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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Democrat Leaders Admit Their Guilt


We now have incontrovertible proof that the Democratic Party is a party whose leaders are liars and scoundrels. This week the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed an Iraq War Funding bill that, for the first time in years, contained no restrictions or pull-out dates. That same House also passed a FISA bill covering the electronic surveillance of suspected foreign terrorists communicating with domestic accomplices. This bill has been stuck in Congress for many months - endangering our efforts to protect ourselves from terrorist plots. The reason for the holdup was, ostensibly, due to the reluctance of Democrat leaders (including his Eminence, Senator Obama) to approve the granting of immunity from lawsuits to American telecom companies that cooperated with requests by the U.S. government in the scary days after 9/11 when we all believed other attacks were imminent. Why the change? Why now?

The answer is crystal-clear. These bills were not held up because Democrat leaders oppose the Iraq War. They know full well that President Bush had no choice but to act preemptively in this age of nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles. They knew full well that the patriotic acts of the telecom companies should be rewarded, not be sued. And they knew full well that if Obama becomes president, he will face the same problems as did Bush. They passed these bills because they believe that Obama has a good chance to win November’s election, and they do not wish to hamstring him as they have hamstrung and vilified President Bush for the last five years. As President, Senator Obama would need considerable flexibility in Iraq, and he will probably need the cooperation of the telecom companies just as did Bush. In other words, these Democrat leaders have played politics with our national security, and they should be thrown out of office in disgrace.

In the following article, Lisa Fabrisio points out other areas of left-wing malfeasance:

Time Is on Our Side
By Lisa Fabrizio 6/11/2008 American Spectator (Excerpts)

”There are approximately 150 days left until the November elections and they can't come too soon. In case you haven't noticed, especially if you read the papers, the Democrats have controlled Congress for a year and a half and things haven't exactly been going according to plan.

Global warmists suffered a chill this week when the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act went down to defeat. The blatant cap and trade bill would have bankrupted our economy in the service of an alarmist threat built upon the shifting sands of junk science….

And hopefully it's only a matter of time before that opinion makes its way across the Atlantic; challenging the spurious claims of the Anthropogenic Global Climate Change crowd, as they now call themselves.

Time is running out for them as evidenced by the fact that over 30,000 American scientists, including 9,000 with Ph.D.s, have signed a petition denying that humans have any effect on what we used to call the weather. The petition says, in part:
There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the earth's atmosphere and disruption of the earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the earth.

And, not surprisingly, proof of this continues to emerge. Over the past two decades, NASA satellites have collected data which shows that the planet is in a cycle of greening itself and that "the Earth as a whole became more bountiful by a whopping 6.2%." The reason? "Their 2004 study, and other more recent ones, point to the warming of the planet and the presence of CO2, a gas indispensable to plant life."

Soon, the drumbeat of truth will be too loud to ignore, even for the mainstream media, and attempts by the AGCC gang to blame the current cooling trends on La Nina will be gone with the wind. But don't wait for the announcement that it's all been a farce, as the left rarely admits its mistakes.

ONE GLARING EXCEPTION is the acknowledgment by the World Health Organization that the threat of a global heterosexual pandemic of AIDS has "disappeared," and that "outside sub-Saharan Africa, it was confined to high-risk groups including men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, and sex workers and their clients."

In the 20 or so years that the opposite myth was allowed to circulate, gays and their supporters garnered much sympathy and made great progress toward seeing their lifestyle gain popular acceptance. After all, it could happen to anyone, right? Wrong.

But now the clock is running on the gay marriage agenda, as evidenced by the California Supreme Court's refusal to stay its decision on gay marriage until the voice of the people is heard. They know that a pro-traditional marriage Constitutional Amendment just might pass this November as did a similar measure in 2000. And so they are in a hurry to allow "marriages" between now and then to muddy up the legal waters so our betters in the courts can continue to decide things for us.

Another election issue that is a ticking time bomb is runaway gas prices. The longer Democrats continue to block drilling in ANWR and offshore, the greater the opportunity for the GOP to point out where much of the fault lies.

Although our education system and the media have done a great job in advancing the liberal agenda, most Americans can still grasp that Democratic plans to tax oil company profits will result in those companies passing those increases on to consumers. They are coming to understand that local, state and federal governments make nearly twice the amount on a gallon of gas that the oil companies do. This issue should be a no-brainer for Republicans.

ON ANOTHER FRONT, liberals are in a desperate rush to end the Iraq War before it can be won. While Democratic fringe groups have for years been against any military action not engaged in by Bill Clinton, their leadership has been in a race against the clock to show their "support" for our troops by declaring their mission a failure and bringing them home as defeated and dispirited losers.

But here again, time is clearly not on their side. Sunnis and Shias are fast coming together in support of the Iraqi Army who recently retook Basra, Sadr City and Mosul, bases formerly under insurgent control. U.S. combat deaths last month totaled 20, the lowest number in four years. A year ago, the total for May was 121. Al Qaeda in Iraq is on the run, as should be those who gave them aid and comfort by opposing our efforts there at every turn.

If Republicans can't capitalize on the sense of urgency in American pocketbooks and persuade John McCain to renounce his positions on ANWR and global warming; if they won't stand up for traditional marriage while popular sentiment is still with them; and if they can't make the most of our country's love for its military and their mission; then they deserve to lose in November.”

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4 Comments:

At 6:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Months of troubled negotiations over new surveillance legislation ended in the House of Representatives today, with the approval of the so-called FISA Amendments Act of 2008. Hailed in some quarters as a “compromise” after the capitulation of the Protect America Act of 2006, the new surveillance bill is nothing of the kind: on core issues of privacy and accountability, there is no compromise, since little in the measure honors those two values.

Since the New York Times’s revelation of massive illegal surveillance by the NSA, electronic privacy has been a battlefield for claims of executive power and civil liberties. In 2006, the Administration used the shadow of midterm Congressional elections to stampede both Houses into temporary authorization of sweeping new powers in the Protect America Act (PAA). The measure’s grants of new authority had sunset clauses, which expire either immediately before or after the 2008 elections.The PAA set the scene for another legislative bait-and-switch: On the cusp of national election contests, the Administration rang alarms of crisis, claiming the nation is losing spying capabilities. Legislators inclined to protect civil liberties weighed their exposure to soft-on-security attacks against their allegiance to constitutional values. Either way–in terms of raw power or partisan advantage–the Administration and its supporters win.

House Democratic leadership agreed to support the measure–seemingly out of fear of losing conservative Democrats to an even weaker proposal. But it is the worst of both worlds. It contains just enough of a pretense of accountability to allow the legislators to claim a victory for civil liberties, as it sells out core principles of accountability and privacy.

Begin with accountability. Since the enactment of the PAA, the Administration and its allies have pushed for legislative immunity for the telecommunications companies that aided the NSA’s illegal spying from 2001 until 2005. (Those companies are the defendants in multiple suits, presently consolidated before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, challenging their complicity in past illegal wiretapping).

They argue that protection is necessary to ensure future cooperation, even though the telecoms were not deterred by the fact their past actions were clearly in violation of federal law.

In fact, immunity is on the White House front burner for wholly different reasons: pending lawsuits against the telecoms are the best opportunity for the American public to learn what kind of illegal surveillance occurred under Bush’s watch, and how existing law against warrantless wiretapping was circumvented. As bad as the telecoms will look, the Administration will look worse as more of its cynical and results-oriented reasoning and contempt for constitutional rights is fully aired.

At first blush, the new bill seems to be a fair compromise. Under Section 802, pending lawsuits are not automatically dismissed. They are not even moved to the secretive FISA court, as an earlier proposal would have done. Rather, the district court in each case is required to dismiss a case provided that a defendant telecom can show that it acted with the “authorization” of the President and also with a certain kind of “written request or directive.” The bill then provides an elaborate description of that directive: it can be from the Attorney General, or the head of “an element of the intelligence community” (or from their deputy), and must say simply that the surveillance was determined to be lawful. The bill does not say who must have made this determination.

According to the a report in the Washington Post, this provision would give courts “the chance to evaluate whether telecommunications companies deserve retroactive protection from lawsuits.” But the provision does nothing of the kind. Rather, the court can only look to see if the defendant has the piece of paper described in the law, and if it does, the court must dismiss the case. By interposing a certification requirement, and directing judicial attention to a piece of paper, the bill fends off judicial scrutiny of what in fact occurred.

And there is every reason to believe that the telecom defendants will have the necessary piece of paper. Indeed, there is every reason to believe that the bill has been carefully written to track the precise piece of paper the telecoms have–otherwise, why list both the Attorney General and the heads of intelligence community elements? And why include the weird codicil about the deputies of one but not the other?

House minority whip Roy Blunt of Missouri has all but confirmed that the law was drafted to give the pretense of judicial review without the substance: “The lawsuits will be dismissed,” Blunt explained, “and we feel comfortable that the standard of evidence that the law requires will be easily met.”

The bill, in short, is worse than granting absolute immunity: it is an effort to suborn the legitimacy of the federal courts by having a judge rubber-stamp the dismissal of cases against the telecoms without looking at the substance of what, in fact, was done. It reduces the separation of powers to a check-the-box exercise.

The bill does no better on privacy matters–the question of new surveillance power. Title I of the measure grants the executive branch new surveillance powers for collecting the communications of persons overseas. Although it contains several provisions that purport to shelter Americans’ privacy both at home and overseas, these parts of the bill are rendered irrelevant by the grant of sweeping collection authorization.

Under the bill, the government can create new surveillance programs, each lasting a year, that focus on “persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States.” Provided that spying agencies do not “intentionally target” someone “known” to be in the United States, or intend to target “a particular, known person reasonably believed to be in the United States” (and with some other minor caveats), large-scale acquisition of data is permitted.

To be sure, the bill then installs judicial review of such collection efforts–but the courts will not examine the actual surveillance programs, let alone individual cases of surveillance. Again, the bill interposes a certification requirement between the court and the facts.

Specifically, the role of judges is limited to ascertaining whether the Attorney General has completed a certification promising that either he has followed the law, or that he will follow the law soon. If the Attorney General cannot meet even this spectacularly low bar, the bill gives the government time to amend and to re-file the certificate. Something even Alberto Gonzales could manage.

This is a radical break from the FISA regime created in 1978, and risks severe harm to Americans’ privacy interests. The most important break with FISA is the absence of any individualized warrant requirement: it is now whole collection programs that are authorized and reviewed. And the abandonment of discrete, individualized legislative authorization and judicial review is only the first of the bill’s troubling features.

The new provisions also allow the government to create sweeping new programs that are formally targeted at overseas persons, but that predictably sweep in large. The provision’s loose language about targets–who do not in fact have to be overseas, only reasonably believed to be overseas–gives the government substantial latitude in crafting the parameters of its searches. Past experience gives no cause for confidence on this point. If the bill is enacted, Americans could simply no longer have confidence that calls placed or received from abroad would be private.

Democrats have emphasized new Section 102, which affirms that the act is “the exclusive means” for electronic surveillance for national security ends. But this was the provision in the original FISA that the Bush Administration circumvented. Re-enacting a notional rule that has been flagrantly violated for half a decade, and whose violation continues to be defended and even celebrated, is hardly a victory for civil liberties.

 
At 7:04 AM, Blogger RussWilcox said...

To the above blogger, you should give a source for your quotes.

 
At 8:30 AM, Blogger foutsc said...

Great piece. It is refreshing to find intelligent, well-thought out information like this on the web. This is the kind of analysis we used to rely on the press for. Keep up the good work, Mr. Wilcox

 
At 7:27 AM, Anonymous famousde said...

Democrats are indeed liars and scoundrels. They show over and over again, that they will do anything to support their selfish ambitions. They would sell their own mother - and you - and me.
Shame on you liars in congress
may you burn in hell
DE

 

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