It is unfortunate if not a tragic failure of Bush supporters that the only two defenses they can come up with for Bush’s newest claims to dictator like powers are that if you do not let him shirk the law then you are in grave danger. If you support going through proper legal and legislative proceedings rather then presidential activism then you are pro terrorist. Simply put, conservatives think every American is a bed wetting coward who is not capable of thinking or acting rationally.
The program, however, is a significant departure from typical practice in how the government acquires Americans’ financial records. Treasury officials did not seek individual court-approved warrants or subpoenas to examine specific transactions, instead relying on broad administrative subpoenas for millions of records from the cooperative, known as Swift.
Once again conservatives refuse to or are not capable of facing the issue head on. It may be that the expansion of this program is necessary. Many Americans are willing, some all too willing to give up at least temporarily, some civil liberties if it means catching some of the bad guys. Though at this point after landing us in a tar pit in the middle-east that seems to have had two contradictory goals, acting as terrorists fly paper and at the same time saving the Iraqi people we all know that Bush and his administrations are not pillars of honor or integrity. With their well established track record of lies, half truths, spin and ineptitude the public is being asked to go along with another scheme hatched out of the light of the court and the people’s representatives. Historically this may remind people of many things, but the workings of an enlightened liberal democracy is not one of them.
Nearly 20 current and former government officials and industry executives discussed aspects of the Swift operation with The New York Times on condition of anonymity because the program remains classified. Some of those officials expressed reservations about the program, saying that what they viewed as an urgent, temporary measure had become permanent nearly five years later without specific Congressional approval or formal authorization.
Someone needs to come up with some kind of special scorecard to keep track of the hypocrisy of Bush and his supporters. For me at least the contradictions fly by so frequently it has become difficult to remember them all,
Intelligence officials paid particular attention to transfers to or from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates because most of the 9/11 hijackers were from those countries.
So Bush and his supporters who thought it was a great idea for the United Arab Emirates to control U.S. ports in ten different cities are the same people that warranted special intelligence observation, Bush, Congress clash over ports sale
“I don’t understand why it’s OK for a British company to operate our ports but not a company from the Middle East when we’ve already determined security is not an issue,” Bush told reporters aboard Air Force One after Frist urged the administration to block the deal.
The Bush administration argues the deal was properly approved and poses no security threat. Administration officials are scheduled to discuss the sale Thursday with the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the committee’s chairman, Sen. John Warner, R-Virginia.
If I were president I would be monitoring UAE banking transactions too, but it does seem that Bush thought that they were worthy of special observation whiles almost simultaneously thinking they would be perfect for running some American ports. Note that the deal was made and merely as an after thought they went to Congress to discuss it.
One cannot help wonder if a Democratic president had taken such an extraordinarily contradictory positions if the right-wing Bush apologists would be going out of their way to obscure the issues involved with skirting congressional and judicial oversight of his activities. Such pure unadulterated partisanship has at least served some good; it has exposed Bush supporters and their childish thumb sucking loyalty to a bankrupt and morally empty ideology. A political movement where party affiliation trumps loyalty to country and principals almost every time.
Surveillance Disclosure Denounced
“What we did was fully authorized under the law,” Bush said in an angry tone as he leaned forward in his chair and wagged his finger. “And the disclosure of this program is disgraceful. We’re at war with a bunch of people who want to hurt the United States of America, and for people to leak that program, and for a newspaper to publish it, does great harm to the United States of America.”
So leaks are bad. Bush is and has been steadfast is his condemnation of leaks. He is The Decider and Bush has decided leaks are harmful and those that leak should be held accountable, Libby Says President Authorized Leak of Classified Info, Contradicting Prior Bush Statements
According to court documents released in the Scooter Libby case, the former chief of staff to the Vice President received “the specific permission of President Bush” to leak a highly classified intelligence document:
Defendant testified that the Vice President later advised him that the President had authorized defendant to disclose the relevant portions of the NIE. Defendant testified that he also spoke to David Addington, then Counsel to the Vice President, whom defendant considered to be an expert in national security law, and Mr. Addington opined that Presidential authorization to publicly disclose a document amounted to a declassification of the document
Later in the WaPo article Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) sums up the issue,
“Allowing law enforcement to examine bank records in order to stop the flow of money to terrorists makes a lot of sense, and this program appears to allow for just that. The real question here, as with so many other programs run by this Administration, is whether they are obeying the laws we have on the books to protect Americans from unnecessary invasions of their privacy.”
What is this administration’s problem with Congressional oversight. We either have a democracy with three co-equal branches of government with each providing checks and balances on the other or we do not. The right-wing zealots, including Bush and Cheney can attack the messenger all day and try to obfuscate the issues involved or they can at least pretend to be responsible guardians of American values. They have obviously chosen the later.
The idea that Bush is incompetent is a curious one. Consider the following (incomplete) list of major initiatives the Bush administration, with a loyal conservative Congress, has accomplished:
* Centralizing power within the executive branch to an unprecedented degree
* Starting two major wars, one started with questionable intelligence and in a manner with which the military disagreed
* Placing on the Supreme Court two far-right justices, and stacking the lower federal courts with many more
* Cutting taxes during wartime, an unprecedented event
* Passing a number of controversial bills such as the PATRIOT Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, the Medicare Drug bill, the Bankruptcy bill and a number of massive tax cuts
* Rolling back and refusing to enforce a host of basic regulatory protections
* Appointing industry officials to oversee regulatory agencies
* Establishing a greater role for religion through faith-based initiatives
* Passing Orwellian-titled legislation assaulting the environment — “The Healthy Forests Act” and the “Clear Skies Initiative” — to deforest public lands, and put more pollution in our skies
* Winning re-election and solidifying his party’s grip on Congress
These aren’t signs of incompetence. As should be painfully clear, the Bush administration has been overwhelmingly competent in advancing its conservative vision. It has been all too effective in achieving its goals by determinedly pursuing a conservative philosophy.
It’s not Bush the man who has been so harmful, it’s the conservative agenda.
BY the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.
The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.
Concord Hymn by Ralph Waldo Emerson