Sunday, January 08, 2006

Bathroom non-humor

All you Bush apologists may have absolutely no problem that the President wipes his ass with the Constitution. You may even be there in the bathroom to hand it to him - gladly.

But aren't you the least bit concerned about the contents of the Presidential bathroom when it's occupied by, say, Hillary Clinton?

The pendulum swings.


Anonymous said...

Not really being a Bush apologist, (what sweeping terminology you use) if Hillary Clinton wants to wire tap suspected terrorists without a warrant, more power to her. If she wants to wire tap a political opponent, that would be wrong. Not being an expert, I imagine NSA reporting to Congress helps provide the necessary checks and balances.

The legality of warrantless wiretapping is obviously a complicated issue with intelligent and legally trained minds on both sides. To minimize it down in this simplistic and hysterical way is ridiculous. To act like the evil Bush is the only president to come up with these concepts is disingenuous.

So, no, if Hillary Clinton becomes president I don't have a fear she'll wipe her ass with my constitutional rights.

Thomas More said...

The point is, we don't *know* who Bush is spying on, and we'll never know. The only people who know are at the highest levels of the administration. As for the NSA "reporting," the few in Congress who were briefed couldn't say anything about it or criticize it since it was secret. That's not "oversight."

Up to now, the conservative's tack here seems to be "If you're not guilty, you have nothing to worry about, right?" That worries me.

Of course Bush isn't the first President who wanted to spy on people without anyone finding out about it. Remember Nixon? Yeah.

If you trust Bush to only use this in clearly-defined terrorism cases, that's your prerogative. But my point of this post is, I don't think conservatives would trust Hillary with this unchecked power, no matter how much she assures people she's using it properly.

Thomas More said...

Not to mention the issue of bypassing the FISA court in the first place. It's a rubber stamp, and they can retroactively get a warrant after they've started the tap. None of the administration's arguments about why they bypassed the court hold up.

Seems to me the only reason you would bypass a rubber-stamp, retroactive court would be if you were spying on someone that most people wouldn't want you spying on. But that's just me.

Anonymous said...

Why should you know who Bush is spying on? This is national security. We elect these people to act on our behalf and hopefully provide the checks and balances to keep it in line. From all I've read, members of Congress were informed, two FISA judges, the attorney general, justice department lawyers. There was a review every 45 days. Because the names of those wiretapped weren't listed in the New York Times for your approval doesn't mean it wasn't important and necessary work.

Simply because you don't trust Bush, and apparently Congress and the attorney general, doesn't make this an invalid process. If Bush were really intent on wiping his ass with the constitution, I don't think there'd be a record that this ever happened. But that's just me.

Thomas More said...

You're right, I absolutely don't trust Bush. I wouldn't trust him to water my plants when I was on vacation.

If you're OK with the President spying on whomever he deems necessary, with no oversight, then there you go. That's the world we live in, after all.

"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security."
-Ben Franklin

"This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, man's laws, not God's, and if you cut them down - and you're just the man to do it - do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?"
-Thomas More, "Man for All Seasons"

Anonymous said...

"If you're OK with the President spying on whomever he deems necessary, with no oversight, then there you go. That's the world we live in, after all."

Really? That's what you got from what I wrote?

"You're right, I absolutely don't trust Bush. I wouldn't trust him to water my plants when I was on vacation."

So this wiretapping is not okay because it's Bush? Or it's not okay because he didn't get approval from the approved of approver? Would it be okay if the amorphous "we" knew who he was wiretapping? It's okay if he'd only gone back to the FISA court to get a warrant post facto? It's never okay? Is it legal or not?

Oh, never mind. This is easier and less taxing: Fucking fucker Bush. Lying monkey boy. And fuck Bill O'Reilly too. I hate those guys.

Thomas More said...

The wiretapping is wrong because it's against the law, as far as I can see. The FISA court is there for these situations, and they specifically bypassed it, with no satisfactory explanation why they needed to bypass it. (One of the judges on the court has already resigned in protest.)

Bush's rhetoric since the disclosure has been along the lines of, "I'm the Commander in Chief and we're at war. So I decide what's OK and what's not." From your comments above, it seemed you were OK with that. (Your disdainful "approved-of approver" line seems to bear this out.)

I think I've laid out my case pretty clearly, without any of the "monkey boy" business you seem to want to tar me with. If you can explain to me why the administration bypassed the rubber-stamp, retroactive court process, then maybe we'll have something to talk about.

Anonymous said...

I've never heard or read Bush say, "I'm the Commander in Chief and we're at war. So I decide what's OK and what's not." I've heard him say, yes, they did the wiretaps and he believes and was advised it is legal. He kept the appropriate congress members informed, sought advice from the attorney general and justice department lawyers. It was reviewed every 45 days. Yes, I'm okay with that. Is it legal? I am not an expert. I don't know.

My understanding of the concern of FISA judges is that warrants were issued based on info learned through a warrantless wiretap. These wiretaps were not to be used for prosecution purposes. That has nothing to do with the legality of the original wiretap.

As far as the FISA rubberstamp, this says more than I could or care to. Odds are good we still won't have anything to talk about.

Thomas More said...

Your link was interesting, but basically boils down to: the FISA paperwork is too difficult to complete in even 72 hours. I doubt this, but even if so, why not get the laws changed, rather than just ignoring them? Bush pretty much had carte blanche after 9/11 - he got the Patriot Act passed within days, and virtually no legislators had even read the phonebook-sized Act. I seriously doubt reducing paperwork on FISA would have been much of a problem.

As for oversight, telling a couple of members of Congress in secret and then forcing them never to discuss it with anyone isn't "oversight." And the justice department lawyers and his own Attorney General told him what he was doing was legal? That's a shocker.

Sorry, that was a little snarky. :-)

Anonymous said...

(Big sigh) Yeah, by all means, let's just "get the laws changed." Snap. How hard could that be?

"Forcing" Congress members never to talk about it, that's an interesting theory too. I'm sure they were just hiding under their desks wondering, oh, what to do, what to do.

You are right about one thing, Bush had no problem reducing the FISA paperwork. ;-)

Thomas More said...

Members of Congress couldn't talk about a secret program - that would be *illegal*. Remember that concept? (That's why all the bluster now where Dean Esmay wants the NYT leakers publicly hanged until they are "dead dead dead.") And if Congress can't talk about it, they can't complain, or stop it. How difficult is that to understand?

Again, your condescending little smiley emphasizes further that you're OK with whatever Bush tells you he needs to do to "protect" you. Good for you. It's good he's a "war president" with "war powers," since this is a war on an abstract concept without definition and without end. As the Church Lady would say, Conveeeenient. (George Orwell, call your office.)

You're right. Not much else to say.

Anonymous said...

"Again, your condescending little smiley emphasizes further that you're OK with whatever Bush tells you he needs to do to "protect" you."

"The President can do whatever he wants, as long as he says it will keep me safe. I don't need to know anything about it - in fact, it's better if I don't know. I trust him completely with all my freedoms."

It's these kinds of sweeping statements and histrionics that compel me to comment, against my better judgment.

Read.My.Words. No, I'm not okay with whatever Bush tells me he needs to do to protect me, but I'm okay with this. This seems sensible.

Speaking of condescension, you seem incapable of believing that someone like me can look at the available facts and come up with a logical conclusion. You don't agree with that conclusion, so it must be that we've all gone "insane" since 9/11. Unlike you, we clearly can't be capable of critical thought. That speaks volumes.

I apologize for being sarcastic. I didn't mean to take away from the respectful tone of your ass-wiping post.

Thomas More said...

Well let's see - the American public has already said it's OK with:

-torture of prisoners
-keeping people prisoner for indefinite periods without representation
-moving prisoners to other countries where "torture" has a slightly different definition
-reading private mail
-secret wiretapping of Americans
-allowing the President to ignore laws if they slow him down

Who knows what's next? (I think rounding up Muslims might be on the agenda. Just a hunch. After all, Michelle Malkin thinks it's a swell idea. Then there's invading Iran! They have the bomb!) As John Cole said, when the hell will these people have enough powers?

And I can't see *anything* on the horizon that people won't just shrug their shoulders at and say, hey - he's protecting me. It's "sensible."

You're willing to give President Bush the benefit of the doubt. I'm not. And tying it all back to my original post - if Hillary Clinton did half of what this President has done, she would be dragged from the White House and set on fire.

Hyperbole? Yeah. Have you read the rest of my site at all?

Anonymous said...

It seems to me, Thomas, that you only see and hear what you want to see and hear! It further appears that you can't allow anyone to have a belief or opinion that might be different from yours. You seem like an unhappy person trapped in an uphappy life. Are there any positives in the world you live in?

Thomas More said...

Thanks for the amateur psychoanalysis, Anon. Really puts a cherry on top of the discussion we've been having here.

I've never suggested this before, but maybe you'd be happier reading another weblog.

Anonymous said...

That anon wasn't actually this anon, the one you've been having the discussion with, just so you know.

Yes, I've read your site and know what you're about.

Good luck to you.