April 28, 2006

Sure, it’s idiotic.  But at least he’s going about it correctly.

From AP/Breitbart, “Sen. Specter Threatens to Block NSA Funds”:

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter said Thursday he is considering legislation to cut off funding for the Bush administration’s secret domestic wiretapping program until he gets satisfactory answers about it from the White House.

“Institutionally, the presidency is walking all over Congress at the moment,” Specter, R-Pa., told the panel. “If we are to maintain our institutional prerogative, that may be the only way we can do it.”

Specter said he had informed President Bush about his intention and that he has attracted several potential co-sponsors. He said he’s become increasingly frustrated in trying to elicit information about the program from senior White House officials at several public hearings.

According to a copy of the amendment obtained by The Associated Press, it would enact a “prohibition on use of funds for domestic electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes unless Congress is kept fully and currently informed.”

Specter also agreed with Democrats who say that any of the bills to tighten guidelines for National Security Agency program and increase congressional oversight could be flatly ignored by an administration with a long history of acting alone in security matters.

“It is true that we have no assurance that the president would follow any statute that we enact,” Specter said. He said he’s considering adding an amendment to stop funding of the program to an Iraq war- hurricane relief bill being debated by the Senate this week and next.

[…]

“The appropriate members of Congress have been and continue to be informed with respect to the Terrorist Surveillance Program,” said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. “The Administration remains confident that a majority of members of Congress continue to recognize the importance of protecting Americans through lawful intelligence activities directed at terrorists.”

Specter’s announcement came a day after the House passed an bill 327- 96 to dramatically increase spending on intelligence programs. In the process, Republicans blocked an amendment to expand congressional oversight of the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., said allegations that NSA domestic wiretapping operations are abusive or unconstitutional are outrageous and that Congress is committed to vigorous oversight of the program.

As I’ve argued all along, this entire manufactured outrage was—at least among those in Congress—nothing more than an attempt to fight a turf war through the press by instigating the appearance of impropriety.  Congress wants oversight authority and the ability to have a secret judiciary branch decide what a sitting CinC can and cannot do with his wartime authority—and they wish to be able to usurp this authority without proving that the President has broken any laws (legal scholars are split on the NSA program—though it bears repeating that those who have been briefed about the program don’t have a problem with it and continue to support it).

Russ Feingold’s call for censure filled his coffers (what can you say?  Bush hatred sells to the hard left), but the call was ridiculous on its face.  Were he serious, he would have called instigated articles of impeachment and attempted to prove the President had broken the law. 

The second check on Executive war time power—like that used in Vietnam—is Congressional defunding.  Which is what Specter is calling for here.

So while he is to be condemned for having a tin ear and a outsized streak of self-importance, he is to be congratuted for using the proper measure to attempt to fight the President’s authorization of the program.

Of course, what this would do, should the legislation be introduced, is force Senators to put their votes on the record.  Which Senators want to vote against surveillance that the NSA says has, in fact, stopped attacks—and that the Justice Department, the FISA review court, many legal scholars, and those Senators who have been briefed all say is useful, necessary, and is operating legally (or, if you prefer, under an assumption of Presidential wartime authority that has never been ruled upon by SCOTUS, but that has been implicitly acknowledged by lower courts).

I know I’d like to see which Senators are willing to vote against the President’s use of the NSA to monitor the conversations of those in the US who have had contact with either known al Qaeda / terrorists, or communicate frequently with specifically identified hot zones within certain countries.  And I’m probably not alone.

(h/t Stop the ACLU; my previous NSA posts here)

Posted by Jeff G. @ 5:00pm
93 comments | Trackback

Comments (93)

  1. Yeah, Jeff, but can we get back to Pam Anderson’s breasts now?

  2. Congress wants oversight authority and the ability to have a secret judiciary branch decide what a sitting CinC can and cannot do with his wartime authority—and they wish to be able to usurp this authority without proving that the President has broken any laws (legal scholars are split on the NSA program—though it bears repeating that those who have been briefed about the program don’t have a problem with it and continue to support it).

    Oh dear lord.

    1.  You can’t adjudicate the legality of a program without judicial supervision.  So, to argue that he shouldn’t have his authority limited by judicial review unless a court has found his program to be illegal is kinda stupid.  No, it’s actually really stupid.

    2.  Do you even bother with the truth, or do you just decide to fabricate versions of events to satsify your rightwing mythology?

    [url=”http://hotlineblog.nationaljournal.com/archives/2005/12/pelosi_admits_s.html” target=”_blank”]”We all agree that the President must have the best possible intelligence to protect the American people, but that intelligence must be produced in a manner consistent with the United States Constitution and our laws. The President’s statement today raises serious questions as to what the activities were and whether the activities were lawful.

    “I was advised of President Bush’s decision to provide authority to the National Security Agency to conduct unspecified activities shortly after he made it and have been provided with updates on several occasions.

    “The Bush Administration considered these briefings to be notification, not a request for approval. As is my practice whenever I am notified about intelligence activities, I expressed my strong concerns during these briefings.”[/url]

    Jeebus.

  3. Arlen Specter, nattering nabob of nitwittery. Oh, for someone of Abe Lincoln’s stature. Old abe arrested an obstructionist Senator and tossed him out of the country during the civil war. Just the image is priceless. What in hell is the matter with these God damned idiots?

    Nothing is too important to politic. America’s security is being pawned for political advantage. I’m afraid our elected idiots will not smell the coffee until another 911, or worse, happens. They are totally clueless, totally useless, and totally unconcerned if you as an American die.

  4. Sadly, this post just gets dumber towards the end:

    I know I’d like to see which Senators are willing to vote against the President’s use of the NSA to monitor the conversations of those in the US who have had contact with either known al Qaeda / terrorists, or communicate frequently with specifically identified hot zones within certain countries.  And I’m probably not alone.

    No kidding.

    The issue isn’t whether such surveillance should be allowed.  Everyone agrees that it should be.  The question is whether there should be some sort of oversight/review.  You feel that the executive branch should be able to snoop on Americans without any kind of oversight.  Let’s put that to a vote.

    I understand that you think that Bush should be able to do whatever he wants–after all, he is The Decider.  But those of us without Royalist leanings think the power of the executive should have meaningful limits.

  5. Most of us would prefer to know if AQ is lobbing in phone calls to the U.S. We’re funny that way. And we’d expect the government to listen in to said calls. Let’s vote!

  6. I know I’d like to see which Senators are willing to vote against the President’s use of the NSA to monitor the conversations of those in the US who have had contact with either known al Qaeda / terrorists, or communicate frequently with specifically identified hot zones within certain countries.  And I’m probably not alone.

    The real issue is who determines who’s a “terrorist” and what are these “hot zones within certain countries” while preserving the integrity of our non-discriminatory system of government.

    If it’s perfectly OK in the eyes of government bureaucrats for Joe to call his great-aunt in Cork and for Josh to call his cousin in Eilat, but it becomes suddenly “suspicious” when Jose calls his family in the Chiappas valley, or even worse if Abdul sends an SMS to his mom in Peshawar, well then you can’t blame certain categories of people for complaining about institutionalized racism and bigotry.

    I mean, long before 911, academics such as Samuel Huntington have been calling for the adoption of muscular anti-immigrant policies specifically targeting Hispanics and Muslims (the Harvard professor even has a theory about the alleged influence of Arab “civilizational backwardness” on Latino culture presumably because the South of Spain was part of the Caliphate 600 years ago): the rise of anti-immigrant policies and the ideological premises upon which they’re built are reminiscent in many ways of German and Austrian nationalism(s) circa 1913…one more war and we shall be ripe for the fascist phase of our “historic development” the advent of which Neocon thinkers such as Mike Ledeen are eager to hasten…

    Faster please!

  7. ….think the power of the executive should have meaningful limits.

    As well as those of Congress.  Seems to me that people who disagree (President and Congress among others) should resolve those differences.  We’ve hased this out so damn many times.  Either take it to SCOTUS or defund it, those are the legal options.  Grandstanding to prove a political point does no good.

    The President has stated that the program is necessary, legal and will continue.  Congresscritters want to assert their percieved Constitutional authority without having to actually go on record with a vote.  This move by Specter is a bluff.

    He’s playing poker with the wrong guy.

  8. Dr. Victorino:

    You apparently don’t know the Golden Rule on this website:  If The Decider decides that it’s true, then it must be true.

    You see, according to the wingnut ideology, all a Republican president has to say is “this is part of the war on terror” and he has an absolute right to do whatever the heck he wants.

    Want to spy on Americans without a warrant?  Just say “it’s part of the war on terror” and conservatives will obey without questioning, and will attack anyone who dares question the authority of the doge.

  9. As well as those of Congress.  Seems to me that people who disagree (President and Congress among others) should resolve those differences.  We’ve hased this out so damn many times.  Either take it to SCOTUS or defund it, those are the legal options.  Grandstanding to prove a political point does no good.

    So, you’re in favor of judicial supervision of the NSA program?  Uh oh, you’re sounding like a liberal.

    The President has stated that the program is necessary, legal and will continue.  Congresscritters want to assert their percieved Constitutional authority without having to actually go on record with a vote.  This move by Specter is a bluff.

    Congress has a duty to oversee the executive.  And the fact that Congress has to approve all federal spending isn’t an accident either.  It isn’t perceived–it’s real.

  10. Why is the Senate Intelligence Comittee not able to monitor these programs, Geek?  What does the Judiciary Comittee offer that Intelligence doesn’t?

  11. Hmmm.

    @ Geek, Esq

    Want to spy on Americans without a warrant?  Just say “it’s part of the war on terror” and conservatives will obey without questioning, and will attack anyone who dares question the authority of the doge.

    Even an asshat like you should be able to recognize the difference between snooping on Americans and snooping on Americans talking to known AQ.

    sw: and that’s the rest of the story.

  12. Even an asshat like you should be able to recognize the difference between snooping on Americans and snooping on Americans talking to known AQ.

    Does the constitution recognize the difference?

  13. As is my practice whenever I am notified about intelligence activities, I expressed my strong concerns during these briefings.”[/url]

    Thats funny!  Nancy Pelosi has a practice of expressing strong concerns whenever she hears about US intelligence activities.

  14. Even an asshat like you should be able to recognize the difference between snooping on Americans and snooping on Americans talking to known AQ.

    sw: and that’s the rest of the story.

    If they’re KNOWN to be talking to AQ, then there’ll be no problem getting the surveillance approved by the FISA court, retroactively if necessary.

    Do you know the difference between being a terrorist collaborator and being accused of being a terrorist collaborator by the Bush administration?

  15. Geek,

    What’s with all the hostile assumptions, dude? Bad batch of Wheaties?

    The argument about the legality of the program is ongoing. The administration doesn’t want any more detail made public about the program than needed, as its effectiveness has already been somewhat compromised and would likely be badly mashed by further disclosures.

    The opposition wants it stopped. Not argued, not adjudicated, stopped. That’s why “defunding” is now being discussed. We don’t really know the motives of particular players with any absolute certainty (or at least I don’t), but we can guess based on their actions.

    It would seem to an outside observer that Specter may be both harboring serious reservations about the programs and peeved that he’s not privy to the details.

    As far as acting without oversight – when has this administration been able to do ANYTHING without EVERYBODY yammering incessantly about it? I think it’s probably the most “oversighted” administration in my lifetime.

    No, not every action and program has been adjudicated. Yet. But I’m betting it all will be, and much to the detriment of our ability to gather intelligence without compromising the process.

    Yeah, it sucks that there have to be any secrets at all. But we’re not in a position to do that – unless of course you’re going to pull a Sheen and go off into “there are no real enemies its all dumb shows and noise” land.

    What kind of oversight do you propose, and would it likely compromise the effectiveness of the program (more than it already has been)?

    I don’t believe that governments normally need a lot of power like this. I also don’t believe that the world is particularly “normal” right now. I know it will be difficult to keep some of these kinds of things under control afterward, when the framework is in place and the bureaucrats will start looking for something to justify it.

    But I’d rather fight that fight in the elections and courts later than fight the fight we’re fighting now with a blindfold on.

    It’s a tradeoff, because it isn’t a perfect world.

  16. Hey Libs: You’ll get your chance, smart guys, to debate this very soon. And you’re going to lose that one, too. Both legally AND in the court of public opinion.

  17. So, you’re in favor of judicial supervision of the NSA program?  Uh oh, you’re sounding like a liberal.

    Where does “take it to SCOTUS” sound like judicial supervision? 

    Congress has a duty to oversee the executive.  And the fact that Congress has to approve all federal spending isn’t an accident either.  It isn’t perceived–it’s real.

    I may not be an attorney but even I know that Congress cannot poach on the Executive Powers.  And according to the Constitution (you know that hunk of paper) nowhere does it say that Congress oversees the Executive.  Congress can declare that it has oversight responsibility over some (any) program and then declare that it is being run incorrectly or illegaly.  It’s options then are to either a) defund the program or b) sue the Esecutive via SCOTUS or c) impeach.

    The Executive is not subordinate to Congress but an equal branch.

  18. And even more specifically:  snooping on communications from known terrorists originating from outside the country.

    Let’s stick to questions of constitutionality, please.  All this ambiguous “spy on Americans without a warrant” talk is horseshit.

  19. Does the constitution recognize the difference?

    Go back to your room and figure it out yourself, actus, we are not doing your homework for you.

  20. M. Scott:

    Horseshit, perhaps, but the press just eats it up.

    You know, mixed metaphors are a dangerous thing.

  21. So, you’re in favor of judicial supervision of the NSA program?

    Judicial review, certainly. Judicial supervision, absofuckingloutely not. Easy enough?

    Congress has a duty to oversee the executive.

    Then why do you want the Judiciary to do it?

  22. The Executive is not subordinate to Congress but an equal branch.

    That simply can’t be, rls. After all, Bush is Hitler! We must control him, even if we don’t control Congress!

    tw: Just saying

  23. Once again, we see that the left cannot grasp the difference between using information in a court of law, and using it to wage war.

  24. That simply can’t be, rls. After all, Bush is Hitler! We must control him, even if we don’t control Congress!

    The problem isn’t an Executive riding roughshod over the Constitution, it’s Congress asserting that it has the authority to ride roughshod ove the Constitution.  It has been encroaching on the powers of the Executive since Carter and Presidents have just been “taking it”. 

    Bush is pushing back.

  25. It has been encroaching on the powers of the Executive since Carter and Presidents have just been “taking it”.

    Since carter? I’d say it started around the time of Humphreys Executor. At least.

  26. Lenghthy, but on topic. I Emailed you a copy Jeff, but just in case you missed it in all your fan mail….

    These days, Europe reminds me of an old woman who, with shaking hands, frantically hides her last pieces of jewelry when she notices a robber breaking into a neighbor’s house.

    Captain Jeff,

    This, from friend US Naval officer Rtd. 

    Following is a letter written and published by a German newspaper publisher that a relative forwarded to me.  Too bad he seems to the one of the few who really understands what is going on.—reg **********************************************

    I found it extremely interesting not only because of what Mr. Dapfner says, but primarily because of who he is. He is not an American newspaper reporter. He is German. He is not a Republican or

    Democrat politician trying to gather votes or an Army general making a case for more troops. He is not even in this war.

    He is a civilian businessman, in the business of selling newspapers in Europe, primarily to Germans. Based on his business, he is very well informed.  Based on his success in business, he is very capable and intelligent.  Based on his nationality, he has no reason whatsoever to take

    sides on this subject, other than the honest truth as he sees it from his vantage point. He is not American, he is not a politician and he is not a soldier.

    I believe he simply does not want the same things that have been happening in France to happen in Germany. I think he’s absolutely right and

    I’m sending a copy of his letter to every politician that I can.

    I encourage you to do the same.

    If any of you still feel that this war on terror is a mistake, here is an opinion from an unexpected source.

    This is not a problem that is going to be easy to solve.  It is the struggle to maintain a Western way of life and the very culture that has made it possible.

    Lose this one, and our

    grandchildren will be speaking Arabic, if they survive the “conversion”.  Look at what has been happening in Europe the last couple of years. For all practical purposes terrorist won Spain without any effort on their part other than a couple of bombs in public places.

    Now they are burning Paris

    and hitting on Holland and Belgium.

    It’s fascinating that this should come out of Europe.

    ***************************************

    Matthias Dapfner, Chief Executive of the huge German Publisher, Axel Springer AG, has written a blistering attack in Germany’s largest daily paper against the timid reaction of Europe to the Islamic threat.  This is a must read by all Americans. History will certify its correctness.

    Here is the article:

    EUROPE – THY NAME IS COWARDICE

    (Commentary by Mathias Dapfner, CEO, Axel Springer,AG)

    A few days ago Henry Broder wrote in the Sunday paper, “Europe-your family name is appeasement.” It’s a phrase you can’t get out of your head because it’s so terribly true.  Appeasement cost millions of Jews and non-Jews their lives as England and France negotiated and hesitated too long before they noticed that Hitler had to be fought, not bound to paper agreements.

    After WW II, appeasement legitimized and stabilized Communism in the Soviet Union, then East Germany, then the rest of Eastern Europe and for decades, inhuman, suppressive, murderous governments were glorified as an acceptable alternative to democracy.

    Appeasement crippled Europe when genocide ran rampant in Kosovo, and even though we had absolute proof of ongoing mass-murder, we Europeans debated and debated and debated, and were still debating when finally the Americans had to come from halfway around the world, into Europe again, and do our work for us.

    Rather than protecting democracy in the Middle East, European

    appeasement, camouflaged by the fuzzy word “equidistance” now allows suicide bombings in Israel by Palestinians.

    Appeasement generates a mentality that allows Europe (and too many Americans as well) to ignore nearly 500,000 victims of Saddam’s torture and murder machinery and, motivated by the self-righteousness of the peace-movement, has the gall to issue bad grades to George Bush…even as

    we see that the loudest critics of the American action in Iraq made illicit billions, no, TENS of billions, in the corrupt U.N. Oil-for-Food program.  And now we are faced with a particularly grotesque form of appeasement.

    How is Germany reacting to the escalating violence by Islamic fundamentalists in France, Holland and elsewhere?

    By suggesting that we really should have a “Muslim Holiday” in Germany?! I wish I were joking, but I am not. A substantial fraction of our (German) Government, and if the polls are to be believed, the German people, actually believe that creating an Official State “Muslim Holiday” will somehow spare us from the wrath of the fanatical Islamists.

    One cannot help but recall Britain’s Neville Chamberlain waving the laughable treaty signed by Adolph Hitler, and declaring Europe has “Peace in our time.”

    What else has to happen before the European public and its political leadership get it?

    There is a crusade underway, an especially perfidious civilians, directed against our free, open Western societies, and it is intent upon Western Civilization’s utter destruction. It is a conflict that will most likely last longer than any of the great military conflicts of the last century—it will be conducted by an enemy that cannot be tamed by “tolerance” and “accommodation” but is actually spurred on by such gestures, which have proven to be, and will always be taken by the Islamists for signs of weakness.

    Only two recent American Presidents had the courage needed for anti-appeasement: Reagan and Bush.

    His American critics may quibble over the details, but we Europeans know the truth. We saw it first hand: Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War, freeing half of the German people from nearly 50 years of terror and virtual slavery.

    And Bush, supported only by England’s Tony Blair, acting on moral

    conviction, recognized the danger in the Islamic War against democracy.

    His place in history will have to be evaluated after a number of years have passed. In the meantime, Europe sits back with charismatic self-confidence in the multicultural corner, instead of defending liberal society’s values and being an attractive center of power on the same playing field as

    America and Great Britain.

    On the contrary – we Europeans present ourselves in contrast to those*arrogant Americans* as the World Champions of *tolerance* which even (Germany’s Interior Minister) Otto Schily criticizes. Why? Because we’re so moral?

    I fear it’s more because we’re so materialistic and so devoid of a

    moral compass.  For his policies, Bush risks the fall of the dollar, huge amounts of additional national debt, and a massive and persistent burden on the American economy—because unlike almost all of Europe, Bush realizes what is at stake—it’s literally everything.

    While we criticize the *capitalistic robber barons* of America because they seem too sure of their priorities, we timidly defend our Social Welfare systems. We say,*Stay out of it!* and, *It could get expensive!*

    We’d rather discuss reducing our 35-hour work week or our dental coverage, or our 4 weeks of paid vacation … or listen to TV pastors preach about the need to *reach out to terrorists. To understand and forgive*.

    These days, Europe reminds me of an old woman who, with shaking hands, frantically hides her last pieces of jewelry when she notices a robber breaking into a neighbor’s house.

    God Bless America

    ===================

    And I mean, Sincerely!  TG

    No virus found in this incoming message.

    Checked by AVG Free Edition.

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  27. In case Jeff removes the German publisher*s crystal clear view of how Bush and Blair are saving Europe*s ass, to make a post of it, there*s a copy up on *BendGovernment*. TG

  28. Boy Jeff, you left the troll door open again….

  29. Hmmm.

    If they’re KNOWN to be talking to AQ, then there’ll be no problem getting the surveillance approved by the FISA court, retroactively if necessary.

    And as admitted by judges on the FISA court they have no fucking jurisdiction over the intelligence gathering authority given to the President when he’s acting as the CinC.

    So what you want is for a court without jurisdiction to sanction or dismiss something over which is has no fucking jurisdiction.

    Real fucking smart.

  30. TODD, Do you ever read anything before passing judgement? Oh, sorry, of course you do.

    Well snap out of automode.  Understanding is required as well as reading.  TG

  31. Thanks for posting the letter from over there. The lefties here don’t want to hear anything that conflicts with their world view. I am sure Jeff appreciates.

  32. Pay no attention to Geek. He used to try peddling his analysis at other sites but no go…nobody buys it.

  33. rls sez:

    Bush is pushing back.

    But, Dude. BUSH IS HITLER! Everybody knows that. We have to stop him! Think of the Jooos! brown people!

  34. TG

    Touch a nerve did I?

    Rhetoric is hard to swallow sometimes…Lighten up….

  35. Yeah TODD,

    Why don’t you just try once to comprehend what you are reading before passing judgement.  Besides your opinions don’t matter anyway…

  36. Making the test for surveillance of a potential terrorist that they are “known” to be talking to Al Queda is of course a higher burden than would be reasonable even for the FISA court, a standard that would result in more intelligence failures for no reasonable reason other than the usual irrational partisanship.

  37. - All anyone need do to see the real core of this rapacious prang and feckless circular “executive power/wiretap program argument, repleat with oft repeated perposeful mischaracterizations, and totally specious contentions concerning “congressional oversite” etc etc, is stop and think for a minute. Would the minions of Marxist summer ‘06 be catterwailing about this in the least if Clinton, or any Libturd for that matter, were in the oval office.

    – This is just more of the usual, to be expected, daily adgiprop campaign from the Progressives, hell bent on crafting America into another Zombie-like Socialism, atuned to their fucked up brethren in France.

    – Doesn’t work, but they have to try since the party is dealing from an empty wagon, ideas wise.

  38. Bush should shut the program down and publicly announce it is at congressional demand and responsibility.

    Then he should require the Army to have a judge in every unit to determine whether it is legal to return enemy fire.

  39. - Bush: “[I] think the National Anthem should be sung in English, and that people that want to be a part of this country should learn English, and sing the Anthem in English”.

    – Maybe the Liberals should be the first to learn the “English” of America, and pledge allegiance to the flag. They seem to think as a group they’re living in a fucking Socialism. Morons.

  40. Thank you TonyGuitar, for a great read.  Thanks too to SPQR, Pablo, The other TODD, noah, ed, rls, et al, for your insights.

  41. “nothing more than an attempt to fight a turf war through the press by instigating the appearance of impropriety”

    The whole thing is classified.  There could be massive improprieties and we will never know it unless they are allowed to actually look.

  42. I HOPE the president is breaking the law.  Liberals are constantly hiding their treason behind the consitution.  They will never stop and this country wont be safe their their all deported or shot.  The weakkneed morons wont stand for it so we have to do it on the downlow.

  43. - Would you be as intensely, and obsessively suspicious of your government at every turn if a Liberal Democrat were running the show r4d20?

  44. “Would the minions of Marxist summer ‘06 be catterwailing about this in the least if Clinton, or any Libturd for that matter, were in the oval office.”

    So you’re no better than the Stalinist hacks on the left? Great defense.

    For a bunch of people who supposedly hate commies, you sure know how to think and act just like them.

  45. - Would you be as intensely, and obsessively suspicious of your government at every turn if a Liberal Democrat were running the show r4d20?

    I’m a 30 yearold Moderate Republican who has never voted for a democrat.  I voted Bush in 2000 and didn’t vote for pres in 2004 (hate Bush but couldnt vote for Kerry).  My favorite political book is the Road to Serfdom.

    I dont want ANYONE to have this power and YES I am

    DREADING what will happen if Hillary gets her hands on this power.  Frankly, I’d be suspicious of Jesus.

  46. - r4d20 . Its not a defense, since theres nothing to defend. Strawmen do not make worthy adversaries. Unless you have a tendency to mental derangement, and view everything through a conspiracy glass darkly, most people don’t vote for someone, and then fret every minute their in office that they’re “out to get them”. Apparently some do, and others use the attcaks as a cover for political agitaing. Either way its a waste of everyones time.

    – If anyone, anywhere has a single bit of proof that even ONE american citizen has had his rights stepped on by any governmental program, then by all means publicize it loud and clear. perfidious rumor campaigns and dogmatic “imflammatory word games” are proof of nothing except partisan fervor.

  47. Seriously, the world is NOT divided into stereotypes of Right and Left.  Can we dispense with the strawmen and deal with the substance?

  48. Publish it?  So you can call for them to be publicly hung for treason?

    You cant have your cake and eat it too.  Its going to be Congress or Mary McCarthy.  I’d rather it be behind closed doors than in the press.

  49. I’m actually glad to see this.

    It means Greenwald & Co. are striking out, just as I predicted. It’s nice to be right when soothsaying grin

    Geek: the only thing you need to know to figure out what’s really going on is:

    THE NSA IS NOT A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY.

    They don’t have cops and prosecutors on staff. They don’t even have an Operations Directorate to shove inconvenient people under buses. They don’t investigate crimes or collect evidence. They are strictly information collectors. The information they collect is not admissible in any sane court of law, and any competent lawyer should be able to get any such evidence tossed.

    They do exactly and precisely what you are doing: they identify people who **may** be breaking the law and shop them to law enforcement for investigation.

    Our Constitutional rights are properly invoked when we are confronted with the force, the power, of Government. The NSA has no force to invoke. That is why they are an “intelligence” agency, not a “law enforcement” agency. Now that you and the rest of the Left have trashed the 10th Amendment (”…reserved to the States, or to the People”) and made sure that the rights we enjoy are those specifically named in the first nine, provided you can’t nitpick one out of existence (”…well-regulated militia…”) the question of a “right to privacy” is closed. Absent that, there is no way the NSA’s activities infringe upon anyone’s rights because nothing they do will bring the force and majesty of the United States Government against an individual except to the same extent that you, personally and as a member of the general group of moonbats, are attempting to bring the force and majesty of the Law against George W. Bush. They are doing nothing you, Mona, Greenwald, and the rest of the whinging Left are not doing daily.

    When and if they, or you, bring someone to the attention of a law enforcement agency, that agency must proceed with due respect to Constitutional rights, because as a law enforcement agency they can bring the full force of Government against an individual. At that point it is highly appropriate, in intelligence matters, to have a Court capable of respecting necessary secrets, at least on a temporary basis, to adjudicate such questions, but ultimately the whole thing must be brought into public view. But that is an entirely different sack of monkeys than the actual operation of an intelligence agency.

    It therefore follows that you are either (1) a lying partisan hack or (2) too ignorant to pound sand. Either way your opinions are of little value.

    Regards,

    Ric

  50. - I’d like to think we’re beyond extremism’s like hangings for treason. McCarthy did what she did for her own reasons, mis-guided though they may be. I can believe a person of long public service can be enticed to fail in a human way, to seperate her ideological bent from her pledge to allegiance to her country if she believed she was in fact serving her country in some high minded manner. But she of all people, as I, those of us that have worked in the secret areas of governmental service, should know that we never know all the facts, the big picture so to speak, and the things we do can have repurcussions we may not foresee.

    – Personally, for me, it comes down to one of my biggest gripes with the left. The lack of introspect of the consequences of profligate impulsive actions, even if you can get around the idea of the self-serving arrogance of putting yourself above the law.

    – But that said, no, I don’t think she should be drawn and quartered, nor do I believe that the details of the “story” will be made public, nor should it be, if for no other reason than the possibility of even more long term damage. Shes paid dearly already. I don’t think we have to be tyrannical about it.

  51. I’m a 30 yearold Moderate Republican who has never voted for a democrat.

    I was born a poor, black man… Okay, r4, thanks for coming up to bat. You sound alot like me, but I sound better (crappy soundcard, evidently).

    NSA, I couldn’t care less about that program. Now I don’t molest children or smuggle crack or suicide bomb strip malls for kicks either, so maybe I have less to hide. And maybe, I figure, that international mail and phone calls really aren’t private anyways. Italian, Colombian, Japanese, and British intelligence agencies can certainly listen in even if the US cannot.

    Point in fact, I certainly expect that they do. I expect Britain to monitor US telephone networks and then let us know when the bad guys are chit-chatting, just as I expect the US to monitor British chatter and let them know when someone is going to nailbomb Big Ben. I expect that because they do, last I heard.

    I am not a privacy fetishist. I am for openness, transparency, as annoying as that is, is becoming and will be. But croc tears for something that doesn’t exist, now, in the past, and will never happen again anyways, yeah, hey, I’m over it.*

    *See the other commenters about the legality, yadda yadda yadda of the program. NSA, battle fought, battle won. Verc, recline on sofa, get fat and happy thinking about football game, four touchdowns.

  52. The right to privacy is within your castle, not when you stand in the middle of the street.

  53. - Thats one of the fun things about the launch points of so many of the lefts arguments, and yes they are strawmen, like it or not. I certainly could be wrong, but I’ve never seen a single statute or mention anywhere of any such “rights to privacy” for across the borders international calls/transmissions, nor do I think any such rights exist, except maybe in the hopes and dreams of the left.

    – As I’ve posted on other occasions, to the extent possible as allowed by the current technologies at any particular time, ALL international calls have/will/should be monitored starting in the early 60’s during the Kennedy administration under a bagfull of names, the first signed by Kennedy himself known as “Tennis”, which is no longer classified.

    – If the left want to get on some sort of privacy high horse this late in the day, its sort of an empty gesture, particularly in the heat of war.

    – I don’t suppose the fact that polls showed that 89% of Americans not only favored the intercepts but “felt strongly” in support of them, carries any weight with a group that needs this nonsense as an “issue”, as a part of the anti-war portfolio. Parish the thought. But continuing to harangue against that kind of public pluralty could spell political suicide in the long run.

  54. Go back to your room and figure it out yourself, actus, we are not doing your homework for you.

    I’d say let article III do it.

  55. – If anyone, anywhere has a single bit of proof that even ONE american citizen has had his rights stepped on by any governmental program, then by all means publicize it loud and clear.

    even if that is classified?

  56. even if that is classified?

    Absolutely. Somebody has to fill the liberal gulags.

  57. I recently received from the U.S. Department of Commerce a brochure entitled “The American Community Survey” that I’m supposed to fill out and return.  The envelope advises me that my “response is required by law.” Among the items the Commerce Department wants to know in this 24-page survey are the names, ages, occupations, employers, ethnicities, education levels, total income, employer and sources of other income of everyone in my household, as well as the amounts of my mortgage payment, utility bills, water and sewer bills, property taxes, and insurance.  Much more is requested, but the list above will give you an idea of just how inquisitive the Commerce Department is.

    My point is not to gripe about government intrusiveness, though I believe that to be a legitimate complaint.

    Rather, in light of both the survey and the all the information we divulge to the IRS each April (think about all the information on your 1040, W-2, and Schedules A, B and D), I’m curious: Where are all the privacy advocates and other members of the the Society of the Perpetually Outraged?  Why is it not an unacceptable invasion of my privacy to be compelled to supply so many details about my life, but it is when Uncle Osama calls?

  58. I’d say let article III do it.

    Did you finally read the Constitution?  Better update your resume; I hear the big corporations need legal flunkies to sort through the building garbage bins in search of incorrectly disposed of confidential papers.  The pay is so-so, but I hear you can eat all you want.

  59. I’d say let article III do it.

    Oh, JeffS, you forgot the part where just quoting from the constitution is actually mucho stupide. Just thought I’d add that to the mix.

  60. Sure, it’s idiotic. But at least he’s going about it correctly.

    Translation: the operation was a success but the Republic died…

  61. Geek: the only thing you need to know to figure out what’s really going on is:

    THE NSA IS NOT A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY.

    Geez Ric, how many times does that have to be said before the BDS crowd gets the picture? I especially liked the nonsensical “Congress has a duty to oversee the executive.”

    WTF?

  62. Just thought I’d add that to the mix.

    Rats!  And here I was angling to get actus a job screening the dumpsters at Haliburton.  Almost had it, too.  That, and the side deal to re-route the sewage line from the exectuive toilets, would have been a primo fit. 

    Bummer.  downer

  63. Hey where’s Mona?

    Off somewhere pining for the Iraqi civil war that wasn’t?

  64. Oh, she’s not pining: she knows that civil war is raging, it’s just that Fox News has so “polluted the information stream” that the truth cannot get out.

  65. I see. So, it </i>looks</i> like the indigent unity government is forming and taking charge of Iraq. But really, it’s like Vietnam meets Antietem only with more bleeding babies.

    I wonder what Katie Couric thinks about this development. It’s time we had some hard hitting investigative journalism into the cover up of our new baby killing Vietetem.

    tw: If you’re a patriot who hates your country, whose side are you on?

  66. You’re confusing us, Pablo. Some of us red-staters can’t be doing that deep thinking stuff.

  67. like the indigent unity government is forming and taking charge of Iraq.

    UC Santa Cruz?

  68. If you’re a patriot who hates your country, whose side are you on?

    Your own, curled into an intellectual fetal position.

  69. how about indigenous? Indigent makes them sound like welfare queens.

  70. Indigent makes them sound like welfare queens.

    Context, man! Since he obviously wasn’t referring to Old Europe, he must have meant to type “indigenous.”

  71. Who sez there are not second acts?  Glad to see Geek resurrected, after bombing so spectacularly in the Fitz-mas fizzle.

    Cordially…

  72. Better update your resume; I hear the big corporations need legal flunkies to sort through the building garbage bins in search of incorrectly disposed of confidential papers.

    I’m taken care of, thanks.

  73. I especially liked the nonsensical “Congress has a duty to oversee the executive.”

    WTF?

    They’re COEQUAL BRANCHES, man.

  74. They’re COEQUAL BRANCHES, man.

    Well, hey, all that boning up on the Constitution is paying off, actus.  Congrats, dude!

    Now, you just have to master “context”.  Sorry, there are no Cliff’s Notes for that.

  75. Well, hey, all that boning up on the Constitution is paying off, actus.

    For example, I know co-equal isn’t in there. It’s just more nonsense for you to add to your arsenal.

  76. I’m taken care of, thanks.

    Well, don’t be talking around behind my back, saying I was never nice to you.  Y’hear?

    mad

  77. For example, I know co-equal isn’t in there. It’s just more nonsense for you to add to your arsenal.

    Co-equal isn’t in the Constitution, and it isn’t the best term to describe the separate branches of the Federal government, but it’s a long way from your abysmal ignorance that you displayed a while ago.

    Now it’s just plain ignorance.  One step at a time…..

    TW: actus is taken care of for a job.  The server is freakin’ me out again…..

  78. Oh, and don’t forget to start reading up on “context”, actus.  It’s a major hurdle, I know, but you can stay the course!!

  79. Co-equal isn’t in the Constitution, and it isn’t the best term to describe the separate branches of the Federal government, but it’s a long way from your abysmal ignorance that you displayed a while ago

    Was that the part where I didn’t know about art I sec 10?

    It’s a major hurdle, I know, but you can stay the course!!

    Is there a better strategy for a sinking ship? I think not.

  80. how about indigenous? Indigent makes them sound like welfare queens.

    Actually, I meant indignant. They hate us, right?

    :::Ok, not really:::

  81. Context, actus, context!  Keep it up, and in 50 years or so, you might be a real lawyer.  Or at least someone who passed the Bar exam.

    TW: actus resists growing up.

  82. Keep it up, and in 50 years or so, you might be a real lawyer.  Or at least someone who passed the Bar exam.

    Oh. Sorry to tell you but the Bar Exam doesn’t have much to do with context.

    But thanks for letting me know you care, and know me so well!


  83. Oh. Sorry to tell you but the Bar Exam doesn’t have much to do with context.

    Someone who is a lawyer is different from someone who has passed the Bar exam.

    Remember—context.

    wink

  84. This is just an end thread tack – on.

    The Intellectually superior bourgoisie usually populating this web site knows this stuff.

    Might save someone*s bacon though.

    Credit cards on line

    Full safety = avoid using the card on line.

    But if you must use a card on line:=

    [1] Lower the card ceiling to $500..lower if possible.

    [2] Avoid free screen saver sites and offers.

    [3] Avoid free virus scans unless, Telus or a site you know.

    [4] Avoid Porn Sites.  Most dangerous for Trojans & worms.

    [5] Avoid music share sites like *Limewire*.

    [6] Avoid Teen P2P chat sites.

    [7] Never fill in app.  Forms sent to you in Email. Phishing.

    [8] Always red X zap Email selling drugs, Rolexes, software.

    [9] Zap means do not click on *stop these Emails* just on X.

    [10] Zap lottery win notices.  Otherwise they win, you lose.

    [11] Zap offers to help bank 2, 3, 5, 10 million for others.

    A credit card was hi-jacked recently.

    The card invoice listed a paysite $35.99 charge and 800 number.

    The charge was fraudulent.  Phoning the 800 number, the paysite informs of a charge to an *Adult* site membership.  Never heard of it..[B….. On B…..].  Victims will know.

    Not able to spell it out.  Some young reader may go there and lose the family savings.  Avoiding lawsuits here.

    Two charges to the card… $400 – UK. Server and $380 Isreali server, were refused .  Card had $300 open window.

    To check the card validity, the crooks charged $35.99 to the

    B….. on B…..  web site.  That did pay.

    Theory:  Crooks always prefer cash.  Crooks paid themselves the $35.99.  Ergo, they own the adult website the money was paid to.

    Ok, Interpol… go get *em.  You know where they hang out.

    TG

  85. Someone who is a lawyer is different from someone who has passed the Bar exam.

    Of course. But since you were mentioning passing it…

  86. Manufactured outrage?!?  C’mon now.  It’s ok to be conservative and still admit that Bush broke the law on this one.  Any non-partisan attorney will tell you that.  He simply does not have the authorization to spy without the FISA courts.

  87. Then a soldier does not have the authority to shoot until a judge tells him so. Will congress collectively accept the responsibility of shuting off NSA? Call their bluff like they did on immediate withdrawal. Cure them of sucking eggs. Put up or shut up. Like we said in ‘42, Don’t you know there’s a war on?

  88. Then a soldier does not have the authority to shoot until a judge tells him so

    Inside the US? I’d say that’s not so far from the truth.

  89. rolleyes

  90. rolleyes

  91. Making eyes at each other!  Is that allowd on here? TG

  92. Enforcing the law is an executive function.

  93. Pingback: Arguments on War Support « Sake White

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