Third Party & Independents Archives

February 19, 2008

FISA - People's House Rejects Bush, Senate

Sen. Rockefeller said that if Pres. Bush had only agreed to another short extension of FISA law, he and his colleagues could have persuaded the House Democrats to agree to Telecom immunity. Pres. Bush, used to a rubber stamp and failing to receive it, threatened a veto of the FISA extension. The very extension he says would have kept America safe. The politics of it has reached the level of absurd.

At the heart of the contention between the House and White House is immunity for past actions of the Communications companies who assisted White House spying without a warrant. The Constitution clearly provides that no person may be denied life, liberty, or property without due process. Spying on one's communications by the government is a denial of liberty and freedom of speech to be conducted in private, much as GOP and Democratic speech amongst fund-raisers is a private and protected liberty when the press is not invited.

The Senate voted 68-29 to rubber stamp Bush's FISA bill which would not only have provided immunity but, would have made permanent the government's right to spy on any and all communications in SECRET of any communications which are relayed across US soil or territory. It has been long established that there are no Constitutional objections to spying on foreign based communications which do not relay into or out of the U.S.

The crux of the problem is that in order to determine which communications are foreign based in origin or destination when relayed across U.S. networks, domestic citizen to citizen communications must be included in surveillance. All communications must be monitored in order to determine which communications are foreign based.

Hence, Bush's FISA bill request would open the door to domestic communication monitoring as a prerequisite for monitoring foreign origin or destination communications, all in secret without oversight, and with the cooperation of private telecommunications companies without warrant by the courts. The Bush administration claimed this is essential to keeping Americans safe. Yet, in total contradiction "to keeping Americans safe", the White House threatened to veto any extension of the previous FISA changes which would have allowed the administration to continue its monitoring of domestic communications. In essence saying to the public, it is either all or nothing. I get all of what I want or I will quit protecting your sorry posteriors.

The people's House, refusing to be railroaded, in essence said, then quit protecting our posteriors, we may just be safer that way. Congress left on break, except for token sessions designed to keep Bush from appointing government officials without Congressional review or approval. President Bush left the U.S. for Africa. And so far, there have been no terrorist attacks in America. Which is reminiscent of the folk singer Arlo Guthrie's reply to Pres. Reagan's being discovered to take numerous naps in the White House. Guthrie said: The longer he sleeps, the safer we are."

The wisdom of that reply lies in the fact that terrorists have targeted the U.S. due to our government's actions abroad. Terrorists did not target U.S. soil because Americans have diverse religious practices or eat over abundantly. No, they targeted the U.S. because of our actions in the Middle East and our influence upon Middle Eastern nations, culture, and governments. In the name of keeping us safe, our politicians made us less safe. Just as creating atomic weapons now has us defending against them. In the name of fighting them there, our politicians have made us targets here.

This is not to say, that there was an alternative given the us or them Cold War era mindset. The opposite course of action, relinquishing all claim to military dominance and preemptive diplomacy in foreign lands, would have left the U.S. and its wealth open to plunder and attack by different elements much as Poland and Czechoslovakia were open to the German plunder in the early days of WWII.

But, these are the extremes of the debate on this issue of national security. There is a vast middle ground between the opposite poles of world military domination and a hug everyone to make them our friends policy. There is a vast number of choices to be made between the extremes of fulfilling a totalitarian rejection of the Bill of Rights in exchange for absolute security, and anarchy which relies upon the better nature of men's soul's for our protection from predation.

Fundamentalist Islamic Terrorism is but the most notorious form of crime splashing across the headlines of our media. There are a host of other forms of crime causing greater hardship and losses of health and life than terrorist attacks in the Middle East. The enormous number of commercial pirates who are bilking millions of taxpayers and consumers out of more than a trillion dollars each year, is but one example. A trillion dollars used legitimately could have saved millions from suffering and loss of life. The opportunity cost of piracy is enormous.

In today's news pirates are importing millions of illegal name brand wireless phones into China's consumer market costing billions to consumers in other nations who are making up the losses in legitimate revenues. It is a crime. One does not wage military war against thieves with bombs and tanks. One wages war against them with intelligence and the power of law backed by the civilized will and good law of law abiding people. One wages war against crime by eradicating the underlying causes of it, lack of education, abuse in child rearing, poverty, and turning a blind eye to unacceptable social behavior which violates the rights or well being of others.

The old extremist debates and 'us or them' paradigms must give way to the more sophisticated, more complex, more diverse strategies of the middle ground, if change toward a better future is to take place. A values and priority debate is underway in America and across the globe. It is a debate which encompasses questioning and critiquing the old answers and demanding and heralding new ones. Not because they sound new, but, because they hold out hope of preserving the best of the past while managing the worst of the present and future.

At the very root of the change being called for, is the demand for expertise in managing unprecedented human population numbers in a world of finite, and in some cases, diminishing resources. The economics of managing world overpopulation and the poverty, disease, and resource wars that such overpopulation must engender, is the most fundamental issue humanity and its governments and institutions face. Can liberty, prosperity, and security be achieved and preserved going forward?

Yes, but, the cost will be enormous. The sacrifices will be large. And as with all change in the history of our species, tumult, resistance, and suffering will accompany progress, change, and mastery. Does the future belong to the 71 year old John McCain's or 81 y.o. Fidel Castro's of the world? Or, does the future belong to young entrepreneurs of China, the new first time voters in America, and educational expertise of graduate students in England and India innovating new alternative energy sources, new political paradigms, and new sociological and economic research focusing on paths through this uncharted sea of world overpopulation, and demand which exceeds current modes of even distribution, let alone production?

Some say, the future belongs to the future; the present is the offspring of the past. Thus, the present can never prepare for the future. If that is true, parents the world round are wasting their time and effort in child rearing and investment in their education. If that is true, the human brain is capable of only reaction and not anticipation.

But, of course, what some say, most of us would recognize, is not true. We can have confidence in ourselves as parents. We can have confidence in our children as young adults and our rearing them to manage their adult present and future. We can have confidence in human intelligence to anticipate the needs of the future and prepare the resources needed to meet that future. We can, and we want to. Which is precisely what makes our decisions to elect our leaders amongst the most important decisions we will make in our lifetimes. We must choose well, old and young alike. Or, our children and theirs will reap the consequences.

The old politicians say some spying was insufficient to prevent 9/11, therefore, universal spying and doing away with FISA court review must be the answer. The old politicians say corporate input into government was insufficient to prevent the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, therefore, we should put corporations in charge of government. The old politicians say having a large budget for the military did not protect our homeland, therefore having nearly the whole budget for the military must be.

There are leaders who claim to have the answers like those above. There are leaders who claim not to, but are capable of working with others creating the answers, to empower those answers to meet our future. This is the difference between the old politics and the new. The old got us here. If here is not what we hoped, then we must stand ready to entertain the new and different. It is an election year. It is an important election year. I would dare to say it is a pivotal election year. We embrace new paradigms of leadership or we embrace the inadequacies of the past and make them more inadequate in the future.

Vote like the future depended upon it.

Posted by David R. Remer at February 19, 2008 10:06 AM
Comments
Comment #245720
The Senate voted 68-29 to rubber stamp Bush’s FISA bill
What’s that say about the incumbent politicians in the Senate, when the Senate consists of nearly a 50%/50% split of Democrats and Republicans?

That means a LOT of Democrat politicians in the Senate voted for that BILL too.

Just more proof that there is little difference bewteen the incumbent politicians in either party.
Just more proof that voters should stop repeatedly rewarding incumbent politicians with 93%-to-99% re-election rates.

It will be interesting to see what the House does and the break down of votes (by party). Perhaps the House is a little different since they are up for election every two years?

The hypocrisy of all this nonsense is all too clear when considering the following:

  • the borders are still wide open

  • most incumbent politicians and the federal government still refuse to enforce existing immigration laws,

  • thousands of Americans are being murdered each year by illegal aliens,

  • in the last 2-to-3 years, more Americans have been killed by illegal aliens than all U.S. troop deaths in Iraq for the past 5 years (since March-2003 to present),

  • the incumbent politicians in the federal government choose to despicably pit American citizens and illegal aliens against each other for profits and votes

  • ports are still vulnerable too, despite billions of pork-barrel and a myraid of studies that accomplished little (if anything),

This FISA BILL is simply another way (of many) to give immunity to the wealthy and corporations to continue to abuse and cheat most Americans, and to hell with the Constitution.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 19, 2008 12:53 PM
Comment #245722

Right to privacy? I’ve not seen that enumerated in the Constitution, David. How is it a violation of liberty again? Perhaps that point should be made first before discussing how it is being violated…

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 19, 2008 01:13 PM
Comment #245723
    Amendment IV: 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.
… and …
    Reasonable expectation of privacy In Katz v. United States,[17] Justice Harlan issued a concurring opinion articulating the two-part test later adopted by the Court as the definition of a search for Fourth Amendment purposes: (1) governmental action must contravene an individual’s actual, subjective expectation of privacy; (2) and that expectation of privacy must be reasonable, in the sense that society in general would recognize it as such.

    In order to meet the first part of the test, the person from whom the information was obtained must demonstrate that they, in fact, had an actual, subjective expectation that the evidence obtained would not be available to the public. In other words, the person asserting that a search was conducted must show that they kept the evidence in a manner designed to ensure its privacy.

    The second part of the test is analyzed objectively: would society at large deem a person’s expectation of privacy to be reasonable? If it is plain that a person did not keep the evidence at issue in a private place, then no search is required to uncover the evidence. For example, there is generally no search when police officers look through garbage because a reasonable person would not expect that items placed in the garbage would necessarily remain private.[18] Similarly, there is no search where officers monitor what phone numbers an individual dials,[19] although Congress has enacted laws which restrict such monitoring. The Supreme Court has also ruled that there is no objectively reasonable expectation of privacy (and thus no search) when officers hovering in a helicopter 400 feet above a suspect’s house conduct surveillance.[20]

    The Supreme Court has ruled that privacy extends to contents sent through the postal mail, requiring a search warrant for mail to be opened.[21][22]


Posted by: d.a.n at February 19, 2008 01:32 PM
Comment #245724

Rhinehold, be happy to help you with your education on the topic.

May 25, 1891, Union Pacific Railway Co. v. Botsford:

June 4, 1928, Olmstead v. United States:

June 1, 1942, Skinner v. Oklahoma:

June 7, 1965, Griswold v. Connecticut:

March 22, 1972, Eisenstadt v. Baird:

January 22, 1973: Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton

July 1, 1976, Planned Parenthood v. Danforth:

July 1, 1976, Singleton v. Wulff:

June 9, 1977, Carey v. Population Services International:

June 30, 1980, Harris v. McRae: The Court upheld the validity of the Hyde Amendment under the right to privacy of the Fifth Amendment and under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

June 26, 2003, Lawrence v. Texas in which: “Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct [consensual gay sex in the privacy of their home] without intervention of the government.”

In summary, liberty depends upon freedom of expression and communication without fear of repercussions or retribution by the government. The government with its awesome powers constitutes a defacto threat to liberty if it is permitted to eavesdrop on private conversations and communications without oversight, due process, and specified purpose. The temptation of those with power to overhear something they don’t like which is legal, and use spying as the means to discover some communication which can be incriminating or intimidating as a result, is too great a threat to liberty. The Supreme Court has acknowledge these principles dating back over a century. Liberty depends upon privacy, therefore, privacy as a foundation for liberty is protected unless due process and judicial oversight is applied.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 19, 2008 01:40 PM
Comment #245733

Interesting reading, David, but I find it interesting that in the Roe V Wade finding that the right to Privacy specifically was found in the 9th amendment, a necessity since that right to privacy is not enumerated specifically in the Constitution itself.

I was under the impression that your position was that rights do not exist unless they are specfically enumerated, was I mistaken in this?

Did that right not exist until the Supreme Court said it did or did it exist before in some ‘unenumerated’ way? I find your view on this interesting.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 19, 2008 03:34 PM
Comment #245736

Rhinehold asked: “I was under the impression that your position was that rights do not exist unless they are specfically enumerated, was I mistaken in this?”

Of course you were mistaken, because you are cherry picking from what I have written many times before. The Courts are charged with interpreting the Constitution when legal questions arise which are not specifically and unambigously proscribed for in the Constitution. The Supreme Court has ruled clearly at least as far back as 1928 that a right to privacy is implied by the Constitution both in general principle and specifically as stated in the cases above.

The real question is: Do you have a problem with a judicial co-equal branch of government charged with this responsibility of interpreting the Constitution in answer to legal questions which are not specifically and unambiguously addressed in the original Constitution? Your comments often reflect a bias against the courts having such power of interpretation under such circumstances.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 19, 2008 04:01 PM
Comment #245738

Rhinehold alo asked: “Did that right not exist until the Supreme Court said it did or did it exist before in some ‘unenumerated’ way? “

Borders on being a trick question. You see, rights are enumerated to become actionable. Whether enumerated by the Bill of Rights, Constitutional amendment, or Supreme Court ruling, all actionable rights are enumerated. And until they are enumerated and made actionable by law, they remain only figments of imagination, and not rights at all. Rights are actionable under law. Ergo, if one perceives one has a right but, it is not actionable under law, one’s perception is false or idiosyncratic.

I can perceive that I have a right to exact retribution against you if you disagree with me. But, that perception is not actionably defensible under law, and therefore is not a legal or Constitutional right, at all.

It is what separates true individual rights observable and defensible for all, from individual nefarious desires and motives. One may be motivated to act as if one had a right to the life, liberty, or property of others, but, the act nor the motive constitute a legitimate right extended and defended for all.

To be a legitimate right, a right must be enumerated in law. The right to privacy has been enumerated and proscribed in a number of Supreme Court rulings which by Constitutional definition are incorporated into the law of the land.

Unenumerated rights are nothing more than wishes of persons, or in another sense, potential rights. If those persons succeed in incorporating their wish into law by Amendment, Legislation, or Supreme Court ruling, then they will have succeeded in the enumeration of a right by the law. And their wish shall then, and only then, become a Right!

The logic and definitional language is quite clear on this, Rhinehold, and quite unambiguous to all but ideologues who would rather deny reality than obtain legitimacy.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 19, 2008 04:17 PM
Comment #245743
Rhinehold asked: “I was under the impression that your position was that rights do not exist unless they are specfically enumerated, was I mistaken in this?”

Of course you were mistaken, because you are cherry picking from what I have written many times before. The Courts are charged with interpreting the Constitution when legal questions arise which are not specifically and unambigously proscribed for in the Constitution. The Supreme Court has ruled clearly at least as far back as 1928 that a right to privacy is implied by the Constitution both in general principle and specifically as stated in the cases above.

I am cherry-picking nothing, only trying to understand your view and how it relates to other rights that we have but have not yet been interpreted or were specifically spelled out and the purpose of the 9th amendment.

The real question is: Do you have a problem with a judicial co-equal branch of government charged with this responsibility of interpreting the Constitution in answer to legal questions which are not specifically and unambiguously addressed in the original Constitution? Your comments often reflect a bias against the courts having such power of interpretation under such circumstances.

Nope, never have. That you ‘THINK’ that I do is intriguing as well, since I don’t think I’ve ever suggested once before that the Supreme Court is the one who decides the law of the land. I may disagree with them and give reasons why I disagree and hope to one day have those, IMO, mis-interpretations rectified, but until that happens their decisions are law.

You are the only one of us that have suggested bringing up arms against the legal enforcement of a Supreme Court decision, though I imagine in a similar case I might agree with you in that area, I don’t think we are as far apart as you like to suggest when we discuss the issue.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 19, 2008 04:51 PM
Comment #245746
Rhinehold alo asked: “Did that right not exist until the Supreme Court said it did or did it exist before in some ‘unenumerated’ way? “

Borders on being a trick question.

Actually, it doesn’t. Was the right in existence before the interpretation by the Supreme Court or not? Would you have been able to enjoy that right before or not? If it did, then isn’t it POSSIBLE that there are other rights there that we enjoy that have not been ruled upon yet?

You see, rights are enumerated to become actionable. Whether enumerated by the Bill of Rights, Constitutional amendment, or Supreme Court ruling, all actionable rights are enumerated. And until they are enumerated and made actionable by law, they remain only figments of imagination, and not rights at all. Rights are actionable under law. Ergo, if one perceives one has a right but, it is not actionable under law, one’s perception is false or idiosyncratic.

I think this paragraph is definately where we diverge. Perhaps it is your definition of a right, one narrowly defined and applied with a misunderstanding of the purpose of the Constitution, that goes against mine, one that uses natural rights as a basis and an understanding of the way the Constitution was intended to by applied that is the issue here.

Are natural rights rights? Do they exist outside of the rule of law and the Government?

More precisely, do our right come from the government and the documents that found their limits of power or do they exist naturally?

Your definition seems to reach for the former while my understanding of the founding father’s words and purpose of the documents that we operate our government by work more towards the latter.

If you could answer that question for me, directly, that would be a big help I believe.

I can perceive that I have a right to exact retribution against you if you disagree with me. But, that perception is not actionably defensible under law, and therefore is not a legal or Constitutional right, at all.

Ah, but are there not rights that re not ‘legal’ rights? Perhaps you assume that only legal rights are the rights that exist, no other rights exist, but I would suggest that our founding fathers and hundreds of years of philosphy and understanding, including the foundation of the “right of man” might disagree with such a narrow view.

“There are two main modern conceptions of rights: on the one hand, the idea of natural rights holds that there is a certain list of rights enshrined in nature that cannot be legitimately modified by any human power. On the other hand, the idea of legal rights holds that rights are human constructs, created by society, enforced by governments and subject to change.”

Unfortunately, I have the founding fathers on my side while you have current execution of legal power on yours.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 19, 2008 05:06 PM
Comment #245748

BTW, before casting stones, realize that you are as firmly held in your views as I am in mine, so the term ‘idealogue’ can be applied to much of what you right as well, if you want to start disparaging in that way…

I am not an idealogue, as the term is defined, so I do take a bit of umbrage in your usage of it as a way for you to belittle my views. Even Thomas Jefferson knew that there are times when one must go against their views for the good of society when he violated his own beliefs to make the Louisianna Purchase. But when it comes to the government using it’s force against the citizenry, I say that those exceptions should be very few and far between, not the norm as we see today.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 19, 2008 05:11 PM
Comment #245750

BTW, to your point about working towards having your ‘illigitimate right’ codified into law, I think you will find that is precisely what I work towards doing. In fact, I am the one that demands that we adhere to the constitution, not ignore it in order to do the will of the majority, just because it might violate it.

You may think it enjoyable to attempt to make it look like I am an anarcist bent on violating the laws in place, but you will find that I follow the law as much if not more than any other citizen and understand that it has a specific and necessary purpose.

It is when it is used outside of those purposes that detracts from it being able to do the job it must be in place to do and earns my ire.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 19, 2008 05:34 PM
Comment #245751

It doesn’t matter because interpreting the constitution means changing it. It is what it shall mean, not what is already means.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 19, 2008 05:42 PM
Comment #245753

Rhinehold said: “BTW, before casting stones, realize that you are as firmly held in your views as I am in mine, so the term ‘idealogue’ can be applied to much of what you right as well,”

Not really, as my citations and our history demonstrate. History and Constitutional precedence support my view and is demonstrable as the reality that is our American system.

An ideologue supports an ideology and is an exponent of it. Sometimes, even when reality and consensus marginalize the ideology to the realms of the impossible. Your proposition that UNenumerated rights have any legal currency at all is born of an ideology that is not of this reality.

My proposition on the other hand, cites history and precedence, and consensus in support of the reality that unenumerated rights don’t exist in our legal system; rather they exist in the minds of those who wish their preferences had the force of law. The instant so called unenumerated rights achieve the force of law, they are enumerated and hence, become legitimate rights.

You can banter and rail all you wish, Rhinehold. But, your repeated failures to introduce and win this debate causes me to wonder why the repetition? What do you get out of kicking a dead horse? You will always lose this debate, no matter how many times or ways you attempt to introduce it. That is because 1) unenumerated (meaning undefined) rights have no defense in force of law and 2) because by rudimentary logic stemming from the definition of a legitimate Right, a preference for a liberty without the force of law to action its transgression, is not a Right by any legal definition.

Some define the liberty to keep and hoard all they can garner from this world as a Natural Right to greed and avarice. While they may define this value as a Natural Right and lay claim to its being an unenumerated Right, it IS NOT a legitimate Right in the USA. And thank goodness. Such Rights were very evident in Nazi Germany, for example. Hugo Chavez is asserting this Right as well for himself and his cronies.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 19, 2008 06:03 PM
Comment #245756

Rhinehold said: “More precisely, do our right come from the government and the documents that found their limits of power or do they exist naturally?”

I recommend “The Lord of the Flies” as a reply to that question. It answers that question quite directly and addresses to the point the philosophical difference between natural and legitimate Rights.

There is nothing immutable about legitimate rights. They change and morph as societies and philosophical references change and morph. Much of what were legitimate Rights of the Roman Empire are not Rights today in our society. Some of what are Rights in Iran are not Rights in America and vice versa. The American Indians claimed Rights of heritage and precedence that to them appeared to be natural rights. Anglo Saxon law negated their Rights, and still does today.

Which begs the following two observances of reality. 1) Legitimate Rights need not be either ethical nor moral. It was once the legitimate Right of Americans to own slaves. 2) Natural Rights asserted by individuals, religious groups, or others, such as ‘an eye for an eye, and tooth for tooth’ are not necessarily moral, just, or ethical.

If it is immutable references to Rights you seek, you shall encounter the same critique and objective counter arguments as Plato’s and Aristotle’s works have been subjected to over the centuries. There is only one immutable fact in this human universe. And that is change. Our senses and brains are hardwired to respond to change. If humans ever found themselves in Heaven they would almost immediately set about to change it.

Amongst differing governing systems, there are 3 basic categories. Those in which individuals decide Rights for everyone else. Those in which elite groups decide Rights for everyone else. And lastly, those in which everyone has a say in defining the Rights that everyone must observe.

Religious based Natural Rights come from the first of these. Interestingly, authoritarian regimes, such as dictatorships also belong to the first of these groups. Democracies belong to the last of these groups. Politburos belong to the second category.

Let’s do however, steer the debate back to the topics covered in the article. Privacy as a legitimate Right (an enumerated Right by the Courts) under our Constitution despite its not having been one of the original 10 Bill of Rights.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 19, 2008 06:31 PM
Comment #245759
It doesn’t matter because interpreting the constitution means changing it. It is what it shall mean, not what is already means.
Yes, for some people. And one group that is very guilty of that is Congress itself. Article V and Article IV, Section 4 are two good examples of it.

People know the Constitution is being violated, but very few seem to care.

As for the government searches and seizures of information about customers, conversations, telephony data, and other information without civil oversight, and giving the communications companies immunity, that appears to be a clear violation of the:

  • 4th Amendment: 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.

Perhaps they will care when it is their property being seized (e.g. 6 new cases of eminent domain abuse per day), or arrested and help indefinitely without being charged for any crime, or subjected to illegal searches and seizures. Hmmmm … . . didn’t that happen to you (Weary Willie) recently when a local policemen not only allowed, but empowered someone to break a window to gain access to your house to loot it?

Posted by: d.a.n at February 19, 2008 07:15 PM
Comment #245761

Indeed. I guess they interpret the constitution their own way. I was also charged a processing fee for being innocent of a crime I was charged with.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 19, 2008 07:23 PM
Comment #245762

That cop is now my mayor.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 19, 2008 07:26 PM
Comment #245763

Mayor? Figures. Who says crime doesn’t pay?

Posted by: d.a.n at February 19, 2008 07:30 PM
Comment #245764
I was also charged a processing fee for being innocent of a crime I was charged with.
Of course. They love to punish victims of crimes. Posted by: d.a.n at February 19, 2008 07:31 PM
Comment #245765

When you have convoluted logic like Mr. Remer’s it’s no wonder people do what ever they want.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 19, 2008 07:34 PM
Comment #245766

Why so many Democrats in the Senate voting Yea (BILL Passed) for this immunity for these telecom companies (S. 2248 FISA Amendments Act of 2007)?

Senators:
(01) Baucus (D-MT), Yea
(02) Bayh (D-IN), Yea
(03) Carper (D-DE), Yea
(04) Casey (D-PA), Yea
(05) Conrad (D-ND), Yea
(06) Inouye (D-HI), Yea
(07) Johnson (D-SD), Yea
(08) Kohl (D-WI), Yea
(09) McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
(10) Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
(11) Nelson (D-FL), Yea
(12) Nelson (D-NE), Yea
(13) Pryor (D-AR), Yea
(14) Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
(15) Salazar (D-CO), Yea
(16) Webb (D-VA), Yea
(17) Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea

(01) Alexander (R-TN), Yea
(02) Allard (R-CO), Yea
(03) Barrasso (R-WY), Yea
(04) Bennett (R-UT), Yea
(05) Bond (R-MO), Yea
(06) Brownback (R-KS), Yea
(07) Bunning (R-KY), Yea
(08) Burr (R-NC), Yea
(09) Chambliss (R-GA), Yea
(10) Coburn (R-OK), Yea
(11) Cochran (R-MS), Yea
(12) Coleman (R-MN), Yea
(13) Collins (R-ME), Yea
(14) Corker (R-TN), Yea
(15) Cornyn (R-TX), Yea
(16) Craig (R-ID), Yea
(17) Crapo (R-ID), Yea
(18) DeMint (R-SC), Yea
(19) Dole (R-NC), Yea
(20) Domenici (R-NM), Yea
(21) Ensign (R-NV), Yea
(22) Enzi (R-WY), Yea
(23) Grassley (R-IA), Yea
(24) Gregg (R-NH), Yea
(25) Hagel (R-NE), Yea
(26) Hatch (R-UT), Yea
(27) Hutchison (R-TX), Yea
(28) Inhofe (R-OK), Yea
(29) Isakson (R-GA), Yea
(30) Kyl (R-AZ), Yea
(31) Lugar (R-IN), Yea
(32) Martinez (R-FL), Yea
(33) McCain (R-AZ), Yea
(34) McConnell (R-KY), Yea
(35) Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
(36) Roberts (R-KS), Yea
(37) Sessions (R-AL), Yea
(38) Shelby (R-AL), Yea
(39) Smith (R-OR), Yea
(40) Snowe (R-ME), Yea
(41) Specter (R-PA), Yea
(42) Stevens (R-AK), Yea
(43) Sununu (R-NH), Yea
(44) Thune (R-SD), Yea
(45) Vitter (R-LA), Yea
(46) Voinovich (R-OH), Yea
(47) Warner (R-VA), Yea
(48) Wicker (R-MS), Yea

Perhaps some voters should make a note of those Yeas above.

Again, it is unfortunate that most of the focus will be on the presidential office, and probably saddle the next president with the same corrupt, irresponsible, Do-Nothing Congress.
Republican and Democrat voters alike should start voting these people out of office, since they are violating their oath to uphold the Constitution (not to mention failing to do anything about these abuses over the past 30 years).

Posted by: d.a.n at February 19, 2008 07:42 PM
Comment #245768

The one reply I received from my local representative, Surveyor, Mark McKillop is running for a seat in the Indiana HOR.
I will vote for him. He understands what Article V is and his being in the Indiana HOR will put him in a position to push for an Article V petition to be passed.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 19, 2008 07:47 PM
Comment #245769

All along it was said the FISA law was outdated. The Telecom community should have immunity.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 19, 2008 07:51 PM
Comment #245778

I’m not at all sure the telecom should have immunity. The government should have a warrant. Then the telecom would have immunity. But the telecom industry should not cave in without any civil oversight.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 19, 2008 10:05 PM
Comment #245787

Well said D.A.N judicial oversight is necessary. No matter how well intentioned those that would be performing the surveillance work are the lack of judicial oversight will cause abuses. Any president that wants to gain politically will use this method for political gain.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 19, 2008 11:13 PM
Comment #245791

David,

Thanks for highlighting the issue of unrestricted spying again.

I am so disappointed that so many Democratic Senators gave the President his rubber stamp.

I am open to the possibility that changes do need to made to FISA. But: It is a basic principal of American democracy that all power must be checked and balanced. There must judicial and / or congressional oversight - even if only after the fact.

However if the oversight were going to be after the fact, then, the FISA court should be required to make declassified aggregate reports of abuses.

The FISA bill had already been extended for a year. This whole “deadline was about telecom immunity, which as you point out, is clearly far more important to Bush than FISA. Why?

I smell cover up. It is, IMO, another obstruction of justice by this corrupt Regime. What are they hiding? And why are Democratic Senators like Debbie Stabenow rolling and playing dead? Are they playing politics with the Constitution of the United States of America? Are they afraid that they will be accused of being soft on terrorism? I accuse of something far worse. I accuse them of being weak on the their most important duty; the duty to: “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.”

The list of Democratic Senators who played dead on this: Senate Votes to Give Retroactive Immunity for Telecoms

Posted by: Ray Guest at February 19, 2008 11:52 PM
Comment #245798

d.a.n said: Why so many Democrats in the Senate voting Yea (BILL Passed) for this immunity for these telecom companies (S. 2248 FISA Amendments Act of 2007)?

Um payback for their big campaign contributions maybe?

Once again our elected officials have shown their contempt for our Constitution and laws. As well as the folks that voted for them.
When will the voters finally wake up and start voting ALL these arrogant, incompetent, and corrupt politicians out of office?
And when will they quit electing them just because they like the way they lie to them?

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 20, 2008 12:27 AM
Comment #245800

David

The People’s House never got to vote. At least 21 Democrats said they would vote with Republicans. A vote in the House would have handed Pelosi a defeat, which is why she didn’t allow it.

It is Pelosi versus the majority of the House.

Posted by: Jack at February 20, 2008 12:33 AM
Comment #245811
2703. Requirements for governmental governments. access 18 USC 2703.

“(a) CONTENTS OF ELECTRONIC
COMMUNICATIONS IN ELECTRONIC
STORAGE.

—A governmental entity may
require the disclosure by a provider of
electronic communication service of the
contents of an electronic
communication, that is in electronic
storage in an electronic communications
system for one hundred and eighty days
or less, only pursuant to a warrant
issued under the Federal Rules of
Criminal Procedure or equivalent State
18 USC app. warrant.
A governmental entity may
require the disclosure by a provider of
electronic communications services of
the contents of an electronic
communication that has been in
electronic storage in an electronic
communications system for more than one
hundred and eighty days by the means
available under subsection (b) of this
section.

“(b) CONTENTS OF ELECTRONIC
COMMUNICATIONS IN A REMOTE COMPUTING
SERVICE.—(1) A governmental entity may
require a provider of remote computing
service to disclose the contents of any
electronic communication to which this
paragraph is made applicable by
paragraph (2) of this subsection—
“(A) without required notice to
the subscriber or customer, if the
governmental entity obtains a warrant

Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986
PUBLIC LAW 99-508—OCT 21, 1986

ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS PRIVACY
ACT OF 1986


The 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act was largely aimed at preventing invasions of privacy by government, the law also prohibited private-sector providers of electronic communications services from divulging their contents. While there are many cases and interpretations guaranteeing our freedom of privacy in our Constitution, Congress passed a law specifically to address this topic in 1986. Anyone involved with telecom or networking knows this. Which makes what those telecom companies did so egregious.

Posted by: Cube at February 20, 2008 03:36 AM
Comment #245812

Good article. I agree with it 100%.

Too bad that the thread immediately started out with a derailment of the topic.

The list of “Democrats” who voted with the GOP on this issue will come as no big surprise to a large and growing number of aware Democrats. It certainly didn’t come as any surprise to me. In fact, I’d have been willing to bet money on that entire list of names.
These are the exact same “Blue Dog Dems”, who in conjunction with the GOP, are constantly undermining the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Democratic party on numerous issues. Time and again it is this same group who ignores rank and file sentiment in order to vote to protect private interests rather than the people - just as the vast majority of Republicans usually do.
If one takes the time to look closely, they’ll learn that many of these Dogs are often heavily invested in those private interests themselves, or are beholden to them for enormous campaign contributions.
They are corrupt politicians who can not be trusted with power, and Democrats truly need to purge these people from our party.

Jack,
Do you ever tire of playing the same snarky refrains?

Posted by: veritas vincit at February 20, 2008 03:55 AM
Comment #245816

Ray Guest, thank you for your comments. I couldn’t agree more with your accusation: “I accuse them of being weak on the their most important duty; the duty to: “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.””

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 20, 2008 05:11 AM
Comment #245817

Ron Brown asked: “And when will they quit electing them just because they like the way they lie to them?”

That is a brilliant question and so well phrased. If I may, I should like to borrow that phrasing from time to time, “because they like the way they lie to them?” It so accurately sums up what takes place between many representatives and their constituents.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 20, 2008 05:14 AM
Comment #245819

Jack, I suspect your numbers are likely correct, but, could you share your source for this information that 21 Democrats would have decided with the Republicans? Also, you make no mention of how many Constitution loving Republicans may have sided with the Democrats. Any insight to that question?

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 20, 2008 05:33 AM
Comment #245820

Cube, thank you for the legal reference that started this whole FISA thing down the right path, before it was derailed by the cowardly conservatives , Democrat, Repubublican, and Independent, who would tear down the protections of the individual from an oppressive government for the sake of a false security that our enemies will always use AT&T to communicate their plans and intentions.

Your comment is a valuable contribution to this discussion and I thank you for the time and effort to post the original law.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 20, 2008 05:42 AM
Comment #245821

veritas said: “If one takes the time to look closely, they’ll learn that many of these Dogs are often heavily invested in those private interests themselves, or are beholden to them for enormous campaign contributions.”

I haven’t researched this connection between Blue Dogs and corporation investments. But, certainly, this relationship exists between representatives and special interest lobbyists and it does corrupt our legislation and law from its intended purposes.

“They are corrupt politicians who can not be trusted with power, and Democrats truly need to purge these people from our party.”

I think however, you are wrong about this. A democracy’s representatives must represent the interests and perspectives of the people to lay claim to being a democracy. Insofar as Blue Dog Democrats represent the majority of their constituents, they belong in the Party. Educate the constituents and their representatives will change. Education is the key to change and better prospects for America’s future because of this relationship.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 20, 2008 05:50 AM
Comment #245827

David

I read about it in WSJ, which I am currently unable to access. I do not recall on what they based the count.

What is certainly true is that Pelosi did not bring it to a vote. If she thought she would win, presumably she would want to do so.

Your comment to veritas contains much truth and consider it. A big majority of the Senate voted for the FISA change. A majority of the House would if given the opportunity. The Supreme Court just let stand the defeat of a suit brought by the ACLU to challenge the program.

It looks like we have the President, the majority of the Senate, the majority of the House and the Supreme court on one side and the leadership of the House as well as lots of unelected pundits and fund raisers on the other. We might consider who has the “will of the people” and the legitimate powers of the government on their side.

Liberals like to think that the oppostion somehow is not representive of “the people”. As a fellow member of the people, it looks like in this case a majority of Senators, Representives and the Supreme Court are representing what I think is correct. Our part of the people is the majority in this case. Of course, those holding less popular position are entitled to their opinions. Maybe they are right, but they are not entitled to speak for “the people”.

I would also like to pose an existental question. I support - more or less - the Senate version of the FISA change. I do it because I think it helps keep my country safe. I do not represent any special interest and I am not corrupted by any political money. My belief is that most people who support my position are in similar situations. But let’s assume the contrary. The question is this.

What “special interest” or nefarious end do you think supporters of the majority postion are serving?

Posted by: Jack at February 20, 2008 07:33 AM
Comment #245828

Let me clarify a little. I understand that the telcom firms want to be protected from the trial lawyers for the actions they took re terrorist. YOu may well consider that a corporate position to support. But please tell me how telecom firms PROFIT from what they did. In the best case scenario, they are left in the same position they were before. THey did not earn money from their cooperation and in fact it cost them something.

Posted by: Jack at February 20, 2008 07:37 AM
Comment #245837

Jack said: “It looks like we have the President, the majority of the Senate, the majority of the House and the Supreme court on one side and the leadership of the House as well as lots of unelected pundits and fund raisers on the other.”

Add to the latter the majority of the American people who are demonstrating they want this kind of government gone. Democrats are outnumbering Republicans 2 to 1 in the primary shows. And independents out number Democrats.

This is why Obama is destined to be the next president. His promise to the people is that he with the help of his supporters will change the Politicians in D.C., the government they mismanage and corrupt, and the priorities of politician’s agendas. It is a winning promise, and as good or better than McCain’s no new taxes promise which he won’t put in writing, and Clinton’s assurance that we don’t have to do anything, she will do it for us.

You seem to be arguing that when the majority of the politicians in government are for something like Telecom immunity, that makes it right for the country and the American people. It doesn’t. America’s Apartheid and slavery and disenfranchisement of African-American voters is ample proof that when the politicians agree in a majority they are not necessarily right.

This perverted conservative Supreme Court will not stand either over the next 4 years. How dare them disavow the Constitution’s implied right of privacy and the century of precedence on the issue and abrogate individual privacy in speech and communication in the name of a raw power grab by politicians to secure their oversight of the American people. They have stood everything on its head. It was the people who were to oversee the politicians, not the other way round as this conservative Court is trying to assert.

But, after Nov. we can look for at least 2 Justices to step down knowing that it is now safe for the nation to do so, and with the trust and confidence that rational non-ideologues will be appointed and approved to replace them.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 20, 2008 09:47 AM
Comment #245839

Jack asked: “But please tell me how telecom firms PROFIT from what they did.”

Your political ignorance on this topic must be intentional. Telecom firms exist on the approval of politicians grants of spectrum and license. They profit nicely from subsidies underwriting technological change, and from favorable selection at spectrum licensing. One does not bite the hand that feeds it. Of course, with their gaggle of lawyers they knew full well they were violating the Constitution in their compliance and essentially decided what the people don’t know won’t hurt them, especially when they counted on protection from that self-same administration that asked them to violate our laws right along with the Administration itself.

These politicians in office have a vested interest in the voters not acknowledging their complicity in all this. Ergo, they must act as if there never was a crime to which the government was party. That would reflect badly on the politicians in November.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 20, 2008 09:54 AM
Comment #245853

David
Nothing I post here is copyrighted as far as I know. Feel free to quote me anytime anywhere ya want too.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 20, 2008 12:36 PM
Comment #245855
It doesn’t matter because interpreting the constitution means changing it.

Boy, then we’d better quash all those courses that teach Biblical interpretation…better to remain uneducated and just take it as written without knowing any of the background of the writers, the age in which it was written, and the culture that influenced the writings…same for literature criticism, movie criticism…

Funny, but I haven’t seen how any of the criticism “changes” the document(s)…it changes the way people look at them, but the document is intact.

The supreme court (as all courts!) are to interpret law…they do this not just via the constitution but using precedent…

A literal interpretation of the US Constitution would be quite ridiculous…there is no way that its authors could foresee every little law necessary down thru the ages…it wasn’t written as a dead document to guide only the 1st year or so of the U.S. …

Posted by: Rachel at February 20, 2008 12:48 PM
Comment #245856
But, your repeated failures to introduce and win this debate causes me to wonder why the repetition

I’m not sure, I had hoped that you would actually enter into debate, but being in a debate would require you to answer the questions I propose and acknowledge the points I make, both of with you repeatedly refuse to do.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 20, 2008 12:51 PM
Comment #245860
it wasn’t written as a dead document to guide only the 1st year or so of the U.S.

Nope, they put in the ‘amendment’ process. Seems that should be the way to alter it, don’t you think, instead of just ignoring what you don’t like and doing what you want anyway…

Question for you Rachel, is the document in question a listing of what the citizens can and cna’t do or a hard list of what government can and can’t do?

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 20, 2008 01:01 PM
Comment #245869

David

It doesn’t matter if 3/4 of the people want Bush gone. They will get their wish soon. But that doesn’t mean anything to the specific case we are addresssing. Polls have usually indicated that American people support terrorist surveillence.

In any case, the specific question involves what elected representatives think of the FISA update.

The majority of the elected representatives from the Senate, House and Executive (including Democrats and Republicans) as well as the Supreme Court believe in updating the law.

A minority represented by Dem leadership in the house disagrees and refuses to allow a vote. They are standing in the way of the “people”.

Posted by: Jack at February 20, 2008 03:36 PM
Comment #245883

Jack said: “Polls have usually indicated that American people support terrorist surveillence.”

And do you think the polls would be any lower if the people were asked if our intelligence gathering efforts against terrorists should be conducted according to Constitutional protections of individual’s rights to privacy? My guess about 75% would respond yes, since, about 62% say privacy should NOT be infringed by terrorist surveillance activities.

It NEVER was an either/or proposition UNTIL Bush made it one. We could just as easily have conducted terrorist surveillance legally and Constitutionally without losing ANY preemptive capacity, as the FISA law expounded.

And a majority of the American people DISAGREE with these Democratic and Republican politicians.
Some Democrats have been forced to the Bush side by the absence of the alternative to leave FISA the way it is AND ENFORCE IT against the White House Administration. It just isn’t an option amongst the incumbent politicians who are now focused on the changing of the guard in January.

That is one reason why incumbents are in for a helluva ride. And a reason why the GOP and Democratic Party continue to lose registered voters to that growing throng of Independent voters. And in turn, it is this independent mindedness voters that all but guarantee Obama will be your next president. May you defend him at least as well as you have tried to defend Bush. Obama will certainly provide far more justification for such defense than Bush ever did.


Posted by: David R. Remer at February 20, 2008 05:04 PM
Comment #245885

Rhinehold said: “but being in a debate would require you to answer the questions I propose and acknowledge the points I make, both of with you repeatedly refuse to do.”

I love this psychological projection of your own debate traits onto others as a defense. Permits dismissal of any rational debate with you, out of hand.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 20, 2008 05:06 PM
Comment #245887

Rachel, trying to debate rationally with Rhinehold is an exercise in futility. Look at his response. Completely illogical. He imposes the Amendment process as a replacement for the entire Judicial process as if the Judicial process of interpretation didn’t exist when questions of interpretation or ambiguity (and there is much) in the Constitution are presented to the Courts. In other words, he dismisses out of hand reality which is inconvenient to his argument. His debate comments are often neither rational nor informed nor educated. Its an exercise in futility to debate his comments.

I cite him many case precedents before the Supreme Court and he dismisses them and moves to another topic as if precedence didn’t exist for the Right of Privacy as established by Court rulings over the last century or so. Too inconvenient a reality for his myopic argument.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 20, 2008 05:15 PM
Comment #245892
Jack wrote: Polls have usually indicated that American people support terrorist surveillence.
Yes, but NOT without civil oversight, and not by giving immunity to telecom corporations.
Jack wrote: In any case, the specific question involves what elected representatives think of the FISA update.
Not true. It also includes the Constitution and many court cases dealing with privacy and the 4th Amendment:
  • 4th Amendment: 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.
Jack wrote: The majority of the elected representatives from the Senate, House and Executive (including Democrats and Republicans) as well as the Supreme Court believe in updating the law.
Fine, as long as it is Constitutional.
Jack wrote: A minority represented by Dem leadership in the house disagrees and refuses to allow a vote. They are standing in the way of the “people”.
Does upholding the Constitution equate to “standing in the way of the people” ?

Telecom corporations do NOT need immunity if the government has a warrant.
This immunity nonsense is a yet another way to circumvent the Constitution, which is already being violated in many ways (e.g. Article 4: Section 4, Article 5, etc.).

    Laws of Tyranny:
  • (1) Tyranny Law #1: Any power that can be abused will be abused.
  • (2) Tyranny Law #2: Abuse always expands to fill the limits of resistance to it.
  • (3) Tyranny Law #3: If people don’t resist the abuses of others, they will have no one to resist the abuses of themselves, and tyranny will prevail.

There is considerable evidence over the last 30+ years that much of the legislation that has been passed, and much of what officials have done, is in substantial violation of the Constitution. Federal and State governments, especially the Federal, have assumed powers that have no foundation whatsoever in any of the provisions of the Constitution (not to mention these 10+ abuses cheating most Americans).

Posted by: d.a.n at February 20, 2008 06:33 PM
Comment #245893

To interpret is to explain, not to distort.

There is no citizenship for a corporation. A corporation is not a human being and a human being should not be able to hide behind a corporation.

A right to privacy is not valid in an abortion case because there are three people involved in the curcumstance. The Mother, the Father, and the Child. As they say, “Three’s a crowd.” There’s no privacy in a crowd.

I suppose if you don’t have any core beliefs it is reasonable to assume nine gods can decide what is best for us.

If they can decide a corporation is a person then they can also decide that one person’s privacy can exclude the other two persons involved.

An election was in doubt in 2000 but instead of having another election we all just bowed to the nine gods when they said GW is president.

Considering our current environment I could expect no less from the people of this country. It’s easier to bow to the nine gods than it is to stand up and insist on the way of life our forefathers died for.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 20, 2008 06:37 PM
Comment #245895

I’m sick and tired of asking a question in a public meeting and having all the politicians turn to the lawyer to have it answered.

I’m tired and scared when a judge uses “officer’s discretion” as evidence in a court of law. It’ putting a perfect face on a cop and that cop is considered incapable of lying.

I’m extremely perturbed when a judge campaigns on a promise to run his court like a business because when cops tell no lies and no other evidence is needed there is always a guilty verdict and money extorted to create that “successful business”.

But, hey! Nine gods rule!

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 20, 2008 06:48 PM
Comment #245903

Wouldn’t it be neet if all nine gods resigned at the same time, like tomorrow!

Would that change the election just a little bit?
I think so. I don’t think Hillbilly or Obama or McCain would be front runners any longer.

What are the perks for a supreme court justice these days? What drives a person to sit in the most powerful position in the world?

Food for thought.

Don’t mind me, Mr. Remer. I’m just expectorating.

But, what would happen if we replaced the supreme court judges with the original supreme court judges of old, before 1880?

Let’s hypothesize?verb
to believe especially on uncertain or tentative grounds; “Scientists supposed that large dinosaurs lived in swamps”

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 20, 2008 08:03 PM
Comment #245928

d.a.n.

ALL the constitutional branches of governement agree on this provision. It is hard to see how this could be against the Constitution.

It is a misformulation to say this is against the Constitution or that it is against the will of the people.

You or David or anybody else can say that in your opinion it should be against the Constitution, but you are just voicing your opinion in opposition to the elected officials in the executive and legislative branches as well as the Supreme Court.

David

Please see above.

Re polls - yes it depends on how you ask the question. The point is that the “will of the people” is unclear. That is why we have elections and elected officials. That is also why we have the balance of the Supreme Court. In this case, the consitutional officers are far in the majority for the ammendement. Nancy Pelsoi and a few pundits disagree. The “People’s House” did not stand in the way. Nancy Pelosi used her power to prevent it voicing its opinion.

You are talking about the “will of the people” in a very mystical way. Nobody knows how to properly measure that or even what that is. We are both part of “the people” and we obviously do not have the same opinion on this. That is why we have elections and rules of procedures, to decide these things where the “will of the people” is unclear or not manifest.

You can disagree with what is done, but you really don’t get to speak for the people, any more than I do.

Posted by: Jack at February 21, 2008 12:27 AM
Comment #245930

David R. Remer:

I haven’t researched this connection between Blue Dogs and corporation investments. But, certainly, this relationship exists between representatives and special interest lobbyists and it does corrupt our legislation and law from its intended purposes.

Indeed that corruption does exist, and in the Democratic Party, that corruption is best represented by the Blue Dogs.
Here is a link to a good article dealing with their latest outrages: Blue Dog Democrats: Conservative, Or Just Plain Corrupt?

A democracy’s representatives must represent the interests and perspectives of the people to lay claim to being a democracy. Insofar as Blue Dog Democrats represent the majority of their constituents, they belong in the Party.

No, the Blue Dogs (aka New Democrats, or Bush Dog Democrats) don’t belong in the Democratic Party and must be surely and steadily voted out. This pack of Dogs were the Democrats who voted for the Bankruptcy Bill: a piece of legislation which didn’t represent anyone or anything but the interests of the credit card companies, who basically wrote it. These Dogs voted for Bush’s Military Commission Act of 2006, which eliminated Habeas Corpus. That represents NONE of their constituents interests or perspectives. They voted for the Protect America Act, which legalized illegal, warrantless domestic surveillance, violating our Fourth Amendment Rights. Now, this same pack of Dogs who have taken lots of money from the telecoms over the years in campaign donations want to give immunity to them for breaking the law - simply because Bush asked them to. Whose interest or perspective is being served there?

Just like any Dog who has turned on their owners and can no longer be trusted, these Dogs need to be put down.

Posted by: veritas vincit at February 21, 2008 12:39 AM
Comment #245931

Jack

You have interpreted the decision of the Supreme Court not to hear the recent ACLU case, as their support for FISA. How you have migrated to this position is beyond me. There can be a variety of reasons why the Supreme Court did not hear this case. More than likely, the reason they did not address this case is that FISA is presently being argued in Congress.


Posted by: Cube at February 21, 2008 12:44 AM
Comment #245938
Jack wrote: d.a.n. ALL the constitutional branches of governement agree on this provision. It is hard to see how this could be against the Constitution.
Not yet. The BILL has not yet passed in the House.

And if it does, it will hopefully be challenged in the Supreme Court (especially the part about immunity for telecom corporations).

Jack wrote: It is a misformulation to say this is against the Constitution or that it is against the will of the people.
Not true.

If it is unconstitutional, it is unlawful, and Congress and the people are supposed to uphold and protect the Constitution.

Jack wrote: You or David or anybody else can say that in your opinion it should be against the Constitution,
Not my opinion. The Constitution makes it quite clear in the 4th Amendment, and there are many cases to support it (with regard to mail, E-Mail, customer data, telephony, etc.). The 4th Amendment does not use the word privacy, but is actually very explicit in its meaning:
  • 4th Amendment: 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.
That means a warrant is required. Even if it is after the fact, a warrant is required.

This has already been ruled upon more than once.
And just because the Constitution has been violated before does not make it any less of a violation of the Constitution (which is being violated in many ways).

Jack wrote: … but you are just voicing your opinion in opposition to the elected officials in the executive and legislative branches as well as the Supreme Court.
Not true.

The U.S. Constitution trumps all of those. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and on court case, judges opinion, nor my opinon trumps the clear and obvious meaning of the U.S. Constitution. The 4th Amendment and all supporting court cases make it very clear that information that is expected to be private can not be searched and siezed without a warrant.

If the federal government don’t like it, they must first amend the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Jack wrote: You can disagree with what is done, but you really don’t get to speak for the people, any more than I do.
Any American can (and should) speak up to uphold and defend the Constitution.

Where is the law that trumps the 4th Amendment?
Where is the law that trumps Article 4, Section 4?
Where is the law that trumps Article V?
All are being violated, but that does not make it legal.
The law being violated does not suddenly justify it.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 21, 2008 01:20 AM
Comment #245943

d.a.n.

Still your opinion no matter how you want to state it. The Supreme court just threw out the ACLU case. I tend to trust the Supreme Court with these interpretations.

Re speaking up - yes any American can and should speak up. We both have done so. Neither of us reprsents “the people” although more of our democratic insitutions are on the same side I am on.

I also think that you are just not understanding what we are talking about. I agree that if we have an identifiable individual American citizen, we should get a warrant. The reason the Supreme Court did not hear the ACLU case is because there is no such person. We are talking about monitoring data streams. The Consitution does not speak to this. The techniques became available only a few years ago.

Posted by: Jack at February 21, 2008 05:42 AM
Comment #245972

d.a.n.
I was scanning down through the comments and took a real good look at your list of Senators that voted of immunity. I see both Georgia Senators Chambliss and Isakson voted for it. Figures. Both have been in bed with special interest sense they were elected. And both have never broke with the party line sense taking office.
Reckon I’m just gonna have to see what I can do to make sure both these gentlemen loose their jobs when they come up for reelection.
One of them, I’m not sure who, is up for reelection this year. Need to tighten up here. I ought to know.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 21, 2008 12:20 PM
Comment #245973

Just checked. Chambliss is up for relection this year. Gonna see if I can help kick him out of Washington.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 21, 2008 12:31 PM
Comment #245981

Jack said: “We are talking about monitoring data streams. The Consitution does not speak to this. The techniques became available only a few years ago.”

Precisely BECAUSE the Constitution does NOT speak to this, is the reason the Court should review it. That is one of the major purposes of the Court, to interpret the Constitution as to encompass situations regarding questions of law or rights not addressed in the centuries old document. Data streams of Individual’s Communications is what we are talking about, Jack. And the instant a filter kicks out a communication for closer inspection, it IS an individual’s privacy right being violated by the absence of due process.

You don’t get it. I don’t know the reason the Court did not review the ACLU case, there can be many including another case they plan to review which encompasses the same legal questions. Or it could be the case that this sometimes Conservative Court won on this decision in favor of GOP Big government tactics and strategies toward individuals. But, that will change with he next president, thank, goodness.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 21, 2008 01:11 PM
Comment #245984

Weary Willie, I share your dismay at what the Supreme Court has become, cushy jobs requiring little effort for life in which the Justices may decide what work put before them they choose to undertake and what work they will dismiss as not feeling like it, today.

One of the great strengths and weaknesses of the S.C. is that it is beyond anyone’s oversight, or consequence regarding performance. Off the top of my head, though, I can’t think of a better way to keep the strength and eliminate the weakness.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 21, 2008 01:22 PM
Comment #245993
A lawsuit filed by an Islamic charity met a similar fate. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year ruled against the Oregon-based U.S. arm of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, concluding that a key piece of evidence is protected as a state secret. In that case, the charity alleged the National Security Agency illegally listened to its calls. The charity had wanted to introduce as evidence a top-secret call log it received mistakenly from the Treasury Department

Supreme Court Rejects ACLU Challenge to Warrantless Surveillance Program
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Associated Press

Okay Jack, here are your persons. What happened to their rights? You are talking in double talk just like this Administration is. We have a law (Electronic Communications Privacy Act) that addresses the requirements for monitoring electronic transmissions. Clearly those “mysterious” data streams you mention must originate from someone, unless you are alleging that they are being created spontaneously. Then what would be the purpose of monitoring them?


Posted by: Cube at February 21, 2008 03:14 PM
Comment #245998
Jack wrote: d.a.n. Still your opinion no matter how you want to state it.
Not only my opinion.

Many people’s opinion.
Just because the law is violated doesn’t make it right.
Are you telling us the Constitution is not being violated?

Jack wrote: The Supreme court just threw out the ACLU case. I tend to trust the Supreme Court with these interpretations.
Really? How am I not surprised?

Never mind what the Constitution states (in words that are clear and obvious in meaning).

Jack wrote: Re speaking up - yes any American can and should speak up. We both have done so. Neither of us reprsents “the people” although more of our democratic insitutions are on the same side I am on.
Just because the law is violated doesn’t make it right.
Jack wrote: I also think that you are just not understanding what we are talking about.
Not true.

We not talking about the S. 2248 FISA Amendments Act of 2007 on which there was a vote on February 12, 2008, 05:30 PM ? Which includes immunity for telecom corporations? Which was the subject of David R. Remer’s article (above)?

Jack wrote: I agree that if we have an identifiable individual American citizen, we should get a warrant. The reason the Supreme Court did not hear the ACLU case is because there is no such person.
Clever.

The “No Standing” issue again.
So, the Supreme Court refuses to hear the ACLU’s case,
Claiming that the ACLU has “no standing”,
Because they can’t prove they were wire-tapped,
Because the government won’t say who they wire-tapped,
Because the court won’t make the government confirm they were wire-tapped,
So no one has standing,
Because they can’t prove they were wire-tapped.

And that is a classic “Catch-22”.
This is the Supreme Courts’ clever way of ignoring issues, making them complicit in the violation of the laws.
The Supreme Court did the same thing in Walker v. Members of Congress about the flagrant violation of Article V.

The Supreme Court might as well change their name to “The Supreme Catch-22 Court”.

Jack, have you considered a career on the Supreme Court.
They need people that understand how that works.

Jack wrote: We are talking about monitoring data streams. The Consitution does not speak to this.
I disagree. It speaks to what is essentially “private information” (e.g. papers, mail, etc.). Same thing. Very little difference.

Anything in a streams of data that is of importance will almost certainly want to attempt a trace and resoluation to the source and destination.
Also, if there is an identifiable individual, and (as you concede) “we should get a warrant”, why doest the telecom corporation need immunity? The warrant should be sufficient.

Ron Brown wrote: d.a.n. I was scanning down through the comments and took a real good look at your list of Senators that voted of immunity. I see both Georgia Senators Chambliss and Isakson voted for it. Figures. Both have been in bed with special interest sense they were elected. And both have never broke with the party line sense taking office. Reckon I’m just gonna have to see what I can do to make sure both these gentlemen loose their jobs when they come up for reelection. One of them, I’m not sure who, is up for reelection this year. Need to tighten up here. I ought to know. … Just checked. Chambliss is up for relection this year. Gonna see if I can help kick him out of Washington.
Ron, Thanks. Every little bit helps!

In Texas, Cornyn and Hutchison voted for it too.
(15) Cornyn (R-TX), Yea
(27) Hutchison (R-TX), Yea
Cornyn is up for election this election.
Unfortunately, Hutchison isn’t up for re-election again until 2012.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 21, 2008 03:39 PM
Comment #246041
Precisely BECAUSE the Constitution does NOT speak to this, is the reason the Court should review it.

Actually, the Supreme Court does speak to it by not speaking to it. If it is not a power vested to the, in this case, executive branch, then they do not have the power to do it. If you want to allow it it would take an amendment to do so.

Playing games is all well and good, but when we wipe our collective butts with the document that is supposed to keep us free, it really shouldn’t be a partisan issue anymore.

Now I just have to wait for the part where I’m called a mental case again and it will be a complete day for me.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 21, 2008 08:58 PM
Comment #246042

What kills me about the whole situation (and maybe this point has already been made) is that Bush and the telecoms had been breaking the law all along. Now, when the Congress won’t rubberstamp the law he wants, Bush tells us that they’re jeopardizing national security because now he can’t wiretap anyone he wants. What the heck?

Why don’t you just go back to breaking the freaking law, since you claim immunity in the first place? And then, the absolutely most hilarious part is that a number of these illegal wiretaps have had to be disconnected not because they’re illegal, but because the FBI is not paying the telecoms for them on a timely basis. Unbelievable! How does anyone defend this incompetent administration and then look at themselves in the mirror in the morning?

Full disclosure: I work for a telecom, but have nothing to do with wiretapping, legal or illegal.

Posted by: spongeworthy at February 21, 2008 09:00 PM
Comment #246043
spongeworthy wrote: And then, the absolutely most hilarious part is that a number of these illegal wiretaps have had to be disconnected not because they’re illegal, but because the FBI is not paying the telecoms for them on a timely basis
Ha! Isn’t it a farce?

And our borders and ports are wide open.
Thousands of Americans are murdered every year by illegal aliens (more in 3 years than all the American troops killed in Iraq in 5 years).

Homeland security is a farce, when our politicians are despicably pitting American citizens and illegal aliens against each other for profits and votes.

Yet, voters continue to reward incumbent politicians in Do-Nothing Congress with 93%-to-99% re-election rates (on average since year 1980).

At any rate, the voters will have the government that the voters deserve.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 21, 2008 10:25 PM
Comment #246045

Don’t forget the kidnappings that are going up as well…

According to the FBI, he was one of the 26 kidnapping cases that agents in San Diego investigated last year. That compares with 11 cases in 2006 and 10 in 2005.

“I would like to tell you they all came back alive but they didn’t,” said special agent Keith Slotter. According to Slotter, the kidnappers are well equipped, well organized and extremely bold.

“You have these individuals coming into the U.S. grabbing kidnapping victims and then heading back south again. That raises the stakes considerably,” he said.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 21, 2008 10:40 PM
Comment #246060

d.a.n
Reckon Cornyn and Hutchinson need replacing too. And I know you’ll be doing what ya can to get them replaced.
Unfortunately Isakson aint up for reelection until 2012 either. He’s worse than Chambliss.
Fortunately the House is up every two years. And I sure would like to see Sanford Bishop Jr. get put on the outside looking in this time around.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 22, 2008 12:34 AM
Comment #246061

BTW, It looks like 2 of the school board members are going to be opposed this year. The one from ward 5. The one I live in. And the one from Ward 3. The one my predecessor lives in. Both are bad in need of firing.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 22, 2008 12:41 AM
Comment #246066

d.a.n.

YOU and I are disagreeing about the interpetation of the Constitution. That is good for us ordinary citizens. The Supreme Court, President and the majority of both Houses of Congress share something closer to my postion. WE (you and I) can debate forever. Those with constitional offices will make the decision.

Cube

See above to d.a.n. The Supreme Court rejected the appeal and let stand the decision of the lower court. These guys may feel agrieved, but they are mistaken re the constitution.

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2008 12:55 AM
Comment #246068
The court’s refusal to hear the case is a victory for the White House and the president’s bold use of his powers as commander in chief. Though not a ruling on the legality of Bush’s wiretapping policy , it all but forecloses a successful legal attack on it before the president leaves office early next year. In the meantime, Congress and the White House are negotiating new rules for electronic eavesdropping.

From the beginning, this dispute has turned not on whether phone calls or e-mails can be intercepted but on whether a judge must approve it. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 said the president may order secret wiretapping within the United States to catch foreign agents or terrorists, but only with the approval of a special court.

One legal expert said it made perfect sense for the court to refuse the case. “This is not a surprise,” said Douglas W. Kmiec, a law professor at Pepperdine University who served in the Reagan administration. “The program under review no longer exists, Congress is in the midst of reauthorizing the new version of it, and the Supreme Court already has a docket full of tough cases

By David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
February 20, 2008


Jack

Like I said, you are reading too much into why the Supreme Court didn’t hear the ACLU’s case. You are interpreting the Supreme Courts silence as its tacit approval on how wiretapping was implemented. Evidently one legal expert agrees with what I stated earlier, that while FISA is being argued in Congress the Supreme Court will stay out of it.

Posted by: Cube at February 22, 2008 03:48 AM
Comment #246070

Cube

I am not making my point well. I am not (in this particular case) defending the policy itself. My objection is to the ideas that:

1. The people’s house rejected the modifications
2. That there is a consensus that it is wrong.

In fact, while there is still a dispute, most of the consenus is that we SHOULD modify FISA.

You can dan are confirming these things. You bring up some pundits who think the administration and the majority in both houses of congress are mistaken. That is fine. We are debating, but you do not represent “the people” or the constitution. In fact, you probably represent these things less than the majority.

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2008 05:06 AM
Comment #246099

Should the Bush Administration be required to get a warrant from a judge before monitoring phone and Internet communications between American citizens in the United States and suspected terrorists, or should the government be allowed to monitor such communications without a warrant?

Warrant required 50% Without Warrant 48%

PollingReport.com — the margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent and 1,000 American adults (not just voters) were polled:
AP/Ipso February 9, 2006

My only point that I am making is the consensus you are speaking about is not as clear-cut as you seem to be stating. Depending on what poll you look at and how the question is worded, the opinions of Americans seem to be 50/50. If you word the question to ask if Americans believe it this activity is illegal, a majority will state they believe the answer is yes. If you ask if they should be continued in order to fight terrorism, a slight majority (and these are old polls) would also say yes.

Your statement that the all branches of government support FISA in its present form, and that we should allow telecom companies to be allowed immunity despite breaking the law, may also be wrong.

Interestingly enough, I have read that from a legal perspective, the original FISA even without the more recent expansion of powers given to intelligence agencies is unconstitutional, from a purely original-intent point of view. It would be interesting to see how a truly Conservative Supreme Court would judge FISA. Unfortunately this Supreme Court, while being very Conservative, has a very strong Federalist slant.

FISA in some form will be passed; the precedent has already been set. But I think it is in all our best interests that the House debates it in the limelight of controversy.

Posted by: Cube at February 22, 2008 12:30 PM
Comment #246205


Jack wrote:
WE (you and I) can debate forever. Those with constitional offices will make the decision.

And like other voilations (e.g. Article V), many people will continue to challenge these violations, refuse to let it fade away, and eventually force the government to stop violating the law. Otherwise, the lawlessness will continue to grow worse. Or, are you saying the Constitution is not currently being violated? Or, are you saying the Constitution has never been violated? Just because the law is violated, does not mean it can (or will) continue to be violated. Have you ever questioned any Supreme Court rulings on the interpretation or violation of the U.S. Constitution?
  • Posted by: d.a.n at February 23, 2008 02:49 PM
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