Saturday, June 21, 2008
A major step was taken backward - Constitutionally - on Friday when the U.S. House of Representatives voted 293-129 to pass an updated FISA bill. While nominally not granting immunity to telecom companies who participated in illegal surveillance of Americans after September 11, 2001, it literally amounts to that as final approval rests with U.S. District Courts.
All that is required of them is to "rubber stamp" approval if such surveillance was done under the President's express authorization as demonstrated by certification from the U.S. Attorney General. Nothing more is required. A judge is free to dismiss any lawsuit. In effect, "blanket immunity."
Madam Speaker Nancy Pelosi stayed away from this topic. Instead, she turned the reins over to House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer (Dem-MD). Hoyer was only too eager to reach a "compromise" with House Republicans.
To quote directly from Dan Robinson (Capitol Hill)- Voice of America --- 20 June 2008
"Among key points of the new law, electronic eavesdropping without court approval would be permitted in what are designated as emergencies, allowing the government to submit justifications within one week."
"It requires court permission and establishment of probable cause for surveillance of Americans overseas, and prohibits a process in which the communications of a U.S. citizen could be monitored without court approval by targeting a foreigner."
Court permission is the operative concept here. But as previously pointed out - that is a mere formality as all that is required for approval is for the U.S. Attorney General to provide mere certification of the Presidential authorization for such activity. Nothing more. No reasons, justifications or extenuating circumstances. Just plain and simple "Presidential Authorization." Basically, if the president says it must be done, then that is all the courts need to know to grant constitutional authority for such surveillance.
I don't know about you but I tend to value my right to privacy, in all "effects." Communications of a personal nature would fall under that category. Communications of American citizens to other parties should remain private unless expressly and definitively shown otherwise. Merely exercising the prerogative of the President to declare national necessity does not suffice and is but the first step toward the all-inclusive Big Brother World.
Nancy Pelosi should be booted out of office. She has thrown away any reason to continue in office as Speaker of the House of Representatives. It is total and complete capitulation in the face of a president with the highest disapproval ratings in modern U.S. history (71%) and a political star like Barack Obama well poised to occupy the White House in January 2009.
Why, Nancy, why?
Posted by Pete Newcome at 3:01 PM
Saturday, June 14, 2008
John McCain is not interested in WHEN, if ever, U.S. troops will leave Iraq. While being interviewed on the Today Show this past week McCain responded to a question of when U.S. troops would be leaving Iraq by replying that such a date was not important. Such complete and utter disregard for a time frame for U.S. troop withdrawal from a country we never should have invaded in the first place is shocking.
For McCain it is all about the casualties. Just keep that number down and everything is fine. Talk about a simpleton who hankers to be the next leader of the Free World. Maybe he should volunteer his trophy wife Cindy to don a uniform and join the boys overseas to ensure the continued stability of Iraq. Semper Fi, Cindy!
There is no justification for voting for a cretin like this Grampy/Gimpy McCain. His world view would put General George S. Patton to shame. 100-year wars. More wars after Iraq. Never-ending gasoline price increases. More killings, bombings, violence, ever-expanding U.S. hegemony, less and less benefits here at home for citizens, especially for returning U.S. GI's.
McCain the maverick is an idea that died a long time ago. He keeps trotting out his credentials as a Maverick Republican who challenges his party's position on major issues. The problem is he has completely reversed that course over the last four years in his relenteless quest for the White House.
It is his unqualified support for the Iraq War that will be McCain's undoing. He led the charge for implementing the Surge that was put in place in early 2007 and he likewise staunchly defended General David Petraeus and his efforts to carry out that strategy. What has been lost on the public up until now is the fact that the Surge itself did not quell the violence. That accomplishment stems more from the Iraqi Cleric Muqtadar Al Sadr's orders to his Mahdi Army to "stand-down" that he issued in the second half of last year.
With the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki publically renouncing the U.S. Status of Forces Agreement this week and Sadr simultaneously reissuing his call to arms against the U.S. invaders, the final straw to break the McCain Campaign's back will be well in place before Labor Day. McCain has already admitted he doesn't know much about or have an abiding interest in the U.S. economy. Now that the only presidential campaign prop he has left, i.e., the Surge in Iraq, is itself about to be kicked out from under him - McCain finds himself totally devoid of any serious presidential standing come this Fall.
There is something he could do to bolster his chances for the White House. Pick Ron Paul as his Vice-President. On the one hand, McCain could contine preaching his role as a maverick Republican while adopting virtually all of George Bush's positions. On the other hand, with Paul as his vice-presidential running mate, McCain could reap the beneficial "spill-over" effects of the Ron Paul Libertarian philosophy that would attract younger and a fair share of independent voters. McCain could then continue to shore up his Republican base and perhaps make a real run out of this thing.
Realistically, Barack Obama will not allow John McCain any room for maneuvering. Unlike John Kerry in 2004, Obama will go on the offensive and STAY THERE until Election Day. This is the difference in this election. Obama will "bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb" McCain.
Posted by Pete Newcome at 4:38 PM
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Well, John McCain will know what it's really like to "Face-The-Nation". Now that Senator Clinton has finally conceded the nomination to Barack Obama this morning at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., John McCain will spend the next 5 months on his heels, courtesy of that young upstart guy from Harvard, Barack Obama. John McCain is like the sound of one hand clapping. There is little substance there. Only a puffy face with locked jaws and stiff body movements peppered with "My Friends" while standing on stage.
It is this writer's view that John McCain might be better served if his staff trotted out Cindy McCain and had her read standard talking points from the teleprompter. Simply restrict McSame to his traveling road show across the country in front of smaller groups at smaller venues. Just do like Willie Nelson and take that "On The Road Again" approach all the way up until November.
There's simply no daylight of difference between Bush and McCain on any of the major issues as The McCainster has morphed from outright opposition to Bush before the 2004 Presidential election to virtual lock-step alignment. Cindy and her stilleto heels would be a much better antidote for the awkward predictament and inherent internal contradictions the McCain campaign now finds itself in. Not to mention the fact that his entire campaign is stocked with and run by LOBBYISTS.
His whole premise is Iraq and for that to have even the remotest of chances of succeeding he would be better off touring all of the municipalities across the country with populations of less than 50,000. He has virtually no chance of taking large urban areas - even in the Red States.
Finally, any consideration to have George W. Bush contribute to the Fall campaign would be most ill-advised. Were I running the McCain campaign I would use every ounce of effort to thwart any outward appearance of Bush appearing for or on behalf of John McCain. Bush would be better utilized simply doing stealth fund raising at a very low decibel and at very undisclosed locations.
Word to the Republicans: Don't be afraid, be VERY, VERY afraid of this Obama guy. He pivots off direct attacks better than anyone could have imagined and he does it like water running off a duck's back. Welcome to the Killing Season. McCain will end up as a trophy like deer antlers in your best friend's den.
Posted by Pete Newcome at 2:26 PM