Skip to main content

Warrantless wiretapping, retroactive immunity, Operation Total Information Awareness, passport file breaches, a toothless Oversight Operations Board stacked with cronies. Each a head on the monster that is the Bush administration's approach to intelligence, one in which political expediency trumps the Constitution every time. Trying to get a grasp on the magnitude of what we already know about the administration's efforts to break down the wall between foreign and domestic spying and to end all oversight of those activities either by Congress or the Judiciary is an enormous task.

I spoke with Sen. Ron Wyden, member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, last week about what we know so far, where we might be going, and how to to rein in an executive that has gone out of control.

Q: We had so many revelations of overstepping by this administration on intelligence issues over just the past few months, where are we at now in Congress?

Wyden: The way I characterize it is that I think that this administration basically is allowing a culture that says violating the privacy rights of law-abiding people isn’t that big a deal. That’s what it is. Literally, if you look at this administration running through all of these issues—oversight board, Operation Total Information Awareness—all of it; they’ve basically allowed a culture to develop that says trashing people’s privacy rights isn’t that big a deal. And when they’re caught they say, oh my goodness, well we’d better get it corrected, but if they cared more about the rights of law-abiding people, we wouldn’t have one example after another. [With the passport snooping revelations] . . . you can literally look and say once again this administration is asleep on the privacy issue.

Q: Will all these revelations on intelligence give the Senate pause on telecom immunity?

Wyden: We ought to start by saying that the real issue here is why won’t the Bush administration take yes for an answer on FISA? They came to us and said we need to modernize the law. The law hadn’t kept up with the times since the 1970s and people like myself and Senator Feingold and others said ok, that’s a valid point. We’re going to work with you to modernize the law. And then there were all the issues, you know there will be a modest number of people who’d be swept up in the various programs and what would be done to protect them? And it was clear that we had a lot of concerns on that, but they talked about minimization procedures, you know procedures to try to hold down the number of cases and a lot of swallowed hard and said, ok, we’re willing to work with that, too. But when they did two other things, one, went after total retroactive immunity, and two, basically tried to sweep judicial oversight by the boards, that’s when we said that’s too much. Now you won’t take yes for an answer, and we said we’re not going to do it. What the House of Representatives is trying to do is a more judicious approach that’s more sensitive to privacy rights and so it’s fine. Without getting into details, we’re going to give phone companies the chance to make their case but we’re not going to be throwing retroactive immunity out there.

Q Will the House's solution on allowing the cases to go forward fly with the Senate?

Wyden: There are a number of Senators who are going to look at this and I hope that, again, as people look at case after case after case where the administration has not been sensitive to privacy rights that this will strengthen our hand. What the House is trying to show is, all right, we’re going to be sensitive to the concerns of the phone companies, but we’re not going to say that after five years of the administration saying a program is legal, and then there are all these lawsuits filed that we’re going to just take care of it with retroactive immunity. . . . Let’s stick with what Mike McConnell said in open session. . . . Mike McConnell said, before all the politics began, Mike McConnell said that intelligence gathering wouldn’t be jeopardized by the lapse in the law. . . . About every week the president has a news conference and says that western civilization is going to end without retroactive immunity despite the fact that Mike McConnell came to the committee, before the politics started, [and said intelligence gathering wouldn't be jeopardized.] They continue to have others do their work for them. A variety of interest groups and sympathetic people in the media are constantly clobbering the House bill, but what’s interesting is that even those who are critical of the House bill on the right, they can’t say that this is unfair treatment of the phone companies. . . .

Q: You've spent the recess back in Oregon. What have people in town meetings been saying?

Wyden: Americans understand that the founding fathers set up our unique and wonderful system as a kind of Constitutional teeter-totter. On one side you would have collective security, and on the other side you would have individual liberty. The teeter-totter would be right there in balance. . . . As you listen to people, and I just had town meetings all over eastern Oregon where people are asking about privacy issues, too . . . people think that under this administration the Constitutional teeter-totter is imbalanced, it’s out of whack. That kind of balancing act that allowed us to have both collective security and individual liberties because of this administration is threatening both.

Q: You are responsible for killing Operation Total Information Awareness when they tried to get it passed as a full-fledged program. Now we know it different parts have been implemented despite the Congressional ban by the Pentagon anyway. Any word yet on what Congress might do about that?

Wyden: The article came out right before the break, so I can’t tell you. . . . I think both in the Congress and in the country that there’s a real hunger to get back to this issue. I asked about Operation Total Information Awareness in public, about whether, you know, several years afterwards . . . about whether they were trying to bring it back, and they said we're not going to answer you in public session. Then we went into closed session and I asked it again, and I think that the American people have a right to that answer in public and there ought to be a public debate about whether there's an effort to bring this back. I obviously can't answer what was said in classified session, but I think the answer when I posed to them in public, I think there needs to be a debate about that....

All of it, coming as a backdrop to FISA coming back, passports, national security letters . . . . The reality is, this is a tool to get lots of people's personal records and they're increasing. . . . There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle but I come away saying that if anything, as people look at all the technology and they look at how fast society moves, they're asking more and more are my rights going to get trampled in the process. That protecting privacy and having the security and safety of your community are not mutually exclusive. That's what the Bush administration wants to do more than anything else, they want to tell people it's one or the other—you can have your security or you can have your liberty.

Wyden's constituents aren't either more tuned in nor more intelligent than the rest of America. The argument that the public doesn't care about privacy rights or is willing to cede them for more security is easily dispatched once the public is actually asked what they think, something that happens all too rarely. When they are asked, voters soundly reject the argument that they have to trade their liberty for security Most recently, in the only large scale polling [pdf] done on FISA and warrantless wiretapping, The Mellman Group found:

Voters’ views on this issue are quite robust, impervious to even the strongest arguments coming out of the White House.  Voters were given the argument against warrantless wiretaps and heard a strong statement from supporters, incorporating language used by the President and Vice President. The message argued that while we are in a war on terror against ruthless enemies who have vowed our destruction, the President’s hands should not be tied with red tape that prevents him from keeping us safe and staying a step ahead of terrorists.  Even in the face of these powerful arguments, 62% say the government should have to get a warrant from a court before wiretapping Americans’ international conversations, while just about half as many (32%) support the President’s position. Thus, when presented with arguments on both sides, opposition to warrantless wiretapping increases by a net of 4 points.

So it's time for the public to flex its muscle on this issue. The first step is to demand what Sen. Wyden is calling for--public hearings about what the government is up to in implementing the various components of Operation Total Information Awareness in outright defiance of a Congressional ban. The intelligence committees should immediate convene hearings and demand public answers. That means you, Jello Jay Rockefeller need to do your job. Every Democrat on that committee (Feinstein, Wyden, Bayh, Mikulski, Bill Nelson, Feingold, and Whitehouse) should be demanding hearings as well.

Second, demand that Congress not give one inch on any intelligence issue--particularly retroactive amnesty--to this administration which has time and time again shown not just a callous disregard for the privacy rights of Americans, but an outright hostility to them and to the Constitution in which they are enshrined. If they're Constitutional duty isn't enough to compel them to do the right thing, they might consider this reminder from Julian Sanchez:

Without meaningful oversight, presidents and intelligence agencies can -- and repeatedly have -- abused their surveillance authority to spy on political enemies and dissenters.... Political abuse of electronic surveillance goes back at least as far as the Teapot Dome scandal that roiled the Warren G. Harding administration in the early 1920s. When Atty. Gen. Harry Daugherty stood accused of shielding corrupt Cabinet officials, his friend FBI Director William Burns went after Sen. Burton Wheeler, the fiery Montana progressive who helped spearhead the investigation of the scandal. FBI agents tapped Wheeler's phone, read his mail and broke into his office. Wheeler was indicted on trumped-up charges by a Montana grand jury, and though he was ultimately cleared, the FBI became more adept in later years at exploiting private information to blackmail or ruin troublesome public figures. (As New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer can attest, a single wiretap is all it takes to torpedo a political career.)...

In that light, the security-versus-privacy framing of the contemporary FISA debate seems oddly incomplete. Your personal phone calls and e-mails may be of limited interest to the spymasters of Langley and Ft. Meade. But if you think an executive branch unchecked by courts won't turn its "national security" surveillance powers to political ends -- well, it would be a first.

Update: In the interest of full disclosure, I worked for Wyden when he served in the House of Representatives.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 04:15 PM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Absolute power corrupts absolutely (14+ / 0-)

    That's why we have checks and balances... which only work with a Congress that stands up to the President.

    "Universal suffrage should rest upon universal education." - Rutherford B. Hayes

    by rdxtion on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 04:19:00 PM PDT

    •  Much more succinctly put (15+ / 0-)

      than I managed. But that's pretty much the whole of it.

      Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. -- Ben Franklin

      by Joan McCarter on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 04:19:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The more I see this administration (5+ / 0-)

        The more I realize how wise these words are: "In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions" - Federalist Paper 51

        "Universal suffrage should rest upon universal education." - Rutherford B. Hayes

        by rdxtion on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 04:23:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not a Hydra... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenearth, MacJimi, haruki, shortgirl

        The Hydra only has seven heads.  

        This monster is an evolutionary creation of the Republican party which has morphed geometrically from the original Hydra.

        It will take more than Hercules this time.

        Saying that Hillary has Executive Branch experience is like saying Yoko Ono was a Beatle.

        by Casey Morris on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 04:46:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Great diary! Question: during your interview did (0+ / 0-)

        you happen to think about asking the good Senator about the possibility that all the so called White House missing emails were swept up along with the other information all across America?

        Isn't anyone, anywhere at anytime going to appreciate the resource that bush has given us re the administration's illegal activity?

        McJoan, you defeat an enemy by exploiting his strengths.

        Bush/cheney wanted to wiretap all Americans and they did. I'm assuming the bush administration uses the same airwaves, phone lines, etc. as we do....

        It's little wonder that rove operated so well, he had no competition when it came to simple thinking.

        Please, PLEASE, somebody wake up and adopt an overview.

        peace

      •  Wyden (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        frandor55

        Congrats on your interview, mcjoan, but do you feel he really answered your questions?

        The first three, particularly, seem logorrheic and discursive, without really addressing the point.

        Even when you asked him what people were saying, he paraphrased what he'd heard in a removed manner. Maybe that's just the way he always talks -- it's certainly no different from what I've heard from him in interviews -- but it's not exactly a straight answer about anything.

        I think there will be a staggering loss of human life out of all proportion to the stakes involved... Sen. George McGovern, March 1965

        by darrelplant on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 08:08:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You missed your calling mcjoan... (0+ / 0-)

        ...you should have been a dentist, because like a dentist, you know the whereabouts of that gaping hole exposing my aching tooth, hitting the nerve with your probing analysis every time! I have cherished our Constitution, our liberties, our rights, and our responsibilities as law abiding citizens, since I began reading and writing at the tender age of 6. Yet, you manage to bring out the "minuteman" or sentinel of our freedom in me every time. I would rather live five minutes free, than a thousand lifetimes in the bonds of slavery!

        It is incredulous to me, indeed daunting, to see the manifold offenses committed to our Constitution by the present war criminal gang of Constitution-usurpers which have hijacked our nation's laws, and done so with open complicity, and without even firing one shot in anger against us.

        Perhaps, therein lies the rub. Why should they, fire upon us that is, when we have appeared to surrender in compliance to their every whim, without so much as a whimper or groan that a sinking ship makes as it settles to the bottom of the sea?

        It is quite difficult to run a kingdom, unless you have live subjects to rule, is it not? One would think so.

        "Great men do not commit murder. Great nations do not start wars". William Jennings Bryan

        by ImpeachKingBushII on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 10:25:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  at the risk of pissing people off . . . (6+ / 0-)

      . . . let me point out once again that many of the things that we don't like about the Bush administration -- increased wiretap authority, indefinite incarceration without trial based on "secret evidence", repeal of the Posse Comitatus act to allow direct military involvement in law enforcement -- were first laid out in the 1995 Anti-Terrorism Bill proposed by President Bill Clinton.

      When the Republican-controlled Congress removed some of those provisions, Clinton complained that they were "watering down" the bill. The Repugs objected to the provisions on "civil liberties" grounds.

      Oddly, most of the rejected provisions later reappeared in the PATRIOT act (and the existing provisions were further strengthened).

      So . . .

      The fact that today it is the REPUGS who want to restrict Constitutional rights in the name of "national security", and the DEMS who are yelling "civil liberties!!!", when barely ten years ago they were both yelling the exact same thing that the other side is yelling today, indicates to me that:

      (1) neither party actually means what it says -- it's just partisan patter, and both parties are entirely happy to use either side to bash the other party, depending on which stick happens to be the most convenient at hand

      (2) both parties would -- and already have -- happily sell our civil liberties up the river in the name of "national security" and "fighting terrorism"

      and

      (3) the whole agenda of "America Invicta", "The New American Century", "Amerika Ober Alles", or whatever else one wants to call it, is not opposed by either party.

      None of this began with the Bush Administration.

      Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

      by Lenny Flank on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 04:29:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and yet (8+ / 0-)

        many people's positions have remained consistent, including some members of Congress. I know mine have.

      •  So your point is well taken... (0+ / 0-)

        ... and illustrates how crappy and simplistic are the party definitions of Democrat and Republican.  

        Perhaps there were many instances, as you suggest, that Clinton was following a course of action more closely aligned with BushCo's style on certain topics than Democrats would like to admit. (This may gird Obama supporters in their quest for change.)  But on balance the Clinton era wasn't so illustriously stupid, destrucive, mean-spirited and partisan as the Bush administration.  You may be right about some specific laws, but there's really no comparison as to scale and scope.

        Anyway, I'd like to see common sense and rule of law govern this nation, and I don't give a flying f*(&^ what party the president is in.

        Experience teaches only the teachable. -Aldous Huxley // We have a Democratic Congress now and there's still no oversight. - Carl Bernstein

        by DontTaseMeBro on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 07:13:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The party has been dormant for decades... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SciVo

        and the Clinton administration was just a symptom. (Personnaly, I don't place all the blame Clinton... he had no party to work with even with a "Dem" majority - remember how hard it was to get the deficit-ending budget passed? or the family leave act?).

        That's why I can longer go along with electing Dems - ANY Dem - like we did in 2006. That gave us Conyers, Waxman and Leahy as chairs of their respective committees (which was critical), but that was about it. We need to get real progressives into office, and that will be a fight with the current Dem power structure as much as with the Repubs..

      •  I'm curious, (0+ / 0-)

        Which democrats specifically?  Who wrote the bill?  Who sponsored it?  Who voted for it?  Who were the leaders and who were the followers?

        Make a list and check it twice.

        I agree with your assessment, but it isn't all dems and all repubs.  Some are just following the herd.  

        •  more information than you could possibly want (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ImpeachKingBushII

          can be had with a few mouse clicks.  Just go to Google and look up:

          "Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans" by the 1976 Church Committee (Senate Seelct Committee on Intelligence Activities Within the United States).

          Then look up the Supplementary Reports on;  "Warrantless FBI Electronic Surveillance", "Domestic CIA and FBI Mail Opening Programs", and "National Security Agency Surveillance Affecting Americans".

          It has it all -- names, dates, people in charge, the whole works.

          If you don't want to read it all online (it's around 400 pages in total), Red and Black Publishers will be putting out a paperback version with the full texts, which should be available sometime in June or July.

          Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

          by Lenny Flank on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 08:04:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  BTW (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ImpeachKingBushII

          you appear to be under the impression that these programs were actual bills that were introduced to Congress and voted on.  They weren't.  They were unauthorized, illegal programs, set up solely by the Presidents involved, without the approval (or even the KNOWLEDGE) of Congress or the courts.

          Some of the illegal surveillance programs were begun under the Roosevelt Administration and continued until 1975.  Some of them were begun under the Eisenhower Administration.  Some of them were begun under the JFK and LBJ Administrations, and others were greatly expanded during this time from the scope they had during the Eisenhower years.  Nixon actually started very few of them -- he just expanded and continued what he had inherited from the previous Democratic administrations.

          Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

          by Lenny Flank on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 08:10:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Time for a new National Anthem? (0+ / 0-)

        Maybe our National Anthem should be this 1984 One Hit Wonder.

        There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited. The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. - Sun Tzu

        by OHeyeO on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 08:10:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And Judiciary (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BachFan, greenearth, Nimbus, DontTaseMeBro

      that stands up to the President.

      It's FISA!

      This time it's personal.

      by apostrophe on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 05:09:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Dems have forgotten that basic principal... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      frandor55, ImpeachKingBushII

      ..that this system is essentially an adversarial one, and that the party out of power has the duty to be the loyal opposition.

      I'm a little annoyed at the calls for bipartisanship from some of our Dem leadership... one particularly annoying new Dem congressman from the IL-14th has been urging us to "stop the bickering". So outrage over the excesses of this criminal administration from torture to ruinious war to the corruption of judicial and regulatory systems is so much "bickering" to him?

      Unfortunately, the worst actions of this government in the last seven years have been very much bipartisan productions. Even if their numbers increase, this Dem-controlled Congress appears disinclined to do their jobs..

      •  alas (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        frandor55

        The Dem party leadership and the Repug party leadership share the same goal.  Call it "America Invicta", call it "Pax Americana", call it "The New American Century".

        Both parties want it.  

        And loss of civil liberties is the necessary price we all pay for it.

        That won't change unless the goal itself changes.  And neither party leadership wants to change it.

        Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

        by Lenny Flank on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 07:33:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  ...to do anything less makes the president... (0+ / 0-)

      ...a monarch. I can just hear the Founding Fathers now, "who is this treasonous rabble who dares to trample the Constitution, having done all but disinter our dead bodies from the grave and publicly hanged us"?

      Yep, I can hear all those who signed the Declaration of Independence:

      [...]"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

      Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

      But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security".[...]

      And I can still hear the words of Patrick Henry:

      [...]"Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts.

      Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?

      For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

      I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.

      I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past.

      And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House.

      Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received?

      Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss".[...]

      Our republic was founded on the dead bones of monarchy! Our republic was founded upon the principles of the rule of LAW--NOT MEN! Our republic is now betrayed into the hands of traitors, who would rather see us live as slaves in bondage to another King!

      This tyranny cannot, indeed it must not stand, for if the Constitution is no more, then liberty is no more. And if liberty is no more, then what worth is there in life at all?

      And if the presumption of innocence is gone, then too are gone our citizenships. For by the same judgement one is presumed guilty under the King's law, that one who lost his presumption of innocence is no longer counted a free man, but a slave, and therefore no longer a citizen, but a SUBJECT!

      So I will ask once again, who is this rabble that THINKS they are above the law? Who thinks they are greater than the Constitution? Who thinks that, we who have brilliant minds, much more so than they, will just succumb to being led like bleeting mindless sheep to the slaughter, while they bask in the sun of their tyranny? Not this one, and not as long as I have one breath left!

      "Great men do not commit murder. Great nations do not start wars". William Jennings Bryan

      by ImpeachKingBushII on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 09:41:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pardon my popping off rathely, but: (6+ / 0-)

    [With the passport snooping revelations] . . . you can literally look and say once again this administration is asleep on the privacy issue.

    Asleep?  Asleep?

    Heavy sighs.

    We don't have time for short-term thinking.

    by Compound F on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 04:19:48 PM PDT

  •  Doesn't the hydra just grow more heads... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mcfly, greenearth, mcmom, marketgeek

    as they're cut off?  ;)

    Dudehisattva... <div style="color: #0000a0;">"Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Effort, Concentration, and Wisdom"&l

    by Dood Abides on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 04:25:26 PM PDT

  •  The thing about the Hydra... (7+ / 0-)

    ... is that as soon as you cut one head off, seven more sprout in its place. Hercules had to have his nephew Iolaus burn the stumps off to prevent them from regenerating.

    And like the Bush Administration - just when you think you've dealt with one instance of lawless behavior, you find seven more in its stead.

    (1) D.I.E.B.O.L.D.: Decisive In Elections By Ousting Liberal Democrats.
    (2) R.A.T.S.: Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Scalia.
    (3) -8.75, -8.10

    by Archangel on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 04:26:23 PM PDT

    •  Well, Archangel, the Congress could (5+ / 0-)

      do some cauterizing, if they had the backbone.

      "This is not our America and we need to take it back." John Edwards.

      by mcmom on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 04:39:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually , yes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marketgeek

      But one of the heads was immortal , and which Hercules had to bury .............

    •  amazing how Bushco. (3+ / 0-)

      .. never EVER slows down its assault on the Constitution, evisceration of our instruments of government, or looting of our treasury - and how the Democratic outrage never rises to the level of doing anything real about it.

      From day 1, Bushco, launched an assault on all fronts of representative democracy and constraints on power and money.

      When the Dems caved on the theft of the election in 2000, they gave Bushco. and Rove all the info they needed for the complete dismantling of 70 years of enlightened policy. Right there was proof that there was no serious political opposition to tyranny.. and there still isn't.

      I'm sure Sen. Wyden will be expressing GRAVE concern when the elections are called off due to martial law - he may be moved to express OUTRAGE. But he and the entire enabling Dem Congress have been complicit in this cascade of criminality and corruption. And the DCCC remains vigilant against any wave of progressive Dems being elected to challenge the current leadership.

      •  Actually, that opinion about martial law... (0+ / 0-)

        ...being declared and the elections called off, is not a popular one around here. I know Bush has the power to do it, but he's got to know the real prospect of open rebellion here, and that the decendants of free men and women would not bow before any King, no matter how much force he applied. I find quite a bitter pill of irony here: Bush's forces "democracy" down the throats of the Iraqis at the point of a gun, then compounds his folly by forcing "security" down our throats at the point of a gun! Only a fool would try it in once in Iraq. Only a bigger fool would let him get away with twice! I think he would do well to, "Take all the money he stole from our treasury and just go to his 100,000 acre ranch in Paraguay". He worked his work well. Now leave us in peace, Mister Bush.

        "Great men do not commit murder. Great nations do not start wars". William Jennings Bryan

        by ImpeachKingBushII on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 10:05:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Top 25 censored stories of 2007 (5+ / 0-)

    Lots of BushCo stories here (no surprises).

    http://www.projectcensored.org/...

  •  Turning surveillance against political opponents (10+ / 0-)

    and critics usually is one of the first thing a government, even or especially during so-called times of crisis. Perhaps the best parallel are the abuses committed by Woodrow Wilson's government during 1917-1918, such as the surveillance of mail within the US and the government's refusal to permit the Postal Service to deliver any periodicals that contained objectionable criticims of the administration. Within a few years it had become absolutely transparent to nearly everybody that those were scary and bizarre years, the government abuses were ridiculously over the top, and the harrassment of political opponents shocking.

    •  it should also be pointed out (4+ / 0-)

      that during the 60's, when Democratic governments inherited illegal intelligence programs for spying on and interfering with political opponents and dissenters (COINTELPRO, wiretaps by the FBI, CIA and NSA, mail-opening by the CIA), they did NOT end those programs -- instead, they kept them secret, expanded them, and turned them against their OWN political opponents.

      The illegal domestic surveillance and spying programs that led to the FISA laws in the first place, were carried out over a period of thirty years by six different administrations -- four of which were Democrats.

      Indeed, the Attorney General who first authorized the ilelgal wiretap campaign against Martin Luther King was . . . . Robert F Kennedy.

      Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

      by Lenny Flank on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 04:42:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  To add to this, I grew up in the fifties and (3+ / 0-)

        remember quite well the fear, FEAR that people had of J. Edgar Hoover, that cross-dressing weirdo who ran the FBI as his own personal fiefdom. Politicians, including Presidents, were afraid to retire him, because he had stuff on everyone. Bush would have loved him, or actually also would have been afraid, as Bush has more skeletons in his closet than a horror film on Hallowe'en.

        I have zero interest in reliving the fifties in any way, shape or form. There is no security in fighting endless wars, which we have been doing or planning on doing since the Korean War, it seems. The only way to have both security and liberty is to make peace work.


        -7.25/-6.41 Consumerism is the disease that allows the ruling classes to thrive; therefore, not buying is a political act.

        by sravaka on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 05:03:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Again, Lenny Flank, there are specific events... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        truong son traveler

        ... in every administration, yes yes.  On balance I think your comparisons are noteworthy for historical purposes and for the sake of discussion and balance, but the preponderance of crap has unquestionably come from King Bush.

        Experience teaches only the teachable. -Aldous Huxley // We have a Democratic Congress now and there's still no oversight. - Carl Bernstein

        by DontTaseMeBro on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 07:16:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "historical purposes" . . . ? (0+ / 0-)

          We did the same things in 1919.

          We did the same things in 1798.

          We did the same things in the 1960's.

          We did the same things in the 1980's.

          And we're doing the same things in the 2000's.

          NOTHING the Bush Administration has done, is new.  None of it.  It's all been done before -- by both Democrats and Republicans.

          We never learn anything from history because we never REMEMBER any of it.

          Remembering it, is not a mere academic exercise.

          Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

          by Lenny Flank on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 07:25:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I truly appreciate your points. (0+ / 0-)

            The lack of respect for the rule of law is extreme these days.   I don't think we necessarily disagree with each other, do we?  Can we focus on common enemy, which is secrecy in government and spying on citizens, as the enemy, not a party or even specific administrations?

            Experience teaches only the teachable. -Aldous Huxley // We have a Democratic Congress now and there's still no oversight. - Carl Bernstein

            by DontTaseMeBro on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 07:29:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Heady reading this Sunday afternoon. (5+ / 0-)

    But, too darn cold to be doing anything outside. Please thank Senator Wyden for us, for sitting for the interview, and expressing his opinions. He continues to be one of the good guys. And, kudos to you for getting that interview!

    "This is not our America and we need to take it back." John Edwards.

    by mcmom on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 04:38:05 PM PDT

  •  Can my eyes believe it? (8+ / 0-)

    A front-page Sunday night lead story of an interview with a U.S. Senator sitting down with our very own McJoan, who is doing so because she is a reporter for DailyKos!!!! Kossacks, together we are all creating a power that makes the powerful pay attention.

    Kos, look at what you have done. You have created a brand new news interface with democratically selected reporters - who have presented their writing directly to the readers, who have vetted and critiqued their facts and analyses.

    These reporters can sit down and speak directly to the faces of power, who speak to these reporters because they are speak for us.

    Together we have all created a new way to pass around political knowledge, and because of that we can all find a new direction which can save Democracy.

    "My job is a decision-making job. I make a lot of decisions." GWBush, 10/3/07

    by Louise on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 04:42:34 PM PDT

  •  Is it just me ? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    llamaRCA
  •  Constitutional Privacy Amendment (2+ / 0-)

    We need a Constitutional Privacy amendment like:

    The privacy of the people in their homes, persons, papers, effects, property and information about them shall not be violated, except as Congress shall specify before the actions, within the due process of the law, to accommodate emergencies and overwhelming threats of clear and present danger, as determined by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

    A privacy law under that Amendment:

    Any personal info submitted by a person to another person or organization shall be confidential to the transaction to which it was submitted, not to be further distributed either within or beyond the receiving organization, or stored longer than the duration of the original transaction, except when explicitly authorized by the transmitter. Any such further transmission shall be regularly reported to the transmitter, or to their agent whom the transmitter explicitly assigns, no less frequently than once per year.

    The Bill of Rights says in the 4th Amendment that the government must protect our privacy. That amendment was necessary because the main Constitution's lack of a power to invade that privacy was not clear enough. After 220 years, we've demonstrated that the 4th Amendment wasn't clear enough.

    The Democrats will have close to or above the Congressional supermajorities necessary to pass such an amendment. They will have close to or above the supermajority of statehouses necessary to ratify it. They will have a president who could champion it and sign laws under it. If they don't quite have the public support or majorities necessary in 2009, they can campaign on it in 2010, and again in 2012 if necessary - radical reforms can take years, generations to effect. And who knows, they might even find some Republicans who don't want Democrats spying on them, their families, friends and neighbors.

    Let's see Ron Wyden and his colleagues use the huge majorities Americans are voting them to reverse the accumulated privacy abuses (in effect and in law), by making long overdue fundamental changes. Laws like FISA didn't fix the problems that Nixon exposed. It'll take something radical, on the order of the abuses, to recommit this country's government to protecting our rights as we like to say it does. Or Wyden and his Party can whine a lot, to grab more power on the promise they'll use to protect us, and then just abuse us with that power, the way they have the first year and a half of their majority. Let's see them do something to earn our trust and respect, not just our hopes.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 04:49:24 PM PDT

    •  a correction (4+ / 0-)

      Laws like FISA didn't fix the problems that Nixon exposed.

      While Nixon is the guy who got caught, the abuses of power that are exemplified by FISA were not unique to Nixon.  They weren't even started by him.  LBJ was a far more enthusiastic user of COINTELPRO than Nixon was.

      As I noted in another comment, the abuses that led to FISA were carried out over a period of thirty years, by six different Presidents -- four of whom were Democrats.

      Not a one of them ended any of the illegal programs.  Instead, they kept them secret, expanded them, and used them to their own advantage.

      So, historically, the Dems don't have much reason to get all self-righteous about it.

      Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

      by Lenny Flank on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 04:55:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, you are right. (4+ / 0-)

        But for many of us, we were very aware that intelligence (notably the FBI) seemed to be trading in these for political purposes especially with Nixon. He was just so much more sneaky and vile about it all.

        But you are right, the spying on MLK, on Vietnam protestors, etc., I was very aware of them before 1968, so LBJ was very active. And this was one reason I was a "keep clean for Gene" person -- I distrusted the democratic "machine" as implicated in the war and illegal acts (including RFK).  [echoes of Clinton and the democratic machine]

        Let Justice roll down like waters, Righteousness like an everflowing stream.

        by John2Luke on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 05:20:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Correct Already (3+ / 0-)

        Well, that's why I said "the problems that Nixon exposed", not the problems that Nixon caused. And why I pointed out that laws like FISA didn't fix them.

        What does seem to be true, though, is that Nixon pushed the abuses to the breaking point. I haven't seen any evidence that Democratic presidents have been as bad, including LBJ - bad as they might have been. Which might just mean that Democrats are better at the secrecy. But all I really want is that those extra powers to abuse us get shut down. There's absolutely no guarantee that Democrats won't abuse them worse than has Bush in the future, even if they didn't in the past.

        The reason to get righteous is because we've had enough. If Democrats actually close up these abuses, shut down the unaccountable spooks who've kept them going, no matter what, then they'll deserve to feel, and claim to be, righteous. If they don't, and just keep posing without exercising their powers to end it, then they'll be as complicit as those who get caught.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 06:08:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Amen, DocGonzo. eom (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          truong son traveler

          Experience teaches only the teachable. -Aldous Huxley // We have a Democratic Congress now and there's still no oversight. - Carl Bernstein

          by DontTaseMeBro on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 07:18:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  THAT, my friend. . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          truong son traveler

          If Democrats actually close up these abuses, shut down the unaccountable spooks who've kept them going, no matter what, then they'll deserve to feel, and claim to be, righteous. If they don't, and just keep posing without exercising their powers to end it, then they'll be as complicit as those who get caught.

          is absolutely correct . . .

          Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

          by Lenny Flank on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 07:20:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  erm........ (0+ / 0-)

      Why wouldn't the administration just wipe its collective keister with this amendment too?  Why wouldn't congress just wring its hands and ultimately do nothing about it just like they have been doing all along?

      Laws, as well as constitutional amendments, are worthless unless they are enforced.  

      •  Momentum (0+ / 0-)

        Because the act of passing the Amendment and its laws would be an unambiguous expression of political will. The Bush regime (and others like it) don't have large networks of fake "unitary executive" theories produced just for special effects. The Bush regime has managed to push the boundary of presidential power further because it has offered legal theories that more judges and legislators are willing to accept. That act of political will was designed for decades by the crowd Cheney runs with, and is necessary - or they wouldn't waste time and money to do it.

        The Bush regime breaks the law only when it cannot change the law or its interpreters. Which it will do, but it takes a risk every time.

        Passing the amendment would destroy many of the weak but accepted arguments with which Bush/Cheney have attacked the country. It would force the boundary back (at least closer) to where it should be, to protect our rights and to limit executive power.

        To believe otherwise is to give up all hope of laws governing these criminals. By the same token, these criminals' extensive work to meddle with the laws, rather than just blythely breaking them, means there's hope of reining them in if the laws (and what they represent) are made well, with public support.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 10:17:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Job 1: Political Opponents. Surveilling Citizens (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fhcec, greenearth, Executive Odor

    is the afterthought.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 04:50:14 PM PDT

  •  My Head Hurts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenearth, NC Dem

    You deliberately used the words Bush and intelligence in the same sentence in the first paragraph of your diary. My brain is threatening to explode from the cognitive dissonance. You're mean!

  •  Internet Anonymity (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenearth, rrheard, rhutcheson, John2Luke

    The capability exists today for Internet Service Providers to provide us with anonymity by acting as our surrogates on the Internet.  The pool of data that is currently the target of surveillance would no longer contain information that allowed transactions to be associated with a specific user.  

    With an appropriate court order that association could be made and a specific user could then become known to surveilling agencies.

    This would also be helpful to vulnerable private industries, like banks, which might prefer that hackers didn't know they were banks.

    The situation we have today necessitates intelligence agency employees leaving their jobs to avoid illegal assignments.  The rest presumably will go to jail when the President does.

    Another great article, mcjoan!

                                    Gotta love Ron Wyden. :)

    This time it's personal.

    by apostrophe on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 05:04:17 PM PDT

  •  I'm not THAT old, but I remember the Vietnam (7+ / 0-)

    period. Those of us who were active in protesting the war were all watched. We all had files. The FBI was working overtime to keep an eye on us. But we weren't subverting the U.S. -- we were demanding that democracy work for the people.

    Surely there are lots of people out there who remember how pervasive illegal snooping was then. J. Edgar Hoover has his snoops working overtime, and then using this to his political advantage with Nixon.  

    All this sounds so familiar to our situation today.

    Where is the outrage?  

    McJoan, I really appreciate all your posts on the FISA bills. keeping illegal snooping illegal is absolutely essential.  Then exposing violations....

    Intelligence directed against law-abiding U.S. citizens must be prevented.

    Let Justice roll down like waters, Righteousness like an everflowing stream.

    by John2Luke on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 05:12:21 PM PDT

    •  I'm a bit younger . . . (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      truong son traveler, John2Luke, SciVo

      I'm not THAT old, but I remember the Vietnam period. Those of us who were active in protesting the war were all watched. We all had files. The FBI was working overtime to keep an eye on us. But we weren't subverting the U.S. -- we were demanding that democracy work for the people.

      I got most of my FBI file during the 80's, when I was active in the Central America peace campaign (I visited Nicaragua in February 1988, right before the ceasefire -- and got a visit from the FeeBees a couple weeks later).  CISPES (the Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador) was a primary target for COINTELPRO-like infiltration and surveillance.

      Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

      by Lenny Flank on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 05:58:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Very important diary with one quibble (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenearth, rrheard

    The people of Oregon are not more intelligent than anywhere else, but they may be more tuned in (at least they are in the districts that elected Sen. Wyden). This allows our senator to make these challenges, because he knows we have his back and that we are thrilled when he does right. If he was from Ohio we wouldn't have this conversation. And that fact is why I come here--so that more and better democrats can be elected with the knowledge that if they stand up for us we will support them.

  •  Assume you are being monitored... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenearth, Executive Odor, John2Luke

    if you are an "activist". I feel positive forces pushing back, but, the people, have to push harder.

  •  and still 2392 days since 9\11 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenearth, Executive Odor

    and no Bin Laden or Zawahari. incompetence and corruption rule this administration

    Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong. ~James Bryce

    by california keefer on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 05:25:43 PM PDT

  •  Okay (0+ / 0-)

    So if the masses are concerned about this and need to rally to get their privacy back, and kill Total Information Awareness again, then when are we going to start seeing this issue being discussed on the evening news?

  •   The DNI and the rest live in a state of fear (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mcfly, truong son traveler

     One of the Frontpagers a few yrs ago wrote about the fear that drove our current gov. I wish I could remember who it was, but it was caustic, biting, sarcastic, and damning. It also was really spot on , on so many levels.

    Clinton did us no favors along these line, but many of us never felt he was a Dem. at heart anyway. So I wonder when the last time was we had a Democrat as Pres. ? It had to be Carter and we got FISA from him.I hope whom ever becomes Pres. doesn't live with that kind of fear. To live life with that kind of fear means either the terrorists won, or you are just plain chickenshit, in some cases maybe both.

    We need to refuse to live in fear, be it from Overseas, or fear of Washington DC and it's web of Fusion Centers.

    Molly Ivins reply when asked about Obama, Her answer: "Yes, he should run. He's the only Democrat with any `Elvis' to him."

    by SmileySam on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 05:57:14 PM PDT

  •  "The Mechanisms of Tyranny" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rrheard, Executive Odor, SciVo

    is a time-honored and useful summing-up phrase.

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 06:08:35 PM PDT

  •  or the Old... (0+ / 0-)

    ..."if you haven't done anything wrong, what are you afraid of?"

    That's the "American People" for you.  I hear it over and over from people who think only criminals have something to fear...until they start tracking down people who rent X-rated films or books by known Democrats.

    They don't get it and I don't think they care...as long as they think only the other guy will be affected.

    Support the Netroots Candidates! A VETO-PROOF majority in 2008!!!

    by InquisitiveRaven on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 06:43:33 PM PDT

  •  He speaks for at least 2 of the 3 branches... (0+ / 0-)

    "The way I characterize it is that I think that this administration basically is allowing a culture that says violating the privacy rights of law-abiding people isn’t that big a deal."

    Exactly the way I would characterize this Dem-controlled Congress...

  •  Hydra? Or octopus? (0+ / 0-)

    Perhaps an octopus is a fitting description, too...

    Please, do not forget Brent Wilkes' and ADCS' involvement with the Pentagon's Counter-Intelligence Field Activity (CIFA) unit.  CIFA had its eyes trained on domestic intelligence gathering.

  •  Privacy, the Constitution, Impeachment (2+ / 0-)

    I fail to understand why, with the administration pushing the concept of the supremecy of the Executive Branch, the clear violations of the Constitution (if not on Privacy due to the open issue of protection as implued rather than explicit), the extreme use of signing statements, the lack of enforcement of regulations, the refusal of the Executive to follow the Constitution by defying Congress and refusing oversight, refusing to enforce Laws enacted by the Congress ...

    Why do not our Representatives move for impeachment of the President as provided by the Constitution specifically on these grounds. They are certainly more in the neighborhood of "high crimes and misdemeanors" then a bit of perjury proceeding from philanbdering with an intern. Are leberals, progressives, Democrats and Americans all cowards, all too concerned about the political fallout (and perhaps the financial fallout?

    My 14 year old nephew in the 8th grade asked me about these issues after his class finished a unit on the Constitution. It seems, even as our educational system slides, he has a better understanding than many in the government and the public with College and Law degrees from prestigious institutions.

    A Yale BA should not be a license to violate the Constitution, It did not prevent the impeachment of the last Yale Law grad (WJC). Impeachment would be fine to set the record stright. Removal from office is another issue entirely, especially when one considers the replacement provided in the Constitution (the fellow from Wyoming in his unidentified location).

    •  were I to speculate . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      darrelplant

      Why do not our Representatives move for impeachment of the President as provided by the Constitution specifically on these grounds.

      My guess would be that the Dem leadership doesn't want to impeach The Shrub over these claimed powers because they too want the option to use such powers when THEY get into office.

      Of course, many of The Shrub's illegal programs have been exposed to the light of day, which limits their usefulness (though in the past, whenever such programs have been exposed, they just disappeared only to reappear shortly afterwards under a different name).  I am quite sure, moreover, that there still remain a rather large number of illegal programs which we DON'T yet know about.  Historically, as I have pointed out, whenever the Dems have inherited such a secret illegal surveillance program, they have NOT ended it, but instead expanded it and used it themselves.  I find that possibility even more likely now since the Dem leadership isn't any more against the war in Iraq than the Repugs are, and they'll need to face down the antiwar movement just like the Repugs -- and they'll want to use the same weapons for it.

      I would very very much like to be wrong in that speculation.  But, historically, that is precisely what has happened, every time.

      Hillary, I expect, will do the same thing her husband did (remember how much a, uh, central role she played in the first and second Clinton Administrations . . . ?) -- she will happily sacrifice civil liberties for "national security".

      Obama may try not to -- but he will be opposed by the Democratic party leadership, which has opposed his insurgent campaign since the beginning.  

      McCain, of course, will wave the flag and happily tear up the Constitution.

      Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

      by Lenny Flank on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 07:58:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And how about the other illegal actions? (0+ / 0-)

        I see your point and tend to agree ... However, beyond the wiretapping and FISA issues, there is a whole raft of Constitutional issues (signing stataments and non-enforcement, interference with the regulatory process, treaty-making without Sneate advice and consent .... Each of these constitutes a threat to the liberties guaranteed in the Constitution and may well be a clear violation. Obviously, taking it to the Supreme Court is a long way off.

        Come on Nancy Pelosi, advance the legislation ... and we will probably witnes overt cowardice in public. For now the cowardice, which one might thinks borders on complicity, is all we have.

    •  ummm.... (0+ / 0-)

      Why do not our Representatives move for impeachment of the President as provided by the Constitution specifically on these grounds.

      What do you think?

      Blackmailed or bribed?

    •  Name the specific law that Bush personally broke. (0+ / 0-)

      Cite the specific evidence that would be presented in the trial, which (after impeachment by the House) would take place in our 51-49 split Senate, with conviction requiring a two-thirds majority.

      As I understand it, the argument against impeachment is essentially that Cheney accurately identified a weakness in our Constitution, that it doesn't strictly forbid a lazy executive. So, George W. Bush's own offenses against common sense and the common good have been more a matter of "nonfeasance" than "malfeasance" per se.

      "Tough talk is not a substitute for sound judgment." -- Barack Obama

      by SciVo on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 06:29:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Malice Aforethought (0+ / 0-)

        First, I look to impeachment. I understand clearly that actual removal from office would never pass (no will, no principles).

        As to specific laws to cite, I am now lawyer, but I believe the Constitutional Oath of Office taken by the President includes upholding and defending the Constitution. I do not see how signing statements and non-enforcement of selected portions of duly passed and signed legislation adheres to this oath.

        If Bill's philandering was part of the charges (to say nothing of perjury), the Presidents action's, his refusal to require the Executive Branch to comply with the oversight powers of the Legislative Branch (based on Article II of the Constitution) should be sufficient for charges and a vote of impeachment.

        Good Lord, we certainly would not want to remove the President and gain Cheney in the White House. Impeach them both. Leave them in office, but undermine much of the twisted Bush-Cheney Agenda of the Unitary and Superior Executive Branch.

  •  Liberty Need You (0+ / 0-)

    Premiere printmaker, Art Hazelwood's poster:

    Photobucket

    When good people of conscience give up the fight for justice, all is lost. Therefore you must not give up. www.politicalartwork.blogspot.com

    by EmilyD on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 07:06:32 PM PDT

  •  Speaking of liars (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    truong son traveler

    damned liars, and goddamned liars...

    Has anybody seen this? I haven't been able to give DK my usual attention today.

    What's up with Mukasey, the liar?

    And why aren't all the bushies in legirons?

    Republican: the anti-Midas

    by Executive Odor on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 07:10:48 PM PDT

  •  I'm so sad - I was just watching (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Executive Odor, DontTaseMeBro, SciVo

    Part IV of the John Adams HBO series - and it hit me how far we've fallen from the ideals, the honesty and integrity of the founding fathers. BushCo will be a dark smear in our history books. Thanks for the thought provoking diary mcjoan!

    "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." - JFK

    by moose67 on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 07:20:15 PM PDT

    •  actually we haven't fallen that far . . . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Executive Odor, SciVo

      John Adams was the President who signed the Alien and Sedition Acts into law, which made it, quite literally, illegal to criticize the US Government.

      Not much has changed.

      Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

      by Lenny Flank on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 07:29:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I'll be dipped (0+ / 0-)

        you're right.

        Republican: the anti-Midas

        by Executive Odor on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 07:31:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah but - my favorite guy, Tom Jefferson, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SciVo

        repealed them in 1802...kind of a checks and balances thing, dontchaknow. Just like I'm hoping that a lot of the crap legislation passed during this administration may be overturned by the next.

        "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." - JFK

        by moose67 on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 07:47:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  well, your favorite guy once wrote (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SciVo

          to a friend:

          "The question you propose, whether circumstances do not sometimes occur, which make a duty in officers of high trust, to assume authorities beyond the law, is easy of solution in principle, but sometimes embarrassing in practice. A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the end to the means."

          I think George Bush would heartily agree.

          And of course Jefferson was all eager to suspend the right of habeus corpus for those who he thought were involved in the Aaron Burr "conspiracy" of 1806. . . .

          Alas, suspending civil rights "temporarily, for our own good" is as American as apple pie.

          Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

          by Lenny Flank on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 08:17:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My - you certainly are a contrarian tonight..... (0+ / 0-)

            Without being incredibly specific, couldn't you agree that the early patriots who formed our government and wrote the Declaration of Independence and Constitution - were willing to give their lives and their fortunes in far greater measure than those who are our elected officials today?

            "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." - JFK

            by moose67 on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 08:44:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  certainly (0+ / 0-)

              Just call me the "conscience" of the Democratic Party.

              Sometimes party partisans get so wrapped up in "winning" that they forget what they should be fighting for.

              Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

              by Lenny Flank on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 05:11:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  So Lenny, where does this leave you? (0+ / 0-)

            I agree with you:  Democrats and Republicans have all been wild about the idea of spying on everybody and controling everything.  Is this because they are all wild about power?  Are they consumed by nothing but winning office and amassing wealth?  Do you think they act independantly or are they part of some great conspiracy?  How is this great big mother of a country run?  You said earlier:

            (1) neither party actually means what it says -- it's just partisan patter, and both parties are entirely happy to use either side to bash the other party, depending on which stick happens to be the most convenient at hand

            (2) both parties would -- and already have -- happily sell our civil liberties up the river in the name of "national security" and "fighting terrorism"

            and

            (3) the whole agenda of "America Invicta", "The New American Century", "Amerika Ober Alles", or whatever else one wants to call it, is not opposed by either party.

            I agree with those 3 statements.  But where does that leave us?  When you say in statement (3) that the "New American Century" platform "is not opposed by either party." then I think "those sentiments are certainly not the only conclusions one could come to logically.  There are many different ideas about how we should be conduction ourselves.  Why is it both of our political parties seem to be going along with this neocon agenda?"   And when I ask myself that question the only answer that seems to make sense to me is that our politicians are nothing but puppets, our political system is a sham and our situation is more or less hopeless.  I think that the rich are running this show for their own benefit and the other 99.9% are nothing but cattle to them.  Do you have another interpretation?

            •  nope (0+ / 0-)

              Do you have another interpretation?

              I don't.

              Your interpretation sounds quite correct to me.

              With one excpetion -- we outnumber them several thousand to one, and if we really want a change, we can get it and they can't stop us.

              Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

              by Lenny Flank on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 05:14:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  In the interest of full disclosure, (0+ / 0-)

    I did not work for Wyden when he served in the House of Representatives.

    xo

    This time it's personal.

    by apostrophe on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 08:59:25 PM PDT

  •  What;s it all about Alfie...er mcjoan? (0+ / 0-)

    It’s all about power over, profiling and programming of human beings; all of which require reams of personal and private data. It’s dealt with by changing the current socioeconomic paradigms, ergo game sets.

    If’en that ain’t too many "p"s  for ya.

    The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

    by Bobjack23 on Sun Mar 30, 2008 at 09:16:08 PM PDT

  •  "Wyden's constituents arent either more... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    karichisholm

    tuned in nor more intelligent than the rest of America.

    Yes we are!

  •  There needs to be a Bush corruption/scandal wikki (0+ / 0-)

    It is just overwhelming to remember all of the outrageous things that have happened and a bit frightening to think of the doors that have opened to slippery slopes...  

  •  I wonder where stability fits into this equation. (0+ / 0-)

    Sounds like there should be more factors. Maybe six, to a rough approximation.

    Americans understand that the founding fathers set up our unique and wonderful system as a kind of Constitutional teeter-totter. On one side you would have collective security, and on the other side you would have individual liberty. The teeter-totter would be right there in balance.

    How long does this last? What is the fulcrum if not stability, and the elements that make it up?

  •  Bye-bye legislative power, too (0+ / 0-)

    The Bushists think they are unconstrained by law, even after Duhbya signs it, and can rule by executive fiat.

    See also my on-going series "Documenting the tatters".

    Liberty and justice for all

    by lovable liberal on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 05:00:01 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site