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Subpoenas Issued Over NSA Warrantless Wiretapping 260

Posted by kdawson
from the i-tell-you-nine-times dept.
Spamicles writes "The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to subpoena documents from the Bush Administration related to the government's admitted eavesdropping on Americans' overseas emails and phone calls without getting court approval. In a 13-3 vote, the Committee decided to authorize its chairman to issue subpoenas for documents related to the NSA warrantless surveillance program. Nearly any request is going to be met with tough resistance from the White House, and the confrontation over the documents 'could set the stage for a constitutional showdown over the separation of powers.'"
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Subpoenas Issued Over NSA Warrantless Wiretapping

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 22, 2007 @09:14PM (#19616067)
    One by one they are taking away the tools that President Bush needs to fight terrorisim at home and abroad. When we are attacked again, we will know who to blame.
    • by poopdeville (841677) on Friday June 22, 2007 @09:21PM (#19616101)
      Yes. The terrorists.
      • by folstaff (853243) on Friday June 22, 2007 @09:46PM (#19616233) Journal
        Not that I normally want to defend anonymous cowards, but when the next terrorist attack occurs the American public will blame the administration for not doing enough. We will blame the terrorist first, but we will also ask for 2 reactions from our government: do something to keep this from happening again and tell us why the government didn't stop it in the first place.

        Moderator: You may completely disagree with Anonymous Coward's point, but labeling his comment as funny is an insult to real debate. He wasn't trying to be funny and what was said should not be taken lightly.

        • by The Rizz (1319) on Friday June 22, 2007 @10:02PM (#19616305)

          Not that I normally want to defend anonymous cowards, but when the next terrorist attack occurs the American public will blame the administration for not doing enough.
          Only if it's a democrat in the White House.

          If it's a Republican president, he can purposely ignore all threats and cancel current anti-terror operations [avatara.com] beforehand, and when the attack starts, he can ignore that it's happening in order to continue a PR event [about.com], and people will still consider him a great heroic leader as long as he ... well, does nothing, really.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by folstaff (853243)

            If it's a Republican president, he can purposely ignore all threats and cancel current anti-terror operations beforehand,

            Al Franken is not a credible source for content. You wouldn't accept a quote from Rush Limbaugh. The 911 Commission's Report is a better source and it was critical of both administrations.

            when the attack starts, he can ignore that it's happening in order to continue a PR event

            Bush has rightly been criticized by people on both sides for his first reaction during the attack. I wish he would have politely excused himself and left.

            as long as he ... well, does nothing, really.

            You may disagree with a lot that Bush has done in office, but to say he has done nothing is wrong. Iraq has been mishandled at times, but the war in Afghanistan was

            • Okay

              Bin Laden Determined to Strike Within the USA.
            • by lawpoop (604919) on Friday June 22, 2007 @11:21PM (#19616753) Homepage Journal

              Al Franken is not a credible source for content. You wouldn't accept a quote from Rush Limbaugh. The 911 Commission's Report is a better source and it was critical of both administrations.
              Al Franken's book was researched by a team of students at Harvard. He cites his sources. You can trust him inasmuch as you can check his sources. Not so sure about Limbaugh.

              Oh wait! I look at what wikipedia has to say about the factual innacuracies in _Lies..._:

              Franken wrote that former U.S. Senator Max Cleland (D-GA), while serving in the U.S. Army, "...left three of his limbs in Vietnam. A VC grenade blew them off."

              In fact, it was not a Viet Cong grenade; instead the grenade had fallen from a fellow American soldier's flak jacket during a non-combat mission and accidentally detonated.
              Woah, that really blow his credibility!</scarcasm>

              The inaccuracy was corrected in the book's paperback edition.
              Oh, nevermind.

              You may disagree with a lot that Bush has done in office, but to say he has done nothing is wrong.
              He did nothing, *absolutely* nothing, about Middle East terrorists, Jihadists, or Islamic fundamentalists before 9/11. What was the Bush administration doing during their first several months in office? Trying to build a missile defense shield and back out the anti-ballistic missile treaty with Russia. Clinton pursued and convicted Ramzi Yousef [wikipedia.org], the mastermind behind the first WTC bombing. Yousef is now in a maximum security prison. ( Where is Bin Laden now? Probably hiding out in Pakistan, our military dictatorship friends in the middle east). Clinton launched cruise missile attacks against terrorist training camps in Sudan and Afghanistan [cnn.com] while the Republican congress was investigating things like his Christmas card mailing list and his travel agent's activities. CNN said at the time that

              U.S. officials say the six sites attacked in Afghanistan were part of a network of terrorist compounds near the Pakistani border that housed supporters of Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden.

              American officials say they have "convincing evidence" that bin Laden, who has been given shelter by Afghanistan's Islamic rulers, was involved in the bombings of the east African embassies.
              So he was attacking Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaida.

              At the time I wondered if this was wag the dog, to distract the American people from his troubles with the congress. Now I understand that the Republicans are more interested in using our terrorist enemies as a political tool, to win elections and gain power, rather than actually protecting us against them.
              • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday June 22, 2007 @11:58PM (#19616975) Homepage Journal
                I don't think you can accurately say that George W. Bush did absolutely nothing about terrorism. In fact, I think George W. Bush has done more to benefit and encourage terrorism than any other world leader. Osama bin Laden only wishes he could inspire the kind of passion that has been produced by the actions and policies of George Bush.

                Of course, there haven't been any significant terrorist attacks on American soil since 9/11, and George Bush deserves the same credit for that as he deserves for their having been no major cataclysmic meteor strikes or earthquakes. Of course, he can't take credit for preventing hurricanes, but he sure did his part in making the one big hurricane we did have cause maximum damage to human life.

                The real shame of it all is that there may well be a terrorist threat in the world today, but the administration of George Bush has dealt with it so poorly that I find myself questioning the very existence of the threat. To so badly damage the confidence of the American people is a very difficult thing to do, considering how much Americans want to believe in their leaders. We're passing the two year mark during which George Bush has had the confidence and support of less than a third of Americans. Even Richard Nixon wasn't so universally discounted. Even though Nixon did manage to hit a low in the polls of 23 percent (only 3 points lower than Bush's most recent showing in Newsweek), and that was only for about 60 days, 7 months before he resigned in disgrace. Fortunately for Bush, his Vice President is so much less trusted that the Democratic majority dare not impeach him.

                Today, the headlines included a story of how Vice President Cheney actually tried to shut down the government agency that is responsible for overseeing his use of classified information. According to the story in that notorious liberal rag the Wall Street Journal, Cheney obeyed the law regarding classified info for the first two years of his first term, but has ignored it ever since. His office went so far as to argue that the Vice President wasn't really part of the Executive Branch of government.

                The number of presidential signing statements, which are the executive equivalent of making a promise with your fingers crossed behind your back, is not closing in on one thousand. During the eight years of the Clinton Administration AND the Reagan administration together, the number was about fifty.

                As hard as George Bush and company have tried to get the American people to fear terrorism, the people of the USA are learning to fear the President and Vice President (along with a cast of characters worthy of a Columbian dictator, like Abu Gonzales) even more. This is the saddest result of all, because as I said, Americans WANT to believe in their President. I know I do.

                NSA wiretapping? Since nobody but the Justice Department is going to know the full story, thanks to a level of secrecy not even known during the darkest days of World War II, we'll never know how far it's gone.

                The good news, is that within one term of a President who is a decent human being, Americans will regain their confidence in the basic goodness of their leaders. I'm not sure Barack Obama can win, though.
                • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                  by Scudsucker (17617)
                  Fortunately for Bush, his Vice President is so much less trusted that the Democratic majority dare not impeach him.

                  Easy solution: impeach Cheney first, then Bush.
                • correction (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by PopeRatzo (965947) *
                  I'm sorry, my numbers above were a little off. Then number of presidential signing statements by Clinton and Reagan together come to 150 not 50 as I wrote.

                  The current Pres Bush had used the signing statement 800 times as of last Feb and interestingly, his pappy used it 232 times. In fact ALL of the presidents before GW Bush used signing statements only 600 times.

                  The interesting thing about this extraordinary measure is that usually these signing statements are used when the Congress passes a law that the
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by SnowZero (92219)

                Clinton pursued and convicted Ramzi Yousef [wikipedia.org], the mastermind behind the first WTC bombing.

                Note that he didn't prevent the attack, he reacted to an attack that had already happened. Personally, that's all I would expect of a government, but people seem to think 9/11 was easily preventable. In that case, the original WTC attack should have been preventable as well.

                Clinton launched cruise missile attacks against terrorist training camps in Sudan and Afghanistan

                A lot of good that did. Do you think that made us safer? Within one year of those ineffectual attacks, Bin Laden had raised the Bojinka plot from the dead, and recruited enough people to carry it out. What event do you think he us

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Scudsucker (17617)
                  In that case, the original WTC attack should have been preventable as well.

                  Of course [slashdot.org] it was preventable.

                  Clinton launched cruise missile attacks against terrorist training camps in Sudan and Afghanistan

                  A lot of good that did.

                  It would have done a lot more good if the Republicans hadn't been screaming that Clinton was "wagging the dog" while they were trying to invent a reason to impeach him. It also would have helped if Bush had negotiated [guardian.co.uk] with the Taliban when they offered to hand over Bin Laddin.

                  Yes, but

            • by The Rizz (1319) on Friday June 22, 2007 @11:34PM (#19616857)

              Al Franken is not a credible source for content.
              He is generally quite credible - you can easily find the documentation behind most/all of his claims. If you claimed he were a biased source you would be right, but that alone is not enough to discard his claims off-hand. The only way you could claim he is not credible is if you mistake his jokes for claimed facts.

              You wouldn't accept a quote from Rush Limbaugh.
              Nor would I accept quotes from O'Rielly, Coulter, or Hannity, unless they were backed up with good documentation. They have been shown repeatedly to lie, alter facts, like, make shit up, and lie. Bring me a credible right wing pundit (they do exist - they just aren't the big names) and I'll be much more likely to accept what they have to say.

              The 911 Commission's Report is a better source and it was critical of both administrations.
              ...and I have a copy of the book sitting just a few feet away from me. However, a rather boring 567 page book isn't as interesting to link to as a excerpt from a professional comedian/political commentator.
              As for being critical of both administrations: Good. But we're not talking about Clinton's failings here, we're talking about GWB's.

              [Side note: To further address your obvious claims to my bias, consider the following: I hated Clinton. I think he was one of the worst presidents we've had. In fact, in the last 25 years, only George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan were worse.]

              as long as he ... well, does nothing, really.
              You may disagree with a lot that Bush has done in office, but to say he has done nothing is wrong.
              Why? The only actions he did right were the ones anyone with an IQ high enough to tie their shoes would have done in his place - i.e. go after the ones who did this horrible thing, tell the country to stay strong, and reassure the populous that everything will be all right... oh, wait, scratch that last one.
              No real decision he has made has been the right one - his entire presidency has been one of either doing the obvious, or fucking up. That is worse than nothing in my opinion.

              Besides, I was talking about what he did to be considered heroic. People were saying he was being a great, heroic president standing in the face of opposition just days after 9/11. What had he done so far? Press conferences and photo ops. That is what I was talking about - he was being called a hero simply because he was President when a tragedy occurred.

              but the war in Afghanistan was fairly well done and the right decision.
              Yeah, too bad Bush decided to pull most of the troops out before the clean-up was done, and more-or-less abandoned the survivors to the whims of rival warlords. Good job!

              The reality is that radical Islam has been at war with the US at least since the first Trade Center bombing.
              And radical Christians have been "at war" with the US for much longer than that (since about 1492, if memory serves me right). Hell, radical Zoroastrians have probably been at war with the US as well. Radical {insert religious group here} has always hated the idea of not controlling every government in the world.

              The US government is finally dealing with it.
              No, the US government is using it as a scapegoat -- unless by "dealing with it" you mean "making it 100× worse than before".
              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                by hax4bux (209237)
                I also have a copy of the 9-11 Commission Report right here. I even read it.

                Just wanted to remind everybody of how the Bush administration actually hindered the commission and publishing of this report. Who really believes was an honest and complete accounting?
            • by omeomi (675045) on Saturday June 23, 2007 @12:58AM (#19617273) Homepage
              Afghanistan was fairly well done and the right decision.

              The right decision, yes. But fairly well done? Instead of going in full-force with as many military personnel as we could conjure up, we diddled around with the "Northern Alliance" for awhile, and then got sidetracked by a war in Iraq. Bin Laden still hasn't been captured, and Afghanistan's chief export is now opium. In what way has that war been handled well?
              • by The Rizz (1319) on Saturday June 23, 2007 @02:43AM (#19617795)

                Afghanistan was fairly well done and the right decision.
                The right decision, yes. But fairly well done?
                Well, I don't know what the GP poster meant, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt an assumed that by "war" he meant the invasion of the country, and removal of it's government from power (i.e. the first few days). That action was very well planned and executed - of course, that was actually Clinton's plan, created with input from competent generals, and executed by competent generals.

                The real problem came afterwards, when Bush and the administration set their sites on Iraq. Bin Laden had not been caught, and every story about Afghanistan reminded the American public of that fact, so of course Bush did everything he could to get it out of the news -- which for him effectively meant ignoring it completely and hoping it would go away. Mix that with Bush's insane hard-on for Sadam, and we suddenly have a media frenzy pointed elsewhere.
                Meanwhile, the unfortunate US troops, and unfortunate Afghani population, had to make do as best they could in one of the most war-torn countries in the world with no real support. The fact that the entire country hasn't turned into pile of smoking rubble tells me that the people there really wanted this to work; if we had sent in the necessary troops to keep peace (a fraction of what we've sent to Iraq), and used the US's considerable power to build the country back up, we would probably have a working democracy there now, and it could be a near-first-world country.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by WindBourne (631190)
              You may disagree with a lot that Bush has done in office, but to say he has done nothing is wrong. Iraq has been mishandled at times, but the war in Afghanistan was fairly well done and the right decision. The reality is that radical Islam has been at war with the US at least since the first Trade Center bombing. The US government is finally dealing with it.

              Yeah, he has done a lot. Before 9/11, al qaeda was not trusted and HATED throughout most of the arab world. the shia's (iran) would have NOTHING to do

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              "...Al Franken is not a credible source for content. You wouldn't accept a quote from Rush Limbaugh. The 911 Commission's Report is a better source and it was critical of both administrations...."

              I can understand your intention in that argument however only one of those two gentlemen would actually use the 911 Commission's Report in a debate. It's not the pill-popper.
          • Hey, that was a good post. I see you're currently modded 3 for 'informative'. That seems fair to me (informative links deserve high mods). There's an odd trend I've noticed that I can't explain, so I'll just state it. I predict that your post will be modded up for a while, and then over a couple of days, it will get modded all the way down to 0. For some reason, after a few days, moderators keep modding down any posts that seem at all anti-Bush, but they don't do it right away. The delay is what bothers me. Why doesn't it happen right away when we're all reading the article and responses? I also predict that this post will be modded down, in similar fashion, but only after a couple of days.
        • It looked like parody to me.

          If it was supposed to be "real debate" and you interpret it as such then that's a rather damning indication on the level of debate in American politics.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Rasgueado (1027760)
          The problem is that the government always had the legal power to wiretap suspected terrorists. The Bush administration is simply trying to do this without oversight. This is strange because from what I gather, when the government is concerned, warrants are little more then a rubber stamp system, and are rarely, if ever denied. This seems terribly similar to the administration's battle to remove paper receipts from electronic voting machines. The only reasonable explanations that I can see for either of
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by loudmax (243935)
          It's the AC's comments that are an insult to serious debate. The fact that they were posted AC is entirely beside the point; arguments should be taken on their own merit.

          The government needs warrants to spy on Americans by law. If the AC had attempted to explain why these laws should be repealed, or attempted to rationally argue why the government shouldn't be bound by laws, that would have been a real debate. But you can't use bullshit terminology like "defeatocrats" and helping allying with terrorists
          • Wish I had mod points. +5 Sensible.

            Discussing US politics on here always seems to descend into a juvenile partisan slagging match. Calling all free thinkers who actually want to debate the real issues!
      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by RKBA (622932)

        Yes. The terrorists.
        How ironic it will be when the general public finally comes to the realization that the executive branch of government (viz; Cheney/Bush) and their covert helpers, actually are the terrorists!!! [physics911.net]
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by VTMarik (880085)
      Yes, we can blame The Spanish Inquisition.

      I mean, I certainly did not expect this vote...

      Did you?
    • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Friday June 22, 2007 @09:37PM (#19616195)
      Maybe so (although some of us prefer to think of it as "restoring civil liberties stripped from us in the name of fighting terrorism") but they sure had a lot of tools at their disposal last time around, and that didn't stop 9/11. Didn't even come close to stopping 9/11. You can have all the tools you want: hell, you can have a bloody totalitarian state if it makes you happy. The thing is, that won't matter in the end, no matter how much you spend, if you don't use your capabilities efficiently and well. The problem with the pre-9/11 era was that law enforcement should have been able to do the job, but suffered from severe systemic and organizational failures. By all accounts, they still are. So, it wasn't because they were lacking sufficient authority: they just didn't know what the hell they were doing. The terrorists, on the other hand, knew exactly what they were doing.

      Time will tell just how well our government officials use the expanded powers they've arrogated to themselves since the original attack. My feeling is that they'll be just about as successful in preventing future acts of terrorism as they have been at stemming the tide of illicit drugs entering this country. In other words ... don't hold your breath. Something else is going to blow up sooner or later, no matter how many telephone calls the NSA monitors. In the meantime, a lot of honest Americans are going to get shafted, one way or another, and a bunch of innocent foreigners are going to get ground up as well. We must accept that we are paying a price for Bush's "War on Terror". The only question is whether or not you believe that it has been worth the cost, that it will continue to be worth it.

      Fears of terrorism aside, I don't much like the direction this country has taken. Mind you, I'm not just talking about the Bush Administration: we've been off the beam for decades.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by megaditto (982598)
        Since the late 1700's more people have been killed by a lightning than died due to a terrorist attack. Where is the War on Weather I ask you!
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by smilindog2000 (907665)
          You know, Russia said the exact same thing about their soldiers who died in Afghanistan. That war broke the USSR's back. The government lost all credibility, their military became exhausted, and the USSR lost any international credibility it had before (ok, it wasn't much before). Anyone else see any parallels?
        • While I liked your post, and consider it informative, 'megaditto' can't possibly refer to Rush Limbaugh? We generally like to hear new opinions, good, bad or ugly, on slashdot.
      • by kestasjk (933987) on Friday June 22, 2007 @11:15PM (#19616719) Homepage
        It's so simple: How do you stop disgruntled morons from hating your country? Invade their country of course! The logic is flawless.
        • I smiled. Heck, I almost woke up the kids with laughter. Consider this post a +1 funny, which it would be if I had any mod points. There's another thing about mod points that bothers me... I get something like 5 points per week modding up my posts, yet I only get allocated perhaps 1 point every two months for moderation. Doesn't that violate a basic law of conservation of mod points?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Scudsucker (17617)
        The problem with the pre-9/11 era was that law enforcement should have been able to do the job, but suffered from severe systemic and organizational failures.

        No, the real problem was our incompetent President. It was all laid out to him a silver platter in the form of two daily briefs: that Bin Laddin was going to attack the U.S., and that he might use planes to do it. He could have directed the FBI to watch passenger lists. He could have told the FAA to watch out for suspicious activity. He could have
    • Define "attacked". (Score:3, Insightful)

      by khasim (1285)

      When we are attacked again, we will know who to blame.

      Remember the anthrax mailings?

      Did those count as an attack?

      What was done? Who was caught?
  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Friday June 22, 2007 @09:15PM (#19616077)
    I bet the NSA knew these subpoenas were going to show up since they're probably already tapping the Senate Judiciary Committee's phones too. ;-)
    • I wonder if our posts here on /. are also being monitored, and even compiled into portraits of our clearly rebellious personalities by outsourced (Indian) analysts?
  • by RyanFenton (230700) on Friday June 22, 2007 @09:16PM (#19616079)

    It's certainly a request they can no longer ignore as much - but ultimately, what are the consequences if they don't comply? Will the president or any of his men be lead away in handcuffs, or will we have another 6 months of someone saying they have to do something, then they REALLY have to do something.

    When Bush's team mentioned bringing 'ingegrity' back to the White House, they meant the kind of integrity that doesn't waver from their beliefs... at all costs, everyone else be damned. And they meant it.

    Ryan Fenton
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Fight it in court and let the clock run until January, 2009. The next president, Hillary most likely, will use this precedent to run an even more secretive and authoritarian white house.

      Good luck america.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sumdumass (711423)
        The precedent was actually started by her husbands when he was in office. Adn no, I don't think Hillary will be president. The senate has lower rating then the president and the president is pretty low. The American people aren't clambering for a democrat in office rather someone who isn't more of the same. And you don't really see this separation with any of the candidate on the record for running so far. I think Former Senator Thompson will come in late and seeing how his acting roles of late are going to
        • by Malakusen (961638)
          You're going to vote for a guy.

          Based off the characters he plays as an actor.

          Is this what the Republican Party has seriously come to? What a shame. "Idiocracy" is an apt term.
          • by sumdumass (711423)
            No, that's what the American people as a whole has come to. He will get just as many democrat votes too.

            And it isn't because the people are stupid or anything. It is because they want a take charge no nonsense type of person who doesn't seem to be a puppet for anyone in particular and isn't a duschbag like the last few democrat candidates. And while the democrats are busy slinging mud in a race earlier and earlier in the year, Thomson is sitting back unscathed except by a few zealots who think he is the big
        • The problem with Fred Thompson running for President is that people will ask him questions. He may have a strong demeanor, but little has indicated that he is all that special. Obama has a good speaking voice too, as does Hillary. And the voice/presence combo rarely elects Presidents--backing does.

          Bill Clinton was an exception, because he's charismatic and people just like him (conservatives notwithstanding). Bush is an embarassing speaker, but the Evangelicals decided he was anointed by God, and the

          • by sumdumass (711423)

            Bill Clinton was an exception, because he's charismatic and people just like him (conservatives notwithstanding). Bush is an embarassing speaker, but the Evangelicals decided he was anointed by God, and the money men bought off on him, so his backing, not his speaking, got him to the White House. But what does Fred Thompson have? He has that fake folksy good-ol-boy thing going, but he also has a trophy wife who looks a little too trophyish. He has the voice, but that doesn't do much if you can't weigh in o

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Scudsucker (17617)
        The next president, Hillary most likely, will use this precedent to run an even more secretive and authoritarian white house.

        Not bloody likely. You're forgetting that Republicans and the media have vastly higher standards for Democrats than they do for Republicans. They impeached Bill for getting a blow job, and while Bush has made the worst of Nixon's shenanigans look like Sunday School pranks, they will defend him to the bitter end.
    • by HUADPE (903765) on Saturday June 23, 2007 @02:44AM (#19617799) Homepage
      If they don't comply, the full Senate can have a vote finding the subpoenaed officials in contempt of Congress. This forces the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate and possibly bring charges. Contempt generally doesn't require a jury ruling to be found guilty (for contempt of court, not sure about Congress), so the judge in the case could issue a bench warrant for the subpoenaed officials to appear before the Congress. If they refused to appear, they could be arrested and physically forced to appear.
  • by FunWithKnives (775464) <ParadoxPerfect@t ... t ['st.' in gap]> on Friday June 22, 2007 @09:23PM (#19616119) Journal
    It doesn't mean anything that these documents have been subpoenaed. When the White House refuses to release them, which they will most definitely do, will this Congress have the intestinal fortitude to fight back? Or will they pass more "non-binding" resolutions and whine about it while doing nothing? Judging from the past, I'm going to fully expect them to continue to let the constitution crumble and civil liberties die. I think that the big picture here is that we, as the common people of this country, no longer have anyone fighting for us, whether democrat, republican, third party, or otherwise.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 42Penguins (861511)
      My money is on a non-binding resolution.

      The /. poll seems especially relevant. The US government is like Windows: it almost seems designed to work better with a reinstall every so often. However, this will not happen, so we'll just get more bogged down with spyware from the NSA and faulty antivirus from Congress.
    • by garcia (6573) on Friday June 22, 2007 @09:50PM (#19616253) Homepage
      When the White House refuses to release them, which they will most definitely do, will this Congress have the intestinal fortitude to fight back? Or will they pass more "non-binding" resolutions and whine about it while doing nothing?

      Even if the resolution has teeth it won't matter. The Bush Administration will abuse their power to ensure that the information released will be useless. Hell, if they are using third party e-mail accounts to subvert regulations for other shit and Cheney's office refusing to allow the Information Security Oversight Office in [cnn.com], what the fuck do you think that they are doing for this?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      ... we, the common people of this country, no longer have anyone fighting for us...


      Perhaps it's about time, then, that we did like the founding fathers and started fighting for ourselves.
      • by inKubus (199753)
        Regardless of the Founding Fathers' views on this, it's actually currently illegal to subjugate the US Government in ANY case. Too bad we are really two countries right now, city people and country people. Oh and they should make a second capitol in California that decides laws for the West..

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mh1997 (1065630)

      I'm going to fully expect them to continue to let the constitution crumble and civil liberties die.

      NEWS FLASH: The constitution crumbled long ago. As for the bill of rights, only one (Amendment 3) is not being abused.

      For those not familiar with Amendment 3, it states "No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law."

      Hell, I'd bet $5 that not more than a dozen Congressmen/Senators have even read th

      • For those not familiar with Amendment 3, it states "No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law."

        Just wait until Bush starts using the military for natural disaster relief. Then, he will find an excuse to make sure we have to quarter soldiers in our houses. Or, he will stop calling them "houses" and have Gonzales coin a neologism to get around the third amendment.

        Hell, I'd bet $5 that not more

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sumdumass (711423)
      Well, they will do nothing meaningful because they don't want to lose the impression of power. If this goes to court, it will go to the supreme court and it will be ruled probably in the presidents favor. And if it isn't, they can refuse to comply, and have the supreme court issue another ruling that enables it to happen like the one supporting the interstate commerce act that gave the government sweeping new powers.

      Democrat or republican, it doesn't matter, they don't want the president to ever think they
      • by timeOday (582209)
        Why would it probably be ruled in the President's favor? If there are no checks on the President, and he can break the law willfully and nobody can enforce it on him, then he is a king. I don't want that and I don't think the Constitution is written that way either.
        • by Evilest Doer (969227) on Saturday June 23, 2007 @12:28AM (#19617115)

          Why would it probably be ruled in the President's favor? If there are no checks on the President, and he can break the law willfully and nobody can enforce it on him, then he is a king.
          Why do you think he put people like Alito and Roberts on the Supreme Court? It's not about the rule of law or what the Constitution is supposed to say. It is about raw, naked power.
        • by sumdumass (711423)
          It would likely be ruled in the presidents favor for several reasons. This most important is to head off the situation were the court would have to find an exception allowing it like with portions of the new deal.

          But generally, if the reasoning the president used to to validate his actions at remotely close, then the court would have to rule in his favor. If I understand it correctly, the president claims the constitution obligates him to do certain things in a time of need (war) which we are in. Congress c
          • by timeOday (582209)

            the president claims the constitution obligates him to do certain things in a time of need (war) which we are in
            Yes, he claims we are in a war and he claims this grants him special powers.

            My questions are: 1) what can't he do, are there any limits? and 2) under what conceivable circumstances would this "war" ever end?

            • by sumdumass (711423)
              Sure there are limits. This extra power he is claiming is only related to collecting information to be used in the war. Only people against the president have been claiming this is wantum spying on regular people. In order to be effected by that program, you have to not only be talking to someone that is a suspected terrorist, but one part of the conversation has to be outside the country.

              So we are talking a very limited role here. Those that oppose it know this and attempt to drag it out to mean that you w
          • ...in a time of need (war) which we are in...

            BULLSHIT! You know what has to happen before we're considered to be "at war?" Congress -- not the President -- has to formally declare it. And that hasn't happened since World War II!

            • by sumdumass (711423)
              I cannot believe how many people are just ignorant and post on slashdot.

              Congress doesn't have to use the words war in a declaration of war. This has already been dealt with when the detainees at Club Gitmo were being questioned and classified. Remember the entire enemy combatant verses criminal and deserves a trial thing?

              You cannot pull a technicality now. It is already set in stone.
          • by fritsd (924429)
            Let's hope "terrorism" and "drugs" surrender soon, then, so you in the USA can resume normal life instead of a situation of martial law [wikipedia.org].

            I'm exaggerating a bit of course -- I didn't see anything on the TV news that you have a curfew for example.

            From wikipedia:

            Article 1, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution states, "The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion; the public Safety may require it."

            P.S. Oceania Rulez!!!!1!1

            • by sumdumass (711423)
              Well, we aren't in a state of martial law. And the habeas corpus has only been suspended for a select few people. 99.9% of those people don't enjoy the protections of the constitution in the first place because they aren't a citizen.

              I would say you are exaggerating quite a bit.
  • What the hell ever happened to the government serving its people? Wasn't that what this country was founded on? Isn't that the whole idea of a democracy? The US government has become this monster that seems to fight its people as hard as it can. It honestly saddens me to take a step back and say "Is this what America has really become?". We've become 18th century England. Everything our forefathers fought to establish for this country has been thrown away. Our government now is nothing more than a corporate
    • by dosquatch (924618) *

      What the hell ever happened to the government serving its people?

      They still do. To the highest bidder, usually.

      Can they honestly believe illegally wiretapping their own people serves the peoples best interests and freedom?

      Oh, they don't believe any such thing. You said it yourself - it's all about the government's "members [using] it as a way to become personally more powerful". In spite of what is written in the Constitution, in spite of nobler ideals, never forget that the people in office are still just people, and people are selfish creatures.

      • people are selfish creatures.

        While I don't argue that statement on face value, I do argue it's implications. Everyone, deep down, is selfish. They only do what they want to.

        Where we diverge is in people's ability to do what's best for others to make themselves feel good. This is the traditional "selfless" definition, and I see this from people every day ( I work with cops and firefighters ).
        • by dosquatch (924618) *

          Yes, even altruism is driven by "selfish" motivations, as you said. I doubt, though, that this particular brand of "selfishness" is what has placed these twits in office. It seems mostly to be a form of short-sighted narcissism that makes people run in elections.

    • by inKubus (199753)
      PFT, the people running the government are the same timid assholes that are your neighbors. If we all stood up and said something, did something, they would take notice and the changes would ripple. The problem is we the people are complacent, lazy, we are followers. We expect one man, a new president perhaps, or Jesus or whatever, will save us from ourselves. That is false. That one man can only lead us, inspire us in the right direction, but it is we the people who have to change. We've let them fuc
      • by trg83 (555416)
        >There are only maybe 2 million evangenical christians total in the US, yet they seem like a much bigger group because Bush is their mouthpiece and has been running our country for them, and not in a legal way.

        I have yet to meet a single evangenical Christian, but the evangelicals I know aren't even happy with how President Bush does things. And, although the Census bureau reports like 0.5% of all Christians in the U.S. reported themselves as evangelicals, it is not so much an affiliation as a state of
  • It's this simple... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by suitepotato (863945) on Friday June 22, 2007 @09:51PM (#19616259)
    despite the idea often held by some cultures that corruption proceeds from the top down, it is rather the other way around. The people themselves are inherently corrupt and weak. They don't want to take responsibility for themselves, they don't want to take the blame for anything that goes wrong in their lives, don't want to acknowledge their fallibility. Yet deep down, they would have to be positively not human to not know and accept all of the above, but it terrifies them. So they bide their time keeping busy until something comes along to absolve them of all that and make them feel better.

    While in past times these were some other ethnic group, some other nation, the devil, etc. we have today the modern political system. Someone else has wronged you, someone else got what should have been yours, you and yours have been held back by they and theirs. All these things are open to interpretation convenient to the subject audience to which the political/avaricious/power-hungry/self-deluded are preaching. They dress up with fun-house mirror magnifications of real issues mixed with non-sequitr reasoning and provide them to the people with the dual benefits to the seller of giving the audience the needed scapegoat du jour to avoid dealing with their fallibility and culpability, as well as providing an ultimately open-ended and thus never reachable hopeful land of opportunity to permanently right all of these probably non-existent wrongs against them.

    We the people let this kind of thing happen because we the people buy into this kind of thing. They aren't selling us anything we didn't buy from them. If we didn't buy it, they'd have sold us something else, probably equally odious in the end whether or not it was as obvious as this or not.

    While our collective modern intellectual and psychological exhaustion with trying to make sense of our truly warped world and the people who made it and the horrors of what that says about us may not always work well and probably will not, we can at least thankfully point to that and say it is thanks to this we have the modern sense of cynicism that gives us a chance to grab the reigns solidly, and pull back from disaster. Our collective history shows we won't, but perhaps a self-derived deceptive and deluded false hope is better than one sold to us by someone else. At least when it all falls apart, we can blame it on a conspiracy of one, headed by the person staring back at us in the mirror.

    We have met the enemy, and probably wondered if we needed a shave when we looked at them.
    • despite the idea often held by some cultures that corruption proceeds from the top down, it is rather the other way around. The people themselves are inherently corrupt and weak. They don't want to take responsibility for themselves, they don't want to take the blame for anything that goes wrong in their lives, don't want to acknowledge their fallibility.

      Think about how many totalitarian dictatorships have been formed around such a philosophy: convince the people that they are "corrupt and weak" and must be controlled.

      Yet deep down, they would have to be positively not human to not know and accept all of the above, but it terrifies them.

      [Translation: make the people fear something, even their own supposed fallibility, and they will beg to be controlled.]

      In other words, part of the totalitarian playbook.

      So they bide their time keeping busy until something comes along to absolve them of all that and make them feel better.

      Uh huh. Something like, oh say ... a dictator? a "decider"? a "commander guy"???

      While in past times these were some other ethnic group, some other nation, the devil, etc. we have today the modern political system.

      So democracy is the enemy? And with it, the people?

      Someone else has wronged you, someone else got what should have been yours, you and yours have been held back by they and theirs. All these things are open to interpretation convenient to the subject audience to which the political/avaricious/power-hungry/self-deluded are preaching. They dress up with fun-house mirror magnifications of real issues mixed with non-sequitr reasoning and provide them to the people with the dual benefits to the seller of giving the audience the needed scapegoat du jour to avoid dealing with their fallibility and culpability, as well as providing an ultimately open-ended and thus never reachable hopeful land of opportunity to permanently right all of these probably non-existent wrongs against them.

      [Translation: it's the fault of the

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Everyone knows by now that the Bush administration loses all important documents, and damned if anyone in the administration can remember any event that's occurred at any point since W took office. I'd bet we're in for similar, but consistent, excuses again.
  • Priorities (Score:5, Funny)

    by king-manic (409855) on Friday June 22, 2007 @10:29PM (#19616427)
    So in America, A president ordering others to repeatedly violate your constitution and violate the rights of the people you are not punished but if you get a blow job from an ugly fat girl you get impeachment hearings. My god you guys have issues with sex.
    • by laffer1 (701823)
      Well Clinton didn't put the right spin on it. If he said he was defending all the men out there from having to deal with Monica... a real threat...
    • by sumdumass (711423)
      Well, you see, the monica stuff was not about a blowjob as much as it was about lieing to a court of law when asked about it in a lawsuit that was brought before he became the chief officer of the land.

      Now, it might be just a blowjob but what is did was declare the president isn't subject to the same laws you and I are. Why anyone is acting like they are surprised when another does the same shit I have no idea. This isn't the first time a president has done the same things the guy before him got away with.
      • Re:Priorities (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Evilest Doer (969227) on Saturday June 23, 2007 @12:43AM (#19617201)
        Actually, most of the right-wing nutbags were saying that he should be impeached simply because he got a blowjob from Lewinsky. Their argument was that he was abusing his position, much like a corporate CEO would be abusing his position if he got blown by a secretary. And they also often said that he should be impeached for lying to the American people about it on national television. So, the point still holds. Lie about sex - get you character eviscerated on television. Lie us into a war that has killed thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of civilians - get praised as a hero.
        • by cdrguru (88047)
          The difference is Clinton lied to a court of law. Martha Steward lied to the FBI and got jail time. Libby lied to a grand jury and would appear to be getting jail time. Clinton lied to a court and got nothing.

          Bush, if you accept the "lying" idea, lied to the press. Hardly the same thing.
          • Clinton lied to a court and got nothing.

            Clinton did not get "nothing". He got impeached. His Arkansas law license was suspended for five years. He paid a $90,000 fine. And more. And IIRC, his presidential pension was reduced.

            Next time, do a little research [wikipedia.org].
  • The subpoenas were not issued; the Senate Judiciary Committee merely voted to authorize them. Nothing "happens" until they are actually issued, which may or may not happen in a timely manner, or at all. Consider the matter of the firing of the those US Attorneys - subpoenas were authorized months ago, but only actually issued a few weeks ago.
  • by buss_error (142273) on Saturday June 23, 2007 @12:20AM (#19617067) Homepage Journal
    Well, we know how this will be answered. I mean, after all, the VP isn't an execuitive branch office, you know.

    NSA: What NSA. There is no such office or department.
    If there were, it's actions would be of the highest national security secret. Highly sensitive. Even admitting there were such a department would subject New York or Washington to a dirty bomb attack. So there is no such agency. Even if there were such an agency, I mean, after all, it's only charged with tracking terrorist. No true citizen worthy of the protections of the constitution is involved. After all, only CITIZENS are afforded the rights granted by the state. And only those we designate are citizens. We can't have just any old Tom, Dick, Harry, Iven, Shamus, Pedro, or Jamal covered by the same rights as some one that "belongs" here is granted. If you aren't white, Anglo-saxson, prodistant, you aren't shit, right? Why the hell do you expect to enjoy "one justice for all"?

    You know what? I think America is strong enough to grant the same rights to evey person that is under our control the same rights of a citizen, except the right to vote and hold office. The prisoners at Gitmo and other sites not known should be affored the same rights and protections as someone whose grandparents were born here.

    We are all illegal immigrants, unless we have native american blood. Just ask Chief Ten Bears. Oh, wait, we killed him.

    • Look for the press party beginning as soon as the first "illegal combatant" reaches the US. The will be given as much press time as possible to spew their messages of unfair treatment, torture, oppression and hate.

      These people aren't criminals, they are warriors. If we gave a trial to every North Korean soldier that was captured, we'd still be having trials. The Korean War was another illegal war, just as illegal as what is going on today. Civilans were caught in the middle and died just the same as tod
  • They can subpoena anybody they want. Bush & Co. have already decided they answer to no one. Lookit what's going on this week with Cheney's refusal to comply with a long-standing executive order regarding submission of materials to NARA... I think somewhere in the White House someone went down to the mall and got one of those rubber stamps made at Things Remembered, marked "GO POUND SALT." They've worn out several inkpads already, using it.
  • Power Tap (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maskedau (1119103)
    Even Federally granted phone intercepts can be given on the lightest grounds. I have witnessed first hand what damage to lives and families telephone intercepts can do. I can only imagine what this extreme abuse of power may have these drunkards doing.

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.

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