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Above the Law

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Local Rebel
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since 12-21-1999
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Southern Abstentia


0 posted 07-11-2009 09:52 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

Report: Bush program extended beyond wiretapping

By PAMELA HESS Ė 1 day ago

WASHINGTON (AP) ó The Bush administration authorized secret surveillance activities that still have not been made public, according to a new government report that questions the legal basis for the unprecedented anti-terrorism program.

It's unclear how much valuable intelligence was yielded by the surveillance program started after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, according to the unclassified summary of reports by five inspectors general. ...

President George W. Bush authorized other secret intelligence activities ó which have yet to become public ó even as he was launching the massive warrentless wiretapping program, the summary said. It describes the entire program as the "President's Surveillance Program."

The report describes the program as unprecedented and raises questions about the legal grounding used for its creation. It also says the intelligence agencies' continued retention and use of the information collected under the program should be carefully monitored.

Many senior intelligence officials believe the program filled a gap in intelligence. Others, including FBI, CIA and National Counterterrorism Center analysts, said intelligence gathered by traditional means was often more specific and timely, according to the report. (italics mine)

The Bush White House acknowledged in 2005 that it allowed the National Security Agency to intercept international communications that passed through U.S. cables without court orders.
......

The IG report said an unnamed White House official inserted a paragraph into the first threat assessment prepared by the CIA after the Sept. 11 attacks, which was used to justify the extraordinary intelligence measures.

The paragraph said that the "individuals and organizations involved in global terrorism possessed the capability and intention to undertake further terrorist attacks within the United States," according to the report. It also said that the president should authorize the NSA to conduct the surveillance activities.
.......
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hEr2O_sANlmWwPWdPygTxCbq1_bQD99BOTTG0




quote:

The Bush White House pulled in a great quantity of information far beyond the warrantless wiretapping previously acknowledged, the IGs reported. They questioned the legal basis for the effort but shielded almost all details on grounds they're still too secret to reveal.

The report, mandated by Congress last year and delivered to lawmakers Friday, also says it's unclear how much valuable intelligence the program has yielded.

On the subject of oversight, the report particularly criticizes John Yoo, a deputy assistant attorney general who wrote legal memos defending the policy. His boss, Attorney General John Ashcroft, was not aware until March 2004 of the exact nature of the intelligence operations beyond wiretapping that he had been approving for the previous two and a half years, the report says.

The report, compiled by five inspectors general, refers to "unprecedented collection activities" by U.S. intelligence agencies under an executive order signed by Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Just what those activities involved remains classified, but the IGs pointedly say that any continued use of the secret programs must be "carefully monitored."

Most of the intelligence leads generated under what was known as the "President's Surveillance Program" did not have any connection to terrorism, the report said. But FBI agents told the authors that the "mere possibility of the leads producing useful information made investigating the leads worthwhile."
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090711/ap_on_go_co/us_domestic_surveillance



And Bush personally did this:

quote:

Ashcroft hospital bedside meeting

At approximately 7:00 p.m., Comey learned that Gonzales and Card were on their way to the hospital to see Ashcroft. He relayed this information to FBI Director Mueller, and told him that Ashcroft was in no condition to receive guests, much less make a decision about whether to recertify the PSP. Philbin said he was leaving work that evening when he received a call from Comey, who told Philbin that he needed to get to the hospital right away and to call Goldsmith and tell him what was happening.[1]

Comey recalled that he ran up the stairs with his security detail to Ashcroft's floor, and he entered Ashcroft's room, which he described as darkened, and found Ashcroft lying in bed and his wife standing by his side. Comey said he began speaking to Ashcroft, and that it was not clear that Ashcroft could focus and that he "seemed pretty bad off." Goldsmith and Philbin arrived at the hospital within a few minutes of each other, and met with Comey in an adjacent room. Comey, Goldsmith, and Philbin later entered Ashcroft's room and, according to Goldsmith's notes, Comey and the others advised Ashcroft "not to sign anything."[1]

When Gonzales and Card arrived, they entered Ashcroft's hospital room and stood across from Mrs. Ashcroft at the head of the bed, with Comey, Goldsmith, and Philbin behind them. Gonzales told the DOJ OIG that he carried with him in a manila envelope the March 11, 2004, Presidential authorization for Ashcroft to sign. According to Philbin, Gonzales first asked Ashcroft how he was feeling and Ashcroft replied, "Not well." Gonzales then said words to the effect, "You know, there's a reauthorization that has to be renewed ...."[1]

Comey testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that at this point Ashcroft told Gonzales and Card "in very strong terms" about his legal concerns with the PSP, which Comey testified Ashcroft drew from his meeting with Comey about the program a week earlier. Comey testified that Ashcroft next stated: " 'But that doesn't matter, because I'm not the Attorney General. There is the Attorney General,' and he pointed to me Ė I was just to his left. The two men [Gonzales and Card] did not acknowledge me; they turned and walked from the room."[1]

Gonzales, subsequently summoned Comey to the White House, and he brought United States Solicitor General Theodore Olson with him as a witness. Andy Card was also present for this meeting which took place later that evening. Gonzales told the DOJ OIG that little more was achieved at this meeting other than a general acknowledgment that a "situation" continued to exist because of the disagreement between DOJ and the White House regarding legal authorization for the program.[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President%27s_Surveillance_Program




And from the document:

quote:

According to notes from Ashcroft's FBI security detail, at 6:20 PM that evening Card called the hospital and spoke with an agent in Ashcroft's security detail, advising him that President Bush would be calling shortly to speak with Ashcroft. Ashcroft's wife told the agent that Ashcroft would not accept the call. Ten minutes later, the agent called Ashcroft's Chief of Staff David Ayres at DOJ to request that Ayres speak with Card about the President's intention to call Ashcroft. The agent conveyed to Ayres Mrs. Ashcroft's desire that no calls be made to Ashcroft for another day or two. However, at 6:5 PM, Card and the President called the hospital and, according to the agent's notes, "insisted on speaking [with Attorney General Ashcroft]." According to the agent's notes, Mrs. Ashcroft took the call from Card and the President and was informed that Gonzales and Card were coming to the hospital to see Ashcroft regarding a matter involving national security.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/17267628/Unclassified-Report-on-the-Presidents-Surveill ance-Program



and let's not forget Darth Vader:

quote:

Cheney told CIA to withhold information: report
Sat Jul 11, 2009 6:44pm EDT


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The CIA withheld information about a secret counter-terrorism program from Congress for eight years on orders from former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, the New York Times said on Saturday.

Citing two unidentified sources, the newspaper said Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta disclosed Cheney's involvement in closed briefings to congressional intelligence committees late last month.

Panetta, who was named to head the agency earlier this year by President Barack Obama, ended the program, which remains secret, when he first learned of its existence from subordinates on June 23, the Times said.

Intelligence and congressional officials told the newspaper the agency began the program after the September 11 attacks and said it never became operational and did not involve CIA interrogation programs or domestic intelligence activities.

The newspaper said its efforts to reach Cheney through relatives and associates were unsuccessful.

Asked about the Times report, CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said it was not the agency's practice to discuss classified briefings.

"When a CIA unit brought this matter to Director Panetta's attention, it was with the recommendation that it be shared appropriately with Congress. That was also his view, and he took swift, decisive action to put it into effect," Gimigliano said, declining to comment further.

Cheney was a key advocate in the Bush administration of using controversial interrogation methods such as waterboarding on terrorism suspects and has emerged as a leading Republican critic of Obama's national security policies.

Panetta has vowed not to allow coercive interrogation practices, secret prisons or the transfer of terrorist suspects to countries that may use torture, a pledge seen as a break with the agency's policies under President George W. Bush.
http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE56A2YS20090711?feedType =RSS&feedName=politicsNews





Huan Yi
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1 posted 07-12-2009 06:05 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.

Yup, worst than Hitler.

.
Bob K
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2 posted 07-12-2009 07:25 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


Dear Huan Yi,

                     Local Rebel's comments dealt strictly with information and with sharing information that had only recently come to light.  Your conflation of his information with Mike's slur on the Speaker of the house as being like Hitler discounts the effort that Local Rebel spent in gathering and sharing that information.  

     As for the contribution specifically, it is supposed to be prose.  One of the obligations of prose is to leave less confusion in its wake than there was before its arrival.  A sentence can't get by on being clever unless it is first clear.  Otherwise, the audience isn't sure of how clever it may be; they are only somewhat bewildered.

     Your post needs a re-write for clarity.

     If you are not upset by the emergence of still more material about Bush's possible assault on the presidency and the constitution and the rule of law, you have not in all likelihood considered that the precident, once set, means that future administrations now appear to have the way opened for them.  This includes administrations that are not as congenial to your particular point of view as you believe the Bush administration to have been, such as the current one.

     We desperately need to know what has happened, so that we can fix it.  You've heard how Denise talks about the current folks, and how Mike does.  Where do you think those fears came from?

Yours,  Bob Kaven
Huan Yi
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3 posted 07-12-2009 07:45 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.

I guess Iím on the arrest list as well then . . .

Mike, I get top bunk.

.
Denise
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4 posted 07-12-2009 09:40 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

And I'll take the floor...just throw me a pillow! It may get pretty crowded in there with all us "Right Wing Potential Terrorists".

Seriously, this new information that has supposedly come to light still seems to be pretty obscure since it hasn't been made public as of yet, so what the heck are they talking about? It's hard to make a judgment on it until the information is released. But if it has more do with surveillance or treatment of our sworn enemy, I'd say more power to Bush for making the tough decisions in the interest of national security.

At least Bush, whatever his shortcomings, knew who the enemy was, unlike Obama, who seems to have his Department of Homeland Security branding everyone who doesn't view the world as he does as a potential national security threat, attempting to criminalize right-wing political beliefs and thought.

I think it would be better to focus our attention on the current administration, the one that now has the power to effect our lives for better or worse and not this smoke and mirrors of charges against the previous administration that is just an attempt to deflect attention away from what the current administration is doing, in my opinion.

And the fact that Holder is once again throwing this threat of prosecution of those in the previous administration out there is an abominable political move, especially since he just refused to prosecute real criminals, the New Black Panthers who intimidated voters and poll workers in Philadelphia, even with videotape evidence and sworn affidavits. I guess you can break the law with impunity if your actions are seen as advancing the O Team.

I really don't think we need to look to Bush's actions to prevent future assaults on the presidency, the Constitution and the rule of law. We can learn all we need to learn from Obama. He seems to be the master.


Ron
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5 posted 07-12-2009 09:44 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
One of the obligations of prose is to leave less confusion in its wake than there was before its arrival.

That's patently wrong, Bob.

quote:
Your post needs a re-write for clarity.

Says you? While I disagree completely with John, I certainly didn't have any trouble understanding his point. Did you?

Please, Bob, stick to the issues of the thread, not your perception of the posters.
Bob K
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6 posted 07-12-2009 10:35 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Ron,

          Nasty swipe I understood.  Contents thereof, I did not.

     You cannot know what I think without being inside my head.  As the world's only authority as to what occurs in that peculiar place, I can and do tell you that you are wrong.  Respectfully, you have no idea.

     While you may believe that making things clear isn't an obligation of prose, I will stand by my statement.  You may feel that prose is not obligated to bring clarity; I disagree with you.  If you feel that the notion is patently wrong, then you should explain it to those of us who were brought up to write clear english sentences or to feel like we were failing in our aim.  Clarity in prose has been a major aim in English prose since at least the eighteenth century,  That is patently true.  Asserting that value does not make me a blockhead, nor does it put me outside the mainstream of opinion on the subject.

[Edit Comments about posters removed - Ron]

[This message has been edited by Ron (07-12-2009 11:23 PM).]

Balladeer
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7 posted 07-12-2009 10:52 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Bottom bunk is fine with me...and bunk is an appropriate word here, it seems.

It doesn't really surprise me. The stimulus package is failing. Those shovel-ready jobs seem to have disappeared. The unemployment, which Obama assured us would not go over 8% is almost to 10. A group of Democrats have announced they are not buying Obama's health plan unless major changes are made. The cap and trade looks like it's headed for trouble in the Senate. Obama's popularity is dropping all over the country. What does one do in such a situation. I know...let's have a Bush-bashing party again, go back a few years to take people's minds off the present. As I said, I'm not surprised....

Bob K
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8 posted 07-12-2009 11:14 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Mike,

           As I recall, you bashed Clinton through all eight years of the Bush Presidency, and are perfectly willing to take a swing at Carter whenever you can.

     I'd think you'd want to know what precedents in policy and practice that Obama may be following unknown to everybody that may have been passed down from Bush in the same way that some of Bush's stuff was passed down from Clinton.  The FISA courts didn't come from Bush's fevered brain but, as I understand it, from Clinton's.  Bush merely ran with them.  I have no idea what Obama's doing with them now, but I'm not encouraged by the fact that they're still there; are you?

     Get some overview of this stuff in mind, please.  If you think it's simply Republican versus Democrat, we may both be throwing the country away.  The whole business is an attack on civil liberties.  The same laws that Denise is so nervous about now were ó many of them ó put in place by earlier administrations, some Republican, some Democratic.  The power of the congress as a whole has been eaten away by the administrative branch, and the power of the courts for oversight has also been eaten away.

     Look at the movements of the whole system, not the party in power.  Or at least think about it a bit.

Sincerely, Bob Kaven
Balladeer
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9 posted 07-12-2009 11:42 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

The whole system, Bob? The whole system is the Democratic party. They control the White House, the Congress and the judiciary. That is why there is such an arrogance of power these days. Checks and balances that have maintained some semblance of control, is a thing of the past. As Pelosi said, "We run things now."

As I recall, you bashed Clinton through all eight years of the Bush Presidency,

Yes, and I recall you admonishing me for it. Are you now using that as an excuse to do the same?

Either Bush is the smartest man on the planet or we have the dumbest Congress in history. He fooled them on Iraq (supposedly). He fooled them on WMD's (supposedly). He fooled them on interrogation tactics (supposedly). Obama now says the economy was worse off than he thought (supposedly). GW just seemed to outsmart them at every turn, which is why they voted for all the things they now say they were fooled by (supposedly).

This red herring isn't going to work, Bob. People are beginning to see that Obama's grand plans for change was just talk and he really doesn't know what he's doing, which is not surprising for a man with no experience.

Even Obama realizes that this tactic won't work.

Obama has repeatedly expressed reluctance to having a probe into alleged Bush-era abuses and resisted an effort by congressional Democrats to establish a "truth commission," saying the nation should be "looking forward and not backwards."

Maybe  looking forward is not a bad idea, Bob? Follow your leader, perhaps?  
Bob K
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10 posted 07-13-2009 01:56 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Mike,

          Once again you confuse me with being a doctrinaire anything.  I am a Liberal, which actually obligates me to think for myself and not agree with other people who call themselves anything, including Liberals.  You have heard me criticize as many Democrats as Republicans, though my sympathies tend to be far more left wing than right.

     The congress that voted for the Bush agenda was Republican, by the way.  You have apparently confused that congress with this one, which I would have to agree doesn't seem very strong on backbone.  Perhaps you can't tell the difference?  I could.  I thought the Iraq invasion was bogus at the time.  I thought WMD was a bogus issue at the time.  I still do.  I also thought that Bush did the best he could with his bail-out plan when he came up with it, and I still do.  You were in favor of it when he came up with it, as I recall, and are against it now, but are trying to blame it on the Democrats.  The Democrats tried to stall it when Bush first brought it up in the Bush congress.  I understood their reasoning, but I thought that the recession needed addressing, even if the Republicans were the ones doing it.  I thought that the Republicans had created the problem and had warned that it was coming a year beforehand.  You said that it was a figment of my silly imagination.

     Am I saying anything here that isn't true, Mike?

     I really wish you wouldn't try to portray me as somebody marching to the beat of somebody else's drum.  The facts don't bear you out, and you are still left with the actual facts on the ground to deal with.

     You don't know what damage the Last administration has done to the country because you feel forced to defend everything it's done, regardless of how foolish, simply because of party loyalty.

     I don't mind saying that Obama was wrong about the depth of the recession.  It was deeper than he thought.  It's still not as deep as I thought it would be, but then I hope I'm wrong.  So what?  I'll go further ó I'll even say that I don't know that Obama's program will work at all.  And that anybody who says that they know it will is an idiot.  Policies don't come with guarantees, Obama didn't offer one, and in fact that's one of the things I like about him.  It reflects a more accurate view of reality.

     I about somebody actively trying to solve foreign policy problems, tackling the recession (by first admitting we have one, for a start), and getting our heads out of the sand about environmental problems.  I see Obama doing those things, and not trying to put himself above the law in the process.

Sincerely, Bob Kaven
Balladeer
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11 posted 07-13-2009 08:32 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

You have apparently confused that congress with this one, which I would have to agree doesn't seem very strong on backbone.

No, Bob, I was referring to Pelosi, Hillary and all of the other Democrats who  voted for Iraq and interrogation techniques and then screamed they had been fooled when the polls went against the actions. I was referring to Ted Kennedy who wanted to send in nukes, if necessary, to blast Iraq out of existence. I was referring to all the Democrats who sided with Clinton in the late nineties, avowing their knowledge of WMD's and how Iraq had to be stopped bywhatever means necessary. All of this has been supported in earlier threads with quotes so there's no need to refute it. I ws referring to the same people who have since claimed they were all fooled when public sentiment against the Iraq war was going bad. No confusion there, sir.

I really wish you wouldn't try to portray me as somebody marching to the beat of somebody else's drum.

Sorry, Bob. I call them as I see them.  Yes, you throw in a barb ar the Democrats once in a great while,  but your selective support is always Democratic and, when derrogatory instances come up against them, you may either respond with a one-liner or not at all, considering them non-issues, whereas the right side is always in for it. Look, you just claimed the House was right in passing the Cap and Trade without even knowing what the cap and trade was about, by your own admission. They did it so that was right for you. Let me put it to you this way....

Let's suppose we have a Republican president and congress. This president made a lot of claims and promises in his run for the presidency, such as...

Posting a bill online for five days for public viewing so the public would know what their government was doing. Hasn't, and isn't, happening. It was a lie. Currently, after a bill passes Congress,  the White House posts it by linking to the site of the library of Congress. Obama says he plans to do it the way he said pre-election but doesn't say when.

Promising that there would be no pork in bills passing his desk. After acknowledging that the stimulus plan was riddled with pork, this theoretical Republican president says "Well, from now on...."

He laughs at his opponent's thoughts about taxing health care and now considers taxing health care.

He makes claims that the middle class will not pay more in taxes on ANY level, not income tax, not capital gains or any other form of tax and then passes bills which tax the vital things the middle class uses.

He inherits a large national deficit and then quadruples it. He puts the country in such debt it will take generations to repay it....and he wants to keep spending, even though the till is empty.

He rams through a stimulus bill, assuring Americans jobs are shovel-ready and that the unemployment  figures will not pass 8% by June. He then claims that they will probably go over 10% by end of summer and, months after passing the stimulus package, which was so vital "the country would not survive without it", only 10% of it has been used.

He plans higher taxes for the rich and then, when companies faced with higher taxes including tax oh healthcare benefits, cut back or stop hiring from knowing the higher costs are coming, he doesn't understand why the unemployment rate is rising.

He wants a government-run single payer health plan which will basicaly destroy health care in the country as we know it, citing innacurate figures to back his claims.

He rushes laws through Congress by calling them emergencies and his Republican congress passes them without even readingthem, although they have dire results on the population.

I could go on and on but the point is, Bob, based on your track record here, if this were a Republican president, you would be attacking him with the same fervor you defend Obama.  Damn any talk show host, Fox news and anyone with the audacity to point out the holes in his rhetoric but praise anything the Democratic congress allows him to do has been your path down the Alley.

As far as this red-herring thread to takes one's mind off the current state of our country, I see no reason to give it any more attention. This time I'll be the one to consider it a "non-issue".

Bob K
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12 posted 07-13-2009 10:08 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Mike,

           Most if not all of those red herrings you drag into this thread have been or could be dealt with in other places, where I would be happy to do so with you.  You know I disagree with many of them, and in part with others.  This is the place where the thread is about the posting "Above the Law," isn't it?  Local Rebel's information?  I'd like to learn some more about that.

    
Bob Kaven
Huan Yi
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13 posted 07-13-2009 11:16 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.

There are those, who for their god, lethally hate us more than any of us
think we should hate ourselves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcC6bTHosx0


It really happened.
And there are those still wanting it to happen again and again.
Still willing to kill themselves to make it so.  Americans as civilians
have never faced that before.   The oceans donít matter, no mountains
protect our borders.   Anyone going to a commercial airport is faced
with a comprehension of those realities.  This thread should keep
mindful of that context.


.
Grinch
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14 posted 07-13-2009 01:42 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


I donít think thereís enough information to form an opinion at this point, someone may have done something that may or may not have been legal and may or may not have been morally justified even if it was illegal.

I think Iíll wait for the paperback.


Ron
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15 posted 07-13-2009 02:30 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
This thread should keep mindful of that context.

I'm curious, John, in light of other threads, whether you think our national policies should be predicated on honor or fear?
Bob K
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16 posted 07-13-2009 03:43 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Huan Yi,

                    A group of Saudi fanatics perpetrates a horror on the United States ó and it was a horror, clearly ó and our response seems to have been to kill and displace a large number of Iraqis, who had nothing to do with it.  Religious warfare is not a happy thing.  The rhetoric that we have been using in our conversations with the middle east over much of the past almost twenty years now doesn't justify the twin towers, but it is highly inflammatory in its own right.  It has hardly been designed to bring the level of tension down, and has been a match for a lot of the Islamic rhetoric.  I speak of our use of the term "Crusade" in our conversation, especially by President Bush.  This frames the conflict as a conflict of religions when I don't believe that we needed to have accepted that framework.  Our acceptance of that framework now is a success for the more extreme forces in the Islamic world and, sad to say it, in our own.

     Realpolitik may have forced us in some instances to align ourselves with some of the more repressive governments in the region, such as the Saudis and the Egyptians, because these regimes have at least some political stability.  We aligned ourselves with the late Shah of Iran and, for a period of time, with Saddam Hussein as well for the same reasons.  We have not proven ourselves to be good friends of Democratic movements there, and I am not sure that it's the best idea that we should.  I simply don't understand the arab mind well enough to say.  I do believe that we have made ourselves pretty unpopular for the alliances we have made, and our talk of being for "Freedom" doesn't seem to go over well over there.  It doesn't seem to fit with our actions.  Someday perhaps it will.  I hope so.  I understand that you, Huan Yi, believe that this is the case today.  I am envious of such staunch belief.  I hope that ó from my perspective ó we may eventually get there from my perspective as well.

     I see much though not all of what's going on there as a response to some of our actions in the area.  Some of it may be over-reaction or distorted reactions or heavily culturally determined actions, or actions that are as much a response to their history with us as they are to our current relationship.  But in this, I can at least see a pattern of cause and effect determined by a back and forth relationship.  This offers some hope for being able to effect the relationship and the possible outcomes.  In this way I see my point of view as being hopeful.

     I suspect you don't.  I hope I'm wrong about this.

Comments?

     Also, I need to say that I shouldn't have gotten away from the actual point of the thread so much.  I simply felt you should be answered as best I could because I thought you were trying to say something that was important to you here.

     What Local Rebel was saying is important to me.  I feel that it affects the nature of our democracy; no matter who is elected or in power, we need to have dependable civil liberties.  We must guard them against the Government's attempts to take them away for this or that emergency reason.  Emergencies are in endless supply.  Civil Liberties are not.  It was a mistake to allow warrantless wiretapping in the first place.  It was a mistake to continue it.  Whatever other inroads were made into our civil liberties need to be known so they may be corrected and so that the powers of the government are clear for all to see, and so the people may know what is being done in their name.

     There are things that simply are not all right with me.  I want to know if the government is doing them.  I want to know who authorized them, and why they felt their judgment was more important than that of the constitution on these matters.  I wanted to know these things about Democratic Presidents, such as Lyndon Johnson, and the use of the CIA and the US army for domestic intelligence gathering, and I wanted to know them about Republican Presidents.  It is the loss of civil rights that concerns me, not the party in power.

Sincerely, Bob kaven

      
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17 posted 07-13-2009 04:33 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

It was a mistake to allow warrantless wiretapping in the first place.

Well, Bob, I - and around 70% of the public polled - disagree with you. Some of us feel that it was a smart thing to do. One fact that cannot be disputed is that we were not attacked again after such things were implemented. Does the wiretapping get the credit for that? Beats me. That's a question that can't be answered, since it didn't happen. I would much rather have any inconvenience incurred by it than another 9/11. It damaged our civil liberties? That would not be a first,  considering the Japanese interrment camps and the McCarthy trials and too many other instances that could be listed. Do you feel your own personal liberties were damaged? In what way?

I believe that, had another 9/11 occurred and facts came out that suspected terrorists had been communicating with their leaders in the Middle East, unimpeded, to plan and carry out the attack, then THAT would have been the sin and the American people would have had the right to scream, "What are you people in Washington DOING???"

You and I just have a different way of looking at things, Bob. You want to know everything the government is doing and I simply count on them to allow me safety and chase the pursuit of happiness previous generations have enjoyed. When I order a hamburger, I don't want to view a film of cows being fed and then slaughtered, what takes place in the processing plants, how the carcasses are disposed of...I simply want to enjoy the hamburger. When I want a life where I can live in relative safety, where I can work as hard as I want to succeed as much as I want to, where I want the ability to live with a maximum of freedom, I want a government who provides that. I don't need an itemized account of what they do to achieve that goal...I just want them to do it. If you are one to say, "Well, we had another terrorist attack where thousands died again but at least no one was wiretapped illegally and no rights were violated", then be my guest. I would not be one to say that. I don't think any president, Republican or Democrat, goes to the Oval Office to see how many laws they can break. They are in charge of protecting the country and it's citizens. As long as they do that, they are jake in my book.

...and I still say that, had Bush been a Democrat, many of the people outraged by such actions, would not be saying a thing. Only you know if you fall into that category or not.

Getting back to the thread's intent, it's still a detour to the past to avoid thinking about the present. When all else fails, have a Bush blast, even when you don't realize that the people aren't buying it.
Grinch
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18 posted 07-13-2009 04:41 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
  It is the loss of civil rights that concerns me, not the party in power.


What loss? Which rights?

Donít get me wrong Bob, I donít mind taking a swipe at anything that I see as detrimental to civil rights but Iím a little hesitant to start swinging haymakers simply because I hear someone ringing a bell.

The Bush administration authorized secret surveillance activities that still have not been made public

It's unclear how much valuable intelligence was yielded by the surveillance program

which have yet to become public

an unnamed White House official

Someone may have done something that may or may not have been legal and may or may not have been morally justified even if it was illegal.

I need more, or at least some, information before I form an opinion.

.
Huan Yi
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19 posted 07-13-2009 04:46 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


I think our national policy as regards foreign
threats should be realistic as opposed to idealistic.
It should accept that for some our existence
however much we try to apologize and make amends
for it is enough justification, by whatever means,
for our deaths. I remember very clearly the
difference in sense between the community
of Eastern Europeans, (who were survivors
of another enmity), I grew up in and the born Americans
around them.  We are a nation being at warred
with by men whose faith is so strong they have
demonstrated over and over again, (though not again,
by virtue of known and unknown efforts made, here),
their willingness to kill themselves to kill
unarmed men women, and children.   Once
such men step on a plane, a bus, or train or
into a mall it is too late.  Like it or not, as one
is made aware at airports from OíHare to JFK
it is the world we now live in.  That is not
either fear or honor.   I certainly do not believe
applicable national policies should be predicated
on our past, present, or future sin or guilt.


.
Grinch
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20 posted 07-13-2009 05:28 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
You want to know everything the government is doing and I simply count on them to allow me safety and chase the pursuit of happiness previous generations have enjoyed.


Hmm..

Maybe itís just the way you worded this, or the implied hidden horrors in your hamburger example but this comes over as a dangerous amount of leeway youíre allowing Mike.

I think I know what youíre getting at though Ė that you have to trust that your government is always acting, or trying to act, in your long-term best interest. To a large extent I think youíre right, we canít be privy to all the information our leaders base their decisions on, we are forced, especially in some extreme situations, to fall back on that underlying trust.

I get the trust bit Ė anybody taking on the highest office deserves a fair amount of trust that theyíre doing the right thing. What I donít get, what doesnít quite gel, is your obvious lack of trust when it comes to the actions of your current leader.

It seems to contradict your argument.

.
Ron
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21 posted 07-13-2009 05:58 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
You want to know everything the government is doing and I simply count on them to allow me safety and chase the pursuit of happiness previous generations have enjoyed.

LOL @ Mike. I'm sure President Obama appreciates your blind trust, too.

It doesn't matter in the least whether illegal surveillance is effective. Not until you can show that legal surveillance would have been less effective. Put another way, no one in their right mind is arguing that we shouldn't keep a close eye on the bad guys. It's just sort of nice when the checks and balances built into our Constitution aren't ignored for the sake of expediency.

Illegal surveillance isn't any more effective than legal surveillance. It's just a little bit easier.

And a lot more dangerous.

quote:
That is not either fear or honor.

Sure it is, John. It's not greatly different than leaving a man behind because it would be too dangerous to go get him.
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22 posted 07-13-2009 05:59 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I understand your question, grinch, and actually I thought of that while constructing the other reply.

My lack of trust in Obama is that his actions are geared to a "distribution of wealth" plan, which I believe is his goal. Take from the rich and give to the poor. Take from those who produce and give to those who don't. It's not that I think he wants to destroy the country. He simply has no idea what he's doing based on lack of experience either in politics, business or leadership and he is aided by a Democratic congress drunk on their newly-acquired power. He does not stop to think  what something like the cap and trade or national health care will do to the country. He simply wants to get it done. He pushed through a multi-trillion dollar stimulus package and hasn't even used 90% of it for anything. I don't think he's a bad person. He simply acts without thinking anything through. He was elected because (1) he didn't have anyone worthy to run against, (2) he was the receipient of anti-Bush sentiment and (3) he got the poor and minority votes with promises he has no way of keeping. We are going down a road paved with good intentions which could actually lead to hell. I hope not.

Besides, I don't have to trust him. I didn't vote for him.
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23 posted 07-13-2009 06:09 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Checks and balances, Ron? They are a thing of the past, like the Walkman.

...and I think the jury is still out on the legal/illegal aspect of the surveillance actions.

People get my trust until I feel they don't deserve it. What Obama is doing does not warrant my trust and I have to put my trust, or at least hope, in those around him who will try to keep the damage to a minimum.
Grinch
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24 posted 07-13-2009 07:04 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
Besides, I don't have to trust him. I didn't vote for him.


That would explain it.

It might also explains why LR and Bob didnít and donít trust Bush.

Personally I think the fact that you voted for someone is a bad criterion to judge the suitability of their subsequent actions and the benefit of your trust.

Did you vote for Nixon, Mike? Did you trust him? When did he lose your trust?


 
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