RTBA

Sep. 26th, 2007 01:15 pm

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow.”

–Alexander Hamilton and James Madison (Federalist No. 62, 1788)

Press Congress to pass the “Read The Bills Act”

http://action.downsizedc.org/wyc.php?cid=27

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

“If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. The loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or imagined, from abroad.”
— James Madison

Take Action!

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Bush: there will be no pullout from Iraq while I’m president | Iraq | Guardian Unlimited
President George Bush sought to buy more time for his Iraq “surge” strategy yesterday by making a risky comparison for the first time with the bloodshed and chaos that followed the US pullout from Vietnam.Making it clear he will resist congressional pressure next month for an early withdrawal, he signalled that US troops, whom he hailed as the “greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known”, will be in Iraq as long as he is president. He also said the consequences of leaving “without getting the job done would be devastating”, and “the enemy would follow us home”.

So, Pelosi, can we impeach his administration yet?

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Think Progress » Rep. Bill Sali: Religious Diversity In Congress ‘Was Not Envisioned By The Founding Fathers’
Rep. Bill Sali: Religious Diversity In Congress ‘Was Not Envisioned By The Founding Fathers’

When Idaho State Rep. Bill Sali was running for Congress in 2006, Vice President Cheney visited his state and said, “Bill is ready to make a difference in Washington, and he’s going to be the kind of Congressman who will make you proud.” Now-Congressman Bill Sali (R-ID) is demonstrating his worth by criticizing the new religious diversity embodied in the 110th Congress:

We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now, Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Those are changes — and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers.

Really? Sali may want to take a peek at Article VI of the Constitution, which notes that there is no religious test for public office:


What a dumbass.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Bush Signs Law to Widen Reach for Wiretapping - New York Times
President Bush signed into law on Sunday legislation that broadly expanded the government’s authority to eavesdrop on the international telephone calls and e-mail messages of American citizens without warrants.

Congressional aides and others familiar with the details of the law said that its impact went far beyond the small fixes that administration officials had said were needed to gather information about foreign terrorists. They said seemingly subtle changes in legislative language would sharply alter the legal limits on the government’s ability to monitor millions of phone calls and e-mail messages going in and out of the United States.

They also said that the new law for the first time provided a legal framework for much of the surveillance without warrants that was being conducted in secret by the National Security Agency and outside the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the 1978 law that is supposed to regulate the way the government can listen to the private communications of American citizens.

“This more or less legalizes the N.S.A. program,” said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies in Washington, who has studied the new legislation.

Previously, the government needed search warrants approved by a special intelligence court to eavesdrop on telephone conversations, e-mail messages and other electronic communications between individuals inside the United States and people overseas, if the government conducted the surveillance inside the United States.

Today, most international telephone conversations to and from the United States are conducted over fiber-optic cables, and the most efficient way for the government to eavesdrop on them is to latch on to giant telecommunications switches located in the United States.

By changing the legal definition of what is considered “electronic surveillance,” the new law allows the government to eavesdrop on those conversations without warrants — latching on to those giant switches — as long as the target of the government’s surveillance is “reasonably believed” to be overseas.

For example, if a person in Indianapolis calls someone in London, the National Security Agency can eavesdrop on that conversation without a warrant, as long as the N.S.A.’s target is the person in London.

Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman, said Sunday in an interview that the new law went beyond fixing the foreign-to-foreign problem, potentially allowing the government to listen to Americans calling overseas.

But he stressed that the objective of the new law is to give the government greater flexibility in focusing on foreign suspects overseas, not to go after Americans.


Yeah - because we all know it’s all about the intent. And the intents are wholly honorable. WTF ever. More fascist power-grabbing. And Congress is going along for the ride.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Quotes of the Day:

From “The Devil’s Dictionary” by Ambrose Bierce . . .

Representative: In national politics, a member of the Lower House in this world, and without discernible hope of promotion in the next.

Senate: A body of elderly gentlemen charged with high duties and misdemeanors.

Subject: Why we’re confused, and what to do about it

We admit it. We’re confused. We would like to be able to tell you what is happening with the so-called FISA “modernization” bill — which may legalize government spying on innocent Americans — but we can’t. No one understands what is going on with this bill, including the members of Congress.

There are so many different versions of this bill, and amendments to it, and back-room negotiations and deals being made, that no one really knows anything about what will come to the floor. And yet, Congressional leaders want to rush to a vote before they recess.

This shouldn’t be happening, and it couldn’t happen if DownsizeDC.org’s “Read the Bills Act” was the law of the land.

There’s also a lot of lying going on. For instance, President Bush has claimed that the FISA law hasn’t been updated since 1978. TRUTH: The FISA law has been updated more than 50 times since 1978, including multiple times since Bush was elected.

President Bush signed these updates into law! Our elected leaders really are scoundrels.

Here’s what we’re going to do. Let’s hit them on two fronts today. First, send Congress a message telling them not to rush to a vote on FISA modernization before they leave. Stress this in your comments. NO RUSHED VOTES!

We’ve defeated this monster before by delaying a vote, and there’s a real chance we can do that again now.

You can send that message here.

Second, hit them on the “Read the Bills Act.” Send them a message about RTBA. Tell them the confused rush to a vote on FISA modernization is proof that we need DownsizeDC.org’s “Read the Bills Act” with its 7-day waiting period before a vote can be held on any bill.

You can send that message here.

Finally, it would be really helpful if you could make phone calls too, stressing these points. You will see the phone numbers for your elected representatives when you log-in to send your message to Congress (or when you register if you are sending a message for the first time).

Sorry for the confusion, but that’s the way these guys operate.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

Perry Willis
Communications Director
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

The Crypt’s Blog - Politico.com
In a massive flare-up of partisan tensions, Republicans walked out on a House vote late Thursday night to protest what they believed to be Democratic maneuvers to reverse an unfavorable outcome for them.

The flap represents a complete breakdown in parliamentary procedure and an unprecedented low for the sometimes bitterly divided chamber.

The rancor erupted shortly before 11 p.m. as Rep. Michael R. McNulty (D-N.Y.) gaveled close the vote on a standard procedural measure with the outcome still in doubt.


Pretty sad. Looks like the government is falling apart.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Just What the Founders Feared: An Imperial President Goes to War - New York Times
The nation is heading toward a constitutional showdown over the Iraq war. Congress is moving closer to passing a bill to limit or end the war, but President Bush insists Congress doesn’t have the power to do it. “I don’t think Congress ought to be running the war,” he said at a recent press conference. “I think they ought to be funding the troops.” He added magnanimously: “I’m certainly interested in their opinion.”

The war is hardly the only area where the Bush administration is trying to expand its powers beyond all legal justification. But the danger of an imperial presidency is particularly great when a president takes the nation to war, something the founders understood well. In the looming showdown, the founders and the Constitution are firmly on Congress’s side.

Given how intent the president is on expanding his authority, it is startling to recall how the Constitution’s framers viewed presidential power. They were revolutionaries who detested kings, and their great concern when they established the United States was that they not accidentally create a kingdom. To guard against it, they sharply limited presidential authority, which Edmund Randolph, a Constitutional Convention delegate and the first attorney general, called “the foetus of monarchy.”


King George II. Wheee!

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

N.H. Gov. signs bill that rejects federal Real ID law
July 05, 2007 (Computerworld) — New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch last week signed into law a bill that forbids New Hampshire government agencies from complying with the controversial federal national identification act, or Real ID bill.

The New Hampshire Legislature had overwhelming passed the bill this past spring and handed it off to Lynch, who signed it on June 27.

“Real ID is intended to make us all safer, which I think we can all agree is a laudable goal,” said Lynch in a statement. “However, I strongly believe Real ID’s proposed haphazard implementation and onerous provisions would have the exact opposite effect. The federal government obviously did not think this burdensome system through and that is why we in New Hampshire are right to reject it.”

Right on, New Hampshire - Now everyone else needs to do the same. Apparently Congress is incapable of doing the right thing here - the States will have to do it for them.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

White House, Cheney’s Office, Subpoenaed
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the White House and Vice President Dick Cheney’s office Wednesday for documents relating to President Bush’s controversial eavesdropping program that operated warrant-free for five years.

Also named in subpoenas signed by committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D- Vt., were the Justice Department and the National Security Council. The four parties have until July 18 to comply, according to a statement by Leahy’s office.

The committee wants documents that might shed light on internal disputes within the administration over the legality of the program, which Bush put under court review earlier this year.

“Our attempts to obtain information through testimony of administration witnesses have been met with a consistent pattern of evasion and misdirection,” Leahy said in his cover letters for the subpoenas. “There is no legitimate argument for withholding the requested materials from this committee.”

Echoing its response to previous congressional subpoenas to former administration officials Harriet Miers and Sara Taylor, the White House gave no indication that it would comply.

“We’re aware of the committee’s action and will respond appropriately,” White House spokesman Tony Fratto said. “It’s unfortunate that congressional Democrats continue to choose the route of confrontation.”

The showdown between the White House and Congress could land in federal court.

Leahy’s committee and its counterpart in the House have issued the subpoenas as part of a sweeping look at how much influence the White House exerts over the Justice Department and its chief, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

This should be interesting. Will Congress have the guts to back up their play? Considering Cheney’s recent antics I don’t hold out hope that this will go down easy. As scary as that guy has always been he has gotten a lot more scary of late.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Hotline On Call: Boehner: Immigration Bill Is “Piece Of Shit”
House Minority Leader John Boehner, speaking to a private gathering of Republican activists last night, called the Senate’s immigration compromise bill a “piece of shit” but said that he had promised President Bush earlier in the day that he would let his teeth be a barrier to such thoughts in public.

Boehner spoke last night at a small reception for the Republican Rapid Responders on Capitol Hill.

“I promised the President today that I wouldn’t say anything bad about … this piece of shit bill,” he said, according to two attendees.


Love it.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Congress Approval Down to 29%; Bush Approval Steady at 33%
PRINCETON, NJ — A new Gallup Poll finds continued low levels of public support for both Congress and President George W. Bush. Twenty-nine percent of Americans approve of Congress, down slightly from last month’s reading (33%) and this year’s high point of 37%, while Bush’s approval rating is holding steady at 33%. Both the ratings of Congress and the president are slightly lower than their respective 2007 averages. Approval ratings of Congress are higher among Democrats than Republicans, while Bush’s ratings are much higher among Republicans.

You gotta wonder how much longer this can go on.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

VOA News - Iraq Funding Bill Vetoed by Bush
President Bush has vetoed more than $124 billion worth of funding for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq because the measure includes a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.


Not a surprise. Unfortunately. He’s an arrogant SOB with ratings in the toilet and Congress united against him. Time to impeach on any of the multitude of things he’s done wrong.

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