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Should the U.S. Supreme Court hold investigative hearings on warrantless wiretapping?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on January 27, 2006

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Photo of Keith Steiner

“I think they should. They should only be able to use wiretaps if they have a reason to believe something illegal is going on. There should be someone there to monitor who they are doing it to.”

Photo of Thomas Pfeiler

“Yes. The issue should be opened up to the public so they can hear all the details and see who is accountable for making those decisions.”

Photo of Becky Pruitt

“Yeah, I think that would be appropriate. I don’t think the government should be able to tap your phone.”

Photo of Dale Meador

“Yeah, they definitely should. They need to put an end to it immediately, and I think it’s time for an impeachment hearing as well.”


neopolss 12 years, 2 months ago

Repulican whores like Bowhunter are funny. They support the tagline of the party no matter what, and think that they are smarter than everyone else because of their blind loyalty. It's not baseball you dolt. Winning and losing requires a home run in office, not winning at the poll. This is the American public we're talking about, and unless any party is dedicated 100% to the interests of the American people, then you shouldn't be throwing your support whole heartedly into it.

It shouldn't matter who is a democrat, who is a republican, but some idiots always feel that they need to be on one side of the fence or the other, which is EXACTLY what the problem is in this country. Each side thinks they're smarter than the other, but the followers of each are fools, taking what they're given hook, line, and sinker.

Bowhunter, do you truly believe that the Democratic party is corrupt, and that the Republican party is not? They're all one and the same! Every last one of them has lost focus on the American public. When a poll taken shows that 70% of the American public believes their government is corrupt, than we have problems. Stop with your die hard support of the right hand - it is just as dirty as the left. It is exactly what they want. You get caught up smearing the other party, and forget about how you as an American are getting the shaft. This isn't politics - it's two babies squabbling over a toy.

Redneckgal 12 years, 2 months ago

Yes. If they have done nothing wrong as they claim then they should not fear a hearing. In fact that is what makes me think there IS something fishy since they don't seem to want one. If nothing is wrong it looks like to me they would be saying bring it on.

Topside 12 years, 2 months ago

I would check Thomas Pfeiliers freezer for heads. Yikes! I am going to give the guy the benefit of the doubt and assume he's just been partying. BUT, that is a wicked scary mug shot.

Friday January 27th Lunch Menu:

Farva Beans

bankboy119 12 years, 2 months ago

Neo, I'm a registered Repub and always vote repub but I don't agree with the party 100%. There is obvious corruption on both sides but I can't vote for a candidate who is pro-murder. When you say it's okay to kill a baby, I don't care if I agree with you on everything else, there's no way I want you in office.

E_M as for your comment on WMD's, have you not read what Georges Sada has said about the WMD's that were in fact in Iraq? Sada was the 2nd highest ranking general in the Iraq army. WMD's were shipped out to Syria according to him. Pretty credible guy I'd say.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 2 months ago

The answer is simple. Investigate Investigate Investigate... Bring in a special prosecutor and do the job right.

Bush has said more than once that Al Qaeda cells are located in the USA. So why is he eavesdropping on Greenpeace and PETA? The Saudi Arabian terrorists were attending flight schools in Florida...home of Jeb Bush. GW and brother Jeb dropped the ball I would say.

Absolutely investigate and send the thugs to jail.

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

Yes. In my mind, this should be done primarily to determine if this type of power is what we truly want for our current and future Presidents. Our President isn't intended to be a King who gets to do whatever he wants, even if he does feel justified in doing it. If we determine Bush went to far here, then we should impeach him. We the people are in control, not just the elected officials.

My answer would be the same if this would happen under a Democratic president. We must fight against the corruption, not just shrugg our shoulders and say "they all do it."

Ragingbear 12 years, 2 months ago

The senate is typically the one's that do such an investigation. That is, unless the senate itself is being investigated. And since some, but not all of the senators knew about this, and many are keeping hush hush, then we have two choices. Either a review committee appointed by the senate, or the Supreme Court conducts and investigation. Which is most likely the case.

bankboy119 12 years, 2 months ago

Merrill the taps go on calls that come in if people on the black list call Greenpeace or PETA then I'm sure they would get wired...same if they called you.

weterica 12 years, 2 months ago

"Here come the Guilty ones and the Democrats... calling for a stop to everything. They're afraid of getting caught doing something illegal AND since they still can't believe they've lost two elections (soon to be 3) in a row, they're caling for impeachment."-bowhunter.

I have to totally agree with bowhunter on this one. If you don't have the nuts to break the law you don't deserve to be in power.

If you don't have the God-honest conviction to subvert the constitution and the hardened hedge-post backbone to call your critics un-American when they question you then you might as well go buy a townhouse in Boston and learn French. America has no room for a bunch of Constitution hugging snuggly bunnies.

This is America! Learn history and you'll see what we're about. All you Constitution lovers need to learn about segregation, blacklisting, Japanese internment and crazy medical experiments on institutionalized Downs Syndrome kids! And that's just in the 20th Century!

Wake up wussies and join the real Americans like me and bowhunter. Checks and balances are for bed-wetting liberals with dogs named after universal concepts!

sweetpeagj 12 years, 2 months ago

I would love to have an investigstion done by an impartial hearing committee but in reality that won't happen. There will always be someone that has an influence in what is determined. I wonder though if they aren't doing anything illegal than why all the hush hush about it? If they didn't feel they were violating any rights then why weren't we told before it started and not after they got caught?

enochville 12 years, 2 months ago

I see no reason why Bush's people could not have gone before a judge and got a quick approval to wiretap. Why skip this procedure 2, 3, and 4 years after Sept. 11? I can understand the need in the weeks following 9/11/01, but what justification does he have for skipping going before a judge now?

RonBurgandy 12 years, 2 months ago

PETA: They stuff turtle's shells full of explosives and then sell them to unsuspecting children at local pet stores. Destroy them now!

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, not the Supreme Court. I don't know that the Judicial Branch should be investigating.

I say Special Prosecutor. On the one hand, perhaps we have a new standard for Executive action defined by the terms of the Patriot Act that allow a sitting President to sidestep the rules of the FISA courts, and I for darn sure want that codified and laid out clearly with its exact parameters and extent defined in written law. On the other hand, perhaps we have a sitting President who violated the laws of the country because he believed that the Patriot Act empowered him to do so when it didn't. In that case, I see no choice but to go forward with an impeachment hearing.

Mostly, I want the following things clarified legally:

Do the provisions of the Patriot Act give powers to the Executive Branch that allow it to sidestep existing law?

If so, what are they, how are they laid out, how far do they extend, and when will they expire?

Also if so, how will the new powers of the Executive Branch be balanced by the Judicial and Legislative Branches (currently, the Executive Branch must abide by the judgments of the former and the laws of the latter; take that away and checks and balances are off)?

If not, was the violation of the FISA protocols an impeachable offense, even if the President believed the Patriot Act did give him those powers?

Bush can't be impeached just on the basis of a <35% approval rating, an unpopular decision, or even monumental incompetence. He can only be impeached if, like Clinton, he broke the laws of the United States. And I think we very much need an investigation to resolve that, or this issue will hang over the country, dividing people and hamstringing government, for months if not years. Resolve it one way or another, and soon.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

By the way, I'll just take a page from the conservative manual and say, "Well, if they're not doing anything wrong, what are they afraid of?"

That justification has been given to me hundreds of times with regard to the privacy-invading provisions of the Patriot Act, that if I'm not a criminal and have nothing to hide, the light of truth and law should present no fear to me.

I do tend to agree with enochville. Why not go, even three whole days after you need the warrant, to get it by perfectly legal means?

canyon_wren 12 years, 2 months ago

I'm with sweetpeagj and beatrice. I don't trust either party, and as far as assuring that there is an overseer, we would just wind up with the fox guarding the hen house. But I definitely think the President's position on the legality of wiretapping is wrong. It's not like they are going to wind up accomplishing anything with the information they gain, and it certainly destroys the average person's right to privacy.

I just finished reading one of Margaret Truman's latest mysteries and that turns you off BOTH parties and makes you doubt the trustiworthiness of politicians in general--though reading the daily news accomplishes that very well.

enochville 12 years, 2 months ago


My understanding, based on my recollection of an NPR interview is that the Executive Branch was given some emergency powers that only last at most a couple of months that would enable the President to do what needed to be done to protect the country of the immediate threat including skipping getting a judge's approval for wiretapping. But, those couple of months were up long, long ago. I am sure his lawyers can try to make a case for him by stretching the meaning of some laws, but I believe any reasonable person looking at the entire case will conclude that Bush was breaking the law.

lunacydetector 12 years, 2 months ago

THIS QUESTION shows how naive people are that actually tried to answer the question.

who in the news has even suggested the "supreme court" do investigative hearings?

changing the subject a little, but since the democrats are powerless everywhere they turn, let's face facts. the democrats have lost everything. they are literally emasculated. Ted "only the good die young" Kennedy, and Joe "blows a hard wind" Biden and their party have lost yet again.

isn't it scary that a political party could be so out of touch with normal people? the democrats better get a more "truly" moderate stance so 'they' are the checks and balances. hillary or kerry ain't gonna come close to winning (a perfect example of why the democrats have TOTALLY lost touch) and we will be a one party nation for years and years to come.

Aiko 12 years, 2 months ago

"So why is he eavesdropping on Greenpeace and PETA?" *Although there are some good people in these organizations there are also many "extremists-activists" connected that want to harm the very country they live in. When Cindy Sheehan needed warm bodies for protesting look who showed up, and why? I am for protesting when it is done in a proper way but I am not a fan of the extremists being called in and or showing up. Again, kust my opinion...

RonBurgandy 12 years, 2 months ago

lunacy: I think that kerry did come close to winning...

I do agree that they are out of touch, though.

RonBurgandy 12 years, 2 months ago

How come Jesse Jackson hasn't insinuated that this is some sort of racial issue yet?

bearded_gnome 12 years, 2 months ago

PETA and Greenpeace being watched. not exactly in those organizations, but a few days ago two or three dozens of american citizens (mostly in Oregon) were indicted as terrorists, for acts committed, and planned; these were animal rights and environmentalwacko causes groups. unfortunately, we do have some among us.

Bankboy: I've seen a couple of Georges Sada's interviews, the book "saddam's secrets" or titled like that. thought him quite cridible: stated Saddam had large stocks until november '02 when he saw what was coming and took advantage of the flooding in Syria to move chem bio and documentation into syria. said were dozens of flights, 747 and 727 converted cargo planes plus trucks. this is not the first indication that Saddam shifted them to syria at the last minute, but very detailed by an eye witness.
apparently, Saddam had lots of WMD's until November '02.

sweetpeagj 12 years, 2 months ago

It all could have been avoided by taking legal routes to the same end. Lunacydetector the OTS is Should the SUPREME COURT...that is where the question and responses came from. That is how the supreme court came into it..Nobody said the news mentioned this possibility ..just the OTS

dviper 12 years, 2 months ago

This may be the stupidest question ever for the OTS question. Who at the LJWorld made up this question, and who at the LJWorld approved it? Maybe they are both radical Liberal KU freshman interns.

People get an education; develop some level of intelligence, and stop drinking the mainstream medias politically slanted kool-aid.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 2 months ago


Linda Endicott 12 years, 2 months ago

If all these politicians really think that what they did was okay, then they should have to explain themselves, in layman's terms, to a randomly chosen group of the American public, the people they supposedly represent. Let the common people decide whether something illegal was done.

That's not very likely to happen, though, is it?

Besides, I supposed even there you run the risk of choosing rabid supporters, of one side or the other, who would blindly follow their particular party, no matter what the evidence showed.

No matter who does the investigation, we won't ever know the real truth.

A politician (regardless of party affiliation) wouldn't know the truth if it came up and bit them in the ass. And if it did, they'd ask for the antidote.

RonBurgandy 12 years, 2 months ago

Ooh, kool-aid reference stop the timer. 9:55am, man that is way late for the first one.

Gootsie: Great reference, way to make the screen all wide though...

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

Das Ubermime - I also find 'If you're not doing anything wrong, you won't mind if I have the right to rummage through your life' pretty amusing as a justification for things. I just think that if it's the reason the right wing gives me that I shouldn't oppose the provisions of the Patriot Act, they should apply it to themselves; if he did nothing wrong, let him welcome an investigation.

e_m - yes, I was referencing the perjury he was found guilty of. I haven't heard him maintaining that he didn't lie under oath, so I assumed he'd admitted that yes, he did in fact commit that crime wilfully. I think what I was trying to say is that if there is wiggle room enough, interpretation-wise, for there have been a reasonable assumption that the law did allow it, then it may not be an impeachable offense. I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know either.

enochville - True. Have those powers actually expired, or have they been renewed? I know some things that were supposed to expire were renewed, so it's possible that the 'emergency powers' are still in effect. I think we need an investigation for no other reason than to sort this mess out! But, yeah, barring special executive powers, it looks like he's broken the law.

However, I do have a different legal question. It seems like if cops get evidence without a warrant, and can't prove their search was justified, they don't get charged with something, but the evidence can't be used in court. I know that the wiretaps would be illegal in this case specifically because of the FISA protocols and not the 4th Amendment, but the evidence is still going to be inadmissible (or at least highly vulnerable to challenge) if any of the tapped people ever see the inside of a courtroom, isn't it?

Centrist 12 years, 2 months ago

You should be more scared by the fact that the U.S. government is trying to force Google & others to provide info as to SEARCH inquiries ...

Now, if you type in "how to join Al-Qaeda" or "terrorist training" as a joke, you might just find yourself investigated.

THIS is what scares me ... it goes TOO FAR.

BunE 12 years, 2 months ago

The SC is not the proper forum for this sort of investigation. The cowardly congress should stand up to the president and say, enough. You are not above reproach.

The problem with this whole situation is that we are looking at a growth of presidential power unimagined. Here we have a president taking power from other branches of our government and unless there is a nixon-type meldown at some point, this power will stay with the executive branch no matter the president. Is this to be an elected dictatorship?

The old argument that only those with something to hide is a cowardly statement. This has nothing to do with guilt, it has to do with right granted under the constitution. Nobody wants a nuc going off in Chicago, but to erode our rights in the name of war, leaves us with nothing after the war. This "war" is open-ended and poorly planned (not Iraq, but the war on terror). If we are "safe" from Al Quaida, but not from an elected dictator, well, I would rather live in a land on guard against the criminal terrorists, than one that disassembles our Republic bit-by-bit. Hail Ceasar? I think not.

We managed the Civil War, the Spanish American, WW I, WW II, Korea, Viet Nam, the cold war and we had long term plans and contigencies and we celebrated or Constitution. We planned for the Republics continuing existance post nuclear war, etc, and it all included the separation of powers and our Constitution.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 2 months ago

I'm sorry everyone. I didn't know it would do that. I will punish myself by circling a roundabout 10 times.

rhd99 12 years, 2 months ago

Yes, the Supreme Court should hear both sides of the argument for or against warrantless wiretapping. Terrorist Surveylance program, B.S.! Rumsfeld & Bush say it as though they want US to hear it from their mouths. They lie about it now, just as Rumsfeld lies about the Army not at the breaking point. OMG, if Rumsfeld makes recommendations to have certain generals, like George Casey, in Iraq, don't you think it would be wise to listen to someone like General Casey? General Casey said there might be some issues with the Army as it stands, so RUMMY, LISTEN more & TALK LESS!

Kontum1972 12 years, 2 months ago

I think a spinal tap should be a standard for all of us Americans,....hmmm...lets see.....was that on the federal level?

They dont need no stinking badges!

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

Centrist said:

"You should be more scared by the fact that the U.S. government is trying to force Google & others to provide info as to SEARCH inquiries ...

Now, if you type in "how to join Al-Qaeda" or "terrorist training" as a joke, you might just find yourself investigated."

Currently, not if you type it into Google. In the spirit of 'doing no evil' they promised us, they refused to turn the requested search information over to the government without a warrant or subpeona, even though the government had asked for no identifying data - because they said doing so violated the spirit of their privacy agreement. Not the letter, the spirit.

Now, your ISP may give over information on you, but Google, currently, respects your privacy.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 2 months ago

Only if I haven't sucked helium from balloons first. Is it illegal to steal balloons??? I love balloons.

And did you know that Little Joe has no beltloops?

Linda Aikins 12 years, 2 months ago

I suggested removal of my ZZZZ's because they messed wtih da margins. My guess is they will comply.

noise 12 years, 2 months ago

spankboy, "I can't vote for anyone who is pro-murder."

What? Are you a complete idiot? You can't vote for someone who's a "baby killer," but you can vote for someone who has American soldiers and Iraqis killed every day?

But because it happens "over there," and not at your local doctor's office, you're ok with it. Smart, very smart.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

rhd99 said:

"Yes, the Supreme Court should hear both sides of the argument for or against warrantless wiretapping."

Out of curiosity, why the Supreme Court and not a Congressional investigation?

Or do you just mean that the Supreme Court, whether or not Bush broke the law, should hear and decide cases on warrantless wiretapping? Are there cases in the court system that would address this, for them to actually hear?

If so, how do you think Bush's having done it would play out if the Supreme Court ruled that the Patriot Act didn't in fact cover the failure to follow established law?

rhd99 12 years, 2 months ago

Badger, the Court is somewhere along the way going to hear these cases, because there are Americans who felt their civil rights were violated. I don't know really where the cases are, at this point. I am curious, though, as to how people throughout the country seem to think that the Constitution was violated. Now, I REALLY believe that CONGRESS, if they are WORTH a DAMN, needs to get their heads out of their butts & start the investigations NOW. The Supreme Court, I think you aptly put it, should be the last resort.

bankboy119 12 years, 2 months ago

noise, besides the fact that spankboy has been used countless times and you sound like an idiot for using it, that argument doesn't work either.

Let's do some calculations just for fun....since we've gone into Iraq there have been approximately 2500 (and I know that's a high number but let's go high) American deaths. The number of abortions per DAY was approximately 3600 in 2000. Okay and just for fun let's go from Sept 11, 2001 because there were 2986...and let's round it up to 3000. Okay so we have 5500 American deaths because of terrorists and Iraq in the last 1500 days (by the way it has been longer than that.) Okay so we take 1500 days times 3600 deaths per day and we have a total of 5,400,000. Over 5 MILLION babies have been murdered by Democrats. Don't try to say that argument isn't valid. The total death count for World War II from America is estimated at 500,000. So we have that Democrats have murdered over 10 times the amount of Americans in the last 4 years than how many died in the "War to end all wars." They have also murdered over 100 times the deaths that have occurred since September 11th.

BunE 12 years, 2 months ago

The Supreme Court can only hear it if suit is brought. It is an appelate court.

Congress is too cowardly to take on the president.

One day all of this presidential power will be in the hands of a democrat, wait until that happens and you will see such an outcry!

The president and his advisors have taken the cowardly and easy way to "protecting" us. Instead of thought and planning, they decide that they are above the law all in the name of protecting us. In the past, there has been a structure in place to protect the country from tyranny, but we have ceded much to executive. If we do not take a stand, we will lose the Republic to such calls as "I would rather be safe". What has happened to the shining city on the hill?

Let us hope for benevolent despots in the future.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 2 months ago

Gootsie, Sorry if I led you into temptation yesterday. I'll note, however, that I got nothing zapped myself. It's because, deep down, the OTS powers fear me. Hee hee.(forbid the thought that we should objectify men) ;O)

BunE 12 years, 2 months ago


Abortion is legal and while you and your ilk can salivate over that presidential sychophant Alito all you want, the truth is your leaders will never allow abortion to be completely done away with. They will lose the ultimate argument and open themselve up to far to much scrutiny. They have fooled you with the abortion argument, now that your saintly republicans are in power, they have shredded the constitution, bought greed and avarice to new heights in washington, have protected profiteers, ignored laws and told you what to think and you have bought it. Your generation of "ditto heads" have weakened the Republic by failing to understand our governmental structure, creating fairytales of a godly nation and calling for an end to abortion, all the time cutting funding to and demonizing the poor. But hey! More money in your pocket eh?

neopolss 12 years, 2 months ago

bankboy, a candidate's postition on Roe Wade is not really a great factor to use. For one, Roe Wade does not specifically target abortion, and as such, is the reason that it has had such difficulty being reversed. The decision made in Roe Wade is a lot more complicated than simply "right to abortion."

Let's also be real. Not every person who relates to the Republican party supports pro-life. It may be the party tagline, but it does not speak for the entire status quo.

If you wish to argue Roe Wade correctly, let's disect the argument as it was presented, which is a battle for right to privacy, and the powers of the state to regulate a women's pregnancy. This is a very difficult argument, far more complex than simply abortion. At what point do we draw in the state's ability to govern the individual, to the point where the child takes precedent over the current citizen? Currently, the child is unborn, and not yet a citizen of the US.

This also deals with privacy concerns over the mother to conduct her pregnancy the way she deems fit. It's one of the possible slippery slope arguments really. Does the state step in because the pregnant mother smokes, and force her to quit? Does she not exercise enough? Or eat healthy? This is in a small part what the entire Roe v. Wade rulings centers around.

Maybe you can see why I have a problem with pro-life and pro-choice groups. Neither one looks at the issue with respect to how it applies within our constitution. It has instead become a side-of-the-fence issue that has lost focus on what we are really trying to determine - power of the state over the individual.

rhd99 12 years, 2 months ago

BunE, point well taken. Now, I watch John Kerry spewing his guts about this Alito character & Kerry seems to scare me. Now, I read on the White House website that Alberto Gonzalez says in a conversation between himself & us average Americans that our rights & civil liberties ARE protected. Who is REALLY telling the truth. Kerry says wait a minute. Alito is pro unitary government. I really don't know who to believe. Any ideas?

Linda Aikins 12 years, 2 months ago

Sue, no problem. I am enough of a woman to take a little zapping and still hold my head high! I don't even remember the topic now!

I'll go back to my corner. And yes, both ways around the roundabout.

acg 12 years, 2 months ago

Everyone is hollering about abortion or democrats vs. republicans, WMD's and Saddam, but this issue, to me, has nothing to do with any of that. We're talking about illegally wiretapping US citizens. No warrants, no proof of anything, no courts to intercede on behalf of the rights of the citizens to be protected against illegal search and seizure and a lot of people seem to be okay with it. WTF? I'm not guilty of anything but I'd be mad as hell if the cops burst thru my door and ripped my house apart with no warrant and this is essentially what's happening here. I can't believe the whole country isn't up in arms about this. I can't believe while this is going on, people are still short sighted enough to be arguing all of these other side issues that don't really amount to a hill of beans. To me its reminiscent of when my 6 year old step son tries to nose his way into an adult conversation and I have to distract him with something shiny.

govt: We're illegally tapping your phones, going thru your mail and putting you on "watch" lists.

amer. people: That's not right! We won't stand for this...

govt: Look something shiny

amer. people: duh. what? er. uh. narf.

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

bankboy is anti abortion, but doesn't mind if baby seals get clubbed to death to make a pair of mittens for his wife. Lovely.

Now, answer the question at hand and quit ranting about "baby killers, baby killers!" like a crazy guy out on the street corner.

e-m: "I believe in Clinton's mind he thinks he's innocent." And look at the investigation that went into that -- over lieing about a little nooky outside of marriage. Am I nuts to think that what Bush has been doing is, at least potentially, of greater consequence for the nation? Doesn't it warrant some form of inquiry?

Again (while I know e-m is just having fun) can we please pause for a time in our talk about Clinton's shortcomings and lies while he was in office. News Flash -- Bill Clinton isn't President anymore.

George W. Bush is in office. Let's talk about the present, and the huge sleeze factor involved with this administration, from money laundering and illegal lobbyist charges, to leaks that suggest treason coming out of the V.P.'s office, to these massive deficits. When Bush is out of office, I'm afraid we will need to call in Ghostbusters -- just to clean up the slime left behind.

But I guess is all good if they just don't kill them babies.

rhd99 12 years, 2 months ago

ACG, most of us here in this discussion board are NOT millionaires. What does it take for the people of KANSAS, most of all, to WAKE UP to the fact that we may be in trouble if ILLEGAL are constitutional? We can contact our elected Reps & Sens. but except for Dennis Moore, the Reps. say "GO AHEAD, Government, WIRETAP our citizens. If they have nothing to hide, they have nothing to worry about." Thanks, ACG, I think of an idea of where I stand with the Republicans' arguments, Alito & the Republicans are full of B.S. or the Republicans are doing a piss poor job of doing one thing: PROVING to us that their WORDS mean ACTION, on OUR behalf, & NOT against us.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

rhd99 said:

"Badger, the Court is somewhere along the way going to hear these cases, because there are Americans who felt their civil rights were violated. I don't know really where the cases are, at this point. I am curious, though, as to how people throughout the country seem to think that the Constitution was violated. Now, I REALLY believe that CONGRESS, if they are WORTH a DAMN, needs to get their heads out of their butts & start the investigations NOW. The Supreme Court, I think you aptly put it, should be the last resort."

First, the Americans under surveillance will have to sue the government, and I'm not sure you can sue the government for violating your rights. I'm hazy on whether you can, or whether you can just sue them to make them stop doing what they're doing or pay for any damages they caused. We'll see.

With regard to Constitutional issues and FISA issues, here's a brief explanation from the FISA webpage:

"The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 prescribes procedures for requesting judicial authorization for electronic surveillance and physical search of persons engaged in espionage or international terrorism against the United States on behalf of a foreign power.

Requests are adjudicated by a special eleven member court called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court."

It exists so that if there is a national crisis, a serious issue, in which surveillance is needed and time is of the essence, the government can conduct the search without a warrant, provided that they apply for the warrant within 72 hours. A search without a warrant is a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects us from having our residences or persons searched without just legal cause. That's where Constitutional violations come in.

Now, the Constitutional violation would (if I understand the system correctly) mean that any evidence collected or arrests made as the result of an illegal search would not be admissible in court. I don't know how it applies to enemy combatants and military tribunals.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, however, doesn't just prevent illegal search and surveillance; it mandates into law the means by which electronic and personal surveillance without a prior warrant must be conducted. It appears Bush didn't follow that law, and cites the Patriot Act as his justification, which some say is right and some say isn't. Thus our mutual agreement that an investigation is absolutely key to resolve this.

So there's the Constitutional issue (search and surveillance without a warrant) and the legal issue (failure to follow the laws governing covert surveillance without a prior warrant) to consider.

rhd99 12 years, 2 months ago

Badger, Thanks. I THINK I can & others can rest assured that UNLESS there is any evidence that we did something wrong against our Constitution, we CANNOT be punished without cause.

Linda Endicott 12 years, 2 months ago

Acg, Sometimes the police DO have a warrant, but they get the wrong happens all the time. And the people who live in that house usually have very little recourse on getting paid for damages. What if the federal government gets the wrong house? The government makes mistakes all the time...what makes people think they won't make mistakes when it comes to thinking a citizen has had contact with terrorists? Badger, Google has refused to hand over the information, but Yahoo and AOL have already done you'd all better hope you haven't looked up anything suspicious through them...

acg 12 years, 2 months ago

Way off topic here. Did ya'll know this? I'm very disturbed. Wire taps on our phones, beetles in our yogurt, will it ever end?

We don't want to alarm you, but may you have eaten beetles with breakfast this morning. At least six popular foods and drinks are made with coloring derived from crushed female cochineal beetles. You may not find that on the ingredient list--yet. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Food and Drug Administration has been persuaded by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocate group, to propose a requirement that companies disclose when a food contains dried bug carcasses.

Six foods that contain crushed female cochineal beetles: Good & Plenty candy Dannon Fruit on the Bottom Boysenberry yogurt Tropicana Ruby Red Grapefruit Yoplait Thick and Creamy Low-Fat Strawberry yogurt Tropicana Orange Strawberry Banana Juice SoBe Courage Cherry Citrus Drink

wonderhorse 12 years, 2 months ago


"Not every person who relates to the Republican party supports pro-life." Actually, some of the people in the R. party don't support the anti-choice wing.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 2 months ago

Well I would hate to say anything that might offend the delicate sensibilities of the people of Lawrence, (not really, but those people that hit the 'suggest removal' button are wussies!). No, the Supreme Court should not hold "investigative hearings". I really don't believe that the President has done anything wrong. I think that the public was having a knee-jerk reaction to the news of wire taps - though they really aren't wire taps, per se. Furthermore, I don't think that we all have enough information to make an informed decision about the issue. Given the classified nature of the operation it is likely that we never will either.

RonBurgandy 12 years, 2 months ago

I tried vienna sausages once, but I didn't swallow. Mmm...memories.

wonderhorse 12 years, 2 months ago

After eating army field chow, I think I have put just about everything in my mouth....

sunflower_sue 12 years, 2 months ago

acg, most people would not eat if they knew what was in their food. Let America be ignorant, it keeps us all fat and happy. But you might be onto something. Better informed Americans = less obesity and fewer health problems. Good idea. 'Course, we wouldn't be able to sleep at night. Ignorance is bliss! And now we are on topic, again.

rhd99 12 years, 2 months ago

Well, Hong Kong, I hate to burst your bubble, but the rules of the game have changed. The powerful & wealthy of this country own lots of land & fire average working people left & right from their jobs on a daily basis. But, like corporate CEOs, some who have BROKEN the law, & were found GUILTY in courts of law, President Bush & Co. are to be held to account for their actions. Do you honestly think that we are going to remember EVERYTHING the NSA did against Americans? What Badger told me earlier rings loud & clear, & I hope you believe this too. UNLESS the government has PROOF of terroristic actions taken by AMERICANS here at home, there will be NO prosecution by the feds without PROBABLE CAUSE. Regardless, BUSH will be held ACCOUNTABLE, not by me, but ALL Americans. The disapproval ratings Bush received speak for themselves.

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

HKP: "though they really aren't wire taps, per se."

Two responses: First -- huh? What else could it be? Or are you saying this because they don't actually "tap" the wire, like one might tap their finger on the desk, thus it is something else. It all depends on what your definition of "tap" is.

Second -- How do we know this without some form of investigation? The President has admited to doing wiretaps, which he deems legal. Okay. Lets investigate to see if they are legal or not. If found to be in the clear, great. If not ...

I will, however, agree strongly with you on one thing: "those people that hit the 'suggest removal' button are wussies!" Quite true.

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

sun-sue: "Ignorance is bliss!" Wasn't that Bush's campaign slogan this last time around?

lunacydetector 12 years, 2 months ago

1982 David Burnham, The New York Times, writes: Washington, Nov 6 --- A Federal appeals court has ruled that the National Security Agency may lawfully intercept messages between United States citizens and people overseas, even if there is no cause to believe the Americans are foreign agents, and then provide summaries of these messages to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

harrierist 12 years, 2 months ago

I really don't care if the government is tapping or not. I don't care what they hear. I don't believe in the structure of the US Government today anyway, I do believe in the Constitution. I do think the founders did screw up on the genders who should sit in the three houses of the government. I would make the House of Represenatives all men, the Senate all women. The Judiciary all women, and the presidency all male. If an offical in the Government wanted to find you, they could track you down in less than five minutes. No body in this nation has been truly free since the 1820's.

Topside 12 years, 2 months ago

Haven't been reading the posts but how are calls coming into the US from other countries. I would have no problem with them listning to incoming calls, because in a sense they cross a border into the country. Sure, then Terrorists will just call outside from here, but this would be a good start to narrow down suspects...if they don't already (I'm sure they do). I am too busy handlin. my own Buisness.

Kontum1972 12 years, 2 months ago

"Land of the Free" "Land of the Lobbyist" "Land of the Wiretapped" "Land of the TejasMountain bike Rancher"

"Land of the Brokeback whitehouse"

giddy up.....! that Abe Lincoln I hear spinning in his grave?


acg 12 years, 2 months ago

I'm too busy in my own little bubble to worry about the government trampling all over my rights. Wait, was that something shiny?

BunE 12 years, 2 months ago

The Jerkstore called and they are runnin' out of you!

harrierist 12 years, 2 months ago

Gender has everything to do with it... Men's amd Women's brains run very differently and different outcomes presented. Men compartmentalize their plans which allow quick decisions based on the facts at hand. Women most generally think and arrive at decisions using both sides of their brains at the same time (they have more neurons crossing both halves of their brains than men do. So for deliberation and very care ful thought Women are best suited for these jobs - the Senate and the judiciary.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

LD -

Without the rest of that blurb, wherein the presence or absence of the word 'warrant' will become evident, what you posted is essentially meaningless.

If the Federal Appeals Court ruled specifically that FISA doesn't apply to the interception of incoming messages via electronic surveillance, that's kind of big news and you should probably be able to find a source less than 20 years old that says so.

If the Federal Appeals Court didn't address FISA considerations, then this still merits an investigation to determine if they apply and if failure to follow them was in this case a criminal action.

BunE 12 years, 2 months ago

Note that FISA was introduced in 1978, and some even believe that it viloates the 4th amendment. the 1982 case is the case of first impression, Prepare to Sheppardize...

I just wish that the mainstream media would go out on a limb and do some research instead of sucking up to white house.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 2 months ago

western societies have been eating and otherwise dyeing with cochineal for several hundreds of years! used to often be highly prized cargo aboard sailing ships, 1400s-1800s.
not the most apetizing thing in your food but we've been eating it, wearing it, looking at it, for a very long time.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 2 months ago

I talk on skype every day with a dear friend in Pakistan, and we exchange e-mails every day.
sometimes we joke about being monitored.
yes, I hope the government using its automated system looking for keywords and phrases and other identifying data, is overseeing my communications with a pakistani. because if it isn't, it will miss enemy combatants.
just the world we live in now.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 2 months ago

schoene geburtstag Herr Mozart!

Magic Flute rocks!


[sorry, do not know how to make them umlauts thingys.]

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