For some time, many have alleged that the Patriot Act violated the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which prevents phone companies from handing out personal information. This week, a judge struck down that part of the Patriot Act:
A federal judge yesterday struck down the parts of the recently revised USA Patriot Act that authorized the Federal Bureau of Investigation to use informal secret demands called national security letters to compel companies to provide customer records.
The law allowed the F.B.I. not only to force communications companies,including telephone and Internet providers, to turn over the recordswithout court authorization, but also to forbid the companies to tellthe customers or anyone else what they had done. Under the law, enactedlast year, the ability of the courts to review challenges to the ban ondisclosures was quite limited.
Last year, the USA Today reports that three phone companies illegally gave out information on their customers to the government. USA Today:
The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phonecall records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided byAT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of thearrangement told USA TODAY.
With this Administration, no law is considered precedent unless it was made by them.
Executive order 1701, announced on July 17th, raises a series of constitutional questions. First, here is the purpose of the executive order, as explained by President Bush in a letter he sent to Congress:
I hereby report that I haveissued an Executive Order blocking property of persons determined tohave committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act oracts of violence that have the purpose or effect of threatening thepeace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq or underminingefforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraqor to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people.
This new executive orderempowering the federal government to freeze the assets of people whothreaten Iraq's stability and its government is so broad it could beapplied to any domestic opponent of the Iraq war who has assets in theU.S., charges a former Reagan administration official.
The most striking part of the executive order is in Section 1(i)(B). The US government can arrest and seize the assets of people that "undermine" the Iraq war. Read this:
(B) undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction andpolitical reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to theIraqi people;
In other words, if you protest the war, you decrease the likelihood that Congress will maintain funding for Iraqi reconstruction -- a tactic now made illegal by this executive order.
And it even gets worse. In addition to not being able to protest the war, it is illegal to knowingly evade or avoid the order (Sec. 2 (a)). Also, you cannot give "funds, goods, or services" to anyone in violation of this order (Sec. 1 (B)(iii)(b)).
If you are as outraged as we all are about this executive order, please email your U.S. Representative and Senators. Tell them to investigate it and pass a resolution that deems this illegal. President Bush's assault on our constitution has gone too far, and it's time to get involved and take action.
I feel compelled to find and post the truth every time I hear Our GreatPresident open his mouth which has become synonymous with lying.Thanks again to "granny" for sending us the link for the video.
It didn't take the liberal bloggers and general long public to react and speak outagainst the dems for caving in on the funding bill. And it seems that theybetter grow a set quickly before we start shopping around. Think about this fora moment, you tell your spouse or significant other you are going shopping, butinstead go to a friends house...simple right? umm, NO!, you are confronted bythem and are told you lied. Maybe that's a simple minded analogy, but comparethat to The President of the United States lying on an ongoing basis, changingthe story and then his supporters actually lie further to support him. Wrong,just plain old everyday kindergartenly, fundamentally, unacceptably wrong.
Here at The Blue State when itcomes to the immigration situation, we don't post or discuss the issue all thatmuch, and this post is to start a discussion about it and see how our visitorsfeel (both new as well as the veterans).
I think the one commonality we all have is "something needs to be doneabout immigration". Whether you're on the far right that feels "theyshould all go", or the far left "they should all stay", I thinkwe all agree "something" needs to be done to coincide with yourargument.
I'll start: With the estimation at 12-20 million illegal immigrants in theU.S. (I went with the high and low #'s and don't want to start putting links inthis post), let's face it...we do not have the resources to "kick themout", and even if we could, getting rid of that many people would disruptthe country's economy. Most towns in the U.S. have illegal multi-familydwellings, or dwellings that house a number of illegal immigrants. Taking the"immigrant" part of this equation out, I personally don't want 10-20men, ages 17-35 living illegally next to me in a single dwelling, or 3-5families living in a 2 family home next door either. On the other hand (andunder the current circumstances) I don't want to see a family (orindividual) that have been here; working hard; living responsibly, andcontributing in a positive way to our society, to be uprooted and deported.
(Loosely) The new bill has the illegal immigrants paying $1000 to stay, workfor a couple of years then return to their homeland and remain for a year, thencome back. For starters, this isn't going to expose the terrorists or thecriminal element, and I'm not sure how many would have an extra $Grand floatingaround, which would keep them (non criminal element) in the shadows as well.Maybe this fine should be lowered? As far as the reality of people packing upand leaving their homes, jobs, friends etc. after 2 years doesn't seem very realisticto me either.
I do think that when someone is arrested on felony charges, they be tried andif convicted, serve their time and then be deported. If arrested on misdemeanorcharges, once processed, they need to be handed the paperwork for citizenshipand registered. There are way more issues than I have mentioned, and I'm noteven sure if my ideas are realistic, but I do know one thing, somethingneeds to be done.
In my opinion the ideas from the far left and right are mainly based onpersonal feelings rather than reason or common sense..."get rid of em"no "keep em" just doesn't make sense and wouldn't work. We do as anation have a right to know who is here.
Before I start this post, let me just say I don't think anyone would disagree that militaryplanning, secrets etc. shouldn't be available to the enemy, and neither shouldwhat's happening on a daily basis in a war zone.
US soldiers serving overseas will lose some of their online links to friendsand loved ones back home under a department of defense policy that ahigh-ranking army official said would take effect today.
The defense department will begin blocking access worldwide to YouTube, MySpaceand 11 other popular websites on its computers and networks, according to a memosent Friday by General BB Bell, the US Forces Korea commander.
The policy is being implemented to protect information and improve security aswell as reduce drag on the department's networks. "This recreationaltraffic impacts our official DoD network and bandwidth ability, while posing asignificant operational security challenge," Bell said in the memo.
The armed services have long barred members of the military from sharinginformation that could jeopardize their missions or safety, whetherelectronically or by other means. The new policy is different because it createsa blanket ban on several sites used by military personnel to exchange messages,pictures, video and audio with family and friends.
In some cases reporters have been wounded or killed, including ITN's TerryLloyd in 2003. Both CBS and the Associated Press in Iraq had staff members seized by the US military and taken to violent prisons; the news organizationswere unable to see the evidence against their staffers.
If youwant to see what the Bush administration and the conservative news media istalking about, and finally come to the realization that terrific things arehappening, and its the right thing to do, follow these simple steps;delete any bookmarks, videos, news articles from your computer; reprogram yourfavorite channels and replace with Fox News; Bookmark MNFIRAQ and watch all the videos and repeat, until you see 'It's not so bad, as amatter of fact there are many successes'.
History was made today as our Supreme Court upheld the first ever ban on abortion, specifically partial-birth abortion. The ruling was upheld by a bitterly divided 5-4 decision. As you might have expected, Bush's two appointees were with the majority on this one.
Today's ruling may signal the court's willingness to uphold additionalrestrictions, such as state laws requiring a woman to be told that herfetus is a human being, and proposed federal legislation finding thatabortion causes pain to fetuses.
Just about everyone has weighed in on this as you might expect.
...this ruling signals an alarming willingness on the part of theconservative majority to disregard its prior rulings respecting awoman???‚¬?„?s medical concerns and the very personal decisions between adoctor and patient.
The ban upheld by the Court is an ill-considered and sweepingprohibition that does not even take account for serious threats to thehealth of individual women.
And of course the Republican Presidential candidates are overjoyed by the move. Rather than quote them (they all say the same thing), you can read all about it at Breitbart (sorry, I know it's a conservative page, but that's where the info is.)
There is precedent for the Congress trying to impeach the president on grounds that he withheld or deleted documents that the Legislative Branch had requested. Read this Third Article of Impeachment that the Judiciary Committee filed against Richard Nixon on July 27, 1974:
Monica Goodling, who was supposed to testify before Congress on Thursday, has decided to plead the Fifth Amendment. So the question most people want answered is whether that is legal?
John Dean, former White House Counsel to Richard Nixon, explained that you can not just plead the fifth unless your testimony might lead to self-incrimination. Dean spoke about that last night, and hinted that she might be immunized by Congress and then be forced to testify. Or, quite possibly, the Judiciary Committee could declare the Justice Department or White House in contempt of Congress. The showdown is just beginning:
Translation: the Justice Department is digging itself a huge hole by having Monica Goodling plead the Fifth Amendment.
In the end, in my opinion, something else is going on. A commenter on Youtube had a logical insight on this matter:
You can't plead the 5th unless your testimony self-incriminates. Ifshe's trying to plead the 5th because she doesn't want to get caught ina lie after-the-fact.. then she should be locked injail until she testifies. Besides, she can't plead the 5th for herentire testimony, it is only pertaining to specific questions whichrelate to her actions that the 5th can be invoked. So, either herlawyer is a complete idiot or she thinks she did something illegalalready.
Henry Waxman of the House Government Oversight Committee recently submitted a report that gives past examples of when Bill Clinton complied with Congressional subpoenas:
According to the report,from 1997 to 2002, under Republican Chairman Dan Burton, theHouse Oversight Committee issued 1,052 subpoenas targetingDemocratic Party or Clinton administration officials.
This letter also describes cooperation by subpoenaed Clintonadministration officials serving in the same capacity asformer White House council Harriet Miers and Deputy Chief ofStaff Karl Rove, two of the Bush administration officialscurrently in the Democrats' sights. According to the report,"141 individuals who worked in the Clinton administration,including top advisers to the president, spent 568 hours indeposition before the [Oversight] committee staff." Thisincluded three White House chiefs of staff and four counselsto the president, along with other top administrationofficials.
In a press conference Tuesday, PresidentBush said "we've made an unprecedented number of documentsavailable," referring to the 3,000 pages of emailcorrespondences released by the Department of Justice.Waxman points out that over two million pages of internaldocuments were turned over to Congress during theinvestigations into the Clinton administration.
Bush does not have a good case on this one. Leahy should just keep the pressure on.
There is a new twist in Bush's battle with Congress over Executive privilege.
Even though Patrick Leahy and the Democrats run the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republican Arlen Specter is trying to broker his own deal with the White House in order to avert a constitutional showdown. Specter wants Karl Rove and other White House aides to testify, but not under oath.
However, with the political momentum on their side, it is unlikely that Leahy and Democrats will budge on their position that Rove should testify in person and under oath.
As tensions heat up, Republican Tom Coburn isn't giving up hope -- and offered one of the most random analogies:
"A no is not always a no. My wife said no the first four times I asked her on a date," Coburn said.
Actually, it would be nice if this went to court. The Judicial Branch tends to have an unfavorable view of Executive privilege, for many reasons of course. In the end, you would have both the Judicial and Legislative branches backing Bush into a corner, and he would be forced to give up the fight. What Bush is trying to do is political suicide. Bush will ultimately have to let Rove testify in person and under oath, unless Democrats wimp out (we've seen that happen before).