Monday, September 18, 2006

U.S. Senate to Vote on Motion to Pardon Bush

I figured I'd pass this along, not that anything could stop it but still when you're on a bus headed for Hell it's nice to know.

The U.S. Senate is going to hold a vote on whether or not to Pardon George W. Bush for breaking the law in the whole wiretap fiasco. Nice to know he has unlimited power...

Anyway in my view this argument is moot, whether he gets pardoned or not he still broke his oath of office (you know the part about preserving, protecting, and defending the constitution) and if that isn't an impeachable offence it should be.

Anyway, here's a message I got from about it.

Dear MoveOn member,

This week, the Senate is planning to quietly hold a vote that would pardon President Bush for breaking the law by illegally wiretapping innocent Americans without warrants. According to Senator Leahy, the bill would "...immunize officials who have violated federal law by authorizing such illegal activities."1

President Bush broke the law, and courts are starting to agree. Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter once said the program was illegal "on its face." But he has now caved to pressure from Vice President Cheney, and introduced legislation that marks a new low: the bill justifies everything the president did. Worse, it makes it legal to wiretap Americans, in secret, without warrants or oversight, whenever the administration wants to.2

So far, Democrats and some Republicans are holding strong against the bill, and there are good chances to stop it if enough of us speak up. Can you sign the petition opposing the Republican move to pardon President Bush for breaking the law?

Many legal experts agree that the president's program to wiretap Americans who have nothing to do with terrorism violates the law. President Bush already has the authority to wiretap suspected terrorists—and we support that. In fact, his administration can tap anyone it likes as long as it gets an OK from a court a few days later.

Congress should be trying to hold him accountable—that's their job. Instead, some Republicans are trying to let President Bush off the hook completely. In fact, the legislation would give the president even more unchecked power.

Here are some quick facts about the Cheney-Specter bill:
  • It allows President Bush—and every president after him—to wiretap Americans indefinitely, in secret, without a warrant and without any oversight. 3
  • It effectively pardons the president for any illegal behavior by forcing Congress to concede that he has the inherent authority to conduct the program4—something federal courts, numerous legal experts and many leading Republicans disagree with. 5
  • It completely guts FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) which has protected the privacy of Americans against illegal wiretaps for close to 30 years.6
  • It prevents any legal challenges from taking place in the public court system. Instead, it moves all cases to a secret court, where only Bush administration officials can argue it. 7
  • It would help "immunize" any officials who broke the law in this program from being held accountable in the future. 8
Since the program was exposed in December of last year, we've learned that President Bush personally blocked a Justice Department investigation of the program, Vice President Cheney also personally intervened to stop telecom companies from testifying to Congress about it, and a federal court recently ruled the program unconstitutional.9 In an effort to protect himself from further consequences, the president is pressuring Congress to let him off the hook.

This is an important issue and it will help remind Americans, in an election year, what Republicans are all about—accumulating power for themselves, and trampling the system of checks and balances designed to stop that. Can you sign the petition today?

It's the Senate's job to act as a check on the president's power. If they can't do it, they shouldn't be in Washington.

Thanks for all you do,

–Nita, Eli, Jennifer, Wes and the Political Action Team
Monday, September 18th, 2006

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