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Culture of Corruption

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 1:49 pm - March 28, 2006.
Filed under: Liberals,National Politics,Post 9-11 America

So liberals wail and beat their chests when the President, using his authority to wage war in the 21st Century to protect Americans, okays eavesdropping on suspected terrorists in the USA when they make calls to their buddies overseas.

But where are the wails for “censure” when a United States Congressman explicity and knowingly violates the wiretapping laws for his own party’s political benefit?

Jim McDermott: Lawbreaker – Michelle Malkin

A federal appeals court ruled today that Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., violated federal law by turning over an illegally taped telephone call to reporters nearly a decade ago.

In a 2-1 opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that McDermott violated the rights of House Majority Leader John Boehner, who was heard on the 1996 call involving former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

The court ordered McDermott to pay Boehner more than $700,000 for leaking the taped conversation. The figure includes $60,000 in damages and more than $600,000 in legal costs.

McDermott leaked a tape of a 1996 cell phone call involving former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to The New York Times and other news organizations.

I hope it won’t take another 10 years to find out and prosecute the United States Senator who leaked classified information about the War on Terror to the media!

-Bruce (Gaypatriot)

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59 Comments

  1. So, basically, McDermott aided and abetted two people who wiretapped someone’s cell phone conversation without a warrant.

    I thought Democrats got positively apoplectic over that sort of thing.

    Comment by V the K — March 28, 2006 @ 1:54 pm - March 28, 2006

  2. Oh, but V the K, he’s doing his JOB. We CAN’T judge him for what he is doing, because it’s so IMPORTANT to his role as a member of Congress.

    That above is basically called the Slick Willie Defense.

    Disgusting, ain’t it?

    Regards,
    Peter Hughes

    Comment by Peter Hughes — March 28, 2006 @ 2:12 pm - March 28, 2006

  3. VdaK, when it is a Republican’s civil rights the Left goes silent. When it’s a terrorist’s lawyer ferreting out coded messages for the terror leadership on the outside, the Left goes ballistic. I love the civil rights advocates –they are so shallow, transparent, and ego-centric I swear they border on a pathological hatred for society.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — March 28, 2006 @ 2:23 pm - March 28, 2006

  4. Actually, that’s the President’s defense isn’t it Peter? As long as he thinks he can say he’s doing it to fight the war on tera, he doesn’t believe he’s accountable to Congress, the Judiciary or the people. How nice.

    Comment by Mr. Moderate — March 28, 2006 @ 2:24 pm - March 28, 2006

  5. It’s always funny watching one side highlight a hypocricy that shows off their own. Yes, Democrats and the left will make little of this episode, if nothing at all. Meanwhile the right, that simply refuses to question’s Bush’s assumed authority in these matters of warrently wiretaps and searches will have fits. Those same Republicans also lambasted the judicial system for going after DeLay, while revelling in this prosecution of the Democrat. There is plenty of hypocricy to go around here, and it’s good of you to highlight your own.

    Me, I’m glad he got caught red handed and is being forced to pay. Unfortunately only $60,000 of the total $700,000 is actual damages and the rest are recouped legal fees. I think that’s going a bit lenient if you ask me.

    Comment by Mr. Moderate — March 28, 2006 @ 2:33 pm - March 28, 2006

  6. that’s the President’s defense

    No, the Constitution, and every court decision in which the issue has come up is his defense.

    Not only do I want your phone tapped if you’re on the phone to terrorists, but I want your treasonous ass in front of a firing squad.

    Comment by rightwingprof — March 28, 2006 @ 2:49 pm - March 28, 2006

  7. #5 — So, in your mind, Democrats spying on their political opponents is the exact same animal as the administration spying on al Qaeda terrorists.

    Thanks for making that clear.

    Comment by V the K — March 28, 2006 @ 2:57 pm - March 28, 2006

  8. No, the Constitution, and every court decision in which the issue has come up is his defense.

    Not only do I want your phone tapped if you’re on the phone to terrorists, but I want your treasonous ass in front of a firing squad.

    It’s well-reasoned arguments like this that have made me move gaypatriot to my “tin-foil hat wearing” blogroll.

    The majority of Democrats in Congress never made a big fuss about the actual wire-tapping itself. What actually occurred is that big fat ego’s on both sides of the aisle felt slighted because they were not personally informed about it.

    As far as “every court decision”, get real, it hasn’t even started to hit the court system yet.

    I personally don’t object to the wire-tapping, but I think the President’s Administration is on very shaky ground legally. And I don’t understand why he never went back to Congress and asked for something more definitive. They would have given it to him without much fuss. Just chalk it up to yet another case of Bush hubris and arrogance, a hallmark of his Presidency. I don’t know how the GOP pulled it off but they did in fact find someone with a bigger ego than Clinton. Congrats.

    Comment by Patrick (Gryph) — March 28, 2006 @ 2:59 pm - March 28, 2006

  9. #7, Once again we presume that the only people who are ever going to be processed through the system are terrorists. We know for a fact that non-terrorists have been caught up in the no-fly lists. We know that non-terrorists were caught up in the indefinitie detentions. We know that the administration is using DHS for spying on Quaker peace protestors. Whether on accident or on purpose non-terrorists, that would be law abiding American citizens, have and will be caught up in the system. The oversight is where we make sure that it isn’t happening too often due to gross negligence or malfeasance. If you are so comfortable with it then you wouldn’t mind similar unlimited power in the hands of say President Hillary Clinton or President John Edwards. I know I would, how about you?

    Comment by Mr. Moderate — March 28, 2006 @ 3:01 pm - March 28, 2006

  10. It’s not that no one questions it, it’s that the arguement that the legal ability to listen to both halves of an overseas phone call when one half of it is in the US doesn’t seem that outrageous. The “outrage” in fact, seems more advantageous than genuine, though I suppose it’s genuine enough in people who think that the president wants to listen to domestic calls without a warrent.

    Because that’s what they’ve been told.

    Where’s the nuance? Where’s the discussion of the finer points to show how the president and his staff are wrong after all in their interpretation of the law?

    Or would that require actually discussing what to do during the surveilance of a suspected terrorist in a foreign country if they called a phone number in the US?

    Because while a warrent can certainly be requested to wire-tap a suspected terrorist in the US (and would easily be approved) it’s not possible to get a warrent for a phone number and person that you don’t know about until after that foreign based suspect dials the phone. This warrent is NOT going to come through before that phone call ends.

    So what do *you* want the president to do? Tell them to hang up the phone because they aren’t allowed to listen?

    It defies common sense. The only way to get any political play is outraged offense at “warrentless domestic wiretaps” and never slow down long enough to let anyone think about it.

    Comment by Synova — March 28, 2006 @ 3:02 pm - March 28, 2006

  11. And I don’t understand why he never went back to Congress and asked for something more definitive.

    Because every administration before him had had the legal authority to wiretap foreign terrorists and it had never been questioned until some democrats decided to score political points by 1.) lying about the nature of the program (“domestic spying”) and 2.) tipping off al Qaeda that their cell calls were being monitored.

    Comment by V the K — March 28, 2006 @ 3:04 pm - March 28, 2006

  12. Because while a warrent can certainly be requested to wire-tap a suspected terrorist in the US (and would easily be approved) it’s not possible to get a warrent for a phone number and person that you don’t know about until after that foreign based suspect dials the phone. This warrent is NOT going to come through before that phone call ends.

    That would be a valid argument if the President didn’t have the ability to ask for the warrent within 72 hours of the tap, which he does, or if he didn’t have the power to request the roving wiretap, which again he does. So the argument that having a process of accountabilty is going to somehow hinder their efforts is really a red herring.

    Comment by Mr. Moderate — March 28, 2006 @ 3:05 pm - March 28, 2006

  13. If you are so comfortable with it then you wouldn’t mind similar unlimited power in the hands of say President Hillary Clinton

    The Clintons have never shown any particular interest in obeying the law anyway, so whether or not they have the “controlling legal authority” to wiretap political opponents is irrelevent.

    Comment by V the K — March 28, 2006 @ 3:06 pm - March 28, 2006

  14. #11 Every president since Carter has had to comply with FISA, which this President decided not to do. The question hadn’t been raised before FISA and therefore whatever was done pre-FISA is really of no relevance. The FISA law was further strengthened by a Republican congress in the mid 1990’s. If you don’t like the law, it can be changed, but the President doesn’t have the power to individually decide whether to follow it or not. That’s what balance of power means. Secondly, if you think al Qaeda didn’t already assume that all their communications were being monitored, then you really have your head in the sand. They are unfortunately not idiots. They are very smart psychopaths.

    Comment by Mr. Moderate — March 28, 2006 @ 3:08 pm - March 28, 2006

  15. #12 — So, if the NSA taps 1,000 terrorist contacts, and 999 of them are useless (“Hey, Abdullah, could you pick up the burqa’s for my wives from the cleaners. Thanks.”) and are never gonna be used in court or to prevent a terrorist act, would it by anything other than a complete frakking waste of time and resources to retroactively file 999 petitions for permission to monitor phone conversations?

    Comment by V the K — March 28, 2006 @ 3:08 pm - March 28, 2006

  16. #14 — Flat out wrong.

    Comment by V the K — March 28, 2006 @ 3:09 pm - March 28, 2006

  17. The Clintons have never shown any particular interest in obeying the law anyway, so whether or not they have the “controlling legal authority” to wiretap political opponents is irrelevent.

    Exactly VK! They abused the IRS rules to go after political opponents. Imagine if she had the legal authority to do that with DHS. Since there is no accountability to congress or the judiciary there is no recourse in that matter. It is the Executiev Branche’s sole discretion who is labeled a terrorist or terrorist group and when their 1st, 4th and 5th amendments are summarily suspended. So I ask you again, knowing their track record, are you comfortable giving that power to a potential future President Hillary Clinton?

    Comment by Mr. Moderate — March 28, 2006 @ 3:10 pm - March 28, 2006

  18. #16 No, I’m not.

    Comment by Mr. Moderate — March 28, 2006 @ 3:11 pm - March 28, 2006

  19. #7 – V the K, right on the money.

    You see, Democrats like Mr. Moderate don’t see terrorism as anything more than a Republican political ploy.

    Once you understand the fact that they don’t believe terrorism is a danger to the United States, every single one of their actions becomes comprehensible. Laudable, even, from that perspective.

    But the problem is…..that’s not reality.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — March 28, 2006 @ 3:12 pm - March 28, 2006

  20. #15, since all of those calls between the individulas can fall under one roving wiretap warrent, it would be one warrent and not 999. If filing one warrent is such a problem for catching terrorists, why have a warrent system at all to catch any potential criminal anywhere in the country. We’re just making more paperwork for law enforcement who are just trying to catch bad guys anyway. I hate when the Constitution gets in the way of crime fighting.

    Comment by Mr. Moderate — March 28, 2006 @ 3:13 pm - March 28, 2006

  21. #19 NDT, somehow we had all the information we needed to prevent 9/11 before the event without having these ridiculous shadow programs under the guise of protection. The lesson of 9/11 was we needed better synthesis, not federal carte blanche in data collection. Terrorism is certainly real, but that hasn’t stopped either side from playing politics with it. If you think it is solely the Democrats who are playing games with the actual terrorist problem you are deluding yourself.

    Comment by Mr. Moderate — March 28, 2006 @ 3:16 pm - March 28, 2006

  22. #9 We have congressional oversight and did have for that program.

    What happened? Someone leaked it to the press. *BOOM*

    So, we’re supposed to *fault* Bush for being paranoid about telling congress what he’s up to because, obviously, congress has a long history of being trustworthy stewards and self-less public servants.

    Rule number one for any president.

    Never tell Congress anything that you don’t want the press to know. Never reveal in a security committee meeting anything that you don’t reveal in a release to the White House press corps. If you have a way to track terrorists, don’t tell anyone in congress about it. Two people can keep a secret only if one of them is dead.

    Since we can’t go around offing congress-critters, our options are limited.

    (As someone who’s held a TS clearance in my life, I take the betrayal of trust rather personally.)

    Comment by Synova — March 28, 2006 @ 3:16 pm - March 28, 2006

  23. So I ask you again, knowing their track record, are you comfortable giving that power to a potential future President Hillary Clinton?

    Well, judging from the way in #14 you repeat something that’s only been refuted about 600,000 times, I take it you’re a slow learner. So, let me try and explain it again. Hillary will break the law when she is president regardless of how the law is written. If you don’t want Hillary to break the law, don’t elect Hillary.

    But regardless of who is president, I want them to have the power to spy on al Qaeda. Call me crazy, but that just seems like a good idea to me.

    Comment by V the K — March 28, 2006 @ 3:21 pm - March 28, 2006

  24. #22 – Right, Synova. Look at “Leaky” Patrick Leahy (CCCP – VT) for example. He was taken off the Senate Foreign Intelligence Committee for leaking sensitive stuff to the press. And you would want to trust this boob with national security stuff? Hardly.

    BTW – ol’ Leaky Leahy is at it again. He recently gave some stuff to NBC News regarding the recent Iraq operation. I hope whoever gave him the stuff gets their comeuppance.

    And as for you, Mr. Moderate, I happen to know that I am right on many an occasion, and this is one of them. You know what they say about people in the middle of the road, don’t you? They get hit from both the left and the right.

    Regards,
    Peter Hughes

    Comment by Peter Hughes — March 28, 2006 @ 3:24 pm - March 28, 2006

  25. #23, Yes if Ken Melhman and his echobots refuted it how dare I bring it up again! Since you have your head too far up his butt to miss the point of the Hillary question, she would no longer be breaking the law therefore there is no recourse for Republicans and right wing organizations to prosecute her for those acts. Whereas if it is done illegally there is. Catching up yet VK?

    I also enjoy the fact that the President can spy on al Qaeda, and no one is saying he can’t. When spying on terrorists they are more than able to get the warrants to do so. It isn’t a question of spying or no spying, but one of if there is a system of checks and balances.

    Comment by Mr. Moderate — March 28, 2006 @ 3:32 pm - March 28, 2006

  26. The left will defend the congressman as being justified, because it exposes some awful republican.

    The left still attacks spying on terrorists, and FISA isn’t an easy warrant to get-that is one reason the agent who suspected a terrorist cell wanted to use planes wasn’t listened to.

    Comment by just me — March 28, 2006 @ 3:44 pm - March 28, 2006

  27. Mr Mod at #25 “…Yes if Ken Melhman and his echobots refuted it how dare I bring it up again!”

    Why is it that whenever you’ve been on the butt-end of a policy debate, your rhetoric gets shriller and shriller? Is that something you learned in “Cry Victimhood 101”?

    No, Mr Mod, you’re the one arguing against allowing the Pres authority to wiretap essentially intern’l calls with at least one terrorist on the line –and your argument boils down to: ’cause if the Democrats have the power, they’ll abuse it.

    Well, if a Democrat Pres (shudder) can get Congress to go along and give wide sweeping authority to route out terrorists –both domestic and international– then I guess, as a conservative, I’ll be ok in that because the MSM will be watching closely for any excesses. And I’ll trust the SCOTUS and lower federal courts will protect American citizens from indirect harm to our civil rights… but I only want that protection for American citizens. For the others in the world, it’s a middle eastern bazaar… do it if it’s effective and prudent.

    I can’t believe that after your poster boi for abridged rights –Zacarias Moussaoui– just got off the stand and admitted to the world he intended to hit the WH and further advance terror in the world, you can bitch about the President prusuing terrorists. It’s an amazing world when Americans protect those who would do us great irreparable harm in a flash, if given the opportunity.

    Mr Mod, your opinions are just plain ol’ wacked.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — March 28, 2006 @ 3:57 pm - March 28, 2006

  28. Well, if a Democrat Pres (shudder) can get Congress to go along and give wide sweeping authority to route out terrorists –both domestic and international– then I guess, as a conservative, I’ll be ok in that because the MSM will be watching closely for any excesses.

    Then you are pathetically unprincipled in your belief in the foundation of our rights.

    I can’t believe that after your poster boi for abridged rights –Zacarias Moussaoui–

    Actually, since I’m disappointed that he probably will be given a quick death rather than a slow and painful one now that he’s admitted this to the jury I’ll have to say your assumption is, like most things you say, utter BS.

    Comment by Mr. Moderate — March 28, 2006 @ 4:02 pm - March 28, 2006

  29. No, Mr Mod, you’re the one arguing against allowing the Pres authority to wiretap essentially intern’l calls with at least one terrorist on the line –and your argument boils down to: ’cause if the Democrats have the power, they’ll abuse it.

    I’m arguing that the President does not have sole authority, with no checks and balances, to wiretap or search property on U.S. soil. It makes no difference to me whether the President is Democrat or Republican. I simply bring up the thought experiment of a Democratic president for this forum because I know that if this was President Bill Clinton you wouldn’t have tolerated it for one single instant. That reaction, in my estimation, is the correct one. Similarly, if the shoe was on the other foot, I doubt Democrats would have held Clinton accountable the way they are doing with Bush. I guess my hope in the idealism of small government Republicanism has been dying a slow death since 1992 (it was completely dead by 2003).

    Comment by Mr. Moderate — March 28, 2006 @ 4:06 pm - March 28, 2006

  30. #25 — Again, you prove exactly what I said you were claiming in your #5. To you, Hillary using wiretaps to spy on domestic political opponents is exactly the same as Bush using wiretaps to spy on foreign terrorists. Your inability to distinguish the two tells most of us everything we need to know about where your head is.

    Comment by V the K — March 28, 2006 @ 4:08 pm - March 28, 2006

  31. #8 – Gryph –

    I believe in giving acknowledgement where it’s due. So let me openly acknowledge that your new talking points about the NSA terrorist surveillance program represent an advance over your old ones.

    Your new talking points would be your claims in #8 that (1) the Administration didn’t tell enough people in Congress about the program – but on the other hand, you imply, it doesn’t really matter at all since only “egos” were offended – and (2) that the President should have gone to Congress to ask for clearer, more definitive authority for the NSA warrantless taps on foreign terrorists.

    Both of your new talking points are hugely, trivially, ridiculously easy to refute – but, my purpose here is not to do that.

    My purpose here is to simply acknowledge the fact that you have moved a little bit forward from your former really absurd, really bizarre, tinfoil-hat wearing claim that the NSA wiretaps represent an “unchecked Presidential authority over all citizens” or however you used to put it.

    I was the one who (correctly) used “tinfoil hat-wearing” on you when you were advancing that old absurd claim. And that must still really sting for you, because in your current step forward, you are still trying to copy it and throw out your own “tinfoil” accusations – perhaps so we won’t notice that you have made a little step forward?

    But it hasn’t worked – I’ve still noticed your tiny forward step.

    Comment by Calarato — March 28, 2006 @ 4:12 pm - March 28, 2006

  32. VK,

    The potential abuse of power is the entire rationale for our system of government. Constructing mechanisms that intentionally subvert that system is dangerous. We already know that through either gross negligence or malfeasance existing systems with some modicum of oversight have had innocent people ensnared in them. I am not commenting on whether Bush himself is spying on political adversaries (I certainly don’t put it past him anymore than I put it past the Clintons). I’m commenting on the grave danger that such a system of unchecked pervasive surveillence poses to our rights in general. I could try to make that point clearer to you if you like, but I doubt it will ever sink in.

    Comment by Mr. Moderate — March 28, 2006 @ 4:14 pm - March 28, 2006

  33. #32 — If it really were “Domestic Spying” I would object to it. I do not object to wiretapping calls originating from or terminating with known al Qaeda operatives. I also don’t see the point in burdening the NSA or the courts by retroactively seeking warrants on thousands of wiretapped calls to or from al Qaeda operatives that have no intelligence value (cit. #15). If you think the NSA is better off with its agents spending 99% of their working life filling out paperwork and waiting for a judge to retroactively approve wiretaps that will never be used in a court of law anyway, you are free to feel that way. Just as I have the right to think you’re a paranoid, partisan, bureaucratic, pedantic mush-for-brains for thinking that your scheme is anything other than a complete waste of time and resources.

    Comment by V the K — March 28, 2006 @ 4:22 pm - March 28, 2006

  34. McDermott has been convicted of wrongdoing in a federal court, and rightly so. Very likely Durbin, Rockefeller and Wyden will stand trial for what they did as well. Now if Bush’s offense is somehow comparable to theirs, as GP’s “tu quoque” argument against the Dems would indicate, then mere censure of the President would be insufficient: He would have to be prosecuted, or perhaps even impeached for these actions. I’m sure GP doesn’t intend his original post to be taken that way, and I would disagree with him if he did.

    That said, Mr. Moderate makes an excellent point: We can protect our nation from terrorist attacks without (further) compromising individual rights or overextending federal police powers. It might require a bit more effort and (God forbid!) some self-scrutiny from governmental organizations, but in the long term it would be far more effective than legally questionable wiretaps, indefinite detentions without trial, and torture for suspected foreign terrorists. It would also deprive the Democratic Party of the most valuable issues in its ongoing “Had enough?” campaign against the GOP.

    Terrorism is scary, to be sure. But as the Framers reminded us, a government that tramples on the rights of citizens can be pretty scary, too.

    Comment by Tim Hulsey — March 28, 2006 @ 5:05 pm - March 28, 2006

  35. We can protect our nation from terrorist attacks without (further) compromising individual rights or overextending federal police powers.

    I have yet to be provided with an example of one of my individual rights that has been compromised by the wiretapping or the Patriot Act.

    Comment by V the K — March 28, 2006 @ 5:11 pm - March 28, 2006

  36. It’s well-reasoned arguments

    There is only one reason anyone would be communicating with terrorists, and that is, to say the least, illegal.

    Comment by rightwingprof — March 28, 2006 @ 5:32 pm - March 28, 2006

  37. I have yet to be provided with an example of one of my individual rights that has been compromised by the wiretapping or the Patriot Act.

    That’s because the only ones with which they interfere are your rights to plan and carry out crimes, V the K.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — March 28, 2006 @ 5:36 pm - March 28, 2006

  38. 35: You probably haven’t been directly affected by the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act, since you haven’t yet been investigated, prosecuted or detained under its provisions. But you could be — and if you were, you might not know what was going on for several months. And as much as I might enjoy the thought of our government imprisoning you indefinitely without benefit of trial as an “enemy combatant,” I’d have to oppose such an action on principle.

    Individual rights are not about what government does to you, but what it can do to you. What government can do to an individual, it can do to you and me.

    Comment by Tim Hulsey — March 28, 2006 @ 5:48 pm - March 28, 2006

  39. 37: ND30, which of the first ten amendments of the Constitution would you abolish? You seem inclined to repeal 4, 5, 6 and 8, because these amendments make convictions more difficult, and limit the punishments government can impose.

    If you divide the world merely into the innocent and the guilty (or the just and the unjust), you might claim that all rights should be done away with. After all, the innocent don’t need the protections that rights provide, and the guilty don’t deserve them. But because government lacks the divine power to see into the human soul — because government is fallible — individual rights are important and necessary.

    Comment by Tim Hulsey — March 28, 2006 @ 6:01 pm - March 28, 2006

  40. And, by that logic, since I could theoretically be brought up on charges under current law governing murder, I must oppose all laws against murder (or any other crime, for that matter) on the grounds that they are potentially harmful to individual rights. Heck, the police could actually watch me for suspicion of operating a meth lab and I might not know about it for months.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — March 28, 2006 @ 6:02 pm - March 28, 2006

  41. #38 — Deranged paranoia about something that is remotely possible but highly improbable does not a loss of civil liberties make.

    Comment by V the K — March 28, 2006 @ 6:02 pm - March 28, 2006

  42. OK, I concede. ND30 put it much better than I did. Damn you!

    Comment by V the K — March 28, 2006 @ 6:03 pm - March 28, 2006

  43. Yes, but we have to be careful, V the K; after all, pointing out the logical fallacies in Tim’s arguments means that you want to (gasp) repeal the Bill of Rights!

    Man, I keep thinking, WEAK…….they usually accuse us of being Nazis who want to strip gays of jobs and housing and ship them off to the concentration camps they say have already been built.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — March 28, 2006 @ 6:20 pm - March 28, 2006

  44. ND30 and V, your joint argument is so thoroughly irrational that I hardly know where to begin. It hardly seems sporting for me to knock it down, since it collapses on its own. I suppose we could start with the logical fallacy — you two can’t name mine (if it exists), but I can name yours. It’s called a reductio ad absurdum.

    ND30, you’ve claimed that under my argument, I would have to oppose laws against murder because I could conceivably be charged of the crime. That’s a ridiculous conclusion — hence the absurdum. Here’s why:

    First, I hope we’re both agreed that murder violates another individual’s right to life, and is therefore wrong. But if we all were somehow unable to commit murder, we wouldn’t need laws against it. It’s because we’re capable of committing this act (even though statistically, it rarely happens) that we require laws against it, police to enforce these laws, and courts to judge whether persons accused are guilty or not. Likewise, it is because police are capable of abusing their powers against accused individuals that we’ve passed laws prohibiting certain actions and requiring judicial oversight for others.

    For instance, there are limits to the types of surveillance you can be subjected to without a warrant — and that’s true even if you’re suspected of operating a meth lab. A judge must deem “probable cause” before your home can be searched; you can’t be searched for no reason. A judge must issue a warrant either before or shortly after your phone is tapped. When police search your property for evidence and you’re not there, they have to notify you promptly. When you’re arrested, you must be charged with a crime or released: You cannot be detained indefinitely without charges or a trial.

    At one time or another, the Bush administration has tried to strip American citizens of each of these basic protections — which are either contained or strongly implied in the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments. The Framers put those protections in the Constitution for a reason: Although it’s true that police generally have our best interests at heart, and endeavor to protect us against force and fraud, it is also true that as safeguards on police power are relaxed there is a correspondingly greater opportunity for abuse and misuse. Hence, the laws against them.

    And V, the belief that “absolute power corrupts absolutely” is not paranoia. It’s human nature as the Framers understood it.

    Comment by Tim Hulsey — March 28, 2006 @ 10:38 pm - March 28, 2006

  45. I was the one who (correctly) used “tinfoil hat-wearing” on you when you were advancing that old absurd claim. And that must still really sting for you, because in your current step forward, you are still trying to copy it and throw out your own “tinfoil” accusations – perhaps so we won’t notice that you have made a little step forward?

    I don’t mean to burst your little ego-bubble, but actually I don’t remember you calling me a tin-foil hat wearer. Sounds fun to me.

    I got the expression from Lily Tomlin’s play, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe.

    I’m still searching.

    Comment by Patrick (Gryph) — March 28, 2006 @ 10:42 pm - March 28, 2006

  46. O.k. I skipped to the end so I don’t know if this has been covered yet.

    For Mr. Liberal:

    #9

    If you are so comfortable with it then you wouldn’t mind similar unlimited power in the hands of say President Hillary Clinton or President John Edwards. I know I would, how about you?

    It’s interesting how we’re supposed to believe that liberals are uncomfortable with the surveillance, but not a damn one of them wants to get rid of it. They want to play political games with it and the DNC Times wanted to run a book ad on the front page.

    #14

    Every president since Carter has had to comply with FISA, which this President decided not to do. The question hadn’t been raised before FISA and therefore whatever was done pre-FISA is really of no relevance.

    Since it was approved by the FISA Court of Review, then I have to believe that the question had been raised.

    NDT, somehow we had all the information we needed to prevent 9/11 before the event without having these ridiculous shadow programs under the guise of protection.

    That’s interesting since the individual highjackers didn’t know the details until that day. Perhaps the CIA had ESPN and could read minds?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — March 28, 2006 @ 10:44 pm - March 28, 2006

  47. Good points, TGC. One notes that Jackass Feingold and his Jackass fellow idiots only put forth a resolution to censure Bush, not to end or amend the wiretapping program. Do we need any more proof that the whole wiretapping charade was anything other than political theater?

    So far, Timmeh has shown nothing but imaginary and hypothetical threats to civil liberties. If only the threat of terrorism were so hypothetical and imaginary.

    Comment by V the K — March 28, 2006 @ 11:12 pm - March 28, 2006

  48. Sorry, Timmy; nice attempt at spin, though. You made it clear that you opposed anything that could infringe on individual liberties; it’s not our fault that you didn’t think the matter through and were embarrassed.

    Now, the problem is, Timmy, that in your attempt to twist yourself out of the little trap you created, you opened another one; namely, you insist that you know that every “American citizen” who the Bush administration has held accountable for actions or planning of terrorism is completely innocent.

    Then provide the evidence, because the government has built a substantial case that they’re not. Please provide an excuse for why people would be making calls to known international terrorists, why these people would be stockpiling terror-related materials, why they would be planning terror attacks, and others for completely benign reasons.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — March 29, 2006 @ 1:25 am - March 29, 2006

  49. Oh, and since Timmy is running around shrieking how awful the Bush administration is and how they’re ignoring the legal process in every case, maybe he can explain this one.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — March 29, 2006 @ 1:27 am - March 29, 2006

  50. Tim @ #44 “And V, the belief that “absolute power corrupts absolutely” is not paranoia. It’s human nature as the Framers understood it.”

    I guess that’s why many of those lofty Framers –those same guys that the GayLeft likes to embrace so often when their own logic to persuade fails– sought to make it King Washington, rather than President under the Articles of Confederation. Or King again when the current Constitution was adopted? Or why Jefferson sought unprecedented powers and an expansion of govt control over non-US citizens?

    Right, Tim. I think you should hold off on making any characterizations of what the Founding Fathers and Framers really wanted… to remind you again, they had utter disgust at the prior administrations and limited powers under the Articles… the Framers sought more power for the Chief Executive, not less. The Bill of Rights is APPENDED to the Constitution, you twit.

    Absolute power corrupts? Really, the Framers knew that? That phrase wasn’t even in vogue at that point, Tim. Lord Acton was still 110 years into the future before the epic warning would be issued to Bishop Mandell Creighton.

    One thing you don’t get when you pontificate Tim is the Pope’s claim to infalliablity when he pontificates.

    BTW, former Secy of the Navy under RR, John Lehman –and a 9/11 Commissioner, too– thought that epic Acton warning about political power needed to be changed… he offered: “Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat.”

    When I watch Bush in action, I think he believes that, too.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — March 29, 2006 @ 9:10 am - March 29, 2006

  51. Oh, dear. A group of former FISA judges were interviewed by the NYT about Bush’s wiretaps… and they said they were completely Constitutional. Oooh, Mr. Mod, that has so gotta hurt.

    Comment by V the K — March 29, 2006 @ 11:17 am - March 29, 2006

  52. That’s because the only ones with which they interfere are your rights to plan and carry out crimes, V the K.

    Seen this?

    Comment by rightwingprof — March 29, 2006 @ 2:08 pm - March 29, 2006

  53. From the #52 Link: “Notice that the ACLU did not suggest the best method to keep out of trouble at a party; obeying the law. Instead they told the kids to keep their drug paraphernailia well hidden, in essense not only condoning the criminal activity of possessing it, but also of concealing it.”

    Ah, the Clinton theory of ethics: It’s okay to do whatever you want as long as you don’t get caught.

    Comment by V the K — March 29, 2006 @ 2:35 pm - March 29, 2006

  54. 48: You made it clear that you opposed anything that could infringe on individual liberties; it’s not our fault that you didn’t think the matter through and were embarrassed.

    Why would I have been embarrassed, ND30? You were the one who made an idiot out of yourself, with your statement that the “rights of the accused” only protect those who wish to commit a crime. I’m trying to help you here — because for someone who claims to love America, you don’t seem to know very much about what your country (and in particular, the Constitution of your country) stands for. Unfortunately for us, the same complaint can be made of Bush.

    … you insist that you know that every “American citizen” who the Bush administration has held accountable for actions or planning of terrorism is completely innocent.

    I don’t insist that, and I don’t have to. According to our common-law judicial tradition, an accused person must be presumed innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around. Because the accused must be presumed innocent, the government is not entitled to abridge his/her individual rights — including the right to due process (14th Amendment), the right against unwarranted searches and seizures (4th), the right not to incriminate oneself (5th), and the right to a “speedy and public trial” (6th). Bush has tried to curtail these basic rights and protections because they inhibit the power of the State (as do all individual rights). You are supporting his efforts.

    50: I guess that’s why many of those lofty Framers –those same guys that the GayLeft likes to embrace so often when their own logic to persuade fails– sought to make it King Washington, rather than President under the Articles of Confederation.

    No, Mighty-Mouse, that’s why Washington refused the crown, and why he limited his presidency to two terms. It’s also why John Adams said “The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty,” why Franklin reminded us that those who would give up liberty for “temporary safety” deserve neither, and why the Framers refused to approve the Constitution without the promise of a Bill of Rights.

    Comment by Tim Hulsey — March 30, 2006 @ 3:22 pm - March 30, 2006

  55. You were the one who made an idiot out of yourself, with your statement that the “rights of the accused” only protect those who wish to commit a crime.

    Actually, Timmeh, this is what I said:

    That’s because the only ones with which they interfere are your rights to plan and carry out crimes, V the K.

    The point was clearly made that the Patriot Act and the wiretapping of known terrorists do nothing to the rights of individual Americans, but wreak havoc with the rights asserted by leftists like yourself that terrorists have to plot and carry out schemes meant to kill thousands of Americans.

    But if that’s all you can come up with, enjoy. You’ll still be shrieking about how terrorists are being deprived of legal protections for as long as Bush is in power, because it hasn’t anything to do with reality; it merely has to do with complete and total opposition to Bush.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — March 30, 2006 @ 5:32 pm - March 30, 2006

  56. Tim you write, in response to a point raised, “According to our common-law judicial tradition, an accused person must be presumed innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around”

    But you failed to condition that on the following: a) in time of war, regular civilian rights can and do get suspended; and b) it doesn’t apply to enemy combatants captured as a consequence of that war. I know, you’re doing the Russ Feingold shuffle: avoid, twist, spin and hope something –ANYthing– sticks.

    I don’t know of a single person who is supporting Bush’s attempt to constrain individual rights –because he isn’t doing anything even close to that except in the minds of rabid Democrats seeking partisan advantage or the ACLU –opps, that’s the same thing.

    You write, “Bush has tried to curtail these basic rights and protections because they inhibit the power of the State”. No, again, Tim he’s trying to discharge his sworn duty to preserve and protect… and to keep Americans from harm by terrorist states and actors. Have you learned nothing in the deaths of 9/11 or the WOT? You are amazing in your blind hatred and anti-Bush paranoia.

    And on the point about Washington turning down the crown –let’s remember he was a Federalist… the precursor of today’s GOP. He understood service to country –something the GayLeft has conveniently left at the curbside on their march to irrelevancy. You might want to read about Washington’s great internal debate about accepting that crown –Flexner has written well on it as a Washington scholar. Get educated. No, Tim, you have –once again– gotten more wrong than just your political opinions.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — March 31, 2006 @ 2:39 pm - March 31, 2006

  57. Once again: Can any liberal / Bush-hater name a single right that we have ACTUALLY lost?

    Hint: No, you can’t. Not with a straight face anyway.

    As someone else recently said: Left-liberals generally “cave” when faced with real fascists and dictators, such as Hugo Chavez in Venezuela or the perpetrators of the Muslim cartoon intimidation. Yet our bookstores today are freely overflowing with left-liberal-penned books against Bush. Imagine that!

    The NSA terrorist-wiretap discussion is particularly inane because it has nothing to do with placing anyone under criminal jeopardy – the sphere where warrants apply.

    The NSA terrorist surveillance has to do with FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE GATHERING, a total different and separate sphere that every Democratic President has asserted is his right and duty to conduct.

    Comment by Calarato — April 1, 2006 @ 12:26 pm - April 1, 2006

  58. (without warrants, that is)

    Comment by Calarato — April 1, 2006 @ 12:54 pm - April 1, 2006

  59. Calarato, we lost the right to marry under Bush –we neraly had it when Clinton was President so that means we lost it when Bush came in.

    We’ve lost the right to serve in the military openly –we lost it because Clinton had a secret plan to rescind DADTDH as he was leaving office, but the Bushes got to the north portico of the WH too soon and Pres Clinton didn’t have time to rescind that policy by EO.

    We lost the right to get security clearances under Bush.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — April 1, 2006 @ 10:30 pm - April 1, 2006

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