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James Johnson

Here's my take on Shrub's speech. I sent it to Walden, Smith, and Wyden. I think I'll send it to the rest of the Oregon delegation... maybe the whole Congress. I was pissed.
______________________________

December 18, 2005


The Honorable Greg Walden
House of Representatives
Washington, DC USA


Hon. Mr. Walden

The President's remarks are treasonous. This President has the gall to call opposition to his policies treason. This is completely antithetic to the American tradition.

The President is skiing down a steeper and steeper slippery slope. First there is the question of legitimacy regarding his first term and concern about widespread election fraud during the 2004 election as well as smears during the campaign.

Now the President is trying to justify illegal spying on anyone he designates a threat or enemy. He and the Vice-President are also trying to justify the use of torture on "suspected terrorists". They have stretched words far past the intent of the law and the original intent of the framers of the Constitution. Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney have violated the very principles upon which the nation was founded.

How soon will it be before the President's secret police come knocking on doors in every community in this country and taking citizens into custody on grounds that they are enemies of the state because they see through the lies being perpetrated by this government? HOW SOON?

They say "It can't happen here." What about Jose Padilla? The government should charge him and prove its case, IN PUBLIC, IN COURT, as a matter of public record. The public has been kept in the dark about this matter for reasons of "national security." I believe the truth is that making the facts public would simply embarrass the Bush administration. Exposing the facts about many other ongoing affairs related to the Bush administration will only result in further embarrassment, but the doubt is far more harmful.

For example, what about profiteering by Halliburton and Bechtel and other multinational corporations? The fact is quite evident (although the commercial media won’t report it) that the current aggression in Iraq is being conducted by the United States government as a proxy for a consortium of international oil companies. Mr. Bush lied about Iraq weapons stores and production capabilities to goad Congress into giving him war powers. Since then the President has exhibited an amazing lack of understanding of international affairs and world history. These deficiencies have combined with the President’s arrogance and high-handedness to destroy America’s stature in the world community.

The President has too long ignored his duties as protector of the Constitution and the liberties of the American people, claiming he has been fulfilling his obligations while, in reality, working on behalf of corporate entities whose object has been to destroy those liberties. The goal of these entities and their political agents is complete economic and political domination by a new elite, a new economic royalty, accomplished at the expense of working people throughout the world.

What else is going on that we don't know about? How much more is there to abu-Grahib? How many jails are there in other countries? How many extra-legal prisoners are being held in limbo? How many American citizens are being or going to be shunted out of existence? This horrendous scandal can’t be kept hidden forever, and when it sees the light of day the people of the world will want to know why.

The depth of the hypocrisy of this administration is staggering. While claiming to be compassionate, Mr. Bush has cut social programs that provide a safety net for the least of our citizens and provides greater and greater economic relief for the wealthiest. The President claims to be working on behalf of the American people, while he and the Republican leadership actively work on behalf of whoever pays the highest bribe. The Democrats are not exempt from corruption, but, when the record of oversight by Congress for the past five years is compared to the scrutiny to which the Clinton administration was subjected by the Republicans, the level of corruption becomes obvious.

It is far past time that Congress assume its proper roll as a check on the abuses of power by the executive branch. Where is the outrage? Where are the investigations?

Half of the people in this country know the President is lying. A substantial number of others think he is lying. What will happen when the truth comes out and it becomes completely known that the President and the Republicans have been dealing in bad faith all along? What will happen when the President’s supporters come to the realization that we have lost thousands of our young people dead and maimed and wasted the better part of a trillion dollars in the Iraqi desert? What will happen when they all see that the only product of this adventure has been to draw the enmity of the rest of the world and ruin our home economy?

The wealthy, Mr. Bush’s acknowledged base of “the haves and the have-mores”, don’t care. They can pack up and move to their guarded estates. What about the rest of us? What about the ones to whom Mr. Bush made promises that he would work for their economic and material security? What about the common man? What will middle America do when they finally become aware that Mr. Bush’s program’s have been a massive sellout to the highest bidder and they’ve been taken for all they have?

It is long past time for extensive criminal investigations to have begun. Tom DeLay’s affairs deserve special attention. For the very sake of our democracy, everything associated with the notorious Jack Abramoff needs to be exposed. Above all, an investigation into the dealings of the shadow government operating inside the White House needs to be conducted. We want to know where the money trail through the White House goes. It may be embarrassing, but each day that goes by, the corruption and the problems will only compound.

I don’t think it unreasonable for the American people to expect impeachment proceedings to begin against the entire administration for the damage they have done to this country. Then they can be indicted and held to account for their high crimes. Some of them, no doubt, will need to be bound over to an international court for war crimes to answer for the mayhem they have created in Iraq.

So be it, and the sooner the better, and the sooner the healing can begin.


Respectfully,


James A. Johnson
Grants Pass, OR 97527
Jimmyaj451@aol.com

Julie in Boise

James, that is an excellent letter that makes so many good points about the deep hole we've allowed the Bush admin to dig for us. Yes, we've allowed it - and most of our congressional reps, regardless of party, are complicit.

I think many people would love to see Bush booted out now, but they fear how prolonged hearings would hurt national morale and distract us from other matters (important issues, not just what's on TV). But as you point out, the price of continued ignorance is unacceptable.

So let's all take a few minutes to write our legislators and demand a full investigation into all facets of the selling and conduct of the war.

We also can sign on to the Democratic Party's Freedom of Infcormation Act request (click my name), to be made this week, that will seek the release of documents in the NSA spying matter.

These actions may be the greatest holiday gifts we give our kids - a chance to reclaim our democracy before it's too late.

Shane

I'm still amazed at the "shock" coming from my left wing friends. Democrats have more of a history doing this type of thing than Republicans!

Carter and Clinton both did nearly the same thing.

Carter - http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/eo12139.htm
“The Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order"

Clinton -
http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/eo/eo-12949.htm
"The Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order"


http://nationalreview.com/york/york200512200946.asp

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-0512210142dec21,0,3553632.story?coll=chi-newsopinioncommentary-hed
"Associate attorney general under Clinton: President had legal authority to OK taps... "

This story may turn out to hurt the Democrats more than it's going to help them. Not only that but NYT held this story for a year! Why in the hell would they do that? I'll tell you why, so they could also promote this book, "STATE OF WAR: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration". Which will be out in the coming weeks.

This is politics as usual. NYT is trying to play this as a "late breaking story" and the Dems are feeding off it and turning it anti-Bush when their party cheerleaders were doing the exact same thing...


brad

James, I don't know if you are being intentionally dishonest or just misinformed. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

(a) Your first point actually affirms what Dems and responsible Republicans have been saying, and if you would bother to include the context, it would be obvious. The cite is: "the Attorney General
is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign
intelligence information without a court order, but only if the
Attorney General makes the certifications required by that Section."

And what, pray tell, are the certifications required by that Section? They are certifications that the surveillance is not going to collect information on AMERICANS!

Your second cite suffers from the exact same intellectually dishonest selectivity. Re-read it, and then bone up on the certifications required.

(b) Who cares? Carter and Clinton aren't the president. Even if your information was accurate - which it is not - it's irrelevant. The GOP has been whining "Clinton did it too" for six years. When is the "Party of Responsibility" going to take some?

Go check out what your president said last year: "Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way."

Requires a court order. Remember, with Clinton, the GOP kept telling us it's not about the sex, it's about the lying. Fine. With Bush, it's not about the spying, it's about the lying. And for my money, lying about violating the constitution - and then promising to keep doing it - trumps lying about sex anytime.

brad

I meant "Shane", not James. Not sure where that came from. Sorry.

James Johnson

Clinton allowed it? That's all crap taken out of context by the right wing echo chamber trying to get some traction for Bush. Bush has no legal authority on this "spygate". He's giving himself the authority as he goes along. IKt's unconstitutional and it's an impeachable offense.

Read this from American Progress:

NATIONAL SECURITY
Warrantless Spying Apologetics Continue

Concern over President Bush's warrantless domestic spying program is growing. U.S. District Judge James Robertson, one of 11 members of the secret FISA Court, took the extraordinary step of resigning on Monday "in protest of President Bush's secret authorization of a domestic spying program." Associates of Judge Robertson, who was appointed to the court by late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, said he had "privately expressed deep concern that the warrantless surveillance program authorized by the president in 2001 was legally questionable and may have tainted the FISA court's work." Also yesterday, a bipartisan group of senators, including Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), called "for a joint investigation by the Senate judiciary and intelligence panels into the classified program."

Meanwhile, the Bush administration and its supporters in Congress continue to mount defenses of the President's activities. Some are simply rhetorical flourish: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said on Monday, "None of your civil liberties matter much after you're dead." Sen. Russ Feingold's (D-WI) retort, borrowed from Patrick Henry, was fitting: "Give me liberty or give me death." But other defenses of the program require deeper analysis: President Bush has argued that his authority to spy on Americans without a court order derives from the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by Congress after September 11. Others have issued defenses that boil down to the claim, "President Clinton did it too." None are accurate.

DEBUNKING THE WAR RESOLUTION MYTH: President Bush said on Monday that he did not have to secure warrants to spy on Americans because "after September the 11th, the United States Congress also granted me additional authority to use military force against al Qaeda." Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made the same case, in greater detail. But Congress clearly did not intend for the AUMF passed after 9/11 to authorize such activities. When the authorization was debated on September 14, 2001, members of Congress were extremely clear about the limited authority it gave the President. Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) noted that it provided "no new or additional grant of powers to the President." Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) argued, "Some people say that is a broad change in authorization to the Commander in Chief of this country. It is not. It is a very limited concept." Several additional statements here.

DEBUNKING THE EXECUTIVE ORDER MYTH: Conservative activist Matt Drudge yesterday posted the following headline on his popular website: "Clinton Executive Order: Secret Search on Americans Without Court Order." This is false. Drudge highlights one sentence from an executive order issued by President Clinton in February 1995: "The Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order." But the order also includes the following text: "Pursuant to section 302(a)(1) [50 U.S.C. 1822(a)] of the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance] Act (FISA), the Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order, to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year, if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that section." That section of FISA requires the Attorney General to certify that the search will not involve "the premises, information, material, or property of a United States person." That means U.S. citizens or anyone inside of the United States. In stark contrast, Bush’s program permits, for the first time ever, warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens and other people inside of the United States. Neither Clinton’s 1995 executive order, nor President Carter's 1979 executive order (which Drudge also claims allows warrantless searches of Americans) authorizes that.

DEBUNKING THE GORELICK MYTH: A related argument was made yesterday by Byron York in a National Review article titled "Clinton Claimed Authority to Order No-Warrant Searches." The article cites then-Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick’s July 14, 1994 testimony that "the President has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes." Sen. Cornyn cited the testimony several times yesterday. What York obscures is that, at the time of Gorelick's testimony, physical searches were not covered under FISA. It’s not surprising that, in 1994, Gorelick argued that physical searches were not covered by FISA. They weren't. With Clinton’s backing, the law was amended in 1995 to include physical searches. The distinction is clear. The Clinton administration viewed FISA, a criminal statute, as the law. The Bush administration viewed FISA as a set of recommendations they could ignore.

DEBUNKING THE ECHELON MYTH: Another variation of the "Clinton did it" argument involves a top-secret surveillance program employed by the Clinton administration, code-named Echelon. The conservative outlet NewsMax presents the basic case: "During the 1990’s under President Clinton, the National Security Agency monitored millions of private phone calls placed by U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries under a super secret program code-named Echelon…all of it done without a court order, let alone a catalyst like the 9/11 attacks." This is false. The Echelon program complied with FISA. Before any conversations of U.S. persons were targeted, a FISA warrant was obtained. Then-CIA director George Tenet testified to this before Congress on 4/12/00: "We do not collect against U.S. persons unless they are agents of a foreign power as that term is defined in the law. We do not target their conversations for collection in the United States unless a FISA warrant has been obtained from the FISA court by the Justice Department."

Shane

Brad, I’m not going to paste the whole Executive Order for you. I’m just showing snippets and you can click the link to learn more. If I were intentionally trying to deceive you I wouldn’t provide a link. It’s a few paragraphs long and isn’t that hard to read.

Both of the Executive Orders do not specify whether this can be done to Americans or not. It simply says that they can make these warantless searches/seizures/taps on another person for the purpose of collecting foreign intelligence.

As per the certifications required. Where does it say it won’t be used on Americans?

You’re very naïve about this. You really think Bush is the first president to do this? It’s been going on for decades but only when the president the left despises does it, then its an outrage. Come on, liberals are better than that.

Also, don’t try to align me with Bush’s faction of the Republican party. It’s not going to work. I have my own views on Bush’s foreign policy and they’re irrelevant. I’m simply pointing out the hypocrisy.

This spying story is really going to backfire on the Democratic Party. I believe this is also why Bush’s approval rating is increasing…

brad

Shane,
I'm sorry, but you are simply wrong about this. The executive order refers quite plainly in multiple instances to obtaining "foreign intelligence." Further, it states that the attorney general is granted this power "102(a)(1) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1802(a))" and "only if the
Attorney General makes the certifications required by that Section."

The "certifications" referred to in that section expressly state that the information is not to target Americans. It's very clear, and it's very clear that apologists for the administration have been muddying the waters with this for a week now.

Look, even if you want to claim that presidents have been doing this since Jefferson, does that make it any less of a violation of the Constitution? Is it any less reason for outrage, regardless of one's political stripes? And package it with the revelations that literally thousands of "national security letters" went out last year, and that the government has been investigating Quaker meetings, has been involved in sending agents provacateurs into innocuous protest groups (see NYT of 2-3 days ago) and on and on.
Doesn't that raise a little of the hair on your arms?
And like I said in my last post, he clearly lied about it either way, and that's an impeachable offense. No less an expert than John Dean pointed out that Bush is the first president in history to admit to violating the Constitution.

One of these straws has got to break the camel's back.

(Bush's approval rating, IMHO, is rising because of Fox's fake war on Christmas, the relatively bloodless Iraqi election, and the fact that holidays and other news have pushed the Iraq war off the front pages.)

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