Friday, December 23, 2005

This is about right

And there's more Lileks here from the Hewitt show. Lileks makes the following observation:

"...the people who are worried about civil liberties in this case, being somebody from Karachi calling somebody in San Diego and telling them where to plant the little nasty sticks. That's one level of civil rights violation, if it is. The other level of civil rights violation is martial law, because Washington has been taken out, and we have to take our orders from somebody in a NORAD bunker deep in the southwest. And you want to see civil rights violations, you ain't seen nothing yet."

Scroll down on Radio Blogger to see the Thursday Mark Steyn segment - where he discusses the House of Lords, aka the Senate.


Anonymous said...

No comments on my comments on yesterday's post?

Anonymous said...

White House misread GOP privacy concerns

December 22, 2005

At 10:15 a.m. on March 17, Sen. John Sununu was on the telephone with newly installed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, urging changes in the anti-terrorist Patriot Act.
At 3:30 p.m. on April 18, Gonzales was in Sununu's Russell Building office to hear the same message from the senator. To no avail.
The Bush administration never took Sununu's message to heart, leading to the current deadlock in the Senate.
Sununu, a New Hampshire conservative and one of the Senate's rising Republican stars, joined with three other right-of-center Republicans last week to defeat cloture. They thus prevented a vote on reauthorizing the Patriot Act.
These conservatives contend that the bill's final version, while it is aimed at terrorists, actually threatens civil liberties of law-abiding citizens.
This state of affairs reflects a general failing and a specific misunderstanding by the Bush administration. Generally, it has ignored concern that the war against terror threatens the lives of ordinary Americans, as reflected currently in the revelation of the government's telephone tapping.

If Gonzales was not listening when he talked to Sununu, the message should have come over loud and clear on Nov. 14. Sununu was joined by two other Republicans -- Larry Craig of Idaho and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska -- and three Democrats to protest the final version of a Senate-House conference. These senators wanted to require some connection with a suspected terrorist or spy in order to obtain sensitive personal information, thereby avoiding fishing expeditions.

They also protested the provision making it a crime punishable by up to a year in prison for revealing receipt of a ''national security letter'' seeking personal records. The change would require the government to show that the recipient of the letter intended to obstruct justice. It would safeguard against spying on law-abiding citizens via the Internet and e-mails.
The letter also called for an end to the Patriot Act's current provision making an act of civil disobedience illegal.

When the conference committee made no changes in the bill, the senators wrote to colleagues taking the same positions, with the addition of another Republican signatory: Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. These four GOP dissenters are far from being members of the party's slender liberal wing. Lifetime records as measured by the American Conservative Union are Sununu, 95 percent; Craig, 94 percent; Hagel, 85 percent; and Murkowski, 74 percent.

Liberals who reflexively oppose anything Bush supports are overjoyed to welcome four apostates, but in fact they represent doctrinal Republican belief in individual rights against governmental power.
That sums up the ingrained philosophy of Craig, who at age 60 has held public office since he was 29 years old and has been one of the Senate's unyielding champions of gun rights.

But what was Larry Craig doing consorting with the likes of John Kerry and Dick Durbin as co-sponsors of his amended Patriot Act? Craig told the Senate on Dec. 15 that he knew he faced ''an uphill battle'' when he got involved in this fight: ''I knew it would be an uphill battle because Americans have grown to be frightened. But now they have grown to be emboldened when they recognized that some of their freedoms were and are at risk.''

Craig pleaded with his colleagues to show ''sensitivity to the fundamental civil liberties of our country.''

Moments later, Sununu took the floor to quote Benjamin Franklin. In 1759, well before this country was born, Franklin said, ''They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.''

Anonymous said...

Read this one:

Anonymous said...

Wow -- the conservative business mag Barron's is even raising the impeachment question. Some excerpts, since a paid subscription is required to read the whole thing:

"AS THE YEAR WAS DRAWING TO A CLOSE, we picked up our New York Times and learned that the Bush administration has been fighting terrorism by intercepting communications in America without warrants. It was worrisome on its face, but in justifying their actions, officials have made a bad situation much worse: Administration lawyers and the president himself have tortured the Constitution and extracted a suspension of the separation of powers . . .
Certainly, there was an emergency need after the Sept. 11 attacks to sweep up as much information as possible about the chances of another terrorist attack. But a 72-hour emergency or a 15-day emergency doesn't last four years . . .

Willful disregard of a law is potentially an impeachable offense. It is at least as impeachable as having a sexual escapade under the Oval Office desk and lying about it later. The members of the House Judiciary Committee who staged the impeachment of President Clinton ought to be as outraged at this situation. They ought to investigate it, consider it carefully and report either a bill that would change the wiretap laws to suit the president or a bill of impeachment.

Surely the "strict constructionists" on the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary eventually will point out what a stretch this is. The most important presidential responsibility under Article II is that he must "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." That includes following the requirements of laws that limit executive power. There's not much fidelity in an executive who debates and lobbies Congress to shape a law to his liking and then goes beyond its writ.

It is important to be clear that an impeachment case, if it comes to that, would not be about wiretapping, or about a possible Constitutional right not to be wiretapped. It would be about the power of Congress to set wiretapping rules by law, and it is about the obligation of the president to follow the rules in the Acts that he and his predecessors signed into law. ...

Some ancillary responsibility, however, must be attached to those members of the House and Senate who were informed, inadequately, about the wiretapping and did nothing to regulate it. Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia, told Vice President Dick Cheney in 2003 that he was "unable to fully evaluate, much less endorse these activities." But the senator was so respectful of the administration's injunction of secrecy that he wrote it out in longhand rather than give it to someone to type. Only last week, after the cat was out of the bag, did he do what he should have done in 2003 -- make his misgivings public and demand more information.

Published reports quote sources saying that 14 members of Congress were notified of the wiretapping. If some had misgivings, apparently they were scared of being called names, as the president did last week when he said: "It was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important program in a time of war. The fact that we're discussing this program is helping the enemy."

Wrong. If we don't discuss the program and the lack of authority for it, we are meeting the enemy -- in the mirror."