Making Conservatives Cringe Since 1977

I'm not Liberal, I'm paying attention.

31 March 2006

 

Do you?

My Man Snag wants to make sure you Know Your Rights!
Also for your Friday afternoon entertainment GOP operatives put out a stringent list of requirements to apply for the slew of WhiteHouse jobs to be opening up in the coming days and weeks: White House Employment Application 1. List at least ten people you have bribed. 2. List the ten largest bribes you've received. 3. Explain how you contribute to global warming, daily, monthly, and yearly. 4. List two ways to use more energy, be specific 5. Suggest five possible tax breaks for the rich we don't have. 6. Write a paragraph on why God loves republicans best. 7. List all those friends, neighbors, and coworkers you've spied on. 8. Write an essay on how to support the military while never serving 9. List three powers the executive branch doesn't have that it should have. 10. Submit at least seven samples of someone else's writing

30 March 2006

 

Schoolwork's ramping up before the Break

So stop over to The Heretik's and read some that's worth reading

29 March 2006

 

...and speaking of stealing


 

House of Cards comes tumbling down.

Loyal to the End Andy Card was devoted to his president. But in the end, the failure of Bush’s agenda on Capitol Hill was his undoing. By Richard Wolffe and Holly Bailey Newsweek Updated: 2:49 p.m. ET March 28, 2006

Card first offered his resignation three weeks ago, according to the White House. That was just after the first polls showed just how much the White House was bleeding support after the Dubai ports story. A CBS poll gave Bush a job approval rating of only 34 percent and a personal favorability rating of 29 percent. (NEWSWEEK’s poll later showed the president with a 36-percent approval rating.) Bush won some respite from the ports storm when he traveled to Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. But within days of his return, he suffered another defeat in the House on the ports deal. One day later, the finely crafted compromise between the White House and the United Arab Emirates collapsed and the Dubai company agreed to sell its new U.S. operations. That was the day Card offered to quit.

What could have made yesterday the day for President Bush to take Card up on his offer? After all Donald Rumsfeld offered to resign and Bush didn't take him up on it. Said he was to important to the War on Ter. Who, besides Karl Rove, could be more important to Bush's Administration than World Champion workaholic Andrew Card, the guy who helped manipulate intelligence to sell the War in the first place?

Could it have been this headline?

Fake "Dirty Bomb" Smuggled into U.S Investigators find security lapses at U.S. ports of entry including some in Texas

Monday, March 27, 2006 — By LIZ SIDOTI Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Undercover investigators slipped radioactive material -enough to make two small "dirty bombs" - across U.S.borders in Texas and Washington state in a test last year of security at American points of entry.

Radiation alarms at the unidentified sites detected the small amounts of cesium-137, a nuclear material used in industrial gauges. But U.S. customs agents permitted the investigators to enter the United States because they were tricked with counterfeit documents.

The Bush administration said Monday that within 45 days it will give U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents the tools they needto verify such documents in the future.

45 more days after all the time they've had since the smuggling occured in December? This coming on the heels of Administration approval of a no-bid contact for the Chinese company Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. to, "detect nuclear materials inside cargo passing through the Bahamas to the United States?" Is the President actually listening to his Conservative critics? Critics like Syncophant-in-Chief Fred Barns? Is he really going to clean house? Has old "asleep at the wheel" finaly woke up in a cold sweat concerned with real border control security as the Democrats have been for years? I doubt it.

The idea that you could cleanup the Bush White House by replacing just a few people is ridiculas. The whole establishment is rotten, from Lawrence A. Franklin, Douglas Feith, to Andrew Card and Karl Rove. These people have the nerve, after all that's occured to allow an, "Israeli high-tech company . . . paying $225 million to purchase Sourcefire, a Maryland software firm that sells firewall protection. Its customers include the Pentagon." As long as these people are incharge our Nation is for sale to the highest bidder, and that is the very definition of treason.


27 March 2006

 

WHATEVER PEOPLE SAY I AM, THATS WHAT I'M NOT

MegaBrad,

While your Father was running his business, my father was running from police dogs and fire hoses in the deep south of the 1960's. So I guess civil disobedience runs in my family just as much as business sense runs in yours. Neither is less of a contribution to society. While the act of downloading music is a far cry from the courageous efforts of my Father's Generation, I hope it will have just as profound an impact on the Recording Industry Establishment. The recording industry is one of the most exploitive in modern history. Price-fixing, radio consolidation, and copyright extension the list goes on and on. Artists can at very best collect a minuscule share of royalties. File sharing benefits everyone. Instead of arguing all the minutia lets take a look at the most recent success story, The Arctic Monkeys. The band first put out demos for downloading on the internet in 2004. This month they were on Saturday Night Live. File sharing and so called "illegal" downloading has freed artist’s sense of creativity, lifting the pressure most feel from Record Labels to produce a manufactured commercial product. Remember Mrs. Jones's comment, "If these artists actually made full records that were good instead of just a song here and there I may buy one of them?" The point of me posting the Rock's Top Thirty Moneymakers list was that these artists make the majority of their money from touring. How can you be upset at me "stealing" from a group (the Recording Industry) that steals from these artists, in so many ways? When I download I am in fact not stealing, I am creating publicity and spreading a bands influence, based on the bands merits, not on Record Label marketing. Bands who tour and develop a grassroots following on the internet earn them by proving they're just more than a flash in the pan marketing blitz. The Arctic Monkeys prove this theory once again:

. . . widely expected to be one of the biggest releases of 2006 with thousands of copies pre-ordered, early versions of many tracks were already freely available to download from the band's pre-label demo CDs. On 5 January 2006, Domino announced the album's release would be brought forward one week to the 23 January "due to high demand". While the same thing was done with the release of Franz Ferdinand, there has been continued speculation that the move came as a result of the album's leak and the impact of file sharing - a controversial suggestion given file-sharing's part in establishing the band's incredibly large and dedicated fanbase.

Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not became the fastest selling debut album in chart history, selling 363,735 physical copies in the first week[7]. This smashed the previous record of 306,631 copies held by Hear'say with their debut Popstars, and is likely to be even higher once online downloads of the album are added [8]. The record's first day sales alone - 118,501 copies - made it the fastest selling debut rock album, and would have been enough to secure the Number One chart position.

BTW: A note on downloading from Dana Mulhauser of Slate Magazine:
The Recording Industry Association of America has been bringing about 700 suits per month, but they're against uploaders—people who make music available for copying—and not downloaders.

26 March 2006

 

Who would have guessed?

Republicans are screwing over us veterans once again. S.AMDT.3007 Amends: S.CON.RES.83 Sponsor: Sen Akaka, Daniel K. [HI] (submitted 3/13/2006) (proposed 3/14/2006) AMENDMENT PURPOSE:To increase Veterans medical services funding by $1.5 billion in FY 2007 to be paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes. TEXT OF AMENDMENT AS SUBMITTED: CR S2046 STATUS: 3/14/2006: Amendment SA 3007 proposed by Senator Akaka. (consideration: CR S2078-2083, S2094-2095; text: CR S2079) 3/14/2006: Amendment SA 3007 not agreed to in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 46 - 54. Record Vote Number: 41. From Bob Greiger:

The kiss of death for America’s Veterans was the fact that the additional funding was to be paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes, which ensured that the GOP-dominated Senate would take care of its corporate donors before worrying about those who truly serve our nation.

The 46-54 vote was entirely down party lines, with all Democrats voting for the Veterans medical care funding and every Republican but Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) voting against it.

-How any Veteran could support these rats is beyond me. Put your money were your mouth is Republicans, Support our Troops!


24 March 2006

 

A different kind of Top Ten

The following is a list that shows why "illegal" music downloading should be legal. All these people made the bulk of their money touring. Not from record sales. ( I can actually tolerate listening to the groups in blue)

Rock's Top Thirty Moneymakers

Compiled by Rob LaFranco

U2, $154.2 million

The Rolling Stones, $92.5 million

Eagles, $63.2 million

Paul McCartney, $56 million

Elton John, $48.9 million

Neil Diamond, $44.7 million

Jimmy Buffett, $44 million

Rod Stewart, $40.3 million

Dave Matthews Band, $39.6 million

Celine Dion, $38.5 million

Kenny Chesney, $31.5 million

Green Day, $31 million

Coldplay, $30.1 million

Destiny's Child, $24.8 million

Diddy, $24.3 million

Gwen Stefani, $23.9 million

Toby Keith, $22.2 million

Motley Crue, $22 million

50 Cent, $19.7 million

Bruce Springsteen, $19.6 million

Eminem, $17.8 million

Jay-Z, $17.5 million

Barry Manilow, $17.2 million

Hilary Duff, $17.1 million

Kanye West, $16.9 million

Dr. Dre, $16.9 million

Rascal Flatts, $16.3 million

Aerosmith, $16.3 million

Bon Jovi, $15.8 million

Tom Petty, $14.9 million


23 March 2006

 

Big Love for the Department of the Interior

With Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton leaving Washington under a cloud of scandle you would think that the Bush Administration might take this opportunity to combat their image of cronyism and incompetence. Not so much.

Instead we behold Dirk Kempthorne, (seen here with his family, right) former Senator and current Governor of Idaho, and deja vu appointment. Beyond the usual insider credentials we've come to expect from a Bush Administration nominee, strong ties to the industry the position oversees, (think Sago Mine Tragedy), or trying to throw the agency your about to run out of your state while Governor (Superfund/EPA), Kempthorne brings a special twist sure to draw in the Conservative Christian crowd:

From 43rd State Blues:

Dirk Kempthorne has an 'illegitimate' child.

When Dirk Kempthorne went to DC as a Senator, he took a special aide with him.

While in DC, Dirk Kempthorne was known as the Kennedy of the Republican Party -- and not for his stance on civil rights.

His exit from senatorial life was because Dirk's wife, Patricia Kempthorne, insisted that he end the affair and/or the philandering.

In spite of that ultimatum, the mistress followed Dirk Kempthorne back to Idaho, and currently lives either in Boise or McCall

The Department of the Interior is hot boys and girls, just another facet of the Republican Culture of Corruption TM. (side story, how Ben Domenech ties in)

22 March 2006

 

State of the Right-wing Blogosphere

I’ve been doing a little looking around lately, trying to see if a hypothesis that keeps occurring to me has any real foundation in reality, or whether it’s just perception playing tricks on me. To me it is pretty much a given that if you don’t allow comments at your blog, what you have is not a real blog. I don’t know what it is, online magazine or some bullshit, but it’s not a blog. I’ve also noticed that it seems that more Conservative “blogs” than Liberal follow this trend of sacrificing debate in order for maximum effect to be achieved by the day's meme. For the first part of my hypothesis I went through the top ten or fifteen blogs as listed on TTLB, and the top ten listed at Technorati. The only left-wing blog I found that didn’t allow comments was Talking Points Memo. On the other hand, Instapundit, Michelle Malkin, Power Line, Hugh Hewitt, Andrew Sullivan. That’s five to one. Case closed.

But what does it prove? Chris Bowers at MyDD has a thought:

I still believe this, only now I feel it has developed to such a degree that the right-wing blogosphere itself has been all but annihilated. Most major right-wing bloggers have now been incorporated into the established news media apparatus. Glenn Reynolds is a columnist for MSNBC. Andrew Sullivan is a columnist for Time. Michelle Malkin is a frequently published columnist in a number of offline outlets. And now, RedState co-founder Ben Domenech has a regular column in the Washington Post. Despite being the latest in a long line of conservative bloggers to achieve "mainstream" status with the established news media, his first column was, predictably, an attack on the same institutions that just hired him and gave him space.

That’s just it. The blogosphere, Left, Right, or indifferent, caught fire because it gave the people an opportunity to speak to what they feel. You could post your feelings and observation, find consensus, or debate the facts. If you said something stupid someone could call you on it. The days of being spoon fed by the corporate media were supposed to be at an end. With this quantum leap in democracy why would someone close their comments? Now we know. It’s because the one’s who’d go that route were never interested in what the blogosphere had to offer beyond using it as a lily pad to jump onboard the MSM Express.


 

Choice

Documents Show Saddam's WMD Frustrations

By CHARLES J. HANLEY, AP Special CorrespondentTue Mar 21, 5:19 PM ET

Exasperated, besieged by global pressure, Saddam Hussein and top aides searched for ways in the 1990s to prove to the world they'd given up banned weapons.

"We don't have anything hidden!" the frustrated Iraqi president interjected at one meeting, transcripts show.

At another, in 1996, Saddam wondered whether U.N. inspectors would "roam Iraq for 50 years" in a pointless hunt for weapons of mass destruction. "When is this going to end?" he asked.

It ended in 2004, when U.S. experts, after an exhaustive investigation, confirmed what the men in those meetings were saying: that Iraq had eliminated its weapons of mass destruction long ago, a finding that discredited the Bush administration's stated rationale for invading Iraq in 2003 — to locate WMD.

The newly released documents are among U.S. government translations of audiotapes or Arabic-language transcripts from top-level Iraqi meetings — dating from about 1996-97 back to the period soon after the 1991 Gulf War, when the U.N. Security Council sent inspectors to disarm Iraq.

-What noble cause?

21 March 2006

 

Do You Realize

 

`Nothing Less Than Victory'

US military probes Iraq killings US military investigators have flown to Iraq to study reports that marines shot dead at least 15 civilians, including seven women and three children.
"Their bodies were riddled with bullets... there were blood spatters inside their homes" - Bobby Ghosh, Time reporter
Insurgents storm police station, free 30 detainees At least 19 people killed in attack north of Baghdad

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- About 100 insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers and machine guns stormed a police station in Diyala province Tuesday, killing at least 15 officers and freeing about 30 detainees. Insurgents also seized police weapons and radios and destroyed at least 20 cars, including a number of police vehicles. An official from the Diyala Joint Coordination Center said 18 police and one insurgent were killed. Nine people were wounded, including seven police officers. Two of the 18 dead were described as high-ranking police officers. The U.S. military said 15 police and 11 insurgents died and four police and two insurgents were wounded. The incident took place in the town of Muqdadiya, 65 miles north of Baghdad and about 25 miles north of Baquba, the capital of a province that has endured much insurgent violence.

-No Civil War here, smells like...Vietnam Victory

20 March 2006

 

That about sums things up...

 

"When I am king you will be first against the wall"

warrantless physical searcheswarrantless physical searcheswarrantless physical searcheswarrantless physical searcheswarrantless physical searcheswarrantless physical searcheswarrantless physical searcheswarrantless physical searcheswarrantless physical searches

19 March 2006

 

Time keeps on ticking...

Sopranos Update:
As with all my favorite show, at some point in the love affair I become maybe a little to over critical (Letterman after moving to CBS comes to mind). Watching the Sopranos tonight I felt the little devil on my shoulder saying little things like, "what is with this slowness, why isn't this moving along." I smoked a cigerette though, and contemplated the whole thing. I think what was bothering me was the realness of the pacing, the viewer was sucked into the whole hovering over the Deathbed mode. There were other themes in the episode that didn't go unnoticed. The Patriot Act, Personal Identification, The Iraq war (right on time). The War on Terror. Again, hovering over the Deathbed. The issues we in the military live with everyday. Things go on down in The City that doesn't get talked about in the press. Things I can't talk about. It's seeping into everyday life however. I hear the discussions of civilians. I hear about, "you can't even open a bank account anymore without this and that." Or things like when Tony lost his I.D. tonite, how do you wire someone across the country money who needs help if they need I.D. to pick it up?
If you click on the picture above it will take you to One Good Move. I always stop by there for video, even more so than Crooks & Liars these days. This clip from Boston Legal is just another sample of how far off the track we've gone as a Nation in the last few years. It's effecting everyday people, and the backlash has only just started. The year has only just kicked off, really. It's going to be a long six months for some.

 

I see a red door and I want it painted black

'NYT' Sunday Bombshell:
By E&P Staff Published:
March 18, 2006 9:00 PM ET

"In the windowless, jet-black garage-size room, some soldiers beat prisoners with rifle butts, yelled and spit in their faces and, in a nearby area, used detainees for target practice in a game of jailer paintball," the reporters relate. "Their intention was to extract information to help hunt down Iraq's most-wanted terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, according to Defense Department personnel who served with the unit or were briefed on its operations.

"The new account reveals the extent to which the unit members mistreated prisoners months before and after the photographs of abuse from Abu Ghraib were made public in April 2004, and it helps belie the original Pentagon assertions that abuse was confined to a small number of rogue reservists at Abu Ghraib."
-Again with the torture hazing?

18 March 2006

 

Burning yourself in effigy, a case study.

~If he only had a Brain~
Bush Using Straw-Man Arguments in Speeches By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer
When the president starts a sentence with "some say" or offers up what "some in Washington" believe, as he is doing more often these days, a rhetorical retort almost assuredly follows.
The device usually is code for Democrats or other White House opponents. In describing what they advocate, Bush often omits an important nuance or substitutes an extreme stance that bears little resemblance to their actual position.
He typically then says he "strongly disagrees" — conveniently knocking down a straw man of his own making.
Bush routinely is criticized for dressing up events with a too-rosy glow. But experts in political speech say the straw man device, in which the president makes himself appear entirely reasonable by contrast to supposed "critics," is just as problematic.
Later:
A specialist in presidential rhetoric, Wayne Fields of Washington University in St. Louis, views it as "a bizarre kind of double talk" that abuses the rules of legitimate discussion. "It's such a phenomenal hole in the national debate that you can have arguments with nonexistent people," Fields said. "All politicians try to get away with this to a certain extent. What's striking here is how much this administration rests on a foundation of this kind of stuff."
-Hey, someone caught on...cue Dark Side of the Moon, track #8.

17 March 2006

 

Operation Swarmer, or Operation Photo op?

From day one this has been the Photo Op Presidency. There is nothing of substance even remotely related to Administration policy or action. Snake oil salesmen, every last member of every cabinet and political appointment. It’s almost as if this has all been some bizarre experiment in absenteeism. Is that what Conservatives mean--are they speaking of this in code--when they ramble on about small government? And the glue that holds it all together is their preternatural talent to manipulate the press and thereby the American people. Examples A & B:
On Scene: How Operation Swarmer Fizzled Not a shot was fired, or a leader nabbed, in a major offensive that failed to live up to its advance billing By BRIAN BENNETT/AL JALLAM
The press, flown in from Baghdad to this agricultural gridiron northeast of Samarra, huddled around the Iraqi officials and U.S. Army commanders who explained that the "largest air assault since 2003" in Iraq using over 50 helicopters to put 1500 Iraqi and U.S. troops on the ground had netted 48 suspected insurgents, 17 of which had already been cleared and released. The area, explained the officials, has long been suspected of being used as a base for insurgents operating in and around Samarra, the city north of Baghdad where the bombing of a sacred shrine recently sparked a wave of sectarian violence. But contrary to what many many television networks erroneously reported, the operation was by no means the largest use of airpower since the start of the war. ("Air Assault" is a military term that refers specifically to transporting troops into an area.) In fact, there were no airstrikes and no leading insurgents were nabbed in an operation that some skeptical military analysts described as little more than a photo op. What’s more, there were no shots fired at all and the units had met no resistance, said the U.S. and Iraqi commanders.
'Operation Swarmer' Underwhelming So Far NewsHounds - March 17, 2006 Juan Cole:
"This Samarra operation is probably mainly a political act. The US generals are attempting to demonstrate to their Shiite allies that they take seriously the terror attack on the Askari Shrine on Feb. 22. Presumably they are also attempting to ensure that if the shrine is rebuilt, it won't just be blown up again. Short of pulling a Fallujah on Samarra, however-- which would involve emptying the city and then destroying it-- it is difficult to see how the US/ Iraqi government forces can prevail. Even then, they would just face sullen suicide bombers thereafter, as has happened in Fallujah, where 2/3s of the buildings were damaged and a large part of the population permanently dispossessed. "Frankly, the Samarra "Operation Swarm" is probably also meant to give the impression of progress or at least of activity in Iraq, where the political process is stalled and the guerrillas seem to strike at will, with increasing political success."
---
In fact about the only time I think they put any effort into anything is during one PR blitz or another. It's like that person, you know him/her, the one that puts more effort in to coming up with an excuse than doing what they were suppose to be doing in the first place. That's the stuff these Bushies are made of, that's their glue. But that glue is, I don't know...FUCKING COMING UNGLUED! That's right, a ship without a rudder is like a ship without a rudder is like a ship without a rudder. "...and God said of his favorite son, he shall be laid low, and come unraveled in the fifth year of his reign..."
Who better to leave you with the last word than Jon Stewart:
Video-WMP Video-QT

“Bush is exhausted,

you try working 24 hours a week, 7 days a month…”


16 March 2006

 

Dat joint ain't goin platinum, it's goin double uranium!

Bush clings to pre-emptive force Thu Mar 16, 2006 6:31 PM ET15 By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush clung to his doctrine of using preemptive force against threats of weapons of mass destruction on Thursday despite his experience in Iraq, and said Iran may be America's biggest security challenge.

A new White House national security strategy document said it was the strong U.S. preference to use international diplomacy to address weapons proliferation concern

"If necessary, however, under long-standing principles of self-defense, we do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack," the document said.
-Well, guess I know what I have to do now... A pre-emptive Friday Random Ten: 1. Upon this Tidal Wave of Young Blood:by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah 2. You Have Killed Me:by Morrissey 3.The Importance of Being Idle:by Oasis 4. Mr. Ambulance Driver:by The Flaming Lips 5. Corner of the World:by Blackbud 6.Don't Let me be Misunderstood:by Elvis Costello 7.Here Comes Your Man:by The Pixies 8.The Denial Twist:by The White Stripes 9. Destroy Everything You Touch:by Ladytron 10. Steady, As She Goes:by The Raconteurs *today's totally uncontrived theme: Foriegn Policy*
 

This is just a passing phase,

Every day is exactly the same Every day is exactly the same There is no love here and there is no pain Every day is exactly the same

15 March 2006

 

Eat, Drink, and be Merry, for Tomorrow We Die

U.S. Govt. Bird Flu Advice: Stockpile Tuna, Milk Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt is offering a rather specific warning about how to prepare for the disease. He urges Americans to buy extra cans of tuna and powdered milk and stash them under the bed to get ready. It's not the first thing you might think of to protect yourself against a potential pandemic. "Let me acknowledge that no one in the world is prepared for a pandemic," Leavitt said this weekend at a conference in Wyoming. "When you go to the store and buy three cans of tuna fish, buy a fourth and put it under the bed. When you go to the store to buy some milk, pick up a box of powdered milk. Put it under the bed. When you do that for a period of four to six months, you are going to have a couple of weeks of food, and that's what we're talking about." -This is not satire, I repeat, this is not satire. It is lifted from the actual evening news.

13 March 2006

 

I'm mad as hell

It's about time. It's about goddamn time somebody stood up. As far as I'm concerned Russ Feingold is the only Democrat worthy of a look at 2008, and since the server at work was in and out all day, I took the time to call Senators Clinton and Schumer and told them so. Feingold's the only person who has an ounce of integrity in the whole damn senate. He voted against that abomination of a Patriot Act. He has been constantly against this disgrace of a war in Iraq. He stood up, he's taken the lead, and he’s taking withering fire with no support from the cowards in his own party. All to protect the rights this Nation was founded on, rights so many take for granted in their pursuit of their pissant pigeonhole agenda.

Video courtesy of Crooks and Liars:

Russ asks the body to censure Bush over his warrantless wiretapping.

Video-WMP Video-QT later (about 3 min-Lynne-David Edwards)

___________________________________________

FACT SHEET FROM U.S. SENATOR RUSS FEINGOLD

ON HIS RESOLUTION TO CENSURE THE PRESIDENT

Senator Feingold’s resolution of censure condemns the President for breaking the law by authorizing an illegal wiretapping program, and for misleading Congress and the American people about the existence and legality of that program.

The President Broke the Law by Wiretapping Outside of FISA

It Is Illegal to Wiretap Without the Requisite Warrant or Court Order: The law is clear that the criminal wiretap statute and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) “shall be the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance . . . and the interception of domestic wire, oral, and electronic communications may be conducted.”

FISA Has an Emergency Exception: The Administration has indicated that it ignored FISA because the application process takes too long. In fact, in an emergency where the Attorney General believes that surveillance must begin before a court order can be obtained, FISA permits him to immediately authorize the surveillance as long as the government goes to the court within 72 hours. Prior to 2001, the emergency wiretap period was only 24 hours. The Administration requested and received the increase to 72 hours in intelligence authorization legislation that passed in late 2001.

FISA Provides for Wartime Situations: FISA also permits the Attorney General to authorize warrantless electronic surveillance in the United States during the 15 days following a declaration of war, to allow time to consider any amendments to FISA necessitated by a wartime emergency.

The Administration Has Used FISA Thousands of Times Since 9/11: Administration officials have criticized FISA, but they have obtained thousands of warrants approved by the FISA court since 9/11, and have almost never had a warrant request rejected by that court.

The President Made Misleading Arguments Defending his Wiretapping Program

Military Force Resolution Did Not Authorize Wiretapping: The President has argued that Congress gave him authority to wiretap Americans on U.S. soil without a warrant when it passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force after September 11, 2001. There is no language in the resolution and no evidence to suggest that it was intended to give the President authority to order these warrantless wiretaps. Warrantless domestic surveillance is not an “incident of war” akin to detaining an enemy soldier on the battlefield as the Administration has argued.

In fact, Congress passed the Patriot Act just six weeks after September 11 to expand the government’s powers to conduct surveillance of suspected terrorists and spies. Yet the Administration did not ask for, nor did the Patriot Act include, any change to FISA’s requirement of judicial approval for wiretaps of Americans in the United States.

Prohibition on Wiretapping Limits Executive Power: The President’s assertion of inherent executive power is also wrong. The President has extensive authority when it comes to national security and foreign affairs, but given the clear prohibition in FISA, that authority does not include the power to wiretap American citizens on American soil without a warrant.

Executive Branch Review of Wiretapping Is Not Enough: The President has argued that periodic executive branch review provides an adequate check on the program. But Congress when it passed FISA explicitly rejected the idea that the executive branch should be fully entrusted to conduct national security wiretaps on its own – a power that the executive had abused in the past. In addition, the Administration has said that NSA employees decide whose communications to tap. Executive branch employees are no substitute for FISA Court judges.

Congress Did Not Approve This Program: The extremely limited briefings of the President’s warrantless surveillance programs to a handful of Congressional leaders did not constitute Congressional oversight, much less approval. In fact, the failure of the President to keep the Congressional Intelligence Committees “fully and currently informed of all intelligence activities” was a violation of the National Security Act.

The President Made Misleading Public Statements about Administration Wiretapping

“Finally, we need to renew the critical provisions of the Patriot Act that protect our civil liberties. The Patriot Act was written with clear safeguards to ensure the law is applied fairly. The judicial branch has a strong oversight role. Law enforcement officers need a federal judge's permission to wiretap a foreign terrorist's phone, a federal judge's permission to track his calls, or a federal judge's permission to search his property. Officers must meet strict standards to use any of these tools. And these standards are fully consistent with the Constitution of the U.S.”

--President George Bush, June 9, 2005, in Columbus, Ohio

“A couple of things that are very important for you to understand about the Patriot Act. First of all, any action that takes place by law enforcement requires a court order. In other words, the government can't move on wiretaps or roving wiretaps without getting a court order. Now, we've used things like roving wiretaps on drug dealers before. Roving wiretaps mean you change your cell phone. And yet, we weren't able to use roving wiretaps on terrorists. And so what the Patriot Act said is let's give our law enforcement the tools necessary, without abridging the Constitution of the United States, the tools necessary to defend America.”

--President George Bush, July 14, 2004, in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

“Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.”

--President George Bush, April 20, 2004, in Buffalo, New York


12 March 2006

 

So, so long...too long.

-Oh Shit! The crazy old Bastard shot Tony! Possible spoiler for the sixth season of the Sopranos @ Professor Bainbridge.

10 March 2006

 

Last Call

First round Koufax 2005 voting ending soon . . . polls will close Sunday night, March 12th, at 11:59 pm!

In case you didn't you didn't get the e-mail (I'm serious, I groveled like Tom Delay in his recent primary) I've been nominated in two catigories:

For good measure take the time to cast a vote for El Comandante Agi T. Prop For:

Best Commenter category

Maybe the ghost of ol' Spiro T, Agnew will grace us with his presence...

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. . . and speaking of Wampum (sponser of the Koufax Awards):

You could say this years been a banner year for a blog focused on Indian Affairs, well, one more loser's been voted off the Island:

Interior Secretary Gale Norton Resigns

By Edwin Chen and Tom Hamburger

Times Staff Writers12:18 PM PST, March 10, 2006

WASHINGTON — Gale Norton today announced her resignation as the nation's first female secretary of the Interior, ending a controversial five-year tenure at a time when the cloud of a burgeoning lobbying scandal in Washington is looming over her agency.

In recent months, Norton has become linked to Washington's burgeoning lobbying scandals by her former chief deputy, Steven Griles, who was close to now-disgraced "super-lobbyist" Jack Abramoff.

...

A second former close Norton associate, Italia Federici, who worked with a nonprofit organization that promoted energy interests, also was linked to Abramoff. Federici helped him gain access to Griles in exchange for contributions from Indian tribes who had hired Abramoff as their lobbyist.

Abramoff has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from an investigation of his connections to members of Congress and the Bush White House.


09 March 2006

 

UAE says No Mas, a la Harriet Miers!

 

Damn Liberal Media

08 March 2006

 

Big Fat Idiots.

(n) hypocrite, dissembler, dissimulator, phony, pretender a person who professes beliefs and opinions that he or she does not hold in order to conceal his or her real feelings or motives (see pictures)

Congress declares war on ports deal

House committee votes 62-2 to block White House approval Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, introduced an amendment that would bar a company from operating in a U.S. port if the company is owned by a country that recognized the Taliban's regime in Afghanistan. The UAE is one of those countries.

After Schumer introduced his amendment, Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, asked for a quorum call, which essentially gnarled proceedings.

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U.S. Criticizes Arab Allies on Rights

State Department Annual Report Calls Human Rights Records of Arab Allies Poor, Problematic

By ANNE GEARAN

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The State Department called the human rights records of key Arab allies poor or problematic on Wednesday, citing flawed elections and torture of prisoners in Egypt, beatings, arbitrary arrest and lack of religious freedom in Saudi Arabia, and floggings as punishment for adultery or drug abuse in the United Arab Emirates.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited all three of those nations last month, calling each a strategic partner or stalwart ally that wields regional influence or helps in such areas as anti-terror investigations.

- Bill "up or down vote" Frist and Dr Condoleezza "ghost detainee" Rice, setting the standard for hypocrisy in the 21st Century
 

Scotty the Bush Tool strikes out again

Via Think Progress:

MCCLELLAN: The state law, as you know, bans abortions in all instances with the exception of the life of the mother.

QUESTION: And not rape and incest. And so, therefore, he must disagree with it, doesn’t he? Doesn’t he, Scott?

MCCLELLAN: The president has a strong record of working to build a culture of life, and that’s what he will continue to do.

QUESTION: I know, but you’re not answering my question. You’re dodging it.

MCCLELLAN: No, I’m telling you that it’s a state law.

QUESTION: Is he opposed to abortion laws that forbid it for rape and incest; isn’t that true, Scott? That’s what you said.

MCCLELLAN: Let me respond. Look at the president’s record when it comes to defending the sanctity of life. It is a very strong record.

-Really? As strong as his record of not commenting on State Laws?

07 March 2006

 

Two for Tuesday

06 March 2006

 

Mein General

 

05 March 2006

 

Ebb and Flow

Thank you, thank you, great to be back...

The 78th Academy Awards. Another rubberneckers delight in the ongoing saga of the culture wars. Over the last few weeks I've taken some time to focus on my studies. From time to time though, I've posted over at my old standby, My own private Idaho. MSN Spaces has always had an odd dynamic about it, but that's not the subject of this rant.

A post by my brother on the recent slaying of a police officer here in Central New York has brought to the surface just how deep the divide in our country while in the midst of this culture war. Dan is currently going through the Police Academy for a local county Sheriffs department, so it's more than understandable the tone of sentiment embodied in his post and of that of the comments found there. I could only wonder what he'd have to say about tonight’s juxtaposition of Dolly Parton and Three 6 Mafia. I also wonder what they'd say about the latest offering from The Guardian:

A study funded by the US government has concluded that conservatism can be explained psychologically as a set of neuroses rooted in "fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity".

. . . the report's four authors linked Hitler, Mussolini, Ronald Reagan and the rightwing talkshow host, Rush Limbaugh, arguing they all suffered from the same affliction.

All of them "preached a return to an idealized past and condoned inequality".

Nothing makes me snicker more than the irony of some of my more Conservative acquaintances telling some worn out joke or railing in a tired fashion about Lefties and Communists, and then turn around and suggest in a very Stalinist manner that the solution to prison overcrowding has something to do with a 13 cent rifle bullet. Conservatism isn't a disease and neither is Liberalism. Dogmatism is. Being an Ideologue is. Xenophobia. In a day and age when anyone who raises a question about the state of things is labeled "negative," how does anyone get away with harboring age old hate and prejudice?

- H/T to NaveySwan for the Guardian article.

P.S. Voting has opened over at Wampum, please stop and show your support to the community.


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