Thursday, May 24, 2007

U.S. subverts itself as Inquisition Tool

I don’t know how many I’ve read where the writer describes some breach of civil liberties by employees of the state, then wraps it all up with a dire warning about what we as a nation are becoming, and how if we don’t put an end to it now, then we’re in for heaps of trouble. Well you know what? Nothing’s going to stop the inevitable. There’s no policy change that’s going to save us. There’s no election that’s going to put a halt to the onslaught of tyranny. It’s here already – this country has changed for the worse and will continue to change for the worse. There is now a division between the citizenry and the state. When that state is used as a tool against me, there is no longer any reason why I should owe any allegiance to that state.

And that’s the first thing that child of ours is going to learn.

December 21, 2002

Nick Monahan works in the film industry. He writes out of Los Angeles where he lives with his wife and as of December 18th, his beautiful new son.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ron Paul, Alberto Gonzales and The New York Times

Good coverage of the domestic surveillance scandal.

Excellent editorials about the domestic surveillance scandal.

But terrible coverage -- from such a supposed perspective of concern over the mis use of domestic surveillance -- of the campaign for the 2008 U.S. President. Considering their news coverage of the issue of domestic surveillance, where's its discussion as a campaign issue?

And what about their terrible coverage of the likeliest candidate to be pro civil liberties: Ron Paul? From their editorials, one would suppose that the New York Times would give an in depth reporting on this as a campaign issue, including with articles on Ron Paul's positions. Yet so far they have not.

People need to ask why the supposedly liberal New York Times about their appalling lack of coverage of domestic surveillance as an issue for the election of the next U.S. President; instead they promote the distraction of the idea that the problem is primarily one man -- U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales -- and not something far larger that has subverted the U.S. Constitution.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

FOX Poll: Ron Paul at 30%, Romney 26%, Giuliani 16%

I saw these figures just now on FOX television, along with the pundents expressing their allegiance to the criminal shadow government by declaring something negative about Ron Paul.

Do they realize how they are ultimately damaging their credibility -- and that of the lamestream media -- to a growing percentage of the U.S. population?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

ABC/MYSPACE Censorship of Ron Paul Cries Out for Scrutiny of Media Conspiracy

A review of the ownership and the persons in positions within such lamestream media entities involved with the censorship and marginalization of Ron Paul and his supporters, is critical to a better understanding of the criminal shadow government that we the people have allowed to run this country.

That we have allowed such a criminal entity to run things is better spotlighted by the obvious coordination amongst the lamesteam media. This is what I encountered last year with domestic surveillance being used against me, in violation of the 1st and 4th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, for writing about a story they refused to report on the desecration of the Nation's Capital, Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

ABC (Disney-owned) Confirms its Worthlessness


Disney is an example of media expansion. Founded first as movie production and theme park company, Disney now publishes books, magazines, and financial and medical services information. Disney owns ABC network with 10 television stations and 66 radio stations in the United States.

Partnering with Hearst Corporation and General Electric (GE,) Disney invests in 12 cable stations, 13 broadcast channels outside the USA, and Disney is part owner of German, French, Spanish, Scandinavian, and Japanese television stations.

Disney owns film companies; Buena Vista, Touchstone, Walt Disney, Hollywood Pictures, Caravan Pictures, Miramax Films.

Disney is a financial partner with Sid R. Bass in crude petroleum and natural gas production.

Along with its own internet portal, Disney owns,, Mr. Showbiz, all Disney related sites,,,,, and

Interactive games and music for Disney come through Buena Vista Music Group, Hollywood Records, Lyric Street Records, Mammoth Records, and Walt Disney Records.

Disney also owns Anaheim Sports Inc. and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim; 15 resorts and theme parks, and is a partial investor with TiVo.

DISNEY / ABC / CAP (donated 640 thousand to GW's 2000 campaign)
Television Holdings:
* ABC: includes 10 stations, 24% of US households.
* ABC Network News: Prime Time Live, Nightline, 20/20, Good Morning America.
* ESPN, Lifetime Television (50%), as well as minority holdings in A&E, History Channel and E!
* Disney Channel/Disney Television, Touchtone Television.
Media Holdings:
* Miramax, Touchtone Pictures.
* Magazines: Jane, Los Angeles Magazine, W, Discover.
* 3 music labels, 11 major local newspapers.
* Hyperion book publishers.
* Infoseek Internet search engine (43%).
Other Holdings:
* Sid R. Bass (major shares) crude oil and gas.
* All Disney Theme Parks, Walt Disney Cruise Lines.

Ron Paul #1 Technorati Search

He gets more search engine requests then even a Paris Hilton facing jail!

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Evidence of Lamestream Media Conspiracy to Ignore Ron Paul

Such a degree of coordination amongst the lamesteam media reminds me of how they ignored the desecration of the Nation's Capital, Washington, D.C. that I dared to write about.

The following is from
Mainstream Media - Crime In Progress

The 2008 elections for the President of the United States of America is fast approaching. One of the greatest countries in the world is going to elect their leader. However, three news agencies are interfering with this election by deceiving their viewers ever so lightly. It is nothing short of a crime though for a news agency to purposely deny coverage to a presidential candidate based on the networks' agenda. They should report a United States Presidential Election fairly and without bias. The following photos and descriptions are evidence of how Republican candidate Ron Paul has been censored by three large online news providers.

Guilty Party #1 - - via:

Take a look at the image. Why would not link to Ron Paul's profile in the bottom right hand box labeled "Picking the Presidents". He does have the highest approval rating at 40% on their own poll. Instead they write zero articles about him and declare Romney the Conservative's choice. You sure that wasn't your choice MSNBC?

Guilty Party #2 - - via: just flat out lies here. First, they call their election section "Full Coverage" and then provide you a link to see "All Republican Candidates". The second photo shows this page, except once again there are no links to Ron Paul's web profile to be found. He didn't make Yahoo's top six that they pulled out of thin air and he isn't in the pull down tabs in the sidebar either. Nice "Full Coverage" Yahoo.

Guilty Party #3 - - via: (This poll now includes Ron Paul) decided that they would have a poll as well, they just happened to leave one guy out of their poll. Any guesses...?

People realized Ron Paul was missing, and contacted ABC via email and phone. The poll was left sans Ron Paul for over 36 hours after the debate despite email and complaints in that time period. The screenshot was taken May 5th and they finally fixed the poll later that evening.

I personally called and talked to a website news employee who knew the status of the situation. I asked if he would put Ron Paul in the poll so I could vote for him and I quote his response, he said "We'll see." What are you going to do, debate if you should include him? MSNBC also decided to delete the comments asking why he was not included in their comments sections. Way to censor not only Ron Paul, but your registered users as well.

News agencies, your job is to report the news, not decide the news. Ask yourself, is this kind of reporting fair and trustworthy?

It is so fitting that in the debate Ron Paul was asked if he trusts the mainstream media and he responded "I trust the internet a lot more..." I don't think I could of said it better myself.

Lamestream Media Marginalizes Ron Paul

Ron Paul wins the polls but the lamestream media apparently could not care less. How much more obvious must it be to realize the DEGREE to which our lamestream media is centrally controlled by the treasonous.

It's interesting how the lamestream media fawns over the other candidates which say about nothing about the threat of domestic surveillance being abused for political purposes to undermine the 1st amendment guarantees of free speech and against the establishment of a theocratic state which gets away with desecrating the planning of Washington, D.C.

The conspiracy to ignore and marginalize presidential candidate Ron Paul is not a theory. In this case, a jury would have to conclude a conspiracy against Dr. Paul by the corporation- controlled media exists.

First, MSNBC reported that Ron Paul scored the highest positive votes in both Republican debates he attended. That means he beat out Romney, McCain and Giuliani. There was no mention of these poll results in the major media.

Dick Morris, political pundit and former Clinton buddy, wrote an opinion piece that appeared in many media publications 5/7/07, in which he claimed John McCain had won the debate, and I could find nowhere in his piece that Ron Paul had even attended.

CNN's Glenn Beck, an alleged conservative (my fanny) ran a tiny clip on his show that tried to make Ron Paul look like a blithering idiot. He then went on to ask, "How did this guy get in the debate at all"?
Even WorldNetDaily, a prominent, conservative Internet news provider, has largely ignored Ron Paul's candidacy.

When a candidate wins two debate polls in a row that are reported by the likes of MSNBC on its own web page, that is news, especially since the winner of both polls allegedly had no chance to win the nomination. The media normally jumps on that kind of news, because people in America love underdogs, but not this time. No, this is a concerted effort.

Please review below what Representative Ron Paul stands for, and far more importantly, what he has done. Among other things, Ron Paul is the only congressmen who got up and demanded Congress declare war before attacking Iraq.

Carl F. Worden

About Ron

Brief Overview of Congressman Paul's Record

He has never voted to raise taxes.
He has never voted for an unbalanced budget.
He has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership.
He has never voted to raise congressional pay.
He has never taken a government-paid junket.
He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.
He voted against the Patriot Act.
He voted against regulating the Internet.
He voted against the Iraq war.

He does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program.

He returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. treasury every year.

Congressman Paul introduces numerous pieces of substantive legislation each year, probably more than any single member of Congress.

Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) is the leading advocate for freedom in our nation's capital. As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Dr. Paul tirelessly works for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, and a return to sound monetary policies. He is known among his congressional colleagues and his constituents for his consistent voting record. Dr. Paul never votes for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution. In the words of former Treasury Secretary William Simon, Dr. Paul is the "one exception to the Gang of 535" on Capitol Hill.

Ron Paul was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Gettysburg College and the Duke University School of Medicine, before proudly serving as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force during the 1960s. He and his wife Carol moved to Texas in 1968, where he began his medical practice in Brazoria County. As a specialist in obstetrics/gynecolo gy, Dr. Paul has delivered more than 4,000 babies. He and Carol, who reside in Lake Jackson, Texas, are the proud parents of five children and have 17 grandchildren.

While serving in Congress during the late 1970s and early 1980s, Dr. Paul's limited-government ideals were not popular in Washington. In 1976, he was one of only four Republican congressmen to endorse Ronald Reagan for president.

During that time, Congressman Paul served on the House Banking committee, where he was a strong advocate for sound monetary policy and an outspoken critic of the Federal Reserve's inflationary measures. He was an unwavering advocate of pro-life and pro-family values. Dr. Paul consistently voted to lower or abolish federal taxes, spending and regulation, and used his House seat to actively promote the return of government to its proper constitutional levels. In 1984, he voluntarily relinquished his House seat and returned to his medical practice.

Dr. Paul returned to Congress in 1997 to represent the 14th congressional district of Texas. He presently serves on the House Committee on Financial Services and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. He continues to advocate a dramatic reduction in the size of the federal government and a return to constitutional principles.

Congressman Paul's consistent voting record prompted one of his congressional colleagues to say, "Ron Paul personifies the Founding Fathers' ideal of the citizen-statesman. He makes it clear that his principles will never be compromised, and they never are." Another colleague observed, "There are few people in public life who, through thick and thin, rain or shine, stick to their principles. Ron Paul is one of those few."

May 05, 2007 Ron Paul Wins MSNBC Debate Poll
Highest Positive, Lowest Negative
In the rating window of 72,419 votes at 8:10 PM EDT, Friday, May 4, Ron Paul not only had the highest positive rating:
32% Paul
30% Romney
26% Giuliani
21% McCain
14% Huckabee
9% Brownback
9% Tancredo
8% Hunter
8% Thompson
6% Gilmore

...but he also had the lowest negative rating:

29% Paul
35% Romney
37% Huckabee
40% Giuliani
42% McCain
43% Gilmore
43% Hunter
45% Thompson
45% Tancredo
46% Brownback
Posted on May 05, 2007 at 10:57 AM | Permalink

May 04, 2007
Press Release
Ron Paul Wins MSNBC Debate Poll
Ron Paul steps into national spotlight

May 4, 2007
ARLINGTON, VA - Congressman Ron Paul finished first in the MSNBC poll following the GOP primary debate last night held at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. Dr. Paul received 43 percent, beating the second-place finisher by five points, and crushing the rest of the field.

"Last night, Americans met Ron Paul and loved what they heard," said Ron Paul 2008 campaign chairman Kent Snyder. "Dr. Paul's message of freedom and limited government resonates with Republicans hungry for a return to their party's core values."

"Ron Paul is the only true conservative in the GOP race. Americans saw that last night," continued Snyder. "The campaign looks forward to further debates and opportunities so even more Americans will discover Dr. Paul's message of freedom, peace and prosperity."

Monday, May 07, 2007

Ron Paul: the only Candidate for U.S. President in 2008 to Make the Technorati Top 10 Searches

Top Searches

More in popular »

The above is a cut and paste from today's Technorati's list of top 10 search requests, with Ron Paul at #7. as the only U.S. Presidential candidate to make this list!

galilea montijo
paris hilton
ron paul
mario lopez

This should result in more news accounts from our supposedly ratings-driven mainstream media.

But with the way things really work ...

Friday, May 04, 2007

Ron Paul at the Debate

From left to right: Duncan Hunter, Mike Huckabee, James S. Gilmore III, Mitt Romney, Sam Brownback, Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo, Tommy G. Thompson, Rudolph W. Giuliani and John McCain.

This first post-G.W. Bush U.S. Presidential race, in this age of the Information Awareness Office, offers Ron Paul, as the by far most apparent best choice for anyone concerned about the frightening potential of this unprecedented centralization of knowledge and power.

He would be the candidate most likely to investigate and stop abuses of domestic surveillance, such as what a time line may suggest happened to me for writing about the dirty baseball stadium deal along South Capitol Street, in Washington, D.C., that blocks the governments' plans (which appear as late as September 2001) for a South Capitol Mall.

He appears to be the likeliest to challenge the perversion of eminent domain, as practiced by the District of Columbia government.

Excerpts from the Republican Party Presidential Candidate debate:

MR. HARRIS: Congressman Paul, you voted against the war. Why are all your fellow Republicans up here wrong?

REP. PAUL: That’s a very good question. And you might ask the question why are 70 percent of the American people now wanting us out of there and why did the Republicans do so poorly last year. So I would suggest that we should look at foreign policy.

I’m suggesting very strongly that we should have a foreign policy of non-intervention, the traditional American foreign policy and a Republican foreign policy. Throughout the 20th century, the Republican Party benefited from a non-interventionist foreign policy. Think of how Eisenhower came in to stop the Korean War. Think of how Nixon was elected to stop the mess in Vietnam. How did we win the election in the year 2000? We talked about a humble foreign policy. No nation-building. Don’t police the world. That is a conservative, it’s a Republican, it’s a pro-American, it follows the Founding Fathers. And besides, it follows the Constitution.

I tried very hard to solve this problem before we went to war, by saying declare war if you want to go to war; go to war, fight it and win it, but don’t get into it for political reasons or to enforce U.N. resolutions or pretend the Iraqis were a national threat to us.


MR. VANDEHEI: Thank you, Congressman. That’s time.

Congressman Paul, Pete from Rochester Hills, Michigan wants to ask you this. If you were president, would you work to phase out the IRS? (Laughter.)

REP. PAUL: Immediately. (Laughter.)

MR. VANDEHEI: That’s what they call a softball.

REP. PAUL: And you can only do that if you change our ideas about what the role of government ought to be. If you think the government has to take care of us from cradle to grave, and if you think our government should police the world and spend hundreds of billions of dollars on a foreign policy that we cannot manage, you can’t get rid of the IRS. But if you want to lower taxes, and if you want the government to quit printing the money to come up with shortfall and cause all the inflation, you have to change policy.


MR. MATTHEWS: Okay. Let me go to -- Dr. Paul, how do you reconcile this moral -- moral leadership kind of role of conservatism with the very libertarian strain of conservatism, the Barry Goldwater conservatism that you represent? How do you put together what he just said with what you believe in a unified national purpose?

REP. PAUL: Well, you do it by an understanding what the goal of government ought to be. If the goal of government is to be the policeman of the world, you lose liberty. And if the goal is to promote liberty, you can unify all segments. The freedom message brings us together, it doesn’t divide us.

I believe that when we overdo our military aggressiveness, what it does it actually weakens our national defense. I mean, we stood up to the Soviets. They had 40,000 nuclear weapons. Now we’re fretting day in and day -- night about third-world countries that have no army, navy or air force, and we’re getting ready to go to war.

But the principle, the moral principle is that of defending liberty and minimizing the scope of government. And every --

MR. MATTHEWS: I’m sorry, we have to go on. We have to go on.


MR. VANDEHEI: Congressman Paul, Bob Hussey (sp) from Minnesota writes that perhaps the most important skill a good president must have is the ability to make good, sound decisions, often in a crisis situation. Please cite an example when you had to make a decision in crisis.

REP. PAUL: I wonder if he’s referring to a political decision, like running for office or something like that. (Laughter.)

I guess in medicine I made a lot of critical decisions. I mean, you’re called upon all the time to make critical, life-saving decisions, but I can’t think of any one particular event where I made a critical decision that affected a lot of other people. But I think all our decisions we make in politics are critical. My major political decision, which was a constitutional decision, was to urge for five years that this country not go to war in Iraq.

MR. MATTHEWS: Dr. Paul, that’s all. And again, there’s another question for Jim.


MR. VANDEHEI: Congressman Paul, Carrie (sp) from Connecticut asks, do you trust the mainstream media?

REP. PAUL: (Laughs.) Some of them. (Laughter.) But I trust the Internet a lot more.


REP. PAUL: And I trust the freedom of expression, and that’s why we should never interfere with the Internet, that’s why I’ve never voted to regulate the Internet, even when there’s the temptation to put bad things on the Internet. Regulation of bad and good on the Internet should be done differently.


MR. MATTHEWS: Senator McCain, are you for a national tamper- proof ID card?

SEN. MCCAIN: That’s one of the recommendations of the 9/11 commission. And absolutely, if someone wants to work, they have to have a document that’s tamper proof.

And any employer who employs someone else with any other document, like a bogus Social Security card or birth certificate, should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

MR. MATTHEWS: Dr. Paul. Dr. Paul.

REP. PAUL: I am absolutely opposed to a national ID card. This is a total contradiction of what a free society is all about. The purpose of government is to protect the secrecy and the privacy of all individuals, not the secrecy of government. We don’t need a national ID card.

MR. MATTHEWS: Mr. Tancredo, do you agree with the need of a national tamper-proof ID card?

REP. TANCREDO: We do not need a national ID -- I do not think we need a national ID card, much for the reasons that Dr. Paul said. We absolutely need a verifiable Social Security card. They are two separate things. I believe that we can accomplish the former without jeopardizing individual liberties --

MR. MATTHEWS: But you say, legally you have to who you say you are.

REP. TANCREDO: Pardon me?

MR. MATTHEWS: You have to be the person on that card.

MR. TANCREDO: That is absolutely what I’m saying. It’s got to be verifiable. Absolutely.

Ron Paul 2008

Thursday, May 03, 2007

De-politicize the Office of Attoney General

Op-Ed article from the May 3, 2007 issue of The New York Times:

Published: May 3, 2007

AS a former Justice Department official, I have been inundated lately with questions from friends, family and acquaintances about Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Should he stay or should he go? To some extent, I think that’s the wrong question.

As for the current matter, involving the dismissal of several United States attorneys, the fact is that the president is entitled to fire the people in those jobs without cause. As far as we know, no crime has been committed. Mr. Gonzales is being accused not of criminal conduct but of ineptitude. But the issue raised by this highly unfortunate set of circumstances transcends the question of the present attorney general’s tenure.

There is no doubt that the confidence of the American public in the ability of the department to administer justice evenhandedly has been badly shaken, and the morale at the department has been significantly eroded. Why? Because the overall perception, right or wrong, is that the department is highly political and that when Mr. Gonzales left his job at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to become attorney general at 10th and Constitution, he did not appreciate that he had truly changed jobs.

Whatever happens to Mr. Gonzales, the taint will remain. That’s why the only real solution is to depoliticize the Justice Department, to do away with the appearance of anyone playing politics there.

I suggest we begin by making the attorney general job no longer a cabinet position. When the nation was established, the president needed a lawyer at his side. But today the president has a White House staff full of them — a veritable law firm in his own home.

The solution is to have the attorney general appointed to a fixed term — say, 15 years — that wouldn’t be coterminous with the tenure of the president who appoints him. As with the director of the F.B.I. (a 10-year term) and the chairman of the Federal Reserve (a four-year, renewable term), the appointment would be made by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate. Congress’s oversight would ensure that no political hack or crony of the president could be handed the job.

Likewise, the 93 United States attorneys should not be political apparatchiks, but talented lawyers selected half from Republican ranks and half from Democratic, following the system used for regulatory bodies like the Federal Communications Commission. These men and women should also be subject to Senate confirmation.

Changes in the occupant of the White House should not affect the way justice is administered. If the Gonzales mess ends up giving us an apolitical Department of Justice, the American people will be well served.

Arnold I. Burns was the deputy attorney general in the second Reagan administration.

Gonzales: He's Impeachable, You Know

Published: May 3, 2007

IF Alberto Gonzales will not resign, Congress should impeach him. Article II of the Constitution grants Congress the power to impeach “the president, the vice president and all civil officers of the United States.” The phrase “civil officers” includes the members of the cabinet (one of whom, Secretary of War William Belknap, was impeached in 1876).

Impeachment is in bad odor in these post-Clinton days. It needn’t be. Though provoked by individual misconduct, the power to impeach is at bottom a tool granted Congress to defend the constitutional order. Mr. Gonzales’s behavior in the United States attorney affair is of a piece with his role as facilitator of this administration’s claims of unreviewable executive power.

A cabinet officer, like a judge or a president, may be impeached only for commission of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” But as the Nixon and Clinton impeachment debates reminded us, that constitutional phrase embraces not only indictable crimes but “conduct ... grossly incompatible with the office held and subversive of that office and of our constitutional system of government.”

United States attorneys, though subject to confirmation by the Senate, serve at the pleasure of the president. As a constitutional matter, the president is at perfect liberty to fire all or some of them whenever it suits him. He can fire them for mismanagement, for failing to pursue administration priorities with sufficient vigor, or even because he would prefer to replace an incumbent with a political crony. Indeed, a president could, without exceeding his constitutional authority and (probably) without violating any statute, fire a United States attorney for pursuing officeholders of the president’s party too aggressively or for failing to prosecute officeholders of the other party aggressively enough.

That the president has the constitutional power to do these things does not mean he has the right to do them without explanation. Congress has the right to demand explanations for the president’s managerial choices, both to exercise its own oversight function and to inform the voters its members represent.

The right of Congress to demand explanations imposes on the president, and on inferior executive officers who speak for him, the obligation to be truthful. An attorney general called before Congress to discuss the workings of the Justice Department can claim the protection of “executive privilege” and, if challenged, can defend the (doubtful) legitimacy of such a claim in the courts. But having elected to testify, he has no right to lie, either by affirmatively misrepresenting facts or by falsely claiming not to remember events. Lying to Congress is a felony — actually three felonies: perjury, false statements and obstruction of justice.

A false claim not to remember is just as much a lie as a conscious misrepresentation of a fact one remembers well. Instances of phony forgetfulness seem to abound throughout Mr. Gonzales’s testimony, but his claim to have no memory of the November Justice department meeting at which he authorized the attorney firings left even Republican stalwarts like Jeff Sessions of Alabama gaping in incredulity. The truth is almost surely that Mr. Gonzales’s forgetfulness is feigned — a calculated ploy to block legitimate Congressional inquiry into questionable decisions made by the Department of Justice, White House officials and, quite possibly, the president himself.

Even if perjury were not a felony, lying to Congress has always been understood to be an impeachable offense. As James Iredell, later a Supreme Court justice, said in 1788 during the debate over the impeachment clause, “The president must certainly be punishable for giving false information to the Senate.” The same is true of the president’s appointees.

The president may yet yield and send Mr. Gonzales packing. If not, Democrats may decide that to impeach Alberto Gonzales would be politically unwise. But before dismissing the possibility of impeachment, Congress should recognize that the issue here goes deeper than the misbehavior of one man. The real question is whether Republicans and Democrats are prepared to defend the constitutional authority of Congress against the implicit claim of an administration that it can do what it pleases and, when called to account, send an attorney general of the United States to Capitol Hill to commit amnesia on its behalf.

Frank Bowman is a law professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Bush Administration Asserts that the President May Decide for Himself whether to surveill without warrant

Army Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, right, listens as Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell, left, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 1, 2007, before the Senate Intelligence Committee

From the Wednesday, May 2, 2007 issue of The New York Times:

WASHINGTON, May 1 — Senior Bush administration officials told Congress on Tuesday that they could not pledge that the administration would continue to seek warrants from a secret court for a domestic wiretapping program, as it agreed to do in January.

Rather, they argued that the president had the constitutional authority to decide for himself whether to conduct surveillance without warrants.

As a result of the January agreement, the administration said that the National Security Agency’s domestic spying program has been brought under the legal structure laid out in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires court-approved warrants for the wiretapping of American citizens and others inside the United States.

But on Tuesday, the senior officials, including Michael McConnell, the new director of national intelligence, said they believed that the president still had the authority under Article II of the Constitution to once again order the N.S.A. to conduct surveillance inside the country without warrants.

During a hearing Tuesday of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mr. McConnell was asked by Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, whether he could promise that the administration would no longer sidestep the court when seeking warrants.

“Sir, the president’s authority under Article II is in the Constitution,” Mr. McConnell said. “So if the president chose to exercise Article II authority, that would be the president’s call.”

The administration had earlier argued that both the president’s inherent executive powers under Article II of the Constitution, as well as the September 2001 Congressional authorization to use military force against Al Qaeda, provided him with the power to conduct surveillance without warrants.

Mr. McConnell emphasized that all domestic electronic surveillance was now being conducted with court-approved warrants, and said that there were no plans “that we are formulating or thinking about currently” to resume domestic wiretapping without warrants.

“But I’d just highlight,” he said, “Article II is Article II, so in a different circumstance, I can’t speak for the president what he might decide.”

The exchange came as the administration is seeking new legislation to update the surveillance act to expand the government’s surveillance powers, in part to deal with vast changes in communications technology since 1978, when the measure was enacted.

The White House says that the outmoded rules embedded in the law mean that the government cannot eavesdrop on some telephone calls, e-mail and other communications that do not involve Americans or impinge on the privacy rights of people inside the United States.

While administration officials, citing national security concerns, have declined to discuss publicly what communications gaps they wish to plug, their proposed legislation seems designed to single out so-called “transit traffic,” purely international telephone calls and e-mail that go from one foreign country to another, but happen to be digitally routed through the United States telecommunications system.

The administration’s proposal would also provide legal immunity for telecommunications companies that cooperated with the National Security Agency’s surveillance program without warrants before it was brought under the surveillance act in January. It would also provide legal protections for government workers who took part in the N.S.A. program.

Several Democratic lawmakers expressed frustration on Tuesday that the administration had not provided documents related to the National Security Agency program, which the White House called the Terrorist Surveillance Program. They suggested that they would be reluctant to agree to a change in the surveillance law without more information from the White House.

“To this day, we have never been provided the presidential authorization that cleared that program to go or the attorney general-Department of Justice opinions that declared it to be lawful,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island. “Where’s the transparency as to the presidential authorizations for this closed program? That’s a pretty big ‘we’re not going to tell you’ in this new atmosphere of trust we’re trying to build.”

So, the decision to surveill me could have come from the President George Walker Bush himself!

All in order to protect his chance to throw the first ball at monstrosity (Nationals Ballpark) stadium?!

NSA Court-Martial?

Bush Authorizes Spying on Americans

The ceremonial swearing-in of Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D।C।, as McConnell’s wife, Terry, holds the Bible.

From the May 2, 2007 editorial page of The New York Times:

For more than five years, President Bush authorized government spying on phone calls and e-mail to and from the United States without warrants. He rejected offers from Congress to update the electronic eavesdropping law, and stonewalled every attempt to investigate his spying program.

Suddenly, Mr. Bush is in a hurry. He has submitted a bill that would enact enormous, and enormously dangerous, changes to the 1978 law on eavesdropping. It would undermine the fundamental constitutional principle — over which there can be no negotiation or compromise — that the government must seek an individual warrant before spying on an American or someone living here legally.

To heighten the false urgency, the Bush administration will present this issue, as it has before, as a choice between catching terrorists before they act or blinding the intelligence agencies. But the administration has never offered evidence that the 1978 law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, hampered intelligence gathering after the 9/11 attacks. Mr. Bush simply said the law did not apply to him.

The director of national intelligence, Michael McConnell, said yesterday that the evidence of what is wrong with FISA was too secret to share with all Americans. That’s an all-too-familiar dodge. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, who is familiar with the president’s spying program, has said that it could have been conducted legally. She even offered some sensible changes for FISA, but the administration and the Republican majority in the last Congress buried her bill.

Mr. Bush’s motivations for submitting this bill now seem obvious. The courts have rejected his claim that 9/11 gave him virtually unchecked powers, and he faces a Democratic majority in Congress that is willing to exercise its oversight responsibilities. That, presumably, is why his bill grants immunity to telecommunications companies that cooperated in five years of illegal eavesdropping. It also strips the power to hear claims against the spying program from all courts except the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which meets in secret.

According to the administration, the bill contains “long overdue” FISA modifications to account for changes in technology. The only example it offered was that an e-mail sent from one foreign country to another that happened to go through a computer in the United States might otherwise be missed. But Senator Feinstein had already included this fix in the bill Mr. Bush rejected.

Moreover, FISA has been updated dozens of times in the last 29 years. In 2000, Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, who ran the National Security Agency then, said it “does not require amendment to accommodate new communications technologies.” And since 9/11, FISA has had six major amendments.

The measure would not update FISA; it would gut it. It would allow the government to collect vast amounts of data at will from American citizens’ e-mail and phone calls. The Center for National Security Studies said it might even be read to permit video surveillance without a warrant.

This is a dishonest measure, dishonestly presented, and Congress should reject it. Before making any new laws, Congress has to get to the truth about Mr. Bush’s spying program. (When asked at a Senate hearing yesterday if Mr. Bush still claims to have the power to ignore FISA when he thinks it is necessary, Mr. McConnell refused to answer.)

With clear answers — rather than fearmongering and stonewalling — there can finally be a real debate about amending FISA. It’s not clear whether that can happen under this president. Mr. Bush long ago lost all credibility in the area where this law lies: at the fulcrum of the balance between national security and civil liberties.