But when a leading progressive voice like Glenn Greenwald feeds into a GOP narrative -- when he should know better -- I'm flabbergasted:
This is a real moment of truth for the Democratic Congress. Democrats, who have offered up little other than one failure after the next since taking power in January, can take a big step toward redeeming themselves here. No matter what, they must ensure that Gonzales' replacement is a genuinely trustworthy and independent figure.I've mentioned before that the accomplishments of this Congress, half-way through their first year is nothing to be dismissed easily.
- First Minimum Wage Increase in a Decade
- Largest Increase for Veterans Affairs Funding in History
- Additional $1.8 Billion for Veterans' Health Care in the Supplemental (above what POTUS requested)
- Passed Ethics and Lobbying Reform Bill
- $17 Billion in Grants and Other Student Aid
- Passed a Fiscally Responsible Budget
- Passed Energy Bill That Increased Fuel-Efficiency Standards for First Time Since 1975.
- 1973-08-13 — Federal Aid Highway Act of 1973, Pub.L. 93-87, title I, 87 Stat. 250
- 1973-09-26 — Rehabilitation Act, Pub.L. 93-112, 87 Stat. 355
- 1973-10-01 — Domestic Volunteer Services Act of 1973 (VISTA), Pub.L. 93-113, 87 Stat. 394
- 1973-11-03 — Amtrak Improvement Act, Pub.L. 93-146, 87 Stat. 548
- 1973-11-07 — War Powers Resolution, Pub.L. 93-148, 87 Stat. 555
- 1973 — Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, Pub.L. 93-203
- 1973-12-28 — Endangered Species Act, Pub.L. 93-205, 87 Stat. 884
- 1974-04-08 — Fair Labor Standards Amendment, Pub.L. 93-259, 88 Stat. 55
- 1974-05-31 — Research on Aging Act, Pub.L. 93-296, 88 Stat. 184
- 1974-07-12 — Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, Pub.L. 93-344, 88 Stat. 297
- 1974-07-25 — Legal Services Corporation Act, Pub.L. 93-355, 88 Stat. 378
- 1974-08-21 — Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, Pub.L. 93-380, title V, §513, 88 Stat. 571
- 1974-09-02 — Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), Pub.L. 93-406, 88 Stat. 829
- 1974-09-07 — Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, Pub.L. 93-415, 88 Stat. 1109
- 1974-11-26 — National Mass Transportation Assistance Act, Pub.L. 93-503, 88 Stat. 1565
- 1974-12-03 — Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act, Pub.L. 93-508, 88 Stat. 1578
- 1974-12-16 — Safe Drinking Water Act, Pub.L. 93-523, 88 Stat. 1660
- 1974-12-31 — Privacy Act of 1974, Pub.L. 93-579, 88 Stat. 1896
- 1975 January 3 — Trade Act of 1974, Pub.L. 93-618, 88 Stat. 1978
- 1975 January 3 — Hazardous Materials Transportation Act, Pub.L. 93-633, title I, 88 Stat. 2156
- 1975 January 4 — National Health Planning and Resources Development Act, Pub.L. 93-641, 88 Stat. 2225
"I'm 60 Years Old, My Wife's 29. Draw Your Own Conclusions."For more reasons to fall in love with Dennis all over again for the first time, look here, and here, and the follow-up here.
Too bad he's been written off. All the more reason to support the guy who almost is as pure a progressive as Dennis -- John Edwards.
Wingnuttystan just got a lifeline, breathing room to bring out the shiny new and improved versions of the latest fabulous reasons to continue the war.
Man do these guys love to introduce new products in the Fall.
Could it really be that Shrubby finally jumped the shark, even in the eyes of the 28%ers; and that he went one metaphor too many? Did he state something so backward, so profound in it's ignorance than not even the most adroit culture warrior can spin it back on itself?
There is an amazing amount of real and digital ink that instantly hurled it's outrage at the cockamaymee idea the Draft Dodger in Chief had any handle whatsoever on the real lesson of our Indo-China excursion. The one he managed to drink and snort his way through in the late 60's and early 70's.
Even Academia as well as the Punditocracy (with one or two notable exceptions), could not stomach the sheer wrongheadedness of the idea that pulling out of South East Asia a mere ten years and 58,000 dead soldiers later was evidence of American's capricious approach to causes requiring a more committed dedication than we are willing to pay -- especially us dirty hippies on the left.
Yes Virginia, some lies cannot stand up to the truth, no matter how strongly stated nor oft repeated.
I was first confused when Powerline only managed to pick the slightest nit with the critics and then entered the quagmire of analogies that Bush missed -- which highlight all the mistakes he repeated but should have learned from Vietnam.
Then I noticed that Sadly No! did not entertain us with the usual litany of nutjobbyness on "how we so so so so SO woulda won in Vietnam if only we’d stayed another 20 years," from the usual Kool-Aide drinking suspects. Now the Pajama Hadeen and LGF are linking up with Chris Hitch's 13 reasons Bush's analogy is moronic.
Hitchenson has indeed penned a piece of prose that will warm your heart:
How do I dislike President George Bush? Let me count the ways.Could it be now that Rove is busy plotting the removal of some other politician's brain, Bush is left on his own and no talking points are being faxed to the rest of the Right Wing Noise Machine? Are the GOP too, simply marking time until they can get rid of Boy Wonder, the Super Chimpleton? Or is this the way they pave the road for their next rabbit out of the hat -- the improbable election of another Republican goof-ball to the Oval Office?***As my hand smacks my brow, and as I ask myself not for the first time if Mr Bush suffers from some sort of political death wish, ...***If one question is rightly settled in the American and, indeed, the international memory, it is that the Vietnam War was at best a titanic blunder and at worst a campaign of atrocity and aggression.***
The logic of history is pitiless and Bush is not the only one who will find this out.
As the Rude One opines, when it comes to the continued glory that is the conservative movement, the GOP frontrunner, Mayor Rudy is "George W. Bush without the nuance." Scary thought, but sure to be born out as the talking heads convene this morning, having come to the stark realization that all could be (deservedly) lost, 30 years of bamboozlement flushed down the drain. Unlike the post Vietnam era, the conservatives don't want to lose the argument that now will prevail until the next war -- Who Lost Iraq?
Seeing that of all the administration officials who talked the nation into this mess are now in the private sector save Bush, Cheney and Condi Rice, yet the stupidity grows ever deeper; I've got a pretty good hunch exactly who should be singled out for special consideration when the blame gets handed out.
In the context of Hillary Clinton's much discussed answer to one of those dreaded hypotheticals all politicians of her experience should know to avoid, she said:
"It's a horrible prospect to ask yourself, 'What if? What if?' But if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world,"You have to admit one thing. The perception that the GOP is better at security is not born out by the facts. They have been effective pushing the perception, not making us safer. (If you cannot agree with this premise, at least to the point that neither party holds a monopoly on security effectiveness wholly apart from their reputation, just stop reading. This blog is not your cup of tea.)
Hillary has internalized that perception and perpetuates it -- which infuriates me when she speaks like Rudy -- and ignores the considerable blame and backlash the administration would be subject to if we suffer another devastating attack despite two wars, torture, secret prisons, dilution of habeas corpus, a power grab by the executive that Nixon didn't even dare, and a wholesale and unilateral abrogation of international law and the Bill of Rights.
(Did I miss anything? I'm sure something else will come to mind.)
Can we keep the republic if another attack makes 9/11 pale in comparison? Will the terrorists win? They will if Bush and Cheney use the opportunity to do away with any pretense of normal electoral succession -- and suspend voting until they say it's safe.
If we lose the republic in the next 16 months via some terror inspired presidential coup, Clinton's contribution to the discourse is no more relevant than Cicero witnessing, opposing, but unable to prevent the fall of a great republic into empire:
"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murder is less to fear."However, with statements like Hillary's, in effect acknowledging that Bush/Rudy/Caesar and his supporters make the plebs feel safer and in the event the barbarian hoard arrives Caesar will win popularity as the citizens flock to his perceived strength -- the idea that she is the best person to stand in opposition to Caesar's coup will not stop the gates of Rome (or the doors to the White House) from swinging open to the 13th Legion to protects us all from the Hun.
And I fail to see where she made the case that she is the candidate most likely to stop the warmongers. She does not stand diametrically in opposition when she adopts the GOP spin, nor does Obama when he looks for the non-confrontational approach.
This is not a place for a negotiated settlement. In this existential battle for the continuation of the republic, we do not need to solved a problem -- "Get to Yes", as it were. We need to bury the extremists' conservative and neoconservative ideology, with their transparent partisan scare tactics and incompetent, partisan cronyism as a failed and discredited cult of personality.
If K-Lo from The (F-ing) Corner can twist Hillary's words to say this, and yet the essence of this spin cannot really be denied, Hillary did neither herself, nor our cause much good:
It's hard to tell from the Washington Post piece, but Senator Clinton appears to be acknowledging the fact that Republican frontrunners appear to more fully understand the jihadi threat America is facing tha the Democrats and the American people know that full and well and that another attack on the United S ates will only make that clearer. And she seems not to have offered a persuasive reason why that's a wrong train of thought -- unless she's straight-on going to blame Republicans (Bush/Cheney/'neocons') for the next attack. Anyway, seems like a dumb remark, but not for reasons other people are outraged.Blaming them, the neocons, is precisely what she should be contemplating because the only justification the Bush apologists ever had was giving up a bit of liberty was the price of security. (Hmm, seems to me that Franklin said something wise about that too.)
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.When they put me against the wall and I bite the filter off the end of my last cigarette, let none of the charges include that I enabled the Pax Americana Imperium by my silence or even tacit acknowledgment that we are in better hands in the face of the greatest usurpation of power since the end of the Weimar Republic.
Time's Swampland pits Fred Thompson against Rudy. First up, the Law And Order guy:
"Anybody who knows me knows I’ve always cared deeply about the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. So I’ve always felt sort of relieved when I flew back home to where that particular civil liberty gets as much respect as the rest of the Bill of Rights."
and Giuliani's response:
"Those who live in New York in the real world - not on TV - know that Rudy Giuliani's record of making the city safe for families speaks for itself. No amount of political theater will change that."Shorter GOP primary ... "Shaadup!" "No. You Shaadup!"
Honestly, just how stupid would it be if New York City was reincarnated as Dodge City? Can you imagine the clusterf#%&k at the subway in Fred's world? Everybody packing heat. And everybody strip searched at the turnstiles. Metal detectors at every taxi stand, but you're free to let a few rounds go into the air instead of whistling to hail a cab.
You really can tell Fred's version of the Big Apple existed exclusively on a studio back lot, and Rudy, as does the entire GOP field, loves to invoke Ronald Reagan's name over and over and over again, takes a pot shot at Thompson for being an actor.
These guys are a joke -- especially since Reagan's 11th Commandment was thou shall't not speak ill of another Republican.
Sometimes I sit in awe of the breathtaking turns our theoretical republic has taken under the Bush regime. I recognize that conditioned responses may contribute to the perception that a sinister oligarchy is promoting a fascist ideology through Stalinistic tactics aimed at domination of the world for a commercial imperium secured through the U.S. military in coordination with the Republican Party Apparachik. They've screwed with us from the day FloriDUH went from red to blue and consistently ever since. It is indeed possible that we look for the evidence that confirms our preconceived notions.
Nyahhh. I'm not paranoid. This is the most outrageous U.S. Presidency of all time.
It's almost too much. I'm just a guy writing into the ether. One person can't make all that much of a difference, can he? The power at the disposal of the Federal Government cannot be thwarted simply by standing up to it, can it?
Sounding paranoid may simply be the result of being too well read. (Scanning CorrenteWire will do that.) But I'm not the only one afflicted with Bush Derangement Syndrome.
I've learned these past few years that just because some people are paranoid doesn't mean the Bush administration isn't capable of almost anything.Of course, my paranoia is only heightened when there are no calls to throw the editors of the
-- A. Sullivan
Sorry, a bunch of nutballs in the Iraqi desert or the Himalayan foothills don't scare me, no matter how many plane tickets they buy. Backfire bombers filled with nukes? Now that can really hurt us, permanently -- not just piss us off enough to overreact and expose our foolishness and vulnerabilities. So I just don't understand why renewal of the Dr. Strangelove Kabuki dance gets more media attention in the financial and foreign press than the coverage in the US political press of John Edwards' hair-cut or Hillary's blouses being too low-cut.
As the planet's lone superpower, spending more on war-making power than the rest of the world combined, the "existential struggle" is not with people who don't even have an air force or navy to speak of, but really -- it's with ourselves.
Realistically, I always figured that they had stuff up there way beyond Google Maps, toys that could read your underwear label through the roof of your Prius. So are they really, "laying the bricks one at a time for a police state," or just watching "24" and taking notes? Seriously folks, wasn't a joke they were using U2 spy planes to monitor us when they had all that awesome hardware in low earth orbit?
I'm sure there is a benign explanation that will be forthcoming once Karl Rove finishes his "If I Did It" tour and issues talking points which will satisfy inquiring minds. These are the questions right now:
- Will the public have an opportunity to comment on the development of appropriate guidelines for domestic use of spy satellites?
- What assessments of the legality of the new surveillance program have been performed?
- How does the Department plan to ensure that Americans' privacy and civil rights are protected once this new surveillance program becomes operational?
Maybe I would cut the Administration some slack if Bush and his enablers didn't suck so damn much. I would hope so. Even with a decent human being as president -- one who respected the fundamental nature of democratic principles enshrined in our Constitution, I would hope I would still feel as strongly about civil liberties, police state actions, freedom of expression and the privilege of turning right on red WITHOUT coming to a full and complete stop at 2 am when there's nobody coming.
But every day, day after day something comes down the wire reinforcing my conviction that we have allowed the most arrogant prick to hold the precious reigns of power so many real patriots have sacrificed for -- and in exchange for this sacred trust he treats us like crap.
"I am the commander, see?" I do not need to explain why I say things. — That's the interesting thing about being the President. — Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation." (Bush at War, 11/02)F. You. Too. Mr. President.
That guy in Toledo, driving the gray minivan flipping the bird at your satellite cameras -- that's me. That's my message to you and yours. Maybe someone could explain to you why I think that's the very least you deserve.
Fine. Point well taken, Professor. It's nice to have some straight talking language for a change. It's so refreshing in an age of Orwellian Double-Speak.
However, I'm sure you are well aware that certain phrases elicit emotional reactions over time, code words for an entire point of view. The term you prefer has been vilified over the decades to the point where it is counterproductive to advance the policy under that framing of the issue since it favors the corporate/conservative resistance to providing universal health care.
We could call it, "free" health care, since there would be little or no out-of-pocket expenses involved. That of course misleads since tax dollars are indeed paying for this "free" service. But even so, when the fire department rescues you, that is essentially a "free" service to the beneficiary.
I could live with "Government Provided" and/or "State Assisted," both of which are even more accurate than "single payor" since in theory Bill Gates could decide to be that payer (for a month or two anyway).
But I absolutely refuse to accept the purposely inflammatory right-wing framing you prefer. Besides, I don't care what the Brits called it. They talk funny and are principly responsible for making English perhaps the most ambiguous language on the planet where over half the words are not spelled like they sound and nearly all have more than one meaning -- and for insisting that a perfectly good word like "principly" is rejected by my spell-checker -- although they do make good tea.
It should be pointed out to the good professor that Edwards' plan is NOT single-payer, but sets up a competing government sponsored plan, an optional plan for all of us since he "mandates" that everyone get some kind of medical insurance -- just like found in many States regarding their car insurance. Ideally it will lead to single payer. Ideally I will be put in charge of a modest cohort in our socialist dystopia as well -- and be granted unlimited powers to abolish the tenure of any and all professors who piss me off in the future.
(Professor John Lott, to whom this reply was directed, is the Author of Freedomnomics and can be found on various "Fair and Balanced" editorial pages like the Moonie Times, NRO, and our favorite source for Double-plus-good fabrications -- Faux Noise.)
From his lust for Kralizec to his desire to privatize Social Security, Rudy unites left and right, by his stupidity. Seriously, the guy is absofreakinglutely bat-shit crazy.
Obama figures out he's just not that good at the 30 second sound-byte debate format -- cuts and runs from attending any more debates than those already scheduled. I assume that means there will be a hard limit of no more than 47 more until we begin voting -- probably right after Thanksgiving. Hopefully, there will be lots of arugula.
After watching some TPMtv, spotlighting Mitt Romney's profound ignorance of anything east of Boston Harbor, Raising Kaine concludes "Multiple-Choice Mitt" is a "Giant Foreign Policy Goofball." News Hounds gets the hypocrisy of Romney's schpeel, but you really need to watch Josh Marshall put it all together to understand how profoundly delusional Romney is.
Meanwhile, Eleanor Clift has a question for Mitt & Co. that might stop some of the GOP hopefuls in their tracks -- since of course, they'd have to think instead of regurgitating their 30 year-old talking points or trying to remember whether they we talking to an audience that preferred the flip to the flop.
Stop asking Romney and the other Republican front runners about abortion and start asking them where they stand on family planning.Shorter Elly C.: "Please stop talking about this wedge issue that is destined to lose the election for us. Our candidates suck eggs on this."
Fred Thompson, who turns 65 today (thus eligible for all the entitlements he vows to abolish), is the only candidate who needed to have his fat, lazy ass trucked around the Iowa State Fair in a golf cart.
Actually he looked kinda gaunt. He'll need to scarf down a few more elephant ears to be the right's answer to Michael Moore.
She really ought to take it easy on the old guy. How many little blue pills can one man take?
I noted before that Mike Huckabee was kind spoken towards the Clintons, to the point where he would sound almost gushing if he weren't a Republican. Rights Field's David Dayen thinks these remarks point to where Huckabee first got the idea that cars and buses were lame, that his super-coolness would be enshrined forever once his Harley cleared the shark tank.
This kid came from a dysfunctional family — alcoholic abusive father. And yet he didn't just aspire, he was elected president of the United States not once, but twice. That is an affirmation of the system. And it's a wonderful testament to give to every kid in America that no matter where you've come from, you've got an opportunity to do something extraordinary.John Edwards gets ahead of the "gotcha" game and David Sirota approves, he rejects right wing framing of the "war on terra" in the same way that former Joint Chiefs Chairman Richard Meyers approved, connects with ordinary folks and David Brooks approves, talks the talk and walks the walk in a way RFK and MLK would approve, calls Coultergeist a "She-Devil," and I approve. Atrios insults Instalinker and FU by comparing them to Annie Sunshine -- Digby approves.
Wingnuttystan still says, "Gotcha," cuz that's all they got. I mean, what are they gonna do? Buy into McCain trying to be the anti-war candidate? Puh-Leeze.
More Wingnut News...
Vice President Cheney is a dildo, what else to you call a dick substitute? (Do not Click if you are under age ... 40.) Doctor BooMan advises us to use a condom anyway.
Speaking of nuts and other guilty pleasures of the alternate universe ... you know you just gotta click on a link that says Ron Paul teams up with Dennis Kucinich.
I'm a big fan of "putting the science" into political science. Mostly this consists of polling and sophisticated statistical analysis, demographic and census tracking, case studies, or historical comparisons of current events. Of course, there never will be anything like a mathematical precision that's applicable to politics -- even in science fiction.
Bob Altemeyer's work studying "authoritarian personalities", famously brought to everyone's attention by John Dean’s Conservatives Without Conscience, goes beyond mere analysis and adds some experimentation -- essence of the scientific method -- which is highlighted by "Moonbat" at The Mahablog. Get it all in handy E-Book (pdf) form, free, from Altemeyer himself.
Frighteningly predictable results were documented when experimenters secretly divided over 130 or so volunteers into two groups -- by whether they exhibited authoritarian personality types or a more benign psychological profile -- and then unleashed them upon a virtual world.
I've seen this dynamic at several Model United Nations Conferences I (along with my good friend and fellow Kossack, TimRoff) helped run back in the Reagan years. I saw both types of folks of course, since no effort was made to segregate the delegates from each other by any artificial means other than the fact they desired to attend.
We solved most of the world's problems in less than a week, every year!
Of course, we were indeed segregated much along the lines Altemeyer positis, just not consciously. By attending, the students attending implicitly acknowledged that diplomacy in general, and specifically the United Nations, was something worthwhile, something with a genuine purpose and worthy of learning as much as possible about. Needless to say, there was a distinctly liberal bent to the participants overall. You don't even read the brochure, let alone come up with the cash to travel to Cleveland ... in January ... for a week ... unless you disagree with John Bolton's idea of the UN's utility.
Indeed, I would hazard that the vast majority would think that diplomacy is a means to solve problems, not simply Bolton's insistence that, "Diplomacy is not an end in itself if it does not advance U.S. interests." Rather, it's a way of getting the parties to enter into mutually beneficial arrangements, a way of Getting To "Yes."
If only they took their top-down mentality to it's logical conclusion. That is, instead of simply buying into the idea that what is good for the corporate and powerful elites is good for everyone -- all benefits trickling downhill -- but that what is good for the planet as a whole will trickle down to their greedy pockets too.
When Altemeyer put the Authoritarians in charge, those with:
- a high degree of submission to the established, legitimate authorities in their society;
- high levels of aggression in the name of their authorities; and
- a high level of conventionalism.
The authoritarian world ended in disaster for many reasons. One was likely the character of their Elites [self-appointed leaders -- Mark], who put more than twice as much money in their own pockets as the low RWA [Right Wing Authoritarians -- Mark] Elites had. (The Middle East Elite ended up the World’s Richest Man; part of his wealth came from money he had conned from Third World Elites as payment for joining his alliance.) But more importantly, the high RWAs proved incredibly ethnocentric. There they were, in a big room full of people just like themselves, and they all turned their backs on each other and paid attention only to their own group. They too were all reading from the same page, but writ large on their page was, "Care About Your Own; We Are NOT All In This Together."
The high RWAs also suffered because, while they say on surveys that they care about the environment, when push comes to shove they usually push and shove for the bucks. That is, they didn’t care much about the long-term environmental consequences of their economic acts. For example a facilitator told Latin America that converting much of the region’s forests to a single species of tree would make the ecosystem vulnerable. But the players decided to do it anyway because the tree’s lumber was very profitable just then. And the highs proved quite inflexible when it came to birth control. Advised that “just letting things go” would cause the populations in underdeveloped areas to explode, the authoritarians just let things go.
Now the Global Change Game is not the world stage, university students are not world leaders, and starting a nuclear holocaust in a gymnasium is not the same thing as launching real missiles from Siberia and North Dakota. So the students’ behavior on those two successive nights in 1994 provides little basis for drawing conclusions about the future of the planet. But some of what happened in this experiment rang true to me. I especially thought, “I’ve seen this show before” as I sat on the sidelines and watched the high RWAs create their very own October crisis.
Maha has been sharing his insight into what exactly IS a conservative lately, and why on earth they get away with the crap we've suffered since the dawn of civilization. My own take is that ever since Caesar waded across the Rubicon signaling the emasculation of democratic institutions that carried on in name only -- yet ceded their powers to a would-be despot "for the good of the people" whose democratic principles were squashed in the name of (ironically) the Republic, nobody has been able to adequately diagnose the commingling of genetic markers that allow the apathetic and exploitative to continue down this evolutionary dead end. Reflect and meditate.
Mind you, there's a lot to be said for just calling them lying crap-weasels, but that only encourages more lying and weasel crapping to sift through. When I talk of burying the GOP, neo-cons, and hyperventilating harpies of the right, I know deep down that we will not destroy them, but must co-opt enough of them, teach them the errors of their ways so that they reject the unsustainable and internally disconnected policies they bought into.
David Sirota noted that Governor Mike Huckabee is the only candidate other than Edwards in the 2008 presidential race running explicitly on economic populist themes.
Mind you, he's still a Republican, and no matter how authentic he might be, I firmly believe the world will be a much better place if his friends spend a generation or two wandering in the wilderness. But that observation, coupled with the new interest in his campaign since his strong showing in the Ames, Iowa Straw Poll made me pay more than the usual attention to yet another comment by yet another conservative presidential aspirant commenting on the Clintons' personal life -- especially since it sounded much more forgiving than anything I've heard from the right side of the aisle since 1996.
"But they kept their marriage together. And a lot of the Republicans who have condemned them and talk about their platform of family values, interestingly, didn’t keep their own families together." -- Mike Huckabee, quoted by NPR, praising Bill and Hillary Clinton. (via Political Wire)Mike, it's not just Republicans who think the Bill and Hillary's marriage is fair game. Maybe he didn't catch this catty quote from Michelle Obama.
Our view is that if you can’t run your own house, you certainly can’t run the White House,” Mrs. Obama said.As I recall, noting the relative peace and prosperity of the 1990's, the Clintons did a decent job running the White House despite the constant harassment from people spewing exactly that kind of nonsense the First Couple's way, let alone the disorder, pain and humiliation "Teh Clenis" must have caused them on a personal level.
That, sadly, is in a nutshell why John Edwards is the guy for me. I can't stomach any more hate-filled invectives hurled towards Bill and Hill, and the eagerness with which Barack (and now Michelle) Obama embrace GOP framing and tactics is repulsive.
Not to mention I'm one of those economic populists kinda guys. If this thing should by some twist of fate end up a contest between Obama and Huckabee, I'm going to have a real problem choosing. A Republican who seems sincere and wants to speak for the little guy without sounding like a butthead, or a naive Democratic compromiser who refuses to do what must be done to the GOP -- bury it. Yikes.
I really couldn't tell you if Jose Padila got a fair trial. Ultimately my respect for the jury system tips the balance in favor of believing the verdict of guilt was sound.
He may be sentenced to spend the rest of his days in jail, a decision wholly in keeping with the crimes he was found to have committed.
He should be immediately released, with an apology, plane fare, and a huge 7-figure check to deposit in the offshore bank of his choosing.
Why? John Cole answers this well.
Simply put, if they had enough to put him in a box forever, there never, ever was a need to "protect" us from him by torturing him to the point where he no longer is quite human.
Why you're an anti-American, xenophobic bed-wetter with no concept of what it means to live in a "free" country or appreciate the democratic principles America is supposed to stand for if you disagree with John and I? See Maha for enlightenment.
Why the sky is falling?
Even the Romans acted more civilized than how we treated Jose Padila. At least when they tortured someone, they admitted it, and set limits, eventually phasing it out as something only barbarians would commit because, "it forces even the innocent to lie." -- Seneca
England, from which we derived our legal traditions, never saw fit to justify such treatment. If our appellate system has any integrity whatsoever, it will not turn its back on what has always been a cornerstone of Anglo-American justice, the dignity of man.
They must overturn his conviction because ultimately we still stand for the proposition that no matter how despicable, every human being is entitled to be treated with humanity. We do not condone slavery, we do not burn suspected witches, and we do not allow our government to torture people. Period.
Hilzoy has more. Clearly, the Administration insists that Congress and the public be more open-minded to their single-mindedness.
It's no way to run a country, and it's certainly no way to run a war.You of course are free to blame the traitors who leaked this shell game to the librule media whose only goal is to undermine Bush's dedication to his delusions.
CUT AND RUN I say! Cut the damn country into iddy, biddy pieces; and then Run it right.
Rove's Gone, sort of.
The scramble is on to take his place -- even among some former US Attorneys recently found looking for work in Fred Thompson's campaign. Remember this name: Tim Griffin, a poster child for Loyal Bushies everywhere.
It still astounds me that someone whose claim to fame was the dirtiest of political shenanigans, and downright illegal voter suppression would be considered to be a U.S. Attorney. You'd think by now nothing would surprise me about the crime syndicate running this country -- except their incompetence, which is the only reason the email trail of Griffin's 2004 voter caging scheme wasn't sent down the same memory hole as Rove's electronic correspondence (and coincidentally, using the same RNC server that was used to
rig determine the '04 Ohio election count).
It was Griffin, as one of the leaders of GOP Opposition Research in the 2000 election who erected a sign in his RNC office, "On my command - unleash hell on Al."
Martin Lewis implores us to repay his ilk in kind, that "it is never to soon to unleash hell on conservatives..."
We obviously missed out on a devastating video that would have been golden in 2004, where Dick Cheney thought invading Iraq would lead to a quagmire ten years earlier. This was obviously a failure of our own oppo research. We need to up our game.
For instance, we link each and every GOP candidate to Bush's war, or Darth Cheney, someone they all desperately need to avoid.
Now that we know General Petraeus will be acting as the White House's sock puppet and not writing his own report on the surge "progress," you can point to things like this:
Earlier this week, Giuliani told Bloomberg News that he would consider sending more U.S. troops to Iraq if Gen. David Petraeus were to come to him and say "we can win this thing, but it's going to take more U.S. troops."Indeedy? Perhaps it was to cover some asses?
"Of course I'd look at that, and I'd consider that," said Giuliani. "What do we have General Petraeus there for?"
Regardless of what Petraeus' report "says," it will be the party line coming directly from the White House. Rudi, possibly reading the tea leaves, is being far more cagy than he was four months ago ... that the current strategy would lead to "an overwhelming victory against terrorism."
That's how you play it. Delusional then, indecisive and pandering now.
Let's see how you do that with other GOP candidates. You can see what they were doing on important dates, like five years after 9/11, Mitt Romney hosted Dick Cheney at a fundraiser sucking over half a million bucks from members of the Harvard Club. No wonder Mitt said, "while attacking Bush and Cheney has become a popular thing to do around the nation, we must not forget that they have kept us safe for the last 6 years." Awwhhh, don't that make ya feel all warm and fuzzy about the Georgie and Dicky?
Or how about exposing his sheer idiocy, in parroting the absolutely false propaganda that Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack have been war critics instead of Bush apologists right along:
"These are guys who have been critical of the handling of the war over the prior three years," Romney said. "They said the surge looks like it's working."The first clue was ever thinking the Brookings Institution is somehow unbiased, let alone anything approaching liberal enough to cross the Bush gang. They've been leaning further and further to the right since the New Deal.
Romney said the Brookings scholars' observations have given him hope that Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, will come back with word that Bush's strategy is working when the general issues his report next month.
Now see if you can find any daylight between the oft quoted, "when they stand up, we can stand down," and this quip from the Massachusetts Governor:
"If the surge is successful, as I hope it will be, then we will be able to bring our troop strength down."Want a Fred Thompson/Dick Cheney connection? How about his daughter Liz Cheney working on his exploratory committee?
And his take on Petraeus' ghost writers?
Mr Thompson says that he is leaning towards giving the surge more time. "My tendency would be to give us every possibility of success . . . If there’s no chance, that’s one scenario. If there’s still a chance, that’s another one, and I think the latter one will be the situation that prevails."Someone cue Freddy that there is no chance September's report will say our occupation is in it's "last throes."
Unlike yesterday's Der Spiegel touting the US Military's accomplishments in Iraq, today's headline is, shall we say, a bit more sober.
Iraq Set to Disintegrate, New Study Warns
Somehow my guess is anyone left in the GOP will keep hammering on what little pieces of desperate hope they can get, like Fitchner's piece latched onto by Ace and Rosemary Esmay, or the spoon fed and debunked propaganda of stenographers like O'Hanlon and Pollack. They won't be quoting this:
It's no secret that Iraq is a politically, ethnically and religiously fractured country. But a new study released in Berlin on Wednesday argues that federalism remains the country's last, best hope. Otherwise, it may fall apart completely.There's more. Funny, it doesn't sound much like the warmongering rhetoric of "fightin' 'em dare, so's we don' havta fight 'em here" crap. It's not about "winning" against any so-called "enemy." It sounds suspiciously like the plan Joe Biden has been promoting.
Called "Iraq Between Federalism and Collapse," the study argues that there is little hope of a centralized power in Iraq and that the country's future depends on walking the fine line between decentralizing power and civil war.Of course, the only way anyone in Europe (besides the Brits) are going to really support this is if partition becomes our stated goal. That means as long as the current criminals are in charge of our armed forces, doing the same thing over and over, hoping we won't notice the redundantly miserable results, we're on our own.
The report, written by terror and Middle East expert Guido Steinberg under the auspices of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin, says that a far-reaching decentralization is the country's only hope. And if it fails, the result could be devastating, including the possibility of full-scale civil war complete with foreign intervention.
"The basic assumption of this study," Steinberg writes, "is that a federalist solution will be the only possibility to maintain Iraq as a single country. The most important role of German and European policies should therefore be that of supporting steps toward a peaceful federalist solution."
Rose still doesn't have her new talking point source streaming into her brain yet -- must be the vicodin withdrawal. With no more Karl Rove to point her in the right direction, she highlights this headline from the German magazine, Der Spiegel:
How has Karl Rove managed to get the German Press to do a 180°? He's more powerful than I thought! Spiegel has been, like the rest of the world's Press, calling Iraq a disaster and a quagmire for YEARS. Now, they completely flipped.Geez, $1.6 Billion spent on US propaganda, and they can't send the Esmays a fax? Funny she should use the "Q" word. There must be some crossed wires somewhere emanating from her new talking point source.
Q. "Do you think the U.S. or U.N. forces should have moved into Baghdad?"Conventional wisdom from a former Secretary of Defense.
A. "No. If we would have gone into Baghdad, we would have been all alone. It would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq."
"Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein's government, then what are you going to put in its place? That's a very volatile part of the world. And if you take down the central government of Iraq, you can easily end up seeing parts of Iraq fly off."Wise, almost prescient.
"It's a quagmire. If you go that far, and try to take over Iraq."True then, in 1994, just as true now.
"The other thing is casualties."Gulf War One, 146 U.S. Casualties. Losing more to get Saddam was not worth it.
"The question for the president in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad and took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam was how many additional dead Americans was Saddam worth, and our judgment was not very many. And I think we got it right."Now, this very same man, Richard Cheney, Vice President of the United States and primary talking point provider to our dear Rosemary, has no trouble at all justifying this position with the current 3,690 dead American service members, another thousand dead military contractors, thousands upon thousands of civilians killed, and millions displaced to do what he thought wasn't worth the 147th life 13 years ago.
All is Okie Dokie because the German version of Life Magazine agrees with his change of heart.
Opps, make that 3,695 American military deaths to catch a guy we already hung. One from a sniper, and his four buddies from an IUD ambush. And since Petreaus is cracking down in Baghdad and Anbar, the carnage has moved north, making villages look like Hiroshima. This is "progress?" 200 civilians being blasted in one shot. We're doing a heckuvajob.
Yikes, add another 5 to the total. I missed today's helicopter crash in Anbar.
What's the one thing we hear that nobody has a serious disagreement with? That we need a political solution, right? So explain how naming Iran's 125,000 man Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization (so we can impose sanctions against them) helps us at the negotiation table.
[Hint: If you come out with some Giuliani-esque tripe about negotiating from strength, you will have to attend mandatory Foreign Policy for Dummies Class.]
Seriously, that would be like them naming the entire Marine Corp a terrorist organization. Naturally, since the QUD forces and Rev Guard will be named terrorists, and Iran harbors them, we must invade, right?
And this is helping diplomatic/political efforts we all know needs to create a political solution?
This is fucking madness, no matter what any so-called "journalists" have been spoon-fed to regurgitate. Again Rose, I refer you to "some guy named Digby" who is actually a woman. Don't start your day with KOS. Read more Digby!
Really?!? He's REALLY gone?
Ara doesn't know why, but undoubtedly is delighted. Rose is wondering where she'll get her talking points from. Avedon suspects a rat -- Monday morning timing, what else are they hiding?
Me? I've been saving the picture to the left for a year or two. I'm delighted, and only hope that it comes out how utterly disgraced he should be.
I hate this guy, I really do. I hope a pigeon poops on his suit on his way home tonight. He's the type of person I'm ashamed to admit is an American. Even upon the eve of his departure, his arrogant disdain for the people he and his boss swore to serve is dished up on a paper plate and thrown in our faces.
"But I'm not going to stay or leave based on whether it pleases the mob"Speaking for the mob, if I may be so bold, "Fuck you Karl! Fuck you in the Ass!!"
Unceasing warfare gives rise to its own social conditions which have beenAn excerpt from God Emperor of Dune the fourth installment of the epic sci-fi series by Frank Herbert written in 1981 about mankind's far distant future. The following tracks a dialog Leto II has with his majordomo, Moneo that reminded me of the fanatics who still pay homage to George W. Bush -- those whose steadfast support can only be explained in terms of faith despite all reasonable evidence that suggests that faith is misplaced:
similar in all epochs. People enter a permanent state of alertness to ward off
attacks. You see the absolute rule of the autocrat. All new things become
dangerous frontier districts-new planets, new economic areas to exploit, new
ideas or new devices, visitors-everything suspect. Feudalism takes firm hold,
sometimes disguised as a politbureau or similar structure, but always present.
Hereditary succession follows the lines of power. The blood of the powerful
dominates. The vice regents of heaven or their equivalent apportion the wealth.
And their know they must control inheritance or slowly let the power melt away.
"Religion always leads to rhetorical despotism," Leto said. "Before the Bene
Gesserit, the Jesuits were the best at it."
"Surely you've met them in your histories?"
"I'm not certain, Lord. When were they?"
"No matter. You learn enough about rhetorical despotism from a study of the Bene
Gesserit. Of course, they do not begin by deluding themselves with it."***"It leads to self-fulfilling prophecy and justifications for all manner of
obscenities," Leto said.
"This . . . rhetorical despotism, Lord?"
"Yes! It shields evil behind walls of self-righteousness which are proof against
all arguments against the evil."***"It feeds on deliberately twisted meanings to discredit opposition," Leto said.
"All of that, Lord?"
"The Jesuits called that `securing your power base.' It leads directly to
hypocrisy which is always betrayed by the gap between actions and explanations.
They never agree."
"I must study this more carefully, Lord."
"Ultimately, it rules by guilt because hypocrisy brings on the witch hunt and
the demand for scapegoats."
George Orwell wrote at excruciating length, both in his fiction and non-fiction works, of the way those in power use language gimmicks to convince the people they exploit that their oppression is good for them. Our government today, and much of our media seems to delight in such double-speak.
I can think of only two reasons this behavior continues despite it's transparency:
- It works.
- It helps powerful hypocrites sleep at night.
Most everybody is picking up on this renewed information that confirms the malevolence of the Vice President towards Iran, paying particular attention to the specificity of the possible targets -- Iranian Qud forces lending assistance to Iraqi insurgents -- which risks sparking a regional conglagration. At the end of Warren P. Strobel's article, however, he points out that while not surprising, this actually is something new -- at least as far as how the debate in the Oval Office has developed:
Proposals to use force against Iran over its actions in Iraq mark a new phase in the Bush administration's long internal war over Iran policy.
Until now, some hawks within the administration — including Cheney — are said to have favored military strikes to stop Iran from furthering its suspected ambitions for nuclear weapons.
Rice has championed a diplomatic strategy, but that, too, has failed to deter Iran so far.
Patrick Clawson, an Iran specialist at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said a strike on the Quds camps in Iran could make the nuclear diplomacy more difficult.
Before launching such a strike, "We better be prepared to go public with very detailed and very convincing intelligence," Clawson said.
Oooh Boy! I can't wait. These turds are actually going to try and "convince us" that we need yet another front on the War on Terra.
I can almost hear the apologists sharpening their pencils.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- The government of embattled Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said Thursday it may impose a state of emergency due to 'external and internal threats' and deteriorating law and order in the volatile northwest near the Afghan border.
Tariq Azim, minister of state for information, said some sentiment coming from the United States, including from Democratic presidential hopeful Barak Obama, over the possibility of U.S. military action against al-Qaida in Pakistan 'has started alarm bells ringing and has upset the Pakistani public.'
Notwithstanding the fact that K-Lo thinks Barack makes Hillary sound "reasonable" for taking a position exactly the same as Senator Clinton's, methinks there's more than a little opportunism going on here -- both here and in Pakistan.
Musharraf has been looking for an excuse to at least look like he's cracking down and can now blame Obama for a little "surge" of his own, damn those Americans. Here in the States, everybody (and by that I mean anybody who is not already firmly in Obama's camp) has been waiting for the "Rock Star" to falter -- jumping on a badly delivered policy statement, uncharacteristically inarticulate for one of the most notable orators of a generation is a no-brainer.
If we've learned one thing from the Rovellians, it's that attacking your opponent's strength is a winning strategy. The great orator stutters. The guy who loves to remind us that he was right about our military strategy in the Middle East from the beginning sends mixed if not naive signals about his stance on an issue he should own. Of course he gets beat up.
But why not? Unless you're a policy wonk (or a political blogger), Oh, Bomb 'em's message was fouled up to the point where he's sounding stupid even though he advocates something that is already U.S. Policy -- POTUS is already authorized to act against terrorists in Pakistan upon "actionable intelligence" via the AUMF that got us into Afghanistan -- and as tempting as it might be to turn everything south of the Hindu Kush into molten glass for what Bin Laden's gang did to us, Obama's right. Nuking Waziristan might be considered a bit excessive.
In a political climate where there is more theater than substance, confusing rhetoric and losing the ability to keep "on message" is far more dangerous to political aspirations than any grooming questions, family problems or a sterling record of accomplishments everyone ignores.
It is generally considered poor form to discuss bombing countries who are not actively hostile to you. Please do not do this. It just makes shit harder.
Unfortunately for Obama, as I noted here in a comment a couple of weeks ago to this post at Taylor Marsh's blog about Obama's announcement of his superior judgment concerning foreign policy -- compared to all the other candidates (including the current Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a Governor who has a record as an international trouble-shooter), it's time to sit back on the couch and see if "Barry" can stay dry as he leaps these shark infested waters.
Seriously, if you arrogantly proclaim your superiority to people who were dealing with dictators and fighting the good fight in Washington D.C. while you were looking for a date for Homecoming, I'm gonna get some popcorn. If you ask me, Obama was asking to be ganged up upon.
But to all our brothers and sisters in Pakistan, and especially you General Musharraf: Chill out folks, take a pill, drink a beer, light up a hooka, sacrifice a virgin, whatever it is you do to relax -- it's only primary season. And more importantly, it's our primary season, not yours. Get your own lame-brain politicians to get upset about.
Dick Cheney or
Phil Leotardo From
BY BENJAMIN FREED
- - - -
1. "Except for the occasional heart attack, I never felt better."
2. "You sound like a damn politician with all these excuses."
3. "What can you do—throw money at the problem?"
4. "He's never won anything, as best I can tell."
5. "Next time, there won't be a next time."
6. "You couldn't fuckin' retire?"
7. "Principle is OK up to a certain point, but principle doesn't do any good if you lose."
8. "First off, it wasn't an offer. It's my position."
9. "Everyone knows that you're not really a man unless you own a gun."
10. "I'll take that Discman and I'll ram it up your box."
11. "You want compromise?"
12. "Go fuck yourself."
Answers under the fold:
Dick Cheney: 1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 12
Phil Leotardo: 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11
Very little information on the NSA Program's successes, failures, and abuses has come out thusfar; and indeed it may be less likely that more comes out in the future: Newsweek's Michael Isikoff reports tonight that the administration has raided the home of a former DOJ lawyer, Thomas Tamm, seizing his and his kids' computers, on suspicion that he was involved in leaking the program's existence to the media. Now that Congress is out of the oversight picture, I suppose it's time to kill the messengers and thereby get the media out of it too.What, you may ask led to Tamm being led off the the most convenient gulag? Fresh off their latest finger-pointing circle-jerk and pointless demagoguery, Wingnuttystan speculates that crazed lefty blogging is to blame:
What this Newsweek story by Michael Isikoff doesn't mention is what might have caused the FBI to be suspicious of the alleged leaker---BDS blog postings by Thomas Tamm. One such BDS posting was made by a reader identifying himself as Thomas Mann in the New York Times The Caucus political blog.Shocking, just shocking that an American might want to express his outrage against something that until yesterday was indefensibly illegal action by the government. Even more frightening is that Bill O'Reilly isn't the only one scouring the comment sections on liberal blogs to find anti-American subversives.
Hopefully, Mr. Tamm can expect better treatment than some others who undoubtedly entertain the Malkinites on the right nearly as much as they would have enjoyed lions shredding Christians and Jews in the Arena in another era:
"The Red Cross went in and got to interview these people for the first time," said Mayer on the CBS Evening News. "What these people described was hanging from the ceilings by their arms and being water-boarded, partially drowned, put on leashes and knocked into walls and basically deprived of all kinds of sensory imagery for years." [my emphasis]They don't "hate us for our freedoms." They hate us because barbarisms have been undertaken in our names. As the conclusion of Mayer's extraordinary New Yorker article points out, my earlier lament that a government that acts outside of the law, cannot legally put the bad guys away. What made these neocons believe that they were smarter than over 200 years of constitutional tradition and centuries of democratic jurisprudence is beyond me.
NOT being an arbitrary and capricious despotic tyrany was supposedly what separated us from the likes of the Taliban and Hussein in the first place.
Show of hands.
After the last election, after the celebrations was over and you were smelling the Thanksgiving turkey, who really thought that with the Democrats taking over Congress the war would be over by now?
Anyone ... anybody ... Beuler...?
How about a rollback of Bush's NSA wiretapping program? Closing Gitmo? Seriously, weren't you pleasantly surprised that Rumsfeld was actually fired, finally, especially since the timing was backwards and could have helped the GOP more if it came before the election?
The absolute best we could have hoped for is that there would now be an honest check on the White House, that things wouldn't get worse...
...that the war wouldn't escalate...
...that the Administration wouldn't be able to finagle a way to get even more power to abuse our civil liberties because any new expansion of Patriot Act and NSA wiretapping would be DOA with the new Congress...
...that hard won seats in red districts that now have a Democratic representative could no longer be counted on to rubber-stamp George Bush's misguided policies.
Zack Space, Charlie Wilson, thank you so much for living up to expectations ... the expectations of all the people in your respective districts who don't think there's a hair's difference between a donkey and a 'phant, that all politicians are pathetic stooges who put their own self-interest above all else and worship at the alter of the highest bidder.
This is the third strike for Space, and I'm done with Charlie too. If even Hillary Clinton knew it was not in her self-interest to support this measure, the same Hillary who has spoken about having wanted her husband to have had more power similar to that confiscated by the current administration, wimps like Space and Wilson are irredeemable.
Space, Wilson of Ohio Vote for Bush Eavesdropping Amendment: "Two of Ohio's 18 Congressmen, Zachary Space and Charlie Wilson, both new and both Democrats, were sent to Washington last year as Ohioans turned out one political party for another. The duo, Space from Dover and Wilson from St. Clairesville, both representing fiscally and socially conservative rural districts, cast their votes for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which critics opposed to President Bush's anti-terrorism tactics said should be defeated because it would give much-needed legality to his administration's unrivaled and unchecked power to perform surveillance on persons overseas and within the United States."
This broad statement by Meteor Blades applies directly to you Messieurs Space and Wilson:
Because, frankly, you epitomize weak. Your every pore exudes feebleness. You are surrender monkeys. And you’ve just casually tossed away a basic protection as if it were a banana peel.When it comes to votes that mattered, votes that highlighted a respect for principle instead of continuation of power, high profile votes that would have exemplified the courage of your convictions -- you both have proved you have none.
The Big Tent Democrat formerly known as Armando sums it up nicely:
For what it's worth, while I noted that as long as there are safeguards mindful of basic privacy expectations of ordinary citizens, I had no real problem with amending the FISA legislation per se. However, because of the very nature of this sensitive law, we really don't know all the nuts and bolts that went into it. (Unless, you know ... you actually read it (pdf) -- unlike most of our Congress Critters).
The entire purpose of this provisions is to enhance the power of the executive and to free it from any checks and balances. It is clear that the Bush Administration, an Administration that has no basis for asking for any trust, has played the fear card to attack our Constitutional balance and overset the vision of the Framers of our Constitution.
What we do know is that the circumstances surrounding its approval are highly suspects and ring of the same old notions that if you stand in the way of the President's demand for more power, you will be branded as a coward to your electorate come next fall. What we do know is that the deal Congress worked out with the National Intelligence Director was overruled by Bush himself (or more likely his alter ego in the Vice-President's office). That alone tells me that the current law goes beyond that which was necessary and proper. Any Democrat who voted for this ought to be ashamed.
Whereas the law previous insisted that the administration get FISA Court-approved search warrants to eavesdrop on communications involving Americans citizens on U.S. soil, this new law changes the landscape. If the federal government wants to spy on someone, and the target is "reasonably believed" to be overseas, a warrant is no longer necessary. [And the belief is not "clearly erroneous" - Mark]This is just another bill, like the Military Commissions Act, the Patriot Act, and the "emergency" supplemental authorization for funding the "surge," this law was yet another example of something pushed down our throats with no real time to deliberate or consider the full ramifications. Enough Democratic Congressmen and women capitulated to the White House scare tactics to give the Administration exactly what it wanted -- and unbelievably expanded the prerogatives of Alberto Gonzales -- one of the most (if not the most) reprehensible political tools ever to run the Justice Department.
Consider this statement by Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post (via Glen Greenwald):
To call this legislation ill-considered is to give it too much credit: It was scarcely considered at all. Instead, it was strong-armed through both chambers by an administration that seized the opportunity to write its warrantless wiretapping program into law -- or, more precisely, to write it out from under any real legal restrictions.
The government will now be free to intercept any communications believed to be from outside the United States (including from Americans overseas) that involve "foreign intelligence" -- not just terrorism. It will be able to monitor phone calls and e-mails of U.S. citizens or residents without warrants -- unless the subject is the "primary target" of the surveillance.
Instead of having the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court ensure that surveillance is being done properly, with monitoring of Americans minimized, that job would be up to the attorney general and the director of national intelligence. The court's role is reduced to that of rubber stamp. . . .
Not convinced that this "fix" went far beyond what was necessary to simply allow us to intercept communications that were between terrorists whose network happened to cross through the United States. Not convinced that the rights of US citizens are going to be abused by design?
Maybe this report by James Risen of the NY Times, who's been on the NSA wiretapping story from the beginning (again, HT Glenn):
I don't for one minute believe that Congressmen like Space and Wilson were elected with the expectation that they would support expansion of the Unitary Executive with full Congressional approval.
President Bush signed into law on Sunday legislation that broadly expanded the government’s authority to eavesdrop on the international telephone calls and e-mail messages of American citizens without warrants.
Congressional aides and others familiar with the details of the law said that its impact went far beyond the small fixes that administration officials had said were needed to gather information about foreign terrorists. They said seemingly subtle changes in legislative language would sharply alter the legal limits on the government’s ability to monitor millions of phone calls and e-mail messages going in and out of the United States.
They also said that the new law for the first time provided a legal framework for much of the surveillance without warrants that was being conducted in secret by the National Security Agency and outside the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the 1978 law that is supposed to regulate the way the government can listen to the private communications of American citizens.
“This more or less legalizes the N.S.A. program,” said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies in Washington, who has studied the new legislation.
And if you think that this really doesn't have any consequences to you or me, put yourself in the place of a father whose home was raided, and the computers of his children as well as his own were confiscated, merely for letting the world know that the administration was violating the law all this time. Illegal acts that now are legal.
Six month's sunset provision? Kabuki ass covering, nothing more. If you really though it mattered which party was in charge of our National Security State, you're living in a dream world where memories of a representative republic protected basic liberty are simply quaint.
Mellisa has more reactions. Does it really need to be said that if Powerline thinks Congress did the right thing, it's ghastly wrong.