Saturday, January 07, 2006

More on Domestic Wiretapping Scandal

Actually, why am I still calling it a scandal. Looks like CRIME to me, and when Michael Ventura, and me, and Bob Barr, and Barron's magazine all seem to agree on the same fundamental points--that's quite a spectrum of opinion coming back thumbs down for Commander Cuckoo Bananas and his need to make us one nation under surveillance.

The Ventura piece, by the way, is excellent. Just excellent. Bookend that Barron's editorial with this, and watch the roaches scramble under the carpet. The only target left unscathed is Dick Cheney's recent spate of talking points--that this secret wiretappin' neuromancy would have prevented 9-11. That's flat out incendiary horseshit. I'll beat up on Cheney, however, another time.

Let me point out something else. The President offers the same mantra, over and over again, as justification for the do-whatever-the-hell-I-want policy: to protect the citizens of the United States from an enemy that wants to do us harm, hit us again, kill us, etc. It's nice he always hammers home that the terrorists are ENEMIES and want to kill us. It's nice he can differentiate between the jihadists that want to buy us a Coke or repair our aluminum siding. When he gets that way, you just want to smack him because the last time I checked, I was entitled to an adult conversation out of my public servants.

Well, I've been reading Article II of the Constitution, which deals specifically with Presidential powers, and as far as I can tell, he isn't tasked to protect the American citizens. He is asked to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." Elsewhere, the President is specifically told: "...he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." The President doesn't invent the laws, doesn't interpret them, doesn't get to decide which laws get followed, isn't allowed to favor one law over the other, DOESN'T GET MULLIGANS. Make sure the laws that are handed to him are followed and THAT'S IT.

Crimony, if Bush's counsel and his attorney general can't get Article II of the Constitution right, then shame on the law professors who, seeing these dunces in their midst, didn't immediately disabuse these clowns of the notion that they were cut out to work in the legal profession.


Paul said...

If a President doesn't have the safety of the American people in mind then something is dreadfully wrong. He is after all the Commander in Chief !

Anonymous said...

The President, and any other individual or business in the US, is always trying their own brand of what's Constitutional or not. That's exactly what the court system is for.

And let's not forget that what is determined as Constitutional today, depends not only on the Constiution itself, but also on all precendents dealing with that particular issue.

Either way - The administration, with legal counself advice, believe they have legal footing & according to some leaks, congressional oversight. I don't personally agree with this, even with presendent in mind, but the process in the US is through the courts. Not broad legal assertions by journalists (I read article 2), but by actual legal decisions by courts.

Also - both sides play this game all the time. Example - neither party fully understands the ramifications of McCain-Feingold, so they're lawyers are telling them what's possible. Then they make the decision to follow through on that advice or not to - then someone gets mad & prosecutes, and the courts will tell us whether the legal counsel interpertation is correct.

The mock outrage - without any of the particulars on exactly what was taking place - is completely misplaced. Reading article II, gives you no information without all SCOTUS cases relating to it.

The Deceiver said...

The President can have whatever he likes "in mind." He's still bound by the law. And there's not a stitch of evidence to suggest the current FISA laws are insufficient.

And I don't think the outrage is mock or faux. Anon is right: judicial precedent and the say-so of courts in prior decisions adds and influences how a law is construed. But breaking the law is not the same thing as test driving your own brand. If it matters, though, by all means, let's take this matter to court.

pu pu head said...

ahhh shiite! dick is going to tap your ass.

Anonymous said...

If your argument is that the president has no right to tap the phones of Khalid sheik mohammed's phone pals, I hope the dems will run on that.
By the way, Art.II does allow for the president to protect American citizens from foriegn threats. Also FISA is a statute. since when does a congressional statute trump the constitution?

Allen Thompson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Allen Thompson said...

"...he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed."

As the former governor of Texas, Bush knows all about execution.

pu pu head said...

nice aikido spin, anon, but nobody is suggesting we shouldn't listen in on terrorist party lines.

funny in the non ha-ha tradition of this administration that dick is now saying law enforcement and intelligence could have prevented 9/11. didn't they drumbeat kerry to death with the 'this is not a law enforcement and intelligence war' during the election?

The Deceiver said...

Under FISA, you can tap the Sheik mohammed. Under FISA, you can tap Shakey's Pizza! But you got to apply for a warrant within 72 hours.

Nothing, NOTHING!--about these secret wiretaps is more AGILE or more EFFECTIVE than what the law currently allows. They are only more SECRET and more ILLEGAL.

whispers said...

"If your argument is that the President has no right to tap the phones of khalid sheik mohammed's phone pals..."

Don't know anybody making that argument. Most of us think the FISA court lets the President do exactly that. What we're worried about is the President tapping the phones of whoever the hell he wants, whenever he wants, without judicial oversight.

If you want to run on the "right" of the President to tap whatever phone he wants to tap, whenever he wants to, go ahead and do it.

(BTW, my argument, though the mirror of yours, is a bit more consistent with the facts of the case. Those pesky facts...)

Jake said...

Read a little farther stupid! Articles 4 and 5 give yhe Prez all he needs while the nation is in danger!

The Deceiver said...

Articles IV and V do not accord any powers to the President, stupid. Article IV deals with power accorded to the states. In Article IV, it is promised that the Federal government: "... shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence."

So, the Legislature, which is convenable, calls the shots, and the Pres follows the laws. FISA gives the Executive the authority to conduct wiretaps with a warrant. The FISA laws are sufficient and effective enough that illegal wiretaps are unnecessary.

Article V is about amending the Constitution. Bzzzzzt. Wrong!

Anonymous said...

This whole argument is giving me a headache. OK, Is FISA a rubber stamp or not? If it is, then what's the big deal? The NSA didn't go through the motions?
The left is falling into it's old habits from the cold war of shooting the men on the ramparts.
How do they always find a way to see the worst in us and the best in our enemies. This is not a f-ing game children! 1/5 of the world's population believes killing Americans is the quickest way to heaven! Throwing the Jews to the wolves will not change their minds! And don't give me this crap about "becoming just like them". Will one of you amatuer historians please tell me an instance when a liberal democracy has been under seige, and not had to bend on civil liberties.
If God forbid we have a Beslan type massacre here, people will be lining up to shred the Bill of rights. When are cilil libertarian fanatics going understand the difference between freedom and anarchy?

The Deceiver said...

The FISA courts allow the wiretapping of enemies foreign and domestic, and have done so for years. Those courts have set a very low bar to clear, and give you 72 hours to apply to clear it. "Secret" wiretapping is just not necessary, unless you want to wiretap someone who has got nothing to do with domestic terrorists.

Keep in mind, these superfluous wiretaps could potentially fuck up a lot of the work done by the FISA courts. That's why one judge has already resigned and the others are, to put it mildly, pissed off. If their work gets compromised, then I'm afraid you move closer to your doomsday scenario.

And, at any rate, I signed on for that "give me liberty or give me death" stuff. That may be a little too American for you to handle. I understand that we've got some pussies running amok in the United States, but it can be a temporary medical condition if you just let it.