December 19, 2005
I spy with my little eye

As you know, I don't normally do much blogging on national news, since there's so many other good sources for that sort of thing. But I do have to ask a question about this:

President Bush, brushing aside bipartisan criticism in Congress, said today he approved spying on suspected terrorists without court orders because it was "a necessary part of my job to protect" Americans from attack.

The president said he would continue the program "for so long as the nation faces the continuing threat of an enemy that wants to kill American citizens," and added it included safeguards to protect civil liberties.

All I want to know is this: In 2009, when President Hillary Clinton says the same thing, will the people who are currently defending President Bush's actions feel the same way? I can assure you that I'll feel the same way, which is that this is a blatantly illegal power grab that must be stopped. If you don't agree with that, I hope you'll have the intellectual honesty to support Hillary in the same way that you're now supporting Dubya.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 19, 2005 to National news | TrackBack

I don't know which scares me more. That my government, not learning from its past, has resumed spying on me and my neighbors...or that my neighbors don't seem to mind.

It seems that a majority of Americans approve of Soviet Capitalism. They don't mind an intrusive and oppressive government, as long as it doesn't cost too much, and they remain free to shop. The current administration seems to understand Americans better than they understand themselves...and is willing to exploit it ruthlessly.

Posted by: RedScare on December 19, 2005 8:51 PM

Charles, looks as if the Bush Administration's "strict construction" of the Constitution is getting a bit looser each day. ;^)

Posted by: Tom K on December 20, 2005 7:22 AM

Americans approve of Soviet Capitalism. They don't mind an intrusive and oppressive government, as long as it doesn't cost too much, and they remain free to shop.

It's not just Americans; most people the world over are frighteningly comfortable with a lack of political freedoms. China and Vietnam currently practice Soviet Capitalism, and while there is no shortage of dissidents in those countries, they're not erupting in riots either. Not long ago, Soviet Capitalism was practiced by much of Latin America. The most infamous examples, of course, were the fascist dictatorships of 1930's Europe, but you don't have to commit a Holocaust and start a world war to meet the definition of a fascist.

It is more disappointing, though, coming from our own nation, which pretty much defined political freedom two centuries ago.

In hindsight, though, I suppose it was inevitable that this would eventually happen here. Checks and balances only work so long as the branches of government are willing to impose them. As long as Congress is in the hands of those willing to stand for it, Shrub can pretty much do anything he wants, the law and the Constitution be damned.

Posted by: Mathwiz on December 20, 2005 9:43 AM

Government oppression is cool as long as it's done to the "other guy" and "I" am not a part of it.

At least, that seems to be the general consensus among American's today.

That whole "two-way street" thing goes both ways however, as you have tons of Dem's who overlooked Clinton's FBI file thing piling on Bush for what amounts to the same thing.

Fact is they are both wrong.

And IF a President H. Clinton were to do it that would be wrong as well.

You'd just get the same arguments, with the sides reversed.

I will say this however, wrong does not equal criminal. That will depend on the court's interpretation of what state the Nation is in right now. IF the court decides America is at war, and provisions of the War Powers Act are in effect, then the illegal tag will be hard to pin on Bush & Co. IF the court rules that America is NOT at war, well then you have a much lower criminal threshold that the Dems need to meet.

Sadly though, all of this was brought on by the Repub's petty Impeachement of Clinton. Now the Dem's wont rest until they have a pelt on THEIR wall to balance the scales. If its not Bush it will be another somewhere down the road.


Posted by: Sedosi on December 20, 2005 11:27 AM


So that means....

Posted by: Support Science to Reverse Global Warming, if still possible on December 20, 2005 12:23 PM

Thanks Charles:
"I can assure you that I'll feel the same way, which is that this is a blatantly illegal power grab that must be stopped."

Thanks Mathwiz:
"Checks and balances only work so long as the branches of government are willing to impose them."

Thanks Rep. Conyers,

"The Constitution in Crisis: Censure and Investigate Possible Impeachment

by Congressman John Conyers
Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 10:36:36 AM CST

For more information, go to

Cross Posted at Huffington Post and ConyersBlog

Today, I am releasing a staff report entitled, "The Constitution in Crisis: The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution and Coverups in the Iraq War.

Before talking about the report, I must express my profound gratitude to the readers of this site, who kept this story alive when no one would cover it, and continued to talk about it after some in the media moved on. Much of the research in this report is a product of the input and hard work of DailyKos, Huffington Post and Conyersblog readers over the last six months (the help with my "timeline project" was particularly useful). I also am so grateful to progressive talk radio hosts and listeners, who have refused to allow the American people to forget the nation was deceived into war.

Now on to the Report and what I plan to do about it. In sum, the report examines the Bush Administration?s actions in taking us to war from A to Z. The report finds there is substantial evidence the President, the Vice-President and other high ranking members of the Bush Administration misled Congress and the American people regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq; misstated and manipulated intelligence information regarding the justification for such war; countenanced torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in Iraq; and permitted inappropriate retaliation against critics of their Administration.

The Report concludes that a number of these actions amount to prima facie evidence (evidence sufficiently strong to presume the allegations are true) that federal criminal laws have been violated. Legal violations span from false statements to Congress to whistleblower laws.

The Report also concludes that these charges clearly rise to the level of impeachable conduct. However, because the Administration has failed to respond to requests for information about these charges, it is not yet possible to conclude that an impeachment inquiry or articles of impeachment are warranted.

In response to the Report, I have already taken a number of actions. First, I have introduced a resolution (H. Res. 635) creating a Select Committee with subpoena authority to investigate the misconduct of the Bush Administration with regard to the Iraq war and report on possible impeachable offenses. In Watergate, for example, the Congress did not begin matters as an impeachment inquiry, but investigated matters ? through the Ervin Committee ? and referred impeachable evidence to the Judiciary Committee.

Second, I have introduced Resolutions regarding both President Bush (H. Res. 636) and Vice-President Cheney (H. Res. 637) proposing that they be censured by Congress based on the uncontroverted evidence already on the record and their failure to respond to Congressional and public inquiries about these matters and have never accounted for their many specific misstatements in the run up to War.

As you know, taking these steps means that I am likely to be criticized by the political and media establishments in Washington and attacked by the right wing noise machine. There is a school of thought among Washington political consultants that criticizing the President about Iraq will make Democrats appear to be weak on national security. There is a media establishment that marginalizes politicians for espousing beliefs held by the majority of Americans. The right wing noise machine in turn retaliates against the President's critics.

Be that as it may, I just could not be silent any longer. The title of the report is exactly right: the Constitution is in Crisis. There are serious and well-substantiated allegations that the Executive Branch has usurped the sole power of the Congress to declare war by deceiving the Congress about the evidence for war. There are serious and well-substantiated allegations that the Executive Branch has deceived the American people to manufacture the people's consent for war.

If you agree with me, I am going to need your help like never before. Please go to my website,, where you will find an action center, including a copy of the Report via Raw Story, and ways you can help. Also visit to join with other activists who want to move this issue forward.

Posted by: Prove Our Democracy with Paper Ballots on December 20, 2005 3:35 PM