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Old 01-24-2006, 05:24 PM   #316
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Georgetown University students hold up a sign with their backs turned towards U.S. Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales (R, at podium) in protest as he speaks about domestic wiretapping in the United States during an appearance at the university's 'Georgetown National Law Forum' in Washington January 24, 2006

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Old 01-24-2006, 05:39 PM   #317
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Finally, it has started. People have begun to speak of impeaching President George W. Bush--not in hushed whispers but openly, in newspapers, on the Internet, in ordinary conversations and even in Congress. As a former member of Congress who sat on the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon, I believe they are right to do so.

I can still remember the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach during those proceedings, when it became clear that the President had so systematically abused the powers of the presidency and so threatened the rule of law that he had to be removed from office. As a Democrat who opposed many of President Nixon's policies, I still found voting for his impeachment to be one of the most sobering and unpleasant tasks I ever had to undertake. None of the members of the committee took pleasure in voting for impeachment; after all, Democrat or Republican, Nixon was still our President.

At the time, I hoped that our committee's work would send a strong signal to future Presidents that they had to obey the rule of law. I was wrong.
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060130/holtzman
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Old 01-24-2006, 06:03 PM   #318
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From a conservative mag:

http://www.insightmag.com/Media/Medi...mpeachment.htm
Impeachment hearings: The White House prepares for the worst
The Bush administration is bracing for impeachment hearings in Congress.

"A coalition in Congress is being formed to support impeachment," an administration source said.

Sources said a prelude to the impeachment process could begin with hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee in February. They said the hearings would focus on the secret electronic surveillance program and whether Mr. Bush violated the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Administration sources said the charges are expected to include false reports to Congress as well as Mr. Bush's authorization of the National Security Agency to engage in electronic surveillance inside the United States without a court warrant. This included the monitoring of overseas telephone calls and e-mail traffic to and from people living in the United States without requisite permission from a secret court.

Sources said the probe to determine whether the president violated the law will include Republicans, but that they may not be aware they could be helping to lay the groundwork for a Democratic impeachment campaign against Mr. Bush.

"Our arithmetic shows that a majority of the committee could vote against the president," the source said. "If we work hard, there could be a tie."

The law limits the government surveillance to no more than 72 hours without a court warrant. The president, citing his constitutional war powers, has pledged to continue wiretaps without a warrant.

The hearings would be accompanied by several lawsuits against the administration connected to the surveillance program. At the same time, the Electronic Privacy Information Center has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that demands information about the NSA spying.

Sen. Arlen Specter, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman and Pennsylvania Republican, has acknowledged that the hearings could conclude with a vote of whether Mr. Bush violated the law. Mr. Specter, a critic of the administration’s surveillance program, stressed that, although he would not seek it, impeachment is a possible outcome.

"Impeachment is a remedy," Mr. Specter said on Jan. 15. "After impeachment, you could have a criminal prosecution. But the principal remedy under our society is to pay a political price."

Mr. Specter and other senior members of the committee have been told by legal constitutional experts that Mr. Bush did not have the authority to authorize unlimited secret electronic surveillance. Another leading Republican who has rejected the administration's argument is Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas.

On Jan. 16, former Vice President Al Gore set the tone for impeachment hearings against Mr. Bush by accusing the president of lying to the American people. Mr. Gore, who lost the 2000 election to Mr. Bush, accused the president of "indifference" to the Constitution and urged a serious congressional investigation. He said the administration decided to break the law after Congress refused to change the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

"A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government," Mr. Gore said.

"I call upon members of Congress in both parties to uphold your oath of office and defend the Constitution,” he said. “Stop going along to get along. Start acting like the independent and co-equal branch of American government that you are supposed to be under the constitution of our country."

Impeachment proponents in Congress have been bolstered by a memorandum by the Congressional Research Service on Jan. 6. CRS, which is the research arm of Congress, asserted in a report by national security specialist Alfred Cumming that the amended 1947 law requires the president to keep all members of the House and Senate intelligence committees "fully and currently informed" of a domestic surveillance effort. It was the second CRS report in less than a month that questioned the administration's domestic surveillance program.

The latest CRS report said Mr. Bush should have briefed the intelligence committees in the House and Senate. The report said covert programs must be reported to House and Senate leaders as well as the chairs of the intelligence panels, termed the "Gang of Eight."

Administration sources said Mr. Bush would wage a vigorous defense of electronic surveillance and other controversial measures enacted after 9/11. They said the president would begin with pressure on Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Mr. Bush would then point to security measures taken by the former administration of President Bill Clinton.

"The argument is that the American people will never forgive any public official who knowingly hurts national security," an administration source said. "We will tell the American people that while we have done everything we can to protect them, our policies are being endangered by a hypocritical Congress."
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Old 01-24-2006, 06:18 PM   #319
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
Georgetown University students hold up a sign with their backs turned towards U.S. Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales (R, at podium) in protest as he speaks about domestic wiretapping in the United States during an appearance at the university's 'Georgetown National Law Forum' in Washington January 24, 2006

That's great.

This administration is really grasping at straws! Gonzales was on TV the other night defending the wiretaps by comparing it to the everyday searches we do at airports.

Um, Albert last time I checked it wasn't a given that everytime I pick up a phone it will be tapped.
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Old 01-24-2006, 06:22 PM   #320
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Ahh come on guys, I seriously think Dubya has us in his best intentions. Its just like when mom and dad listen in on their kids phone conversations. Dubya just wants to make sure that his sweet American lambs don't fall in with wrong crowd!
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Old 01-24-2006, 06:35 PM   #321
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How considerate of him.

He's looking over our shoulder but only because he's got our back.
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Old 01-24-2006, 06:46 PM   #322
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Impeach the bastard!
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Old 01-25-2006, 08:08 AM   #323
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Everyone didn't you hear-it's not wiretapping any more, it's "terrorist surveillance"
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Old 01-25-2006, 08:45 AM   #324
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...012401593.html

Gonzales's appearance, which was part of a three-day White House campaign to defend the NSA program, was punctuated by a silent protest from more than a dozen students who turned their backs to Gonzales, who continued to speak without acknowledging them and did not take questions afterward.

Five of the students wore black pillowcases over their heads -- an apparent reference to the mistreatment of U.S. detainees overseas -- and held a banner roughly paraphrasing Benjamin Franklin: "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither."



"Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said yesterday that Gonzales and other administration officials are engaging in "revisionist history" by portraying a congressional resolution authorizing military force against al Qaeda as justification for the NSA program. A group of relatives of victims of the 2001 attacks, the September 11th Advocates, also issued a news release alleging that the "Bush administration has continually used 9/11 as an excuse to break the laws of our great nation."
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Old 01-25-2006, 11:35 AM   #325
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
"Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said yesterday that Gonzales and other administration officials are engaging in "revisionist history" by portraying a congressional resolution authorizing military force against al Qaeda as justification for the NSA program. A group of relatives of victims of the 2001 attacks, the September 11th Advocates, also issued a news release alleging that the "Bush administration has continually used 9/11 as an excuse to break the laws of our great nation."
As is frequently the case, the devil is in the details. The congressional resolution is silent on wiretaps, and is being used by both sides to bolster their case.

Impeachment is unlikely, as the case involves nuances in language and unclear guidelines of precedent.
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Old 03-27-2006, 11:10 AM   #326
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A new turn in the FISA case

Administration tells Congress (again) - We won't abide by your "laws"
The Republicans and Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee submitted detailed questions to the Bush Administration regarding the NSA program, and the DoJ's responses to both the Democrats' questions and its responses to the Republicans' are now available.

There are numerous noteworthy items, but the most significant, by far, is that the DoJ made clear to Congress that even if Congress passes some sort of newly amended FISA of the type which Sen. DeWine introduced, and even if the President "agrees" to it and signs it into law, the President still has the power to violate that law if he wants to. Put another way, the Administration is telling the Congress -- again -- that they can go and pass all the laws they want which purport to liberalize or restrict the President's powers, and it does not matter, because the President has and intends to preserve the power to do whatever he wants regardless of what those laws provide.

Question number (5) from the Committee Republicans asked "whether President Carter's signature on FISA in 1978, together with his signing statement," meant that the Executive had agreed to be bound by the restrictions placed by FISA on the President's powers to eavesdrop on Americans. This is how the DoJ responded, in relevant part:

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and any statutes inconsistent with the Constitution must yield. The basic principle of our system of government means that no President, merely by assenting to a piece of legislation, can diminish the scope of the President's constitutional power. . . .

Just as one President may not, through signing legislation, eliminate the Executive Branch's inherent constitutional powers, Congress may not renounce inherent presidential authority. The Constitution grants the President the inherent power to protect the nation from foreign attack, and Congress may not impede the President's ability to perform his constitutional duty.“ (citations omitted).

Can that be any clearer for you - Congressmen, Senators, journalists? The President is bestowed by the Constitution with the unlimited and un-limitable power to do anything that he believes is necessary to "protect the nation." Thus, even if Congress passes laws which seek to limit that power in any way, and even if the President agrees to those restrictions and signs that bill into law, he still retains the power to violate it whenever he wants.

Thus, Sen. DeWine can pass his cute little bill purporting to require oversight, or Sen. Specter can pass his, or they can do nothing and leave FISA in place. None of that matters, because no matter what Congress or even the President do with regard to the law, the law does not restrict what the President can do in any way. They are telling the Congress to its face that all of the grand debates it is having and the negotiations it is conducting are all irrelevant farces, because no matter what happens, the President retains unlimited power and nothing that Congress does can affect that power in any way.

The reality is that the Administration has been making clear for quite some time that they have unlimited power and that nothing -- not even the law -- can restrict it. But here, they are specifically telling Congress that even if Congress amends FISA and the President agrees to abide by those amendments, they still have the power to break the law whenever they want. As I have documented more times than I can count, we have a President who has seized unlimited power, including the power to break the law, and the Administration -- somewhat commendably -- is quite candid and straightforward about that fact.

I believe that even people who are aware of these facts have not really ingested or accepted the reality that we have an Administration that has embraced this ideology of lawlessness. Yesterday, I received numerous e-mails from people asking why I had not written about this report from the Boston Globe, which reported:

When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act's expanded police powers.

The reason I didn't was because, as extraordinary as this signing statement is in one sense, it really reveals nothing new. We really do have an Administration which believes it has the power to break all laws relating, however broadly, to defending the country. It has said this repeatedly in numerous contexts and acted on those beliefs by breaking the law -- repeatedly and deliberately. They are still breaking the law by, for instance, continuing to eavesdrop on Americans without the warrants required by FISA.

This is not theory. The Administration is not saying these things as a joke. We really do live in a country where we have a President who has seized the unlimited power to break the law. That's not hyperbole in any way. It is reality. And the Patriot Act signing statement only re-iterates that fact.

In response to the Republicans' question (number 27) about whether President is exceeding his power by not just executing the laws but also interpreting them, the DoJ said this:

In order to execute the laws and defend the Constitution, the President must be able to interpret them. The interpretation of law, both statutory and constitutional, is therefore an indispensable and well established government function. . . .

The President's power to interpret the law is particularly important when he is engaged in a task -- such as the direction of the operations of an armed conflict -- that falls within the special and unique competence of the Executive Branch.

The "unique competence of the Executive Branch," to them, encompasses pretty much everything of any real significance, including what can be done to U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. With regard to all such matters, the President not only executes the law, but interprets it, and Congress is without power to do anything to restrict the power in any way. Here they are -- saying exactly this, again.

Put another way, the Administration has seized the power of Congress to make the laws, they have seized the power of the judiciary to interpret the laws, and they execute them as well. They have consolidated within themselves all of the powers of the government, particularly with regard to national security. This situation is, of course, exactly what Madison warned about in Federalist 47; it really is the very opposite of everything our Government is intended to be:

From these facts, by which Montesquieu was guided, it may clearly be inferred that, in saying "There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or body of magistrates," or, "if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers," he did not mean that these departments ought to have no partial agency in, or no control over, the acts of each other.

His meaning, as his own words import, and still more conclusively as illustrated by the example in his eye, can amount to no more than this, that where the whole power of one department is exercised by the same hands which possess the whole power of another department, the fundamental principles of a free constitution are subverted. This would have been the case in the constitution examined by him, if the king, who is the sole executive magistrate, had possessed also the complete legislative power, or the supreme administration of justice; or if the entire legislative body had possessed the supreme judiciary, or the supreme executive authority.

As usual, the most amazing aspect of all of this is not that the Administration is claiming these powers. It is that even as it claims them as expressly and clearly as can be, the Congress continues to ignore it and pretend that it still retains power to restrict the Administration by the laws it passes. And the media continues to fail in its duty to inform the country about the powers the Administration has seized, likely because they are so extreme that people still do not really believe that the Administration means what they are saying. What else do they need to do in order to demonstrate their sincerity?
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Old 03-27-2006, 01:26 PM   #327
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Can that be any clearer for you - Congressmen, Senators, journalists? The President is bestowed by the Constitution with the unlimited and un-limitable power to do anything that he believes is necessary to "protect the nation." Thus, even if Congress passes laws which seek to limit that power in any way, and even if the President agrees to those restrictions and signs that bill into law, he still retains the power to violate it whenever he wants.
That will continue to come in handy for Bush come November when he can wave bye bye to half of Congress.
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Old 03-27-2006, 04:45 PM   #328
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Originally posted by AliEnvy


That will continue to come in handy for Bush come November when he can wave bye bye to half of Congress.
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Old 03-27-2006, 08:45 PM   #329
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^I will believe it when I see it. I have no faith in the Democrats ability to run an efficient campaign against the Republican empire. Those guys are just awesome at manipulating the sheep. Fear is a powerful motivator for simple minds.
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Old 03-28-2006, 12:00 AM   #330
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True. Maybe it's time to step up the terror threats.
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