Barron’s: Investigate a possible impeachable offense

I normally steer clear of politics (except when it relates to markets, science or technology).

But I had to sit up and take notice this morning, when I saw the normally conservative-leaning financial weekly Barron’s calls for an investigation into the Bush administration’s use of domestic surveillance as a possible impeachable offense:

"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.

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.


Astonishing. When people ask me how I derived a 6,800 Dow in the BW survey, its not all that difficult to imagine any number of scenarios where the wheels all come off the bus — and that was before this potentially troublesome issue raised its head.


NOTE:  See if this link leads non-subscribers to the full article


Unwarranted Executive Power
The pursuit of terrorism does not authorize the president to make up new laws

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  1. jill commented on Dec 24

    So, in time of war we should not allow the commander-in-chief the authority to intercept the communications of the enemy.

    Better yet, lets force the President to bow to Congress who will set the rules and demand court authorization. Have you ever seen an affadavit for a wiretap? No less than 60 pages long.

    President had legal authority to OK taps
    By John Schmidt
    Published December 21, 2005,1,2062394.story

  2. Bruce Sherman commented on Dec 24

    >>>”normally conservative-leaning financial weekly Barron’s >>>

    Ever read Alan Abelson??? Conservative?


    Bruce Sherman
    Oakland, Oregon

    BR: The Op/Ed was not written by Abelson — it was by THOMAS G. DONLAN, who is the conservative editor of the Opinions page.

    Ever read Thomas Donlan??? Liberal?


  3. fourmorewars commented on Dec 24

    So, in time of war we should not allow the commander-in-chief the authority to intercept the communications of the enemy.
    Better yet, lets force the President to bow to Congress who will set the rules and demand court authorization. Have you ever seen an affadavit for a wiretap? No less than 60 pages long.

    In time of war or peace, anyone who tries to pass themselves off as an informed citizen should be able to pass a simple reading comprehension test. You only had to read as far as the 4th paragraph to glean that the author wasn’t arguing against wiretaps, idiot.

    I don’t recall anybody saying it’s an impeachable offense if the president can’t recite what was on page 38 of the wiretap request, either. What transparent bullshit.

  4. BS Detector commented on Dec 24

    407 U.S. 297 US Supreme Court decision
    No. 70-153.

    Argued February 24, 1972
    Decided June 19, 1972

    The United States charged three defendants with conspiring to destroy, and one of them with destroying, Government property. In response to the defendants’ pretrial motion for disclosure of electronic surveillance information, the Government filed an affidavit of the Attorney General stating that he had approved the wiretaps for the purpose of “gather[ing] intelligence information deemed necessary to protect the nation from attempts of domestic organizations to attack and subvert the existing structure of the Government.” On the basis of the affidavit and surveillance logs (filed in a sealed exhibit), the Government claimed that the surveillances, though warrantless, were lawful as a reasonable exercise of presidential power to protect the national security. The District Court, holding the surveillances violative of the Fourth Amendment, issued an order for disclosure of the overheard conversations, which the Court of Appeals upheld. Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act, which authorizes court-approved electronic surveillance for specified crimes, contains a provision in 18 U.S.C. 2511 (3) that nothing in that law limits the President’s constitutional power to protect against the overthrow of the Government or against “any other clear and present danger to the structure or existence of the Government.” The Government relies on 2511 (3) in support of its contention that “in excepting national security surveillances from the Act’s warrant requirement, Congress recognized the President’s authority to conduct such surveillances without prior judicial approval.” Held:

    1. Section 2511 (3) is merely a disclaimer of congressional intent to define presidential powers in matters affecting national security, and is not a grant of authority to conduct warrantless national security surveillances. Pp. 301-308. [407 U.S. 297, 298]

    2. The Fourth Amendment (which shields private speech from unreasonable surveillance) requires prior judicial approval for the type of domestic security surveillance involved in this case. Pp. 314-321; 323-324.

    (a) The Government’s duty to safeguard domestic security must be weighed against the potential danger that unreasonable surveillances pose to individual privacy and free expression. Pp. 314-315.

    (b) The freedoms of the Fourth Amendment cannot properly be guaranteed if domestic security surveillances are conducted solely within the discretion of the Executive Branch without the detached judgment of a neutral magistrate. Pp. 316-318.

    (c) Resort to appropriate warrant procedure would not frustrate the legitimate purposes of domestic security searches. Pp. 318-321.

    444 F.2d 651, affirmed.

    Clearly, Rhenquist didn’t think the Executive Branch has the authority to Warrantless Wiretaps.

    Methinks Bush & co. doesn’t want to have to test Rhenquist over this issue AGAIN.

  5. Patridiot Watch commented on Dec 24

    Barrons Supports Impeachment of President Bush

    You have to pay, but that mainstay of Wall Street, Barrons, has called for the consideration of a bill of impeachment against President Bush. Remembering that Barrons is a Wall Street Journal weekly published by Dow Jones, that is shocking. It also mea…

  6. fatbear commented on Dec 24

    Jill – Schmidt sorta does the Dick Cheney thing, warping a few points and getting others dead wrong:

    Warping example:
    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.

    Just one problem — Schmidt ignores this in his reasoning: The Keith case specifically addressed domestic surveillance and determined that it DID require a warrant.

    Moreover, the Supreme Court in that case did not rule that any surveillance methods used to surveil foreign actors were okey-dokey. Rather, they expressly stated they were reaching no opinion whatsoever on that matter, since it was not addressable under the facts at issue in that case. I’d suggest a re-reading of Keith, along with the Youngstown case, for good measure, for Mr. Schmidt. And some contemplation as to why the FISA court was established in the first place — it’s called Presidential overreaching and bad faith and ignoring Congressional and legal oversight. Sound familiar?
    (From firedoglake, which has cites to both Keith and Youngstown)

    And an example of flat out wrong:
    Schmidt states approvingly that [the] administration has offered the further defense that FISA’s reference to surveillance “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.

    Literally minutes before the Senate cast its vote, the administration sought to add the words “in the United States and” after “appropriate force” in the agreed-upon text. This last-minute change would have given the president broad authority to exercise expansive powers not just overseas — where we all understood he wanted authority to act — but right here in the United States, potentially against American citizens.


    …, a strong bipartisan majority could not agree to the administration’s request for an unprecedented grant of authority.

    The Bush administration now argues those powers were inherently contained in the resolution adopted by Congress — but at the time, the administration clearly felt they weren’t or it wouldn’t have tried to insert the additional language.
    Tom Daschle in the WaPo

  7. Zephyr commented on Dec 24

    Seeking additional wording is not neccessarily evidence of an effort to change something. Wording is frequently proposed for clarification of what is already agreed.


    BR: The change was from international to domestic — thats not a clarification, thats a signficant alteration and expansion

  8. aimai commented on Dec 24

    Only, of course, if “the wording” is rejected that rather proves the point that it was not, in fact, “clarifiying” but obscuring the intent of what was agreed upon. Once specific words are brought into the discussion and rejected it can not then be argued that they were merely redundant to what is already in the text.


  9. BS Detector commented on Dec 24

    The Congress’ specific rejection of that language goes to “legislative intent,” and clearly shows that the resolution did NOT endorse those efforts “in the United States.”

  10. Zephyr commented on Dec 24

    I am more concerned about our safety from terrorists than from the dangers of unnecessary wire taps.

    This issue is a silly side show, and potentially damaging to the physical safety of Americans.

    Time to drop the politically motivated attacks and think about the peoples’ safety — here and elsewhere.

  11. BS Detector commented on Dec 24

    Article One:
    All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

    Congress shall have the power…To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

    Article Two:
    “he [The President] shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”

    Congress passed a law, and the President signed that law, FISA 1978, that specifically made it a felony to do what President Bush admitted to.

    Congress made the law, and the President is tasked by the Constitution to execute the law, not break it.

  12. BS Detector commented on Dec 24

    Either you believe in the Constitution and that all officers duly sworn to “protect and defend” same should honor their promises to God (oath of office), or you are UN-AMERICAN and hate what America stands for.

    Why do you hate America, Zephyr?

  13. Zephyr commented on Dec 24

    BS Detector: There are often conflicting requirements in the law and conflicting requirements in life. One goal is served at the violation of another. Perhaps you should become a bit less one dimensional in your thinking and recognize this.

    Or perhaps you just think that anyone who disagrees with you must be un-American.

  14. Zephyr commented on Dec 24

    As for hating America, would it not be the one who wants to not wire tap the terrorists who is the more likely hater of America?

    Why do you want to help the terrorists?

  15. Zephyr commented on Dec 24

    I think this all politically motivated by people who want to bash Bush. These same people sat silent while Clinton did his shenanigans.

    I don’t like Bush either, and I didn’t like Clinton. But the safety of the people is more important than partisan positioning.

  16. BS Detector commented on Dec 24

    I raised my right hand many years ago before putting on a Uniform and made a promise.

    A promise I refuse to break.

  17. BS Detector commented on Dec 24

    I think anyone who disagrees with defending the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic, and sides with the violators of the Constitution is Un-American.

  18. BS Detector commented on Dec 24

    Any enemy of the Constitution is an enemy of mine.

  19. LondonLee commented on Dec 24

    “Have you ever seen an affadavit for a wiretap? No less than 60 pages long.”

    FISA allows the NSA to start wiretapping someone before they get a warrant. They just have to apply for one within 72 hours after the fact. So Bush’s “we have to act fast” excuse is completely bogus. They’re hiding something they didn’t want the courts to see.

  20. Lemur commented on Dec 24

    “I think this all politically motivated by people who want to bash Bush. These same people sat silent while Clinton did his shenanigans.

    I don’t like Bush either, and I didn’t like Clinton. But the safety of the people is more important than partisan positioning.”

    I am not wild about Clinton either, however there is a vast difference between lying about a sordid sexual episode and breaking the 4th Amendment as well as the FISA law. Comparing the two is patently ridiculous.

    Honestly, what Clinton did in the privacy of his office is none of my business. However the fact is, that he harmed no one but Monica, Hillary and himself.

    On the other hand, Bush has harmed thousands who have had their 4th Amendment rights ignored. And for what? So that he could spy on Quakers and suggest that they were terrorists? Or Greenpeace, or whoever else?

    If it was even slightly sensible to wiretap these folks, Bush could have used FISA to do it.

    And the fact that the best example of a failed plot they could come up with is some nitwit who wanted to take down the Brooklyn Bridge with a torch is proof of how ridiculous the “they have saved us from the terrorists” excuse is.

    And for those of you who want to give up your freedoms for “security”: How does wasting our time, money and energy with wiretaps of people who obviously yielded no useful information make us secure? (Why aren’t they using that energy to secure our borders – they’ve gotten dummy nukes through the Mexican border several times, just to test it.) How does the possibility that someone might use our personal information which was overheard make us more secure? (For instance they could have stolen your credit card numbers.)

    How does it make you secure when the President of the United States, who has sworn to uphold the laws of our country, is willing to callously break them? What other laws is he willing to break?

    Perhaps the one that stops him from dragging you out of your home for no reason at all, denying you right to counsel or even to allow your family to know what happened? Perhaps the one that prevents you from being tortured, regardless of the fact that you know nothing?

    For those who are willing to give up freedom for “security”, Ben Franklin had a few words for you.

  21. Zephyr commented on Dec 24

    I suspect that what is being hidden is that they have wiretapped many suspects or contacts of suspects on a hunch or on flimsey evidence.

    The wire taps should be subject to scrutiny, and not freely done without explanation.

  22. Lupin commented on Dec 24

    Zephyr: assuming good faith on your part aren’t you disturbed by the callous disregard for the Law (and for that matter treatiers that became laws) exhibited by this administration.

    The President has ample opportunities to change laws, make new ones, etc. Let him do so.

    Right now he’s not better than a petty criminal. Shame!

    As for security concerns, if MI5 with their CCTV everywhere and wiretaps couldn’t stop the London Bombings… what hope does this perenially incompetent administration have? Realistically I’m in favor of more security, the the current bunch of clowns seems to me more devoted to power-grabbing than true security.

  23. Nicole commented on Dec 24

    The finanical industry is not interested in the government having access to insider information.

    Why Barrons cares:

    Applied: Arrests overdue

    The chairman and chief executive officer of Palm Beach technology company Applied Digital Solutions (Nasdaq: ADSXE) said news of the arrests of individuals who may have manipulated Applied shares is long overdue.

    On Wednesday, Reuters reported an FBI special agent and former agent were among five people indicted for using confidential law-enforcement information to operate an insider stock market trading and extortion ring.

    Data mining can be exploited for financial gain.


    BR responds: Barron’s is not a defender of Wall Street — they are historically cynical, and have long looked at the shenanigans of the major firms, CEOs, brokers, etc. with distaste and disgust.

    So you are barking up the wrong tree here . . .

  24. Zephyr commented on Dec 24

    I am concerned about meaningful violations and potential abuses by the people in positions of power — including but not limited to the President.

    I am conserned about the safety of our people and other people in the world who are at risk because of terrorists and oppressive regimes.

    Sometimes the work of preventing the terrible requires commision of acts that are themselves not ideal.

    The power to do these things must not be absolute, and must not be absent as well. Some things can only be done in secret.

    I do not know where the wiretaps under discussion here fit into this reality. But, I do know that we face real danger and the trades offs must be considered. It is not a simple as the one dimensional issue of a law being broken.

  25. BS Detector commented on Dec 24

    It is not a simple as the one dimensional issue of a law being broken.

    (remember that promise? Oath of office? That promise to God? Remember?)

    Tell it to the Creator on Judgement Day.

  26. BS Detector commented on Dec 24

    I can hear you now,

    “Trade-offs had to be be considered God. It is not a simple as the one dimensional issue of a promise being broken.”

    Yeah, go tell it to God!

  27. Zephyr commented on Dec 24

    BS Detector: Tell it to the creator… the same all knowing and all powerful and good God who created the universe and all that is in it? The creator of AIDS, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and others… What standard would such a being apply to wiretap rule violations?

  28. BS Detector commented on Dec 24

    And what are you so afraid of Zeph?
    Scared of a little Liberty?

    Want Daddy Bush to keep you safe?

    Freedom has always been risky. It can be dangerous.
    Some of us are willing to actually risk it, being free.

    Others want Daddy to keep them safe. Even if Daddy Bush could or even if he wanted to, which by most of the things the 9-11 Commission says Daddy Bush HASN’T DONE to keep us safe… his (in)actions show that Daddy Bush doesn’t care to do the things that were mandated…

    misplaced trust and we are supposed to give away our freedom?

    Not me.

    Patrick Henry would be ashamed of you.

  29. vidkun commented on Dec 24

    Impeachment is not the worst case at all. Sadly, it’s too late for impeachment. The Constitution is in shreds, electoral accountability is gone, and most legislators are cowed. External pressure might work, like sanctions or Suez-style financial extortion, but internationally, no one minds us being insolvent, corrupt and overextended. Foreign perceptions might change if we become more erratic. Until then, administration encroachments will not stop without some extralegal remedy at home.

  30. Zephyr commented on Dec 24

    BS Detector: Time for you to look in the mirror… Read your own posts and the nasty taunts and accusations you make. Your “BS detector” should hit the max.

  31. BS Detector commented on Dec 24

    It’s about making a promise and keeping it.

    It’s about loving this country and the principles for which it stands.

    Which means not being willing to give up those principles when the going gets tough.

    It means standing up for those principles, even when the going gets the toughest.

    You want to run from those principles, Zeph. Why?

  32. Zephyr commented on Dec 24

    BS Detector: It must be nice for you to see the world in such simple terms.

    No, I do not advocate violation of rules. And strongly believe in and strive to live up to the ideals of doing the right thing and being honest and acting with integrity.

    However, I also realize that life is not so simple, and sometimes the obligations can conflict with some of the rules. Then one faces a choice as to which principle to give priority to and which to violate.

    One must look deeper to determine whether the greater good has been served or violated. If the greater good was violated, was it the consequence of well intended motivations that also caused either accidental or unavoidable damage. Or was it their motivation to cause the damage using the claim of wanting to stop terrorists as an excuse to violate the privacy of innocent citizens.

  33. Tap, tap, Is this thing on? commented on Dec 24

    The expression “Live free or die” is what this is about. Zepher (by my reading) is content to lose a little liberty to feel safer. I on the other hand, don’t wish to lose my freedom by inches, which is what the wiretap issue is about. If we turn our backs, again, by inches, on what freedoms we have gained under the US Constitution, we are no longer Americans. The Constitution is the Constitution, we are only the current occupants of America. Regardless of what zephyr, or any other citizens of the US say about this not being a big deal, or a justifyable tradeoff, the fact is that it is not up to any of us to make that decision. This is a nation built on laws, not men. The “Partisan” argument, is just smoke, either the law was broken, or it wasn’t.

  34. Angry Blue Planet commented on Dec 24

    So Zeph, I take it that our constitutional rights have to depend on the “good intentions” of the people in power.

    Not good enough, I’m afraid.

    That’s why the Constitution has separation of powers.

    That’s why we have an independent judiciary.

    That’s why we had a Bill of Rights added to the Constitution as soon as it was enacted.

    And that’s why the Constitution contains a provision for impeachment and trial of the President for treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors.

    The “life is complex” argument that basically lets Bush off the hook doesn’t wash. Of course life is complex. The framers of the Constitution knew that better than we do. They had just spent a dozen years leading a revolutionary war of independence and a new and very vulnerable nation. And they STILL believed that unchecked power shouldn’t be placed in the hands of anyone, no matter what their fine intentions or their seemingly plausible reasons.

    I’m sorry that you seem to dismiss the criticism of Bush here as mere nasty partisanship. It mostly isn’t, but even if some of it is, it’s for the right reasons. At least Barron’s seems to think so.

  35. Mick commented on Dec 24

    We are now the only”civilized” country in the world that tolerates and even advocates torture (remember Cheney’s lobbying for exempting the CIA from McCain’s law against torture anywhere in the world). We have a president who lied to the American people about the reason for going to war in Iraq and who is apparently breaking laws here and there under flimsy pretexts. None of that is a big surprise to me, given the people involved. What I do find surprising and hard to believe is that half the country is still supporting this president and his cronies.

  36. Jon H commented on Dec 24

    Zephyr writes: “No, I do not advocate violation of rules. ”

    This is like Bush saying “We do not torture”. Yes, he does, and yes, you do advocate the violation of rules.

    Your stance appears to be that you’re afraid, and because you’re afraid, the President has unlimited power to do as he pleases regardless of the law.

    Why is it, Zephyr, that we’re under a threat which requires lawbreaking and tearing up the Constitution that made this country great, yet the threat is not so great that it requires a draft or a tax hike to pay for an actual defense?

  37. John Navin commented on Dec 24

    The NY Times article says America’s telecommunications companies cooperated with this warrent-less spying — thus, bringing up the possibility of class-action lawsuits by angry customers whose “privacy policies” may have been violated.

    Now, that’s the sort of thing Wall Street should be taking notice of…which telecommunications companies?
    How would such potential lawsuits affect the bottom line?

  38. MillionthMonkey commented on Dec 24

    I am more concerned about our safety from terrorists than from the dangers of unnecessary wire taps.

    Unnecessary would be one thing. These are ILLEGAL wire taps.

    This issue is a silly side show, and potentially damaging to the physical safety of Americans.

    Terrorism kills fewer than several thousand people per year, even counting overseas troop casualties. Hence it is not worth sacrificing several Amendments to the Bill of Rights.

    PROOF: Guns kill 10,000 Americans per year every year and we consider the Second Amendment sacrosanct. Hence a constitutional amendment is valued to be worth at least 10,000 American deaths per year. QED.

    3000 people die in a one-time attack and four years later Bush is overriding the Judicial branch and issuing warrants himself, torture is legal, and evidence tortured out of a suspect is admissible in court, you have no right to a speedy trial, nor to confront witnesses. Amendments lost: I, IV, V, VI, VIII.

    Time to drop the politically motivated attacks and think about the peoples’ safety — here and elsewhere.

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Benjamin Franklin

  39. James commented on Dec 24

    People seem to be missing the point on how FISA works.

    I’ll try to summarize it.

    Step 1: An Agent/Agency advises a president that a wire tap is needed to obtain possible information for national security.

    Step 2: President signs an order that allows a warrentless wire tap to happen.

    Step 3: President has 72 hours to advise FISA that in his opinion he needed to sign a warrentless wiretap.

    Step 4: FISA court looks at information given to court by president and will decide 2 things:

    1) The warrentless wire tap is ok’ed, and will now issue the wiretap warrent.

    2) FISA court will stop the wiretap.

    Step 5: In emergency situations, like in wartime, the FISA court can extend the 72 hours to 15 DAYS. All the president has to do is say we need more time, things are happening for national security where the warrentless wire tap has to go beyond the normal 72 hours. FISA then extends the 72 hours to 15 DAYS.
    At the end of 15 DAYS president MUST get the FISA courts decision about the warrentless wire tap. FISA court will again do 2 things:

    1) The warrentless wire tap is ok’ed, and will now issue the wiretap warrent.

    2) FISA court will stop the wiretap.

    If the president does NOT follow these procedures the president of the United States HAS violated federal LAW.

    NO and’s…NO if’s…NO but’s….

    If the president feels the 15 DAYS is not enough, president has to go to Congress to seek a remedy beyond the 15 DAYS.

    President Bush FAILED to follow the law.

    Instead he bypassed FISA in totality and Failed to get any problem fixed by going to Congress.

    The proper next step is for Congress to hold hearings and investigate the situation.

    Two things will happen:

    1) Bush will be shown to have broken federal law;

    2) Bush will be shown to have not broken federal law.

    If Bush broke federal law then Congress will have to decide whether to impeach or not.

    It is the job of an American citizen to get Congress to do it’s job and find out what is going on.

    Contact your Senator or Congressman.

    This isn’t a hard problem folks….

    I hope this post helped a little.

    Merry Christmas.

  40. thutmosis commented on Dec 24

    “It may be an ominous sign when the conservative establishment starts to voice concern.”

    The Bush cronies and lawyers are trying to spin wire tapping and email snooping as perfectly legal.

    “But say it over and over, and over…


    From its actions, the Republican Bush Administration is less interested in national security issues, than on the manipulation of intelligence resources for CORPORATE AND POLITICAL gain. Eventually a RAW POWER grab with a Permanent Republican majority by UNLAWFUL MEANS.

    Oligarchical Collectivism and Big Brother approaching, if not already here.

  41. Karin commented on Dec 24

    The wire taps should be subject to scrutiny, and not freely done without explanation.

    Uh, Zephyr? I think that was the whole purpose of the FISA court.

  42. nittacci commented on Dec 24

    Zepher: I raised my right hand many years ago before putting on a Uniform and made a promise.

    A promise I refuse to break.

    Judging from your grasp of the Constitution, and right and wrong, the uniform you put on must have been that of UPS delivery man.

  43. Jason commented on Dec 24

    on 9/11, around three thousand people died… and that’s terrible — but roughly every 26 days the same number of (american) people die in traffic accidents on our roads. if you really want to save (american) lives, let us build better cars and make safer roads. this goal is well-defined, reachable, and has the additional virtue of being inexpensive.

    let’s have some perspective here, folks: terrorism just isn’t that scary.

  44. Everything Between commented on Dec 24

    Barrons Bearish on Bush

    .Administration lawyers and the president himself have tortured the Constitution and extracted a suspension of the separation of powers, writes Thomas Donlan in Barrons Online.
    Bush spying on Americans was no shocker, but …

  45. prole in airstrip one commented on Dec 25

    Jason seems to be pissing off the pot.

    It is laudable to build better cars and roads, but that has nothing to do with the present disaster in American politics.

    We have a president breaking the law and brazenly telling americans that he will continue disregarding the law and the Constitution.

    It is still a wild guess how deep, for how long, and for what purposes, other than the so called “war on terror”, has the government been spying on Americans.

    There is an average of about 60 American soldiers dying in Iraq every month, many of which were on their second or even third tour of duty. Many of these soldiers had no desire to return to Iraq and were, essentially, drafted against their will.

    In addition it is still unkonwn if the last election will bring “democracy to Iraq.” From recent post election developments that is still a big IF.

    The president and his acolytes can not be trusted, their promises are worthless. They were inept in the Iraq adventure, incompetent in saving Americans in our country, and irrresponsbile in carrying out the work for the common good of America. But, so far The Republican Administration and the lap dog Republican Congress have been very competent in promoting their agenda and in ruling our country with hardly a legal or moral restraint.

    Now, the more their illegality is exposed and contested the more brazen in their power grab they will become in order to intimidate the opposition and scare and obfuscate the public. These Republicans mean business and should cause fear in all those Americans who still want to live in a Constitutional Republic where the rule of law, dissent and compromise still mean something.

    President Bush is no fool and by NO means is he dumb. Those who persist in portraying him as such do a disservice to americans because it lowers the bar for many about what the President is up to. Instead the President and his Republican Administration should be portrayed, at every turn, as bent in doing away with our republic mainly by illegal means.

    The response should include clearing the fear and confusion instilled by Republican rethoric with FACTS that detail the fear mongering, ineptitude, irresponsibility and corruption of the present Republican Administration and Congress. These FACTS should be repeated over and over by means of “fireside chats” by well known figures, establishment members and politicians, especially those planning to run in 2008. Hillary where are you? Essentially well known figures who still consider the rule of law important. These “chats” should be in addition to the responses to President Bush’s speeches. Leaving the response only to Congressman Murtha is not enough.

    It is especially important to clear the confusion and fear instilled by the Republicans with their phony issues such as gays, religion, ID, and now the inflammatory rethoric dealing with immigration. This opposition to the Republican agenda should be by every LAWFUL means available especially informed citizens at the ballot box.

  46. Lord commented on Dec 26

    We are losing the war on terror.

    How? Terrorists can’t conquer us or even win in Iraq. There are only two ways in which we can lose the war on terror, either to acquiese to it, or to become like those we are fighting.

  47. FESS UP FOOLS commented on Dec 26

    What a lot of people on the Right don’t seem to understand is, that to the vast mojority of AMERICANS somethings are just not debatable. That’s the main reason for us having a Constitution , so that we don’t have to debate for our rights and freedoms every time some new fool gets into power

    Our freedom is not debatable amd most of us are willing to die to prove that point. I’ts not debatable to me wether or not you can just come in my house and take me away for an unjustifiable reason with out me blowing you mo fo head off even if I have to die in the process.

    The sooner we wake up to the fact that there are three sides to every assumption ,their side our side and the correct side and as long as they continue to remain hypocritical by refusing to acknoledge that their side and our side need to reason together with honestly, respect,and candor,while seeking to come to the third and most correct conclusions. Until this result is the primary goal of the debate, any debate is fruitless and a waste of time. Because we should not waste our time debating for our rights if they don’t even want to keep our rights on the table.

    We owe it to ourselves to just stay ready and be willing,and able to fight to keep our rights and freedoms for ouselves and for the generations Americans to come as our forfathers did for us or die trying period because maybe it’s our turn to make the ultimate sacrifice as many of them did for us. END OF STORY! GOD BLESS AMERICA AND CURSE ANYONE WHO TRIES TO DESTROY IT AMEN?

  48. Wonkette commented on Dec 27

    Remainders: Another County Heard From Edition

    “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…

  49. Wonkette commented on Dec 27

    Remainders: Another County Heard From Edition

    “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…

  50. chancelucky commented on Jan 11

    I’m still quite mystified as to why the Donlan editorial got so little play. I thought it would normally be a pretty significant event, a bit like the editor of Golf magazine telling its readers that they should spend more time at home on weekends.

    Barron’s Shoots Down Snoopy Link

  51. Brenda King commented on Jan 17

    Thank You Barrons for being able to be pro capitalist and also ethical and respecting our constitution and the individual. the knee-jerk approval by conservatives, and especially the money people who love all of bush’s tx cuts is utterly disgusting, and a detriment to our democracy.

    It is rational to be a capitalist and abhor many of bush’s disgraceful actions.

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