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From the New York Times, to the Washington Times, from the Daily Kos to Free Republic, reactions to the revelations about the Bush administration's secret, domestic spying program once again highlights the divide between the reality-based community and administration apologists...consider this:

But none of these phony choices were as absurd as the one Mr. Bush posed to justify his secret program of spying on Americans: save lives or follow the law.

Versus this:

...we think the president's arguments persuasive. Mr. Bush has not flinched from the criticism, and we applaud him for that.

Or this:

Did you get this? Gonzales says it was okay to spy on Americans without authorization because the war resolution gave them that power. But when asked why they didn't ask for specific congressional authorization, he says, well, Congress wouldn't have given them that power.

Versus this:

Clinton got a blowjob.

No surprises here...but how is this story playing in Peoria?

We know how the story is playing in the blogsphere and we've gotten the expected reaction from the "big boys" of the MSM, but what are the editorial pages saying in the rest of the country?  Here is a random sampling from five newspapers, three from red states, two from blue states.  

From The Olympian (Olympia, Washington):

Every American should be outraged by the president's attempt to justify domestic spying. It's wrong, and the president should acknowledge that fact. He must be held accountable.  [...]

Either we are a nation of laws and moral values or we are not. We cannot pick and choose which laws to abide by and which to ignore for the sake of convenience or expediency.

George Bush is not above the law.

Outstanding editorial...a message we'd like to get out to every Joe and Jane Six-pack in America.  But Washington is a decidedly blue state, so let's look at the opinion from traditionally conservative areas.  From The Idaho Statesman:

President Bush has made a serious, startling revelation: He has authorized a secret -- and ongoing -- campaign to eavesdrop on telephone calls to root out possible terrorist activity.

Congress must react in a serious, nonpartisan fashion. Lawmakers need to investigate the utility and the legality of this operation. Idaho's Republican delegation should join the call for hearings.  [...]

"The fact that we're discussing this program is helping the enemy," Bush said Monday.

We think the discussion is necessary. In a system built on checks and balances, it's up to Congress to make the most of the discussion.

Ouch!  And from The Telegraph (Macon, Georgia):

Last Friday all hell broke loose in Washington, D.C. The New York Times revealed a secret eavesdropping program by the National Security Agency, authorized in 2002 by President George W. Bush. The agency was allowed to spy on Americans without court-approved warrants.  [...]

The president expects the American public to trust him...The question citizens need to ask is, with all the added powers included in the Patriot Act, why was it necessary to circumvent some of its provisions?  [...]

He has stepped up to the line of what is legal and what is not. In the coming weeks we will find out if Mr. Bush crossed that line, or not.

Hmmm, not too friendly either.  And from North Carolina, The Charlotte Observer says:

President Bush is right on one count. Protecting America from terrorist attacks requires the nation to think and act differently. But he is dead wrong to order secret wiretaps of citizens without obtaining warrants. That kind of spying is an assault on civil liberties -- one that should not stand.  [...]

In times of war, it's even more vital for the nation's leaders to do their work with integrity and meticulous attention to the letter and spirit of the law.

The president owes Americans a direct apology for his actions, and a better explanation than the one he has provided of why he would disregard their right to due process.

From this quick and random sampling, no one was defending this latest assault on our Constitution....well, except the Washington Times and Free Republic.  

Oh, and what about Peoria?

Is the leader of the free world suddenly anxious?

He should be, given the recent reports of his federal government spying on the international phone conversations and e-mails of American citizens, without court warrant.  [...]

Perhaps the president's heart is in the right place. He says he just wants to protect Americans. Who doesn't? It's really quite simple: The Founders were clear that threats to the republic could come from inside as well as out. No president, of any party, under any circumstance, should be permitted to act like a king. This is troubling.

The Peorians have spoken.

Originally posted to Barbara Morrill on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 09:01 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If the Peoria paper... (4.00)
    ...was pro-Bush, it would have ruined the whole diary.  ;-)

    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 09:00:41 AM PST

    •  Well done (4.00)
      Someone should send the Peoria Journal Star to the willfully obtuse Judd Gregg, who's behaving like an ass now in the Senate.

      Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

      by bumblebums on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 09:04:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Russ Feingold is the leader on this (4.00)
        Just as John Murtha led the fight against Bush's Iraq quagmire, Russ Feingold has been consistently fighting for our civil rights.

        He voted against the original Patriot Act, and has stood strong against the Bush's assumption of dictatorial powers.  Judd Gregg, Cat-Killer Frist, and the torture nine in the senate are traitors to this country.

        Bush clearly violated the 1978 FISA law.  

        Time to Impeach!

        •  Key issues needed to be known in regard to secret (4.00)
          1    The provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act subject to sunset generally modified two existing laws. Title III governs law enforcement interception of and access to communications in ordinary criminal investigations. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) regulates the FBI's collection of "foreign intelligence" information for intelligence purposes. Under the Fourth Amendment, a Title III warrant to intercept a communication must be based on probable cause to believe that a crime has been or is being committed. This is not the general rule under FISA: surveillance under FISA is permitted based on a finding of probable cause that the surveillance target is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power, irrespective of whether the target is suspected of engaging in criminal activity. The USA PATRIOT Act expanded law enforcement authority to conduct searches and obtain communications under Title III, and also rolled back the already lax restrictions on the FBI's ability to gather information about individuals under FISA.

          2    Through out the law it clearly delineates actions for US and NON US citizens? If all were treated equally there would be no need for such extensive delineation. It is being done specifically to protect the civil liberties of US citizens.

          3    Agent of a foreign power
          FISA §1801(b) defines this phrase in two ways, depending on whether the target is a U.S. person. §1801(b)(1) covers non-U.S. persons, while § 1801(b)(2) covers "any person."

          Non-U.S. persons are "agents" under FISA if they

          act in the United States as an officer or employee of a foreign power, or as a member of a terrorist organization, § 1801(b)(1)(A)
          act for or on behalf of a foreign power that engages in clandestine intelligence activities in the United States contrary to U.S. interests when (1) the circumstances of such persons' presence in the United States "indicate that such person may engage in such activities, or (2) when such person knowingly aids or abets any person, or conspires with any person to engage in such activities." 50 U.S.C. § 1801(b)(1)(B).
          So, for instance, a British national who works for the British embassy in the United States is an agent of a foreign power.

          4    The Justice Department may engage in electronic surveillance to collect FII without a court order for periods up to one year. 50 U.S.C. § 1802. There must be no "substantial likelihood" that the intercepted communications include those to which a U.S person is a party. § 1802(a)(1)(B).


          The court noted that in a previous FISA case (U.S. v. Truong), a federal "court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue [our emphasis],

          Truong was not a US citizen. He was a citizen of Vietnam. The appeal was rejected because Truong was NOT a US citizen so a warrant-less wire tap COULD be conducted.

           6   Part of speech bush gave in April of 2004:    

          "there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you  
          hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a  
          wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're  talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing  what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution."

          Time will Tell all the Truth VT, Virtual Truth

          by VirtualTruth on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 02:43:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, Virginia... (4.00)
      There is a Santa Clause. At least in Peoria. But he's probably already on the Bushies' enemies list.
      •  Too much of a socialist... (4.00)
        He's aiding the enemy with all his... "giving"

        "There is no spoon."

        by L0kI on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:26:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Pause of Mr. Claus (4.00)
        Arlo Guthrie

        Why do you sit there so strange?
        Is it because you are beautiful?
        You must think you are deranged
        Why do police guys beat on peace guys?

        You must think Santa Clause weird
        He has long hair and a beard
        Giving his presents for free
        Why do police guys mess with peace guys?

        Let's get Santa Clause 'cause;
        Santa Clause has a red suit
        He's a communist
        And a beard, and long hair
        Must be a pacifist
        What's in the pipe that he's smoking?

        Mister Clause sneaks in your home at night.
        He must be a dope fiend, to put you up tight
        Why do police guys beat on peace guys?

        ©1968,1969 Appleseed Music Inc. (ASCAP)

    •  Bush is seeing a little improvement in polls (4.00)
      New poll by Washington Post/ABC says Bush is regaining some support. Hope they got a clean sample.

      Caller: Do you support our President.
      Respondant: Uh... Is he listening? What happens if I say 'No'?

      Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

      by chimpy on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 09:52:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Which came first? (4.00)
      The idea for the diary or the editorial?

      Or better yet:

      The condemnation of the Chickenhawk or the egg on his face?

    •  if so ... (4.00)
      ... then we should all be anxious to see what their local (and fave) congresscritter - Ray LaHood - has to say. (Don't be holdin' your breath, Kossacks.) ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

      by wystler on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:14:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    • didn't (4.00)
      play in Peoria.

      Too bad for Bush. Stick a fork in 'em he's done.

      "Such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing."

      by Nestor Makhnow on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 07:12:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Observer is a fairly liberal paper (4.00)
    Conservatives down here hate it with a passion.  No surprise it took Shrub behind the woodshed here.

    Jack Murtha is no coward--here's a real coward.

    by Christian Dem in NC on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 09:03:35 AM PST

    •  I just thought it was a shitty paper (none)
      When I lived in Charlotte, the joke was that all of the stories in the Observer were from other papers.  

      Just because you're self-righteous doesn't mean you're not a hypocrite.

      by AMcG826 on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:00:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Odd (none)
        that anyone should criticize a paper for that on DailyKos. I mean, if it weren't for articles written by other entities, where would the blogosphere be? It's all a question of which articles they select.

        And I have to say that apparently the only time Charles Taylor -- arguably the most corrupt member of congress outside of Texas -- gets any negative press is when the Observer throws a bone to their western readers. The Asheville Citizen-Times is missing in acion.

        •  sign of the times? (none)
          I haven't lived in Charlotte since 1989 (though I do visit).....not much internet access back then.  You got your local paper and watched the news.  Maybe a Time or Newsweek to supplement.  

          The Observer is thin and the articles aren't always well-written.  A couple of good reporters now and again, but they always moved on to bigger arenas.  

          Just because you're self-righteous doesn't mean you're not a hypocrite.

          by AMcG826 on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 06:23:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Perhaps this is the slap in the face (4.00)
    people needed.  Perhaps the perception that we are now living in a country with a rogue presidency is finally gaining traction.  Now the key is to win the 2006 congressional elections so that the damage wrought by an out of control executive branch can be rectified.  That will be the true test for these Red State editorial boards - it is one thing to be outraged by presidential misconduct.  But, is the Idaho Statesman going to endorse a Democrat for Idaho's Congressional seat?  That will be the editorial board putting it's money where its mouth is.

    Republicans - For Saddam until they were against him.

    by calipygian on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 09:06:29 AM PST

    •  no, (4.00)
      only the guilty have something to fear.  good loyal white christians aren't threatened by it.

      we'll stand him up against a wall and pop goes the weasel /rufus t. firefly

      by 2nd balcony on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:46:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Isn't Dubya a white "christian" guy? (none)
        The thing that makes my head explode is to see all these "Christian" Republicans that are as corrupt (and stupid) as can be.  Is this a case of good "Christian" values?  I am a Christian, born and raised (a born US citizen too).  I don't share any of these values.  What is wrong with these hypocrits?  They are giving us Christians (notice I don't put this reference in quotes) a bad name.  Any Jews or Muslims can rest easy here.  Of course, they have their share of fundies too.  Life would sure be nicer if we could just get all the fundies rounded up in the world and put them all somewhere.  Maybe Afganastan needs some new servants.  I couldn't think of a better place for all these fundies to be.  Let them see what the tenth century is really like.  

        "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength", George Orwell, "1984"

        by dangoch on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 01:56:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Just an old fashioned meme (4.00)
      Currently out of fashion.

      Smart people should run big governments. Moral people, educated people, people with more than a rudimentary control of the language...


    •  Wingnuts (4.00)
      If you know any wingnuts that defend this spying, point out how liberal activist groups were spied on, groups with no ties to terrorism, and ask if that bothers them. Of course most wingnuts would be very glad indeed if liberal activists were spied on by a Republican administration.

      But - now ask them how they would feel if Hillary Clinton authorized Democrat-based spying on Republican conventions, pro-life rallies, NRA meetings, intelligent design gropus, Church retreats, etc.

      Watch with amusement as their heads explode in attempts to twist logical fallacies into truths.

      What would our founding fathers say about trading their civil liberties for safety from terror attacks?
      Give me Liberty or give me death!

      by jeffwass on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 01:56:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good breakdown. (4.00)
    For what it's worth, the "AnthonySF Press" says:  "This President is a lying ass."

    Visit and follow every 2006 Senate race.

    by AnthonySF on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 09:07:25 AM PST

  •  Those who (4.00)
    think they are being "protected" by this administration aren't going to have much left to protect when all is said and done.

    One has to hope that those who claim to be "conservatives" realize that this administration is more fascist then "democratic."

    Bush did NOT want this story reported, he wanted to continue his secret and illegal wiretapping to keep us "safe."  Who is keeping us "safe" from this administration?  Who is protecting our rights, our freedoms?  

    Even in the "red" parts of this country, there has to be some awareness that if "some" people lose their rights it won't be long before all of us are in the same boat, especially given Cheney's assertions that executive power is absolute.

    "September 11, 2001, already a day of immeasurable tragedy, cannot be the day liberty perished in this country." Judge Gerald Tjoflat

    by SanJoseLady on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 09:08:00 AM PST

  •  Chicago Sun-Times (4.00)
    which is normally devoted to Bears-Cubs-Sox-Bulls and heavy on the local news, devotes almost all of the their page three (in this style of paper, it's pretty much the first thing you see after you open it up) to the wiretap story.  Normally, national and world events are buried in the middle of the paper.  So, that's saying something...
    •  Here in IL-08 (none)
      Called Melissa Bean's office this afternoon to request that she initiate or join in an impeachment effort of both Bush and Cheney. Asked the young girl who answered the phone if she had received other similar calls and she said that she had received 2-3 in the past two days. Anyone else out there in Bean's district, please call. We may not be Peoria but we need more than a handful of phone calls.
      •  write your paper instead (none)
        the point isn't to convince a vulnerable Dem congressperson to do something that the public may not support at this point.

        The point right now is to convince the voters how bad this is, so that impeachment becomes the logical outcome.

  •  George Will's column, (4.00)
    which I typically avoid, also takes Bush to task on this today. He says it violates conservative principles. I'm not sure what conservative principles are anymore, but I believe that Bush's flimsy legal arguments aren't carrying the water in any quarters.
    •  Yah (4.00)
      The entire GOP establishment has violated conservative principles. A women's right to chose, for example, should be a CONSERVATIVE issue, right? The government, not telling women what to do with their bodies?

      The problems these days is that conservatives have gotten into bed with reactionaries. The Goldwater conservatives have suddenly woken up from a drunken stupor and realized that the rest of America can't tell the difference.

      Both conservatives and liberals want to protect freedoms. The difference is that conservatives tend to believe that the ONLY entity that can take away your freedoms is the government. Liberals, being a bit more flexible, recognize that there are many other options, many of which are currently trying to purchase the government.

      •  I was thinking along these terms too (4.00)
        The real conservatives are really bothered by this; it is the social conservatives, the looneys who have become republican to get rid of abortions and gays, who are not disturbed by this.  In my experience, even if educated, they are generally ignorant of the  way our government is supposed to work. These are the people who are saying, "I don't care if they listen in to MY conversations," or like one wingnut calling WGY on Sunday: "I am much more comfortable with Bush deciding who to spy on rather than some lower court judge."  Their ignorance of our system is just breathtaking.  And frightening.  

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

        by adigal on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:30:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, it's not just liberals anymore (4.00)
      Barbara Boxer's masterful letter inlcudes the quote John Dean as calling Bush "the first President to admit to an impeachable offense." And then gently giving his qualification as an expert in impeachable offenses.

      Nice for Dean to speak up so quickly. I guess we'll have to wait for Sunday to hear from Liddy.

      Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

      by chimpy on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:00:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Liddy was on last night (none)
        MSNBC I think.  He was saying that it was OK for the pResident to use the wire taps...go figure.

        It's funny how these felons of past administrations are glamorized and idolized by the wingnuts.  Oliver North?  

        BTW: In this day of equality what happened to Fawn Hall?  As good as she looks there must be somebody that needs secret "documents" hidden in her skirt.

        American Engineer :== loser!

        by jnmorgan on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:25:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Seconded! (4.00)
      What absolutely frosts me is when conservative pundits like Will get their panties in a bunch over example #641 of Bush turning conservatism on it's head.

      He's been doing this for 5 years now, and you've been willing patsies to the whole thing!

      I'm touched that Will is deeply troubled  by the president placing himself above the law. Oh, BooHooHoo.

      What do you want to bet that next week, when the indignation fades, he'll be writing paeans to Dubya again?

    •  Conservative Principles: Don't Get Caught! (none)
      At least not in a situation where you can't blame someone else.

      Now, think about it. How ya gonna blame this on illegal immigrants?  Gay marriage?  Militant feminists?  Radical librarians?

      It's hard work, isn't that what Georgie Porgie said?

  •  Why isn't this diary (4.00)
    on the recommended list yet!?  It seems like you need about 20 recommends in the first minute to make any headway over there.  This should be interesting next November when all the candidates running for office get their posts recommended and the little guys will be slumming it.

    Visit and follow every 2006 Senate race.

    by AnthonySF on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 09:25:01 AM PST

  •  okay folks ... start informing the good folks (4.00)
    in central Mississippi with your LTEs

    visiting the Clarion Liar (ledger) I come up with this doosey from cheneyco supporting the reasons behind the illegal spying

    their editorial address ...:

    note: 250 words or less and name, address & phone no rquired for printing .... sending mine now from FL

    educate this poor folks - they need you!

    •  Nedra Pickler Strikes Again (4.00)
      That's an AP "news" article (rather than an editorial) that you've linked to friend. Some of the older hands here recall Nedra's work in the earlier years of the Bunnypants presidency.

      Though there are no classic Picklerisms - a logical nonsequitur linked in a subordinate clause that is presented to undermine a Democrat or progressive statement - there is this gem:

      Some legal experts described the program as groundbreaking. And until the highly classified program was disclosed last week, those in Congress with concerns about the National Security Agency spying on Americans raised them only privately.

      Groundbreaking, eh? Nedra's adapted her tactic to leave the opening implied. Here's how it would have read had she been employing her former journalistic device:

      Though Democrats claim the President's action to be criminal, legal experts described the program as groundbreaking.

      Yes, Nedra, it's good that your writing skills have evolved.

      No, Ms. Pickler. We're still not buying.

      And those of you who'd like to take the author to task need to contact the Associate Press. ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

      by wystler on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:27:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Help Us Jesus (none)
      Those mugs of smug smirks...Argh!
  •  I have this idiot troll (4.00)
    On my blog whose response to snoopgate so far has been to pick and choose polls like the ABC/WaPo poll showing 47% approval for Bush.  Polls which, mind you, weren't in the field when this story broke.  That's his argument.

    Let's see this next round, once Snoopgate reaches a fever pitch.

  •  In Orange County (4.00)
    The right-leaning libertarian editorial board of the Orange County Register had this to say about Bush (login required)

    This standard has been refined and (especially as relates to the drug war) weakened by the courts over the years. But the requirement to get a warrant remains one of the key distinctions between a reasonably free and civil society and an authoritarian or dictatorial regime...

    Did the president willfully violate both the Constitution and federal statute? Congress and the courts need to investigate this question aggressively. If the people express concern, they will.

    I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

    by eugene on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 09:45:20 AM PST

    •  That's big (none)
      The OC Register is about as right-leaning as you can get.

      "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

      by bewert on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:11:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Idaho Statesman? (none)
    Bush is too far left for most Idaho residents. That they want to let the (Republican) Congress decide if he broke the law is interesting, and does the offer still apply after the 2006 elections? Let's follow up on that.

    "Republicans hate the French Revolution, and everything it stands for; Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, but they love the Guillotine.

    by agent double o soul on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 09:47:12 AM PST

    •  Beg your pardon, (4.00)
      but many Idahoans also lean libertarian (i.e. "leave me the fuck alone - get out of my forests so I can cut 'em - don't you dare touch my guns, etc.").  This has produced some interesting votes in Congress.  For example, Representative Butch Otter (R, Idaho) has lobbied hard against reauthorization of the Patriot Act, and Senator Larry Craig (R, Idaho) has threatened to join with democrats and filibuster that reauthorization.  They may be "red", but I can tell you with the utmost confidence that Idahoans do NOT like the idea of the "feds" -republican, democrat, or any other type - spying on them or anyone else.

      The best things in life aren't things.

      by Idaho Guy on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:01:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I accept your pardon (4.00)
        I once lived in Idaho and what you say is consistent with my impression of the local residents. I once shook hands with George Hansen, the only elected official ever convicted under the Sunshine Laws. Perhaps I was thinking of Wyoming?

        "Republicans hate the French Revolution, and everything it stands for; Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, but they love the Guillotine.

        by agent double o soul on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:10:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Butch Otter? (4.00)
        I think I met her once in Sturgis.

        not the least advantage to "flyover" country is that y'all continue to do that

        by le sequoit on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:19:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Limit (none)
    Let's hope there is a limit to what Bush apologists will accept. OF course, they are more likely to be upset if he was Gannon's "friend" than a little illegal wiretaping.

    Of course, we could still find out deeper and darker secrets. Anyone want to be there are not any?

    I didn't think so.

    A President in his own league. The Bush League!

    by Tuba Les on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 09:59:06 AM PST

    •  Does Gannon have a Blue Dress? (none)
    •  no limit (4.00)
      There's no limit to what the apologists will accept.

      I had one apologist telling me yesterday that it's all good - the President can use Executive Orders to do whatever he wants, so it doesn't matter what the law used to be, it's perfectly fine for him to change it as he pleases....

      When I pointed out to the local wingnuttery that the laws as written put ZERO restrictions on the President's ability to wiretap people so long as he gets a warrant (which is virtually gauranteed as long as he asks, even if he asks AFTER the fact), they responded by saying things like:

      "it's clear that liberals are more interested in protecting Al Qaeda's civil liberties than they are in protecting the lives of law-abiding Americans."

      Does this crap actually fly with middle America, or is it just wingnut excrement?

      •  Wingnuts (4.00)
        I think the ability of the wingnuts to carry their message is eroding. There is a group that will ALWAYS support the President, unless the prez is a Democrat.

        With each revelation of abuse of power, a few that supported him drop away. If there is Intellectual integrity and core values in place, then at some point, even a hard core supporter has to think for themselves.

        But there will always be Wingnuts. When Nixon resigned, it was accepted as fact that he needed to leave. But some never accepted it.

        A President in his own league. The Bush League!

        by Tuba Les on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 01:14:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  At some point you have to realize (4.00)
          that these people do not take politics seriously.

          They are supporting Bush with the same amount of deep reasoning that keeps them cheering for their local football team -- he's their team, damnit! They're never going to stop rooting for him. No matter how many penalties get called against him, it's never going to be his fault. The refs are biased, it's the other team that cheats, and anyway they don't give a hoot about the rules, they just want him to win the next game for them so they can feel good about beating the other side.

          Spectator sports make terrible training for politics. If you want there not to be wingnuts in your country, you'll have to start teaching the next generation of kids that there's a difference.

          Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

          by Canadian Reader on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 01:40:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  unfortunatey it might (4.00)
        play well.  It's this thought: "I'm a good person, so it won't affect me.  The people who it will affect are bad people.  The President is a good person, like me. I trust him."

        I am beginning to realize how strong and important this psychology is.  This is the basis of Bush's underlying support.

        It's partly a failure of imagination (how this could affect me) and partly a result of Bush's good guy image-making.  

        Defending the principles of civil liberties and the law are always dicey.  These newspaper editorials are a good sign (the Pittsburgh Post Gazette had a very strong one, too; that's a bellwhether for me) but it remains to be seen how this plays out with the people of Peoria, etc.


        "The end of all intelligent analysis is to clear the way for synthesis." H.G. Wells "It's not dark yet, but it's getting there." Bob Dylan

        by Captain Future on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 02:08:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  what's needed now (4.00)
    in addition to contacting Congressional offices; LTEs; op-eds; words and pixels--is direct action, people on the streets holding signs, distributing leaflets. A picket outside your Senator's house, with a heads-up to the local TV stations. Is Cindy Sheehan really the only person left in American who can organize a grass-roots rally to put a politician on the spot?
  •  what's needed now (none)
    in addition to contacting Congressional offices; LTEs; op-eds; words and pixels--is direct action, people on the streets holding signs, distributing leaflets. A picket outside your Senator's house, with a heads-up to the local TV stations. Is Cindy Sheehan really the only person left in American who can organize a grass-roots rally to put a politician on the spot?

    The message is simple: Stop dithering, declare this unconstitutional, and start proceedings to hold the President accountable.

    •  but we still have the DC Dem pander tri (none)
      angulate choke on a sound bite

      let's not scare the middle or we'll lose


      sadly, I am seeing the same kind of relatively random non-traction that murtha's statements got us from our "leaders".

      and everyone is busy this week maxing out their visa to fill the mini-suv-pickup.

      when is direct action gonna really change things, instead of just reshuffling the milquetoasts around - today maria cantwell has a spine, next week another 1 might

      I think the direct action is best directed at getting rid of the milquetoasts on "my" side.


      Grassroots Organizing Should Be for The Community, By The Community - NOT for "Leaders"

      by rmdSeaBos on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:27:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The KC Star (4.00)
    The Star, which had a Saturday editorial that Huffington noted, has an even harsher one today.

    It begins

    President Bush's defiant statement on Monday that he will continue eavesdropping on people in this country without warrants is deeply disturbing.

    The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution forbids "unreasonable searches" and lays out specific requirements for the issuing of warrants.

    However, the story above the fold on the front page is particularly disturbing.  

    Intelligence chairman Roberts of Kansas says program `consistent with U.S. law'Bush gets key backing on spy policy
    WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration found a key ally on Capitol Hill Monday as it broadened its aggressive defense of a recently revealed domestic spying program that used warrantless surveillance.

    Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, "believes the program is consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution," Sarah Little, Roberts' spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement.

    Roberts, in his first public remarks on the electronic surveillance program, indicated he has known about the program since he took over the committee in 2003. He said he believes the administration has taken proper safeguards to preserve Americans' civil liberties and is in talks with Senate leaders on what additional oversight steps Congress should take, Little said.

    Don't you feel safe that the chair of the Senate's Intelligence Committee finds nothing wrong?

    It completely calms my inner chaos to read about Scooter Libby's problems. Zippy 12/14/05

    by MoDem on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:02:56 AM PST

    •  Leave it to Kansas (4.00)
      to be the thorn in the side of obviousness.

      Visit and follow every 2006 Senate race.

      by AnthonySF on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:04:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That doesn't surprise me (none)
      in the least. The Republican party has claimed that they will defend the constitution yet at every turn tries to find ways to get around it.

      The biggest mistake the left has made is not matching the GOP message machine until just recently. If we had started even ten years earlier the final straw would have been thrown on the camel's back by now. As it is I'm not confident that even this will sink in.

      "I was Rambo in the disco. I was shootin' to the beat. When they burned me in effigy. My vacation was complete." Neil Young. Mideast Vacation.

      by Mike S on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:40:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Front page story reality (4.00)
      Actually, if you have a look through Newsmuseum's Today's Front Pages, it appears the story isn't even on most front pages above the fold, and when it is, the story's focus is Bush's anger at the leak, or his defense of the program as necessary for national security, or his assertion that it was legal, or that it's just another bit of political attack from his "critics". In fact, as a major news item, it only appears on about a quarter of front pages -- on none as the electrifying constitutional issue it should be. Not one headline screaming about law-breaking, illegal wiretaps, or constitutional crisis.

      Though I suppose we should be grateful our corporate media is stirring itself to cover this story at all. Sigh.

      The spring is pure, but foul it once with mud and you nevermore will find it fit to drink. --Aeschylus

      by Alien Abductee on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 01:37:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If Roberts were to say it is illegal (none)
      he would open himself up for prosecution and a heck of a campaign killer...

      what else can he say...

      anyone that knew should not be part of the conversation...they should be witnesses....

    •  I don't think it will (none)
      surprise any of us that knows Roberts is not and never has been representing the people.

      If the man had to choose between his own agenda and your life, you would be the loser.

      Don't blame me, I am still trying to figure out what is on the Blue dress :) eaglecries

      by eaglecries on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 06:28:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Retroactive (4.00)
    One word, RETROACTIVE.

    He didn't have to wait, the warrant can be granted RETROACTIVLEY.

    That's the key, if you can get the warrant after the fact, then WHY DIDN'T HE GET THEM?!?!?!!

    It's so damn simple.

    •  Q, Why didn't he... (4.00)
      work with Congress to change the law?

      A. Because he knew Congress would not go along.

      Q. Why didn't he use FISA?

      A. Because he knew even the FISA court would not approve.

      Q. Why did he do an end run around Congress's defunding of TIA?

      A. Because he wants to continue spying on all of us so ...

      Now that's the question. Can't be they're after terrorists - 'cause there are legal ways. Must be something else.

      How naive we are. We Americans who believe we should live free of government intrustion!  


  •  Galesburg Register Mail (4.00)
    Galesburg,~45 miles NW of Peoria, and no bastion of liberalism before hell freezes over, had the following in today's editorial:

    "The president asked the country to "understand" the domestic spying program 25 times during Monday's news conference. There's no way to understand an activity that ignores the Constitution and violates the law."

    •  I was born in nearby Canton, IL (4.00)
      and as conservative as that part of the country is, it warms my heart to see such harsh criticism from newspapers in places like Galesburg and Peoria.  

      Are we turning a corner here?

      •  Actually I think we are (none)
        I grew up not too far east of Peoria.  Indeed, the people are hard working, salt-of-the-earth types, who are in reality an interesting blend of conservative and liberal.  A blend of christian principles and the words of our founding fathers with a healthy dose of patrotism.  It is still influenced heavily by the agrian ideals of which Jefferson spoke.  They are honest, hard working, and go to church.  Historically, that church has been focused on the new testament, not the fire and brimstone old testament although that has been changing, and it's from these towns and fields that many of today's soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen come.

        In simple terms, you work hard, take care of your business, and pull yourself up by the bootstraps.  However, when someone hits hard times, you pitch in and help.  A farmer gets sick or injured, the neighbors pitch in to help out.  Volunteerism is big, but it's not called that, its just what you do. Its the "right" thing.  You stay and help put away all the tables and chairs after the church social, no matter what anyone else does, because its the right thing to do. You clean up after the storm cause its the "right" thing.  You help out after the flood, cause its the "right" thing to do.

        They want to believe that like themselves, the government has their best interest at heart and will act with honor and integrety.  What has happened here, is that Bush stepped over the line in terms of stomping on those sacred words, and after 3 years of reality that didn't match the words spewing from the mouths of Bushco, I truely think we may have hit the tipping point.  I have been afraid this last few months to think we are there yet, but dammit, I think it's happened.  YOu see, there is one more thing about these people.  They'll generally cut you a lot of slack and hell, they'll give you the shirt off their back if you need it.  But once you piss them off.....well, watch out cause there's no going back.

      •  I remember (none)
        ...watching the Canton Sesquicentennial Parade in 1975...(and learning how to pronounce, let alone spell, "sesquincentennial" was a major childhood milestone....)
    •  live there (none)
      Well almost, 20 miles from town (out in the sticks)
  •  The mushy Dallas Morning News (4.00)
    Goes back and forth today(mostly for Bush) as usual.  Some snips:  Supporters are entitled to wonder just how far executive powers go...Bush says the spying was necessary...there's no reason to think Bush has anything but the country's best interest here.  Then they go on to disagree with Bush's push for the Patriot Act, then back to saying there must be civil liberty restrictions in wartime, to Bush owes the country a fuller explanation.  [Head hurts] Ending with the final coup de grace:
    "Even if we are confident that Mr. Bush and his team will not abuse their power, what guarantee is there that his successors will prove as trustworhty?" [gag]
    •  hey... I'll take it... (none)
      Even if they trust Bushco, this is about the Constitution, the system we had in place before 2000.  That's why I came to Dkos in the first place.  We have to preservet the checks and balances, and any argument that serves that is fine with me.

      "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

      by marjo on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:11:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Holy crap! (none)
      What rock have they been living under?  Trustworthy?  I challenge them to name one mission that Bush has accomplished that didn't involve lies, deceit, cover-ups, incompetence...we can only hope that the next president is nothing like the current disaster.


      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 11:38:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  that, m'dear ... (none)
      ... guarantee is there that his successors will prove as trustworthy?

      Given the authorship (DMN), that was clearly another BlameClinton shot. ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

      by wystler on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:37:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Talking to my coworker today (4.00)
    who is centrist, 9/11-afeared, and his first reaction to the spy scandal was "Well, we have to spy on the terrorists."

    I told him that it's not WHO, it's HOW.  I told him about FISA and how they seldom say no and even authorized retroactively.  I told him about the possibility that large numbers of emails may have been data-mined for key words, and maybe even journalists emailing overseas, and that this was large-scale, wholesale eavesdropping.  I told him about Rockefeller's hand-written note.  I told him about spying on vegans and yes, Catholics.  I told him this is forbidden by the Constitution.  

    His eyes and his open mouth got bigger and bigger as I talked.  He looked solemn and shaken by the time I left.  

    People just needs the facts to understand why Bush has fallen off the cliff this time, how he has fucked up better than ever.

    I discovered my republican brother, whom I saw over the weekend, is like almost every other Bush support fueled by nameless fear.  He said he cannot bear to watch the news or anything on Iraq anymore.  He seems depressed by the whole thing.  But the fear in his voice and face were very clear.  I'd recognized it in my coworker but until now, not in my big brother.  Bush is built on fear, and not until the fear OF Bushco is greater than the fear "out there" will we get these bozos out of power.  Sobering.

    "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

    by marjo on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:08:33 AM PST

    •  typical (4.00)
      It's amazing to see the reactions - Dems sadly are numbed to new revelations about WH abuses of power, while Republicans bury their heads deeper into the sand.
    •  Hah! A strategy hidden in your comment. (4.00)
      "not until the fear OF Bushco is greater than the fear "out there" will we get these bozos out of power".

      It is sobering, but it's a key as to how to address this government that has gone off the rails - Bush is making us more unsafe with his conspiratorial and counterproductive "war on terrorism" and unstinting support for big oil, big corporations, etc.

      What will make us safer? Do we have to turn these into "things to fear" to make the argument? Or do we just have to call out their "fear mongering" tactics over and over? Probably both.

      e.g., Global warming is fearsome, but it is also offers multiple short and long term opportunities for economic development, jobs, etc.  

      Terrorists are fearsome, but his approach has clearly contributed to increased training, anger, etc. Another approach - "draining the swamp" and economic/social and sustainable development offers much greater opportunity.

      Food for thought?

    •  Fear (4.00)
      I'm increasingly disgusted by people who flinch like cowering dogs every time these aspiring dictators wave a "bugaboo" stick.

      When the people of the "land of the free and the home of the brave" stop being brave, they will stop being free.  And as the founders said, we will get the government we deserve.  

      Cowering dogs are well-suited to having "masters"; only brave, informed, responsible citizens are capable of governing themselves.

      And any media whores who fail to inform us, and simply parrot the politicians, will end up with masters, as well, if this republic is lost.

      They'd better wake up, and resume the noble mission of informing the People, rather than supporting political and business cronies, before it is too late...

      •  Great one liner (4.00)
        When the people of the "land of the free and the home of the brave" stop being brave, they will stop being free.

        That was an excellent line.  I'd give you a 6 if I could.  Sounds like it'd make a good bumper sticker.

    •  I wonder... (none)
      I wonder how long it will take for him to forget all of those things that you mentioned to him. It's amazing to me how quickly the memory will lapse for some individuals.
  •  Born/raised in Peoria (none)
    Lived there until I was 18.

    Living in Peoria is like living in a cocoon. If anything gets in from the outside world, then there is an issue. Most Peorians have no idea what goes on in Washington, D.C.

    You many now return to your regularly scheduled chaos.

    by becca00 on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:12:24 AM PST

  •  AOL pollx (none)
    which may or may not be scientific, but which tended conservative until Katrina, are tracking well, horrifed, by the Bush spying.

    The last I looked, AOL members were 76% pissed off.

    And none too happy about the FBI's involvement, either.

    Do you consider FBI monitoring of domestic advocacy groups to be an abuse of power?
    Yes 72%
    No 28%

    If you'd like to weigh in:

  •  BARB!! (4.00)
    Excellent diary and very encouraging.

    I'll add a little tidbit for you - I was listening to Ed Henry on CNN yesterday.  He said that when the President does something "controversial", typically he will receive a bunch of emails and/or faxes from Republicans in Congress expressing support for the President's actions or something the President has said...  He said that on the issue of the domestic spying revelation, however, communications from Republicans were "eerily silent".

    Bush is in deep shit on this one and I am to keep emptying every port-a-john I can find on the pile.

    HEY - why haven't you visited my blog?

    by RenaRF on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:24:56 AM PST

  •  In the grocery store today (4.00)
    in my red state, and the man at the checkout counter in front of me says, "I voted for Bush, but I'm starting to have second thoughts about it."

    My first reaction was "Starting?"  I don't know what prompted this discussion, that was between the clerk and this customer.  But I for one was damn glad to hear it.

    •  try adding a bit of encouragement if you can (none)
      perhaps it will not feel "honest" unless you ask why it took so long for the scales to fall from their eyes ... but a bit of role-played "Really? Me too ..." can go a long way toward reinforcing that (s)he's on the verge of making a very good decision ... every little bit will help ...

      (dishonest? somewhat ... but treat "me too" as "I'm concerned that Bush is not good for this country) ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

      by wystler on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:46:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Record - NJ - "The King of America" (4.00)
    Tuesday, December 20, 2005

    President Bush has ignored a bedrock principle in his decision to spy on people in the United States without search warrants: This nation is governed by the rule of law.

    Not the whim of whoever happens to be in the White House - but the law.

    The revelation that this administration has spied without search warrants on perhaps thousands of people in this country since Sept. 11 is only the latest example of its willingness to skirt the law and even the Constitution. Its indefinite detentions of people without formal charges or access to attorneys is another prime example.

    But in spying on American citizens, residents and visitors without court approval, the administration is pushing the limits of the law further than we've seen.

    Congress must conduct an investigation of the surveillance program, as Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and some of his Democratic and Republican colleagues have demanded.

    More -

    •  nit (none)
      Although I'm sure you're aware.. but for others, this is from "The Bergen Record". NJ is a small state but somehow still ended up with multiple papers called "The Record". IMO their editorial page is generally moderate.
  •  All the more reason the Times (none)
    should never have another honest customer after today.

    You didn't do it.

    by Earl on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:47:42 AM PST

  •  Chicago Tribune (4.00)
    The reliably conservative Chicago Tribune had an editorial this morning that was critical of the President.

    It ends like this:

    In an emergency, no one would deny the president the right to move swiftly and forcefully to save American lives. But FISA has emergency provisions allowing the government to order such wiretaps first and seek permission later--which was not done here.

    If Bush thinks FISA is inadequate to the demands of this new war, he should go to Congress and the country and make the case for changing it. So far, the only case the administration has made is that it thinks it can scorn the law.

  •  Here's a view (4.00)
    In today's Seattle Times 4 out of 5 LTE's were critical of this. I loved this one

    Future looks right

    This is really great news that George Bush has the NSA tapping phones and [monitoring] e-mail in the U.S., to fight his war on terror. That means President Hillary can do the same thing to catch the abortion bombers and white supremacists in her war on terror. Oh, and I hope she'll have the NSA keep close tabs on Pat Robertson's assassination threats.

    I just see no end to what a president can accomplish without the hindrance of a Constitution and a Congress.

    -- Nathan Kirk, Auburn

  •  Don't make it partisan (4.00)
    So far as I'm concerned -- over the holidays when politics/this issue come up - I'll just be asking the (many) wingnuts in my family this one question:

    Would you have been comfortable with Bill Clinton having and using this power?

    Will you be comfortable with Hillary Clinton (or John Kerry or Howard Dean or whomever) having in 2009?

    If we are a nation of laws - those laws MUST be blind to whatever person or party wields them (as the party in power).  There's simply no other way to look at it.  Whether you believe the absolute worst about the Clintons or the worst about Bush - it's a universal truth that everyone of any political active stripe can easily find a past or possible future President whose use of such methods would be downright frightening.

    This isn't about President Bush.  It's about the law.  President Bush just happened to be the one to break the law, and for the good of the nation, must be held to account.

  •  Habeus corpus (none)
    They took away our right of habeus corpus, and gave us 32,000 corpses.
  •  I've heard far too many (4.00)
    people shrug and go "well he must have had some reason to spy on them." Democrats need to tie this to the stories about Bush spying on Catholics, Quakers and vegans---then it hits home about the scope of the abuse.  It saddens me to see how many people take the view that if they have nothing to hide then go ahead and search-our Constitution protects us against these unreasonable searches and seizures for a reason. I just wish people would learn their history.

    There's no point for democracy when ignorance is celebrated...insensitivity is standard and faith is being fancied over reason.-NoFx

    by SairaLV on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 11:11:20 AM PST

    •  Vegans? Really?? (4.00)
      I'm so excited, this is the first I've heard of this. And all along I've though nobody was listening to us plant-based eaters! Finally, some recognition! :-)
      •  You Vegans! (4.00)
        A threat to our way of life! :) This was from the front page post: "One F.B.I. document indicates that agents in Indianapolis planned to conduct surveillance as part of a "Vegan Community Project." Another document talks of the Catholic Workers group's "semi-communistic ideology." '

        There's no point for democracy when ignorance is celebrated...insensitivity is standard and faith is being fancied over reason.-NoFx

        by SairaLV on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:29:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Calm down. It's all a misunderstanding. (none)
          Bush was told that non-resident aliens are the big terrorist threat. He'd been watching some B movies the night before, so he thought his advisers were talking about interstellar invaders from a planet orbiting the star we call Vega. Nobody dared tell him he'd got it wrong.

          You can see how it happened. It was a perfectly natural mistake.

          Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

          by Canadian Reader on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 02:06:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yup (4.00)
        Didn't you know? Vegans are a major threat to the dairy, chicken, pork, and beef industries. These un-American bastards want to wreak major economical havoc by interrupting the trade and monies of meat and dairy commodities. It's a secret plan for subverting the USA. Beef, it's what for dinner, unless the vegans have their say. Pork, the other white meat, unless you're vegan. Milk, where's your mustache you damn vegan hippie? [snark].

        Oh, and vegans go against everything Cowboys stand for, and we all know shrub is the biggest cowboy wannabe this side of the Mississippi, therefore he had to declare war on the Vegans before the vegans attack his way of life.

        What would our founding fathers say about trading their civil liberties for safety from terror attacks?
        Give me Liberty or give me death!

        by jeffwass on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 02:07:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Like k d lang (none)
          When k d lang did those "Meat Stinks" ads back in the 90s, her hometown (in major beef-producer Alberta) just about ran her out of town on a rail.

          The spring is pure, but foul it once with mud and you nevermore will find it fit to drink. --Aeschylus

          by Alien Abductee on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:55:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  When they say that (4.00)
      tell them you'll just be giving their name to the govt then, so they can put a camera in their bedroom, and monitors on their phone and computer.

      Oh, and they should be ready to justify ANYTHING that somebody might be able to misconstrue. Why did you get that prescription? Why did you get home so late? Where were you? Why were you out of camera range last night? Who called and didn't leave a message, and why, and what was it about? Don't give me no 'wrong number' crap either...

  •  I gotta admit-- (none)
    when I first read your headline, I thought, hmmph, kinda tired metaphor, but I like her stuff so I'll check it out.

    Nicest surprise of the day to find that you actually included Peoria--right on!  

    Thanks, much.

  •  How's this for peotic justice? (4.00)
    Image Hosted by

    Made it myself (Thank you very much. Applause, etc.) using a template at

    Damned if you do, damned if you don't. So damn, if I won't.

    by benheeha on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 11:24:57 AM PST

  •  A couple of goodies from the (4.00)
    Santa Fe New Mexican(readers can comment on each article online).

    Bush is like the cronic wife beater.

    Beats his wife and beats his wife and beats his wife. Then when she calls the cops or threatens to leave he begs and pleads and promises the world just to get her to stay with him.


    When things settle down for a while, the cops go away... after a few days, the beatings start all over again, but become much more severe.... He threatens that he will kill her if she leaves or tells anyone about the beatings.

    You and I and the rest of the American citizens are the wife in this scenario.

    All of these speaches and so called "Press Conferences" are the begging, promising & pleading.

    How much more will we take before he permanently or mortally wounds the wife (the nation)????


    What is it about a police state that regressives find so appealing? Bush admits to spying on American citizens without court approval and pledges to continue committing this felonious behavior. He is showing you that he has no respect for the law, the Constitution, democracy, your rights or liberties: believe him. His job is to uphold and defend the Constitution. That is the oath he swore to (before he called it a g-d piece of paper.)

    Where are we going and what are we doing in this hand basket?

    by awnm on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 11:26:18 AM PST

  •  I'm delighted to see all these editorials (4.00)
    but I'm pretty sure my Carolina conservative cousins would just tell me that the papers are blue even in the red states.

    I'm not downplaying the importance of having some papers out there telling the truth, but I wouldn't take too much solace until we see the public reaction.  I was rather horrified to click on the Post last night and see their poll showing the President's standing improving.  I know it was taken before this scandal broke, but I had logged on to revel in the President's decline, and instead, I had to read about some Americans rallying around him "because the elections were a sign that things in Iraq are going better."  

    It's not really a quote, but that was the gist of the explanation given.  That some people can't see the forest for the trees is an old adage, but people who think Iraq is going better after that election can't see the dying forest through the bare branches of the dead trees.

    •  don't panic yet (none)
      I know this is a very disheartening time.
      I too would love to see the streets thronged with screaming crowds demanding Bush's resignation or removal. I am also a bit dissappointed with the somwhat tepid reaction from the Dems as a whole (granting that there are notable exceptions such as Fiengold and Conyers). Still, I think this is the "Big One".
      It takes time for the enormity of this to sink in across a large country of neary 300 million, even in this electronic age. People are just now discussing it with their co-workers and friends.
      I can't point you to a specific link, or give you a specific reliable measure, but this just feels different to me. Take it for what it's worth, but I'm hearing too many apocryphal stories of die hard Bushies being shocked.
      This is going to build, slowly at first, even agonizingly so especially since the holidays are going to distract people, but for the first time in years my badly damaged faith in the American public is coming back. I think he's going down on this.  
    •  It's Christmas (none)
      people are busy. They don't want to think about this stuff right now. They want to wrap presents, and have parties, and not worry too much.

      But after New Year's... there's nothing going on. Nothing. This will be the biggest thing out there, and people WILL be paying attention.

      Hell, after paying bills, food and heat, they won't have the money to do anything else.

    •  asdf (none)
      Bush poll numbers increase = dead cat bounce

      if you're a felinophile, don't ask ... ... somebody really ought to register this domain name ...

      by wystler on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:52:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Iraq...maybe it's a good thing (none)
    The danger will be when Bush needs the military here to "keep us in line."

    There can't be another Kent State, Bush has sent all the Guard to Iraq (or into hiding)

    American Engineer :== loser!

    by jnmorgan on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:12:47 PM PST

  •  The once-liberal SF Chronicle (none)
    true to its post-1999 "roots" as a Hearst paper, spins bravely in its paper edition today to defend the Criminal.  The only front page headline is to a story by their own Washington Bureau's Edward Epstein,"Bush Plays Hardball on spying, Patriot Act".  Another story on the main inside news page is a classic "he said/she said" treatment including quoting an expert from the Lexington Instititute, "a defense think tank," who uses the word "trivial" to defend what he calls "the liberties the president has taken."

    They include a highlighed text box in the center of the page quoting a WaPo story which they headline "Bush's approval rating rises to 47%, poll says."

  •  Good work! (none)
  •  Excellent round-up. (4.00)
    Keep this post up and continue adding all the tidbits you can find from broadcast, print, and blogospheric reactions.

    Political Cortex: Brain Food for the Body Politic

    by btyarbro on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:24:52 PM PST

  •  Good old Utah (4.00)
    Where I spent 20 years. Best snow on earth, but a bit to the right of Rush Limbaugh.

    SL Trib editorial cartoon today:

    Some excerpts from the related editorial:

    The Constitution is based on the idea that no person, no matter how honest or dedicated, can be trusted with powers that no one else oversees. The president's insistence that he has not only the power, but the obligation, to recklessly sweep aside more than 200 years of legal foundations, decide for himself which laws he must abide by - and tell no one - is exactly the kind of abuse the founders sought to prevent.
    At his press conference Monday, Bush was harshly dismissive of the obvious suggestion that he has assumed a power usually associated with dictators. That, and his flat statement that the long-overdue leak of this policy in The New York Times was "a shameful act," suggest that this administration is far too fearful to engage in the kind of democratic governance it is sworn to protect - that it thinks it is protecting.
       The groupthink of one branch of government can justify just about anything - torture, secret prisons, unwarranted searches. That is why our system demands that such momentous decisions not belong to one branch alone.
       If existing FISA provisions for national security warrants, issued almost without fail by a special court created for that purpose, are too cumbersome, the president has had ample time to ask Congress to change the law.
       That he has not done so further undermines the faith that we, and the other branches of government, must have in our executive power, not only in times of trial, but always.

    Over in the even farther right, owned by the LDS Church, Deseret News, we find:
    President Bush deserves credit for being more candid recently about the war in Iraq and the broader campaign against terrorism. In a nationally televised speech Sunday, and in a news conference Monday, he acknowledged some frustrations and difficulties, and he made a credible case for continuing the campaign to establish a free government in Iraq.
          But not everything he said was as convincing. On the issue of domestic spying without a warrant, his reasons and his justifications remain murky, at best.
          The president would have Americans believe that Congress authorized him to tap into the phone calls and e-mails people in America send overseas when it authorized him to fight terrorism before the war in Afghanistan. He said Monday that the Constitution grants him the authority to approve such spying, but he never elaborated as to exactly where in the Constitution such authority is granted.
          No, the issue has to do with following the process that is in place to protect the American people from abuses by a president and his investigators. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allows the government to wiretap in defense of national interests. But it also sets up a special secret court, available on a moment's notice, to hear the government's pleas and to grant a warrant for such searches.
          That safeguard is a necessary check on power. Otherwise, the president would have absolute authority to spy on Americans as he pleases.
          President Bush says obtaining warrants would unnecessarily slow down a process that demands speed and agility. Given the nature of the secret FISA court, however, that is not a convincing argument.
          Perhaps the president feels the American people will side with him on the need to bend these safeguards in the war on terrorism. But enemies of the state have existed in the midst of American society virtually from the beginning, and certainly in each of the last 100 years. That hasn't kept law enforcement from having to obtain warrants.
          Americans should indeed support the president in his continuing efforts in Iraq. Given what is at stake, failure should not be an option, and an early withdrawal would lead to failure. The war on terror within this country, however, must conform to reasonable checks on presidential authority.

    When you've lost Utah, you're in trouble Dubya!

    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

    by bewert on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:28:31 PM PST

  •  Register-Guard, Eugene, OR (none)
    Contrary to what Bush says, the fight against terrorism does not negate the need for accountability in government. If anything, stronger investigative powers require stronger checks and balances to ensure that the nation being protected remains a free and democratic one.

    But Eugene is pretty blue compared to some parts of Oregon.


    by Morrigan on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:35:11 PM PST

  •  Proportionality (4.00)
    I am continuously baffled as to why the public believes that these are particularaly dangerous times. as opposed to during the Cold War, when 9/11 multiplied by 10,000 was always potentially just a half hour away. Why is the current situtation deemed so much more dangerous that suspension of the Constitution raises no public backlash (but rather a nice bump in the polls)?
    •  A-f*$kin'-MEN! (4.00)
      Jeez Louise, I was in grammar school in Ronnie Reagan's 1980s, when we'd have under-the-desk drills to prepare us for the Soviets dropping the Big One. And Ronnie never gave himself this kind of authority.

      Something's happening here today -- a show of strength with your boys' brigade. Paul Weller

      by jamfan on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 01:20:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Under the Desks (4.00)
        Not only did we have to scramble under our desks at any moment but additionally I had a crazy nun tell me that when the Communists took over we would be asked if we believed in God, while lined up against a wall.  If you said yes, the Commies would shoot you dead but it was better to die as a Catholic then to live as an Athetist.  

        I went home and told my Mom about what the nun said.  She immediately called her uncle, a Monsignor.  Next day...we had a new teacher and the Monsignor came to talk to us, cleared up that Sister wouldn't be back, she was going to be working as a housekeeper in the convent from that time on.  We never had to pray for that O'Hara lady to find God again.  The Monsignor told us it wasn't right to pray for Athetists as they wouldn't want to be prayed for.  Athetists weren't bad people, they just believe differently than we do.  I'm glad he cleared that up.  :)

      •  My favorite poster from back then (4.00)
        was one giving instructions for action during a nuclear attack:

        Sit down, put your head between your knees, and kiss your ass goodbye.

  •  From the Philly Inquirer: (none)
    That is why it is all the more shocking to learn, four years later, that the President sidestepped the Constitution in late 2002 by ordering the National Security Agency (NSA) to secretly eavesdrop on hundreds, perhaps thousands, of U.S. residents without first obtaining court approval.

    Bush is unrepentant, indeed, saying he acted within his "constitutional responsibilities and authorities." Surveillance without court-approved warrants and oversight will continue, in an effort Bush contends is a "vital tool" in the fight against terrorists.

    Well, that's simply unacceptable. No president unilaterally should be able to declare that a part of the Bill of Rights is null and void.

  •  my LTE to the Chicago Tribune (none)
    Subject:  "Bush defends secret wiretaps" (Chicago Tribune Dec. 18)

    If a Democratic President ordered secret wiretaps of American citizens without court approval -- which can be given up to 3 days AFTER the tap is placed, under the governing statute -- every Democrat AND Republican in the country would be calling for his impeachment.  Today's Republicans need to ask themselves whether Bush's party affiliation means they should check their civil liberties at the door.

    Did someone at Frei Republik really bring up Clinton's male organ?!

    "We can win elections only by standing up for what we believe." --Howard Dean

    by Jim in Chicago on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 12:54:12 PM PST

  •  well maybe there is hope n/t (none)

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D. IMPEACH

    by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 01:00:35 PM PST

  •  God is good (none)
    sorry to all of you who do not believe.  I don't talk about God much except when someone else brings up the topic...but GOOD IS GOOD.

    Today, totally unrelated to this diary I had some very good news, a partial answer to many prayers (not out of the woods yet, but definately seeing some light).

    Now I read that papers all over the country can see why what bush has done is a problem and they are saying so.  It feels like a day of small miracles to me.

    Can someonme please explain their holding this information for a year to me? I get the feeling that the paper in conservative Idaho would have done better.

  •  Pittsburgh's conservative rag (none)
    The Pittsburgh (PA) Tribune-Review has been an avid supporter of Bush. We may be turning a corner. Here is a part of their editorial.

    The Bush Eavesdropping: Restore the principle

    Tuesday, December 20, 2005

    There are enough serious questions -- and conflicting interpretations of the law -- surrounding the revelation that the Bush administration has been eavesdropping on domestic-to-foreign telephone calls and e-mails and vice versa that a top-to-bottom congressional review is in order.

    President Bush confirms a New York Times report that, by secret executive order, the National Security Agency is authorized to spy on American citizens without a warrant. So hot was the fallout that the Senate blocked reauthorization of the Patriot Act. Critics want hearings. And they should be held.


    Good intelligence is the key to fighting the war on terror. The powers of the president are constitutionally broad in this regard; he has a duty to protect this country. But the check and balance of first obtaining a warrant -- hardly a hurdle too high -- should be sacrosanct. And any laws that undermine this principle should be struck.

  •  Detroit News (4.00)

    President Bush crossed the legal line in allowing the federal government to spy on Americans without a court warrant.


    Checks and balances were built into the Constitution for a reason. They should not be traded for a false sense of security.

    In the current spying controversy, the administration acknowledged it monitored phone calls and e-mails of people inside the country believed to be plotting with terrorists overseas.

    The president said he authorized skating around even the secret FISA courts to make the country faster on its feet to counter terrorism.

    No matter how well intended, the spy plan is an unacceptable and unnecessary shortcut that the president should halt immediately.

    Democracy should begin at home.

    by Cordelia Lear on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 02:23:56 PM PST

  •  I live in Peoria (4.00)
    I am providing this background so one can better understand how stuff is "playing in Peoria". We really aren't "typical America" anymore; much of our income comes from manufacturing (Caterpillar) and we have a large base of organized labor.

    Peoria is a rather "purple" place.  The City is slightly blue and the surrounding countryside and suburban areas are slightly red; in the 2004 general election this translated to Kerry carrying the county by all of 70 votes (out of more than 80,000 cast county wide).

    We have a weird system where the county votes are tabulated seperately from the city votes.

    Note the differences.  Also note that in the 18'th congressional district, LaHood won his district (which includes 19 counties) by 70% of the vote, against someone who didn't campaign at all.  But his opponent got 36% of the city vote.


    REP - GEORGE W. BUSH/DICK CHENEY  .  .  .      22,479   47.25
    DEM - JOHN F. KERRY/JOHN EDWARDS  .  .  .      24,686   51.89

    VOTE FOR  1
    REP - ALAN KEYES   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .      13,653   29.09
    DEM - BARACK OBAMA .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .      32,383   69.00

    VOTE FOR  1
    REP - RAY LaHOOD   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .      29,886   63.59
    DEM - STEVE WATERWORTH   .  .  .  .  .  .      17,109   36.41

    VOTE FOR  1
    REP - AARON SCHOCK .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .      13,305   47.20
    DEM - RICCA SLONE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .      14,883   52.80

    County: (excludes the city)

    GEORGE BUSH REP 18572 52.60%
    JOHN F. KERRY DEM 16435 46.55%

    ALAN KEYES REP 11235 32.40%
    BARACK OBAMA DEM 22678 65.40%

    RAY LaHOOD REP 23609 67.83%
    STEVE WATERWORTH DEM 11172 32.10%

    AARON SCHOCK REP 6414 58.13%
    RICCA SLONE DEM 4601 41.70%


    When liberals saw 9-11, we wondered how we could make the country safe. When conservatives saw 9-11, they saw an investment opportunity.

    by onanyes on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 02:44:55 PM PST

    •  Informative, but . . . (none)
      I hate to argue with a mathematics professor, but anecdotally I have to disagree.  Caterpillar has sent 40,000 blue collar jobs out of the area since the 1970s.  Pabst, Hiram Walker, and International Harvester are all gone.  Keystone steel is bankrupt.  New Jobs at Cat pay only slightly more than retail jobs.  The area's economic development the past two decades have been the Federal prison in Pekin, the Riverboat Casino and related tourist industries, recreational facilities such as EastSide, the Riverplex and Dragon's Dome.  We recently saw the fallout from such incentives such as TIF's in the East Peoria Wal-mart Supercenter tax appeal case recently.  The Peoria Journal Star is currently running a series on "Why would anyone leave Peoria."  The Pekin Daily Times ran an editorial last Saturday extolling the virtues of Pekin.  Things are better here than in western Illinois, but we lag behind Bloomington and Champaign.  It is good to see some of my neighbors weighing in with this subject and Kos' post yesterday concerning the Illinois Congressional filing deadline.  Keep up the good work!
      •  I don't disagree with you (none)
        in that my answer was incomplete.  But Caterpillar remains the areas most influential employer, though it has indeed shipped jobs elsewhere.

        Also, our population has declined by something like, 10,000 people over the past 30 years?  Some of that is due to flight from the District 150 school district?

        Still, I couldn't call Peoria "typical America" anymore; I'ver heard that Tulsa, Oklahoma now holds that distinction.

        When liberals saw 9-11, we wondered how we could make the country safe. When conservatives saw 9-11, they saw an investment opportunity.

        by onanyes on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 03:27:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Cheney's comments (4.00)
    Cheney said the program had "saved thousands of lives."

    "It is, I'm convinced, one of the reasons we haven't been attacked in the past four years," Cheney said.

    Think about the implications of this. If Cheney is telling the truth (stop laughing) then US law enforcement agencies either -

    (a) have knowledge of, and are monitoring and responding to, the plans of actual terrorists on American soil
    (b) have actually killed and/or apprehended terrorists on American soil

    Give us back the America we trust and respect!!!

    by icerat on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 02:51:20 PM PST

    •  Ha! (none)
      Then he's a double liar because he often asserted on MTP and other newsmagazines that he was certain we would be attacked again. He said, iirc, it's not if but when we are attacked again...(cue the ominous music)

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

      by vcmvo2 on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 06:25:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Remember how Iraq reconstituted nuclear weapons? (none)
      Yeah, about as trustworthy.  But even more transparently bullshit.
    •  Not a logical implication (none)
      The calls in question were between someone in the U.S. and someone outside the U.S.

      The terrorists, killing and/or apprehensions could all be of those on the outside the U.S. end of the communications.

      We're still talking about illegal and unconstitutional action. But we will not be persuasive if we stretch facts and/or logic.

      •  I disagree (none)
        if someone in the US is discussing terrorist actions with someone outside the US, I think it's reasonable to describe the person in the US as a terrorist.

        I suppose though if someone in the US was completely innocent, but happened say to be a friend of Bin Laden's and called him up to discuss christmas recipes, that discussion might lead to the disclosure of bin laden's location and thus his apprehension and prevention of further attacks on american soil.

        I think it's more likely that Cheney was full of shit, which was my real point.

        Give us back the America we trust and respect!!!

        by icerat on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 06:02:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Barb, Barb, Barb - (4.00)
    LOVE your diary, dahling, but, rrreeeally, how could you forget our dear Journal?

    From today's increasingly comical Wall Street Journal, the lead editorial is entitled (hope you haven't eaten yet), "Thanks for Wiretapping":

    There is no evidence that these wiretaps violate the law. But there is lots of evidence that the Senators are "illegally" usurping Presidential power--and endangering the country in the process.

    Wait, there's more:

    The mere Constitution aside, the evidence is also abundant that the Administration was scrupulous in limiting the FISA exceptions. They applied only to calls involving al Qaeda suspects or those with terrorist ties.

    And then this:

    In short, the implication that this is some LBJ-J. Edgar Hoover operation designed to skirt the law to spy on domestic political enemies is nothing less than a political smear.

     (Funny, but when I think of "skirting the law to spy on domestic political enemies," the example that comes most readily to me isn't the 37th President of the United States - a Democrat, interestingly enough - but rather the 38th President, who happened to have been a Republican,wouldn'cha know.)

    Aaaanyway, just wanted to let you know what the fat-cat wingnuts are sayin.'


    In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

    by occams hatchet on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 02:56:58 PM PST

  •  Readers Survey in Daily Herald - (none)
    the Chicago suburbanite newspaper posted this question to its readers:

    Do you agree with President George W. Bush's secret order to allow spying on people in the United States as a means to prevent terrorism?


    Yes: 1,157 Votes or 53%

    No:  1,037 Votes or 47%

    So, a little north of Peoria, the masses are all for spying on people in the US if someone claims it will keep us safe from terrorists.

    Dumb, Dumber, and Beyond Credibility - but all too sad, believable.

  •  Olympia, WA (none)
    I've lived in Olympia. Olympia's hardly a barometer of middle America. It's a good town full of good people, but it's also a very liberal town. I'm glad to hear that the Daily Zero has a good editorial about Bush, but you can't really generalize about the rest of the country from its example.

    My political compass: -7.38, -8.00

    by seaprog on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 04:42:53 PM PST

  •  Half and Half in WV (4.00)
    Huntington ignored the whole Bush spying situation but did come down against making Jewish people feel bad over Christmas.

    Charleston paper WV Gazette headlines their editorial:

    Spying: President flouts the law.  

    It is time for Congress to reassert its power in American politics. The latest revelations about White House approval of illegal spying on Americans provide dramatic proof that President Bush and his advisers do not understand the system they have sworn to uphold.

    The local rag comes to Jay Rockefeller's defense.

    From the correspondence released Monday by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, it's clear that those committees were not allowed to exercise that responsibility. The letter, written in July 2003 to Vice President Cheney, expresses Rockefeller's deep qualms about the secret program, which he was forbidden from discussing even with his colleagues on the Senate committee.

    On Monday afternoon, Rockefeller released the 2003 letter to Cheney and urged the Senate Intelligence Committee to open a full investigation into the program and the White House's evasion of congressional oversight.

    The president has exceeded his authority and is brazenly asserting that he will continue to do so. We can only echo Rockefeller's concern and his call for a congressional investigation. Congress needs to remind the White House of the limits to its authority.

    So one victory for ecumenical tolerance and one for the constitution.  Oh, and don't drive drunk in WV.

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

    by murrayewv on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:01:09 PM PST

    •  Forgot the link (none)

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

      by murrayewv on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:02:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Charleston is quite tolerant... (none)
      and cosmopolitan compared to Huntington...I think they are just upstream from Jean Schmidt's neck o' the woods and the locals there are just about of the same mindset.

      People in Eurasia on the brink of oppression: I hope it's gonna be alright... Pet Shop Boys: Introspective

      by rgilly on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 08:20:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Papers are quite different... (none)
        "Herald Disgrace" is Gannet and pro sports and community events.  The broader tristate IS very conservative- but University is more liberal.  Charleston paper is much more liberal, and it is state government seat so many well-educated office workers.  State toggles between dem and republican with a strong pro-union, pro-work bias.  It is a VERY pro-life, Christian state overall.

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

        by murrayewv on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 03:06:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Bob Barr in AJC (4.00)
    When President Bush explained, over the course of three days, his administration's secret interception of communications involving American citizens without court approval, he repeatedly cited three authorities for such action. One of these was Article II of our Constitution, which provides authority for the president to serve as commander in chief of the armed forces. Not relying on my memory -- which has proved faulty from time to time (rarely, of course) -- I reread Article II to determine if in fact there was language in it that I had missed previously, that when the president serves as commander in chief, he can order federal agencies to violate the law.

    Of course, I found no such authority, because none exists. Such was never even presumed to be implied by the drafters of that magnificent document. In fact, federal courts -- which over the decades have deferred greatly to the power of the president when he takes action involving national security -- have never held that when a president dons the hat of commander in chief he simultaneously is immunized from having to follow the laws of the land or of the other provisions contained in the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights.

    Yet, this is precisely the power the president is now claiming. Truly, it is a breathtaking assertion of presidential power. If, in fact, the country allows it to stand, then there will be virtually no limit to the areas into which it might extend. Remember, the president claims that the venue of the so-called "war" against terror is as much within our borders as outside, and its duration perpetual.

    To be fair, the president did cite other authority in support of his assertion that he can order surreptitious surveillance of our citizens without following the laws that govern such actions.

    First, he claims his "responsibility to protect the country" subsumes the authority to order surveillance of American citizens in contravention of the law. Of course, there is no "responsibility-to-protect-my-people" exception to the rule of law or the applicability of the Bill of Rights anywhere in the Constitution, or in any prior decision of any federal court.

    The president also refers repeatedly to the resolution passed by the Congress in the first days following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as establishing his power to order the surveillance now at issue. However, a reading of that resolution, whether cursory or in-depth, reveals no such authority, explicit or implied. The resolution simply authorized the president "to use all necessary and appropriate force" against those responsible for planning, carrying out or assisting in the attacks of Sept. 11. The resolution went on to provide that such "necessary and appropriate force" might be used to prevent future acts of terrorism. Importantly, the resolution provided no authority whatsoever for any actions on the part of the president beyond authorizing the use of force.

    To cite this resolution as authority to override specific federal laws that prohibit the surreptitious interception of communications of American citizens represents neither sound legal argument nor honest public policy.

    The strange thing about all this is there was and is no practical reason for the president to go outside the law to do what he has done. Federal law provides ample authority for the federal government to intercept communications involving citizens or others who are suspected of having terrorist ties or actions. The law also provides a robust mechanism for rapid action if circumstances warrant. Notably, however, one is required to follow the terms of the law.

    The White House has gone on the offensive in response to the burgeoning National Security Agency scandal -- trying to shift the focus from its actions to those involving release of the story about the surveillance.

    President Bush is also splitting words a la Clinton -- asserting that it is OK to surveil without court approval if you are merely "detecting" as opposed to "monitoring." Finally, the president offers in his defense the fact that a few, selected members of Congress were briefed about the program, and that the program is reviewed regularly. These are all ingenious defenses, but none would make the unlawful lawful.

    By the way, was the surveillance ordered by the president unlawful? I believe it was, but don't rely on my analysis. Here is what Gen. Michael Hayden, then the head of the NSA and now the deputy director of national intelligence, told a congressional panel in April 2000 (a hearing at which I also testified), in explaining whether the government could intercept communications of an American citizen in this country: "If that American person is in the United States of America, I must have a court order before I initiate any collection against him or her."

    Seems pretty clear to me. And, if the president doesn't like the law, the solution should be to amend, not violate it.

    * Bob Barr, former congressman and U.S. attorney, practices law in Atlanta.

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 06:22:49 PM PST

  •  Waco Tribune (4.00)
    No Less than Waco Tribune

    Editorial: Wiretap confusion


    Tuesday, December 20, 2005

    The American people need to be assured that the war on terrorism is being conducted legally and constitutionally.

    Additionally, the American people should demand that their officials work to win the war against the nation's enemies, not to score victories over political opponents.

    During an hourlong news conference Monday, President Bush spent most of the time answering questions about his approval of eavesdropping on people without court-approved warrants.

    Understandably, Bush would have preferred to concentrate on the good news coming out of Iraq following last week's third nationwide election.

    A New York Times story reporting that the super-secret National Security Agency has eavesdropped on the international phone calls and e-mails of people inside the United States since October 2001 without required court-approved warrants deflected press attention away from the successful Iraqi election.

    The NSA story also was cited by several senators as a reason to uphold a filibuster on the renewal of the expiring portions of the USA Patriot Act.

    Political opponents immediately denounced Bush for authorizing an illegal assault on the civil liberties of American citizens.

    Even several of Bush's fellow Republicans questioned the purpose of the administration's domestic eavesdropping program without judicial involvement when the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) permits secret court-approved wiretap warrants.

    Bush first refused to confirm the eavesdropping report for fear of jeopardizing national security. Finally, he defended the program.

    Bush maintains that the domestic eavesdropping operation, which he has authorized on several occasions, was checked out in advance and found to be both legal and constitutional. He also said it was necessary to respond quickly to protect the American people. Court-approved wiretaps under FISA, Bush said, were too slow.

    "This is a different era, a different war," Bush said at his Monday press conference. "People are changing phone numbers. We've got to move quick."

    Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said that while FISA prohibits eavesdropping without court approval, it makes an exception where Congress "otherwise authorizes," which was implicit in the authorization for the use of military force.

    In a nation of laws, even during time of war, the government must act within the law. It also must operate within constitutionally established checks and balances among the branches of government.

    Bush maintains that Congress was kept abreast at least a dozen times of the eavesdropping operation. Some members of Congress disagree.

    The American people need to be assured that every effort is made to maintain national security, which must be legal, constitutional and nonpartisan.

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 06:38:02 PM PST

  •  In order for this to mean anything (4.00)
    to the regular person on the street in "Peoria", it has to affect them personally.  Right now it is all about spying on the bad guys, and not about their lives at all.  Remember, we were brought up on "spy" programs on TV where no one got a court order, at least on camera, before they did any spying.  In the end it was always good that came out of spying, too.

    Maybe if it got down to spying on their mothers, then it might hit home.

    On the other hand, this really bothers scholars and people who have a real interest and love for the constitution (and a few of the unpatriotic enemy helpers like us).  It bothers Wolfe Blitzer, too, who is a little bit bright and is slobering for an impeachment story.  But for once, I am really counting on the academics and people like Barr (bleh) to come through and keep this in the news because it sticks in his craw.  That's the way with Specter, too.  If you notice, Specter was a prosecutor earlier in his life and he is kindof obsessed with law and the constitution.  Despite his better senses, he just can't let something like this go.  It's the constitutional nerds who might be our hero's in this.

    Also, when Nixon's breakin happened, there were all kinds of violations of peoples rights, but people stayed with him for a long time until the end.  My parents who were just ordinary kindof mellow liberal people, a republican and democrat stayed with him for a long time.

    In fact when Nixon was elected for his second term, Watergate was a second rate story about a second rate burlary, buried deep in the papers back pages.  

    Keep hope alive.(this statement is in no way an endorsement of Jessie Jackson)  I'm just sayin.  Keep hope alive!

    •  George Will wrote a piece (4.00)
      critical of the administration.  So did Bruce Fein (formerly of Reagan Justice Dept) and Norman Ornstein of a conservative think tank (forget which one).  Chuck Hagel and Olympia Snowe (along with Dems Feinstein, Wyden, and one more I can't remember at the moment) are calling for an investigation.  To their credit some on the right are calling a spade a spade here.  This is immensely heartening.
  •  though it's not playing on (none)
    at all.  I just checked their website (10:45 EST) to see if they had an interesting poll.  Here are their "top stories":  

     something on teen fitness
     Judge fines NYC transit strikers

    • No to `intelligent design' | * Analysis
    • Seaplane debris lifted | * NBC video
    • Shark attack leaves rowers shaken

    The only reference "above the fold" to the spying scandal is something about technology changing the way spying is done.

    think maybe the constitutional crisis could have bumped the shark story down a notch (no one was even killed or injured by the shark)?

    can msnbc hand in its press pass and let some real newspeople step in?  this is just sad.  for what it's worth, I wrote them an email expressing my disdain.

    •  o/t (none)
      my frustration over msnbc was closely followed by more frustration when I turned on CNN at 11 and their top story involved a problem with a plane (no disrespect meant to any people who might be hurt, or their concerned loved ones).

      got me thinking.  why not have a channel committed to coverage of issues involving the White House?  we have C-Span for Congress--why not a White House channel?  could cover press conferences and news involving the White House.  just a thought

  •  Flame Me (none)
    No matter if GWB just used these secret powers to hunt down bad guys, it doesn't really make me sleep any better at night knowing that this FISA court is basically a rubber stamp.

    and so far from a lot of dems i'm hearing that Bush should have went to FISA.  

    isn't the mere existence of this secret FISA court enough to kind of scare you a little?  and everyone is making it sound like this secret court is just a formality.

    i guess what i'm saying is that if this FISA court was a rubber stamp for wiretapping anyways, why make a fuss about GWBs spying?  i've heard from more than one dem that if he would have just went to FISA he would have been able to wiretap anyways.

    the ends would have been the same no matter how you cut it:  government spying on it's own citizens.

    I guess the only real question is, then, why did GWB go around this court?  but does this question really matter if he would have been able to use these kind of spy powers if he had asked?

    (Consider me the devil's advocate)

    •  The judiciary, at least in theory... (none) supposed to be independent. That's why they're put on the bench for LIFE. They are supposed to be above politics, above improper influence, untouchable.

      That's why, when an agent of the government wants to search someone's home or listen in on someone's private conversations, that agent must give an independent judge a damn good reason for why this drastic step is necessary. And if it's not damn good, then that independent judge is supposed to say, "No, your reason is insufficient. I do not grant you legal authorization to do this."

      That's how it's supposed to work in America.

      "Mr. McClellan, don't the American people deserve better than this 'orange jumpsuit' ethics policy?"

      GOP = Guilty of Perjury

      Edwards/Clark 2008

      by MeanBoneII on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 09:13:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  A rubberstamp if... (none)
      the claims are reasonable. FISA has said no to a few, and it's there to keep him in check. It ruled against the Gitmo tribunals and it most certaintly would have said no to spying on political opponents.  I think it's sort of like a seatbelt- not really onerous, but there to keep things from flying apart.
  •  How it's playing in Providence, RI (4.00)
    Now, you may be thinking, blue state means liberal paper.  You couldn't be more wrong.  The Providence Journal is pretty close to being a GOP mouthpiece.  Nevertheless, here's what they say about George Bush, Spy Guy:

    President Bush has been wrong -- and, on the face of it, unlawful -- to permit the National Security Agency to wiretap and eavesdrop on hundreds of Americans' international phone calls and international e-mails without warrants from the special judicial tribunal established by statute to issue such warrants. . .

    The spying seems a serious violation: of the law, of executive-department-agency missions, and of separation of powers between the judicial and executive branches -- and also of basic American principles of due process and privacy. . .

    That the executive branch has apparently been snooping in this apparently untrammeled way is deeply disturbing in a democratic society. Such activity must stop immediately.

    Of course, they don't say what we should do if Bush's "activity" doesn't stop immediately.  I've LTE'd them to ask.  In an unusual (for me) bit of subtlety, I haven't actually mentioned the word "impeachment", leaving it for the editors (and, if any, readers) to work that answer out for themselves.

    "Nothing will impede our march toward victory! Long live the Empire!" -- Cmdr. Jonathan Archer, "In a Mirror, Darkly"

    by Thomas Kalinowski on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 09:48:50 PM PST

  •  it's all over the country (4.00)
    Newspaper Editorials Hit Back after Bush Criticizes Spy Story (E&P)--...Kansas City Star: "Typically, the administration is offering the public only broad assurances that it has behaved properly and that there's no reason to worry about the warrantless eavesdropping. But Congress and the American public are entitled to a more complete explanation of this ill-advised project." ...
  •  I'm not surprised by Idaho (4.00)
    One reason a lot of the folks in the Mountain states are for small governemnt is that they fear this kind of shit.  

    Now when militia members tell us that the Government is secretly spying on us, we'll have to agree.

    What do members of the Repub. leadership say when they bump into Pres. Bush? "Pardon me."

    by mungley on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:47:12 PM PST

  •  What will it take (none)
    to get every former living President to condemn Bush for this obviously illegal and unconstitutional action?  Geo HW Bush (41) might finally find his place in history by condemning his demon seed's fascist regime as all his former advisors have.

    "I think it's more important to put Christ back into our war planning than into our Christmas cards." Rev. Bob Edgar

    by Voxbear on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 11:30:58 PM PST

  •  Great job. (4.00)
    THis is nice blogging.  
  •  So who's going to protect us from George Bush? (none)
    George Bush spied on us to protect us, he decieved us about his reasons for war in Iraq... to protect the Iraqi people from a torturous tyrant, and he stole at least one election... to protect us from making the mistake of electing someone who hates America and who would have taken sides with Saddam and Bin Laden. So who's going to protect us from George Bush?
  •  Let me get this straight, (none)
    they might impeach Poor George and he didn't even get a blowjob out of the deal? What's this administration cumming to?

    -6.88/-5.64 Attack, jihad, binLaden, bomb, airplane, Bush, Iran, Saddam, Allah akabar (Just giving the NSA some data to mine. You are what you eat. :)

    by John West on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 04:07:51 AM PST

  •  Does anyone remember.... (none)
    This reminds me too much of something then-attorney general John N. Mitchell say during Nixon's hey day-- that the government had a "inherant right" to tap telephones.
    Like Yogi Berra said, "it's deja vu all over again."
  •  From tiny Iola, KS, we get the (none)
    Iola Register's opinion, which ends with:

    ...letting the NSA run its spy operations unchecked has the potential to do greater damage over time than an army of terrorists. It is important to be vigilant; it is imperative to protect the civil rights of every American.

    By the way, if you like Buster Keaton films, they have an outrageous annual Keaton film festival. The 2005 edition bore the title "The Comedy of the Social Misfit". Very enlightening stuff, that.

    -9.50, -9.13 Shine a light on the cesspool of corruption, and it would surely wither up and die in the face of the absolute truth. -Mark Faulk

    by klevenstein on Wed Dec 21, 2005 at 06:31:17 AM PST

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