Monday, March 13, 2006

Feingold To Seek Censure Of Bush For Warrantless Surveillance Program. Americans Of All Political Stripes Should Support Measure

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) said yesterday that he would ask the Senate to censure President Bush for authorizing a warrantless surveillance program.

Announcing plans to introduce a censure resolution today, Feingold said, "The president must be held accountable for authorizing a program that clearly violates the law and then misleading the country about its existence and its legality."

Feingold, appearing yesterday on ABC's This Week, added: "We as a Congress have to stand up to a president who acts as if the Bill of Rights and the Constitution were repealed on Sept. 11," he said.

***

Finally, someone understands. Now it's time for Americans to rally behind Feingold, and rally behind a president following the law. Americans should call their Senators today and voice their support for Feingold's measure.

Why? As JABBS has noted, 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 last week, 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 to provide Congressional oversight for warrantless surveillance. While that may solve the problem of making the program legal going forward, 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.

***

Censure, which the Senate describes as "a formal statement of disapproval," carries no legal penalty. A president has been censured only once, in 1834 — when the Senate, controlled by members of the Whig Party, censured Democratic President Andrew Jackson for seeking to withdraw deposits from the privately run Bank of the United States.

16 Comments:

Anonymous votesomemore said...

Oh? Our misleader misleading?

Who didn't know that. The shock and surprise of these people just amazes me.
It is something I've been hoping would happen for a long time. WAKE UP!

12:35 PM  
Anonymous AndyA said...

The message needs to be:
It is the job of the Senate to provide the checks and balances for the Executive Branch. So, DO YOUR JOB or we'll find some people who WILL in November!

We need to hit 'em where it has an impact on them, and hold them accountable for doing their job.

I'm going to be calling my Senators right now!

12:35 PM  
Anonymous votesomemore said...

I called them

both have not "made a statement". They are both repuks but I got to make a comment and said support Feingold and I'm sure Republicans are getting just as fed up as we are. I used to spend a lot of time writing letters and making calls and just never noticed any difference. But it does feel good to voice

2:13 PM  
Anonymous MH1 said...

Kerry is already on board.
Many folks have reported that his staffers are telling callers that he is "absolutely" supporting Feingold's resolution.

Not sure about Kennedy, but I'd guess yes.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Jeffersons Ghost said...

my two repuke senators don't listen but I'll keep calling

In fact, Shelby sounds like an echo of bushco... He's on TV shaming Alabama alot, listen to him if you like but keep nausea medicine handy.

2:16 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

Bravo.
If Sen. Feingold is successful, it would restore the faith of millions of Americans in our Democracy.
Now if only he can topple over the "Democrats acting merely for partisan purposes" bullshit sure to come from Republicans.
As I had stated earlier: when it came to the issue of impeaching Clinton: The Republicans/conservatives cried, "truth, justice and the American way."

When it comes to noticing Bush for a far more serious crime, the Republicans squawk: "No Fair! No Fair! Political posturing!"

2:20 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

I will contact my senators today. Hopefully millions of people will do the same.
Maybe we could sway enough Republicans who already want to distance themselves from this grievously unpopular president.

2:28 PM  
Anonymous votesomemore said...

I hate to admit this but when I was in my formative days, I was a conservative. I wrote Lloyd Benson, Jim Wright, Martin Frost, and Reagan tons of letters. What really ticked me off is I wanted Bork. Like I said, conservative. Lloyd had a bag full of letters in his office supporting that nomination, and he ignored them all. Voted against. Now that may have been the correct thing to do. I wish more dems now would stand the party line.


I crossed over. Grew up. But it still seems that they just don't listen. I'm fighting from this side of the field now. Even in the build up to war, constituents were locked out of Kerry and Hillary's offices. What does it take? I think they do what they want and screw the rest of us. Yes. That's cynical. But prove me false. I don't have a corporate lobby. But that's what we need isn't it? We need a liberal money making machine. Is that possible?

3:17 PM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

it takes a cohesive message

the Republicans, if nothing else, have a cohesive message machine. They frame issues with their language and make things into a "you're with us or against us," mode. How can anyone be against the Clean Skies Initiative? The Healthy Forests Initiative? Terrorist Surveillance? The War on Terror?

We need a Frank Luntz, and we need to have our guys on the tv, radio and in the newspapers talking up the issues. It's ridiculous to have the Republicans frame the issue, and then also couch the Democratic response as wimpy, wussy or un-American.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

Russ Feingold is a true disgrace. He seems to be against just about everything that would help to protect us against terrorism, the Patriot Act included. He's the last sort of person I'd want to be in charge of our national security issues.

He says the President authorized "spying against American citizens on American soil?" On what basis does he make that allegation? This man is as irresponsible as they come. What a fool!

And now he wants to "censure" this president for doing his duty to keep this nation safe? What a demagogue! And he's running for the White House! This is just Feingold's pitiful attempt to garner some attention for himself. And you guys approve of this censure idea? Unfreakin' believable! Censure isn't even in the Constitution. It's just one more attempt to embarrass and undermine President Bush. What a sham!

6:26 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

votesomemore said...
"I hate to admit this but when I was in my formative days, I was a conservative."


Well, that makes you quite the anomaly, votesomemore, because most people, when they grow up and gain knowledge and maturity, leave their naive, childish liberal ways behind them and embrace personal responsibility and conservativism. I think you've got it ass-backwards. ;)

6:32 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

Trinity, President Nixon also made claims he was spying on people who were a threat to the U.S. Nixon also said made the claim he was acting in the name of national security.
Any president can excuse illegal spying merely by citing national security. That is exactly the precedent that must be put in check here.
If there is no basis to the many evidences spying took place domestically, there is also no basis to Bush's rhetoric it was restricted to communications with terrorists overseas. Maybe you better review the facts.
Maybe you shouldn't trust everything Bush says.
Further investigation was warranted but the Republicans (only in control for the next ten months or so) put an end to that by declaring an end to any investigation into past conduct.
Now who the hell is guilty of playing politics here?

Since the Republicans killed the investigation, Sen. Feingold is acting as a last refuge to preserve the meaning and spirit of the Constitution, and the 1978 FISA laws underlining same.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

Trinity:

"He seems to be against just about everything that would help to protect us against terrorism, the Patriot Act included."

Then you probably don't like George Allen or Bill Frist, because they vote with the president 96% of the time. So they clearly don't have minds of their own. :)

"He says the President authorized "spying against American citizens on American soil?" On what basis does he make that allegation? This man is as irresponsible as they come. What a fool!"

That's the debate at hand. Warrantless surveillance, as I understand it, involves an American talking with someone from outside the country. That's the basis of Feingold's statement.

You dismiss the Oregon case in the other comment field because it was the Saudi-based director talking to DC lawyers, but again, that's the basis of the warrantless surveillance debate. One party is based in the U.S. FISA only covers surveillance where both parties are based outside the U.S.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correction to above: FISA covers surveillance inside of the U.S.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) bars electronic surveillance of persons within the U.S. without the approval of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode50/usc_sup_01_50_10_36_20_I.html

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

President Bush, who got failing grades for failing to enact the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission, who cut funding for homeland security, who had green-lighted the Dubai port deal without even having looked at it, who demonstrated an inability to respond to a national emergency with Katrina, has pretty much destroyed any credibility he might have otherwise had that he acts in the best interests of national security.

For the sweeping Bush Administration's principal motivations, having nothing to do with national security, and everything to do with gaining absolute power, refer to the neoconservative "Wolfowitz Doctrine" and the Project for the New American Century.
If this is some crazy theory, it makes more sense than anything else I've heard in explaining Bush's peculiar, anti-constitutional behavior.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

rob of wilmington, del. said...
"it takes a cohesive message the Republicans, if nothing else, have a cohesive message machine."


And that's very easy for conservatives to do, rob, because we don't run away from, nor do we have to disguise the things we believe in the way your side often does.

For instance, we believe in a strong military, and believe that some things are worth fighting for, because we know that liberty doesn't come without a price tag.

Many liberals in government don't believe in those same things, yet they're afraid to come right out and admit it. So instead, they pretend to be for them, and they end up being very conflicted.

And take tax breaks. Conservatives believe in them because they stimulate the economy. Liberals believe that they need to raise taxes in order to bring in enough revenue. No matter how many times they are proven wrong, (JFK, Reagan, and GWB administrations) they just never learn.

"Then you probably don't like George Allen or Bill Frist, because they vote with the president 96% of the time. So they clearly don't have minds of their own. :)

Actually, I like George Allen very, very much, and hope that he is the Republican presidential candidate in '08. And rob, Allen is very much against all of the frivolous spending that has been going on in this administration, and he's not afraid to say so. He also sounds tougher on the border issue than President Bush and does not believe that illegals should be rewarded for having broken our immigration laws. I don't support this president on everything he does either.

You dismiss the Oregon case in the other comment field because it was the Saudi-based director talking to DC lawyers, but again, that's the basis of the warrantless surveillance debate.

Yes. The basis of the NSA program is to thwart future terrorist attacks. I'm for that. Are you against that? I didn't think so.

And I repeat, we do not even know any details of that case yet, so it's not like we can talk about it with any authority yet, right?

But for the record, I am fully supportive of any efforts to defend ourselves against radical Islamist jihadists. I think we should also infiltrate and monitor Islamic mosques where hatred is being fomented against Americans and terrorist acts may be planned. We're fools if we do not do this.

4:37 PM  

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