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McCain Supports Warrantless Domestic Surveillance 650

Posted by timothy
from the just-lookin'-just-listenin' dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "While there have been shifting reports about McCain's view on warrantless wiretapping, nothing could be clearer than the latest comment by McCain adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin, who said, 'We do not know what lies ahead in our nation's fight against radical Islamic extremists, but John McCain will do everything he can to protect Americans from such threats, including asking the telecoms for appropriate assistance to collect intelligence against foreign threats to the United States as authorized by Article II of the Constitution.' Article II, of course, is what Bush has argued gives the President virtually unlimited power during war, and McCain has already voted in favor of Telecom Immunity, though he sometimes mentions, to those asking for accountability, wanting to hold hearings about what the telecoms did."
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McCain Supports Warrantless Domestic Surveillance

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  • Parity (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jeiler (1106393)
    Just for comparison, I'd like to see what Obama's views are on this issue. Anybody got a link?
    • Re:Parity (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jor-Al (1298017) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:42PM (#23657607)
      I found out in 2 seconds using Google: http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9845595-7.html [cnet.com]

      Obama: No warrantless wiretaps if you elect me
      Who knows what might happen when he gets in office, though.
      • Re:Parity (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tritonman (998572) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:50PM (#23657753)
        warrantless is meaningless if you have judges in your pocket to give you warrents no?
        • Re:Parity (Score:5, Insightful)

          by evilRhino (638506) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:52PM (#23657779)
          If bribing a judge is an extra impediment, I welcome it.
        • Re:Parity (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Jor-Al (1298017) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:54PM (#23657811)
          You'd think so, but apparently even the rubber-stamp FISA court had too high of standards for Bush & Co. And that's saying something since it's ridiculously easy for the government to get a warrant from FISA (hell there is even an exemption so that you can apply for the warrant 72 hours after the fact).

          To quote a bit from the article on wikipedia just to give some perspective:

          In the period 1979-2006 a total of 22,990 applications for warrants were made to the Court of which 22,985 were approved (sometimes with modifications; or with the splitting up, or combining together, of warrants for legal purposes), and only 5 were definitively rejected.[4]
          • Re:Parity (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Shagg (99693) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @04:12PM (#23658133)
            The only reason for warrantless is so you can hide what you're doing from the other branches of government.
            • Re:Parity (Score:5, Insightful)

              by mean pun (717227) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @04:21PM (#23658303)

              The only reason for warrantless is so you can hide what you're doing from the other branches of government.

              ... or you're doing it on such a large scale, getting court approval is not practical.

              DISCLAIMER: this is purely speculation, although I consider it in character for the current US administration.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by instarx (615765)

                The only reason for warrantless is so you can hide what you're doing from the other branches of government.

                ... or you're doing it on such a large scale, getting court approval is not practical.

                ...or wht you are doing is so far out of bounds that even the FISA court wouldn't go along with it.

            • Re:Parity (Score:4, Insightful)

              by element-o.p. (939033) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @05:18PM (#23659191) Homepage
              Mod parent up. Shagg is right on the money, although I would throw in the extra possibility of "or if you want to hide what you're doing from the populace."

              While it is very, very unlikely that the FISA court would leak a request for a wiretap, if the request were groundless/abusive enough, I suppose it is a possibility.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                While it is very, very unlikely that the FISA court would leak a request for a wiretap, if the request were groundless/abusive enough, I suppose it is a possibility.

                They shouldn't have to "leak" anything. There is no reason for warrants not to be public knowledge after they have been carried out or rejected. It should be a necessary monitor both of police/DHS actions and judicial competency. [stopthedrugwar.org]
          • Re:Parity (Score:5, Insightful)

            by mako1138 (837520) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @04:17PM (#23658221)
            That's really one of the most disturbing things about Bush's view of presidential power. Why don't they do things according to the law, especially when Congress has made it so easy? They seem to pick and choose which laws apply to them.

            It's not surprising that McCain will follow suit. McCain lost my respect when he started flip-flopping like a fish out of water. Now it seems every day brings another reason not to trust him.
        • by n0-0p (325773) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @04:14PM (#23658147)
          The real value of FISA warrants is more reactive than proactive. FISA judges show pretty broad discretion in what they will approve, but they do so with the understanding that the warrant creates a paper trail of justification and accountability. Without that paper trail, it's almost impossible to conduct a real investigation and hold people responsible for any abuses.

          Personally, I consider the original FISA requirements to be reasonable in the context of an intelligence collection mission (not traditional law enforcement). However, what Bush did to FISA is an abuse of Executive power specifically because it removes not only the weaker proactive checks, but also the stronger retroactive balances of an investigative trail.
        • Re:Parity (Score:4, Insightful)

          by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @05:44PM (#23659643) Homepage Journal

          warrantless is meaningless if you have judges in your pocket to give you warrents no?
          Federal judges have a remarkable reputation for integrity. You can find lots of instances of local circuit court judges who are on take, but those federal ones can usually be relied on to take their duty pretty seriously.

          The only thing that can really throw the federal bench out of whack is if you had a president and justice department who was pressuring federal judges and prosecutors to bring (or not bring) cases based upon a political agenda. Somehow, the system had been pretty good about that until Bush and the Gonzalez Justice Department came along. Even Ashcroft, who I disagree with totally, was an honest justice who put the Constitution before political gain. But not 'Berto Gonzalez, who is probably the most crooked Attorney General since the late 1800s. The funny thing is that these guys got elected pushing the notion that the judiciary was crooked and "activist" and then turned around and made it crooked and activist.

          Even though the reign of these little shits is coming to an end, it's going to take a committed leader to chase the rats out of all the little nooks and crannies of our judicial system. It can be done, however. Now that the Dem nomination is settled, I think we'll see some of the prosecutors in Congress (Leahy, Conyers) start to dig into the meat of the criminal activity of the last eight years, and I think the filthy way they prosecuted the Alabama governor will be the starting place. It's going to be an interesting five months.

          I hope Senator McCain really pushes the warrantless eavesdropping thing hard. It's the kind of thing that goes against most Americans' deeply held beliefs and it will show just what McCain is made of. "War on Terror" my pink hairy ass.
      • Re:Parity (Score:5, Insightful)

        by revscat (35618) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @04:43PM (#23658671) Journal

        Who knows what might happen when he gets in office, though.

        That's a stupid objection that could be applied anywhere to anyone. Why bother with what the candidates say or have done at all, in that case? "Vote Hitler! I know he *said* he'd kill all the Jews, but who knows what might happen when he gets in office?"

    • Re:Parity (Score:5, Informative)

      by Goobergunch (876745) <martin@@@goobergunch...net> on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:42PM (#23657609) Homepage Journal
      From Obama's site [barackobama.com]:

      Obama supports updating surveillance laws and ensuring that law enforcement investigations and intelligence-gathering relating to U.S. citizens are done only under the rule of law.
      Not particularly useful. However, I did find this reference to a January speech:

      For one thing, under an Obama presidency, Americans will be able to leave behind the era of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and "wiretaps without warrants," he said. (He was referring to the lingering legal fallout over reports that the National Security Agency scooped up Americans' phone and Internet activities without court orders, ostensibly to monitor terrorist plots, in the years after the September 11 attacks.)

      It's hardly a new stance for Obama, who has made similar statements in previous campaign speeches, but mention of the issue in a stump speech, alongside more frequently discussed topics like Iraq and education, may give some clue to his priorities.
      • grr, forgot link (Score:3, Informative)

        by Goobergunch (876745)
        The second quote refers to http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9845595-7.html [cnet.com].
    • Re:Parity (Score:5, Informative)

      by parcel (145162) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:44PM (#23657641)
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Astro Dr Dave (787433)
        That's all well and good, but the ACLU only defends most of the freedoms protected in the Bill of Rights; they deride and ignore the 2nd amendment. And in regards to the 2nd amendment, Obama is very much anti-rights. I may vote for Obama anyway, with the hope that the Supreme Court will save the 2nd, and Obama as president may save the 4th...
        • by Anonymous Coward

          they [the ACLU] deride and ignore the 2nd amendment.

          That's how it washes on the whole, but you should realize that their official position is a bit more nuanced (though not "enlightened", as it explicitly paves the way for disarmament and subjugation of the individual to the state):

          http://www.aclu.org/police/gen/14523res20020304.html [aclu.org]

          I think the typical American "liberal" sees it this way, while the stereotypical American "liberal" is more extreme.

          I would like to point out that the view that the Second Amendment applies only to "a well-regulated militia" is

    • Obama's Stance (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eldavojohn (898314) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nhojovadle.> on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:45PM (#23657653) Journal
      Barack seems to vote to update FISA to support the ACLU's desires to banish Telecom Immunity.

      If you want to read it from his site, there's a pdf that explains [barackobama.com]:

      Revise the PATRIOT Act: Barack Obama believes that we must provide law enforcement the tools it needs to investigate, disrupt, and capture terrorists, but he also believes we need real oversight to avoid jeopardizing the rights and ideals of all Americans. There is no reason we cannot fight terrorism while maintaining our civil liberties. Unfortunately, the current administration has abused the powers given to it by the USA PATRIOT Act. A March 2007 Justice Department audit found the FBI improperly and, in some cases, illegally used the PATRIOT Act to secretly obtain personal information about American citizens. As president, Barack Obama would revisit the PATRIOT Act to ensure that there is real and robust oversight of tools like National Security Letters, sneak-and-peek searches, and the use of the material witness provision.

      Strengthen Warrantless Wiretap Approval Process: Barack Obama opposed the Bush Administrationâ(TM)s initial policy on warrantless wiretaps because it crossed the line between protecting our national security and eroding the civil liberties of American citizens. As president, Obama would update the Foreign Intelligence Paid for by Obama for America Surveillance Act to provide greater oversight and accountability to the congressional Intelligence Committees to prevent future threats to the rule of law.
      And another that goes on to say [barackobama.com]:

      Eliminate Warrantless Wiretaps. Barack Obama opposed the Bush Administrationâ(TM)s initial policy on warrantless wiretaps because it crossed the line between protecting our national security and eroding the civil liberties of American citizens. As president, Obama would update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to provide greater oversight and accountability to the congressional intelligence committees to prevent future threats to the rule of law.
      I'd say (even from a few of his voting records [senate.gov]) that he is against it for the most part. Or at the very least, revising it severely.

      Doesn't really matter in a two party system though, does it? Take what you can get over the crap I read about in this article from McCain's campaign.
    • Re:Parity (Score:5, Informative)

      by sammy baby (14909) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:55PM (#23657835) Journal
      This is from an Obama Q&A with the Boston Globe [boston.com]. Very first question:

      1. Does the president have inherent powers under the Constitution to conduct surveillance for national security purposes without judicial warrants, regardless of federal statutes?

      The Supreme Court has never held that the president has such powers. As president, I will follow existing law, and when it comes to U.S. citizens and residents, I will only authorize surveillance for national security purposes consistent with FISA and other federal statutes.

      I think that's about as clear a statement as you're likely to get.

      (link courtesy of Glenn Greenwald [salon.com].)
  • by florin (2243) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:36PM (#23657485)

    We do not know what lies ahead in our nation's fight against radical Islamic extremists
    I believe he makes an important distinction here, and I would hate to see those cuddly moderate Islamic extremists being lumped in with the bad guys.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by spun (1352)
      No, we're the Islamic Radical Moderates. The Moderate Islamic Radicals are over there. Splitters!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by SoupGuru (723634)
      You know what has always pissed me off about McCain and his cohorts (and many others too) when talking about terrorism? Calling it "Islamic terrorism"

      There's no fricking practical need in the world to throw that "Islamic" adjective on there. It sounds great because there's some implied racism associated with Muslims and Islam but it really rubs me the wrong way.

      How about we focus on terrorism in general? How about we make it hard for ANYONE to perpetrate terror attacks on our country?
      • by polar red (215081) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:53PM (#23657793)

        How about we make it hard for ANYONE to perpetrate terror attacks on our country?
        Like not pissing everybody off ?
      • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @04:19PM (#23658247) Journal
        How about if we don't turn the whole nation upside down over terrorism in the first place? Isn't that the goal of terrorists, to get you to pee your pants? I'd rather not have a government full of power hungry drones watching my every move. I'll take the extremely unlikely risk that some poor slob on the other side of the earth will come after me. Judging from my drive to work every day I'd say my fellow drivers pose a far greater risk to my life than terrorists.
      • It helps to put a very precise face on it.
      • by nguy (1207026) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @05:51PM (#23659757)
        There's no fricking practical need in the world to throw that "Islamic" adjective on there.

        You mean other than that most of the terrorists they refer to actually happen to be Muslim?

        It sounds great because there's some implied racism associated with Muslims and Islam but it really rubs me the wrong way.

        There's no "implied racism" there: it's a fact that a large fraction of the people who have been perpetrating terrorism against the US have been Muslim.

        You know what has always pissed me off about McCain and his cohorts (and many others too) when talking about terrorism? Calling it "Islamic terrorism"

        They're calling it "Islamic terrorism" because, say, Catholic terrorism, Buddhist terrorism, or atheist terrorism simply aren't problems for the US right now.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ppanon (16583)

        How about we focus on terrorism in general? How about we make it hard for ANYONE to perpetrate terror attacks on our country?

        Um, because then he would have to support wiretaps and investigations of anti-abortion groups that hav e used or approved of terror tactics against abortion clinics and doctors. That would piss off his right-wing religious extremists.

        You see he wants to make clear that it will only be used against the "bad" terrorists, and not the "good" terrorists.

  • Seriously, is anyone surprised when a Republican wants to erode civil liberties?
    • Funny enough I thought the Republicans were the ones in favor of making it easy for people to get guns... /Couldn't care less who wins, the choice for 2008 looks a heck of a lot better than the last go around.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by joocemann (1273720)
      The subversion of the Constitution and what civil rights we have is happening at an astounding rate and is facilitated by both major parties. I would not blame 'the Republicans' for something that is being methodically enacted with the intent and consent of both parties. It is hard for a person to see the whole when their eyes are closed; please let go of your partisan bias and look at the whole. The whole is simple: The Federal Government is expanding and promoting more power for itself, as facilitated
  • different day
  • Misleading (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:39PM (#23657549)
    This is very conclusory. McCain says he is going to be consistent with the Constitution, so that means he supports warrantless surveillance? That's quite the logical leap. This statement is completely unclear. He may easily interpret Article II differently than Bush (and there are many indications that he does) and this statement shows nothing different from that.

    Good old Slashdot political smearing.
  • and next comes.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ohzero (525786)
    the response from the republican party that reads something like:

    "Supporting article II doesn't necessarily infer that we're willing to arbitrarily wire tap Joe Citizen.."

    and then of course, 3 more months go by, and everyone who is not considered a privacy advocate or a nutjob completely forgets about that they made this statement, the hundreds of others like it from this administration, and the blatant Orwellian nature of the country that we're living in.

    Nothing is going to get resolved without a
  • McFlipFlop (Score:5, Informative)

    by SpaceLifeForm (228190) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:41PM (#23657597)
    This flip flop took longer than usual. He usually changes position within a couple of days.

    McCain, spying and executive power: A complete reversal in 6 months [salon.com]

    • Re:McFlipFlop (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:51PM (#23657757)
      I'm often positively impressed when politicians change their minds, assuming they did it because they learned more about the issue. I'm not impressed with McCain's descent into the bowels of extreme right wing Bushism because he's done it to appease extremist voters to his own benefit.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mojo-raisin (223411)
        As a libertarian conservative, I hope McCain goes down in raging flames. I fucking hate neo-cons and am looking forward to destruction of the republican party.

        My loathing of social conservative, do-gooder, busybodies is beyond my dislike of the socialist tendencies of Obama.

        McCain is such an obvious fear-mongering asshole. Such a condescending prick. How the fuck are republicans impressed by that shitbag?
  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@nOSpam.yahoo.com> on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:45PM (#23657663) Journal
    They were the best boogie-man ever. The Islamists may, eventually, someday, get nukes. The USSR had enough nukes to sterilize the planet. And a huge conventional army. And chemical and biological weapons galore. As far as keeping the populace pissing itself in fear and doing whatever the authorities tell them to, Islamists just don't hold a candle to our dear former enemies, the Soviets. Well, I suppose they'll have to do until the authorities can cook up something scarier.
    • They don't have to (Score:4, Insightful)

      by melted (227442) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:59PM (#23657887) Homepage
      Guess what, Russia still has enough nukes to sterilize the planet, chemical, biological and more recently space weapons and a huge conventional army. And it doesn't do what the US tells it to do anymore. A little bit of a propaganda campaign on TV and the populace will be just about as rabid about it as it was back then.
  • by graveyhead (210996) <`fletch' `at' `fletchtronics.net'> on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:46PM (#23657679)
    Hi guys. This seems like a good opportunity to talk a bit about this new distro we've been working on.

    ParanoidLinux is a distribution with a focus on privacy. All network comms will be encrypted and run through TOR by default. IM programs, etc, will be configured for secure communications by default. You'll have to go out of your way *not* to have a secure conversation in ParanoidLinux.

    This idea comes from Cory Doctorow's latest book "Little Brother" which describes a Linux distro similar to what we are building, with the same name.

    It's a new concept, only a couple weeks old, so don't go looking for downloads... but we are looking for help! Come join us. We're looking for programmers, artists, security experts and unix gurus to help us bring this project together.

    If the government takes this basic human right from you, be proactive. Take it back. See you there!

    http://www.paranoidlinux.org [paranoidlinux.org]

    irc.freenode.net, #paranoidlinux
  • Same old, same old (Score:3, Informative)

    by gnuman99 (746007) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:46PM (#23657683)
    Same old, same old FUD tactics we see from GOP since 2001. They *used to* work too! Or is some black op US gov't agency planning a "terrorist" attack to spur people to willingly give up rights? (Sadly, as history and current international events show, this is NOT an unheard of tactic to force masses to comply. Used by various gov't)

    Sure, warrants surveillance makes people safer. It's a fact. Just look at Soviet Union with its domestic KGB wing. But then throwing people into Gulags for 20 years because the neighbor doesn't like you and reports you in as a spy - it is not the society that most people would like to live in.

    So which will it be? "GITMO USA" or "Land of Opportunity and Hope"? Can't have both. The former gives people almost absolute security (unless the secret police doesn't like you), the latter does not. Let freedom die for sake of security or perhaps die due to lack of security in the name of freedom?

    You chose. November 2008.
  • by temcat (873475) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:47PM (#23657691)
    We do not know what lies are ahead in our nation's fight against radical Islamic extremists

    There, that's closer to the truth.
  • Perpetual War? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thelasko (1196535) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:47PM (#23657697) Journal
    So, by remaining continuously at war, the President has unlimited power?

    Brilliant!

    What defines a war? Does it have to be against another country? Can it be...
    a war on terror [wikipedia.org]?
    a war on drugs [wikipedia.org]?
    a war on cancer [wikipedia.org]?
    a war on poverty [wikipedia.org]?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jason Levine (196982)
      How about a War On War? As long as we wage the War On War, the President needs to keep unlimited power. Only after there is no more War can we end our War and resume normal Presidential power levels. ;-)
    • Re:Perpetual War? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Digestromath (1190577) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @04:37PM (#23658571)
      I'd like to see the war on poverty treated with the same concern. Iraq costs over 300 million a day. Imagine if that budget was applied to poverty and unemployment. Or education. Hell we could split that 300 million a day, 100 million a day for poverty and unemployment issues, 100 million for cancer research and 100 million for HIV/AIDS research. I bet alot of the troops in Iraq would perfer to be back in America helping feed the homeless instead, or working on a cure for cancer.
  • Legal externally (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:52PM (#23657781) Journal
    The Constitution doesn't let the president tap mail or wire internally; but if it's entering/leaving the country, he can. It's the edge dilemma: at the edge point, you can tap inside or outside. Outside, there's no rules, and you're tapping a foreign national with no constitutional rights.
  • Clear as mud (Score:5, Informative)

    by cfulmer (3166) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:54PM (#23657815) Homepage Journal
    That's an absurd argument -- "McCain says he'll follow the Constitution." "You mean, the same Constitution that President Bush says gives him the right to abuse small farm animals? Why McCain must want to abuse small farm animals too!"

    There isn't much question that tapping *international* calls is within the government's power. (At least I haven't heard any major Democrats argue with this). There just isn't enough information in this post to know if this is what McCain is talking about, or if it's domestic surveillance.

    You should leave the political hack jobs to the professionals.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:57PM (#23657867) Homepage Journal
    When Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) [wikipedia.org] used his presidential primary campaign to lead the Congressional campaign to stop Bush's FISA violations [wikipedia.org], Obama supported Dodd's filibuster [talkingpointsmemo.com], specifically saying (through his spokesperson Bill Burton):

    Senator Obama has serious concerns about many provisions in this bill, especially the provision on giving retroactive immunity to the telephone companies. He is hopeful that this bill can be improved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. But if the bill comes to the Senate floor in its current form, he would support a filibuster of it.
  • by gadabyte (1228808) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:57PM (#23657873)
    be afraid of president mccain [reason.com] makes a rather compelling case that mccain is an "authoritarian maverick," and exposes many of his worrisome positions. my personal favorite:

    McCain said, "I would rather have a clean government than one...where 'First Amendment rights' are being respected that has become corrupt. If I had my choice I'd rather have a clean government."
    if he views a clean government as more important than our petty first amendment rights (religion, speech, assembly, press, etc) - what does his penchant for associating with lobbyists, and his history with charles keating [wikipedia.org] say about his respect for our freedoms?

    DANGER, WILL ROBINSON.
  • Short Constitution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pal3f (1094703) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @04:06PM (#23658005)
    Oh good, another presidential wannabe whose copy of the Constitution apparently abruptly ends at Article II.

    Dear Senator McCain,
    Please obtain a new copy of the Constitution, and continue reading it all the way through Amendment XXVII.
    Thank you,
    The American People

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @04:10PM (#23658101) Homepage Journal
    The Congress is not only essential to the government's power to do anything, it is actually the only indispensible branch. With a supermajority of voting members, Congress can not only write and pass laws, but can override a presidential veto, meaning the Executive branch is not required for making laws. The Executive is, however, required to enforce all acts passed by Congress, even if the president vetoed them - or just doesn't like them. But even if the Executive doesn't enforce the laws as it's required to, Congress has the power to try people for violating them, and to direct Federal (and Washington, DC) police to arrest and imprison them, including in a prison inside the Capitol building. If there is a "Unitary" branch in the Federal government, it's Congress, not the Executive.

    And just look at some of the "war powers" that Congress is instructed by the Constitution to execute, in the section 8 of the Article I [wikipedia.org] that defines Congress:

    Section 8: The Congress shall have power

    [...]

            To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;

            To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;

            To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;

            To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

            To provide and maintain a navy;

            To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

            To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

            To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

            To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;--And

            To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.


    These "Article II powers" arguments making Bush a king are lies. Talking about them is bad enough, but protected as free speech. However, acting on them by actual officials, whether to make war despite Congress, or as an official campaign to prevent Congress from exercising its powers, is usurping Congress' rightful power by creating Executive powers that do not exist.

    If the Congress passes a law or otherwise officially acts to, say, direct the US armed forces (and subcontractors to it) to put on their boots and march out of Iraq tomorrow (even if that's not quite a good idea), Congress has the power to do so. It is the president who does not have the power to stop them, and is legally obligated to follow Congress' instructions in that march.
  • by wickerprints (1094741) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @04:16PM (#23658191)

    and I'll say it again:

    The extent to which those who watch over us are unwilling to be watched by us is the precise extent to which we are not a free and just society.

    This has nothing to do with war, or terrorism. It is simply a matter of accountability. The people have a right to know what our elected officials do in the name of ensuring our safety, regardless of whether they actually live up to that goal or not. That we are not able to do so is the true barometer of our freedom, despite whatever a centuries-old piece of paper might proclaim.

  • by Enrique1218 (603187) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @04:18PM (#23658223) Journal
    I must be completely illiterate but I can not find any passage in Article 2 that gives the President unlimited power in times of war. I see no justification of warrantless wiretapping. In fact, according the Article, he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed and he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:--''I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.''. Of course, that is maybe where my logic fails. It only states that he should make the oath but not actually live up to it. Also, Article 2 didn't say faithfully execute the laws at all times, no exceptions. So, obviously, he can just pick and choose when to follow that as well. Then, again, maybe the phrase "best of my ability" is the basis of his argument. As we all know, Bush is incapable of making either ethical or competent decisions.
  • Troll Story (Score:4, Informative)

    by N8F8 (4562) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @06:08PM (#23660057)
    Thisd whole story is a troll. Hey look, a McCain piñata. Everyone take a swing! Meanwhile Obama make an overt threat [breitbart.com] against Iran, about a complete a flip-flop as you can have from his lovey-dovey approach from two weeks ago and you guys let it slide.
  • Hey, I don't mean to sound like a troll, but I'm thinking that Bush should just go all out and roust up a private little army, and go and arrest all the Democrats and liberal leaning supporters in sort of a knight of the long knives. You know, all the Republicans would have guns would, on some night, just go and break the back of the Democratic party and kill off the leaders. The worst part of Bush these days is that no one on the left even really fears attacking him. But, if he say had a pistol and shot Harry Reid and gunned down the Senate ala Al Capone's massacre, then, you know, you could give the guy his props. Yeah, diversity would go out the window, but we could be much more efficient with a mono culture.
  • by istartedi (132515) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @09:40PM (#23662551) Journal

    This is just all part of McCain's (and the now fallen Republican party's) disrespect for the Constitution. Some of the campaign finance stuff he proposed was very chilling--bloggers would have had to jump through hoops as if they were lobbying orgs, or they wouldn't be able to post political stuff. That struck at the very heart of the 1st ammendment. Then there's the flag burning issue. I swear, if McCain gets in, I'll burn a flag that very day. That he would be in favor of warrantless wiretaps is no surprise.

    I hope Obama et. al. will take up the cause of the Constitution, and use it in their campaign ads. OTOH, a campaigning style that purports to educate people might not be well received. Obama is already being painted as an "intellectual elitist", which sounds GOOD to me; but unfortunately it doesn't sound good to the electorate at large. Just do the right thing this time, guys, and don't figure out how to lose like you did the last two times.

  • Hmmmmm..... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IHC Navistar (967161) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @09:47PM (#23662615)
    When citizens make it hard for Big Brother to see what's going on, it called "Obstruction Of Justice".

    When Big Brother makes it hard for citizens to see what's going on, it's called "Privacy".

    Ever notice how pissy and elitist congress gets when citizens what to snoop throught their business to see what they have their hands in? Yet, they have no problem going through our business, especially when there are far, FAR fewer of us actual working folk doing shady things.
  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @09:00AM (#23666699)
    Wiretapping? Of COURSE McCain supports wiretapping. That's the pattern. What he'd bring into effect after (if) he got into office is what we should be wondering about!

    There is a progression in effect with these evil-doers; these holdovers from the Nixon years, (half of them are the same people, for goodness sake.)

    Here's an example of that progression. This disturbing article is current; it's happening right now

    This new program starts in D.C. next week. . . [dcist.com]

    Can you say Police State? The Examiner has the scoop on a controversial new program announced today that would create so-called "Neighborhood Safety Zones" which would serve to partially seal off certain parts of the city. D.C. Police would set-up checkpoints in targeted areas, demand to see ID and refuse admittance to people who don't live there, work there or have a "legitimate reason" to be there. Wow. Just, wow.

    Some of the words used to describe such a plan by those quoted in the Examiner story include "breathtaking" and "cockamamie," but that hardly begins to scratch the surface. Interim Attorney General Peter Nickles actually said that measures of this sort have "been used in other cities." Which cities are those, Mr. Nickles? Warsaw?

    Today's proposal appears to be a desperate attempt by the city to tamp down recent violence that has ravaged the city, especially in Ward 5. The "Neighborhood Safety Zones" would last up to 10 days. It's a struggle to think of words to describe such a plan other than authoritarian or ghettoization.

    The full description of this plan from the mayor's press release is below.

    The Neighborhood Safety Zone initiative has been developed to help increase security for those who live in high-crime areas around the city and to help residents reclaim their communities. The program will authorize the Metropolitan Police Department to set up public safety checks to help safeguard community members and create safer neighborhoods in the District by increasing police presence aimed at deterring crime.

    The safety zones will be established only upon request by a District Commander where there is evidence to support the existence of neighborhood violent crime, such as intelligence, violent crime data, police reports and feedback and concerns from the affected community.

    Potential Neighborhood Safety Zones must be approved by the Chief of Police, and will be in effect for a maximum of 10 days. Public safety checks will be established along the main thoroughfares of the established neighborhoods. Anyone driving into a designated area may be asked to show valid identification with a home address in that neighborhood, or to provide an explanation for entering the NSZ, such as attending church, a doctor's appointment or visiting friends or relatives. Pedestrians will not be subject to the public safety checks.

    "The Neighborhood Safety Zones is just another tool MPD will employ to stop crime before it happens. The Neighborhood Safety Zone initiative will help residents terrorized by violent crime to take back their neighborhoods," said Chief Lanier.

    Initiatives such as the Neighborhood Safety Zones have been accepted by federal courts as a legitimate law enforcement practice in keeping with the Constitution's Fourth Amendment. The constitutionality of the NSZ initiative has been reviewed by the D.C. Office of the Attorney General.

    The NSZ will be launched next week in the Trinidad area.

    Now, here's an article from 2002, New York. The original link is dead, but the Internet Archive had it [archive.org] on file. . . Notice the difference in intensity? The new version of this program doesn't include guys mowing your lawn. What will be the next step in the process?

    Clean Sweep gets praise

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