Third Party & Independents Archives

Congress Under Pressure

It appears that a full investigation of the domestic spying ordered by Bush is unlikely to occur. Senate Republicans Hagel (R-NE) and Snowe (R-ME), who supported a full investigation if the administration didn’t make a ‘good faith effort’, are now supporting new legislation to legitimize Bush’s unnecessary unconstitutional behaviour.

The new legislation would create a seven-member "terrorist surveillance subcommittee" and would require the administration to give them full access to the program's operations. Someone please tell me how this is different than having a FISA court, except that it will be members of Congress instead of judges? Sen. Rockefeller voiced my precise concerns (ugh, I almost gagged saying that.)

"The committee is, to put it bluntly, basically under the control of the White House,"

My contention is that this new subcommittee is more acceptable to the administration because it will be easier to sway them than the FISA court. In addition to the creation of the committee, the rules surrounding the FISA court will undergo a 'minor' change. The proposed legislation would require the administration to seek a warrant from the court whenever possible. Can you get more ambiguous than that? Getting a warrant to spy on citizens is technically 'not possible' when you don't have a legally legitimate reason to do so. So the administration can circumvent the FISA court in those circumstances, and the only restriction then placed on their surveillance is that the attorney general must certify that the surveillance is necessary and give an explanation to the subcommittee within 45 days. That's a month and a half of free domestic surveillance with no supervision.

Even with these modest oversights, it seems that the administration is still resistant. Sen. Roberts (R-KS) and Sen. Snowe have made comments that seem to indicate a general reluctance from the White House to the proposal. A White House spokeswoman had this to say:

"We're eager to work with Congress on legislation that would further codify the president's authority. We remain committed to our principle, that we will not do anything that undermines the program's capabilities or the president's authority."

Translation: We want to work with Congress until they accept the expansion of executive power that we want, and we won't accept anything short of that.

The other major concern in this process is that Congress is trying to legislate a program they know virtually nothing about. With no investigation, legislators will be unfamiliar with the program they are trying to reform, and as Sen. Wyden (D-OR) put it:

"Congress doesn't have that great a history in reforming programs it knows a lot about, here Congress is trying to legislate in the dark."

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) has even warned the administration that he may attempt to block its financing if they don't start being more forthcoming with information about their surveillance program.

In other news, the Patriot Act has been passed by the House, and is assumably going to be signed into law.

Posted by Andrew Parker at March 9, 2006 8:03 AM
Comments
Comment #132395

Brilliant Andrew!
Illegal wiretaps and now creating legislation to justify past actions.
I know its just “crazy” talk and I’m not trying to derail your topic, but, IMO, national ID cards aren’t far behind.

Posted by: kctim at March 9, 2006 10:36 AM
Comment #132399

Tim-

Don’t you remember? National ID cards were passed ‘under the radar’ with a bill for Tsunami relief and War money. States are pissed that the bill passed without any provision for the cost of updating all of their systems. Just search news.google.com for Real ID, there’s plenty there.

Posted by: AParker at March 9, 2006 10:44 AM
Comment #132409

True Andrew, but I kind of was thinking more towards the ID to do “anything” theory.
But I will do some more searching, thanks.
There’s just so much going on and only half the country cares at any one time.

Posted by: kctim at March 9, 2006 11:52 AM
Comment #132423

Andrew and kctim,

Empathetic voters, campaign finance practices,our economic practices and wealth disparity in the United States, is proving to be effective weapons against Democracy.

Washington is a trading ground for the wealthy. The exchange of wealth for power and influence.
kctim is correct, very few of us seem to care. Americans seem to take on the view that we are powerless to stop the wealthy 15% of Americans who hold 85% of the resources because Americans seem to measure themselves based on their resources more than their charecter. They are the haves, we are the have nots. We better be ready to fix our government through our votes soon or it will be too late.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at March 9, 2006 12:24 PM
Comment #132466

You get the Leadership you deserve. All those who voted for the Shrub are the ones responsible for this. Their idiotic fear and lack of vision has doomed us all. The least they can do is accept blame for their gullibility, stupidity and outright criminality in electing such an incompetent into Office.

Andrew Parker and kctim, who did you vote for?

Posted by: Aldous at March 9, 2006 3:58 PM
Comment #132498

Andrew, nicely done.
It’s a shame that Hagel and Snowe won’t or can’t stand up against what we all know is quite a complete travesty, as well as an insult to our collective intelligence. It is somehow worse to me that those two have, like all the other Republicans, been so easily crushed beneath the will of Cheney/Bush for they are (or should I say were) among the very few Republicans I had come to respect.
Interesting article I read regarding the administrations Unconstitutional wiretapping today:
Justice Department e-mail on wiretapping
program released through FOIA
Former official describes legal defenses as “weak” and “slightly after-the-fact,”

Andre,
I agree with you (as usual). The wealthy (both sides of the isle) truly are killing off our democracy, and it makes me so sick at heart! In fact, I’ve been staying away from blogging lately, because my outrage just seems to keeps growing all the time.
It simply isn’t healthy — so occasionally, despite the fact that I am a news junkie, I’ve been forcing myself to take newsbreaks, and stay away from reading things that I know will only feed my temper.
I’d like to share an article I read today with you. It’s a description of Kurt Vonnegut’s farewell speaking engagement (or at least it was to be his final paid appearance). Your post reminded of me of some of the things he was quoted as saying. Other things in it are simply wise and funny in that trademark way of his. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it:
Kurt Vonnegut’s “Stardust Memory”

Posted by: Adrienne at March 9, 2006 5:30 PM
Comment #132499

I seen the idiotic fear and lack of vision in the Dems and the Reps Aldous.
While I disagree with the some of the religious tones on their platform, after comparing all of the parties, I voted Constitution party.

Posted by: kctim at March 9, 2006 5:32 PM
Comment #132525

“I know its just “crazy” talk and I’m not trying to derail your topic, but, IMO, national ID cards aren’t far behind.”

for once, our allies in injustice are ahead of the curve…

Impending Mandatory ID for UK

… so you know we won’t be far behind.

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 9, 2006 7:50 PM
Comment #132526

…and the democrats are as guilty as anyone.
except bush. no one is more guilty than bush.

Posted by: diogenes (i) at March 9, 2006 7:51 PM
Comment #132550

Kctim:

“There’s just so much going on and only half the country cares at any one time.”

Are we talking about those who support the Republican vision, or those of the left who have no vision but only hatred?

Andre M. Hernandez:

“They are the haves, we are the have nots.”

I am part of the baby boomers, spoken of by Jack in the red column. May I say a word to the have nots: if you are young, wealth does not come overnight. It takes years or hard work and it requires a certain amount of intelligence to plan for the future. Sad to say, but many of you expect everything to be handed to you. The welfare state of the Democratic Party has done more to enslave a race of people than slavery itself. Welfare destroys the drive to better ones self. If you want to live in a wealth distribution state, move to Russia, China, or North Korea. Isn’t the goal of communism to make everyone equal?

Adrienne:

“I agree with you (as usual). The wealthy (both sides of the isle) truly are killing off our democracy, and it makes me so sick at heart! In fact, I’ve been staying away from bogging lately, because my outrage just seems to keeps growing all the time.”

A liberal never spoke truer words. The problem with the Democratic Party is anger. I have thoroughly enjoyed Jack’s “hysterical” topics. Nowhere does this hysteria show itself more than in the leadership of the Democratic Party.
The earning of wealth is part of a healthy democracy. The EU countries call themselves democracies, but are in reality decadent. Most of the wealth of Europe is old money and passes from generation to generation. Much like the money of the Kerry (Heinz) and the Kennedy clans.

Those of you who are born American citizens should get on your knees each night and thank Almighty God for being born in this country. Where else can a person of lowly birth pull themselves up by the bootstraps to become wealthy and successful in life?


Posted by: boomer at March 9, 2006 9:32 PM
Comment #132581

Boomer,

Where else can people pull themselves up by the bootstraps? Hell, I’ll give you one when you give me one. The U.S. hardly qualifies.

I see that we have another credulous individual ready to cleave to the myths of Horatio Alger.

Andrew,

Good article. You give the Republicans slightly more credit than I do — I always figured that the Reps who were stepping out of line to criticize the administration were just posturing.

I find Rockefeller’s position puzzling, given the fact that I’ve seen him on Meet the Press defending the President’s inherent right to wiretap without warrants.

Posted by: Yossarian at March 10, 2006 12:20 AM
Comment #132623

Boomer
I’m talking about how half the country only cares about rights and wrongs when it is the other party in power.
The Reps and Dems vision differs only slightly.
The hatred you speak of, is only towards the “other” side.

Posted by: kctim at March 10, 2006 10:18 AM
Comment #132625

Andre
“We better be ready to fix our government through our votes soon or it will be too late”

Its already too late.
We the people are concentrated on each other and not them.
We argue over them while they eat caviar and laugh at us.
They have already won.

Posted by: kctim at March 10, 2006 10:27 AM
Comment #132628

Aldous-

I will admit to being a sleeping sheep until Dec 2004. I voted for Bush because I was still blinded by the two-party system, and I hadn’t challenged the viewpoint I was given by my parents. However, in the last year+, I have come to my current position. Now that I have that off my chest, let me point out that Bush didn’t care how the American people voted. He (possibly) didn’t win in 2000, and it seems as though he didn’t win in 2004 either, though we’ll never know for sure. I must live with the fact that I was fooled, but I was also the first in my sphere of influence to break free from the red/blue paradigm. I still struggle with breaking my views to friends from similar conservative evangelical backgrounds. If you want to point the finger at me still, thats fine, but remember that not having enough votes hasn’t stopped Bush yet.

Posted by: AParker at March 10, 2006 10:31 AM
Comment #132643

Boomer:
“The earning of wealth is part of a healthy democracy.”

I think the health of our nation depends entirely upon how wealth is being earned. And my anger stems from the fact that we have crooks running Washington who are not earning their wealth honestly, and who are aiding and abetting other wealthy people, a great many of whom are as crooked and self-serving as they are.
Everyone below this wealthy social class is struggling and borrowing as never before, which shows that we don’t currently have a healthy economy. People on the right simply deny this reality in favor of going on and on about how great things are, but they aren’t fooling anyone but themselves. The way most people feel is that this president and majority party have been doing a crap job all around.

Speaking of crap and corruption:
pdf of a Vanity Fair Article with Jack Abramoff, showing pictures of him with Gingrich, Grover Norquist, Ronald Reagan, and Dick Armey. He also claims in the piece that he is very well aquainted with many Republican Representatives including Bob Ney, and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and with other Republicans like Ken Mehlman, Karl Rove and George W. Bush. Of course most of these men are now claiming they didn’t know Abramoff.
Washingtons Invisible Man

As for our the future health of our econonmy:
Giant trade gap: no end in sight

Btw, we should also be worrying about our own health, now that the House just sold out to the food industry lobbyists. If the Senate passes this legislation, it might be a good idea to abandon the supermarket altogether, and shop only at the health food store:
House votes to dump state food safety laws

“Much like the money of the Kerry (Heinz) and the Kennedy clans.”

I guess we’re supposed to forget that their wealth is identical to the wealth of the Bush Crime Family?

“Those of you who are born American citizens should get on your knees each night and thank Almighty God for being born in this country.”

I’m agnostic. I prefer to thank our enlightenment era founders for crafting our form of secular government and the Constitution which gave us our rights.

“Where else can a person of lowly birth pull themselves up by the bootstraps to become wealthy and successful in life?”

I get the distinct feeling that because I admitted to being very angry about the corrupt direction the country has taken, you’re somehow assuming that I have not worked hard for what I have, or that I am not doing well personally. Neither is the case, yet I’ve noted that this has become a very typical tactic of Bush supporters. You speak to Liberals as though we are all lazy or complete failures in our lives — it is truly laughable.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 10, 2006 11:45 AM
Comment #132664

Bush’s Interior Secretary Gale Norton resigns due to ties to Abramoff’s Indian deals.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 10, 2006 1:15 PM
Comment #132665

$25,000 to Lobby Group Is Tied to Access to Bush

Posted by: Adrienne at March 10, 2006 1:19 PM
Comment #132668

Another $25,000 Tied to Access to Bush
Texas Observer Article:
The Pimping of the Presidency
Jack Abramoff and Grover Norquist Billing Clients for Face Time with G.W. Bush

Posted by: Adrienne at March 10, 2006 1:30 PM
Comment #132670

Great. Next we’ll hear about him renting out the Lincoln room in the Whitehouse.

Posted by: kctim at March 10, 2006 1:41 PM
Comment #132703
Great. Next we’ll hear about him renting out the Lincoln room in the Whitehouse.

Ummm, - Ti-i-i-i-i-i-im:

In the first four years of their tenure in the White House, the Bush Administration had more sleepover guests than during the entire eight years of the Clinton Administration, including those who stayed in the Lincoln Bedroom. Moreover, a higher percentage of those guests were Campaign Donors and Lobbyists than the guests allowed by the Clintons - a number of whom were merely teenage friends of Chelsea at the time.

http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh051605.html

March 10, 2004 | WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush opened the White House and Camp David to dozens of overnight guests last year, including foreign dignitaries, family friends and at least nine of his biggest campaign fund-raisers, documents show. In all, Bush and first lady Laura Bush have invited at least 270 people to stay at the White House and at least the same number to overnight at the Camp David retreat since moving to Washington in January 2001, according to lists the White House provided The Associated Press.

So, yet more Hypocritical Republikkkan Spin debunked.

By-eeee! :o)

Posted by: Betty Burke at March 10, 2006 5:00 PM
Comment #132951

Wow.
Ok for one, wrong for another.
Yeah, I’m the hypocritical one.

Posted by: kctim at March 12, 2006 11:13 AM
Comment #133054

Actually, Tim, I did not mean you - I meant the entire Rove/Cheney/Bush Conservative Machine. It is their propaganda which is Hypocritical (as with “swiftboating” the Three Johns: McCain, Murtha, and Kerry), not the poor deluded folk (like you) who are led to believe it.

I take it from your response that you are prepared to consider joining the Reasonable Party?

Let me pave the way for you: membership in the Reasonable Party demands that first you let go of any false ideas regarding the supposed Moral Equivalency of the ideas of Conservatives/Republicans and Liberals/Democrats. When Liberals go overboard, the most harm done is perhaps over-regulation and laughable politically-correct programs. When Conservatives go overboard, they creat War, Rapine, Pillage, Profiteering, Oppression, Tyranny, and the utter destruction of Civil and Human Rights - both here in America and abroad in the rest of the world. Think about it:


Liberal Excess = Money Spent + Foolishness

Conservative Excess = Lives Spent + Oppression


Now you tell me, you probably-good man: which agenda do you feel the most comfortable defending?

Posted by: Betty Burke at March 13, 2006 2:39 AM
Comment #133065

“which agenda do you feel the most comfortable defending?”

The one based on the US Constitution. ALL of it. If you believe a party who wishes to tell others how to live their lives and how to spend their money is the “reasonable party,” then you have some serious thinking to do.
Just because liberals do not invoke the name of God in their beliefs, they are still beliefs and those beliefs should not be forced onto others either.

Posted by: kctim at March 13, 2006 9:41 AM
Comment #133196

*Whaaaaaaaaaa*?????

What in Blue Hades are you going on about?!?

The “reasonable party” I was referring to had nothing to do with either the Repubikkkans OR the Democrats. I meant the Middle Ground of people who uphold the entire Bill Of Rights: including the Second Amendment and the First, Fourth, and Eighth…

If you believe a party who wishes to tell others how to live their lives and how to spend their money is the “reasonable party,” then you have some serious thinking to do.

And yet, that is exactly what the neocons have been doing! Can we say, “H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T?”

For your information, Big Government is very much On Your Back under the Bushies and the Taliban Congress. Get real!

Posted by: Betty Burke at March 13, 2006 8:49 PM
Comment #133292

BB
You gave TWO agendas:
Liberal Excess = Money Spent + Foolishness
Conservative Excess = Lives Spent + Oppression
And then asked which agenda I felt most comfortable defending.
NO mention of a “middle ground” group.

FYI, Big Govt has been on all of our backs for a long, long time. It didn’t magically start with Bush.
It is time for YOU to get real and quit being a partisan hack.

Posted by: kctim at March 14, 2006 9:32 AM
Comment #135417

In Azerbaijan goverment is not under pressure.

Posted by: Azerbaijan at March 23, 2006 1:22 AM
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