My own local paper, bless their hearts, is finally coming around.Ok, then. What does the editorial from this "notoriously conservative" staff have to say?
Here's the latest in LTE, Op-Ed, etc. from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, in the east end of Los Angeles County, where a notoriously conservative editorial staff has finally HAD ENOUGH!
Let's take a look. First at a real lie from our president:
MARK Twain, prophet that he was, once decried a woeful decay in the fine art of lying. Judging by the fibs of recent presidents, the decay continues.At least when Clinton uttered the now infamous "I did not have sexual relations..." line, our civil liberties were not at risk. But on the other hand to the sex-obsessed, extra-marital blowjobs are so much worse than warrantless electronic surveillances.
One of the first rules of skilled fibbing is to avoid leaving evidence lying around that might expose your deception. President Bush has left evidence on the White House Web site. There we can see Bush promoting the Patriot Act at an April 2004 appearance in Buffalo and assuring us that his administration does not conduct wiretaps on Americans without court approval.
"Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires - a wiretap requires a court order," he says. "Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think `Patriot Act,' constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution."
Knowing what we know now, that sounds like the biggest presidential whopper since Bill Clinton assured us that he did not have "sexual relations with that woman."
Two years before Buffalo, Bush authorized the National Security Agency to turn its mighty electronic ears on thousands of phone calls and e-mails between the United States and abroad without bothering to get a warrant. He does not deny violating the now-famous Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978. Instead, he argued in a news conference following the disclosures by The New York Times, that he does not have to obey the FISA.
In any case, this is followed by an interesting rhetorical question:
He argues, echoing other presidents, that the special circumstances of the "war on terror" authorize him to take any steps he needs to keep Americans safe. But, one wonders, if the president can do whatever he wants, why do we need a Patriot Act?Indeed, isn't that the reason the Founding Fathers came up with the Constitution and Bill of Rights? To set limits on the power of the government? If Bush can do whatever he wants in his war on terror, why do we even need the Constitution?
He's only trying to protect us, right? None of us wants to see another 9/11, right? It follows that anyone who makes it harder for him to protect us from another 9/11 and if (god forbid) another 9/11 were to occur, that person would be partly responsible for that attack, right? In fact he (or she, in the case of Maria) would have actually helped the attack to occur, right? And isn't aiding and abetting The Enemy treason? So why shouldn't Our President just lock up all the traitors who are making it harder for him to protect the rest of us from another 9/11? They're just as bad as the terrorists, aren't they?
Ok, and now coming back to reality...
The end is the real kicker for the op-ed:
When Clinton did not like FISA law, he sought changes from Congress. Bush chose instead to defy the law and consult privately with a few members of the Senate. At least one of them, West Virginia Democrat Jay Rockefeller, says the White House ignored his serious concerns.Don't get me wrong, I do not want to see Senator Clinton in the Oval Office, but the point is well taken.
Which brings us back to the central question Bush has yet to answer: Why did he not follow the laws that Congress has passed?
The great balance of liberty versus national security should not be a partisan issue. Many principled conservatives have raised this issue, as they should. For those who still are not sure, I offer this advice: Don't grant powers to President Bush that you would not want to grant to President Hillary Clinton.[emphasis added]
If the President can do whatever he (or she) wants in this never ending war on terror, the United States of America will cease to be a nation of laws, but a nation of one man.