On Alternet "A Time to Impeach"
"When the U.S. Senate last Friday refused to renew the liberticidal Patriot Act -- with its provisions for spying on Americans' use of libraries and the Internet, among other Constitution-shredding provisions of that iniquitous law -- it was in part because that morning's New York Times had revealed how Bush and his White House had committed a major crime. [...] Bush not only acknowledged, and defended, this illegal eavesdropping in a Saturday radio address, he went further in a Monday morning press conference, saying he'd "suggested" it. But as Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russ Feingold -- who, together with conservative Idaho Republican Larry Craig, led the filibuster that defeated the Patriot Act's renewal -- said this weekend, "This is not how our democratic system of government works--the president does not get to pick and choose which laws he wants to follow." (more)
On counterpunch "Nothing New About NSA Spying on Americans"
"The big puzzle is why anyone is shocked that President Bush eavesdropped on Americans. The National Security Agency for decades has routinely monitored the phone calls and telegrams of thousands of Americans. The rationale has always been the same, and Bush said it again in defending his spying, that it was done to protect Americans from foreign threat or attack. The named targets in the past have been Muslim extremists, Communists, peace activists, black radicals, civil rights leaders, and drug peddlers. [...] There was a huge warning sign in 2002 that government agencies would jump deeper into the domestic spy business. President Bush scrapped the old 1970s guidelines that banned FBI spying on domestic organizations. The directive gave the FBI carte blanche authority to surveill, and plant agents in churches, mosques, and political groups, and ransack the Internet to hunt for potential subversives, without the need or requirement to show probable cause of criminal wrongdoing. The revised Bush administration spy guidelines, along with the anti-terrorist provisions of the Patriot Act, also gave local agents even wider discretion to determine what groups or individuals they can investigate and what tactics they can use to investigate them. The FBI wasted little time in flexing its new found intelligence muscle. It mounted a secret campaign to monitor and harass Iraq war protestors in Washington D.C. and San Francisco in October 2003. (more)