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Feingold to call for rare presidential censure (+ new home of the wiretap debate)

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Feingold to call for rare presidential censure (+ new home of the wiretap debate)

Old 03-12-06, 06:18 PM
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Feingold to call for rare presidential censure (+ new home of the wiretap debate)

And people said Biden's comments were presidential grandstanding. Good for Feingold.


Feingold to call for rare presidential censure

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A top Democratic senator said Sunday he plans to introduce Monday a resolution calling for President Bush to be censured for his domestic wiretapping program.

Sen. Russ Feingold, a potential presidential candidate, told ABC's "This Week" Sunday that the resolution would not preempt discussions about changing a 1978 law governing a special court set up to approve wiretaps.

"It's an unusual step," he said. "It's a big step, but what the president did by consciously and intentionally violating the Constitution and laws of this country with this illegal wiretapping has to be answered.

"There can be debate about whether the law should be changed. There can be debate about how best to fight terrorism. We all believe that there should be wiretapping in appropriate cases -- but the idea that the president can just make up a law, in violation of his oath of office, has to be answered."

Feingold, a member of the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence committees, said he is doubtful any Republican senators will join him in trying to reprimand the president.

Only one president, Andrew Jackson, has ever been censured.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, also speaking on ABC, said Feingold "is just wrong."

"He is flat wrong, he is dead wrong," said the Tennessee Republican -- also a potential presidential candidate in 2008 -- adding that "attacking our commander in chief ... doesn't make sense."

"We are right now at an unprecedented war where they really want to take us down," he said. "A censure resolution ... is wrong. It sends a signal around the world.

"The American people are solidly behind this president in conducting the war on terror."

Sen. John Warner, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, noted Feingold's presidential aspirations, and criticized his move as "political grandstanding."

The Republican from Virginia noted that, since 1978, when the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act was passed restricting covert surveillance, technology has changed dramatically.

"Presidents must act instantaneously in the security interests of this country," he said.

Bush authorized the National Security Agency shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to eavesdrop on Americans suspected of communicating with al Qaeda members overseas -- without obtaining a warrant from the FISA court.

The administration has said the program is lawful, and although initially a number of Republicans were critical, most have moved on to "fixing the law," in Feingold's words, to erase any question of its legality.

On Tuesday, four Senate Republicans proposed a bill to provide what one called "very rigorous oversight" of the program while also giving it the force of law.

Sens. Mike DeWine of Ohio, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, all members of the Intelligence Committee, introduced the bill late Tuesday afternoon in an effort to address criticism of the program and reach a compromise.

Feingold said revising the law isn't enough.

"What I'm interested in is my colleagues acknowledging that we as a Congress have to stand up to a president who acts as if the Bill of Rights and the Constitution were repealed on September 11," he said. "We didn't enact martial law on September 11. We still have a constitutional form of government, and if the Congress of the United States does not stand up for that authority at this point, it will be an historic failure of our system of government."

Sen. Carl Levin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he believes Bush's program is wrong but said he would rather wait for the investigation by the Intelligence Committee to be completed.

But Levin, of Michigan, backed Feingold's right to harsh words for Bush.

"I think criticism of the president is legitimate," he said. "I think we ought to welcome some checks and balances on the president."
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Old 03-12-06, 06:36 PM
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I never thought much of Feingold, therefore I'm not too disappointed or surprised. He's a McCain type - enough said.
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Old 03-12-06, 08:08 PM
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Meh.
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Old 03-12-06, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
I never thought much of Feingold, therefore I'm not too disappointed or surprised. He's a McCain type - enough said.
Except McCain didn't vote against the Iraq war or the Patriot Act. Feingold is consistent. That is admirable.
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Old 03-12-06, 08:37 PM
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We are right now at an unprecedented war where they really want to take us down - Frist (also a Presidential Candidate)

Yeah. 'Cause. They wanna take us down.
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Old 03-12-06, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
We are right now at an unprecedented war where they really want to take us down - Frist (also a Presidential Candidate)

Yeah. 'Cause. They wanna take us down.
They don't?
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Old 03-12-06, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Goldblum
They don't?
In Iraq? No, at this point, we are merely in the way. The percentage of al-Qaida fighting in Iraq is very low by all accounts.
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Old 03-12-06, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by CRM114
Except McCain didn't vote against the Iraq war or the Patriot Act. Feingold is consistent. That is admirable.
I disagree with much of what Feingold stands for. I wanted very much for him to lose in his last two elections in my state. But he does have guts and he is, if not consistent (I don't consider being for freedom in the personal sector and against it in the economic sector particularly consistent), at least somewhat principled, even when his principles are wrong.

I'll never be a huge fan but Wisconsin could do far worse.
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Old 03-12-06, 11:01 PM
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I really hope that whoever the Dem nominee is, they try to make the wire tap issue the biggest thing in the world. I would bet that the vast majority of Americans would agree with this statement... "I believe the government should listen to calls from know terrorists that originate outside the country."

Oh wait, Democrats are tough on crime, and tough on terrorism. Honestly, how can you claim to be when everything they use to distinguish themselves from Republicans make them appear weak? The best we can hope for is for someone to use the Kerry approach and say he would do the same things, but different.

Feingold should have a national vote on whether people think the wire tap issue is bad for America.
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Old 03-13-06, 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by movielib
I'll never be a huge fan but Wisconsin could do far worse.
That pretty much sums it up. Having the balls to vote against the Patriot Act the first time earned him my vote.

I don't think that this will lead to anything, it's just a way for him to distinguish himself from the other 08 Dem candidates. I do think he has the best chance of getting the nomination at this point.
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Old 03-13-06, 12:48 AM
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People should never even be asked to trade freedom for security. It is a joke to even use that argument. People that attempt to use fear to bully other people into giving up their basic rights and freedoms should be ashamed.

Even if the majority of the people feel that it is acceptable, at the time the spying occured, it was against the law. There must be some sort of action by the legislative branch or it will only become more subservient to the executive branch and our democracy will further deteriorate.

I am one for just moving on at this point and censure would be the easiest way to accomplish this, not giving the executive branch even more power. Congress should censure the President as a warning for future Presidents and move on. Anything less will cause this issue to simmer for the next 2+ years until this administration leaves office, possibly leading to impeachment hearings down the road. If I were a republican, I would want this issue completely off the table. Censure would accomplish this goal.
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Old 03-13-06, 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by mseang
People should never even be asked to trade freedom for security. It is a joke to even use that argument. People that attempt to use fear to bully other people into giving up their basic rights and freedoms should be ashamed.

Even if the majority of the people feel that it is acceptable, at the time the spying occured, it was against the law. There must be some sort of action by the legislative branch or it will only become more subservient to the executive branch and our democracy will further deteriorate.

I am one for just moving on at this point and censure would be the easiest way to accomplish this, not giving the executive branch even more power. Congress should censure the President as a warning for future Presidents and move on. Anything less will cause this issue to simmer for the next 2+ years until this administration leaves office, possibly leading to impeachment hearings down the road. If I were a republican, I would want this issue completely off the table. Censure would accomplish this goal.

Then they should have censured the last president to use it, and the one before that, and before that. This isn't anything new, and it is incorrect to say that it is against the law.

And we don't have absolute freedom in this country, and I don't think people are worked up that they might have a phone conversation tapped that has its origin outside the country with terrorist suspects.

We have not suddenly lost something we use to have. We have not had this "privacy right" for the past 20-30 years, if not more. The Democrats knew about it in briefings (12 of them) before they ever decided this should be an issue.
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Old 03-13-06, 06:53 AM
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For those who think Feingold is Mr. Consistency, I invite them to look at his mini-filibuster(s) of the renewal of certain provisions of the Patriot Act over the past 6-8 weeks.

He's both an enemy of free political speech and opposed to taking realistic steps to lessen this country's need for imported oil - hardly someone who I would vote for.
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Old 03-13-06, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
I really hope that whoever the Dem nominee is, they try to make the wire tap issue the biggest thing in the world. I would bet that the vast majority of Americans would agree with this statement... "I believe the government should listen to calls from know terrorists that originate outside the country."

Oh wait, Democrats are tough on crime, and tough on terrorism. Honestly, how can you claim to be when everything they use to distinguish themselves from Republicans make them appear weak? The best we can hope for is for someone to use the Kerry approach and say he would do the same things, but different.

Feingold should have a national vote on whether people think the wire tap issue is bad for America.
You could certainly ask it the way you ask it. Thats the way the Republicans would like it asked.

What would the outcome if it was asked more accurately: "Do you feel the President has the power to circumvent the Constitution and illegally wiretap any American?" After all, there still is no evidence that the program is being used for "terrorist" wiretaps only, is there?
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Old 03-13-06, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
Then they should have censured the last president to use it, and the one before that, and before that. This isn't anything new, and it is incorrect to say that it is against the law.
Can you provide links that show any other President violated FISA? Clinton never violated the law in this regard.
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Old 03-13-06, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
For those who think Feingold is Mr. Consistency, I invite them to look at his mini-filibuster(s) of the renewal of certain provisions of the Patriot Act over the past 6-8 weeks.

He's both an enemy of free political speech and opposed to taking realistic steps to lessen this country's need for imported oil - hardly someone who I would vote for.
Please. So he tried to fix the campaign finance problems. We knew you wouldn't vote for him - you are a Bushite.
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Old 03-13-06, 08:09 AM
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We Democrats have to stop eating our own here. Look at the solidarity between the Republican members on this forum. CRM, "Bushite"? How crude and rude.
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Old 03-13-06, 08:15 AM
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Everyone on this forum knows CRM114 is a closet Republican.

Remember a former member: Clinton-Gore 2000?

Who knows they may be one and the same.
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Old 03-13-06, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by CRM114
Please. So he tried to fix the campaign finance problems. We knew you wouldn't vote for him - you are a Bushite.
And you railed against Bush from trampeling on civil liberties on the domestic spy matter - yet, give Feingold a pass on trampeling on a precious civil liberty - the right of free political speech. That's called inconsistency.
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Old 03-13-06, 08:59 AM
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Just to show you that Feingold can't be all wrong:

Voted YES on repealing tax subsidy for companies which move US jobs offshore. (Mar 2005)

Voted NO on reforming bankruptcy to include means-testing & restrictions. (Mar 2005)

Voted NO on restricting rules on personal bankruptcy. (Jul 2001)

Rated 26% by the US COC, indicating an anti-business voting record. (Dec 2003)
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Old 03-13-06, 09:03 AM
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Voted YES on disallowing an oil leasing program in Alaska's AMWR. (Nov 2005)

Voted YES on reducing oil usage by 40% by 2025 (instead of 5%). (Jun 2005)

Voted YES on banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Mar 2005)

Voted NO on Bush Administration Energy Policy. (Jul 2003)

Voted YES on removing consideration of drilling ANWR from budget bill. (Mar 2003)

Voted NO on drilling ANWR on national security grounds. (Apr 2002)

Voted NO on preserving budget for ANWR oil drilling. (Apr 2000)

Voted NO on approving a nuclear waste repository. (Apr 1997)

Voted YES on do not require ethanol in gasoline. (Aug 1994)
________

Well, he most assuredly isn't all right either.
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Old 03-13-06, 09:18 AM
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Consistantly wrong and/or consistantly having idiotic positions isn't admirable.
This is great news politically for the republicans. Just make sure that all the so-called dem presidential candidates in the senate are available and are made to vote on it.
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Old 03-13-06, 09:50 AM
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How is calling for a censure of the president great news politically for the Repubs?

It keeps the president's 'problems' in the news. I don't see how that's good news politically for the Repubs.
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Old 03-13-06, 09:59 AM
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I think it's a wash for both parties. Most voters are not sufficiently aware politically to know much about Senator Feingold, or will remember this come 2008. They will associate this with 'partisan politics as usual' and go back to thinking about how that Britney girl got pregnant again.

The above does not hold true for the average Iowa caucus voter (nor the average poster in this forum).
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Old 03-13-06, 10:16 AM
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If it's McCain vs. Feingold in 2008 - which way do you vote?
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