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Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President Must Follow the Law

by TChris

Our ever-defiant president intends to continue wielding unbounded and unchecked executive power, regardless of what a court tells him about the law, and if you don't like it, you're naive.

"I would say that those who herald this decision simply do not understand the nature of the world in which we live," Mr. Bush said in a question-answer session at Camp David, Md.

"This decision" refers to Judge Taylor's declaration that the NSA wiretapping program is unconstititutional (discussed here and here at TalkLeft). "Those who herald the decision" understand the Constitution and the obligation of the president to obey the law. It's really pretty simple.

The president resorted to his tired argument, "if Al Qaeda is calling into the United States, we want to know why they're calling." So do we. That's why we want the president to hasten to a FISA court and get a warrant that will help him intercept suspicious calls. His stubborn insistence that he don't need no stinkin' warrant has nothing to do with national security and everything to do with an unprecedented assertion of executive domination over the other -- supposedly coequal -- branches of government.

What happens if the president loses an appeal? What happens if the Supreme Court doesn't take the case, or takes it and affirms? Will the president continue to insist that he isn't obliged to follow court decisions that diminish the scope of the powers he believes himself free to exercise? It's good that this constitutional crisis has a defined ending point: Bush's last day in office.

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  • Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#1)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 18, 2006 at 03:11:59 PM EST
    Once and for all, is there a cogent, coherent argument that can be made for how the process of obtaining a warrant impedes the maintenance of national security? And please Jim, no Power Line, Fox, Spectator etc links; in your own words, so I can at least have the sense that Bush acolytes have a minimal grasp of the actual issues involved.

    Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#2)
    by Dadler on Fri Aug 18, 2006 at 03:12:58 PM EST
    Excellent, as usual he thinks we're children and talk to us as such. We just don't know how bad the world is. Can I laugh yet? Is this quarter-wit serious? The real joke is that this coddled silver-spoon THINK he has the cred or experience or record of success to say this. When you lack entirely an imagination ("I have no idea how poor people think", for example) you have no ability to put information and facts to use in a genuinely proactive manner. So telling the public how lacking THEY are in knowledge about the harsh reality is, in reality, telling us that HE doesn't possess the intellectual and creative chops to do the job. He might as well be wearing a sign that says "I'm the President and I know it." Wow, you figure that out all by yourself?

    Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#3)
    by roxtar on Fri Aug 18, 2006 at 03:23:38 PM EST
    I'm looking forward to the day that I look for hints about "the nature of the world in which we live" from a guy who is as dumb as a bag of hair.

    Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#4)
    by scribe on Fri Aug 18, 2006 at 03:27:43 PM EST
    The problem is, in a system based upon precedent, the only remedy to end this Constitutional crisis is to impeach, convict and remove not only Bush, but Cheney (him first, please) and then the remainder of his cabal. Waiting until the end of the terms to which they have claimed election will only serve to make it OK for some successor preznit to do worse than these bags of protoplasm have done already. Waiting will not end this Constitutional crisis - it will institutionalize it and make worse the order of the day.

    Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#5)
    by Edger on Fri Aug 18, 2006 at 03:29:17 PM EST
    Will the president continue to insist that he isn't obliged to follow court decisions that diminish the scope of the powers he believes himself free to exercise? Right to the bitter end, of course. He cannot admit the most minute bit of truth outwardly, even though his constant denial would rot any normal human from the inside out. Doing so would be pulling out the first thread that would lead to the whole ball of crap unravelling a thread at a time. He will stonewall till he and his party hit the wall.

    The nature of the world that Bush lives in is one where he can't understand why the Iraqi people aren't taking to the streets to thank him for all the Great White Father has given them. Bush apparently lives in a world, the nature of which is the complete opposite of the world the rest of us live in -- He lives in bizzaro world.

    His stubborn insistence that he don't need no stinkin' warrant has nothing to do with national security and everything to do with an unprecedented assertion of executive domination over the other -- supposedly coequal -- branches of government. Not to mention his need to be able to spy on his political enemies and the journalists who don't like him.

    Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#8)
    by jondee on Fri Aug 18, 2006 at 04:08:05 PM EST
    Somehow I think those who like to perpetuate the meme that the opposition has been "taken over by the far-Left" have no problem whatsoever with the above mentioned scenario.

    Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#9)
    by Edger on Fri Aug 18, 2006 at 04:21:38 PM EST
    "if Al Qaeda is calling into the United States, we want to know why they're calling." Well... they must be Islamofascists, of course. What else could they be? Uh-Oh!

    Little George is the symptom, not the problem. The fact is, if we were a functional society he'd still be passing out drunk in his lounge chair in front of the television. The real problem is the "elites" have decided they don't need to obey the social contract, and they're just putting the rest of us in our place. Fine. But but if you're a member of the "elite" you need to ask yourself a question: if it took the United States to stop Communism from taking over the world, and if it had the social support to do that only because there was legitimate horse trading going on between the elites and what would become the middle class, who's going to save your ass now that you've reneged on all your agreements?

    Did anyone actually hear (on NPR) The Monkey Boy speak those words "herald the decision"????? I almost lost control of my vehicle, I was laughing so hard! CLEARLY, this moron was searching his small memory banks for that key phrase that some ideologue had pitched to him (probably Rove) earlier. [Come'on, George, let's use the phrase "herald the decision"; you can do it!] King George has no idea what the word "herald" means and it was a poor choice of words to put in his lying mouth. ALSO: as for impeaching these war criminals, whoever does so had damned well make sure that they are impeached SIMULTANEOUSLY (though I am sure that Roberts will try to put the kibosh on THAT!) so that a Democrat can step into the breach once they take over both houses. Imagine Nancy Pelosi as POTUS! Hell, she sure as hell couldn't do any worse than the moron we have now!!!!!

    Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#12)
    by aw on Sat Aug 19, 2006 at 05:12:39 AM EST
    This would be easy... as long as I'm the dictator. -GWB

    Based on Bush-logic, every leader of every country wherein a "terrorist" attack has taken place can make up his/her own rules/laws and ignore/violate every law ever written by declaring a "war on terror" and or attacking a country they "think" they can easily defeat. In other words, they can elect to become "dictators" if their country is attacked and/or if they attack another country. Isn't that what Hitler's Germany, Japan and Italy did during WWII?

    Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#14)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Aug 19, 2006 at 07:22:31 AM EST
    Dick (no not that one), Welcome!. Pull up a chair. Great view of Bizarro World from here at TL. Roxtar, I'm looking forward to the day that I look for hints about "the nature of the world in which we live" from a guy who is as dumb as a bag of hair. Nuff said.

    Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#16)
    by John Mann on Sat Aug 19, 2006 at 07:31:43 AM EST
    if Al Qaeda is calling into the United States, we want to know why they're calling.
    What I've always wondered when I hear this argument is why the authorities aren't arresting these al Qaeda people. If their calls are being monitored it would surely be easy enough to capture them. Wouldn't it?

    Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#17)
    by oldtree on Sat Aug 19, 2006 at 07:33:02 AM EST
    prisons are full of innocent people, no, literally, full of innocents

    Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#18)
    by Bill Arnett on Sat Aug 19, 2006 at 09:20:48 AM EST
    I remember reading an article a few months back that initially Bushco was applying for warrants through FISA, which has a long history of easily granting warrants upon a show of cause, and that in its entire history (since 1978) of the court they have DENIED only five requests for warrants. All five of those were requests from Bush and Abu Gonzales. This would tend to indicate that they were utterly unable to provide sufficient justification to obtain a warrant, and THAT'S why they decided to sidestep the FISA court altogether. There is no way the FISA court would allow rampant, unwarranted, sweeping, wholesale tapping of millions of phones. A showing of probable cause for so many numbers would be impossible and indeed "too much paperwork" for the DOJ. That is why Bush and ABU CLAIM that the process is too slow and burdensome, because NO JUDGE is going to believe that millions and millions of America are in contact with "terrorists" and issue warrants by the millions. Ain't it nice that the wartime president who would be king is instead being shown to be nothing more than a court jester?

    Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#19)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Aug 19, 2006 at 09:41:04 AM EST
    John Mann writes:
    What I've always wondered when I hear this argument is why the authorities aren't arresting these al Qaeda people.
    So, you disagree with also those on the Left who were just whinning about too early arrests in the London airliner bombers, eh? Gosh. There may be hope for you, yet.

    possible key-hole view into Bush's magisterial world: wire-tapping related deaths in Europe: Investigations into the alleged suicides of both Adamo Bove and Costas Tsalikidis raise questions about more than the suspicious circumstances of their deaths. They point to politicized, illegal intelligence structures that rely upon cooperative business executives. http://www.alternet.org/story/40485/

    Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#21)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Aug 19, 2006 at 10:20:59 AM EST
    Nicholas Kristof wrote an Aug 13 op-ed in which he reiterates what I have been saying about Neocon foreign policy failures giving N. Korea the bomb. I would link to it but NYT wants money to read their priviledged opinions. I don't think so. What is truly naive is to believe that Bush and his co conspirators are making the world safer with their actions. By refusing to directly engage their "enemies" in negotiations, they are betraying the country and killing innocent human beings. Their racist moralities preclude any negotiations. They believe their enemies (and their victims) are animals that cannot be spoken to or listened to. "Hate don't negotiate with good" That's Bu**s**t.

    Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#22)
    by Bill Arnett on Sat Aug 19, 2006 at 10:49:36 AM EST
    "So, you disagree with also those on the Left who were just whinning about too early arrests in the London airliner bombers, eh? Gosh. There may be hope for you, yet." PPJ ppj is again being fast and loose with facts and being especially disingenuous here. John Mann was simply observing with his inquiry that if so much is know about these "al-Qaeda" supporters from these illegal wiretappings, wouldn't it be easy to accumulate probable cause to arrest them, especially as their whereabouts are known. In no way shape or form would a thinking, reasonable person interpret this perfectly logical inquiry as a condemnation of ANYONE'S OPINION, right or left wing. Oh, "thinking and reasonable" & ppj --as Emilly Litella would say, "Nevermind!"

    Glenn Greenwald's got another excellent post on the Judge Taylor's-opinion-and-conclusion-are-due-to-"poor legal reasoning"-distraction link

    what President Bush said (as quoted directly above) is to say (in other words) that "the American people" (so to speak) are "naive."
    But what he really wanted to say was: "Y'all too dumb, hell now I wouldn't be the preznit if you weren't. Fooled y'all once means yer caint get fooled again er...."

    This may be a "naive" perspective, but I do wonder what would happen if we knew more about what our government is doing to combat terrorism rather than less.
    Susan, You hit the tip of the Bush state secret iceberg right there. I look at this issue from the larger perspective of why the Bush administration is so secretive in all of its dealings, not just this one subject. I doubt that they think this is for the good of the American public, since they can't be that naive (with the possible exception of the President). Here's some fun facts to consider: From 1953 to 1975 (the height of the Cold War) there were a total of 4 times that the President of the U.S. invoked the state secrets priviledge. Bush has invoked it 24 times in the last 5 years. This action can literally shut down any court case on the basis that it can reveal secrets the POTUS does not want disclosed. There was an 81 percent increase in the number of documents stamped "secret" in the first 3 years of this administration. A total of 64 percent (an all time record high) of the advisory committe meetings held by people in this administration have been closed to the public, contradicting the intent of the Federal Advisory Commmitte Act. This pattern began before 9/11. Remember the Cheney Energy Task Force meetings? BTW...Cheney is the only VP in history to claim that he has the Presidential executive priviledge to mark any document he chooses "secret" and no one knows how many documents he's declared to be secret, not even Bush (who I doubt will ever ask him, anyway).

    Maybe the government should just lay its cards on the table, tell us all what it knows about the terrorists,
    How would we spend the other fifty nine mimutes? 'Tis ninety five percent about gaining political advantage. You can rest assured bushco knows a damn site more about his political adversaries than he does about any terrist. And a touch ot, if you think the dems are going to take congress in the fall, that truly is naive. My much used phrase, More chance of a seat on the next shuttle. Lou Dobbs is only scratching at the problem in this small clip. It's inconceivable that the Whitehouse would conceed power when all it takes to keep it is push a few buttons. Be afraid, be very afraid.

    It's inconceivable that the Whitehouse would conceed power when all it takes to keep it is push a few buttons.
    Do you mean literally or figuratively? And which is worse? ;)

    Ernesto. Was thinking more along the Diebold nob as opposed to The Button Pusher pushing his.

    Good enough Oscar, but I was thinking of the buttons that get pushed when the terror level is raised, which causes the thought processes of a few million voters to cease. That's the one that's been pushed a lot lately, to the point where the effectiveness is now rapidly declining.

    Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#31)
    by Al on Sat Aug 19, 2006 at 01:16:49 PM EST
    So, you disagree with also those on the Left who were just whinning about too early arrests in the London airliner bombers, eh? (PPJ)
    Pay attention, Jim. Those arrests happened in Britain and in Pakistan. Where are the successful prosecutions of Al Qaeda members in the US due to warrantless surveillance?

    Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#32)
    by jondee on Sat Aug 19, 2006 at 02:20:41 PM EST
    Ras has his knickers in a twist because the only way to get him to let go of his Bush is to pry him from his cold, dead, fingers. Fearless leader's baseless, substanceless, cred and rep must be defended at all costs: including lowering oneself to the standard Swift-Scum maneuvers. Accurate characterization warrants outright lying and slander in responce.

    Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#33)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Aug 19, 2006 at 05:08:13 PM EST
    Al - We both know that the left was trying to throw up a smoke screen on the take down, and I just reminded John Mann of it. So grow up and take it when you've been caught.

    Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#34)
    by jondee on Sat Aug 19, 2006 at 05:54:53 PM EST
    ras - Speaking of irony, (of the unitentional kind), someone who has no problem seemingly with spending tens-of-billions and killing hundreds of thousands in the name of "regime change" should maybe think twice before telling others to "give their self-righteous gene a rest."

    I was watching a rerun of tha 'Patriot' tonite ..... and there is a scene in tha flick, released circa 2000, wherein The Patriot (Mel Gibson) is grieving over tha recent death of his first-born, Gabriel. His friend and Commanding Officer, tha General, is entreating The Patriot to "Stay the Course." Wouldn't it be ironic ifn K.Rove's re-election rhetorical direction and G. Bush's persistent entreaties to tha patriotism of "Stay tha Course," did in fact begin with tha observation of this singular scene in this Hollywood movie? Scenes of Ronnie Reagan rerun again? And what does this say about us and our brethren? "Some men want fame and status, thinking that they would thus make themselves secure against other men. If the life of such men really were secure, they have attained a natural good; if, however, it is insecure, they have not attained the end which by nature's own prompting they originally sought." - Epicurus a contemporary of Aristotle.

    I was watching a rerun of tha 'Patriot' tonite ..... and there is a scene in tha flick, released circa 2000, wherein The Patriot (Mel Gibson) is grieving over tha recent death of his first-born, Gabriel. His friend and Commanding Officer, tha General, is entreating The Patriot to "Stay the Course." Wouldn't it be ironic ifn K.Rove's re-election rhetorical direction and G. Bush's persistent entreaties to tha patriotism of "Stay tha Course," did in fact begin with tha observation of this singular scene in this Hollywood movie? Scenes of Ronnie Reagan rerun again? And what does this say about us and our brethren? "Some men want fame and status, thinking that they would thus make themselves secure against other men. If the life of such men really were secure, they have attained a natural good; if, however, it is insecure, they have not attained the end which by nature's own prompting they originally sought." - Epicurus a contemporary of Aristotle.

    Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#37)
    by Sailor on Sat Aug 19, 2006 at 06:54:53 PM EST
    We both know that the left was trying to throw up a smoke screen on the take down, and I just reminded John Mann of it. So grow up and take it when you've been caught.
    got links? or were you just not telling the truth again.

    According to Fox News we have too many Constitutional Rights. The conservative montra appears to be we can only be safe in a highly effective police state.

    Here is the current "terror alert" from the Office of Homeland Security and Michael Chertoff. As many sensible people have observed since 9/11, there is really no certain way to know (for sure) that America is any safer now than it was before September 11, 2001. What we ("the American people"--the "naive" American people) and the rest of the world "led" by our government (the Bush administration) have is not certainty but certitude (a feeling of certainty). There is a difference. Even Chertoff is willing to admit that no one knows "for sure" that we are safer. Terrorist plots are often several years in the planning. Five years between terrorist plots is usual, not unusual, from planning to execution. As many, including Chertoff, have observed, terrorists are patient as well as committed. Foiling terrorist plots takes more than the conventional strategies of war and conventional war does not work well against terrorists, guerillas, resistance fighters, whatever one wants to call them who do not function within or observe international conventions of war (the Geneva conventions)--as the Israel Defense Force has recently acknowledged in its war with Hezbollah in Lebanon (Guerillas and terrorist--fairly indistinguishable--do not "play by the rules" of conventional war). Given the historical improbability if not impossibility of "defeating the enemy" on the "battlefield" in the so-called "war on terror" or "guerilla war" (e.g., the Vietnam Conflict), I hope that a lot more the U.S. government's efforts are going into understanding and devising means of "combating" the "root causes" of "terrorism" than the "naive" American public has been made aware of since 9/11. The idea that "America is safer from terrorism" since 9/11 than it was before 9/11 is one that the Bush administration has been promoting since 9/11, and it is one that we will be hearing over and over again as we move closer to November's midterm elections and to 2008 (unless a major terrorist plot succeeds before then, and they can't claim that anymore. While, of course, we all hope that no such terrorist plot does succeed before Nov. 2006 or Nov. 2008, we do know that previously-successful terrorist plots like the one that occurred on 9/11 are several years in the making and they may be undetectable or, if detectable, still go undetected. ....The Bush administration simply cannot prove that we are "safer now than we were before 9/11." They can merely state that we are. ...The data-mining and surveillance via machines, some observe, are simply not efficient means of learning what needs to be learned in advance of a terrorist plot's being carried out successfully. The use of people to monitor and sift through all that data takes them away from otherwise more productive work. Given the kinds of national security controls in place legally (see the judge's full ruling and what she exempted on grounds of national security), "the American people" (and the rest of the world) will always be kept "in the dark" or rendered (as it were) naive, because there are some facts and truths which our government will not tell us (arguable, presumably, not to reveal state secrets about national security to our enemies). That whole scenario lies behind President Bush's remarks about what people do not know. His remarks are general and designed to allude to "what you don't know can't hurt you" kinds of claims that those of us who remember the 60s and the Vietnam protests have heard many times before from defense department reps sent to college campuses to give the Johnson administration's position of that war (euphemistically called a "conflict" as the Israel-Hezbollah-Lebanon one was a few weeks ago). ....When the United States sides with Israel in its war against Hezbollah (refusing to call for an immediate ceasefire at the start, waiting weeks into the conflict before doing so, and thus sanctioning the bombing, killing, and maiming of thousands of innocent Lebanese men, women, and children), it makes more enemies among terrorists and would-be terrorists (Israel's enemies) who are more and more likely to attack the United States as a result of their hatred of both the U.S. and Israel and their allies (e.g., the UK). Does such a foreign policy make us ("the American people" and the other people of the world) "safer" against terrorists or less "safe" against terrorists? Despite the arguments of the Bush administration for the latter, how would they know? Common sense based on historical evidence suggests the former is more likely the case. Who is being naive? Maybe the government should just lay its cards on the table, tell us all what it knows about the terrorists, and let us take it all in too. Such knowledge may be frightening, and revealing such "state secrets" may reveal what we know to the terrorists or would-be terrorists too, but maybe it would lead to more understanding of the root causes of terrorism and more efforts to deal with them. This may be a "naive" perspective, but I do wonder what would happen if we knew more about what our government is doing to combat terrorism rather than less. [Edited for length by TL.]

    Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#38)
    by Al on Sat Aug 19, 2006 at 11:27:39 PM EST
    PPJ, you make up false accusations and try to tie them to the topic at hand when they are in fact completely disconnected. In other words, you sound just like your boss.

    How long do we wait, exactly, to join forces to oust this whole un-American (a phrase used by Dan Froomkin in the Washington Post today) cabal? Bush's repeated illegal acts and his outspoken disdain for the Constitution are more than cause for impeachment. But even if control of Congress changes in November and impeachment eventually starts, in the meantime there are 50,000 ways the administration will continue destroying America and endangering the world. A clear majority is now awake and opposes the admin's policies and knows it can't be trusted. If that clear majority joined forces, it could demand that the whole thieving bunch be replaced for the sake of the country. As the owners/parents of this democracy, it's criminal negligence for us not to do just that. Whether through rapid impeachment or new legal/constitutional means to be devised--if we join forces we can find a way. I'm sick of people saying we have no choice but to wait for Congress to act. It's a lie, and it's waiting for a disaster we can see coming with perfect clarity.

    Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#40)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Aug 20, 2006 at 11:29:12 AM EST
    Re: Bush: It's 'Naive' to Believe the President M (none / 0) (#41)
    by Sailor on Sun Aug 20, 2006 at 12:14:59 PM EST
    how that translates to 'the left was trying to throw up a smoke screen' is something only ppj's fevered imagination could come up with. We wrote facts and linked to them, you wrote opinions you can't back up. If that's the best you can do, talk to the hand.