The Logic Lifeline

A logical approach to sorting out world events. Where logic, opinion and speculation are combined to produce a reasoned, but entertaining reading experience. The unofficial hometown conservative blog of Woodridge, Il

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

American Bolshevik Association denounces wiretapping

The American Bolshevik Association who styles themselves as the American Bar Association (ABA) has denounced Bush's wiretapping. This is the latest in a long line of bizarre antics from liberal leaning people and organizations. This comes from an AP story via Newsmax.com. One very odd line in the story states:
The ABA has urged Congress to affirm that when it authorized Bush to go to war, it did not intend to endorse warrantless spying.
So out of one side of their mouth, the ABA claims this is not legal. Out of the other side of their mouth it will take an act of Congress to make it illegal by clarifying their position on the authorization to go to war. Which is it ABA? Another bizarre legal aspect of this issue is how liberals have historically interpreted law in such a broad manner as to often swerve into interpretations so broad, the final interpretation has no shred in the original law. Roe vs. Wade is a prime example, where it is based on "privacy" which is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. On issues of presidential power, however, liberals tend to favor the most constricting interpretation.

Since the first announcement of this issue in December, the Democrats have either been painting themselves into the corner of "rooting for the terrorists" or embarrassing themselves. Jimmy Carter is the poster boy of embarrassing himself on a regular basis and the latest is a crowning jewel. After using a funeral to bash Bush (these Dems and their funerals) where Carter blasted Bush's program as illegal; we now see that Carter did the exact same thing. According to the Washington Times Carter "authorized warrantless electronic surveillance used in the conviction of two men for spying on behalf of Vietnam." Ouch. That's gotta hurt.

Then there is the incredible crumbling united front among Democrats. Tom Daschle and Jane Harmon claimed they were all for Bush's program on Meet the Press. Moments later they realized they had stepped in it and started adding qualifiers. The fact is that Democrats are absolutely beside themselves. A peek at the Rasmussen tracking poll for Bush may explain some of this. Bush had been in the mid 40's since December and 9 of the last 13 days Bush has been in the upper 40's. It seems like everytime the Democrats open their mouth Bush goes up a point. I wonder what would happen if they were silent for a month?

21 Comments:

  • At 11:07 AM, Blogger Malott said…

    I sort of wish the Supreme court would weigh in on this issue and be done with it. Hopefully they would decide that the President has the constitutional authority to protect the country through wiretaps in a time of war, thus bypassing congress completely.

    Of course if they decided the other way we would be screwed.

     
  • At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Bill_of_Rights said…

    It boggles the mind to watch self-professed conservatives leading the charge to trample the Bill of Rights and show such disdain for the Founding Fathers' establishment of three co-equal branches of government. The terrorists score a victory every time one of you speaks in support of tossing out due process, the rule of law and the sacrosanct Fourth Amendment - the things we are supposed to hold inviolable here in the USA. We fought the War of Independence to be free of Unitary Executive Power, but you people don't seem to care about that.

    The American Bolshevik Association? No one likes lawyers (especially Dick Cheney), but what happened to a government of laws and not men? You probably hawked the ABA's high marks for Alito and Roberts too.

    What's really got to hurt is when someone points out that your screed against Carter is empty using your own link. The Vietnamese spy case you cite happened in 1977, before FISA law was enacted, the law which is at the heart of this whole issue with Bush's wiretaps. While it's a typical Red tactic to ignore inconvenient details, you obviously have little respect for truthfulness. It's almost as desperate as Gonzales claiming that Washington, Lincoln, Wilson and Roosevelt authorized electronic surveillance. Seems like he missed the memo that the 1978 FISA law was enacted after them too.

    Likewise with your attempt at a "gotcha" moment with Daschle and Harmon, you will not find a single Democrat or any other American who will say we should not be gathering intelligence on Al Qaeda and their ilk. But like many other prominent conservatives, Democrats and their supporters want that accomplished while adhering to the rule of law. Taking their support for foreign intelligence surveillance as saying they support Bush's illegal breach of FISA and the Fourth Amendment is like trying to insinuate Bush actually meant he wants to harm us when he said "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." August 2004

    Bash Carter all you want, but remember that when push came shove he stepped up and did his damned best to get our 52 hostages without negotiating with the terrorists. Meanwhile, the Red hero Reagan decided negotiating with terrorists in Lebanon was OK.

     
  • At 12:53 PM, Anonymous R2W said…

    bill_of_rights, please try to convince me that the Bill of Rights is being "trampled" when a President authorizes electronic surveillance of KNOWN INTERNATIONAL terrorists and their contacts (i.e. possible traitors) during a time of war. And, by the way, concerning your comments on FISA, did it ever occur to you that a law which limits presidential authority in a way that exceeds constitutional limits on the President might, in fact, be unconstitutional?

    I find it interesting that you seem to believe that since AICS calls into question a position taken by the ABA, he MUST call into question all decisions by that organization (their high marks for Roberts and Alito).

    You obviously have a very high regard for the Constitution and, in particular, the Bill of Rights, or you would not argue so vehemently in its defense, but your high regard does not automatically justify your interpretation of the document.

     
  • At 1:55 PM, Anonymous amused observer said…

    Bill_of_Rights,

    Your glorification of Carter's foreign policy speaks volumes in and of itself, but I am more interested in your self-congratulatory declaration that:
    "It boggles the mind to watch self-professed conservatives leading the charge to trample the Bill of Rights and show such disdain for the Founding Fathers' establishment of three co-equal branches of government. The terrorists score a victory every time one of you speaks in support of tossing out due process, the rule of law and the sacrosanct Fourth Amendment - the things we are supposed to hold inviolable here in the USA. We fought the War of Independence to be free of Unitary Executive Power, but you people don't seem to care about that."

    Never mind the fact that this is a gross distortion of reality, it simply is extremely amusing coming from someone who undoubtedly believes firmly in a "living Constitution."

    Since you chose not to address my post in the previous thread in which you regurgitated your liberal talking points, let's try again:

    If, as you say, "Democrats and their supporters want that ["gathering intelligence on Al Qaeda and their ilk"] accomplished while adhering to the rule of law," thus implying that the tactics undertaken by the Bush administration do not adhere to the rule of law, please explain the following:

    - Why did Clinton White House Associate Attorney General John Schmidt assert in the Chicago Tribune that "President Bush’s post- Sept. 11, 2001, authorization to the National Security Agency to carry out electronic surveillance into private phone calls and e-mails is consistent with court decisions and with the positions of the Justice Department under prior presidents"?

    - Why did Schmidt go on to summarize court decisions on the topic as follows: "In the Supreme Court’s 1972 Keith decision holding that the president does not have inherent authority to order wiretapping without warrants to combat domestic threats, the court said explicitly that it was not questioning the president’s authority to take such action in response to threats from abroad.... Four federal courts of appeal subsequently faced the issue squarely and held that the president has inherent authority to authorize wiretapping for foreign intelligence purposes without judicial warrant.... In the most recent judicial statement on the issue, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, composed of three federal appellate court judges, said in 2002 that ‘All the … courts to have decided the issue held that the president did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence … We take for granted that the president does have that authority'"?

    - Why did Schmidt conclude: "Every president since FISA’s passage has asserted that he retained inherent power to go beyond the act’s terms"?

    - Why did President Carter make changes to FISA under Executive Order 12139 on May 23, 1979 that stated: "...in order to provide as set forth in that Act for the authorization of electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes, it is hereby ordered as follows: '1-101. Pursuant to Section 102(a)(1) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1802(a)), the Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order, but only if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that Section'"?

    - Why did President Clinton also make a change to FISA with Executive Order 12949, which stated: "...in order to provide for the authorization of physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes as set forth in the Act, it is hereby ordered as follows:
    'Section 1. Pursuant to section 302(a)(1) of the Act, the Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order, to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year, if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that section.'”

    - Why did Clinton Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on July 14, 1994 that, "[t]he Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes... and that the President may, as has been done, delegate this authority to the Attorney General.... It is important to understand that the rules and methodology for criminal searches are inconsistent with the collection of foreign intelligence and would unduly frustrate the president in carrying out his foreign intelligence responsibilities"?

    - Why did Gorelick's testimony indicate that Clinton believed he had the power to order warrantless searches even without a reason to believe that the search might uncover evidence of a crime: "Intelligence is often long range, its exact targets are more difficult to identify, and its focus is less precise.... Information gathering for policy making and prevention, rather than prosecution, are its primary focus."

    - Why did The Christian Science Monitor report the following on August 31, 1994: “Citing national security concerns, federal agents have continued a cold war policy of secretly searching the homes and offices of American citizens suspected of aiding foreign powers.... These ‘black-bag jobs,’ conducted without court orders, have gotten the go-ahead from President Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno, just as they did from two previous presidents."

    Need I continue? As I mentioned in the post you did not address, perhaps before lecturing us, you should re-read the 4th Ammendment which you describe as "sacrosanct" ("The right of the people to be secure in their ... houses ... against unreasonable searches ... shall not be violated") and then tell us how Clinton's authorization of warrantless searches of homes was acceptable, while Bush is the second coming of Stalin. Your self-righteous preaching about "tossing out due process, the rule of law and the sacrosanct Fourth Amendment - the things we are supposed to hold inviolable here in the USA" would be more effective if you weren't mired in your own hypocrisy.

    To paraphrase you: "While it's a typical [Blue] tactic to ignore inconvenient details, you obviously have little respect for truthfulness."

     
  • At 5:53 PM, Anonymous Bill_of_Rights said…

    Amused, your lengthy screed of the other post is still being processed. Your arguments and statements have quite a few holes which I will point out when the research is done. Still, your intelligence and respect for research into history is a welcome development.

    Still, I recommend you return to 2006 and the current administration for discussion. I know it's difficult for you people to have one of your own screwing up so mightily that even hardcore conservatives are turning against him. Otherwise we'll be stuck in a tit for tat historical whirlpool that will be totally irrelevant to the current day.

    I will respond more when I have more time.

     
  • At 6:22 PM, Anonymous amused observer said…

    "Your arguments and statements have quite a few holes which I will point out when the research is done."

    I have no doubt that they do - just like yours. Unfortunately, we are arguing about activities the scope of which we will likely never fully know, given their classified nature. As a result, we are left to argue with the snippets of information we can glean from press accounts and leaked information - hardly the stuff that winning arguments are made of.

    I think you are missing my point, however, when you say: "Still, I recommend you return to 2006 and the current administration for discussion. I know it's difficult for you people to have one of your own screwing up so mightily that even hardcore conservatives are turning against him. Otherwise we'll be stuck in a tit for tat historical whirlpool that will be totally irrelevant to the current day."

    The point isn't that I don't want to address the "current day" issue. The point is that you are criticizing this administration for going beyond the four corners of FISA, when the historical evidence (scant as it may be without a security clearance) indicates that every President since the Act's enactment has likely carried out similar activities. It just seems hypocritical to criticize the current President without similarly ranting about warrantless searches by previous executives - in that way, historical reflection is certainly germane to the "current day" arguments you are making. For example, if it is true that Clinton authorized physical searches of the homes of citizens without regard to the potential criminal evidence to be discovered, I find that much more Constitutionally troubling than the wiretapping of an individual who is known to be a contact of a terrorist and therefore potentially involved in criminal activity himself.

    But, given that you want me to only deal in the "current day" and stop making the argument that others have taken actions similar to those for which you wish to crucify Bush, I think the bottom line is that, regardless of what historical arguments we make over who did what and when, we just disagree over the appropriateness of warrantless wiretaps of those who are contacts of known terrorists. So, although you are welcome to follow up with more if you wish, I see little point in continuing to debate this with you as we clearly have a significant difference of opinion on the legitimacy of the underlying actions.

     
  • At 10:05 PM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…

    Bill, welcome back. I think that in a non-war context I would be quite nervous about the wiretapping. Government by its nature makes me nervous, especially that the reins of power could swiftly be used in ways we would all hate. The reason I do not see this as a trampling of the Constitution is that the Constitution clearly establishes precedent that there is something special about war time. It allows for the government to quarter troops in a citizen's home without warrant or permission. So the Constitution clearly states 1) Here is the line when not at war 2) The line is extended during war.

    We are at war. True Congress has not declared war, but court cases have declared the act of Congress to authorize force is a legal equivalent; thus granting the president the authority to do things he could not during peace time.

    r2w used the point I was going to make about Carter being before FISA. Basically a law cannot remove presidential authority. It would take a Constitutional amendment.

    Chris, the good part if it went to the Supreme Court is that if Stephen Breyer consults foreign law, he will find that most countries allow this sort of thing and if he is consistent will automatically rule in favor of it regardless of how he might interpret our Constitution. That should be the 5th vote needed that actually would rule in favor of separate but equal powers; instead of some being more equal than others.

    r2w and amused, great points. While I personally clearly see Bush within his right and duty to perform these warrantless wiretaps within the confines he has described, I think at worst (for the sake of argument) that the arguments supporting them are reasonable enough that it is certainly not a slam dunk for those opposing. (sorry for the run-on Bill) To describe this as trampling on the Constitution or to claim if ruled against by the court that Bush has committed an impeachable offense is way over the top. Those calls are pure partisanship; to declare they should be discontinued is more of a difference of opinion.

    Bill, I understand the shortness of time. I seem to be constantly short of it lately.

     
  • At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Bill_of_Rights said…

    Another conservative pipes in with some questions and observations for you. From George Will:

    "This monarchical [Bush] doctrine emerges from the administration's stance that warrantless surveillance by the National Security Agency targeting American citizens on American soil is a legal exercise of the president's inherent powers as commander in chief, even though it violates the clear language of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which was written to regulate wartime surveillance."

    If we are to buy the Bush administration's statements at face value, then America will be at war for the forseeable future, and, at least so far as I surmise from the comments here, all of you will be happy to be under government surveillance and increasingly curtailed Constitutional rights because we're at war.

    As an American who deeply values the freedoms many have fought long and hard for, I can't buy that.

    The "war on terrorism" is a war that needs to be fought, and it is a war which the entire world was at our side to engage with us on 9-12-01, but we squandered that global good faith quickly and continue to do so today. The degree to which we engage in torture, pre-emptive unilateral invasions of non-aggressor countries and curtailing of American rights and freedoms at home and human rights abroad to engage that war, we lose the war in equal degree.

    The "war on terror" cannot be won without winning hearts and minds. It cannot be won solely by military force because of the elusive, transient nature of the enemy. In fact, the war on terror requires the vast percentage of the battle to be fought winning hearts and minds, and we cannot do that by humiliating people, destroying families and towns without apology.

    You want to claim that those who call the Bush NSA wiretaps "illegal" are displaying "pure partisanship." It's a misleading ploy, but as you wish. But with that you must realize and accept that it is pure partisanship being engaged by both Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, which seems to effectively torpedo the argument I think you're trying to make that this is a "partisan" witchhunt, ie, just whiny Democrats. Go call the chairman of the American Conservative Union a liberal partisan Democrat over this one and see what the reaction is.

     
  • At 2:42 PM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…

    George Will is not the most shining example of a conservative. I would put him to the left of John McCain and to the right of Lincoln Chaffee. He also is one that simply enjoys generating controversy. Nothing wrong with that, but it is kindof like the people I deal with at work from time to time who really just like the sound of their own voice too much.

    In any event it is not the name I look at, it is what is being said. Somebody can be dead on 999 times out of 1000. When they are wrong, they are wrong regardless of who they are. In this one George Will is wrong. He basically claims that Bush is violating FISA. Even if that is correct, FISA cannot as a law detract from powers given to the president by the Constitution.

     
  • At 5:14 PM, Anonymous Bill_of_Rights said…

    "FISA cannot as a law detract from powers given to the president by the Constitution."

    The president does not derive sole power from the Constitution. The Constitution stipulated three co-equal branches for governance - executive, legislative and judicial - and yes, if Congress passes a law, everyone must follow it. If FISA was determined to be unconstitutional (not done in almost 30 years, and I don't even know if it's ever been challenged, or if it was, why it was), that's a whole new ballgame. But it hasn't. And it's unlikely it would ever be determined to be unconstitutional. And just as Alito said, no one, not even the President, is above the law.

    As for dismissing George Will, that seems opportunist on your part, but so be it. You still have Grover Norquist, Robert Levy, Bruce Fein, David Keene, members of the Cato Institute and the American Conservative Union and other conservatives (just to name a few) to explain. Just admit it. You can't get around this one. The criticism and concern is all across the spectrum, and rightfully so.

    And a note to amused: you really don't want to open up the Clinton game, do you? Because if we have to dive into history and what's-fair-is-fair comparisons, you know that if Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld and a whole host of others would testify under oath and under rigorous questioning on 9/11, Katrina, Iraq, etc - like Clinton had to do, and none of them as yet have had the courage to - that they all would likely end up under indictment for at minimum, perjury, and we all know that's an impeachable offense.

     
  • At 5:53 PM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…

    Of those you named I only recognize Norquist and CATO, though I know very little about them. I went to CATO's website once and did not get much from it. So I could not comment on them.

    As for my comment on Will being opportunist, you will just need to take my word for it. I felt that way about him before your comment.

    Maybe you will require me to provide a list of people I trust and respect their opinion? or people I don't?

     
  • At 5:53 PM, Anonymous amused observer said…

    "you really don't want to open up the Clinton game, do you? Because if we have to dive into history and what's-fair-is-fair comparisons, you know that if Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld and a whole host of others would testify under oath and under rigorous questioning on 9/11, Katrina, Iraq, etc - like Clinton had to do, and none of them as yet have had the courage to - that they all would likely end up under indictment for at minimum, perjury, and we all know that's an impeachable offense."

    Of course, no evidence is offered to substantiate the claim that administration officials would be indicted for perjury. No matter - no evidence is needed for the "Bush lied" crowd. And, perhaps the reason there has not been sworn testimony on matters like the war is because the administration (unlike some members of Congress) understand the need for secrecy and security when engaged in armed conflict.

    As for "opening up the Clinton game", Bill, I think you still aren't getting it. The purpose of discussing Clinton, Carter, etc. is to point out that you are holding Bush to a standard that you did not hold former chief executives. In other words, to criticize the President while ignoring the similar actions of his predecessors seems a wee bit hypocritical.

    Finally, you quote and analyze AICS as follows: "'FISA cannot as a law detract from powers given to the president by the Constitution.'

    The president does not derive sole power from the Constitution. The Constitution stipulated three co-equal branches for governance - executive, legislative and judicial - and yes, if Congress passes a law, everyone must follow it."

    Once again, your analysis is faulty. As I understand AICS' argument, it is that, regardless of whether FISA authorizes the President's actions, the Constitution itself does. In other words, your comment that "the president does not derive sole power from the Constitution" misses the point. The real point is: the president does not derive his sole power for conducting counterrorist surveillance from FISA. And while you are correct that everyone must follow a law that Congress passes, Congress may not pass a law that limits the President's constitutional authority. That would violate the checks and balances of the three branch governing system that you seem to enjoy referencing but don't seem to mind violating.

    The fact that there has not been a challenge to FISA's constitutionality does not in any way establish that it is the sole source of the President's powers in these matters. It just means that, apparently until now, no one has made your argument that the President is solely limited to the terms of FISA in conducting counterterrorist surveillance.

    In fact, it seems clear that until Bush came along, no one questioned the president's authority to act outside the bounds of FISA in peacetime, let alone in a time of war (again, reference the apparent historical practices of Carter, Clinton, etc.).

     
  • At 2:26 PM, Anonymous paw said…

    I'm coming in late on this one, sorry I missed the main party. FWIW, here's a rebuttal to Mr. Amused's beefy points.

    "- Why did President Carter make changes to FISA under Executive Order 12139..."
    Go to the source. Cross-reference this reference back to the FISA law. What you find, indisputably, is that the AG must certify that "there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party". As an aside, is it proper to think of Executive Orders as "making changes" to existing law?

    "- Why did President Clinton also make a change to FISA with Executive Order 12949...."
    About Clinton's Exec Order, the same reference exists regarding what must be certified, that "there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party".

    "- Why did Clinton Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on July 14, 1994..."
    At the time of that testimony FISA did not apply to physical searches. She testified in July 1994; in October 1994 congress passed legislation extending FISA to physical searches; Clinton's Exec order indicated he intended to comply. In context, Gorelick's testimony was given in the absence of applicable legislation. In the absence of legislation the Clinton admin asserted it's right to a means to accomplish a necessary objective, then promptly informed congress, and then formalized it's intent to comply with the resulting legislation. This is a different situation than the current situation.

    "- Why did The Christian Science Monitor report the following on August 31, 1994...."
    Because that was true and it was legal! Physical searches are different from electronic searches, and things changed in October 1994.

    "- Why did Clinton White House Associate Attorney General John Schmidt...."
    There are many differing and surprising opinions popping up on both sides of the divide regarding this issue. Here's another example of that, and it's really not that interesting or persuasive to me.

     
  • At 10:56 PM, Anonymous amused observer said…

    Paw, in an attempt to minimize the "beefiness" of my post, let me offer a couple thoughts in response.

    Re: Gorelick testimony. You said "In context, Gorelick's testimony was given in the absence of applicable legislation. In the absence of legislation the Clinton admin asserted it's right to a means to accomplish a necessary objective, then promptly informed congress..."

    I'm not sure this fully describes the administration's position. Gorelick was testifying regarding proposed legislation regulating physical searches. Her ultimate conclusion as to the advisability of the proposed legislation was this: "the Administration and the Attorney General support, in principle, legislation establishing judicial warrant procedures under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for physical searches undertaken for intelligence purposes. However, whether specific legislation on this subject is desirable for the practical benefits it might add to intelligence collection, or undesirable as too much of a restriction on the President’s authority to collect intelligence necessary for the national security, depends on how the legislation is crafted."

    But that statement followed the explicit declaration that "the Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the President has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes and that the President may, as has been done, delegate this authority to the Attorney General."

    In other words, the administration wasn't sure legislation bringing physical searches within the strictures of FISA was a good idea, but regardless of whether legislation was so passed, the administration believed it had "inherent authority" to order warrantless searches.

    This supports the point I was trying to make with Bill_of_rights: namely, that other administrations have claimed authority to take actions not contemplated by FISA, and yet Bill apparently is uninterested in applying the same standards to those former administrations that he or she wants to apply to Bush.

    More applicable to the underlying argument, for those who believe the President's actions were illegal, check out the following link: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/
    sunstein-hugh-hewitt.html

    It contains an interview with U of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein that is very enlightening. I recognize that Paw finds Clinton Deputy AG John Schmidt uninteresting and unpersuasive, but it is hard to deny the fact that Sunstein is widely recognized as a leading constitutional scholar. For those unfamiliar with Sunstein, he is a well known liberal law professor who clerked for Thurgood Marshall. This interview is definitely worth your time.

     
  • At 1:36 AM, Anonymous paw said…

    Mr. Amused,

    Thanks for addressing my sloppy work - I posted when I intended to preview...

    I'm curious if you still think your arguments are persuasive regarding the Carter and Clinton executive orders, particularly respecting their references to Section 102(a)(1). That section can be found here.

    Great link to UC and you're right, it's worth the trip.

     
  • At 1:42 AM, Anonymous paw said…

    The url for that broken link above is

    http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode50/usc_sec_50_00001802----000-.html

     
  • At 11:00 AM, Anonymous amused observer said…

    Paw,

    Re: Carter/Clinton EOs: As best I can tell, it would appear that I fell victim to some sloppy reporting and blogging and succumbed to the temptation to repeat those points without fully investigating them myself. Lesson learned and I apologize.

    Interestingly, I think that even without the EO's, testimony such as Gorelick's indicates that likely every President since FISA's passage has argued that their foreign intelligence gathering authority is not strictly limited to the strictures of FISA. Rather, they have argued they have inherent authority to gather foreign intelligence - a position upheld by the federal courts. It is my understanding that this, along with the AUMF, is part of the Bush administration's argument as well.

    As to the legitimacy of the administration's position, I certainly don't profess to be a constitutional scholar, but I do find it persuasive that a well-known liberal con. law expert like Sunstein doesn't seem troubled by it.

    In his interview he indicates that the AUMF probably gave the President authority. But I found his response to the question of whether the President has inherent authority to conduct these activities particularly enlightening: "That's less clear, but there's a very strong argument the president does have that authority. All the lower courts that have investigated the issue have so said. So as part of the president's power as executive, there's a strong argument that he can monitor conversations from overseas, especially if they're al Qaeda communications in the aftermath of 9/11. So what I guess I do is put the two arguments together. It's a little technical, but I think pretty important, which is that since the president has a plausible claim that he has inherent authority to do this, that is to monitor communications from threats outside our borders, we should be pretty willing to interpret a Congressional authorization to use force [AUMF] in a way that conforms to the president's possible Constitutional authority. So that is if you put the Constitutional authority together with the statutory authorization, the president's on pretty good ground."

     
  • At 11:44 AM, Anonymous paw said…

    Mr. Amused,

    It is a tricky issue not easily reduced to slam-dunk points. I still consider myself in the "solidly suspicious" category rather than the "impeach him now" category. Like many issues of the day, it takes some diligence to get a good grasp of the fundamentals.

    Mr. Amused wrote:
    "...it would appear that I fell victim to some sloppy reporting and blogging and succumbed to the temptation to repeat those points without fully investigating them myself..." To which I point out that as far as I can find out, the original source of your argument no other than the RNC , and it was given a big bump by Drudge before being picked up by some marginal major media figures.

    Mr. Amused wrote in an uncivil tone to bill_of_rights (who, to be fair, is sometimes not very civil himself) "...in which you regurgitated your liberal talking points..." and then, amazingly, went on to repeat a set of easily debunked conservative talking points.

    Mr. Amused comes on strong but is not so tough after all :).

    I'm always surprised that anyone thinks that throwing out the "regurgitated talking points" line is a winner in an argument. As if we're all required to do our own original research.

    Thanks to the host for providing this forum.

     
  • At 12:10 PM, Anonymous amused observer said…

    Paw,

    Fow what it's worth, the "regurgitated talking points line" was not tossed out with the intent to be a "winner." It was a reference to bill_of_rights' assault on the host in a previous thread in which he accused AICS of parroting talking points. In other words, I was attempting to suggest to Bill that the pot shouldn't call the kettle black, so to speak.

    You are correct, however, that my tone toward Bill was perhaps less than civil, and for that, once again, I apologize - something Bill has yet to do to the host for the diatribe he was spewing in a previous thread. For the most part, I am usually pretty mild mannered. I just tend to get a bit worked up when, rather than dealing solely with the points being discussed, someone resorts to juvenile remarks like those from our friend Bill in the previous thread: "Back to kindergarten, having to hold the child's hand all through their daily lesson......"

    In my book, if you don't show respect to others, you shouldn't expect any in return.

     
  • At 12:19 PM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…

    all, thanks for all of the comments. Sometimes we get passionate about how we feel and make a few mild "zingers", but for the most part posts stay at an intellectual level that I truly miss when the commenting subsides.

    paw, welcome back to my 'sleepy' blog. It is good to hear from you, again. I usually agree with your sentiments, yet disagree on the political points.

    I agree this is not a slam dunk issue. I believe that in historical precedent and interpretation Bush is on fair to solid ground on this. However, I would be quite uncomfortable with the wiretapping if ever a "move-on.org", "code-pink" or other radical left type would use it.

    There are many things the government has begun for good that have evolved into a monster: case in point the income tax.

    I think if Bush does not use it, there is a greater security risk. At some point if the rest of the world does not deal with what has been a growing global threat, we will see frequent attacks in the US and all resistance to such tactics will evaporate.

     
  • At 11:24 PM, Anonymous paw said…

    Thanks man! I re-jiggered things and moved your work to my 'monthly' queue - no offense to you or any one here, just following my interests.

    Mr. Amused strikes me as a formidable and honorable opponent. I won't be going to toe-to-toe with him without being confident that my ducks are in a row.

    To hijack your space for a paragraph, I hope your readers will go forth and debunk wherever they may encounter them the dangerous, incorrect arguments set in play by the RNC regarding the Carter and Clinton executive orders. I still am not aware of one retraction or correction from the major players who passed along this consequential lie. *Perhaps* there's an alternate way to read the orders and the code, but as it looks right now I have to ask (rhetorically) where is the outrage?

    Over and out.

     

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