz the intellijunz we had. Its ezier to figger out how to git more intellijunz widout all that pesky paperwerk.

        Sometimes you cover your ass with the lame excuses you have, instead of the lame excuses you wish you had. (-3.00, -5.49)

        by litigatormom on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 09:04:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Two word culture (none)
      King George

      Political Ad: Bush 41 Read My Lips, No New Taxes.
                         Bush 42 I don't believe in Nation Building
      (but for the sake of spreading Democracy in the Middle East, it will only cost you 300 bil off budget)

      Like father like son. Neither one can keep their promises.

      inspire change...don't back down

      by missliberties on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 07:28:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Impeachment? No. Removal through (none)
      the 25th Amendment or forced resignation, a la Nixon, is perhaps the only civil recource we have at this point.

      --felix

    •  yes on all counts (none)
      these guys threw caution to the wind a long time ago and embraced their unconstitutional impulses

      wouldn't it have been nice if the new york times published their article on unlawful and unnecessary domestic spying before the election?

      i wonder if the coopting of our media lies in simple whoredom or includes direct threats

      I believe in saving money. I believe in having a house. I believe in keeping things clean. I believe in exercising. www.walken2008.com

      by The Exalted on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 07:42:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The POTUS (none)
      has declared that he has committed many felonies.

      He further boasts about his criminality.

      He declares his intention to continue committing felonies, even more than in the past.

      If this isn't impeachable, nothing is.

      Geonomist - Charge for privileges; abolish taxes on production.

      by Geonomist on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 09:29:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not a political possibility? (none)
      Well, perhaps not. Not as long as we continue to behave this way, at least.

      Let's take this to it's ultimate logical conclusion: the President has eviscerated the Constitution, the document which gives force to all of the procedures and rules which govern the rights and behaviors of Senators and Representatives. That has been so thoroughly trampled upon that one might very well ask: so what if there isn't bi-partisan support? Only the force of the Constitution holds us to that standard. But, in essence, this President has decided to fuck the Constitution to hell.

      Why should we then be beholden to a document which is now clearly worthless? Why should Dems politely engage in "debate" over the actions of this monstrous administration?

      This is a serious question I am asking: what would be the real cost of standing up for the country and the Constitution, and not for political play-making? Demand an investigation with teeth, while we still can. Threaten (and follow-through) to abandon the House and Senate and aire grievances in public, on the public airwaves.

      Does this seem radical? It is. We've tried everything that wasn't radical, and are already being condemned as radical. So let's be radical, goddammit, and save our country.

      Fuck political possibility. Let's look at what is humanly possible.

      -8.38, -4.97 "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

      by thingamabob on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:00:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Straw? (4.00)
    You gotta believe, with continued activism, that at SOME point the snowball will start to roll downhill. Democratic leaders must use their bully pulpit to initiate the criminal and impeachment hearings we all wait and work for.

     That this administration is still "sitting" blows my mind...

    ...and Armando; thanks.

    •  Without Congressional control (4.00)
      it is all for naught.

      Just like on Iraq policy.

      The SCOTUS is extraordinary.

      by Armando on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:23:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But will Rove let the machine fall apart like that (3.50)
        is the question.. at some point (I wish I didn't have to say that), it will become completely toxic to defend what's been happening over the past few days. At that point, I will celebrate with a 40oz. like I did accidentally on Election Day before the election was stolen.
        •  Ballsy (4.00)
          Much as I hate the weasel, W has balls.

          What does he do when he's caught red-handed?  Say he's not sorry, say he HAS to do it to protect "national security" and say he's gonna do more of it.  

          Next thing, he'll be saying that anyone critical of the spying is unpatriotic and wants terrorists to hit 'Murca again.  Hell, he's already calling revelation of this unlawful program "shameful."  (As if he knows what shame is...)

          It's red meat for the nearly 50% that elected him.  He knows if he hangs on to them, he's not going anywhere.

          "I intend to live forever. So far, so good." Steven Wright

          by gsbadj on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 01:53:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Bush Is A TERROR-ist (none)
            Bush already said in his mealy-mouthed way that by NOT allowing these illicit activities to continue, we are for the terrorists.

            HEY jerk. You're the g-ddman terrorist. You're the bogeyman.

            The terrorists are HERE - Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rove, Hadley-- so we don't have to look for them OVER THERE.

            Sheeze.

            "George Bush Doesn't Care About People"

            by WriterRoss on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 03:08:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I disagree. Bush is a COWARD (4.00)
            "Much as I hate the weasel, W has balls."

            I get what you're saying: that Dubya seems to have the nerve to step up and take power.  

            Big deal.  When you're a spoiled rich frat boy who lives in a protected bubble where people just keep telling you how effin' wonderfully strong and wise and resolute you are, of course you develop a massive crush on yourself.  Of course you think you should be king.

            Bush is a coward where it matter most:  he's a moral coward.  He is happy to step all over the corpses of the 9/11 victims and U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq in order to grab more political power for himself.  He justifies every anti-American power grab for himself and his political party with the corpses of those he FAILED to protect on 9/11 ("Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.").  

            He desecrates the bodies of these 9/11 terrorist victims daily by using them to justify every single unrelated political power grab and GOP wishlist item that pre-dates 9/11 (let's have more tax cuts for billionaires in a time of war! Let's kill Social Security!).

            BUSH IS A MORAL COWARD.

          •  Anecdotal, but (none)
            a goodly number of the "nearly 50% that elected him" voted that way because they had always voted Republican, or they were uncertain about changing administrations in the middle of GWOT, or because they didn't like/get Kerry.

            Not all of them are unthinking troglodytes. Some are, as a man I know describes himself now, "disappointed Republicans."

            The firestorm that's developing over this issue of illegal spying could be the tipping point, finally.

            The degree to which you resist injustice is the degree to which you are free. -- Utah Phillips

            by Mnemosyne on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 06:12:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I think calling for impeachment (none)
          is therefore unwise.

          The "other side" will become angry and inflamed and miss the whole point.

          Bush is a criminal. Just like his brother. Just like his father.

          Let him drown in his own bile for a while longer.

          inspire change...don't back down

          by missliberties on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 07:30:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  But can't we get things rolling? (none)
        Get the idea out there and the legislation introduced.  Let it be voted down or hung up in committee.  It connects closely the corrupt Republican Congress with the criminal president and boosts our chances to take the House in 2006.  If they vote against impeachment, it makes it harder to disasociate themselves from the Chimp.

        AND when we take the House back in '06, we can vote the articles through.

  •  "Vital Presidential Fluids"... (4.00)
    ...that was the title of Kristol & Schmitt's piece in WaPo.

    Seriously, straight outa Dr. Strangelove - "Vital Presidential Fluids".

    Oh, awright...the real title was "Vital Presidential Powers". But you see what I mean.

  •  wow. this is rich: (4.00)
    It is not easy to answer the question whether the president, acting in this gray area, is "breaking the law".

    seems pretty easy to me. the 4th amendment and the FISA statutes seem to be pretty unambiguous.

    "after the Rapture, we get all their shit"

    check out Drum Major Institute Blog. it's bitchin'.

    by lipris on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:09:47 AM PST

  •  Impeachment should be automatic. (4.00)
    I cannot believe that we still have to debate this issue. Either this is where the Bush march toward dictatorship is stopped or the American people finally have the government they truly deserve.

    Bush has given us the ultimatum: Either accept the protective umbrella of dictatorship or he will be unable to protect us from the terrrrist threat.

    Time for the American people to decide, because after this, there is no turning back.

    ...........................................................

  •  but...but... (none)
    9/11 changed everything...

    sigh

    •  Seriously though... (none)
      excellent diary, Armando...as usual.

      and again, I just love the hypocrisy! Executive powers are the be-all end-all when Republicans are in the White House...but when it's Democrats...then they can play games and stop the government from running for weeks at a time.

      Republican and Hypocrite are becoming synonymous at this point...

      •  What is truly amazing... (none)
        ...is how many Americans fall for the Republican standard rebuttal, which I like to call the "Tom DeLay Defense":

        "The Damocrat Party is playing Politics with National Security".

        The power of the corporate media is such that blatant criminal activity is being given the cloak of plausible respectability by calling it "Criminalization of Politics" when it should be obvious to all that it is more like "Politization of Crime".

        ................................................................................

      •  hell, we should start blaming (4.00)
        the repugs for the Clinton admin not being able to focus and stop binladen because of the jackass investigation of Bill's blowjob.  
    •  In perpetuity (4.00)
      seem to be the argument.

      The dangerous and mendacious arguments supporting this most obvious of unconstituional actions by a president, an act that is clearly a High Crime - the deliberate violation of the Constitution - is the most damning commentary on the state of conservaism and the Republican Party that any of us could think of.

      The SCOTUS is extraordinary.

      by Armando on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:19:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sadly, (4.00)
        too few people will see it for what it is.  Way too few, since the only amount that would be enough is if everyone signed on to your characterizations of it.

        It's amazing how even as weakened as Bush is, this still isn't gaining the kind of traction it ought.  Imagine if this had been 2 years ago.  The Times probably wouldn't have run it - he wouldn't have even needed to call Keller and Sulzberger in to the oval office to pressure them, because they would have come pre-folded.  Now, they run it and the deadened country that's come to accept routine violation of their civil liberties goes "eh."  So depressing.

        •  Well (4.00)
          I don't think my "characterizations" are anything but factual.

          I am not someone who has argued for impeachment before.

          Indeed, it is something I have discouraged. The President was elected and overturning the will of the people should occur in only the most extraordinary of circumstances.

          This is such a circumstance.

          The SCOTUS is extraordinary.

          by Armando on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:26:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  indeed. (4.00)
            unlike what happened to our last president, this is exactly the type of circumstance for which the provision for impeachment of the president exists. this president is usurping the powers of BOTH other supposedly coequal branches. if there ever were a case to be made for impeachment, this is most certainly it.

            "after the Rapture, we get all their shit"

            check out Drum Major Institute Blog. it's bitchin'.

            by lipris on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:31:12 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I agree. (4.00)
            I haven't been on the impeachment bandwagon unless something could be proven that merited it.  Now the fucker has flat-out admitted to something that merits impeachment!  I didn't see that one coming.

            But when so many people are going "it's business as usual" and "9/11 changed things" and "the president was just doing his job," how do you get them to understand it as being, as you said, high crime?  I feel like it's this long process.  Get people to understand that.  Use that understanding to get a Dem majority in Congress.  Get that Dem majority to impeach.  Hard to see any of those things happening, but it's kind of unthinkable where we as a country go in their absence.

      •  They can't discern stewardship of office -- (4.00)
        ... (in trust for others) from ownership of office (the occupant doing WTF he wants).
        .
        The justifications the Chimperor used for going on his secret, self-empowering spree outside any oversight or checks were:
        .
        (a) that people could vote him out if they didn't like it (except that he hid his actions from Congress and the public during an election year so we didn't GET to make that choice) and
        .
        (b) "protecting" the people was his personal duty, and oversight or debate somehow prevents this.  But he wasn't empowered to do so in an individualistic capacity, like some rootin' tootin' vigilante who decides via his first gut, who's a bad guy (no rights) and who's not (okay, let's let that guy have rights). What establishes THAT is what he swore to uphold -- that damned paper, what's it called ... ?
        .
        Jesus, I can't believe I'm having this discussion or that I'm even up. Kagro X's call to action was worth spending an all nighter to get anyone I know jumping on this before I assume full holiday loaf mode and do my great impression of a Yule Log.
        .

        Treason's Greetings, Karl Rove (DOB Xmas Day, 1950), the grinch who stole freedom.

        by Peanut on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 01:47:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  what's been bothering me (4.00)
    is that if, god forbid, it somehow becomes accepted that the president does have plenary wartime powers in some sort of undeclared, open ended, ill defined war, doeas he then become essentially "unimpeachable"? if the president becomes incapable of breaking the law, do we just toss Article II section 4 right out the window?

    if the president has no legal restraints, can he ever be convicted in the senate of "high crimes and misdemeanors"?

    "after the Rapture, we get all their shit"

    check out Drum Major Institute Blog. it's bitchin'.

    by lipris on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:19:23 AM PST

    •  Actually (4.00)
      I don't think that logically follows.

      Indeed, it seems that impeachment is the only recourse the Congress is allowed to stop the President.

      No half measures apparently.

      The SCOTUS is extraordinary.

      by Armando on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:28:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why can't he cancel the 2008 elections? (4.00)
        If it looks like a Democrat might win, and blow the cover off all of his doings, perhaps it would be necessary to prosecuting the war on terror?

        Who exactly could stop him, under the Yoo/Bybee theory?

        "If you [just] wanted to reduce ignorance, you could ... abort every Republican baby in this country, and your ignorance rate would go down."

        by Major Danby on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:51:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why? One Reason & One Reason Only. (4.00)
          The consent of the governed; The will of the people; The refusal of Americans to submit.  

          I have said, repeatedly, that our citizens have allowed themselves to be led like sheeps, by a dark criminal regime of lies and propaganda that is directly analogous to and, I believe, directly and intentionally patterned on the Hitler/Goebbels model.

          There must be some tipping point, some line in the sand, some edge of the water, somewhere, sometime.

          You might recall the immortal phrase "consent of the governed":

          That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government ...

          This. Cannot. Stand.

          •  i thought (4.00)
            they already tested the 'will of the people' in 2000 when the court selected a new president.

            I wish I could be hopeful.

            •  2000 was different (none)
              As clear as it was to us, for many people, 2000 boiled down to this: the Constitution contemplates that the popular winner may be the electoral loser, its happened before (1876), and Bush was ahead in Florida, albeit by a very small margin, even after a recount, and those hanging chads were not real votes. The Dems wanted to keep recounting until Gore won.  The Supreme Court put a stop to that.

              Of course, that's not how it really happened, but that's what a lot of people think happened. Unusual circumstances, but not something extraconstitutional.

              A President unilaterally extending his term in office -- I have to believe that the governed would not consent to that.  Period.  

              Sometimes you cover your ass with the lame excuses you have, instead of the lame excuses you wish you had. (-3.00, -5.49)

              by litigatormom on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 09:12:06 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Right. But -- (none)
            Given the theory of Presidential Plenary Power in Periods of Perpetual Peril, it's not clear what actually stops him.  Where are the limits on his power, and why don't they extend to declaration of martial law and cancelling of elections?

            "If you [just] wanted to reduce ignorance, you could ... abort every Republican baby in this country, and your ignorance rate would go down."

            by Major Danby on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 09:12:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That is the thing. (none)
              The Congress, the Courts and, ultimately, the People will not allow it. But for the certainty that this is in fact true, it could happen here given that Bush and his band of criminals are very obviously far out of control.
              •  "In Bush's theory of governance," I mean (none)
                I'm pretty sure that "The Congress, the Courts and, ultimately, the People will not allow it." is not part of the Yoo memorandum.

                "If you [just] wanted to reduce ignorance, you could ... abort every Republican baby in this country, and your ignorance rate would go down."

                by Major Danby on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 02:38:16 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  That's exactly what i'm expecting to happen. (none)
          N/T
      •  Other measures (none)
        I seem to recall that Robert Bork studied the question of prosecution versus impeachment during the Nixon Administration and concluded that the President cannot be prosecuted for arguably official duties while in office -- but that the Vice President could. In that context it's interesting that Rockefeller sent his letter to Cheney.

        Short of impeachment, are the following actions possible?

        • Public outcry to demand a special prosecutor to investigate this. (Gonzalez is personally involved.)
        • Resulting criminal charges against those who actually implemented the illegal spying program, up to Negroponte, Rumsfeld, and Cheney.
        • Civil suits against the same implementers -- although I'm not sure how someone would determine that they were spied upon, in order to establish their right to file the suit.
        •  Bork you, Mr. Vice President. (none)

          You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

          by murrayewv on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 03:43:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The makings of a massive civil rights lawsuit (none)
          -- are right there, combining every group denied franchise or recourse in the Chimperor's War on Whatever (incl. that hinky 'moral values' mandate).
          .
          I don't care if he personally dines off the Noodly One, he doesn't get to define who's a person, or a combatant, or a voter just because he's Codpiece Number One and based on fiat/whim.
          .

          Treason's Greetings, Karl Rove (DOB Xmas Day, 1950), the grinch who stole freedom.

          by Peanut on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 04:02:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  What part could the ACLU (none)
          play in this?

          "Think of what would happen to us in America if there were no humorists; life would be one long Congressional Record"

          by DianeA on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 04:12:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  If only Clinton had declared war! (none)
      Then he could have washed away his sins in the name of National Security.  Even if Whitewater happened before his stint in the White House, the Bushies use convoluted interpretations - "all necessary...force".

      It really boils down to the perception of the Left that civil liberties are being trampled and the Constitution is being ignored versus the perception of the Right that since there are no victims, there are no crimes.

      The only way to find out if there are any victims is to push for a real investigation and full disclosure.  The obvious reply to that is to stonewall and cry "National Security! Terrorists!".  

      Lord, this administration will go down in history as the Terrorist Administration.  

    •  That's why the ext. return to get DeLay back (4.00)
      Session resumes on Jan 31 to give Dirty DeLay time to deal with his unfortunate legal troubles so he can get back to his role of pistol-whipping any R's who might wander across the aisle.
      .
      No investigations. No paper trails on election machinery. No reversals on gerrymandered seats.
      .
      I noticed that the Chimperor had two non sequiturs in the middle of his F.U. tantrum about the spying: he sent out love to the black folk and he urged congress to move on the Voting Rights Act. As if he gives a heroic morning crap about either.
      .
      I'm cynically dot-connecting this -- using the Rovian formula of pre-emptively attacking from one's position of weakness -- with the assumption that the tech involved in the secret spying plugs holes in what was used to purge voter rolls in past elections.
      .
      After Katrina, if he (and the GOP) have even 2% of support from African-Americans, I'd fall out of my chair. The GOP needs way more than that to slam shut another hinky, eminently contestible election.
      .

      Treason's Greetings, Karl Rove (DOB Xmas Day, 1950), the grinch who stole freedom.

      by Peanut on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 03:13:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And then he started rambling... (none)
        and got off on retirement accounts and home ownership for Katrina survivors.  I think someone forgot their Ritalin.

        You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

        by murrayewv on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 03:45:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The black voting issues 'prickled my ears' (none)
          ... (as my grandmother would say) because of relocated NOLA residents. (Where will they be voting, and through what means?)
          .
          And again, GWB/GOP really don't give a crap about black people. Either the Chimperor was, out of sheer nervousness, spilling the beans about what he was coached on on incidentally or the partei desperately needs at least nominal black votes to take (or fake) key areas in the elections ... and it's so bad they need to smooth the way early. (Spitballin' here -- I want to know (a) the targets of the spying and (b) the tech involved, as mentioned elsewhere.)
          .

          Treason's Greetings, Karl Rove (DOB Xmas Day, 1950), the grinch who stole freedom.

          by Peanut on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 03:54:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  So our President is clearly a Criminal (4.00)
    and that means a sitting Criminal President will be nominating 2 if not more members of The SCOTUS. Every nomination that Bush puts forward must be filibustered. No if's, and's or but's. Two other things..what were in the intercepts in regards to another Bush Criminal member Bolton? And in the 5 minutes that Bush sat in that Florida classroom looking like a dear in the headlights..during that time, those 5 minutes..that is all the time it would have taken for him to gotten a Judge to sign off on a wire tape or email intercept..unless of course...he felt that the judge could have been an "activist" judge and he would be turned down, but we know that's not true, so perhaps King George didn't want the judge to see what the criminals were really spying on...John..(cough..cough) Kerry....Dan...(cough..cough) Rather. Joe...(cough..cough) Wilson. Daily...(cough..cough) Kos or maybe just Armando. I guess they got tired of covering things up..now they are just coming out and admitting they are criminals.

    *This site is slower than Bush's reaction on 9/11.*

    by Chamonix on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:25:35 AM PST

    •  Indeed (4.00)
      The "why" is perplexing.

      FISA is incredibly permissive.

      The SCOTUS is extraordinary.

      by Armando on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:29:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  and did you see (4.00)
        This Reuters Article earlier this evening. I love Spector quoting O'Connor to Alito "War is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of the Nation's Citizens." Alito will clearly smile at Specter, then lie out of his ass, and then once on the court, spit on Arlen and take a dump on the Constitution while high fiving Scalia & Thomas. Fucking pigs. O'Connor should hold a press conference and say she has to much respect for our Country, it's people and the Constitution to turn her seat over to the Bush Crime family. She needs to keep her seat and say..."Don't fuck with me fella's..this ain't my first time at the Rodeo" and then break into Jennifer Holiday's version of "And I am telling you...I'm not going" from "Dreamgirls".

        *This site is slower than Bush's reaction on 9/11.*

        by Chamonix on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:43:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Does this help? (4.00)
        source of below


        The Associated Press, 23 August 2002

        W A S H I N G T O N, Aug. 23 - Setting up the next showdown over anti-terrorism powers, the Bush administration appealed a court ruling that forced Attorney General John Ashcroft to change new guidelines for FBI terrorism searches and wiretaps.

        Documents released Thursday showed that the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has not publicly disclosed any of its rulings in nearly two decades, rejected some of Ashcroft's guidelines as "not reasonably designed" to safeguard the privacy of Americans. The secretive court oversees government's most sensitive surveillance efforts.

        The Justice Department amended the guidelines and won the court's approval. But the Bush administration it was appealing the court's restrictions, arguing that the new limits inhibit the sharing of information between terrorism investigators and criminal investigators.


      •  it's not perplexing (4.00)
        that bush couldn't let anyone outside his tight cabal know who he was spying on.

        not at all.

        not when we find out who all it was no doubt. and why. the coward...

        only the most absurd miscarriage of justice could see this go anywhere but straight up bush's coke-rotten nose.

        although... we've seen some pretty absurd things from republicans. it's really gone waaay too far. this is why political parties die... like permanently, like the whig party is no longer with us. or is it?

        exactly why is the republican party a valid political party in our democracy anymore? can anyone explain that to me?

        if they go for this neofascism... the republicans in power...frist...etc... how do we go about getting rid of a political party? cause i don't think a political party that operates as a monarchy is a valid political party in a democracy?

        (...as the bible-thumpin' knuckledraggers may very well have done after the last civil war had britain joined them... the cowards...

        sorry, couldn't help myself.)

        :)

        U.S. blue collar vs. CEO income in 1992 was 1:80; in 1998 it was 1:418.

        by Lode Runner on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:51:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I wish I could explain (4.00)
          exactly why is the republican party a valid political party in our democracy anymore? can anyone explain that to me?

          That's a question I've been dying to hear answered for some time now.  Conservatives are supposed to act as a restraining force, ensuring that the dynamic ideas of progressives don't result in hasty or ill-advised changes to society, or a government grown too heavy and entrenched to perform efficiently.  Just how in the hell does the GOP fulfill this function?  What does the modern Bush-led GOP legitimately bring to the table?  Very little as far as I can see, and less each day.

        •  Basically, they're Amway (4.00)
          The Republican party right now is a pyramid scheme. It probably is just at the tipping point, with the last core group coming on. Noone wants to leave before they get their shot at the gold (at least not the true believers) so they are doing everything in their power to try to make it happen. Hopefully we are in the final throes of their schemes.

          Do Pavlov's dogs chase Schroedinger's cat?

          by corwin on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 07:17:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  That's what I can't figure (4.00)
        Not only is the statute permissive, all the Government would need to do is sprinkle a few mentions of "terrorist activity" and "national security" in the petition and it would get signed, no questions asked.

        The political firestorm will come IF/WHEN a list is ever released of who got spied on under this executive order.  If it's a bunch of folks with Middle-Eastern surnames, there won't be  shitstorm.  If it's a bunch of anti-war activists, then there could be some major fall-out.

        My bet is that they'll stonewall that list and then claim that they can't come up with one.

        "I intend to live forever. So far, so good." Steven Wright

        by gsbadj on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 02:05:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They do it (none)
          because they can. Asking for permission from the FISA court would indicate that his power is not limitless.

          "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition" - Monty Python

          by MadRuth on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:08:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Bush/GOP don't like paper trails (none)
          They dedicate a phenomenal amount of energy either to classifying information or ensuring they avoid situations that generate records for public view.
          .
          They DO however, create paper they can wave around later showing it was "legal" to work extra-judicially, without oversight, checks and balances, and to wave away any watchdog that comes sniffing to see what stinks to high heaven.
          .
          Standard (G)OP-erating Procedure.

          Treason's Greetings, Karl Rove (DOB Xmas Day, 1950), the grinch who stole freedom.

          by Peanut on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 03:06:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Half-truths (none)
            ... seem to be the other SOP.

            They drop half-truths into something they tell Congress or the press.

            Then, when the untruthful part is exposed, they claim they told Congress and the press.  They then claim it's Congress' fault for not asking more questions and stopping them from their illegal policy.

            "I intend to live forever. So far, so good." Steven Wright

            by gsbadj on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 03:42:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Perplexing? That one's easy, Armando (none)
        It's not perplexing as to why he would sidestep FISA.
        • The extent of the spying was so egregious and unwarranted that not even the incredibly permissive FISA would agree to it.
        • Congressional leaders who were advised on the plan thought they were getting a briefing on a deployment of new technology, and they were. The briefing must have outlined a plan to cast a wide net and bring the entire electronic eavesdropping apparatus of the US government to bear across the entire spectrum of domestic electronic communication.
        They have been perfecting the spysats for years. As a tool of the police state all that was required was a decision to turn those assets inward. We are in grave danger.

        A pessimist sees a glass half empty. I see a paper cup with holes punched in it.

        by Paper Cup on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:43:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent post (4.00)
    Hey, I think this should be on the front page!  Why don't you edit it to toss in something about how Alito would suck in all this imperial Presidency crap with a smile, so you're not acting ultra vires, and then put it there?

    "If you [just] wanted to reduce ignorance, you could ... abort every Republican baby in this country, and your ignorance rate would go down."

    by Major Danby on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:45:15 AM PST

  •  typo alert: (none)
    "in the my posts"

    feel free to troll-rate this away; typo alerts do so mar a good diary.

  •  Strange bedfellows (none)
    Interesting (to say the least) that in his column today, that famous Bush-hating leftwinger George Will basically agrees with Armando.

    I think the end times are upon us.

    •  Only in a really sad, reluctant manner. (4.00)
      Headline: Why didn't he ask congress?  Whay or why indeed, Mr. Will.  Bush gives a rat's f**k for Congress and never would ask them for air for his bike tires if he could decide something from the oval office directly.  God speaks to George Bush and although Congress is loaded with republicans, most also think God speaks directly to them.  The nation could warm itself by the fire of those flaming fatheads.

      George Will says in the end,

      "But conservatives' wholesome wariness of presidential power has been a casualty of conservative presidents winning seven of the past 10 elections."

      He continues:

      "Charles de Gaulle, a profound conservative, said of another such, Otto von Bismarck -- de Gaulle was thinking of Bismarck not pressing his advantage in 1870 in the Franco-Prussian War -- that genius sometimes consists of knowing when to stop. In peace and in war, but especially in the latter, presidents have pressed their institutional advantages to expand their powers to act without Congress. This president might look for occasions to stop pressing."

      Darn that Roosevelt- the court wouldn't give him unlimited power and now we have some precedents.  Maybe that is why Bush wants strict constructionists who will go back and creatively re-interpret the constitution to run the Supreme Court.  I think Dems should filibuster Patriot Act and Alito until there is a full investigations.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

      by murrayewv on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 03:58:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh, Armando (4.00)
    We are so naive. Take a read of this and stay awake a lot more nights. I'd diary it, but you will get more attention for it.

    The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud. -Coco Chanel

    by Overseas on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 01:59:00 AM PST

    •  Echelon (none)
      very interesting.  I remember a few years ago, there was a big outcry in the crypto groups 'cause some were convinced that Echelon was being pre-installed in new PCs with Windows software.  I don't believe that but I do think it's a new method of surveillance.  someone else diaried this yesterday.

      "I'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign policy matters with war on my mind."

      by Avila on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 02:07:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  thanks for the link (4.00)
      I was wondering how long it would take for people to connect this to echelon.  In my opinion, the mysterious 'tech' everyone is looking for has been here for a long time already.
  •  Fantastic Post and Analysis. (4.00)
    There is something that is being lost in all of the noise though that I think is important.

    Bush's argument of "Modern Technology" being the reason that FISA could not work, and his reasoning behind the "Connect the Dots" argument.

     Whenever I think of NSA I think of the methods used for Intel Harvesting. This is why I think this incompetent boob has put himself into an untenable position and at the same time compromised the Security of the United States...I will explain.

     The whole "Wiretapping" visual that people are getting hung up on is not representative of the methods used by the NSA because it leaves you with the picture of a couple of guys in a windowless Van wearing Headphones, drinking cold coffee, constipated, and endlessly turning on some 70's era Reel to Reel taperecorder everytime a phone rings.
     There are reasons that the NSA has a Founding Directive that it may only target "International Intelligence". Those reasons are necessary because of the very methods and technology that are at it's core.....

     "Fishing", "Data Mining". Massive Computer programs that have millions of communication signals filtering through programs that cross reference "Red Flag" Key words, Phrases, IP Addresses, Phone Numbers, and speech patterns...

     This method of "Detection" or "Search" makes judicial warrants or oversight impossible from the outset. The FISA statutes require a specific target in the first place. This is all well and good using traditional "Wiretapping", or "Targeted" methods, which we normally envision when thinking about "wiretaps".

     These "Fishing Expeditions" for terrorists which utilyze the very core tools and protocol of the NSA make 4th ammendment protection impossible in the very sense that the method itself is invading privacy of literally thousands of people at any one time. This would be the 'sticky' area concerning 4th Ammendment protection. I feel if the methods were argued to the SCOTUS, that perhaps the Govt would attempt to make the case that since it is a "Machine" and not a person that is actually conducting the 'search' or 'Detection' in this case, that no Civil Rights would be invaded unless the "Cross Referrence Database" was triggered and attention was brought to an individual communication, or group of communications.  This I believe is the #1 reason that the Doctrine of the NSA mission is restricted to overseas operations where no 4th Ammendment exists.

     The use of the NSA Protocol for Domestic Operations by BushCo has threatened the National Security by putting the SCOTUS in the position of having to make a ruling that in and of itself would bring the actual methods of the NSA into public View.

     I feel that The Administration is gambling on the fact that these methods are protected from scrutiny or argument by the SCOTUS because the case in and of itself would have to reveal the very method that the NSA uses. BushCo is leaveraging the need to protect the national security by keeping these "Fishing" methods secret against the need to reveal these very methods in order to make a case for 4th Ammendment violations.

     That I believe is the explanation for the boldness of Bush's Attitude in admitting the actual act. The Administration feels that they are untouchable on this because to supply the burden of proof of Violation of 4th Ammendment Rights, would mean to reveal the very Protocol itself. I think that Bush has been advised that the worst thing that could happen if caught would be censure from congress. Public Congressional Hearings would be impossible due to national security concerns with having to reveal the very methods themselves...The methods are the crime. To prove the abuse by the President you would have to reveal the method, UNLESS you can provide specific cases where Civil Rights were impuned.

     The Larger Crime in this is not 4th Ammendment Violation by the President. The Larger Crime is Bush risking exposure of the very workings of the NSA by using the Agency and it's methods Domesticly and thus risking the need for exposure of the methods of the most closely protected secret workings of the top intelligence agency in the United States.

     I feel the "Executive Powers" arguments that are being put forth by the Administration are merely an attempt to increase the Power of the Executive while they are at it. This is not the basis of the real reason the NSA was used domesticly. They feel that because of the very NATURE of the NSA's Methods that there is no way they can be prosecuted.

    •  That's been popping up in other discussions (none)
      IMO, the two missing pieces that will explain what's truly up are (a) the targets of the spying and (b) the tech.
      .
      BushCo sat on both because they mine so far outside existing, totally GENEROUS warrants that the admin knew at the outset the spying was wrong. (Also, that the spying would harvest a whack of stuff they could use for their usual thuggery and power-grabs.)
      .

      Treason's Greetings, Karl Rove (DOB Xmas Day, 1950), the grinch who stole freedom.

      by Peanut on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 02:19:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  two missing pieces (none)
        IMO, the two missing pieces that will explain what's truly up are (a) the targets of the spying and (b) the tech

        Exactly. The problem is that you can't expose the targets because they are in the 1000's if not Millions.
         And the TECH cannot be exposed under any circumstances.
         So what is left of the matter?
         I'll tell ya, these bastards are extremely clever...

        Levin wasn't screwing around today when he said "They got some pretty expensive lawyers over there[in the WH], and we are going to have to investigate this before we can make a determination".
         

        •  I'll bet Levin's grandchildren are better equipped (none)
          -- to envision what's going on than he is.
          .
          That's no slam on Levin, just that he might be generationally outside living day to day with the tech he uses.
          .
          Phishing and mining are why I blog-surf with a dialup craptop ("BlogSlut") untethered TOTALLY from my spiffy computer with work/personal data and the programs I use.
          .
          I know at a glance how much of my harddrive is hosting uninvited dumpage. It's unbelievable what sneaks in through innocuous means (eg, legally DL'd music or audio streaming.)
          .
          I periodically reformat and reload a bare-bones system and/or run the OS off a CD.
          .

          Treason's Greetings, Karl Rove (DOB Xmas Day, 1950), the grinch who stole freedom.

          by Peanut on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 02:46:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  didn't finish before hitting "Post" (none)
      The very need for secrecy makes Impeachment on 4th Ammendment grounds probably Impossible.

       The case would need to be made on INCOMPETENCE for risking the Security of the United States by using the NSA for domestic purposes.

      How exactly could THAT case be made?

    •  exactly so (none)
      the technology has gotta be something different and unconventional that's outside the limits of FISA and the 4th Amendment (or that BushCo believes to be separate).

      I think you're absolutely right about this.  it's the only logical explanation and it works on every level that comes to mind.

      "I'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign policy matters with war on my mind."

      by Avila on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 02:35:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hope I am NOT right! (4.00)
        Because if I am correct, then that means that "Big Brother" is really here, and it will be legalised on top of it because the method becomes un-prosecutable.

        ....pure evil.

        •  The technical excuse is gorilla dust (none)
          I phoned a friend yesterday to ask the specific question if there he could imagine any technical barrier(s) that would prevent NSA from using FISA procedures and the answer was an unqualified, "No." My friend has several decades of experience designing the very guts of huge, complex telecommunications systems, including the type of enabling technologies that NSA uses.

          My friend's politics are extreme right and he seldom has much concern about government spying. However, it would be impossible to overstate how dumbfounded and deeply worried he is about the revelations in the NYT story, so much so that he has categorically ruled doing any classified work in the near future.

          Data gathering/mining techniques are so broadly used in the private sector that the subject can be widely discussed ad nauseam in the context of civil liberties without posing the slightest threat to valid national security methods.

          I can't help but wonder if NSA is drowning in a sea of data that it doesn't really know how to use in an efficient, targeted manner and that Bush's response to the problem was simply to decide he had the Divine Right of Kings to ignore the law rather than worrying his empty head about solving any technical shortcomings lawfully.

  •  Happy Holidays Armando! (none)
    Now that you have stepped down off the front page maybe you'll have the time to read the comments you get.

    Apparently you and most of subscribers to Dkos are a little upset to find out that the only rules is that there are no rules when it comes to the actions of the Executive Branch of Our Designated Government, The Republic of The United States of America.

    What exactly did you expect? What was once considered impossible and unthinkable in the past is what is occurring in America today. Please correct Us if We are wrong about this.

    In a way it is the fault of every American. The reason being is that no one is paying attention to what is really important. Instead everyone is so distracted by these minor issues, scandals and the ever famous crisis after crisis created by this administration that Democracy in America has ceased to exist.

    We believe that Democracy is the best form of government that humanity has created in history. But America is not a Democracy in case you haven't noticed. Instead America likes to pretend to be a Democracy. The reality is that America being ruled by Corporate Controlled Fascist Regime.

    So tell Us how do you and everyone else on Dkos plan to change the direction this is all heading? Time is running out as America heads into the last stages of the end game the Dominionist envision for America.

    The elections of 2006 and 2008 are too far in the future to stop it.

    Impeachment is not going to stop it. The power just cascades from one Dominionist to the next.

    Non-violent civil disobedience like in the 60's is not going to stop it. (Notice how little media coverage Cindy Sheehan has been getting lately. Boy that peace march a couple of months ago really made a big difference, Eh!)

    Violent civil insurrection/revolution will play right into their hands. (Boy do they want this to happen. It will trigger the "let's declare Martial Law to maintain order, peace and stability scenario")

    So what is going to stop it? The majority of the Democratic party is too afraid to stop it since that would cut them off from collecting campaign donations from big corporate donors.

    Face up to reality people. Nothing that has happened or is happening is going to make a big enough difference to stop these Dominionist from completing the destruction of America and Democracy.

    We can tell you how to stop it all but you will not believe it until you realize exactly how serious the situation is. So are you ready to get serious about restoring America to a land where Liberty, Freedom, Truth, The Rule of Law and Justice are not just words to pay lip service to?

    If your clueless on how to do this then here is your Christmas present a little early.

    infinia(at)toxicreality.com

    PS. Congratulations on making the NSA list. Nothing like pissing off the powers that be to make life "interesting". If your not scared your either not paying attention or your just plain stupid!

    Common Good? Is that like the flu or something?

    by hmsjo on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 02:37:44 AM PST

    •  Annoying mistake: (none)
      Last line before your link at the bottom

      "If your clueless ..."

      should be

      "If you're clueless ..."

      I wouldn't normally correct a comment but this one reads like an advertisement, so perhaps it should be copy checked like one too.

      You want to downsize the government?
      Fuck you. My government defends the American people.

      by deafmetal on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:36:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  you spend an awful lot of words... (4.00)
      ...being generically smug and condescending.

      Tell you what.  If you have the solution to all that ails this country, post it here on THIS blog, since you've chosen to spend time -- and a lot of words -- here.  

      Instead of wasting everyone's time telling us that we're generally clueless and pathetic bastards, show us your brilliance HERE.  

      I dare you.

      •  In fact (none)
        I have done this many times.

        After two years of being subjected to silence by the powers that be on this blog and the mean spirited ignorance of the general commentator  on Dkos I'm now at the point of saying why even bother to post any comments.

        This comment was directed at Armando to determine if he ever spends anytime reading the comments and responding to them. As you can see it did not generate a response as of this point in time.

        At very least he could tell me to go get fucked for all I care. Other people have. Ask me really how much I care? No matter what anyone may think, believe or say it does not change the facts and the reality I have to deal with.

        This blog has developed a mindset that closes off objective reasoning and genuine discussion to any subject that does not conform to the agenda and groupthink generated by writers such as Armando.

        You are right in that I have come to the conclusion that most of the people on Dkos are in fact clueless and pathetic. The record of Democrats to date is truly un-inspiring.

        It only took 4 years for them to find a backbone to offer the meager amount of resistance to the destruction of the founding principles of America.

        Even now not all Democrats are on board this bandwagon. Outrage after outrage is committed and for the most part the Democrats have remained silent and offered only token resistance at times.

        I do not have to prove my brilliance to you or anyone else on Dkos. Instead I let my actions speak for me. I have done what I consider to be the right thing for everyone in America. Since you have commented to articles I have written before I will assume you visited my website at http://www.toxicreality.com. This is the solution. If you can't see why then there is nothing I can do to help you see the solution.

        It's not the best solution but at least it is better than not having one at all. No I'm not brilliant. If anything I'm just stuck with a stupid situation that occurred because I happened to believe in such words as Freedom, Truth, The Rule of Law and Justice.

        For that mistake I get to have this wonderful job of attempting to tell America that No One in this circus called knows what those words mean.

        Thanks for the comment Chumly. If you see Ahaz or Skeeve around send them my way. I sure could use a D-Hopper right about now.

        Common Good? Is that like the flu or something?

        by hmsjo on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 12:24:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ah Yes (none)
    ...the myth of 9/11. I remember many years ago when a couple of punks derailed a passenger train by either leaving some shit on the track or by throwing a switch. If I recall correctly, 20 or 30 people died. I remember five years ago when some other punks stole some planes and killed 3 000 people. I called them punks at the time letters to the editor because I was afraid that right-wingers would ascribe waaaaay too much weight to these punks. And they did.

    According to the neocon right, these punks were the leading edge of the wedge of world wide TERROR. According to the right, these punks were the rationale for the dismantling of democracy. According to the right, these punks validated  naked aggression on the part of the US toward any state. They will tell you that 9/11 changed everything - and they're right. America can now be called a neo-fascist state - one in which there is no ability to enforce the rule of law - one in which there is no judicial oversight - one in which the press is the lapdog of the government - and all because the actions of a few punks were allowed to be blown out of proportion.

    I wish I had an answer as to how to bring down the neocons - I don't think you can wait three years.

    Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

    by dpc on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 03:35:08 AM PST

  •  Waiver of "Checks & Balances"??? (4.00)
    The White House seems to be telling us that during times of war, the power of the Executive branch becomes virtually unlimited.  

    Where in the Constitution did the Founders include a clause that eliminates "checks and balances" and grants this imperialistic power to the Presidency?  

    If Bush were correct in his implicit and explicit assertions that the Executive has almost unlimited power during times of war, would that be true for the war on terror as well as the war on drugs?  How about the cold war?  What about O'Reilly's delusional war on Christmas?  

    What constitutes a "war"?  

    According to Bush, it seems we would always be at war and he would always have this extraordinary authority.  

    Rhonda Ross
    www.ross4congress.org

    •  these are my questions too (none)
      To take your "war on drugs" example - can the President suddenly decide to throw out any necessity for warrants in tracking down drug dealers, merely because he decides that drugs are a huge danger that has to be stopped?  And then he keeps it secret from Congress and the American people, because he claims the drug dealers will find out our methods?

      I agree with Armando - this whole thing is HUGE.  I don't think Bush really understands this.  Nor do his handlers.  This may be the unintended blowback from living in their own reality.  Ironic.

      Perhaps some mighty victory is growing in you now. - Mike Finley

      by hrh on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 04:35:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tsunamis, tigers and the poor - Oh, My (4.00)
    Looks like the FBI has been busy surveilling Greenpeace, PETA and Catholic Workers...

    You just know there's a world of shit awaiting Bush when we find out what he's been up to.

    "As a woman, I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman my country is the whole world."

    by MissAnneThrope on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 03:47:52 AM PST

  •  Connected to Sibel Edmonds & Hastert? (none)
    Wasn't Sibel Edmonds listening to wiretaps that allegedly snared Dennis Hastert as taking bribes from Turks to change the legislation on the Armenian genocide resolution?

    I just have to wonder if there's any connection to the Bush wiretapping program.

    I Supported the War When I Believed the Lies

    by bejammin075 on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 04:20:53 AM PST

  •  "extralegal but constitutional"?? (none)
    How can something be extralegal but constitutional?

    Also, it occurs to me that much may hinge on the legality of the "war on terror", as in, the prevention of another 9/11 on our shores.  Has it ever been approved by Congress in such a way as to allow the President unlimited wartime powers in the US?

    Perhaps some mighty victory is growing in you now. - Mike Finley

    by hrh on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 04:28:44 AM PST

  •  Hmm. (none)
    Official surveillance, whether its purpose be criminal investigation or ongoing intelligence gathering, risks infringement of constitutionally protected privacy of speech

    The case they're citing is from the days when the Supreme Court thought we had a consitutional  right to privacy.

    They're changing that, now...

    -9.25, -7.54

    Yikes. Good thing I don't have guns.

    by Marc in KS on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:19:32 AM PST

  •  O'Riley sluffs off outrage (none)
    Regarding the illegal information gathering the presnit has admitted, O'Riley said something to the effect that it wouldn't gain much traction because it was too complicated. I don't know if that means it was too complicated for him or too complicated to be able to explain, but I'm afraid that he basically may be correct.
    The public seems to be unwilling or unable to grasp the nuances of the power grab that is going on here. We need to make our answers clear and consise. We must challenge their rational. The War on Terror is a lie and a strawman. Make the administration identify who the terrorists are. We need to demand access and answers from this WH.
    We need to make our voice heard. This is not out father's America. We are no longer the hearald of democracy and liberty. We gave it away because we were told that will make us safe. But, we are creating more terrorists and dissent in the world than we are stopping. This ruse has been used by the Repugs for over four years, and as long as we have no challenge for this rationality, we will have no voice.
  •  Great diary (none)
    Armando, could you please comment on the argument at www.volokh.com

    Yes, these guys are conservatives, but at least they have the constitutional law background to make a real argument.  Thanks!

  •  Even dictators are not so brazen (none)
    If 'trust me' because he raised his hand to take  the oath to uphold the constitution is the final take on the way country is run, we might as well throw the constitution into a dumpster.  

    Giving unlimited power to George Bush is like giving a hand grenade to a monkey.

    by Ruffledfeather on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:35:02 AM PST

  •  Somewhat OT (4.00)
    By the Constitution, Congress alone has the power to declare a national or foreign war.

    From a recent LA Times article about John Yoo:

    Although the Constitution gives Congress the exclusive power to "declare" war, that wording doesn't mean the president needs to consult Congress to "make war" or "commence war," Yoo's book says.

    Just another example of how Bush & Company are willing to twist the law or the Constitution...

    Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool-- how much worse lying lips to a ruler - Proverbs 17:7

    by Barbara Morrill on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 06:34:21 AM PST

  •  The fact that we are even questioning ... (4.00)
    ... the legality of Bush's actions should be a red flag for every American who loves liberty. The president's misuse of power is the very type of thing that caused our forefathers to fight the Revolutionary War, so that they and we could be free of capricious dictatorial power. Bush must not be allowed to get away with this action.  
  •  excellent compilation.. (none)
    MAN, this is a pile-on today on poor poor Bush... it really appears that he is fucked, but we have all said that before.

    This is SO similar to the Nixon impeachment that if Bush gets out of this one, we need to stick our heads between our legs and kiss our asses goodbye.

  •  My tinfoil hat (none)
    Just a thought.
    I have been wondering why they (Rove)let bush come out and admit to his crimes.
    They have to know this won't stand for long.
    Are they setting him up for a fall big time.
    I beleive bush is radioactive for the repugs right now.
    Perhaps behind the "King" the controllers know this and want him gone "for the good of the party"
    He resigns, Dick takes over for awhile, appoints McCain VP, then Dick resigns for health reasons and then McCain is Pres.
    Resurrection of the repug party before the 06 and 08 elections.
    Like I said, just a thought.
  •  You are obviously (none)
     <snarkogram>
    on the side of the terrorists.

    Your dog is a liberal. He doesn't say Merry Christmas.

    Why won't let Uncle George defend America from the shadowy enemy that lurks.....everywhere, all the time.

    The War that Never Ends. Merry Christmas Mr. President.

    inspire change...don't back down

    by missliberties on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 07:16:41 AM PST

  •  The question is? (none)
    Will a Roberts, Scalia and Alito Court see it that way?

    "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." Seneca

    by Ralfast on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 07:26:42 AM PST

    •  The answer is: (none)
      "Will a Roberts, Scalia and Alito Court see it that way?

      Of course not.  

      Which is the very point of packing the court with Republican party operatives.

      Which is all the more reason to stop ScAlito in his tracks.  He's a GOP zealot, and will always choose the fortunes of his political party over the good of the United States of America.

  •  the (none)
    the reference and analogy to a slippery slope is used way to often for my liking in today's world, BUT in this case, it certainly does seem applicable.
     America is at a fork in the road. It is time for people in government to see and look to the constitution first and party and "loyalty" second.  If we are indeed a nation built on the constitution, bush will be brought up on charges and removed, IF however the likely outcome becomes just lip service and posturing, then this nation is lost.
     I don't say this flippantly, but if the president is allowed to bestow upon himself powers, unchecked by other branches, then the entire check/balance beauty of our system is gone. Our constitution will indeed become just a " god damn piece of paper" and this country will begin its descent into a footnotes in the history books of the future.
  •  Harriet Miers (4.00)
    Bush's appointment of Miers, though failed, is starting to make sense. He wanted a toady on the Court because it was in his own personal interest.

    I also remember Mehlman and others touting the line that she would help the administration advance its intentions re: the War on Terror. For example, this Hill article says that Mehlman "stressed Bush's close relationship with Miers and the need to confirm a justice who will not interfere with the administration's management of the war on terrorism."

    Not interfere with their management of the war on terrorism? Sounds like they were trying to set themselves up for this one months ago.

    No wonder Bush was begging the NYT for more time. He needed more time to stack the courts.

  •  An important comma has dropped out (4.00)
    From the text quoted:

    He is Commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several States when called into the actual service of the United States.

    The Constitution itself has a comma before "when". Some seem to believe that this comma is superfluous and meaningless. I believe that it means the President becomes CinC whenever our military forces take the field. This question matters because it underlines the question of whether the President's Article II powers are omnipresent, or directed specifically toward military campaigns.

    The framers of the Constitution did not apparently envisage a standing army or navy of any size. In this as in so many other ways, they were adapting the Roman Republican constitution (as they understood it to have been)...and seeking to avoid its weaknesses.

    The Romans raised armies for specific campaigns and then disbanded them, until in the late Republic when they'd created an Empire and more or less a permanent state of war. That situation was exploited by the consuls, who were entrusted with leading the armies once raised.  Command in war was eagerly sought, and consuls learned to exploit what was supposed to be temporary command for political gain even to the point of blackmailing the Senate and threatening Rome. The Senate was supposed to be in overall charge of foreign policy, but ultimately it became the pawn of unscrupulous consul/generals.

    So the framers of our Constitution, seeking to prevent an imperial Presidency and the destruction of Congressional power, made no provision for standing armies and limited the President's powers as CinC to actual military campaigns.

    Bush seeks to transform what is suupposed to temporary CinC authority on the battlefield into a permanent authority to make or unmake civil law, or disregard the Constitution, in the day to day life of the nation.

    The Romans had a name for this: Sulla.

    •  fascinating (none)
      Thanks for the great history lesson.

      Tyrants have always sought to justify grabbing power, by portraying themselves as the only willing and able defender against outside threats.  

      Bush is just one in a long line of despots and wannabe-despots whose lust for unchecked power becomes an end in itself, however noble (or not) that desire for power started out.  

      In Bush's case, I think he gets far, far more credit for the nobility of his cause than he deserves, since early on he used 9/11 to such cynical, nakedly political ends.  And he has never stopped doing so.

      But even if one thinks (as I don't, I stress again) that he started out trying to do the right things in response to 9/11, he is clearly WAY off course.  He has ignored the numerous simple things that he 9/11 Conmission recommended doing to keep the country safer -- to the point where they issued a public cry for help two weeks ago.  Instead, he has spent his time trying to make himself King.

  •  I did a little trolling over at redstate.org (none)
    Crazy thing is, for the first time ever, I started to convince people there, that maybe this Bush guy really has screwed up royally.  <no pun intended>

    That tells me that this issue really has legs, and we need to continue to drive it home.  Republicans aren't even defending him on this one.  He's wide open and we need to take our shots now.

    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." -- Galileo Galilei

    by Dittoz on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 08:44:21 AM PST

  •  For a particularly odious defense.... (none)
    ...check out Andrew Sullivan's guest blogger's post (I know, I know).

    hooray for fascism

    According to this asshat, Republicans are the party that will go above the law to protect the people, and that's just great.  Democrats would be "stupid" to consider impeachment at this point.

    He babbles some more about Michael Moore, throws out a few more cliches, you know standard wingnut nonsense.

    These people don't CARE about the law.  Of course once we find out the REAL reason they couldn't be bothered to adhere to this law (i.e. who they were really spying on) the shit will really hit the fan.

    I'm almost looking forward to the explanation as to why unchecked surveillance by the executive branch on war protestors helps the war effort.  Should be a breathtaking display of convoluted logic.

  •  Worse than Nixon (4.00)
    This guy cannot even be compared to Nixon. He has misused and abused the office of president so badly that Nixon looks like a little boy in comparison.  

    Jimmy Carter says it best in his book "Our Endangered Values"

    "The revolutionary new political principles involve special favors for the powerful at the expense of others, abandonment of social justice, denigration of those who differ, failure to protect the environment, attempts to exclude those who refuse to conform, a tendency towards unilateral diplomatic action and away from international agreements, an excessive inclination toward conflict, and reliance on fear as a means of persuasion."

    We are talking Satrap here!

  •  As un-American as it gets (none)
    "It's okay," the wingnuts seem to be saying, "this is war and the president is just trying to keep us safe."

    It comes down to this:  We either have laws, or we don't.  If they don't apply to everybody, including the president, then we simply do not have laws.  

    The end does not justify the means.  The Founders understood this.  This, my friends, is why the Constitution of the United States of America concerns itself almost entirely with means.  The idea that its provisions should be disregarded, even for an ostensibly noble end, is as un-American as it gets.

    George W. Bush is not Abraham Lincoln.  Lincoln is not admired for suspension of  habeas corpus -- he is admired in spite of that.  Lincoln's response to a genuine crisis was not limited to suspending habeas corpus.  And yet Bush's responses to a genuine crisis have consisted solely of assaulting our liberties.  That, too, is profoundly un-American.  

    Mr. Bush fancies himself a king.  I say, let him be a king.  We know how to remove kings from this country.  We did it once; we can do it again.

    "...the big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart." -- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

    by Roddy McCorley on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:00:56 AM PST

  •  What else? (none)
    I think a reasonable question would be to ask, "What else might be acceptable to do during these times?"

    Does the President have the right to use nuclear force?

    Does the President have the right to use biological weapons?

    Does the President have the right to stop Congressional elections?

    What other actions might he consider within his powers that we once believed to be illegal?

  •  Say Anything. (none)
    At Pen and Sword I note that Kristol and Schmitt exported the Weekly Standard's lack of standards into the WaPo, and WaPo let them get away with it.

    I have yet to find anything to support their assertion that the Founders intended the President to have extralegal powers.  

    Unless its somone else like Kristol and Schmitt who say they did.  

    Shame on Kristol and Schmitt, shame on WaPo.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." -- Voltaire

    by Jeff Huber on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:35:52 AM PST

  •  establishing an aristocracy (none)
    Checklist:

    1) assert divine approval

    "God put me in office" check

    2) assert leaders will as the law

    "The law is whatever I say it is"

    check

    3) concentrate wealth at the top

    remove inheretance and dividend taxes

    check

    4)replace goevernment safty net with private fail based charities undermining concept of social contract

    check

    5) remove power of independent press

    replace factchecking with "he said she said" as if no independ facts existed

    co-opt press with access and drive to be part of the glitter

    check

    Project is moving ahead nicely
    check

    SOCIAL SECURITY: Invented by Democrats yesterday, Protected by Democrats today

    by mollyd on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:57:41 AM PST

  •  Jumpin' Jesus on a Pogo Stick (none)
    I used to consider Bill Kristol one of a dying breed - a rational conservative that a rational liberal could agree to disagree with.  I don't even need to read past "some powers in the national security area that were extralegal but constitutional" to realize not only did he drink the kool-aid, he pushed his way to the front of the line and chug-a-lugged the whole pitcher.

    Let's not even get into the complete fallacy that the founding fathers wanted a strong executive branch.  That is total historical bullshit - even having an executive, even a weak figure head, was controversial.  But to utter the phrase 'extralegal but constitutional'?  What the hell is that? What defines 'legal' in this country is whether it goes along with the Constitution or not.  There's no such thing as something that is legal but unconstitutional, so how the hell can you have something that is unconstitutional but legal?   That's like saying 'this is really hot, but it's cold' or 'that's a lightbulb that emits no light'.  I could expect that kind of nonsense from a Hannity, Limbaugh, or O'Reilly, but I had a bit more respect for Kristol.

  •  Armando, when are you going to run for public (none)
    office?  In all seriousness, you should be a voice in our nation.  I don't know how you make your money and what your comfort level is, but I LOVE your work and even when I disagree with you, I admire you.

    So when are you going to take your intellect and your knowledge to mainstream America?

    I am not your beast of burden: I will not be forced to carry your baggage.....Humanistic Property Manifesto (-5.13, -4.77)

    by panicbean on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:48:32 PM PST

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