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Yesterday, I had the chance to sit down with Bill Moyers and discuss some of the challenges we face at this pivotal moment for our country, after one of the most remarkable elections in American history. Barack Obama’s election is a chance for renewal after eight years of the Bush Administration; now that we’re no longer circling the wagons against attacks on our core progressive principles, we can work to advance those principles in this new era. I invite you to take a look at our conversation, which touched on how progressives are defined by their history of fighting for the middle class, a clean and open government and a government that looks out for all members of society without getting in the way. At the beginning of this new era, we discussed the kind of change that progressives should be fighting for right now.

One area we spoke about at length, restoring the rule of law, has to be a top priority. Our founding fathers laid down a basic principle -- that we are a nation of laws and that no one, including the president, is above the law. From Guantanamo Bay and warrantless wiretapping to torture and excessive secrecy, the Bush administration has turned this principle on its head. The Constitution states that it and the laws of the United States are "the supreme Law of the Land." Yet, the current administration has claimed unprecedented powers as it has ignored or willfully misinterpreted the laws on the books.

While Americans’ decisive call for change this election was a clear repudiation of the Bush administration’s conduct, failing to act swiftly to reverse the damage could essentially legitimize that conduct and the extreme legal theories on which it was based. That is why it is critically important for President-elect Obama to unequivocally renounce President Bush’s extreme claims of executive authority. As I mentioned in the interview yesterday, stating this position clearly in the inaugural address would affirm to the nation, and the world, that respect for the rule of law has returned to the Oval Office.  

This declaration should be followed with quick action, to ensure that history sees the outgoing administration’s actions as an aberration and not a redefinition of executive power. I plan to try to help our new President by presenting him with a range of recommendations for restoring the rule of law from constitutional, legal and historical experts. In September, I held a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee on what should be done to restore the rule of law. An impressive array of experts set forth detailed recommendations and proposals. I hope the record of this hearing will provide President-elect Obama with a useful blueprint for his efforts, just as it will help inform my work in the Senate.

The recommendations primarily focus on four key areas – the separation of powers among the branches, government secrecy, detention and interrogation policy, and protecting the privacy of law-abiding Americans. Following my hearing in September, I laid out many of these potential changes in a speech from the Senate floor, which I also invite you to read to get a sense of what needs to be done.  

I am happy to see that this issue has been gaining traction in the media and on the blogs. Roger Cohen had a good piecein the New York Times last week on this issue and Andrew Sullivan made it a focus of his endorsement of President-elect Obama. Just yesterday, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson blogged here about his effort to help restore the rule of law. There's even a Facebook page on this topic. We’ve also seen positive signs from the President-elect, himself. He’s already strongly suggested that closing Guantanamo is a priority.

I am hopeful that with the election of Barack Obama, the assault on our Constitution will end. The good news is that unlike many of the challenges President Obama will face, significant action to restore the rule of law can begin on day one. Through executive action, much of the damage to the rule of law can be reversed, paving the way for additional corrective action in Congress. By moving quickly to restore the rule of law, President-elect Obama can right the balance of power, and ensure that the Bush administration’s disregard for the Constitution is truly past, not prologue.


Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts.  I certainly understand the desire expressed by many of you for accountability.  During my hearing, some of the witnesses suggested an independent commission to look into the Bush administration's actions.  Some of you here have expressed your support for that, as well.  I am open to that, and I also believe Congress should do all it can to learn about what exactly went on in the Bush administration.

In addition to ensuring accountability, we also have to right the ship.  We need to make the changes necessary to help ensure the actions we saw by the Bush administration don't happen again.  That is paramount.  Sny asked what structural changes need to be put in place to ensure this never happens again.  My response is that there's a lot that could be done in the four areas I outlined – separation of powers, excessive government secrecy, detention and interrogation policies, and protecting the privacy of law-abiding Americans.  Here are just a few examples:

Separation of powers – The Bush administration regularly asserted that under Article II of the Constitution, it could ignore the laws that Congress passed, as we saw with the warrantless wiretapping program.  The administration also regularly stonewalled Congress.  For example, the administration often kept the full Intelligence Committees in the dark regarding intelligence activities, choosing to inform only the "Gang of Eight" – the House and Senate party leaders along with the leadership of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees – even where the law required broader disclosure.  This should never happen again. While Congress must reassert itself, the executive branch also must respect the role of Congress, something I am confident President-elect Obama will do.

Excessive government secrecy - The new administration also must put an end to excessive government secrecy.  The Bush administration abused the state secrets privilege repeatedly, invoking the privilege as a shield to avoid accountability in court for wrongdoing.  The Obama administration should conduct a review of pending cases in which the state secrets privilege has been invoked to assess whether the invocation was appropriate, and Congress should pass legislation to allow more meaningful judicial scrutiny when the privilege is invoked. And as part of its review of Bush administration executive orders, the new administration should rewrite President Bush's executive order regarding classification policies to discourage over-classification and to facilitate declassification where appropriate.

Detention and interrogation policies - The detention and interrogation policies of the last eight years are perhaps the most potent reminder of how the current administration undercut our nation's highest ideals.  Haunting images from Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo undermined our standing in the world.  There has been a nearly universal call, including from President-elect Obama during the campaign, to close the facility at Guantanamo Bay.  Now the hard work of doing so must begin.  The new administration also should unequivocally ban the use of torture and establish a single, government-wide standard of humane detainee treatment -- I have supported efforts to make the Army Field Manual that standard.

Protecting the privacy of law-abiding Americans - Steps must be taken to restore Americans' privacy, as well.  The December 2005 revelation that the NSA had illegally spied on Americans at home showed the level of contempt the Bush administration had for the rule of law.  Congress did not help matters by responding with enactment of the deeply flawed FISA Amendments Act, which granted the executive branch more surveillance powers.  The over-the-top rhetoric of the Bush administration during that bill's consideration was reminiscent of the fear mongering that led to the enactment of the Patriot Act after 9/11.  With the election of Barack Obama, we must undertake a comprehensive review of intelligence activities that affect the privacy of Americans.  The new president should support reasonable changes to the Patriot Act when it comes up for reauthorization in 2009, as well as the FISA Amendments Act.  His administration should also reconsider the new last-minute executive branch policies governing the rules for domestic FBI investigations that just went into effect last week.

Originally posted to Russ Feingold on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 12:20 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Amen (18+ / 0-)

    Open government, rule of law, and separation of power among the branches. How sad is it that we have to fight for these things rather than enjoy the presumption of their existence.

    Thank you for your work, Senator.

    Mr. President,...(a)fter 9/11, what would your biggest mistake be, would you say, and what lessons have you learned from it?

    by Casual Wednesday on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 12:30:41 PM PST

  •  How do we restore the rule of law... (113+ / 0-)

    considering those of you in Congress fumbled impeachment?

    Have you not set a precedent in conflict with the goal of restoring the rule of law?

    What are you in Congress going to do to investigate and charge those in the Bush administration who committed criminal acts?

    Can we afford to look the other way and just say, ok, from now on we're serious - no more breaking of the law allowed?

    "The truth shall set you free - but first it'll piss you off." Gloria Steinem

    Iraq Moratorium

    by One Pissed Off Liberal on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 12:31:46 PM PST

  •  Keep the pressure on Mr. Obama, Mr. Feingold (21+ / 0-)

    Thank you for what you've done to keep this front and center.  

    "We're half awake in a fake empire."

    by Alec82 on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 12:32:56 PM PST

  •  Truth and Accountability (25+ / 0-)

    Dear Senator Feingold,

    Thank you for taking the time to write this diary.  

    Will your committee consider or support accountability for those who willfully ignored the laws on the books?  

    If not accountability, would you support a truth and reconciliation process for those involved in the Bush Administration's efforts to "claim[] unprecedented powers as it has ignored or willfully misinterpreted the laws on the books."

    If your committee would not support accountability or a truth/reconciliation effort, why not?

    •  Please, let's drop the "reconciliation" part. (9+ / 0-)

      Maybe that was appropriate in South Africa. Here, there is no reconciliation possible. They would just take that as an "okay." It isn't.

      How about a Truth a Justice process, instead?

      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 Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:11:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But that's the critical part... (6+ / 0-) have to give amnesty to many of those who testify, or they won't testify.

        The point of public shaming is to prevent perpetrators from having an active part of public life.  In today's era of youtube, commission hearings would be instantly online.  

        If a perpetrator ever went on a news show 3 years later and the news show producers attempted to present the perpetrator as an "elder statesman," it would be fodder for a Daily Show-type montage.  Imagine someone trying to present himself as an "elder statesman," contrasted against testimony that he broke the law and undermined the Constitution.  

        People are visual animals-- showing the hypocrisy is much more effective than having it only in a written, narrative format.  

        •  Nah. They won't appear on tv (10+ / 0-)

          if they are in jail. You'll get small fry to flip on big fish with plea bargaining.

          Maybe you aren't old enough to remember that everyone knew Nixon "broke the law and undermined the Constitution." And after a few years, he was a mainstay in the Press as an "elder statesman." And the scum that clung to him resurfaced in the Reagan, Bush Sr & Jr administrations as players.

          If he had gone to jail, all that we've experienced this time around would not have been possible.

          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 Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:32:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  We have better tools now. (5+ / 0-)

            Like I said, don't underestimate the power of the Youtube/Daily Show effect.

            And it isn't limited just to what is shown on the TV either-- if people take video themselves they can easily post it and make it fodder for remix.

            I do remember that during the 1990s Nixon rehabbed himself (as did Kissinger) as an elder statesman.  That would have been much more difficult had the tools I've outlined been available , along with proper footage of hearings.

            I also agree that some prosecutions are necessary-- and think that it was wrong that the United States did not prosecute and incarcerate Nixon.  Even if it had been just for a short time, it would have been worth it.  

            That's why in my initial post I asked about accountability and/or truth and reconciliation.  

            •  So we're agreed on everything but the (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NonnyO, ibonewits, James Kresnik

              "reconciliation" part. I don't see how, after the rattlesnake has bitten, you expect to reconcile with it. Whatever it says in the way of apology, it's still a rattlesnake, and won't miss the next chance to strike.

              I could see how in SA you needed that to avoid outright civil war. But here... you make damned sure that rattler don't get near you again.

              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 Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:03:53 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Unrest in the United States (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                snakelass, ibonewits

                I do think there is a real chance of unrest in the United States, especially considering the vast swaths of the interior that voted firmly for McCain/Palin.  Consider also that the religious right has heavily infiltrated the security services.  That's why I suggest that reconciliation is a very important part of the process-- we still have to have buy in from the red states.  

                •  A better idea... (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  snakelass, rlharry, NonnyO, James Kresnik

                  Prosecute the members of both parties who committed these crimes. There are plenty to choose from.

                •  The 'unrest' will come in the form of 'no jobs' (7+ / 0-)

                  consider that we have lost over a million jobs in less than 3 months.  Consider how many jobs will be lost because, let's face it, the big 3 auto companies are going to go down.

                  What we are not seeing is what ten to twelve percent unemployment is going to look like in our country in the next year or so.  Our treasury is empty. Bush and his cronies have emptied it, and there is NO SAFETY NET.

                  That is where the unrest is going to come from, and when societies are driven by people that cannot feed their children, you will see extremism come crashing down around our heads.

                  This above all to me is why George Bush must be held accountable.  He and his administration brought our country to it's knees, and did it without regard for the consequences, for greed and power and money.

                  "Government is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex." --The late Frank Zappa

                  by Badabing on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 03:32:37 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  reconciliation is not amnesty (15+ / 0-)

        trust me on this one, i've done ethnic reconciliation ministry in the balkans, and specifically asked this question of one of the leading theologians on the issue (miroslav volf).

        there can be no forgiveness without admission of wrongdoing.

        and there can be no reconciliation without justice.

        now, justice comes in restorative as well as retributive flavors, but it isn't possible to completely do away with the punishment aspect.  volf compared it to parenting his children: sometimes you do have to punish them to make them understand that they can't just get away with stuff.

        and after watergate, iran-contra and the bush administration, i'd say these bad actors are long overdue.

        l'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers

        by zeke L on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:13:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  contrition demands truthful admission (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neroden, CKendall

          simplicity is the most difficult of all things

          by RichardWoodcockII on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 04:44:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Forgiveness is NOT an option (0+ / 0-)

          We know they've broken many laws and lied about more things than we even know about yet.

          They need to serve time in jail for their lies and war crimes and other high crimes and misdemeanors.

          We need justice for those who died for lies for oil, control of oil fields in the future, for the future profits of the US oil corporations.  They used our very public military to achieve wealth for their private gains.  The military is NOT in Iraq to "preserve, protect, and defend" the rights of Americans.  They are there for the lies told to all of us, to the world, for the profit margins of US corporations (oil, military-industrial, mercenary corporations).  Thousands upon thousands of people have died or been maimed for life for the lies and war crimes ordered by Bush, Cheney, and their criminal cohorts, but none died or were injuried for any high-minded ideals.  The last "justified" war in which the US was involved was WWII.  Every war since then has been a senseless ridiculous sham, people died in vain, and those of us who are three days older than dirt (and who lost friends in one of those wars) know it.

          Forgiveness for Bush, Cheney and their criminal cohorts is NOT an option.

          The best we can merely hope for now is that Congress will rectify its errors of the last eight years when it has refused to hold Bush, Cheney, and their criminal cohorts accountable for their lies and war crimes.  Additionally, they need to come to the realization that there's no such thing as "winning a victory" in Iraq because it was always a war crime from the get-go; the best they can achieve is to declare a cessation of hostilities and quickly start the process of putting our troops on military transport planes and shipping them back to the states in the same amount of time it took to ship them over there to begin with.  Afghanistan we had permission to go into via the UN, but that's a lost cause, too; every military commander who has gotten lost in the mountains in thousands of years knows that.  That's another one we need to declare a cessation of hostilities and get out quickly.  OBL, according to Bhutton on video tape before she died, said he was dead.  Why go after a ghost?  It's stupid.

          I'm old.  I don't believe for one second that any of our Congress members have the courage of their bluster and bluff and high-minded words about 'restoring the constitution.'  It can't and won't be done until/unless everyone, from Obama on down the line, is willing to hold Bush, Cheney, and their criminal cohorts accountable for their lies and war crimes and is willing to put them on trial for said crimes.


          by NonnyO on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 09:26:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  forgiveness is always an option (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            but don't think that it necessarily precludes punishment or other consequences.

            nor does it imply that we forget.

            l'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers

            by zeke L on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:44:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Meanwhile, I won't forgive... (0+ / 0-)

              ... and I won't forget.

              And I'll rermember, come election time, the names of the people who refuse to hold Georgie and Dickie and their criminal cohorts accountable for their lies and war crimes....


              by NonnyO on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:46:46 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Forgiveness is irrelevant. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The problem is that Bushco and their followers still believe that what they did -- torture, false imprisonment, etc. -- was right.

            They must either admit that they were wrong, or be locked up as dangerous sociopaths.  The third alternative is to live in a society which encourages lawless violence by bully gangs.

            -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

            by neroden on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:41:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Go, Russ, Go. (11+ / 0-)

    Keep 'em honest.  Keep 'em within the law.  Prosecute those who don't.

    --Robert Benchley, arriving in Venice on a writing assignment, cabled his New York employer, "Streets filled with water--please advise."

    by textdoc on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 12:34:10 PM PST

  •  hi, senator. (15+ / 0-)

    i'd like to tell you to keep up the good work without reminding you to throw cheney in the hague or anything like that.

    (-4.73,-5.05) "Kucinich? Love the guy. Glad he's around. Prefer to win." Tweety '10 - for the lulz!

    by amnesiaproletariat on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 12:39:01 PM PST

  •  Constitution is abrogated by powers (24+ / 0-)

    of Federal Reserve, which at this moment are making decisions for amounts of money, 7 trillion is reported, far exceeding the entire federal budget of several years.

    This is done in secret and on a single unelected persons discretion.   This degree of influence of the country's and worlds economy was never anticipated in the original Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

    This is usurping more power than the loss of privacy, and other extensions of war powers, that your are focusing on.  Congress must become conversant in economics, since it is in this area that the future of our civilization may rest.

    Leaving it to the "experts" is no longer acceptable.

  •  I think restoring the rule of law... (21+ / 0-)

    is easier than it might appear. My humble thoughts are simply to investigate, prosecute and if found guilty convict and send to prison. This simple approach has seemed to work reasonably well for over 200 years!

    That said, thank you Senator Feingold! I watched the program last night and wholeheartedly agree that we need to rule of law in this country. Particularly when it comes to those who hold high office!

    Attention Waxman Staffers! Clean up on aisle 1600! huttotex 3/27/07

    by reflectionsv37 on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 12:42:15 PM PST

  •  I'm one of your constituents; (8+ / 0-)

    Thanks for your continued service in the cause of justice and liberty. Keep up the fight. I hope you liked the book I gave you for your birthday a few of years ago (Heavenly Discourse).

  •  Great job on Bill Moyers! (9+ / 0-)

    One of the things I miss most about living in Wisconsin is having you as my Senator.

    "What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet."--Woody Allen

    by MD on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 12:44:07 PM PST

  •  Wait to go, Russ (13+ / 0-)

    Please work to make sure that your less stiff-spined colleagues don't let the CIA torture--that is, make sure the CIA is subject to the rules laid out in the Army Field Manual.

  •  Thank you, Senator Feingold. (14+ / 0-)

    You were so articulate on Bill Moyers last night.

    "The rule of law." Ahhhh, hearing that was like a breath of fresh air.

    I admire you, what you do and how you do it. No other member of Congress has made such a positive impression on me. Thanks and keep up the great work!

    You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else. -- Sir Winston Churchill

    by bleeding heart on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 12:47:31 PM PST

  •  It's easy to be for rule of law and sep of powers (4+ / 0-)

    with a GOPer president.  I sincerely hope that the emphasis on rule of law is a principle that will continue to be asserted, rather than a convenient cudgel to use against Bush.

    We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

    by burrow owl on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 12:48:53 PM PST

  •  Thanks Russ (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mickT, peraspera, zett, rhutcheson, addisnana

    I watched the Moyers interview late last night. It's great having you as our senator from Wisconsin.

    A lovely little thinker, But a bugger when he's pissed

    by yuriwho on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 12:53:15 PM PST

  •  "I had the chance to sit down with Bill Moyers" (9+ / 0-)

    Senators have all the fun. :(

  •  I don't believe any executive willingly gives (20+ / 0-)

    up accumulated powers.  So, good luck with that.  Torture has got to be the first thing to go, if we want the Constitution to have any meaning at all.  And where in the Constitution does it say signing statements overrule the legislative branch?
    We have to return this country to three EQUAL branches immediately following January 20.
    Thank you for serving our country so faithfully as a U.S. Senator and may you continue to do so as long as you wish.

    Hang in, America! Our long national nightmare ends January 20, 2009, 12 noon EST.

    by incognita on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 12:56:08 PM PST

    •  So you're saying presidents never rescind (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      executive orders? Because that's just not true.

      •  I am not expressly referring to executive orders. (0+ / 0-)

        But, where did executive orders begin, anyway?  And has any President ever refuted them?  I doubt it.  The President's main job is to execute the laws passed by the Congress.

        Hang in, America! Our long national nightmare ends January 20, 2009, 12 noon EST.

        by incognita on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:27:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes. Executive orders get rescinded all the time. (0+ / 0-)

          And as for your not liking them, although not numbered (the numbering system was not established until 1907), the Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order... and that is merely one example.

          •  When I wrote "refuted", I meant has any (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            James Kresnik

            President ever not used executive orders?  The Emancipation Proclamation is worth its weight in gold, yes.  But, then we have bush giving the country away to special interests, namely oil and mining and from what I have been reading, Obama is going to have his work cut out for him trying to rescind those.  Whereas when Bill Clinton issued some about the Federal lands, bush was able to rescind those with no problem.  Since our lives depends on clean air, it seems to me that bad bush outweighs good Lincoln in some respects.

            Hang in, America! Our long national nightmare ends January 20, 2009, 12 noon EST.

            by incognita on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:29:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Sure they do. George Washington and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Cincinnatus are two notable examples.  It takes a very secure leader to do so, though.

      A jackass can kick down a barn but it takes a carpenter to build one.--Sam Rayburn (D-TX)

      by Ice Blue on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 03:20:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's not a common situation, thought. (0+ / 0-)

        It's the job of Congress the Courts and the citizenry to reign in Executive excess, or so I've been told, anyway.

        This is what happens when Democrats put winning ahead of accountability. -rolandzebub

        by James Kresnik on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 07:46:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Spread some of the power back to the states. (3+ / 0-)

    Some states tried to fight back but the Feds hold states hostage with financial blackmail.

  •  Senator, We miss Wisconsin...and we miss (8+ / 0-)

    the pride of having you as our Senator!  

    My husband and I enjoyed the Moyers interview last night, and appreciate the clarity and force with which you express the progressive spirit!

    Seriously, I can't imagine how any right-thinking person could disagree...including the "right"-thinkers who are so wrong.

    I have little doubt that the "rule of law" will be restored and upheld in the new administration.   But I think we now realize that it requires vigilance to safeguard the basic rights we used to take for granted .


    --It's a feverish world, Inman said, for lack of better comment. (Charles Frazier)

    by Taya Lawrence on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 12:56:55 PM PST

  •  Push hard on this, Senator. Never let up. (18+ / 0-)

    And please let us know, any time, how we can help you by agitating for change.

    The netroots is what the Letters to the Editor page wanted to be when it grew up.

    by Seneca Doane on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 12:57:17 PM PST

  •  The rule of law is what makes it work (7+ / 0-)

    Representative Democracy can not work without the respect for the rule of law and minority rights.

    President Obama. I just wanted to say that.

    by bearian on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 12:59:44 PM PST

  •  Rolling back the Bush executive power grab (9+ / 0-)

    I feel much better about this issue now that we have a president-elect who, unlike the current occupant of the Oval Office, actually understands the law and its importance in our system of government.

    All the best to you, Senator, and keep fighting the good fight on Capitol Hill.

    The Detroit "Lions". 2008 NFL Pre-Season Champions.

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:00:16 PM PST

  •  Impeach now please Senator Feingold! (9+ / 0-)

    What are we saying when the most flagrant unconstitutional acts committed by Bush, Cheney, et al are ignored?

    We are either a nation of laws or we are not. Congress needs to have the courage to act now.

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand." Frederick Douglass 1857

    by AntKat on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:00:25 PM PST

    •  Impeachment comes from the House. Talk to Pelosi. (8+ / 0-)

      Hope. Peace. Integrity.

      by Random Excess on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:06:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  He kinda leaves that out, doesn't he? (5+ / 0-)

      Where's the accountability?  Where's the justice?

      Russ?  Hello?

      •  different chambers, different roles (6+ / 0-)

        The House is the prosecutor.  The Senate is the court/jury.

        A Senator can't do much to initiate impeachment, other than hold hearings -- which, now that Feingold is in the majority again, he has done.  It's up to the House to pass an impeachment resolution.

        And for a Senator to call for impeachment before s/he has seen the resolution would be like a juror announcing how s/he would vote before the trial begins.

        •  The resolutions are done.... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AntKat, imchange

          Dennis Kucinich brought one impeachment resolution to the floor of the House; it's sitting in the House Judiciary Committee.

          Dennis Kucinich brought TWO impeachment resolutions to the floor of the House; both are sitting in the House Judiciary Committee.

          To get going on them only takes the say-so of John Conyers, Chair of the HJC... and, presumably, a nod of approval from Nancy Pelosi (which she will probably never give because she's either been blackmailed or she's an accessory to the knowledge of torture before we knew torture was done at Abu Ghraib and/or Guantanamo, so she doesn't want to be prosecuted with Bush, Cheney, and their criminal cohorts).  A quickie impeachment could be done by voting on a conviction on known lies and war crimes (some of which are on video tape, easily viewed) in less than a week, per Bruce Fein's advice before the HJC when they talked aobut executive 'abuses of power' because that idiot Pelosi refused to let them officially talk about impeachment.

          For eight years the executive branch has had carte blanche to do whatever they wanted to do, no matter how illegal, immoral, unethical, unconstitutional, unjustified, or dishonorable.

          That will not change until/unless the next executive branch AND both houses of Congress change their minds about holding the lying war criminals accountable for their lies and crimes without using stupid excuses like 'it's a distraction' or 'we have better things to do' or 'we don't have the votes' (before evidence is even presented).  They can talk a good game of 'restoring the rule of law' all they want, but until SOMEONE puts Bush, Cheney, and their criminal cohorts on trial, then the next presidents will have the same authority to do the same things with impunity, without being held accountable....

          If they do not hold Bush, Cheney, and their criminal cohorts accountable, just how soon do you think it will be before foreign countries have any respect for the leaders of the US again...?  Yes, I know.  They treated Obama like a rock star on his little world tour before the election.  That will last until they figure out after he takes the oath of office that he doesn't want to hold Bush and Cheney and their criminal cohorts accountable.

          If our new president and the chickenshit Congress Critters do not want to get their fingers dirty with investigations (or a quickie impeachment), the best we can maybe hope for is that Obama will - at the very least - sign the US back on to the World Court and let them arrest and try Bush, Cheney, and their criminal cohorts for crimes against humanity.  (And no, I no longer care if a few complicit Dems get taken out in the process of legal actions; I would have forgiven them if they had impeached when they should have, but letting the criminals go free is not forgivable or excusable, and if they get put on trial now, so be it.  I don't care as long as the crooks are all held accountable.)


          by NonnyO on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 10:00:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you senator. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera, rhutcheson

    My hope for the bush "legacy" is that his administration is held up as an example of how not to do things for all time.

    CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. A. Bierce

    by irate on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:01:11 PM PST

  •  I am so glad you're there, Senator (13+ / 0-)

    we desperately need you. Please know that the netroots will do whatever we can to help.

    Thank you for everything you've done to try to protect our Constitution over the past eight years.

  •  Will we hold them accountable or not Senator? (29+ / 0-)

    Are we a nation of laws, or of men?

    Without accountability rules are only for Democrats.  Republicans are free to be criminals at will.

  •  Did you know impeachment can take place (22+ / 0-)

    after a person has left office?

    The William Belknap precedent

    ...impeached by a unanimous vote of the House of Representatives shortly after he had resigned for allegedly having received money in return for post tradership appointments. ...Belknap was tried by the Senate, which ruled by a vote of 37-29 that it had jurisdiction despite the resignation.

    There's no serious restoration of America without impeachment, investigation, indictment, and imprisonment, Senator.

    And reasserting the rule of law is not just a liberal preoccupation. You'll remember majorities polled at favoring Bush's impeachment (and we know hundreds--literally--of crimes will come out from that process).

    If Nixon had been made to suffer for his criminality, that whole group of crooks and lunatics around him--Cheney, Rumsfeld, and a host of neocons--would also have seen their careers tank. Let Bush go away, and Bushnut creeps will just bide their time until they can ruin America further.

    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 Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:03:07 PM PST

    •  You forgot the rank criminal activities of the (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim P, NonnyO, imchange, CKendall

      Reagan/GHWBush administrations, which in some ways were much worse than Nixon.

      Death squads, torture, dealing with enemies of the United States, involvement with arms and drug running, bank fraud, obstruction of justice.  

      Just some of the charges which should have been brought against many of the Reagan Bush administration - and many of those players ended up either in the current administration, the 'lecture circuit' or TeeVee.


      Rumsfeld and Cheney both served in both Nixon and Reagan's admins ..

      2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

      by shpilk on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 07:50:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why not impeach them now? (10+ / 0-)

    Are we waiting for more evidence of crimes committed?  Or more crimes?

  •  Ah, I am proud to be from Wisconsin! (5+ / 0-)

    Oh, wait. Joe McCarthy was from Wisconsin, too. Can't we just kinda bypass that guy? He's made the rest of us look bad for quite awhile now.

    Thank you for this; I'll check out the interview and the speech. You rock, Russ! We need more progressives like you in the Senate, that's for sure.

  •  Censure Bush (and Cheney) (7+ / 0-)

        You've tried before, Russ, cf. , and you can do it again--but this time in a Democratic congress. Simpler than impeachment...

        And some of us will contact you about this next week. Thanks!

    •  Oh, yes. Make them stand in the corner! (5+ / 0-)

      That'll show them how tough Congress is.

      It's like a sternly worded letter, only voted on by everyone.

      I can see Bush and Cheney trembling in their shoes right now ...


      Won't it be nice to have a SMART President?

      by ibonewits on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:26:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You think you can get impeachment? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

            Good luck with that...

        •  No, I don't think we can (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          David Boyle, James Kresnik, imchange

          But "censure" is as toothless as those sternly written letters were.

          Unless, Congress were to pass a law saying that no one censured by Congress could serve in public office afterwards ...

          Won't it be nice to have a SMART President?

          by ibonewits on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 03:40:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  They could have got impeachment. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          David Boyle, NonnyO, imchange

          Let's not go over this again. By all reasonable accounts and historical comparisons, Americans wanted Bush and Cheney impeached, but Congress and Senators did not want impeachment. On the contrary, Senators and Congresspeople worked overtime to resist impeachment hearings. It is as simple as that.

          This is what happens when Democrats put winning ahead of accountability. -rolandzebub

          by James Kresnik on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 07:52:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  A quickie impeachment, yes (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          David Boyle, imchange

          Bruce Fein told how it can be done at the HJC hearing when the "abuses of power" of the administration were allowed to be discussed - and the panel could not use the word 'lie' but had to use 'mislead' or 'didn't tell the truth' instead when talking about the lies Bush and Cheney told (orders from Pelosi, apparently).  Anyway, Fein said a quickie impeachment could be done in less than a week if they impeached only on the known lies and crimes that could be proved on video tape; all easily viewed, etc., easy to present for evidence.

          It could be done.

          Look at the last FISA fiasco.  It was brought up in the morning by surprise on a Friday by Pelosi, discussed one hour, sent to the Senate the same afternoon.  The only reason the Senate didn't take care of it the same day was that some of the senators had left for the weekend, then there was the two weekend days, the following Monday or Tuesday most were out for a funeral, so they didnt' get to it until something like Tue. afternoon or Wed. morning.  Still, less than a week.

          Congress CAN move faster than a speeding glacier - when prompted by the whiney assed titty baby Bush to rush legislation through on an up-or-down vote and no discussion, or if they want to give something to Bush/Cheney, or give something to their PACs or corporations.

          It's only when the people who elected them demand justice or impeachment (for years and years and years) that they come up with any number of delaying tactics and excuses not to do something.


          by NonnyO on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 10:10:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Interesting (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

                Seems the impeachment TRIAL could take a while, though...

            •  It doesn't HAVE to.... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              David Boyle, imchange

              ... IF the trial is held on only those lies and crimes admitted to on video tape - admitting to wiretapping before Congress voted to retroactively approve of it, for instance.  (When the FISA fiasco finally made it to the floor of the Senate three or four days after it passed in the House, it took only one hour of "debate" in the Senate also and then it was voted on.  Actual time between the House and the Senate:  Two short days.  It went to Bush's office the same afternoon it passed in the Senate.)

              Further investigations into other things we know happened but need corroborating witnesses would take a while and then wouldn't be successful because idiots like Rove and Gonzales and other mumble-mouths who wouldn't testify against their boss (loyalty to a person is more important to them than telling the truth) and probably wouldn't answer subpoenas anyway (Rove, Miers, Bolten, et al.).

              Still, impeachment in the House could take a very short amount of time......

              I'm looking for justice for thousands, dead and maimed for life.

              I'm also sick and tired of our elected legislators coming up with lame-assed excuses as to why they are not actually enforcing the rule of law or what the Constitution says.  They can chat it up quite well, but they don't actually DO it when it comes to holding Bush, Cheney, and their criminal associates accountable for their lies and war crimes.


              by NonnyO on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 11:29:53 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Nixon, Oliver North, W. (7+ / 0-)

    Seems Republicans have a history of turning the rule of law on it's head.  

    Maybe we should just ban the Republican Party from politics, period.

    "It stinks." - Jay Sherman

    by angry liberaltarian on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:15:19 PM PST

  •  Seems like the idea of bringing back rule of (11+ / 0-)

    law needs to include all branches of government.

    The legislative branch is no beacon of integrity.

  •  Great piece on Moyers, Senator (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, zett, rhutcheson, GreenDog

    I caught it last night.  We're lucky to have that forum, and I appreciate your taking the time to talk with him.

    Keep up the good work.  We're in it for the long haul.  

  •  I Think the Framers DID Put the President Outside (0+ / 0-)

    the law.

    Unless I'm mistaken, the only power to enforce law, subpoenas, court decisions etc. against the entire executive branch is the branch's own Attorney General. As we see, the ones we've had have often declined to do so, which has allowed criminal acts by members up and down the branch and into the White House to support a criminal presidency.

    Now I'm sure the next Congress and the Obama A.G. will  take action against some members of the Bush Executive Branch that he neglects to pardon on the way out. --Long, long after the fact and after the damage was done to the people and our national treasure.

    Unless the Constitution is amended to somehow create some enforcement authority outside the Executive, this is going to happen again and again.

    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 Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:23:17 PM PST

    •  Actually, no (5+ / 0-)

      Unless I'm mistaken, the only power to enforce law, subpoenas, court decisions etc. against the entire executive branch is the branch's own Attorney General. As we see, the ones we've had have often declined to do so, which has allowed criminal acts by members up and down the branch and into the White House to support a criminal presidency.

      In the early years of our Republic, criminal acts could be prosecuted by ordinary citizens.  It was quite common, in fact.

    •  No (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Until the 20th century Congress used to bring people in and try them at the bar of the appropriate house, for example if they tried to evade subpoenas. They only shifted the responsibility for enforcing this to the Justice Department as a deal where the executive agreed it would do this. But the power remains, and Congress could have used it (maybe should have used it) to enforce its subpoenas.

    •  Same problem with the Courts (0+ / 0-)

      They write their own rules of procedure. There is very little checks with the Court.  They can sentence someone for 100 years in prison and another for 1 year for the exact crime.  I'm not fan of OJ, but 9 years behind bars is probably a life sentence for his age and hardly a just penalty for what he did.

  •  Thank you Senator (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera, rhutcheson, Good Hope Road

    for keeping your eye on the ball.

    I can't think of anyone else I would rather have protecting our rights.

  •  Senator, you don't seem to have stuck around (16+ / 0-)

    to read comments, but just on the off chance you see this one, I have to ask: Are you Democrats going to continue to let the Republicans run Congress from the minority the way they have been for the last two years? Because I have to say, I was expecting real change after the 2006 elections, and I didn't get it. If that happens again, you are going to have problems, and not just with me.

    •  The Democrats have already lost me. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Senator Feingold, I hope you are aware that MOST of your fellow Senate Democrats are criminally complicit with Chimpco.

      I voted Green this year and will continue to do so until your party earns my trust again.

      OK, 2008 is over. NOW can we please concentrate on the "better" part of "more and better Democrats?"

      by simca on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:01:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't worry, simca. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Whether or not you ever vote Democrat is irrelevant. We've already replaced you. And while you're sitting on the sidelines whining, we'll be busy rebuilding America and undoing decades of Conservative dominance.

        "I will fight for my country, but I will not lie for her. " -- Zora Neale Hurston

        by blueintheface on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 07:24:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Will definitely check it out (4+ / 0-)

    Good to see you here Senator. It's been far too long.

  •  I'm proud to hail from Wisconsin, in large part (7+ / 0-)

    because of its Progressive tradition.  Thank you, Sen. Feingold, for carrying the torch.

    "Sell your cleverness and purchase bewilderment." --Rumi

    by GreenMtnState on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:40:10 PM PST

  •  I too am hopeful (19+ / 0-)

    that the assault on our Constitution will end.  However, I am afraid that the end of the assault will only be temporary if there is no accountability for the perpetrators of the criminal assault, otherwise known as treason.

    Senator, you know these gentlemen have committed crimes against the constitution, high crimes, low crimes, misdemeanors and felonies.  You know it, we know it.  It's one of those open "secrets."  

    We know the previous Republican administration committed crimes, Iran-Contra the most notorious, that Reagan conspired with our enemies to influence his election, and now we are finding out from tapes from the Vietnam era that Nixon sabotaged the peace talks President Johnson was attempting to ensure that failure to end the war through negotiations would drag Johnson down and ensure his election. This is not only a felony -- private parties persuing diplomacy -- in wartime it is also treason.

    There is a pattern here, Senator, a clear pattern of treason against the United States for partisan gain.  We allowed Nixon to be pardoned and his minions returned with the Bush administrations.  We allowed Iran-Contra to be swept under the rug because the perpetrators were highly placed "patriots" or wore uniforms.  

    The only quick move that will really ensure that the disregard for the Constitution is truly past is impeachment.  The corrective action Congress must take is impeachment.  The balance of power can only be restored when the supine branch of government -- Congress -- asserts it's power once again.  Executive action cannot restore the power of Congress.  Judicial action cannot restore the power of Congress.  Only Congress, by taking action on its own, can restore its own power. Or lose it completely, if that's how it plays out.  But at least we will know what we are dealing with, and as citizens, can take our own appropriate action.

    At this juncture, the exercise of Congressional power is quite limited.  The so called power of the purse is effectively gone, since the executive can redirect money allocated for one purpose to another purpose.  Legislation is effectively meaningless, if the executive can unilaterally rule some parts of passed legislation unconstitutional without review by the Supreme Court, merely by signing a statement saying that's their opinion.

    What have you got left?

    Inherent contempt enforced by Congresses Sergeant at Arms, and impeachment.

    That's it, Russ.  All the rest is business-as-usual fol-de-rol.  If the bastards walk, again, the rule of law in this country is toast.  A joke.  A polite fiction dependant on the good graces and whim of whoever we elect as temporary King, until someone gets the idea that they can keep the job permanently, and then we'll have to revolt.  

  •  Surest Way To Restore Rule of Law (21+ / 0-)

    and the people's confidence in that would be to investigate, prosecute, and sentence the members of the Bush Administration -- from the president on down -- who destroyed the Constitution in the first place by breaking and ignoring Constitutional Law.  

    That's right.  Start at the top, with the worst offender.  With the guy who had the watch.  Where the proverbial buck stops.

    How hard is that to figure out?

    Until the responsible parties are held to account to the full extent of the law, none of us will truly believe that the Rule of Law has been restored, regardless of how often and loudly we're told it has been.

    Without vigorous pursuit and prosecution of the criminals, we will continue to view the Justice Department as just another example of the stereotypically corrupt "police department" that sees criminal activity take place beneath its nose; that knows who the responsible criminals are; and that turns its back and washes its hands of its duty when it comes to enforcing the law.

    Until subpeonas are issued and indictments are handed down by the Justice Department and/or Congress, whatever you say is just empty words.

    They burn our children in their wars and grow rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

    by Limelite on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:41:18 PM PST

  •  So when are heads gonna roll, Russ? (8+ / 0-)

    How about some justice?  Some accountability?

    You sorta GLARINGLY LEAVE THAT OUT of your piece here.

    What's up with that?

  •  Thanks for this, Senator. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, zett, rhutcheson

    I think Obama will be very responsive to your efforts.

    Keep up the great work. You may not be the senator from my state, but you are still the senator for progressives.

    "The way to see by Faith is to shut the eye of Reason." --Benjamin Franklin

    by Dragon5616 on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:45:52 PM PST

  •  No tip jar, eh? (3+ / 0-)

    Having credibility when making an argument is the straightest path to persuasion.

    by SpamNunn on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:53:22 PM PST

  •  principles of a free, representative society (14+ / 0-)

    Thank you, Senator Feingold, for both representing your constituents and upholding your oath of office.  The Constitution is our social contract, what we are supposed to stand in agreement with as a citizenry in order to allow a federal government to exist.  I had started watching the testimony from the hearings, and I'll be sure to watch the interview.

    This sentence is telling:

    Through executive action, much of the damage to the rule of law can be reversed, paving the way for additional corrective action in Congress.

    It seems to me that the fundamental failing in the Constitutional framework is that Congresspeople cede their institutional power to the President.  Congresspeople fight tooth and nail over their own personal power, committee chairmanships and so forth, but a majority of them willingly shovel legislative power over to the executive.  Whether that's because they don't want voters to hold them to account at the ballot box for Congresspeople's responsibilities (e.g. the Iraq AUMF instead of a declaration of war, and John Kerry's justifications for it), because monied political players want more power in the executive where they really only need to influence and corrupt one person rather than 535, or because of other reasons, I don't know what the strongest motivations are.  Note that virtually the same Congress that tried to impeach Bill Clinton over personal bullshit also tried to give him the power to edit budget bills.

    The Iron Law of Institutions is: the people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself. Thus, they would rather the institution "fail" while they remain in power within the institution than for the institution to "succeed" if that requires them to lose power within the institution.

    Democrats and the Iron Law of Institutions
    A Tiny Revolution, Sept 5, 2007

    In turn, the owned press cheers on this unconstitutional transfer of power, and the bulk of the public seems to neither understand nor care that it's happened.

    How do we upset this dynamic?  How do we force Congresspeople to assert their assigned institutional powers and responsibilities?  It seems to me that, for any improvement in our governance to be lasting, Congress must take extralegal power away from the President and explicitly refute Nixon's "If the President does it, it's not illegal."  While Obama conceding illegitimate power is absolutely something to celebrate, it will just lie waiting there for the next tyrannical figure, as it did in the Nixon-Reagan/G. H. W. Bush-G. W. Bush succession.  There are some recommendations in that article, such as:

    1. Any serious attempt to transform the Democratic party would include a conscious attempt to change its culture, into one that celebrates different people: organizers rather than elected officials and donors.

    The founders relied upon the self-interested drive of each branch's members to check the other branches, but their framework has not sufficiently anticipated the impact of the "Iron Law of Institutions."  The ultimate manifestation of that flaw is that, when the President and those in his administration grossly exceeded Constitutionally defined powers neglected responsibilities, Congress (even with a Democratic majority in the House) responded by granting more power, rather than by impeaching, jailing under an inherent contempt process, or even taking any investigation of the administration to its logical conclusion.  When push came to shove, Congress grudgingly with relief turned the other cheek.

    I don't fault the founders for this — it's not as though they had the hubris to anticipate that the same document would guide our government for over two centuries!  They didn't anticipate instant communication, stateless corporations, the hypnotic power of television, and so on.  After all, we're still using the electoral college!

    In a time when executive branch officials argue that what they do is okay because Office of Legal Counsel lawyers told them so, and when the mere utterance of the words "unitary executive" mean the President has unchallengeable kingly powers, the "living Constitution" is dead.  The words in the document no longer mean what they plainly say (just look at the Tenth Amendment), and if they suddenly did, it would mean wholesale revolution, in the literal sense that those with power would gain it and those with would lose it, as well as in the practical sense of violent upheaval.

    As a distinguished Constitutional legal scholar, Obama knows exactly what potentially tyrannical powers he is about to wield.  Hey may yet choose to wield some or most of them.  I support any unilateral move on his part to concede those powers, but more than that I support any Congressional move to reassume its assigned role.

    I would also support a new Constitutional Convention, since it may be that our current Constitution is insufficient to guide a free, fair, representative society in modern times.  The principles are truly great, but the structure has decayed and failed.

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:55:02 PM PST

    •  Subscribing to your newsletter. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I disagree that the revolution you describe will necessarily be violent. The instutionns of power in this country are extremely vulurnable to either economic protest or full-blown electoral revolt. Violent overthrow would be counterproductive and likely give rise to a despot, but if bad comes to worse it might happen anyway.

      This is what happens when Democrats put winning ahead of accountability. -rolandzebub

      by James Kresnik on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 06:42:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Likelier counterrevolutionary violence (0+ / 0-)

        than revolutionary violence — note the grossly draconian efforts of federal and local government forces to suppress independent voices at the 2008 and 2004 RNCs (and DNCs).

        Got a kick out of your "Malcontents" post...

        Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

        by Simplify on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 01:15:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Just a few questions, Sir. (15+ / 0-)

    One area we spoke about at length, restoring the rule of law, has to be a top priority. Our founding fathers laid down a basic principle -- that we are a nation of laws and that no one, including the president, is above the law. From Guantanamo Bay and warrantless wiretapping to torture and excessive secrecy, the Bush administration has turned this principle on its head. The Constitution states that it and the laws of the United States are "the supreme Law of the Land." Yet, the current administration has claimed unprecedented powers as it has ignored or willfully misinterpreted the laws on the books.

    So why was George W. Bush not impeached?  How can rule of law be restored without enforcing rule of law?  Is Mr. Bush above the law?  If so, whatever remedy you have in mind vis-a-vis Obama repudiating Bush's crimes is not the same as Bush being brought to account, tried, and hopefully convicted and imprisoned.  Where is that part in your remedy, Senator?  Without that, the rest of it is empty space, null and void, with clear message that the alleged President of the United States of America can rise above the law at will.  Your repudiations will amount to a fart in a hurricane.

    Moreover, do you and your colleagues realize, or at least have a glimmer of realization, just how damaging Bush's example has been and remains to emerging and/or would-be democracies of the world?  You know, the sorts of countries that used to look to the US as an example and guide before GW Bush screwed the pooch and was left to get away with it?  Do you understand, or have an inkling that you might, just how much damage with consequent confusion, pain and suffering Bush's example has rendered to foreign lands and peoples?

    Clear answers about what you intend to do about GW Bush will help us all to understand if America really is about, and example of, rule of law.

    Thanks to you and your colleagues for addressing this question, which has arisen in the minds of many a judicious and thoughtful soul not only in the US but also abroad: What are you going to do about GW Bush?

    I love the smell of victory in the morning. Smells like - - - napalm.

    by USexpat Ukraine on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 01:56:47 PM PST

    •  Your attacks would be (3+ / 0-)

      better placed in a diary of your own, rather than here, where they insult one of the few people in the country who have both the inclination and a little of the power required to correct some of the  problems caused by the current administration.

      •  Wrong (7+ / 0-)

        Usexpat Ukraine had asked perfectly legitimate questions, and I think if Senator Feingold wants to post here, he should be prepared to answer that question.

        The US Congress and Senate is criminally culpable along with the Bush Administration.  They went beyond mere acquiescence -- they actively condoned and enabled Bush's policies.

        OK, 2008 is over. NOW can we please concentrate on the "better" part of "more and better Democrats?"

        by simca on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:07:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I have great respect for Russ Feingold. (5+ / 0-)

        He has unusual courage to take the stands he's taken in the Senate.  That is why I posed the question(s) to him in particular.  I trust that he takes such questions in the spirit of frank and honest inquiry.  It is certainly not meant as an attack.

        I love the smell of victory in the morning. Smells like - - - napalm.

        by USexpat Ukraine on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:51:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Glad to hear it, (0+ / 0-)

          Your use of phrases such as

          Moreover, do you and your colleagues realize, or at least have a glimmer of realization, just how damaging Bush's example has been and remains to emerging and/or would-be democracies of the world?

          suggested the opposite, along with a certain ignorance about Feingold's opposition to the Bush administration.

  •  Rule of law and gay issues (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    revsue, zett, ibonewits, imchange, CKendall

    I think its easy to discuss rule of law as progressives without pointing that mirror our way.

    Let's do that now. I point to any number of discussions on this very blog regarding equal protection analysis, the role of the judiciary and the limits on majoritarian democracy. Quite a few of the users on this very blog defended the idea that the majority gets to do what it wants regardless of the rules of law regarding equal protection.

    It's easy to point to conservatives for their failures. But, what of those who say they agree with us, but are never the less preaching ideas that are against the fundamental principles of our country's foundation?

    I think its easier to see the truth of our values when we are discussing our own moral compass. That deterioration of the rule of law at the federal level has its genesis in the lack of understanding of our system at the local level. It's hard to say others have rights in a far off place when you are not willing to provide rights locally.

  •  Thank you, Senator Feingold (8+ / 0-)

    Do you support having an independent, thorough and open investigation into those who wrote the Bush Administration's definition of torture, those who who aided and abetted its becoming the law, policy and practice of the United States, those who approved the torture, and those who actually carried out the torture? Do you support holding these people responsible, legally?

    Do you support an independent, thorugh and open accounting of all those held in US custody since January 21, 2001, all those renditioned, and their treatment?

    Do you support re-signing the International Criminal Court Treaty, and its radification?

    I'm not saying you don't just truly getting an understanding.

         With gratitude, and standing for justice,
             For Dan,

  •  That's my Senator. Let's have an accounting (5+ / 0-)

    Watched it on TV in North Madison, good work, Senator.
    It's important that the crimes actually be identified and when possible, some restitution be made. We don't have to go into a national feeding frenzy of course.  It is important that the guilty parties be processed through dome sort of reconciliation where ther acknowlege their mistakes and we proceed on a clear understanding this sort government by cronyism not happen again.

    There are two kinds of Republicans, millionaires, and chumps.

    by MadCityRag on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:01:34 PM PST

  •  As an ex-Pat cheesehead, I'm proud... (7+ / 0-) have voted for Sen. Feingold in his first run for the US Senate.

    He's one of the handful of truly progressive Senators (and House Members) who put the public before their party.

    Add in Senators:
    Patrick Leahy
    Bernie Sanders
    Chris Dodd
    Ted kennedy

    In the House the true progressives are:
    Dennis Kucinich (OH-10)
    Sam Farr (CA-17)
    Tammy Baldwin (WI-02)
    Lynn Woolsey (CA-06)
    Rush Holt (NJ-12)

    After that, the list starts getting thinner and thinner....

    Thank you Sen. Feingold for fighting the good fight on behalf of the citizenry, not the corporations.

    "It's never too late to have a happy childhood" - Tom Robbins

    by ARS on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:18:06 PM PST

  •  Another Drive-by to mollify the Base (12+ / 0-)

    I've read enough of these. It's time to shit or get of the pot. I'm sick of people telling us what is the right thing that needs done only to have them refuse to tell us why they won't do those thing. Excuses is all we've heard for the last 8 yrs and I'm sick of them. Our Congressional leaders are pros at rationalization but wimps when it comes to taking the needed actions. The next election will be more about electing better and braver Democrats so we can weed out the weak, the Blue Dogs, and the cowards that would rather protect their seat than their Country.

    President Theodore Roosevelt,"No man can take part in the torture of a human being without having his own moral nature permanently lowered."

    by SmileySam on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:18:59 PM PST

    •  Its beyond me to (4+ / 0-)

      understand how you can support Obama but insult Feingold, who has demonstrated quite a bit of principle and backbone in a long and many times lonely career in the Senate.

      •  My support has always conditional (5+ / 0-)

        I have been far from a Obama Big Fan. Yes I supported his run because of 2 reasons. First Edwards didn't get past the Primarys and second because I thought Hillary would be worse than either Obama or McCain. You might want to read my writing before you assume my support for someone is blind.

        President Theodore Roosevelt,"No man can take part in the torture of a human being without having his own moral nature permanently lowered."

        by SmileySam on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 04:28:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I concur with this 100% (9+ / 0-)

          Democrats have made lots of promises, but I have seen pretty much zero action from them to fulfill those policies.  Blind support of any politician, regardless of party, is an abrogation of your citizen's DUTY to hold your elected officials accountable.

          OK, 2008 is over. NOW can we please concentrate on the "better" part of "more and better Democrats?"

          by simca on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:10:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's the money quote, simca. (5+ / 0-)

            Blind support of any politician, regardless of party, is an abrogation of your citizen's DUTY to hold your elected officials accountable.

            We're not a bunch of derranged extremist loonies for demading the restoration of Constutional protections. No, it is the ones in power, and their fellow travellers who are insane. They are insane for thinking that the Rule Of Law and self-determination is somehow wrong-headed or unnecessary and that we are better off replacing it with a Byzantine system of influence peddling and warmongering. They were insane for thinking that it was a good idea to keep Bush and his cabal in power. It will soon be time to hold both political parties accountable for their complicity in destorying our Republic.

            This is what happens when Democrats put winning ahead of accountability. -rolandzebub

            by James Kresnik on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 06:19:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, I read all (and enjoy almost all) (0+ / 0-)

          of your stuff here, but this criticism of Feingold is off base.  

    •  Rant (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden, 99 Percent Pure

      Senate races this year have shown is more than one way to deal with bad politicians. I heard several Republicans got knocked out of Senate seats by thrid party spoilers who felt like they were not  responsive enough to parts of their base. Libertarians knee-capped Chamblis handing Marting a real shot at winning a Senate seat.

      I will contiune to support Democrats, but there are a lot of principled voters who will eventually lose patience and start taking punative measures, consequences be dammed. Senator Feingold, consider yourself forewarned.

      This is what happens when Democrats put winning ahead of accountability. -rolandzebub

      by James Kresnik on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:58:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  President can do it fast (and temporary) (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, ibonewits, James Kresnik, rhutcheson

    President Obama can issue executive orders restoring the rules in his first days. (Closing Gitmo will take longer).

    On the other hand, any later president can revoke an executive order. Making it more permanent would require a series of laws.

    "I'm not opposed to all wars; I'm opposed to dumb wars." -- Obama in 2002

    by Frank Palmer on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:21:55 PM PST

  •  Thanks for All You Do! n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rhutcheson, FarWestGirl

    "We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." POTUS - Elect Barack Obama

    by CityLightsLover on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:25:00 PM PST

  •  If laws are not enforced, what do they mean? (13+ / 0-)

    Just asking. Rule of law, no man is above the law, we'll restore...etc.etc. We know what "executive privilege means...for Bush and Co. It means they will do whatever they damn well please. They are like drivers going down the shoulder at 90 mph while the rest of the "law abiding citizens" wait patiently for the traffic to move. Doesn't sit well with me.

  •  Thank you Senator (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, ibonewits, Neon Mama, imchange

    I was/am in awe of Obama's fund raising.  But like you, I think we need to have limits.  Yes, it was WE the little people who helped fund Obama, but I don't think that kind of money is sustainable in future campaigns.  Mainly because I think the climate that Bush created caused people to start paying powerful attention to this campaign, as well as Obama was a powerful campaigner. And I think public monies for congressional and senatorial campaigns should be next.  Especially for congress as the constant fund raising there is just a crime as it puts each and every congresscritter in a constant hand out all day every day.  Senators at least get 6 years between.  Maybe we should think about increasing congressional terms to 3 or 4 years maybe (but then they may not be responsive to the needs of the public for changes).

    Since dems now have some say, maybe going back and requiring public service from those who use public wavelengths might offset some campaign costs.  Maybe at 5 am and 11 pm there can be free air time for campaigning.

  •  don't waste your time (6+ / 0-)

    We aren't buying your crap anymore.
    You assisted in their trampling of the Constitution by not pressing for impeachment.

  •  Rule of Law (7+ / 0-)

    Thank you, Senator Feingold for your voice of reason and truth.  However, I agree with many of the comments herein:  without accountability, without justice, the rule of law is meaningless.  Bush, Cheney, Gonzales, Rice, Rumsfeld, Woo, Rove---the whole lot of them need to account for their crimes.  They have made of mockery of the rule of law and have gotten away with it, thus empowering the forces of hate and division in this country and the world.  Not to mention the lives lost and ruined because of their crimes.  

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke

    by rlharry on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:40:03 PM PST

    •  isn't that a list of WHY the entire nation just (2+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      andrewj54, Good Hope Road
      Hidden by:

      went to the polls and elected a different set of people to try and restore equality, justice and balance to the way we allow ourselves to be governed.

      Or was that an excercise in futility according to these pessimistic, finger pointing, blame gakme being played out in these pages?

      I guess you didn't bother to vote, because if you did and voted for a new way, for chnage, a restoration, you obviously don't believe anything will work and would rather burn the town down than re-build respect and prosperity.

      I prefer a more constructive approach.

      •  the entire nation? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Roughly 61% of eligible Americans voted in this past election, which means approximately 39% chose not to.  Barack got about 53% of the vote and McCain took roughly 46%.  using some basic math we find that Barack got around 32% of the eligible vote and McCain received 28%.  This means more people in this country chose not to vote at all than supported either candidate.  

        The "entire nation" didn't do jack.  In fact only 22% of the entire population supported Obama.  Historically speaking that's actually a very good number, but it doesn't imply the kind of national consensus "to try and restore equality, justice and balance" your claiming.

        This country does not have the luxury to entertain idiocy as if it is reasonable. --Digby

        by Thought Crime on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 03:33:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  gads (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        James Kresnik

        What you seem to prefer is that all misconduct goes as long as the teacher is not in the room.

      •  "Constructive"!?! (0+ / 0-)

        Well, Obama currently has announced no plans to restore our civil rights or civil liberties.

        Who's burning the town down?  It ain't us.

        Hide-rated for name-calling and lying.

        -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

        by neroden on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:44:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Tiny problem, rlharry (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lotlizard, neroden, imchange

      The new president didn't support impeachment and ONLY sort of approves of investigation into their lies and war crimes if they were "egregious offenses."  (That's why I did not support him until after idiot Palin was the VP nominee; I couldn't take a chance they'd be elected.  I supported Kucinich because he actually did something about impeachment and Kucinich's not-for-profit health care plan was much better, too.)

      I'm afraid we're gonna get rooked again.

      The current Dems talk a good game of "restoring the rule of law" and "restoring constitutional principles," but it looks like they do not believe in accountability for the lying war criminals of the last administration.

      I predict nothing will happen to Bush, Cheney, Yoo (not Woo), Addington, Bybee, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, Rice, Rove, Miers, Bolten, et alia.  Some, like Rove, will still do the talk show circuit on Sunday mornings as lying experts to represent the Repukes, but the rest will profit nicely from books, whatever else they do since they're still free do screw up the world any which way they choose.  Repuke Lamestream Media is still in love with them.

      I would happily and enthusiastically eat humble pie if I'm wrong.  Heck, I'll make the damned thing myself (and I'm not that good a cook, so it would taste awful).


      by NonnyO on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 11:16:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  NonnyO you are right (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zett, neroden, NonnyO, imchange

        Bush, Cheney, and all of the BushCo cabinet members and senior officials will never face prosecution. We will have four or eight years of DKOS diaries about prosecution, but just like the impeachment diaries, they will go unanswered by the Obama administration and the Congress. The key is that, with a few exceptions, the Congress wants no part of looking back. And the Obama administration does not want to spend it's political capital on prosecuting the Bush administration. Count on it.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 05:14:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  "Senator" (11+ / 0-)

    That word, "Senator", is no longer a title of respect, it is now an epithet.  It was made so by the standing ovation your colleagues gave to "one of their own" who had been convicted of seven felonies.  It was made so by the passage of telecom immunity, which made clear to the American people that the laws we must live by do not apply to the wealthy and the powerful.  

    I do not care about your rhetorical support for the Rule of Law.  All I know is that you are a "Senator".  You stand proudly beside those who have abandoned that principle and you meekly consented to their trampling it under foot.  Where were the filibusters to stop telecom immunity, or torture, or then military commissions act or to simply bring the Senate to a grinding halt, lest it betray and abuse the American people any further?  You cannot come to us and claim you have done your all, for it is clear that you have not.  

    You are not a brave champion of the Rule of Law.  You are just another go along to get along "Senator", and I have no use for your empty promises and hollow rhetoric.

    This country does not have the luxury to entertain idiocy as if it is reasonable. --Digby

    by Thought Crime on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 02:43:54 PM PST

    •  and i have no use for your generalizations and (6+ / 0-)

      indiscriminate guilt by association comment.

      I wish to to disavow any association with people on this site, where as it is administered under true democratic principles, and any individual can voice their opinions, I would not want other readers or posters to think that I, at least, hold this kind of blanket condemnation of all Senators as expressed by this truly ridiculous , uncalled for and disrespectful comment.

      Your moniker 'Thought Crime' is most apt.

      •  I can see that you are (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden, James Kresnik

        keeping your head firmly up your arse, because as the next round of occupations in this country occur and you have no food to buy at your local market, I sincerely hope your soccermamas help you feed your family....

        •  another Chicken Little heard from (5+ / 0-)

          what is the matter with you folks?  what on earth does that have to do with tarring Senator Feingold with Senator Stevens corruption brush!  talking about heads up rear ends.

          •  the Senate (4+ / 0-)

            has become the single most glaring obstacle to the restoration of the rule of law and with it our fallen Republic.  Russ Feingold chooses to be a member of that body but refuses to use his position or power to take a stand that cause.  He tars himself with corruption by refusing to take a stand against it, by refusing to denounce his colleagues (Democrat and Republican alike) for, literally, applauding it.

            Russ Feingold, for all his fine talk, has accomplished precisely nothing in the struggle to restore the rule of law, because he lacks the moral courage to take a stand.

            This country does not have the luxury to entertain idiocy as if it is reasonable. --Digby

            by Thought Crime on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 03:13:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  If you're talking about holds, that is (4+ / 0-)

              a courtesy, not an iron clad power.

              Now if you're talking about bringing back the old fashioned read-all-night fillibuster, you'd have a point.  But in the Senate the way it operates today, I don't see where any one Senator has the power to do what you say.

              Surely you understand enough about human nature to know how hard it is to go against the rest of your group, in and of itself, but then to be the one Senator that voted against the Patriot act even in the face of the anthrax attacks, attempted browbeating in front of his staff and Daschle's, and the general uber-"patriotism" sweeping the country? That's not taking a stand?  It was only about 6 weeks after 9-11 that it was Russ saying and acting on the idea that you don't throw the Constitution away in a crisis.
              He's taken stands to fight the Patriot Act over and over through the years - not enough other Senators would vote with him to do any good.  And that's just the Patriot Act. Why don't you bitch at the other Senators for not taking a stand?

              And for this bitching about him not renouncing the mostly repubs who applauded Stevens - that is so petty. Russ has his name on actual laws to clean up corruption in government - that is a lot more meaningful than him grousing about Stevens.

              Plangentarchy: see:

              by zett on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:29:11 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  generalization and guilt by association? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        simca, lotlizard, seabos84, ibonewits

        Every single member of the Senate has the power to take a stand and bring that body to a grinding halt should it contemplate actions which are offensive to their principles.  They cannot win all such battles but they all have the power to take a stand.  Russ, and every other member of the Senate, has consistently refused to take such a stand to uphold the Rule of Law.  That is not a generalization, nor guilt by association, it is a simple fact.

        This country does not have the luxury to entertain idiocy as if it is reasonable. --Digby

        by Thought Crime on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 03:05:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  So much bullshit I don't even know where to start (9+ / 0-)

      where did Sen. Feingold claim to have done his all?

      That's for starters.

      I don't get people who treat the one Senator who has tried to do the right things like shit.  (I don't agree with Sen. Feingold about impeachment, etiher, for what that's worth.)

      For one thing, his censure resolution kept the whole warrantless wiretapping brouhaha from getting swept under the rug.  Yeah, legalizing it passed anyway. Over his objection and his and Dodd's efforts to stop it.

      Don't accuse somebody of not trying just because they don't succeed, esp. when they have the bad fortune to be stuck working with about 90 spineless wonders.

      Plangentarchy: see:

      by zett on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 04:04:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dear Mr. FineGold (4+ / 0-)

    We will restore the rule of law when we remove the corrupt government we have and replace it with one that works for the poor majority instead of the rich minority.... I am sure you know that 400 Americans make more income in one year than 150 million of us....very sad....another fact is that 8 out of 10 Americans do not have savings accounts, in other words, they live paycheck to paycheck, that is if they can get a paycheck question to you is this, In the fleecing of America that is going on right now, Where is that 7 trillion dollars going and why haven't real people benefited????

    If I were you Mr. Government Official, I would find a hole to hide in because anger is building and its going to erupt soon enough....and the rule of law is going to be.... I will feed my family at any cost....

  •  Thank you Senator (11+ / 0-)

    I missed Moyer's program last night and will watch it shortly. And GIANT thank you for continuing to focus on restoring the law to this land after these eight long years of tyrannical rule by pirates.

    My hope is that all the crap done by Cheney and his henchmen, (Addington, Yoo, Libby et al and their predecessors and who ever they are contemplating embedding) can be undone. Bleach the hell out of the VP office. Dismantle the 4th branch. Address that little business of Signing Statements. Make the Executive Office again Co-Equal.

    Re-instate laws and then, please enforce them. The hearings conducted by oversight committees over the last two years have destroyed my confidence in my Party to hold lawbreakers to account.

    The charade must end. Government for the people, not for the corporations and their lobbyists. Please.

    Again, thank you for letting us know in the meantime.

    Take the Kama Sutra. How many people died from the Kama Sutra as opposed to the bible. Who wins? FZ

    by cosmic debris on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 03:06:56 PM PST

    •  you sound like one of them..... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      simca, 99 Percent Pure, James Kresnik

      bullshit and more bullshit, rhetoric piled on top of more rhetoric, while we get fleeced....letting you know....look is pretty clear that we are screwed and you are thanking the screwer....

      •  What do you suggest, violent revolution? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Be practical, it's not going to happen that way.

        Russ, and Bernie Sanders are about the best we're going to get, on our side in the Senate.

        2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

        by shpilk on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 07:42:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have tried to be practical (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          for over 50 is time to change the tune....and violence is not what I advocate....but supportive conjecture is over....

          you might continue to believe that change will happen by thinking the same way you did today but that will only create more problems.... we need to think differently or else we will continue to spiral into oblivion....a genius once wrote...

          "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

  •  How long do you think it will take to undo (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, neroden, rhutcheson

    the last minute damage Pres. Bush has done with federal regulations?  That has me much more concerned than the matter of impeachment, though I do think Bush deserves it.

    A jackass can kick down a barn but it takes a carpenter to build one.--Sam Rayburn (D-TX)

    by Ice Blue on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 03:07:16 PM PST

  •  I watched last night, (9+ / 0-)

    Mr.Feingold.I didn't realize your vast knowledge,insight,and determination.  Thank you for always standing by your principles, especially when others cave. Now that is rare!      

  •  Dear Senator Feingold. (14+ / 0-)

    I appreciate your words here. I respect your work as a progressive leader in the Senate. Indeed I signed on to the draft Feingold for President movement early on in this past Presidential campaign and was heart broken by, but respectful of, your decision not to run.

    Of course President elect Obama should restore the rule of law and the Constitution itself, to its rightful place. But we must absolutely and unequivocally do an exhaustive examination of the apparent illegal activities of the Bush administration. No reform that you or Mr Obama enact will be fruitful if we have future Presidents like Bush that simply say and act as if they are the emperor and immune from judicial and or legislative restraint.

    I know you are aware what I am saying is true. I wait for your leadership on this critical issue and necessary remedial course of action. I believe you are one of the few that is both intelligent and strong enough to bring prosecutorial weight to bear on the actions of this rogue President.

    -7.5 -7.28, What's a guy gotta do to get impeached around here?

    by Blueslide on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 03:18:08 PM PST

  •  The assault on the Constitution will not end. (9+ / 0-)

    I am hopeful that with the election of Barack Obama, the assault on our Constitution will end.

    Even a cursory examination of the writings of the founding fathers will show that the Constitution was meant to place extreme limits on the role of government. But I didn't see any promises to move in this direction. Most people just have a couple of "favorite parts" that they want the government to adhere to, not seeing/understanding the overall philosophy -- power corrupts and monopolies are bad, no matter how you dress them up.

  •  I live in Wisconsin. 'Nuff said. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, blueyedace2, Good Hope Road

    "The American People are not the problem in this country; they are the answer." --Barack Obama

    by ChicagoStudent on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 03:46:00 PM PST

  •  Speed Dial, Senator. Speed Dial. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, zett, blueyedace2, jamesia

    I have been stating since election night that the only way to support the peoples policy is to program our Congressmen/women and Senators numbers on our phones, faxes and email contact lists.  

    The same can be said for restoring the Rule of Law and our Constitution. My experience tells me that people are much more aware of law abuse than ever and are more proud than ever to see that our Congress and Administration uphold our Constitution.

    Nice to hear from you Senator.  Thanks.

    •  If that phone call is ignored, does it matter? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Yeah, that angry phone call and e-mail method worked real well for my friends crazy ex. A regular Greek Chorus, we are. Do wake me up when we have something that actually works.

      This is what happens when Democrats put winning ahead of accountability. -rolandzebub

      by James Kresnik on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:13:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What? You don't have faith in our leadership's (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden, James Kresnik

        … Sternly Worded™ line of products and services?

        You too can have your Sternly Worded™ e-mails and Sternly Worded™ phone calls mulched and composted into a Sternly Worded™ letter from your Senator or Congresscritter to someone or other who need not even bother to answer a subpoena.

        See the national finals of Dutch children's chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen's 2008 Song Contest December 14 in Hoorn!

        by lotlizard on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 02:11:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Howdy Russ! (5+ / 0-)

    Looking forward to the 2009 listening sessions.

    The lesson of that history is that you must not despair, that if you are right, and you persist, things will change. -Howard Zinn

    by blueyedace2 on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 04:00:05 PM PST

  •  liberty and justice for all (6+ / 0-)

    " I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies . . . If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] . . . will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered . . . The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs." -- Thomas Jefferson

    What we have seen, in recent years, is massive inflation by easy credit and low interest rates and deregulated banking which created the derivatives death star.  Now we're in the massive deflationary period with $7 trillion of burden placed on tax payers trying to keep zombie banks alive.  JP Morgan, the 'fav' of the fed, is likely bankrupt with $120 trillion in derivatives.  The "bailouts" will do nothing for bankrupt banks...they are bankrupt.

    Bush has told us ad nauseum to worry about 'terrorists' and promptly attacked the US Constitution with a hatchet.  1/2 million Americans lost their jobs in November because of bankers, millions more will in the coming year.  Thomas Jefferson knew what he was talking about.

    After 8 years of darkness, a great nation chose to reapply power to the beacon of light America stands for.

    by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 04:10:12 PM PST

  •  Structural Changes (9+ / 0-)

    Question for the senator, if you are reading these comments...

    What structural changes do you propose to ensure that this will never again happen?  What keeps us from getting into a situation where the good presidents (who won't break the law anyway, even with the power) follow the rule of law, and the bad presidents don't?  

  •  Just Hot Air? What is 'off the table ...' this (14+ / 0-)


    there is a limit to how much you can blame us underlings ---------------

    I already have a 50++++ hour a week job teaching high school math,




    I'm 48, since LTV Iran Contra Enron Freddie Fannie GM ...

    I almost never see those who had the authority AND THE REWARDS get the accountability.


    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 04:22:23 PM PST

  •  Dear Senator Feingold (3+ / 0-)

    watched you on PBS last night, glad I caught the program.
    Thanks for everything you are doing.

  •  I deeply regret that Senator Feingold (6+ / 0-)

    wasn't nominated to be Attorney General.

    (I don't know if he wanted to leave the Senate to do that job, but my faith in one person's integrity would be wholeheartedly with Senator Feingold to do the right thing in every area, past, current and future.)

  •  I was writing a diary about your Moyers interview (7+ / 0-)

    but this is much better.

    First I must thank you for your courageous votes against the Iraq War, against the Patriot Act, and just standing up for people like me.

    Moyers Journal

    BILL MOYERS: He said it would give the government too much power to snoop into the private lives of its citizens. Not two months after 9/11 Russ Feingold told the Senate: "Preserving our freedom is one of the main reasons that we are now engaged in this new war on terrorism. We will lose that war without firing a shot if we sacrifice the liberties of the American people." Feingold even proposed that the Senate censure President Bush for allowing Americans to be wiretapped without court order.

    I don't care what anybody else says, Bill Moyers still has the best program on TV.

    I would like to touch on another subject from your interview on Moyers last night.

    BILL MOYERS: You opposed Bush's and Paulson's $700 billion bailout. And now, as I read the papers, you are supporting the bailout of the Big Three in Detroit, the automobile industry. How do you explain the contradiction there?

    It's not a contradiction. Of course, I have to see exactly what's going to be in the bridge loans for the auto industry. Here's my view: This $700 billion bailout had no real rules to it. First of all, it gave Paulson unlimited power as Secretary of the Treasury to do whatever he wanted. Secondly, it didn't do anything for the homeowners, or the bankruptcy courts, to allow a bankruptcy court, to allow some adjustment of those mortgages. Perhaps most importantly, it didn't do anything about the abuses that led to this in the first place: the derivatives and the leveraging, and all these things. It was essentially just a giant gift.

    My thinking is if we can do $700 billion for that, how can you not take 25 or 35 billion for companies that actually employ people on Main Street in the United States, including my hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, and say to them, "We want to keep a domestic auto industry." I am a person who believes we still need to make things in America.

    We still need to have jobs that are both directly related to auto manufacturing and all the suppliers, and all the connected things. Maybe this isn't the right formula. But forcing the auto industry to come up with a decent plan, which is what's going on, is far more serious than what was done with regard to 700 billion. The idea you can't have 25 to 35 billion dollars for something that has to do with the working opportunities of average Americans, to me, is frankly, a little offensive, and against the average American citizen.

    Bush and Paulson have said no this this, do you think the Congress can take action now and put a bill on Bush's desk?


    by Lefty Coaster on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 04:30:27 PM PST

  •  I joined the facebook group (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    not a lot of members yet.

    "I'm going to be on you like a numerator on a denominator." -Principal Skinner

    by dufffbeer on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 04:35:34 PM PST

  •  Respecting the Rule of Law... (11+ / 0-)

    As I mentioned in the interview yesterday, stating this position clearly in the inaugural address would affirm to the nation, and the world, that respect for the rule of law has returned to the Oval Office.  

    ...has to begin now with investigating past conduct in the last eight years, and if warranted, indictments of those who broke the law.

    If the past eight years aren't looked at, it's just not good enough to say, "Okay, from NOW ON, we'll respect the law."

  •  Fight On Russ. It is now Progressivism's time (4+ / 0-)

    Thank you for your efforts!!!

    Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement. Alfred Adler

    by Hamsun on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:03:16 PM PST

  •  Thank you Sen Feingold (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, zett, Good Hope Road

    for all you do! Your support of our institutions has been a ray of sunshine in these 8 dark long years!

    I pray you get a chance now to undo all the bad laws these people have passed without any supervision or the support of the American people.

    God Bless and continue guiding you to bring us back into the light!

    Watched you on Bill Moyers, as always there is so much freshness and candor coming from you, it is a joy to hear you speak.

  •  Please do what you can, Senator. Most of the (8+ / 0-)

    people here will help if someone is serious about restoring the rule of law.

    To me that means ferreting out the criminals in our financial, military, and administration ruling cultures and prosecuting the heck out of them.*  Not doing so is an accession to the "anything goes"  ruling mentality that has become the norm.  I fear if that happens, it is the end of the US that grew up in, and frankly, the beginning of the end of the US experiment.  It's that serious.

    I'm not convinced Obama is going to take the lead on this.  One of my benchmarks is the repeal of EO 13233, thus opening the Presidential Libraries and papers to public scrutiny.  They have been closed to the public for far too long.  Too much wrongdoing documented in those boxes buried in basements around the country.

    My "ask" would be to say, nay beg you, to please open up our government again, so citizens can become the new fourth estate.

    Thanks for sharing your views.  You're one of the very good guys.


    * Another major item is to find out in Congress, who knew what about torture and when.  Some transparency in the Intelligence Committees is absolutely needed.  Or a corollary, national security policy has to be clarified such that information cannot be classified to cover criminality.

    "You may already be a wiener!" Anonymous

    by Terra Mystica on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:14:21 PM PST

  •  Better Late Than Never (11+ / 0-)

    This is an issue the Democrats should have addressed in 2001. Given their record over the past seven years (and even before that, if you include their votes on the so-called "war on drugs"--the grease on the slope to the so-called "Patriot Act"), I'm not optimistic.

    Members of Congress have repeatedly voted to appease the fear mongers rather than standing up for our rights or the rule of law. Do you really think there is any repentance in your colleagues? Do they get the extraordinary damage that they've done to the Constitution and the country by their actions (and inactions)?

    If Democratic politicians had any conscience about the issue they would have voted for impeachment two years ago. They had to know that, based on his record, George Bush had a better than even chance of bringing us another terrible disaster, something that would shake the Republic to the ground. It's not like they weren't told. On our impeachment page there are many eloquent arguments that Bush should have been impeached, including this prescient conclusion:

    George Bush and Dick Cheney fully deserve to be impeached and removed from office. They deserve this because they tried to operate outside the framework of the Constitution and outside federal law. This is not a technical violation of the law and it is not the same as faithfully executing the laws within their prerogative to conduct their offices according to their own beliefs. It would be dangerous to our country, and possibly the world, for them to remain in office.

    Frankly, they should be impeached right now. I realize that's something for the House to do, but that's really my point. You, as a group of politicians, don't stand up for the rule of law. You, as a group of politicians, failed to impeach these guys when you should have, something that turns out not only to be destructive of the rule of law, but also turns out to have cost the country literally trillions of dollars of assets and thrown the country into a deep recession, one from which we might not get out for a very long time.

    When you do a bad thing you get a bad result. Ignoring the fundamental laws and constitutional customs of our country is about as bad as it gets, and the result has been not just a tyranny but a financial disaster.

    I've already had a lot to say about the specifics of what the next government should do to restore integrity and the rule of law to our government, and why that is a critical first step. On that part I think we can totally agree.

    But we still have to get there. You should call for Bush and his entire government to resign. They should vacate their offices this month, not next. They are utter and total failures, who have been steering us on the wrong course. A month could make the difference between whether the ship of state gets back on course or founders on the rocks of a very nasty-looking shoreline. The Senate should entertain a proposal that would change the law to make the president-elect president if the current president resigns. I'd like to see a new administration take office on the 20th--of December.

    But I hear grumblings that Obama will then let Bush and his group of accomplices off the hook for their repeated and egregious violation of federal and international law. What? When you think about that, don't you think about all the Iraqis we've killed or injured as a result of his criminal pursuit of a war of aggression (or, at least his malfeasance)? Don't you think of the arrogant disregard for the FISA law and his administration spying on Americans?

    These people contrived to launch a war that destroyed one country--Iraq--and threatens to destroy another--ours. What are we, an evil empire that goes around destroying major cities and countries?

    I'm not going to stand idly by while our government commits atrocities purportedly on my behalf. I repudiate these people. I repudiate their actions. They committed crimes. They used the mechanisms of government to aid a narrow group of special interests, and in doing so literally killed people. This is a kind of murder that must be addressed. They need to be thrown out of office and thrown into jail. I’m a liberal. I don’t enjoy thinking ill of others and I’m willing in general to think about both sides of an issue. But, these people broke the law and hurt everyone in the world. Even granting them the benefit of the doubt, they should have known better and they should have done better. And it we don’t hold them responsible, what kind of message are we sending to future leaders of our country, not to mention leaders of other countries. What are we supposed to say to someone from China or Russia that decides to invade another country on flimsy excuses to vacuum up its resources? “Bad boy”?

    And, at a minimum, if there is not the political will to round them all up and jail them for life, then at least we need a constitutional amendment that bypasses the House so that the American people can impeach officials of the government by petition. A petition to impeach, supported by, say, ten thousand signatures of U.S. citizens should be sufficient to bring these people to the bar of the Senate without any further government action. (Other than maybe you'd have to send the Sergeant at Arms over to collect them.)

    Because our officials failed us. They did not stop this obvious, open disregard for the law when it was happening. I don't see how we can depend on them in the future. And if they are too weak to fix it themselves, then the citizens will have to take matters into their own hands.

    So, yes, we certainly need to see rule of law restored, it's critical. Get on with it.

  •  Very proud to have you as my Senator, Russ. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Always Thinkin, BillyElliott

    "...the war party assumes the divine right to denounce and silence all opposition to war as unpatriotic and cowardly." - Robert M. La Follette, Sr.

    by Good Hope Road on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:20:55 PM PST

  •  Uhmmmm (10+ / 0-)

    Restoring the rule of law means prosecuting Bush, Cheney, Gonzalez, Rove et al.  Any plans for that?

    Of the people, by the people, for the people.

    by Publius2008 on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:34:21 PM PST

  •  The President cannot end the Unitary Executive (15+ / 0-)

    Senator Feingold, you probably don't need me to explain this bit of constitutional and small-r republican theory, but many of your collegues clearly do.  The President cannot end the Unitary Executive, no matter who or what he says or does.   He can voluntarily renounce it, but until other branches of the government assert their own constitutional prerogatives to roll back this usurpation by the institutional executive, any ceding of those powers is every bit as much an act of executive fiat as the original assertion of them was.  Our system requires that the checks and balances work actively and affirmatively, which requires that sort of action by those in the seats that hold those checks and balances.  This is why I had advocated so vociferously for at least the censure, if not the impeachment, of the president for actions taken under the penumbra of the Unitary Executive doctrine.  That would have represented the sort of historic and constitutional repudiation necessary to pass the test of precedent.  As it stands, the precedent is that neither the legislative nor the judicial has made any sort of principled constitutional rejection of the Unitary Executive, and until such happens, while a president may choose to let those powers lay dormant, they remain very much in force by precedent, and may be reassumed by the executive at any time without notice.

    That is what it is your job, and I mean you individually Senator as well as the plural you of Congress, to understand is the central question here.  I know there are many in your caucus that see everything through the lens of personal and/or partisan ambition, with a shallow understanding of and lip-service-only commitment to basic constitutional and republican principles.  You're different, you do get these things, so it's your responsibility more than most to drive home to your colleagues that when they make any part of the Constitution a nullity, as it is politically whole and NOT severable, that makes ALL of the Constitution a nullity, including those Articles that establish the powers and simple existence of the offices you and your colleagues hold.

    You probably will never see this, and once more I have called out for basic republicanism into an empty barrel, into the abyss into which republicanism and the Republic embodying it are fast sinking.

    This sig line is in foreclosure. For details on acquiring a credit default swap on this sig line, contact H. Paulson, Dept of the Treasury, c/o Goldman, Sachs

    by ActivistGuy on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:37:58 PM PST

    •  Illegal policies (10+ / 0-)

      Republican Party shills have used the phrase "criminalization of policy differences" since Iran/Contra.

      Of course that's not what has occurred. What has occurred is the adoption of policies that are crimes.

      Systematically implenting policies that involve the routine commision of felonies is racketeering.

      Whole categories of war crimes, with subsets of individual crimes, each of which has been committed serially and en masse hundreds or thousands of times, is what has been adopted as policy.

      The Bush Doctrine, adopted to carry out pre-emptive warfare, is a war crime. It is an illegal, unconstitutional policy to attack, loot, terrorize, occupy and oppress whole countries. Bush and Cheney committed this crime with the help of at least ten other first-tier and dozens of second tier officials. Everyone who carried out the orders are subject to prosecution.

      Bush and Cheney not only planned and carried out this crime against Iraq, they also planned and carried out actions supportive of an effort to carry out the same crime against Iran and Syria.

      Bush, Cheney and several others planned a long-term policy to repeat the Crime Against Peace against several other countries as well, including Venezuela.

      In the service of these crimes, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and several others sytematically violated whole categories of war crimes to carry out mass arrests without warrant, kidnapping, unlawful detentions, denial of due process, "ghosting" prisoners, abuse, torture, and even murder.

      In the service of these crimes, Bush, Cheney and several others illegally classified crimes and racketeering schemes as "national security secrets."

      The Bush Administration was so thoroughly corrupt that there isn't anything that they did that didn't intersect with some kind of criminal activity or it's concealment.

      War profiteering. Racketeering operations which undermined our troops. Treasonous schemes to aid and abet our enemies so they could fight us longer and more effectively. Weakening our military by outsourcing crucial military functions to mercenaries and contractors. Adopting a secret body of laws to further all of these criminal activities.

      Just with what I've mentioned above, roughly 35 high ranking individuals have committed death penalty crimes. Some of the people tortured were murdered by the torture. No charges. No evidence. Murdered by torture.

      And I haven't even gotten to myriad criminal schemes that are either related to the other crimes, or are unrelated. For example, Karl Rove's "math" and the evidence of nearly 4 million votes stolen in 2006. And that's just one election. His "math" was at work in 2002, 2004, and 2006. 2000 was probably another case of "math skills."

      It's unthinkable that these monsters or their eager acolytes could continue to walk free. Jail pending trial is the first requirement. No bond. No photo-ops before court appearances. If any pictures or video is to be circulated, let it be taped with the criminals in prison-orange.  

  •  Great interview, sir. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Good Hope Road, BillyElliott

    I can't tell you how much respect I have for you.  You are the voice of the Progressive movement and it is a strong, level-headed, voice.  I agree with you on every point you make with Mr. Moyers (whom I also respect, enormously) and enjoyed the conversation.

    "It's time to start all over/make a new beginning." - Tracy Chapman

    by rainmanjr on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 05:51:01 PM PST

  •  Until there is a legal precedent (3+ / 0-)

    all we have is Nixon "if the President does it, it isn't illegal", and the fact that Bush wasn't impeached. Any President in the future can set himself above the law.

    I heard a discussion last night (for the life of me, I can't remember who it was) concerning the Ali al-Marri case. I don't know, given the composition of SCOTUS, if this is the right case to set precedent, but I am convinced there needs to be a Court ruling defining the limitations of presidential power. I only fear that we could get a ruling that is too narrow to settle the issue once and for all time.

    •  Yes; As of today, Republican President = Dictator (0+ / 0-)

      That's the "rule of law" we have today, and until some of the people who committed crimes in the Bush administration get punished, that's the rule of law we have forever.

      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

      by neroden on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:04:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What rule of law? (10+ / 0-)

    Until Impeachment is put back on "on the table" and used (as it is clearly applicable to the Bush administration), the is no such thing in the USA as "rule of law".
    Until there is accountability and consequences, I have no faith in the US government to administer fairly and justly. Congress remains complicit until they take appropriate, Constitutional action.
    Obama is a constitutional scholar, so I am sure he can understand the importance and support congressional action. If not, then I do not doubt the American people will update the Boston Tea Party.

    -7.50/-7.90 Everyone knows I'm out in left field.

    by WiseFerret on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 06:12:16 PM PST

    •  Update the Boston Tea Party? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Prognosticator, imchange

      Before the economic meltdown I'd  have just laughed that off. Americans are generally too ignorant, stupid, lazy, apathetic, or content (usually some combination) to go quite that far.

      The economic downturn, however, may push things into a situation similar to Antoinette's France. Wait, who am I kidding. That's just not going to happen. Jefferson's little quip regarding spilling blood from time to time is, at this time, a quaint anachronism. Nothing of the like of the American Revolution is going to be seen in America again.

      It's kind of sad, because it's not the government as a body that has failed us--the bureaucrats and federal workers and the like--so much as it is the elected and appointed leaders of it. My opinion is that just about every Representative and Senator has abandoned the oath they took, and therefore are guilty of aiding and abetting the war criminal George Bush and his criminal administration in committing crimes. They should all be impeached and imprisoned for their crimes. It's exactly the kind of scenario that Jefferson was referring to.

      But it's unreasonable to even consider that it might happen at this point due to the extent to which our nation has grown. In Jefferson's time a "little" revolution to correct the injustices of the likes of a Bush and his accomplices in Congress would have been both feasible and meaningful. These days it would either fail miserably due to lack of support and technological considerations (we don't live in the heady days of the American Revolution, where citizens and government had access to identical technology for engaging in combat) or so fracture the country as to destroy it entirely, and I certainly couldn't support such an effort for that reason.

      No, I think the correct course here is for Obama to use his executive authority to imprison Bush and his immediate accomplices--Cheney, Rice, etc.--after they have left office. It won't happen, I suspect, largely because our government is so thoroughly broken at that level, but it's what should.

  •  This is the only hope I have... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BillyElliott, FarWestGirl

    to see ourAmerica the Beautiful restored.

    Thank you, Senator Feingold.
    May your efforts be rewarded.

    If you dance with the devil, then you haven't got a clue; 'Cause you think you'll change the devil, but the devil changes you. - illyia

    by illyia on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 06:37:54 PM PST

    •  I loved the movie... [NPR] (0+ / 0-)

      And, I was cheering you on as President (or something like it) until you got to GM (and other auto manufacturers). There I think you need to let the company fail while saving the employees (citizens not consumers!).

      However: Propping up failed enterprise [auto-kleptocrat bailouts] is like not addressing Bush's Constitutional abuses. They will just do it again.

      But, really. You should be running things... after Obama.

      If you dance with the devil, then you haven't got a clue; 'Cause you think you'll change the devil, but the devil changes you. - illyia

      by illyia on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 07:09:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Russ: a note for your scheduler (4+ / 0-)

    This year the Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy is in Washington, June 1-4th. I'm not on the Program Committee, and it hasn't met yet, so this is not an official invitation, but I'm confident you will be asked to speak. This time, you can make it even if there's a floor session. Keep the dates open.

    The War on Drugs is $40 billion a year of Government waste.

    by ben masel on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 06:56:09 PM PST

  •  FISA Amendment Act Amendments (6+ / 0-)

    just after the odious package passed in July, you suggested that you were confident that as President Obama would fix "some of the worst provisions." This begs the question, what of the rest of the worst provisions. I suggest you introduce a bill fixing all of them, before the new Administration lays out a package, so we can benchmark Obama's proposal.

    The War on Drugs is $40 billion a year of Government waste.

    by ben masel on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 07:00:19 PM PST

  •  STOP GOVERNMENT SPYING at Inaugural Parade (6+ / 0-)

    I'm bringing a huge banner, plan to set up at the NW corner of 9th and Pennsylvania, in front of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building.

    the National Park Service Capitol Region office which manages the space initially told me only 8 1/2 x 11 signs would be allowed, so I dug through the relevant section of the Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR 7.96) pointing to language specifying that groups under 25 don't need a permit, and that the lack of a permit does not impede the carrying of signs or banners.

    Since sign poles are not allowed, upheld in litigation before the 2001 inaugural, I'll need help keeping it aloft. Get there VERY early, so we can stake out space in the front row.

    Will I be Obama's first political prisoner? This is a test of the Emergency Free Speech System.

    The War on Drugs is $40 billion a year of Government waste.

    by ben masel on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 07:15:45 PM PST

  •  First Barney Frank wants Obama to ignore the (12+ / 0-)

    fact that he's not been sworn in and just BE president because he said so, now Senator Feingold, whom I've sometimes agreed with and most always respected, wants to hold Obama responsible and accountable for restoring rule of law.

    I said it before and I'll say it again - most of the Democrats are going to give Obama more hell at most every turn than they ever would have partially considered giving Shrub. We'll be lucky if they vote even 1/3 of his policies into law during his tenure.

    Nevermind that anything Shrub wanted, they gave him - from the Patriot Act to the Iraq Invasion, to impeachment being off the table, to the politicization of the DOJ, to the 2004 election, to the current-day thievery of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve - you name it and, for the last 8 years, right up to this very moment, many Democrats haven't batted an eye as they stumbled over themselves not to hold him and his crooks accountable for their many criminal and immoral misdeeds.

    Yet just last summer, Kucinich - one of the few good guy Democrats - brought 30+ articles of impeachment to the House floor: I wonder just how many of the 'rule of law' Democratic Senators and Representatives were present to say, "Aye, aye!" then.

    Like Shrub's refusal to be accountable, more than a few of the Dems are going to pretend that they were all about rule of law and upholding it these last 8 years, when we all know that's a crock - unless you call 'sternly worded letters' upholding the rule of law.  

    Most of our congress critters PERSONS long ago became self-servants rather than public servants, and that includes blue dog Democrats.  Most unfortunately, now it's the black man's burden to clear up those 8 years of criminality in the White House and restore rule of law, while the Dems ride his back like a cowboy rides a steer.

    Life just ain't fair.

    Life just ain't fair.

    And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the LORD hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: ~ Judges 4:14a

    by 99 Percent Pure on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 07:15:49 PM PST

  •  I agree with OPOL (6+ / 0-)

    they should have been impeached.  Shame on them.

  •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, watercarrier4diogenes

    This declaration should be followed with quick action, to ensure that history sees the outgoing administration’s actions as an aberration and not a redefinition of executive power

    This should be an absolute priority. The future of the country depends upon how this particular narrative plays out.

  •  There needs to be firewalls put up by legislation (3+ / 0-)

    to prevent these horrible things from ever happening again.

    2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

    by shpilk on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 07:36:42 PM PST

    •  And you have to ENFORCE your damn laws. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maracucho, Prognosticator

      All these things were illegal.  But you in Congress refused to use inherent contempt, refused to use impeachment, allowed Bush to pack the courts -- and when even his hand-packed courts rejected his crimes, Congress decided to change the law to help Bush commit crimes.  By passing unconsitutional laws.

      I have never seen such a derelict Congress in my life.  I know that most of the time you were one of the "good guys".  But you have to realize that some of your colleagues were absolutely monstrous, and that you failed in your duty to filibuster unconstitutional "legislation".  If the Senate can't do anything good, it shouldn't do anything at all.

      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

      by neroden on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:08:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Do you want to be taken seriously? (9+ / 0-)

    Senator Feingold:

    I like you, so I say this with all due respect:

    If you and your fellow Democrats in the Senate and the House want to be taken seriously about a 'return to the rule of law,' then you will all have to proceed with charging Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Yoo, Bybee, Ashcroft, Gonzales, others within their administration (not to mention use inherent contempt to get Rove, Miers, Bolten, and whomever else to answer subpoenas, and put them in jail, if necessary - simple contempt has obviously not worked), and their corporate criminal cohorts with perjury and war crimes... and see it through to the end with convictions and prison sentences.  We The People know they are guilty of several crimes and some trials will be just going through the formalities.  Investigations into other things will surely bring more crimes to light.

    Then you're going to have to repeal certain legislation in their entirety, starting with the Patriot Acts, MCA '06 (we want habeas corpus officially returned to us, even if the law as passed was unconstitutional, since the two conditions under which the Constitution permits suspending habeas corpus did/do not exist anyway), and the last FISA fiasco.  All the executive orders and signing statements that Bush signed will have to be repealed, too, but Obama can take care of that.

    Most of you fools in Congress refused to support impeachment, which was the greatest mistake of the last two congresses, but you can make up for it by pressing charges against the above mentioned lying criminals for perjury and war crimes and carrying through with guilty sentences and prison for them for the rest of their lives.  We can presume innocence all we want, but it doesn't take away their guilt, nor the guilt of the senators and representatives who aided and abetted them with their illegal and unconstitutional war.  We will forgive you if you find Bush and Cheney and their cohorts guilty and put them in prison for the rest of their lives.

    Yes, we know some of the Democrats in Congress are complicit and accomplices and they'll go down with the Republicans who are so obviously criminals, but that's okay with most of us.  We want better Democrats in Congress, Democrats who will abide by their oaths of office, not Democrats who vote to give Republican criminals everything they demand like children throwing temper tantrums, and then offer even more than was demanded.

    So, if you want us to take you seriously, you're going to have to DO SOMETHING that will let us know you mean what you say.  Otherwise it's just more political hot air to be ignored as "Oh, well.  That's just the ramblings of another politician who says a lot of words and never means what he says, so he can be ignored.  Whatever."

    Are you ready to be taken seriously?  Then charge the lying war criminals with perjury and war crimes, have trials, and put them in jail for the rest of their natural lives....  There has been no justice in the US for eight years.  It's way past time for the rule of law to begin the first steps to see that justice is done for a change.

    P.S.  If you don't have enough courage to see that the rule of law is followed, that the Constitution is followed, then make sure that the first thing President Obama does is sign the US back on to the World Court and let them extradite Bush and Cheney to The Hague to be tried for crimes against humanity.  It will almost absolve you of the responsibility of holding Bush and Cheney and their criminal and corporate cohorts accountable for a very long list of lies and war crimes and other high crimes and misdemeanors.  Almost.  But you won't have to be "distracted" by trials that you should have held, starting at least six years ago with the first lies about WMD in Iraq, and you won't have to be "distracted" from all the other "important" things Congress needs to do like pass resolutions commending sports teams or legislation naming public buildings for politicians, and you won't have to be "distracted" from two-year-long campaigns that bore voters senseless and take our attention away from politicians who refuse to abide by their oath of office after they're elected.

    We The People are looking for justice for those who were killed for lies and oil, and justice for those who were maimed for life for the sake of lies for oil.

    To all politicians who are not willing to put Bush, Cheney, their cohorts on trial for eight years of lies and war crimes:  If you are that gutless and spineless, please resign so Democrats who will abide by their oath of office will be able to be elected.

    It's 'put up or shut up and get the hell out' time... for you as well as the rest of Congress.


    by NonnyO on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 07:54:01 PM PST

  •  Like my signature says Senator, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BillyElliott, FarWestGirl
    you're my hero!  Thank you.  

    Feingold is my hero.

    by Marc in CA on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 07:54:25 PM PST

  •  Bush/Cheney must be investigated under the (11+ / 0-)

    "rule of law".  If not, everything else is just bullshit that sounds good on a blog.

  •  Stay with it, Senator... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden, Prognosticator

    America needs 16+ years of Democratic control of the White House, Senate and House to begin undoing the damage done by Bush.
    You already get plenty of advice from plenty of Internet weirdos, but here's mine anyway:
    Please don't fall into the trap set by the NRA, and try to legislate "gun control:" it doesn't work. Howard Dean knew this, President Obama seems to get it... please, don't you forget it! Gun laws don't reduce crime: they only reduce our vote percentage in elections. If you have any doubts, check out the statistics for crimes committed by concealed-carry permit holders: even though almost 40 states issue carry permits to anyone who legally qualifies, those stats are damn near zero. Gun crime, in most of those states, is down.

    Right now, the NRA and the last remnants of the Republican Party are whipping gun owners into a panic, waiting & watching for Obama and the Democratic congress to Take Away Their Guns™. Prove them wrong: we need to keep winning those elections!

    I'm not a Democrat, I'm a liberal. Democrats go to meetings.

    by willie horton on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 07:56:49 PM PST

  •  There's only one thing you can do to bring (7+ / 0-)

    honor back to America and the government you represent and work for Senator Feingold.

    That's prosecuting George W. Bush.

    If we fail to do that, then your words here are as  hollow as the words we've heard from all the rest of our elected officials for the last 8 years.

    Electing a black guy isn't even close to enough.

    We owe the world a lot  more than that.

  •  It's hard to believe (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boilerman10, lotlizard, neroden, imchange

    that the Senate chose Harry Reid as the Majority Leader again.  I hope you weren't one of the people who brought back one of the most ineffective leaders I've ever seen in my lifetime.

    The Senate is a major problem and there have to be changes in attitude and strategy if they are ever going to be trusted by the people again.  With all due respect, your time would probably be better spent working on talking to your leaders and your colleagues, and planning what you have to do to restore the rule of law in this country.

    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." --Samuel Johnson

    by joanneleon on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 08:16:26 PM PST

    •  I agree... (5+ / 0-)

      I would ask the Senator about how a real return to the rule of law will be possible considering that such efforts will have to get by the inertia of Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi, both of whom have been highly resistant to anyone attempting to hold the Bushist cabal accountable for its illegal/unconstitutional enormities.

      Senator Feingold, in all sincerity, stop mouthing platitudes and light a fire under the majority leader who'se actions are more befitting of a treatise about inertia blocks and ballistas than it is about leadership during a reign of criminals!

      Today, 12/6/08, 4209 Americans, and untold Iraqis are dead, tens of thousands more maimed. Bush lied; President-Elect Obama, it is your war now.

      by boilerman10 on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 08:59:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Chief Justice John Roberts (10+ / 0-)

    This diary would be much more convincing if it didn't come from a senator who voted to confirm John Torture Roberts.

    •  Yep. Why did you let Bush pack the courts.... (0+ / 0-)

      with untrustworthy, unjudicial crooks?

      Senator Feingold?  Anyone?

      Seriously, if you're the best we have, the rule of law is dead.

      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

      by neroden on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:09:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Legal Precedent (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard, neroden, imchange, FarWestGirl

    I really would like to see the Enemy Combatant statute (as well as the Unitary Executive Theory) brought to the Supreme Court, by the Solicitor General and as Jonathan Turley said, have the Solicitor General damn it with faint praise.  There's a reason the Bush Admin won't let it get that far (i.e. Padilla) and that is there's a 5th vote against it.  Then let's establish the legal precedent that "Enemy Combatant" is baloney and that a future president can't claim that authority.  If Obama only renounces this, that still doesn't preclude (god forbid) a President Palin from invoking it later, down the road.  Yes, we must uphold the rule of law and at the same time, protect future generations from the same outrage we have suffered through.

  •  Thank you for your thoughts (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, neroden, ActivistGuy

    I count you as a good man, Senator, although I wish that you had voted against Mr. Roberts. No politician will always vote the way that I want. We must look at the big picture. It's not pretty. Many members of Congress knew that the case for invading Iraq was weak at best, but their minders told them to vote with the majority and they did. Many Latin American countries had horrific abuses against ordinary people and the rule of law in the last 35 years. Not a one of them has wanted to prosecute those who killed and ordered disappearances. We humans have many design faults. We like to duck the tough issues.

    I respect Mr. Obama as a shrewd and basically honest politician. I don't expect him to walk back across the Rubicon however. I think that the cat is out of the bag, just as it was when Caesar crossed the Rubicon. Hope that I'm wrong.

  •  thanks for your leadership on this n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Rule of Law. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard, neroden, NonnyO, imchange, CKendall

    This country should never have been put in a position where citizens have to "restore the rule of law". Congress itself has revealed the fragility of our system of government.

    Eight full years of Constitution-shredding.

    Where has the US Congress been? If History is allowed to be written, it will not be kind to any branch of government.

    The power of the Executive branch needs to be curbed; but Congress needs to grow some balls.

    (Apologies for the sexist phrase. I'm too overwhelmed to creatively and delicately obscure the anger.)

    The future belongs to those who give the next generation reason for hope.
    Teilhard de Chardin

    by exmearden on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 09:10:53 PM PST

  •  Senator Feingold, I'd like (6+ / 0-)

    to join those thanking you for using this forum to express your thoughts. I also watched the interview last night with Bill Moyers.  I understand your need to couch many thoughts in "acceptable" language; you have a public image to preserve.

    I haven't read all the comments, but I scanned the subjects and did not see this:  Regarding all the bail-outs:  In the beginning members of Congress called loudly for accountability and oversight.  That element has supposedly been included to some extent in the bail-outs.  I learned that the administrative procedure identifying the person in charge of oversight -- and I may not have these details straight, in fact I'm sure I'm expressing it too simply -- has been placed on anonymous hold.  Rumor has it that Jim Bunning is the culprit.  Meanwhile, further bail-out approvals are proceeding.  I don't HEAR oversight or accountability spoken of any more.  It is vital to me that as taxpayers continue to be charged with bailing out our major industries after decades of malfeasance on the part of the corporations now asking for help, the public be given an eye on proceedings in the form of oversight.  I'd ask that any further bail-outs be subject to a waiver of the anonymous hold or in exchange for a direct order for Bunning (or whoever it is) to withdraw his hold.  He is single-handedly side-stepping democratic principles and we are in danger of throwing good money after bad.  If your thoughts about the return to the rule of law would include this topic, I'd appreciate your addressing this comment and problem in due course as time permits.

    Thank you.

    Kick apart the structures.

    by ceebee7 on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 09:30:17 PM PST

  •  What about "Separation of Church and State?" (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard, neroden, NonnyO, imchange, CKendall

    Or is that a "quaint" old fashioned Constitutional idea?  

    Sorta like torture being "illegal."  

  •  Thats my senator! n/t (0+ / 0-)

    "One of the things we've done during this campaign: we don't throw the first punch, but we'll throw the last." Barack Obama (Oct 2008)

    by DeminWisconsin on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 09:42:57 PM PST

  •  When do the investigations begin Senator? (6+ / 0-)

    We have just endured the most corrupt and traitorous administration in American history.

    We were lied into an unconstitutional and by illegal invasion/war. Some of the biggest swindles in the history of the stock market have taken place. The Bush administration has committed numerous illegal and unconstitutional acts.

    When do we hold them responsible and start jailing these felons and traitors.

    Personally I don’t care to hear about bipartisanship when it is just code words for letting serious crimes go unpunished an allowing crooks to consolidate their gains.

    As for those assaults on our Constitution you mention, when will the FISA travesty be repealed? When will the Patriot Act be rescinded? The very name alone, Patriot Act, is an insult to the country and its people let alone the fact that the heart of the Acts are unconstitutional. So, again, when will the Bush era crimes be paid for and the illegal laws repealed. When will the unconstitutional signing statements of GW Bush be erased from the laws passed the last eight years?

    If none of this happens calling this country a Constitutional democracy is just so much hot air and this election was meaningless! Enough is enough!

    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 Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 09:56:21 PM PST

  •  Restoring the rule of law (7+ / 0-)

    sounds good.  It's a start.  But it's not enough.  How about coming back here with some discussion about justice, about holding accountable those who have been breaking the law?  

    Or are we supposed to pretend the past eight years was just a bad dream and now we are waking up and so now it's all better?  Will we be told to forget about the 8-year nightmare, to not bother about those who were responsible for the shredded Constitution, the torture, the war based on lies, the death and devastation in Iraq, the betrayal of commitments to veterans, the outing of a CIA agent, the illegal wiretapping and on and on?  Will we be told that we're being partisan, vindictive and divisive if we demand accountability?

    "Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." John Wooden

    by CKendall on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 10:07:35 PM PST

  •  ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden, CKendall

    One area we spoke about at length, restoring the rule of law, has to be a top priority. Our founding fathers laid down a basic principle -- that we are a nation of laws and that no one, including the president, is above the law.

    and neither are senators or representatives--no one.

    Billion dollar presidential campaigns are for losers.

    by john de herrera on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 10:21:17 PM PST

  •  Thank you Russ!! Keep it up. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Always Thinkin, BillyElliott

    George Bush and John McCain are out of ideas, they are out of touch, and if you stand with me in 17 days they'll be out of time~BO

    by RussRocks on Sat Dec 06, 2008 at 10:36:45 PM PST

  •  Restore the first branch (6+ / 0-)

    We need to see Congress restore its rights.
    It's one thing after another, but Congress for too many years, too many Presidents, too many terms has refused to take on its responsibilities as the first branch of our government.  It is not okay for a president to dare the Congress and threaten veto.  Congress is the voice of the people.  It needs to act like it.

    Now, I can see the downside to this.  A strong Congress might take a long time to act on withdrawal from Iraq.  It might require too much time to make changes to health care and health insurance.  It might hesitate in cutting back on earmarks when it could be investing in energy independence for America.  That is the price we will have to pay if we are to have a Congress that is the first branch of government.

    I admire so much of what Sen. Feingold has done and the leadership he brings to Congress.  And I admire his desire and power directed at positive change.  I request that the ultimate goal we should seek is to restore Congress.  Instead of executive action, we need Congressional action.  The former serves for quick relief.  Only the latter can provide lasting democracy.

    •  With a STRONG Congress the war would be OVER (0+ / 0-)

      The executive branch has no Constitutional authority to run wars.  At all.  Period.

      There is no declaration of war.  So Congress could simply express its sense that the war should end, and the war would end, immediately.

      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

      by neroden on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:11:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The concepts of law and justice have (7+ / 0-)

    become a joke.  

    I'll know they're on their way to being restored when I see:

    * The PATRIOT Act repealed

    * The Military Commissions Act revoked

    * Habeas Corpus restored

    * Torture unequivocally renounced--with no exceptions!  Serious investigations into how we lapsed into its practice, who initiated these programs and allowed it to happen, and legal prosecution to the fullest extent of the law of ALL those involved--including the President, the CIA, private contractors, ALL those involved.  (I'm not talking "truth commissions" here.)

    * Investigations and prosecution of illegal wiretapping

    * Complete investigations of the corruption of OUR Justice Department--Rove's involvement in the US Attorneys firings and the Don Siegelman case

    This will begin to restore my trust and confidence in government.

    Of course, much of what I noted will be made impossible with the stroke of a pen in the final days of the Bush Administration when the criminal this  Congress allowed to remain in office issues his presidential pardons.

    Failing to impeach Bush and Cheney sent a pretty clear signal that this Congress lacks the will to protect our institutions and values.  

  •  Thank you, Senator. Skepticism about an Obama (5+ / 0-)

    … administration re this crucial area does run high in some quarters.

    For example, Richard Stallman, the open-source software pioneer who created GNU upon which Linux is based, has this to say:

    03 December 2008

    Obama's official "transition site",, lists many intended policy changes. None of them has to do with recovering the freedoms that Bush took away from us. Contrast the large section on "Homeland Security" with the completely absent section on "Civil Liberties".

    I looked in other possible categories and saw not a word about ending imprisonment without trial and "enemy combatants". Not a word about stopping the government from spying on citizens without a search warrant. Not a word about the right to travel anonymously. Not a word about RFIDs, Real-ID, or other proposed or actual policies that subject Americans to surveillance.

    Obama is just the man to continue the harm that Bush has done to our freedom. Bush, through his obvious dishonesty and greed, aroused strong opposition. It was unable to protect our freedom, but it tried. If Obama refrains from evident lies and from wars of conquest that kill thousands of Americans, he may find it easy to continue Bush's campaign to establish a society of total surveillance.

    It would be very constructive for the incoming Administration and Congress to dispel doubts like Stallman's as soon as possible. I can only encourage the transition team to take a stronger stand on the civil liberties and the rule of law, as it would appear that for many the progressive message is not getting across.

    See the national finals of Dutch children's chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen's 2008 Song Contest December 14 in Hoorn!

    by lotlizard on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 01:13:02 AM PST

  •  Thank you Sen Feingold (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, Always Thinkin, BillyElliott

    You were the lone voice of sanity facing the Bush "Campaign of Fear".

    Preserving our freedom is the reason that we are now engaged in this new war on terrorism. We will lose that war without firing a shot if we sacrifice the liberties of the American people.

    U.S. Senator Russ Feingold
    University of Virginia’s Symposium on Wartime Politics -- Sunday, April 14, 2002

    [L]iberty cannot be where there is no thought, no volition, no will; - John Locke

    by yellow dog in NJ on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 05:11:57 AM PST

  •  Congress, Fraud and the Finance Industry!! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, neroden, orphanpower, ActivistGuy

    Why has it not become mainstream knowledge that the finance industry has engaged in fraud under the deregulation of the Bush administration.

    Gmac is in trouble because it's financial sector was engaging in large scale fraud which included the subprime market. GMAC is still selling loans under the sister company of homecomings financial  ditech. Tons of adds all week long in our market(which is currently being sued on behalf of 800,000 customer for violating TILA and RESPA laws).

    I am one of these people and I have been through absolute hell with my mortgage. Not because I took out an ARM knowing the terms in advance. Not because I didn't pay my mortgage for 3 or 4 months. No, because I got two months behind when my ex quit paying child support suddenly and because this GMAC company engaged in illegal behavior. How many people lost their homes to their violations of law? How many people were forced into foreclosure and bankruptcy?? They began piling on bogus fees the minute I was late. I tried to contact them they would do nothing but refinance my 30 days late payment at 24% on top of my usual payment. They applied fees for things I had never heard of before!!

    If they file bankruptcy there will be no restitution.



    They say americans are no longer credit worthy. Has anyone stopped to look at how the banking industry (BESIDES giving loans to people who didn't deserve them!!) might have contributed to this crises by engaging in fraud and lawbreaking. I want restitution for what I have been through. I want my credit repaired, my home mortgage to accurately depict my payment history. I want bogus fees and charges removed. I want my payments applied properly instead of to fees first. I just want my mortgage company to follow the fair lending practiced and the law!! But NO ONE will enforce the law. NO one seems to see what some of us are going through. There is a one size fits all mentally to this problem.

    These companies engaged in FRAUD GMAC was one of the absolute worst and they must be held accountable for the harm they have done to their customers over the course of 10 years... and to this country. It's about the finance industry...not cars. (not that the car industry doesn't have it's problems but the finance industry has become completely corrupted). But no one seems to be talking about the FRAUD!!

    Bailout the car companies...but someone needs to hold the finance division accountable for lawbreaking. Someone has to look at the books of these companies!!  

    The greatest gift you can contribute to the goal of world peace is to heal.

    by wavpeac on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 05:15:58 AM PST

  •  So infuriating and disgusting. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Yes, the rule of law MUST be restored. But on top of the long list of illegal Bush admin. actions, we now have an economy nearly destroyed by deregulation and fraud.
    So we had to give the banking/investment banking industry 700 billion??????
    The banking industry's Ponzi scheme is rewarded with 700 billion from American taxpayers?
    But the people whose mortgages were screwed and homes valued at 4x their worth are just getting tossed out on the street.
    I was one that argued the we needed the bail-out. But, it did not do what congress said it would do- the banks simply got greedy and irresponsible and now they want money for being stupid.

    Will anyone go to jail over this?

    "How can I tell you everything that is in my heart. Impossible to begin. Enough. No. Begin." Maira Kalman from The Principles of Uncertainty

    by orphanpower on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 06:12:33 AM PST

  •  Senator I hope the 'Disaproval of Rules' (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, neroden, Prognosticator
    -  [or whatever the title of that special legislation is]

    is being crafted and circulated to the Members, for each and every one of Bush's last minute Rules, ready to be voted on in early January by both Houses and ready for the President's signature on the afternoon of Jan 20th

    Stopping Bush's last FU to the nation [dig for shale next to Old Faithfull, throw those mountaintops into our rivers, indeed!] needs swift congressional action.

    I hated that Bush relished destroying the sanctity of the legislative process through rulemaking and signing statements.

    Shunpike's Theorem: "apparently, in Spanish, Cheney translates to `Pinochet'"; Puffmeister's Corollary: we - and our constitution - are the newly disappeared.

    by puffmeister on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 06:25:25 AM PST

  •  And yet (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden, ActivistGuy

    if Obama has so much as mentioned this in any of his public statements since the election -- or before the election, for that matter -- I missed it.

    I'm not terribly encouraged by that.

  •  Thank you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, 3goldens

    Sen Feingold

  •  Extra Double Tip Jar For Senator Feingold (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, elwior, ThePrometheusMan

    Why is he the only Senator I have seen post on kos?  He is at the top of my list for senators who are in touch with the American people and if I ever live in Wisconsin again he will certainly get my vote for a very long time.

    sean finnegan
    web soldier

    •  he's not by any means the only one (0+ / 0-)

      at least during the election season. Plus many Congress people come here although I honestly don't know whey they bother, the amount of invective and insult and lack of respect that gets shovelled their way.

      •  Respect is earned. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        alizard, 3goldens, soccergrandmom

        Very few members of Congress have earned any for the last several years.  Seriously.

        -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

        by neroden on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:13:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree that respect is earned and most of the (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neroden, anaxiamander

          ones who came and come here have earned my respect. People like Lynn Woolsey, Joe Sestak and many others.

          I see abbsolutely no benefit to dump loads of shit on people who come here trying to open a dialogue and hold a debate.

          Blanket condemnations are totally counterproductive and makes the the site a joke to those of us who wish to seek equitable solutions to complex problems.

          You do it your way. I prefer respect and civility. Seriously!

          •  "Complex problems"? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The problem, and the reason for the extreme impatience, is that these are NOT complex problems.  Solving the financial crisis is a complex problem.  Global warming is a complex problem.

            This is a case of criminality run amok.  What's complex about it?

            -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

            by neroden on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:59:49 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I am not sure exactly what you are advocating (0+ / 0-)

              at this specific point in time?

              Dropping solving the complex problems of the economy, two wars, climate change etc. etc. etc. as the priority order of business and attention of the new administration in favour of stopping everything and initiating criminal charges against Bush et al?

              I wasn't aware that it was one of the other?  I don't follow your logic or common sense. So I guess there is nothing left to debate.

  •  Noblesse Oblige and Rule of Law are 2 different (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden, Archangel


    Obama absolutley can NOT "restore" the rule of law by just saying that he will voluntarily agree to act better than Bush did, and that those who followed Bush into depravity are embraced as long as they agree to voluntarily give up disappearing children and torture.

    If the Executive branch does not enforce violation of the law, there is not rule of law.  It's a very basice legal premise that there is no real right without an available remedy.  

    Law doesn't rule if Presidents can "opt in" and "opt out."  A choice to "opt in" isn't worth much - a choice to enforce the law, with its consequences, against those who "opted out" is the only thing that has worth.  

    •  Hmm.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If the Executive branch does not enforce violation of the law

      You realize the Bush Administration has been enforcing violations of the law? ;)

      (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 Dec 07, 2008 at 09:16:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Repeal the Patriot Act (5+ / 0-)

    and I'll be a believer. I voted for Obama, and frankly, I'm in love with a lot of what he said. Repeal the Patriot Act, shut down that island prison, reiterate that Habeas Corpus matters for everyone all the time and stop us from moving towards Orwell. With the Real ID and RFID tags in everything, all we need is to fetishize cameras like the UK and we'll be all set up for the next whack-job President to really screw us over.

    The biggest reason I voted for Obama is because he said he'd repeal the slights against our privacy and civil rights.

    •  Good thoughts, Jamesia. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Habeas must be reaffirmed.  

      The tracking has to be limited and, in some cases, defeated.

      Your "fetishize" comment was the perfect description of Britain's virtually carnal love affair with public cameras.

      I'm with you on these issues.  The title of Eric Blair's book was off by only 25 years.

      Celtic Merlin

      Sorry I couldn't take your call. I'm using my cell phone to make pancakes. Please leave a message.

      by Celtic Merlin on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:19:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And repeal the Military Commissions Act (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      This is arguably even more egregious than the Patriot Act, although both are major assaults on the Constitution. Rocky Anderson's excelent diary referenced by Sen. Feingold made repeal of the MCA a centerpiece of restoring the rule of law, and I'm frankly surprised to see a virtual absence of discussion here about how essential it is to get this horrible piece of legislation off the books.

      Perhaps it's not entirely inappropriate to remind ourselves about how easily Democrats can get caught up as accessories to constitutional crime, as an astounding number of them (12 in the Senate and 34 in the House) voted for the MCA at a time when its justification had already been thoroughly discredited, perhaps the most shameless and inexcusable example of partisan pandering during the Reign of W.

      Senate Democrats in favor (12) - Carper (DE), Johnson (SD), Landrieu (LA), Lautenberg (NJ), Lieberman (CT), Menendez (NJ), Nelson (FK), Nelson (NE), Pryor (AR), Rockefeller (WV), Salazar (CO), Stabenow (MI).

      "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

      by flitedocnm on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 12:30:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Welcome Back, Senator. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We don't hear from you often enough.

    Yes, the restoration of the Rule of Law should be one of President Obama's top priorities.  I have, however, doubts that he'll be able to get to it as soon as we'd like him to as the nation faces other important and immediate issues which will take precedent over this.

    I believe that it will fall to Congress (and likely the Senate itself) to address this in the first half of 2009.  If you don't bring this to the front of the Senate's agenda, it won't get done.  Harry Reid is a spineless toolbag, so he shouldn't give you any trouble about it.

    Good luck, sir.  You can count on the support of the DKos Community when this fight for the Constitution begins.  You're one of the (if not the single) most popular members of the US Senate around here.  We look forward to hearing from you again soon and will bring to bear all of the pressure we can muster when it is needed to get these goals accomplished.

    Most Sincerely,
    Celtic Merlin

    Sorry I couldn't take your call. I'm using my cell phone to make pancakes. Please leave a message.

    by Celtic Merlin on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 08:35:04 AM PST

    •  umm? count on the support of the DKos community? (0+ / 0-)

      have you read the comment thread?

      •  Count on the support *for the Constitution*. (0+ / 0-)

        If Feingold is on the right side we will be there with him as we have been in the past.

        If he mouths empty words and then caves in -- well, then we won't be with him.

        That's how it is.  He's either with us or against us, and at the moment we don't trust even him, because he has joined the Cowards' Caucus on occasion in the past (Chief Injustice John Roberts, for instance).

        -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

        by neroden on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:15:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ummmm...... Senator Feingold, how about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, neroden

    punishing the lawbreakers?  Isn't that worth some thought?  I mean, what's the point of having laws if they aren't enforced?  

  •  justice would be good. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, neroden

    Bravo and thank you.

  •  The rule of law is whatever the people (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in power say it is and enforced when the people in power want it enforced.  There is no magic rule of law out there governing us all. You can see that with Bush and you'll see it with Obama.  Whom ever holds the gold makes the golden rule.  

    I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat. Will Rogers

    by thestructureguy on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:43:12 AM PST

  •  Thank you Senator Feingold (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, revgerry

    Still waiting for real change

    by noofsh on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:56:11 AM PST

  •  Good idea, but you've done NOTHING so far. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, ActivistGuy

    Let's see.  You've allowed Congress to pass several unconstitutional laws, from the FISA evisceration to the Military Commissions Act.  You've allowed the Bush administration to ignore subpoenas routinely, and lie to Congress when they even bother to show up.  You haven't pursued inherent contempt charges.  Your colleagues in the House haven't pursed them either and haven't pursued impeachment.

    The Justice Department is literally run as an arm of the Republican Party, running bogus prosecutions against innocent Democrats, like Don Siegelman, and letting guilty Republicans off the hook.  They violate the civil service laws to pack it with party activists.  Congress's response?  Nothing.

    I realize you can't do it alone.  But frankly, until some of the crimes committed by this administration get PUNISHED, none of us will ever believe that the rule of law is back.  Because if they can get away with torture and false imprisonment on a regular basis -- and they have -- the rule of law is DEAD.


    -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

    by neroden on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:03:20 AM PST

  •  Ten good senators (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, 3goldens, neroden, Naranjadia, Laurdet

    ten real patriots, are not enough, but that's about all we have (you included)  

    First things first, the criminals need to be punished.

    If only Americans had agonized over every detail of the candidate's history when deciding to vote for GWB as they did with Barack Obama.

    by lisastar on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:44:37 AM PST

  •  I remember why I voted for you so many years ago (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, 3goldens, neroden

    Thank you Senator, for giving an official voice to so much of the frustration that I have experienced over the last eight years. Please, please, please make sure that we don't just roll things back a little bit, as a token. Please push with everything you have, with all political capital you banked, to roll all of the Constitutional attacks back ... all of the way. Please fight back against the centrists who want to just pat everyone on the head, calm the waters and "put the past behind us." We need more. We need much, much more.

    Were I still living in Wisconsin, I'd have you as a senator... sadly, I'm now stuck with Norm Coleman, with a glimmer of hope from Al. As a former (and hopefully again someday) Wisconson-ite, please fight for me and restore my rights.

  •  Thank you (for the update) Senator Feingold. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You're pushing for the right agenda and I hope you get listened to.  I have little to no hope.  But good luck.

    You don't go far enough.  NOBODY should be imprisoned without trial for long periods.  You do not include a plank about that.  There must be a law saying that any person must be indicted for a crime within one year of arrest, or released immediately, with immunity from further arrest.  Officially recognized prisoners of war in an actual declared war would be the sole exception.  And to prevent a further abuse, people should be required to be released in the location where they were arrested or in the United States, nowhere else.

    The Bush administration has pulled so many shenanigans to keep innocent people locked up -- this has to end, now now now.

    -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

    by neroden on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:58:26 AM PST

  •  Senator Feingold (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, neroden, snaglepuss

    I'm one of your constituents--my spouse and I live in south-central WI.  I want to thank you for all of your efforts on behalf of us and I hope that what you have outlined here will be followed through on once the new Congress is seated.

    However, I have to say that I am rather discouraged by the actions of Harry Reed and others in leadership positions in the Congress.  Barney Frank and Chris Dodd have left me floored with their behavior regarding the banking crisis and now the treatment of the Big Three automakers.  They failed to secure the most basic oversight of Henry Paulson and then have the temerity to appear surprised at the reckless disregard for taxpayers by Paulson.  Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reed appear to be tone-deaf when it comes to the people who give their hard-earned money to the Democratic Party and expect real, effective leadership in return.  

    I realize you are very much a lone voice for Truth and Justice in the current Senate at times and I find that disheartening.  I guess at this point I'm just very discouraged and have no expectation that those in Congress, both House and Senate, are capable of acting in the best interests of the people of this country.  The rule of law seems to be dead and no one seems to care much less be willing to DO anything about it.  I have slight hope that this may yet be able to be changed--but this Congress doesn't seem to hear the people nor does it seem able to act with decency, integrity, or courage in the face of egregious violations of law by the Bush Administration.  I've just finished reading Jane Mayer's The Dark Side and it left me feeling helpless and infuriated.  I highly recommend that ALL of your staff (and you as well) read this book.  It should be mandatory reading for every member of Congress.  

    Thanks for coming here and sharing with us your thoughts about the next steps for dealing with the various violations of the Bush Administration.  I wish you success in your endeavors.

  •  Thank you Senator (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I agree with all four of your key points.  I would respectfully add a fifth, which is to restore the separation of church and state.  Support of faith based initiatives and charities by the state is choosing one religion above others.  This is antithetical to our constitution.

    Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

    by barbwires on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 11:23:26 AM PST

  •  Proportional response: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    When laws are broken, the guilty are prosecuted. "Restoration of the rule of law" means investigation and public prosecution of the guilty. ...period.  End of story.  This is certainly NOT a political problem unless you think you want to make it into a strategic political problem.

    It is unwise to treat Bush & Cheney's decimation of due process, FISA violations, extraordinary rendition, torture and genocide as mere political issues and stratagems by which to expand Democratic majorities.

    Nothing less than criminal prosecution will restore the rule of law. Criminal prosecution and judgment  by a jury of peers is the very essence of the due process that comprises our Democratic nation.

    Senator, you have been a leader on this issue, and I admire your principles.

    But, do you really think that it is wise to turn "restoration of the rule of law" into a political issue?  That betrays a certain lack of principle in and of itself, and this is the precise reason that Republicans were turned out of the Senate and the House in large numbers during the past two elections. Failure to prosecute their own corruption and cronyism, flagrant participation in it via lobbyist money and pay-to-play schemes that amounted to simple bribes and kickbacks - these were the reasons for Democratic electoral success.

    Oh, sure, you might say that voters responded to polls saying things like "the country's on the wrong track," or, "the Iraq war should be ended." But the defining issue is the basic shredding of our universal belief in justice and truth based upon facts. Palin and McCain tried to distract us with stupidities, but Obama just kept talking about real issues - and he won by a not-insignificant majority.

    It takes real political courage to prosecute profligate criminals like Bush and Cheney who have justified their extraordinary violations of laws governing the treatment of enemy combatants, torture and genocide by citing the horrendous acts of criminal terrorists. But if you speak of "restoration of the rule of law," you are talking about the legal process itself, and that process should move forward in order to prove that the legal process works.

    If restoration of the rule of law is a political issue, then please begin a sane political strategy and prosecute the "war on terror" with anti-crime tactics and a proportionally responsive strategy. Andrew Bacevich offers a good start, and this is the defining political issue: how else are we to prosecute a cadre of criminal terrorists?

    How can you say that violations of law are not prosecutable offenses? That's certainly not consistent with the realistic principled stands that you have taken.

    How can you NOT investigate, indict and prosecute? Do you really think you can turn this into a political issue so as to drive a continuous progressive agenda?

    I would say that you underestimate the voters, both Republicans and Democrats alike, and your suggestion that government leaders do something else is a bad idea in the short-, intermediate- and long-term.

    The very idea that there ever was a "War on Terror" has been debunked as a slogan and a rip-off. Islamofascist terrorism is comprised of a militant criminal conspiracy engendered by generational neglect and institutionalized by Reagan and Bush I foreign policy.

    But who cares how we got here - what are the solutions? Militant enforcement of laws and generational foreign policy outreach would help, but not your simplistic bully pulpit way.

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -Thomas Jefferson

    by ezdidit on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 11:24:52 AM PST

  •  Sorry, Russ, it's status quo as usual (0+ / 0-)

    Obama, the constitutional lawyer, will succumb to the pressure from elite Washington and sweep almost every crime under the rug.

    Obama used to be for single payer before he came out against it.

    by formernadervoter on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 12:01:25 PM PST

  •  Congress should do all it can to learn... (0+ / 0-)

    about what exactly went on in the Bush administration?

    I'll say!

    In fact, I'd suggest that is one of the main reasons for Congress to even exist.

    But, wasn't Congress supposed to be doing that for the past eight years?

    I'd say it's a little late now.

    Cynic that I am, I'm not holding my breath that Congress will do much, or, if they do, that it will have any kind of retroactive effect.

    Executive power is defined by what previous administrations got away with. And this administration has gotten away with a LOT.

    It's a little late now to cry "fire!" give that the house burned down long ago.


    -7.88 -8,77 Just a wine sipping, brie eating, $6 coffee drinking, Prius driving, over educated, liberal, white, activist, male New Englander for Barack Obama.

    by EquationDoc on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 12:27:46 PM PST

  •  Senator Feingold, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    While I applaud your proposal and your efforts, there is still something missing when there is no accountability.  President Nixon was not held accountable, President Reagan and Bush I were not held accountable (Iran Contra) and now Bush, Cheney et al. will not be held accountable.  What good is the rule of law if there are no consequences for breaking it?  There are laws now that Bush and Cheney have ignored and trampled with impunity, what reason is there to believe a future administration will not do the same with whatever changes you are able to enact?  Without accountability there really is no rule of law...that is our entire system, rules and accountability for breaking those rules.  I'm not interested in revenge, I want to know the truth and I want ALL Americans to know the truth.  
    WE have still not had a complete accounting of how 9-11 happened ("why look back, lets look forward"), much less all the abuses carried out in our names even before that day (just when did the electronic eavesdropping begin?).  Without accountability, you are simply making busy work.

    "Life is a tragedy for those who feel, a comedy for those who think" - Jean de la Bruyere

    by Tinuviel on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 12:29:38 PM PST

  •  never again or not right now? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I want to thank you very much for your sincere attention to these issues and engagement of the community Senator Feingold.   That said, I must say that with all due respect I don't think you have even begun to approach "never again" with the plans you have laid out.  Your plans are certainly more than adequate to reverse our current direction and ensure we do the right thing while President Obama is in the white house.  What I don't see is anything that begins to address the issue of an executive who has contempt for the spirit of our constitution and the rule-of-law.  This is precisely the situation which our constitution and system of checks and balances is designed to protect us from and it is precisely the situation in which that system has failed us during the last 8 years.

    In order to truly ensure we maximize the likelihood that we do not experience another dark period in our national history under an executive who would do as they please regardless of the laws created by congress we need much more than you propose.  Yes, we need the full truth and admission of national guilt and remorse that a commission might provide.  Yet we also need more.  We need to set a precedent that America does not allow gross violation of human and civil rights just because we face difficult times and someone in the executive branch decides that the ends justify the means.  To not prosecute these crimes is to condone them in the eyes of the majority of americans and the rest of the world - even if not in the eyes of politicians.  You must accept this and act with knowledge and acceptance of it.  The precedent of prosecution and strict sentencing will serve to deter future executives from believing that they are above the law.

    In addition to prosecution we need reform.  Not just reform that depends upon the integrity of those who hold office, but reform that is designed as carefully as possible to work despite the integrity of those who hold office.  Of course there is no way to do this perfectly, but we can and we must do far better than we have in the past.

    Please understand that this is not a political nor a partisan issue.  This is an issue of american values.  Do we value human rights, civil rights, and the rule of law or do we not?  I fail to see how we can claim to value any of the above as a nation without a serious and concerted effort at prosecution and reform.

  •  Thanks for the link to your interview with (0+ / 0-)

    Bill Moyers.  I would have missed it.

  •  accountability (0+ / 0-)

    In addition to ensuring accountability, we also have to right the ship.  We need to make the changes necessary to help ensure the actions we saw by the Bush administration don't happen again.

    That's what the 1978 FISA was, the changes necessary to prevent future abuses.  Only the President repeated them and more, and Congress tacitly approved.

    Accountability is "righting the ship."  New legislation may do some good, but it may do more bad, if it gives the impression that it'll actually prevent future abuses, when for them to recur all the President has to do is break the law again.  So long as no one enforces it, in reality the law doesn't exist.

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 08:04:02 PM PST

  •  buford t justice comments... (0+ / 0-)
  •  separation of Church and State (0+ / 0-)

    I feel that Christianity has become a huge problem within the past 8 years due to, for one example, Bush's faith-based initiatives. Our Founding Fathers TRIED to ensure that our laws would not be theocratic, yet the right wing has become increasingly aggressive in their fight to destroy our Constitution, so I pray that the Democrats will act swiftly to rebuild the wall of separation, with the confidence that most Americans want their country back!

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