Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Media finally starting to report the President's systematic lawbreaking

Expand Messages
  • Ram Lau
    http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/2006/04/media-finally-starting-to- report.html Sunday, April 30, 2006 Media finally starting to report the President s
    Message 1 of 1 , May 2, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/2006/04/media-finally-starting-to-
      report.html
      Sunday, April 30, 2006
      Media finally starting to report the President's systematic
      lawbreaking
      by Glenn Greenwald, author of How Would A Patriot Act
      (updated below)

      On March 24, 2006, The Boston Globe published an article by Charlie
      Savage reporting that the President, after signing into law the bill
      which renewed the Patriot Act, issued a "signing statement" making
      clear that "he did not consider himself bound" to comply with various
      reporting provisions in the law and therefore reserved the right to
      violate them. The article was extraordinary because it noted that the
      Patriot Act signing statement was merely "the latest in a string of
      high-profile instances in which Bush has cited his constitutional
      authority to bypass a law" -- and the article tied that ideology of
      lawlessness to, among other things, the President's deliberate
      violations of FISA when ordering warrantless eavesdropping on
      Americans.

      I discussed that Globe article in my book and described it as "an
      important milestone," because "it is one of the first truly
      comprehensive articles by an establishment media outlet to recognize
      the fact that the president has expressly seized the power to break
      the law, and is exercising that power enthusiastically and
      aggressively, in numerous ways." Once the reality of the president's
      claimed lawbreaking powers starts to be truly discussed in our
      national political dialogue, I believe there will finally be
      accountability for what this administration has done.

      The Globe has today published an even more sweeping and significant
      article, this one also by Savage, reporting as clearly and
      unambiguously as I have seen on the fact that the President not only
      believes that he has the right to break the law but has been
      exercising that right with staggering frequency, in almost every area
      of significance (h/t Jill):


      President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than
      750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the
      power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts
      with his interpretation of the Constitution.

      Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and
      regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that
      Congress be told about immigration services problems, ''whistle-
      blower" protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards
      against political interference in federally funded research.

      Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush's assertions that
      he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power
      at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the
      branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to
      Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty ''to
      take care that the laws be faithfully executed" . . .

      As has been clear from the beginning, and as Savage notes, the
      significance of the NSA scandal was never about eavesdropping. Its
      significance lay in the fact that the President got caught red-handed
      violating the law on purpose, because he believes he has the power to
      do so. To defend his conduct, the administration has been forced to
      parade those theories around out in the open, and as a result, it is
      only a matter of time before the public starts to realize how severe
      the crisis is that we have in our country:


      But with the disclosure of Bush's domestic spying program, in which
      he ignored a law requiring warrants to tap the phones of Americans,
      many legal specialists say Bush is hardly reluctant to bypass laws he
      believes he has the constitutional authority to override. . . .

      Many legal scholars say they believe that Bush's theory about his own
      powers goes too far and that he is seizing for himself some of the
      law-making role of Congress and the Constitution-interpreting role of
      the courts.

      Phillip Cooper, a Portland State University law professor who has
      studied the executive power claims Bush made during his first term,
      said Bush and his legal team have spent the past five years quietly
      working to concentrate ever more governmental power into the White
      House.

      ''There is no question that this administration has been involved in
      a very carefully thought-out, systematic process of expanding
      presidential power at the expense of the other branches of
      government," Cooper said. ''This is really big, very expansive, and
      very significant."

      For the first five years of Bush's presidency, his legal claims
      attracted little attention in Congress or the media. Then, twice in
      recent months, Bush drew scrutiny after challenging new laws: a
      torture ban and a requirement that he give detailed reports to
      Congress about how he is using the Patriot Act.


      It is not hyperbole to say that these actions and theories are as
      antithetical to democracy as can be. The country intensely debates
      all sorts of controversial issues (torture, Patriot Act renewal,
      eavesdropping powers); legislative compromises are reached by the
      American people through their Congress, often over the objections of
      the President; the President signs those bills into law -- and then
      he simply decrees that those laws are irrelevant because he has the
      power to violate them at will:


      Bush administration spokesmen declined to make White House or Justice
      Department attorneys available to discuss any of Bush's challenges to
      the laws he has signed.

      Instead, they referred a Globe reporter to their response to
      questions about Bush's position that he could ignore provisions of
      the Patriot Act. They said at the time that Bush was following a
      practice that has ''been used for several administrations" and
      that ''the president will faithfully execute the law in a manner that
      is consistent with the Constitution."

      But the words ''in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution"
      are the catch, legal scholars say, because Bush is according himself
      the ultimate interpretation of the Constitution. And he is quietly
      exercising that authority to a degree that is unprecedented in US
      history.

      Bush is the first president in modern history who has never vetoed a
      bill, giving Congress no chance to override his judgments. Instead,
      he has signed every bill that reached his desk, often inviting the
      legislation's sponsors to signing ceremonies at which he lavishes
      praise upon their work.

      Then, after the media and the lawmakers have left the White House,
      Bush quietly files ''signing statements" -- official documents in
      which a president lays out his legal interpretation of a bill for the
      federal bureaucracy to follow when implementing the new law. The
      statements are recorded in the federal register.

      In his signing statements, Bush has repeatedly asserted that the
      Constitution gives him the right to ignore numerous sections of the
      bills -- sometimes including provisions that were the subject of
      negotiations with Congress in order to get lawmakers to pass the
      bill. He has appended such statements to more than one of every 10
      bills he has signed.

      ''He agrees to a compromise with members of Congress, and all of them
      are there for a public bill-signing ceremony, but then he takes back
      those compromises -- and more often than not, without the Congress or
      the press or the public knowing what has happened," said Christopher
      Kelley, a Miami University of Ohio political science professor who
      studies executive power.


      The entire article -- which I highly recommending reading -- details
      the numerous instances in which Congress has passed laws banning
      certain conduct, the President has signed those bills into law, only
      for the President not only to reserve the right to violate those laws
      but to then order that those laws by violated, systematically and
      repeatedly. As the Globe article reports with startling clarity, to
      describe the state of affairs we have in our country is to describe,
      by definition, a state of authoritarian lawlessness. We literally
      have a President who has been saying for years, right out in the
      open, that he can act without regard to the law whenever he wants,
      and we need to repeat that fact - and prove it - over and over until
      that debate is finally had. The Globe article advances that objective
      significantly.

      It is not uncommon for a President to refrain from executing a law
      which he believes, and states, is unconstitutional. Other Presidents
      have invoked that doctrine, although Bush has done so far more
      aggressively and frequently. But what is uncommon - what is entirely
      unprecedented - is that the administration's theories of its own
      power arrogate unto itself not just the right to refrain from
      enforcing such laws, but to act in violation of those laws, to engage
      in the very conduct which those laws criminalize, and they do so
      secretly and deceitfully, after signing the law and pretending that
      they are engaged in the democratic process. That is why the President
      has never bothered to veto a law -- why bother to veto laws when you
      have the power to violate them at will?

      I have pointed out many times before that scandals which harm or
      bring down a presidency do not develop overnight. Americans have to
      really be persuaded that there is serious and deliberate wrongdoing
      in order to demand that meaningful action be taken. But that is
      clearly starting to happen, and the Globe and Charlie Savage should
      be congratulated for that rarest of acts -- journalists who are
      fulfilling their journalistic purpose by informing Americans as to
      what this government really is doing.

      UPDATE: One of the principal tactics used over the last five years by
      Bush defenders to transform the president, our public servant, into
      some sort of monarchical figure is the endless, craven effort to
      refer to him as "The Comamnder-in-Chief," in order to implicitly
      bestow upon him an aura of elevated, militaristic glory which renders
      not only disrespect towards the President, but also mere criticism of
      him, somehow inappropriate, even unpatriotic. In that regard, it was
      extremely refreshing to see Stephen Colbert's stand-up routine last
      night (video here - transcript here) at the White House
      Correspondent's Dinner. Pam Spaulding provides an excellent
      discussion of that event, as does Joe Gandelman.

      As Pam notes, a commenter at the site of Jonah's mom, Lucianne
      Goldberg, said that "Steve Colbert was utterly disgusting. . . He was
      rude, snarky and unpatriotic toward the President and First Lady."
      One can be unpatriotic towards one's country, but not to the Leader,
      and certainly not by expresing criticism of the Leader, even to his
      face. The efforts to shield the President from criticisms of any sort
      has been one of the most significant factors enabling the lawbreaking
      pathology of this president, who clearly has come to see himself as a
      shielded king. The belief that an American citizen is unpatriotic by
      virtue of criticizing and opposing the president is one of the most
      pernicious ideas to take hold in some time. What Colbert did took
      real courage and - like Savage - he should be commended for reminding
      us of the kind of country we are supposed to have, and the kind of
      country we aren't supposed to have and, until this administration,
      never had.

      posted by Glenn Greenwald | 11:11 AM

      325 Comments:
      Morros said...
      I wouldn't be surprised if that reporter reads this blog. With
      articles like that along with the success of your book, these issues
      can no longer be supressed. Let Americans hear what this
      administration is!

      12:37 PM
      Anonymous said...
      The fact is, Bush is RIGHT. He can act however he wishes as long as
      Congress refuses to act on removing him. What's going to stop him?
      DeLay's friends or Frist? Don't be silly.

      12:46 PM
      Anonymous said...
      Anonymous is right, but only up to a point. That point is public
      awareness. Once the gravity of the situation solidifies as a media
      narrative, the situation will be resolved through elections. Approval
      ratings in th low 30's are not the result of any particular issue,
      not even the war. They are the result of a growing public awareness
      of the nature of the administration's policies, and people don't like
      them.

      12:58 PM
      Shooter242 said...
      From the Globe...
      The bill contained several oversight provisions intended to make sure
      the FBI did not abuse the special terrorism-related powers to search
      homes and secretly seize papers. The provisions require Justice
      Department officials to keep closer track of how often the FBI uses
      the new powers and in what type of situations. Under the law, the
      administration would have to provide the information to Congress by
      certain dates.

      Or to put another way, Congress wants to be informed of all
      intelligence procedures to micromanage the intelligence appartus, and
      generally fish around for information to use politically while
      simultaneously informing the opposition of our efforts. The best part
      of all this is the lead position taken by "Leaky Leahy" ....

      Leahy Was Forced To Resign From The Senate Intelligence Committee
      After Leaking Information On The Iran-Contra Investigation. "Sen.
      Patrick Leahy's admission that he resigned from the Intelligence
      Committee this year for 'carelessly' exposing the panel's draft
      report on the Iran-Contra investigation comes at a time of increased
      political tension over the issue of leaks to the news media." (George
      Lobsenz, UPI, 7/29/87)

      Once again the difinitive quote regarding this situation is provided
      by the ubiquitous Senator Schumer.....
      "Even a child knows that if a person can't keep a secret, stop
      telling them secrets,

      12:58 PM
      PhD9 said...
      I fear that the President is operating under the "oh yea, you and
      who's army?" theory of governance. It's as if he thinks that as long
      as he's commander in cheif of the armed forces, then there's NOBODY
      who can stop him from doing whatever he wants.

      1:00 PM
      Fred Bieling said...
      It's been a long time since we've had any kind of Constitutional
      Amendment, and of course they're not the kind of thing that should be
      tossed out there in Congress everyday, but it seems that there needs
      to be some kind of movement for a Constitutional Amendment limiting
      (if not outright abolishing) these signing statements.

      1:08 PM
      ocdemocrat said...
      "As the Globe article reports with startling clarity, to describe the
      state of affairs we have in our country is to describe, by
      definition, a state of authoritarian lawlessness".

      And to add insult to injury, King George thinks he is a "benevolent"
      king( I say despot) brought to this position thru and for the grace
      of God.

      Over the last 5 years, no one has looked more like the anti-christ
      than our poor, pathetic, and delusional head of this country.

      1:19 PM
      databaz said...
      Shooter

      If you have a problem with laws regarding keeping Congress informed,
      fine, have the laws changed. The answer is not for the leader of the
      Country to break the law. Jesus Christ, what happened to the
      conservatives love for the rule of law?!

      1:23 PM
      Glenn Greenwald said...
      If you have a problem with laws regarding keeping Congress informed,
      fine, have the laws changed. The answer is not for the leader of the
      Country to break the law. Jesus Christ, what happened to the
      conservatives love for the rule of law?

      That has been one of the most eye-opening aspects of having this
      blog - when you point out that the President is violating various
      laws, his defenders will come and argue that the laws he is violating
      aren't very good laws - as though the President should be able to
      unilaterally break whatever laws he doesn't like and then argue
      afterwards that the laws he violated were bad laws.

      Thus, the President is going to violate the Patriot Act's reporting
      provisions because those reporting provisions shouldn't have been in
      that law. It's truly amazing how commonplace that argument has
      become - they don't seem to realize that they are endorsing a form of
      authoritarian anarchy by defneding it.

      Stripped to their essence, that is their core defense in the NSA
      scandal, too - that the President violated FISA because FISA is too
      restrictive of a law. Their faith in the Goodness of this President
      really is so absolute that they trust him to do anything, including
      break the laws whenever he deems it wise and just to do so.

      1:28 PM
      Dread Scot said...
      One of the biggest obstacles to be overcome is the doctrine of 'fair
      and balanced', under which any media criticism of Bush or the
      Republican party is automatically classified as liberal bias and
      suspect, if not immediately dismissed. Even Americans who are not
      fanatic Bush cultists have been persuaded to believe that the press
      is acting disrespectfully and irresponsibly when they question or
      criticize the president.

      The essential functions of a free press in a democratic society are:
      1. To check the ability of the government to lie by informing the
      public what the government is actually doing, as opposed to what it
      says it's doing. Bush calls this the 'media filter'.
      2. To check the ability of the government to keep secret information
      it is in the public interest to reveal. Bush calls this 'giving aid
      and comfort to the enemy'.

      The idea that at least 51% of media coverage must be pro-
      administration, pro-ruling party (90% or better in the case of Bush
      supporters) regardless of the underlying reality is a truly bizarre
      notion to accept, much less assert in a society that considers itself
      democratic. Until we can get past that nonsense, accountability is
      going to be more or less a fantasy.

      1:32 PM
      Soaring Patriotic Eagel said...
      The liberal bias of Colbert and his apologists here is sickening.
      Those who insult our president to this degree should be in jail.
      Liberal bias should be illegal. NOT FUNNY, Mr. COLBERT!

      1:36 PM
      Hank Essay said...
      Lucianne Goldberg talking about showing respect to an American
      President and his wife...

      Now that is rich...Very rich...

      Not sure whether I should laugh or cry...

      ---

      1:37 PM
      Freedom From Liberal Bias said...
      Yes, like all liberals you will scrub any comments offering balance
      in this forum. Listen up: MOST AMERICANS SUPPORT OUR PRESIDENT. They
      might not all like him, like liberal polls purport, but they stand
      behind him and the USA. If he is going to hurt some terrorist
      feelings and the ACLU to catch them and keep us safe, I say HURRAH.
      We don't care about the rights of terrorists and criminals, not the
      way liberals do.

      1:39 PM
      databaz said...
      Yet they can do a complete 180 and lecture illegal immigrants on how
      respect for the law is soooo important in this Country.

      Listen up Pedro! We are a nation of laws not men. Ya just can't
      ignore the laws you don't like (immigration regulations) and obey the
      ones you do! That what makes this Country great! No ones above the
      law! Now down Mexico way, it's the rule of Man, not laws. He with the
      power makes the laws. Not here buddy. This is the good ole USA.

      1:39 PM
      AltHippo said...
      I followed the links on the Lucianne Goldberg quote. It appears to be
      one of her commenters, and not her.

      After reading your post and watching the C&L clip on the Colbert bit,
      it occurred to me that this is the most prolonged exposure to
      criticism Bush has had during his time in office. I think this makes
      the clip poignant. The White House press corps gave Bush his "Mission
      Accomplished" moment. Colbert had to point out to them, and to the
      president, that no, it was a "Misery Accomplished" moment.

      1:40 PM
      loser said...
      The 'our C-in-C' thing is definitely bizzare, especially when used by
      people who have never been in the military.

      It's pretty damn simple: I have never served in the military,
      therefore no president has ever been MY C-in-C. We don't live in
      Lybia or North Korea.

      1:41 PM
      Anonymous said...
      Liberal bias in the media is a cancer. We must stamp it out to
      preserve free thought and honest debate.

      1:41 PM
      Disenchanted Dave said...
      That Globe article is great. Slate has a fair number of good articles
      on Bush's systematic lawbreaking, but nothing this comprehensive. And
      I'm not sure they count as part of the Mainstream Media anyway, since
      they're online. I don't read enough of the mainstream media anymore
      to know how every organization handles Bush's lawbreaking, but from
      what I've seen, Glenn is right that most don't bother to connect the
      dots.

      PS I LOVED Colbert last night. As the post you linked to said, he
      really deserves the brass balls award (or some gender-neutral
      equivalent--brass guts award?) for saying all those things while Bush
      was in the room. Hopefully he won't be assassinated or anything.

      1:42 PM
      the cynic librarian said...
      C-Span is re-running the event at which Colbert gave his schtick on
      Bush--or is that Bush on a schtick?

      Colbert should be on the podium about 1:25 pm ET.

      1:42 PM
      "Hypatia" said...
      To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that
      we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only
      unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American
      public. (1918)

      Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States

      1:43 PM
      Disenchanted Dave said...
      Does anyone want to speculate on whether "Soaring Patriotic Eagel
      [sic]" is serious or being sarcastic?

      1:44 PM
      Phoenix Woman said...
      Remember, Lucianne Goldberg -- Jonah's mother, and the the person
      accusing Stephen Colbert of being "unpatriotic" in his comedy skit
      about Bush and the GOP/Media Complex -- is the SAME PERSON who told
      the New York Press tabloid that Bill Clinton was "finger-fucking" his
      own daughter Chelsea:
      (http://www.salon.com/politics/feature/2002/04/17/wimps/index.html
      and scroll halfway down)

      1:44 PM
      Phoenix Woman said...
      Arrrgh! Link didn't work. Try, try again --

      --------

      Remember, Lucianne Goldberg -- Jonah's mother, and the the person
      accusing Stephen Colbert of being "unpatriotic" in his comedy skit
      about Bush and the GOP/Media Complex -- is the SAME PERSON who told
      the New York Press tabloid that Bill Clinton was "finger-fucking" his
      own daughter Chelsea:
      (click here and scroll halfway down)

      1:47 PM
      FungiFromYuggoth said...
      Leaking sensitive information to make a political point is fairly
      common in Washington - and I'll point out that Karl Rove still has
      his security clearance.

      However, it is illegal to use classification to block evidence of a
      crime.

      We're in a position right now where Congress doesn't know where
      billions (with a b) of dollars of the money spent in Iraq are going.
      If Congress loses the power of the purse, what's left of checks and
      balances?

      Some secrets are necessary for a government to function, but
      execessive secrecy leads to groupthink, asscovering, and abuse. I'd
      say whatever Schumer did in Iran-Contra couldn't have done nearly the
      damage to national security that Bush did by invading Iraq. If there
      had been more of an open debate, and certain Democrats had been less
      interested in sabotaging the country's self-interest to stand by
      Bush, we would be in a much beter position right now.

      1:47 PM
      Thor Likes Pizza said...
      Like any staged drama, the play works only when each of the actors
      faithfully plays their part.

      I am not surprised at the executive branch greedily grasping power.
      The folk pulling the executive's strings are playing hteir part.

      "If the president does it, it is not illegal"

      I am surprised (somewhat) at the craven congress caving in. The
      congress is not playing their part.

      Of course, they will become quite adept at memorizing their lines
      when we get a democratic executive.

      Oh, I fully expect the worn out canards of the rule of law and the
      like to be dragged out then.

      We can only hope that the corporate media realizes what is at stake
      here and play their part. They, too, have not read or executed their
      script.

      One problem is that, while the major players are fumbling for their
      scripts, the audience is thinning out and lining up at the coat check
      booth.

      Oh - one more major player that seemingly forgot their script - the
      American electorate. Yes, you can reasonably say that the 2000 and
      2004 elections were stolen but, c'mon - the elections should have
      never been close enough to steal!

      1:48 PM
      Myra said...
      Glenn, I'm very new to your blog. I'm eagerly promoting your book.

      I do hope you have one or two very close to you who can help you stay
      on track. FAME can be just as addictive as power. That's my only
      concern.

      1:50 PM
      Glenn Greenwald said...
      I followed the links on the Lucianne Goldberg quote. It appears to be
      one of her commenters, and not her.

      You're right. Thanks. I fixed that in the post.

      1:55 PM
      Dread Scot said...
      The most insidious affect of of accepting the fair and balanced
      doctrine is the implicit assumption that balance always exists. This
      leads people to believe that for any criticism of Bush or the
      Republican party, there must exist an argument in support of them
      that has at *least* equal validity. Once this is accepted, the burden
      of supporting or even making such an argument is essentially removed.
      Any assertion, no matter how spurious or entirely unsupportable will
      do. Even if no such argument is presented, people will infer it's
      existence on their own. The stronger the argument you present, the
      stronger the counter-argument is assumed to be.

      1:55 PM
      Barry Champlain said...
      "Lucianne Goldberg, said that 'Steve Colbert was utterly
      disgusting. . . He was rude, snarky and unpatriotic toward the
      President and First Lady.' One can be unpatriotic towards one's
      country, but not to the Leader..."



      You missed the Pick Hit Of The Week, here...

      How the hell can you be "unpatriotic toward the... First
      Lady"?!?!?!?!?

      Elected by the people, was she? Gives a whole new spin to the Clinton
      thing about buy one, get one free. Only this time, she becomes
      Official.

      When the police state is complete, will intemperate remarks about
      Pickles earn you a trip to Gitmo?

      1:57 PM
      Anonymous said...
      shooter, bart says he doesn't spend much time on blogs. He's only on
      this one.

      What other blogs are you on? Seems you do spend a lot of time here.
      As soon as Glenn posts a new topic, sure enough, shooter cannot be
      far behind.

      You don't have to spend time on the NFL draft?

      Great. Glad to see this is a full time endeavor for you.

      Now, what other blogs do you write on?

      1:59 PM
      Myra said...
      It took a constitutional law attorney with just the right approach to
      make this book a success. Refraining from cataloging all the sins of
      the administration is it's great strength; no mention of Katrina,
      budgetary issues, Iraq or alienation of other countries.

      Only a highly focused book could do the job.

      2:00 PM
      Armagednoutahere said...
      Anonymous said...
      Liberal bias in the media is a cancer. We must stamp it out to
      preserve free thought and honest debate.

      We must stamp it out to preserve free thought and honest debate.

      The ability to mutually exclusive thoughts in a single sentence is an
      art mastered by Bush extremists. They seem to have no problem with
      hypocrisy either. It's rampant among the right-wing droolers.

      Stamping out ideas you disagree with to preserve free thought. What a
      concept.

      I see several posts this morning from some new righties. Eagel? I
      don't know D-Dave, if that guys for real or not. if s/he is for real,
      s/he's pretty typical of the foaming-at-the-mouth Limbaugh Army. None
      too bright and plenty of it.

      2:04 PM
      the cynic librarian said...
      Dread scot: You really do home in on the gist of Glenn's post. The
      press performance or lack thereof is paramount in addressing these
      abuses. By pinpointing some of the assumptions that the public makes
      about how fair the press should be to the President and the honor and
      respect due his office you focus on those limits that the Bush spin
      machine exploits so well.

      I'm having a tough time wrapping my head around these points right
      now. But what I can say so far is that what Glenn says and writes
      about must be driven down to the common person's level as much as
      possible. Granted, Glenn is a wonderful writer and his explanations
      and logic are startling in their clarity and forthrightness.

      Still, the common person who has little time to deal with such
      clarity needs further and further emphasis from the Press. This is
      what they expect--they expect, in their private worlds, the Press and
      Congress to tend and protect the faith that they give to the
      government.

      That this faith has been betrayed by the executive branch is
      apparent. That the Congress continues to abet that betrayal is also
      baldly obvious. That the press, however, does so is astounding.

      Why do I say this? It is because if there's one thing that many
      Americans expect from the press is their vigilance in unveiling
      breaches of the public faith by the government.

      I remember someone telling me, "Do you really think that the govt.
      could do these things {like lying and over-reaching constituional
      powers) without it getting into the news?"

      It is that public faith that the press will do its job and vigilantly
      report abuses of power and the public trust that we must now
      question. Question and alert the public to the fact that the press
      has been co-opted by a lazy style and way of working that has led to
      their going to sleep at the wheel.

      Betrayal all around seems the dish of the day. I think Glenn is
      right, however, in noting that not all in the press have betrayed the
      faith the public gives them. In doing so, I hope that the press will
      find some spirit to emulate Glenn's own courage and sacrifice and
      wake from their slumber.

      2:07 PM
      Shoes Of Peace said...
      Soaring Patriotic Eagel said...
      The liberal bias of Colbert and his apologists here is sickening.
      Those who insult our president to this degree should be in jail.
      Liberal bias should be illegal. NOT FUNNY, Mr. COLBERT!

      Mr. Colbert has no liberal bias! He's a neo-neocon. Silly.

      Freedom From Liberal Bias said...
      Yes, like all liberals you will scrub any comments offering balance
      in this forum. Listen up: MOST AMERICANS SUPPORT OUR PRESIDENT.

      Have you seen the POLLS lately?

      Anonymous said...
      Liberal bias in the media is a cancer. We must stamp it out to
      preserve free thought and honest debate.

      Mr. Colbert, is that you?

      2:08 PM
      questionmark said...
      Most Americans support the president, as long as you count the voices
      in the heads of Bush's few remaining supporters as full votes.

      2:11 PM
      Anonymous said...
      Since the President is asserting that his role as Commander-in-Chief
      protects him when he breaks the law, wouldn't he lose that protection
      when he leaves office? Wouldn't he then be liable for each violation
      whose statute of limitations had not yet passed?

      2:16 PM
      Anonymous said...
      The President and First Lady, personify the country, especially in
      time of war. Respectful and deferential disagreement is one thing,
      but overt disrespect is definitely unpatriotic and should not be
      tolerated.

      Also the Globe article is hysterical and without any foundation.

      2:17 PM
      Anonymous said...
      "What Colbert did took real courage and..."

      Really, that's your threshold for defining courage?

      2:26 PM
      Anonymous said...
      loser--I have never served in the military, therefore no president
      has ever been MY C-in-C.

      loser your thinking is so last century it's almost pre-historic.
      This is a nation at war and since it's a war against terrorism and
      there has been a signing statement declaring this war permanent that
      means we are all in the military and the President is our C-in-C.

      Terrorism is like anthrax. It could pop up anywhere so every citizen
      has to be moblized.

      Stop making these fine distinctions. You're in the army now, son.

      Whee. This is great. Love it, love it, love it. No more laws for
      anyone because since the Constitution says all men are equal under
      the law it means that this new "no laws" policy applies to everyone
      equally.

      This is gr-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-at.

      Party like it's the end-times, dudes. All's fair in love and war.

      2:27 PM
      Anonymous said...
      Anything to keep them from having to talk about socio-economic
      issues, right glenn?

      SOUND LIKE ANYONE ELSE WE KNOW?

      2:28 PM
      Shoes Of Peace said...
      Soaring Patriotic Eagel:

      Sorry, but I must tell you that THIS is the proper way to spell Eagel:

      EAGLE

      Here's how you say it in Cherokee:

      WOHALI

      Also, Anonymous said...
      The President and First Lady, personify the country, especially in
      time of war. Respectful and deferential disagreement is one thing,
      but overt disrespect is definitely unpatriotic and should not be
      tolerated.

      They do NOT personify MY country! They lie, steal and destroy. They
      are my enemy!

      Now go put THAT in your pipe and smoke it.

      2:28 PM
      marcus alrealius alrightus said...
      We are heading for what I think will be a necessary but painful
      showdown the Bush administration.

      What I am wondering about is that if things fall in the favor of the
      American public, and we end up with a Democratic majority in the
      House, and we go through the necessary legal proceedings to remove
      the president. Will Bush try to find a way not to honor them? I know
      this line of thought is out in tin-foil hat territory but given
      current behavior of the White House I can't imagine them easily
      ceding power.

      2:28 PM
      the cynic librarian said...
      This post has been removed by the author.

      2:29 PM
      the cynic librarian said...
      In their coverage of the Colbert diatribe (in the classical sense),
      Editors and Publishers notes the acerbic remarks directed at the
      press:

      Also lampooning the press, Colbert complained that he was "surrounded
      by the liberal media who are destroying this country, except for Fox
      News. Fox believes in presenting both sides of the story — the
      president's side and the vice president's side." He also reflected on
      the alleged good old days, when the media was still swallowing the
      WMD story.

      Addressing the reporters, he said, "Let's review the rules. Here's
      how it works. The president makes decisions, he's the decider. The
      press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the
      press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Put them
      through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again.
      Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in
      your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter
      with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know--
      fiction." [my emphasis]

      Now that's calling a spade a spade!

      2:31 PM
      Roddy McCorley said...
      Unpatriotic to the president. Hmmmm.... Reminds me of a bit
      from "Laugh-in" way back when. Arte Johnson had character who was
      from the Soviet Union. One of the cast says, "You know, here in
      America, we are free to stand in the street and yell 'Nixon is an
      idiot!'" Johnson's character answers, "Is the same in Soviet Union.
      We are also free to stand in the street and yell 'Nixon is an idiot!'"

      No, it wasn't funnier then. But I never thought it would be
      applicable to this country.

      2:38 PM
      Anonymous said...
      shoes of peace:

      They do NOT personify MY country! They lie, steal and destroy. They
      are my enemy!


      And this statement makes you what? Can you say enemy combatant?

      2:39 PM
      Shoes Of Peace said...
      Anonymous said...
      shoes of peace:
      They do NOT personify MY country! They lie, steal and destroy. They
      are my enemy!
      And this statement makes you what? Can you say enemy combatant?

      No, anon. It makes you AND YOUR PRESIDENT the enemy combatant.
      Do you UNDERSTAND?

      2:45 PM
      Nuf Said said...
      Soaring Patriotic Eagel said...
      "The liberal bias of Colbert and his apologists here is sickening.
      Those who insult our president to this degree should be in jail.
      Liberal bias should be illegal. NOT FUNNY, Mr. COLBERT! "

      No one here is an apologist for Mr. Colbert. We champion him for
      telling the truth.

      The law against insulting our president was passed when?
      So you believe in jailing people who have not broken any laws.
      Do you consider yourself an American ?

      The president is an adult in body so he should be able to take a
      joke. If he wasn't such a joke of a president, he wouldn't be such an
      easy mark (and Colbert hit every single mark).

      2:46 PM
      Patriot Daily said...
      The boston articles reviews 750 laws Bush plans to violate. We posted
      weeks ago dozens of laws that Bush actually violated in March 2006 to
      show that another impeachment ground should be added as a serial law
      breaker or habitual offender.
      Bush's Impeachment As Serial Law Violator

      2:48 PM
      Anonymous said...
      nuf said:
      The law against insulting our president was passed when?

      Read US Code TITLE 18 PART I CHAPTER 41 § 871

      2:50 PM
      MEC said...
      So now, finally, it's news that Bush thinks he doesn't have to obey
      the law. Geeze louise. He's been breaking laws since January 2001. If
      the news media had paid attention and acknowledged the implications
      then, we wouldn't have Bush to kick around now.

      2:52 PM
      weldon berger said...
      The Globe story is superb. Credit for the first bite at this apple,
      though, really should go to Knight Ridder's Ron Hutcheson, who first
      identified the scope of the problem in January in connection with
      McCain's anti-torture amendment, and who came up with a perfectly
      iconic example:

      "In 2003, lawmakers tried to get a handle on Bush's use of signing
      statements by passing a Justice Department spending bill that
      required the department to inform Congress whenever the
      administration decided to ignore a legislative provision on
      constitutional grounds.

      Bush signed the bill, but issued a statement asserting his right to
      ignore the notification requirement."

      Please forgive the following bit of bloggy narcissism: I wrote about
      it at the time, remarking that "the upshot of this is that until
      someone gets around to challenging the White House, Congress is just
      an advisory body with the authority to dole out bucketloads of cash.
      For now, we have a coup." At the time I thought Congress actually
      controlled where the money went, but of course even that's not true.

      2:53 PM
      MOBlue said...
      Soaring Patriotic Eagel said...
      The liberal bias of Colbert and his apologists here is sickening.
      Those who insult our president to this degree should be in jail.
      Liberal bias should be illegal. NOT FUNNY, Mr. COLBERT!

      Can we also jail every Neocon, Conservative and Right Wing Republican
      and their apologists that insulted Clinton when he was president.

      Maybe, we should also go back and declare that our founding fathers
      were criminals because they insulted their ruling Monarch at the time.

      This country was founded on dissent. Now some people want to portray
      dissent as un-American and criminal. Maybe, they should go back and
      study history and our current Constitution.

      2:57 PM
      Patriot Daily said...
      ok, messed up link. correct link is
      http://www.patriotdaily.com/bm/blog/bushs-impeachment-as-seri.shtml

      2:59 PM
      Anonymous said...
      it was actually good that people didn't laugh, that would have
      reduced it to a "roast". It was more biting that way. In any case, at
      bottom this stuff isn't funny, but humor seems our only way to deal
      with it.

      3:01 PM
      orionATL said...
      the helen thomas bit was the best.

      that says where colbert's chief concern is and who his target was --

      stalked by the oldest, physically slowest reporter in washington.

      while other reporters were at home writing their new novel about a
      fearless reporter.

      i guess colbert won't be eating any more cocktail weenies at the
      white house.

      3:02 PM
      Barry Champlain said...
      "... overt disrespect is definitely unpatriotic and should not be
      tolerated."



      Ah, it begins.

      Please lay out the penalties which you feel should be imposed on such
      miscreants, who would dare be disrespectful to the First Lady in time
      of (perpetual) war.





      Bonus story:

      A radio newsperson of my acquaintance revealed to me this morning
      that her boss was accosted this week by a very incensed and arrogant
      listener.

      Well, ex-listener, apparently. She was outraged beyond belief that
      this newsperson had dared to report on the newscast the fact that
      Bush's approval ratings had slipped into the low 30's.

      And again... "the facts are biased".

      The facts were, said the outraged ex-listener in all
      seriousness, "giving aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war". *

      Stephen Colbert can only be described as a "satirist", as long as his
      conventions and schtick remain fictitious. When reality catches up...
      well, we're in a whole lotta trouble, I suspect.





      * (In all fairness to that angry woman, I suppose it is indeed quite
      possible for Osama Binladen to plug a computer into the same power
      strip as his dialysis machine, and acquire superhuman military
      talents from listening to "Big Jay and Anita in the Morning"..! :-)

      3:03 PM
      Shoes Of Peace said...
      Anonymous said: nuf said:
      The law against insulting our president was passed when?

      Read US Code TITLE 18 PART I CHAPTER 41 § 871

      § 871. Threats against President and successors to the Presidency
      Release date: 2005-08-03

      (a) Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the
      mail or for a delivery from any post office or by any letter carrier
      any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing
      any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm
      upon the President of the United States, the President-elect, the
      Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to
      the office of President of the United States, or the Vice President-
      elect, or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat
      against the President, President-elect, Vice President or other
      officer next in the order of succession to the office of President,
      or Vice President-elect, shall be fined under this title or
      imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

      Main Entry: 2in·sult
      Pronunciation: 'in-"s<
      Function: noun
      1 : a gross indignity
      2 : injury to the body or one of its parts; also : something that
      causes or has a potential for causing such insult

      Main Entry: 1threat
      Pronunciation: 'thret
      Function: noun
      Etymology: Middle English thret coercion, threat, from Old English
      thrEat coercion; akin to Middle High German drOz annoyance, Latin
      trudere to push, thrust
      1 : an expression of intention to inflict evil, injury, or damage
      2 : one that threatens
      3 : an indication of something impending

      Anonymous, have you read the BIBLE lately, dear?

      3:04 PM
      Nuf Said said...
      Anon 2:50
      Thanks for the link.
      (a) Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the
      mail or for a delivery from any post office or by any letter carrier
      any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing
      any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm
      upon the President of the United States..."

      Now, where does it say you cannot insult the president?
      You are incorrect in your belief that it is against the law to insult
      the president.
      In fact, it is quite entertaining, as this
      >clip proves.

      3:05 PM
      the cynic librarian said...
      barry: Please lay out the penalties which you feel should be imposed
      on such miscreants, who would dare be disrespectful to the First Lady
      in time of (perpetual) war.

      Let's get Medieval on their asses. I believe the medieval penalty for
      speaking nasty about power was ripping out their tongues. Let it be
      so...

      3:06 PM
      PhD9 said...
      >Will Bush try to find a way not to honor them? I know this line of
      thought is out in tin-foil hat territory but given current behavior
      of the White House I can't imagine them easily ceding power.<

      You don't need a tin-foil hat to wonder what would compel GW Bush to
      obey any court order.

      3:08 PM
      Shoes Of Peace said...
      Rip out our tongues and the ROCKS would cry out!

      (Okay, that was MUCH too serious. Time to go watch Mr. Colbert again.
      Or maybe I'll go read Mr. Franken.)

      3:15 PM
      Shoes Of Peace said...
      In this case, I suppose you'd have to cut off our fingers.

      (O, that was a good one.)

      3:17 PM
      Anonymous said...
      Shoes of peace:
      Read US Code TITLE 18 PART I CHAPTER 41 § 871

      [deletia]

      Yeah right! And calling the President an enemy combatant shows such
      benign intent on your part towards the President.

      3:19 PM
      Nuf Said said...
      Shoes!
      I was about to make a comparison to the bible re: anon and his/her
      desire to jail those who would disrespect those anointed by god, but
      you beat me to it.

      3:22 PM
      Anonymous said...
      moblue:

      Can we also jail every Neocon, Conservative and Right Wing Republican
      and their apologists that insulted Clinton when he was president.


      Clinton was a sickening pervert who disgraced the Office of the
      Presidency by his personal actions in that very office. Your
      comparison is absurd.

      3:23 PM
      Thor Likes Pizza said...
      I recall bush joking about finding WMDs in the oval office (not
      finding them, really)

      I recall the esteemed members of our bought-and-sold corporate media
      laughing at the clown-in-chief's antics.

      I recall the esteemed members of our legislative bodies laughing as
      well.

      What a bunch of soulless pricks! They and their enablers are traitors
      to any dream of democracy.

      Some of their enablers are on this board. They are the same ones that
      say that Colbert should be ashamed, Colbert is showing disrespect,
      Colbert is being 'unpatriotic'.

      Of course, to laugh about the elite lying their way into war, obscene
      profits and the deaths of thousands is, I presume, 'patriotic'?

      Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

      3:24 PM
      ender said...
      Disenchanted Dave said...

      Does anyone want to speculate on whether "Soaring Patriotic Eagel
      [sic]" is serious or being sarcastic?

      He is deadly serious that I can promise you. I have seen his moniker
      and his posts on other sites and he is a hard core fascist wannabe. A
      complete mental midget.. one to be avoided at all costs.

      3:25 PM
      Shoes Of Peace said...
      Anonymous said...

      Shoes of peace:
      Read US Code TITLE 18 PART I CHAPTER 41 § 871

      [deletia]

      Yeah right! And calling the President an enemy combatant shows such
      benign intent on your part towards the President.

      anon, other than the fact that I preach Bush and his administration's
      IMPEACHMENT, you got NOTHIN'....now, about that Bible-reading,
      anon......

      3:25 PM
      the cynic librarian said...
      anon: And calling the President an enemy combatant shows such benign
      intent on your part towards the President.

      Now we really are getting into the shit. Not only are the Bushite
      thought police going after those who voice their views in writing and
      audio, now they're playing Freud and reading our thoughts. Watch out
      folks--it's Orwell's nightmare come true.

      I'll have to look up that beautiful description Orwell gives of how
      one must not only act and speak in conformity to the party line, they
      must also think the party line.

      3:28 PM
      Shoes Of Peace said...
      Nuf Said said...

      Shoes!
      I was about to make a comparison to the bible re: anon and his/her
      desire to jail those who would disrespect those anointed by god, but
      you beat me to it.

      Nuf, there are those who are truly annointed, like the Prophets, for
      example, and those that only PROFESS to be annointed, like the
      Pharisees ::::subliminal message BUSH subliminal message::::, for
      example.

      3:32 PM
      the cynic librarian said...
      From the newspeak dictionary:

      The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of
      expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the
      devotees of IngSoc, but to make all other modes of thought
      impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once
      and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought -- that is, a
      thought diverging from the principles of IngSoc -- should be
      literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on
      words. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often
      very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could
      properly wish to express, while excluding all other meaning and also
      the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was
      done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating
      undesirable words and stripping such words as remained of unorthodox
      meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meaning whatever.

      3:37 PM
      Cakesniffer said...
      Jeebus, Glenn, you've hit the big time. You have more knuckle-
      dragging trolls than Atrios.

      You have to wonder: as it becomes clearer and clearer that the
      chimperor is a common criminal, will the apologists get louder, get
      even more ridiculous, or finally admit they were wrong?

      I'm thinking they won't admit they were wrong.

      3:38 PM
      Shoes Of Peace said...
      Cynic Librarian, I'm especially fond of this passage, too:

      There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched
      at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police
      plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even
      conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate
      they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to
      live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the
      assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in
      darkness, every movement scrutinized.


      Here's a link to the whole book:
      http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/1984
      /-literature.com/orwell/1984/

      3:39 PM
      ender said...
      Anonymous said...

      it was actually good that people didn't laugh, that would have
      reduced it to a "roast". It was more biting that way. In any case, at
      bottom this stuff isn't funny, but humor seems our only way to deal
      with it.

      Yeah "they" weren't laughing because, with the exception of Thomas
      and maybe a handful of others, everyone in that room sat convicted.
      They should have been embarrassed and ashamed and I hope at least
      some of them were.

      3:40 PM
      Shoes Of Peace said...
      Oops! I mean:

      http://www.online-literature.com/
      orwell/1984/

      3:44 PM
      Dread Scot said...
      "What Colbert did took real courage and..."

      Really, that's your threshold for defining courage?

      The right now defines a coward and a traitor as someone who stands up
      to power and defies authority. By this standard the lone student who
      blocked the tanks advancing on Tiananmen Square was a traitor and a
      coward. The real courageous patriots and heroes were the soldiers in
      the tanks and the leaders who ordered them to open fire. It's no
      longer a fringe right wing idea that our government should deal with
      liberals the same way the Chinese dealt with theirs.

      Americans have traditionally had a reverence for those who are
      willing to stand against the odds. Our fiction is replete with such
      heroes, and given the ideals which founded the nation, that should be
      no surprise. That seems to have given over to something very
      different now, something that was never supposed to be able to happen
      here.

      3:45 PM
      Hume's Ghost said...
      From the Boston Globe:

      President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than
      750 laws enacted since he took office

      In the Declaration of Independence, the first grievance listed
      against King George III is:

      He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary
      for the public good.

      On a fundamental level, this nation was founded as a direct answer to
      a leader who would not "assent to Laws". That President Bush (and his
      supporters) feel(s) the Constitution grants him the authority to do
      just that, reflects the poverty of his understanding of what American
      democracy is.

      3:47 PM
      Shoes Of Peace said...
      Anonymous said:
      loser your thinking is so last century it's almost pre-historic.
      This is a nation at war and since it's a war against terrorism and
      there has been a signing statement declaring this war permanent that
      means we are all in the military and the President is our C-in-C.

      Now I know there is no point in speaking to you! You're an idiot. One
      can not declare a war on terrorism, you knucklehead. You've been
      drinking too much kool-aid and the food dye has damaged your brain!
      Besides, isn't the MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, after all?

      (sheeesh! what a MAROON!)

      3:53 PM
      billmon said...
      "to describe the state of affairs we have in our country is to
      describe, by definition, a state of authoritarian lawlessness."

      That particular type of state has a name: It's called fascism. And
      while the Cheneyites don't seem inclined to go all the way, at least
      not at present, their supporters (some of whom appear to have
      slithered their way into this thread) definitely are.

      The powers that Cheney and his puppet president are accumulating are
      less dangerous for what they themselves are seeking to do with them
      (which is bad enough) than for what others who follow might try to do
      with them.

      3:55 PM
      Anonymous said...
      DO NOT miss Colbert's breathtakingly audacious speech. The
      expressions on the faces in the crowd, and the expressons on Bush's
      face, are priceless. You keep waiting for the tanks to come crashing
      through the walls.

      Feingold. Colbert. Who's next? I can't wait to find out.

      3:55 PM
      Shoes Of Peace said...
      ...or maybe you were snarking, in which case, oops.

      3:58 PM
      Dissent said...
      I am sorry to see the discussion focus more on Colbert's comments
      than on the president's actions, as Colbert was not elected to office
      and Colbert is not the one trampling our civil liberties and checks
      and balances.

      Glenn: as I pointed out in my own comments on the Savage story
      earlier today, I was surprised to read Goldsmith taking a "signing
      statements don't really matter" approach. It strikes me that "signing
      statements" may be as much an indication of what the president may do
      or will do as OLC memos and that we should treat any statement that
      suggests a failure to comply with the intent and wording of Congress
      as a potential violation of law.

      I also pointed out that this story comes out at the same time that we
      learn that the VP has decided that he is exempt from an executive
      order that he's not been exempted from by the executive.

      This administration is out of control in terms of upholding the
      constitution and I think that conservatives should rise up and insist
      on genuine and meaningful judicial and congressional oversight, or
      failing to accomplish that, raise the impeachment issue.

      3:58 PM
      the cynic librarian said...
      dread scot: Our fiction is replete with such heroes, and given the
      ideals which founded the nation, that should be no surprise. That
      seems to have given over to something very different now, something
      that was never supposed to be able to happen here.

      Indeed it has. The reasons for this are varied, I think. The Bushites
      would like to limit courage to a netwrok of notions that include
      patriotism, military esprit, gut belief, anti-liberal PCness, and so
      on.

      My rather shorthand take on this for the moment is the following: I
      subscribe to the deinition of courage as knowing what to fear and
      what not to fear. Americans are inundated every day with numerous
      stories that play on their fears and anxieties. this continual
      abrrage of images and sound-bytes train them to fear things that
      should not be feared but simply noted for what they are: bits of
      reality dressed up to look like dangers that threaten something
      undefined.

      I suggest that the Bush admin played on this ersatz anxiety created
      by the entertainment press to instil a sense of impending fear from
      an amorphous, ill-defined terror. As such, the prevailing anxiousness
      creates a public that cannot understand true courage since it does
      not know what it means to fear the real thing to fear.

      Needless to say, it doesn't help when you have your so-called leaders
      running around like chickens saying the sky's falling. This is true
      not only of Rep leaders but also of Rems. They lack the courage by
      definition since they refuse to acknowledge the real fear: the
      usurpation of constituional powers that this administration has set
      into motion.

      4:00 PM
      Anonymous said...
      ocdemocrat said...

      And to add insult to injury, King George thinks he is a "benevolent"
      king( I say despot) brought to this position thru and for the grace
      of God.

      They misunderstand Hayek in a fashion. It has happened before, with
      Neitzsche, and another group of fascists.

      Personally I prefer a liberal dictator to democratic government
      lacking liberalism.
      Friedrich Hayek, 1981 interview in El Mercurio

      4:14 PM
      Shoes Of Peace said...
      The Cynic Librarian said:
      I suggest that the Bush admin played on this ersatz anxiety created
      by the entertainment press to instil a sense of impending fear from
      an amorphous, ill-defined terror. As such, the prevailing anxiousness
      creates a public that cannot understand true courage since it does
      not know what it means to fear the real thing to fear.

      Oh yes. And, in the meantime, he does everything in his power to
      treat GLOBAL WARMING as if it does not exist. Now THERE'S something
      we should be fearing and something we could have changed. Now I fear
      it's too late. Bush even talks about suspending automobile pollution
      controls as a temporary measure to lower gas prices! COME ON!!!

      Colbert even talks about glaciers not being here for our
      grandchildren. It was funny, too, though sad.

      4:15 PM
      the cynic librarian said...
      shoes of peace: You had to live -- did live, from habit that became
      instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was
      overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.

      This is a great quote, thank you. My fear is the following: We tend
      to assume that Americans will always know when their liberty/freedom
      is under threat. This view which assumes that there's something
      innate in human nature that will rise up against tyranny and
      despotism is a commonplace in much political thought.

      What Orwell's work shows is that this might be an unwarranted
      premise. There is no innate human desire for freedom. Or if there is,
      it can be manipulated and ultimately destroyed by eradicating words
      and concepts. This is a radically different view on human nature than
      either liberals or conservatives are willing to admit.

      Glenn's take on this, I think, is that by fousing on the breaking of
      the law perpetrated by this admin, we can thereby ensure the very
      liberties that are being threatened. There's a kernel of truth to
      this I think. Orwell himself points to it: the practice of liberty
      and freedom strengthens the perception and reality of those vital
      realities.

      My concern is with the more extreme view of human nature that Orwell
      implies; that through language and press, the very desire for freedom
      itself will wither and die. That is, we face the very possibility
      that freedom itself will disappear and no one will recognize it
      because they do not have the ethical capacity to do so.

      Through various forms of conditioning that Orwell dramatically
      portrays, but which are in reality much more mundane and innocuous in
      their everydayness, we will see the day when people read things like
      the Bill of Rights and Decalaration Independence and either do not
      comprehend what those words mean or interpret them according to the a
      the prevailing newspeak.

      4:16 PM
      Shooter242 said...
      Glenn Greenwald
      said...
      If you have a problem with laws regarding keeping Congress informed,
      fine, have the laws changed. The answer is not for the leader of the
      Country to break the law. Jesus Christ, what happened to the
      conservatives love for the rule of law?

      This conservative's love for the rule of law stops when it is being
      used as an obvious political tool. I believe the ranking members of
      the relevant committees are indeed informed, yes? Some 36 individuals
      if I recall correctly. So the issue really isn't whether Congress is
      shut out as is advertised, it's that Congress as a mob isn't given
      the keys to all our procedures. If I'm wrong, I'm sure you'll point
      out where, otherwise you're asking to enforce a rule whereby
      demonstrated liars and leakers (on both sides) are expected to defy
      their true natures. Do you really think that's a good idea?

      The thing that rankles me in particular is the double standard here.
      The leakers of the original NSA material to the Times are still on
      the loose are they not? They violated the law did they not? But where
      is that prosecution? It's non-existent. How can that be? Possibly
      because certain breakages of the law have been redefined as "whistle-
      blowing"? Well then fine, let's redefine Bush's transgressions
      as "shielding". He is shielding Democrats from their desire to use
      every and anything to regain power including leaking how we do our
      detective work. As long as that sort of double standard is in place,
      you're not going to get anywhere.

      Stripped to their essence, that is their core defense in the NSA
      scandal, too - that the President violated FISA because FISA is too
      restrictive of a law. Their faith in the Goodness of this President
      really is so absolute that they trust him to do anything, including
      break the laws whenever he deems it wise and just to do so.

      Oh please, your faith in the goodness of the recipients of said
      information from reporting is no less absolute. If you actually
      believe that the entire Congress can keep a secret you are in the
      wrong arena. The only other plausible explanation for devotion to
      this particular letter of the law is that you have no expectation
      that Congress will keep a secret, and will use the information for
      partisan political purposes. Having seen a couple of your rants, it
      seems plausible. That of course would be the Democratic version of
      faith in their goodness
      to know when to break laws when they deem it wise and just to do so.
      I truly hope you are not that devious and cynical.

      4:20 PM
      Hume's Ghost said...
      "They misunderstand Hayek in a fashion."

      The Rule of Law was consciously evolved only during the liberal age
      and is one of its greatest achievements, not only as a safeguard but
      as the only legal embodiment of freedom. As Immanuel Kant put it (and
      Voltaire expressed it before him in very much the same terms), "Man
      is free if he needs to obey no person but solely the laws." As a
      vague ideal it has, however, existed at least since Roman times, and
      during the last few centuries it has never been so seriously
      threatened as it is today. The idea that there is no limit to the
      powers of the legislator is in part a result of popular sovereignty
      and democratic government. It has been strengthened by the belief
      that, so long as all actions of the state are duly authorized by
      legislation, the Rule of Law will be preserved. But this is
      completely to misconceive the meaning of the Rule of Law. This rule
      has little to do with the question whether all actions of government
      are legal in the juridical sense. They may well be and yet not
      conform to the Rule of Law. The fact that someone has full legal
      authority to act in the way he does gives no answer to the question
      whether the law gives him power to act arbitrarily or whether the law
      prescribes unequivocally how he has to act. It may well be that
      Hitler has obtained his unlimited powers in a strictly constitutional
      manner and that whatever he does is therefore legal in the juridical
      sense. But who would suggest for that reason that the Rule of Law
      still prevails in Germany? -F.A. Hayek, The Road to Surfdom (1944)

      4:21 PM
      Anonymous said...
      Where the hell were you When Bill Clinton was doing the same
      things,having reporters jailed for asking embarassing questions and
      usung the presidency for his personal plaything and completely
      ignoring the important things going on.

      4:22 PM
      recluse said...
      "it is only a matter of time before the public starts to realize how
      severe the crisis is that we have in our country"

      We know! Look at the polls! Impeach!

      4:27 PM
      Let the Eagle Soar! said...
      I'm a loony nut case who is a danger to himself and to others.
      Institutionalize me!

      4:31 PM
      Shoes Of Peace said...
      The Cynic Librarian says:
      Through various forms of conditioning that Orwell dramatically
      portrays, but which are in reality much more mundane and innocuous in
      their everydayness, we will see the day when people read things like
      the Bill of Rights and Decalaration Independence and either do not
      comprehend what those words mean or interpret them according to the a
      the prevailing newspeak.

      Of course, it doesn't help when the president-- who takes a sworn
      oath, with his right hand on the Bible, to uphold the Constitution of
      the United States of America -- calls the Constitution "a god-damned
      piece of paper". Knowing what we know today, is there really any
      doubt that this is true?
      http://www.freemarketnews.com/
      WorldNews.asp?nid=3602

      4:32 PM
      Anonymous said...
      A very small point, but Portland State does not have a law school and
      Phillip Cooper does not have a law degree:
      http://www.upa.pdx.edu/pdf/bio_cooper.pdf

      Doesn't mean his opinion isn't valid but nice to get all the facts
      right...

      4:32 PM
      ender said...
      Glenn Greenwald said...
      That has been one of the most eye-opening aspects of having this
      blog - when you po<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.