Why the Game?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006
I have been trying to keep up with the legal arguments on the Terrorist Surveillance Program by reading the posts of lawyers at blogs like Powerline and it seems to me that the President does have a good case.

What I find interesting is that [most of] the loonies in the Congress and the Civil libertarians [including those who approach the Constitution in much the same way a Pentecostal approaches Scripture] do not want the program to end. They just want Bush to seek their approval.

Why? So that we can go through the same dog and pony show we go through with everything else in politics today.

I know people will get all upset when they hear that and remind me that the dog and pony show are part of the sacred process....blah blah blah. I mean come on, Saint FDR intercepted all phones calls coming into the US from overseas during WW2. This program is very specific and has Congressional oversight.

Does it occur to these people that if we do not do this or can not do this kind of surveillance all these madmen have to do is make sure one end of the conversation takes place here in the US.

I can see it now, terrorists from all over the world converge on Detroit or Chicago to plan the next attack, because thanks to the ACLU there are safe here in the USA.

Never mind legal and illegal...this is just plain stupid.

Which of course is why Senators are not lining up to demand the president cease and desist. They are just stringing the moonbats along. How long will this honeymoon last? How long before Kos and his manic menions realize they have been had?

One can dream anyway.


ex-democrat said...

terrye - powerline is as good a place as any to get the straight legal story.
why the fuss? the left wants to trim GW's wings by repeating until it becomes true (at least, in their PC version of what makes something true) that congress has the power to outlaw (and, if asked nicely, inlaw) warrantless intercepts.
but, as syl, said, if congress had really attempted to do that via FISA in 1978, FISA - not wiretaps -would have been unconstitutional.
they are children throwing a temper tantrum because they can't have everything their way.

Knucklehead said...

How the Dems decide to move forward (or whatever it is they believe passes for forward movement) on this will be interesting. Hillary did one of her eye-rolling head shake routines when Bush did his little defense of the program last night.

They really should not push at this. It is a loser legally and electorally for them. If they go down the shrill and strident bunny trail again they are just going to alienate more American voters.

Barry Dauphin said...

Of course, once in power many of the Dems would do the same thing Bush is. This is a raise money issue with the MLA.

Syl said...

Well, their hope is they take over congress so they can at least try to impeach.

It's not so much whether they will be successful at actual impeachment. The least they expect to accomplish is destroy Bush's legacy.

Such nice people.

Peter UK said...

This eye-rolling head shaking routine or something more grotesque?

Buddy Larsen said...

That's what beans'll do to ya, alright.

Knucklehead said...


It was very similar to that one but not that precise one. There were many.

Barry Dauphin said...

Last night some reporter (I think John Harwood of WSJ) mentioned that Hillary smiled when Bush mentioned the friendship between 41 and WJC-bubba. I remember the camera being on Hillary when that happened and if that was a smile, I hate to see a scowl.

BTW, I watched Charlie Rose a bit after the SOTU. These reporters and the pollster Charlie Cook are real losers. They bloviate with such certainty, but they seem to be virtually clueless.

Peter UK said...

I see,a case of she rolled her eyes at him ,he picked them up and rolled them back?

terrye said...

I may just be a country girl [ah shucks] but I think that people are kind of getting fed up with the nonending temper tantrums.

I remember years ago when a discussion on te International Criminal Court was going on over at the BBC message board some American tried to point out to the Euros that the Congress or President can not ratify any treaty that over rides the Constitution. The Constitution trumps. This was such an alien concept to them. They seemed to think that they could talk their way around or into anything.

Syl is right, FISA can not supercede any constitutional authority of the president. The debate centers around what that authority is.

But I am not a lawyer, I am just a citizen and I don't want another 9/11 to happen.

terrye said...

peter that is kind of icky.

Too bad she was not wearing a T shirt with a bar and cycle on it, they could have hauled her tail right out of there. Now that would have been entertaining.

"Unhand me you brute, don't you know who I am??"

Oh wait, that is John Kerry's line isn't it?

Rick Ballard said...

"But I am not a lawyer, I am just a citizen and I don't want another 9/11 to happen."

Which the USSC would take into account if an idiotic FISA case ever came under review no matter what the statute says. Stretching Youngstown to fit this is a pile of crap that could only be found behind an elephant. The precedent is as clear as fine crystal - this type of theoretical conflict will be resolved on the basis of common sense and the President's actions (and the program) are founded on that basis.

I will not be happy about this until Risen and Sulzberger are sharing a cell at Leavenworth with a condemned ax murderer with peculiar proclivities.

terrye said...


It seems there are at least four settled cases that can be used as precedent to justify the surveillance.

I surppose the critics are hoping they can use this against Bush but if they did stop it and there was an attack, people would just blame them. They are deluding themselves if they think otherwise.

terrye said...

I would like to let people know that I would very much appreciate it if they did not respond to mark on my posts.

You are of course free to do so, but mark has shown himself to be something of a pest and a rather hateful one at that.

Now... all of us get carried away sometimes and say things we really do not mean, but mark is only interested in causing trouble and the hateful things he says are deliberate.

So if you don't mind, please ignore him.


Rick Ballard said...


terrye said...


You know, that funny little man who has been sleeping out back in the dumpster.

shhhhh, he might hear us.

Rick Ballard said...


Imagine if the USSC said "Nope. Can't do it.", the President replied "Okeydokey, your call Mr. Justices."

And a terrorist attack killed 100,000 a month later.

The USSC at its most dimwitted (a rare occurence in itself) would not overrule the President in the actual conduct of a war - and in the vain supposition of nine Ruth Bader Ginsbergs shaking a finger at him I would expect him to continue to do that which he is currently doing.

The Justices are not Gods and putting five of them together on an opinion does not make it the Word of God. To be sure - impeachment might well follow the refusal of the President to abide by a USSC decision but it might well be the impeachment of the Court rather than the President. And they damn well know it.

terrye said...


vnjagvet made the point when this started that lawyers argue, that is what they do and there is a lot of stuff being said out there that might not be just right.

I read an article by Victoria Teonsling {sp?} not long ago and she said that the real problem is that the technology has outpaced the law and it makes is confusing. In 1978 there were not any cell phones and tracfones and call forwarding and email etc.

She has an extensive background in this and she says it is legal.

The truth is I think the Congress would gladly write legislation to cover it if only Bush would tell them to do it, but it has become a Seperation of powers issue and he is not showing any signs of backing down.

Of course if the guy in the White House had a D behind in his name, the NYT would not have broken the law and reported classified information in the first damn place. But politics trumps country every damn time for the NYT.

If that was not a crime it damn well should have been.

Rick Ballard said...


Intelligence gathering is a weapon - and a damned important weapon at that. Look at the cracking of the Japanese codes and the capture and use of the Enigma machine in WWII.

I cannot conceive of revising a law in a manner that might reveal anything concerning intelligence gathering during a time of war. Can you imagine Congress calling open hearings to discuss this? There are a lot of 44 coats matched with 4 hats in the Senate but even the biggest of the egotistical gasbags should have the sense to shut up and sit down on this one. That McCain doesn't have the sense to do so is why he cannot be trusted anywhere near the WH.

Fresh Air said...


McCain: can't live with him......

......Pass the beer nuts.

Syl said...

I will not be happy about this until Risen and Sulzberger are sharing a cell at Leavenworth

Which brings me to another reason our national security was harmed by the leak. Remember the London bombings done by home grown British muslims? It was a shock because it wasn't foreigners.

There is a covenant between an Islamist and his home country. As long as you are not harrassed you do not turn against your own country with jihad. Participation in jihad should be directed elsewhere. (Remember the Butt interview? The Islamist jihadi recruiter said it would be a mistake for 'native' jihadis to attack inside Britain because they would then lose their 'protection'.)

This covenant is in the process of breaking down in America as well. In fact OBL considers the mere fact that Brits and Americans are fighting muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq an abbrogation of that contract. Though it wasn't until July of 2004 that native Islamists took jihadi action against Britain itself.

Any perception in Britain that the 'native' radical Islamists are being harrassed breaks down that covenant even further. Probably why Blair is trying to be such a dhimmi.

In America the Patriot Act could be considered somewhat of an abrogation, though it was not targeted directly at muslims. If there were racial profiling at airports, for example, that would have been a direct insult to them and proof that the contract was broken.

Up until recently, all American jihadi's who have been caught have been supporting the jihadi cause abroad rather inside America. (Foreign jihadis, on the other hand, have been caught attempting plots inside this country.)

Last fall a cell of American jihadis were arrested for a plot to attack synagogues, etc., in the LA area. AFAIK, that is the only American jihadi plot to attack inside the country.

The NSA surveillance is like a red flag waving under American jihadi noses. They are now being targetted along with the foreign jihadis who may be surveilled.

The covenant has been broken.

The hubris of Risen and Sulzberger to decide for themselves that what they printed would not harm national security shows their stupidity, their cultural blindness, and the depths of their partisan political hatred for the president.

They assume that the only reason Bush wants this program secret is that it is 'illegal', it would never cross their minds that the revelation will change the tactics of American jihadis.

Peter UK said...

It would be a mistake to attribute too rigid a set of rules to the jihad,the only real one is, whatever lets them win.
The other major ploy is deeming anything they wish a transgression,insult or attack on all of Islam,thus totally disparate countries can find themselves in conflict,viz Denmark and Palestine.

Syl said...

It would be a mistake to attribute too rigid a set of rules to the jihad,the only real one is, whatever lets them win.

Yes, in the end. But it is through fatwa's and the approval of religious leaders nonetheless.

And even though the jihadist leaders do their own version of judge shopping, they still follow the proclamations and decisions of the religious leaders to whom they plea.

Bin laden himself found a religious 'leader' to issue him permission to kill 4 million Americans, half of them children. OBL did not assert that figure on his own.

Peter UK said...

"Probably why Blair is trying to be such a dhimmi".

This is much to do with the way that our electoral system has been gerrymandered.
Blair's government is a minority government,in power because of its powerbase in Scotland,the fact that it takes more votes to elect any other MP than it does a Labour MP,and the absolute dependancy Labour has on the Muslim vote in England,if they lose some of the inner cities they are out.
To placate Muslim antagonism to the war in Iraq, Blair has had to grovel to various so called community leaders and offer concessions,a typical pol.
It is worth asking though,since our Muslim population is mainly from the Indian subcontinent,why they are involved with and Arab fundamentalist organisation,different race different language,different part of the world,the only commonality is religion.

Syl said...

the only commonality is religion.

Well, that's the whole damn enchilada, isn't it. :)