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Sunday, March 26, 2006

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Mary

<<>

The way I've always described Dubya, even when he was the Governor of my state, was he was like a kid playing Monopoly and when he started to lose, he would dump the board over and leave......

Brilliantly put, Mr. Spot.

Scott

he was like a kid playing Monopoly and when he started to lose, he would dump the board over and leave.

Well, yeah, but then he’d get one of the hired help to clean it up for him and tell him how manly he was for being strong enough to dump over an entire board of Monopoly.

This entry from one of my favorite blogs really nails how the utterly erroneous and anti-American meme propagated by this president is so insidious:

Coronation

It's hard to imagine a lead sentence more perversely undemocratic than this, from Gina Holland of the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON -- His wartime powers undercut once before by the Supreme Court, President Bush could take a second hit in a case in which Osama bin Laden's former driver is seeking to head off a trial before military officers.

Oh, that meddlesome Supreme Court, always going about undercutting the wartime powers of our wartime president. Those whiny justices, always worrying about whether or not the executive branch's claims of unchecked, absolute power are constitutional. It's always "blah, blah, blah, rule of law, blah, blah, blah" with them.

If they keep this up, eventually they'll undercut everyone's power to break the law with impunity. And then where will we be?

Where indeed?

Scott

Well, I'll be. I thought doctor-patient and attorney-client confidentiality was kind of a given.

Guess not so much no more.

DOJ: NSA Could've Monitored Doctor's Calls
NSA Could've Legally Monitored Doctors' and Lawyers' Calls, Justice Department Says
By KATHERINE SHRADER
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The National Security Agency could have legally monitored ordinarily confidential communications between doctors and patients or attorneys and their clients, the Justice Department said Friday of its controversial warrantless surveillance program.

Responding to questions from Congress, the department also said that it sees no prohibition to using information collected under the NSA's program in court.

Scott

Priorities

Courtesy NBC News ">http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/"target="_blank"> via Digby:

NBC News has learned that long before the war the Bush administration had several chances to wipe out his terrorist operation and perhaps kill Zarqawi himself — but never pulled the trigger.
In June 2002, U.S. officials say intelligence had revealed that Zarqawi and members of al-Qaida had set up a weapons lab at Kirma, in northern Iraq, producing deadly ricin and cyanide.
The Pentagon quickly drafted plans to attack the camp with cruise missiles and airstrikes and sent it to the White House, where, according to U.S. government sources, the plan was debated to death in the National Security Council.
"Here we had targets, we had opportunities, we had a country willing to support casualties, or risk casualties after 9/11 and we still didn’t do it," said Michael O’Hanlon, military analyst with the Brookings Institution.
Four months later, intelligence showed Zarqawi was planning to use ricin in terrorist attacks in Europe.
The Pentagon drew up a second strike plan, and the White House again killed it. By then the administration had set its course for war with Iraq.
"People were more obsessed with developing the coalition to overthrow Saddam than to execute the president’s policy of preemption against terrorists," according to terrorism expert and former National Security Council member Roger Cressey.
In January 2003, the threat turned real. Police in London arrested six terror suspects and discovered a ricin lab connected to the camp in Iraq.
The Pentagon drew up still another attack plan, and for the third time, the National Security Council killed it.
Military officials insist their case for attacking Zarqawi’s operation was airtight, but the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam.
The United States did attack the camp at Kirma at the beginning of the war, but it was too late — Zarqawi and many of his followers were gone. "Here’s a case where they waited, they waited too long and now we’re suffering as a result inside Iraq," Cressey added.

Protect US Citizens….or give in to Oedipal impulses to get the guy my dad couldn’t? Protect US Citizens….or give in to Oedipal impulses to get the guy my dad couldn’t? Protect US Citizens….or give in to Oedipal impulses to get the guy my dad couldn’t?

Oedipus shoots…he scores!

Scott

Once again, someone else says something similar to me, only much, much bettter—here’s a large excerpt:

Orwellian--Or What?

It is always perilous to invoke the term "Orwellian." It has become such an easy-to-hurl cliche, often used too quickly and in such a carefree manner as to dilute the visceral power of Orwell's original nightmare world of dictatorial double-talk in 1984. But try as hard as I might, I find it impossible to escape the word's gravitational pull when considering an exchange that transpired during George W. Bush's most recent press conference.

Fox News's Carl Cameron asked:

On the subject of the terrorist surveillance program....The primary sponsor [of legislation declaring the warrantless wiretapping illegal and calling for Bush's censure] Russ Feingold, has suggested that impeachment is not out of the question. And on Sunday, the number two Democrat in the Senate refused to rule that out pending an investigation. What, sir, do you think the impact of the discussion of impeachment and censure does to you and this office, and to the nation during a time of war, and in the context of the election?

Bush replied:

I did notice that nobody from the Democrat Party has actually stood up and called for getting rid of the terrorist surveillance program. You know, if that's what they believe...then they ought to stand up and say it....They ought to take their message to the people and say, vote for me, I promise we're not going to have a terrorist surveillance program.

Before Bush answered this softball question, he had already, in a sense, scored a Big Brother-type victory. Cameron had used the administration's preferred term for the no-warrant eavesdropping that Bush had authorized: the "terrorist surveillance program.t And in his response, Bush deployed that phrase twice.

Terrorist surveillance program. Consider those three words for a moment. Who could be opposed to a terrorist surveillance program? No one. The operative question is how such a program should function. Who should be monitored? What guidelines, procedures and protections should govern the program? By using this term in a demagogic fashion, Bush is explicitly charging that if a person objects to wiretapping American citizens without a warrant he or she is opposed to penetrating terrorist operations. With such talk, Bush and his aides are engaging in--dare I say it--an Orwellian exercise.

They are crassly exploiting the rhetoric of fear. The critics of the warrantless wiretapping okayed by Bush are not saying that they desire no terrorist surveillance program. Yet Bush presents the issue as a harsh either/or--just as he did with the war in Iraq. Prior to the invasion, he claimed that the choice was either to mount a full-scale military attack against Saddam Hussein's WMD-loaded nation or do absolutely nothing, even though others advocated more aggressive and intrusive inspections and perhaps limited military action.

Dick Cheney has gone even further down the Orwell highway, equating criticism of the no-warrant eavesdropping with "the outrageous proposition that we ought to protect Al Qaeda's ability to communicate as it plots against America." In doing so, the vice president recasts expressions of constitutional concern as active protection of Al Qaeda. Give me another word for this--other than Orwellian.

Now ponder the frightening logic behind these statements and see how easy it can be stretched. If you do not support, say, the open-ended detention in secret jails of American citizens suspected of terrorism without any charges, then you are opposed to the terrorist apprehension program--and you are obviously protecting the ability of Al Qaeda operatives to concoct schemes to kill Americans and destroy this country. And if you think it is not a good idea to assassinate American citizens suspected of terrorism, you are then guilty of failing to support the terrorist prevention program.

By the way, it should be noted that the Bush administration has declined to extend its warrantless wiretapping to communications that take place entirely in the United States (as opposed to those involving at least one party who is overseas). Therefore, Bush and his aides are themselves protecting the domestic communications of Al Qaeda operatives who have already managed to gain access to the homeland.

Emphasis mine. Incompetence the president's.

fish

I have asserted several times that Karl and co. read 1984 and thought "now that is the way it should work. It is their playbook right down to the permanent war (we are at war with Islamofascism, we have always been at war with Islamofacism, we will always be at war with Islamofascism) and the 2min hate. Clear Skies Initiative, Healthy Forests, Patriot Act. These guys are outrageous.

Scott

These guys are outrageous.

And yet they continue to get away with it, again and again and again, because good people stand by and do nothing.

As I approach my 75th birthday, it remains my belief that our nation is really held together by a couple pieces of paper -- the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution -- and the belief of the American people that our system of government works. FISA was created by Congress to clarify that the president had the authority to conduct foreign intelligence surveillance, but that the president would do so through a court composed of judges who had been nominated for lifetime appointments by a president and confirmed by the Senate as provided in Article III of the Constitution. This arrangement seems to have worked well for everyone.
—Judge William H. Stafford Jr, former FISA court judge
March 29, 2006
[h/t Glenn Greenwald ]

I can’t believe the judge brought up that pesky Constitution. How rude to do when testifying in front of Congress, not to mention plain ol’ anachronistic.

Scott

From MSNBC?

Security issue kills domestic spying inquiry
NSA won't grant Justice Department lawyers required security clearance

WASHINGTON - The government has abruptly ended an inquiry into the warrantless eavesdropping program because the National Security Agency refused to grant Justice Department lawyers the necessary security clearance to probe the matter.

The inquiry headed by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, or OPR, sent a fax to Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., on Wednesday saying they were closing their inquiry because without clearance their lawyers cannot examine Justice lawyers' role in the program.

"We have been unable to make any meaningful progress in our investigation because OPR has been denied security clearances for access to information about the NSA program," OPR counsel H. Marshall Jarrett wrote to Hinchey. Hinchey's office shared the letter with The Associated Press.

... "Without these clearances, we cannot investigate this matter and therefore have closed our investigation," wrote Jarrett.

Oh, yeah. The soon-to-be-indicted-for-outing-an-undercover-agent Karl Rove has been saying that the White House’s illegal wiretapping of American citizens is a winning issue for them.

Then why do they fight tooth-and-nail to squash every investigation? Why are they holding hearings on the matter themselves?

Because they know the American people too well.

Maybe, just maybe, there’s a reason Bush’s approval ratings are nearly in the 20s. Maybe people don’t like Big Brother as much as this administration thinks.

Or maybe they think we will once we nuke Iran.

Andy

I know you have problems with your current administration's assualt on civil liberties and believe me, if it's happening the way it's reported it sucks big time.

Spare a thought for your poor oppressed distant cousins in the UK where the "liberal" government is busy drafting laws to shaft as many law abiding citizens as possible. Outlawing activities that are deemed non-politically correct and also drafting legislation so that centuries old rights can be revoked without parliament's involvement.

And of course the pesky House of Lords, whenever they disagree with the government are thwarting the will of the people.

**Grrrrrr**

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