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January 29, 2006

Questions for Bush

Administration officials recently fanned out across the media landscape and into our backyard in Manhattan, Kan., to tell us we should be thankful the president believes that he alone should determine which Americans need to be spied upon by their own government. While the academic legal community is virtually united in its belief that the Bush spying program is illegal and unconstitutional, political operatives for the White House hope to convince average Americans they should be glad.

But the president's extraordinary claim cries out for three questions we should demand to be answered:

-- Given that the FISA court set up to approve domestic wiretapping has denied a warrant only five times in its almost 30 years of existence, how can applying for one be considered an obstacle?

-- Since the NSA can spy on Americans for 72 hours before notifying the FISA court, how is the involvement of this court a problem?

-- Why give this or any future president such unchecked power when it doesn't appear necessary or effective? The FBI is on record as saying the leads it received from the NSA were almost all dead ends.

Alexis Stevens
Kansas City

Comments

GCYL

"gcyl:
I guess remembering what the president and Republican controlled Congress did (and failed to do) is one of those unfair, liberal, commie, unpatriotic, things that right minded folks don't engage in."

If you say so jack 'cause I never did. It matters not to me if a person is chanting "Bad! Bad! Bad!" or "Go Team Go!". The point I was trying to make is that either chant will be quickly viewed by independent voters as bullet points of the respective politicial party. And as such they run a good chance of being tuned out.

"But then again, I probably deserve the name calling for questioning those who are "right"."

If you find someone like that let me know. I'll hold their arms behind their back and you can gut punch them till your arms get tired. I'd do the same for engineer or jj.

I just wish people would stop the chanting and do something different to (what would be a correct word?) entice more voters to their point of view.

Engineer

Kansasdog
I wish you hadn't, but thanks, it's an interesting paper. Their figues are based on a great deal of conjecture and projection and cover areas not usually included when talking about the cost of the war. Considering the relative size of the events, if you followed their reasoning, WWll would have bankrupted this Country forever.

Engineer

CRD
Show me the discharge Kerry got when he left active service, not the one when he left the reserves, and if it's honorable I'll admit I'm wrong. Of course this has nothing to do with this thread or my comments on the article. Aren't you glad I've gotten so much more preceptive? No, don't answer that. Lets call a truce and confine ourselves to the actual threads under discussion.

jack

gcyl:
I guess remembering what the president and Republican controlled Congress did (and failed to do) is one of those unfair, liberal, commie, unpatriotic, things that right minded folks don't engage in.

Failed to order the equipment our troops needed? Good job Rummy. Cut taxes in the middle of a war? Good job Congress.

My poppa told me early in life that if a company is failing, you don't fire the guy on the loading dock. And you don't go to the person who made the bad decisions and say, "That's okay, let us know later how you plan to fix it."

The simple truth my father taught me is that if you know what you have been doing is failing, anything you do differently has a better chance of succeeding.

But then again, I probably deserve the name calling for questioning those who are "right".

Jim Dent

"im- I just wrote an excellent reponse, and the @##!! thing didn't post!"

Before you post it, right click, select all, right click again, copy.... now when typepad "eats" your post, all you have to do is "paste" it back again. I always do this. The damn site eats more of my stuff than it post's . Copy it and your covered.....

JUNGLEJACK

Jim- I just wrote an excellent reponse, and the @##!! thing didn't post!

To sum it up - character matters. The (il)legality of the wiretaps seems to be in dispute. I don't see Bush (or Clinton, for that matter) as a criminal, I see him as a man trying to do his job to the best of his ability. I have questions about the warrantless wiretaps as well - but we the average citizens will never be privy to all the sensitive information that goes into making national security decisions. I know that the existence of the wiretaps has been leaked, and suspect that seeking warrants would likely cause more leaks - rendering the wiretaps useless. But I am eager to hear what the President says about it tonight.

Jim Dent

"Topeka — U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., on Friday said the Bush administration needed to answer questions about spying on Americans without court authorization
And Brownback said he disagreed with the administration’s legal rationale, which he said could hamper future presidents during war."
http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2005/dec/24/senator_bushs_spying_raises_concerns/?city_local

"For Sen. Lindsay Graham (R) of South Carolina, who has also consistently challenged the White House on treatment of detainees, excessive claims of executive power could undermine the powers of future presidents, especially during war.
If the president carries the day with his claims that Congress's approval of a use-of-force resolution after 9/11 gave the White House the power to bypass legislation governing national security wiretaps, "the next president will have great difficulty getting a force resolution. Republicans will have diminished the power for future presidents," he says."


http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0201/p01s01-uspo.html
"Grover Norquist is one of the most influential conservative Republicans in Washington. His weekly "Wednesday Meeting" at his L Street office is a must for conservative strategists, and he has been called the "managing director of the hard-core right" by the liberal Nation magazine. Perhaps the country's leading anti-tax enthusiast, he is, like Diamond, a hawk in the war on terror.
"My view on the terrorists is that we should find all of them and kill them," said Norquist. "But we should also protect our civil liberties, which the terrorists are trying to destroy."
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/01/26/MNG24GTB8O1.DTL

I guess not all conservatives agree with you on this one JJ.

Jim Dent

"Now, where's the link that proves Bush has been spying on political enemies, war protesters and other average citizens?"

JJ, I don't believe I ever made those claims.... did I?

"No one has the right to secretly plan a terrorist act." Agreed, that's why we have a FISA court to wiretap the scoundrals.... That's what it's there for!!!

"As long as only terror suspects are being looked at, what's the big deal?"

If Bush is allowed to ignore the rule of law, where does it end? The next president? the one after? What other laws are going to be broke in the name of "fighting terrorism"? If we break our own laws to fight lawless people, what makes us different?
Bush tell's the public he "is" using courts to get wiretaps, then admits (with hand in cookie jar) he isn't , and conservatives don't think it's a big deal that he lied to the public. Are you going to be this forgiving of a democratic president? I just don't understand conservative logic I guess....

The hearings are comming up, guess we'll just have to wait and see how this plays out....

JUNGLEJACK

Jim- I was reffering to the op-ed by former Asst. Atty. Gen. John Schmidt appearing in the Chicago Tribune on Dec.21 (it's in their archives, which requires a fee to retrieve). Maybe you didn't notice, but I had quotes around the word "illegal" when I mentioned Clinton's actions. I'm not claiming Clinton acted above the law in this case - only that he and Bush seem to have behaved in a similar manner. Clinton, however, did his snooping sans the excuse of being at war.

Now, where's the link that proves Bush has been spying on political enemies, war protesters and other average citizens? I've been reading alot of complaints on this website regarding Bush trampling all over our liberties, but like I said before: No one has the right to secretly plan a terrorist act. As long as only terror suspects are being looked at, what's the big deal?

Jim Dent

If you look at Treasury Dept. stats, I think you will find this study pretty credible.

U. S. debt increase in the 3 years prior to Iraq war=
$0.8 Trillion. Remember, that's the "increase".

U. S. debt increase in the 3 yrs. of Iraq war=
$1.8 Trillion. The increase has gone up 1 Trillion dollars since the war started......

I found this interesting, during 8 years of Clinton, the National Debt went up 1.5 Trillion dollars.
During only "five" years of Bush, the debt has gone up almost 2.6 Trillion dollars.
In just this month of January, our debt has increased 34 Billion dollars.
http://www.publicdebt.treas.gov/opd/opdpenny.htm

Makes me glad there's a two term limit on the prez. I don't think our children could afford 3 terms.....

CRD

"I've read your Post and it sounds like a real stretch. The overall cost figures given in the article are unsubstantiated. As it is a short article, the estimates they present could not be outlined in detail in it. However, there is no reference to a full report where we could see how the cost figures were developed."

Huh. I didn't see you demonstrate such a high degree of skepticism when it came to the Swift Boat slurs against Kerry, and all that baloney about his having gotten a dishonorable discharge. Ah well, proof's in the pudding.

Kansasdog

Engineer,

here you go, the 36 page paper and all of its details

http://www2.gsb.columbia.edu/faculty/jstiglitz/Cost_of_War_in_Iraq.pdf

GCYL

"I know that, come this year's elections, I will remember the Republican controlled Congress...." Jack then proceeds to read the script of Michael Moore's next movie called "I'll Remember". The script ends with the fade away: "I will remember and I will vote accordingly."

You have a right to feel that way. At least one other person will be voting when given the opportunity and that's a good thing. But I don't care about your "remember" list. Two reasons. First: most independent voter will notice the political slant and quickly tune you out. Yes, we know, you don't like the other person. Second: you're not helping me with the next election. I want OPTIONS not OPPOSITION, ANSWERS not ANGER. I would have enjoyed a list of things that you want addressed, how you beleive they should come about and why that other person will not help us achieve them. (Notice the "us" at the end. That's how you get us independent voters.)

"And I will make a bet that, once you boil out the B.S., tonight Bush will say...."

And I'll make a bet that there is more than one person out there with a preconceived notion on a speech that no one has heard yet. Another example of your anger towards the other person. Again, that's fine. You have the right. I'm not stopping you. But at this point in time I'm not voting with you either.

Engineer

kansasdog
I've read your Post and it sounds like a real stretch. The overall cost figures given in the article are unsubstantiated. As it is a short article, the estimates they present could not be outlined in detail in it. However, there is no reference to a full report where we could see how the cost figures were developed.

Kansasdog

This analysis goes beyond budget costs and estimates economic costs of lost lives of all soldiers and the lost wages of the National Guard and Reserve soldiers.

I know that because the link isn't from the Washington Times or Breitbart, some of our more right-leaning bloggers will dismiss it. But, from the 2001 Nobel Prize winner in economics and a former assistant Secretary of Commerce....

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-bilmes17jan17,0,7038018.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions

jack

kansasdog:
What $2 trillion? The President of the United States said before the war began that the cost would be no more than $60 billion. During the election debates the President said the cost would be significantly under $200 billion. Remember how John Kerry was castigated for saying the cost was at least $200 Billion? Remember how the Iraq oil would pay for rebuilding the country?

I know that, come this year's elections, I will remember the Republican controlled Congress passed a law essentially giving amnesty to the war profiteers. I will remember that those that claimed WMDs as the reason for war later said, "So what, Saddam was a bad guy, so we were right anyway." I will remember that our troops and their equipment have been worn out so badly in Iraq, because the Republican controlled governmet wants to keep the war cheap. I will remember that the Republican controlled Congress voted for Tax Cuts while our troops were doing without needed equipment. I will remember that when the Sec of Defense claimed the armor our troops needed couldn't be built quick enough, it was only because his department hadn't ORDERED it. I will remember that the troops have spent the last three years carrying two generation out of date weapons because the Republican controlled government hasn't purchased the up to date weapons. I will remember and I will vote accordingly.

And I will make a bet that, once you boil out the B.S., tonight Bush will say essentially, "What I did was right because I am protecting you." No justification, no explanation, just a, "None of your business", said in very nice terms.

Kansasdog

Yawn -

this debate has become the new abortion debate. Neither side will give any ground to the other, and it certainly won't come to any substantial conclusion.

Time to move on, maybe talk about the $2 trillion dollars that this war effort will end up costing...

Thank You

Geoffrey Stone

NOTE: THIS IS JAN 31. WHY ARE WE STILL STUCK ON JAN 29's LETTERS? WHERE ARE THE LETTERS FOR JAN 30 (due yesterday)?

Someone is obviously asleep at KansasCity.com. Please wake them up.

Jim Dent

"Sounds like a lot more authority than Clinton had for his "illegal" activities. When did Congress vote on that one Jack? Where's your outrage?"
"The same people who demand proof that Clinton acted in a similar manner (which he did according to his ex-assistant Attorney General)......."

Still waiting on a "link" to the proof that Clinton illegally wiretapped....... Or is this just another conservative fantasy?

You made the claim JJ,..... back it up.

JUNGLEJACK

Jack- I, for one have never defended the legality of Bush's wiretap methods. I have merely found that the outrage seems suspiciously misplaced. The same people who demand proof that Clinton acted in a similar manner (which he did according to his ex-assistant Attorney General) assume that Bush is using this power to spy on virtually anyone he chooses, instead of just legitimate terror threats.

Where is it written that anyone in our borders can plot terrorist activity with a reasonable expectation of privacy?

Two reasons I've heard for NOT getting warrants:
Many times terror collaberators switch cell phones quickly. Often times carrying phones by the suitcase full. Sometimes this is done to throw off surveilance, other times just for convenience.

To prevent leaks. There have been obvious issues with this in the State Dept. recently. Can we really blame the administration for wanting to keep things close to the vest?

I'm hoping this issue will be addressed in the State of the Union speech to put all of our questions to rest.

 
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