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.

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.

Bush Insults BBC Political Editor at Press Conference
NEW YORK At a recent press conference at Camp David, President George Bush insulted BBC political editor Nick Robinson, the Daily Mirror reports.

Robinson, who has asked Bush pointed questions in the past such as whether the president was “in denial” over the Iraq war, posed a question to Bush about whether he could trust visiting British Prime Minister Gordon Brown not to “cut and run” from Iraq.

Bush replied with a dismissal: “Are you still hanging around?”

Later on, Bush poked fun at the bare-pate of Robinson, joking, “You’d better cover up your bald head, it’s getting hot out.”

The respected British reporter shot back, “I didn’t know you cared.”

Bush responded with a cool, “I don’t.” The Mirror reports that Bush then “snorted disdainfully” and “walked away to laughter.”

Isn’t it great to have such an awesome President? Good grief. What a piece of shit.

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

Think Progress » Cheney Says He Is A ‘Unique Creature,’ Refuses To Say He Is Part Of Executive Branch
MARK KNOLLER: Another issue, why did your office stop filing reports about your handling of classified material with the National Archives?

DICK CHENEY: Well, there’s an executive order that covers that was issued in 2003 that makes it clear that the vice president’s to be treated the same as the president. And neither one of them is to file those reports with the national archives.

KNOLLER: There’s no cover up?

CHENEY: Nothing to cover up.

KNOLLER: There was an aide in your office who said one of the reasons you weren’t abiding by that executive order is that you’re really not part of the executive branch. Are you part of the executive branch, sir?

CHENEY: Well, the job of Vice President is an interesting one, because you have a foot in both the executive and the legislative branch. Obviously, I have an office in the West Wing of the White House, I am an adviser to the president, I sit as a member of the National Security Council. At the same time, under the constitution, I have legislative responsibilities. I’m actually paid by the Senate, not by the executive. I sit as the President of the Senate, the presiding officer of the Senate. I cast tie breaking votes in the Senate. So the vice president is kind of a unique creature, if you will, in that you’ve got a foot in both branches.

KNOLLER: But you are principally a part of the executive branch, are you not?

CHENEY: Well, I suppose you could argue it either way. The fact is I do work in both branches. Under the Constitution, I’m assigned responsibilities in the legislative branch. Then the president obviously gives me responsibilities in the executive branch. And I perform both those functions, although I think it’d be fair to say I spent more time on executive matters than legislative matters.

KNOLLER: But two Saturdays ago, for two hours and five minutes, you were technically acting President of the United States when Mr. Bush invoked the 25th amendment. So that certainly made you a part of the executive branch.

CHENEY: Correct.

Gotta love Dick.

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!

From George Washington's Farewell Address:

"It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those intrusted with its administration to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism.... If in the opinion of the people the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this in one instance may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit which the use can at any time yield."

---

Brilliant man. We need more people like that in our government.

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

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/07/20070717-3.html

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, as amended (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.)(IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.)(NEA), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,

I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, find that, due to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by acts of violence threatening the peace and stability of Iraq and undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq and to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people, it is in the interests of the United States to take additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13303 of May 22, 2003, and expanded in Executive Order 13315 of August 28, 2003, and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13350 of July 29, 2004, and Executive Order 13364 of November 29, 2004. I hereby order:

Section 1. (a) Except to the extent provided in section 203(b)(1), (3), and (4) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(1), (3), and (4)), or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the date of this order, all property and interests in property of the following persons, that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of United States persons, are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported,

withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense,

(i) to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of:

(A) threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq; or

(B) undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people;

(ii) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, logistical, or technical support for, or goods or services in support of, such an act or acts of violence or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or

(iii) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.

(b) The prohibitions in subsection (a) of this section include, but are not limited to, (i) the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order, and (ii) the

receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

Sec. 2. (a) Any transaction by a United States person or within the United States that evades or avoids, has the purpose

of evading or avoiding, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

(b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

Sec. 3. For purposes of this order:

(a) the term “person” means an individual or entity;

(b) the term “entity” means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization; and

(c) the term “United States person” means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States.

Sec. 4. I hereby determine that the making of donations of the type specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit of, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13303 and expanded in Executive Order 13315, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by section 1 of this order.

Sec. 5. For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that, because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets

instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render these measures ineffectual. I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13303 and expanded in Executive Order 13315, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1(a) of this order.

Sec. 6. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order. The Secretary of the Treasury may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of the United States Government, consistent with applicable law. All agencies of the United States Government are hereby directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order and, where appropriate, to advise the Secretary of the Treasury in a timely manner of the measures taken.

Sec. 7. Nothing in this order is intended to affect the continued effectiveness of any rules, regulations, orders, licenses, or other forms of administrative action issued, taken, or continued in effect heretofore or hereafter under 31 C.F.R. chapter V, except as expressly terminated, modified, or suspended by or pursuant to this order.

Sec. 8. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right, benefit, or privilege, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, instrumentalities, or entities, its officers or employees, or any other person.

GEORGE W. BUSH

THE WHITE HOUSE,

July 17, 2007

Good Grief. This guy is astounding!

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

Challenge to Secret Wiretaps Is Dismissed - New York Times
A divided federal appeals court yesterday dismissed a case challenging the National Security Agency’s program to wiretap without warrants the international communications of some Americans, reversing a trial judge’s order that the program be shut down.
The majority in a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, ruled on a narrow ground, saying the plaintiffs, including lawyers and journalists, could not show injury direct and concrete enough to allow them to have standing to sue.

Because it may be impossible for any plaintiff to demonstrate injury from the highly classified wiretapping program, the effect of the ruling was to insulate it from judicial scrutiny. Thus, the program’s secrecy is proving to be its best legal protection.

So this is just wonderful. The Executive Branch can now wiretap without warrants with impunity. Even when King George II is gone.
Forget the Constitution - the ruling that it was illegal was reversed on appeal because the plaintiffs can’t show harm. ???? It violates the Constitution - why should the burden of showing harm be an issue. Especially when all the evidence of harm is “secret” and can’t be used. Nice.

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.

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