Creating a Climate of Fear

“Everybody’s scared to give up any money because of that law that Bush wrote about, you know, supporting terror,” said Jeffrey Leon Battle, a homegrown American terrorist and member of the Portland Seven. I guess this is part of the culture of fear some people say we are creating.

Mr. Battle is an American citizen, although not a very good one. Nevertheless, I am really happy that he felt uneasy. He worried, among other things, that his communications with his co-conspirators and with the representatives of foreign terrorist organizations might be bugged. I want people like Mr. Battle to feel uneasy and I don’t want us to do anything to ease their troubled minds.

Posted by Jack at February 14, 2006 2:30 PM
Comments
Comment #124963

Jack

Not sure. Are you still supporting warrantless searches or just making the point that surveillance against terrorists is good? If the latter, I’m witchya all the way. The former is still a gross violation of the constitution. I wonder what else the Cheney doctrine has wrought within this administration. Has it interfered with press freedom, fr’instance, by threats of utilizing its full war powers in secret? Has it engaged in disinformation against the American public by forcing publication of false stories? Apparently, whenever this administration feels it can do something under the Congressional resolution, it just does it without seeking approval or even clearly communicating its activity to Congress. I’m happy that you feel safe under these circumstances, but please forgive the rest of us for our unease.

Posted by: mental wimp at February 14, 2006 2:43 PM
Comment #124986

I wonder if you would feel safer if it was your child or loved one that was killed for lack of intel due to worrying about arguments over the abuses of the distant past.

Too many people playing political games to really keep anyone safe (that is within both parties). The political childishness we see now is eventually going to cost many people lives, it will really not be that hard for acts of terrorism to occur at any minute anywhere. We keep acting like there is no real danger and politics is the main concern. I would think saving lives here would be a priority not setting up who will win the next election….

I hope whatever needs to be done to save my children is done, I guess you can worry about you and yours on your own…

Posted by: Lawrence at February 14, 2006 3:18 PM
Comment #124999

Careful Jack, we don’t want to offend our native terrorists, much less our overseas radical muslims. Remember, they are entitled to all rights under our constitution and current laws. If we make them afraid that our surveillance will reveal their treachery, they might not likes us very much. I say we let Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy negotiate for us on this.

Posted by: Beak at February 14, 2006 3:40 PM
Comment #125034

What do most Americans fear on a daily basis?

Not terrorism.

They fear having no health care insurance. They fear that their child will not get a decent education. They fear they will lose their job. None of these have anything to do with monitoring phone calls of private citizens.

Why is it that one person walks into a subway station with a bomb is a terrorist, but when a nut goes onto a Texas school campus and starts killing with a machine gun - well that is just random violence? The difference is that you can award $billions of contracts to your friends to monitor would-be terrorits, but you can’t do the same for random, domestic violence.

Terrorism today is just the new scapegoat to get Americans to spend all their taxes on war. Forget about healthcare, elder care, education.

Posted by: acetracy at February 14, 2006 4:24 PM
Comment #125048

Sure. we want to discourage real terrorists.

And, sure. The government should warn of our vulnerabilities.

A climate of fear amongst terrorists is a good thing.

But, this government sabotages that when the desire to wire-tap without a warrant and defend its legality is higher on the list of priorities than the securing the borders and sea ports.

The only reason we have not been attacked again, yet, is probably only because the terrorists have not yet been able to find WMD. But, when they do, there is nothing to stop them.

Over four years after 11-Sep-2001, the government has failed miserably, again, to do the one, primary thing that the federal government is supposed to do.

This is not a failure of our incredible armed forces. It is a failure of our corrupt, irresponsible government, who endanger our armed forces. For example.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 14, 2006 4:58 PM
Comment #125051

I personaly am tired of the fear mongering.
So many played this card to win elections.
The fact of the matter is the Terrorist
have won. We handed our nation to people
who are incompatent based on the fact
that they were going to keep us safe.
Who will be running our ports?
Who will balance this budget?
Who will pay off the national dept?
Who will stop the Corporate Welfare?
Why are so many being stepped on so
a few can fill up more bank accounts?
Why are we affraid of what some Terrorist
might do? When we cause more harm to
ourselves everyday by not questioning
what our leaders are doing.

Posted by: Honey P at February 14, 2006 5:02 PM
Comment #125054

Ace

Schools are very well aware of the violence threat. Sometimes I think they may overreact.

You are right if you are saying that the chances of getting killed by a terrorist are small. But terrorism attacks the basis of society in a way that ordinary crime does not.

As for prioritizing that other things you mentioned, I think we can look to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The first thing we want is security. When we believe that is satisfied, we move to higher level needs. Terrorism is meant to make us feel insecure. Some people blame the response for this feeling, but how secure did you feel on the evening of 9/11? Do you feel better now?

One challenge in fighting terrorism is complacency. When we feel secure, we forget the past. Many people have come to believe that the lack of terror attacks in the U.S. since 9/11 is the natural state of affairs and that we are finished with the fight.

In the case of Mr. Battle, wiretaps were not crucial to catching him. But the provisions of the Patriot Act that allowed cooperation between domestic and foreign operations, allowed him to be watch for a long enough time to find the other six conspirators.

Wimp

Democratic leadership has shifted strategy. They are no longer trying to make the case that what Bush has done is wrong, merely technically illegal. Technically. In other words, they don’t want him to stop, but merely remove the technicality. I expect there will be some kind of compromise that saves the faces of all involved. We should not, however, believe that the practices will change very much or that they would be significantly different if a Democrat was in the White House. I don’t worry about the responsible Dems, but I do worry about the radicals, who really do want to stop these programs and I worry about the kind of person who would reveal them to the NYT.

Posted by: Jack at February 14, 2006 5:04 PM
Comment #125080

The radicals are powerless… loud, but essentially powerless. I worry more about the moderate democratic critics of the administration that tie up the government with baseless allegations of corruption in order to score points with the “progressive” wing of their party. Dissent is well and good, but this nears obstruction.

Posted by: Doherty at February 14, 2006 6:04 PM
Comment #125085
Who will be running our ports? Who will balance this budget? Who will pay off the national dept? Who will stop the Corporate Welfare? Why are so many being stepped on so a few can fill up more bank accounts?

We’ve been on the wrong path for many decades.
Only the voters can put us back on the right path:
(a) peacefully; vote out all irresponsible incumbents, always.
(b) Or, wait, and learn the hard, painful way (again).

Posted by: d.a.n at February 14, 2006 6:15 PM
Comment #125090

acetracy,

Terrorism today is just the new scapegoat to get Americans to spend all their taxes on war. Forget about healthcare, elder care, education.

No wonder the left is so pissed off that we are at war - it’s shortcircuiting the drive for socialism.

Posted by: esimonson at February 14, 2006 6:30 PM
Comment #125093

Doherty,

“I worry more about the moderate democratic critics of the administration that tie up the government with baseless allegations of corruption in order to score points with the “progressive” wing of their party. Dissent is well and good, but this nears obstruction.”

So what you’re saying is that what happened during Clinton’s last term didn’t tie up the government at all?

Posted by: Rocky at February 14, 2006 6:31 PM
Comment #125108

Eric,
Yes, it would be obscene to spend that Iraqi money on Americans. Let’s see. One billion per week, actually a little more. Over $50 billion per year. Hey! Instead of spending it on underserving working Americans, let’s spend the money on Iraqis. We could make 1000 Iraqis a week millionaires. That would come out to 50,000 Iraqi millionaires a year. If we had taken this approach instead of reconstruction & occupation, over 150,000 Iraqis would now be millionaires.

But wait! $8.8 billion dollars disappeared from the CPA! Why, surely there are quite a few millionaires out there already, courtesy of your tax dollars at work!!!

Posted by: phx8 at February 14, 2006 6:46 PM
Comment #125129

I say go after the terrorists. Just don’t waste time and technology going after innocent people. Some of you protest that this would be necessary to find all the terrorists, but let me wake you people up to a significant fact: We’re not perfect. We will miss some terrorists, and we will get attacked again. We can perhaps forestall such attacks far into the future, but we’ll never eliminate the risk entirely.

What we can do, and should do, is be concerned for where our notions of security take us. We are neither well-served, nor well-protected by a system that invades and sacrifices our civil liberties, because then, as our founding fathers recognized so long ago, our government becomes the threat and the enemy of the people itself.

So, the sensible among us make a compromise: broad freedoms, with constraints allowed when evidence can show the need to act against a person, to keep an eye on them.

We must realize that our security must preserved not only against the insidious sneaking around of the terrorists, but also against the invasive powers of a government unrestrained by the rule of law.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 14, 2006 7:42 PM
Comment #125132

Jack,

You keep beating this drum, but you continue to neglect that mere POSSIBILITY that the Bush administration was using this wiretapping for corrupt means.

I ask you, for the sake of having an intellectually honest discussion, to consider the possibility that the Bush administration was indeed wiretapping reporters, political adversaries, etc. for political gain.

Would you be for or against them doing this? (Probably an obvious answer)

Ok, now I ask you, since this is plausible explanation for the administration not obtaining the federally mandated warrants within 72 hours, how do we ENSURE that this wasn’t the case?

Should we really allow the administration to simply say it’s their prerogative to do whatever they need to do because it’s a time of war?

Or, is there maybe a possible alternative that would ensure against abuses of the system?

Wouldn’t it be possible to have a non-partisan oversight committee that gets access to all the details of the program? They could see detailed lists of everyone that was tapped, and for what purpose. Without giving up specific details of the program, they could then issue a report stating whether or not they felt the system was abused. Shouldn’t we demand that there is SOME oversight of this program? Don’t we deserve to know who was tapped (in general terms)?

I ask you, Jack, what is wrong with this proposal? If the administration wasn’t abusing their power, they would have nothing to lose, right? In fact, they would be vindicated.

Posted by: Andrew L. at February 14, 2006 7:48 PM
Comment #125139

There have to be terrorists to miss in the first place. The Portland cell was busted in 2002. Bush made a pathetic attempts to instill fear with his announcement about the 2002 plot for a terrorist attack on the West Coast.

Remember, this is 2006.

If anyone wants to worry about fearful climate…

Nature and Scientific American have produced terrific articles on climate change:

http://www.ipsl.jussieu.fr/~jomce/acidification/

http://www.ipsl.jussieu.fr/~jomce/acidification/paper/Orr_OnlineNature04095.pdf

The Scientific Amcerican article is in the current issue, not available online yet.

Posted by: phx8 at February 14, 2006 7:53 PM
Comment #125140

AND WHAT WAS KEN STARR?
How is things being tied up with baseless aligations. The real question is whos
gonna have to hire a lawyer this week.
WHERE IS TRUTH JUSTICE AND THE AMERICAN WAY?
In a Republicans pocket.

??????????????
How many more FEMA trailors are we going
to store in a arkansas field. While we
have homeless in america.
If you ask a commen since question.
you may be called a liberal.

Posted by: Honey P at February 14, 2006 7:54 PM
Comment #125151

Andrew

Lots of things are possible. But we had the briefings of members of congress from both parties, the work is done by career civil servants (many of whom worked for Clinton too) and there is no indications it is happening.

In another thread, I cited a speech by Clinton’s CIA chief James Woolsey. He explained why and how it might be hard to go through the procedures. This guy knows about such things AND he worked for Clinton, not Bush.

I am willing to let this particular case be decided politically or by the courts. I believe that we will and certainly should find a way for the President to continue do what all the reports indicate he is doing

Posted by: Jack at February 14, 2006 8:08 PM
Comment #125153

OK, so where’s the defense of the VP and his gun-safety practices? I know the right wants us to know that Mr. Cheney did nothing wrong and everything is fine, I just want to see it spelled out.

Posted by: Matisse Enzer at February 14, 2006 8:11 PM
Comment #125157

Matisse

Hunting accident. Enough said.

Posted by: Jack at February 14, 2006 8:19 PM
Comment #125217

Jack,

Take your blinders off!

“I believe that we will and certainly should find a way for the President to continue do what all the reports indicate he is doing”

All reports indicate that he is not abusing the system? Really?

What about the early reports that Christiane Amanpour may have been caught up in this net?

What about the NSA whistleblowers?

Jack, you have WAY too much faith in an administration that has shown itself to be nothing but consistently misleading, corrupt, and willing to abuse its authority at every opportunity.

Let’s get some actual oversight. Let’s see who Bush has been spying on. If it was only legitimate targets, then let’s find out for sure.

Do you agree with my point that there should be an independent oversight committee that actually gets to see who was spied on?

Posted by: Andrew L. at February 14, 2006 10:15 PM
Comment #125218

I hope whatever needs to be done to save my children is done, I guess you can worry about you and yours on your own…

Posted by: Lawrence at February 14, 2006 03:18 PM

Please explain how nothing more than a “Republican Marketing Scam” is going to save your children?

Thinking for yourself might go a long way in protecting your children and that starts with turning off your television.

Posted by: expatUSA_Indonesia at February 14, 2006 10:20 PM
Comment #125220

Pertaining to the original post, I too am happy that any one feels uncomfortable about contacting terrorist buddies of terrorist funders.

Posted by: Theway2k at February 14, 2006 10:21 PM
Comment #125233

Folks:

Our Government has three branches—the checks and balances are there for a reason. The FISA law was enacted because of abuses of civil liberties by a previous executive. The law had contingencies for starting wiretapping then getting a warrant up to 72 hours later. The court had turned down a handful of requests in the history of the law. The checks-and-balances bar on this was very low. And the Bush administration lied about it for four and a half years, breaking the law with impunity, and then being smug about it.

As an American citizen, I am no longer willing to give this administration the benefit of the doubt, even in matters of national security. Their actions and malfeasance, and their disregard for the rule of law and the Constitution rules out any possibility of not having oversight by Congress.

This has nothing to do with conservative, liberal, left, right, rich or poor. This was the law, and the executive’s job is to preserve and defend the Constitution. And this was not done by our President.

Posted by: Tim Crow at February 14, 2006 11:05 PM
Comment #125261

Jack,

There really haven’t been any successes through this program of intercepting phone conversations that has been going on for 4 years. The president suggested that the program may have had something to do with stopping a plot to hijack a plane with shoe bombs, but already the story is falling apart as intelligence sources step forward to say its not true. If you have to reach all the way back to 2002 and can’t even come up with a legit case then it’s just not working.

Who lied to us and said that there were WMDs in Iraq and that there was no doubt my country was in immediate danger? Who has created a hotbed of terrorism in Iraq? Who has squandered this nation’s money on national security programs that have somehow left us more unsafe?

It’s pretty obvious who’s trying to scare people and who’s making this country less safe.

Posted by: Max at February 15, 2006 12:30 AM
Comment #125274

It used to be that when someone called someone else a liberal they meant that person was espousing a leftist agenda such as welfare, social security, pro-choice rights, etc. But now the label liberal is applied to anyone in any circumstance that merely disagrees or criticizes the president.

I also seem to recall a time when the word conservative was also used to refer to someone who believed in fiscal responsibility, state’s rights, etc. But now the Republican party seems to stand only for Bush being right, no matter what, all the time.

What gives? What happened to Republicans? I used to disagree or agree, but even when disagreeing I would have some respect. The distance between many Republican’s beliefs and plain as day reality, the desire to casually overturn many of the rights and beliefs this nation was founded on, the inability to consider for a moment any other point of view, the series of disasters befalling this nation in the name of making it secure, all of this is a lot scarier than the terrorists to me.

The terrorists could never have inflicted as much damage to this country as Bush has done. He used this country’s fear as a politcal tool and in the process did the enemies’ work for them.

Posted by: Jacks at February 15, 2006 1:03 AM
Comment #125277

Four rules of gun safety. Enough said (if one actually follows them.) Negligent shooting, not accidental shooting (the gun did not malfunction, the human did.)

Posted by: Matisse Enzer at February 15, 2006 1:12 AM
Comment #125304

acetracy,

What do most Americans fear on a daily basis?

Last November the one thing they feared the most was a Kerry Presidency. Since the Kerry candidacy enunciated pretty much all the arguments you have here, we can assume the American people do not fear missing out on your socialist paradise. Quite the opposite in fact.

I’m not sure I quite get how Bush is creating fear, either. Do you have any objective tests of how I can tell when a politician is ‘fear mongering’. Would authoring a bill to reinstate the draft and then claiming Bush is planning on reinstating the draft (see there’s already a bill in congress) in order to scare young voters into voting for Kerry qualify?

Posted by: esimonson at February 15, 2006 3:57 AM
Comment #125358

Jack & ESimonson,

Sounds like you should be working with Rove & Co. Whenever there is a real issue at hand, you pull out the “socialism” card. Tell me, isn’t ANY government support and tinckering with the private economy a form of socialism? How come we don’t go after the subsidies to oil & gas, agriculture, airlines, etc.? Your republican welfare state is fine for corporate America, but not for the unemployed without health insurance. Now that’s a great Christian value.

As to heirarchal needs putting security first, that is exactly my point. Most Americans put their health and financial security as their first priority to provide the basis of a secure family life. 75% of personal bankruptcies in the USA in 2003 were due to healthcare costs!! Now do you get a picture of what “fear” really is?

Go look at your US cities and their bombed out neighborhoods. No terrorist did that. And still today those neighborhoods are far more dangerous than walking the borders of the West Bank. If security is the most important function government, than we have failed miserably - both Republicans & Democrats.

Posted by: acetracy at February 15, 2006 8:07 AM
Comment #125365

Why are liberals afraid to be called liberals anymore? I’m still proud to stand for fiscal responsibly(but fanatical concern over reducing the deficit during a time of war is absurd), states rights, an overwhelming military, the myriad advantages of capitalism and etc. Liberals are throwing fits anymore when you call a mule a mule. Maybe they would prefer the term unreasoning, kool-aid drinking, bush-haters. The right called Bush when he didn’t stay conservative and nominate a proven conservative for the high court. The right is calling Bush for not keeping the borders intact. But liberals wouldn’t give him creit if he cured cancer. A conservative republican(and ex oil man) told the nation we needed to get off the oil standard… and not a peep from the left, only criticism. Why don’t you guys go read the Wash Post now to figure out what to reply back.

Posted by: Doherty at February 15, 2006 8:40 AM
Comment #125368

***
Most Americans put their health and financial security as their first priority to provide the basis of a secure family life.
***

It’s not the government’s role to provide health and financial security. That is the job of responsible adults to do that for their families.

The practice of employer’s providing insurance to employees was started when the government capped the amount that employees could be paid during WW2, so companies needed to find other ways to attract and retain good workers. The FDR administration created the mess, and, ever since, the left has picked up the flag and ran with it, claiming it’s the responsibility of the employer, not the employee. Besides, the evil, priofiteering corporations can afford it, right? After all, they are getting rich by taking advantage of the “little guy”.

The left has screwed up health insurance by not allowing the individual to have control over the coverage and they screwed up social security (FDR’s own statements reveal that SS would be defunct within 30 years or so), but they keep piling it on…making it worse and worse while telling everyone that they are entitled to it.

My question: Why does the left want us to depend on these “evil corporations” for health insurance? We all know we cannot depend on the government for our financial (retirement) security.

I say, give me all of the money that goes towards health insurance, SS and medicare. I’ll take care of it myself and my family and I’ll be better off than the poor suckers who think government knows what’s best for them.

Doherty, the left has always been afraid of the “L” word. Case in point: Dukakis.

Posted by: Rich at February 15, 2006 8:48 AM
Comment #125391

Rich,

You should have added the millions of dollars blown from the handouts given to the Katrina ‘victims’.
They couldn’t have been too bad off if they spent their handout on tatoos and handbags!!
Why did they do that? Because they were already on government aid and knew they would still be getting their monthly check - It was like Christmas! Uncle Sam gave me $2,000 to spend ANY WAY I WANT! (It was nothing but a ‘bonus’ check.)
and will pay for me to live in a hotel - indefinitely because the democrats made those in power look bad. And it was Bush’s fault these people couldn’t fend for themselves. What a joke.
These people have a full time job gaming the system and letting the rest of us pay for it.

Posted by: bugcrazy at February 15, 2006 9:55 AM
Comment #125394

Doherty,

“But liberals wouldn’t give him creit if he cured cancer. A conservative republican(and ex oil man) told the nation we needed to get off the oil standard… and not a peep from the left, only criticism.”

And then the next day the White House announced that he really didn’t mean it that way.
This White House has been like a Chinese fire drill, starting with the plastic sheets and duct tape.
I watched the SOTU, because it was better than any comedy that I have watched in quite some time.
The only real supprise was that Bush finaly seems to be getting the hang of giving a speech. At the rate he’s going, he may make some sense two or three years after he gets out of office.

Posted by: Rocky at February 15, 2006 10:00 AM
Comment #125398
We must realize that our security must preserved not only against the insidious sneaking around of the terrorists, but also against the invasive powers of a government unrestrained by the rule of law.
Wise advice.

Something I see that is alarming is billions being spent to study port and border security, with little to show for it. Looks like a whole lot of corporate welfare.

Yes, perhaps we have seen the enemy.
And it is us.
Dishonest government and voters that tolerate it.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 15, 2006 10:15 AM
Comment #125424

All this discussion about the wiretapping of terrorists is missing some very important arguements. Many of which were testified to by AG Gonzalez. The abilty to wiretap in the area of foreign relations is an inherent constitutional power of the presidency. Notwithstanding FISA. All presidents since Jimmy Carter who signed FISA into law still have maintained they have the power. In fact as an example Pres Clinton authorized a warrentless wiretap of the FBI agent who was giving info to the russians. If memory serves me it was Aldridge Ames. No one was spouting constitional violations then.

Clearly, the program in the wrong hands has the potential for abuse. But the gang of 8 was advised of the program from the start and no one raise an objection all the way back in 2001. Not even Nancy Pollosie. It is dishonest for those democratic leaders to now come and say this is all bad. no record of them saying to the adminstration you have got to stop. So whomever wants can argue FISA FISA FISA, but the important part to remember is that this country is a constitutional republic and as such the constituion trumps any statute no matter how much congress may cry.

Bud

Posted by: Bud at February 15, 2006 11:50 AM
Comment #125426

Jack,

“Democratic leadership has shifted strategy. They are no longer trying to make the case that what Bush has done is wrong, merely technically illegal. Technically. In other words, they don’t want him to stop, but merely remove the technicality.”

Do you think if you tell that lie often enough it will suddenly become true? There have always been two issues. What safeguards will be in place to oversee domestic spying and the president is not above the law.


“I don’t worry about the responsible Dems, but I do worry about the radicals, who really do want to stop these programs”

Like Grover Norquest, Sam Brownback? Arlan Spector? Lindsey Graham? Come on Jack, admit that the president is not above the law and can make mistakes. Every criticism of president Bush can not be dismissed as “hate Bush rhetoric.”


Posted by: RMD at February 15, 2006 11:54 AM
Comment #125449

This proves my point.
I new the word liberal would come
into play. The base problem is
the Repubs spend far to much time
listening to Fox other wise Known
as the 24/7 GOP campaign.
Dispite the fact that a little known
study proved fox listeners consistantly
have distorted view of facts. Then there
is the RUSH position. This man comes off
as being intellagent only because he has
a staff loaded with extream right spin
masters. The fact that he is not rotting
in prison for his drug abuse proves he
has friends in high places. Sorry to inform
you but no medical records are needed. The
Pharmaceutical trail has been more than enough
to put thousands of oxycontin users in jail.
The point is the Republican agenda no matter
how wrong its stance is. Has had a
pulpit to misrepresent themselves and filter
true facts. This kind of one sided media has
left our nation in sad shape. If Bush had
invented a cure for cancer? These so called
news organisations. Would say GOD himself
gave it to Bush for doing such a fine job.

IF YOU CAN NOT TELL WHAT PARTY A NEWSPERSON
IS FROM HE MIGHT BE A VERY GOOD PERSON TO
GET YOUR NEWS FROM.

if you know that person belongs to a certain
party. They are not reporting news they are
a political advertisement. Many need to learn
how to tell the difference. Just because they
say they are Fair and Balanced does not make
it true.

Posted by: Honey P at February 15, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #125458

FOX News = GOPTV

Posted by: RMD at February 15, 2006 12:57 PM
Comment #125501

Point Proven.

Cheney to do Exclusive interview on Fox.

I agree this has been blown out of proportion.
But rather than give a press conferance where
questions can be asked and the matter settled.
Cheney runs to the friendly FOX and hard
questions will go unanswered.

Posted by: Honey P at February 15, 2006 2:24 PM
Comment #125558

The nation is split 50%(or nearly) on this issue. So I would say everyone is correct….but, if they don’t agree with you then they must be wrong….right?

I respect the opinions of those who agree with warrantless wiretapping. I don’t agree with them one single bit, but as long as they are rational I do respect their opinion.

So what if Carter and Clinton used similar means for wire tapping before, I still disagree. Why didn’t we raise a big stink then? Maybe because it was not covered in the press.

Warrantless wiretapping is a tool waiting to be abused. Maybe this administration won’t do it. Maybe the next won’t either. However, maybe this administration is abusing their power and the next will too. The point is that nobody knows because there is no checks or balances, no oversight, and no paper trail.

I don’t want to be a target for terrorists again. I think it is absurd for anyone to think that any American would. But I refuse to hand over full, unchecked power to one administration on such an issue. Sorry, I just don’t trust “big brother” that much…no matter who is in control. If the laws don’t work that well then work with congress to get them changed. Hell, both branches of government are controlled by one party. It should be a cinch to get a law through that is workable.

Regards,

Posted by: Tom L at February 15, 2006 4:35 PM
Comment #125561

If Bush starts to get warrants for intercepting messages from outside the US to within the US from known terrorists and from inside the US to outside the US from known terrorists, which is what he was doing, not domestic spying, and he tells Congressional leaders, do you really think that they would keep it a secret? I don’t and I think that is why the President chose to do it the way he did. As far as the Cheney thing goes, the MSM needs to get over it and move on to more important issues, like the war, fixing social security, finding ways to actually cut spending, not reduce the rate of increase, cutting even more taxes or at least making the current cuts permanent, etc.

Posted by: SWMichiganBill at February 15, 2006 4:43 PM
Comment #125587

Democrats are now on record as saying they want the NSA style wiretapping to continue, but that they want the law changed to allow it.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/12/AR2006021201174.html

So it seems that this is all just a big ole pissing match. Democrats in Congress want the President to keep doing what he’s been doing (and that many of them have claimed is illegal)—they just want to be on the inside and well informed about it.

I agree there need to be checks and balances. But when Democrats raise the impeachment furor and call Bush a criminal, only to back down when they see the public agreeing with Bush…well, that’s either really bad politics, cowardice in the face of the polls, or just another example of them wanting to beat Bush over the head for anything and everything.

Amazing logic they use. Bush did an illegal thing and should be impeached for it, but….hey, lets change the law to make it legal in the future. And they wonder why people don’t trust them.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at February 15, 2006 5:42 PM
Comment #125593

JBOD,
“Two key Democrats yesterday called the NSA domestic surveillance program necessary for fighting terrorism but questioned whether President Bush had the legal authority to order it done without getting congressional approval.”

You’re right, this is disappointing. You are correct to expect cravenly cowardice and corruption from Republicans, and you rightfully hold Democrats to a higher standard. Agreed. We can and should expect more from Democrats. We can and should hold them to higher standards. Absolutely. I agree. Unfortunately, the Democrats interviewed by Russert do not represent the party’s liberal wing. Have faith, JBOD. The liberals will do their best for us.

Posted by: phx8 at February 15, 2006 6:31 PM
Comment #125600

I don’t think the dems care if they are informed or not. Hell, I don’t care if they are either….but, the law should be followed. Are we a land of law abiding people? If not, what makes us better than any other dictatorship? Don’t like following the law? Hell, change it! You’ve got all the votes you need. You won’t even have to inform the dems…oh yeah, but there could be a paper trail to follow in case you fcccc up!….BAD, VERY BAD!!

PLEASE!!!!!!

I don’t trust either party with that much power. I’ve got a foreign-born friend that is from a Middle-Eastern country that is a small business owner. He sells computer equipment to Middle-Eastern companies. Obviously his calls have been monitored…he is now on a “no fly” list. Guilty? Ask GW….there’s no paper trail to prove his innocence…OR his guilt. Until it affects you I suppose the answer is “who gives a sh*t”? Hell, who does give a crap about their fellow American citizens?…..Middle Easterm?….must be a terrorist….


OH PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Tom l at February 15, 2006 6:50 PM
Comment #125624

JBOD,
Sen. Harman responds to this issue in writing on Dailykos:
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/2/15/183830/700
So I might have been a little harsh on her. I do wish she had been more aggressive on tv.

Posted by: phx8 at February 15, 2006 7:35 PM
Comment #125635

Tom L,

You’ve got it exactly right, so I repost it here for people to read again:

“Warrantless wiretapping is a tool waiting to be abused.”

“I don’t want to be a target for terrorists again. I think it is absurd for anyone to think that any American would. But I refuse to hand over full, unchecked power to one administration on such an issue. Sorry, I just don’t trust “big brother” that much…no matter who is in control.”

That is a reasonable and sound non-partisan opinion that should be accepted by any fair minded thinking individual.

Posted by: RMD at February 15, 2006 7:56 PM
Comment #125672

Tom L,
“I don’t want to be a target for terrorists again. I think it is absurd for anyone to think that any American would. But I refuse to hand over full, unchecked power to one administration on such an issue.”

Uhh, I hate to break this to you, but you and I already have handed over power to one administration for as long as we lived. All Presidents have this power and they have certainly have used it plenty of times throughout the course of our Constitution. Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, and Truman, just to name a few. That’s just a fact.

Posted by: rahdigly at February 15, 2006 10:19 PM
Comment #125721

TOML,RMD,it has been abused,by Clinton ,JFK,and RFK to name a few,and documented.Not one document has been discovered where BUSH has,just talk,not facts.Congress says they did not know,at least the Dems say that.The Repubs were listening when Bush gave the report as the Constitution requires but I guess the Dems weren’t listening.Harry Reid said he knew the program existed for years but the whole thing is supposed to be covert,you know,secret from the public.Whoever disclosed this to the public does not have America’s interests in mind,just there own Demo way of making Bush look bad doing what he should be doing by lieing about what he is actually doing,and calling Bush the lier.What they are doing is not exercising free speech but aiding our enemies.They should be arrested and tried for treason and I know that is likely to happen because they are looking for the leakers who actually leaked a real secret,not one about a covert CIA who was not a Covert CIA!

Posted by: RDAVIDC at February 16, 2006 12:32 AM
Comment #125874

RMD almost got it right (pardon the pun) when stating Fox News=GOPTV. Actually the equation is Fox News = Truth Justice and the American Way! Fox News is an oasis in a desert of misinformation by the rest of the so called mainstream media. The American people ( you know, the silent majority ) just aren’t going to settle for the crap from the left leaning media anymore. I think that it is time for a few more conservative news stations. By the way, it was sure funny yesterday watching MSNBC being rankled by Cheney giving 15 interviews to Fox News and (quoting them) “conservative radio talk shows”, as opposed to 17 interviews to everyone else. Why would Cheney grant an interview with news media seeking personal vendettas against him? Dugh!

Posted by: JD Arnold at February 16, 2006 11:12 AM
Comment #125932

JD Arnold,

Fox is biased….

Do I watch? Yes, because they do sometimes have good reporting.

You would say CNN is biased….probably true.

Do I watch? Yes, because they sometimes have good reporting.

Then again I do like to hear “both” sides of a story and use my own brain to determine who is spinning what which way and how much. If one only ever listens to reporting that is targetted for a certain “audience” one never gets the entire story.

I agree with a lot the Republicans do and I agree with a lot the democrats do. I also disagree with each party on several issues. It amazes me how both sides paint the other with such broad strokes. If you don’t think FOX news is biased you are only listening to want you want to hear.

Posted by: Tom L at February 16, 2006 1:07 PM
Comment #125951

There is not a single Newspaper or Channel in this Country that is not biased in some form or fashion. The problem is most (not all) are biased against Conservative issues.

Fox News is pro-conservative. That does not mean that they are not accurate. This means if there are ten news stories out of the Mid East. The ones that favor the President get top billing. They still run the negitave stories. With CNN the stories that favor the President or the conservative agenda get little or no coverage at all.

Posted by: boughregard at February 16, 2006 1:47 PM
Comment #126016

Where? Where in our Constitution does it say the President can violate the 4th amendment, i.e., wiretap without a warrant? What makes this unreviewed (in spite of Jack’s insistence that it has been vetted by “leaders of both parties in Congress”) search “reasonable” from anyone’s viewpoint? This is made up. Pure fantasy. What I fear about Congress’s and the media’s reluctance to pursue this issue is that information gathered through this program has been used to intimidate those who would otherwise speak up. After all, that’s what J. Edgar Hoover did with his illicit surveillance, and so did Richard Nixon. Funny, because that’s exactly why I don’t want them to have the power.

But, you happy-go-lucky, trust-the-President right-wingers go on your merry way. “The TERRORISTS, the TERRORISTS!” I just don’t get it.

Posted by: mental wimp at February 16, 2006 4:24 PM
Comment #126027

And another liberal chimes in:

No Checks, Many Imbalances

By George F. Will
Thursday, February 16, 2006; Page A27

The next time a president asks Congress to pass something akin to what Congress passed on Sept. 14, 2001 — the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) — the resulting legislation might be longer than Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past.” Congress, remembering what is happening today, might stipulate all the statutes and constitutional understandings that it does not intend the act to repeal or supersede.

Posted by: mental wimp at February 16, 2006 4:46 PM
Comment #126104

How do find out if someone is a terorist?

If the answer is to tap his/her phone without a warrant, or access private information without a warrant or even probable cause, then we are in the ‘end times’ of American Democracy. It’s just that simple. If you sell out our American values for the sake of security, then you have successfully destroyed everything this country was founded on. The Patriot Act is the very means by which the terrorists are most likely to ultimately win. They have scared us to point of destroying ourselves in order to feel safer.

RGF

Posted by: RGF at February 16, 2006 8:03 PM
Comment #126309

Once again the liberal’s take something completely out of context and try to make an issue out of it.

The President does not have the FBI out listening to your conversations with Michael Moore. He could care less. The phone numbers that they “tap” are from known terrorist. They get these numbers from captured cell phones. Unless you are receiving a phone call from a “target” number your conversation is all safe and snug. Do you really think that the FBI is spending valueable time a resources listening to you flap your gums about whatever it is that liberals talk about.

Please live in reality.

Posted by: boughregard at February 17, 2006 8:10 AM
Comment #126369

“known” terrorist.

“known” WMD.

faulty intelligence?…..

Just trust us…

Posted by: Tom L at February 17, 2006 11:04 AM
Comment #128408


The Laws of the usa are made by the rich and GWB Is a rich guy who would sell us all down the river to make some money with the laden family. and what about our port system being sold to terrorits? hey people don’t be fools see it for what it is.

Posted by: Fred Dawes at February 22, 2006 12:39 AM
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