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Earlier today, Russ Feingold diaried on the U.S.A.P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act.  But this afternoon, he delivered a powerful condemnation of Bush's wiretapping on the Senate floor.  I thought I would bring it to you.

Remember that Russ Feingold was the only Democrat to vote against a bill in 1998 that would have dismissed the impeachment charges against President Clinton, because he believed the case was close and needed to be heard in full.  I doubt he was doing it becuase he thought it would provide cover eight years later to discuss flouting of the law by a Republican president.  It's because Russ Feingold believes in the law, believes that we are a nation of laws, not men.

President Bush has admitted to breaking the plain language of the FISA statute.  If Clinton had stood during the State of the Union in January 1998 and said that yes, he had lied to the grand jury, he may well have been hung on the spot.

Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold on the President's Warrantless Wiretapping Program, February 7, 2006, as Prepared for Delivery from the Senate Floor
(The rest is below the fold.)

Mr. President, last week the President of the United States gave his State of the Union address, where he spoke of America's leadership in the world, and called on all of us to "lead this world toward freedom."  Again and again, he invoked the principle of freedom, and how it can transform nations, and empower people around the world.

But, almost in the same breath, the President openly acknowledged that he has ordered the government to spy on Americans, on American soil, without the warrants required by law.

The President issued a call to spread freedom throughout the world, and then he admitted that he has deprived Americans of one of their most basic freedoms under the Fourth Amendment -- to be free from unjustified government intrusion.

The President was blunt.  He said that he had authorized the NSA's domestic spying program, and he made a number of misleading arguments to defend himself.  His words got rousing applause from Republicans, and even some Democrats.

The President was blunt, so I will be blunt:  This program is breaking the law, and this President is breaking the law.  Not only that, he is misleading the American people in his efforts to justify this program.

How is that worthy of applause?  Since when do we celebrate our commander in chief for violating our most basic freedoms, and misleading the American people in the process?  When did we start to stand up and cheer for breaking the law?  In that moment at the State of the Union, I felt ashamed.

Congress has lost its way if we don't hold this President accountable for his actions.

The President suggests that anyone who criticizes his illegal wiretapping program doesn't understand the threat we face.  But we do.  Every single one of us is committed to stopping the terrorists who threaten us and our families.

Defeating the terrorists should be our top national priority, and we all agree that we need to wiretap them to do it.  In fact, it would be irresponsible not to wiretap terrorists.  But we have yet to see any reason why we have to trample the laws of the United States to do it.  The President's decision that he can break the law says far more about his attitude toward the rule of law than it does about the laws themselves.

This goes way beyond party, and way beyond politics.  What the President has done here is to break faith with the American people.  In the State of the Union, he also said that "we must always be clear in our principles" to get support from friends and allies that we need to fight terrorism.  So let's be clear about a basic American principle: When someone breaks the law, when someone misleads the public in an attempt to justify his actions, he needs to be held accountable.  The President of the United States has broken the law.  The President of the United States is trying to mislead the American people.  And he needs to be held accountable.

Unfortunately, the President refuses to provide any details about this domestic spying program.  Not even the full Intelligence committees know the details, and they were specifically set up to review classified information and oversee the intelligence activities of our government.  Instead, the President says - "Trust me."

This is not the first time we've heard that.  In the lead-up to the Iraq war, the Administration went on an offensive to get the American public, the Congress, and the international community to believe its theory that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction, and even that he had ties to Al Qaeda.  The President painted a dire - and inaccurate - picture of Saddam Hussein's capability and intent, and we invaded Iraq on that basis.  To make matters worse, the Administration misled the country about what it would take to stabilize and reconstruct Iraq after the conflict.  We were led to believe that this was going to be a short endeavor, and that our troops would be home soon.

We all recall the President's "Mission Accomplished" banner on the aircraft carrier on May 1, 2003.  In fact, the mission was not even close to being complete.  More than 2100 total deaths have occurred after the President declared an end to major combat operations in May of 2003, and over 16,600 American troops have been wounded in Iraq.  The President misled the American people and grossly miscalculated the true challenge of stabilizing and rebuilding Iraq.

In December, we found out that the President has authorized wiretaps of Americans without the court orders required by law.  He says he is only wiretapping people with links to terrorists, but how do we know?  We don't.  The President is unwilling to let a neutral judge make sure that is the case.  He will not submit this program to an independent branch of government to make sure he's not violating the rights of law-abiding Americans.

So I don't want to hear again that this Administration has shown it can be trusted.  It hasn't.  And that is exactly why the law requires a judge to review these wiretaps.

It is up to Congress to hold the President to account.  We held a hearing on the domestic spying program in the Judiciary Committee yesterday, where Attorney General Gonzales was a witness.  We expect there will be other hearings.  That is a start, but it will take more than just hearings to get the job done.

We know that in part because the President's Attorney General has already shown a willingness to mislead the Congress.

At the hearing yesterday, I reminded the Attorney General about his testimony during his confirmation hearings in January 2005, when I asked him whether the President had the power to authorize warrantless wiretaps in violation of the criminal law.  We didn't know it then, but the President had authorized the NSA program three years before, when the Attorney General was White House Counsel.  At his confirmation hearing, the Attorney General first tried to dismiss my question as "hypothetical."  He then testified that "it's not the policy or the agenda of this President to authorize actions that would be in contravention of our criminal statutes."

Well, Mr. President, wiretapping American citizens on American soil without the required warrant is in direct contravention of our criminal statutes.  The Attorney General knew that, and he knew about the NSA program when he sought the Senate's approval for his nomination to be Attorney General.  He wanted the Senate and the American people to think that the President had not acted on the extreme legal theory that the President has the power as Commander in Chief to disobey the criminal laws of this country.  But he had.  The Attorney General had some explaining to do, and he didn't do it yesterday.  Instead he parsed words, arguing that what he said was truthful because he didn't believe that the President's actions violated the law.

But he knew what I was asking, and he knew he was misleading the Committee in his response.  If he had been straightforward, he would have told the committee that in his opinion, the President has the authority to authorize warrantless wiretaps.  My question wasn't about whether such illegal wiretapping was going on - like almost everyone in Congress, I didn't know about the program then.  It was a question about how the nominee to be Attorney General viewed the law.  This nominee wanted to be confirmed, and so he let a misleading statement about one of the central issues of his confirmation - his view of executive power - stay on the record until the New York Times revealed the program.

The rest of the Attorney General's performance at yesterday's hearing certainly did not give me any comfort, either.  He continued to push the Administration's weak legal arguments, continued to insinuate that anyone who questions this program doesn't want to fight terrorism, and refused to answer basic questions about what powers this Administration is claiming.  We still need a lot of answers from this Administration.

But let's put aside the Attorney General for now.  The burden is not just on him to come clean -- the President has some explaining to do.  The President's defense of his actions is deeply cynical, deeply misleading, and deeply troubling.

To find out that the President of the United States has violated the basic rights of the American people is chilling.  And then to see him publicly embrace his actions - and to see so many Members of Congress cheer him on - is appalling.

The President has broken the law, and he has made it clear that he will continue to do so.  But the President is not a king.  And the Congress is not a king's court.  Our job is not to stand up and cheer when the President breaks the law.  Our job is to stand up and demand accountability, to stand up and check the power of an out-of-control executive branch.

That is one of the reasons that the framers put us here - to ensure balance between the branches of government, not to act as a professional cheering section.

We need answers.  Because no one, not the President, not the Attorney General, and not any of their defenders in this body, has been able to explain why it is necessary to break the law to defend against terrorism.  And I think that's because they can't explain it.

Instead, this administration reacts to anyone who questions this illegal program by saying that those of us who demand the truth and stand up for our rights and freedoms have a pre-9/11 view of the world.

In fact, the President has a pre-1776 view of the world.

Our Founders lived in dangerous times, and they risked everything for freedom.  Patrick Henry said, "Give me liberty or give me death."   The President's pre-1776 mentality is hurting America.  It is fracturing the foundation on which our country has stood for 230 years.  The President can't just bypass two branches of government, and obey only those laws he wants to obey.  Deciding unilaterally which of our freedoms still apply in the fight against terrorism is unacceptable and needs to be stopped immediately.

Let's examine for a moment some of the President's attempts to defend his actions.  His arguments have changed over time, of course.  They have to - none of them hold up under even casual scrutiny, so he can't rely on one single explanation.  As each argument crumbles beneath him, he moves on to a new one, until that, too, is debunked, and on and on he goes.

In the State of the Union, the President referred to Presidents in American history who cited executive authority to order warrantless surveillance.  But of course those past presidents - like Wilson and Roosevelt - were acting before the Supreme Court decided in 1967 that our communications are protected by the Fourth Amendment, and before Congress decided in 1978 that the executive branch can no longer unilaterally decide which Americans to wiretap.  The Attorney General yesterday was unable to give me one example of a President who, since 1978 when FISA was passed, has authorized warrantless wiretaps outside of FISA.

So that argument is baseless, and it's deeply troubling that the President of the United States would so obviously mislead the Congress and American public.  That hardly honors the founders' idea that the President should address the Congress on the state of our union.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was passed in 1978 to create a secret court, made up of judges who develop national security expertise, to issue warrants for surveillance of terrorists and spies.  These are the judges from whom the Bush Administration has obtained thousands of warrants since 9/11.  The Administration has almost never had a warrant request rejected by those judges.  They have used the FISA Court thousands of times, but at the same time they assert that FISA is an "old law" or "out of date" and they can't comply with it.  Clearly they can and do comply with it - except when they don't.  Then they just arbitrarily decide to go around these judges, and around the law.

The Administration has said that it ignored FISA because it takes too long to get a warrant under that law.  But we know that in an emergency, where the Attorney General believes that surveillance must begin before a court order can be obtained, FISA permits the wiretap to be executed immediately as long as the government goes to the court within 72 hours.  The Attorney General has complained that the emergency provision does not give him enough flexibility, he has complained that getting a FISA application together or getting the necessary approvals takes too long.  But the problems he has cited are bureaucratic barriers that the executive branch put in place, and could easily remove if it wanted.

FISA also permits the Attorney General to authorize unlimited warrantless electronic surveillance in the United States during the 15 days following a declaration of war, to allow time to consider any amendments to FISA required by a wartime emergency.  That is the time period that Congress specified.  Yet the President thinks that he can do this indefinitely.

In the State of the Union, the President also argued that federal courts had approved the use of presidential authority that he was invoking.  But that turned out to be misleading as well.  When I asked the Attorney General about this, he could point me to no court - not the Supreme Court or any other court - that has considered whether, after FISA was enacted, the President nonetheless had the authority to bypass it and authorize warrantless wiretaps.  Not one court.  The Administration's effort to find support for what it has done in snippets of other court decisions would be laughable if this issue were not so serious.

The President knows that FISA makes it a crime to wiretap Americans in the United States without a warrant or a court order.  Why else would he have assured the public, over and over again, that he was getting warrants before engaging in domestic surveillance?

Here's what the President said on April 20, 2004: "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."

And again, on July 14, 2004: "The government can't move on wiretaps or roving wiretaps without getting a court order."

The President was understandably eager in these speeches to make it clear that under his administration, law enforcement was using the FISA Court to obtain warrants before wiretapping.  That is understandable, since wiretapping Americans on American soil without a warrant is against the law.

And listen to what the President said on June 9, 2005: "Law enforcement officers need a federal judge's permission to wiretap a foreign terrorist's phone, a federal judge's permission to track his calls, or a federal judge's permission to search his property.  Officers must meet strict standards to use any of these tools.  And these standards are fully consistent with the Constitution of the U.S."

Now that the public knows about the domestic spying program, he has had to change course.  He has looked around for arguments to cloak his actions.  And all of them are completely threadbare.

The President has argued that Congress gave him authority to wiretap Americans on U.S. soil without a warrant when it passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force after September 11, 2001.  Mr. President, that is ridiculous.  Members of Congress did not think this resolution gave the President blanket authority to order these warrantless wiretaps.  We all know that.  Anyone in this body who would tell you otherwise either wasn't here at the time or isn't telling the truth.  We authorized the President to use military force in Afghanistan, a necessary and justified response to September 11.  We did not authorize him to wiretap American citizens on American soil without going through the process that was set up nearly three decades ago precisely to facilitate the domestic surveillance of terrorists - with the approval of a judge.  That is why both Republicans and Democrats have questioned this theory.

This particular claim is further undermined by congressional approval of the Patriot Act just a few weeks after we passed the Authorization for the Use of Military Force.  The Patriot Act made it easier for law enforcement to conduct surveillance on suspected terrorists and spies, while maintaining FISA's baseline requirement of judicial approval for wiretaps of Americans in the U.S.  It is ridiculous to think that Congress would have negotiated and enacted all the changes to FISA in the Patriot Act if it thought it had just authorized the President to ignore FISA in the AUMF.

In addition, in the intelligence authorization bill passed in December 2001, we extended the emergency authority in FISA, at the Administration's request, from 24 to 72 hours.  Why do that if the President has the power to ignore FISA?  That makes no sense at all.

The President has also said that his inherent executive power gives him the power to approve this program.  But here the President is acting in direct violation of a criminal statute.  That means his power is, as Justice Jackson said in the steel seizure cases half a century ago, "at its lowest ebb."  A recent letter from a group of law professors and former executive branch officials points out that "every time the Supreme Court has confronted a statute limiting the Commander-in-Chief's authority, it has upheld the statute."  The Senate reports issued when FISA was enacted confirm the understanding that FISA overrode any pre-existing inherent authority of the President.  As the 1978 Senate Judiciary Committee report stated, FISA "recognizes no inherent power of the president in this area."  And "Congress has declared that this statute, not any claimed presidential power, controls."  Contrary to what the President told the country in the State of the Union, no court has ever approved warrantless surveillance in violation of FISA.

The President's claims of inherent executive authority, and his assertions that the courts have approved this type of activity, are baseless.

The President has argued that periodic internal executive branch review provides an adequate check on the program.  He has even characterized this periodic review as a safeguard for civil liberties.  But we don't know what this check involves.  And we do know that Congress explicitly rejected this idea of unilateral executive decision-making in this area when it passed FISA.

Finally, the president has tried to claim that informing a handful of congressional leaders, the so-called Gang of Eight, somehow excuses breaking the law.  Of course, several of these members said they weren't given the full story.  And all of them were prohibited from discussing what they were told.  So the fact that they were informed under these extraordinary circumstances does not constitute congressional oversight, and it most certainly does not constitute congressional approval of the program.  Indeed, it doesn't even comply with the National Security Act, which requires the entire memberships of the House and Senate Intelligence Committee to be "fully and currently informed of the intelligence activities of the United States."

In addition, we now know that some of these members expressed concern about the program.  The Administration ignored their protests.  Just last week, one of the eight members of Congress who has been briefed about the program, Congresswoman Jane Harman, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said she sees no reason why the Administration cannot accomplish its goals within the law as currently written.

None of the President's arguments explains or excuses his conduct, or the NSA's domestic spying program.  Not one.  It is hard to believe that the President has the audacity to claim that they do.  It is a strategy that really hinges on the credibility of the office of the Presidency itself.  If you just insist that you didn't break the law, you haven't broken the law.  It reminds me of what Richard Nixon said after he had left office:  "Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal."  But that is not how our constitutional democracy works.  Making those kinds of arguments is damaging the credibility of the Presidency.

And what's particularly disturbing is how many members of Congress have responded.  They stood up and cheered.  They stood up and cheered.

Justice Louis Brandeis once wrote:  "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent.  Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers.  The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

The President's actions are indefensible.  Freedom is an enduring principle.  It is not something to celebrate in one breath, and ignore the next.  Freedom is at the heart of who we are as a nation, and as a people.  We cannot be a beacon of freedom for the world unless we protect our own freedoms here at home.

The President was right about one thing.  In his address, he said "We love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it."

Yes, Mr. President.  We do love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it.  We will fight to defeat the terrorists who threaten the safety and security of our families and loved ones.  And we will fight to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans against intrusive government power.

As the President said, we must always be clear in our principles.  So let us be clear: We cherish the great and noble principle of freedom, we will fight to keep it, and we will hold this President - and anyone who violates those freedoms - accountable for their actions.  In a nation built on freedom, the President is not a king, and no one is above the law.

Originally posted to folkbum on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 02:21 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  He's my senator (4.00)
    and my number one for the top spot in 2008.  I've been proud to be a badger this week.
  •  Well (4.00)
    I appreciate your honesty in your title.

    "If Kaine...can win by 6 points, then it's safe to say this is no longer a red state. Virginia is now a purple state" - Chuck Todd

    by VirginiaBelle on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 02:21:11 PM PST

  •  Advice.. (4.00)
    If you get a T-shirt made with the title of this diary, don't wear it to one of Russ's rallies.

    People might misunderstand.

  •  Thanx.... (none)
    I wanted to cheer this one loudly also, and was going to diary it if it didn't come out fast enough.

    Quick on the draw, you are.

    This speech is amazing!  I hope it is the battlecry it sounds like.

    The Moral Majority - all those Christian conservatives left on Earth AFTER the Rapture....

    by sp0t on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 02:29:07 PM PST

  •  go Russ! thanks for posting this. (none)
  •  Russ Feingold speaks for me. (4.00)
    Feingold/Clark in 2008.
  •  Wow, what a great speech. (none)
    Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention!

    Just a thought... consider changing the title.  This speech is really powerful and I would love for it to be read by as many people as possible.  And some may be off-put by the title...  Okay, I admit it, I was a little off-put, but I am very glad I got past it and read the diary!

  •  This is a great speech! (none)
    I suggest you change your title. I think you may be turning people off. Which would be a shame, as this speech is incredibly important.

    phat

  •  Okay, okay (4.00)
    I changed the title.
  •  This is really a big deal, I think (none)
    The Republicans are going to go ape over this.

    I'm convinced that this could change the tone of the debate.

    phat

    •  No, it isn't, unfortunately. (none)
      The speech was great but was it covered on the news this evening?

      It was upstaged by Coretta Scott King's funeral (a worthy topic itself), the Muslim cartoon controversy, and the McCain-Obama "feud."  On Jim Lehrer's news hour, there was instead a lengthy interview with Cheney.

  •  This is what I was looking for. (4.00)
    All day I've been looking for something like this.  We all sat through the hearings and we all knew how much BS came out.  But here we are, the day after, and nothing.  No notice for the next hearings, no statements, nothing.  It was driving me nuts!  

    Then this.  This wonderful speech.  He said exactly what needed to be said.  I want to hear all the Dems going on the tube saying the same damn thing.

    Still though, I want to know what is next!  When is the nexy hearing?  Carter?  Ashcroft?  How about the Intel committee?  What is happening and when?  This matter is too important to just sit on for a couple of days.  

    We need more information to get this out to the press and the public.  We need people talking about this.  Talk shows, newscasts, everything needs to cover this subject.

    I guess we just need leadership.  The Senator is on the right track, but there must be more.  It's time to fight!!!

    •  This speech needs to get out there, you're right (4.00)
      It's a blunt as it could be.

      How else do we get this out?

      How do we make it huge before the huge attacks?

      Seriously.

      He's gone on the offensive in a big way and we need to get behind him.

      phat

      •  asdf (none)
        Maybe Russ can submit a shorter version of this to the NY Times or Washington Post as an editorial. That will at least keep it alive in the national dialogue for a while longer.

        Of science and the human heart, there is no limit. -- Bono

        by saucy monkey on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 06:44:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  If Hillary Clinton.... (none)
      comes out in strong support of Feingold's speech, the Republicans will say she is looking for impeachment of Bush as payback for her husband's impeachment.  And you know they will.  She's in a no win situation here.  If she DOESN'T take a strong stand on this issue, she'll catch hell from some on our side. I would hate to be in her situation.

      Bush's illegal wiretaps are becoming old news.  People have short memories and even less understanding of what is going on here.  Feingold should have, in his oratory, sprinkled the words "impeach" and "impeachment" several times throughout his speech.  

      Now, THAT would be news, and the press would be all over it.  Might even expand some memories and comprehension among us.

      We democrats must get with the program, and start calling Bush's crap what it is, crap.

      I'm ready to rumble.

      I've got a contract. I can't be fired

      by cheviteau on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 05:24:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  re: Hillary. Get a grip. (4.00)
        Who gives a fuck what "they" say?  All Hillary has to do is turn straight to the camera and say "What my husband did was wrong and despicable and should have remained a private matter.  George Bush has committed categorically different crimes, don't you think?"  

        We have the truth completely on our side -- use it!  Unrelentingly.  This is not, actually, a partisan fight:  this is a fight to the end with a well-financed pathologically vengeful killer.  The Republicans have no moral standing whatsoever on this issue.  They have kept in power a man who lied us into war, lied about the war, lied about the end of the war, lied about the cost of the war, continues to lie about the status of the war, failed to prevent the largest terrorist attack in American history in spite of multiple warnings, turned a world-wide outpouring of support into bodybags filled with ashes, lost BILLIONS of the dollars we contributed to our treasury, illegally spied on Americans without the court oversight specifically set up  to prevent political espionage, bragged about breaking the law, and flouts the Constitution at every turn.  Admitting to being a Republican should be tantamount to asking for a sock in the jaw.

        The question isn't what will they say about Hillary.  The question is "You support that ideologue George Bush?  What the FUCK are you thinking?"

        George W. Bush -- the public face of rapine

        by Yellow Canary on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 06:14:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Wiretaps old news? (none)
        Don't know where you are at, but this thing is huge.  There is widespread disbelief of this.  When the shock wears off, then comes the anger.  And its not just progressives.  Check out that Boston.com cite upthread.  Traditional conservatives (incl. gun lobby) are pissed.
  •  If this gets the press it deserves... (4.00)
    ...then undoubtedly, Hillary, Lieberman and Biden will be asked to comment.  They will all be given the opportunity to throw Feingold an anvil.  Which one of them will throw it?

    Or will it be someone else?

    God bless this man.  If only he was the official voice of the Democratic Party.

    "The American people will trust the Democratic Party to defend America when they believe that Democrats will defend other Democrats." Wesley Clark

    by The Termite on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 03:17:31 PM PST

  •  Senator gets no respect. (4.00)
    Someone commented yesterday that when Senator Feingold was questioning the AG, the AG looked over at the Republicans and smirked.  No respect.  The administration gives him no respect.  

    I am sad to say this eloquent speech will probably not change minds.  The Bush supporters have truthiness on their side.  And to get them to acknowledge their previous errors would make their whole system a sham...and they won't admit that.

    Our hope for conversion comes from Republicans who support the Constitution.  We need libertarians to speak out.  We need to magnify the words of Specter at the end of the hearing.  Lindsay Graham was more subtle but in effect he said if we accept the President has this authority then there's no place for Congress.
    In short, we need speeches from Republicans.

  •  quibble (none)
    "only Democrat to vote against a bill in 1998 that would have dismissed the impeachment charges against President Clinton, because he believed the case was close and needed to be heard in full."

    As I remember it, Russ vote was not based on the case being "close," so much as his reading of a Constitutional mandate on the Senate to hear the case whenever the House votes a Resolution of Impeachment.

    A Senator YOU can afford
    $1 contributions only.
    Masel for Senate
    1214 E. Mifflin St.
    Madison, WI 53703

    by ben masel on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 03:50:20 PM PST

    •  "close case" (none)
      Feingold had declined to comment on his position until the day of the votes. How he would vote was the subject of some heightened interest since, two weeks ago, he broke ranks with fellow Democrats on a series of key procedural votes, opposing ending the trial without any witness testimony.

      In his comments to reporters Friday, he said, "I can't say this case had no merit."

      Calling the 1868 impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson a weak case and the 1974 impeachment drive against Richard Nixon a strong case, Feingold said: "I think this case is right in the middle. I think this is the harder case. This is the close case in American history in presidential impeachment."

  •  I continue to be amazed at (4.00)
    the speaking ability of Feingold.

    Sadly no matter how great that speach was and it was great, it will not get the play in front of the public that is needed. Never in the history of America have we needed a press that stood up for the country like we need it today.

    Also sadly we can reast assured that they will not stand up.

    Aint scared of nobody cause I want my freedom. Aint scared of nobody cause I want my freedom now.

    by eaglecries on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 03:53:24 PM PST

    •  The only way I would have liked this more (none)
      was if he used the word lied instead of misled.

      But I am hardly all-knowing when it comes to rhetoric.  Maybe not being totally in-the-face is more effective in the long run...

      Anyway, about not being able to get the message out: it looks to me like we are going to have to go back to pamphleteering.  

      •  I actually think that confronting without a (none)
        confrontational tone or words can often do more good than blasting them with flamable words when it is done with truth and passion.

        I think that  the Senator displayed both passion and statesmanship.

        Here at the grass roots level we can and do more freely express our feelings in words describing what we think of the individual, but for those in the public light and who bare the burden of representing us, it is a necessity that they be able to disagree with cival discourse.

        In fact when I am addressing a right wing nut head on, I try to be as cival as possible while presenting my reasons for seeing things differnt from them. However to read some of my comments here on the site one would tend to think that I have forgotten what being cival means.

        Aint scared of nobody cause I want my freedom. Aint scared of nobody cause I want my freedom now.

        by eaglecries on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 05:31:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed (none)
          It would be one thing if he used "misled" within the context of a whimpy speech, but that's hardly the case here.  He was very on point and said that the President unquestionably broke the law.  Using less confrontational language can be more appealing to non-partisan Independents.  He's smart in his choice of words.
  •  Senator Feingold's Speech (4.00)
    I think the notion that Bush has a 'pre-1776 view' of America is a keeper.  That comment has a lot of political potential.
  •  Brilliant... (none)
    just brilliant.

    THE. BEST. SPECH. EVER.

    As a hardcore Clark supporter I am beginning to see, that Feingold HAS TO BE on the ticket in 2008.

    I know it already sounds retro: "Dreamteam USA: Clark/Edwards 2004" - But hey, why should I change my sig?

    by MarcTGFG on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 05:00:27 PM PST

    •  If Al Gore does not wind up running again (none)
      the ideal ticket would be Feingold/Clark in that order.

      Feingold as president because of his record and ability to really address the issues.

      Clark for his Military experience to help in the fight against the Democrats being weak, and his stand on the other issues as well.

      Now giving a possibility that Gore may be in it again, then I am not sure where I stand because I am a fan of Al Gore and most of that is because of his long standing fight for enviromental issues.. Of course his recent speaches have built upon my already great respect for him.

      Aint scared of nobody cause I want my freedom. Aint scared of nobody cause I want my freedom now.

      by eaglecries on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 05:40:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not so fast... (none)
      While I understand the enthusiasm for Feingold to be on the 08 ticket, I say we can't afford to have him out of the Senate. He is gaining seniority, and god willing, if the Dems can ever get the Senate back, he'll be in a very powerful position.

      We need troopers like Russ doing a lot of the heavy lifting in Congress.

      So more like Clark/Edwards or Clark/Warner in 08. Or some combination thereof.

      There'd be more Christians if it wasn't for Christians.

      •  In praise of Senators running (none)
        Like Kerry, Feingold should run and speak out boldly. I don't expect the party pick will fill us with pride as thoroughly as this speech did, but the quality of how campaigners address the issues will shape the eventual nominee's agenda.

        Of course, I'd hate to see Hillary and I joke to all my friends that McCain-Feingold is about to become more than just an "Act".

        PHIL :)

  •  So what's wrong with the guy? (none)
    Electability-wise, what is Feingold up against? The points I see right off are:
    • He's Jewish
    • He's (on his way to being?) twice-divorced

    Neither of those is a deal-breaker for me. Any other issues that he can get smeared by?

    Economic Left/Right: -5.25 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.51

    by Kaleja on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 05:04:48 PM PST

  •  yet another winner! (none)
    I can't see one good reason why this man shouldn't be on the ticket in 08.  His religion is irrelevant - the voters that would go against him because of that, aren't in play for the Democratic party anyway, so it's irrelevant.  

    And this speech is pure gold.  It hits every point, and well.  Amazing.

    "...but the people aren't looking for a handout/they're America's working core, can this be what they voted for?" - Bad Religion - Let Them Eat War

    by Fraction Jackson on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 05:09:09 PM PST

  •  If Russ can win election 3 times in Wisconsin... (4.00)
    He can win across America.  His stances on privacy rights and fiscal conservatism and clean government sound suspiciously like the perfect Western Strategy which the Dems ought to adopt starting yesterday.  Ask Brian Schweitzer how well it worked in Montana.
  •  *Can we just go ahead* (none)
    And make him the 2008 nominee now? We don't really have to let Iowa and New Hampshire make the decision, do we?
  •  Wrong (none)
    Clinton would not have been hung on the spot.  He has employed a very intelligent strategy.  Instead of hiding, ignoring, or lying about wrong-doing, he is normalizing it by being - now that he's been caught - very transparent about it.  It was his only choice.  It is masterful.

    Still, it doesn't change the fact that he broke the law and should be impeached.

    Impeached.

    Impeached.

    Peace!

    •  His strategy was beautiful (none)
      but a significant part of it involved not saying anything about it in the State of the Union.  I remember the speculation fairly strongly across the media that he might have used the SotU to announce his resignation.  The Congress was pretty hostile to him then, and the media probably would have brought the rope.
  •  Feingold and Obama in 2008 (none)
    I know this is not on point, but I think the democrats can win with people who speak to true American principles, even if they are Senators.

    Feingold is the anti-bush;  the real thing to McCain's fakery and foppery.  

    "Ah, what an age it is when to speak of trees is almost a crime for it is a kind of silence about injustice" (Brecht)

    by tsackton on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 05:24:56 PM PST

  •  What was the response on the floor (none)
    from other senators?  How was Russ received during and after this speech?
  •  This speech will be my new bumper sticker (none)
    I'll have to start riding the bus, so it will fit.

    This is just the kind of speech that would go great if followed by some articles of impeachment.

    Who would have tought that watching "The Land Before Time (IX)- Journey to Big Water" would become a subversive act?

    by mungley on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 05:37:51 PM PST

  •  Excellent diary-Important-Highly Recommend-Thanks (none)
  •  feingold 2008 (none)
    I am greatly hoping russ makes a run for it in 2008 and will provide the most financial support to his campaign that I can.

    The one thing I'd like to here from him (or any like-minded democrat) soon is the other side of the story. Russ's speech impeccably demonstrates the illegality of the program and the mostly un-acknowledged constitutional crisis that we face.

    So what to do about it?

    It seems like there are only a small set of options for the congress:

    1. Impeachment proceedings. This is the best option and what the framers of the constitution would have thought the most appropriate option.

    2. Explicitly cutting off funding for any domestic wiretapping that does not go through the fisa or other warrant-based process. Congress has absolute power in this realm.

    3. A court case dealing with executive power. This is by far the weakest option.
    •  Yep (none)
      1.  Takes a long time to build up the momentum in Congress for this and frankly the chances of it happening while Republicans have control of Congress is none.  You heard about Karl Rove developing a blacklist for Democrats who dare to question the President.  They're playing hardball and most Republicans will roll over instantly.  They're Republicans first and Americans second.

      2.  Again, not gonna happen in a Republican controlled Congress.

      3.  Actually if they really do go after the leaker, the argument over whether it was legal or not might come into it.  At least if the person tries to use a whistleblower type defense.
    •  They did cut off funding (none)
      to the TIA program, and "all similar programs", like this one, and bush just used NSA funds to fund it.
  •  Wonderful speech. (4.00)
    I caught it live and Sen. Feingold was just great. He made an impassioned and well-argued case for holding the Bush Admin accountable for their illegal behavior. (I tivo'ed it. Great, great speech.)

    I did get this letter from Sen. Kennedy in my e-mail. Can I hope that this is the beginning of a coordinated effort by some Dem Senators to lead an effort to fight the White House on this unlawful action?

    Dear Supporter,

    Last week, Samuel Alito became a Supreme Court Justice, adding a strong believer in overreaching executive power to the Nation's highest court. Instead of using the opportunity to unite Americans behind a Justice who would reflect the mainstream values of Americans, President Bush caved in to the extreme right-wing of his party and gave them the kind of nominee they wanted -- after they'd flexed their right-wing muscle by forcing Harriet Miers to withdraw her nomination.

    But we have another outrage to deal with. Under the cloak of national security, President Bush has ordered a secret surveillance program that spies on American citizens without any judicial oversight. That's against a specific law that Congress passed. I know, because I was one of its principal authors in 1978. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act established a special court to consider requests for such surveillance in national security cases.

    The President should have worked with Congress to amend the law, not ignore it. I believe that his decision to go around the law actually weakens our national security instead of strengthening it. By creating such legal uncertainty, it opens the door for lawsuits against front line workers in our government who are trying to protect us. It even opens up lawsuits against phone companies that allow wiretaps.

    These sensitive national security issues should not be thrashed out in open court. We know from our history that our nation is strongest when we come together for the sake of our national security. Thirty years ago, we had a Republican President and a Republican Attorney General who understood this. They worked with Congress to develop laws to respond to the grave threat of nuclear attack from the Soviet Union. They understood to successfully protect our security the rule of law must be clear.

    President Bush's own words in 2004 show that he understood the purpose of the law. As he said, "any time that you hear the United States talking about a wiretap, it requires a court order ... Nothing has changed -- when we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so."

    Yet the Administration did just the opposite in ordering secret surveillance. He ignored the law, ordered the surveillance, and now is trying to justify it by claiming he had "inherent" power as commander-in-chief to do it.

    Sandra Day O'Connor disagreed. She said "a state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens." No wonder the right wing wanted to replace her with a Justice like Samuel Alito.

    As this latest fight goes on in Congress, we will have to do our best to uphold the basic principle that no President can put himself above the law and when he tries to do so he puts the nation at risk. And in the weeks and months ahead, we must remain committed to fighting any and all abuses of Presidential power that threaten our liberties and our security.

    Thank you again for your continuing support.

    Sincerely,
    Edward Kennedy

  •  it may be a little gesture (none)
    but I just sent Sen Feingold a thank you e-mail. He's gonna be criticized for his stand on this - let him know that he has support.

    He takes emails from anyone: Sen Feingold's contact page.

  •  Wow (none)
    this is freakin excellent!

    I've been looking into his background the last couple weeks and he's now definetly my choice for 2008.  The other contenders will have to pull something out of their you know what to steal away my support.  Either that or Feingold will have to screw up big time somehow.

    Thank you Senator!!!

  •  Feingold: Most important Democrat alive (none)
    Simply put, Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold kicked total ass in this speech.   Why it doesn't already have more attention on this site and others amazes me.
    Why is the comical Obama-McCain feud drawing so much attention?   Obama?  When was the last time this guy showed some backbone.   The Alito fight?  Yah, right.

    Russ is our leader and this is the guy who knows how to frame the issue.
    Most of the rest of the Dems on the Judiciary should cede their questioning time.
    And the rest of us should not waste a cent on Hillary, Wes, Warner, or any other presidential hopeful.

    "In a system of immense power, small differences can translate into large outcomes." Chomsky

    by formernadervoter on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 05:55:12 PM PST

  •  I need a cigarette (none)
    Damn, the man gives good speech.  Gore/Feingold in 08.

    "The legislature's job is to write law. It's the executive branch's job to interpret law." --George W. Bush, Austin, Texas, Nov. 22, 2000

    by littlesky on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 06:15:27 PM PST

  •  It doesn't get any better than this (none)
    I just keep liking Feingold more and more.  This speech should be on the front page of every newspaper and it should be broadcast several times a day on the cable tv channels.  Sadly, the media ignores everything substantive about the huge abuses commited by this president.  With them it's just more bread and circuses -- anything to keep the doomed masses distracted from waking up to what is going on around them.  This is an American tragedy unfolding before our eyes.
  •  Wellstone treatment (4.00)
    If I was Feingold I would be afraid of a 'Wellstone treatment' by the BushCo maffia.  I still feel he his hunkering down: he could speak out louder.  He seems to be able to think straight when about everybody else is hysterical.  So he is able to see why BushCo needs to spy on us illegally:  they can't let the truth out about 9/11.  That would kill them and their grand dreams of  empire.
  •  Okay (none)
    I will vote for him. He should run for something.
  •  This time ascribed to the correct Roosevelt (4.00)
    "The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

    "Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star", 149
    May 7, 1918

  •  I may get flamed (none)
    but, I absolutely agree with him, would have loved to watch him deliver this speech.  I hope other Dems learn something, ok...anything from him.

    But wish we could hear the same strong expressions about protecting gay rights and reproductive rights.  

  •  Wow! (none)
    Thank you for posting this amazing speech.  Feingold nails it.  Read, re-read, and recommend.

    ...and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness.

    by rlharry on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 06:41:21 PM PST

  •  Is there anything about this speech (none)
    You don't understand? Feingold has the same great rhetorical quality of Sen. Byrd and, like Byrd, uses language that is clear and precise. Same with Howard Dean and Paul Hackett. When they need to use specifics to support their arguments, they still keep to understandable language. Dear lord, I love to hear someone who not only has good intentions but is incredibly intelligent. What a difference from someone like Obama. Although I think Obama is a bright man, after he has finished speaking, you're never quite sure what he said. His few clear sentences get lost in a plethora of mealy-mouthed remarks. This speech, along with the recent speech by Al Gore, should be read in every American History class throughout this country.
  •  Oh my. (none)
    Can we get this speech published in full in local newspapers?  Or the NYT?  It needs it.
  •  My socks are truly knocked off (none)
    I am impressed by the clarity, incisiveness and reasonableness of this speech.  There are going to be many senators wishing that Rove wasn't watching them.  I hope Fitzgerald removes Rove so we can see some real bipartisanship on this issue.  What libertarian republican is going to want to swallow this one for expediency's sake.  

    This speech shows genuine presidential material and I am ordering my bumper sticker for 2008 now!

    DailyKos is the antidote to Rove - getting worried Karl?

    by donag on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 06:46:50 PM PST

  •  This is a man (none)
    that needs to run for president. He may get smeared a little bit, but he is not the type of person to sit back and take it.
    Repub: He's jewish, he's not christian!
    Feingold: Who the hell cares what religion I am? There are christians, hindis, hare krishnas, jews... we need to work together to overcome hate, not promote a difference. Besides, what do you have against being jewish?
    Repub: He's divorced. He has no family values
    Feingold: My personal marital standing has not affected my job thus far, why would I let it now?

    *The above conversation is purely hypothetical, and not in the Abu Gonzales way. It is an example. A work of a college student's imagination. But, if Senator Feingold reads this: Feel free to take my responses...

    Spies, Cries, and Lies: Brought to you by the Republican Party

    by Whitney S on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 06:47:50 PM PST

  •  Fantastic!!!! (none)
    What a day! First the Bushco smackdown in Atlanta and now this. Wonderful!!!!!
  •  An audience of one (1.00)
    Feingold has learned the fine art of speaking to an empty chamber.  And the Kos crowd is eating it up.

    Is the speech mentioned on the front page of WaPo? or NYT?  how about CNN?  No.  

    Apple's newest iPod got better coverage than this.

    Guys, get a life.  I like Feingold, but unless he is willing to say the same thing in front of a live camera, on a live network, in front of live people, it means nothing.

    But then again, this is an alternative universe, isn't it?

    •  Yes because (none)
      Feingold is definetely going to read out a 15 minute speech on Hardball with Chris Matthews because that's exactly what happens. Immedietely after the Wiretapping story came out, Feingold was the highest-sought person to have on TV, and spoke against them right away even as someone like Specter said "lets not rush to judgement".

      And I'm sure that he'll use the pre-1776 comment next time he's on TV, it's sure to catch on like a Wildfire.

    •  Your comment (none)
      is really beneath a reply, but we all know the MSM can only grasp a story for one day (or less) and then they are creating some new buzz. Sen. Feingold's concerns ought to affect you: AG AG TURNED RF's question at his confirmation hearing INTO a hypothetical, knowing full well that a domestic spying program existed. He also had the outrageous gall to fall back on Sandra Day O'Connor's Hamdi decision, when that decision clearly went against the government: in short, the President does not have unlimited powers; Hamdi is now released to Saudi Arabia and all the tough talk about rights to detain in wartime = rights to spy on every Who in Whoville is totally ludicrous. But then, lawyers will be lawyers and we can put Gonzales back in his box and forget he never lied under oath? Outrageous.
  •  Terrific speech, though misleading (none)
    to use "misleading", perhaps.

    I like and admire Russ very much, but if he's going to be blunt - which he usually is - it's time to call a lie "a lie" in the public square.

    •  What the heck do you want? (none)
      He said "broke the law" repeatedly.  That's a first from a Senator about Bush.
      •  I mentioned what I want (none)
        I want the 'l' word spoken loud and clear, so there's no need to sound indignant.  I'm all behind Russ, this isn't breaking him down.  It's a strong suggestion, and I'm far from the first to offer it up for our Dem representatives for a reason: we need it.

        "Broke the law" has been rightly discussed here as not making the same impact as, "lies" or "liar" - especially since legal issues are being framed by Republicans in such a way to muddle the black/white view of such matters.

        Bush lied to the Congress, US electorate and the rest of the world.  Repeatedly, with disastrous results.  Russ is a great fellow, but if he truly wants to get blunt, it's time to call a liar a liar, IMHO.

        Kerry wasn't smeared by being called an indecisive man, but branded as a "flip-flipper".  Blunt words gain votes, I feel.

  •  This man HAS to (none)
    run for president.  I'm afraid I must insist.

    I had the pleasure of doing some volunteer work on his last campaign.  Even got to shake his hand.

    Sometimes I feel so cynical, though, and wonder if someone with Russ' integrity and intellect would ever be elected president.

    And to the poster above who said something along the lines of "Feingold can even win in Wisconsin," have you not heard of Tammy Baldwin or Dave Obey?  They're pretty darn progressive.

    It was a close vote, but Kerry carried Wisconsin too.    

    "Wealth has never yet sacrificed itself on the altar of patriotism." -- Robert M. LaFollette

    by kkshedevil on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 07:27:25 PM PST

  •  Ding ding ding ding! (none)
    Give that man a campaign contribution!

    That's the sort of behavior that ought to put cash into an incumbent's war chest.  Is our money where our mouths are?

  •  Well if you are all (none)
    hot to trot to get this man to run for the Presidency in 2008, then perhaps there should be a quorum about it with a large petition to be taken to the man's offices so he can at least consider the possibility at some point.
    Or you can all just discuss it until Hillary wins the Primaries in 08 and we're all stuck with the expected Republican run up to knock her down. (Especially since they seem to be the ones so hot for her to run in the first place.)

    Freedom is the center of this country. All else must serve it and defend lest all rights fall to fear.

    by RElland on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 07:38:36 PM PST

  •  right on (none)
    Feingold is on fire!

    I'm with Feingold all the way on this.

    Keep up the great work Senator.

    I am copying this speech and passing it around.  

    I ask everyone to pass around copies!!

    When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon. Thomas Paine

    by mrcoder on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 08:00:10 PM PST

  •  Possibility of running? (none)
    Friends, I think he has considered the possibility of running in '08.  In fact, I'd put alot of money on that.

    Get in on the ground floor.  Cuz this elevator is going UP.

    Someone farther up the thread mentioned that this speech, along with Al Gore's, should be required reading for every school  child.

    This should be required reading for all Americans.  This speech was pure gold, and sums up perfectly what Russ is all about: cajones, intelligence, and commitment.

    Anyone who has doubts about this man now needs to get their head examined--especially if they're holding out for Hillary or any of the other numerous Dems waiting in the wings.

    And I think who ever said this first was right: this is the first step towards impeachment proceedings.  The first shot has been fired.

    Let's stand up for Russ.  Let's support him however we can.  Bug the living shit out of his colleagues, let them know what you think of what's happening to this country right now.

  •  Vote for him if you want, wont make any difference (none)
    The Nazis control the voting machines.

    What makes you think were are going to even have any more "elections"?

    Today is the 1st Day of the Rest of your Life in a Fascist Dictatorship.

    by The Angry Hobbit on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 08:10:01 PM PST

  •  I'm convinced (none)
    Reading that speech has convinced me to actually start writing letters and/or making phone calls to these people to hold the administration accountable. I mean, WTF, I'm probably on somebody's list anyway.

    Stick to your principles, Feingold, thats the stick to beat them with.

  •  the President is (none)
    NOT a king.

    Thank you Senator Feingold.

    Somebody please, K.O. this Administration!

    by onp67 on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 08:14:49 PM PST

  •  Damn Feingold! (none)
    Just when I was all set to walk through molten glass for Gore, Russ gets me thinkin' he might be the guy. I'll call it a tie and stay tuned.

    "I shall follow the light of reason, express my honest thoughts, help destroy superstition, and work for the happiness of my fellow beings." - Robert Ingersoll

    by JavaManny on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 08:41:07 PM PST

  •  Like Murtha led the (none)
    charge to tell the truth about the War.

    Feingold is leading the charge here.

    He's my pick for 2008.

    "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by Five of Diamonds on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 08:51:05 PM PST

  •  Go Russ... (none)
    Independent minded, not knee-jerk. He is the best thing going in the Senate. Russ Feingold is a man of integrity. Go to the Progressive Patriots web site and support Russ because he fights for what America is supposed to be.
  •  Go Russ... (none)
    Independent minded, not knee-jerk. He is the best thing going in the Senate. Russ Feingold is a man of integrity. Go to the Progressive Patriots web site and support Russ because he fights for what America is supposed to be.
  •  Wow..... (none)
    I don't really want kids or anything....but I would totally have Russ Feingold's children. That was brilliant! And SO incredibly honest!!

    I love it!

    Now....if we can just get EVERYONE to read it...

    •  Well, Elise,... (none)
      ...even I would have his children. I mean, just as soon as I get back from a quick trip to the local Uteri "R" Us store (Some assembly required. Accessories not included. Uses 4 "AA" batteries, not included. Not to be used near an open flame. Be sure there is proper ventilation.)...
      Russ is among my four favorite Cheeseheads that also ionclude Ben Masel, Elizabeth D and "Fighting Bob" LaFollette.

      "...and the ones that are lucky ones come home on the day after tomorrow..." -- Tom Waits

      by Newton Snookers on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 10:34:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have heard enough... (none)
    Russ Feingold for President.
  •  I'm voting for him for President. (none)
    Period.

    May be the only courageous politician left in Washington.

    Every Senator should be saying the same thing. Repeatedly and loudly until the citizens of this country respond.

    This IS cut and dry.

  •  Woohoo! (none)
    I sent this to Bernie Ward (a talk show host here on ABC's Flagship Station on the west coast KGO-AM) and he read almost the whole thing.  The show reaches millions from Canada down to Mexico; a much larger audience than the typical Senate floor speech gets on C-SPAN.  He followed the reading with the statement that he hopes Feingold does run in 2008 cause he "might actually have a candidate he can get behind."
  •  Good job debunking the 'dangerous to delay' meme (none)
    I especially liked THIS point by Senator Feingold....

    "The Administration has said that it ignored FISA because it takes too long to get a warrant under that law.  But we know that in an emergency, where the Attorney General believes that surveillance must begin before a court order can be obtained, FISA permits the wiretap to be executed immediately as long as the government goes to the court within 72 hours.  The Attorney General has complained that the emergency provision does not give him enough flexibility, he has complained that getting a FISA application together or getting the necessary approvals takes too long.  But the problems he has cited are bureaucratic barriers that the executive branch put in place, and could easily remove if it wanted."

    I sent an email to Feingold about this very point - maybe (likely?) he already was gonna address it without my highlighting of the issue, but the excuse that a delay in initiating these wiretaps will potentially cause harm to our ability to stop terrorist attacks COULD get wings and fly if we do NOT debunk their assertions.

    We do NOT want to impinge upon any President's capabilities to go after terrorists or suspected terrorists, and if the FISA rules and regulations cause delays, and those delays are unavoidable, then we might need to, at times, let the President go around FISA and wiretap without warrants. BUT there is NO evidence that the FISA rules and regulations DO force dangerous delays, and if there are delays that the Bush Administration wants to avoid in the paperwork filings and the pre-FISA checklists, ALL they have to do is AVOID them - all THOSE delays are of their own making.

    ...but not your own facts.

    by slouise217 on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 12:00:16 AM PST

  •  IMPEACH The Whole Administration! (none)
    Liars Liars pants on fire!!
    I saw you on C-Span Senator Feingold. YOU ROCK!!!
    Next time you see Gonzales, stick your foot out and trip him for me.
  •  OMG i think i have a mancrush... (none)
       in that non sexual way. heh i applaud you and your stance and will be glad to offer support to you based on this speach alone. My god where have you been, i think you found the Democratic party's collective nut sack.

       Sen. Feingold you rock, i dont care what the radical right has said about you, you freakin rock.  I would be honored to vote for you AND to campain for you in my home state of Alabama in 2008.

    To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting. -Sun Tzu

    by wargolem on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 04:13:38 AM PST

  •  Amen! (none)
    Preach it, Mr. My-new-favorite-for-2008!

    I carried water for the elephant; Back and forth to the well I went; My arms got sore and my back got bent; But I couldn't fill up that elephant

    by Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 05:44:23 AM PST

  •  Until now.. (none)
    I was a fan of McCain and Hagel. I still respect Hagel, of course, but Feingold's speach is a work of art. I could not agree with it more.

    He may have just grabbed my support for good.

    "You hear that, Mr. Anderson? That is the sound of inevitability." The Matrix, 1999

    by Halffasthero on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 06:23:11 AM PST

  •  Video of the Speech? (none)
    Has anybody found a clip of the speech on C-SPAN? I was lucky enough to have been watching C-SPAN when Senator Feingold gave the speech. Crooks and Liars needs to have this posted.  

    Feingold for President.

  •  He needs to announce his candidacy TODAY! (none)
    Russ Feingold needs to announce his candidacy today!

    This party needs a leader, someone to rally around, and I feel like everyone is just sitting around on their hands right now just waiting for Hillary to decide, and it isn't helping the party...or the country.  Russ needs to get in.

  •  flawed premise - fool me twice (none)
    Feingold stated:

    "Defeating the terrorists should be our top national priority,"

    WRONG< WRONG< WRONG< WRONG

    Americans are adults. Almost 5 years after 9/11, I think there's enough space to begin a realtiy based conversation to explode the myth and R political manipulation of terrorism and fear.

    We've got to get past this issue. As it now stands, if Dems continue to go down this road, they are playing right into the nascent R strategy to nationalize the 2006 elections around an Iranian nuclear threat and phase II of the Iraqi Freedom operation.

    This is the SAME thing they did in 2002 elections.

    Dems get fooled twice....  

    •  fooled again (none)
      I see what you are saying,

      I mean, even
      bush has said, "youfooledmecan'tgetfooledagain".

      I missed this line in his speech, but I like the overall emphasis on freedom, because it reclaims "freedom" away from the hypocritical rhetoric of the bush admin.

      I think fighting terrorists has to be A priority now that so many more people are pissed off at the U.S., but it can't be the main priority. social security and other basic entitlements are being dismantled while our focus is on bush's war.

  •  Pointer that NSA issue is taking root in real Amer (none)
    Here is a nice comment about this wiretap issue. I have always felt that democrats must hammer this and ask what is the position of his or her republican opponent, ask the republican opponent what his or her position is on 'checks and balances' and ask for actions and deeds as proof. That way we will have a sure winner against these republican pimps parading as congressmen and senators. This was in today's washingtonpost.com's Daily Politics Discussion
    ......
    Additionally, what do you make of Heather Wilson's motion to conduct a full investigation into the taps? Is she in trouble within her party? And do you think that this will provide the catalyst to lead to such an investigation?

    Shailagh Murray: Heather Wilson, who is from New Mexico, is considered one of the more vulnerable Republican House incumbents. She is being challenged by Attorney General Patricia Madrid, who's been criticizing Wilson for going along with Bush on everything, in particular the war. So, perhaps Wilson's call this week is an indication that the issue is taking root out there in real America.


    •  The only thing I know about (none)
      Heather Wilson is that she asked a lot of pointed questions and demanded fuller explanations from Wolfie when he testified to the armed services committee about the need to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons--i.e. the bunker busters.  Under her questioning, he revealed that the intent was to have them available to use against foes and allies who have taken to hiding their assets deep under-ground.
      Probably not good news for the Swiss, if they were paying attention.

      Forget "GOD, GUNS, GAYS, GIRLS & GETS"

      by hannah on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 01:58:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here is an idea worth using... (none)
    The president is pretty big on floating the the fact that he likes constructionist views of the constitution...what is so constructionist about finding "inherent" authority in any particular article...sounds like the kind of legistlating from the bench he despises from "activist judges"  Is this just convenient amnesia on the part of the president?  
  •  To the (secret) police (none)
    I know you've been told you're protecting America from terrorists, and that's why you're reading and recording the writings of people who write things like, "Allah," "Jihad," "terror," "revolution," and, "car bomb," in their blog entries and comments.

    Well don't worry.  We just want you to read the contents of this diary.  It might help you figure out where your duty lies when you're asked to spy on, sneak and peak, open the snail mail of, wiretap, snoop, bug, track on the internet and read the email of American citizens or their friends and families.

    What makes everybody safer are good deeds.

    Any country who spends billions on bombs to use against poor people needs a better army than money can buy.  There's no amount of spying that's going to erase the character of this country's deeds.  As we go forward in time, that character will manifest itself as feelings of guilt or shame, blind rage, and enmity.

    Remember how good we had it in the last century because we weren't a country that spends as much on war as the rest of the world combined?

    It's not too late to save ourselves and rejoin the human family.  God wants freedom for his people--all his people--and what we're doing here and around the world is not liberating to anybody who isn't itching to pick up a rifle and dig a trench.

    Help an old lady across the street.  Tutor blind kids.  Plant tomatoes.  It's not too late for us to let love into our hearts and push fear out the door.

    The so-called, "Global War On Terror" IS Terrorism!

    by november3rd on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 01:32:50 PM PST

  •  The question I have is about the VP's role in (none)
    all this.  Last night, on the NEWSHOUR, Cheney asserted that he had been the one to brief the gang of eight, which is why he knows they had no objections.  He validated his expertise by asserting that he's been involved with intelligence and secret programs for thirty years.

    Now, my question is this.  If the VP is a member of the legislative branch in his position as President of the Senate, whence does he get his authority to be acting as a member of the Executive branch?  While it is true that in extraordinary situations when the President is incapacitated, the VP can exercise those authorities, that takes an active delegation and is not a matter of daily routine when there's nothing wrong with the President.  So, are we to conclude that the VP has arrogated powers unto himself extra-legally, or are we to conclude that the President has made an illegal delegation?

    Moreover, in the infamous memorandum in which the President issued the gag order to his Departments prohibiting communication with any but eight members of Congress, the VP is not one of those eight.  So, if the President's memorandum has the force of law and has not been rescinded as he promised Senator Graham he would do, then how does the VP get into the mix?

    Is it possible that in the person of the VP the principle of the separation of powers has been grossly violated?

    As long as the VP is merely a President in waiting and exercises ceremonial jurisdiction over the Senate, the fact that he is neither elected or reviewed for his capabilities by the Senate is perhaps not critical.  However, when he exercises executive functions AND legislative functions, there's a recipe for mischief.

    Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid really need to reveal by whom they were briefed and what qualifications the briefer brought to the task.  If the VP is acting as the de facto head of intelligence agencies, then that cannot be a classified matter that can't be discussed or revealed.

    Forget "GOD, GUNS, GAYS, GIRLS & GETS"

    by hannah on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 02:15:37 PM PST

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