Friday, December 23, 2005

Rule of Law . . . 

not rule of Chimp.

If you're having trouble understanding why being Commander in Chief does not give the president the right to violate the law (violating the law is a crime, by the way), Armando at Daily Kos makes it perfectly clear (with a little help from Justices Black, Frankfurter, and Brandeis (quoted here):
"The doctrine of the separation of powers was adopted by the Convention of 1787, not to promote efficiency but to preclude the exercise of arbitrary power. The purpose was, not to avoid friction, but, [343 U.S. 579, 614] by means of the inevitable friction incident to the distribution of the governmental powers among three departments, to save the people from autocracy." Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52, 240, 293.
I recommend reading the whole thing, as it applies specifically to the powers and responsibilities of the president during a military conflict.

After reading, please forward a copy to your congressperson. Impeachment charges must originate in the House. The trial is conducted by the Senate.

Happy Holidays to one and all.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Patriotism from those who've been there 

The NSA spying scandal, as part of a larger picture of an anministration that claims it needs to curtail individual rights (and some would say piss on the Constitution) in order to fight the terrorists, is generating lots of talk, much of it loose, about who loves America, who is willing to fight terrorism, and what's really at stake for all of us.

Today I came across a couple of statements that help me keep this discussion in what I believe is the proper context.

First, in response to those who say we need to abandon the Bill of Rights, Barbara of the MahaBlog has this to say:
Just call them cowards. That’s what they are. I was in lower Manhattan on 9/11 and saw the worst that terrorism can do, and I am not crawling around under rocks screaming that we must compromise everything America stands for to keep us safe. And I’ve never considered myself especially brave; just put me in a dentist’s chair, and I’ll confess to anything. But as I wrote yesterday, righties are so terrified of the jihadist boogeymen they’ll make excuses for anything Big Brother does, in the opinion — unjustified, I say — that Big Brother is keeping them safe. And they call themselves patriots. It’s too pathetic.
Then on the military side, as part of a little discussion in the comments at Intel Dump, a blogger named vadkins (I'll give you a clue -- she has Michelle Malkin on her blogroll; and no, I'm not linking to her) takes a cheap shot at the a few of the guys, one of whom posted Statement by Senator Dianne Feinstein on Reports the President Authorized Domestic Spying by the NSA:
You liberals are so going to get more Americans killed by terrorists. Disgusting!
The guys weren't espcially fazed by her accusation, and responded like officers and gentlemen.

First, here is the short version from Kris Alexander, who was commissioned infantry, then worked in the intelligence field:

Yup us evil liberals paratrooper, war veteran liberals are just out to see that the terrorists win. That's *MY* goal.

Here's the thing. I've got no problem with a robust intelligence collection mechanism. I've got no problem with various members on the intel community sharing information. What I do have a problem with is the government bypassing the laws that are intented to act as checks and balances against excessess. The FISA laws are very generous in giving intel types time to aquire warrants without hampering what might be time sensitive collection.

Vadkins, the political pendulum of this country swings from right to left. So I have theoretical question for you: would you acccept this type of program from President Hillary Clinton? That's a possible future that you face. The checks and balances in this country are designed do exist no matter who is the president.
JD Henderson provided a somewhat longer response:
As for Vadkin, I checked out her site. Here is a quote:
If we could ressurect a person who jumped from the WTC on that day and asked them, "Say, would you have been upset if we would have monitored Mohammed Atta without a warrant before you died? Would you have cared about his so-called 'rights'?" What do you think the answer would be? Do you think they would have been upset.

You know what I think? I think that Americans just don't want to be blown to bits by terrorists.
Well, Ms. Vadkins, I certainly agree. I don't want to be blown up by terrorists either, and I do want Atta monitored, and I don't care about his rights. I want him and all like him dead, dead dead.

I do, though, also care about my rights, and your rights, and the rights of all other Americans. I also think that we can fight and win the war on terror - and monitor every damn conversation we need to listen in on, all without tossing out the Constitution and those "pesky rights" that Ms. Vadkins apparently doesn't think worth defending, although she supposedly loves our "freedom."

I am sorry, Ms. Vadkins, that you think we are "nothing but a pathetic joke" for our allegiance to the Constitution of the United States. I am sorry you think protecting rights is equivalent to a step backwards in the war on terror. I am sorry you feel that defending civil rights and winning the war on terror are ideas that ever need to conflict with one another. If President Clinton did the same thing as Bush did, I think he should have been impeached, successfully impeached, and imprisoned. I am sorry that you think whether a law-breaking president is a democrat or a republican makes one bit of difference. It doesn't to me.

I am sorry that you think those who insist our nation is a nation based on law, and not men, are weak. I am sorry that you think this terrorist threat is so dangerous that we need not follow the Constitution, despite all of the other dangers we have successfully faced in our young republic's short history. I am sorry you think we could fight the empire of Japan and the Third Reich at the same time without tossing out the Constitution, but you don't think our president can remain loyal to our ideals while fighting terrorists. I am sorry you think that is ok.

If I were the WTC person forced to jump, and you asked me that question, I would respond "why not protect me AND remain loyal to the Constitution?" If you told me we couldn't, I would rather jump - just like the men who stormed the beach at Normandy rather than submit to fascism. They faced the same choice - safety by sacrificing our rights and freedoms, or remaining loyal to freedom at the risk of their own lives. I guess you would choose safety - as you have here.

I am truly sorry for that. As for me, I would hit the beach rather than surrender what makes America special - our rights as a free people, enshrined in the Bill of Rights you don't think worth defending.
Thanks, JD. I'll hit that beach with you anytime.


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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Party On! 

Ed made me laugh.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I can't help myself . . . 

I gotta blog again.

Jesse has posted round two of DC and I discussing things military (and by definition, political). If holiday shopping or taking your anti-depressants is cutting into your blog reading time, I'll give you the short versions.

DC: 9/11 changed everything.

Me: They lied, and they don't even do that very well.

Who are the Brain Police? -- Frank Zappa

Billmon (he's back!) notes a piece in the NY Crimes that has the FBI investigating Vegans, Catholic Workers (some kind of Commie plot), and a llama protest. Note to Grover Norquist: those are your tax dollars hard at work.

Governor Dean wants you to sign the petition to get some straight answers (in the form of a Freedom of Information Act request) about the US spying on its own citizens. So do I.

Chimpeach! It's about damn time. And Conyers moves to censure Bush and Cheney (not nearly enough, but it's a start).

And I'm waiting for some dim bulb on the right to start spewing trash about the divine right of presidents. Oh wait. Alberto (waterboard) Gonzales is already doing that. Never mind.


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