Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Congressional Republicans Put Party Before Country, Cut Deal With White House For Legislation To Legalize Warrantless Surveillance Program

Congressional Republicans talked tough earlier this year about warrantless surveillance.

At one point last month, JABBS counted 12 Republican Senators who publicly questioned President Bush's program, including several that sought a Congressional investigation of the program.

The basis of their concern: the program circumvented rules that say the National Security Agency must obtain a warrant before proceeding.

The White House claimed it had "inherent authority" to conduct such surveillance, but that argument was questionable, especially after the White House supported legislation from Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) to "further codify" the surveillance program.

In other words, the White House wanted it both ways -- it wanted people to accept the program as legal, and to pass legislation to make it legal. That may sound illogical, but neither the White House nor Congressional Republicans seemed to care. As DeWine said, "We don’t want to have any kind of debate about whether it’s constitutional or not constitutional."

The final straw came yesterday, when the Senate Intelligence Committee voted along party lines against an investigation of the warrantless surveillance program.

Instead, Congressional Republicans cut a deal with the White House. The draft legislation would authorize the president's program in 45-day increments, and would require that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales justify each individual warrantless wiretap to both the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court and new congressional subcommittees in both houses of Congress.

That may solve the problem of making the program legal going forward, but it doesn't solve the problem of the White House conducting an illegal program since the days immediately following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.


Americans, regardless of their politics, should be outraged.

It was just a few years ago that President Clinton was impeached for lying under oath about an affair with Monica Lewinsky. Republicans voted en masse -- some with glee -- against Clinton. And a few Democrats spoke out against their party's leader, most notably Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), who lectured from the Senate floor about Clinton's "immoral" act.

I wouldn't dare defend Clinton's affair, nor his lying about it under oath. Neither action is becoming of a leader of the free world.

Similarly, it's not becoming of a president to break the law. And logic dictates that if the U.S. needs legislation to legalize warrantless surveillance -- and everyone appears to agree that we do -- then that means that warrantless surveillance, minus legislation, is illegal.

Democratic leaders should be all over the news -- newspaper editiorials, Sunday and cable news/talk shows, talk radio, etc. -- demanding that the Congress immediately acknowledge the facts at hand, and deal with them as they did during the 1990s. That means impeachment proceedings.

And if the Congressional Republicans aren't willing to deal with the facts, and continue with the White House to try to have it both ways in order to protect their own, then Democrats need to tell the American people as much.

Americans should not tolerate Republican leaders putting party before country. It's not leadership to sweep illegal activity under the rug.


Anonymous emald said...

there is no such thing as "leadership" anymore..
it's all miss-direction, image, smoke and mirrors. George W. Bushit can't even run his own life. He is a failure at anything he has ever laid hand to. Yet we have this image of the tuff talking texas cowboy taking no crap, running rough shod over the world. If GWBushit is a leader than he's leading on the highway to hell.
Repukes and demishits, both, have no leaders of note, no uncomprimised persons upon which to call for leadership on the moral path. Those kind of people are usually out doing and don't really want to embrace the political life with it's unkind intimacy. We desperately need an uncompromising leader, but we have GWbushit. It just doesn't get any more ironic than that. A man (little boy most likely) who couldn't even complete the cushy national guard assignment he stole from poorer people. A man (little whore) who has left municipalities with multi million dollar tax bills unpaid (I heard 77million, not spare change) this turd of individual, this shitty compromised pissy little boy in a mans body is heralded as the leader, the commander in chief, steadfast, resolute, forward leaning. Man thats rich irony. Don't you just know that daddy bush understands in his heart of hearts that sonny boy pResident is the WORST. PRESIDENT. EVER. PERIOD.

12:32 PM  
Anonymous welshTerrier2 said...

impeachment forum online at
Harper's magazine recently hosted an impeachment forum (shown on C-Span) that included such notable panelists as: John Conyers, John Dean, Elizabeth Holtzman ...

you can watch the forum online (about 2 hours) by going to the following link and clicking on "Harper's Magazine Panel on Case Bush Impeachment" which is currently the first item on the list:

the forum is very worth watching!!

12:33 PM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

conservatives will spin this as payback for clinton, but it's no such thing.

If Democrats can't rally the troops when the president breaks the law, then they don't deserve to be the majority party.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous barb said...

Amen to that! I’m too cynical to be outraged, I guess, but I’m always hoping that the Democrats one day will do something to challenge my cynicism. If they stood up to this absurdity for once it would certainly go a long way to bringing folks like me back into the party.

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Romelee said...

Ikeep wishing they would come out tougher on issues .Only a hand full try it seems like . What happen to the impeachment pertition are most of them to chicken to sign on.

1:55 PM  
Anonymous LaCrosseDem said...

wiretaps issue is so last week... Snowe and Hagel caved
It's over.

10:13 AM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

It shouldn't be. This should be a top issue for all Americans. It's pathetic if the Democrats roll on this one.

Gonzales said, when being confirmed, that the president is not above the law. If that's true, then this president, having broken the law, should suffer the consequences for his actions.

10:14 AM  
Anonymous ken grandlund said...

They have all sold out because they all have safe congressional districts, have few real challengers, and could care less about doing the job of protecting America, the Constitution, and the people they are supposed to serve.

Sickening, all of it, just sickening.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Bill Arnett said...

The Rethugs are to most cowardly, spineless, sycophantic wimps that I have ever seen in my lifetime. I remember politicians who took principled positions, stuck by them, fought for them, and largely succeeded. (civil rights, one man one vote, equal opportunity, and many things were accomplished by men and women of conviction)

The only conviction left in the Rethuglican Party today will be those stemming from indictment, trial, and then, finally, CONVICTION.

And the current batch of dems isn’t much better. They still stand there in the Senate and allow “unanimous consent” to enable passage of some of the most inane, twisted, sick legislation. All it would take to slow or completely halt the Rethugs would be for dem senators to have the courage to just say “no” to unanimous consent and make the Rethugs fight endlessly to get anything done and stop their pernicious agenda.

Will it happen? Oh, noooooo. We wouldn’t want the public, which is on our side on every issue, to think we have the integrity to actually fight for our beliefs, especially at the risk of being called “obstructionists” by those big, bad men in the GOP. Much better to go along to get along and prove we lack belief in the correctness of our positions or the courage to fight for them. Better to be girlie men afraid of a fight and hope that we will win votes for politeness, comity, and wearing colorful ties.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous xsociate23 said...

I agree with Ken that the Republicans only care about getting re-elected and holding onto their cushy jobs. And if that means throwing away the rights of their constituents, then so be it.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Beth said...

Question: Why can’t a group of citizens threaten to sue and require the Congress to repeal the Fourth Amendment or resign before deliberately breaking their oaths to uphold and protect the Constitution? It seems that we, as Citizens, should be able to protest everything about this.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous maxie said...

It seems like we as citizens should be able to sue the congress,someone find out.

10:45 AM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

Beth, there are several lawsuits under way, most notably from an Islamic chairty based in Oregon that claims to have documentation it was spied on via the warrantless program.

I don't know the merits of their case, but it's one of several out there -- possibly providing a judicial response on the legality of the program.

Here is a link to a story on the Oregon case.

10:47 AM  
Anonymous LaCrosseDem said...

I totally agree... but the only way this was going anywhere was if a few Repubs supported investigation. If they go party line, they win.

12:37 PM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

which is why the Democrats should be going to the television and to newspaper editorials and airing this issue out. This should be front and center heading into November. If the Democrats don't demand accountability, who will?

12:38 PM  
Anonymous calimary said...

Yes. It should. It MUST.
The time is perfect, at this very moment.

Keep visualizing...

1:09 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

David R. Mark said...
"At one point last month, JABBS counted 12 Republican Senators who publicly questioned President Bush's program, including several that sought a Congressional investigation of the program.

The basis of their concern: the program circumvented rules that say the National Security Agency must obtain a warrant before proceeding."

Mark, perhaps these Republicans finally grasped the, imo, fairly easy-to-understand concept that it's simply too daunting a task to even attempt to obtain a warrant everytime one of these intercepts is conducted. In fact, without more specific info, a warrant would never be issued. It doesn't work.

I've never seen evidence that anyone here has even bothered to find out from people at NSA who actually have done this sort of work, how utterly impractical, if not impossible, this warrant requirement really is to satisfy. It simply can't be done!

But then, I guess you don't ever get that sort of testimony/viewpoint from the liberal news sources you access. It doesn't fit their pervasive "undermine Bush at all costs" agenda.

It's evident from reading the posts above mine, that many of you guys live in a parallel universe. Your posts are so angry and hateful, not to mention naive.

Bill Arnett said...
"We wouldn’t want the public, which is on our side on every issue..."

I'm sure you believe that, Bill, but if that were really true, you guys would be in the majority, and in the White House too, for that matter.

True that the President's approval numbers are low right now, but how could they be otherwise with the constant onslaught from angry libs looking to score political points on every issue from hunting accidents to national security.

Besides, presidents like Truman and Reagan had low approval ratings as well at times, yet history recognizes them as having been great presidents. I think history will be kind to GWB.

Hope my post hasn't caused any of you to become apoplectic or anything. If you need a pickmeup, go watch that Harpers impeachment forum that welshTerrier2 so highly recommended. I saw it on C-Span the other evening, and it was really....uh....something. ;)

1:20 PM  

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