Today's Hot Topic: The Dems and FISA

FISA: The LAT slams congressional Democrats who voted for the Bush administration's rewrite of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, arguing that their votes are "a reminder that many in the [Democratic Party] are still fearful that they will be labeled 'soft on terror' if they don't give this administration what it wants when it wants it." The NYT also accuses the 16 Democrats who voted in support of the bill of placing their own job security above the interests of the American people. "The Democratic majority has made strides on other issues like children's health insurance against White House opposition. As important as these measures are, they do not excuse the Democrats from remedying the damage Mr. Bush has done to civil liberties and the Bill of Rights. And USA Today argues that the one good point of the FISA reauthorization bill is that it includes a "sunset" provision that will cause "all the bill's controversial provisions expire, unless Congress and the president agree to renew them."

By Rob Anderson |  August 7, 2007; 9:18 AM ET
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Proof positive 1) all encumbents gone and 2) we can work out the details but we need public funded elections. The system is broken and those that say otherwise are obviously profitting from it.

Posted by: TerribleT | August 7, 2007 10:27 AM

Living in Texas, there was a time when I felt that I had no representation as a Democrat. Now the Dems have a majority and I feel I have no party to represent me. That's a shame.

Posted by: Damaris Worthington | August 7, 2007 10:28 AM

The 16 Democrats have demonstrated thier inability to stand up to Presisent Bush when he is wrong, now how do they expect to convince me they can stand up and protect us from terrorists or the eastern bunny.

Posted by: Pat Chandler | August 7, 2007 10:45 AM

I find it hard to believe and even harder to accept that the Democrats "won control of Congress," but the Republicans are still in charge. I don't like it and I inform my Democrat representatives that I expect them to do something about it.
Another point: instead of just accepting that 60 votes are required for passage, can't the Republicans be forced to actually filibuster and their position be thus publicized or is that no longer possible?

Posted by: Harry Osborne | August 7, 2007 10:52 AM

THE LAT IS SAYING THAT SOME DEMOCRATS ARE FEARFUL THAT THEY WILL BE LABELED "SOFT ON TERROR". THE LAT NEEDS TO WAKE UP AND REALIZE HOW DANGEROUS THE WORLD IS AND WE NEED ALL THE PROTECTION WE CAN GET.

Posted by: J. SWITZER | August 7, 2007 10:55 AM

i have seriously wanted to believe that democrats could make a difference, but i was sadly mistaken... from the beginning of the congressional session in january, it's become horrifically clear that, when it comes to truly upholding our united states constitution, there is no daylight whatsover between the two parties... for both of them, it's all about money and power...

http://takeitpersonally.blogspot.com/

Posted by: profmarcus | August 7, 2007 11:09 AM

I think the Dems are trying but finding that Bush and his cronies are ready to block them no matter what they do.

I think once they get back in Sept, there is going to be hell to pay. The Dems are going to hit and hit hard in many arenas but especially Iraq.

Many of the Democratic Senators and Representatives are being flooded with how their constituents feel while they are traveling through their districts. If they come back and do nothing, they know they will get voted out.

As a Dem in Kansas, talking to my Senators and Representatives is like talking to a hole in the wall. We finally got a Dem Governor but can't get rid of Bush cronies that have been there forever.

Posted by: Dem in Kansas | August 7, 2007 11:19 AM

Compassionate conservatism, soft on terror, the surge, slow bleed are but a few of the words used by the Fascist's who are trying to copy the language of the Nazi's in Hitler's Germany. Check out Victor Klemperer on the web-all about the language of the Nazi's.

Posted by: ghostcommander | August 7, 2007 11:20 AM

What has happened to the Democrats and the few Republican statesmen in Congress? Why is there no outrage or courage in the Senate or the House to oppose an administration guilty of lying to the people and the Congress, violating the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Geneva Convention and encroaching upon the powers of Congress itself? Sadly, we seem to be witnessing the downfall of America, and all we here from our elected representatives is silence.

Posted by: J Gebow | August 7, 2007 11:22 AM

I don't know whether to call all of the comments attacking President Bush and the FEW Democrats who supported the crucial anti terror bill stupid or naive , but they have to be one or the other! It appears that a majority of Democrats and their left wing lemmings actually want the USA to lose to the terrorist just so they can attack Bush and blame him for all of the worlds problems. God help this country if the Dems ever get control of two branches of the government.
Al Gibbs Abbeville Al

Posted by: Al Gibbs | August 7, 2007 11:33 AM

I, too, am appalled that Pres. Bush once again prevailed in further undermining our Constitutional protections. We are very close to the brink of rendering that document as just another piece of paper for the circular file. What I'm not reading in the press is an analysis of whether an American, speaking to another American overseas, can be spied upon equally with an American, speaking to any person overseas. There doesn't seem to be a distinction. And even if there were, it is without a difference, since one would have to listen in to determine the nationality of the overseas speaker. Perhaps one day some Democrat will have the courage to say out loud that Bin Laden has become Bush's best friend in ensuring Bush's personal power grab.

Posted by: Barbara Cullen | August 7, 2007 11:35 AM

For those who think it's all right to give Bush and his minions virtually unlimited power.....just think of the last president you didn't like (most of you are Clinton-haters) and see if you can still support the growing concentration of these powers in the executive branch.

Posted by: Pat Kramer | August 7, 2007 12:08 PM

All this liberal whining goes to show there is only one party that takes national security seriously. I hope you Dems enjoy your short lived time in the majority. GOP in 08!

Posted by: Arthur | August 7, 2007 12:20 PM

The dems want to take all the tools away from our intelligence services to keep us from effectively fighting the war on terror and preventing future terrorist attacks. However, when another terrorist attack happens, they'll say it was because we were saddled with Iraq. The truth is the Dems are more interested in appeasing the left wing nuts than they are in protecting this country.

If there is another terrorist attack, there will cease to be a democrat party.

Posted by: Chris | August 7, 2007 12:24 PM

GOP - asleep at the switch in 2001
Responds to incompetency with lies, criminal behavior and arrogance.
Sad thing is so many people listened and so many still believe the lies.
People actually think the people who dropped the ball on 9/11 are helping this country?
Don't drive on any bridges.

Posted by: Lee | August 7, 2007 12:25 PM

Dems: "Lets level the playing field for the terrorists like we have tried to do for criminals".

Posted by: George | August 7, 2007 12:29 PM

Fear the root of indiscretion on issues that are important. The Democrates who voted for the Presidents program did so on orders of those who pull their strings.Its not apprearing to be soft in the war on terror. Its amazing to have a President, one man that has created so much disruction, pain, and sorrow, with his failed polices. A man whos shoe size is larger than IQ

Posted by: David Luna | August 7, 2007 12:29 PM

Why must the US fight al Queda, the NY Times, and the democrat party?

Why must the NY Times and their democrat peeboys constantly try to take away the tools our intelligence services have used to keep us safe for the past 6 years?

Show me one example of "lost" civil liberties and I'll show you several where our intelligence services have been undercut by both the NY Times and the democrats.

Democrats should stop trying to give up on the war on terror and start trying to find ways to protect us from it or you'll find yourselves in the dustbin of history with your bloodbrothers, the communists.

Posted by: Frasier Foy | August 7, 2007 12:31 PM

There is no proof of lost or infringed rights on the part of individual citizens as a result of FISA passed in the late 70's and there is nothing now during the last six years. That seems to be sufficient to refute the fears of many. It is far easier to be concerned with numerous other pieces of legislation that infringe on the rights of private citizens, such as lose lobbying rules.

Posted by: Gene Bishop | August 7, 2007 12:34 PM

"Its amazing to have a President, one man that has created so much disruction, pain, and sorrow, with his failed polices."

Are you talking about welfare reform or NAFTA? Or just the fact of demeaning the office of the Presidency or treating the White House like a weekend at Lindsay Lohan's.

George Bush is twice the President that Clinton was, without the slime, indecision, and inaction in defending this country.

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 12:35 PM

Democrats: Green Day, George Clooney, Barbra Streisand, Rosie O'Donnell, Robert Redford, Paul Newman.

For all the whining of the above, can anyone show me a college education?

If these uneducated morons consider themselves democrats, I don't.

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 12:40 PM

JFK must be turning over in his grave at the limpwristed, cowardly leaders of his once great party.

IF Harry Reid had been president, we'd still have Russian missiles aimed at us from Cuba. Hell, Harry would probably cut the ceremonial ribbon with those other great americans...Harry Belafonte, Sean Penn and Danny Glover.

JFK had more in common with the policies of Bush than he did anyone currently leading the democrat party.

Posted by: Chester | August 7, 2007 12:44 PM

Once again, the democrats are trying to take away our tools to fight the war on terror just so they can blame Bush and Iraq when we're struck.

Face it dems, you want to lose Iraq, and you want another terrorist attack on US soil so you can blame Bush/Iraq.

What's good for the US is bad for democrats. The actions of democrats in Washington has become transparent.

Posted by: Proudgop | August 7, 2007 12:49 PM

As young Catholic parochial- and high-school students, our fear of the black-robed nuns, brothers, and priests dominated our thought processes and kept us in line.

Bush, a Born-Again, skillfully applies those same fear tactics to keep the youthful Democratic Majority in line!

Again, beware of any candidate (even for dog-catcher) who wears his faith on his sleeve!

Posted by: whfuhr | August 7, 2007 12:49 PM

Why is it the only thing the democrats in Washington try to accomplish is...
1. Lose the war in Iraq
2. Take away any tools we have to fight terrorism
3. Blame Bush for all the world's ills.

Do they think this will be sufficient to stay in the majority?

Posted by: Clinton | August 7, 2007 12:52 PM

ff a colege eduation does not gauranee intrlligence: George BUsh,s unearned C while playing at Yale The eaned gade was really an F.Lots of morons slept through college,did you?

Posted by: ben root | August 7, 2007 01:00 PM

"beware of any candidate (even for dog-catcher) who wears his faith on his sleeve!"

So says the atheist liberal democrat. I say beware any candidate who so easily dismisses the faith of others.

Posted by: Father Funk | August 7, 2007 01:05 PM

"ff a colege eduation does not gauranee intrlligence: George BUsh,s unearned C while playing at Yale The eaned gade was really an F.Lots of morons slept through college,did you?"

You obviously slept through class, yet I'm going to go out on a limb and say it wasn't at Yale.

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 01:07 PM

There is a foul stench coming from the Democratic Party. The spineless Democrats who went along with the President deserved to be kicked out of office. For the LAT they should ask why Dianne Feinstein voted for this bill. Perhaps Feinstein has stayed far too long in the Beltway and needs to be brought home.

Posted by: RedRat | August 7, 2007 01:09 PM

"For the LAT they should ask why Dianne Feinstein voted for this bill. Perhaps Feinstein has stayed far too long in the Beltway and needs to be brought home."

What, you're pissed at Feinstein because she doesn't buy your hysterical claims of undocumented attacks on our civil liberties? Maybe she actually has an interest in ensuring our intelligence services have the tools they need. Not everyone is simply out to "get" George Bush, some people actually have the country's best interest at heart.

Not everyone is a left wing conspiracist. It is about time the democrats put your kind in your place. Enjoy the next six months..don't forget to stay off the phone, George Bush wants to hear your latest gossip!

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 01:14 PM

James Madison said it best: "There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpation."

Posted by: sliptip | August 7, 2007 01:18 PM

"James Madison said it best: "There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpation."

How liberal of him. Try telling that to the Japanese-Americans thrown in jail by FDR. The only thing consistent about liberalism is its inconsistency.

Posted by: | August 7, 2007 01:22 PM

Sorry James Madison, but I don't feel my freedom being abridged because the NIS wants to listen to terrorist phone calls.

Nothing says abridgement of freedom more than two jets flying in to the World Trade Center.

As long as they are trying to stop a repeat of that, I can handle the phone tapping.

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 01:26 PM

Ben, your comment is so typical of the Democratic left.You comment on someones intelligence and expose the lack of same in the same sentence. I have seen better spellers who had yet to graduate from the first grade.

Al Gibbs

Posted by: Al Gibbs | August 7, 2007 02:01 PM

FF: aren't you getting a bit tired of carrying the kool-aide for George Bush? Remember, your current president and the Republican party is now in control, but what happens when the Democrats get in? They now will have the same power that Bush had. Do you think they will be any better? The Neo-Cons will not be in power forever. The Left can be just as nasty as the Right.

Posted by: | August 7, 2007 02:06 PM

Re: the cmt posted by"august 7": What hole have you been hiding in? the Dems have control of both houses of congress now! I certainly agree that they can be nasty.
Al Gibbs

Posted by: Al gibbs | August 7, 2007 02:13 PM

Well, the Democrats are taking it from both sides today! They might as well stop rolling over for our spoiled brat of a president, and start to listen to their base already. They might as well please SOMEONE.
By the way, not only terrorists, or even alleged terrorists, can have their emails and phonecalls monitored by the now legal warrantless spying program. As a matter of fact, now, with the newly passed "modernization" of FISA, surveillance targets need not be suspected terrorists, alleged spies, or even simple criminals.

And why do conservatives constantly use the word "tool" to describe Bush's domestic spying programs?
A tool is a wrench. Bush's programs are a blight on what America used to stand for, on what USED to make America great.

Posted by: Leroy | August 7, 2007 02:14 PM

The democrats are simply and openly playing politics with issues that are too important to treat so blithely. "Bush's War" is what Hillary wants us all to remember next year, rather than working now to get us out. Destruction of civil liberties happened under Bush, but the dems refuse to restore it, or stand up for it, or do anything other than debate censure proposals. Maybe they can't govern after all!

Posted by: sheen7334 | August 7, 2007 02:17 PM

If this law were limited to surveilling terrorists I suspect no one would have a problem with it. The objective of civil liberties advocates is not to prevent the government from surveilling terrorists. That sort of accusation is a deliberate attempt to avoid engaging the actual questions.

This law allows the government to listen to any international phone call and use the results in court for any reason. Even if it is only used for anti-terrorism purposes today, an assumption we have no factual basis for making, it is inevitable that if renewed it will be used for other purposes in the future.

I'd be more up in arms if it didn't expire in six months. I hope the final bill is more carefully considered. If not, then there will be a significant civil liberties problem here.

However, what I cannot understand are these partisans who insist on defending this on the basis that it is absolutely needed to protect people from terrorism. You say you need a legal framework for the war on terror, and yet you refuse to create a legal framework that is specifically constrained to fighting terrorism, and when you are asked to limit your framework to that stated purpose, you claim that you cannot fight terrorism with a legal framework that is designed specifically for fighting terrorism, and that the people who question your actions somehow support terrorism. This doesn't make any sense, and even people in this country with only a mild understanding of what is going on aren't buying it anymore.

If you were serious about terrorism you wouldn't be so transparently employing it as an excuse to pursue other interests.

Posted by: gdi | August 7, 2007 02:23 PM

cdi, I would be interested in knowing exactly what civil liberty you lost with the passing of the bill under discussion. What specific thing that you were doing before is now prohibited? What activity are you wishing to participate in that would , or could be used against you? I do not use the telephone at home , or abroad for purposes that I would fear the government knowing about.
Al Gibbs

Posted by: Al Gibbs | August 7, 2007 02:38 PM

Like the storm that hit New Orleans it is not a question of if but when a president will take office who will abuse the powers which George Bush has usurped in the name of protecting us from terrorists. Twice he has sworn not to protect us at all costs but to 'preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,' a document founded on the basic principle of a mistrust of unfettered power. I might vote for a president Hillary Clinton but I will oppose mightilly a Queen Hillary Clinton and by setting such precedents as the FISA legislation George Bush is setting her up to become just that.

Posted by: JamesH | August 7, 2007 02:45 PM

To the ones who say no innocents have been affected by the phone tappings and the "no-knock" warrants, I have one question for you: What about the 80 some grandmother who was shot multiple times by police when their WRONG information caused them to inforce a no knock warrant in the middle of the night? Who they were looking for was a few houses down, and a drug dealer. She was a scared old lady shot down by men who barged into her house at 3am. If that's not a good enough reason to question the trampling of our rights, they are already as good as gone.

Posted by: megan | August 7, 2007 02:47 PM

Any American who believes the current administration's childish argument of "If you have nothing to hide...", all the while crying "executive priveledge" every time Congress wants some information from them, I say, read the Constitution and most especially the 4th amendment in the Bill of Rights. That will answer your question, of what liberty we have lost. We have lost others to this admistration and will only lose more if we don't get active and demand respect and adherence to our Constitution.

Posted by: Karey | August 7, 2007 02:50 PM

Ignorance AND paranoia must be awful to live with on a daily basis!!

Al gibbs

Posted by: Al Gibbs | August 7, 2007 02:54 PM

For accuracy sake, I would like to let James know that Hillary did NOT vote for the current FISA update bill.

Posted by: Steve | August 7, 2007 02:54 PM

Al-Yes, ingnorance of our nation's history and lack of respect for our Constitution and everything our founding fathers fought for, are terrible burdens to live with. Thank goodness we still have the right to express our frustration over this burden.

Posted by: Mark | August 7, 2007 02:57 PM

Giving Our Intelligence services the tools necessary to protect our very lives hardly violates our constitional rights. The fourth ammendment pohibitions certainly was never intended to allow our sworn enimies freedom to communicate with each other on foreign soil with impunity. As for the loss of rights our forefathers created, the "nanny state" the Democrats have attempted to force on us since Roosevelt has taken away more constitutional rights that any FISA law ever could.
Al gibbs

Posted by: Al Gibbs | August 7, 2007 03:12 PM

Al: I do not use the telephone at home, or abroad for purposes that I would fear the government knowing about.

Well, I rest my case. The point is that a free society is one in which people live without constant suspicion and surveillance from the government. The government can surveil based on individualized suspicion, but generally speaking it leaves innocent people alone. The maximum sort of surveillance allowed by this rule would not be the hallmark of a free society and certainly would have nothing to do with fighting terrorism.

You would seem to heartily embrace constant police monitoring of your telephone calls based on the idea that you have nothing to hide. This is also based on the assumption that the police are always honest and that the laws are always just. I don't share those assumptions, and history doesn't support those assumptions. FISA was created in the first place because the monitoring of international telecommunications for partisan political purposes by administrations in the 60's and 70's. Thats not ancient history.

The civil liberty that I will have lost here is the right to have a private, personal conversation with friends and loved ones overseas without wondering whether there is a third party on the line who may use any word I breath against me in a court or for a political purpose. Why is that so difficult to understand?

Posted by: gdi | August 7, 2007 03:33 PM

When will the Dems realize just how pissed off at Bush/Cheny/Gonzo we are?

Posted by: littledog | August 7, 2007 03:38 PM

The comments here from the treasonous neocon crowd are a perfect example of why this administration has no concern about ignoring constitutional law and usurping civil liberties. The neocons have no use for the philosophy of our forefathers. By their casual dismissal of Madison's words as "liberal" or irrelevant, they make clear their treasonous intent.

They do not seek to protect America. They cowardly worry only about their own lives and wish for the government to act as nanny. What can be more liberal than wanting the federal government to swaddle you, and nurse you, with this bogus impression that you are "safer"? These cowards are willing to reject the wisdom and blood of our forefathers so they can have a binky to make them feel safer.

FF in particular shows his weak and pathetic need for the nanny state. The Framers warned of a nation filled with people like him/her. FF, you are naive if you believe that the government is only "listening to terrorists." Government documents already show that this is not the case -- before this bill was passed. The bill passed opens up the government to listen to ANY call, in or out, to ANY nation, made by ANY citizen.

I would rather take the risk of being the victim of an attack than have even one single American have their civil liberties infringed upon. I rather risk an attack than ensure that my children, and my grandchildren will not know the liberty I once had. The principles held by the Framers far supersede your own cowardly and selfish need to "feel" safer.

Posted by: Mad Man Moon | August 7, 2007 03:42 PM

Who is Al Gibbs and what is he drinking? Sounds like he came from Germany in the era of 'good Germans,' who believed all the same language Hitler used to manipulate the populace into endless war. If you're such a believer in 'keeping us safe,' Al, why aren't you in Iraq wearing body armor and carrying a heavy pack in 110 degree heat and killing people? Doesn't that sound like fun? Of course war keeps us safe. We have thousands of years of history proving that war keeps us safe. Don't we? Oh wait. Those thousands of years prove the opposite. Well, no talking to people who believe O.J. is innocent, Osama did 911, and the earth is flat.

Posted by: shaman7214@sbcglobal.net | August 7, 2007 03:51 PM

Who is Al Gibbs and what is he drinking? Sounds like he came from Germany in the era of 'good Germans,' who believed all the same language Hitler used to manipulate the populace into endless war. If you're such a believer in 'keeping us safe,' Al, why aren't you in Iraq wearing body armor and carrying a heavy pack in 110 degree heat and killing people? Doesn't that sound like fun? Of course war keeps us safe. We have thousands of years of history proving that war keeps us safe. Don't we? Oh wait. Those thousands of years prove the opposite. Well, no talking to people who believe O.J. is innocent, Osama did 911, and the earth is flat.

Posted by: shaman7214@sbcglobal.net | August 7, 2007 03:51 PM

I was amused to see that you attacked someone's intelligence earlier, while it appears you have little knowledge of the changes in the FISA law. I suppose many believe if Bush says it will help keep us safe, than that must be true. However, this argument that it affects evil doers alone is simplification at its worst. "Do whatever we say, or they are coming to get you.", is the most frequent battle cry of this adminstration and on a frightened,
uninformed people,I can see how it is effective. I just don't believe this issue can be so unequivocal.
I am also confused regarding this "nanny state" of which you speak. What are the characteristics of a "nanny state"? The Republicans have been in charge of the executive branch and had been in charge of the legislative branch for many, many years. Why haven't they fixed this "nanny state" and exactly what strides have they made in improving our economy, safety and foreign policy?

Posted by: Karey | August 7, 2007 03:56 PM

"I rather risk an attack than ensure that my children, and my grandchildren will not know the liberty I once had."

How noble. Thankfully, their are people like me who support efforts to keep your children and grandchildren attacked in the first place. Dead children have no liberty.

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 03:58 PM

"I suppose many believe if Bush says it will help keep us safe, than that must be true."

And too many democrats that believe that it must be wrong if Bush supports it. What's your point?

Don't deny our intelligence services what they need just out of your hatred of Bush.

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 04:03 PM

"When will the Dems realize just how pissed off at Bush/Cheny/Gonzo we are?"

This little tantrum is a perfect representation of what is going on with the democrats. Don't worry that these laws will help prevent terrorism, "don't they know how mad we are at Bush?" Democrats are willing to play politics with our national security to appease these left wing peeboys.

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 04:06 PM

"How noble. Thankfully, their are people like me who support efforts to keep your children and grandchildren attacked in the first place. Dead children have no liberty."

FF: Who would want to live without liberty?

Posted by: Mad Man Moon | August 7, 2007 04:10 PM

How EXACTLY is being able to eavesdrop on anyone, without probable cause being required, or oversight of any kind exercised, keeping our children safer? Please explain.
I would like my children to be safe as well, but I'm not going to let fearmongers tell me that decimating the Constitution is the only way to do it.
Previously with FISA, they could listen or search without a warrant if one party was "suspected" to be a member of a terrorist group. That incredibly loose requirement was completely taken out of this bill. Why was that necessary?
The great thing for this adminstration is, all they have to do is say they are keeeping us safe (they don't even have to say how they are doing it or prove it-"executive priveledge"), and some people will believe them.

Posted by: Karey | August 7, 2007 04:16 PM

"FF: Who would want to live without liberty?"

You give a false choice. I thought you libs always accuse Bush of scare tactics, while here you are hysterically charging our civil liberties are under attack.

I am not being prevented from doing anything that I was ever able to do. If you are not breaking the laws of this country, you are in no way affected, period. You can give all the James Madison quotes and talk of creeping threats taken lightly, etc., it doesn't carry water.

I don't see a loss of liberty.

I do see a threat of terrorism.

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 04:17 PM

"but I'm not going to let fearmongers tell me that decimating the Constitution is the only way to do it."

Fearmongering? You should know. Are you saying our Constitution is being decimated? And it passed Congress..democrat controlled Congress?

At least those on the right are fearmongering about something tangible and something we've all experienced, you are fearmongering political platitudes and hypothetical, objective, relativity.

Hypocrite much?

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 04:23 PM

"Previously with FISA, they could listen or search without a warrant if one party was "suspected" to be a member of a terrorist group. That incredibly loose requirement was completely taken out of this bill. Why was that necessary?"

Yeah, the ACLU would hate for us to also catch a child molester. We wouldn't want to decimate his civil liberties along with the US Constitution.

What a threat. Let's not give our Intelligence services the tools they request because we might actually find someone commiting a different crime.

Great argument.

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 04:28 PM

FF-Following your leaders blindly and never asking for answers is just as bad as ignoring them out of "hatred".

Posted by: Mark | August 7, 2007 04:29 PM

Shaman, Wo is Al Gibbs? and why am I not in Iraq? Firstly, I don't drink anything stronger than coffee. secondly I spent three years in combat (without body armor) and a total of eight years wearing the uniform so that people like you can spout your venom against our president. What you don't do is offer a reasonable alternative to his policies . The role of government that I don't like unlike you is the redistribution of wealth via taxes. If you don't understand what I mean by nanny state then you probably are a Democrat/ communist/ liberal who thinks it is ok to take from one citizen and give to another.
Al Gibbs

Posted by: Al Gibbs | August 7, 2007 04:30 PM

Oh, they are looking for child molesters as well. Thanks for clearing that up for me. And exactly how many child molesters have they caught? Oh, and where in the language of FISA does it say they are also listening for other crimes? What is so mind boggling is that you offer no facts to back up your positions. While the fact that we have had civil liberties infringed upon is just that. A fact. Done in the name of keeping us safe, but a fact just the same.
Oh, yes, you are right. Evoking images of 9/11 everytime someone argues with you is MUCH better than being concerned for our Constitution.

Posted by: Karey | August 7, 2007 04:34 PM

Since when did democrats start worrying about liberties anyway?

You want to take over my health care, educational system, confiscate my property, confiscate my gun, tell me where to smoke, what foods can be eaten, what I can drive, where I can drive it, want to force me to give up my estate to the government, etc, etc, etc.....and you say Republicans are a threat to liberty?

Yeah, right.

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 04:38 PM

Al-Hey, if someone doesn't agree with you, they must be a communist!
Brilliant!

Posted by: Mark | August 7, 2007 04:42 PM

"What is so mind boggling is that you offer no facts to back up your positions. While the fact that we have had civil liberties infringed upon is just that. A fact."

Speaking of offering no facts. I guess you can give me a list of infringed upon civil liberties?

What position of mine do I need to back up? That there are no civil liberties "under attack"? Debate rule number one...you can't prove a negative...I say it isn't happening. That's like me trying to prove that Bigfoot isn't walking around Manhattan. He isn't but I can't prove he isn't other than to make you show me that he is. That is proof enough until shown otherwise.

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 04:44 PM

FF: Let's not give our Intelligence services the tools they request because we might actually find someone commiting a different crime.

Why are the intelligence services interested in focusing on different crimes? I want them to focus on anti-terrorism. Why do they need laws that enable them to focus on something else?

You know what, you're right... Why don't we monitor domestic telephone calls too? There probably are terrorist cells operating domestically. We'll likely find a lot of other criminals in the process, but whats the harm in locking them all up? Why don't we authorize house to house searches? I have nothing to hide, do you? I'm sure we'd uncover some terrorist plots that way!

There is no cost associated with any of this. Just look at all of the places that have operated this way, like East Germany. They lived life there happy and secure in the knowledge that they were free from corrupt western influences, at least until the terrible day the wall fell. We're going to build a wall here too!

Is there anything that you would be unwilling to sacrifice in order to make yourself feel safer? What do you think is important about the identity of America? Where would you draw the line?

You understand, don't you, that Al'Queda does not have the operational capability to take over the United States. Their attacks are intended to scare you. When you sacrifice what you are and become something else because of their actions they win. Thats the best strategic result they could hope for with the capabilities that they have. You're handing it to them.

Posted by: gdi | August 7, 2007 04:44 PM

Mark , the only real difference in a Democrat and a communist is in the spelling. As just posted by ff the Democrats want to take from those who earn and redistribute to those who won't. Wasn't it Lenin who advocated that philisophy first? If the shoe fits.......
Al

Posted by: Al Gibbs | August 7, 2007 04:48 PM

"Is there anything that you would be unwilling to sacrifice in order to make yourself feel safer? What do you think is important about the identity of America? Where would you draw the line?"

Again, another false argument. I don't think our civil liberties are under threat from the NSA laws. You say you are either against the NSA laws or you are willing to give up your civil liberties. I don't see it that way.

"Their attacks are intended to scare you. When you sacrifice what you are and become something else because of their actions they win."

Being "scared" as nothing to do with it. When the NIS says that they need a law and it is doing good things (that aren't always made public), and I've looked at what they are asking for and DO NOT see a civil liberties threat, I am willing to give it to them.

"Thats the best strategic result they could hope for with the capabilities that they have."

I don't think you see the threat. They are looking to inflict mass casualties. They aren't trying to govern the US. The "result they could hope for" is that liberals like you will be against any tool we have to fight them, simply out of either a hatred of all things Bush, or some concocted platitude about civil liberties.

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 04:52 PM

Due to the persuasive, logical, example driven and fact based arguments of FF and Al, I am off to the polls to vote against a bond issue that would redistribute some of that "wealth" to my child's school and then become a registered Republican.
I also think I will stop reading those "liberal" things called newspapers and watching the "leftist" news. I'll just find a nice website or pundit who will tell me what to think.
Thanks for helping me see the light!

Posted by: Karey | August 7, 2007 05:03 PM

"I also think I will stop reading those "liberal" things called newspapers and watching the "leftist" news. I'll just find a nice website or pundit who will tell me what to think."

Yes, it must suck not to have a monopoly on the news anymore. Welcome to the 21st century, there is no mainstream media spouting only liberal doctrine anymore. People like me are here to stay.

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 05:09 PM

FF
How can you call something civil liberties a "concocted platitude" when they are actually IN the Constitution?

Posted by: Steve | August 7, 2007 05:09 PM

Karey, you have obviously already found a source to tell you what to think. I think you identified them quite well.
Al

Posted by: Al Gibbs | August 7, 2007 05:12 PM

Thanks Al. So have you.

Posted by: Karey | August 7, 2007 05:17 PM

FF:

1. Liberals like me? When did I say I saw a liberal. Is anyone you disagree with a liberal?

2. Did I say that I hate Bush? Did I mention Bush once in any of my posts?

3. Did I say that I "will be against any tool we have to fight them?" I specifically indicated that I wouldn't be opposed to this plan if it was specifically designed for fighting terrorism. My problem with this plan is that it can be applied in any context. I've been pretty clear about that.

Are you arguing with me, or someone else, who you've imagined?

As far as I've been able to tell, your view is that the right to be free from government intrusion into your privacy is not a civil liberty, and so a law which allows the government to intrude into your privacy does not violate your civil liberties. I've attempted over and over in my posts to explain why the right to be free from government intrusion is important. In my view the 4th Amendment is not any less significant than the 1st or the 2nd, but I can see that you have a different perspective.

I'm sorry that you think privacy is a "concocted platitude." How about I try a different tact... Here is a specific example.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11751418/

The problem was, of course, fixed, once it made national headlines. However, it is, in fact, a concrete example of domestic peaceful political groups being including in anti-terrorism surveillance efforts. This is from 2005.

Posted by: gdi | August 7, 2007 05:29 PM

"How can you call something civil liberties a "concocted platitude" when they are actually IN the Constitution?"

I'm calling the threat concocted, generally in a transparent attempt to give validity to the obvious....anti-Bush derangement.

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 05:30 PM

Frasier Foy denies any "lost" civil liberties and implies that the Democrats who do not support this legislation are giving up on the war on terror and are in step with the Communists. You have forgotten your history. Communist countries were the most orderly, crime free and hardest for intelligence agencies to penetrate and that is because their citizens had no civil rights. The government could spy on their citizens without restriction. There were no secrets from the government in those countries. Then there was the dreaded knock on the door in the middle of the night and you disappeared from the face of the earth. Can you believe that this forum that we are participating in could have existed in a Communist country? How many more rights do we have to give up in the name of "national security" or "fighting the terrorists" before we no longer can disagree with our government in the public square, on the phone, over the internet, or even in a whisper in our own homes. Naw..., never happen, right?

Gene Bishop is right when he says "there is no proof of lost or infringed rights on the part of individual citizens as a result of FISA." But why is he right? Whenever a citizen tries to sue the government to determine the amount of illegality employed by all these government snooping programs the government lawyers simply invoke the Government Secrecy Act where, for the government to defend themselves, would mean they would have to disclose government secrets and of course everything the plaintiff wants to know is a government secret. Only one judge so far has had the courage to support the plainfiff and she will probably be overturned by the appeals court. This most recent law prohibits them reporting the specifics of their snooping to even the intelligence and judical committees in the House and Senate. So I ask you, Gene, how would I ever be able to challenge your assumption that no harm has been done?

Posted by: AzCoyote | August 7, 2007 05:35 PM

FF: "I don't see a loss of liberty."
"I do see a threat of terrorism."

Well dang, nice dichotomy you try to put together.

Our forefathers provided a foundation that was created specifically to ensure that the individual did not suffer from the tyranny of the government or the masses. You seek to wipe that out.

The fact is, liberty (like fear) is not tangible. Do you believe that the Framers would have approved of having the government open mail , from all of New England, too and from the U.K. -- and reading it without a warrant, consent, or oversight and without notification? They faced a threat mightier than we do today, and they knew that strengthening and ensuring the liberty of citizens made the nation stronger, not weaker.

One does not need their liberty restricted to believe it is worth fighting for. The protection of any citizens liberty is as important as the protection of my own. What's more, liberty is lost not by a specific executed action -- such as having someone listening to a private conversation. It's lost the moment the government is given the ability to execute the action. It may be a hard concept for you to grasp, these intangibles that can't be felt or heard.

A follow up to your comment about dead children. I clearly stated that I am willing to face the *risk the threat* to our safety to maintain liberty. This is a risk we face, with or without sacrificing our freedom. I am not willing to hedge the risk-reward for a false illusion that we are safer.

Finally -- it's interesting, the references to communists, Stalin and the Soviet Union. The methods and tools you support for our government to use are the very methods and tools the Soviet Union used to "keep the nation safe" from harm; wiretapping, covert searches of homes without warrant, secretly arresting citizens and holding them without representation, seizing assets of those who interfere with the government cause. These were once pointed to as tools of the "evil empire" -- now available to the United States government and embraced by the likes of you. This is not hyperbole. This is fact.

Posted by: Mad Man Moon | August 7, 2007 05:43 PM

"so a law which allows the government to intrude into your privacy does not violate your civil liberties."

But my point is that I don't think this law allows the government to intrude on my privacy. I read your link. I don't think it in any way proves to me otherwise. So an anti-war group showed up on some report. Their name was removed upon review.

Even if it showed that some FBI agent was spying on his girlfriend, it still doesn't prove your point. The law does not allow him to do so, and as with the group's name being purged from the report, the fbi agent would be fired.

Crooked cops sometimes kill their wives, etc. with their gun. It doesn't mean that we should take guns away from cops.

You're saying that since the law was abused, although your article did not, that the law is an attack on our civil liberties. I think it is clearly aimed at preventing terrorism, not trying to find if you're selling dime bags out of Grandma's basement.

Calling this an attack on our civil liberties or decimating our Constitution is fearmongering at its worst due to the topic...national security.

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 05:43 PM

I have to assume that FF believes that Bruce Fein is a liberal as well given Fein's belief that both Cheney and Bush should be impeached for their crimes?

Fein is currently helping to author articles that will be submitted shortly against Alberto Gonzales as well.

Posted by: Mad Man Moon | August 7, 2007 05:46 PM

Geez Mad Man Moon, talk about platitudes, where do I start. First off, I don't think I've mentioned the words communist, Soviet Union, or Stalin, but you have to admit, there is one party that shares more of their beliefs than the other.

"They faced a threat mightier than we do today, and they knew that strengthening and ensuring the liberty of citizens made the nation stronger, not weaker."

Yes, but I don't think our liberty is under attack. We are fighting terrorists, just as we fought Nazis in WWII. This law was requested by the NSA to serve that purpose, fighting terrorism. There is no more important function of the federal government than national security. I'm sure Alexander Hamilton would agree.


Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 05:54 PM

"Fein's belief that both Cheney and Bush should be impeached for their crimes?"

Yes, Fein is a liberal. Who cares what Fein is?

You, my friend, are exhibit A in the Bush derangement syndrome textbook. I only recall one President found to have committed a crime and disbarred for it. It wasn't Bush.

Show me a crime and I'll show you an editorial board at the NY Times, and their puppet Schumer, dancing down Times Square.

There has been no "crime" or the media would have been all over it a long time ago. A few of the left wing loonies try to keep it in the news to keep the left wing loonie crowd like you salivating at the possibilities and firmly in their pockets.

Your articles of impeachment are nothing more than red meat for the easily persuaded. Pavlov would be proud at your response. Keep dreaming.

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 06:01 PM

FF

"...for it is a truth, which the experience of all ages has attested, that the people are commonly most in danger when the means of insuring their rights are in the possession of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion."

Alexander Hamilton

Wow. He sounds as paranoid as us "liberal wackos" I'm not sure he would agree with your whole idea of absolute faith in our all national security mandates and laws.

Posted by: Alex | August 7, 2007 06:14 PM

P.S.-He said there was no more important function of government than justice, not national security.

Posted by: Alex | August 7, 2007 06:17 PM

Alex, nice posts. I guess Alexander and I disagree on many things then.

"I'm not sure he would agree with your whole idea of absolute faith in our all national security mandates and laws."

He probably wouldn't agree with blind rejection either, especially if he saw no threat to civil liberties, as do I.

"that the people are commonly most in danger when the means"

Commonly, not always.

"He said there was no more important function of government than justice, not national security."

I feel you can have neither without the other. I don't see a conflict between the two that seems so obvious to those on the left.


Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 06:27 PM

Alex, the law in question provides the means to ensure that "justice" is served to the terrorist who would kill us all. War in Hamiltons time was fought according to civilized rules and terrorism was yet to be invented on the scale that we face today. The NSA law takes no civil liberty from any law abiding citizen of this country and does help provide some security. I suspect that if a Democrat president had requested the law there would be dead silence from the majority of the current protesting gaggle.
Al

Posted by: Al Gibbs | August 7, 2007 06:28 PM

FF: But my point is that I don't think this law allows the government to intrude on my privacy.

Are you saying that you don't think this legislation authorizes the government to listen to your international phone calls?

FF: You're saying that since the law was abused, although your article did not, that the law is an attack on our civil liberties.

No, I'm saying that the law is an attack on our civil liberties because it allows the government to listen to all international telephone calls from the US for any law enforcement reason without individualized suspicion.

FF: I think it is clearly aimed at preventing terrorism, not trying to find if you're selling dime bags out of Grandma's basement.

Its nice that you think that, but I have no idea why you do. There is absolutely nothing in the text of the legislation which constrains it to the context of terrorism. The specific example that you raise, the war on drugs, is a prefect example of a context in which the government is likely to employ this sort of legal authorization, if it is extended past 6 months. In fact, as some drug traffic funds violent political groups, they might even call it an anti-terrorism effort.

If you can show me what part of this legislation prohibits its use for purposes other than anti-terrorism, I might change my mind about it.

Posted by: gdi | August 7, 2007 06:43 PM

Check your history books Al. During the Revolutionary War, the British considered the guerilla style tactics our army used to be barbaric and very uncivilized.

Justice isn't exclusive to punishing the guilty, and if the intelligence agencies don't have oversight, how do we know justice is being served? How do you feel about checks and balances?
If no civil liberties are being taken away, what is the harm in Congress having oversight? They wouldn't have to report any secrets to the public, just secure Congressional committees. Why would having to do that, hinder them from protecting us?
I have yet to hear a good argument for why Congressional oversight is detrimental to national security.

Posted by: Alex | August 7, 2007 06:46 PM

"I have yet to hear a good argument for why Congressional oversight is detrimental to national security."

How about leaks to the NY Times? It is well documented the damage this has caused.

Also, we've got too many Washington politicians trying to manage a war already. Congress gave its oversight when it passed the law.

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 06:52 PM

"In fact, as some drug traffic funds violent political groups, they might even call it an anti-terrorism effort."

As well they should. I've got no problem with the government pursuing violent groups of any kind, including their funding.

Again, I can't prove a negative. You can't show where NSA laws have been abused, until you can, my argument stands. Do you know how many international calls are made at any time. The sheer numbers make it logically likely that there must be some reasonable reason to listen to the call. Again, if they have this reason, I approve.

Also, do you know what percentage of Americans make international calls...ever? Such a limited percentage can hardly be called a threat to our civil liberties as a country.

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 06:58 PM

Alex The arguement against congressional oversight on such a program is obvious. There are so many hardcore partisans in congress that "leak" information to the press that keeping the program and its results secret would be virtually impossible. The Tew York Times would be in the loop so fast that any information that might be even mildly embarrassing to the Bush administration would be front page immediately. If can equivicate guerilla tactics in war to terrorism then you obviously have a twisted sense of equity.
Al

Posted by: Al Gibbs | August 7, 2007 06:59 PM

FF: So an anti-war group showed up on some report. Their name was removed upon review.

If by review you mean a national controversy, then yeah, "after review." Incidentally, the warrant requirement that all of this has to do with eliminating IS THE REVIEW that prevents these kinds of things from happening.

Posted by: gdi | August 7, 2007 06:59 PM

"If by review you mean a national controversy, then yeah, "after review." "

National controversy? Yeah, maybe one night on Olbermann's show. Let's not be hysterical, this wasn't major news at the time.

This report was put together while they were trying to iron out the TALON program.

"the warrant requirement that all of this has to do with eliminating IS THE REVIEW that prevents these kinds of things from happening.

It was reviewed and corrected, why does it matter who is doing the review? Would you find a review done by Waxman to be more respected?

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 07:06 PM

FF: I've got no problem with the government pursuing violent groups of any kind, including their funding.

The question is whether they should be able to do it WITHOUT REVIEW.

FF: You can't show where NSA laws have been abused, until you can, my argument stands.

What part of "FISA was established in the first place in response to abuse" don't you understand?

FF: Again, if they have this reason, I approve.

Who knows what reason they might have if there is no independent oversight?

FF: Also, do you know what percentage of Americans make international calls...ever? Such a limited percentage can hardly be called a threat to our civil liberties as a country.

Yeah, you're right, its ok to violate the rights of small groups of people, like black people, for example. Its only a civil liberties issue if it impacts the majority.

Posted by: gdi | August 7, 2007 07:10 PM

I would like to point out that leaks from the executive branch are just as likely as those from the legislative.
I believe leaking the identity of a CIA operative during war time, proves that and I believe oversight in ALL branches is necessary.
Also,if it is well documented, what other leaks to the N.Y. times have there been? Do we know where they came from?
I'm afraid you don't know our government very well if you think that passing a law eliminating oversight, is oversight. When they passed the law,they gave oversight away, which is what I don't agree with. Republicans used to be against big government. Did terrorist attacks make them change their minds on that part of the conservative idealogy?

Posted by: Alex | August 7, 2007 07:11 PM

The Dems are caught 'between the devil and deep blue sea'with Presidential election around the corner. Rob Anderson cites LAT cum NYT that "slams-accuses" the fearful Dems for voting in favor of FISA. Rob, could you kindly offer something original? I always favored the Dems who are lesser warmongers than Reps. Now it does not matter if the Dems controlled the House/ Congress or not. I recall Sociologist Robert Michels treatise on 'Iron law of Oligarchy.'It means that, "power was always controlled by the minority, that government and organizations were oligarchical in nature and struggles took place because of disputes dominated by minorities." A state, be it democracy, communism et.al can't exist without a minority but dominant/ruling political class, the Dems and US inclusive.

Posted by: Valentine Anthony | August 7, 2007 07:20 PM

FF: National controversy? Yeah, maybe one night on Olbermann's show. Let's not be hysterical, this wasn't major news at the time.

Results 1 - 10 of about 69,600 for NBC TALON Pentagon

Results include csmonitor, wapo, fox, cnn...

What do you want? I imagine it would have been a bigger if the NSA surveillance story hadn't broken immediately after.

FF: It was reviewed and corrected, why does it matter who is doing the review?

Well, one of the bedrocks of modern governance is called the "separation of powers." The idea is that you have different branches of government and a "system of checks and balances" that enables each branch to check the power of the others. If you are reviewing your own politically motivated surveillance campaign, chances are actually quite good that you are going to find that everything is in order. By having an independent review, you get a difference perspective. Such a system is more difficult to corrupt.

Posted by: gdi | August 7, 2007 07:22 PM

Al-Again, I ask what leaks have occured from the legislative branch? And if there have been, don't you agree that ALL branches should still have oversight.
Can you name some of these leaks for me?
I am only aware of the CIA operative leak and the WMD leaks. Those were both from the executive branch.
Which leaks came from the legislative?
I would like to know the specifics.

Posted by: Alex | August 7, 2007 07:25 PM

It is mind-boggling and disconcerting that the Democrats are so fearful of what the Republicans and their operatives say about them.

How many times can Bush holler 'WOLF' before they get the idea it is a trick and a wolf may not be there?

Don't they know that if we were attack today by a suicide bomber, Bush and the Republicans would blame the Democrats as enablers of the terrorist?

Posted by: swweaver | August 7, 2007 07:26 PM

sw-weaver-I agree.
Republicans have the perfect position. If we don't get attacked, they can say, "Look how well we are protecting you." and if we do, they can say, "See, we told you the Democrats were soft on terror."

Posted by: Alex | August 7, 2007 07:29 PM

"Yeah, you're right, its ok to violate the rights of small groups of people, like black people, for example."

Race card, big surprise.

There is no comparison between the rights of a race and targets of a national security program passed by Congress but I understand you had to try to fit race in somehow.

My point is the hysteria doesn't fit the activity, as you provide a great example.

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 07:33 PM

"By having an independent review, you get a difference perspective. Such a system is more difficult to corrupt."

You seem to suggest this is all done by one man (Bush?) sitting in a room, listening to calls, issuing idictments, and casting verdicts. (I know someone will ask how I'm sure) There are plenty of chances for abuse to be made public, for many different justifications. Your example of the anti-war group is the perfect example (though far short of a national controversy).

I feel you truly want democrat oversight more than independent oversight. Your argument that this would somehow be less corruptable is comical. It would only ensure that it would be political.

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 07:47 PM

FF
So you don't believe in checks and balances, because everything is already so corrupted? No, that would be putting words into your mouth or attempting to read your mind, like you did when you said, "I feel you truly want democrat oversight more than independent oversight."
Smart tactic. How can they argue with you, if you can read their minds?
It is interesting that despite the fact the person repeatedly said "independent", you felt you knew what they "really" meant.

Posted by: Alex | August 7, 2007 07:57 PM

Sorry Alex, I didn't know I was in court tonight. Nice talking with you guys, very civil (no pun intended)...relatively speaking, of course.

I feel the pendulum swinging back to the right, just in time for 08.

Rudy 08!

Posted by: FF | August 7, 2007 08:08 PM

Addendum: Michels 'Iron rule of Oligarchy' is universal. Generally politicians are what George Orwell's sattirical portrayal of them in his "Animal Farm."

Posted by: Valentine Anthony | August 7, 2007 08:11 PM

FF "Yes, Fein is a liberal. Who cares what Fein is?"

How exactly would you define Bruce Fein as a liberal? Due to his support for sticking to constitutional boundaries?

As a traditional conservative who has been a member of the Republican party for the last two decades, I would be hard pressed to find someone who better represents conservatism than Bruce Fein. He is among a growing number of conservatives who are rejecting this administration's methods and policies. They are able to look beyond party politics and recognize that these men are betraying the Constitution and consequently, the nation as a whole.

Fein and others from the Reagan administration have shown consistent and pragmatic conservative leadership since the days when GW was avoiding combat. They have not wavered in their philosophy or their respect for limited government. When they show disdain for this administration, it's clear that something is awry.

You keep stating that you do not think that the bill infringes on our liberties. Conservatives like Fein, William F. Buckley and organizations such as the CATO Institute, one of the most respected conservative think tanks to exist, believe otherwise and provide clear constitutional arguments as to why it is illegal.

For some reason, you and others who cower in fear and blindly request the protection of the nanny state, are unable to provide one shred of logic to explain why it is a legal program. You argue that one can't prove a negative. No one is asking you to prove a negative. They ask you to show why it is legal under Constitutional law.

Posted by: Mad Man Moon | August 7, 2007 10:12 PM

When Ralph Nader said that we needed a third party and then ran for the presidency I felt that he was wrong. Now I am not so sure. I am tired of backing a party of losers. The senate could not mount a fillobuster to keep Alito and Roberts off the bench and now we have a renewal of Fisa which means that both houses have sold us out.
Are these guys on the take or just scared? I don't mind the government listening to my phone calls, I mind Alberto Gonzales a guy who acts for political reasons and not reasons of state making the decision to listen in. I mind having an administration that is so obviously crooked I can't believe anything that is said and I mind being a member of a party that has so little leadership they get snookered at every turn.

Posted by: | August 7, 2007 10:14 PM

What troubles me is that everyone seems to have lost sight of the reason for the restrictions on government searches without warrants issued on a showing of probable cause. It is an anti authoritarian proposition. If the government in power can make sweeping searches for people and things that may be "plotting" to legitimately put them out of power, those in power can use that information to maintain themselves in power.

I think it was Madison who said that a certain degree of abuse is inseparable from the proper use of anything in reference to the first amendment. the same goes for the fourth. I am willing to be a little less safe to be a lot more free.

The really odd thing about this retreat from the bill of rights, is, as I read the reportage, that the government can "tap" those US residents who are not targets without a warrant, but if they are targets, a warrant from FISA is required. This is really perverse.

Let's not be fooled. This is about authority not security.

Posted by: Fabius | August 7, 2007 11:11 PM

FF:
So quick to accuse someone of "playing the race card" without reading the post or PRETENDING to be ignorant of how the powers Bush has usurped can so easily be abused! We're lucky he's stupid as opposed to truly evil! What if the down the line a pres decides to use Bushes power to get rid of his political opponents? Easy to do thanks to Bush! Label anyone who doesn't agree with you an enemy of the state, spy on them and throw them in jail on some trumped up charge! Think it can't happen? Ask one of The Duke Three as they've come to be known? For those unfamiliar with the case we HAD a DA here in Durham NC who tried to railroad three innocent boys into prison on rape charges. He with held evidence, intiminated witnesses, lied in court,you name it! He was up for re-election and wanted support of the Black community. When a Black stripper claimed she'd been raped by three white frat boys he saw his chance! Lucky for them they came from monied families who had the resources to fight back! Had they been Black, or POOR, they'd be in jail as we speak for something they didn't do! And this WAS politically motivated. I shudder to think of something like this on a federal level! We're seting ourselves for a dictatorship!

Posted by: jackie | August 8, 2007 12:20 AM

The Democrats who supported this additioanal assault on the Bill of Rights have sold their souls in order to keep their seats in what must surely be impoverished, under-educated districts. (Does speaking the truth make me a "liberal elitist"?) The Republicans who have supported this administration and its immoral war will one day soon rue the day they cheered while the executive branch, by shear audacity and with no concern for our traditions and laws, usurped powers which lie constitutionally within the other branches of government. Unless history has stopped dead in its tracks, America will one day have a liberal president who will, by precedents established by Bush, have powers that will scare the bejesus out of conservatives. If the minions of Bush had any grasp of history or any foresight, they would never allow these hoodlums to compromise America's Constitutional directives as well as our most sacred traditions. Bush is NOT a conservative! You guys are supporting policies that fly in the face of virtually all conservative tenets. All this for a tax cut and an opportunity to shoot at people. Will any of you state with honesty what you would be saying if Clinton had done the precise things Bush has done? I doubt it.

Posted by: Mason Myatt | August 8, 2007 02:37 AM

On Mr.Rob Anderson's "The Dems and Fisa ", I appreciate the fact that as one who dips his cup in the liberal cool aid, he is free to create the truth as he goes along, or simply repeat what he is told to think as a free thinker. In order to make his point more believable, he should also make up a Constitutional ammendment that points out where foreign terrorists have rights similar to our citizens. He might even become a leader in the lefts movement to modify the truth to suit their needs.
I would appreciate it he would start his ammendments at 600 .

Posted by: Dennis Shea | August 8, 2007 12:30 PM

Fascism does not just fall out of the sky from nowhere. In every single case, past and present, the foundations of fascism--legal, political, economic and social--are constructed over a protracted period of time with lots of "useful idiots" aiding in their own enslavement and that of others. And those "useful idiots" have always included a potpourri of opportunistic and spineless liberals, social democrats, politicians and a just- plain-smug-pampered-stupid-and-cloistered public trading away basic liberties for some illusory "safety" promised by the fascists. who wear many masks and assume many disguises.

There is nothing about the Republicans that does not apply to the Dems--just a different facade covering the same ugly stuff.

Posted by: James Craven | August 8, 2007 04:28 PM

Its simple why these clowns have gone weak-kneed. The Bushsters have their phone records and are using them as leverage. From affairs to illegal slush funds to shadowy characters in their phone records, their proverbial nuts are in the vise.

Oh and by the way, I hope it is clear that whatever this administration claims, they are not Republicans nor Americans, they are corporatists and fascists. When will this country wake up and smell the coffee?

Posted by: JP Vance | August 9, 2007 02:54 AM

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