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Federal Judge Appointed By Bush's Father Declares NSA Program of Wiretapping Without Court Warrants Violates 1978 FISA Statute -- But Ducks Broader Issue of Its Blatant Unconstitutionality Under the Fourth Amendment; Obama's Refusal to End the Practice Is a Gross Dereliction of His Oath of Office to 'Preserve, Protect and Defend the Constitution'

(Posted 5:00 a.m. EDT Tuesday, April 6, 2010)

NOTE TO READERS: After being forced into hiatus for two weeks following the break-in of my Gmail account by hackers in China, The 'Skeeter Bites Report returns to normal publication today (Tuesday), albeit a day later than its longtime Monday publication schedule. Effective today, The 'Skeeter Bites Report is changing permanently to Tuesday publication. The reason for the change is one of practicality, made at the request of my wife and family: To eliminate the hassle of working under a weekend deadline -- particularly during a long holiday weekend. Not to mention heeding the urging of my doctor to reduce my workload and free up my leisure time -- a reduction which began 0n January 28 when I ceased publication of The 'SBR's Thursday edition. I thank you for your patience during these past two weeks, during which I, in conjunction with Google (which owns Blogger.com, The 'SBR's home site), have taken several measures to protect the privacy of my sources and subscribers and to prevent cyber attacks on The 'SBR site itself.

By SKEETER SANDERS

It's been 14 months since the administration of President George W. Bush passed out of power, an administration that turned out to be the most authoritarian government in modern American history, marked by a wholesale and repeated disregard for the Constitution that its officers, from Bush on down, were bound by their oaths of office to "preserve, protect and defend."

Implicit in that oath is also a binding obligation to obey the Constitution and respect the freedoms that the Constitution guarantees to all Americans.

Among the provisions of the Constitution that every government official, from the president on down, is bound to obey is the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits the government from conducting "unreasonable searches and seizures" on U.S. citizens.

Of course, the nation's founders could not have possibly forseen in the 18th century the rise of electronic communications -- let alone the government eavesdropping on the private telephone and Internet communications of Americans without first obtaining a warrant from a court of law -- and doing so without probable cause, as the Constitution requires.

To plug that loophole, Congress, acting within its authority to enforce the Fourth Amendment "with appropriate legislation," passed two statutes to curb such government abuses: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA). Both statutes require the government to obtain court warrants to eavesdrop on the private electronic communications of U.S. citizens.

The ECPA was amended, and weakened to some extent, by some provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 that empowered the federal government to compel telecommunications companies to disclose records about their customers through so-called "national security letters" issued by the Justice Department.

A federal court in New York ruled those provisions of the PATRIOT Act unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment and it remains to be seen whether the fight over the warrantless surveillance will eventually end up in the Supreme Court.

But if you thought that the transfer of power from the Bush administration to the Obama administration meant the end of the warrantless surveillance, think again.

The surveillance is still continuing -- and incredibly, the Obama administration is insisting in the courts on maintaining the practice, despite clear and overwhelming evidence that it's unconstitutional and defies the explicit will of Congress when it acted to enforce the Fourth Amendment with appropriate legislation.

BUSH-APPOINTED FEDERAL JUDGE STRIKES DOWN WARRANTLESS PROGRAM

A federal judge ruled last Wednesday that the federal government's nearly nine-year-old program of electronic surveillance without warrants violates the FISA statute, because the government -- in this case, the super-secret National Security Agency -- failed to seek required warrants for the surveillance from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees requests by the government for surveillance warrants against suspected foreign intelligence agents and/or terrorists inside the U.S.

In a 45-page ruling, Judge Vaughn Walker, chief judge of the San Francisco-based U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, rejected the Justice Department’s assertion that a now-defunct Muslim charity’s lawsuit be quashed because allowing it to go forward could result in the revelation of "state secrets."

Judge Walker -- ironically, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush -- branded the government's use of the state-secrets privilege an “unfettered executive-branch discretion” that had “obvious potential for governmental abuse and overreaching.” Walker ruled that it was the expressed will of Congress when it passed the FISA statute in 1978 to “specifically to rein in and create a judicial check for executive-branch abuses of surveillance authority.”

SUPREME COURT STRUCK DOWN NIXON PROGRAM IN '70S

Yet in issuing his decision, Judge Walker -- like other federal courts that have similarly ruled against the warrantless wiretaps -- failed to cite a unanimous 1972 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that declared a similar program aimed at domestic radicals by the Nixon administration unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment.

Almost from its inception in December 2005 -- just days after The New York Times revealed the Bush administration's warrantless eavesdropping program's existence -- The 'Skeeter Bites Report has pointed out again and again and again that the Bush program is every bit as unconstitutional as the Nixon program.

Nixon's Justice Department, under then-Attorney General John Mitchell, had overheard telephone conversations of anti-Vietnam War activists and other domestic radicals "to gather intelligence information deemed necessary to protect the nation from attempts of domestic organizations to attack and subvert the existing structure of government."

Mitchell argued that the surveillance was lawful, even though it was conducted without prior judicial approval, "as a reasonable exercise of [Nixon's] power, exercised through [Mitchell], to protect the national security."

But the nine justices of the nation's highest court ruled unanimously that the Nixon program violated the Fourth Amendment's ban on "unreasonable searches and seizures" by the government.

Justice Lewis Powell, writing for the court, declared that "Civil liberties, as guaranteed by the Constitution, imply the existence of an organized society maintaining public order without which liberty itself would be lost in the excesses of unrestrained abuses...

"These Fourth Amendment freedoms cannot properly be guaranteed if domestic security surveillance may be conducted solely within the discretion of the Executive Branch," Powell continued. "The Fourth Amendment does not contemplate the executive officers of government as neutral and disinterested magistrates. Their duty and responsibility are to enforce the laws, to investigate and to prosecute.

"But those charged with this investigative and prosecutorial duty should not be the sole judges of when to utilize constitutionally sensitive means in pursuing their tasks," Powell wrote."The historical judgement, which the Fourth Amendment accepts, is that unreviewed executive discretion may yield too readily to pressure to obtain incriminating evidence and overlook potential invasions of privacy and protected speech."

APPEALS COURT EXPANDED RULING TO INCLUDE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE

The high court's unanimous decision -- which covered only domestic intelligence -- was bolstered in 1975 by an equally unanimous ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the nation's second-highest court, which declared the Fourth Amendment's ban on warrantless domestic spying also applied to foreign intelligence gathering by the government on U.S. soil.

The seven-member appeals court ruled that even where foreign affairs and national security were involved, the government must obtain court warrants before it can eavesdrop on the communications of domestic organizations or individual U.S. citizens who were neither agents of or collaborators with foreign powers.

One judge on the appeals court disagreed in part with the ruling, in which six of its 11 judges wrote separate but concurring opinions. Nonetheless, based on the appeals court's unanimity under the Fourth Amendment -- which mirrored that of the Supreme Court's decision three years earlier -- the administration of then-President Gerald Ford chose not to appeal to the Supreme Court, apparently fearing that it would lose. Instead, Ford ordered the Justice Department to comply with the court's decision.

Ford even indicated that he would support legislation in Congress to require court warrants for all electronic eavesdropping by the government -- in part, paving the way for the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act a year after Ford left office in 1977.

IT'S TIME TO TELL OBAMA: 'OBEY THE CONSTITUTION ON WIRETAPS'

Yet only the American Civil Liberties Union, The 'Skeeter Bites Report -- and a federal judge in Michigan -- appear to have remembered the fact that the Bush (and now Obama) warrantless spying program is every bit as unconstitutional as the Nixon program of four decades ago.

The Obama administration has chosen to not only continue its predecessor's unconstitutional warrantless spying program, but has shamefully chosen to defend its continuance in court. The time has come to hold this administration accountable for its refusal to obey the Constitution it is sworn by its oath of office to "preserve, protect and defend" -- and force it to comply with the Fourth Amendment.

# # #

Copyright 2010, Skeeter Sanders. All rights reserved.

Originally posted to SkeeterVT on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 02:01 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Not to mention... (20+ / 0-)

    unconstitutionally imprisoning human beings for their entire lives without any substantive due process. Where is our Constitutional Lawyer President?

    •  the recent release of details (9+ / 0-)

      of what federal officials will charge Abu Zubaydah with... compared with what they will NOT charge him with... !!!???

      Not Al Quaida, Not connected to 9/11, Not a significant player.

      What that man has endured and the condition he is in currently is an interesting comment on the last administration and is becoming one on the current one.

      Techniques were borrowed from Korean War era Chinese and North Korean inquisitions of prisoners.
      Their purpose was false confession.

      The need to borrow those techniques suggests they were borrowed for those purposes.

      What if KSM and Abu Zubaydah and not nearly what we have been told, but have "confessed" much!
      Too much to believe?

      •  errata (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass

        KSM and Abu Zubaydah are not nearly

      •  What if I'm the tooth fairy? n/t (0+ / 0-)

        Enrich your life with adverbs!

        by Rich in PA on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 04:15:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Then you would owe me some nickels. (0+ / 0-)

          A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

          by nippersdad on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 07:41:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Go troll somewhere else. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eddie C

          If you do not have any evidence to refute what the diarist has written, and all you got is some stupid toothfairy comment, then not only are you trolling and hijacking, but you are an embarrassment to yourself.

          Do you actually enjoy being a joke in and of yourself, to so many people here?  Do you enjoy that NO ONE takes anything you say seriously?

          Good for you!  Mission accomplished!

          One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork." - Mark Twain

          by ohmyheck on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 07:47:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm still working on the compound interest from (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ohmyheck

            on the loss of thirty some odd teeth that this dude never reimbursed me for. Five cents times thirty two teeth equals a dollar sixty. With a compound interest of, say, thirty percent per year over half a century, I think I may be able to retire if this guy ever pays up.

            A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

            by nippersdad on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 08:19:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Gawd, you must be (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              nippersdad

              really OLD, nippersdad!

              I got busted by my kid when she found the baby teeth of hers I saved.  I had to tell her a story of how I had to buy back the teeth from the ToothFairy, because I wanted to keep them.  

              Man, double-screwed!

              One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork." - Mark Twain

              by ohmyheck on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 10:07:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Y'no, between us, we could take (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ohmyheck

                Mr. Deadbeat Toothfairy's (appalling!) debt, along with it's daily compounded interest, and use it to incorporate as a bank. We could then issue CDO's/CDS's and sell them to Saudi Arabia or China or somebody. Finally we could have Geithner and Summers working for US!

                How's that for a silver lining?

                A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

                by nippersdad on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 10:24:08 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It's a Golden Parachute! (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  nippersdad

                  Brilliant plan! I'm in!  When do we start?  Gotta first track that low-down, thieving ToothFairy-bastard.

                  Giethner and Summers will LOVE working for us.  When we steal all our money back from the Rich (not in PA) and give it to the Poor, they will be able to relieve their massively guilty consciences.  How nice for them.

                  And we will have FUN!

                  One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork." - Mark Twain

                  by ohmyheck on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 10:49:39 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Cool! Then we have a plan! (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ohmyheck

                    Now (just so that this isn't completely off topic) all we need is an FBI agent to track down Rich's/the Tooth Fairy's IPO. Or, better yet! Some corrupt official who could make the FBI track him down for us, and we can then coerce a note of hand (I'm thinking GITMO, here) to start the process off right.

                    Maybe we can suggest this to the next pol that comes here trolling for dollars/votes on some issue that they will then inevitably sell us down the river on like the PO. Give 'em a cut and they will agree to anything.

                    I'd bet that ol' Rich never brings this up again. :)

                    A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

                    by nippersdad on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 11:56:10 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Brilliant! (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      nippersdad

                      We're going to be rich, rich I say!

                      Oh, did I tell you that a friend is asking to get this diary rescued?

                      We may be busted on our nefarious, if not fantastically profitable plan.

                      Have you checked out buhydharma's meta?  Iz gud.

                      One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork." - Mark Twain

                      by ohmyheck on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 07:11:15 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Thanks for the heads up, I just read it. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        ohmyheck

                        His stuff is always good, IMHO. I don't dare get into the comments, however, because truth be told my hands aren't much cleaner than those he is talking about. :) They, if I am correct, are really fun to derogate and I should feel guilty about it, but, shrug, I personally think some of these bullies need a good slappin'.

                        A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

                        by nippersdad on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 08:27:41 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

    •  the single most disappointing (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nippersdad, ohmyheck, 2020adam

      aspect of Obama as President.

      I voted specifically because of his campaign rhetoric about the not sacrificing our rights in the name of security.

      The continued use of warrantless spying and the continued imprisonment of people without due process make it very difficult for me to want to vote for Obama again.

      Of course, I may have to hold my nose and do it. As, his opponent is not likely to be any better on this subject and will be far worse, for me, on others.

      Still, I definitely feel that Obama mastered the 'bait and switch' wherever questions of Executive Power and our constitutional rights come into play.

      •  I completely agree. (0+ / 0-)

        I have debated much of what this President has done. But my biggest disappointment has come from a President that has done very little to leash the dogs of war and security.

        He still has a very real chance to turn around. Two and a half years is not nothing. He could still accomplish so much by simply turning around and acting more directly towards fixing the world.

  •  Why do you care so much? (5+ / 0-)

    Are you in league with the terrorists? No? Then you have nothing to worry about. Obama is one of the good guys. He only spies to catch dangerous people.

    Ohio progressives: support Jennifer Brunner for Senate!

    by ppl can fly on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 02:33:20 AM PDT

  •  Umm, from a political point of view (4+ / 0-)

    this case needs to go to SCOTUS to be resolved properly, this administration is defending a position in order for SCOTUS to decide the constitutional implications of the existing laws as well as what laws need to be implemented in order for this type of surveillance to be legally done in order to protect that same constitution and our supposed freedoms.

    I would not jump to the conclusion that the President or our AG agree with the bush administrations abuse of their power just because they are defending a lawsuit in order to have it's constitutionality determined by the only source available to them, the US Supreme Court.

    As far as this administrations use of warrantless wiretapping, until this situation is resolved by SCOTUS so new laws can be implemented they really have no choice but to continue the practice if they wish to have access to the terabytes of information being relayed over our telecommunications systems.

    Globalization is great, as long as you can afford it!!

    by padeius on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 02:37:02 AM PDT

    •  This isn't plausible (7+ / 0-)

      This "he just wants SCOTUS to strike down the bad bad Bush position" just isn't plausible.  Mainly, it runs the very real risk that Anthony Kennedy wakes up on the authoritarian side of his bed and rules with the certain four votes for fascism in every case, and we get a brand new SCOTUS precedent eviscerating the fourth amendment and enshrining the FedSoc Article II gibberish into common law.

      If we were talking about a SCOTUS that was likely to rule 8-1 or 9-0 against this sort of thing, I'd give this theory more thought, but not with this court.

      Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

      by Scientician on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 04:32:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Umm (0+ / 0-)

        calling into question the plausibility of a course of action due to risk associated with the potential outcome based on your opinion is, quite frankly, intellectually immature.  If you wish to express your opinion in opposition to the concept go for it, but don't discount a potential course of action that may be taken because you don't feel the risk may warrant that action.

        As far as warrantless electronic eavesdropping goes, I'm not sure its such a bad thing to keep track of how and where information is flowing. So it might be plausible that I agree with the bush administration.

        Globalization is great, as long as you can afford it!!

        by padeius on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 06:36:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Please vacate to Free State where such bullshit (4+ / 0-)

          is tolerated.  The reasons that warrantless wiretapping was made a felony punishable by 5 years in prison and a $10,000.00 fine still exist . . . and are more relevant than ever.

          "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

          by bobdevo on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 07:34:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  A bit intolerant of your fellows, I think (0+ / 0-)

            just because you may not agree is not a reason to tell someone to go away. If you disagree state your case. If you would prefer everyone to agree with you and not have other viewpoints, you look a lot like the right wingers who are so busy repeating their group speak they actually believe it.

            Globalization is great, as long as you can afford it!!

            by padeius on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 09:33:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Ummmmmmm (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          willibro

          As far as warrantless electronic eavesdropping goes, I'm not sure its such a bad thing to keep track of how and where information is flowing. So it might be plausible that I agree with the bush administration

          OK....you've made your point.  Skeeter made his.  This is DKos.  You obviously know that your opinion is not going to count for much here.

          But your theory is interesting, and thanks for stopping by!

          One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork." - Mark Twain

          by ohmyheck on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 07:51:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Every cell phone is a tracking device (0+ / 0-)

            That's why at any gov or military meeting where security is a concern everyone checks their cell at the door. This is a good thing.

            There is also a shadow internet built in that can monitor everything that happens. There is zero anonymity on the internet. This is also a good thing.

            People do bad things. When you give them the ability to operate in the dark, to make untraceable phone calls or be anonymous on the internet, very very bad things result. What holds society together is our collective intentionality, it is a fragile thing. But without enforcement those who operate outside the law can do so with impunity. They can destroy a society.

            Liberals tend to have problems with authority, they tend to think that everyone is just like them, privileged elites, but of course everyone isn't. The Right (the true right, not the extremists of today) does not have that problem. They recognize the proper role that authority plays. That is why we have George H. W. Bush's man, Gates, as Sec of Defense. There simply are no liberals capable of doing his job.

            The pendulum swings between these two poles. This too is a good thing.

            Shut up! It's Daddy you shit-head. Where's my bourbon?!

            by MnplsLiberal on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 08:43:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, this is fly! (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Scientician, nippersdad

              Liberals tend to have problems with authority, they tend to think that everyone is just like them, privileged elites, but of course everyone isn't.

              My internet Liberal friends seem to be poor as church-mice.  And mostly unemployed.  And extremely well-read.  And I see more unemployed Liberals in the future.

              So as far as this quote--sorry, that would be a Fail.  All elites are not liberals and all "true conservatives" are not poor and middle class.

              Historically, your roles are completely reversed.

              But I will agree that we Liberals have a problem with Authority.  Since Authority seems to have a problem with the vast, unwashed masses, as in, let's bleed them dry and leave them to rot.  Country by country.  Who is going to defend them from Authority? Not true conservatives.  Their mantra is "I have mine, what's your problem?"

              Ever read Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine"?  Shock and Awe is not a Liberal creation.

              One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork." - Mark Twain

              by ohmyheck on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 09:53:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Bad reasoning (0+ / 0-)

                You are arguing from your own particular experience and falsely generalizing from it. Just because all your friends are poor doesn't mean that there are not valid class distinctions in America. "Privileged elite" need not imply wealth.

                "Since Authority seems to have a problem with the vast, unwashed masses, as in, let's bleed them dry and leave them to rot."

                That is not what the word means. It would be helpful if you would not project your own unresolved Oedipal conflicts onto reality. Authority is simply that which maintains the social order. All states must have this function in order to survive. Otherwise they collapse into anarchy.

                The reason why is because everyone, left or right, has their very own little will to power engine running that motivates their behavior. Left unchecked it spins out of control.

                It is only when we are constrained that we can truly be free.

                "Shock and Awe is not a Liberal creation."

                But what this has to do with surveillance or the need for police is anyone's guess.

                Shut up! It's Daddy you shit-head. Where's my bourbon?!

                by MnplsLiberal on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 10:21:18 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Quotes (10+ / 0-)

                  It is only when we are constrained that we can truly be free.

                  Mnpls"Liberal"

                  He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.

                  George Orwell

                  Until the Fourth Amendment, which is closely allied with the Fifth, is rewritten, the person and the effects of the individual are beyond the reach of all government agencies until there are reasonable grounds to believe (probable cause) that a criminal venture has been launched or is about to be launched.

                  There have been powerful hydraulic pressures throughout our history that bear heavily on the Court to water down constitutional guarantees and give the police the upper hand. That hydraulic pressure has probably never been greater than it is today.

                  Yet if the individual is no longer to be sovereign, if the police can pick him up whenever they do not like the cut of his jib, if they can "seize" and "search" him in their discretion, we enter a new regime. The decision to enter it should be made only after a full debate by the people of this country.

                  William O. Douglass in dissent in Terry v. Ohio

                  You argue:

                  But without enforcement those who operate outside the law can do so with impunity. They can destroy a society.

                  From that, you argue essentially that the Fourth Amendment is a nicety which must be put aside to stave off anarchy.

                  Ironically, you are saying that we must violate the nation's highest law, the Constitution, in order to enforce its lesser laws.  Why is such a thing necessary?  According to you:

                  Liberals tend to have problems with authority, they tend to think that everyone is just like them, privileged elites, but of course everyone isn't.

                  I infer from this that you fear those who are not members of "the privileged elites."  These outcasts and castoffs of society are, to you, frightening, especially if they assert themselves against the authority you revere so much.  That's why you nominate the "adults" like Gates for positions of power since they will know better than to respect the rights of the uncivilized hoi polloi.

                  Your love of the powerful and willingness to hand all our fates over to them is especially absurd in these times when the "privileged elites" whom you would entrust with near omnipotent civil authority have proven themselves to be so lawless and corrupt.

                  Here is the real difference between you and those liberals whom you despise.  When you see a powerful individual clad in the finest of clothes, your first instinct is to genuflect.  Our instinct is to stand our ground and demand to know why that individual deserves more authority than the least well-off among us.

                  What follows is not from a liberal, but from one who opposes your view of humanity and society even more fully and completely:

                  A thorough perusal of the history of human development will disclose two elements in bitter conflict with each other; elements that are only now beginning to be understood, not as foreign to each other, but as closely related and truly harmonious, if only placed in proper environment: the individual and social instincts. The individual and society have waged a relentless and bloody battle for ages, each striving for supremacy, because each was blind to the value and importance of the other. The individual and social instincts,--the one a most potent factor for individual endeavor, for growth, aspiration, self-realization; the other an equally potent factor for mutual helpfulness and social well-being.

                  The explanation of the storm raging within the individual, and between him and his surroundings, is not far to seek. The primitive man, unable to understand his being, much less the unity of all life, felt himself absolutely dependent on blind, hidden forces ever ready to mock and taunt him. Out of that attitude grew the religious concepts of man as a mere speck of dust dependent on superior powers on high, who can only be appeased by complete surrender. All the early sagas rest on that idea, which continues to be the Leitmotiv of the biblical tales dealing with the relation of man to God, to the State, to society. Again and again the same motif, man is nothing, the powers are everything. Thus Jehovah would only endure man on condition of complete surrender. Man can have all the glories of the earth, but he must not become conscious of himself. The State, society, and moral laws all sing the same refrain: Man can have all the glories of the earth, but he must not become conscious of himself.

                  Anarchism is the only philosophy which brings to man the consciousness of himself; which maintains that God, the State, and society are non-existent, that their promises are null and void, since they can be fulfilled only through man's subordination. Anarchism is therefore the teacher of the unity of life; not merely in nature, but in man. There is no conflict between the individual and the social instincts, any more than there is between the heart and the lungs: the one the receptacle of a precious life essence, the other the repository of the element that keeps the essence pure and strong. The individual is the heart of society, conserving the essence of social life; society is the lungs which are distributing the element to keep the life essence--that is, the individual--pure and strong.

                  Emma Goldman, "Anarchism: What It Really Stands For"

                  "Capitalism is irresponsibility organized into a system." -- Emil Brunner

                  by goinsouth on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 11:17:55 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  What he said. (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Eddie C, Scientician, nippersdad, 2020adam

                    Disclosure statement-OK, I am not nearly as well-educated as goinsouth, so it's not like I could have written this....I took my measly shot...at least I tried.

                    One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork." - Mark Twain

                    by ohmyheck on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 11:21:37 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Wow! (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Eddie C, Scientician, ohmyheck, Marja E

                    That was impressive.

                    A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

                    by nippersdad on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 12:08:27 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Thank You. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Marja E

                    The authoritarian version of liberalism has never impressed me. I suppose there's some theoretical logical consistency in the claim that if you trust government with your welfare, you can trust it not to abuse your sovereignty.

                    But a very quick perusal of human history makes it quite clear that governments tend to do a very bad job of treating their citizens like human beings. They do an even worse job of treating foreigners like anything better than pets.

                    If I thought that some very real, expedient due process existed within our system for every human being caught in the grasp of the government, then I would say we could at least talk about more freeform surveillance techniques. But that does not exist and it will not exist. So the entire debate is moot.

                    •  It's not authoritarian (0+ / 0-)

                      to acknowledge the need for authority. How about we take a look at what words actually mean rather than just making shit up that confirms our own prejudices for us ok?

                      Authoritarian

                      1. Characteristic of an absolute ruler or absolute rule; having absolute sovereignty
                      1. Expecting unquestioning obedience

                      Which is of course totally just like asking that people acknowledging the authority of the state to intervene in the lives of it's citizens in order to secure the greater good. This is the exact same argument that Libertarians make. For them, demanding that they accede to the social contract on matters like taxation and other things important to them is just like Hitler.

                      So we can see that in both cases from the left and the right there is a totalizing, black or white, all or nothing mindset.

                      "if you trust government with your welfare, you can trust it not to abuse your sovereignty."

                      Yet another Libertarian concept, the delusion that we are all sovereign individuals. Nope, sorry, you are not sovereign. You aren't even individual, not in your psyche, not in your social identity nor even in your survival. In all those your are part of a collective. Alone with no social group you will go mad, alone you will fail to survive. This Libertarian delusion that we are sovereign individuals is a phantasy of the highest order.

                      "If I thought that some very real, expedient due process existed within our system for every human being caught in the grasp of the government"

                      I don't know what planet you're on but on this one there very much is due process in the US. My guess is that you are on planet conspiracy theory.

                      Shut up! It's Daddy you shit-head. Where's my bourbon?!

                      by MnplsLiberal on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 05:52:53 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Right, we've got tons of due process. (0+ / 0-)

                        So long as you are not accused of being a terrorist by our government. Is the idea that you just don't count after the US Government has accused you of being a terrorist?

                        •  Not a clue what you're talking about (0+ / 0-)

                          there Adam. Oh... I see... OBAMA IS JUST LIKE BUSH!! WOOHOOO!!!

                          Shut up! It's Daddy you shit-head. Where's my bourbon?!

                          by MnplsLiberal on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 10:31:09 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  You haven't any idea at all? (0+ / 0-)

                            I just kinda can't believe that you really haven't heard anything at all about humans accused of terrorism being provided very minimal due process, and in some cases none at all.

                            I could offer a few sources to help you learn a bit more about the situation, but given your basic assumption that I equate the current President with the last one, I have my doubts that you would be interested in reading those sources.

                  •  Nice strawman ya gots there (0+ / 0-)

                    Pity if sumpin should happin ta him.

                    "you argue essentially that the Fourth Amendment is a nicety which must be put aside to stave off anarchy."

                    No, I argue that there is a dialectic between freedom and tyranny and that we are best served when we are able to perform the synthesis the thesis of freedom and it's antithesis of tyranny. Your black or white, Either/Or ideology will never allow you to transcend your current dialectic.

                    Notice that you leap from my statement that "without enforcement those who operate outside the law can do so with impunity" directly into your delusion that I must therefore be arguing against the 4th amendment. As if we cannot have both freedom and laws.

                    "I infer from this [Liberals tend to have problems with authority] that you fear those who are not members of "the privileged elites."

                    Non sequitur. It does not follow from a description of a class that one must necessarily fear a class.

                    "I infer from this that you fear those who are not members of "the privileged elites."  These outcasts and castoffs of society are, to you, frightening, especially if they assert themselves against the authority you revere so much.  That's why you nominate the "adults" like Gates for positions of power since they will know better than to respect the rights of the uncivilized hoi polloi."

                    There is an awful lot of mind reading and projection going on in just this one paragraph. I do not fear those you claim I do. I do not revere power as you imagine I do. I did not nominate Gates nor did I use the word "adults". That is a misquote.

                    You are tilting at giant windmills of your own imagination.

                    "Here is the real difference between you and those liberals whom you despise."

                    I don't despise liberals, I am one. That is why I get to criticize those with whom I disagree, because I care. I don't really criticize those on the right because I could care less about them. Disagreement, even sharp pointed disagreement, does not mean that you hate or otherwise despise someone. Indifference is the opposite of love, if I didn't care I would say nothing.

                    'Emma Goldman quotation':

                    tl;dr

                    Anarchism is deeply flawed. It is based on a delusional view of human nature. Gotta go, might be back in a bit. Might be interested in further conversation if you are capable of actual engagement. If all you want is a rant though count me out.

                    Shut up! It's Daddy you shit-head. Where's my bourbon?!

                    by MnplsLiberal on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 03:08:20 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Actually I think my opinion (0+ / 0-)

            created quite a discussion that followed the original post. You may agree or disagree but that's the great part of being part of this wonderful community.

            So thanks for adding to the discussion.

            Globalization is great, as long as you can afford it!!

            by padeius on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 09:24:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  That gave me intellectual whiplash. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      willibro, ohmyheck, 2020adam

      Continue breaking the law so that the law can be tested is not really a good way to enforce the social contract. It just makes you look like the criminal you are when you are ultimately caught and try to litigate yourself out of the consequences.

      A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

      by nippersdad on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 07:48:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hey, maybe I should keep (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nippersdad, ohmyheck, 2020adam

        stealing things.

        That will force the issue to keep coming up in the courts. Perhaps, someday, I'll have a lawyer who can find some way to argue that I have the right to steal. Then, my point, that stealing is my freely chosen pursuit to happiness, is constitutional.

        We should all be breaking laws and argue that we can't be considered guilty of anything until the case gets to SCOTUS!

        •  That sounds like a good idea, but I think (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ohmyheck, 2020adam

          that most of Wall Street has a prior claim to that argument at this point. Is it really any wonder that no one has any faith in our government anymore? The social compact has been so screwed for so long that it really is a wonder we manage as well as we do at this point.

          A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

          by nippersdad on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 09:16:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am constantly astonished... (0+ / 0-)

            by the fact that we manage as well as we do. The majority of Americans act as if the social compact is still in place. The small, wealthy minority has, in reality, torn the social compact apart.

      •  What he said. also. n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        2020adam

        One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork." - Mark Twain

        by ohmyheck on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 11:22:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  your title is misleading (5+ / 0-)
    Obama's doj is defending the US from liability arising from prior violations of fisa; as far as we know, Obama has stopped the practice of warrantless wiretapping.

    @ commenter above: the administration is providing the detainees w/ habeas review, which is what the SCOTUS has said the constitution requires.

    •  how would that be better? (8+ / 0-)

      Why should the US be defended from liability for its past violations of FISA?  People should be prosecuted if they broke FISA, it's black and white criminal law.  And if the US Government owes anyone compensation, then they should be paid.

      Why exactly should Obama help cover up past crimes?  How is that a disincentive to future ones?  Maybe he's not continuing the spying, but he won't be president forever.   A Republican will win someday, and the message is "break the law the next guy will cover up your deeds, it's cool..."

      Help build the Progressive Governing Majority at Open Left

      by Scientician on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 04:34:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Reading comprehension (0+ / 0-)
        is important.  Reread and take note that I never said the defense was a good thing.
        •  Perhaps there is a very real concern (0+ / 0-)

          that prior wiretapping was massive and that exposing it would destabilize the US gov? If Obama had lost the intelligence community on day one he would already be dead.

          Shut up! It's Daddy you shit-head. Where's my bourbon?!

          by MnplsLiberal on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 08:48:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm sorry, but if something that insane... (0+ / 0-)

            was being covered up, then the US government should be destabilized.

            If the US government just cannot stop itself from illegal acts so horrendous that they threaten instability of that sort, then fuck the US government.

            President Bush was not allowed to say "national security" about everything. We constantly hammered him for abusing the claim of national security. How is it at all consistent to suddenly excuse the cover-up of illegal acts that were carried out in the name of faux "national security"?

            If the law was broken, then people must go to prison. That is the only way to convince people like George W Bush or Dick Cheney to act within the law. They don't care about losing elections. Our media is convinced that what George W Bush did was just political, nothing terrible. Unless men like him are placed in jail, history books will show that our country accepted torture, constant surveillance, and illicit conflict.

      •  Actually, that's not the legal issue (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tle, corvo, Nada Lemming

        The telecoms were given retroactive immunity, for example.

        The issue is about the technology.  The administration is saying that letting the lawsuit against the Bush administration go forward would force the administration to disclose state secrets -- in other words there is no way to adjudicate the past acts of the Bush administration without disclosing the intelligence methods used.

        It's not a cover up.  That's obstruction of Justice and lying.  This is a legal argument being made in open court.

        •  And use of the state's secrets defense is (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Robobagpiper, ohmyheck, 2020adam

          somehow different when Obama uses it to cover up crimes than when the Bush Administration did it? It is still criminality and should still be punishable. I doubt that anything done to surveil Americans seven years ago could still be used by Al Qaeda to harm us.

          This is a political ploy to prevent the prosecution of people within the village, nothing more.

          A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

          by nippersdad on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 07:58:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  FISA's NOT a criminal law. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ohmyheck

        The Wiretap Act's criminal law, and the issuance of a FISA warrant is an affirmative defense to a Wiretap Act prosecution.


        "Do your taxpayers a favor, and leave him alone." (My State Assembly Rep, Marc Pocan, to Denver's City Atty before 2008 DNC)

        by ben masel on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 08:02:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You are SO DEAD WRONG. . . (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eddie C, bobdevo, corvo, nippersdad, ohmyheck

      The warrantless wiretapping is STILL GOING ON -- That's why the ACLU has gone to court.

      •  How big is the conspiracy in your theory? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        burrow owl

        Let's see: Obama, Holder, James Risen (NY Times reporter) and the entire NY Times editorial board got together to concoct the story about the warrantless wiretap program ending.  Oh, yeah, plus all the other media outlets and potential whistle blowers who have conspired not to spill the beans on the continuation of the program.  And oh yeah, Congress, which held hearings on this in June 2009 was engaged in a "limited hangout" when the disclosed that there were remnant programs that the DOJ was trying to shut down.  Plus all the paid shills on DK who cite to the Times to explain that warrantless wiretapping has ended.

        •  It's fine if you disagree with Skeeter's view. (0+ / 0-)

          But that does not make it a conspiracy. Seymour Hersh says that we are still torturing people. Jane Mayer writes that we are murdering suspected enemy military commanders who are not found on the battlefield or even in a country we are at war with. In murdering those people, we have killed hundreds of innocent people.

          Telecom companies have informed us that they receive so many requests for wiretaps and datataps that they often set up distinct departments and secure websites to deal with the government demands.

          The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is proposing a bill that would allow (and in some cases force) the government to treat some citizens as enemy combatants with no due process rights. The bill's main cosponsor (besides the Chairman) was one of two major party candidates in the 2008 election for President of the United States.

          The other major party candidate, who won, has kept mum on that bill, but has plans to imprison a few dozen human beings into eternity with no substantive due process.

          That's not a conspiracy. That's reality, as reported by well respected journalists.

    •  Stopped?? GIve me a very large break. n/t (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nippersdad, ohmyheck, 2020adam

      "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

      by bobdevo on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 07:35:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Running interference for prior criminality (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Robobagpiper, ohmyheck, 2020adam

      and providing a multilayered review of prisoners which mitigates against the prisoners ability to defend themselves is no way to enforce the law. This is just more of the same, and continued reports that the surveillance continues tends to undermine the argument that there is will on the part of the Administration to undermine Bush precedents.

      A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

      by nippersdad on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 07:53:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama ENDED warrantless wiretapping (5+ / 0-)

    You're only about 14 months behind the news cycle.

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    The Obama administration, especially AG Holder ENDED warrantless wiretapping.  

    You are confusing defending the government against liability for Bush era wire taps (a legal defense, which of course is constitutional to make in court) and the actual practice of continued wiretapping.

    In fact, Holder found some rogue NSA wiretapping around April 2009 and shut it down.

    Unfortunately, DemocracyNow reported the next day that wiretapping was continuing 3 months into the Obama administration without reporting that the administration was shutting it down after finding it.  Ever since, it has been in impregnable urban myth of the perpetually "poutraged" faction of progressives that it is continuing.

    It isn't.  There is no warrantless wiretapping going on with administration's consent.

    •  Yeah, as far as you know. (5+ / 0-)

      Do you really believe that?  That's freakin' hilarious.

      •  You can be as black helicopter (0+ / 0-)
        as you want, but the key thing here is that this case doesn't tell us that Obama has continued the program.
        •  This reminds me of the diaries that proclaim (5+ / 0-)

          that Obama ended MTR coal mining because he (or the EPA, more precisely) denied one company's permit.

          All the while approving 2 or 3 others . . .  The point being, don't be a sap and fall for the smokescreen.

        •  Warantless wiretaps NOT ended under Obama (12+ / 0-)

          From the NY Times Editorial on 4/3/2010

          This ruling does not end warrantless wiretapping. The particular program The Times uncovered has been suspended; there are still others, however, and the 2008 FISA amendments permit warrantless spying.

          It is not comforting that Obama is fighting against any accountability for those who have commited known criminal acts a la his stance on torture.

          Obama is in effect giving de-facto clemency to those who spy illegally (or torture) and reducing such acts to mere partisan disagreements.

          Way to move the Overton window Barack.

          •  Link to info on other programs? (0+ / 0-)
            The key question, bear in mind, is whether they're illegal.  I'm happy to suss that question out, but need more than a pro forma accusation.
          •  The editorial you cite was BEFORE the news story (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bobdevo, Radical def

            And in fact, the editorial you cite is irrelevant.  It's about the lawsuit against the Bush administration.  The sentence you quote is that the lawsuit did not end wiretapping -- ie force any program if it exists to end -- which is a correct statement about the court's decision.

            Twenty-two days later, however, in the article I cite, the Times reported that AG Holder was forcing the NSA to comply with FISA and shutting down a program he had discovered that did not comply with FISA.

            In June 2009 the Obama administration DOJ again discovered a remnant NSA program and shut it down.

            How do you reconcile this series of news reports about the Obama administration trying to force the NSA to conform to FISA with an unsupported accusation that they are continuing warrantless wiretapping?

            There are complicated technical issues this process of shut down faces.  For example, it has always been legal and constitutional to wiretap foreign communications, and this has been going on for decades before the Bush administration.  The complication is how to do that when one party may be in the US and how to filter emails etc arising in the US from those arising overseas when data pipelines don't necessarily make a distinction.  The programs that have run into trouble during the Obama administration have been described as "overcollection" of data in this context.  

            But months after the editorial you cited, the same newspaper, the times, concluded this about the Obama administration's stance on these technical problems -- that it was not continuing the Bush administration's efforts to carry out unconstitutional wiretaps:

            http://www.nytimes.com/...

            We do not believe that Mr. Obama is deliberately violating Americans’ rights as Mr. Bush did, and it is to his credit that the government acknowledged part of the problem in April. But this nation’s civil liberties are not predicated on trusting individuals to wield their powers honorably. They are founded on laws.

      •  Do I really believe the NY Times? (0+ / 0-)

        The newspaper and reporters (Risen) who broke the Bush warrantless wiretapping program story in the first place?  As opposed to believing unsubstantiated unsourced accusations on an internet discussion board?

        •  Is this the same NY Times that refused to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nippersdad

          run this story for a considerable period of time so as to not influence the 2004 election?

          Yeah, like they're credible on this issue.

          And I was chuckling about this earlier (see above), but now I'm flat out ROTFLMAO . . . .

          •  That was the first thing I thought of too. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Roadbed Guy

            They tend to have a problem admitting the truth about things like ACORN as well. They eventually backtrack, but habitual corrections on the bottom of page twenty six months later tends to undermine their credibilty with regard to anything they say today.

            A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

            by nippersdad on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 08:03:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  They don't need to wiretap, they have the census. (5+ / 0-)

        "Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge." H Mann

        by the fan man on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 06:09:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Where is the Executive Order? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobdevo, corvo

      You say Obama "ended the warrantless wiretapping? Prove it. Show me the executive order!

      •  Where is the Papal Bull? (0+ / 0-)

        You say the program is continuing.  Show me the Papal Bull!!!

        The fallacy of your argument is that although proof has been provided in the form of several NY Times articles and editorials, you insist on a form of official verification that may not even be applicable.

        By the same token, I could ask for proof that it is continuing in the form of a Papal Bull.

    •  Because it was in the NY Times? Puh-leeze. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nippersdad

      "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

      by bobdevo on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 07:36:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  OK so let's discard the NY Times evidence (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Radical def, StepLeftStepForward

        which is the only evidence we have in this thread.  What is the evidence warrantless wiretapping is continuing despite the administration's announcements to the contrary?

        Btw, the NY Times reporting that the DOJ was shutting down these programs was by the same reporter (James Risen) who broke the story that the Bush administration had carried out warrantless wiretaps.

        So if you don't believe the Times when it says the program was ending, do you believe them when they say that Bush had carried out the illegal wiretaps?  Or do you only agree with the Times when it's conclusions conform to your pre-existing opinions.

        If your response to the Times is just "puh-leeze," does that mean it's safe to conclude that the Bush administration never carried out warrantless wiretaps in the first place?

        How does that work in trying to figure out what's going on?  When do you believe a media source and when do you discard it?

        •  The question is: do I believe the government? (0+ / 0-)

          and the answer is:  NO.  The Times was merely parroting government denials . . . ff you want to believe that this administration has stopped warrantless surveillance, or torture . . . go right ahead.

          "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

          by bobdevo on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 11:09:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And that's why your belief is an urban myth (0+ / 0-)

            You are indicating that no amount of evidence could convince you.  Your belief in the continuation of warrantless wiretapping -- despite the reporting by the very same journalist who broke the story about Bush's wiretapping in the first place, DOJ investigations, and the administration's public pronouncements -- is an article of faith not based on balancing evidence.  That's basically what you are now admitting.

            Fine.  

            I don't argue with people who have faith based views of politics anymore than I would argue with devout Catholics about the transfiguration of the communion wafer, or than I would argue with a birther about whether Obama was born in Kenya or Hawaii, or than I would argue with those who believe that Neil Armstrong actually took one small step for man on a sound stage in Los Angeles.

            But don't expect to convince anyone whose analysis is primarily fact based and who considers himself part of the reality based community.  If you want to convince us that it is continuing you would have to present some evidence other than that you just know it's continuing.

            •  Evidence? Where's your fucking evidence? (0+ / 0-)

              Take your patronizing urban myth crap and shove it. Are you retarded?  

              We know that past Administrations have warrantlessly wiretapped, some so blatantly they forced Congress to draft specific legislation making it illegal.

              When the Bush Administration began warrantlessly wiretapping American citiznes, the DoJ refused to prosecute illegal wiretappers. Obama then cooperated in retroactively protecting those criminals and the corporations that aided and abetted the crimes.

              We KNOW this to be fact.

              SO one announcement from an Attorney General who represented Chiqita banana death squads, and you claim Ino amount of evidence could convince me?

              That is disingenuous baloney, and you are the delusional actor here, not me.

              "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

              by bobdevo on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 12:28:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's a conspiracy I tell ya! (0+ / 0-)

                It's not just Holder that's in on it.  It also has to be James Risen, the journalist who broke the wire tap story in the first place, and reported on how Holder was forcing the NSA to conform to FISA.  

                It also has to be the NY Times editorial board that wrote that it doesn't believe the wire tap program is continuing.

                And just because Obama won the election and the Democrats replaced the Republicans, just because Obama promised to end warrantless wire taps, and just because he appointed a critic of the warrantless wiretap programs to head a section of the DOJ that overseas the NSA, and just because the NY Times reports it's over don't mean it's so!!!!

                Is that your basic point?

                •  Funny thing about your New York Times . . . (0+ / 0-)

                  if - AS YOU CLAIM - the NY Times editorial board says they don't believe the wire tap program is continuing . .  then please tell me WHY THE FUCK they conclude their editorial on April 4 saying:

                  Senator Obama promised repeatedly in the 2008 campaign to reverse Mr. Bush’s many abuses of power. This was one of them. President Obama should read this court ruling with chagrin and eliminate warrantless spying. It is also far past time to stop hiding behind spurious, often ludicrous, claims of national security.

                  If it's already eliminated, as you claim, then why are they suggesting it?

                  And while your belief in the truthfulness of the government is touching . . . perhaps you'd be interested in this bridge I have for sale in Brooklyn.

                  "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

                  by bobdevo on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 01:41:56 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And did you read what they wrote later? (0+ / 0-)

                    after Risen reported in June about what appeared to be over collection of bulk electronic data?

                    We do not believe that Mr. Obama is deliberately violating Americans’ rights as Mr. Bush did, and it is to his credit that the government acknowledged part of the problem in April. But this nation’s civil liberties are not predicated on trusting individuals to wield their powers honorably. They are founded on laws.

                    http://www.nytimes.com/...

                    These are stories about the Obama administration using the first six months to figure out what Bush had been doing and what holdover programs were continuing to do, acknowledging what they had found, and forcing the NSA to comply with FISA.

                •  And another thing!!! Your sainted Mr. Risen also (0+ / 0-)

                  says, on April 1 in the NY Times:

                  But since Mr. Obama took office, the N.S.A. has sometimes violated the limits imposed on spying on Americans by the new FISA law. The administration has acknowledged the lapses but said they had been corrected.

                  Let me help you here - Risen does NOT say the Obama Administration has stopped warrantless wiretapping.  Rather he says they HAVE violated the law since Obama took office, but they CLAIM they no longer do.

                  Maybe a remedial reading course would help.

                  "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

                  by bobdevo on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 01:47:28 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Can't you read and understand this very article?? (0+ / 0-)

                    The article is saying that since Obama took office, Holder discovered NSA programs that violated the limits imposed by FISA AND SHUT THEM DOWN OR FORCED THEM TO COMPLY WITH FISA.  The article by Risen is about that process -- the Obama administration coming in and reviewing these programs and forcing them to comply.

                    Or did you think that the inauguration simply caused all these violations to magically disappear and free ponies to be delivered to all?

                    Did you bother to read the article you're citing?

                    Can you read?  

                    •  You, sir, are muy loco. (0+ / 0-)

                      Where in this article does it mention Holder shutting down any programs? Where does it mention anyone forcing compliance?

                      "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

                      by bobdevo on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 02:51:13 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

  •  This was one thing that Cheney was correct (11+ / 0-)

    about - and quite possibly the only one ever - that Obama would enthusiastically embrace the new quasi-constitutional powers staked out by his administration!

  •  and what's with Blackwater? Gates, Petreaus etc (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tle, corvo, willibro, nippersdad, Nada Lemming

    Is Republican the only way to look at war?
    And once we knew there were no weapons of mass destruction and the reasons for going to "war" were false, why are not the prisoners of said "war" immediately released as fruits of the poison tree so to speak? Patriots standing against foreign invaders.
    The new world order will be (is) fascist and there is almost nothing to be done about it.

    "Bad Bruise before dishonor"

    by tRueffert on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 05:02:20 AM PDT

  •  I wrote a diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobdevo

    on this where I attempted to address this by juxtaposing the points of view of law enforcement/intelligence and Constitutional imperatives as represented by civic activism:

    An Imagined Colloquy on Civil Liberties

    Q: How does an ant with the understanding of a human feel? A: Ineffectual.

    by Troubadour on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 05:53:55 AM PDT

  •  Contrary to his campaign rhetoric (5+ / 0-)

    Obama does not have a problem with US empire, he just thought it needed to be better managed.  Better management does not require undoing Bush's illegal programs, not all of them anyway.

    This became apparent when Obama retained Gates and appointed Hillary, the single biggest Democratic hawk, as SoS.  These programs and the disgraceful Afghan War are his now.   I did not support these programs, the wars and empire itself when Bush was in, & I don't now that Obama is in charge.

  •  Why? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    willibro

    Because it's who Obama is.  That's why.  

  •  I can understand it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radical def

    With death threats against the president up 400%, the explosion of hate groups, insurgent militias, and homegrown terrorism suspects..Little phones have to have Big ears.

    I know, I know, 'he who's willing to give up liberty for security, deserves neither'.  Or, something like that.

    I might not like it, but, I can understand it.

  •  Inaccurate on origins of FISA (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eddie C, ohmyheck

    "Congress, acting within its authority to enforce the Fourth Amendment "with appropriate legislation," passed two statutes to curb such government abuses: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA)"

    FISA was introduced AFTER a 4th Circuit ruling inUnited States v. Truong Dinh Hung, 629 F.2d 908 (4th Cir. 1980) (cert denied) that the President had the authority to order warrantless taps in National Security, so the Staute sought to create due process limits.

    This, I presume, is why Judge Walker's relying on the Statute, and not the 4th Amendment.

    (I had a ringside seat, as the attorney for Truong's co-defendant was representing me in an unrelated case. I was in Marvin's office when he got the call from the US Attorney's office informing him that they'd performed the 1st acknowledged covert video surveillance on his client. I'd just finished reading Philip K Dick's A Scanner Darkly.)


    "Do your taxpayers a favor, and leave him alone." (My State Assembly Rep, Marc Pocan, to Denver's City Atty before 2008 DNC)

    by ben masel on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 08:22:50 AM PDT

    •  pretty cool (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ohmyheck

      to witness our sordid history.

      Though it sucks that it was there to be witnessed.

    •  You are just WRONG here. (0+ / 0-)

      The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act - which arose as a result of work of the Church Comittee in response to Nixon's use of warrantless wiretaps - was passed in 1978 signed into law by Jimmy Carter on October 25, 1978.  Carter's signing statment said:

      The bill requires, for the first time, a prior judicial warrant for all electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence or counterintelligence purposes in the United States in which communications of U.S. persons might be intercepted. It clarifies the Executive's authority to gather foreign intelligence by electronic surveillance in the United States.

      This is prior to the case you reference.

      "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

      by bobdevo on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 10:16:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  No equivalency whatsoever between Bush and Obama (0+ / 0-)

    Funny, how it was supposedly "OK", and even "necessary" for Nixon, Bush, et al, to use the full force of government resources to illegitimately suppress the popular democratic left...

    But when Obama seeks to suppress genuinely traitorous, seditious right wing fascist pigs, THEN it's "ZOMG!  Our Constitutional rights!"

    I don't see how anyone can call this "the same".  

    The right is wrong, and they should be harshly suppressed.  

    The left is correct, and they legitimately need protection from the vicious right.

    The right are anti-democratic traitors, and they should eat shit and die.

    The left are advocates of democracy, and should mobilize to absolutely crush the right, democratically, electorally, legislatively, judicially.

    We don't "need" a fascist "opposition" running amok, to be democratic.

    Photobucket

    "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

    by Radical def on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 09:21:12 AM PDT

    •  Rad! (0+ / 0-)

      I'd rec this but for the "eat shit and die".

      Other than that......and a great cartoon to boot!

      One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork." - Mark Twain

      by ohmyheck on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 11:32:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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