Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Senator Feingold: Stop cheering lawbreaking.

Raw Story has the transcript of a speech to be delivered by senator Russ Feingold on the senate floor. Senator Feingold does not mince words, and his logic is simply impeccable. Following are some of the most pertinent arguments, and a bit of my take on some particulars.
The President was blunt. He said that he had authorized the NSA's domestic spying program, and he made a number of misleading arguments to defend himself. His words got rousing applause from Republicans, and even some Democrats.

The President was blunt, so I will be blunt: This program is breaking the law, and this President is breaking the law. Not only that, he is misleading the American people in his efforts to justify this program.

How is that worthy of applause? Since when do we celebrate our commander in chief for violating our most basic freedoms, and misleading the American people in the process? When did we start to stand up and cheer for breaking the law? In that moment at the State of the Union, I felt ashamed.
Do you remember the halcyon days of yore when the Republicans were the party of law and order. Remember how they savaged president Clinton for lying? If we could have known then what we know now, those same Republican blowhards would have been laughed off the national stage. Now when the issue of presidential lying, lawlessness and deceit are of issues of grave national interest, these same law and order Republicans circle the wagons and throw up stonewalls. Not only do they attempt to justify this egregiously unconstitutional power grab, this lawless trainwreck of an administration is cheered by the same members who most loudly called for the replacement of Bill Clinton. The hypocrisy is simply breathtaking.

Senator Feingold does not trust president Bush:
Unfortunately, the President refuses to provide any details about this domestic spying program. Not even the full Intelligence committees know the details, and they were specifically set up to review classified information and oversee the intelligence activities of our government. Instead, the President says "Trust me."

This is not the first time we've heard that. In the lead-up to the Iraq war, the Administration went on an offensive to get the American public, the Congress, and the international community to believe its theory that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction, and even that he had ties to Al Qaeda. The President painted a dire - and inaccurate - picture of Saddam Hussein's capability and intent, and we invaded Iraq on that basis. To make matters worse, the Administration misled the country about what it would take to stabilize and reconstruct Iraq after the conflict. We were led to believe that this was going to be a short endeavor, and that our troops would be home soon.
Amen brother Feingold. On issues of trustworthiness there are many other examples where this administrations outlook leading into a given proposition has been rudely proven wrong by facts as they develop. Take the budget deficit. Remember how the line back in the day was that tax cuts were actually supposed to increase revenue? How about the hurricane Katrina relief effort? Remember how that scandal lead to the president calling for investigations to find out what went wrong. And now we find that the administration is refusing to turn over documents to the congressional committees who are investigating the response. How about the very issue senator Feingold is addressing with this speech. Remember how the president claimed during the 2004 campaign that to spy on Americans suspected of terrorist connections he had to have a court order. (Senator Feingold does cover this in his speech, but not in the context of the president saying "trust me") Remember how the administration rejected attempts by the congress to give the president the power he now claims he has congressional authority to proceed with? Trust the president? I think senator Feingolds take on how worthy this president is of our trust is actually a bit thin in the telling, but I understand that to detail all of the lies told by this administration would be construed as a filibuster after about twelve hours of non-stop examples.

Senator Feingold knows about checks and balances:
The President has broken the law, and he has made it clear that he will continue to do so. But the President is not a king. And the Congress is not a king's court. Our job is not to stand up and cheer when the President breaks the law. Our job is to stand up and demand accountability, to stand up and check the power of an out-of-control executive branch.

That is one of the reasons that the framers put us here - to ensure balance between the branches of government, not to act as a professional cheering section.

We need answers. Because no one, not the President, not the Attorney General, and not any of their defenders in this body, has been able to explain why it is necessary to break the law to defend against terrorism. And I think that's because they can't explain it.

Instead, this administration reacts to anyone who questions this illegal program by saying that those of us who demand the truth and stand up for our rights and freedoms have a pre-9/11 view of the world.

In fact, the President has a pre-1776 view of the world.
This is senator Feingold living in a pre 2000 world evidently. Does he really think that the Republican machine will allow Republican members of congress to actually provide a check to president Bush? That is so 1999. After the selection of George Bush in 2000, all that high falutin checks and balance talk went straight out the window where it lay wounded on the sidewalk in ignominy. The falling of the twin towers on 9/11 gave the final crushing blow to the already wounded checks and balance ideal. That notion has given way to the new Republican ideal for the way of political empire known far and wide as the rubber stamp.

The speech is great and I could go on for another ten paragraphs at least. Just link to the speech and read it for yourself. This Feingold fellow is starting to really come into the spotlight as a Dean type Democrat who is not afraid to tell it like it is. I would love it if Al Gore were to run for the Democratic nomination in 2008, but failing that I'll definitely be keeping an eye on Feingold.

Standing up for working class values and protecting our civil liberties. He had over 300,000 pro bush supporters vote for him in 2004 (He won by 3000% more votes then Kerry).


The need for Checks and Balances is...Self Evident given the behavior of the Bush administration and it's view on civil liberties. I heartily applaud the many Democrats and a minority of Republicans that call for a return to Checks and Balances. I cheer when I hear Feingold and Specter say that this domestic spying is Unconstitutional. I love to hear that the Constituition matters.

It seems to me that the party out of power suddenly finds that the Constitution is no longer an archaic document written by a bunch of "dead white men". Parties that used to be proponents of the Constituion now want to find loop holes or overlook the document that is the foundation of our law completely. Corruption becomes less of a problem evidently once YOU are the one with governmental majorities. I guess there was a reason I have felt more close to the Republicans. For a good deal of my life the Democrats controlled the Congress. Now I see the tide turning and find myself cheering the Democrats. Some of these Democrats(Feingold) have been so far left that I couldn't have concieved ever supporting them. If there was an election today between Bush(let's ignore the 3rd term restriction for this point) and Feingold, I would......gulp! I would vote for Russ Feingold. Hell has frozen over I guess. With the exception of some of the war jabs and representations of tax policy, I find myself strongly agreeing with this post and with Feingold. My loyalty is to the Constitution and the rule of law. My loyalty is to a real freedom and not a Republican revision of that term. I don't pledge loyalty to a party(even my Libertarian party)... only to liberty. If this tide continues to turn and the Democrats become the party of freedom, I would change affiliation even. I doubt this will happen but, I do realistically see myself voting for Democrats in upcoming elections.
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