Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Questions in Question:

Should President George W. Bush II have directed the National Security Agency to eavesdrop in America?

My first purely “emotional” response is NO!

Right now it seems that there were specific rules in place to block domestic “eves Dropping” by the NSA if there was no involvement of an independent judge. I even understand that there is a special court to expedite and keep secret the issuance of such permission. I think I am for changing those rules in the cases as specific as President Bush has described, or perhaps granting some kind of extraordinary power to fight new enemies in the age of new technologies, however it dose not seem to me that the President has the prerogative to sidestep rules specifically in place.

More Questions to consider:

1. The President claims he is within his legal and constitutional power to make this directive. What are the legal and constitutional powers he is claiming?

2. Members of the U.S. Congress, including Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leader on the House Intelligence Committee, knew about and obviously sanctioned the President’s actions. Why did Congress feel the President was within the law then and why have some changed their minds now?

3. The New York Times has had this story for a year and has held in back until this time. What is the newspaper's motive in holding the story, and in releasing it now?

4. What benefits have come to our nation because of the President’s action? What harm has this action done to our enemies, what harm has it done to our Constitution?

5. If there are legitimate constitutional questions, how can our country continue to take advantage of the NSA’s abilities to protect our security and at the same time protect our freedoms?

6. Will the New York Times be forced to tell the name of the leaker?

7. Will this “leaker” be forced to face a Grand Jury and indictment for his or her criminal behavior?

8. What advantage has the leaker and the NY Times given to the enemies of America?

9. How angry should we be with President Bush if he, in good faith, thought he was legally acting in the defense of our nation and the Constitution?

10. If the President has broken a law, what should be the consequence for his crime?


Dan Simpson said...

A few answers.

(at least according to me)

1. There are no constitutional powers that can support his decision.

It is possible to construe emergency powers directly after 9-11, but with the FISA courts being in place, and the ability to get such warrants so readily available, there is no defense for his breach of law.

2. Why did they think he was within his power then? Who knows

Why change now. I think the timing of the story was in perfect harmony with a desire to vote down the Patriot Act (this is neither an endorsement or a vilification of said act, merely a comment on the timing).

3. See 2. As far as the idea that the NYTimes held this story because the administration requested it, I don't believe it. (Not that the administration didn't ask, I am sure they did, but the NYTimes didn't hold it for that reason)

4. Again, no one outside the Top Secret clearance could now the benefit, it is likely there has been security benefits. My point would be, however, that they do not counter, or make okay the breach of law.

5. The law is already set up to do so. Everything the administration did could have been done under current FISA standards while following the law to the letter. (If as Bush said, those eavesdropped on had a 'clear' link to Al Qaeda)

6-8. There is no reason to disclose this leaker. Why would they be indicted, they have broken no law, there is not even an allegation of a broken law on the part of the leaker. I don't think this story leaking helps the enemies in the least (despite what Bush says).

9. There is no way he truly thought he was acting legally, in my opinion. Maybe someone told him they could defend the actions later, but even my understanding of the FISA courts and their regulations lets me know this stuff could have gone through them and there would have been no problem.

I don't think you could say this has a clear punishment affixed. His actions were unconstitutional, but not criminal. (as far as my understanding). To me this is like a legislature passing a law that is later deemed unconstitutional, the action/law is prohibited/repealed from here on out. I don't know that his actions could be deemed a misdemeanor or a high crime. A public censure from the congress may not be amiss.

lysis_verus said...

From the last thread:
Lysis said:

"I haven’t seen L.V. so disappointed or so desperate since Hurricane Katrina failed to kill 25,000 people and cause the collapse of America."


According to Lysis now in addition to wanting 25k dead from Katrina, I want America to collapse? I must be a member of Al-Qaeda too! And a Baathist and a Commie and a Nazi!

Har har.

Must be great to read minds... oh wait you didn't. You just make up BS (as usual) and ascribe it to me.


I guess that's my cue to get out of this madhouse before Lysis reports me to the NSA to be wire-tapped without a warrant. Maybe I'll be tortured and waterboarded or to flown to some third world sh!thole for a little out-sourced 'interrogation'.


Anonymous said...

Also from the previous "topic":

Lysis posted:
"Refusing to give up one's belief in FALSE statistics just because one wants them to be TRUE is the hallmark of relativism." (emphasis my own)

"In formulating a particular null hypothesis, we are always also formulating an alternative hypothesis which we will accept if the observed data values are sufficiently IMPROBABLE under the null hypotheis."-Defintion of null hypothesis -Britanica

Statisticians do not live in a world of TRUE statistics and FALSE statistics. Statistics are an epistemological (Oh no, not another "big word") TOOL of academic research that often are used to create or discount probabilities that support cetain STRONG or WEAK hypothesis -- a statistic cannot be any more true/false than a hammer or screwdriver.

Everyone knows the old lament "statistics lie and liars use statistics -- figures lie and liars figure. The equivocal ('nother BW) nature of statistics always allow for "inconclusive" conculsions when STATISTICS are at thier bottom.

Bow our heads in shame at the man who subsumes STATISTICS for TRUTH!!!! OR BEWARE!!!!

Dan Simpson said...

Back on topic.

I got some worse news for Bush supporters.

50 USC 1809(c) is the penalties provision of the FISA legislation.

It provides for penalties up to five years in jail and 10,000$.

Raising an interesting question. Should Bush be tried for this offense, and if found guilty should he be impeached.

At this point, though I am loath to say it, if the administration does not come out with a more compelling, and reasonable, reason for doing this act I cannot make any other conclusion than that the Bush Administration violated the FISA legislation, and thus, Bush should be impeached for these actions.

Lysis said...

To Lysis Verus, to quote you from “The Cannibals Are Choking”, posted at the Agora, September 12, 2005. Fifth comment from the top, “Let History be the judge, but eventually the American Empire will come to an end. I am concerned about the hubris of comments such as theses. What if we had another Katrina plus and earthquake and a stock market crash, would we be so willing to tell the world to shove it? Power is power, others envy it, DEAL. We’re not special; this is not a ‘hate America’ thing. This is merely a ‘laugh at the rich and powerful’ thing, ~Lysis Verus”

My (Lysis’) comment to L.V. at the time: “Boy, Lysis Verus, you sure had to pile up the disasters to bring us down; another Katrina, plus an earth quake, plus a stock market crash!!. We have all these under our belt – study your history!! Maybe you ought to go for the sun going nova!!

To which L. V., you replied: “I don not mean to predict doom on our fine nation, by no means. Sun going nova indeed:) I should clarify that I am posting these calamities purely in the hypothetical..”

Now let’s go to L. V.’s post from the last string: “”So Iraq is ‘free’? Good, we’ll see how long that lasts after we stop hemorrhaging US blood and US treasure on their ‘freedom’. If the ‘freedom’ lasts (possible but not likely) you’ll be proved right, good for you. If they plunge into bloody civil war culmination in a brutal theocracy or brutal strong-arm dictatorship (either is much more likely) then sadly, very sadly we’ll see the bad consequences of meddling the world over.”

My point in reply: “Lysis Verus, unable to find any bad news in the present situation in Iraq; proceeds to dream of disasters that will provide support for his anti Bush position in some imaginary future. I haven’t seen L. V. so disappointed or so desperate since Hurricane Katrina failed to kill 25,000 people and cause the collapse of American.”, was merely meant to show how, when reality doesn’t go your way, L.V.’s your disappointment in reality tends to dive you into fantasy. You are also imagining that I said you wanted American to collapse, wanted 25,000 people dead, or were a member of Al-Qaeda, a Baathist, a Commie, or a Nazi! It might have helped your argument if I had said these things – but you are pulling such statements out of your head, or perhaps the Lancet. (Note – I would imagine that NSA is on to you already, but don’t worry, President Bush has promised no water boarding, not even in your imagination!)

Dannyboy – Your comments are interesting, and give me much concern. I understand that Attorney General Gonzalez disagrees with you – but at this stage that would be expected. I wonder if he will pull a “Janet Reno”, and dodge the case entirely, or if he will present arguments strong enough to convince me, or your, or anyone else? I’m still very much out on this one and appreciated your input.

Thad Enouf said...

Hello again...some answers from me, completely unwarranted (and most likely unwanted):

1. He is claiming authority under the War Powers doctrine, which shifts (some) authority to the Executive Branch. It has rarely been tested in the courts, but it is the same belief that led to things like the Japanese internment and the very act of attacking without formally declaring war through the legislature. I consider myself a democrat (in the true sense of the word) and such things should be voted on.

2. Who can say? Perhaps the Senators were just glad to be approached by a furiously partisan President. But they keep leaving a paper trail of approval for Democrats to regret later. The whole thing is a sham and people need to stand up and expose it for what it is...a right-wing takeover of democracy.

3. The information, once confirmed, was blanketed under "national security" threats but really, what's more crucial? The revelation that a "free" society's government is bypassing the Constitutionally-mandated checks-and-balances system or that terrorists might know the U.S. is evesdropping on them?

One thing is for sure...2005 has been a turning point for the traditional media. They blatantly ignore stories or bury them (vote irregularities in Iraq, anyone?) and you don't know journalists are getting their money from.

4. Rove better come up with some good ones but will most likely trot out a scapegoat under some illicit, and most likely fictional, activity, but I'll bet journalists chasing leads and maybe even dissenters were monitored. There's not much positive spin for this one. One thing Americans can unite on is civil liberties. A democracy is not one that suspends itself for an indefinite period to fight a seemingly-endless War. Logically, there is nothing to fight for if there is no democracy at home.

The Constitution itself will serve as the template in which to publically humiliate and (hopefully) indict certain individuals for "high crimes and misdemeanors."

5. The NSA was not set up to monitor it's own people. Your only chance at being monitored was by making international phone calls and questional contacts involved in internation intrigue. Now, there is no transparency so that the only people with the information are the people making bad decisions.

6. Most likely if and when an investigation ensues. The Republicans will try to twist it into a "national security" issue and label the leaker as a traitor and enemy of America but we all those labels are in the eye of the beholder.

7. I wouldn't think so. It's obvious that the leaker felt the practice of domestic spying to be anti-American and overtly KGB-like, not to mention illegal unter FISA. The Act specifically states that it is the sole authority when wiretapping is concerned. And violations are punishable by five years in prison. Sure, 9/11 changed some things but it did not change the rule of law.

8. I tend to think that the media attention these events are generating will force any plotters to rethink and/or replan their activities, which can only be a good thing. The supporters most likely believe that the suspects will go further underground and be lost to the watchful eye of the U.S. government.

9. Being a born-again evangelist, his view of reality is already skewed and we should expect such wrongdoing, just as we should have expected it with Nixon. We are still at the base of the iceberg of the administrations deeds, legal or otherwise. The truth eventually comes out.

10. He has absolutely no right to make his own laws, bypassing the Judiciary and most of the Legislative branches of government. If he can disregard the Constitution , breaking the oath to "preserve" it, then we, as a nation of good conscience, should elect someone who will uphold it and protect it from tyranny.

Cheers! Things are looking up for '06!

lysis_verus said...

Bush's actions are brazenly unconstitutional. His recent forced admissions did not surprise me one bit. He seems to think the Constitution is so much worthless paper. He is no patriot and no more worthy than Clinton to hold office. Cheney is no better.

Your double speak and backpeddaling sicken me. Have you ever apologized for anything in your life? You impute my motives and condemn me~ Agora Ad Hominem style~ then scurry off and say its all in my imagination when I call you on it!?!? Such is Agora argumentation. A sham. Don't back down from your insulting words you coward! Either sick by your slander and prove it true or take it back. But I expect neither from your smug ilk.

"...(LV hasn't been) so disappointed or so desperate since Hurricane Katrina failed to kill 25,000 people and cause the collapse of America"

I caution all to consider the possible 'non-positive' outcomes of our policy and actions but Lysis implies that I am disappointed that America didn't collapse and more didn't die in Katrina. Rumpole implies that I am some kind of treasonous defeatist on Iraq.All for caution and questions? Pointing out possible outcomes? Foolish. This isn't Hannity where you can just hit the mute button or hang up on me. You should face up to the fact that when arguments don't go your way you smear and attack just like Bushco divisive and self-seeking.

Let the record show, oh Agorites and pupils of Lysis~ When your Master is cornered, this is what he does. He cannot deny it.

Lysis deigns to read my mind and impute attitudes and views to me which are utterly false.

And Whereas:
When all else fails Lysis goes to brutal baseless and vicious personal attacks on anyone who disagrees with him. ESPECIALLY if they start making sense, as I thoroughly and consistently do.

And Whereas:
For the record, I backed away from the Lancet numbers because my point had nothing to do with numbers but DEAD PEOPLE which point no one has addressed to rebut me. All you seem capable of is name calling, smear tactics and repeating talking points, just like Bushco itself. Mindless.

And Whereas:
If Bush was caught with a dead hooker in the White House or conducting human sacrifice at Camp David, Lysis and his Kool-Aid Drinkin Lackies might very well attempt to find a way 'prove' by 'faith and reason (har)' that not only was Bush justified, the act makes Bush all the greater for doing so. Infantile.

And Whereas:
It is this kind of Fox-News style distortion blogging and ridiculous self-congratulatory palaver that drives informed, thoughtful and engaged posters away from the Agora, myself included. I have come to realize that facts mean little in the Agora, truth means even less~ unless it serves the Mighty Bushco's Imperialistic agenda... or Lysis apparently bottomless need for ego validation.

And Whereas:
I have followed and posted here for a few months drawn by the weekly/daily fresh outrage against logic and reason (oddly enough in the name of logic and reason). I have been consistently unfairly and personally attacked, and I have better ways to spend my precious (limited) time.

Ergo, I will no longer post in or read the Agora as this forum is emphatically NOT what it purports to be. The Agora is thoroughly partisan and FULL of LIES, SLANDER AND DISTORTION. Lysis Reports, Lysis decides, everybody else gets to sit down shut up. Sorry Lysis, I won’t play Colmes to your Hannity.

In fairness I have enjoyed my exchanges with Reach Upward and dannyboy2. DB2 I think you are onto something with Bushco’s latest outrage against the constitution.

It has become painfully obvious that there is no place in this forum for a (mostly) polite, thoughtful, well read, well spoken individual who happens to hold views contrary to Bushco. This is the Bushco amen corner. Goodbye, Farewell and Amen brothers.

~Lysis Verus

Anonymous said...

Cicero says:

Lysis verus I am sad to see you cut and run, as is Lysis! While I do not post, I do enjoy the debate between the two of you. Your points are well thought out, articulate, and really challenge Lysis. Unfortunately your pride has backed you into a corner and refuses to allow you to see the true nature of this whole blog...IT IS A GAME!! It is a place to spout off ideas without worrying about offending or being offended. GROW UP LV, LIFE IS TO SHORT!

Lysis said...

Farewell to Lysis Verus. As Cicero has said above, WE are all sorry to lose you!

I protest that Lysis Verus has misread my mind and imagined slights that are not supportable in the words of our arguments. Perhaps it got a little warm in our kitchen? Sometimes one looks in the mirror and sees frightening things. Believing the mirror is at fault and we cast stones. The looking glass shatters. One can imagine that the reflected defects destroyed, but the truth will not go away, even though the “True Lysis” has.

Back on topic:

I sat through too many performances of “A Few Good Men” to feel comfortable with, the “Because it saves lives”, excuse for illegal behavior. I have listened to too many constitutionally claimed rights to partial birth abortion, to force euthanasia, to the prohibition of religious expression in the public square; to be surprised by quibbles in the interpretation in the nuances of constitutionally supported actions.

I have heard that the War Powers Act and the FISA legislation were implemented in the aftermath of Vietnam, and that Supreme Court rulings regarding them might well have been politically skewed. Perhaps it is time they were brought back before up for discussion.

The Supreme Court supported the property rights of slave owners, but Abraham Lincoln argued with Stephen Douglas that one is not bound to obey the unjust fugitive slave laws in spite of their support in the courts.

I am concerned that, although rulings from the FISA courts might be secret and that a 72 hour delay after the “eves dropping” takes place allows time for briefs to be prepared, that such briefs might take days or weeks longer to craft, and that even then there is no guarantee that the courts would see probable cause in requests by the President.

I am confident that the acts of the President, in listening to know Al-Queda operatives, foreign and domestic, were acts of war not criminal proceedings. I am confident that the Constitution grants the President broad leeway in fighting wars.

I am confident that if the President did not take every necessary action to prevent attacks on American, acts of war against its citizens, that he would be derelict in his Constitutional duties.

I am aware that often Constitutional rights and obligations come in conflict with each other. The “right to a woman’s privacy” - vs. - “the right of an unborn child to life” seems to be the most telling example.

In spite of Dannyboy’s confidence and the delight (perhaps imagined) of “thad enouf” and our lamented Lysis Verus, I am still up in the air on this issue. I would like to step back from the political “gotcha” of the media and the Democrats, especially the ones that sanctioned the secret wire taps as long as they were secret, and try a practical view of what actually seemed to have happened. Consider this:

A father and a son are hunting deer. Suddenly a Grizzly bear, an endangered and protected species, attacks the boy. The father shoots the bear, knowing that there are sever penalties for such an action. Is he wrong? Should he be prosecuted under a law that was surely not intended to be enforced at the cost failure to act would exact?

I would argue that the bear haws not only jumped the boy in the woods, it has jumped in though the bedroom window. In spite of the claims in Senator Robert Byrd’s “little red book” waving speech yesterday; President Bush has not authorized spying on INOCENT Americans!

Dan Simpson said...

A few points to consider Lysis. As you have said many times (see arguments on Delay and Libby) ALL americans are innocent until proven guilty.

If we allow for the circumnavigation of the justice system in the name of expedience, we destroy that very system. I do not believe that length of brief could possibly have anything to do with the ability to use the FISA courts. Consider these points.

First, we are not talking about a full fledged trial, or an appellate argument before the Supreme Court. A brief to get a warrant would be small, concise, and to the point. It would list the reasons for, the duration of, and the scope of the wiretapping. In all it would probably be less than ten pages. It would not have to have extensive legal reasoning, or citation.

The procedure of procurring a warrant is so long in nature, the method and setup of such a motion are almost automatic, especially to one who writes such motions often.

Lets not get things to confusing here. Of course the circumstances are different. I don't know if anyone has tried to get a warrant based on phone numbers found in a PDA in a hostile zone. But don't get bogged down in the circumstances, the standard is still the same (Actually, FISA standards for warrants are lower than the standards for regular warrants in a regular court.)

I do not believe time constraints, or any other constraint could have had anything to do with these actions. I wait for an explanation from the administration that is feasible, and makes any legal sense, but fear there will be none.

I too am dissappointed in the Liberal Bush haters who have long chanted 'impeach Bush' for no better reason than their hatred of him, but it seems he has done what they could not. Give a viable reason to impeach him.

Here's the problem with your analogy Lysis. What if the Fish and Game had a policy set up for just such a circumstance. If, under threat to life or safety, one had to shoot an endangered animal, you had 72 hours to contact the Fish and Game and explain the scenario. Now what if the father looks at his son after the fact and says, "Well, we needed to do it, so we don't have to tell anyone about it."

Probably my biggest dissappointment in this situation is the seeming attitude that "I don't have to use the procedures in place, I am the President"

Lets remember, War Powers are a very specific thing. While Bush was voted wide latitude after Sept. 11th, without an actual Declaration of War, he cannot claim War Powers as such.

Dan Simpson said...

One point to LV, he may still read this despite his proclamation, (I remember him chiding me in the same way when I said I wouldn't be back).

While I don't believe you wanted to see any large number of dead, I would point to one way in which I believe you to be acting as the Prophet of Doom.

I find it highly arrogant for people, you, much of the media, many liberals, others, to proclaim it nigh on impossible that the people of Iraq will possibly make this government work.

I look to what is happening there and see people willing to die to make it work. More people are willing to get involved in their government than get involved in ours (voting percentage).

The beginnings of our country were filled with divisivness, hatred, bigotry, religious divides, and all manner of things that could have doomed our nation in the first decade. But we succeeded. Now I know that you understand that part of history, what baffles me is that you proclaim the liklihood that the people of Iraq could succeed in the same way to be laughable.

I find this attitude, not just from you, but whenever I hear it, to be ethnocentric and condescending.

The people of Iraq have more reason to want freedom, as they have been burdenend with more oppression. And it seems to me they have shown more desire, as they have been up against greater odds than our founders were.

You may not have said or believed all the things that Lysis tagged you with, but you do stand guilty of this belief (at least in print).

Dislike Bush, or any of his policies all you want, you at least explain why you do, but to proclaim a liklihood of failure, without any reasoning or backing, is not only wrong, it borders on offensive. (not to me, you won't offend me with any opinion, but it smacks of a wild amount of subconscious ethnocentrism.)

Bryan Hickman said...

The debate on this issue has also raged over on my blog. I regret that I'm a little late to the argument.

I have to say that I agree with Dannyboy. While there remains much to be discussed legally, with what has been disclosed by the White House, there is absolutely no legal justification for these eavesdropping.

While I think, in the technical sense, this may amount to an impeachable offense, I don't really see that happening unless it is revealed that a significant number of truly innocent people had their phones tapped. I'm not saying this as any form of rationalization of the President's addition, I suspect that such revelations are quite possible because, as Dannyboy pointed out, warrants for these types of actions are easily obtained. The only conclusion one can draw is that many of these taps were not supported with enough evidence to obtain a warrant.

All of this is unfortunate. If this does indeed rise to such levels, it is likely, though wrongfully so, that this will be played as an indictment of every Bush policy from Iraq to Katrina. Ultimately, I don't believe such a debate will help the country.

Silver Lining said...

At the risk of being reminded that I lack a legal education and of being thoroughly flogged, I want to state mostly in response to Lysis' latest post that Bush did not authorize open spying on any Americans. Rather than spy on every call to and from any recovered number, he authorized only calls received from Al Qaeda suspects to people in the U.S. I know that doesn't change whether or not he broke the law, so save your typing for something that counts. I did think it worth noting.

Also worth noting. FISA isn't the only thing at issue here, and the Supreme Court though likely now to take up this issue, hasn't given a clear ruling on this issue. It is one of those so called gray areas. The court has, in fact, ruled in favor of national security issues exceptions to the fourth amendment.

Ultimately, I say let's have the debate about whether or not this is o.k., whether or not it is Constitutional, whether or not Bush should or could engage in such behavior. That is one of the things I LOVE about this country. However, in my own way, I am stating that weak as the legal argument may be, there is one. Let's let the system work and trusts ourselves as American citizens to get it right.

Lysis said...

Bryan Hickman, thanks for the comment. I popped into your discussion, and it put some thoughts into my head. I was interested by an idea there that since we are “not at war” Bush cannot claim special wartime power. This was a thought that came to me reading your thread, and I suggest other give it a try. Anyway, these are some thoughts prompted there that apply here.

I fault Congress for not declaring war. Perhaps the President should have asked for that specifically, but declarations of war are right out of style since Dec. ‘41. Whether those seeking the President’s head want to acknowledge it our not, American is at war, and the terrorists have declared it. President Bush’s actions with the FSA do not constitute “criminal prosecutions” in the making; they are military actions against a determined enemy who laughs at our destructive self-mutilations. Al Qaeda operatives find the safe haven they could not crawl into at Torah Bora under a constitutionally questionable attack on executive authority pushed through in the aftermath of Congress’s failure in Vietnam. I am hopeful that Bush will overcome these patrician attacks, bundled in self serving lawyerly jargon, as Reagan overcame the challenges of his Iran Contra policy.

I have much more faith in the American people’s ability to tell the good guys from the bad guys in this very real war for survival, than in the trained minds of prosecutors and pundits.

In fact I will go so far as to predict this attack on George Bush II will over his efforts to defend America will strengthen his support in this country and lead to returning executive power snatched after Vietnam. Just as taking after Clinton for sexual abusing women, his long suit, rallied support for hi: attacking Bush for defending American, his long suit will rallied support for George W Bush.

Dan Simpson said...

To enlarge upon Bryan's words. I think one must look at the fact that only 4 applications for FISA warrants have EVER been turned down. That is how easily met the standard for such warrants are.

As far as the impeachment. (again with no new info) I really think it should happen. Will it aid the war in Iraq, no, will it be used as a political weapon as Bryan says to attack anything Bush has touched, yes. Will it be damaging to efforts at home and abroad, absolutely.

But I believe in orde for Conservatives to be consistent, we must not fight against an impeachment if the law was broken.

I do not think that Bush should be removed, nor do I think he should resign should he be impeached, that I think would be more harmful than helpful.

But, if Bush broke this law, it is a serious felony, and I think it would further stir up partisan warfare for Republicans to ignore that and not vote for impeachment.

Dan Simpson said...

I am going to post this here as well as at Bryan's, since Lysis is referring to my comment, completely incorrectly, claiming we are not 'at war' though my comment was that we do not have a declared war. It was a nice spin though Lysis.

Alright, now we really are going through the looking glass.

Thats nice that you blame congress Lysis, but completely irrelevant.

And, interestingly enough, a declaration of war by terrorists somehow doesn't quite equal our legislature declaring war. Its not that I do not 'awknowledge' that we are at war, I am talking about the difference between having a congressional declaration of war and not, the powers of the president are different between the two.

Here is the main problem with your argument Lysis. You are being wildly hypocritical. When it is Libby or Delay, you rant about innocent until proven guilty. When it is citizens of the U.S. that the president says have 'clear' ties to Al Qaeda, you proclaim them enemies that have no constitutional rights at all.

As far as them being 'criminal prosecutions in the making', the law is very clear. Government officials are not allowed to tap phone lines to gather foreign intelligence without a warrant from a FISA court. If one does it is a felony punishable by five years in prison.

How is that not prosecutable.

Again I notice all the derision you direct at 'legal minds' and 'prosecutors', but please, if you know so much more about what is constitutional and legal, tell me what part of the presidential powers allows him to ignore the law and the justice system as it is set up? If you have some knowledge of the constitution that I don't I would love to hear it.

Dan M. the problem with your argument is that the crime does not require evil designs. It requires that the wire tapping be done intentionally. If it was done intentionally and there was no warrant, it is a felony.

Anyone who wanted Clinton impeached, that argues Bush should not be, if he is indeed guilty of this felony, is a raving partisan hypocrite (this is not a label I put on you Dan M., the second statement is separate from my comment to you).

Dan Simpson said...

SL, you are right about both your SC comments, there is precedent for exceptions for national security.

I do, however, believe that those will not be available here for the reason that FISA was set up specifically to take care of these situations. If the President was able to point at his actions and say, "there was no other way to do it" he may have an arguable case, but it doesn't look that way to me.

I just wish the administration would give us something more to go on than, if we don't do this, the terrorists win.

Thad Enouf said...

From Raw Story:

Ranking House Judiciary Democrat Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has introduced a motion to censure President Bush and Vice President Cheney for providing misleading information to Congress in advance of the Iraq war, failing to respond to written questions and potential violations of international law, RAW STORY has learned.

The resolutions were quietly introduced Sunday evening along with a third resolution (HR 635) to create a Select Committee to investigate the administration’s intent to go to war prior to congressional authorization. The committee would also be charged with examining manipulation of pre-war intelligence, thwarting Congressional oversight and retaliatory attacks against critics. As part of this resolution, House Judiciary Democrats seek also to explore violations of international law as pertaining to detainee abuse and torture of prisoners of war.

The Select Committee seeks to subpoena the President and other members of the administration in hopes of ascertaining if impeachable offenses have been committed. Sources close to the Judiciary Committee indicate they believe this is the only avenue left after having written repeated letters requesting answers on matters ranging from the Downing Street Memos to the outing of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson. HR 635, which would create the select committee, could potentially recommend articles of impeachment against both the President and Vice President.

Republicans are not expected to support a Select Committee, nor are they expected to approve censure motions.

House Resolution 636 seeks to censure the President for failing to respond to repeated requests for information on pre-war intelligence, possible war crimes against detainees and violation of international law, and retaliatory action against critics of the administration. House Resolution 637 seeks censure the Vice President for the same alleged abuses of power and failure to respond to repeated requests for information and testimony.

A resolution of censure or a motion of censure is a formal congressional rebuke.


And another...

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has become the first in the Senate to raise consideration of impeachment of President George W. Bush for authorizing spying on Americans without warrants, RAW STORY has learned.

In a release issued this evening, Boxer said she's asked "four presidential scholars" for their opinion on impeachment after former White Housel counsel John Dean -- made famous by his role in revealing the Watergate tapes -- asserted that President Bush had 'admitted' to an 'impeachable offense.'

Boxer isn't the first congressmember today to float the word. Earlier today, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) said Bush should be impeached if he broke the law in the spying program. The liberal California senator has tangled with Bush before -- earlier this year, she challenged the president's Ohio electoral votes.

Boxer's statement, acquired by RAW STORY, follows.


Washington, D.C.– U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today asked four presidential scholars for their opinion on former White House Counsel John Dean’s statement that President Bush admitted to an “impeachable offense” when he said he authorized the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without getting a warrant from a judge.

Boxer said, “I take very seriously Mr. Dean’s comments, as I view him to be an expert on Presidential abuse of power. I am expecting a full airing of this matter by the Senate in the very near future.”

Boxer’s letter is as follows:

On December 16, along with the rest of America, I learned that President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without getting a warrant from a judge. President Bush underscored his support for this action in his press conference today.

On Sunday, December 18, former White House Counsel John Dean and I participated in a public discussion that covered many issues, including this surveillance. Mr. Dean, who was President Nixon’s counsel at the time of Watergate, said that President Bush is “the first President to admit to an impeachable offense.” Today, Mr. Dean confirmed his statement.

This startling assertion by Mr. Dean is especially poignant because he experienced first hand the executive abuse of power and a presidential scandal arising from the surveillance of American citizens.

Given your constitutional expertise, particularly in the area of presidential impeachment, I am writing to ask for your comments and thoughts on Mr. Dean’s statement.

Unchecked surveillance of American citizens is troubling to both me and many of my constituents. I would appreciate your thoughts on this matter as soon as possible.

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

Lysis said...

Dannyboy – Thanks for the food for thought. If I misunderstood you comment on "declared war" I stand corrected. I agree with you, we are at war, and the President should act accordingly. I must admit I am “time pressed” to comment on all the ideas flowing. I did want to return to my Grizzly Bear analogy. If the father believed he didn’t need to report and then was arrested months later and gave his reasons for killing the bear; do you claim that he should then be punished for saving his son’s life? Let’s go even farther. Let’s say he knew that he should report but didn’t because he was involved in a controversy of with some Animal Rights fanatics, and then they outed his killing of the bear. Would you then say his saving of his son’s life was unjustifiable and he should be punished for killing the bear that was trying to kill his boy? I think your challenge to the analogy only strengthens the position I allude to above; that the American people will support the “justifiable” actions of President Bush in this case. I do not disagree with you that some action should be taken. Shoot, the impeachment hearings are moot, the President has already pled guilty. Let him do it again in the House Chamber, give his reasons, and let’s see how the constitutionally established authorities set up to try him rule. Again, I reiterate that this will only strengthen Bush and the cause of the war. My student’s reactions to this debate are telling. They, schooled in decent to my opinions, are unanimous, so far, in their support of President Bush's obligation to act in the defense of our country against terrorists. They have no more trouble telling the difference between “innocent Americans” and Al Qaeda operatives than the President does. I agree with you. Let’s follow the Constitution through on this. We will see the impeachment fail in the House. This is perhaps why the Constitution allows politics to be interjected into the Impeachment process. Congress can vote the will of the people they represent, or failing that the Senate can end it in a day by the will of “We the People”.

I only take exception with you on “those who wanted Clinton impeached and not Bush” claim, in that, what Clinton did hurt America, what Bush did served it. The Congress will hear the voice of the people, if not the media on this. I say we call the House back tomorrow and get the impeachment hearings out of the way before Christmas. Then we can get on with important things with the New Year.

Silver Lining, I agree with you that the Supreme Court should get involved as well. I am confident that these Vietnam era restrictions on Executive power are the real unconstitutional issues here. Let’s clear the board before the bears eat our children.

Dan Simpson said...

Read my statement in its entirety. I said that if Bush was guilty of a felony, he should be impeached.

If you really disagree with that, then you are being hypocritical. I am not proposing he be removed from office, but if he is actually guilty (this means there is not justification), then he needs to be impeached. That is what the system is set up for.

My desire is for a justifiable excuse to come forward.

You are speaking in conclusions without the points leading up to it. I have laid out the law for you, you don't refute it. I have laid out the penalties, you don't refute that. But yet you claim he is justified.

Please explain the justification. Where does this power of his come from? Is it in the Constitution? If so, where. Is it in the War Powers Act? If so where. Is it anywhere besides the ephemeral idea of 'protecting america'.

And again, don't just ignore the point, why are some innocent until proven guilty and some are automatically guilty and have their constitutional rights divested before any proof is shown.

Dan Simpson said...

If Bush ignored the law, and committed a felony while in office, he hurt America.

Anonymous said...

Run Lysis Versus! Run far away from here!

I am personally glad to see him go. He is way to smart for the Republican "Dido Heads" on this blog, and Cicero, you're right, life is too short to waste anymore time here. I am curious though, since you Lysis and you are in seemingly constant contact, do you two think of this blog as a game or a sacred search for truth as is commonly professed? It is both things in Lysis' mind: the truth is a game with rules to be bent and strategems employed to get the result that suits his already made up mind.

Honestly Lysis, if "King George" was found naked in bed with a dead under-age girl I think you would post blogs on the history of "good men through the ages who have had intercourse with children." (See your strong affinity for Greek and Roman values.) Your apologies for corruption and failure have no end.

Your almost total lack of understanding and research into history is astounding for someone who is charged with educating the our future. Did you know, according to Nightline, in an interview with Dick Cheney this last Monday night, that in the quarter century that the FISA laws have existed there have only been four denials by the FISA court to conduct the surveillance requested. Further, the notification that happens 72 hours after emergency surveillance is just that, notification. These "lengthy" briefs you refer to out of thin air, do not have to be submitted until after the notification and necessary time can be taken to write these. You should not muddle these two issues with your usual rhetoric and normalizing of the President's criminal behavior.

Your faith in the process of a corrupt regime is admirable Silver Lining, or maybe it is pitiable. You claim that the President only spied on known Al-Queda ops abroad and in the U.S. How do you know that? Have you seen the list of who was spied on, what they did to deserve it, what they actually talked about? No, and neither did anyone else, no judge, no lawyer, and as it is becoming more and more apparent no one else outside of the Oval Office, the Old Office Building, or the NSA. The only person we are left to believe is the criminal who committed the act, someone we already know to be a liar on the grandest scale. Your only basis for this claim is what he, who is spying on you, has claimed. They could have spied on Ted Kennedy when he called his relatives in Northern Ireland, my High School Spanish teacher when she called her family in Columbia, me when I email my friends abroad, or you if you ever sent a postcard from Canada, or anyone who ever booked a ticket on Pakistan Airlines when it came up on Google as the cheapest flight. No one knows what they did, there is no check on their actions, and they are saying they will not allow anyone to put one on them. No, I do not believe him. King George has done everything to destroy my trust in him as a President and I will only believe the findings of a bipartisan or independent investigation. The rights of American citizens are too important to entrust in the hands of one very fallable man.

While we are asking questions here are a few more to ask (you may apologize profusely Lysis):

There were over 1,200 congressional investigations into the Whitehouse under Bill Clinton, only one resulted in charges, for misleading the IC about having an affair. In the six years that Bush has been President there have been five despite intelligence failure after intelligence failure (boy is that an understatement talking about this Whitehouse), warrantless spying on U.S. citicens, the deliberate leaking of a covert U.S. operatives name, a war fought without a strategy, allegations of sanctioned torture, the discovery of secret prisons and ghost detainees, improper allotment of contracts in Iraq and New Orleans, a catastrophic failure of our emergency preparedness, the indictment of several Whitehouse officials and close friends for bribery, obvious cronyism, on and on. . . Where has Congress' spine gone? After the gross abuses of power and the strong arm tactics of this Whitehouse that run roughshod over their sacred rule of law is Congress still a coequal branch of government?

We learned last week from NBC that the Pentagon is also engaged in grossly disturbing and highly legally questionable cases of domestic spying on anti-war demonstrators. The Pentagon has surveilled Librarian anti-war demonstrators in New Hampshire actors at rallies in Hollywood and meetings in Florida - and everywhere in between I am sure. They have compiled a national list of the activities and, as is obvious from the documents obtained, have followed individuals and noted license plates and cars. In most cases the Pentagon has found that the protesters were just "average" citizens "harmless." Their information has been retained in the national data base though, presumably for future use. Is this the country the founders envisioned? Why is the military spying on avererage people for disagreeing with the President? Is it reasonable to believe, like Lysis does, that disagreeing with King George is tantamount to wanting to destroy America? Aren't Bush and Cheney morally wrong for ordering this kind of behavior on average U.S. citizens? What is next? If you are not outraged by this then why not?

Also, with the discovery that the Bush administration has been sending out bogus "news" stories to U.S. media outlets - without notifying them they are Whitehouse produced, that the government has hired firms to write propaganda campaigns in Iraq and acknowledged that these stories will be unwittingly used by U.S. outlets, with the discovery of a U.S. secret prison system in Eastern Europe, with our government kidnapping people around the world and not allowing them access to review, with allegations of torture - 100 enemy combatants have died in U.S. custody, over a 25% of those are being investigated as homicides (Pentagon's own numbers) - and with the discovery that the military is spying on "average" citizens, that the President has decided he does not need to obey the laws of the land or pay heed to the courts, does the U.S. still have credibility when it lectures people like Vladimir Putin on democracy, a free press and civil liberties? Does anyone else see the administration hypocrisy here?

Given the intelligence failures and the deliberate misleading by our V.P. and President does the U.S. have international credibility anymore when we try to persuade other skeptical nations of the existence of WMD programs in countries like Iran? Is the word of the U.S. on issues like this trustworthy anymore or just politically motivated? What do you think other nations that we have to work with to address these issues think?

What has Africanus done to our beloved country? Didn't anyone read the script? Doesn't he know he is supposed to charge into the chambers of government and the Senators are supposed to cower and blubber before him letting him do anything he wants to do? Your scenario was apt to a point Lysis, not the point you wanted to make. In this case, the barbarians are not at the gate, they are in the Whitehouse.

You do a pretty good job of ostrisizing those that would debate with you Lysis. From L.V. to P.Maclean, who you outrageously said would be better off in his country under Nazi occupation than he is now! Intelligent. This is what I expect from a blog that is souly consumed with the game of supporting Bushism-Republican-Party-Line-Spin. Alas, the brick wall of irrationality that is the minds of Dido-Head followers of this new religion makes many here impervious to reason and your blog less than exciting, to be kind.

That is why, finally, I thank Bryan Hickman so much for breathing new life into the forum by talking about his blog. "Two Stupid White Guys" is entertaining, informative and REASONABLE! I encourage everyone who enjoys critical thinking and INFORMED debate to follow the links to his blog there! Run, don't walk! I loved the SNL posting. That blog, from just a casual perusal, is already infinitely better. The host is succinct and considerate. Above all he is reasonable. Anyone, like someone who may be frustrated with hitting their head on the brick wall of irrationality here say, would be well suited to post there. It is worth following the links through Bryan's name.

P.S. DannyBoy2, in anticipation of your next post, I DID answer your questions. You either cannot see that or you do not like the answers given. Perhaps you should change the questions you ask before more abuses by this administration put us in even greater jeapordy.

Anonymous said...

At this point, The difference between "MONITORING" and "DETECTING" is the sole argument that Bush is offering in his defense -- Yes we have all been here before; you know "It all depends on what the meaning of "is" "is"!?

What great outrage had/has Lysis for one President's rhetoric concerning actions and lies about what was fundamentally a *privacy* issue versus pusilanimous indecisivness concerning another President's rhetoric, actions and deceptions about the fundamental *privacy* of us ALL guaranteed by the constitution.

Lysis'"bear analogy" damage control is self-serving rhetorical 'apologetics' with a maudlin twist to cast Bush as the heroic father risking all to save his son. BOGUS. "Enlightened countries who go reluctantly to war and then HIDE behind a cloak of deceptions have no better morality than thugs". -West Wing Fifth Season paraphrase

Impeachment? No!
Bush/Cheney have opened this Pandora's box out of their own willfulness and arrogance --

NOW, Lysis, Bushes' legacy is writing its most important chapter.

The country would be "held hostage" for who knows how long by another Impeachment --Though "WE" could find out who the REAL partriots were!!!!

Without LV the Agora will be just another Blog -- his fiery wit, knowledge, incisive judgement and wisdom will not find a replacement. And all that was needed was a timely sincere apology.

Dan Simpson said...

Anonymous, what questions are you referring to?

Why does Bryan have to link. Your crazy rantings will be just as unwelcome there as they are here. In this I speak for myself, not for either blog runner.

You speak in conclusions, you repeat yourself despite others challenging your thoughts. You refuse to answer questions when they are posed to you. You harp on the same thing over, and over, and over, and over, and over, without anything new, without awknowledgeing that anyone else has posted, or disagreed.

You lump everyone together despite the fact that there is plenty of disagreement on this blog. You speak in wild generalizations and exaggeration.

You attack peoples intelligence, education, and just about anything else you can find.

No, you will most definitely not be welcomed at the other blog.

Anonymous said...

Well Dan, what happened to the topic of this weeks "THREAD" as you call it -- having such a big emergency that you just couldn't be bothered? I expect better from the "hall monitor" of the Agora -- or is it just an evasive tactic of yours to smother debate when it doesn't suit you?

You know, I saw LV chewing gum in class too -- better call the principal and have him expelled!!!!

Dan Simpson said...

Do you even pay attention. I have posted extensively about this topic.

I have answered all questions and posed some of my own.

Lysis said...

To thad enouf – Before I deal with your opinions, I want to comment on your logo. I don’t think the Republicans are the only ones willing to sacrifice for America; the way you depict it. I know that the majority of those pumping their blood into supporting America are Republicans, but I think it would be fair if you included a small donkey in your picture pumping a little support into the flag that stands for our country.

As for the political actions of Conyers and Boxer, I would expect nothing more of them. I am as sure as you are that Conyers’ grandstanding will go no farther than the Democrats call to reinstate the draft, initiated before the last election or Murtha’s call to desert Iraq, floated by the Democrats a few weeks ago. I suppose America must put up with this pettiness from those whose only hope for power is American failure. It would be nice, as I suggested in relation to your logo, if the Democrats would sacrifice a little for the benefit of our country.

I feel I have dealt with my feelings on Boxer’s or anyone else’s call for impeachment above. Let’s go for it. Please consider my comments to Dannyboy to follow as applying to thad enouf and Boxer.

Dannyboy, I guess you are chiding me for not reading your statement in its entirety? I assure you I did. I accept that, if Bush committed a felony, he should be impeached. I believe that M.L. King should have been arrested for boarding those busses, that Gandhi should have gone to jail for opening those salt works, I believe Mr. Scopes should have paid the $100.00 for teaching Evolution. In a nation of law, when one disobeys the law, one should pay the penalty. But if in the process of the prosecution the law is proven unjust or, in our country, unconstitutional that law should be laid aside, thrown out!!

I will remind you that whether or not a President is impeached for high crimes or misdemeanors in not a matter of judicial power. It is strictly in the hands of the majority of the House of Representatives. That is in the Constitution along with the powers of the President. Even should the House be required to impeach, the Senate, as they did in the case of Bill Clinton, has the prerogative to disregard all facts and vote their politics. I simply maintain that when the House or Senate refuses to either impeach or remove President Bush, they will be listening to the just demands of their constituents. This is perfectly within the rule of law under the United States Constitution. I am sure you would insist on the prosecution of our bear killer, but when the jury justly through the prosecutions case out of court, the law would be served just as justly!

On the two points I gathered from the last two paragraphs:

1. I see the President, in these very narrow parameters of acts of war against the United States, to have power as chief executive, especially commissioned lead the nation in providing for its common defense. I also believe that “on the battle field” the Commander in Chief, can direct the weapons of the United States, including the NSA, in its defense. Those are my feelings concerning the matter; I will await arguments in their support from the Attorney General and the Supreme Court. As Silver Lining has pointed out, the Supream Court has already ruled in favor of the President’s powers in the past. But this point is moot. I agree with you, if the President did commit a felony let the impeachment proceedings begin. The Constitution has provided a defense for the just actions of the President in this case. If the people find him diligent in the office to which they have elected him, they will support him, if not they will allow his punishment. This is the system our LAW allows!!!!

2. I suppose the “not innocent” you are talking about in the second paragraph are the Al Qaeda contacts hiding out in and preparing to attack America. In time of war, the enemy is guilty by the fact he is the enemy. The president does not need to consider the motivations or the circumstances under which terrorists can be combated. They chose to be combated when they declared war on America. Again, I will seek out the statutes to support my position. I solicit assistants from those who have better education or resources. But, in the event that President Bush did commit a felony, the course of the LAW remains the same. The House will draw up articles of Impeachment, hopefully before Christmas, and we will see if the representatives of the people will punish or exonerate his actions. This is the process the Constitution allows. This is the LAW!

I believe the Presidents actions were justified because we are at war and he was fighting our enemies to the best of his ability. I believe that is what Americans want of their President. The accusations that he authorized spying on “Innocent American” or anyone else without direct and demonstrable ties to the terrorists with whom we are at war is a lie!!!

Silver Lining said...

Feel as much pity for me as you please Anonymous. You are right. I don't KNOW for certain if the President listened to Kennedy or me or you or who for that matter. None of us knows, so we have to choose. I will fall on the side of thinking what I posted earlier unless I am given information to make me think otherwise. I am guessing you will do just the opposite. That is fine. It has become the American way not to trust the government. I think what scant evidence there is such as the fact that the Pres. briefed members of the Senate when this occured etc. convinces me to continue undeterred in my pitiable beliefs for now.

Not that it matters regarding the legalities Anonymous, but have you ever been spied on? I have (no not a peeping Tom but another government). Perhaps that experience informs my pitiable perspective.

Anonymous said...

Not that actual history seems to matter in this forum Silver Lining, but it never became the American way to not trust our government, it has always been the American way to not trust our government. That is why we have three branches of government, each with a check on the other - at crucial issue now. Our distrust of government is specifically why America replaced King George with a checked and balanced system. Now another King George is dismantling that. And why would being spied on by another government inform your pitiable perspective in this matter anymore? You still have no idea who Bush has ordered to be spied on unconstitutionally.

Defeat Lysis? No retort? You must have finally collapsed under the weight of your absurd brand of reality. Leaping from comparisons of Bush as a great Roman general to on par with Ghandi and MLK, you are truly dizzying. You end with a claim that anyone who says Bush spied on undeserving Americans is lying? How did you divine this knowledge? Why not just admit the decent thing like Silver Lining did that you have absolutely no idea but you don't think so. Calling others liars when you are so obviously clueless just sounds silly.

Anonymous, I love the Hall Monitor comment! So perfect. What about the point of the thread DannyBoy2? You seemed to be pointed in the right direction.

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lysis said...

Oh Anonymous!!!! Thank you so much for beating your brains out against the wall. It saves me the trouble of knocking you out myself. A few particularly enjoyable splatters of your self spilt gore were:

1. On the time line for FISA action: We have all commented on the parameters of the FISA court and its “post date” prevision. To my recollection, all I did was mention that I had heard that briefs may take longer to prepare. If you know otherwise please give a reference, don’t just splatter your gray matter.

2. On the 1200 investigations of Clinton. You failed to give us the number of congressional investigations initiated against the Bush Whitehouse or the number that have led to the five so called charges. I guess you were too busy bleeding invectives of your own concoction.

3. You fail to sight a single bogus “news” story. If you going to accuse someone of lying it is helpful to provide the lie, not just splatter scull fragments.

4. It was P. Maclean that suggested people might be better off under dictators than being aided by the United States. I’m hopeful he came to understand the point that neither Nazis nor Saddamists should be left in power when there is a way to remove them. I’m hopeful that P. Maclean and his fishing buddies came to see the parallels between the Dutch fight for liberation from Germany and the Iraq sacrifice to win their freedom from terrorists and tyrants. Anonymous, you missed the point because you were too busy beating yourself into unconsciousness.

I’m afraid your oozing head has provided no more creditable evidence against either my positions or the President than your injury induced hallucinations of underage girls in royal beds.

Get some ice for that!!

Silver Lining – I too find great comfort in our “two party” system. I am delighted that the checks and balances that you reference indicate the rectitude of the Presidents efforts. I am sure if those dedicated to Bush’s destruction had a sliver of real evidence they would not have to continually spout their unsupported rage.

Anonymous said...

Oh no you don't Lysis, you will not lie to me. People deserve to know the truth.

1. On the retroactive notice for FISA courts, take the time to read the posts in full. Three times with notes is, I think, the required time for you. My memory does serve. Notification has only to be made. Time to write the briefs is given. Why didn't Bush take advantage of this? You have to conclude it is because he was doing illegal things.

2. Your lying knows no bounds Lysis, please reread my post again as I stated clearly that in the six Bush has President there have been five investigations. Five! In spite of the mess that has swirled around his Presidency there have been five. Twelve-hundred into Clinton, five into Bush, where has the nerve of Congress gone? Bush has neutered Congress and has been caught red handed now by the New York Times dismantling the checks and balances of our constitution for his own power!

You lied when you said I did not tell you how many investigations there have been into Bush. You lied when I said I did not give the support. You must not have expected me to be on top of your words but I relish shining the light on your deceiving Lysis.

3. Your selective memory betrays a crippling bias in your ability to speak truthfully about the proof I have provided Lysis. I provided citations to the bipartisan GAO report that found the Bush Whitehouse using propaganda against U.S. citizens in your pathetic "Two Ways to Write History" topic: "The Bush administration has come under criticism for distributing video and news stories in the United States without identifying the federal government as their source and for paying American journalists to promote administration policies, practices the Government Accountability Office has labeled 'covert propaganda.'" Darn that GAO right Lysis! It has come back to bite you again. Do write it down this time so that we won't have to cover this again but so we can move on to your apology for the propaganda.

4. You stoop too low when you completely invent the idea that P.Maclean thought people were better off under dictators and it is repugnant that you would do so. Re-read the post Lysis. He agrees with you! You then deeply insult him by saying, I quote, "they (the Netherlands) would be just as well off under the Third Reich. They would know more about the “German Liberation” of the Netherlands than I." Disgusting. Indefensible. Nonsensical. You belong with demagogues like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

5. You never even bother to ponder the questions I put forth. It is because you do not like the answers you are forced to give. Bush is acting immorally. Bush is taking steps sabotage our civil rights and the Constitution for his own power grab.

Don't even bother responding if you can't do better than to lie more. How can you call this forum a search for "truth?"

Silver Lining said...

Indeed we did institute checks and balances and three branches because of a natural distrust of government. You are absolutely correct. Let me be far more specific lest I be very misunderstood. Polls before the late 1960's and early 1970's (Vietnam and Watergate)indicate that 75% of Americans trusted that those elected officials in goverment (The Pres., The Congress, etc.) were telling them the truth. (25% did not) Since the late 1970's, the numbers have reversed. 75% of Americans do not believe the government they elect is trustworthy or truthful. What I mean by has become the American way to distrust the government is precisely that. I did not mean distrust government in a big picture sense. As stated before, we have always done that. I mean specifically fail to trust our elected government.

I say this without a bit of sarcasm Anonymous; you should check out a book by a very dear friend of mine, Robert Goldberg. It is titled Enemies Within. Awesome read.

Lysis said...

On #1 – You say the same thing as the rest of us. What is your point?

ON #2 - Oh, so you’re saying that there have only been five investigations into the Bush Administration and no charges filed. I’m sorry. All the goo dripping off your invective confused me. So what’s your point? Is it that the congress has no backbone in regards to Bush? I choose another point. Bush is not involved in all the questionable misbehaviors Clinton was. By the way, the charges I was concerned with were charges I wanted to hear from you were the ones against Bush. Which ones were they? This is the third time you’ve had the chance to tell US. Please tell me. My point is that there has been no charge against Bush, only a flood of gory accusations in the press and among his enemies.

On #3 - I agree with the GAO. The military, Bush, whoever, are paying the Iraq news people to publish positive stories. Propaganda, perhaps; but where are the lies? You don’t give any!!! Prove your point with something that relates to it!

On #4 – On P. Maclean; you either don’t understand the instructive value of sarcasm or you’re pretending to be stupid. Oh wait, maybe you knocked your brains out.

On #5? - What was your question, please state it clearly and in small words so I can understand. I guess I missed it in all the blood and brick dust.

Anonymous said...

While we are asking questions here are a few more to ask (you may apologize profusely Lysis):

There were over 1,200 congressional investigations into the Whitehouse under Bill Clinton, only one resulted in charges, for misleading the IC about having an affair. In the six years that Bush has been President there have been five despite intelligence failure after intelligence failure (boy is that an understatement talking about this Whitehouse), warrantless spying on U.S. citicens, the deliberate leaking of a covert U.S. operatives name, a war fought without a strategy, allegations of sanctioned torture, the discovery of secret prisons and ghost detainees, improper allotment of contracts in Iraq and New Orleans, a catastrophic failure of our emergency preparedness, the indictment of several Whitehouse officials and close friends for bribery, obvious cronyism, on and on. . . Where has Congress' spine gone? After the gross abuses of power and the strong arm tactics of this Whitehouse that run roughshod over their sacred rule of law is Congress still a coequal branch of government?

We learned last week from NBC that the Pentagon is also engaged in grossly disturbing and highly legally questionable cases of domestic spying on anti-war demonstrators. The Pentagon has surveilled Librarian anti-war demonstrators in New Hampshire actors at rallies in Hollywood and meetings in Florida - and everywhere in between I am sure. They have compiled a national list of the activities and, as is obvious from the documents obtained, have followed individuals and noted license plates and cars. In most cases the Pentagon has found that the protesters were just "average" citizens "harmless." Their information has been retained in the national data base though, presumably for future use. Is this the country the founders envisioned? Why is the military spying on avererage people for disagreeing with the President? Is it reasonable to believe, like Lysis does, that disagreeing with King George is tantamount to wanting to destroy America? Aren't Bush and Cheney morally wrong for ordering this kind of behavior on average U.S. citizens? What is next? If you are not outraged by this then why not?

Also, with the discovery that the Bush administration has been sending out bogus "news" stories to U.S. media outlets - without notifying them they are Whitehouse produced, that the government has hired firms to write propaganda campaigns in Iraq and acknowledged that these stories will be unwittingly used by U.S. outlets, with the discovery of a U.S. secret prison system in Eastern Europe, with our government kidnapping people around the world and not allowing them access to review, with allegations of torture - 100 enemy combatants have died in U.S. custody, over a 25% of those are being investigated as homicides (Pentagon's own numbers) - and with the discovery that the military is spying on "average" citizens, that the President has decided he does not need to obey the laws of the land or pay heed to the courts, does the U.S. still have credibility when it lectures people like Vladimir Putin on democracy, a free press and civil liberties? Does anyone else see the administration hypocrisy here?

Given the intelligence failures and the deliberate misleading by our V.P. and President does the U.S. have international credibility anymore when we try to persuade other skeptical nations of the existence of WMD programs in countries like Iran? Is the word of the U.S. on issues like this trustworthy anymore or just politically motivated? What do you think other nations that we have to work with to address these issues think?

What has Africanus done to our beloved country? Didn't anyone read the script? Doesn't he know he is supposed to charge into the chambers of government and the Senators are supposed to cower and blubber before him letting him do anything he wants to do? Your scenario was apt to a point Lysis, not the point you wanted to make. In this case, the barbarians are not at the gate, they are in the Whitehouse.

To your response:

#1 What is your point? If you agree that they could take all the time they need to write their briefs and still do the spying whenever they want to then why did Bush circumvent the courts to do it? There is no good answer for this. It was wrong, it is wrong. It has to stop.

#2 My point in their being only five investigations into this Whitehouse with everything I mentioned in my original post going on, including these new issues coming to light is that Congress is no longer a co-equal branch of government! Bush has bullied them into submission and held them hostage with fundraising dollars and his rotweiler DeLay. On top of Congress no longer being a co-equal branch Bush is trying to end run the courts' check on the Executive. He is doing more damage to America in this way than any President since Nixon. At least Nixon had a "secret plan" to win the war. Bush doesn't even have that so he may be worse.

#3 If you cannot see the inherent badness of propaganda then I fear for quality of public education in the U.S. Both the one you received and the one you are supposed to give. Perhaps your comment about the liberating effects of Nazism are more telling of you than I had suspected.

#4 P.Maclean took your comments about Nazism very seriously and so do I. He told you so and I am telling you now. You were wrong. Reading through your posts there is no record of any great love for Europe from you. Just the opposite.

#5 Again, do not even bother to answer the questions if you will spout more propaganda passed off as vetted truth! Don't waste OUR time.

Lysis said...

I apologize profusely, Anonymous, I see these many questions, but I assumed they are rhetorical, the answers seem so obvious. I’ll try to avoid propaganda in my responses and I will always tell the truth.

1. Where has Congress’ spine gone? Up their backs.

2. Is congress a coequal branch of government? Yes.

3. Is this the country the founders envisioned? It’s better

4. Why is the military spying on average people? They are not.

5. Is it reasonable to believe, like Lysis does, that disagreeing with King George is tantamount to wanting to destroy America? No – Not reasonable because Lysis doesn’t believe that. (I’m sure of that one)

6. Aren’t Bush and Cheney morally wrong for ordering this kind of behavior on average U.S. citizens? The NSA is eavesdropping on Terrorists. Your question is meaningless since it has no foundation in reality.

7. What’s next? Peace, freedom and prosperity for Iraq.

8. If you are not outraged by this then why not? Because this is nothing.

9. Does the U.S. still have credibility when it lectures people like Vladimir Putin on democracy, a free press and civil liberties? Yes!

10. Does anyone else see the administration hypocrisy here? Others imagine it there.

11. … does the U. S. have international credibility anymore when we try to persuade other skeptical nations of the existence of WMD programs in countries like Iran? Yes!

12. Is the word of the U. S. on issues like this trustworthy anymore or just politically motivated. It is trustworthy and politically motivated.

13. What do you think other nations that we have to work with to address these issues think? Many things – depends on the nation, but most now know that when the U.S. says it will act and stay, the U.S. is telling the truth.

14. What has Afracanus done to our beloved country? Improved its economy, and kept it safe from terrorist attacks for over four years.

15. Didn’t anyone read the script? What script?

16. Doesn’t he know he is suppose to charge into the chambers of government and the Senators are supposed to cower and blubber before him letting him do anything he wants to do? No of course “he” doesn’t even consider that.

#1. Bush circumvented the courts. We agree – I said that in the original post.

#2. Until you give US some examples of this, I am forced to conclude you are imagining or concocting this bulling. The push and pull between executive and legislative branches is called the balance of power.

#3. Some Propaganda is good. Examples – Radio Free Europe, and the truth now being told to Iraqis long misinformed by Alzajeria (sp)

#4. And I gave him my explanation, I assume he understood it. I wish you could.

#5. You have my answers.

Anonymous said...

There is a clear difference between the secret planting of news by the U.S. government in domestic and foreign news outlets and Radio Free Europe, a known allied run news service during the cold war. One is propaganda and the other is not. Are you sure you have a degree to teach Lysis? Is it at Goebles High School? All propaganda is bad, especially in the pursuit of a just society. Attempting to justify them as well intentioned is not good enough. Half-truths are ever the blackest of lies. You are probably well aware of that though. Like it or not our President is acting immorally and his actions are having a negative impact on the way the world views us as Americans. You see, there is a real world where your apologies sound just as hollow as they do to me in this game forum you have set for yourself.

If we really stand for the rule of law we will not allow the President to circumvent it whenever he and DICK cheney see fit.

Anonymous said...

Veggimatic here....

Once again my favorite website (The Drudge Report) has some interesting documentation on this topic.



Bill Clinton Signed Executive Order that allowed Attorney General to do searches without court approval

Clinton, February 9, 1995: "The Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order"

Jimmy Carter Signed Executive Order on May 23, 1979: "Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order."

WASH POST, July 15, 1994: Extend not only to searches of the homes of U.S. citizens but also -- in the delicate words of a Justice Department official -- to "places where you wouldn't find or would be unlikely to find information involving a U.S. citizen... would allow the government to use classified electronic surveillance techniques, such as infrared sensors to observe people inside their homes, without a court order."

Deputy Attorney General Jamie S. Gorelick, the Clinton administration believes the president "has inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches for foreign intelligence purposes."

Secret searches and wiretaps of Aldrich Ames's office and home in June and October 1993, both without a federal warrant.

To be a bit more specific:

[Federal Register page and date: 60 FR 8169; February 13, 1995]


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 9, 1995


- - - - - - -

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution
and the laws of the United States, including sections 302 and 303 of the
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 ("Act") (50 U.S.C. 1801,
et seq.), as amended by Public Law 103- 359, and 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.

Sec. 2. Pursuant to section 302(b) of the Act, the Attorney
General is authorized to approve applications to the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Court under section 303 of the Act to obtain
orders for physical searches for the purpose of collecting foreign
intelligence information.

Sec. 3. Pursuant to section 303(a)(7) of the Act, the following
officials, each of whom is employed in the area of national security or
defense, is designated to make the certifications required by section
303(a)(7) of the Act in support of applications to conduct physical

(a) Secretary of State;

(b) Secretary of Defense;

(c) Director of Central Intelligence;

(d) Director of the Federal Bureau of

(e) Deputy Secretary of State;

(f) Deputy Secretary of Defense; and

(g) Deputy Director of Central Intelligence.

None of the above officials, nor anyone officially acting in that
capacity, may exercise the authority to make the above certifications,
unless that official has been appointed by the President, by and with
the advice and consent of the Senate.


February 9, 1995.

But wait there is more....

EO 12139
23 May 1979


By the authority vested in me as President by Sections 102 and
104 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C.
1802 and 1804), in order to provide as set forth in that Act (this
chapter) 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.

1-102. Pursuant to Section 102(b) of the Foreign Intelligence Act
of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1802(b)), the Attorney General is authorized to
approve applications to the court having jurisdiction under Section
103 of that Act (50 U.S.C. 1803) to obtain orders for electronic
surveillance for the purpose of obtaining foreign intelligence

1-103. Pursuant to Section 104(a)(7) of the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1804(a)(7)), the following
officials, each of whom is employed in the area of national
security or defense, is designated to make the certifications
required by Section 104(a)(7) of the Act in support of applications
to conduct electronic surveillance:

(a) Secretary of State.

(b) Secretary of Defense.

(c) Director of Central Intelligence.

(d) Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

(e) Deputy Secretary of State.

(f) Deputy Secretary of Defense.

(g) Deputy Director of Central Intelligence.

None of the above officials, nor anyone officially acting in that
capacity, may exercise the authority to make the above
certifications, unless that official has been appointed by the
President with the advice and consent of the Senate.

1-104. Section 2-202 of Executive Order No. 12036 (set out under
section 401 of this title) is amended by inserting the following at
the end of that section: ''Any electronic surveillance, as defined
in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, shall be
conducted in accordance with that Act as well as this Order.''.

1-105. Section 2-203 of Executive Order No. 12036 (set out under
section 401 of this title) is amended by inserting the following at
the end of that section: ''Any monitoring which constitutes
electronic surveillance as defined in the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act of 1978 shall be conducted in accordance with that
Act as well as this Order.''.

Jimmy Carter.

And now for the free set of Kinsu knives.

The research I have found so far is that every president from Truman on down has done this.

Call of the dogs.....

This one is going nowhere.

By next week it will be the next liberal attack.

Goodbye Lysis Versus.....

Great Questions...No Answers....

After your first post we knew you hated Bush.

After your last post we knew you hated Bush.

I guess that makes you "too smart" for us low-life folk here in the Agora.


Lysis said...

I have found a legal champion for the Bush position on warrantless searches; the Clinton Administration and particularly Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick. (It interests me that, as I recall, that Gorelick later served with the 9/11 commission.) The information was in an article by Bryon York, White House Correspondent with the National Review Online. York’s conclusion that although, “In the end, Congress placed the searches under the FISA court . . . the Clinton administration did not back down from its contention that the president had the authority to act when necessary.”

It is more telling still to consider Gorelick’s own Testimony:

“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.”

“It is important to understand,” Gorelick continued, “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.” (1994)

Can I hope that Clinton and Gorelick will file briefs in support of President Bush’s claim to such authority as well? (That was a rhetorical question)

The following tongue-in-cheek article is also from the National Review on Line. The author, Andrew C. MaCarthy is a former federal porcicutor. I give him full credit for all the great points he shares with us.

December 20, 2005, 5:35 p.m.
Warrantless Searches of Americans? That’s Shocking!

Except when it happens every day.
When not cavalierly talking "impeachment," here's the Left's talking point of the day:
What makes this president think he can invade the privacy of Americans without a warrant?

I don't know. Could it be the powers, long recognized by federal law, to:
Detain American citizens for investigative purposes without a warrant;

Arrest American citizens, based on probable cause, without a warrant;

Conduct a warrantless search of the person of an American citizen who has been detained, with or without a warrant;

Conduct a warrantless search of the home of an American citizen in order to secure the premises while a warrant is being obtained;

Conduct a warrantless search of, and seize, items belonging to American citizens that are displayed in plain view and that are obviously criminal or dangerous in nature;

Conduct a warrantless search of anything belonging to an American citizen under exigent circumstances if considerations of public safety make obtaining a warrant impractical;

Conduct a warrantless search of an American citizen's home and belongings if another person, who has apparent authority over the premises, consents;

Conduct a warrantless search of an American citizen's car anytime there is probable cause to believe it contains contraband or any evidence of a crime;

Conduct a warrantless search of any closed container inside the car of an American citizen if there is probable cause to search the car — regardless of whether there is probable cause to search the container itself;

Conduct a warrantless search of any property apparently abandoned by an American citizen;

Conduct a warrantless search of any property of an American citizen that has lawfully been seized in order to create an inventory and protect police from potential hazards or civil claims;

Conduct a warrantless search — including a strip search — at the border of any American citizen entering or leaving the United States;

Conduct a warrantless search at the border of the baggage and other property of any American citizen entering or leaving the United States;

Conduct a warrantless search of any American citizen seeking to enter a public building;

Conduct a warrantless search of random Americans at police checkpoints established for public-safety purposes (such as to detect and discourage drunk driving);

Conduct warrantless monitoring of common areas frequented by American citizens;

Conduct warrantless searches of American citizens and their vessels on the high seas;

Conduct warrantless monitoring of any telephone call or conversation of an American citizen as long as one participant in the conversation has consented to the monitoring;

Conduct warrantless searches of junkyards maintained by American citizens;

Conduct warrantless searches of docks maintained by American citizens;

Conduct warrantless searches of bars or nightclubs owned by American citizens to police underage drinking;

Conduct warrantless searches of auto-repair shops operated by American citizens;

Conduct warrantless searches of the books of American gem dealers in order to discourage traffic in stolen goods;

Conduct warrantless drug screening of American citizens working in government, emergency services, the transportation industry, and nuclear plants;

Conduct warrantless drug screening of American citizens who are school officials;

Conduct warrantless drug screening of American citizens who are school students;

Conduct warrantless searches of American citizens who are on bail, probation or parole.

These could conceivably be some of the things that the president is thinking about, though certainly not all. I neglected, after all, to mention the long-established "inherent authority" of the president to "conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information," recognized by federal appeals courts and assumed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review in 2002.

Where does this president get such crazy ideas? Obviously, he should be impeached.

— Andrew C. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.


Rumpole said...


Veggimatic beat me to it! He posted much of what I am about to post, but I spent so much time on the research I'm going to post it anyway!

I have purposely waited to comment on the NSA eavesdropping issue. I don’t have nearly as much schooling as many of our friends here at the Agora. However, as a salesman I have learned that my first (quote from Lysis) “purely ‘emotional’ response” is usually wrong.
I’ve done a little research. According to the New York Sun (December 20, “Hold The Line” editorial) there has been NO illegal activity:

"But, contrary to what you may read in some other newspapers, that law does not require that all such surveillance be authorized by a court. The law provides at least two special exceptions to the requirement of a court order. As FISA has been integrated into Title 50 of the U.S. Code, Chapter 36, Subchapter I, Section 1802, one such provision is helpfully headed, "Electronic surveillance authorization without court order."
This "without court order" was so clear that even President Carter, a Democrat not known for his vigilance in the war on terror, issued an executive order on May 23, 1979, stating, "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." He said, "without a court order."
Now, Section 1802 does impose some conditions, including 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." But the law defines "United States person" somewhat narrowly, so that it would not include illegal aliens or, arguably, those who fraudulently obtained legal status." End of Quote.

Further, Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee July 14th, '94:

" She said, again, "'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. It's 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. Executive Order 12333 signed by Ronald Reagan in '81 provides for such warrantless searches directed against, quote, 'a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power,' End of Quote

Supreme Court case law also supports the President’s actions, as follows:

Katz v. United States - Justice White's concurrence – “Wiretapping to protect the security of the Nation has been authorized by successive Presidents. The present Administration would apparently save national security cases from restrictions against wiretapping. We should not require the warrant procedure and the magistrate's judgment if the President of the United States or his chief legal officer, the Attorney General, has considered the requirements of national security and authorized electronic surveillance as reasonable.” End of Quote.


Justice Powell – U.S. vs. U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
“We begin the inquiry by noting that the President of the United States has the fundamental duty, under Art. II, 1, of the Constitution to ‘preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States’. Implicit in that duty is the power to protect our Government against those who would subvert or overthrow it by unlawful means. In the discharge of this duty, the President - through the Attorney General - may find it necessary to employ electronic surveillance to obtain intelligence information on the plans of those who plot unlawful acts against the Government. The use of such surveillance in internal security cases has been sanctioned more or less continuously by various Presidents and Attorneys General since July 1946. Herbert Brownell, Attorney General under President Eisenhower, urged the use of electronic surveillance both in internal and international security matters on the grounds that those acting against the Government.”

Further “It would be contrary to the public interest for Government to deny to itself the prudent and lawful employment of those very techniques which are employed against the Government and its law-abiding citizens.” End of Quote.

This is quite a bit to digest. I won’t comment on my view on the Democrat’s motive right now. I’m sure we will have ample time during the ensuing discussion.

mostly just listening said...


This seems an acceptable place to mention this. I saw in Harry Reid's response to this New York Times story your contention about the media driving the Democratic Party. Senator Reid has known about these instances of surveillance for years. Only after the NY Times story emerges does he find it so reprehensible to comment about it to the American people. If it is an abuse of power in the eyes of Senator Reid, he should have rightly brought it to the attention of the American people then as well as now. What say you?

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lysis said...

Let me be the first to go on record! This whole “illegal eavesdropping" story has been a Karl Rove conspiracy! Now Bushco has not only destroyed Dan Rather and Swift Boated John Kerry, they’ve brought down Pelosi, Read, Boxer, and Conyers.

Rumpole said...


If I may, can I go a little further with your question?

Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), ranking Democrat for the Senate Intelligence Committee, was aware of the NSA program two and a half years ago. He wrote a letter (July 17, 2003) to Dick Cheney expressing his concerns about the program (you can google a copy of the letter, just type Jay Rockefeller Letter) He kept a copy of the letter in a safe.

With the breaking of the NSA story he brought out the letter in an attempt to demonstrate that he was concerned about it back then.

If the guy really cared about "legalities", why didn't he try to expose the problem then? I can only speculate as to his mindset, but it looks like he thought of the letter as his "rainy day" fund. Classic attempt at CYA!

Just another example of why I believe the Democrats to be one step behind the media. I am amazed at the Democrats lack of research.

It appears to me that the Democrats depended upon the media to do their research. Lysis alluded to Dan Rather. You think they would have learned from Dan. Talk about a huge letdown!

The most troubling thing about the whole affair to me is the motive. If anyone ever had any question about either the media's or the Democrat's motive toward the truth it is now sadly and unmistakeably clear.


What do you think, Anonymous? I'm always willing to engage in a "civil" discussion!

Anonymous said...

Great misinformation campaign Dido-Heads. Their is one critical difference in every single instance that your great scholar Matt Drudge raises and the silly thoughts of the National Review article: Every one of those instances of "warrantless searches" (their and your unlearned terminology) is reviewable by court. That is the check on the power! None of these super secret surveillances hidden and covered up by the Bush is administration is reviewable by anyone but him. That is why it is unprecedented and unconstitutional! Civil rights, due process are bein denied American citizens.

This is to say nothing of course, of the different purpose of these searches: to acquire foreign intelligence as opposed to illegally acquiring domestic intelligence on the private lives of average American citizens.

Don't let these words of wisdom break your lock step Vegimatic, Rumpole, Lysis. Go right back to the gullible pretense that everything in the Bush World is safe and for the best. Try snorting the brick dust of your own impenetrable intellects to add to your heady delusions.

And yes, Vegimatic, I do think LV was too smart for very lowly Agora folk like yourself. Maybe if you and the others stay on Drudge's website he some of the other more reasonable people will come back.

If you can't wait, those of you are more accurately informed, I again recommend Bryan Hickman's far superior and entertaining for all the right reasons blog, "Two Stupid White Guys!" Check it out.

Lysis said...

Let me thank Vegimatic and Rumpole for providing the case law and Constitutional support Dannyboy requested.. I am quite confident that these facts are but the tip or the Rovian iceberg that is about to rip the belly out of the Time’s Titanic blunder. I wonder if the Democrats are singing “Near My God to Thee”?

Oh, by the way, Andrew C. McCarthy really doesn’t want Bush impeached, and I don’t really believe that Karl Rove set the Democrats up. Such statements of obviously ridiculous positions are considered SARCASM. They are meant to bolster the opposite positions to the ones they literally present. To believe that Rove cooked up the Times story or that Bush should be impeached, is as foolish as believing that anyone would actually want Hitler to rule Holland or Saddam to have stayed in Iraq. You would have to be crazy to actually think such claims are true. Case in point, Nancy Pelosi actually believes at least three of the four above. Go figure!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for "attempting" to straighten out your views for us Lysis. You so often say such utterly ridiculous things that I can understand why it is necessary.

Incidentally, I am sure that Karl Rove did advise on this project. It is his job. I can only hope that when they hold Bush responsible they will scrub the beuracracies of all of his thuroughly corrupt cronies.

It has already begun, the slow and stomach turning revelations that will make it impossible to stop a full investigation of the sinister actions of this administration done in the name of "freedom." The New York Times reports from NSA officials this morning that in fact the secret spying program was used on of average citizens who were not speaking to anyone outside the U.S. but were "purely domestic" like calls to their neighbor across the street. "Thousands" of citizens have been spied on already, at the very least!, the officials acknowledge. That means when you call your sweetheart this Christmas there may be someone else on the line, DICK cheney! How does that make you feel? Does it turn you on Dido- Heads (Lysis, Rumpole)? For a few tax dollars more Vegimatic, you might be able to live out your fantasy with Matt Drudge listening in.

Anyone who chose to believe the President when he and his Security Adviser, Hayden, said "I can assure you, by the physics of the intercept, by how we actually conduct our activities, that one end of these communications are always outside the United States" can now rest assured YOU WERE LIED TO. How does it make you feel to be spied on Silver Lining? Not by a another government but by your own!?

Will you withdraw your absurd statement yesterday Lysis that anyone who makes these claims is a liar? Of course you will not. You are impervious to reason. It is why you spread missinformation and ignore the difference between your silly points of your "search powers" above and the SECRET and UNREVIEWABLE nature of these damaging acts. It is why you cannot see the harm of propaganda or the unconstitutional and immoral behavior of these acts by Bush. It is why you cannot see that Bush is seeking to remove all checks from our long standing and more perfect union than his nightmare!

What hairbrained topics will you post next week Lysis to apoligize for this runaway Whitehouse? "'1984:' Orwell's Dreamy Portrayal of a Model Society." "The Gestapo and Big Brother: Wrong or Misunderstood?" Or how about, "Was Nazism so Bad for Europe Afterall? Could it Work in America?"

I look forward to the monolithic progress of your Dido-Heads to those criminal conclusions.

Dan Simpson said...

To Anonymous, I am curious, do you consider all of the law treatises, and legal textbooks that use the term 'warrantless searches' to be unlearned as well? That is a well established term that means exactly what it says.

Lets be clear. Anonymous and I have differing stances on this topic.

I appreciate all of the research done by individuals here. First, let me say that I still have questions, but it is interesting to see previous presidents making claims about electronic surveillance.

A few points to ponder. It seems that the target of the electronic suveillance spoken of (specifically in the aforementioned FISA legislation regarding without a court order), must be a non-citizen, i.e. illegal aliens, and those who obtained their status fraudulently. It seems then that if the targeted individuals fall under this category it is black letter law that it is permitted. However, it does not seem this applies if those that are spied on were citizens.

I also appreciate all of the quotes and Court dicta that points to a supporting power the president has, I would still like to know where it comes from. I disagree with Justice Powell. I don't think the president is given any inherent authority based upon the words of his oath. His power comes from the Constitution.

This is the kind of info I was talking about. I want to know what the administration is basing its power on. I am fully willing to accept a legally based explanation, but it seems like the administration feels like it is unneccessary to give one.

I will look over the provided info. It seems like it is going in the right place, but I hope for more.

And Mcarthy's article was a list of extreme exceptions most having nothing whatsoever to do with the case at hand. My biggest problem with it, he KNOWS that his list doesn't apply.

Anonymous said...

Hey Hall Monitor, the meaning for the unlearned remark was that in every one of those instances from Vegimatic, Rumpole and Lysis the searches were in fact WARRANTED and this could be reviewed by a court not the warrant per se. Get your head out of the trees and see the forest.

And thanks for being clear that there is a difference between us. I never felt easy about you questioning the same things I do. I am sure it is only matter of days before you are back on the Republican bench waiting for your fill from the kool-aid cracker barrel at the end of the end of blog, no matter how about the revelations about the illegal actions of the President become.

Anonymous said...

Not everything, but some things to look at since you asked for them DB2

United States V. Montoya De Hernandez, 473 U.S. 531, 538 (1985)

United States v. Ickes 393 F.3d 501 (4th Cir. 2005)

United States v. Ramsey, 431 U.S. 606 (1977)

Katz v. United States (particularly footnote 23 in the concurring opinion)

Dan Simpson said...

Anonymous, you are definitely good for a laugh.

First, I thought the context would do it, but you are misunderstanding the term warrant. We are talking about a court issued warrant. In the cases above many of those searches are 'warrantless' because they are done, and can be done, without a warrant. The term is not meant as 'cause', or 'reason' it means a warrant, not with warrant.

As far as being a republican 'kool-aid drinker' if it makes you feel better, go ahead and think that. I don't vote party line, and I don't subscribe to a party line. If there is anyone with their head somewhere it is you, (and it isn't in the trees).

Dan Simpson said...

Alright, I read the cases, and I'm not sure what point you are making.

First, the first three tests are completely off point. The involve searches in completely different areas.

1. Hernandez, detaining a suspected drug smuggler.

2. Ickes, searching a car crossing the canadian border

3. Ramsey, opening international mail.

As you can see from even a rudimentary reading of all of these cases, the law on search and seizure is very specific to what kind of search, and what are the underlying circumstances.

The problem with using these three cases is that they have nothing to do with wiretapping, nor do they have anything to do with foreign information collection (an obvious different situation under previously stated posts here)

The last case is a very well known Criminal Procedure case that anyone who has taken the class in Law School has read. It is a very important 4th ammendment case.

There are a couple of problems with its application here, however. First, FISA law more closely applies to wiretapping for collection of foreign information. FISA changes the standards for warrants, they are not the same as established by the Court in Katz.

Now, I welcome case law, if it helps your point. But I had already read all of these in law school (anyone else who wants to read them, just google the number next to the names), and they don't apply here.

I still the the major conflict here is that FISA has exceptions for 'no court order' wiretapping, but they don't seem to apply to citizens.

And despite Lysis' comments, citizens do still have their constitutional rights, war or no. And the President doesn't have unilateral right to remove them.

Anonymous said...

Hall Monitor, the nuances of argument elude you. Do not presume to lecture me, I am well aware of the requirements for "Terry Stops" (From Terry v. Ohio - have you made it that far in your 1L classes yet? Reasonable & Articuable suspicion) searches of person in car stops (no suspicion required for frisk from Minnesotta v. Dickerson if memory serves) "Terry Principles" for items and persons extended for matters of minutes only, in cases of airport searches or drug sniffer dog passes and X-rays, the exceptions to warranted searches for probable cause.

The point is that all of these "warrantless searches" must still meet standards in court that can be reviewed - Probable Cause, Articulable Suspicion, Terry Principles, scope and validity of warrants. Try and follow me here, this is where it gets tricky, if these standards are not met the searches WERE NOT WARRANTED and are unlawful. If the standards were met the search was warranted, as in the silly cases provided above by our pseudo legal scholar friends. Got it? Now extend that to the case at hand. (That is what you do in your legal writing course right?) There must be standards for warrantless searches, if there are none there is no due process and that is a violation of the U.S. Constitution. There are no reviewable standards for these searches, at least none that have been shown or demonstrated to provide due process. (You get those standards in your second level of Constitutional Law, or Administrative Law if you make it that far.) This cannot be legislated away except in very, very specific and clearly stated and clearly agreed on cases. Do you see any of that here? Of course you do not, no one sees anything here because of the opaqueness of the Bush administration in keeping this secret and acting extra-legally.

Now Hall Monitor, please try and stay on topic and out from under foot. Read the cases Anonymous provides to pass the time.

Dan Simpson said...

You're quite funny anonymous. Are you currently in law school, or are you a licenced attorney?

Lysis said...

Anonymous, do you even read the articles you reference in your comments. I have the NY Times article in front of me now.

It is a strong defense of the NSA’s efforts and the integrity of the Bush Administration. Let me quote:

“Spying Program Snared U.S. Calls”

1. “The officials say the NSA’s interception of a small number of communications between people within the U.S. was apparently accidental, and was caused by technical glitches at the NSA in determining whether communication was in fact “international.””

2. “As a result, people that the security agency may think are outside the U.S. are actually on American soil.”

3. “Eavesdropping on communications between two people who are both inside the U.S. is prohibited under Mr. Bush’s order allowing some domestic surveillance. But in at least ONE INSTACE, someone using an international cell phone was thought to be outside the U.S. when in fact both people in the conversation were in the country.”

4. “. . . the total [of such mistakes] is thought to represent a very small fraction of the total number of wire taps . . .”

5. “The concerns led to a secret audit, which did not reveal any abuses in focusing on suspects or instances in which purely domestic communications were monitored . . .”

Anonymous, your claim that President Bush and V.P. Cheney are ordering eavesdropping on common American citizens is untrue. Your own referenced article in the NY Times proves this. Will you withdraw your untrue implication that Bush is spying “on average citizens”? These people under legal and necessary surveillance are terrorists. The President is justly fighting them as is his duty under the Constitution.

One more Anonymous fantasy blown away by fact!

Anonymous said...

Oooowwwww! Dan you got a mark on your face. It looks like a red big ol' back of a hand. I don't think he likes you.

Dan Simpson said...

To the anonymous', because it seems like there are two that are patting each others back, I will say to the one what I said to the other.

I don't care what either of you think of my education. I am secure in my career.

I reask the question to whichever anonymous makes the inflammatory remarks, are you currently in Law School, or are you a licenced attorney?

Dan Simpson said...

Probably the funniest thing here is that you, anonymous, are arguing with Lysis and I as if we agree.

Lysis and I are on differing sides of this discussion.

Dan Simpson said...

This is a very interesting read,0,3553632.story?coll=chi-newsopinioncommentary-hed

Now, anonymous, since my miniscule legal intellect is meaningless, I wonder what you think about this man's. He was associate Attorney General under Clinton.

It is very convincing, much of it is the same as was posted here, but it still leaves open the question to me if the arguments apply to wiretapping of citizens.

It seems clear that the tapping of non-citizens is an inherent authority of the President's (at least it has never been successfully challenged), but what about the current situation.

Again, I will say as I did before, I await further info from the administration (hopefully they will just give it without being compelled.)

Oh, and anonymous, I hope you read it as well, without just labeling him a 'kool aid drinker'. I don't know his political affiliations, but he did serve in the Clinton white house.

Anonymous said...

Lysis are you denying that this super secret "super necessary" program has spied on average Americans? You cannot. One, because the article that you accept plainly states that the program does! This is despite the "physical impossiblity" we were assured two days ago that it could not. Two, you cannot deny because you know NOTHING, about the program. It is super secret! Bush is immoral and wrong for ordering without court approval that ALREADY exists and you are wrong to continue to support it.

Only in your fantasies is Bush the savior of America and the World.

Anonymous said...

Lysis are you denying that this super secret "super necessary" program has spied on average Americans? You cannot. One, because the article that you accept plainly states that the program does! This is despite the "physical impossiblity" we were assured two days ago that it could not. Two, you cannot deny because you know NOTHING, about the program. It is super secret! Bush is immoral and wrong for ordering without court approval that ALREADY exists and you are wrong to continue to support it.

Only in your fantasies is Bush the savior of America and the World.

Lysis said...

Oh teach us to reason like you Anonymous!!! On second thought; don’t!

1. The article in the New York Times clearly supports that there is no evidence of spying on average Americans, only people, who in American or not, are in communication with known terrorists. These are not average Americans. Average Americans are not terrorists!!!!

3. The article in the New York Times – the one you chose to use, so don’t give me any of the rightwing media stuff – clearly states that the President’s order prevents listening to Americans who are not in communication with know, out of country terrorists. Your claim that Bush is ordering spying on average Americans is just wrong.

3. The article goes on to clearly explain that any surveillance of terrorist communications that is “both ended” in America was a mistake. The article can only sight “one possible” example of this mistake happening!!! This “mistake” happened because the terrorist was using an out of-country registered cell phone in the U.S. This point give no support to your argument anyway as the person thus mistakenly listened too was not an average American. It was a terrorist or suspected terrorist. Average Americans are not terrorists – except, perhaps in your imagination - which is where the rest of your unfounded accusations come from.

4. You yourself admit that no one knows what conversations have been monitored. We are left to take the word of those who have kept us safe from terror for nearly five years or concoct the answers in our heads. Concocting answers in one’s head is either imagining or lying.

These are the irrefutable facts, and no matter how many times you say otherwise it will not change them.

Bryan Hickman said...

While you may be substantively correct, Lysis, there are some things to consider.

If someone is an American citizen, living in the US, they are entitled to EVERY due process protection and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. While much of legal justification offered thus far has stated that unwarranted searches on foreign nationals in likely constitutional. It's cannot necessarily be assumed that the same applies to the eaves dropping of US citizens...even if, once again, they are affiliated with suspected or even known terrorists.

Regardless, I think the revelation of this practice will, in the long-run, be a good thing as it will lead to greater clarification and congressional oversight and, if necessary, an updating of surveillance laws in order to meet the demands of new technology.

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lysis said...

Oh teach my how to reason like you Dannyboy! No, I’m serious.

It is most gratifying to find an “opponent” who is willing to send on facts even when they support my position. I hope all will take the chance to read the Chicago Tribune article in its entirety, but I will post some very powerful points by the former Clinton Administration associate attorney general:

1. “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.”

2. “Four federal courts of appeal subsequently face the issue squarely and held that the president has inherent authority to authorize wiretapping for foreign intelligence purposes without judicial warrant.”

3. The FISC itself has stated, “. . . that the president did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence . . . We take for grated that the president does have that authority.”

4. “. . . as the 2002 Court of Review noted, if the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches, “FISA could not encroach on the president’s constitutional power.”

5. “authorized by statute” is satisfied by congressional passage of the post-Sept 11 resolution giving the president authority to “use all necessary and appropriate force” to prevent those responsible for Sept. 11 from carrying out further attacks. The administration argues that obtaining intelligence is a necessary and expected component of any military or other use of force to prevent enemy action.”

6. “But even if the NSA activity is “electronic surveillance” and the Sept. 11 resolution is not “statutory authorization” within the meaning of FISA, the act still cannot, in the words of the 2002 Court of Review decision, “encroach upon the president’s constitutional power.”

7. John Schmidt concludes his position: “I do not believe the Constitution allows Congress to take away from the president the inherent authority to act in response to a foreign attack. That inherent power is reason to be careful about who we elect as president, but it is authority we have needed in the past and, in light of history, could well need again.”

Dannyboy and Bryan (of the wonderful blog), I think that Schmidt’s arguments support the President’s Constitutional power to act in defense of the country. The fact that this “Eavesdropping” is only of known enemies of the United States in “time of war makes such surveillance reasonable. Thus the President has “inherent authority to respond to a foreign attack.” These phone calls are acts of war and admit to both Constitutional and statuary authority to the President’s authorization of the NSA’s actions.

Please consider with these “layman’s arguments” the following information from our friend Aeneas.

He does not feel they are polished enough to present in the court of our discussion. I disagree, and assure him that there would be no better way to polish them than against sharp edge of your collective opinions. I am sure he as well as I would love your critics on his efforts.


I feel to advise my colleagues in the legal profession not to make a "1L mistake" and jump to a conclusion, based solely on a superficial read of the FISA, that the President of the United States does not have the authority to conduct intelligence gathering operations necessary for the defense of this country.

There are several legal grounds upon which the President may base his actions on. Recall the provision that DannyBoy brings to the Agora’s attention:
Specifically, 50 U.S.C. 1809 prohibits "electronic surveillance" except as authorized by statutory law: "A person is guilty of an offense if he intentionally . . . engages in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute."
"Electronic surveillance" is defined in 50 U.S.C. 1801(f) to mean, in relevant part:
(1) the acquisition by an electronic, mechanical, or other surveillance device of the contents of any wire or radio communication sent by or intended to be received by a particular, known United States person who is in the United States, if the contents are acquired by intentionally targeting that United States person, under circumstances in which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy and a warrant would be required for law enforcement purposes;

For there to be a violation of FISA under § 1809, the act must constitute "electronic surveillance". The definition of electronic surveillance requires that the circumstances be such that there is a reasonable expectation of privacy and a warrant would be required for law enforcement purposes.
There are at least two clear exceptions to the Fourth Amendment requirements needed to meet the definition under §1801(f), Boarder Searches and the National Security Exception. The border search exception permits searches at the border of the United States "or its functional equivalent." United States v. Montoya De Hernandez, 473 U.S. 531, 538 (1985). This exception has been extended to computer and computer hard drives. That is, if you enter the United States from anywhere outside of the United States, the Federal Government can search your computer for contraband. Clearly, computer hard drives may containing everything from email messages to porno. No reasonable expectation of privacy and no warrant needed. United States v. Ickes, 393 F.3d 501 (4th Cir. 2005) (Wilkinson, J.). Not only has this exception been extended to stored electronic media but also to international letters and packages moving across the U.S. boarder. United States v. Ramsey, 431 U.S. 606 (1977). The Ramsey Court states that it has been long accepted, that a sovereign has the inherent right to control what moves across its boarders. However, the Ramsey Court did not give the Federal Government a blank check to search every letter or package that comes across the board, but, stated that there must at least be a reason suspicion of contraband. In this case, the President stated that the only intercepts being made are those that have an international nexus, that is, communications that have crossed the U.S. boarder. In addition, the President stated only those communications that have some link to Al Qaeda. (If a phone number is located

Footnote 23 of Katz v. United States left this open, and Justice White's concurrence in Katz expanded on this point:

Wiretapping to protect the security of the Nation has been authorized by successive Presidents. The present Administration would apparently save national security cases from restrictions against wiretapping. We should not require the warrant procedure and the magistrate's judgment if the President of the United States or his chief legal officer, the Attorney General, has considered the requirements of national security and authorized electronic surveillance as reasonable.

The Supreme Court also left this question open in the so-called "Keith" case, United States v. United States District Court, in 1972. Justice Powell's opinion in the Keith case concluded that there was no national security exception to the Fourth Amendment for evidence collection involving domestic organizations, but expressly held open the possibility that such an exception existed for foreign intelligence collection:

Further, the instant case requires no judgment on the scope of the President's surveillance power with respect to the activities of foreign powers, within or without this country. The Attorney General's affidavit in this case states that the surveillances were "deemed necessary to protect the nation from attempts of domestic organizations to attack and subvert the existing structure of Government." There is no evidence of any involvement, directly or indirectly, of a foreign power.

The administration presumably takes the position that the President does have such power in cases involving foreign evidence collection, and that the NSA surveillance is such a case. The Supreme Court has never resolved the question, so it's an open constitutional issue. Nonetheless, between the border search exception and the open possibility of a national security exception, there are pretty decent arguments that the monitoring did not violate the Fourth Amendment. Maybe persuasive, maybe not, but certainly open and fair arguments under the case law.

The border search exception permits searches at the border of the United States "or its functional equivalent." United States v. Montoya De Hernandez, 473 U.S. 531, 538 (1985). The idea here is that the United States as a sovereign has a right to inspect stuff entering or exiting the country as a way of protecting its sovereign interests, and that the Fourth Amendment permits such searches. Courts have applied the border search exception in cases of PCs and computer hard drives; if you bring a computer into or out of the United States, the government can search your computer for contraband or other prohibited items at the airport or wherever you are entering or leaving the country. See, e.g., United States v. Ickes, 393 F.3d 501 (4th Cir. 2005) (Wilkinson, J.).
As I understand it, all of the monitoring involved in the NSA program involved international calls (and international e-mails). That is, the NSA was intercepting communications in the U.S., but only communications going outside the U.S. or coming from abroad. I'm not aware of any cases applying the border search exception to raw data, as compared to the search of a physical device that stores data, so this is untested ground. At the same time, I don't know of a rationale in the case law for treating data differently than physical storage devices. The case law on the border search exception is phrased in pretty broad language, so it seems at least plausible that a border search exception could apply to monitoring at an ISP or telephone provider as the "functional equivalent of the border," much like airports are the functional equivalent of the border in the case of international airline travel. [UPDATE: A number of people have contacted me or left comments expressing skepticism about this argument. In response, let me point out the most persuasive case on point: United States v. Ramsey, holding that the border search exception applies to all international postal mail, permitting all international postal mail to be searched. Again, this isn't a slam dunk, but I think a plausible argument -- and with dicta that seems to say that mode of transportation is not relevant.]

Dan Simpson said...

Again, as I said. These are good arguments. And are just of the kind I was hoping to get. My opinion is still left open for further information.

I always based my opinion on the facts so far presented and known to me.

Dan Simpson said...

Still waiting anonymous, are you in school or are you a lawyer?

Oh, and as far as your blatant attempt at insult, don't worry, I heard that much and worse in law school from others who didn't truly want to discuss, but wanted to dictate 'fact' based upon their reading of cases or statutes.

And not that it matters (nor does it make my opinion any more correct than anyone elses (a fact you would do well to remember)), I am actually a licenced attorney, so I already hit all the "milestones" of legal learning you mentioned.

Except for Admin Law, that stuff is just plain boring.

Anonymous said...

Vegimatic Here,

Anonymos 1 and 2. We ain't got no larnin here. We ain't smurt enuf to stand on fact we have to listen to your parcing of fact. "It depends on what the definition of "is" is."

Where is the harm? Where are the names and stories of the citizens that have been harmed?.

Have any of you seen a terrorist attack up close?

Yup, you guessed it, I have. Oklahoma City the day after the bombing. It is the first and hopefully last time I met an FBI Agent with her gun pointed at me. Soon to be followed up by a soldier with an M-16 pointed at me, locked and loaded. I was just there for a sales call and was scared for life.

So you can bitch about Bush all you want to, but when was the last attack on this country.....?

You liberal idot in the back. Thats right 911.

I am here to tell you that you do not want to have more here.

So in a pragmatic way if our Presidents (plural, thats right even weiner boy Clinton) want to protect us like the Constitution tells him to do I am ok with it.

I have seen the destruction up close, the people who where effected by it up close.

If you want to wave the white flag, let me wave them to your house, especially if you are an attorney.

It would be a good start.

Find something else to Bitch about Bush. His fiscal policy is awful.

I would even agree with you then.

Don't play with my children's and my safety, I ride on airplaines much too often.

Anonymous said...

The part of Lysis' post attributed to Aeneas was the result of research as yet incomplete. Aeneas thought it important to note that the analysis was based on research he did from several sources. He wanted it noted that much of what he gleaned from was from Professor Orin Kerr from the George Washington University School of Law. No plagarism here.

Rumpole said...



I am not as a great a student of history as many here at the Agora. But I have heard it is very difficult to be successful when waging a war on two fronts. This war is one that is being waged on two fronts. There is a great battle being waged in Iraq, but there is a greater battle being waged right here.

Here you go, Anonomy, another bone. Want to know how I think the war could go better? The “home-front” offensive needs to be more effective then it has been. . I wondered when the revelation of the NSA program came to light why the President didn’t offer a clear explanation (like DannyBoy has sought for) as to the nature of the program.

It appears to have been clearly established that the President acted both within the boundaries of the Constitution and of the Law when he instituted his NSA program. Surely he and his associates knew the law that we have discovered when the story broke. Why was there not a clearer explanation from the onset?

Perhaps, however, his “home-front” strategy is brilliant. Waiting for the information to surface on its own seems to be very effective. If I may use a football analogy, maybe the end-around is more effective than running straight up the middle.

It has only been recently that more than one voice has had the ability to be heard. The Democrats don’t seem to realize that. They seem stuck in a “time-warp.” During Viet Nam (here is a single point comparison for you on Iraq and Viet Nam, DannyBoy) only one voice was heard. Walter Cronkite spoke and we all believed him.

Now there is greater access to information then ever before. I think that “time-warp” is the reason the Democrats continue to fall all over themselves. Barbra Boxer and the rest of the gang ought to spend a little more time doing some research rather than depending on the New York Times. Maybe they could convince Dan Rather and Connie Chung to do a cameo on 60 minutes!


P.S. Vegimatic - A fellow salesman among all these lawyers! You always have made sense!

Aeneas - It's got to be pretty frustrating that Professor Kerr plagiarized all your material!

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight, you are touting the article from the New York Times that says the program has spied on average Americans but you are also saying that the program has not spied on average Americans? Do you ever wonder at your own contradictory conclusions Lysis?

The Whitehouse has spied on average Americans most likely without Constitutional authority. The very reason we gave the Judicial a check on the Executive, to stop gestapo and KGB tactics like this.

DannyBoy2, I am Anonymous and I will remain so. Congrats on passing all of your "milestones" in the legal profession. I am truly amazed. Didn't your law school argue to overturn Miranda just a few years ago? Perhaps that should inform us of your education towards civil liberties.

Dido-Heads and pseudo legal scholars, it sounds like you have accomplished all of the proper legal analysis necessary. And since you know that Bush would never tell a lie I think it is time to close shop on this program that you actually know next to nothing about and go on your business like nothing ever happened. Someone please remind Republican Senator Arlen Spector, the foremost Constitutional Law scholar in the Senate, that the legalities of everything have already been worked out and there is no need for the investigations he is demanding. Big Brother is firmly in control.

No, there must be an independent investigation despite the expert punditry offered here in the Agora. The principles are not settled and the more that is learned about the secret program the more reasonable people like Arlen Specter are alarmed.

Vegimatic, I am sorry you were scared into submission. You should keep your children out of your paranoid rantings though. It diminishes the strength of any factualy based analysis you make. (That is assuming of course, you may want to break with history and make factually based analysis.) I certainly agree with you that Bush has done a horrible job on the economy. We can agree there absolutely.

I agree with you also Rumple, home land security needs to be far better than it has been. Bush is doing a terrible job and always has and now threatens our security even more. There are LEGAL actions that can be taken to insure our security at home - requiring the screening of all cargo that goes onto passenger flights for one (for all you concerned frequent fliers out there) and not caving in to big money airline lobbyists on the issue. We are fighting a war on two fronts, one is against those from outside that seek to destroy our way of life, and the other is against those trying to dismantle the checks of the Constitution to destroy a way of life and democracy that is better and has lasted longer than any other on Earth.

Giving up on this fight and assuming that secret police monitoring of our conversations is necessary for our protection is a grave mistake. America does not need a shadowy vanguard of the proletariat to insure our safety. We have rights, transparent due process, an independent judiciary and deserve an Executive that respects our long tradition with all of these areas.

Can I get a DITTO!?

Lysis said...

Anonymous, you said it again. It’s didn’t change the truth!

Dan Simpson said...

It constantly amazes me how much you can talk without having paid attention to what has been said before.

First, we do not all agree here. At least two of us have not been convinced.

You haven't said anything about the Chicago newspaper article by the associate attorney general under Clinton. You haven't answered my questions (assuming you are the same anonymous which is all we can do).

You make a critical mistake in argumentation. You are speaking in conclusions. You don't use logic or reason to build up the case, you start with, "Bush is the Gestapo, see we all know it."

Now, pay attention, I believe with all the information I have right now, that Bush's actions were illegal. I do, however, admit that I don't know the full spectrum of law on the issue. Many of the arguments and linked articles raise questions in my mind about whether the question has been clarified by the courts.

You are already absolutely sure. Its not because of the facts or circumstances of the given situation, it is because of your pre-conceived ideas and biases before the fact. I think I am right, but understanding that I do not know everything, I am open to being shown where I am wrong.

Your mindset is truly dangerous. You are a zealot, who knows he is right and thus will not even look at opinions and arguments that disagree, they must surely be partisan kool aid drinkers with little to no intelligence, who else would disagree with you.

You don't truly want dialogue, because you don't want the discussion to bring out truth, you want everyone to see how you are right.

Now, I will admit that when I believe that I am right, I also want everyone else to see that, but the problem with you is that you don't want to lead them there, you want to kick them in the head and scream that they are idiots for not already seeing what you have understood for so long.

You mock my education, and claim I don't understand because either a) I am an idiot, or b) the school I went to is ridiculously stupid.

Well, I don't care if you believe a, and the rest of the educational, legal, and specifically law school community would disagree with you about b.

"pseudo legal scholars", where do you get off using that term? I don't know what your legal education is, it doesn't really impact whether or not you can have a valid legal opinion, but to assume that others do not understand the law because they disagree with you is the epitome of arrogance that shows a truly small understanding.

(look to Ginsberg and Scalia, you probably couldn't find two legal scholars who disagree more, yet neither of them would refer to the other as pseudo intellectual. Another great example would be Judge Michael McConnel of the 10th District. While he is very conservative when his name was brought up for Supreme Court nomination the list of his supporters was huge, filled with scholars from across the country who didn't agree with him, but knew his intellect and his reasoning to be sound.)

You would do well to take a lesson from any of them. Even if you have been practicing law for decades, that doesn't mean you have a monopoly on legal thought.

And as far as 'my school' arguing against Miranda, this makes me question anything you have said if you somehow believe this to be even in the realm of truth.

I assume you refer to the UofU law school, since that is where I went, but am not sure what fantasy world you concocted the story from.

In the name of actual truth, I will say that one of my teachers, Judge Paul Cassell, did argue against Miranda in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. You may disagree with him, but you would stand alone if you thought he was a small legal mind. Even his opponents agree that his argumentation is very hard to ignore.

You could google him and read all his arguments both against Miranda and for the Death Penalty. He is also the nations leading expert on Crime Victims Rights.

Dan Simpson said...

Oh, and to compare these actions to the Gestapo, or the KGB is to show you truly do not understand what those entities were like.

Lysis said...


Should President George W. Bush II have directed the National Security Agency to eavesdrop in America?

YES – In fact it was the Constitutional mandated responsibility of the President. The President’s responsibility and power to sideline the FISA court has been clearly stated by the court itself in 2002. He had statutory authority from the Congress and Constitutional prerogative which the court admits that – in international defense issues it (the FISA) cannot question.

More Questions to consider:

1. What are the legal and Constitutional rights the President claims in making this directive?

*Legal rights – Supreme Court’s 1972 ruling that it did not question the president’s authority to take such action [order wiretapping without warrants] in response to threats from abroad.

*Legal rights – Four federal courts of appeal held that the President has inherent authority to authorize wiretapping for foreign intelligence purposes without judicial warrant.

* Legal rights – in 2002 the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review said “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.”

* Legal rights – The FISA court was established with the clear expression that it’s jurisdiction over the President can be abrogated by authorized statue, which Congressional passage of the post Sept. 11 resolution giving the President authority to “use all necessary and appropriate force” to prevent those responsible for Sept. 11 from carrying out further attacks.” provides.

*Constitutional power, the same Review Court above ruled in 2002 that “FISA could not encroach on the president’s constitutional power.” The President has the inherent authority under the Constitution to act in response to a foreign attack.

** The * notes above are taken from former Associate Attorney General of the US John Schmidt’s paper in the Chicago Tribune Dec. 21, 2005. Provided to our discussion by Dannyboy; this is the best thing you have put me on to since No More Vietnams, Dannyboy!!!

To them I add the specific court rulings listed by Aeneas, Rumpole, Vegimatic, and others.

2. Members of the U.S. Congress, including Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat Leader of the House Intelligence Committee knew about and sanctioned the President’s actions. Why did these members of Congress feel the President was within the law then and why have they changed their minds now?

Answer: They supported Bush then because they knew he was justified in his actions. They have changed their minds for partisan reasons, desperate to do anything to damage the Republican Party so they can gain power.

3. What was the newspaper’s motive in holding the story, and in releasing it now?

Answers: The NYT held the story because they feared that the American people would be angered at revelations that put them in danger. The released the story when they deemed that the damage it would do to Bush would outweigh any backlash that their tipping off terrorists would engender in the public. (Boy, were they wrong!)

4. What benefits have come to our nation because of the Presidents actions? What harm has this action done to our enemies? What harm has it done to our Constitution?

Answers: a) America has been kept safe from terrorist attack. b) Our enemies had been thwarted in their sworn and well broadcast intention to bring even greater death and destruction against the American Home Land. c) The President’s fully Constitutional action has safe guarded that document and the nation who’s government it defines.

5. If there are legitimate Constitutional questions, how can our country continue to take advantage of the NSA’s actions to protect our security and at the same time protect our freedoms?

Answer: There are no legitimate Constitutional questions; however this politically motivated attack on American by the NYT and the Democrats has greatly weakened the NSA’s ability to protect our security and freedom. Their actions are an outrage, and when the eventual attacks come, they will stand culpable for the disaster.

6. Will the NYT be forced to tell the name of the leaker?

Answer: They should be!

7. Will the “leaker” be forced to face a Grand Jury and indictment for his or her criminal behavior?

Answer: They should be. We can only hope that someone who has done such harm to our nation’s efforts to protect itself and potentially permitted far greater harm to be perpetrated on our country by its enemies will be punished for their misdeed.

8. What advantage has the leaker and the NYT given to the enemies of America?

Answer: They (the terrorists) will now know they are being listened to, and so will find other ways of communication the information that may well lead to tragedy.

9. How angry should we be with President Bush if he, in good faith, though he was legally acting in defense of our nation and the Constitution?

Answer: The question is moot. The president did act legally.

10. If the President broke the law, what should be the consequence for his crime?

Answer: This question is also moot; the President has committed no crime.

I set out with this “posting” very conflicted and concerned. I did not have the answers. I feared that the President I have so long supported and trusted had perpetrated something that would abrogate much of the good he has done. I am grateful to those in the Agora who, not only led me to the truth, but restored my faith. I am sure many will not agree with the “answers” I have arrived at above. I am very comfortable with them. Few will ever note our efforts here in this tiny forum, at the Agora; still. It has been a great learning experience for me. I am deeply grateful for everyone’s input.

Dan Simpson said...

I think it just as dangerous for you, Lysis, to proclaim that there is no legitimate constitutional question than it is for Anonymous to proclaim there is no question that Bush committed a heinous crime.

I don't think you are being any less partisan than him.

There are still legal and constitutional questions.

#1 it is not clear that any of the arguments or cases that you cite refer to citizens. It is clear they do refer to non-citizens.

Anonymous said...

And be sure to tune in for next week's topic "Good Men Through the Ages Who Have Had Intercourse with Children." You have come to the very conclusions I foretold in my first post Lysis. Congratulations to me, even when you think I am wrong you prove me right. Your "considerate" pondering of the questions was never in doubt, except by anyone who actually pays attention to biased views and worship of the President in this blog.

Your "answers" never explained how it is that you accepted the New York Times article that said average Americans had been spied on but still insist that average Americans have been spied on. By the way, contrary to everything else you spit out, it is very likely that this is unconstitutional without going through FISA.

If you are confident in your belief that President has done absolutely nothing wrong than do you support a full, bipartisan and independent investigation of the secret program? It can be performed secretly so as not to tip off any terrorists who may be so gullible as to believe they are not being searched for electronically. It seems there are a lot of questions about the legality of the practice held by a lot of people on both sides of the political aisle. When the risk to our civil rights is so great shouldn't we allow them to investigate this completely and either stop the practice or legitimize it? Yes, an investigation should be conducted.

DannyBoy2, I think you are right about my inaccurate characterization of Matt Drudge as a pseudo legal scholar. I was being too kind. He is no scholar at all but a Republican party line thug marching in lock step on his website with Dido-Heads even unto the gates of Hell, or at least the destruction of our civil liberties. And considering the information that has been released about the program so far and its huge potential for abuse, especially considering its deliberate bypass of open and democratic processes already established, I do not think a parallel to KGB domestic spying tactics is too far astray.

Lysis said...

Dannyboy - Isn’t it wonderful that we can disagree on this and still not call names. I’m not sure which party you are placing me in. Does my support of what I have come to believe about Bush’s actions make me any more patrician than your determination to continue to question him? I have told you why I have come to the answers I present above. I don’t think I said anywhere that I accept these conclusions because my “party” does. Nor did I present them without some foundation. I invite you to correct me with your facts.

What is also wonderful about this is that you, and Arlen Spector, and even “the Anonomy” will be able to present their arguments, and I will have the opportunity to listen, and even change my mind, if the arguments become convincing.

Dan Simpson said...

Anonymous, you continue to dodge everything I say. It has become quite an amusing thing to watch, if a bit infantile.

And if you truly believe your statement about the KGB, then you ought to read the Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenietzen (sp)

Anonymous said...

And DannyBoy2, your high horse and constant "You're not answering ME" demands are also amusing, if a bit infantile as well. I even predict another one soon. Two predictions for one blog, that Lysis, no matter what evidence is presented to the contrary would absolve and even exhault Bush for his actions, whatever they are, and that you will say you are not being listened to again right after I post. Will I go 2 for 2? You can bet on it.

Don't bet on Lysis changing his mind about Bush from any hearings that take place. The Red Party won't allow it. (That is what you guys are calling YOURSELVES now days right? Grand Old RED Party - red states - because no dissent is allowed and your phones must be tapped for the people's protection.) Bush will always be innoccent in your eyes Lysis because you see no evil.

Anonymous said...

How exquisite that you suggest reading Solzhenitsyn, DannyBoy2! You must know that he was arrested and sentenced after the Russian secret police discovered, through spying, that he was criticizing the great leader Stalin in his private letters to a friend. Does that sound familiar to anyone?

Dan Simpson said...

It must be nice to make self-fulfilling prophecies anonymous.

Let me put this in list form, that way my questions, or questioning of your 'facts' will be easier for you to find.

1. You claimed the UofU argued against Miranda. When, where, who?

2. You claim that all of us are convinced, walking in lock step with Bush and his administration. I, and Bryan, at least are not convinced. So, where is your basis for this statement.

3. You talk about me being blinded by my adoration of Bush, yet I still maintain that I believe what he did was illegal. How does your comment make sense?

4. You proclaim everyone here a 'dido head' or a 'pseudo legal scholar'. What is your basis for the second name? Are you a 'true' legal scholar, and if so what makes you such?

Oh, and there is no need to proclaim yourself right. You are, I am continuing to say that you are ignoring my points and talking past them.

I'll let others judge if they agree, but at least they will be able to see if you actually answer my points above.

Oh, and if you are comparing what happened to Solzhineitzen (sp) to anyone currently in the U.S. you lead a rich fantasy life.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous, I beg to differ. In your arrogance (big word for pride) You fail to see the nuance of my posting so I will spell it out for you.

You are the paranoid one. My world is based in reality, Your world seems to be one conspiracy after another. I have walked on the broken glass, seen the blood heard the weeping of friends and relatives 1st person. You would be the first person to whine (and sue) when something far less dramtic happens to you. Because that is what liberals do.

You have an entitlement mentality. You are adding protections to the Constitution that are not there (abortion comes to mind) in the name of being progressive. (whatever that means)

In your Pride (small word same meaning) you fail to answer our questions and then ridicule us with the tone..."How dare you say I don't answer your questions, you are not smart enough to know that I don't need to answer them."

So once again you have proven your lack of credibility.

How dare you call me paranoid. If you were here (and it was 200 years ago I would slap you with a glove and demand a duel. You attacked me personally, my honor and my family sir. I hope I never meet you in person.

How dare you make light of the deaths of innocent men women and children and protect those who killed them in the guise of rights that do not exsist.

You attack Lysis as if he is an idiot. He is a very wise and open individual. You are not. You will never see beyond your own knowledge. You are beyond learning because you know all. And if per chance you are wrong on an issue, it is someone elses fault.

It is not our fault that liberals lie. They have to. Reality hurts to much, so like you, they live in a dream world of their own intellegence.

I myself am a card carrying koolaid drinking conservative. Notice I didn't say Republican, they lie as much as the Democrats. Because of their Pride.

I "seek not to counsel my God" so gay marriage is wrong. Yes Virginia, there is a right and a wrong.

In college, I was a relativist liberal. Then life set in and relativism doesn't work for me. It hurts too many people, because it is a lie in the long run.

You can attack my ideas. But do not attack my family, my honor.

And I won't tell the world what a selfish idiot you are.

(sorry Lysis and group. I have had it with Anonymous I think we need to give him the silent treatment)

mostly just listening said...

Anonymous complaining that Lysis will never change his views about Bush regardless of what the evidence shows is very ironic and funny.

Danny Boy is right though. Though there seems to be mounting evidence of legal support for the President's actions, it also is an unfinished issue. Let's hope we can have a healthy debate about security vs. civil rights (how very like John Locke).


Happy Holidays to us all.

P.S. Rumpole, Pat Robertson is plagarizing you stuff! Did you hear his comments about Senator Rockefeller's letter of complaint. I am increasingly interested in your theory daily.

Dan Simpson said...

Lysis, just so I don't fall in the same category as anonymous, let me get to the questions/points you have made.

Partisan may have been the wrong word, as I don't see you basing anything on 'the party said x'. However, let me note, I think you are jumping to quickly to the conclusion that there is NO constitutional question.

To say you are convinced is one thing, that is your perogative, as there is evidence to back up your position. I just do not believe that there is a strong enough position to proclaim the constitutional question here fully resolved and at rest.

I believe that the clarification this whole thing will create will in the end be good, no matter which direction it goes.

That, anonymous, is what makes our government different from the Gestapo and the KGB (I can't believe I even have to explain this). If we don't like it, we can change it.

And if you can't get enough people to agree with you and change it, you still get to complain to your hearts content, without getting sent to Siberia.

Lysis said...

Vegimatic, you remind me of Zell Miller, as I remember he is a Democrat who came to “see the light”. I was impressed by him, I remain impressed by you.

I want to continue to speak and listen to Anonymous. I hope he will stick with us. He seems a little tougher than L.V. As LISTENING and Rumple have pointed out, sometimes it is the absurdity of the opposition's position that sheds light on the truth. By the way, I’d like to hear more about the Rockefeller letter.

Anonymous I agree with you that the revelation of the President’s innocence was inevitable. Had President Bush broken the law or violated the Constitution, then that discovery too would have been inexorable. That is the way the truth works. I do support a full bipartisan and open investigation into the slanders thrown at the Administration. I am now confident their discovery will be the same as OURS. I am delighted to have this argument in front of the American people who will soon see where justice and their best interests lie. Let’s shine the light of truth.

I am also sure that once the legality of the NSA directive has been proclaimed by the bipartisan commission and the Supreme Court, that you, Anonymous, will continue to believe that Bush and Cheney ordered secret wiretaps on innocent and “average” Americans. Even as you now believe the NYT article we have both read says that Bush ordered such surveillance and that listening in on the calls of know terrorizes is like putting a man in a slave labor camp because he referred to Stalin’s mustache. I would bet you still believe Clinton was framed by Ken Starr, that Gore won the 2000 election, that Bush and Cheney delayed help to New Orleans in order to kill black people, that the CIA has secret torture chambers, where Bush and Cheney torture for fun an pleasure, that Coalition troops have murdered 100,000 + innocent civilian Iraqis, that the Iraqi election was rigged, that life was better in Iraq under Saddam, that the terrorists are winning the war, that Saddam had no intention of getting or sharing nukes, and on and on and on.

Anonymous, WE listen patiently to what you believe in, and we wait patiently for you to provide one iota of evidence to support your beliefs, or one reasoned argument to dispel the evidence marshaled against the claims you either concoct or barrow whole cloth from the anti-Bush media.

Dannyboy: What is your “citizens must be treated different under the constitution argument, and how does it square with the case law Aeneas and others have posted. Why doesn’t the fact that these phone calls are acts of war involving “foreign” powers bent on acts of war against America put combating their agents into the President’s national defense purview? It seems to me that law and practice allow the president to deal with even American citizens in league with foreign powers in acts of war by virtue of his Constitutional powers to act without involvement of the courts in national defense situations.

Anonymous said...

Mostly Just Listening, I can very be very reasonable so please, recognize that I am nothing like Lysis. He is wrong and I am right! Just kidding, I appreciate your irony. But I will not comprimise on the existence of and a need for an independent judicial check on Executive power with such huge potential for destructive abuse of American civil rights. Despite the declaration by Lysis and others that we should actually thank Bush for spying on our private correspondences there will have to be a full investigation into the possible criminalities of these Whitehouse actions.

Vegimatic, far be it from me to impune your honor. I would be going way overboard to do that and I would also consider a good shooting of one us to be the only remedy for such an unreconcilable situation. I merely recommend though that if you do not want your family mentioned in debate that you not bring them into it. Stick to real argument. I am additionally sorry that the "setting-in-of-life" has robbed you of your idealism and hopes. It sounds like you have had a very bad time of it in life. In fact, the more I read your posts the more sorry I feel for you.

DannyBoy2 I think I see your confusion. You think everything is directed to you. It is not. The following numbered portions of this post are.

1. I did ask whether your law school argued against Miranda. You pointed out that it was not the school but only the most respected professor at the school. I suppose he was paid by the school while he worked on this, took some students to work on it for him, gamed the questions in class, perhaps even headed up clinic work on the project. This one professor is not the same thing as the school arguing against Miranda I know, but my point is the same, it still informs of the kind of education you received about civil liberties at your school from your professors.

2. I do not think that everyone reading this blog is marching in lockstep with the Republican party line. I can see that you think that Bush has committed a crime. I am sure other people are approaching this reasonably as well. I do think that I have mentioned at least twice that Rumpole, Vegimatic, and Lysis are the targets of this "blinders on" criticism. Still, from past bogging experience with you, I would not call you exactly independent.

3. Lysis, Rumpole, and Vegimatic are the ones blinded to all reason by the glory of Bush. I recognize that you believe the administration has acted illegaly and, as this topic draws to a close, it is probably the best thing I have read in it all week.

4. The Republican Ditto-Head Matt Drudge - the hackeyed web master that barely passes for a journalist - is a pseudo legal scholar. The article written to enflame and posted by Lysis was a pseudo legal scholarly piece. The conclusion reached by Lysis is a pseudo legal scholarly opinion that is actually based on nothing more than his preconceived notion that Bush is only capable of Godly acts. I do not think you are a pseudo legal scholar. You are a licensed attorney, you told us so.

5. Perhaps you do not believe it but there are secret prisoners like Solzhenitsyn being held in secret prisons by the U.S. government around the world who have no access to a judicial review and no clear term of sentence, like Solzhenitsyn. As well, we have just learned that the U.S. governemnt has authorized spying on its own citizens without check on the power or judicial reivew as is supposed to be required in a free democratic country. This is not a rich fantasy I have concocted, rather it is the makings of a dark nightmare.

In the future please be considerate that not every comment is addressed to you personally DannyBoy2. I enjoy ridiculing others just as much. Will you still insist that I have not answered your points?

Rumpole said...


I thoroughly enjoyed your post. I only know you through your postings here at the Agora. Those postings have led to my respect for you. You have accurately described many of the traits that I believe define a modern day liberal, and more specifically a modern day Democrat. I don’t know (and I don’t care) if the Anonomy are either of these because they have never told us. They do, however, seem to possess all the characteristics.

I know I am in no position to do so, but if I may take some liberty, don’t take the attacks from the Anonomy personally. Speaking as one who has his family attacked constantly, it isn’t worth it. The Anonomy (and this is the reason why they remain anonymous) live for the reaction. You only give them what they seek, the desired attention by pushing whatever button possible.

This is really the Anonymy’s cry for help!


I didn’t hear Pat Robertson’s comments. But what a great complement to Lysis and the far reaching effects of the Agora!


Sorry for the mixed metaphor, but I can’t give you a DITTO! You haven’t listened THREE HOURS A DAY like Hannity asks!

Thanks for agreeing with me on how to make the war better! Certainly it would be better at home if we all truly understood the nature of the enemy as well as you do! I’m glad you realize that the battle at home will be more effectively waged by bringing all to understand the depth of hatred the enemy has for us. We must work to protect our civil liberties at home, for the enemy is bent on destroying them!

Even Sadaam understands this important point! He is willing to take up the cause for our enemies at home! Did you see his testimony today? He is the victim! He is the one who has been tortured! Perhaps he could replace Howard Dean as the party chair! Boy, I would sure like to be arguing on the same side of the table with such a vocal champion of civil liberties and human rights!

Was it Walt Kelly who first said – “WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY, AND HE IS US!”

mostly just listening said...

Pat Robertson questioned Senator Rockefeller on his letter to the VP. He is on the same committee, the committee chair specifically, and knew nothing of the letter or of Senator Rockefeller's protests until Jay Rockefeller produced the letter the other day. Like you, he questioned the Senator's timing and wondered if he was more concerned with civil rights or protecting himself.

mostly just listening said...

There is some more irony for you. I meant Pat Roberts. Pat Robertson is someone entirely different as all here are well aware I am sure. What a slip!

Anonymous said...

Rumpole, I don't know about Walt Kelly but it was Voltaire who said, "I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it.

Mostly Listening, considering the criminal implications being pondered perhaps Senator Rockefeller was equally concerned about both, protecting himself and civil liberties.

Dan Simpson said...

Anonymous, your answer to 1 makes so many things more clear. You obviously don't bother to find out if your statements are true or not.

I would direct anyone interested in the actual truth to go here.

This has links to the oral arguments of the case, the S.C. opinion, etc..

Judge Cassell's arguments were against Miranda, not against civil liberties. If you want to understand them, I would suggest you either read the transcript, one of the numerous law journal articles he has written, or any other number of ways to actually understand the argument.

Cassell may have used students, I don't know frankly, but I can guarantee that ANY law student would be out of this world excited to help on a Supreme Court appellate brief, even if they did not agree with the argument, just for the experience.

You should also check out Cassell's bio before you cast judgement. The man did clerk for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (Burger, not Rehnquist.)

As far as the other, if you don't want everyone to assume the comments are for them, perhaps you shouldn't make blanket statements.

"Congrats on passing all of your "milestones" in the legal profession. I am truly amazed"

"Dido-Heads and pseudo legal scholars"

These statements make me question whether or not you meant those comments for me. Either way, you didn't mention Drudge when you mentioned 'pseudo legal scholars', so don't blame me if you didn't specify before shooting off your vitriol.

mostly just listening said...

Aye Anonymous, but just like there probably should be an investigation and certainly a good debate about the issue of national security vs. civil rights, there is a question regarding Rockefeller's letter that begs asking. He could be worried about both issues, but why wait? Why not seek an investigation years ago if concerned. He could have done so secretly. I don't question the content of the letter, I question his timing.

Rumpole said...


I must admit I’m not incredibly familiar with Voltaire, but his quote is excellent! His prayer has been granted! He must have been a Conservative!

Anonymous said...

I think Rockefeller was probably scared. You may have noticed, it is dificult to disagree with the President lately without being branded a coward, unpatriotic or someone who wants to destroy American and give tools to terrorists that will help them win. Besides, if he had known the full extent of the program - something no one yet knows - or even what the New York Times has published recently I believe his concerns would have been greater than they were and he would have come out sooner. None of the representatives briefed that have spoken on record have said this is what they thought was going on. It now seems the opaqueness of the Whitehouse concealed the extent of the actions even from them.

Bryan Hickman said...

Anonymous, you ignorant slut.

The "everyone's afraid to speak out argument" is getting old. Do you honestly believe that the environment is such that people are "afraid" to publicly disagree with the President?

So, do the 70% of those polled in the most recent public opinion polls have something to worry about? What about the (not quite) half the country that voted against him in the election?

Gosh...if Bush was able to rule with such an iron fist, you'd think he'd have been able to pass social security reform or any other major part of his domestic agenda.

You lefties are always in such a hurry to feel persecuted, whether or not the persecution actually exists.

Lysis said...

Rumpole, I am familiar with Voltaire. Like all of us, Voltaire could be right sometimes, wrong others.

He was a French Philosopher, and advisor to Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, and Fredrick the Great, King of Prussia. Voltaire championed an idea knows as Enlightened Despotism and was against democracy. He believed that the masses were too stupid to govern themselves. Sound’s a lot like the elites of the media and the neo-libs you have been discussion with “Listening”, pundits who vomit out unsubstantiated vitriol and refuse to give either facts or reason to support their fear mongering. They are well represented here in the Agora by our Anonymous friend who continually references him. It is the hallmark of modern liberalism to keep the people dumb and stir them up with lies and fear; then you can use their stupidity to gain power through lies.

Voltaire was also strongly against what he considered “legal injustice”. He believed, as do I, that law should be based on a reliance on common sense not manmade statutes which lack flexibility or reason. I guess both I and Anonymous have things in common with this Frenchman.

He did a lot of talking with his friends; I don’t believe he ever went to law school.

Anonymous said...

Hello again Bryan! Welcome back to the discussion. I am Anonymous and you aren't. I will follow you to your blog so watch out!

Do I think that %70 percent of Americans who just answered a recent poll have to worry? No, it, like most polls was conducted Anonymosly. Those 70% are probably safe from fear, for now. More importantly though, none of those 70% polled are running for statewide public office in West Virginia. I think that if they were they would put more importance on the statements they made to any media person that called up and wanted to know their views on the President's conduct of the war on terrorism, specifically any super secret spying programs he may be running, revealing the name of which would "seriously hurt America" and "help the terrorists." So, do I think it is plausible that Senator Rockefeller felt pressured to say nothing for fear of political repurcussions in a Red state? Without question. Is that the only reason he witheld his letter? No, he probably believed, like I said, that the program was not as entirely intrusive or outrageous as is being hinted at in press reports now. He probably made the same mistake that many on this blog make all of the time: He believed King George.

That is my post and I aM OUTTA HERE!! - for a little while anyways.

P.S. Lysis, it makes me feel good to see we have something in common, and with the French too! There is hope for us all.

Rumpole said...


Here is my differing view to Anonymous on the timing of the Rockefeller letter. Quite often underlings in organizations will build what I have heard referred to as a “Pearl Harbor File”. These files typically consist of whatever negativity can be found as to one’s adversary; then, when the time is right, the individual will pull out the surprise- attack bombshell.

I certainly don’t claim to know Rockefeller’s motives, but when considering the political climate in Washington I think this is a far more plausible explanation than Anonymous’. I don’t think either view can be proven. Maybe Anonymous will beg to differ upon his return.

No matter what view you accept it certainly makes for interesting discussion.

Lysis said...

I am interested to see that Anonymous holds the same opinions of Democrat Senators and Representatives as Murtha holds of American military officers. According to them the whole double batch are a bunch of lying cowards. You’ll remember that Murtha said that American officers in Iraq knew they were losing the war, but were afraid to tell the truth because of what “Bush did to Shinseki (sp)”.

I wonder if Anonymous attributes Pelosi’s acquiescence to the NSA’s covert actions to cowardice as well. Seems to me that Harry Reid was also in on the plan, and either accepted it or cowered in fear of President Bush.

Since neither Pelosi nor Read seem to harbor any great terror of the President – the first explanation, that they agreed with Bush, seems most plausible. Of course, now, some Democrats are pleading ignorance. “They didn’t know how much spying was going on!” The argument is silly; it’s like claiming to be a little bit pregnant. Either they believe spying on terrorists in the U.S. was going on and wrong, or that it was going on and right. Since they have never been willing to let Bush do anything that they thought was in anyway wrong, they must have agreed with the President, the Attorney General, the Supreme Court, the Clinton and Carter Administrations, and me. Now that there seems to be a way to make political hay, or at least sell some books, they are eager to appear outraged at their own behavior. The New York Times says jump, and the Democrat leadership says, “How High?” on the way up!

Bryan, I guess Anonymous thinks you’re a coward too; else why the terrifying threat to come after you on your web log. I imagine fear of his blistering wit and profound logic has you wishing you were anonymous after all. (That’s sarcasm, Anonymous; I really don’t believe Bryan is afraid of you so please don’t waist our time by telling US that I called Bryan a coward and drove him from the Agora.)

Dannyboy, now you are keeping me waiting! Could you please explain your lingering Constitutional concerns?

Lysis said...

Oh, by the way, Anonymous, the French drove Voltaire out of the country. He built a palace and lived like a king in Switzerland. Go figure!

Lysis said...

To Dannyboy, Bryan, Aeneas, and the other “Legal Minds” who might care to read. You are probably wondering why I am having trouble accepting the outrage expressed against President Bush for spying on U.S. Citizens. I don’t see how citizenship should be the “Bright Line” that Dannyboy and Bryan seem to see. The common sense line seems to me to be foreign – vs. – domestic.

After all, don’t Constitutional rights apply to human beings (except unborn ones) in the United States in general? Isn’t that the great advantage of being an “illegal alien” in America, that the Constitution still applies? I mean, we do provide due process to all, we do require Miranda rights be read, we prohibit torture and cruel and unusual treatment of even foreign criminals. We do deport them, but if they were to come to trial for some crime committed; surely they would be guaranteed all the rights accorded citizens.

On the other hand, - and I know most of you dismissed the MaCarthy article, - although the man is a former Federal Prosecutor, hardly an “L1” kind of guy, - MaCarthy did list twenty seven examples in which American Citizens can be subject to warrantless searches; including two in school buildings.

It seems to me that circumstance not citizenship dictates the conditions under which Constitutional protections must be provided. The protection from warrantless, even covert, search and seizure does not appear to be some blanket protection for Citizens which can never be breached concerning them but can be overlooked in reference to non-citizens.

There is a clear constitutional obligation of the President to protect the nation and the Constitution from foreign enemies. His method in carrying out this protection, once Congress has set him to it; has long had enormous latitude of action beyond what he could do in combating domestic challenges. Could not this key term “foreign” relate to the nature of the attack, not the citizenship of the attackers?

It seems quite clear to me that the NSA program approved by the President and sanctioned by congress was one relating to foreign enemies of the U.S. communicating to their operatives in the United States. The fact that those operatives are in country and perhaps citizens does not make the nature of their attacks on America any less of a foreign war, or any less the Presidents obligation and prerogative to combat.

Again, I’m not trained to comprehend the nuance or even the existence of any differences. Then neither was Henry II, when he set out to gather the Laws of England and sift it into the foundation of English Common law. It seems to me that a good share of that Common in Common Law, is common sense. As a layman, my common sense seems to indicate that a foreign enemy that employs residents or even citizens as the tools and weapons of his attack, has expunged their assumptions of constitutional protection and therefore all who join in acts of foreign war are forewarned of the Constitutionally sanctioned ability of the forces of the United States to treat them all as foreign enemies and not as specially protected and privileged citizens.

I hope this explanation of my confusion will help you clarify your position or at least enlighten my error.

Anonymous said...

Why does anyone care what happened to Voltaire, Lysis? I think almost all of your posts are "relevantly challenged" - to use a euphism - but your biography of Voltaire's last days is really over the top! Who cares? I referenced an amusing quote of his earlier only to touch on the ridiculousness of some who argue here and you oblige! The quote came with two punch lines! (Three for Rumpole who also got a kick out it.)

Rumpole, what is this about a "Pearl Harbor File?" This smacks of "Conspiracy Theory" and as pure speculation belongs in that most dreaded section of the book store. I can't believe that I was derided for believing in intrigue by anyone who imagines a shadowy world of underlings creating two scenarios of reality for every situation and storing them in secret vaults for later surprise. That truly sounds like a bizarro world but I am sure it won't stop some from believing in it.

Lysis, must everyone repeat their arguments for the criminality of the Bush Administration again? The battlefield is strewn with your dead arguments and clouded by the fog of your biased war on all who disagree. Let the smoke clear. Do you really think there is ANYTHING that anyone could say that would change your perspective? Of course there is not. Your mind is already made up. Besides, your own words illustrate the limits of your capacity, and the futility of any attempt, you do not "comprehend the nuance or even the existence of any differences" in the legal arguments being made. Quit baiting. Leave the field.

As to my blistering wit and powerful logic - thank you, I am sure your noted sarcasm did not extend to this part of your true statement - I did dress them in a velvet glove for Bryan. I thought we were playing the "Weekend Update Catch Phrase Game" and my threat of pursuit to his blog "Two Stupid White Guys," which I cannot recommend highly enough!, was the only way I could think of to allude to Chevy Chase. My more important response to him still stands without apology though. I think that any Congressional representative that was "briefed" about Bush's secret actions was in fact lied to or completely misinformed as to the extent of the President's actions. That is why none of them are standing up and demanding that no investigation is necessary at all. Rather the opposite. And this leads directly to my argument that Congress is no longer a coequal branch of government. They have no oversight of Bush's activities, and those that they have tried to employ, FISA for example, Bush has ignored. This is not good for our Constitution and it is not good for us as Americans, no matter what you say.

I do take heart though Lysis that you have welcomed a full investigation of the President's actions. Let us hope that it is "fair and balanced." I consider it a moral victory against your big Red brick wall of an intellect that you have at least accepted this humble point.

Now have a good night and a pleasant tomorrow!

Lysis said...

Anonymous, Thanks for coming back. Odd that you should seem offended by my giving a little information about Voltaire; I guess you know everything about everything, so our discussions seems trivial to you. I have already referenced your blistering wit and profound logic (Sarcastically)

As for your fatigue in the discussion:

Sometimes in the midst of a lucid and probing classroom discussion with students far more brilliant than I am, the fascinating nuance of ideas is considered by those who have done their home work. I will ask a question of the class. From amongst the eagerly raised hands, I select one of the duller chaps; relieved to see he wants to participate. When given a chance to share he asks, “When is this class over?” There is a general groan among the scholars eagerly involved in the discussion. I wink at them and reply to the query of the dullard – “Don’t worry, just follow along as best you can, it will be over soon.”

A question of on the Constitution has been asked. Anonymous, just follow along as best you can, the discussion will be over soon. WINK WINK

Anonymous said...

I'll be right here when you finally catch up with the rest of the class and figure it out Lysis, ready to finish your education.

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to swamp you when you are struggling to keep up Lysis but I thought you should consider this damning report of King George's paranoid spying from Fox News:

"WASHINGTON, Dec. 24 — The National Security Agency has conducted much broader surveillance of e-mails and phone calls — without court orders — than the Bush administration has acknowledged."

The NSA obtained access to streams of domestic communications, unidentified current and former government officials said.

"Since the New York Times disclosed the domestic spying program last week, President Bush has stressed that his executive order allowing the eavesdropping was limited to people with known links to Al Qaeda.

But the unamed NSA officials said technicians have combed through large volumes of phone and Internet traffic in search of patterns that might lead to terrorists.

The volume of information harvested from telecommunications data and voice networks, without court-approved warrants, is much larger than the White House has acknowledged, the Times said."

Lysis, you look worse and worse for your statement that "anyone who says average Americans are being spied on are liars!!!" Will you formally withdraw it and acknowledge that perhaps Bush is not the Africanus you thought he was?

Hope this doesn't ruin your holiday. Remember to say hello to DICK cheney when you make those calls to loved ones this weekend!

supersonic said...

I know that this is way late in the fight but I thought I'd throw in an opinion. I don't find it biased but I'm sure both sides are willing to call me it anyways.

Bush spyed on people, they might have been terrorists... probably were, he did it without a warrant...

Many presidents have done it before so its okay right? WRONG!

Although I didn't know the carter and clinton info it doesn't change my view that its not the best thing. Clinton did a lot of things that I don't want Bush doing so I don't think that arguement is valid for making it okay.

The one question I don't understand was why couldn't bush get a warrant? Thats what they are there for.

Bad guy is in house... He might have bad things. We get warrant to get bad things, we get them. Doesn't seem that hard.

If you aren't getting a warrant that means you don't have probable cause, which means that you are going off a hunch... I might get searched tommorrow off a hunch. But it was for security right? sure it was... (sarcastic tone)

I think Dannyboy has the right arguement here. I still haven't seen a law that says that the president can search whenever he wants.

Lysis's list of things the president can do was cute... non topical... but kinda true, I think at school its okay for students and teachers to get drug tested and so forth. Your on goverment property.

My house on the other hand is not govermet property. The courts are there for a reason.

Yes this is a lot of things already stated. But this is what I find to be true so far in this debate.

If you feel so inclined go ahead and tear my arguement apart.

Thanks for your time reading my little paragraph

Lysis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lysis said...

Supersonic – Glad to have you here in the Agora. The president’s justification for listening to terrorists is not that Bill Clinton did it. The justification for the President’s actions is that we are at war, and fighting these foreign enemies is the job of the President, the NSA, and the military; not the judicial system. The President is doing his job. If you read carefully above and especially if you actually go to the NY Times article that our “Anonymous friend” is referencing, you will see that the NSA has not been listening to “average Americans” and has not been listening in on purely domestic phone traffic. These accusations are purely the concoction of the anit-Bush media desperately pushed here in the Agora by Anonymous. The problem he faces here is that “Agorites” take the trouble to check out the stories.

Here is an example. Anonymous references a Fox News – no doubt his favorite network – story about a NY Times story on “Spy Agency [read NSA] Mined Vast Data Trove, Officials Report”. If you or Anonymous will take the trouble to read the article in the Times you will find that what the story reports is that the NSA has been “Encouraging the telecommunications industry to increase the amount of international traffic that is routed through America-based switches.” The article explains that “The switches are some of the main arteries for moving voice and some Internet traffic into and out of the United States, and, with the globalization of the telecommunications industry in recent years, many INTERNATIONAL-TO-INTERNATIONAL calls are also routed through such American switches.”

What you have here Supersonic, is another example of Anonymous’ lack of depth of understanding into the headlines that get him salivating. In every case, as the truth comes out, he and his ilk are left with egg on their faces and, in this case, a nice dish of crow for Christmas dinner.

What President Bush and the NAS are doing is exactly what “We the People” hired them to do; which is everything possible to keep us safe form our foreign enemies. Please remember 9/12, meaning how you felt the day after 9/11. If anything Bush has been a victim of his own success. He has kept us so safe for so long that his enemies are cooking up smear attacks, reliant on our unwillingness to go past cursory listening to headlines on Fox News. A moment of studying the facts will quickly dissipated such disingenuous lies like the blast of foul hot air they are.

Merry Christmas.

Strategos said...

I am a long time reader of the agora. I have long thought it to be full of pointless, longwinded, often petty, bickering, so much so that I have decided to take part. I look forward to it.

About Health Blog said...

I even understand that there is a special court to expedite and keep secret the issuance of such permission.