September 3, 2015
You Have No Rights
Posted on Aug 14, 2007
The spying by the National Security Agency: They’re not supposed to spy on American citizens here at home unless the exclusive means by which they are supposed to spy on us according to the law is by first getting a warrant at the FISA court. And Bush signed a document every 45 days that said that he didn’t need to follow that law. He was going to have the National Security Agency spy on U.S. citizens anyway. I mean, that is as flagrant a violation of the law as you can imagine.
And the other thing is these signing statements, so-called. More than 750 times Bush has signed the law but rather than see that that law is faithfully executed, he puts a little asterisk underneath his signature and says, “I’m going to enforce this law only to the extent that it doesn’t interfere with my powers as commander in chief as I interpret them or as I interpret the Constitution in other ways.”
Harris: There must have been an asterisk for Scooter Libby as well.
Rothschild: There’s that whole Scooter Libby commutation. There’s the U.S. prosecutors. I mean, he’s using the U.S. Attorney’s Office to file bogus charges against Democrats so that he can change the outcome of elections. This guy has no respect whatsoever for democracy.
Square, Site wide
Scheer: ... [W]ith 9/11 happening, not many people stood up and said maybe these—like the Patriot Act—maybe these things weren’t right. And the ones who did, some of them have left office. [Former U.S. Sen.] Max Cleland. And there’s [former Rep.] Helen Chenoweth, who has now passed away, but she fought the strip searches on airplanes, and things like that. These rights have been going away for a long, long time. It’s not just the four years in Iraq. Especially after 9/11, with the Muslims who couldn’t sue because of their jobs being lost. “Look, 9/11 has just happened. There’s nothing we’re going to do.” I would like more people to stand up, in Congress.
Rothschild: I’m happy to have Russ Feingold—most of the time—as my senator. He’s the only senator to oppose the Patriot Act, at 98 to 1. I’m a little upset right now because he just came out with a statement that he’s not for impeachment, even though he admits that Bush and Cheney probably have committed impeachable offenses. He doesn’t want to go forward because he says we’ve got more important things to do. In my mind, restoring our democracy is the most important thing we need to do.
Scheer: Is David Obey your congressman?
Rothschild: No, David Obey is north of here.
Rothschild: I’m happy with my congressman, too, Tammy Baldwin ...
Scheer: Oh, OK.
Rothschild: ... who’s the first out lesbian to be elected to the House of Representatives and a wonderful person and a big defender of civil liberty. She originally signed onto the John Conyers bill that he put forward when he was in the minority and the Democrats didn’t have the House, a bill to explore grounds of impeachment. But I don’t know that she’s on the impeachment bandwagon just yet. There’s a huge groundswell of support at the grass roots for impeachment. The latest poll I saw said that 45 percent of the American public wanted the impeachment of Bush and 54 percent were in favor of impeaching Cheney. And this is before any leading Democrat has come out for impeachment. Dennis Kucinich, of course, has filed a bill to impeach Dick Cheney, but Nancy Pelosi says it’s off the table, Harry Reid won’t talk about it, the other presidential leading candidates won’t talk about it. But the people want it, and that is a hopeful sign, because the people know what abuses—at least they have an idea of the kinds of abuses that Bush and Cheney have committed. So if 45 percent want to impeach Bush and 54 percent want to impeach Cheney without any leadership whatsoever from the Democratic Party muckety-mucks, you can imagine—. Once we turn over a few more stones and see some more of the ugly little squirmy things that these guys have done, I think there’s going to be even louder noises clamoring for impeachment.
Scheer: It’s funny because with the Democrats not taking leadership, they obviously don’t learn, or they can’t figure it out because this is how the Contract With America, Newt Gingrich, came about, and this is probably going to end up the same way.
Harris: Standing up is becoming an overlooked exercise, and as much as we sit here and talk about the need for the American public to stand up and stand together and speak out for your rights, it is becoming a difficult task, because we’re seeing that those people that stand up are often ignored and overlooked. But perhaps if the American public were more vocal in the days after 9/11, if we call to task those congressmen and women that were so willing to give George Bush the ability to start a war in Iraq, we wouldn’t be in this situation that we’re in today. So we can’t forget about the power of standing up and speaking out. It is so important.
Scheer: I just want to say something about impeachment, though, to go against that. Because the term is ending very soon we should also make very sure that the candidate that you are electing, that our vote’s going to, that they’re not for taking away our rights. Because we know with Hillary Clinton, her stands on war. She’s playing the tough card, and people like that. That we should focus our energy and find out what these people really stand for and make sure those questions are asked. And hopefully some journalist out there will ask them.
Rothschild: Yeah. I would hope in some of these debates that these huge civil liberties issues that are right staring us in the eye would get some attention from the people who would be president, who are running for president.
Harris: Matthew Rothschild, author of the new book “You Have No Rights.” Matthew, I told you you were going to get us fired up tonight.
Rothschild: Well, it didn’t take much to get me going. I really appreciate the opportunity to talk with you on this really crucial issue, though.
Harris: Thank you for joining us and good luck with your book.
Rothschild: Thanks so much.
Harris: For Matthew Rothschild, for Josh Scheer, this is James Harris, and this is Truthdig.
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