Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

NSA Hearing: Frivolous excuses not to investigate

This is a live blog.

It will be updated periodically.

To see what this will look like, go here: [ Click ]

The purpose of this blog is to organize the many excuses not to review the issues inside the NSA. All of these arguments are frivolous.

Overall, it's curious the discussion has shifted from legal arguments to simple excuses.


Type: Assertions

Example: The President says it is lawful.

If the NSA activities are legal, why do they propose changing the rules?

This is self-evidently an admission that the NSA activities are not legal.

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Type: Convenient Labels

Example: "It's classified"

Classified programs are not necessarily lawful.

Rather, classification is applied to hide what is illegal.

Congress can have secret hearings.

It remains to be understood how many other unlawful programs are classified to avoid needed oversight, and prevent more violations of the Constitution.

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Type: Ratify lawlessness

Example: We've broken the law this long, why start following it

These arguments assert because we unlawfully invaded Iraq, and nothing has been done for three years, that by the time the voters figure out what is going on, it will be well after the 2008 election

These arguments fall into the "nobody was harmed" and "there was no victim" excuses which the Senate and law enforcement give as excuses to do nothing.

Other samples include, "This was training" and "this is for a lawful intent," without holding the agents accountable for the constitutional violations.

These lines of arguments perversely assert -- because the US is a nation of laws -- that it can violate the laws in order to ensure the system prevails. The arguments do more to assert a standard not practiced; and assert that anyone who expect the US to actually do this -- "hay, we tried Democracy and that didn't work" -- is insane.

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Type: Denial

Example: Nothing will happen

These are the easiest to posit, and are simply a head in the sand approach. The arguments are similar to this:

  • This will go away

  • There are other priorities

  • We have a budget cycle

  • Noting will happen

  • Nobody will talk

  • We will smear the whistleblowers

  • We can deny, nobody will check

  • The courts are ignored -- we did that with the FISA

  • We can lie before the courts -- we did that with Iraq WMD

  • Look at the great job we're doing elsewhere -- we can ignore the bad news

  • Ignore this: We have more important diversion in Iran

  • we can block progress like Phase II and 9-11: Nothing will happen

    This line of argument ignores the reality: The number one client of America is the constitution. The reason we have budgets is to protect the constitution.

    The first lobbyist and constituent for all leaders is the Constitution. when there's a list of phone calls to return, the constitution is always the first.

    When you have a list of lobbyists to meet, the Constitution jumps to the head of the line.

    The Constitution is your boss.

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    Type: No accountability to the voters

    Example: The voters are irrelevant

    These arguments are simple:

    We don't need to investigate because we have enough votes to do nothing

    This approach changes the subject from whether we should or should not find facts, to whether or not there will be consequences for those facts.

    Another approach: "The RNC will pick up votes" -- asserting that despite all that is going on, the situation will magically reverse itself.

    "The voters haven't done anything about our violations of the laws -- why will they now?"

    "The voters in my district are too stupid to realize I'm not for finding facts."

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    Type: Fake DNC excuses

    Example: We need to wait until we have a majority

    These are actually RNC efforts to dissuade DNC action, but they are cloaked as if someone in the DNC were saying them.

    These fall into the general category of "agreeing with the anti-RNC forces" but simply saying, "We need to wait until . . . " Every reason they given for waiting relates to one thing: Suppressing information the voters need.

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    Type: Distractions

    Example: Let's put the program under a special court.

    Uh, the White House already ignored the FISA court; why will a "new court" be any different?

    Congress already was lied to about what the White House was or was not doing before this court; why should we expect anything different with this "new court"? Click

    Notice they're distracting attention from these violations and changing the subject to whether or not the "new court" will or will not be able to work with the White House. This White House has already answered that, "No, we will not assent to any court; and we will not follow the law."

    Notice also what is happening: They're changing the subject form whether or not the President should be removed from office, and ignoring the criminal misconduct; and are shifting to whether or not the White House will or will not assent to proposed changes. This does nothing to address the original violations of the clearly promulgated states. Again, the White House has already violated the law; whether it does or does not assent to the changes is irrelevant.

    Notice also a nuance. Rather than say, "We do not plan to regulate or look into the old criminal conduct," they've shifted the debate to whether or not Congress will or will not support the changes. Again, this is irrelevant.

    Indeed, it would be "more in line" with Congress and the Court if the President did what he was supposed to do. He did not. Whether the President may or may not comply in the future is speculative; and irrelevant to whether he should or should not be charged with a crime he has admitted committing.

    To say that something is "agreed to in principle" is meaningless: The President also "agreed in principle" not to commit torture, but said he would do otherwise; and agreed to faithfully execute the laws, to which he's shown he has no intention of doing.

    Further, to suggest we're going to have a "special subcommittee" to "review" the matter is meaningless: The existing committee didn't get what it needed; and the laws were broken; whether there is or is not a "special committee" that oversees this activity is a diversion: Laws have been broken.

    Whether the White House is or is not "open to new ideas" is meaningless. The time to have reviewed the "new ideas" was before the decision was made to violate the law. The White House was not open to new ideas or the law. They violated the law.

    The issue is not that the FISA court can or cannot issue warrants. The problem is -- despite the asserted war -- this White House has failed to organize its staff, develop a system to request warrants, and timely process what it says must be processed. The delay, distractions, and criminal are related to one thing: The White House.

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