Saturday :: Aug 19, 2006

Yoo, Bush: Law? We Got No Law! We Doan NEED No Stinkin' Law!

by pessimist

The entire Bu$hCo empire is based on greed and fraud, which enabled it to become strong enough to foment further depradations on Truth, Justice, and The American Way. All anyone needs to do is look around at the openly displayed evidence of their behavior in thwarting the application of the law to benefit their friends and harm their enemies.

For example, in a civil case involving trademark protection:

Bacardi [U.S.A., the Miami-based liquor company] used its strong Republican political connections to win favorable treatment from the Bush administration in the trademark dispute. The Washington Post and the Daily Business Review reported that Gov. Jeb Bush personally lobbied patent officials in Washington, D.C. on Bacardi's behalf.
Meanwhile, Bacardi was funneling tens of thousands of dollars
to the Florida Republican Party
and Bush's re-election campaign in 2002.
Bacardi has denied that it engaged in any improper action.

I'm sure. Hey! Hey! GOP Say! Pay For Play Is A-OK!

In this case, despite the participation of Jebbie the Butt, neither the Federal government nor its economic support base have a significant stake in the outcome of the case, which involves some exploitative Cuban oligarchs from South Florida attempting to reinstate a copyright they abandoned almost 50 years ago when they fled Castro.

But in another case, involving billions potentially, and in which the government has a stake, protection of one's friends is clearly evident:

Last March, based on evidence provided by two company whistleblowers, a federal jury in Virginia found that the contractor Custer Battles L.L.C. had filed grossly inflated invoices to the Coalition Provisional Authority.

A federal judge has set aside a verdict of corporate fraud in Iraq on disputed technical grounds, raising questions about the ability of whistleblowers and the United States government to pursue companies that profited illegally in Iraq during the chaotic year after the invasion.

As if!

As you can see, the judiciary - a takeover target of the wrong-wing since the earliest days of Saint Ronnie - is beginning to pay dividends for the investment of corporate hacks into positions intended to control the application of the law.

The law means nothing to King George and his corporofascist masters, except as a tool to be used against those who would challenge their 'right' to rule as they see fit. This would include violating your privacy to investigate you for complicity in criminal activity based solely on your daily business and communication transactions. In a chilling real-world parallel to the recent movie Minority Report, you could be deemed a criminal completely without your knowledge:

Torture judge John Yoo is saddened that we haven't trampled more Constitutional protections

Corporations already use data mining to detect consumer fraud and to market products such as credit cards and magazine subscriptions. Financial companies analyze patterns that might indicate a stolen credit card or bank account number. Why should the government be barred from using similar tools on similar databases to protect the country from attack?

Data mining is nothing but an ordinary, ubiquitous feature of technology today. In fact, the government also already uses modest forms of data mining. Data mining uses supercomputers to analyze vast amounts of information for suspicious patterns of behavior. American efforts to develop sophisticated data-mining abilities died early in 2003, when criticism killed the Defense Department's Total Information Awareness program.

The idea was to develop mining techniques to compare information in government and commercial databases. Civil libertarians engaged in a scare campaign representing the TIA as an unchecked Big Brother. Congress cut off all funding for the program.

But that was a dangerous overreaction.

The Supreme Court has found that the information in business records does not merit 4th Amendment protection because the consumer has already voluntarily turned over the information to a third party. Still, civil libertarians object to data mining because most of the records and communications that would be searched are innocent, and there is no suspicion of criminal activity attached to any individual whose records may be mined.

I wouldn't trust Yoo with the power:

When the National Security Agency was discovered in May to be looking at telephone billing information on millions of calls within the United States, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) railed at a hearing: "Are you telling me tens of millions of Americans are involved with Al Qaeda?"

Guantanamo, here Yoo come! When Yoo makes you a promise, run!

Data mining could be controlled and developed so that it protects us from terror and maintains our privacy. Analysis could be limited to data already turned over to third parties. Searches could be performed initially by computer; only after a certain level of suspicious activity had been registered would an intelligence or law enforcement officer be allowed to see the results. A warrant could still be required to investigate the content of communications or the purpose of purchases.

You Bu$hCo clowns don't believe in seeking warrants! That's what got the courts all over you:

Once again, a court has told Bush that he is not all-powerful.

In ruling on Thursday that the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program is unconstitutional and must be halted, U.S. district Judge Anna Diggs Taylor slammed the White House on several critical fronts:

We must first note that the Office of the Chief Executive has itself been created, with its powers, by the Constitution. There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution. So all "inherent powers" must derive from that Constitution.

In her decision, she accused the administration of dishonestly arguing that the lawsuit filed by the ACLU and others (including journalists, researchers and lawyers) against the NSA wiretapping should be dismissed because it would expose state secrets:

Defendants assert that they cannot defend this case without the exposure of state secrets. This court disagrees.

Defendants have contended that the President has the authority ... to authorize the continued use of the TSP. Defendants [the Bush administration] have supported these arguments without revealing or relying on any classified information.

Consequently, the court finds Defendants' argument that they cannot defend this case without the use of classified information to be disingenuous and without merit.

The judge reserved her sharpest words for slicing and dicing the administration's contention that Bush had the authority to ignore FISA and, in essence, act outside (or above) that law. And she cited a favorite Supreme Court case of conservatives to make this point: Clinton v. Jones. In that case, the justices ruled that Clinton could be sued for sexual harassment by Paula Jones. Taylor wrote:

We must always be mindful that "[w]hen the President takes official action, the Court has the authority to determine whether he has acted within the law." Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 703 (1997).

The judge cited a couple of other cases, one of which involved Bu$hCo:

It was never the intent of the Framers to give the President such unfettered control, particularly where his actions blatantly disregard the parameters clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights. The three separate branches of government were developed as a check and balance for one another. It is within the court's duty to ensure that power is never "condense[d]...into a single branch of government." Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507, 536 (2004) (plurality opinion).

"It remains one of the most vital functions of this Court to police with care the separation of the governing powers....When structure fails, liberty is always in peril." Public Citizen v. U.S. Dept. of Justice, 491 U.S. 440, 468 (1989) (Kennedy, J., concurring).

Bush, as president, she added, has no extraconstitutional powers:

The President of the United States, a creature of the same Constitution which gave us these Amendments, has undisputedly violated the Fourth in failing to procure judicial orders [Note to Yoo - that is the legal terminology used to describe a warrant] as required by FISA, and accordingly has violated the First Amendment Rights of these Plaintiffs as well....In this case, the President has acted, undisputedly, as FISA forbids. FISA is the expressed statutory policy of our Congress. The presidential power, therefore, was exercised at its lowest ebb and cannot be sustained.

There is evidence that Hizz Hindni$$ would disagree:

Weeks before he took office in 2001, Bush quipped, "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." Democracy, though, is not easy, and a commander in chief has to abide by the rules, as various courts have now ruled. The administration's King George approach to governance has taken another blow.
But it's royally unlikely this president
is going to accept the decision
and give up his claim to the throne.

He's just getting started:

Bush Contemplates Rebirth of Dictatorship for Iraq

There was a big clue planted at the bottom of the very long lead article in The New York Times of August 17.

The last three paragraphs of this story revealed that “senior administration officials . . . are considering alternatives other than democracy,” according to a military expert who was just briefed at the White House.

In that same edition, The New York Times ran a headline about the death of the brutal Paraguayan strongman Alfredo Stroessner, proclaiming him to be a “colorful dictator.” That’s an obscenity.

According to Amnesty International: “During Stroessner's military dictatorship, gross and systematic violations of human rights occurred. Amnesty International repeatedly expressed concern to the Paraguayan Government about long-term prisoners of conscience and allegations of torture, ‘disappearance’ and death in custody of political prisoners, as well as reports of prolonged detentions of political opponents.”

Sounds uncomfortably close to Bu$hco behavior! Imagine if Strossner had access to the data mining technology that Yoo thinks he needs so badly! Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo would hardly be noticeable when hundreds of thousands could be caught up in the 'terror' nets!

While Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are current public knowledge, are there more of such outrages to be aided by data mining being planned? It looks that way:

The Bush Administration may be looking for an Iraqi Stroessner, or another, more reliable Saddam. That may have been what Cheney and Rumsfeld had in mind all along. Maybe Chalabi is waiting in the wings still — or some other Saddam wannabe.

Bush appears to be taking applications.

But only for the positions involving the puppet states. He himself is to rule America. That gripes our friends over at America Blog

Someone give George Bush a God damn fucking civics lesson

We've got the president of the fucking United States of America lecturing a US court of law that it's supposed to reach decisions NOT based on the rule of law, but on "the nature of the world we live in."

Such outrage isn't limited to the netroots, as The Los Angeles Times expresses themselves on the topic:

[A] federal judge in Detroit ruled Thursday that warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens violates the Constitution and federal law. The decision is an embarrassment for President Bush, but it also should be a source of shame for Congress. The president and Congress should spend more time following the law and less trying to find creative ways to break it.

But after reading this next excerpt, can one not recall what happened to Thomas More when he dared to tell Henry VIII that he was violating the law? After remembering that little tiff, one wonders where this real-time incident might lead:

Conservatives' Response to Federal Court Decision Striking Down Illegal Wiretapping? Attack the Judge. How Predictable!

[C]onservatives have begun their predictable response: attack the judge who made the ruling, Anna Diggs Taylor. "Liberal judge backs Dem agenda to weaken national security," blasts the RNC. House Speaker Dennis Hastert expressed outrage the judge would question the NSA program since it "saved the day by foiling the London terror plot" (even though there has been no evidence of this even being the case). The Wall Street Journal went so far as to say Americans "might die as a result" of the ruling.
Why do conservatives never have a better response
to those who point out that the Bush Administration has repeatedly broken the law
other than to say they are al Qaeda sympathizers?

Because KKKarl told them that is how they will win enough votes in the coming election to allow Diebold to perform its vote disappearance trickery:

GOP Sees Strategic Advantage in Court Loss on Wiretapping

Keeping terrorism the topic of the day is thought to exploit a vulnerability of Democrats

In the sometimes common-sense-defying world of politics, political strategists often care more about the discussion topic than its details; as long as the topic works for them, they want it in the news, even if the current specifics might cast their party in a bad light.
"Republicans would like nothing more than to get into a debate over terrorism with the Democrats," said Marshall Wittmann, a former aide to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) who is now senior fellow at the center-left Progressive Policy Institute. "But Democrats don't want to play the Republicans' game on national security. They are just not going to go there."

Just as they have done for the six years of Bu$hCo abuse of the Constitution, Congress will continue to see things George's way:

Instead of complying with the Supreme Court's simple insistence that Bush exercise even a basic degree of human decency and follow the laws he swore to uphold, the Bush Administration has a different solution: just change the law. If the changes go through, one can only imagine how much worse things will inevitably get. Most disturbingly, the exemptions would apply directly (but not exclusively) to politicians, which gives top officials even broader discretion over what to allow interrogators to get away with.

We get the hint from these comments:

Last week at a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England said, "[W]hat is degrading in one society may not be degrading in another, or may be degrading in one religion, not in another religion."

Note to Yoo, Bush:

Part of what we consider decency is respect for the views of others.
We can tolerate Hindus not eating beef or Orthodox Jews not working during the Sabbath without doing it ourselves. We know full well what deeply offends Muslims, nd it's exactly what Bush is trying to allow more of.

If the America of old was still alive, the following call to action would resonate with the American voter, who strongly believed in Truth, Justice, and The American Way:

It is Time to Censure a Lawless President

When will Democratic and Republican members of the Senate join [Sen. Russell] Feingold [D-WI] in demanding that the administration be held to account for its assaults on basic liberties and the rule of law?

The decision by Judge Taylor offers vindication for Feingold, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on the Constitution, who has argued since the NSA wiretapping was exposed last year that the president had dramatically overstepped his powers in authorizing the program.

With the courts stepping in,
the time for Democrats and responsible Republicans
to step up is now.
A failure by senators to respect their duty to check and balance a lawless president makes those disengaged legislators as much a part of the problem as an abusive executive.

However, America as we knew it is dead, the legislative branch under the GOP and the DLC DINOs is as disengaged as they come, and the damage to the judiciary continues to pay neo-con dividends:

Federal District Judge John D. Bates conducted yet another feeble judicial capitulation to the Bush Administration when he ruled that it was acceptable for the president to sign a bill that had not been passed by Congress.

If we had real Americans in positions of power in the judiciary, we would see something resembling this to happen to King George:

Chile's Supreme Court voted Friday to strip Gen. Augusto Pinochet of immunity from prosecution, an official said, allowing him to be tried on corruption charges for his once-secret multimillion dollar overseas bank accounts. Judge Carlos Cerda said he found evidence that the 90-year-old former ruler used $2 million in government funds to benefit himself and his family during his 1973-1990 dictatorship.

Unfortunately, in the United States, the only 'conservative' officials who suffer the consequences of their actions are those who violate the Sakrid Secshooal Pyooruty Prinsipples of the Radical Religious:

Donald Thompson, [a] former judge convicted of exposing himself while presiding over jury trials by using a sexual device under his robe was sentenced Friday to four years in prison.

Since the courts of America are fucking us all over, I guess that is an appropriate metaphor to describe those disconnected former Americans who aid and abet Bu$hCo's neo-confidence dreams - and makes it all the more likely that the rest of the world will at some point act to put the mad dogs down.

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pessimist :: 12:54 PM :: Comments (3) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!