Second, we have made it clear to all nations, if you harbor terrorists, you are just as guilty as the terrorists; you're an enemy of the United States, and you will be held to account.
Makes you wonder why, in response to the news from Yemen, that a division has not already been dispatched, the bombing has not already started, to hold the Yemeni government to account for harboring a terrorist.
"We are dismayed and deeply disappointed in the government of Yemen's decision not to imprison [Jamal al-Badawi]," said a Justice Department statement issued by the Department's National Security Division.
"We have communicated our displeasure to Yemeni officials," the statement said.
The statement pointedly referred to al-Badawi as one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists and noted prosecutors in New York City want to get their hands on him.
"He was convicted in Yemeni courts and has been indicted in the Southern District of New York," the Justice Department said. Officials said the decision is not consistent with cooperation between counterterrorism officials of the United States and Yemen.
Al-Badawi -- who had escaped prison last year -- was freed after turning himself in two weeks ago, renouncing terrorism and pledging allegiance to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, according to news reports.
Witnesses said al-Badawi was "receiving well-wishers at his home" in Aden, Yemen, according to The Associated Press in Sana, Yemen.
This is the guy who was convicted, twice, of attacking the U.S. Cole. He has also "escaped" from Yemeni jail, twice (you'd think he was Steve McQueen, or something).
So, basically, all he has to do is to "renounce" terrorism and pledge allegiance to the Yemeni President, and "it's all good"?
The House vote that failed to override President Bush's veto of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) was a real test of values.
In siding with the President and against millions of kids, the House Republicans -- including Kentuckians Ron Lewis, Geoff Davis, Ed Whitfield and Hal Rogers -- hid behind patently false claims that the bill to expand SCHIP was a move toward socialized medicine. The measure was an effort to meet real human need, not a sneaky way to establish another federal entitlement for the middle class...
If the differences in values between the two major political parties are real, as Democrats claim, this is an issue with which they can demonstrate it, with stunning clarity.
Republicans will approve endless sums of taxpayer money to conduct war, yet GOP opponents of the SCHIP bill parrot the White House claim that it is too costly. They say nothing about the social costs, and ultimately the public burdens, that are created by denying millions of children regular access to decent health care...
If the House Democrats are who they claim to be, they won't let George W. Bush push them, and needy children, around on this issue.
Hard to add to that.
Indeed. This is essentially what Rep. Pete Stark said. Granted, he may have stepped over the bounds of propriety, but that was the message. The Republican's fake outrage over his statement on the floor of the House is largely a measure to discredit that message. Yet, thankfully, there are some who get it and won't let the faux outrage become the distraction that the Republicans want it to be.
However, aside from the fact that, yet again, the Democrats have been all too easily taken off message by Republican faux-outrage, I would like to focus on an aspect that has not, to my knowledge, been covered in this thread.
The administration has repeatedly tried to provide rationale for the War in Iraq: WMD, links to 9/11, Iraqi political reconciliation, al Qaeda. There seems to be no end in the line of discredited reasons for continuing the war in Iraq. Given the administration's complete inability to articulate to the American public just why we are fighting this war of aggression, one might safely ask whether it is indeed merely for the amusement of the war criminals in the White House.
"I've got nothing to hide, so electronic surveillance doesn't bother me. To the contrary, I'm delighted that the Bush Administration is monitoring calls and electronic traffic on a massive scale, because catching terrorists is far more important that worrying about the government's listening to my phone calls, or reading my emails." So the argument goes. It is a powerful one that has seduced too many people.
Millions of Americans buy this logic, and in accepting it, believe they are doing the right thing for themselves, their family, and their friends, neighbors, community and country. They are sadly wrong. If you accept this argument, you have been badly fooled.
For several years I have been reading the work of George Washington University Law School Professor Daniel J. Solove, who writes extensively about privacy in the context of contemporary digital technology. The current apathy about government surveillance brought to mind his essay "'I've Got Nothing To Hide' And Other Misunderstandings of Privacy."
Professor Solove's deconstruction of the "I've got nothing to hide" position, and related justifications for government surveillance, is the best brief analysis of this issue I have found.
It was quite good, but a little dry and academic, IMO.
For me, the best quote was the following (emphasis mine):
By saying “I have nothing to hide,” you are saying that it’s OK for the government to infringe on the rights of potentially millions of your fellow Americans, possibly ruining their lives in the process. To me, the “I have nothing to hide” argument basically equates to “I don’t care what happens, so long as it doesn’t happen to me”30
30 Comment of BJ Horn to Solove, Nothing to Hide Argument, supra note 17.
You need to put all of this into context. The President thinks that he has the authority to declare, on his word alone, anyone, including an American Citizen, an "enemy combatant" whom he can detain indefinitely, without access to legal counsel or the right to call loved ones, without the rights of habeus corpus that are written into the Constitution. With the datamining that the NSA is performing on the telephone records, illegally obtained from your friendly, neighborhood phone company, all it might take for the government to conclude that you are a terrorist enemy combatant is for you to have called your local pizza place, the same one frequented by Osama bin Laden, to order take-out, and you could be detained indefinitely, without recourse, much like Josef K.
"Gee, too bad about poor Josef K", unless that poor slob is you.
Last month, Republican Congressional leaders filed into the Oval Office to meet with President George W. Bush and talk about renewing the controversial USA Patriot Act.
Several provisions of the act, passed in the shell shocked period immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, caused enough anger that liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union had joined forces with prominent conservatives like Phyllis Schlafly and Bob Barr to oppose renewal.
GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the act could further alienate conservatives still mad at the President from his botched attempt to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.
“I don’t give a goddamn,” Bush retorted. “I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.”
“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.”
“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”
I’ve talked to three people present for the meeting that day and they all confirm that the President of the United States called the Constitution “a goddamned piece of paper.”
Q Mr. President, following up on Vladimir Putin for a moment. He said recently that next year when he has to step down, according to the constitution, as President, he may become Prime Minister, in effect keeping power and dashing any hopes for a genuine democratic transition there. Senator McCain --
THE PRESIDENT: I've been planning that myself. (Laughter.)
The Military Commissions Act. Warrantless wiretapping. Shredding of Habeas Corpus. Torture. Extraordinary Rendition. Secret Prisons.
I have decided to place a "hold" on the latest FISA bill that would have included amnesty for telecommunications companies that enabled the President's assault on the Constitution by illegaly providing personal information on their customers without judicial authorization.
I said that I would do everything I could to stop this bill from passing, and I have.
It's about delivering results -- and as I've said before, the FIRST thing I will do after being sworn into office is restore the Constitution. But we shouldn't have to wait until then to prevent the further erosion of our country's most treasured document. That's why I am stopping this bill today.
You can thank Sen. Dodd here. It is about damned time that someone stood up to the criminals in the administration. The cave-in that Sen. Rockefeller agreed to, to provide retro-active immunity to the telcos, is in fact a cover for the administration that ensures that the administration's criminal acts will never be exposed to the light of day.
Today marks five years since the authorization of military force in Iraq, setting Operation Iraqi Freedom in motion. Five years on, the Iraq war is as undermanned and under-resourced as it was from the start. And, five years on, Iraq is in shambles.
As Army captains who served in Baghdad and beyond, we've seen the corruption and the sectarian division. We understand what it's like to be stretched too thin. And we know when it's time to get out.
This is Operation Iraqi Freedom and the reality we experienced. This is what we tried to communicate up the chain of command. This is either what did not get passed on to our civilian leadership or what our civilian leaders chose to ignore. While our generals pursue a strategy dependent on peace breaking out, the Iraqis prepare for their war -- and our servicemen and women, and their families, continue to suffer.
There is one way we might be able to succeed in Iraq. To continue an operation of this intensity and duration, we would have to abandon our volunteer military for compulsory service. Short of that, our best option is to leave Iraq immediately. A scaled withdrawal will not prevent a civil war, and it will spend more blood and treasure on a losing proposition.
America, it has been five years. It's time to make a choice.
The Russian government under Vladimir Putin has amassed so much central authority that the power-grab may undermine Moscow's commitment to democracy, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Saturday.
"In any country, if you don't have countervailing institutions, the power of any one president is problematic for democratic development," Rice told reporters after meeting with human-rights activists.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 — The director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, has ordered an unusual internal inquiry into the work of the agency’s inspector general, whose aggressive investigations of the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation programs and other matters have created resentment among agency operatives.
A small team working for General Hayden is looking into the conduct of the agency’s watchdog office, which is led by Inspector General John L. Helgerson. Current and former government officials said the review had caused anxiety and anger in Mr. Helgerson’s office and aroused concern on Capitol Hill that it posed a conflict of interest.
The review is particularly focused on complaints that Mr. Helgerson’s office has not acted as a fair and impartial judge of agency operations but instead has begun a crusade against those who have participated in controversial detention programs.
Any move by the agency’s director to examine the work of the inspector general would be unusual, if not unprecedented, and would threaten to undermine the independence of the office, some current and former officials say.
The IG at State is turning a blind eye to fraud, waste and corruption, and apparently, that's OKAY. But, if you are actually doing your job, apparently, for the criminals in this administration, that is NOT OKAY.
Let's be perfectly clear, the "controversial detention programs" alluded to are illegal by any definition. Just because the torturer-in-chief says they are okay, does not make them so, despite what Dick Cheney believes.
I repeat the quote from my previous post: is it treason yet?
Politics aside, the Graeme Frost case demonstrates the true depth of the health care crisis: every other advanced country has universal health insurance, but in America, insurance is now out of reach for many hard-working families, even if they have incomes some might call middle-class.
And there’s one more point that should not be forgotten: ultimately, this isn’t about the Frost parents. It’s about Graeme Frost and his sister.
I don’t know about you, but I think American children who need medical care should get it, period. Even if you think adults have made bad choices — a baseless smear in the case of the Frosts, but put that on one side — only a truly vicious political movement would respond by punishing their injured children.
That's the real issue here. Fortunately, I think that the American public is way ahead of the curve on this one. The Rethuglicans have finally jumped the shark. Like lemmings, they are following some irrepressible primal urge to follow Dear Leader over the cliff, despite the fact that he is so patently wrong on the issues, as has been pointed out by some of the staunchest conservatives in the Senate:
After hearing Bush say Thursday that he was going to veto the bill in part because it would allow families of four making $80,000 to place their children on the the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Grassley blasted the president, saying his assertion was dead wrong.
"The president has been served wrong information about what our bill will do," Grassley said Thursday between Senate votes. "There's nothing in our bill that would do that. His understanding of the bill was wrong."
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), meanwhile, said the president should support a bipartisan compromise on SCHIP.
"The House has worked with us and the Senate Democrats have worked with us. That's a pretty good indication" of bipartisan cooperation, Hatch said.
Asked if he would support a veto override, Hatch didn't hesitate. "You bet your sweet bippy I will," Hatch said with a smile.
After the Senate Finance Committee approved an expansion of the federal Children's Health Insurance Program to cover nearly 10 million kids, President Bush offered a strange rationale for threatening to veto it. "People have access to health care in America," he told an audience in Cleveland. "After all, you just go to an emergency room."
I won't even get into how stupid that statement is given that that practice (going to the emergency room when a condition that could have been treated at much lower cost, or even prevented, had the person simply visited their primary care physician), is one of the contributing factors towards the high cost of health care in this country.
The Rethuglican swift-boating of a helpless 12-year old kid and his now brain-damaged sister rips apart the Republican's fraudulent claim to be the party of "Family Values".
Ad Campaign Criticizes Pro-Life Members of Congress for Voting against Children's Health Insurance
Washington, DC- Catholics United will launch a radio advertising campaign targeting ten members of Congress whose opposition to the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) have compromised their pro-life voting records.
The ads, which feature a mother urging her Congressional Representative to support SCHIP, will primarily air on Christian and talk radio stations from Monday Oct. 15 to Wednesday, Oct. 17 as Congress approaches a critical Oct. 18 vote to override President Bush's veto of bipartisan SCHIP legislation.
"Building a true culture of life requires public policies that promote the welfare of the most vulnerable," said Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United. "At the heart of the Christian faith is a deep and abiding concern for the need of others. Pro-life Christians who serve in Congress should honor this commitment by supporting health care for poor children."
Yes, indeed, they have really jumped the shark. Couldn't happen to a more deserving party.
The right wingnuts are indulging in their ritual two minutes hate over last weekend's Democratic response to the President's weekly radio address, which was given over to a 12-year old victim of a tragic auto accident, that also left his sister with severe disabilities, to respond to President Bush's veto of the S-CHIP bill. Apparently, disagreeing with Big Brother Dear Leader is enough to send some people over the edge, including cheerleaders Rush "Pills" Limbaugh and Michele Malkin.
The Baltimore Sun has some of the gory details (emphasis mine):
But while the Frosts were helping a bipartisan majority in Congress sell a plan to expand the program, they were not prepared for comments such as this one, posted over the weekend on the conservative Web site Redstate:
"If federal funds were required [they] could die for all I care. Let the parents get second jobs, let their state foot the bill or let them seek help from private charities. ... I would hire a team of PIs and find out exactly how much their parents made and where they spent every nickel. Then I'd do everything possible to destroy their lives with that info."
So has begun the education of the Frosts, the young family of six who volunteered to advocate for the program for moderate-income families - the expansion has been approved by Congress but vetoed by President Bush - and now find themselves the focus of a nasty national debate.
The onslaught began over the weekend, a week after 12-year-old Graeme Frost delivered the Democrats' weekly radio address with a plea to Bush to sign the bill. A contributor to the conservative Web site Free Republic noted Graeme's enrollment in the private Park School and the sale of a smaller rowhouse on the Frosts' block for $485,000 this year and questioned whether the family should be taking advantage of the state program.
That post was picked up by the National Review Online and other Web sites. By Monday, Rush Limbaugh was discussing the family's earnings and assets on the air, and the blogger Michelle Malkin was writing about her visit to Halsey Frost's East Baltimore warehouse and her drive past the family's Butchers Hill rowhouse. Liberal bloggers, meanwhile, were complaining that the Frosts were being "swift-boated."
"It's really frustrating," said Bonnie Frost, 41, who stated she is upset by the angry Internet posts, e-mails and telephone calls targeting the family. "The whole point of it for me was that this program helped my family, and I wanted it to help others. That's the message, and I can't believe the way the spotlight has been taken off of that."
"It's a distractive technique," said Halsey Frost, also 41. Speaking from their cluttered front room yesterday, the Frosts said they would continue to advocate for government-funded health care.
They can't argue the merits of the legislation, so they resort to personal attacks. The fact of the matter is that it is Bush who seems to be living in some altered universe. S-CHIP is a BI-PARTISAN bill sponsored by ultra-conservatives such as Sen. Orrin Hatch and Sen. Chuck Grassley that has broad support from both sides of the aisle, especially with Governors who have to live the harsh realities of the fact that many hard working people simply cannot afford health insurance.
I'll leave it to Google for you to find the more sickening aspects of how the right wingnuts are treating this family. Believe me, it gets much worse.
Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who chairs the Senate committee responsible for government oversight, says he has no plans to investigate Blackwater and other Iraq war contractors accused of potentially criminal wrongdoing. Roll Call reports
Seriously. The man needs an intervention. I feel sorry for Connecticut.
A small private intelligence company that monitors Islamic terrorist groups obtained a new Osama bin Laden video ahead of its official release last month, and around 10 a.m. on Sept. 7, it notified the Bush administration of its secret acquisition. It gave two senior officials access on the condition that the officials not reveal they had it until the al-Qaeda release.
Within 20 minutes, a range of intelligence agencies had begun downloading it from the company's Web site. By midafternoon that day, the video and a transcript of its audio track had been leaked from within the Bush administration to cable television news and broadcast worldwide.
The founder of the company, the SITE Intelligence Group, says this premature disclosure tipped al-Qaeda to a security breach and destroyed a years-long surveillance operation that the company has used to intercept and pass along secret messages, videos and advance warnings of suicide bombings from the terrorist group's communications network.
The MSM was all a twitter when these criminals came into office that the White House was now under "adult supervision". Nothing could be further from the truth. These clowns have set this country back decades. As soon as they learn that the boogeyman has released a new video, they all pee in their pants at the opportunity to leak it to their PR firm, Faux News, so that they can keep the sheep scared shitless.
Pentagon sources say Mr Gates is waging a subtle campaign to undermine the Cheney camp by encouraging the army's senior officers to speak frankly about the overstretch of forces, and the difficulty of fighting another war.
Bruce Reidel, a former CIA Middle East officer, said: "Cheney's people know they can beat Condi. They have been doing it for six years. Bob Gates is a different kettle of fish. He doesn't owe the President anything. He is urging his officers to be completely honest, knowing what that means."
Officials say Mr Gates's strategy bore fruit when Admiral William Fallon, the head of US Central Command, charged with devising war plans for Iran, said last month that the "constant drumbeat of war" was not helpful.
He was followed by General George Casey, the army's new chief of staff, who requested an audience with the House of Representatives armed services committee to warn that his branch of the military had been stretched so thin by the Iraq war that it was not prepared for yet another conflict.
Gen Casey told Congress the army was "out of balance" and added: "The demand for our forces exceeds the sustainable supply. We are consumed with meeting the demands of the current fight, and are unable to provide ready forces as rapidly as necessary for other potential contingencies."
Mr Gates has forged an alliance with Mike McConnell, the national director of intelligence, and Michael Hayden, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, to ensure that Mr Cheney's office is not the dominant conduit of information and planning on Iran to Mr Bush.
Insiders say Mr Gates has ensured that Mr Bush has seen more extensive studies of the probable negative effects of an attack on Iran than he was privy to before the war in Iraq.
One CIA insider said: "Bush understands that any increase in real military hostilities in Iran right now could have a negative effect. Bob Gates is the only one opposed to it. He's the single person in the US government who has any standing with the White House fighting it."
Could someone please explain to me why Dick Cheney hasn't been impeached yet?
An international crackdown on e-mail scammers and telephone fraudsters has led to at least 80 arrests and the seizure of almost £8 million worth of fake cheques and postal orders heading for the UK.
The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) has begun to tackle the multi-billion pound industry of mass marketing cons.
The best known instances are international e-mail scams promising vast wealth in return for financial details, but there are also hundreds of subtler frauds, for example asking victims to call a premium rate number in return for a non-existent prize. The Office of Fair Trading estimates that the cons cost the UK more than £3.5 billion every year.
The Nigerian “419” scammers are the most notorious. Named after the relevant section of the Nigerian penal code, the “419” schemers win victims’ trust with stories of invented royalty or politicians offering a share in a huge sum of money in exchange for a little practical help.
One can only hope that this will mean less spam from Nigeria. Somehow, I doubt it.
When the Justice Department publicly declared torture “abhorrent” in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations.
But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.
The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.
Mr. Gonzales approved the legal memorandum on “combined effects” over the objections of James B. Comey, the deputy attorney general, who was leaving his job after bruising clashes with the White House. Disagreeing with what he viewed as the opinion’s overreaching legal reasoning, Mr. Comey told colleagues at the department that they would all be “ashamed” when the world eventually learned of it.
More like James Comey, please.
Read the whole article. It will curl your hair, if you have any left. If there was ever any question that the administration has absolutely no regard for the law and our constitution, this article will disabuse you of any remaining doubts.