Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Senate Review - July 11, 2006

UPDATE July 12 @ 8:10

Reading morning news, editorials and the like. Posting links to the ones I find more interesting, for one reason or another.

Targeting illegal combatants
By David B. Rivkin Jr. & Lee A. Casey

... Military commissions must, of course, meet certain minimal standards of fairness -- but these standards require very much less than the protections to which defendants are entitled in courts martial, or in the civilian judicial system. ...

... there are only two fundamental concerns regarding these rules ... First, as a matter of fundamental fairness, the rules should not be subject to change once an individual's trial process begins. Second, limitations on the "right of confrontation" of the accused -- the ability to know who are the witnesses against him and to assist his lawyers in answering their claims -- must be spelled out by Congress in detail and kept to a minimum.

This essay by Neal Katyal is a must read, if the Hamdan case and its aftermath are more than a passing interest. BTW, I don't read Slate - I got the tip from howappealing.law.com.


Here's one that won't ring much of a bell, but I'm thinking maybe it should ...

White House Personnel Announcement

... The President intends to nominate Henry M. Paulson, Jr. of New York, to be United States Governor of the International Monetary Fund, for a five-year term, United States Governor of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, for a five-year term, United States Governor of the Inter-American Development Bank, for a five-year term, United States Governor of the African Development Fund, United States Governor of the Asian Development Fund, and United States Governor of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Secretary Paulson currently serves as Secretary of the Treasury.


Interesting, live on C-SPAN2 is the House of Commons, where a short debate occurred on creating a requirement for ID cards, in the name of national security. Tony Blair is advocating mandatory biometric identity. It'll really pique my interest when the identification scheme includes a requirement for evidence on the right hand or forehead.


This post at confirmthem.com includes a link to a Bloomberg News story that reports Senator Graham's reaction to Judge Haynes second hearing, held on July 11th ...

Senate Democrats Signal Filibuster Against Haynes

July 11 (Bloomberg) -- Senate Democrats suggested they may try to block the nomination of Defense Department General Counsel William J. Haynes II to be a federal judge a day after 20 retired military officers expressed concern about his qualifications.

Democrats may not need to use parliamentary tactics to defeat Haynes's nomination. A Republican critic of the Bush administration's interrogation policy, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, said he wasn't satisfied with Haynes's answers today about his role in approving techniques to interrogate suspected terrorists. Graham might give Democrats enough votes to block the nomination in committee. ...

There are many more story links at howappealing.law.com, including an article titled Democrats likely to filibuster nominee at the Washington Times.

An interesting nomination, and I predict the Republican wing of the gang of 14 will do all it can to scuttle the nomination without uttering the phrase "extraordinary circumstances."

And as for the threat of filibuster, well, the article says, "Mr. Reid signaled that the nomination was in serious trouble, though he did not say Democrats would try a filibuster if it came before the full Senate for a vote."

For those who object to Haynes, the only honorable course of action is to bring the nomination up for a vote, and reject the nominee outright.


Ohhh ... here's a blast from the past - Abscam!

The Rest of Murtha's FBI Tape

Amoroso: Let me ask you now that we're together. I was under the impression, OK, and I told Howard [middleman Howard Criden] what we were willing to pay, and [This is where the available videotape begins] I went out, I got the $50,000. OK? So what you're telling me, OK, you're telling me that that's not what you know....

Murtha: I'm not interested.

Amoroso: OK.

Murtha: At this point, [This is where the available videotape ends] you know, we do business together for a while. Maybe I'll be interested and maybe I won't.... Right now, I'm not interested in those other things. Now, I won't say that some day, you know, I, if you made an offer, it may be I would change my mind some day.

I'm not sure how this will play out, as Murtha's past willingness to enter into financial corruption doesn't have a clear link to his present stance against the war in Iraq. I'd prefer him to be marginalized on the two points, independent of one another. That won't happen, of course, largely due to the fact that the defense that he and the Democrats will raise will include a false allegation that his detractors link the two items.


Here are some other items introduced yesterday ...


The following bills and joint resolutions were introduced, read the first and second times by unanimous consent, and referred as indicated: ...

S. 3633. A bill to require the withholding of United States contributions to the United Nations until the President certifies that the United Nations is not engaged in global taxation schemes; to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

Mr. INHOFE. ... In response to the United Nations' actions, Senator Bob Dole and Representative Gerald Solomon introduced bills in both Houses of Congress in January of 1996 to put a stop to the United Nations' antics. These bills prohibited any voluntary or assessed contributions from the United States to the United Nations if the United Nations continued to develop and promote proposals for international taxes and fees. That legislation passed through the 104th and the 105th Congresses to become public law.

Still, the United Nations continued to pursue global taxation. ...

[I take it then, that the public law passed through the 104th and 105th Congresses is either lapsed, or is not being enforced. S.3633 proposed yesterday does not withhold all voluntary or assessed contributions, Senator Inhofe says, "the bill I bring before you will withhold 20 percent of dues from the United Nations and other international organizations if they continue to promote global taxes." My attitude? This bill is all smoke and fury, signifying nothing of substance.]


S. 3637. A bill to require the submittal to Congress of any Presidential Daily Briefing relating to Iraq during the period beginning on January 20, 1997, and ending on March 19, 2003; read the first time.

Mr. KENNEDY ... The legislation requires the administration to provide the prewar Presidential daily briefs on Iraq to the Senate Intelligence Committee for its investigation on the way the administration's policymakers used this intelligence in its decision to go to war.

I introduced an identical bill, S. 2175, on December 22 last year, but it has not yet been reported out of the Intelligence Committee.

It is essential that the Intelligence Committee have access to all the information about prewar intelligence in Iraq for its investigation. With threats looming in North Korea and Iran, we need to learn from the mistakes of the past to ensure that we do not repeat them. The PDBs are extremely relevant to this issue, and Congress should have access to them.


Mr. DeMINT. Mr. President, I submit the following notice in writing: In accordance with rule V of the Standing Rules of the Senate, I hereby give notice in writing that it is my intention to move to suspend paragraph 4 of rule XVI for the purpose of proposing to the bill H.R. 5441 amendment No. 4568.

[This amendment is in the nature of stand-alone legislation. It is named "Warning, Alert, and Response Network Act" and aims to create a National Alert System.]

I've updated the summary below with links and voice votes that occurred on Tuesday, having the Congressional Record and the Daily Digest to work from.


A short "after the day is done" review, where the action relates to H.R.5441 - the Homeland Security appropriations bill. I'll backfill links to pages in the Congressional Record after the record is printed tomorrow.

Debate of July 10
July 11: Part I and Part II

Text of Amendments 4547 - 4549
Text of Amendments 4550 - 4580

Votes on July 11, 2006

VITTER amendment No. 4548 was
PASSED on a 68 - 32 vote
Purpose: To prohibit the United States Customs and Border Protection from preventing an individual not in the business of importing a prescription drug from importing an FDA-approved prescription drug.

BYRD amendment No. 4557 was
PASSED on a voice vote
Purpose: To provide additional resources for border infrastructure and program integrity initiatives.

BYRD amendment No. 4559 was
PASSED on a voice vote
Purpose: To provide additional funding for port security enhancements in fiscal year 2006.

SALAZAR amendment No. 4555 was
PASSED on a voice vote
Purpose: To require the Secretary of Homeland Security to prepare a report on activities to ensure that the agriculture quarantine inspection monitoring program of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is operating effectively and to ensure that States are receiving adequate guidance.

COLLINS amendment No. 4560 was
PASSED on a 87 - 11 vote
Purpose: To modify powers of FEMA, and to rename it the U.S. Emergency Management Authority.
NAY Votes: Akaka, Boxer, Bunning, Clinton, Inhofe, Jeffords, Kerry, Lautenberg, Leahy, Pryor, and Schumer

AKAKA (CLINTON) amendment No. 4563 was
REJECTED on a 32 - 66 vote
Purpose: To remove FEMA from the DHS, but otherwise leave it nominally as it is.
GOP voting AYE: Inhofe

GREGG/BYRD amendment No. 4579 was
PASSED on a voice vote
Purpose: To require the Secretary of Homeland Security to revise Management Directive 11056 relative to the treatment of certain sensitive security information.


S.Res.301 - A resolution commemorating the 100th anniversary of the National Audubon Society, was passed.

S.1509 - A bill to amend the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 to add non-human primates to the definition of prohibited wildlife species, S.2041 - A bill to provide for the conveyance of a United States Fish and Wildlife Service administrative site to the city of Las Vegas, Nevada, and S.2430 - A bill to amend the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act of 1990 to provide for implementation of recommendations of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service contained in the Great Lakes Fishery Resources Restoration Study were passed en bloc.

S.2918 - A bill to provide access to newspapers for blind or other persons with disabilities, was passed.

H.Con.Res.427 - Permitting the use of the rotunda of the Capitol for a ceremony to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Department of Veterans Affairs, was passed.

The Senate will resume session at 9:30 AM tomorrow. Following 1 hour of morning business, it will continue to debate and amend H.R.5441 - the Homeland Security appropriations bill.

The news of the July 7 policy letter by Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England that aims to insure all detainees in the custody of US military (including those at Gitmo) are treated according to the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War made a bit of a splash, and I recommend the following piece ...

Andrew McCarthy wishlist for administration response to SCOTUS Hamdan decision, as a very concise and accessible expression.

I think President Bush did the right thing by "extending Geneva to Gitmo," and only wish he had done so years ago. The result would have been to remove the torture amendment from McCain and Graham's rhetorical box of tricks, and would have shifted the burden of allegation and evidence to administration opponents - in other words, I think it would have been better for the administration to play defense on this, than to play offense. Water over the dam, and easy to claim in hindsight.

I found the testimony of Lt. Commander Charles Swift troubling, as it rings of a serious over-reaching on the part of a prosecuting entity. Fundamental fairness needs to kick in at some point in time, for EVERY legitimate application of "justified, thoughtful" force. Those qualifying words are meant to distinguish court-like and incarceration situations from the battlefield, where "fairness" takes on a different dimension, and innocents are at risk.

Likewise on the Hamdan decision, but viewing a different facet, you might read Hamdan sounds the death knell for the NSAs Terrorist Surveillance Program by Andrew C. McCarthy - July 11, 2006

I am not alarmed as Andy seems to be, that the Hamdan decision will be effective at undercutting the NSA terrorist surveillance program. There are clear differences between detention/habeas (where protection of the individual should be at its greatest, because one's liberty and perhaps one's life are in the balance) and clandestine surveillance (where the balance involves a privacy interest).

Also, and very importantly, the "probable cause" standard for surveillance of foreign agents is not that they are probably doing something nefarious, it is merely that they are probably foreign agents. While the general notions of Hamdan appear to be quite portable to the issue of surveillance for national security against foreign agents, I think they are not nearly as portable as Andy paints them.


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