Chris's Rants

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do

Ruh roh, looks like AG AG is going to be on the hot seat next week. The WaPo informs us that Gonzales Is Challenged on Wiretaps by Sen. Russ Feingold:
"It now appears that the Attorney General was not being straight with the Judiciary Committee and he has some explaining to do," Feingold said in a statement yesterday.

A Justice Department spokesman said yesterday the department had not yet reviewed the Feingold letter and could not comment.
Jeralyn has the transcripts of the confirmation hearings for Abu Gonzales. Here's a taste:
Sen. Feingold: And I also would like you to answer this: does the president, in your opinion, have the authority acting as commander in chief to authorize warrantless searches of Americans' homes and wiretaps of their conversations in violation of the criminal and foreign intelligence surveillance statutes of this country?

MR. GONZALES: Senator, the August 30th memo has been withdrawn. It has been rejected, including that section regarding the commander in chief authority to ignore the criminal statutes. So it's been rejected by the executive branch. I categorically reject it. And in addition to that, as I've said repeatedly today, this administration does not engage in torture and will not condone torture. And so, what you really are -- what we're really discussing is a hypothetical situation that --
I imagine it will be especially difficult for Gonzo to now come before the senate and say in his best Emily Litella voice: "ne-ver-miiind" given that he is on the record as "categorically rejecting" the notion that King George has the inherent authority to ignore the criminal statutes or the Constitution of the United States. Yet, that is the very core of the administration's argument that Doofus Dowrong can spy on innocent Americans without a warrant, just because he has "reasonable suspicion" that they might be in some tangential way "associated" (whatever that means) with terrorists.

I can tell you what it has meant to date, that the FBI has chased down an awful lot of pizza places simply because someone who happened to receive or make a call overseas also happened to call out for pizza.
We also know that the Justice Department had serious concerns about the program. Top officials, including Deputy Attorney General James Comey, had apparently questioned the legality of the surveillance. Rank-and-file agents reportedly started to joke that the intelligence gleaned from the spying was so unreliable that a new batch of tips meant more "calls to Pizza Hut." It bears noting that the very individuals who now claim that the NSA program is illegal may be the ones who broke the law in the first instance.
Either way, I think that it is entirely possible that Abu Gonzales might lose his job over this. Senators don't like it when you lie to their faces under oath. Besides, it is against the law.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any
matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or
judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly
and willfully -
(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or
device a material fact;
(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent
statement or representation; or
(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the
same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent
statement or entry;
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5
years, or both.

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Monday, January 30, 2006

There goes the neighborhood

Senate Ends Alito Filibuster Attempt:
By a 72-25 vote, the Senate cut off a symbolic filibuster attempt today on the Supreme Court nomination of Samuel A. Alito Jr., all but assuring that the federal appeals court judge will be confirmed Tuesday morning by the Senate.
I still can't understand why the senate Democrats couldn't have mustered at least a 24 hour filibuster to rob Dubya Dowrong of his moment of malapropian gloating during tomorrow night's SOTU.

At least my senators both voted NO on the cloture and will vote NO on confirmation tomorrow. That, plus they both put in a solid effort to rally their colleagues to support the filibuster. Too bad there are so many cowards on the left side of the aisle who are still afraid of the American Taliban in their respective states.

Frankly, I think that the silent majority would have found the "obstructionism" refreshing, despite the CW of the MSM bloviators who would have them (and us) believe otherwise.

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Clueless in Arlington

Is there anyone more clueless than Donald "You go to war with the army you have" Rumsfeld? Army's Rising Promotion Rate Called Ominous - Los Angeles Times:
Yet the increase in promotions is partly due to the large number of Army officers choosing to leave the service. Army officers are getting out of the military at the highest rate since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, shrinking the pool of officers eligible for promotion.

According to Army data, the portion of junior officers (lieutenants and captains) choosing to depart for civilian life rose last year to 8.6%, up from 6.3% in 2004. The attrition rate for majors rose to 7% last year, up from 6.4% in 2005. And the rate for lieutenant colonels was 13.7%, the highest in more than a decade.

"The most precious thing in the military is our talent and not our technology," said retired Army Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, who traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan last year to assess the state of the U.S. military missions in the countries. "What we don't want to do is come out of [these wars] and lose what we lost after Vietnam."

The departure of Army officers in those years created what many military historians have called a "hollow force."

Last year, the Army exceeded by 8% its overall goal for retaining active-duty enlisted troops, a figure President Bush cited last week as a sign of the service's health.

Also last week, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld dismissed recent reports — including one commissioned by the Pentagon — that the Army was facing a looming personnel crisis, and said the "battle-hardened" military was as strong as ever.

Yet many senior officers and outside experts worry that rising attrition rates for officers could be an ominous sign of an eventual exodus from the service's leadership ranks.

They say that with many officers in line for a third yearlong combat tour in Iraq, it is inevitable that a growing number would choose to leave the military to relieve strain on their family lives.

The exodus "will be among officers whose families say, 'Look, there are 300 million people in this country; let somebody else take their turn,' " McCaffrey said.

The Pentagon-commissioned report, released publicly last week, agreed.

"The demands for Army ground-force deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq are not likely to decline substantially any time soon," said the report by retired Army Lt. Col. Andrew F. Krepinevich of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. The service "risks having many of its soldiers decide that a military career is too arduous or too risky an occupation for them and their families to pursue."

Hilferty, the Army spokesman, said there was only "anecdotal evidence" that the strains of war were pushing officers out of the Army.

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Plan? What plan?

Louisiana in Limbo - New York Times (emphasis mine):
But the Bush administration refuses to support the plan of Representative Richard Baker, Republican of Louisiana, which would give everyone the capacity to rebuild and which had the backing of the mayor, the governor and the state's Congressional delegation. (To add insult to injury, two days after the White House shot down Mr. Baker's proposal, President Bush suggested at a news conference that Louisiana's problem was the lack of a plan.)
Let's also be clear that this was a REPUBLICAN plan. The Bu$histas' response? Bigger? Better?

Try non-existant.

Worst. President. Ever.

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They let this guy wield a scalpel?

Frist: Gov't Unwanted in End-of-Life Cases (emphasis mine):
Asked on NBC's 'Meet the Press' if he had any regrets regarding the Schiavo case, Frist said: 'Well, I'll tell you what I learned from it, which is obvious. The American people don't want you involved in these decisions.'
Of course, it's obvious. The real question here is that given it was so obvious, why Dr. Frist took the position he did.

Any idiot who read the polls at the time of the Schiavo mess could have told you that just as Americans don't want the government in their bedroom, they don't want the government at their bedside when they are making difficult life and death decisions. Here's the ABC poll taken at the time:
March 21, 2005 -- Americans broadly and strongly disapprove of federal intervention in the Terri Schiavo case, with sizable majorities saying Congress is overstepping its bounds for political gain.
Dr. Frist was too blinded by his fealty to the American Taliban to see just how obvious it was.

Are we to now believe that Dr. Frist has seen the light? Yea, riiiiiight. No, now we all know just how craven this moron can be for political support. Here he is yesterday on Press the Meat obsequiously sucking up to the Bu$hCo administration so that he'll have their support when he runs for Preznit in 2008. Once again, he's backing a losing cause (emphasis mine):
MR. RUSSERT: Domestic surveillance. Here is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Section 1809, and very clear. “A person is guilty of an offence if he intentionally - engages in electronic surveillance...except as authorized by statute.” Has the president, in fact, engaged in electronic surveillance and not authorized it by statute?

MR. RUSSERT: No. The president has engaged in an activity in a highly classified program that I have been fully briefed on. I’m one of the eight people in our Congress briefed on this program. And the program itself is terrorist surveillance. It is international al-Qaeda-linked communication around the world. It might be to Baghdad, it might be to Berlin, it might be to London, or it might be to Nashville, Tennessee. But it’s coming from al-Qaeda-related surveillance. So the statute itself, at least my interpretation is and I believe this program is lawful, it is constitutional. I strongly support it. I know, I know it is vital to our security.
So, now Dr. Frist has a law degree and is a constitutional scholar? Once again, he's making a public diagnosis (that the administration's end-run around the 1978 FISA law is constitutional) that is contrary to what all the facts and scholarly opinion have to say on the matter. Russert pulls out the the independent CRS study that completely debunks the administration's claims that Dr. Frist blindly parrots for them.
MR. RUSSERT: But Senator, the Congressional Research Center Service, Library of Congress—and you know it well.

SEN. FRIST: Yeah, I know it well.

MR. RUSSERT: “A report by Congress’s research arm, concluded that the administration’s justification for the warrantless eavesdropping authorized by the president conflicts with existing law and hinges on weak legal arguments...The 44-page report said that Bush probably cannot claim the broad presidential powers he has relied upon as an authority in order to secretly monitoring of calls...The report also concluded that Bush’s assertion that Congress authorized such eavesdropping to detect and fight terrorists does not appear to be supported by the special resolution that Congress approved after September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which focused on authorizing the president to use military force.” What statute authorizes the president to do this?

SEN. FRIST: The answer is the Constitution of the United States of America in a time of a war our commander in chief, he is given through resolution, through statute passed by the United States Congress to use force, to use force that he, in the same way he can use force to kill, to wipe out terrorists, he can listen in on al-Qaeda conversations, wherever they are, anywhere in the world. Under the Constitution as commander in chief, at a time of war, and the statute is the Resolution of Force that we passed in the bipartisan way on the floor of the United States Senate.

MR. RUSSERT: But the Congressional Research Service says that statute does not apply. And let me show you something the president said on Thursday, because it certainly caught a lot of attention. And let me play it and get your reaction. Here we go.

(Video, January 25, 2006)

President GEORGE W. BUSH: I said, “Look, is it possible to conduct this program under the old law?” And people said, “Well, it doesn’t work in order to be able to do the job we expect us to do.”

(End videotape)

MR. RUSSERT: The suggested being that’s an old law and it doesn’t work, therefore we’re going to ignore it. Can you just ignore laws that are on the books?

SEN. FRIST: Tim, having been briefed on the program, you don’t ignore the law. The president says you don’t need the law, and it’s lawful under the Constitution of the United States of America and on the statute on the use of force that was passed. And the law of governing FISA itself says unless there is another statute. And the statute I would argue is the constitution gives him power as commander in chief, the specific statute being the use of force.

Now, all of this, as you pointed out through your quotations, can be debated, and it can be contentious. And I can tell you what my interpretation is, the interpretation of the administration’s lawyers, the interpretation of the lawyers for the NSA itself have all agreed with the president.
Whoa! Stop right there. Apparently, not all of the administration's lawyers agreed with the president. However, the first highlighted bits above warrant further scrutiny. Timmeh asks: "Can you just ignore laws that are on the books?" and Dr. Frist responds: "The president says you don’t need the law". Huh, so just because the president says so, that it is perfectly OKAY for him to ignore the law, that's good enough for Dr. Frist. Hokaaaayyyy. Move along, nothing to see here...
But what we are going to do as a co-equal branch of government, the legislative body, Chairman Specter, our judiciary committee, is going to look at this very issue with the attorney general, others coming over next week—or eight days from now. And that’s where we’ll have a public debate before the American people on this idea of legal, lawfulness, constitutionality of the sanction.
Of course, Dr. Frist has already made up his mind as to the outcome of those hearings, or rather, he has had his mind made up for him by Commander Codpiece himself, King George.

Constitution? We doan need no steenkin' Constitution.

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Somewhere Over the Wingnut Rainbow

Somewhere Over the Wingnut Rainbow ROFLMAO! DarkSyde knocks one out of the park.

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Filibuster update

TalkLeft has the latest, including a link to Save The Court's form that will send a fax to a bunch of fence sitters.

Make your voice heard.

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Keep those cards and letters coming

The momentum in support of the filibuster has been gradually shifting in favor, but it ain't a done deal yet.

You can help by letting your Senators know that they have your support.

Jane@FDL has a post up that has the fax numbers of the key members of the Senate who may need a little help from their constituents to convince them that supporting a filibuster of the confirmation of Judge Alito is the right thing to do.

If you live in the U.S. and have not yet contacted your Senators to let them know where you stand on this important issue, I encourage you to do so now.

Even if the filibuster holds for only one day, it will at least take away one of Dipshit's little victory-lap talking points in Tuesday night's SOTU speech.

It would be nice if the Democrats in congress would, for a change, tell the Preznit to go "Cheney himself" instead of the other way round.

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Palace Revolt

Newsweek has another must-read article up on MSNBC.com: Palace Revolt (emphasis mine):
These Justice Department lawyers, backed by their intrepid boss Comey, had stood up to the hard-liners, centered in the office of the vice president, who wanted to give the president virtually unlimited powers in the war on terror . Demanding that the White House stop using what they saw as farfetched rationales for riding rough-shod over the law and the Constitution, Goldsmith and the others fought to bring government spying and interrogation methods within the law. They did so at their peril; ostracized, some were denied promotions, while others left for more comfortable climes in private law firms and academia. Some went so far as to line up private lawyers in 2004, anticipating that the president's eavesdropping program would draw scrutiny from Congress, if not prosecutors. These government attorneys did not always succeed, but their efforts went a long way toward vindicating the principle of a nation of laws and not men.

[...]

The chief opponent of the rebels, though by no means the only one, was an equally obscure, but immensely powerful, lawyer-bureaucrat. Intense, workaholic (even by insane White House standards), David Addington, formerly counsel, now chief of staff to the vice president, is a righteous, ascetic public servant.

[...]

To Addington and Cheney, the 9/11 attacks—and the threat of more and worse to come—were perfect justification for unleashing the CIA and other long-blunted weapons in the national-security arsenal. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who disdains lawyers, was ready to go. So, too, was CIA Director George Tenet—but only if his spooks had legal cover, so they wouldn't be left holding the bag if things went wrong.

Addington and a small band of like-minded lawyers set about providing that cover—a legal argument that the power of the president in time of war was virtually untrammeled. One of Addington's first jobs had been to draft a presidential order establishing military commissions to try unlawful combatants—terrorists caught on the global battlefield. The normal "interagency process"—getting agreement from lawyers at Defense, State, the intelligence agencies and so forth—proved glacial, as usual. So Addington, working with fellow conservative Deputy White House Counsel Timothy Flanigan, came up with a solution: cut virtually everyone else out. Addington is a purist, not a cynic; he does not believe he is in any way ignoring or twisting the law. It is also important to note that Addington was not sailing off on some personal crusade; he had the full backing of the president and vice president, who shared his views.

[...]

Inexperienced in national-security law, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales was steered by more-expert lawyers like Addington and Flanigan. Others, like John Bellinger, the National Security Council's top lawyer, were simply not told what was going on. Addington and the hard-liners had particular disregard for Bellinger, who was considered a softie—mocked by Addington because he had lunch once a month or so with a pillar of the liberal-leaning legal establishment, the late Lloyd Cutler. When Addington and Flanigan produced a document—signed by Bush—that gave the president near-total authority over the prosecution of suspected terrorists, Bellinger burst into Gonzales's office, clearly upset, according to a source familiar with the episode. But it was too late.

[...]

Reasoning that there was no time to obtain warrants from a secret court set up under FISA (a sometimes cumbersome process), the Bush administration justified going around the law by invoking a post-9/11 congressional resolution authorizing use of force against global terror. The eavesdropping program was very closely held, with cryptic briefings for only a few congressional leaders. Once again, Addington and his allies made sure that possible dissenters were cut out of the loop.

There was one catch: the secret program had to be reapproved by the attorney general every 45 days. It was Goldsmith's job to advise the A.G. on the legality of the program. In March 2004, John Ashcroft was in the hospital with a serious pancreatic condition. At Justice, Comey, Ashcroft's No. 2, was acting as attorney general. The grandson of an Irish cop and a former U.S. attorney from Manhattan, Comey, 45, is a straight arrow. (It was Comey who appointed his friend—the equally straitlaced and dogged Patrick Fitzgerald—to be the special prosecutor in the Valerie Plame leak-investigation case.) Goldsmith raised with Comey serious questions about the secret eavesdropping program, according to two sources familiar with the episode. He was joined by a former OLC lawyer, Patrick Philbin, who had become national-security aide to the deputy attorney general. Comey backed them up. The White House was told: no reauthorization.
Read the whole article. It is these guys, not Tenet and the other criminals who helped lead us to an unjust war in Iraq, that deserve the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Of course, they never will be recognized for such an honor by the current Preznit since it is they who are perceived as "the enemy" by the fascist criminals in the WH who think that the Preznit is above the law.

The Senate hearings on SpyGate had damned well better be including testimony from those within the Justice Dept who clearly felt that the WH was acting outside the law.

Update: ReddHedd@FDL has more on this article. I thought that her wrap-up was priceless, and something that we should all internalize (emphasis mine):
And a short note to Dems on the Judiciary: please, read the article and put together a witness list. There are quite a few people who would likely give you some meaty answers -- and a few folks, like Dick Cheney and David Addington who owe you a hell of a lot of explanations. (Not that I think they'll give you any, but subpoena their asses anyway. They work for the American public. It's time to remind them of that fact.)

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Shrill?!

I asked last week, if the NYT was growing a spine. Seems to me that their editorial board has in fact gone shrill with today's editorial (emphasis mine):
A bit over a week ago, President Bush and his men promised to provide the legal, constitutional and moral justifications for the sort of warrantless spying on Americans that has been illegal for nearly 30 years. Instead, we got the familiar mix of political spin, clumsy historical misinformation, contemptuous dismissals of civil liberties concerns, cynical attempts to paint dissents as anti-American and pro-terrorist, and a couple of big, dangerous lies.

[...]

Sept. 11 could have been prevented.
This is breathtakingly cynical. The nation's guardians did not miss the 9/11 plot because it takes a few hours to get a warrant to eavesdrop on phone calls and e-mail messages. They missed the plot because they were not looking.
Not only shrill, but they've even started to fact-check Karl Rove, of all people, rather than simply print anything that spews from his piehole.
We keep hoping that Mr. Bush will finally lay down the bloody banner of 9/11, but Karl Rove, who emerged from hiding recently to talk about domestic spying, made it clear that will not happen — because the White House thinks it can make Democrats look as though they do not want to defend America. "President Bush believes if Al Qaeda is calling somebody in America, it is in our national security interest to know who they're calling and why," he told Republican officials. "Some important Democrats clearly disagree."

Mr. Rove knows perfectly well that no Democrat has ever said any such thing — and that nothing prevented American intelligence from listening to a call from Al Qaeda to the United States, or a call from the United States to Al Qaeda, before Sept. 11, 2001, or since. The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act simply required the government to obey the Constitution in doing so. And FISA was amended after 9/11 to make the job much easier.
It just keeps getting better:
Just trust us. Mr. Bush made himself the judge of the proper balance between national security and Americans' rights, between the law and presidential power. He wants Americans to accept, on faith, that he is doing it right. But even if the United States had a government based on the good character of elected officials rather than law, Mr. Bush would not have earned that kind of trust. The domestic spying program is part of a well-established pattern: when Mr. Bush doesn't like the rules, he just changes them, as he has done for the detention and treatment of prisoners and has threatened to do in other areas, like the confirmation of his judicial nominees. He has consistently shown a lack of regard for privacy, civil liberties and judicial due process in claiming his sweeping powers. The founders of our country created the system of checks and balances to avert just this sort of imperial arrogance.

[...]

War changes everything. Mr. Bush says Congress gave him the authority to do anything he wanted when it authorized the invasion of Afghanistan. There is simply nothing in the record to support this ridiculous argument.

[...]

The Senate Judiciary Committee is about to start hearings on the domestic spying. Congress has failed, tragically, on several occasions in the last five years to rein in Mr. Bush and restore the checks and balances that are the genius of American constitutional democracy. It is critical that it not betray the public once again on this score.
It's about $%#@! time that the MSM spoke up. A year and a half too late, but better late than never.

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Fire the bastard, already

This is simply despicable.
"The 28-year-old woman had three young children at the house, one being as young as six months and still nursing. Her husband was the primary target of the raid, with other suspect personnel subject to detainment as well," the memo stated.

"During the pre-operational brief, it was recommended by TF (task force) personnel that if the wife were present, she be detained and held in order to leverage the primary target's surrender," the memo stated. Its author said that "I objected to the detainment of the young mother to the raid team leader" and "I believed it was a dead issue."

[...]

"Despite my protest, (the) raid team leader detained her anyway," stated the memo, whose author officially reported the incident within the chain of command. The memo said the wife was released two days later to the custody of a tribal sheik.
Not only should Rumsfeld be fired, he and his cronies need to be put on trial for war crimes.

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Fool on the hill

insomnia: Future American lawyers to be proud of. They didn't quite get the quote right, but give 'em points for making AG AG look like a confused little pusillanimous fool.
Alberto Gonzales spoke before law students at Georgetown today, justifying illegal, unauthorized surveilance of US citizens, but during the course of his speech the students in class did something pretty ballsy and brave. They got up from their seats and turned their backs to him.
The students then displayed a banner with a Franklin quote displayed (again, with their backs to AG AG). The actual quote should have been this:
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Indeed

Think Progress � Was Karl Rove Briefed On Bush’s Warrantless Spying Program?:
But there’s an important question that hasn’t been asked: Has Karl Rove been briefed about this sensitive program?

If Rove has been briefed about it then the White House has more questions to answer. Why does someone who is currently under investigation for leaking sensitive information have access to a program so sensitive that the President is refusing to consider a change in the law because doing so would "tell the enemy what we’re doing"? Why was Rove breifed and not elected members of Congress that serve on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees?
Good question, though I seriously doubt that it will get asked.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Just Say "NO" part deux

Sen. Kerry is asking for signatures on An Open Letter to Congress:
Dear Senators,

I am writing to ask that you vote against Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court and work hard to convince other Senators to join you.

Judge Alito does not represent my values. He does not represent mainstream American values. I think it’s time that the United States Senate confirms once and for all that extreme ideology has no place on the highest court in the land.

This is a critical fight for the future of our country. It’s no time to sit on the sidelines. That’s why I’ve taken the time to sign this letter and pass it along to my friends and neighbors. And I hope that’s why you’ll step up to the plate and do the right thing for America: defeat Samuel Alito.

I am honored to join John Kerry by putting my name in the Congressional Record against Judge Alito. I call on you to do the same with your vote.

Sincerely,

Your name here
Sign here.

Update: Apparently, Sen. Kerry's office has confirmed that he will lead a filibuster effort on the Alito confirmation. Jane@FDL has the scoop here.

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It's enough to make you sick...

Tax Holiday - Business Edge - Newsweek - MSNBC.com (emphasis mine):
Jan. 24, 2006 - It's almost enough to make you laugh—bitterly, of course. Here was Ford Motor Co. announcing yesterday that it had cut 10,000 jobs last year and that it will cut up to 30,000 more. But shedding jobs at muscle-car acceleration rates didn't stop Ford from pocketing hundreds of millions of dollars courtesy of the American Jobs Creation Act.
This isn't a dig against Ford, but against the amoral wordsmiths in Bu$hCo's Ministry of Truth that come up with the names of legislation that belie the actual nature of the incomprehensible (to mere mortals including most congress-critters) legislation.

Clear Skies, Healthy Forests, No Child Left Behind, Help America Vote Act, Patriot Act and now the American Jobs Creation Act have all had exactly the opposite effect than their names would suggest. Their names gave voters the impression that the administration and the Republican-controlled congress wanted us to believe, full in the knowledge that they were pulling a con.
Congress should thank its lucky stars that federal truth-in-labeling laws don't apply to names it accords to legislation, because almost every dispassionate analyst agrees that the American Jobs Creation Act didn't create jobs in the United States.
Wake up America, you've been had.

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Ruh, roh!

I suspect that the administration's supply of Oops! I Crapped My PantsTM is dwindling rather rapidly these days.

Think Progress � Former NSA Director Hayden Lied To Congress And Broke The Law:
As Think Progress documented back in December, Hayden misled Congress. In his 10/17/02 testimony, he told a committee investigating the 9/11 attacks that any surveillance of persons in the United States was done consistent with FISA.

At the time of his statements, Hayden was fully aware of the presidential order to conduct warrantless domestic spying issued the previous year. But Hayden didn’t feel as though he needed to share that with Congress. Apparently, Hayden believed that he had been legally authorized to conduct the surveillance, but told Congress that he had no authority to do exactly what he was doing. The Fraud and False Statements statute (18 U.S.C. 1001) make Hayden’s misleading statements to Congress illegal.

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Heads explode...

in the Justice Dept. due to excessively high levels of cognitive dissonance.

Apparently, Bu$hCo was for FISA while it was against it. White House Dismissed '02 Surveillance Proposal (emphasis mine):
During separate appearances this week, Gonzales and Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the deputy intelligence chief, also said the legal requirements under FISA made it difficult for intelligence agents to act quickly enough in many cases.

Under the NSA program, Hayden said, 'the trigger is quicker and a bit softer than it is for a FISA warrant.'

During Senate debate over DeWine's amendment in July 2002, James A. Baker, the Justice Department's counsel for intelligence policy, said in a statement that the Bush administration did not support the proposal 'because the proposed change raises both significant legal and practical issues.'

Baker said it was 'not clear cut' whether the proposal would 'pass constitutional muster,' and 'we could potentially put at risk ongoing investigations and prosecutions' if the amendment was later struck down by the courts. He also said Justice had been using FISA aggressively and played down the notion that the probable cause standard was too high.
It's going to be an uphill climb for the administration pukes now that they have to argue against their own record arguing before congress that the DeWine amendment (which congress rejected), which was less agressive than the (clearly illegal) program that the administration was at the time secretly implementing, was probably unconstitutional. Now, they argue that they just didn't want a public debate because it might expose the secret program?! It is becoming increasingly clear that the administration conducted an outright deception of congress which itself is illegal.

Glenn Greenwald has more, as does Knight-Ridder.

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Whoa!

Senators in Need of a Spine - New York Times:
But portraying the Alito nomination as just another volley in the culture wars vastly underestimates its significance. The judge's record strongly suggests that he is an eager lieutenant in the ranks of the conservative theorists who ignore our system of checks and balances, elevating the presidency over everything else. He has expressed little enthusiasm for restrictions on presidential power and has espoused the peculiar argument that a president's intent in signing a bill is just as important as the intent of Congress in writing it. This would be worrisome at any time, but it takes on far more significance now, when the Bush administration seems determined to use the cover of the "war on terror" and presidential privilege to ignore every restraint, from the Constitution to Congressional demands for information.

[...]

A filibuster is a radical tool. It's easy to see why Democrats are frightened of it. But from our perspective, there are some things far more frightening. One of them is Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court.
Where did this come from?! NYT growing a spine?

Update: The fun never stops! Bob Hebert on the op-ed side of the page:
This week, as the killing of American G.I.'s and innocent Iraqis continued, we learned from a draft report from the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction that, like the war itself, the Bush plan for rebuilding Iraq has been crippled by incompetence and extreme shortages of personnel. I doubt that this will bother the president any more than any of his other failures. He seems to truly believe that he can do no wrong.

The fiasco in Iraq and the president's response to the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe were Mr. Bush's two most spectacular foul-ups. There have been many others. The president's new Medicare prescription drug program has been a monumental embarrassment, leaving some of the most vulnerable members of our society without essential medication. Prominent members of the president's own party are balking at the heavy hand of his No Child Left Behind law, which was supposed to radically upgrade the quality of public education.

The Constitution? Civil liberties? Don't ask.

Just keep in mind, whatever your political beliefs, that incompetence in high places can have devastating consequences.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

What did the President know...

White House Declines to Provide Storm Papers - New York Times :
WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 - The Bush administration, citing the confidentiality of executive branch communications, said Tuesday that it did not plan to turn over certain documents about Hurricane Katrina or make senior White House officials available for sworn testimony before two Congressional committees investigating the storm response.
what did the President know, and when did he know it?

We have been told all along that no one could have anticipated that terrorists would fly planes into buildings Katrina would be so potentially devastating to New Orleans.

Am I detecting a pattern here? Is the administration really that incompetent? Or, is this willful incompetence?

3 Comments:

  • The President is REALLY incompetent. He has been incompetent his entire life. His is a life of failures and deficiencies. His family and family friends have rescued him from himself time and time and again.

    As a result, the Presidential crature has an overblown idea of himself.

    Had that cretin not been born in a wealthy and well-connected family, he would probably be a homeless drunk.

    As for the rest of the thugs who run the government these days, they are WILFULLY incompetent. The are more interested in staying in power to fill up their pockets and their friends' pockets with taxpayers'money than in governing.

    By Anonymous Devil's Advocate, at January 25, 2006 1:06 PM  

  • If the White House released the information, that would give valuable information to future hurricanes, and defending against them would become even more difficult. Liberals want to tie the President's hands against these deadly enemies.

    By Blogger John Emerson, at January 25, 2006 2:24 PM  

  • It's willful, but ain't incompetent:

    -9/11 was allowed to happen (or perhaps even actively aided) in order to provide cover for our attempts to control as much oil as possible in a "peak-oil" era.

    -Katrina was allowed to happen (or again, perhaps even actively aided re: the levees, wetland detsruction) in order to remake SE Louisiana demographically and make it wide open for wealthy developers.

    Obviously I'm talking about the response to Katrina, not the Hurricane itself.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 25, 2006 2:59 PM  

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Pants on fire, again

Dubya and his spokeshack both dish out patently false statements today about Spygate. Here's Dubya (via Digby) Hullabaloo:
There is one new wrinkle. Regarding the illegal wiretapping, he just said, 'it's amazing to me when people say I just wanted to break the law. If I wanted to break the law why would I brief congress?'
The problem is that the congress wasn't briefed beyond eight members of congress and they were told that they couldn't even discuss with their staffs.

And here's Dan Bartlett:
We went to Congress. We talked to the chairman and the ranking member of the intelligence committee. We talked to the leadership, both Republican and Democrat, House and Senate. These very discussions happened three to four years ago…The fact of the matter is, everybody came to the same conclusion, that what the president was doing was legal and was necessary.
ThinkProgress has the goods.

Can't this administration do anything but lie?

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Halliburton cited in Iraq contamination - Boston.com

Hey Dick, go Cheney yourself.

Halliburton cited in Iraq contamination - Boston.com:
Carter said he resigned in early April after Halliburton officials did not take any action to inform the camp population.

The water expert said he told company officials at the base that they would have to notify the military. 'They told me it was none of my concern and to keep my mouth shut,' he said.

On at least one occasion, Carter said, he spoke to the chief military surgeon at the base, asking him whether he was aware of stomach problems afflicting people. He said the surgeon told him he would look into it.

'They brushed it under the carpet,' Carter said. 'I told everyone, 'Don't take showers, use bottled water.'

A July 14, 2005, memo showed that Halliburton's public relations department knew of the problem.

'I don't want to turn it into a big issue right now,' staff member Jennifer Dellinger wrote in the memo, 'but if we end up getting some media calls I want to make sure we have all the facts so we are ready to respond.'

Halliburton's performance in Iraq has been criticized in a number of military audits, and congressional Democrats have contended that the Bush administration has favored the company with noncompetitive contracts.

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Wanker of the day

Peter Daou: Why Did Russert Ask Obama About Harry Belafonte? | The Huffington Post:
And something very strange happened on Meet The Press. I'm wondering what Huffington Post readers make of it: Tim Russert asked Senator Barack Obama to respond to Harry Belafonte's remarks about George W. Bush being a 'terrorist.'

My question is, why? Why did Russert ask Obama in particular about the statements of someone who isn't an elected official, who doesn't speak for Democrats, who doesn't represent Obama, who doesn't represent the Democratic Party, who is entitled to his own opinion.

Why? Imagine how the Sunday shows would go if Republicans were asked to explain the vicious rantings of random rightwing figures.
I was floored by this line of questioning as well. I couldn't help but feel that Russert should be held accountable and be forced to apologise to Sen. Obama for his inappropriate question. Just because the Senator is black, doesn't mean that he should be called upon to answer for the rantings of someone else who just happens to be black.

Pathetic. This is the guy who was once considering buying our house on Nantucket?

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Friday, January 20, 2006

Just say "NO"

I've written to my Senators urging them to vote against confirmation of Judge Alito. Have you?

1 Comments:

  • No.... as you know, it wouldn't do any good. But I DID write them to urge an Independent counsel of sorts to investigate warrantless eavesdropping.

    Anon81

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 22, 2006 6:38 AM  

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Empire Strikes Back

AdministrationLays Out Legal Case for Wiretapping Program - New York Times:
WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 - The Bush administration today offered its fullest defense of the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping program, saying that congressional authorization to defeat Al Qaeda after the Sept. 11 attacks 'places the president at the zenith of his powers in authorizing the N.S.A. activities.'

In a 42-page white paper, the Justice Department expanded on its past arguments in laying out the legal rationale for why the N.S.A. program does not violate federal wiretap law and why the president is the nation's "sole organ" for foreign affairs.
Yeah, riiiiigghhhttt.
But the Bush administration appears undeterred by the criticism. In its white paper, it turned time and again to the congressional authorization of Sept. 14, 2001, even though the Congressional Research Service study was particularly skeptical of this line of defense.
Bottom line, they have no defense other than to say: of course, it's legal. What buffoons.

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No sh*t Sherlock

Ex-EPA Chiefs Blame Bush in Global Warming:
WASHINGTON - Six former heads of the Environmental Protection Agency — five Republicans and one Democrat — accused the Bush administration Wednesday of neglecting global warming and other environmental problems.
The Republicans seem to be trying to take their party back from Bu$hCo cronyism, neglect, corruption and ineptitude.

Even Christie Whitman, one of Dubya's EPA chiefs, weighed in:
Christie Whitman, the first of three EPA administrators in the current Bush administration, said people obviously are having "an enormous impact" on the earth's warming.

"You'd need to be in a hole somewhere to think that the amount of change that we have imposed on land, and the way we've handled deforestation, farming practices, development, and what we're putting into the air, isn't exacerbating what is probably a natural trend," she said. "But this is worse, and it's getting worse."

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Complexity

Mark Baker:
Wow, that's pretty complex coding for such a simple task, no? I'd opt for java.net (bugs, quirks, and all), or other Java client HTTP APIs (the two HTTPClient projects come to mind).
Who needs Java? A little XSLT will do the trick nicely.

<xsl:stylesheet version="1.0"
xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform"
xmlns="http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/strict" xmlns:yn="urn:yahoo:yn">
<xsl:output
method="xml"
encoding="utf-8"
indent="yes"
doctype-public="-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN"
doctype-system="http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"
media-type="text/html"
omit-xml-declaration='yes'
/>
<xsl:template match="/">
<html>
<head>
<title>Search Results</title>
</head>
<body>
<h2>Search results</h2>
<xsl:apply-templates select="document('http://api.search.yahoo.com:80/NewsSearchService/V1/newsSearch?appid=jaxws_restful_sample&type=all&results=10&sort=date&language=en&query=java')/*"/>
</body>
</html>
</xsl:template>
<xsl:template match="yn:Result">
<a href="{yn:ClickUrl}"><xsl:value-of select="yn:Title"/></a><br/>
</xsl:template>
</xsl:stylesheet>

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I fought the law, and the law won

Congressional Agency Questions Legality of Wiretaps (emphasis mine):
The Bush administration appears to have violated the National Security Act by limiting its briefings about a warrantless domestic eavesdropping program to congressional leaders, according to a memo from Congress's research arm released yesterday.

The Congressional Research Service opinion said that the amended 1947 law requires President Bush to keep all members of the House and Senate intelligence committees 'fully and currently informed' of such intelligence activities as the domestic surveillance effort.

The memo from national security specialist Alfred Cumming is the second report this month from CRS to question the legality of aspects of Bush's domestic spying program. A Jan. 6 report concluded that the administration's justifications for the program conflicted with current law.
Evidence keeps piling up that Bu$hCo is violating the law left and right in its fascist power grab. When will the congress grow some cojones and perform their constitutional responsibilities of oversight of the executive branch? For that matter, with all of the criminal indictments flying around on the hill, you'd think that maybe, just maybe, the house ethics panel would be doing its job and investigating the countless allegations of bribery and corruption.

Yet, the MSM treats the lack of congressional oversight and the countless stories of administration's disregard for the laws of this nation as BAU. Move along, nothing to see here. Look over there! Another missing blonde white woman!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Vote for me, I'll set you free!

It's pretty pathetic when the best argument to "vote for me" is to say "my hands aren't as dirty as these other guys", but Rep. Shadegg, running for Majority Leader used just that argument on FauxNews yesterday. C&L has the video. C&L also has last night's take from The Daily Show which was all over the "reform" and "taint" issues. Not their best work, but makes the point effectively.

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Purple Heartbreakers

It's about $%#@! time. James Webb, former secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration pens this op-ed in the NYT today:
Military people past and present have good reason to wonder if the current administration truly values their service beyond its immediate effect on its battlefield of choice. The casting of suspicion and doubt about the actions of veterans who have run against President Bush or opposed his policies has been a constant theme of his career. This pattern of denigrating the service of those with whom they disagree risks cheapening the public's appreciation of what it means to serve, and in the long term may hurt the Republicans themselves.

Not unlike the Clinton 'triangulation' strategy, the approach has been to attack an opponent's greatest perceived strength in order to diminish his overall credibility. To no one's surprise, surrogates carry out the attacks, leaving President Bush and other Republican leaders to benefit from the results while publicly distancing themselves from the actual remarks.
Finally, a Republican outs the Bush administration's disdain for those who have served our country honorably. He lays out Karl Rove's playbook for the world to see. Everyone with two neurons to rub together could connect the dots, but it really helps to have a non-Democrat tell it like it is and make it clear how destructive this tactic is, not only to the Swift Boatee (e.g. Kerry, Murtha, McCain), but more importantly to service veterans as a whole.

Webb suggests that this may come back to haunt the Rethuglican party in the long run. One can only hope.

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LMAO!

One of my children's favorite books (for me to read them when they were very young) was Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham. Via the HuffPo, comes this updated version. The WitList: Tom DeLay Denies All Charges (As Told by Dr. Suess):
That Abramoff!
That Abramoff!
I do not like that Abramoff!

'Would you like to play some golf?'

I do not want to play some golf.
I do not want to, Abramoff.

'We could fly you there for free.
Off to Scotland, by the sea.'

I do not want to fly for free.
I don't like Scotland by the sea.
I do not want to play some golf.
I do not want to, Abramoff.
Read the whole thing. Priceless!

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Nevermind

White House Silent on Abramoff Meetings - Yahoo! News:
WASHINGTON - The White House is refusing to reveal details of tainted lobbyist Jack Abramoff's visits with
President Bush's staff.

Abramoff had 'a few staff-level meetings' at the Bush White House, presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said Tuesday. But he would not say with whom Abramoff met, which interests he was representing or how he got access to the White House.
Yet another Emily Litella cum Oops I Crapped My PantsTM moment for Scottie McTalkingPoint. First he promises to "get back to you on that" and then, once he starts sniffing around, Rove tells him to put a sock in it.

This latest is about as credible as "we aren't going to comment on an on-going investigation".

Bu$hCo has lost all of its credibility. This one line just cracked me up for its cognitive dissonance:
McClellan said Bush does not know Abramoff personally, although it's possible the two met at the holiday receptions.
Does this mean that Bush doesn't know Abramoff in the biblical sense? Or, that they don't get together on weekends for poker? To claim that Bush wouldn't know one of his top "pioneer" fund-raisers simply doesn't pass the laugh test.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, along with three other Democratic senators, wrote Bush a letter Tuesday asking for an accounting of Abramoff's personal contacts with Bush administration officials and acts that may have been undertaken at his request. "The American people need to be assured that the White House is not for sale," they wrote.
Go get-em, Harry!

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Memo to Rummy: Go Cheney yourself

Soldiers for the Truth:
Two deploying soldiers and a concerned mother reported Friday afternoon that the U.S. Army appears to be singling out soldiers who have purchased Pinnacle's Dragon Skin Body Armor for special treatment. The soldiers, who are currently staging for combat operations from a secret location, reported that their commander told them if they were wearing Pinnacle Dragon Skin and were killed their beneficiaries might not receive the death benefits from their $400,000 SGLI life insurance policies. The soldiers were ordered to leave their privately purchased body armor at home or face the possibility of both losing their life insurance benefit and facing disciplinary action.

The soldiers asked for anonymity because they are concerned they will face retaliation for going public with the Army's apparently new directive. At the sources' requests DefenseWatch has also agreed not to reveal the unit at which the incident occured for operational security reasons.
This doesn't even begin to make any sense. The Pentagon can't, or won't, provide the troops with body armor, yet they threaten those who would dare provide their own?!

It's one thing when Bu$hCo is inept, but this is downright criminal. Read the whole article. It's all about the $$$.

Hooo-aaaahhh!

Oh, but the Rethuglicans are pro-military and the Dems are a bunch of pansy-assed anti-war hippies, you say? Bullshit. Here's E.J. Dionne in yesterday's WaPo:
Authentic war heroes (including McCain) often play down their own heroism. In any event, what we know about Murtha, McCain, Kerry and, yes, Bailey, is that they served in combat in Vietnam. What we know about Bush and Vice President Cheney ("I had other priorities in the '60s than military service'') is that they didn't.

What's maddening here is the unblushing hypocrisy of the right wing and the way it circulates -- usually through Web sites or talk radio -- personal vilification to abort honest political debate. Murtha's views on withdrawing troops from Iraq are certainly the object of legitimate contention. Many in Murtha's party disagree with him. But Murtha's right-wing critics can't content themselves with going after his ideas. They have to try to discredit his service.
Impeach these chicken-hawk war criminals now.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Gore bitch-slaps Abu Gonzales

The Raw Story | Gore responds to White House 'hypocrisy' comments:
There are two problems with the Attorney General's effort to focus attention on the past instead of the present Administration's behavior. First, as others have thoroughly documented, his charges are factually wrong. Both before and after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was amended in 1995, the Clinton/Gore Administration complied fully and completely with the terms of the law.

Second, the Attorney General's attempt to cite a previous administration's activity as precedent for theirs - even though factually wrong - ironically demonstrates another reason why we must be so vigilant about their brazen disregard for the law. If unchecked, their behavior would serve as a precedent to encourage future presidents to claim these same powers, which many legal experts in both parties believe are clearly illegal.

The issue, simply put, is that for more than four years, the executive branch has been wiretapping many thousands of American citizens without warrants in direct contradiction of American law. It is clearly wrong and disrespectful to the American people to allow a close political associate of the president to be in charge of reviewing serious charges against him.

The country needs a full and independent investigation into the facts and legality of the present Administration's program.
Who you callin' a hypocrit, bi-atch!

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We doan need no steenlin' warrants

Christopher Hitchens: What Reason Do We Have to Trust the State to Know Best? | The Huffington Post.

Hitchens gets it exactly right, IMO (aside from the fact that he still maintains that he is an unabashed supporter of what I believe to be an unjustified war).
Although I am named in this suit in my own behalf, I am motivated to join it by concerns well beyond my own. I have been frankly appalled by the discrepant and contradictory positions taken by the Administration in this matter. First, the entire existence of the NSA's monitoring was a secret, and its very disclosure denounced as a threat to national security.

[...]

But a power or a right, once relinquished to one administration for one reason, will unfailingly be exploited by successor administrations, for quite other reasons. It is therefore of the first importance that we demarcate, clearly and immediately, the areas in which our government may or may not treat us as potential enemies.

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Dead enders

Spy Agency Data After Sept. 11 Led F.B.I. to Dead Ends - New York Times (emphasis mine):
WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 - In the anxious months after the Sept. 11 attacks, the National Security Agency began sending a steady stream of telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and names to the F.B.I. in search of terrorists. The stream soon became a flood, requiring hundreds of agents to check out thousands of tips a month.

But virtually all of them, current and former officials say, led to dead ends or innocent Americans.
Bu$hCo has been, and promises us that they will continue to, spy on Americans without a FISA warrant despite the fact that to date, it has produced little valuable intelligence.

I think we need to ask ourselves, why?
The law enforcement and counterterrorism officials said the program had uncovered no active Qaeda networks inside the United States planning attacks. "There were no imminent plots - not inside the United States," the former F.B.I. official said.
Huh, that is NOT what our Doofus-in-chief would have us believe. His mantra is "be afwaid, be vewy afwaid".
Some of the officials said the eavesdropping program might have helped uncover people with ties to Al Qaeda in Albany; Portland, Ore.; and Minneapolis. Some of the activities involved recruitment, training or fund-raising.
Uhm, no... none of those cases resulted in convictions... maybe, just maybe, had the war criminals bothered to get a warrant from the FISC, they might have been able to secure a conviction, because they could then have used that as evidence in court.
But, along with several British counterterrorism officials, some of the officials questioned assertions by the Bush administration that the program was the key to uncovering a plot to detonate fertilizer bombs in London in 2004. The F.B.I. and other law enforcement officials also expressed doubts about the importance of the program's role in another case named by administration officials as a success in the fight against terrorism, an aborted scheme to topple the Brooklyn Bridge with a blow torch.
Why am I not surprised that Bu$hCo and his cronies are lying to us again. Nothing that this band of dead enders says can be trusted to be true.
Some officials said that in both cases, they had already learned of the plans through interrogation of prisoners or other means.
Sigh, yet another avenue that leads to a dead end in court... evidence collected through torture is inadmissable in court.

But then, the truth starts to make its way out:
Immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration pressed the nation's intelligence agencies and the F.B.I. to move urgently to thwart any more plots. The N.S.A., whose mission is to spy overseas, began monitoring the international e-mail messages and phone calls of people inside the United States who were linked, even indirectly, to suspected Qaeda figures.
Got that? Indirectly. So, someone from Afghanistan calls someone in the states, who then calls the plumber, who is then a target, who is then monitored as are all of his customers. All innocent Americans.
Officials who were briefed on the N.S.A. program said the agency collected much of the data passed on to the F.B.I. as tips by tracing phone numbers in the United States called by suspects overseas, and then by following the domestic numbers to other numbers called. In other cases, lists of phone numbers appeared to result from the agency's computerized scanning of communications coming into and going out of the country for names and keywords that might be of interest.

[...]

In response to the F.B.I. complaints, the N.S.A. eventually began ranking its tips on a three-point scale, with 3 being the highest priority and 1 the lowest, the officials said. Some tips were considered so hot that they were carried by hand to top F.B.I. officials. But in bureau field offices, the N.S.A. material continued to be viewed as unproductive, prompting agents to joke that a new bunch of tips meant more "calls to Pizza Hut," one official, who supervised field agents, said.
Feel safer yet?

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Monday, January 16, 2006

Where was this fire during the 2000 campaign?

Al Gore:
One of the other ways the Administration has tried to control the flow of information is by consistently resorting to the language and politics of fear in order to short-circuit the debate and drive its agenda forward without regard to the evidence or the public interest. As President Eisenhower said, 'Any who act as if freedom's defenses are to be found in suppression and suspicion and fear confess a doctrine that is alien to America.'

Fear drives out reason. Fear suppresses the politics of discourse and opens the door to the politics of destruction. Justice Brandeis once wrote: 'Men feared witches and burnt women.'

The founders of our country faced dire threats. If they failed in their endeavors, they would have been hung as traitors. The very existence of our country was at risk.

Yet, in the teeth of those dangers, they insisted on establishing the Bill of Rights.

Is our Congress today in more danger than were their predecessors when the British army was marching on the Capitol? Is the world more dangerous than when we faced an ideological enemy with tens of thousands of missiles poised to be launched against us and annihilate our country at a moment's notice? Is America in more danger now than when we faced worldwide fascism on the march-when our fathers fought and won two World Wars simultaneously?

It is simply an insult to those who came before us and sacrificed so much on our behalf to imply that we have more to be fearful of than they. Yet they faithfully protected our freedoms and now it is up to us to do the same.
Better late than never, I guess. Good to finally hear someone speaking in coherent sentences again.

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Moral Sense Test

Via Geoff, I was inspired to take the Moral Sense Test. As requested, I won't reveal my results. Very interesting.

Of course, not all things are as black and white as presented. Probably a "Good ThingTM".

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

The SwiftBoating of Murtha has begun

Bob Cesca:
The only thing more outrageous than the swift-boating of John Murtha is this that this ridiculous notion of 'the party of patriotism, the military, and national security' continues to be taken seriously.
Exactly. Or, as someone in the comments on a post elsewhere put it, "they are not pro-military, they are pro-war... there's a big difference".

I am truly sickened by the way that creeps like Cheney, Rove and Bush besmirch the records of those who served this country when they themselves "had other priorities".

It's amazing that it took these creeps so long to dig something up.

But what really pisses me off is that it has nothing to do whatsoever with the issue at hand.

It is typical Rove-style politics. Attack your enemy with his strength and use that to change the subject.

Frankly, I think that Bush's AWOL status and less than exemplary service in the TANG are now back in play and, as Rove would put it "fair game". Cheney's five, count 'em, five deferments are "fair game". The fact that none of the Bu$hCo war criminals ever served their country is "fair game".

It's all about politics with this administration. I can't wait until their term is ended (with any luck, prematurely).

1 Comments:

  • Does this drive hope a point, or is it a carefully selected list?

    Democrats:

    * Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71.
    * David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72.
    * Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72.
    * Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan. 1971 as an army journalist in 20th Engineer Brigade.
    * Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.
    * Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
    * John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V, Purple Hearts.
    * Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.
    * Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver Star & Bronze Star, Vietnam. Paraplegic from war injuries. Served in Congress.
    * Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-53
    * Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.
    * Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91.
    * Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII; Bronze Star and seven campaign ribbons.
    * Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars,and Soldier's Medal.
    * Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star and Legion of Merit.
    * Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart.
    * Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor. Marine in Vietnam; Bronze Star with Combat V.
    * Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star.
    * Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57
    * Chuck Robb: Vietnam
    * Howell Heflin: Silver Star
    * George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.
    * Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft but received #311.
    * Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.
    * Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
    * John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and Air Medal with 18 Clusters.
    * Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII. Saved by Raoul Wallenberg.

    Republicans -- and these are the guys sending people to war:

    * Dick Cheney: Did not serve. Several deferments, the last by marriage.
    * Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
    * Tom Delay: did not serve.
    * Roy Blunt: did not serve.
    * Bill Frist: did not serve.
    * Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
    * Rick Santorum: did not serve.
    * Trent Lott: did not serve.
    * John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business.
    * Jeb Bush: did not serve.
    * Karl Rove: did not serve.
    * Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. "Bad knee." The man who attacked Max Cleland's
    patriotism.
    * Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
    * Vin Weber: did not serve.
    * Richard Perle: did not serve.
    * Douglas Feith: did not serve.
    * Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
    * Richard Shelby: did not serve.
    * Jon! Kyl: did not serve.
    * Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
    * Christopher Cox: did not serve.
    * Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
    * Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor.
    * George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard; got assigned to Alabama
    so he could campaign for family friend running for U.S. Senate; failed to show up for
    required medical exam, disappeared from duty.
    * Ronald Reagan: due to poor eyesight, served in a non- combat role making movies.
    * B-1 Bob Dornan: Consciously enlisted after fighting was over in Korea.
    * Phil Gramm: did not serve.
    * John McCain: Vietnam POW, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.
    * Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve.
    * John M. McHugh: did not serve.
    * JC Watts: did not serve.
    * Jack Kemp: did not serve. "Knee problem," although continued in NFL for 8 years as
    quarterback.
    * Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard.
    * Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
    * George Pataki: did not serve.
    * Spencer Abraham: did not serve.
    * John Engler: did not serve.
    * Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.
    * Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base.

    Pundits & Preachers:

    * Sean Hannity: did not serve.
    * Rush Limbaugh: did not serve (4-F with a 'pilonidal cyst.')
    * Bill O'Reilly: did not serve.
    * Michael Savage: did not serve.
    * George Will: did not serve.
    * Chris Matthews: did not serve.
    * Paul Gigot: did not serve.
    * Bill Bennett: did not serve.
    * Pat Buchanan: did not serve.
    * John Wayne: did not serve.
    * Bill Kristol: did not serve.
    * Kenneth Starr: did not serve.
    * Antonin Scalia: did not serve.
    * Clarence Thomas: did not serve.
    * Ralph Reed: did not serve.
    * Michael Medved: did not serve.
    * Charlie Daniels: did not serve.
    * Ted Nugent: did not serve. (He only shoots at things that don't shoot back.)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 18, 2006 5:13 PM  

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Oh, please

Completed Qaeda Application Said to Be Filled Out by Padilla - New York Times:
Federal prosecutors on Friday released an application to join a training camp of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan that they say was filled out by Jose Padilla.

The 'Mujahideen Data Form' bears the signature of Abu Abdallah al Muhajir, which the F.B.I. says is the Muslim name that Mr. Padilla adopted after he converted to Islam.
ROFLMAO! A form?! Yes, I am so sure that Osama has prospective jihadists filling out employment forms. He keeps them all, along with quarterly fitness reports, in a set of filing cabinets that he carries on his back from cave to cave in the mountains on the border bewteen Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Name:
Alias:
Alternate spellings of name:
Alternate spellings of alias:
Alternate spellings of alternate spellings of name:
Date of birth:
Education: _ Madrassa _ H.S. _ College _ Bomb-making 101
Previous employer:
Current employer:
Were you ever in the CIA, NSA, FBI, Interpol, ...: Y/N
Please list your last three terrorist activities:
References:
Next of kin:

Update: Jesus General has a much better one here. Blah3 has one here (brilliant!)

LMAO!

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About that base...

Zogby Poll: Americans Support Impeaching Bush for Wiretapping:
New Zogby Poll Shows Majority of Americans Support Impeaching Bush for Wiretapping

By a margin of 52% to 43%, Americans want Congress to consider impeaching President Bush if he wiretapped American citizens without a judge's approval, according to a new poll commissioned by AfterDowningStreet.org, a grassroots coalition that supports a Congressional investigation of President Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

The poll was conducted by Zogby International, the highly-regarded non-partisan polling company. The poll interviewed 1,216 U.S. adults from January 9-12.

The poll found that 52% agreed with the statement:

"If President Bush wiretapped American citizens without the approval of a judge, do you agree or disagree that Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment."

[...]

Impeachment Supported by Majorities of Many Groups

Responses to the Zogby poll varied by political party affiliation: 66% of Democrats favored impeachment, as did 59% of Independents, but only 23% of Republicans. By ideology, impeachment was supported by Progressives (90%), Libertarians (71%), Liberals (65%), and Moderates (58%), but not by Conservatives (33%) or Very Conservatives (28%).
Uhm... excuse me, but when 33% of conservatives, and 28% of very conservatives think that Dipshit should be impeached for acting like Big Brother, seems to me that that is a real problem for Bu$hCo.

Have we reached the tipping point?

Today's NYT editorial sums it up nicely:
The administration's behavior shows how high and immediate the stakes are in the Alito nomination, and how urgent it is for Congress to curtail Mr. Bush's expansion of power. Nothing in the national consensus to combat terrorism after 9/11 envisioned the unilateral rewriting of more than 200 years of tradition and law by one president embarked on an ideological crusade.
Yet, the punditocracy still insists that only the leftwing fringe is talking about impeachment. When will they take their collective heads out of their asses and realize that nearly a third of even the staunchest conservatives think that President Cheney Bu$h has gone too far.

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Friday, January 13, 2006

DorkWare for Dweebs

Linux - Uncyclopedia: "DorkWare for Dweebs"

LMAO!

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Hmmm

Ian has found something potentially valuable in keeping debate in working group meetings down to a minimum.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Poppycock

The Blog | Rep. John Conyers: Larry Tribe on Spying: A Grave Abuse | The Huffington Post:
The inescapable conclusion is that the AUMF did not implicitly authorize what the FISA expressly prohibited. It follows that the presidential program of surveillance at issue here is a violation of the separation of powers -- as grave an abuse of executive authority as I can recall ever having studied.

Yours truly, Laurence H. Tribe
Read the whole thing.

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Saturday, January 07, 2006

Isn't it a federal crime to open someone else's mail?

Homeland Security opening private mail - U.S. Security - MSNBC.com:
A spokesman for the Customs and Border Protection division said he couldn’t speak directly to Goodman’s case but acknowledged that the agency can, will and does open mail coming to U.S. citizens that originates from a foreign country whenever it’s deemed necessary.
I'm not a lawyer, but this doesn't seem even remotely legal. I could see x-raying packages, but not opening letters.

Of course, Bush will remind us all that 9/11 changed everything and that the terrorists "hate us for our freedom".

I'd like to ask Dimwit: what $%#@! freedom? Apparently, Bu$hCo has eliminated them all by presidential fiat.

Impeach them all, NOW.

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Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Entertainment News Article | Reuters.com:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Paul Bremer, who led the U.S. civilian occupation authority in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, has admitted the United States did not anticipate the insurgency in the country, NBC Television said on Friday.
Taking a page from a previous post:
Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and reckless incompetence.... Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and reckless incompetence...and an almost fanatical devotion to the President.... Our *four*...no... *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise and waterboarding.... I'll come in again.

1 Comments:

  • hello i'm from Brazil. Don't you know someone to learn portuguese?I'd like to speak english so I'd teach someone and someone would teach me. are you understanding? I'm sorry I don´t know speak english ver well. bye

    By Blogger vida loka, at January 07, 2006 9:54 AM  

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Friday, January 06, 2006

Oops! I Crapped My Pantstm

TIME.com: Disgraced Congressman 'Wore a Wire' -- Page 1:
In a week when legislators are focused on the question of who else might be brought down by ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s cooperation with prosecutors as he seeks lenient sentencing over his two federal guilty pleas this week, sources tell TIME that in a separate investigation, ex-Rep. Cunningham wore a wire to help investigators gather evidence against others just before copping his own plea.

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More from the Dept. of Unmakeuppable Sh*t

Chron.com | House ethics guru may have ignored lessons:
WASHINGTON - Before they take their seats in the House of Representatives, newly elected lawmakers come to Washington for a weeklong orientation that includes a briefing on congressional ethics.

Presiding over their instruction is the chairman of the House Administration Committee, who since 2001 has been Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio.
That's right children, the very same Representative #1 from the Abramoff indictment is giving the freshmen congress-critters an ethics lesson.

From the WaPo:
In court papers, prosecutors refer to only one congressman: Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio).
I guess this gives new meaning to the adage "those who can't do, teach".

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

GCM meme

Great Circle Mapper meme via Jonathan, Paul, and Mark amongst others. Here's mine:

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Dubya may have some 'splainin' to do

NBC - curiouser and curiouser, amongst other posts across the blogosphere are discussing the possibility and implications of a possibly breaking news story from NBC (that may have been prematurely blurted out yesterday by Andrea Mitchell) that the administration, in one of its warrantless NSA taps, has been spying on (or shall we say through?) CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour.

It certainly fits as an explanation as to why the administration would not seek a FISA warrant (they would never have gotten one), and why they never asked Congress for changes in the FISA law (which an administration official admitted that they would not likely have gotten).

If true, then the war criminals in the west wing have some serious 'splainin' to do, and the press will not let this go for a moment.

Even William Safire, one of the administrations loudest and proudest cheerleaders, has problems with this.

This issue will not likely go away, not if the press thinks that they've been spied upon illegally by the administration. Even the most conservative press outlets like WSJ and the Moonie Times will find that just a little over the edge.

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daily snark

Paul Waldman:
Can you smell the journalism?

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WS-RM explained

by Paul. Brilliant!

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Monday, January 02, 2006

Trust

ReddHedd at FDL writes:
We have a President, not a King -- no one should be allowed to act above the law. Period. Especially not a man who was elected to serve the people. Such a man should be held to a higher standard, because public service ought to be a noble calling -- the Constitution must be upheld in our own nation, or we have already lost whatever battles we claim to be fighting in the name of freedom and liberty elsewhere.

For every step we take away from the notions of liberty on which this nation was founded, Osama Bin Laden laughs a little louder. By turning away from liberty, we are becoming that which we fight against, something that we managed to avoid even at the height of the Cold War. That is cowardly and wrong, and America is a better nation than that.

On behalf of all the Pat Fitzgerald's and James Comey's and all the rest of the public service professionals who are simply trying to do their job by following the law and the rules, I am beyond angry. What this Administration has done to the American public and the Constitution and our notions of liberty is bad enough, but to add this additional burden to an already difficult job for law enforcement and national security professionals -- when the law need never have been broken in the first place for lawful surveillance to have occurred under FISA -- is shameful, wrong and incompetent. And the President and his Administration should be held accountable for it.

It is worth noting that public servants stood up to the Administration about this policy: DoJ employees refused to rubber stamp this because it was outside the law; NSA employees refused to participate in the program; and there have been reports of fierce arguments within the Administration hierarchy as to the constitutionality of all of this. This did not occur without some staunch opposition -- yet the Preznit chose to move forward regardless. His choice, his consequences.

Whatever action is taken by Congress or the Courts in the coming months, I ask only that they put the nation first. They must earn our trust every day -- for all those members of Congress still in their districts on holiday, start earning the nation's trust right now. Step up and do your damn job. There is a reason that Barney Fife wasn't the Sheriff. What's your excuse for letting the Preznit continue being Barney Fife?
Amen to that.

1 Comments:

  • For not knowing all the facts about the wire taps [the only information you have is what was leaked out and everything else is confidential]... you sure made up your mind fast.... or was it made up already?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 02, 2006 6:20 PM  

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Cut-n-paste year

January - When I accept POST", said Humpty Dumpty, "it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less. February - Sean suggests that our problem is that we don't have a common understanding of what the meaning of 'is' is. March - I want my GudgeTV! April - The only bummer of the whole weekend. May - Bush: "I'm so saturnine over the loss of the nuculer option. June - Here's a shot of my daughter and the ankle biter. July - Frankly, I don't see this as a trend, but (unfortunately) as business as usual. August - That was pretty much her personality in a nutshell. September - You can't make this shit up. October - ... then the man is clearly insane. November - I actually agree with Mark Baker! December - What a long, strange trip it has been.

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Belichick smiles

Cool with the cats - The Boston Globe:
In what was generally a meaningless game, the Patriots rested players who could have played, played players at positions they have not played and in situations they have only dreamed about, and pulled out a play that hasn't been used in the league in more than 60 years.

Coach Bill Belichick even started at quarterback.

OK, that was a family touch pickup game near the north end zone at Gillette Stadium more than an hour after the NFL contest, but with rookie Matt Cassel throwing the potential tying pass in the direction of rookie Bam Childress, and designated No. 3 quarterback Doug Flutie scoring a point for the Patriots with the first successful NFL drop kick since 1941, the professional game witnessed by the sellout crowd was odd enough.
I've seen coach Belichick smile a total of 3 times, at the conclusion of his Superbowl wins... that is, until the moments immediately following Flutie's successful drop kick. I think that the Miami players and coaches were all scratching their heads, wondering to themselves a) what was that and b) whether a drop kick was a legal play in the NFL rulebook.

I was at a New Year's Day party and as expected, all the guys were watching the game at the time. After the play, there was a simultaneous exclamation "a drop kick?!" We were all wondering how many points it was worth, and no one knew. Many of us thought it had to be worth more than one point, otherwise, why not just kick a PAT?

None-the-less, the cameras shot to Belichick, standing on the sidelines, with a big cheshire-cat grin on his face.

Even with all of the first-stringers sidelined for the game, the game went down to the final 4 seconds of regulation play and the Pats nearly tied the game on a two-point conversion attempt.

I think that the Pats are definitely ready for the play-offs.

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