Blogged by JC on 01.10.06 @ 05:12 PM ET
Larry Tribe on Spying: A Grave Abuse
Calls Legal Justifications "Poppycock"
I announce a January 20 Democratic Hearing on this abuse of power
Cross posted at Huffington Post
Amid the scandal about the President’s secret spying on law abiding Americans, I asked Professor Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, the most respected legal scholar when it comes to constitutional questions, for his opinion. You can read his entire letter to me in plain text in the extended entry below, but – as first reported by the Wall Street Journal
– his analysis confirms my suspicions that this is an utterly lawless and unconstitutional act. My reading of his letter: from the perspective of legal scholarship, the Administration’s justifications don’t pass the laugh test. To cast a little more light on this issue, I announced today that I am calling Democratic hearings (though all are welcome) on this issue, on January 20 at 10am.
Professor Tribe begins by dissecting the Administration’s attempts to minimize the secret spying. As he indicates, there are types of communications which contain so little content that the collection of it has been held to not be a “search or seizure,” such as routing information on electronic communications. The President tried to cloud the issue by making it seem like these were the type of intercepts the NSA was gathering when he said “the program is one that listens to a few numbers” because “we want to know who they’re calling...” Tribe charitably calls this “less than forthright,” especially in light of the Attorney General’s concession that the intercepts were much more than that.
Tribe also rejects the Administration’s attempts to diminish this activity by claiming that it solely encompassed U.S. citizens’ communications with “members of Al Qaeda.” In fact, the Attorney General let slip that the program is far broader, so broad that, in Professor Tribe’s view, the “definition casts so wide a net that no-one can feel certain of escaping its grasp.”
He concludes that there is a “strong case” that the program likely violates the Fourth Amendment, especially in light of the lack of Congressional authorization for it. In terms of the legal precedents, Tribe concludes that when the secret spying is so far outside the category of allowable unilateral Presidential actions, that it “misses it by a mile”.
He then turns to the argument that the resolution authorizing the use of force against Al Qaeda also authorized this secret spying and, in my favorite turn of phrase, states “[t]he technical legal term of that, I believe, is poppycock.”
He concludes that the program is “as grave an abuse of executive authority as I can recall ever having studied.” The entire letter is well worth a read.
The Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
United States House of Representatives
2426 Rayburn House Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20515-2214
Dear Congressman Conyers:
I appreciate your interest in my views as a constitutional scholar regarding the
legality of the classified program of electronic surveillance by the National Security
Agency (“NSA”) that the President authorized within months of the September 11, 2001,
attacks by Al Qaeda, a program whose existence the President confirmed on December
17, 2005, following its disclosure by The New York Times several days earlier.
Some have defended the NSA program as though it involved nothing beyond
computer-enhanced data mining used to trace the electronic paths followed by phone
calls and e-mails either originating from or terminating at points overseas associated with
terrorists or their affiliates or supporters. But that type of intelligence gathering, whose
history long antedates September 11, 2001, typically entails little or no interception of
communicative content that would make it a “search” or “seizure” as those terms are
understood for Fourth Amendment purposes (see Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735 (1979)
(the “pen register” case)), or “electronic surveillance” as that term is used in the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)(see 50 U.S.C. § 1801 (f)(1)-(2)). Unfortunately, as
Attorney General Gonzales candidly conceded in a press briefing on December 19, 2005,
the program under discussion here authorized precisely such interception of “contents of
communications.” See http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/12/print/20051219-
Although there may be room for debate about the boundary between content
interception and mere traffic analysis in other contexts, the Attorney General eliminated
speculation on the point when he said in that press briefing that the “surveillance that . . .
the President announced on [December 17]” is the “kind” that “requires a court order
before engaging in” it “unless otherwise authorized by statute or by Congress,” and it is
undisputed that a court order is precisely what the Executive Branch chose to proceed
without. The President was therefore being less than forthright when, two weeks after admitting that he had authorized what the FISA defines as “electronic surveillance” that
would normally require a judicial warrant, he told reporters in Texas that the “NSA
program is one that listens to a few numbers” because “the enemy is calling somebody
and we want to know who they’re calling . . . .” See
(1/3/2006). To be sure, the President did say “we want to know who they’re calling and
why,” to “find out what the enemy’s thinking,” hopefully alerting the attentive listener to
the possibility that the contents of individual messages are being intercepted. But by
centering the discussion on what sounds more like number-crunching than content-trawling,
the President encouraged the program’s other apologists to depict it as relatively
innocuous by shifting attention away from precisely what makes this program of secret
surveillance so legally controversial.
Equally diversionary is the frequently repeated suggestion that, whatever the
program intercepts, the only messages it reaches are “communications, back and forth,
from within the United States to overseas with members of Al Qaeda,” to quote the
Attorney General’s December 19 press briefing. Again, however, the attentive listener
might have caught the more precise account the Attorney General let slip at another point
in that same briefing, when he noted that the surveillance that had been going on under
presidential auspices for roughly four years in fact reaches all instances in which “we . . .
have a reasonable basis to conclude that one party to the communication is a member of
Al Qaeda, affiliated with Al Qaeda, or a member of an organization affiliated with Al
Qaeda or working in support of Al Qaeda.” Given the breadth and elasticity of the
notions of “affiliation” and “support,” coupled with the loosely-knit network of groups
that Al Qaeda is thought to have become, that definition casts so wide a net that no-one
can feel certain of escaping its grasp.
A strong case can be made that, even under the circumstances confronting the
United States in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks launched by Al Qaeda on September
11, 2001, and even with assurance that conversations are being intercepted solely to aid
in preventing future terrorist attacks rather than for use as evidence to prosecute past
misdeeds, so indiscriminate and sweeping a scheme of domestic intrusion into the private
communications of American citizens, predicated entirely on the unchecked judgment of
the Executive Branch, violates the Fourth Amendment “right of the people to be secure . .
. against unreasonable searches and seizures” even if it otherwise represents an exercise
of constitutional power entrusted to the President by Article II or delegated to the
President by Congress in exercising its powers under Article I.
The precise question of such a scheme’s consistency with the Fourth Amendment
has never been judicially resolved — nor is it likely to be resolved in this situation. For
the scheme in question, far from being authorized by Congress, flies in the face of an
explicit congressional prohibition and is therefore unconstitutional without regard to the
Fourth Amendment unless it belongs to that truly rare species of executive acts so central
to and inherent in the power vested in the President by Article II that, like the power to
propose or veto legislation or to issue pardons, its exercise cannot constitutionally be
fettered in any way by the Legislative Branch.
Any such characterization would be hard to take seriously with respect to
unchecked warrantless wiretapping. As the Supreme Court famously held in Youngstown
Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579 (1952), an emergency presidential takeover
for a limited time of certain critical publicly held corporations like Bethlehem Steele Co.
and the United States Steele Co., in order to avert the threat that would be posed to our
national security by a stoppage of the steel production needed for weapons and other
materials essential to the ongoing Korean War, falls outside that tiny category of
congressionally illimitable executive acts and is indeed unconstitutional unless
affirmatively authorized by Congress. If that is so, then certainly an unchecked
presidential program of secretly recording the conversations of perhaps thousands of
innocent private citizens in the United States in hopes of gathering intelligence
potentially useful for the ongoing war on a global terrorist network not only falls outside
that category but misses it by a mile.
The only escape from that conclusion would be to hold that inherent and
illimitable presidential power to abridge individual liberty and erode personal privacy
categorically exceeds presidential power to displace temporarily the corporate managers
of entirely impersonal business property, without confiscating, transferring, or otherwise
touching the property’s ultimate ownership by the holders of its shares. But our
Constitution embodies no such perverse system of priorities.
The presidential power at issue in this case is therefore subject to the control of
Congress. And that Congress has indeed forbidden this exercise of power is clear. The
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 unambiguously limits warrantless domestic
electronic surveillance, even in a congressionally declared war, to the first 15 days of
that war; criminalizes any such electronic surveillance not authorized by statute; and
expressly establishes FISA and two chapters of the federal criminal code, governing
wiretaps for intelligence purposes and for criminal investigation, respectively, as the
“exclusive means by which electronic surveillance . . . and the interception of domestic
wire, oral, and electronic communications may be conducted.” 50 U.S.C. §§ 1811, 1809,
18 U.S.C. § 2511(2)(f). The House version of the bill would have authorized the
President to engage in warrantless electronic surveillance for the first year of a war, but
the Conference Committee rejected so long a period of judicially unchecked
eavesdropping as unnecessary inasmuch as the 15-day period would “allow time for
consideration of any amendment to this act that may be appropriate during a wartime
emergency.” H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 95-1720, at 34 (1978). If a year was deemed too long,
one can just imagine what the Conferees would have said of four years.
Rather than reaching for the heaviest (and, in this context, least plausible and
hence most ineffectual) artillery by claiming an inherent presidential power to spy on
innocent American citizens within the United States even in the teeth of a clear and
explicit congressional prohibition of that technique of intelligence-gathering beyond the
first 15 days of a declared war, the administration points to the FISA’s own caveat that its
prohibitions are inapplicable to electronic surveillance that is “otherwise authorized” by a
congressional statute, which of course encompasses a joint resolution presented to and
signed by the President.
The Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) against Al Qaeda, Pub.L. No.
107-40, 115 Stat. 224 §2 (a) (2001), is just such a resolution, the administration claims,
for it authorizes the President to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against
“nations, organizations, or persons” associated with the terrorist attacks of September 11,
2001, in order to protect the nation from the recurrence of such aggression. Although
that resolution of course says nothing about electronic surveillance as such, neither does
it say anything specifically about the detention of enemy combatants fighting for Al
Qaeda in Afghanistan as part of the Taliban, the organization from within which the Al
Qaeda terrorist network launched those infamous attacks. Yet, in the face of
congressional legislation (the Non-Detention Act) expressly forbidding the executive
detention of any United States citizen except “pursuant to an Act of Congress,” 18 U.S.C.
§ 4001(a), the Supreme Court in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 124 S.Ct. 2633 (2004), held that
such detention in the United States of individuals who are U.S. citizens captured while
fighting against American forces in Afghanistan ”for the duration of the particular
conflict in which they were captured,” in order to prevent them “from returning to the
field of battle and taking up arms once again,” escapes the prohibition of that anti-detention
statute by virtue of its implied authorization by the AUMF as an exercise of the
“necessary and appropriate force” Congress authorized the President to use, a conclusion
supported by the fact that such detention for this limited purpose is a “fundamental and
accepted . . . incident to war.” 124 S.Ct. at 2640.
If Hamdi treated the AUMF as an “explicit congressional authorization,” 124
S.Ct. at 2640-41, for imprisoning an enemy combatant despite AUMF’s failure to
mention “detention” or “imprisonment” in so many words, the argument goes, the AUMF
must be read to impliedly authorize the far less severe intrusion of merely eavesdropping
on our terrorist enemies, and on members of organizations that indirectly support them.
After all, the collection of “signals intelligence” about our enemies abroad is no less an
accepted incident of war than detaining the captured enemy — just as signals intelligence
of foreign agents (including some going to and from the United States) has been accepted
as an inherent power of the President even in the absence of war. Surely, then, now that
Al Qaeda has launched a war against us, and now that Congress has responded with the
functional equivalent of a declaration of war in the AUMF, even the entirely innocent
American citizen in Chicago or Cleveland whose phone conversation with a member of
an Al Qaeda-supportive organization happens to be ensnared by the eavesdropping being
undertaken by the NSA cannot be heard to complain that no statute specifically
authorized the Executive to capture her telephone communications and e-mails as such.
Invasion of that citizen’s privacy was, alas, but one of war’s sad side effects — a species
of collateral damage.
The technical legal term for that, I believe, is poppycock. Hamdi obviously rested
on the modest point that statutory authority to kill or gravely injure an enemy on the field
of battle impliedly authorizes one to take the far less extreme step of detaining that
enemy, solely for the duration of the battle, to prevent his return to fight against our
troops. Power to engage in domestic electronic surveillance on a wide scale within the
territorial United States — intercepting, recording and transcribing conversations of
4unsuspecting citizens who have committed no wrong, are not foreign agents traveling to
and from the United States, and in fact pose no threat themselves but merely happen to
have accepted a phone call or received an e-mail from, or sent an e-mail to, a member of
an organization that is said to be supportive of the Al Qaeda network — is by no stretch
of the legal imagination a “lesser included power” contained within the power to repel
future terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda on the United States.
Thus the argument that the AUMF does not impliedly authorize this wide-ranging
and indefinitely enduring program to extract potentially useful intelligence from ordinary
citizens easily survives challenge based on Hamdi. More than that, Hamdi in fact yields
added support for the conclusion that the AUMF cannot provide the requisite
authorization. For the Hamdi plurality agreed “that indefinite detention for the purpose of
interrogation,” even of conceded enemy combatants, “is not authorized” by the AUMF.
124 S.Ct. at 2641 (emphasis added). It follows a fortiori that indefinite subjection of
American citizens who are not even alleged to be enemies, much less enemy combatants,
to ongoing invasions of their privacy in the United States for purposes of obtaining
valuable information is not authorized either.
Moreover, it makes a difference that the FISA’s specific regulation of all
electronic surveillance in the United States deals with the subject at issue here in a far
more comprehensive and elaborate way than the Anti-Detention Statute involved in
Hamdi dealt with the military detentions at issue there — military detentions that the
Court treated as falling within the Anti-Detention Statute merely for the sake of argument
when it held only that, if that statute otherwise applied, then it was trumped by the more
specifically relevant AUMF. Here, in contrast, there can be no serious doubt that it is the
FISA, and not the AUMF, that deals more specifically with the activity in question.
Construing the AUMF, taken in conjunction with the President’s power as
Commander in Chief under Article II, as implicitly conferring broad authority to engage
in whatever warrantless surveillance the President might deem necessary in a war of
indefinite duration against Al Qaeda-related terrorism even in the face of FISA’s
prohibitions would entail interpreting the AUMF far more broadly than anyone could, in
truth, have anticipated. If that AUMF authorization were indeed this broad, the President
must simply have overlooked its continued existence when he recently chided Congress
for failing to reenact the PATRIOT Act’s provisions. To be sure, the AUMF, even on the
Justice Department’s extravagant reading, enacted no criminal proscriptions of the sort
that parts of the PATRIOT Act included. Nor did it purport to authorize the President to
enact such criminal laws, morphing into some sort of one-man legislature. But, on the
government’s broad reading, the AUMF certainly had armed the President, as of
September 18, 2001, with the authority to take most of the steps the PATRIOT Act
expressly authorized — including all of the purely investigative and preventive actions it
empowered the President to take — until the recent sunsetting of some of its provisions.
And it had empowered him as well, again on the government’s reading, to override any
statutory prohibitions that might otherwise have stood in his way.
On the government’s proposed reading of the AUMF, in other words, the
PATRIOT Act, insofar as it confers the powers of investigation and prevention most
fiercely sought by the President, becomes a needless and mostly redundant bauble. A
statutory construction with such bizarre and altogether unanticipated consequences —
and one that rests on so shaky a foundation — would be inadmissible even if accepting it
would not leave us with serious questions under the Fourth Amendment, which it of
Finally, it is telling that Attorney General Gonzales, when asked in his December
19 press briefing why the administration hadn’t simply proposed to Congress, in closed
session if necessary, that it amend FISA to grant legislative permission for the kind of
domestic surveillance program the President deemed essential to the nation’s security,
replied that the administration had concluded such a request would probably have been
futile because Congress would most likely have denied the authority sought! To argue
that one couldn’t have gotten congressional authorization (in late 2001, when the NSA
program was secretly launched) after arguing that, by the way, one did get congressional
authorization (in late 2001, when the AUMF was enacted) takes some nerve. Apart from
the obvious lapse in logic, it is axiomatic that legislative reluctance to relax or eliminate a
prohibition is no defense to a charge of its violation.
The inescapable conclusion is that the AUMF did not implicitly authorize what
the FISA expressly prohibited. It follows that the presidential program of surveillance at
issue here is a violation of the separation of powers — as grave an abuse of executive
authority as I can recall ever having studied.
Yours truly, Laurence H. Tribe
Replies: 121 Comments
Comment #1: UL said on 1/10/06 @ 5:46pm ET...
Posted at DU for you:
Thank you for your outstanding leadership, Congressman Conyers,
Comment #2: UL said on 1/10/06 @ 6:20pm ET...
When you couple Professor Tribe's letter with the letter by Professor Stone (and many other Constitutional law experts) ...
... it is beyond reasonable doubt that Bush and his neoconster minions have broken the law.
Impeachment is no longer a partisan issue, it is the only way both Democrats and Republicans can justify their Constitutional role, honor their oath of office, and avoid being collabortors in Bush's crimes.
Thank you for all you are doing to save the Republic from the tyranny of Bush, Cheney and their fellow neoconsters.
Comment #3: noguns said on 1/10/06 @ 6:24pm ET...
Does this mean, Rep. Conyers, that you will work to impeach and remove this president ...
as we all know the spying is an action against our Constitution, which all of you are sworn to uphold ...
i understand this is as serious a move as when the MEN signed our Declaration of Independence ... they were also unsure and i dare say a bit afraid of what would happen ... it think it is time for us to sign the document again and not stop until we achieve REMOVAL.
noguns sheehan, santa cruz, ca.
Comment #4: Ohiodem1 said on 1/10/06 @ 6:45pm ET...
Mr. Alito indicated in the hearings today that he saw a right to privacy in the Constitution. Does the right to privacy include the right not to be spied upon by our government without the requirement for court oversight on the spying party?
It is time for this group of abusers of the constitution to be removed from power on the grounds of High Crimes and Misdemeanors.
The time is now.
Comment #5: Dr Alan H Levinson said on 1/10/06 @ 6:56pm ET...
2 simple questions, (hi ohio!!)
1. If the abuse of power by the president is clearly illegal, then why is no representative making an immediate call to begin the impeachment process?
2. What are we waiting for?
POA makes many valid points when he/she states that our democratic leadership is showing nothing but their collective yellow underbelly.
One other question. If the NSA issue ever gets to the supreme court, would Roberts and Alito (if approved) have to recuse themselves since they are Bush appointees?
Comment #6: tahoebasha1 said on 1/10/06 @ 7:54pm ET...
Speaking of Alito, in the hearings, Sen. Edward Kennedy gave Alito a severe "roasting" for his ruling on the improper invasion, "terrorist" tactics used by the feds on a "simple" farm family, who had virtually done nothing wrong, other than to find themselves out of money and the feds moved in to take over "everything." It was a loathesome story, wherein, even a 10-year old child was sent upstairs for a strip and search. Alito had ruled in favor of the feds by ruling out a jury.
And bearing on the High Crimes and War Crimes:
"Convict Bush and Cheney
(Washington, DC) - ConvictBushCheney.org (CBC) is compiling clear and convincing evidence of High Crimes and War Crimes committed by George W. Bush, Richard Cheney and the Bush/Cheney Administration. Drawing upon investigations by experts and respected organizations, mainstream media reports, and other reliable sources, CBC publishes evidence of torture and abuse of detainees; spying on US citizens; willful deception and other misconduct during the run up to war; leaking classified information and other improper acts in retaliation against administration critics; and other facts which constitute grounds for indictment and conviction of Bush and Cheney.
Mike Hersh CBC Editor explains this effort, 'Supports efforts to investigate, censure, impeach, indict, and convict Bush and Cheney - including Rep. John Conyers' resolutions: H.Res.635 creating a select committee to investigate and make recommendations on grounds for impeachment, H.Res.636 to censure Bush, and H.Res.637 to censure Cheney.'. . . ." http://www.censurebush.org/ --Convict Bush and Cheney See Icon to the right.
I think impeachment proceedings should have commenced long before now, but be that as it may, "movement" is happening and pretty rapidly at that, albeit, not fast enough for any of us, but happening! See my post #44 in the previous thread for just a couple of examples.
Comment #7: bvac said on 1/10/06 @ 8:34pm ET...
When the time comes, it's important for Cheney to be impeached first. Go back to the beginning and review his comments and behavior, and it's clear that he and Rumsfeld are more responsible than Bush for this mess. With indictments on Rove imminent, remove Cheney and put someone in there that can hold the administration together while Bush gets his due.
Comment #8: trescott said on 1/10/06 @ 9:15pm ET...
I was interested to know more about an impeachment process. What actions need to be taken? Is there a vote requirement? Does a representative need to accumulate enough signatures? If there isn't a good reason for a formal impeachment process then does anyone have an answer for question #1 raised in post #5(The Dr.). If there is not a good answer then I have to say that POA has the right attitude. I read an article a couple weeks ago that clarified legal differences between Carter/Clinton activities and Bush's illegal secret activities. I'm just not sure what the confusion is here. What is the democratic leadership waiting for. I made the effort to vote against Bush and now I'd like to see some work done. I think someone needs a kick in the butt. Too bad we don't have five John Conyers. If we did Bush would be in jail.
Comment #9: wayne said on 1/10/06 @ 9:24pm ET...
Did he just say the government aka Bush uses realtime technology allowing them ability to sort and track all private communications?
Tice says the technology exists to track and sort through every domestic and international phone call as they are switched through centers, such as one in New York, and to search for key words or phrases that a terrorist might use.
"If you picked the word 'jihad' out of a conversation," Tice said, "the technology exists that you focus in on that conversation, and you pull it out of the system for processing."
What right to privacy?
Six degrees treatment... What if you dial a wrong number?
According to Tice, intelligence analysts use the information to develop graphs that resemble spiderwebs linking one suspect's phone number to hundreds or even thousands more.
Comment #10: Genghis Khan said on 1/10/06 @ 9:49pm ET...
The corruption of the Executive Branch is so widespread that mere impeachment and removal is now insufficient.
The entire chain of succession is so thoroughly corrupt that a special election is required. The list goes all the way down to the Secretary of Transportation before we find someone without complicity in the crimes that have been perpetrated on the American people since January of 2001.
My other thought is that mere removal from office is likewise insufficient. Bush, Cheney, and all of the PNAC henchmen (including those who served only in 2001-2004) should be tried for treason, stripped of wealth, and imprisoned for a length of time running double digits.
This is necessary as a warning to all parties in the future who would attempt such a usurpation of the United States.
Comment #11: Reed31463 said on 1/10/06 @ 10:01pm ET...
The formerly very secret program is known as The formerly very secret program is known as Eschelon.
It has a voice recognition system that picks up word combinations and digital word combinations.
The conversations are taped and stored.
Any communication that uses satellite or digital cell phone is recorded. The useless data not saved is taped over after about two months.
Comment #12: Reed31463 said on 1/10/06 @ 10:36pm ET...
#10 Genghis Khan
Rather than life in prison, how about a video of the following sentence.
From thread: Delay Step Down
In closing, as Cheney's circle of "friends" grows smaller and smaller, and when his Pet Goat has finally chewed apart his leash and wanders aimlessly about, the Wizard of Oz will be forced to come out from behind his curtain. Only this time Dorothy is not going to slap his face, because she is pissed off(POD?). Instead, Dorothy is going to click her Ruby Slippers together and transport the unarmed Wizard to the outside yard of Abu Ghraib. Where all the prisoners currently in the custody of the US, from GITMO, Morocco, and hidden camps around the world, will be unarmed and waiting.
Whatever happens in the minutes and hours following, justice will be served, for the accuser shall stand face to face with the accused.
Ok. You win. All of themmm! (:^D)
Comment #13: rainbowsally said on 1/10/06 @ 11:01pm ET...
"...without purpose of evasion." -Alito
1. See also 4th Amendment (which is in the news lately in another context -- warrantless searches/espionage).
2. Equal protection of the laws. Since there is no similar medical issue for men, let's look at it this way. Congress literally has the power to determine when ending a human life is a crime and when it's one's duty to ones country.
Should soldiers be liable for murder?
The abortion debate should be about when a human product becomes a human being, but then it seems that if we made enough sense as a people to come to reasonable conclusions in this regard we'd also know whether the wire taps were legal or not without the aid of some half-blind guide.
Now Available IN ENGLISH!
Comment #14: DTW 06 said on 1/10/06 @ 11:08pm ET...
I found a very interesting book on CD at the library today The Age of Anxiety : McCarthyism to Terrorism by Haynes Johnson. From what I have heard so far, this should be required reading for every American. Those who fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it!
Comment #15: DTW 06 said on 1/11/06 @ 12:11am ET...
Off topic, then again, maybe not: From the Wall Street Journal 2 hrs ago Iran's Nuclear Decision Starts Shock Wave "Germany's new foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, warned that Tehran had "crossed a line, which the Iranians knew could not remain without consequences." White House spokesman Scott McClellan was more explicit about what those consequences should be: "If the regime in Iran continues on the current course ... there is no other choice but to refer the matter to the Security Council.'"
I hate to say I told you so, Mr. President, but I told you so!
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Giving Ne-Cons Credit
For a moment, let us enter the two dimensional world of the PNAC and the Bush administration and assume America has a divine right to impose her will on the rest of the world and turn rogue states away from their evil ways, fly the American flag, and turn them into stable democratic societies (leaving messy details like centuries of tribal tensions and rivalries out of the picture).
Why would we as good neo-cons committed to Homeland Security and "fighting 'em there - so we won't have to fight 'em over here" select Iraq as the country most likely to bring a mushroom cloud to our shores?
Doesn't North Korea have a couple of "Nucular" weapons? Don't we have solid evidence of Iranian involvement in terrorist acts? Isn't Iran openly and actively pursuing a nuclear enrichment program? Is Pakistan a stable nuclear power? Are all of the nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union accounted for? Where is bin Laden? Is China quietly biding its time while we trip over our own feet?
Why didn't our leaders ask these questions before we rushed into a war with no plan to maintain the peace? We are over-extended. God help us if we need to fight a third war!
posted by REB 84 at 11/13/2005 10:59:00 AM
QuestionItNow – Giving Neo-Cons Credit
Comment #16: DTW 06 said on 1/11/06 @ 12:12am ET...
Working link to Wall Stree Journal
Iran's Nuclear Decision Starts Shock Wave
Comment #17: ljm said on 1/11/06 @ 12:49am ET...
I hope C-SPAN covers your hearing on this. Will Sensenbrenner make you go the that room in the basement again? It's really tacky that Congress isn't in session to have tried to make possible for DeLay to get back his leadership post he has now said he doesn't want back now. Does that mean Congress can go back to work?
Comment #18: Frosted Flake said on 1/11/06 @ 1:41am ET...
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
SALIM GHEREBI, )
v. ) Civil Action No: 04-1164 (RBW)
GEORGE WALKER BUSH, et al., ))
On December 30, 2005, President Bush signed into law H.R. 2863, the Department of Defense, Emergency Supplemental Appropriations to Address Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, and Pandemic Influenza Act of 2006 ("the Act"). Section 1005(e) of the Act, entitled Judicial Review of Detention of Enemy Combatants, provides that
(1) IN GENERAL- Section 2241 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
`(e) Except as provided in section 1005 of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, no court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider-
`(1) an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of an alien detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; or
`(2) any other action against the United States or its agents relating to any aspect of the detention by the Department of Defense of an alien at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who-
`(A) is currently in military custody; or
`(B) has been determined by the United States Court of Appeals for the
District of Columbia Circuit in accordance with the procedures set forth in section 1005(e) of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant.'.
The Act raises serious questions concerning whether this Court retains jurisdiction to hear this case and all related matters. Accordingly, it is, this 4th day of January, 2006, hereby
ORDERED that the petitioner shall show cause by January 12, 2006, why this action should not be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. It is further
ORDERED that the respondents shall file any response thereto by January 19, 2006, and the petitioner shall file a reply, if any, by January 24, 2006.
REGGIE B. WALTON
United States District Judge
I've noticed that most of the times when I have said something really, noteably stupid, have been occasions when I indulged in an off the cuff remark while angry. I have put forward a good faith effort to avoid that on this occasion. After ten days I put forward this brief comment, edited for primetime.
When I began to consider the Presidents signing statement
I intended to chide the Democrats for attempting to use a regulatory method previously rejected by the Supreme Court, as the President properly pointed out. Also, I wanted to point at what I saw he was up to. However, the feeling that I did not have before me the whole story led me to look around. What I found was, by turns, startling, disturbing, depressing, quite thoroughly frightening and in sum, much less than satisfactory.
(this section removed prior to publication, mostly swearing, some wailing)
It would seem that the McCain Torture Amendments have nothing whatsoever to do with torture, for or against. It would seem that the effect of the Amendments is the transformation of the phrase "Enemy Combatant" from the status it formerly had as a legal fiction into a legal term and the elevation of the "Combatant Status Review Tribunals" at Guantanamo from the status they formerly had as a legal fiction to the status of an Artical III Court minus the legal norms and protections one expects to find in an Artical III Court.
I would like to understand how it is that I and the Democrats could have taken so very differant a view of this.
Without this understanding, I am at a loss as to how to be of any further assistance here.
SENATOR JOHN W. WARNER, R-VA. AND SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.Congressional Research Service Report For CongressSCOTUSBlogJurist Legal News and Research
STATEMENT ON PRESIDENTIAL SIGNING DETAINEE PROVISIONS
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Jan 04, 2006
"We believe the President understands Congress’s intent in passing by very large majorities legislation governing the treatment of detainees included in the 2006 Department of Defense Appropriations and Authorization bills. The Congress declined when asked by administration officials to include a presidential waiver of the restrictions included in our legislation. Our Committee intends through strict oversight to monitor the Administration’s implementation of the new law."
Comment #19: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 2:25am ET...
This needs to be pursued and discussed. I think your angry, swearing and periodic wailing posts were pretty effective, and I usually absorbed the content of them pretty quickly. But all I've really grasped of your #18 is that something about torture, McCain, Bush, and the Democrats is "startling, disturbing, depressing, quite thoroughly frightening and in sum, much less than satisfactory."
I understand the connection between Bush's torture policies and the "startling, disturbing, depressing, quite thoroughly frightening and in sum, much less than satisfactory" consequences. But where and how do McCain and/or the Democrats fit in to this?
Are McCain and/or the Democrats complicit in this regulatory transformation? I'll read the links, but can you briefly frame this issue so I don't get lost in all the gory details?
Thanks, I appreciate your posts.
Comment #20: Frosted Flake said on 1/11/06 @ 3:35am ET...
Brevity often defeats itself by leaving in it's wake a mystery the speaker did not intend.
Attempting brevity once more, Can you juggle? I can, but more than one ball is a challenge. Toss me a third and I'll probably drop one. Or more. Most folks juggle no better than I. Particularly when it comes to politics.
Reading law is not easy. You have to absorb what's in front of you while keeping track of the rest of the law and, key point, observing the interaction of all of it with, well, all of it. That is tougher than juggling. So, very often, shorthand is used. Symbols. Sound bites. Short stories that tell (dumb) people what the big deal is. There is a considerable amount of trust involved in this. That trust can be abused. As when a feel good name is attached to an oppressive piece of legislation. You have mentioned Orwell and Machiavelli several times recently, and I'm talking about what you were.
We were told that the McCain Amendments are about addressing (as in, putting a stop to) detainee abuse. I took that on trust. I thought I could afford to. This is my excuse for being intellectually lazy. As excuses go, it is a poor one, for it provides no succour now that I have looked at what the actual law is, and what it does.
One of three things is going on here.
1/ I am overlooking something very important.
2/ The Democrats have been completely fooled.
3/ They haven't been.
I am asking which, and hoping for a convincing demonstration of my shortcomings as a scholar.
Which seems kinda perverted.
Comment #21: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 4:00am ET...
2/ sounds fairly likely.
I'm just inclined to think that Bush's signing statements and relentless distortion of and/or disregard for the Constitution and the laws renders citizens focusing on the content of those laws kind of secondary at this point.
Until Bush is brought down he's going to interpret every law and Constitutional article/amendment any way he sees fit.
I understand if you are focusing on these Constitutional and legal transformations/distortions in order to gather Impeachment evidence, is that what you're doing?
Comment #22: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 4:13am ET...
#20 is a good post, Frosty, you communicated the legal issues and brevity dilemmas very well. I'm just wondering how we remove a tyrant who doesn't give a damn about the Constitution or the laws of this country.
How do we do that when we can't use the Constitution or the laws against him?
How do we do that when he and his fascists just snicker at people who revere the Constitution and the law?
Each of us may have to make some difficult decisions soon and risk the consequences, that's all I know.
Comment #23: Frosted Flake said on 1/11/06 @ 5:05am ET...
Thanks Rusty #21
I think #2 less likely. Dems aint dummies. As I said I'm hopeing for #1.
On your second point, I seem to recall that Presidential signing statements were invented by Samuel Alito, during the Reagan Administration. Also, citizens focusing on the content of the laws has always been 'secondary, for two reasons. We have a Consitution to protect us from bad laws, (most of the time) and the law is huge, as well as very hard to read.
On your third point I note that NO ONE is anwhere close to bringing Bush down. Compare this to the two days it took Ukraine to handle thier similar challenge. There seems to be a certian lack of 'want to' hereabouts.
On your forth point, I have never made any bones about my appreciation of the direct approach. Civil Suit. The president is not allowed to lie to Congress so he can have his war. If he does, it is an act of rebellion against the Constitution, which is prohibited by section 3 of amendment 14. That the majority in Congress approves the rebellion does not matter one bit, unless, of course, your heart is set on Impeachment. It is fortunate for The United States that It's Constitution is not so weak as that. It is unfortunate that it so difficult to bring to the attention of the minority party in the Legislature the Section of the Constitution which provides them the power (in todays circumstances) to remove thier (the Constitutions') opponants. This I cannot understand, for the assuption seems to be that the Constitution provides its' enemies the power to destroy it as readily as it provides its' friends the power to preserve it. Now why would that be? Would you write your Constitution that way? I open the floor to anyone who would. Tell us why.
I appreciate this forum.
Comment #24: Frosted Flake said on 1/11/06 @ 5:25am ET...
Again Thanks Rusty
I didn't see post #22 before I hung #23. But, convieniently, our thoughts were headed in the same direction.
I would add that the snickering is mostly a pose, intended to convey the IMPRESSION of confidence. In fact, the only thing the rebels are truly confident about is that THEY are not going to haul themselves into Court. The snickering will become wailing quickly once the President is served a summons. That summons is not going to arrive through the Justice department, or any law enforcement agency, because the President can stop them with a single glance. He can do nothing, except snicker theatricly, to stop the Democrats (because they have standing) but the Democrats show no interest in challenging him.
I wonder what it will take to change thier minds.
Comment #25: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 6:32am ET...
I agree with your interpretation that Bush and the GOP leadership's condescending snickering is more manufactured than real. I think they're scared shitless right now with all these fuses burning, leading directly to them from so many directions.
But I also think many of these people are desperate enough to push this to the limit with martial law etc and cross their fingers that no one will dare resist in any meaningful way.
As far as the Democrats being stopped, FEAR is stopping them. They're just flawed human beings like the rest of us, and they are personally AFRAID of standing up and saying what needs to be said.
There was a pervasive fear of Nixon and his cabal throughout Washington even though the Democrats controlled Congress back then. Nixon at least had some restraint, he wasn't a complete and utter nut job like Bush.
It's much worse now. The Democrats don't control anything and the fear factor is much higher. This country is so far to the right compared to thirty years ago, and the media is a corporate propaganda factory of fearsome power.
I've defended Democrats because of all they've done for this country, and because I have compassion for them as human beings in a terrible situation. They're on the front lines, visible and vulnerable.
Fear paralyzes people, and when you take away the trappings of office and the relative fame, Democrats in Congress are just people like you and me.
We're just talking on the Internet, or writing letters or calling Congress, so it's easy for us to tell them to drag their butts out of their foxholes and attack these bastards. We don't know what kind of threats or intimidation they might be dealing with under the public radar screen, I wouldn't put anything past these fascist lunatics.
But the Democrats have to take a stand. NOW. Beginning with Alito in the Senate and with Conyers in the House.
I'm afraid most of them are going to keep their heads down though, and hope the Republicans continue to implode and deteriorating public support for Bush and the GOP will give the Democrats at least one house of Congress this fall.
Who knows what will happen? No one knows. No one.
But if these fascists masquerading as Americans aren't confronted this year and taken down, a lot of people are going to die and the dying is never going to stop.
Comment #26: scotty d said on 1/11/06 @ 6:58am ET...
with tices revelation about "millions of americans" were spied on, how can we not impeach the shrub and dark cheney? it was not a limited wiretap, but a wide funnel getting millions of conversations and correspondence. where are the dems? please mr. conyers, get your congress dems unified as one voice to represent us, our constitution, our free america, to stop bush.
"we the people" have spoken through various polls, and impeachment is the right thing to do. you have a huge backing of citizens.
Comment #27: rainbowsally said on 1/11/06 @ 7:03am ET...
Seriously, the Preamble of the Constitution tells us who
adopted that Constitution. The wording is in clear, plain
English. Is this a case, as in Jesus' time, when it was
the brainiacs that were the only ones that couldn't figure
I could understand some debate about something that might
fit two or three different principles expressed in the
Constitution, but it's laughable (or cryable?) that we
need opinions as to what this says:
Amendment IV - Search and seizure. Ratified 12/15/1791.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons,
houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches
and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall
issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or
affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be
searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Furthermore, it doesn't say "citizens". It says only
"people", implying (as it should) that if a government
has authority in a certain place, the people there are
entitled to certain guarantees. (The Declaration of
Independence also mentions this principle of "just
powers"--and that's another glitch in the Bush program.
How can you consent to what you don't know?)
Let me plough this row a little deeper.
It doesn't matter if those words were what the founders
meant or not, those are the ones they wrote. And those
are the words we all accepted, and they are the words our
public servants took an oath to uphold.
If not this Constitution, which Constitution do we defend
with our last dying breath? Is it sooooo obscure that only
EXPERTS IN THE LAW can figure out what that Constitution
is, where it is, and whether it means what it means for
more than a day or two in a row?
If we didn't mean it, we shouldn't have written it.
If we did mean it, and now we mean something else, that
Constution MUST be properly amended; not just conveniently
ignored, ripped up, shuffled, or sold off to the highest
The oath is to preserve, protect and defend THIS Constitution
and it's not too terribly difficult to translate the word
"this" to the word "this" so even the law professors can
I shall paraphrase the above to a new simpler form so that even
the dead can understand.
"THIS" means (roughly translated, of course) "THIS"!!
Now watch "this"...
This [!] Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which
shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or
which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States,
shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every
State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or
Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
All of Article 6 is worth the read. See the last line.
It'll make you wonder what you are hearing every morning on
C-SPAN. And there's another occurance of the arcane and
little understood word "this" before the word "constitution"
in Art 6 in case you want to double check my work -- which is
always a very good idea, I'm afraid.
And maybe it's worth getting a little angry about this state
of affairs where the big kids play keep-away from the little
guys with a ball that even they can't SEE?!
(It's down here, fellahs!)
What's there to debate about the 4th Amendment other than
whether or not even the FISA courts are really constitutional.
Here's what I'm asking about FISA:
Who's signing the affidavits (witness, oath/affirmation)?
How do we know the gubmint really does have probable cause?
And are they just on fishing expeditions? Those are currently
FORBIDDEN under the clear, plain English of the US Constitution.
Amend or repeal it if you like being emotionally raped and made vulnerable to blackmail (see j. edgar wazzizface.)
But Bush even blew off the convenient shortcut FISA provides.
See 2Th 2:8.
Should we sue the US Government for false advertising? The
product does not match the product description...
Filibuster Alito. He was defending abuse of executive powers when the real "mainstream" had no idea the CIA was smuggling drugs, teaching torture, supporting brutal despots and financing illegal and extremely vicious wars (as in indescriminate murder) on this continent.
Find articles in the House Record in the 104th Congress
"cia cocaine" or specifically "WHY WE HAVE COCAINE IN SOUTH
CENTRAL LOS ANGELES". That stuff is about the same time
period when Alito was advocating more executive powers.
He is a very very bad man.
Comment #28: GreyHawk121 said on 1/11/06 @ 10:12am ET...
Off-topic, but worth repeating:
Impeach, Indict & Convict (Oh, my!)
Definitely worth repeating.
Impeach, Indict & Convict (Oh, my!)
Impeach, Indict & Convict (Oh, my!)
Impeach, Indict & Convict (Oh, my!)
Comment #29: Nolip said on 1/11/06 @ 10:12am ET...
With all the legal experts weighing in on Bush's malfeasance with his illegal wiretaps, it would seem that the obvious (at least to me) conclusion is to haul Bush's backside before the magistrate, whoever you conceive him\her to be, to answer for his illegal activity before a court of law. With Bush's pushing the envelope on the Constitution, he seems ready made to be the first President to hear the words "Mr. Bush, we have a warrant for your arrest". Unless, of course, Bush is above the law, and is therefore able to buffer himself with a battalion of lawyers who would fight to the death to keep him out of jail. But I don't believe anyone here thinks that Dubya is above the law. Therefore, the logical step is to issue a bench warrant and haul his butt into court.
Comment #30: Nolip said on 1/11/06 @ 10:29am ET...
"Reps. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) will hold a Democratic hearing next Friday to consider the legal ramifications of President Bush's warrantless surveillance on international calls, RAW STORY has learned.
The Jan. 20 Democratic hearings come in the wake of a request from House Judiciary Committee Democrats to hold official Congressional hearings on the matter. The Republican chairman, Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), has not responded to Democrats' requests. "
Regarding F James Sensenbrenner's failure to respond to your request for a hearing on this matter, he too should be hauled before a judge for obstruction of justice for he is an official of the United States government who is sworn to uphold the Constitution, not use his political clout to stonewall and abuse his power as "Calendar Boy" (who gets a room and who gets on the calendar for a hearing...ask Jimmy?)
James Sensenbrenner is not functioning as he's sworn to function as an elected offical of this country (like Bush) and needs to be arrested for his failure to do his job.
Comment #31: rainbowsally said on 1/11/06 @ 10:33am ET...
I kind of rake you through the coals here, but you know I love you, right?
I do think you'll enjoy it if you get a chance to take a peek. :-)
We need to get at the root problem here and I believe that this is that Americans don't feel like they are "invited" to America.
Check it out if you get a chance.
Comment #32: JC said on 1/11/06 @ 10:35am ET...
In previous threads, some of you requested to call a website "Team Conyersblog." So long as it is made clear that the views expressed on the site are not my views, I have no problem with that.
One comment: the site claims I voted for the Iraq war resolution thusly: "Who voted for it? John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Harry Reid, Charles Schumer, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, John Conyers and Jay Rockefeller among many, many others. Sometimes I think people don't realize that search engines have been invented (except for Al Gore of course)."
This is false, of course, as a search engine would have shown (http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2002/roll455.xml).
Comment #33: malleckson said on 1/11/06 @ 11:15am ET...
Bush is blasting away again against all the traitors in America that are degrading his war by publically denouncing it. I take his words to be a 'threat' to us. I will say again, he is living in a twilight zone. I am also questioning why the majority of Congress hates us...for our freedoms?
Comment #34: Pissed Off American said on 1/11/06 @ 11:30am ET...
A good site.....
BTW, I hope that you folks will let Rep Conyers off the hook, and reconsider using his name on the site you are creating. You don't NEED his name on it, any number of activist, progressive, or patriotic titles would serve the same interests, and there is no point in risking some idiot getting on the site and launching asinine attacks on one's parenting skills, or displaying schizophrenic switches in stance three or four times a day, all in Conyers' name. Why risk it??? It was very gracious of Rep Conyers to allow it, with the cavet of a disclaimer, but do the trolls respect disclaimers?? I sincerely hope you all will reconsider.
Comment #35: GreyHawk121 said on 1/11/06 @ 12:12pm ET...
Congressman - Just saw this over on DailyKos. Please check it out.
Exclusive: Bush Administration in Violation of Constitution and War Powers
If this has merit, it would be worth adding to your existing resolutions or introducing as an additional one.
Comment #36: Nolip said on 1/11/06 @ 12:18pm ET...
Taking the gloves off with Alito...there's nobody on the panel that is interviewing Sam who is willing to get his dander up, "push his buttons", on the important stuff...Alito's dancing around the hearing floor like a prize fighter in full strut and the other guy isn't laying a glove on him....will somebody please bring in the HAMMER!
Comment #37: Nolip said on 1/11/06 @ 12:28pm ET...
From post #35 "Excluside: Bush etc"
"On May 1, 2003 President Bush made a speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln announcing the end to major combat operations in Iraq"
Bush can't have it both ways...he declares that major combat operations are complete in Iraq, which is the only country we're at war with (per his edict, not Congress'): with this statement his "war powers" cease and therefore his ability to conduct illegal wiretaps...Bush never declared war on Al Quaida or Terrorism...he only sent troops into Iraq and Afghanistan...so once their major combat operations ceased...so did his "war powers".
Comment #38: Ron said on 1/11/06 @ 1:04pm ET...
Great Point Nolip!
what could be worse than having Bush stay in office Till the cows come in?
Every minute that this despicable moron stays in the white house,another of our constitutional rights ,gets flushed down the toilet!
Enough evidence has been collected ,to put his nasty ass ,under the jailhouse.
What are our elected representatives doing about it?
Rep. Conyers ,is busting his duff daily and keeping the fire burning.
His colleagues, those that we elected to represent us ,seem to be hiding somewhere safe and out of firing range. What a bunch of CHICKEN SHITS ! if I may say so myself.
What are they waiting for ?
These poor idiots ,don't realize ,that they are the next ones to be thrown into the Amerikan Gulags!
How naive can they be, to believe that if they don't get rid of the despots, nothing bad will happen to them?If I were a religious type ,all I could say would be God Save America, cause those that are on the front lines have their heads in the sand!
Comment #39: Nolip said on 1/11/06 @ 1:14pm ET...
"So I ask all Americans to hold their elected leaders to account and demand a debate that brings credit to our democracy, not comfort to our adversaries."
George Dubya Bush to Veterans of Foreign Wars
Here again Dubya is all show and no go...he invites dialogue while suppressing it at every level...does Congressman Conyers et al have a room yet from Sensenbeener for Conyer's January 20 Democratic Hearing on the abuse of power...Dubya doesn't want to hear about his abuse...in fact the man has his head so far up his backside he's staring out through his navel.
Book him, Dano!
Comment #40: Ron said on 1/11/06 @ 1:21pm ET...
It seems to me that most of our elected bigwigs need to be brought to the edge of reality.
How many no good fence sitters do we support with our hard labor on a daily basis?
How many of those lazy bastards have been having a free ride for decades . How many of us ,have to bust our asses to try and make ends meet,not knowing where the next Buck is going to come from? Who gives a shit if we live or die? Who gives a shit if we are suffering ? Who gives a shit if we can't pay our medical bills?
Those put in office by us do not have those worries,because they are wealthy enough,Paid by us!, and they ALL have plans that take care of them ,until they DIE, and don't forget their families,they too get the best our country has to offer.
What's wrong with this picture?
Those lazy assholes have grown SOFT!
They have FORGOTTEN what they were put there for!
I believe the time has come ,for them to put up ,or make room for people that want ,and can ,do the right things for us, And America.
Comment #41: trescott said on 1/11/06 @ 1:27pm ET...
In my opinion you've got the correct idea. Its time for those who we elected to stand up!! Otherwise they are useless and a west of our effort. I think the progressive party needs some new energy!!!
Comment #42: trescott said on 1/11/06 @ 1:27pm ET...
sorry, I meant waste not west
Comment #43: Nolip said on 1/11/06 @ 1:48pm ET...
Instead of Kennedy and Specter "gettin down" on Alito's stuff, somebody needs to ruffle Alito's feathers and get him to move off dead right so that people in the center and on the left can see where he really stands!
Comment #44: Ron said on 1/11/06 @ 1:49pm ET...
I don't think it's energy that's missing,
Look at Rep Conyers go ,and he's over 70!
Go John GO !
Comment #45: Citizen J said on 1/11/06 @ 1:54pm ET...
#34- I agree, seems like asking for trouble to me- no need to put JC at any additional risk, IMHO.
Comment #46: Nolip said on 1/11/06 @ 1:58pm ET...
Something that might ruffle Alito's feathers would be the revelation that his mother is a card carrying member of the KKK or White Supremicists or even the Communist Party...hit Sam right where he lives and he'll get riled...but who has access to that information besides Wiretappin' George?
Comment #47: Nolip said on 1/11/06 @ 2:41pm ET...
“Yet while special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald examines whether Libby and Rove committed crimes, official Washington has mostly averted its eyes from a potentially bigger question: Did their superiors, Cheney and/or Bush, encourage or order the leak?
If so, based on history, one of two outcomes would seem likely: either a constitutional crisis would result, with at least one of the top two U.S. executive officers implicated in a felony conspiracy, or a conveniently truncated investigation would follow, not getting much higher than Libby and Rove.
The past two major Republican scandals – Watergate and Iran-Contra – represent those two alternatives, the first leading to Nixon’s resignation and the second to the protection of Reagan and George Bush Sr. Conceivably, “Plame-gate” could end in some middle ground if, say, Cheney were forced to resign but not George Bush Jr."
Further on…like father…like son…
“By 1991, Walsh finally broke through the determined Republican cover-up by locating a cache of withheld documents. He concluded that high-level officials, including Reagan and Bush, had played much bigger roles – and that their illegal foreign operations were much more extensive – than had been generally assumed.
But Walsh’s new offensive encountered a fierce counterattack from the growing conservative news media as well as disinterest from the mainstream press. Across the Washington spectrum – from the Washington Post to the Washington Times – Walsh was mocked as a modern-day Captain Ahab obsessively pursuing the White Whale. [For details, see Walsh’s Firewall.]
When President George H.W. Bush finally put an end to Walsh’s probe by pardoning six Iran-Contra defendants on Christmas Eve 1992, official Washington breathed a collective sigh of relief. The national news media barely took note that Bush’s pardons also had protected him from possible indictment for his own withholding of documents.
So history suggests that whatever Fitzgerald’s investigation concludes about Libby, Rove and the leaking of Valerie Plame’s identity, there will be strong resistance from official Washington if the prosecutor tries to track the criminality up the chain of command.”
'Plame-gate' & Myth of the Renegade Aide
Comment #48: Nolip said on 1/11/06 @ 2:52pm ET...
"There will be a lot of hearings to talk about that, but that's good for democracy," he said. "Just so long as the hearings, as they explore whether or not I had the prerogative to make the decision I make, doesn't tell the enemy what we're doing. See, that's the danger." George Bush
Bush Open to Hearings on Domestic Spying
George Bush is really reground Nixon…
“June 17, 1971: Nixon, Haldeman, and Ronald Ziegler, 2:42-3:33 P.M., Oval Office Conversation #524-7; cassette #775
“Nixon: We can kill these people with this. "Knowingly publishing stolen goods." That's what the Times is doing. "Knowingly publishing stolen goods." "Giving aid and comfort to the enemy." That's the way you have to play it. "Giving aid and comfort to the enemy." That's the way you have to play it. "No cause justifies breaking the law"
Comment #49: trescott said on 1/11/06 @ 3:20pm ET...
Yes, I think your right. Its more of a backbone issue. And yes Conyers has got some.
Comment #50: Patriot said on 1/11/06 @ 3:24pm ET...
#32 JC. Thank you for allowing us to be recognized as your bloggers. The purpose of the web site is to challenge other blogs to an informal competition of a letter writing campaign to the individual senators demanding that they vote against Alito. If the idea takes off, it will bring additional pressure to stop Alito.
We feel that Alito's nomination has to do with presidential powers, as has been mentioned. Right now, there may be a chance to convince moderate Republicans that the president has over stepped his constitutional limits and that the confirmation of Alito would be detrimental to civil liberties.
We need to stall the vote and pressure the senators, bring this issue to light. We have little time to do an effective job, so we must start now and push hard.
If you would help us by mentioning our Bloggers Stop Alito Challenge on the blogs you frequent, inviting them to participate, that would take us a giant step forward.
Thank you for giving us permission to call ourselves Team ConyersBlog. That's a statement of faith that we cherish and we will not bring you dishonor.
The site is Bloggers Stop Alito Challenge
After this challenge, we will do an Impeach Bush and Cheney Challenge to put pressure on the House to bring Impeachment charges.
Comment #51: Ron said on 1/11/06 @ 3:50pm ET...
I want to take this opportunity to personally thank you and Rusty for your hard, tireless work(<:
What 's not entirely clear to me is ,how is it possible that this FARCE of a FASCIEST REGIM can continue to go unstopped in the face of all the overwhelming evidence of corruption?
How in the hell can these despicable tyrants continue to pick and choose people that will be in office(ALITO) for the rest of their lives,when they themselves have been proven not to have been elected fairly ( See GAO election report) Strange !
The project should go well !
Comment #52: Patriot said on 1/11/06 @ 4:27pm ET...
Ron, thanks for your comments.
The Bloggers Stop Alito Challenge is ready for action. If there are any problems or suggestions, please post them here.
It's very, very simple. Write a letter to a senator, preferably a senator from your state, and explain why Alito should not be confirmed.
Then go to the Bloggers Challenge and click on OUR team, and put the name you blog with next to the name of the senator you wrote to and click.
For example, if I write to Senator Clinton, I would put "Patriot" next to her name and click.
That's it... couldn't be more simple. There's even a link to Senate.gov where all the contact information is listed.
THEN challenge other blogs to join us. What should our goal be? 1,000,000 letters? 1,000? 10? ;)
Comment #53: tahoebasha1 said on 1/11/06 @ 4:35pm ET...
#52 - Patriot
(Have only a minute right now).
You don't mention a time frame -- is there one, and shouldn't there be one?
Comment #54: Nolip said on 1/11/06 @ 4:36pm ET...
"With winter not yet half over, the surge in the cost of heating a home has already begun to stretch consumers’ budgets to the limit – and beyond.”
Millions hit by shortfall in heating aid
Revealed: U.S. President Bush\Scrooge are the same person…with apologies to Charles Dickens:
``You wish to be anonymous?''
``I wish to be left alone,'' said Scrooge. ``Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned: they cost enough: and those who are badly off must go there.''
``Many can't go there; and many would rather die.''
``If they would rather die,'' said Scrooge, ``they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides -- excuse me -- I don't know that.''
``But you might know it,'' observed the gentleman.
``It's not my business,'' Scrooge returned. ``It's enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people's. Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon, gentlemen!''
Seeing clearly that it would be useless to pursue their point, the gentlemen withdrew. Scrooge resumed his labours with an improved opinion of himself, and in a more facetious temper than was usual with him.
A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens Chapter 1 - Marley's Ghost
Comment #55: Patriot said on 1/11/06 @ 4:38pm ET...
#53 tahoebasha1 - The end would be the actual Senate vote on Alito's confirmation. Up until the minute a Senator votes, we can write, call and protest in hopes of getting a thumbs down vote.
Comment #56: Ron said on 1/11/06 @ 5:35pm ET...
I posted this earlier on a different thread.
This could make it easier for everyone to write their senators about Schmuck-lito!
Write your senators here!!
Comment #57: Patriot said on 1/11/06 @ 5:56pm ET...
Write them whereever! And come back and post on the site that you've done it so we can count how many have been sent.
Comment #58: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 6:03pm ET...
Actually, Team ConyersBlog is just the name we are using for our team on the SoapBox4Truth blog.
Patriot can correct me if I'm wrong about this, but there is no actual BLOG called Team ConyersBlog.com, it's just a team/group that exists on the SoapBox4Truth blog.
We wanted to use Team Conyers blog for the name of our team because Congressman Conyers is an inspiration to us all. In the coming weeks and months, the members of Team Conyers blog will be contacting senators and representatives individually as part of a team effort. We are supporting his Impeachment stance and will ask those we contact in Washington to support him as well. We will not be speaking out IN Conyers' name, we will be speaking out FOR him and adding our voices to his magnificent voice.
Over the next week or so, we are going to focus on defeating Alito.
Comment #59: Patriot said on 1/11/06 @ 6:13pm ET...
#59 Rusty, thank you for that explaination. We are the team from ConyersBlog, this blog. We are not a web site or a blog. And we are challenging other blogs to put teams together to advance some important issues, Stopping Alito now and others later.
Please write a letter to your senator and post that you've done so on our team's page.
Comment #60: Patriot said on 1/11/06 @ 6:15pm ET...
Rusty, I'm glad you're here so I can ask you if you'll write an introduction for the first page of the Stop Alito Challenge. Thanks.
Comment #61: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 6:17pm ET...
Exactly. The Team Conyersblog link sends you to what is basically a scoreboard where everyone on the team can see that Ron, for example, is kicking my butt by contacting more senators and congressmen than I am.
We'll be competing with each other on our team and collectively as a team with other teams to motivate everyone to call and/or write as often as possible.
You can contact senators through the link Ron provided, or use any other contact format. Once Alito is left bleeding in a ditch, wondering what the license plate was on that 18-wheeler that ran over him, we will move on to other targets.
This week, I think targeting moderate Republican senators about Alito offers us the best chance of having an impact.
We have a target rich environment and a scoreboard to light up. Let's do it.
Comment #62: Patriot said on 1/11/06 @ 6:23pm ET...
#61 Rusty, about targeting moderate Republican senators, I'm sure I know where every senator stands (ha), but others might not.
Could everyone list which senators are moderate and which are far right so we'll know what we're doing? I'll put a place to note which should be contacted first.
Mr. Conyers, you might be able to help us on this part.
Comment #63: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 6:24pm ET...
Well, I was just on my way out the door to buy an 18-wheeler, but then I glanced at my checkbook balance . . .
So I'll get started on that introduction instead.
Thank you for getting this set up on Soapbox, all I've done so far is talk about it.
Comment #64: Patriot said on 1/11/06 @ 6:26pm ET...
Everyone should write to at least two senators, the two from his or her home state!
Comment #65: Patriot said on 1/11/06 @ 6:31pm ET...
Personally, I think a million letters by USPost would be just the ticket. Imagine their having to open and read all that mail. That would make a point... a big point.
Comment #66: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 6:42pm ET...
Well, moderate Republican is in the eye of the beholder these days. Most current Republican senators make Everett Dirkson look like a wild-eyed bomb throwing communist in comparison.
Here's six Republicans who joined Democrats to shut down Frist's nuclear option last summer:
John S. McCain III, Arizona
John Warner, Virginia
Olympia Snowe, Maine
Susan M. Collins, Maine
R. Michael DeWine, Ohio
Lincoln Chaffee, Rhode Island
They definitely need to be contacted.
Comment #67: Patriot said on 1/11/06 @ 6:48pm ET...
Sam Brownback, Kansas, is for an investigation into wiretapping. He expressed strong concern about it. Who are other senators who expressed concerns?
We have activity on our team! OhioDem is the FIRST poster! Thanks!
Comment #68: Ohiodem1 said on 1/11/06 @ 6:49pm ET...
I sent messages to Senators DeWine and Voinovich.
DeWine was in the Gang of 14, and Voinovich is on the Judicial Committee.
I also recorded the first two "scores" on TeamConyers.
Comment #69: Ohiodem1 said on 1/11/06 @ 6:55pm ET...
Click here to find your Senator's email address:
Senator Web Addesses
Comment #70: Ohiodem1 said on 1/11/06 @ 6:56pm ET...
RainbowSally #27 - Great post!
Comment #71: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 7:00pm ET...
Ron's link is great, you can contact both of your senators at once. Like Ohio Dem, I've just contacted my two senators first. Then move on to moderate Republicans.
I think being brief and to the point is necessary, we don't have time to wax eloquently about democracy and they don't have time to read long letters.
This is what I wrote:
"Samuel Alito is a dire threat to our civil liberties and to the checks and balances upon which our federal government has functioned soundly for more than two centuries. He must not be confirmed by the Senate. He must be filibustered if necessary. Thank you."
Comment #72: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 7:06pm ET...
You ROCK! Mick Jagger is a mumbling barbershop quartet singer compared to you.
Comment #73: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 7:20pm ET...
Once you compose a basic letter you think is effective, you can speed this up and maximize our contacts by cutting and pasting it into the respective senator's comment box. Modify it as appropriate, ie, my letter to Democrats Conrad and Dorgan mentions filibuster, my letter to Collins was a little different.
Our main focus has to be volume.
Comment #74: Alma said on 1/11/06 @ 7:40pm ET...
I got my two Michigan Senators emailed on Alito.
Comment #75: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 7:57pm ET...
Thank you, Alma!
Comment #76: Alma said on 1/11/06 @ 8:00pm ET...
Always willing to help if its something easy to do. I know how to search and email, but not much good at other computer stuff.
Comment #77: Patriot said on 1/11/06 @ 8:04pm ET...
Writing to your senators from your own email address is much more effective. I can put an automailer up, just like the one on the link Ron gave us. BUT! When multiple emails arrive from the same server/email account, they are considered to be spam and most email programs send them to the junk file. Think about it, doesn't your email program do that? Or your email provider?
It's best to pull the senator's email address off the senate contact list, to be sure it's opened.
Individual emails are read. Mass produced emails are not read. It's really that simple.
Remember, your name and address are required to be considered a valid statement to the senator.
Comment #78: Patriot said on 1/11/06 @ 8:07pm ET...
Alma, now go to Bloggers Stop Alito Challenge and click on our team link. Then put your name next to one of the senators you wrote to, click, then do the other senator, so your emails will be counted.
Comment #79: Alma said on 1/11/06 @ 8:10pm ET...
The link that Ohiodem posted took me to my senators web pages and used their email forms. You have to do each one individually, but its more personal.
Comment #80: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 8:11pm ET...
Would Alma have to go to the Team Conyersblog link to personally record her contacts for our scoreboard, or could I type her name next to Levin and Stabenow this time and do it that way?
Would doing that credit Alma for the contacts or would they get recorded for me because I entered her name next to her senators and clicked "contacted" through my membership log in?
I don't want to be Diebold Rusty.
Comment #81: Alma said on 1/11/06 @ 8:13pm ET...
I got it posted, but thanks for offering Rusty.
Comment #82: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 8:22pm ET...
OhioDem's link is good though. It accesses the senators' own websites so you can use their contact form. That isn't as personalized as using your own
e-mail program, but I contacted 6 senators in 20 minutes doing it that way.
OR, you can get their e-mail address from OhioDem's link and then use your own personal e-mail program.
Comment #83: Patriot said on 1/11/06 @ 8:29pm ET...
#80 Rusty - Yes, that would make you Diebold Rusty. Each senator can have one count per IP address. So if you posted for Alma, for instance, you wouldn't be able to post for yourself.
Comment #84: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 8:32pm ET...
Thank you, Alma, you're way ahead of me.
Patriot, I'm going to contact Dorgan and Conrad again, but through their own websites. I went through Ron's link to contact them before you raised this potential spam issue and want to make sure they hear from me.
Comment #85: Patriot said on 1/11/06 @ 8:35pm ET...
Our team's winning!
Comment #86: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 8:36pm ET...
Just so I stay consistently on topic as usual, I would like to say that Larry Tribe knows what he's talking about.
Comment #87: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 8:43pm ET...
Where do I do that and how do I get there?
Comment #88: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 8:54pm ET...
Tahoe must still be back in the locker room . . . who's job was it to tell Tahoe what time the game starts?
Sure, we're way ahead of those other teams so far, but we need to suit up our best players and put them out on the field.
Comment #89: Patriot said on 1/11/06 @ 9:04pm ET...
Rusty, just write it and give it to me. I'll put it on the web site. It's for the web site introduction, an explaination of our mission, not specifically for our team.
You can rewrite the team description in your edit area (in members area), if you'd like. JC just wants a disclaimer that the views expressed are not his.
Comment #90: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 9:05pm ET...
Thank you, St. Louis!
Comment #91: Patriot said on 1/11/06 @ 9:12pm ET...
It's after 3am, I'm ahead, our team's winning, the program seems to be working as hoped, so I'm going to bed.
Good night all. I hope to see our team has 100 by morning. :D
Comment #92: St Louis said on 1/11/06 @ 9:13pm ET...
I had already written to my Senators re Alito, but I wrote again tonight to join your challenge. I used Ohiodem's link, but I am not sure I got counted on the Team site. Do I have to register to use it?
Comment #93: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 9:14pm ET...
Can I do that tomorrow? If we get more help on this and crank it up a notch or two, we could contact all 100 senators tonight.
22 so far . . . plus my spam to Conrad and Dorgan, which by Bush math puts us at 842 senators so far.
Comment #94: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 9:23pm ET...
You have 3 contacts credited to you on the Team ConyersBlog scoreboard at Soapbox4Truth.
Comment #95: Patriot said on 1/11/06 @ 9:24pm ET...
Rusty, yes, you can do it when ever you have time. It's for the other blogs who come to see us, I think we've already introduced it to death in this blog.
St. Louis, no you don't have to register. Just putting your name by the senator's works, as you can see by clicking 'Member Scores'.
I put ohiodem's link onto the web site, it's "Senate Contacts". Thanks for the link Ohio!
Rusty, great on the 100 for tonight. That would be just super. Good night everyone. I'm really about to fall over.
Comment #96: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 9:29pm ET...
Thank you Patriot!
Uh . . . I just tied you at 8.
Comment #97: St Louis said on 1/11/06 @ 9:55pm ET...
Thanks, guys. I guess that means Stabenow has 2 e-mails from me. Can't wait for the impeachment letters to start.
Rep. Conyers, thank you for everything. Good luck on the 20th. I hope to be watching on C-Span.
Comment #98: Neerav Trivedi said on 1/11/06 @ 10:58pm ET...
Alright folks, I am joining in! Patriot, Rusty, let me know what else I can do.
I am already working on the assignment given to me by Rusty. I think we should reshuffle some of names, since some of the names are not congresmen, but other politicians nad newsmakers. We should have new categories for those as well so the list of 600+ names can be more organized.
Will update you on new ideas, as they come.
Comment #99: Rusty said on 1/11/06 @ 11:40pm ET...
Those names are on a different Soapbox page than the page for this. You can use the link Patriot posted in #52. That will take you to the page where you can click on "Team ConyersBlog". Then you'll see a list of Senator's names and a blank space next to their names.
You can use OhioDem's senators link in #69 to get the e-mail addresses for the senators you want to contact. After you contact them, enter your name in the box next to the senator's name and click "Contacted".
Then at the top of that page you can click "Member Scores" where your name will be listed and your contacts credited with a number.
Comment #100: Neerav Trivedi said on 1/11/06 @ 11:56pm ET...
Ok. Thanks for the information. I will get to it tommorow, as I am very tired at the moment and need to get some sleep. I will make the list of people to be contacted over thenext 3 or 4 days and drop them an e-mail, expressing my views about Judge Alito.
I better make sure I record the event, otherwise I will get no score. Again, thanks for the information!!!
Comment #101: tahoebasha1 said on 1/12/06 @ 12:00am ET...
#88 - Rusty
Well, honestly, I'm not in the "back locker room," but went through an ordeal (med) today that just depleted me.
Anyway, I posted an "against" Alito with TrueMajority on January 6, 2006. So, what do I now do?
Patriot, in all deference, I don't completely agree with your assessment as "The Pen's" or other progressive organizations being considered as "SPAM." The Pen, PDA, MoveOn.org, TrueMajority.org have, I believe, been very effective -- each time a concern of ours comes up -- they are right there, and intelligently, present the facts. As far as writing through those auspices, each person who contributes can add his own individual comments or simply contribute his/her own comments.
Anyway, just explain to me what I should do now. "Barkus" is willing!
Comment #102: Rusty said on 1/12/06 @ 12:09am ET...
I see you have a St. Louis score listing with 1 contact and another St Louis score listing with 9 contacts.
I don't know why that happened. Maybe you recorded 1 contact before you registered, which was counted as a St. Louis contact, and then your other 9 contacts were credited separately for you after you registered.
People can use this program without registering, but it looks like after they register, any contacts recorded after that are counted separately from any contacts they recorded before they registered.
At any rate, your contacts are all credited and thank you again!
Comment #103: Rusty said on 1/12/06 @ 12:17am ET...
I'm sorry you had a med ordeal today and I retract my Scott McClellanesque misstatement about your whereabouts.
You can record the names of the senators you contacted on January 6 and any others you may contact on our Team ConyersBlog scoreboard at SoapBox4Truth by doing this:
You can use the link Patriot posted in #52. That will take you to the page where you can click on "Team ConyersBlog". Then you'll see a list of Senator's names and a blank space next to their names.
You can use OhioDem's senators link in #69 to get the e-mail addresses for the senators you want to contact. After you contact them, enter your name in the box next to the senator's name and click "Contacted".
Then at the top of that page you can click "Member Scores" where your name will be listed and your contacts credited with a number.
Thanks! I promise not to indulge in any locker room talk about you ever again. I have learned my lesson.
Comment #104: Rusty said on 1/12/06 @ 12:22am ET...
Thank you Neerav,
Your participation is appreciated, except perhaps by Scalito.
Comment #105: tahoebasha1 said on 1/12/06 @ 12:28am ET...
As well as OhioDem1's suggestion, PDA (Progressive Democrats for America) has an excellent site for all your Congressman and Senators. It tells their background, their addresses, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, etc. and HOW they have voted on various issues. See http://capwiz.com/pdamerica/callalert/index.tt?alertid=8342651&type=CO://capwiz.com/pdamerica/ See Find Your Elected Officials (at the top) (Sorry, there are just some sites that won't let you link the way you want to, at least as far as I have found).
Comment #106: Rusty said on 1/12/06 @ 12:30am ET...
Regarding Patriot #77, I think Patriot meant that some Republican senator's e-mail systems may be designating e-mails sent through those groups as spam.
I have no idea if they're doing that, but we think it's best to use each senator's own website form or get their e-mail address from there and contact them through your own e-mail system.
Comment #107: Rusty said on 1/12/06 @ 12:33am ET...
Thanks Tahoe #105,
I was wondering where to access contact info AND voting records on one website. Now I know.
Comment #108: tahoebasha1 said on 1/12/06 @ 12:51am ET...
#103 and 106 - Rusty,
Thanks for letting me off the "hook" for my seeming "back room locker." (Actually, I blogged yesterday because I was at home "preparing" for exam -- ugh! Aren't you happy to know that?)
Thanks, too, for the "How To Operate On the Team ConyersBlog for Dummies" instructions.
I understand what Patriot meant and I partially agree, but from what I know of these various progressive activist groups, they "hand-deliver" letters. And all the phone calls we make are, of course, on our own auspices. So, there are "pros" and "cons." The reason why I have always thought these groups were good was because huge numbers are presented to the Senators and/or Congressman -- like more than 100,000 sometimes. As you said, it's not a "trickle" here and there that will "cut" it.
Comment #109: Rusty said on 1/12/06 @ 1:41am ET...
As Sanity reminded us, there are multiple ways to have an impact, they're not mutually exclusive. We're getting this thing launched to motivate people to participate through Team ConyersBlog on Soapbox and have a little fun through friendly competition while making important but at times tedious contacts. This adds some fun and cameraderie to it.
But we want them to ALSO actively support ALL of these groups you mention. They do a terrific job and can generate big numbers, like you said.
Comment #110: Frosted Flake said on 1/12/06 @ 2:23am ET...
You make a very good point, fear is very powerful, and prevelant these days. Because of my particular history (I had to drink a quart of pop to weigh enough to enlist) I have a familiarity with fear that a bigger guy does not. Let me take a moment to show what I have learned.
Fear is the mindkiller (Frank Herbert, Dune). It fills the mind with useless 'information' which inhibits the perception of and reaction to the immediate threat which is the reason the fear exists. This slows down the hands, and feet, and leads generally in the direction of the very disaster the fear anticipates. Moreover, it informs the opponant that he is winning, and leads him to continue in the same direction.
When I was a little kid, I was a very little kid, and got my but kicked regular. It was not my size that made me a target, it was my fear of being a target. There came a day that changed. It was not the result of thinking about it and deciding what would be, there was no plan or intent to improve myself or my condition, there was nothing I could point at in terms of character that made the differance for me. What it came down to is, I got tired, as in, 'nuff da bullshi', and snapped a knuckle across my bullys' nose. Due to luck mostly, it was a good shot, knocked him on his but. I hope I never forget the expression on his face as he looked up to me, for the first time. I know for a fact that he hasn't forgotten, because 35 years later he still crosses the street when he sees me coming. This is not because I've ever pushed the point with him. All I have ever since done with him is stand when I was supposed to run. I will fight him if that's what he wants and that he clearly understands. So here he is a full grown man, a hundred pounds bigger than me, who feels like a little boy when I'm around. The differance is fear. He has it, I don't. When he deals with me, he is dealing with his fear, of me, and not my fear of him. Maybe he'll get over it someday. I hope he does. Then he'll be all growed up.
Schoolyard bully, President of the United States, there is not so great a differance here as might first appear. Psycology is psycology, fear is fear, size is not really all that important, attitude is, because that is what decides who is afraid of who (it aint the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog). The attitude I see in the public venue today (beggin the pardon of those I am about to offend) is the fear to defend oneself, against a bully, whom everyone knows will be back for more tomorrow if he gets what he is after today. I put it that particular way because I want to emphasize the IRRATIONAL nature of that fear. It is the fear of oppression, and nothing more than the fear of oppression that enables the oppressor to oppress. It is fear that causes one to doubt the value of ones own arms, it is fear which causes one to drop those arms in the face of attack, it is fear which leads one to say stupid things like, "Oh, please Mr. Bully, please oh please don't kick my but." remarkably ineffective phrase that that is. Fear, not the bully or the president, is the real enemy. And fear comes (if it does) from within. It is not imposed, but instead inspired. Not put into us, but brought out. ("We have met the enemy, and he is us." Pogo.) Fear is all we have to fear, and fear is weak. One ounce of confidence is enough to dissolve a ton of fear, in an instant. Confidence also comes from within. And is no more difficult to inspire than fear is.
But has that been attempted, on a public scale? I don't think so. What do we have in front of us? We have an impeachment bill, going nowhere, because of Republican Party discipline ("If we don't hang togeather, we will certianly hang seperately"). We have Have the Plame investigation, chipping away at a stonewall. We have the AIPAC investigation, which we are not supposed to even mention (Israel). We have Delay, being delayed. We have the Cunningham resignation, but it is likely, in that district, he will be replaced with another republican. The Abramoff investigation is very interesting, but I detect no urgency there. And hanging over the November Election is DIE-bold, et al. While this does outline for us the difficulties we face, if there is anything inspirational here, I don't feel it. Reason is, none of this is in "our" hands. We hope for an advantageous outcome (someday, over the rainbow), but we are not in a position to insist on (prompt) answers and we do not even control the questions. Excepting Impeachment, the best that can be hoped for is that the President will be told (eventually) to stop doing one thing or another. This he might do, but in the meantime there are plenty of other bogus things he is up to, and will continue, untill and unless those things are very slowly and successfully investigated by a justice department which is supervised by,,, The President.
If there is a pop in the nose coming out of any of this, it will come as a surprise to me. All of these things amount to trying to get others to take care of us, dispite a noteable lack of interest, rather than taking care of ourselves, OURSELVES. Crying, "I'll tell Mom!" instead of popping the bully in the nose, and offering to do it again. Anytime. Is it any cause for wonder that we continue to recieve abuse when we demonsrate every day that we are afraid that we will be abused, rather than demonstrating confidence in adversity? It is not. The fear, that we will be abused, is what causes the abuse. That fear can be extinguished, Nationwide, with one good swing.
This is why I have so often pointed at Civil Suit under the Antidisestablishment Clause of the Constitution, section 3 of amendment 14. This move would give "us" the initiative, allow us to ask the correct question, insist it be promtly answered, recieve in consequence a prompt Verdict which may be promptly applied to our political situation to the effect of removing and replacing the Administration and ALL its' appointees (by and with the advice and consent of the Senate) promptly. And then, having popped the bully in the nose, having shown the will and aptitude to do so, we may then expect that in future this problem will not recur and should it, that our children and thier children will have our admirable example to guide them.
I appreciate this forum.
If you will pardon me, I'd like to take this opportunaty to steal a march on my critics. Impeachment is mentioned in the Constitution in Artical II Section 4 under the heading DISQUALIFICATION. Section 3 of Amendment 14 imposes a DISABILITY. Disability is not disqualification. If the Congress of 1866 (and the States) wanted to modify Impeachment they could have done so. They did not. Instead Congress (and the States) added something entirely new and differant, which the Founders of our republic overlooked. An Antidisestablishment Clause. What it means is, Democracy will not be Voted out of existance, and the Constitution will not be abrogated. The mere attempt to do so results in the Constitution declining to supply the neccesary power. And there is no other source of political power around here.
Comment #111: Rusty said on 1/12/06 @ 2:49am ET...
Thank you Frosty,
Very well stated and powerful. FDR's "We have nothing to fear but fear itself" echoes through every sentence of your post.
Why isn't a civil suit being brought against these thugs? In fact, why aren't a host of civil suits being filed in various courts by various plaintiffs?
I watched Perry Mason once when I was 6, but I've forgotten the extensive legal knowledge I'd gained from that episode, so I can't discuss this at a legal details level.
But didn't the Paula Jones case set a precedent for taking a sitting president into court? Why aren't Bush/Cheney et al being hauled into court all over the place?
Comment #112: Frosted Flake said on 1/12/06 @ 4:09am ET...
Thank you Rusty
I was concerned that, uh, this piece was not up to my usual low standard. Your comment is a great reassurance.
To file a suit you have to have standing. To have standing you have to be one of the affected parties. I'm fairly sure that in the case I am advocating, in large part because of the novelty of the claim, which has never before been made, you would have to be a minority Congressman or Senator.
As for other suits, you'd think they'ed be there. Perhaps the redicules expense involved coupled with the old saw, you can't fight city hall. It aint true, but often little details like truth get short-schrift.
You are spot on with your recollection of the Jones Case, which goes to prove that you can fight city hall, if you can pay cash. It also goes to prove that the rumor that you can't indict a sitting President, which has been passed around and around and around and around and around untill it seems like it is coming from every direction (so it MUST be true) is just a rumor. Well, to be fair, it might be more appropriate to call it an urban legend. But, on the other hand, nonsense would also be a fair description.
I appreciate this forum.
Comment #113: Rusty said on 1/12/06 @ 4:37am ET...
It's one of your best posts. It's very effective to weave personal experiences into a broader social and political tapestry in order to make a universal statement about something that has universal consequences. Like fear.
I loved Dune. I have to read that book again soon.
As far as legal standing to file a civil suit, I would think that any citizen who has suffered personal harm because of illegal conduct by Bush/Cheney et al would qualify.
Why can't the wife and children of an American soldier slain in Iraq because of defective body or Humvee armor haul them into court for wrongful death?
We need to get them under oath in a court of law.
Clinton was sued for some kind of sexual harrassment and had to testify under oath, which led to Impeachment on grand jury perjury charges.
Why can't this same process of civil court testimony by a president, compelling him to tell the truth or perjure himself, be used against these bastards?
Comment #114: Frosted Flake said on 1/12/06 @ 6:21am ET...
I was reluctant to use myself as an example. That is not how I would choose to advertise myself.
The questions you raise are good ones. I don't have answers for you, because you ask, "Why can't..." and I think we can, but haven't yet.
Other topic : Chalk up Gordon Smith (R) and Ron Wyden (D), both of Oregon, who recieved this :
Dear Senator (Name)
Thank you for taking the time to review my comment. Be assured that your many accomplishments are deeply appreciated and valued.
I would like to make clear my feeling on the nomination of Judge Alito.
It is negitive.
To cite a reason, I refer to Artical 1 Section 7 of the Constitution where it reads :
Every Bill which shall have passed the house of representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections (note capitalisation) to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on thier Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, togeather with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by that House, it shall become law.
As you are without doubt fully aware, this is not the practice of the current administration. The practice is to write a signing statement, modifying the Bill Congress wrote after signing it into Law. This is UnConstituional on its' face, for reasons I am certian do not need to be explained to you.
As you are without doubt fully aware, the practice mentioned above is the result of advocacy of the offending practice, during the Reagan administration, by Samuel Alito.
This clearly demonsrates that Samuel Alito is completely without the neccesary qualifications to be a Judge in the United States because he not only fails to obey the Constitution, he also fails to require that the President obey the Constituiton.
My suspicion is that this is why he recieved the nomination. My reccomendation is, that Samuel Alito be filibustered back to the stone age, where he came from, and where he belongs.
If anyone would like to use my language, please feel free.
I appreciate this forum.
Comment #115: Frosted Flake said on 1/12/06 @ 6:28am ET...
Woops, spelling problem. Demonstrates, not demonsrates.
Maybe I should use a spellcheck, but it's so much easier to just keep screwing up (Whine).
I'll work on it, OK?
Comment #116: Patriot said on 1/12/06 @ 7:14am ET...
Frosted, about being bullied, this is off topic, just a funny story from my life.
I raised four sons, two of my own and two of my ex-husband's. Mine were little for their ages. We really didn't have any problems with their being picked on in our neighborhood, although there were many kids out and some were bullies, but they pretty much left my kids alone. They were always very polite, extremely polite, when in our house and very agreeable to anything I asked. For some stupid reason, I didn't think this was odd, so never gave it any thought.
One day, my youngest, age 12, goofed up and said, "Are you mad, Mom??? Are you mad???" So I asked him, "Do I ever get mad?" He said, "I don't remember if you did." So I said, "Then why do you always ask me that and act like you're scared that I'll get mad?" The next son up started to snicker, so I suspected a plot had been going on to scare the little one.
So, I confronted that boy to explain why his baby brother seemed to get nervous when he'd think maybe I'd get mad, even though "mad" was not in my character towards my kids.
He said, "Mom, you know how we never get picked on?" I said, "Well, I hadn't really thought about it, but yeah, I guess you're right. You don't get picked on."
He said, "That because we told the other kids that you kill people."
So imagine, I'd lived in that neighborhood for years and all the kids thought I was capable of murder so my kids walked around safe and sound. A children's protection racket!
Comment #117: Patriot said on 1/12/06 @ 7:26am ET...
#101 Tahoe - Thanks for that explaination. I was looking at it soley from a programming point of view and I know if I started an auto-email program, they'd go to junk mail boxes, as Rusty found already. My system generated emails go to junk folders on many systems, such as AOL.
I would appreciat the names and URLs of sites which can be of help to this project, and a brief description of how each works. I'll put them in a 'contacts' list. This would be helpful to our users. Anything that is effective and easy will help our cause.
Thanks for your input and stay away from those (med) taxing days. :)
Comment #118: sanitysojourner said on 1/12/06 @ 11:06am ET...
I have been sending my letters to the local offices rather than to D.C.
The continued anthrax screening in D.C. slows down mail considerably. If time is a factor, the message will get through the local offices sooner.
Comment #119: tahoebasha1 said on 1/12/06 @ 1:34pm ET...
#117 - Patriot
First of all, I was wondering what mode of contact you and Rusty are using -- government web site? e-mail? What? Just curious!
(At work). When I have a moment, I will compile some of the information you have requested and send it to you.
So, O.K., Patriot, see if my understanding of this whole thing is correct. Each time we contact a Senator(s) or Congressman pertaining to an issue (right now Alito), we go to the Bloggers Stop Alito Challenge and click on the name(s) contacted, then enter our own name and hit contacted. In other words, we are not actually posting what we did, said, etc.?
When you go to the Alito site, it says, TO ENTER YOUR TEAM, REGISTER AND LOGON. I had done that the other day -- is it supposed to be done each time? I was able to show a contact made this a.m. without having logged on.
Thanks for your advice on the (med) taxing days. And boy, was it! I called my doctor's office in the afternoon, and said: "Alice, why doesn't "Dr. Schmucko" like me? She replied patiently, "I believe he likes you." I said, "No, he doesn't!" She asked, "What do you mean?" I retorted, "Because if he liked me, he never would have put me through what I went through this morning." She said somewhat humorously, "Well, he just wants to get to the bottom of things!" I lost it, "@#^%^#$@$ -- the bottom of things? Are you kidding me? Alice, have you ever had an exam like that?" She said, "No." I said, "Well, I hope you never ever have to have one. Goodbye."
Comment #120: Pissed Off American said on 1/12/06 @ 1:59pm ET...
Posted on subsequent thread as well.....
I submit that it is highly presumptious and embarrassingly unthoughtful to take Conyers' blog and use it as a home base or "office of convienience" for ANY activist group. Many people are pursuing their activism through various groups, entities, and actions. John Conyers blog here links to such vessels of activism, and is actually a forum for his own topics and SUGGESTED courses of action. On a personal basis, I would prefer that individual groups "gathered" and formulated stategies separate from this forum. Certainly, one of John Conyers' stategies here is to EXPOSE the issues he feels are pressing, provide a forum by which to debate those issues, and to nurture support through cultivating an increasing traffic here and the sites he links to, AS WELL AS CAST LIGHT ON THE AVENUES OF ACTIVISM THAT HE WILLINGLY AND PUBLICLY SUPPORTS. One has to ask if the "competetion" currently being exhibited here ENHANCES or encourages such traffic, or discourages it. Such activities, such as organized letter writing are certainly laudable, and I would not try to discourage such efforts. However, I question if the organization and pursuit of those efforts, AND the attraction of John Conyers' efforts, might better be served if the actual logistics of the letter writing campaign were pursued on a forum designed exclusively for that purpose.
Comment #121: Rusty said on 1/12/06 @ 4:01pm ET...
I submit that YOU are highly presumptuous and embarrassingly unthoughtful.