Thursday, December 29, 2005

Opposing viewpoints are welcome

The Weekly Standard presents an argument in favor of the president's domestic spying program that doesn't rely on fear-mongering or flag-waving to make its point. I welcome the author's assertion that Congress needs to reclaim its role in overseeing executive behavior. Other than that, I'm not prepared to respond, so I invite you, my faithless readers, to do it for me. What do you think?


Blogger Ol' Froth said...

I still don't understand why the administration couldn't obtain warrants up to 72 hours after starting the taps?

5:20 PM

Blogger djhlights said...

First, as the former executive director of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board the author happens to quite possibly be in the mix of the problem and his comments should be viewed as such.

Secondly, considering the author is keen to use the Federalist Papers without actually documenting which ones to try and prove his point, especially regarding the separation of powers in the Constitution, I'd have to say he's a bit off. But who am I to say that. I'll let the faithless James Madison, the author of the Consitution, do it for me.

James Madison in Federalist 47:

"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, selfappointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. Were the federal Constitution, therefore, really chargeable with the accumulation of power, or with a mixture of powers, having a dangerous tendency to such an accumulation, no further arguments would be necessary to inspire a universal reprobation of the system."

James Madison’s Federalist No. 48, is entirely devoted to the idea and explination that liberty cannot be maintained unless each branch must be accountable to the others.

It was shown in the last paper that the political apothegm there examined does not require that the legislative, executive, and judiciary departments should be wholly unconnected with each other. I shall undertake, in the next place, to show that unless these departments be so far connected and blended as to give to each a constitutional control over the others, the degree of separation which the maxim requires, as essential to a free government, can never in practice be duly maintained.

Also from 48:

"An elective despotism was not the government we fought for; but one which should not only be founded on free principles, but in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among several bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits, without being effectually checked and restrained by the others."

Madison in Federalist 51:

What expedient, then, shall we finally resort, for maintaining in practice the necessary partition of power among the several departments, as laid down in the Constitution? The only answer that can be given is, that as all these exterior provisions are found to be inadequate, the defect must be supplied, by so contriving the interior structure of the government as that its several constituent parts may, by their mutual relations, be the means of keeping each other in their proper places. . . .

Lastly, the problem is more than reclaiming Congressional oversight. Bush's premise is that there is none to be had. His whole premise is that a resolution allowing the use of the action of the military is equal to a declaration of war, which then grants the President the authority to supercede the law as created by Congress.

If he doesn't have to obey when Congress passes a statute, which is what he is Constitutionally required to do, what obligates him to obey when Congress tells him he's gone to far?

To go even further, what obligates him to obey if the Congress tells him to vacate the White House?

There is no excuse for his actions at all.

We elect a president not a king.

If that makes me faithless, I'd say at least I have decent company.

5:41 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

The faithless comment was a joke on my part, meant more to poke fun at myself than anyone else. And I think it should be clear from my previous postings that I do not agree with what the president has done--I made it pretty clear that I think it's an impeachable offense. I just felt that this piece deserved a more thorough rebuttal than what I was able to give it at the time. Thanks for rising to the task, DJ.

10:58 AM

Blogger djhlights said...

I knew what you meant with the faithless comment.

I was joining in on the fun.

9:27 PM


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