Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Saturday, December 17, 2005

I Will Not Stop The Wiretaps As Long As I Am President Of The United States...

Question? How the friking Hell, can you give Iraq Democracy when there is no Bloody Democracy in America today.

Associated Press JENNIFER LOVEN Posted December 16, 2005 06:47 PM

WASHINGTON - President Bush said Saturday he has no intention of stopping his personal authorizations of a post-Sept. 11 secret eavesdropping program in the U.S., lashing out at those involved in revealing it while defending it as crucial to preventing future attacks.

"This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security," he said in a radio address delivered live from the White House's Roosevelt Room.

Read Whole Story

"First, the United States has legitimized torture and secondly, the President has admitted to an impeachable offense."

An Incredible Day in America

Link Here

Today, for two separate reasons, has been an incredible day in America. First, the United States has legitimized torture and secondly, the President has admitted to an impeachable offense.

First, the media has been totally misled

on the alleged Bush-McCain agreement

on torture. McCain capitulated. It is not

a defeat for Bush. It is a win for Cheney.

Torture is not banned or in any way


Under the compromise, anyone charged with torture can defend himself if a "reasonable" person could have concluded they were following a lawful order.

That defense "loophole" totally corrodes the ban. It is the CIA, or the torturing agency, who will decide what a "reasonable" person could have concluded. Can you imagine those agencies in the interrogation business torturing on their own in trying to decide what is reasonable or what is not? What is not "reasonable" if the interrogator (wrongfully or rightfully) believes he has a ticking-bomb situation? Will a CIA or military officer issue a narrow order if he knows his interrogator believes, in this case, torture will work?

The Bush-McCain torture compromise legitimizes torture. It is the first time that has happened in this country. Not in the two World Wars, Korea, the Cold War or Vietnam did the government ever seek or get the power this bill gives them.

The worst part of it is that most of the media missed it and got it wrong.

Secondly, the President in authorizing surveillance without seeking a court order has committed a crime. The Federal Communications Act criminalizes surveillance without a warrant. It is an impeachable offense. This was also totally missed by the media.

A Moment, From Iraq

“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”

Bush on the Constitution: 'It's just a goddamned
piece of paper'

Dec 9, 2005, 07:53
Link Here

Last month, Republican Congressional leaders filed into the Oval Office to meet with President George W. Bush and talk about renewing the controversial USA Patriot Act.

Several provisions of the act, passed in the shell shocked period immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, caused enough anger that liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union had joined forces with prominent conservatives like Phyllis Schlafly and Bob Barr to oppose renewal.

GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the act could further alienate conservatives still mad at the President from his botched attempt to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

“I don’t give a goddamn,” Bush retorted. “I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.”

“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.”

“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”

I’ve talked to three people present for the meeting that day and they all confirm that the President of the United States called the Constitution “a goddamned piece of paper.”

And, to the Bush Administration, the Constitution of the United States is little more than toilet paper stained from all the shit that this group of power-mad despots have dumped on the freedoms that “goddamned piece of paper” used to guarantee.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, while still White House counsel, wrote that the “Constitution is an outdated document.”

Put aside, for a moment, political affiliation or personal beliefs. It doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent. It doesn’t matter if you support the invasion or Iraq or not. Despite our differences, the Constitution has stood for two centuries as the defining document of our government, the final source to determine – in the end – if something is legal or right.

Every federal official – including the President – who takes an oath of office swears to “uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says he cringes when someone calls the Constitution a “living document.”

“"Oh, how I hate the phrase we have—a 'living document,’” Scalia says. “We now have a Constitution that means whatever we want it to mean. The Constitution is not a living organism, for Pete's sake.”

As a judge, Scalia says, “I don't have to prove that the Constitution is perfect; I just have to prove that it's better than anything else.”

President Bush has proposed seven amendments to the Constitution over the last five years, including a controversial amendment to define marriage as a “union between a man and woman.” Members of Congress have proposed some 11,000 amendments over the last decade, ranging from repeal of the right to bear arms to a Constitutional ban on abortion.

Scalia says the danger of tinkering with the Constitution comes from a loss of rights.

“We can take away rights just as we can grant new ones,” Scalia warns. “Don't think that it's a one-way street.”

And don’t buy the White House hype that the USA Patriot Act is a necessary tool to fight terrorism. It is a dangerous law that infringes on the rights of every American citizen and, as one brave aide told President Bush, something that undermines the Constitution of the United States.

But why should Bush care? After all, the Constitution is just “a goddamned piece of paper.”

"the Bush Administration engaged in these illegal acts not accidentally, but based on its extraordinary and plainly tyrannical view '

Saturday, December 17, 2005
The New York Times' complicity in Bush's illegal eavesdropping

Link here

The more I think about the revelation yesterday that the Bush Administration eavesdropped on the communications of American citizens in clear and deliberate violation of the Foreign Intelligence Security Act -- based on its expressly stated view that the President is not bound by the law in times of even undeclared war because the President is the law -- the more I think this will be the most lingering and significant story of the Bush Administration, and perhaps its undoing. It almost has to be, for the reasons I set forth in the post below.

But almost as staggering is the fact that The New York Times knew about these illegal acts on the part of the Administration for a full year and kept its mouth shut until yesterday because the Administration asked it to. There is absolutely no justification at all for the Times covering up these illegal acts on the part of the Government for a full year.

It is not, of course, uncommon for newspapers to learn about government secrets but refrain from publishing those secrets where their disclosure would: (a) serve no journalistic purpose and promote no public pood and (b) endanger national security. If, for instance, a newspaper learns about imminent troop movements in a time of war, almost every newspaper would refrain from publishing that information, as it should, because there is no value in publishing it and its dislcosure would endanger American soldiers.

But neither of those circumstances which justify concealment of information by a newspaper -- namely, the lack of a legitimate public interest or harm to national security -- even arguably applies here.

The significance of this story is not that the Bush Administration was eavesdropping on the communications of suspected terrorists -- of course it was doing that. The huge story is that it was doing so illegally by failing to first obtain judicial approval and/or complying with FISA procedures for when a warrant is unnecessary. And, worse, the Bush Administration engaged in these illegal acts not accidentally, but based on its extraordinary and plainly tyrannical view that it is not bound by Congressional restrictions when it acts with regard to the nation's national security.

It is not even theoretically possible that disclosure of the illegal nature of the eavesdropping could endanger national security such that the Times was warranted in helping the Administration to conceal this patent law- breaking. Everyone, presumably including terrorists, assumed the Administration has been eavesdropping on conversations of those whom it suspects of engaging in terrorism.

That the Government eavesdrop is not news because the Government is permitted to eavesdrop provided that it complies with the provisions of FISA. Just like the Government is not permitted to come to your house and break down your door and search through your house unless it has a warrant from a court allowing it to do so, so, too, is the Government barred from eavesdropping on such conversations unless it first obtains judicial approval or complies with FISA provisions for those circumstances in which it need not do so.

The Times would never publish a story simply reporting that the Government has been eavesdropping on suspected terrorists because to do so is simply to state the obvious. The newsworthy component of the story here is not that the Government was doing these things, but that it was doing them illegally and in violation of FISA because it believes it has the right to do so. What possible justification exists for the Times to sit on that story for a year, allowing the Government to deliberately engage in illegal behavior against American citizens while the Times says nothing?

Once the Times finally re-discovered its journalistic purpose and published this story yesterday, they apparently realized that they never had any excuse for waiting a year to do so.

Continues.... Must Read


Decorated WWII Vet, Union leader, accused Communist, movie star.

"You can never rest and say, 'Well, it's all done.'"-- Clinton Jencks

In 1950, members of the Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers went on strike. Protesting the Empire Zinc Corporation for its unfair treatment of Mexican- American workers, the miners were swept up in McCarthy's Red Scare and became the stars of blacklisted Hollywood.

"The central issue, really, was dignity, equality, being treated like anybody else," Mr. Jencks told American History Magazine. -->

A must read says Michael Moore Link Here

Art For Everyone

The Media after 9/11 Ring of Fire Air America

YOU SAID WHAT!!?? Bush appoints VIVECA NOVAKS husband to the... FEC..?? Ok I'm fucking confused...

Truth or Fiction? Ring of Fire Air America

Truth or fiction? Both! Larry Beinhart, author of Wag the Dog, wrote The Librarian, an eerily prescient novel about the 2004 election before it happened. Now Harvey Wasserman has documented the scam in, How the GOP Stole the 2004 Election and is Rigging 2008.

"The president, no matter who he is, does not have the power to decide which laws he will follow."

'78 Law Sought to Close
Spy Loophole

By David G. Savage
The Los Angeles Times
Go to Original
Saturday 17 December 2005

Civil libertarians say the latest revelations add to their frustration with the Bush administration. "If we are a nation of laws, then the president must be bound by the rule of law," said Lisa Graves, senior counsel at the ACLU in Washington. "This is clearly in violation of FISA and a violation of the Constitution. The president, no matter who he is, does not have the power to decide which laws he will follow."

Washington - In 1978, Congress thought it had closed a loophole in the law when it passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The loophole concerned secret spying authorized by the president on grounds of national security.

On Friday, many in Washington were surprised to learn that despite the 1978 law, President Bush and his advisors had claimed the power to authorize secret spying within the United States.

The New York Times reported that Bush had authorized the National Security Agency to listen in on the phone calls of thousands of people in this country without getting permission from a court. Bush's lawyers maintained that the president had the inherent authority as commander in chief to protect national security through secret spying. The account was confirmed by the Los Angeles Times.

"This sounds like an extraordinarily broad exemption to FISA," said Washington lawyer Kenneth C. Bass III, who worked on the 1978 law as an aide to President Carter. "This is well beyond the pale of what was anticipated back then."

Other lawyers who helped write the law thought it prohibited what Bush apparently authorized.

"FISA was the sole authority for wiretapping" on national security grounds, said Jerry Berman, who worked on the 1978 law as a counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union. "The statute would be a futile exercise if the president retained the authority to conduct these wiretaps on his own."

As a general matter, the Constitution forbids the government from spying on Americans - including by listening in on their phone calls - without a court's permission. The 4th Amendment says police or federal agents must show a magistrate some evidence of wrongdoing before they can obtain a warrant that authorizes them to listen in on phone calls.

However, through most of the 20th century, presidents maintained they had the power to protect the nation's security by, for example, spying on foreign agents who were operating in the United States. No one questioned that US intelligence agencies could tap the phones of Soviet agents.

In the mid-1970s, Congress learned the White House had abused this power: Presidents, both Democratic and Republican, had authorized the FBI to tap the phones of hundreds of political activists and celebrities, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Vietnam War protesters.

Those revelations led to the 1978 law. One provision says it is a crime for anyone to "intentionally engage in electronic surveillance" except as authorized by law or a court order. However, "the president, through the attorney general, may authorize electronic surveillance ... to acquire foreign intelligence information" if officials obtain a warrant from a special court that operates inside the Justice Department.

The judges of what is known as the FISA court may issue warrants for wiretaps when the government has evidence that a person is working for a "foreign power" or is involved in terrorism. This is not a high standard, legal experts say. The judges issue warrants virtually whenever the government applies for one, the Justice Department has said in the past.

However, the law requires evidence that the wiretap target has links to a foreign government or a terrorist group. It would not permit, for example, the wiretaps of hundreds of Muslim men in the United States simply because they telephoned the Middle East.

Top intelligence officials have in the past assured Congress that they follow the law and do not engage in secret spying. "There is a rigorous regime of checks and balances which we - the CIA, the NSA and the FBI - scrupulously adhere to whenever conversations of US persons are involved. We do not collect [information] against US persons unless they are agents of a foreign power," then-CIA Director George J. Tenet told a House committee five years ago.

After Sept. 11, Bush said he would use all the powers of the presidency to prevent another terrorist attack in the United States. His advisors feared then that secret Al Qaeda cells existed within the country and that further attacks were planned.

Administration officials refused Friday to discuss the National Security Agency spying program or even to confirm its existence.

Some former officials say it is important to put the program into the context of the time.

"I wasn't aware of this when I was at the White House, but there was a tremendous sense of urgency to take whatever steps were necessary to detect and disrupt any cells that were out there," said Bradford A. Berenson, a White House lawyer during Bush's first term. "The president was not going to let it be said that he had not used all the powers at his disposal to protect the American people."

This would not be the first time Bush has claimed that his power as commander in chief can override the law.

The Constitution forbids the government from arresting and holding people in the United States without "due process of law." Nonetheless, Bush has claimed the power as commander in chief to designate people as "enemy combatants" and imprison them indefinitely without filing charges.

In 2002, US citizen Jose Padilla was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and held in military brigs for nearly three years. Civil libertarians said that was unconstitutional. His case had been heading toward the Supreme Court; the administration recently brought criminal charges against him, thereby thwarting a clear ruling on the issue.

In the past, Congress has ratified treaties pledging that the United States and its agents will not use torture or inhumane treatment against captives. Once ratified, treaties become part of American law, according to the Constitution.

But before this week, the White House maintained that the laws and treaties did not bind the president in handling terrorist leaders. White House lawyers wrote memos that appeared to justify the use of extreme measures - which critics called torture - in interrogating suspected terrorists.

Civil libertarians say the latest revelations add to their frustration with the Bush administration. "If we are a nation of laws, then the president must be bound by the rule of law," said Lisa Graves, senior counsel at the ACLU in Washington. "This is clearly in violation of FISA and a violation of the Constitution. The president, no matter who he is, does not have the power to decide which laws he will follow.

But... But..But... SADDAM was such a BAD guy...

Link here
US Holding Children

in Prison Camps

as POW's
by tonyahky
Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 05:55:58 AM PDT

Today, I started reading former President Jimmy Carter's new book, "Our Endangered Values". In it, he revealed something that is absolutely horrifying--the US is holding children as young as 8 years of age who have been captured in Afghanistan and Iraq in prison camps--namely, the one in Guantanamo, Cuba. Worse yet, Donald Rumsfeld knew about it. Read a short excerpt below:

"After visiting six of the twenty-five or so U.S. prisons, the International Committee of the Red Cross reported registering 107 detainess under eighteen, some as young as eight years old. The Journalist Seymour Hersh reported in May 2005 that Defense Secretaary Donald Rumsfeld had recieve a report that there were "800-900 Pakistani boys age 13-15 in custody." The International Red Cross, Amnesty International, and thePentagon have gathered substantial testimony of torture of children ( emphasis mine), confirmed by soldiers who witnessed or participated in the abuse. In addition to personal testimony from children about physical and mental mistreatment, a report from Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, formerly in charge of Abu Ghraib, described a visit to an eleven year old detainee in the cell block that housed high risk prisoners. The general recalled that the child was weeping, and "he told me he was almost twelve," and that "he really wanted to see his mother, could he please call his mother." Children like this eleven year old have been denied the right to see their parents, a lawyer, or anyone else, and were not told why they were detained. A Pentagon spokesman told Mr. Hersh that "age is not a determining factor in detention."

This is an absolute outrage. How could any normal, sane person ever, ever in their lives even think about torturing a child? That our own military could engage in such acts of evil, sadistic brutality--AGAINST CHILDREN--is almost too horrible to even think about.

Every single sick SOB who had a part in this needs to be sent to prison for the rest of their lives, including Rumsfeld.

Reports like this help to illustrate why torture is wrong--the kind of people who will actually do it are the lowest, sickest breed of human beings--the kind who have no moral qualms about inflicting abuse on anyone--regardless of age, or any other factor.

I also published the above report on my little blog, Rebellious Peasant. I think the general public needs to find out about this, and I hope people reading this will spread the word. We cannot tolerate behavior like this from the people who are supposed to be protecting our country.

My thoughts on Cristys Post!!!!!!Another post ONLY for the STUPID people...

Kangaroo Brisbane Australia said...

The whole of America was asleep at the wheel 9/11. If they did not understand the man that stole power in 2000, then was allowed to steal it again through diebold in 2004 for himself and his Goons and Thugs.

It is not hard actually to know a murderous little chickenhawk thug, and wanker, when you see one, one that will use any kind of deception to gain his and his frat boys own ends.

It really says something about the majority of the uneducated American Public, where 50% to 60% of the 285 millions people would not go out and vote, and allow this to happen to the Leading Country of the Free World, the Country that had the world in its pocket, everyone standing with you when 9/11 happened, and to have it all wasted and rejected, by a slimy little man and his Administration, who never, never say fit to serve those people, whom in my life time I will never be able to fathom, did go out and vote for the Bastards.

They knew, They all knew about 9/11, and it was like a walk in the park, for him and his lying goons to invade Iraq, they where handed it on a platter by people who could not give a shit, to get of their butts one day to go out and vote for the Leader of the Free World, to give the Free World a Leader, a Diplomat with Integrity, and Vision to Lead the Free World in these dangerous years of turmoil ahead of us.

I sit and wonder what we gave the innocent people of Iraq, the women, babies, children, and youth of Iraq, who have lived with the tyranny, of one dictator who was backed and put into power with the help of these same slimy individuals, that reside in the White House now. Remember it takes degenerates to know another degenerate, and I believe We the people of America and all its Cooalition, that did not think it was worth the time to understand and know what we would be committing these unfortunate people to, the extra suffering and loss of loved ones who in no way at all did anything to any of our Nations, now have to suffer the indignities, and killing of their loved ones, with the WMDs of the slime in the White House.

Welcome to Georgies Democracy for Iraq, a country that will now be and Islamic Country, something it never was before the invasion of Georgie and his Coalition,
Welcome to the Talaban in Iraq, all that Osama wanted, Given to him by the thugs residing in the White House.

Iraq Body Count!!!!!!! and all the ones not counted, that we do not know about




15881Printable Representations:

Woundedsource: antiwar.com



source: iraqbodycount.net

"And there lies the real story behind the story."

The Big Stall: How Bush gamed the media to get re-elected in 2004

Link Here

"Nothing gave us more trouble during my years on [the paper] than the conflict with the government over what should and should not be published during periods of war or threats of war."
-- James Reston, New York Times columnist, in his autobiography, "Deadline."

Forty-four years later, the New York Times is still trying to get it right. In 1961, the Kennedy Administration talked the Times into spiking an article that would have prevented the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, the trigger for a series of unfortunate events that stretched to Watergate and, according to H.R. Haldeman, JFK's assassination.

Now, the Times -- again, at the request of the White House -- has held onto a national security bombshell: President Bush's unlawful authorization of domestic spying on international phone calls and emails of hundreds and possibly thousands of people inside the U.S.

The story in and of itself is a shocker, even as it comes right after the NBC report that an obscure Pentagon agency has monitored the activities of peaceful anti-war protestors. It's too early to gauge reaction, but we expect that it will be highly negative, not just from the usual suspects on the left but also from the vast political middle -- the heartland types who just barely propelled Bush to re-election in 2004.

And there lies the real story behind the story. Because it appears it may have been possible for the Times to publish at least some of the details of the Bush-ordered domestic spying before Nov. 2, 2004, the day that the president nailed down four more years. Although Bush won by 2 percent nationally, a switch of just 59,302 Ohio voters from Bush to John Kerry would would have put the Democrats back in the White House.

Would Bush won the election if the extent of his seemingly unconstitutional domestic spying had been known? We'll never know. For roughly a year, the White House successfully leaned on the Times to keep the story under wraps. It's not known when the Bush lobbying of the Times began. But it is clear that the warning signs about the program -- the alarm bells that likely triggered the Times investigation in the first place -- were going off by mid-2004, months before the vote.

Here's the money shot from today's Times article:

The White House asked The New York Times not to publish this article, arguing that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny. After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting. Some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists has been omitted.

We'd like to know a lot more about how this all transpired -- who talked to whom at the Times, and when did they talk? Did the pleading come before Nov. 2, 2004, or after? Was anyone on the White House political side -- i.e., Karl Rove --involved? You would think that after the Judy Miller fiasco, the Times would be much, much more transparent in the backstory of how this story was published. But you would think wrong.

It's not clear what good came of holding the story for so long. The major arrest cited by administration officials -- "Iyman Faris, an Ohio trucker and naturalized citizen who pleaded guilty in 2003 to supporting Al Qaeda by planning to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge with blowtorches," a plan that was ridiculed by some -- took place in 2003.

The story notes that "most people targeted for N.S.A. monitoring have never been charged with a crime, including an Iranian-American doctor in the South who came under suspicion because of what one official described as dubious ties to Osama bin Laden."

More importantly, holding the story doesn't make a lot of sense because the problems with Bush's order were so apparent to the key sources by mid-2004 that that program had been substantially altered, anyway. The article notes:

In mid-2004, concerns about the program expressed by national security officials, government lawyers and a judge prompted the Bush administration to suspend elements of the program and revamp it.

This is the unfortunate collision of two related trends. One, which has been much discussed in recent months, was the major dive taken by the mainstream media after the 9/11 attacks, the subject of a recent book called "Feet to the Fire: The Media After 9/11," edited by Kristen Borjesson. As Helen Thomas notes in the book:

"From 9/11, the American press suddenly had to be the superpatriots. The press went into a coma."

The executive editor of the New York Times, Bill Keller, was no exception. As we wrote recently, Keller's thinking on the invasion of Iraq in mid-2003 was shaped in one-on-one meetings with Bush neocon Iraq hawk Paul Wolfowitz, who assured the Times editor that Saddam Hussein "was hiding something" even as he told other reporters that WMD in Iraq was merely "the one issue that everyone could agree on" for a pre-determined invasion.

The result of the Times' deference to authority was Judy "Miss Run Amok" Miller's much maligned coverage of the weapons in Iraq that proved not to be there.

But something else was going on in 2004 in addition to the 9/11 hangover. It's now clear that the Bush White House was waging war on a series of fronts, with differing tactics, to postpone some inevitable bad news until after the 2004 election. They were counting on timidity from the press, and they got what they were seeking. For example:

The Valerie Plame affair. Media Matters for America nailed down the press's cowardice in dealing with the issues in this case during the heat of the 2004 campaign season...

During his October 28 press conference following the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby for perjury, obstruction of justice, and false statements, special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald noted that, had witnesses testified "when the subpoenas were issued in August 2004," indictments would have come "in October 2004 instead of October 2005."

Fitzgerald's mention of subpoenas issued in August 2004 is a clear reference to New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who was subpoenaed that month but didn't testify until October 2005, after spending 85 days in jail for violating a court order instructing her to testify. In referring to "witnesses," Fitzgerald also seems to have had Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper in mind. Cooper was subpoenaed in May 2004 but was held in contempt in August 2004 and refused to testify until July 2005....

An August 25 Los Angeles Times article appears to be the first mention in the media that Cooper's failure to reach out to Rove before the election reflected a view at Time that the magazine should avoid involvement in the issue before the election: "Cooper did not ask Rove for a waiver, in part because his lawyer advised against it. In addition, Time editors were concerned about becoming part of such an explosive story in an election year.

But White House maipulation played a role:, as E.J. Dionne noted:

Libby, the good soldier, pursued a brilliant strategy to slow the inquiry down. As long as he was claiming that journalists were responsible for spreading around the name and past CIA employment of Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, Libby knew that at least some news organizations would resist having reporters testify. The journalistic "shield" was converted into a shield for the Bush administration's coverup.

Then, of course, there's the case of Dan Rather, Bush's National Guard service, and the likely forged memos. We won't get into the conspiracy theories, but it's clear that the right-wing pushback after this whole fiasco basically neutralized CBS News for the rest of the 2004 campaign, as well as preventing others from pursuing Bush's Guard service. Does anyone else remember this?

(AP) CBS News has shelved a "60 Minutes" report on the rationale for war in Iraq because it would be "inappropriate" to air it so close to the presidential election, the network said on Saturday.

The report on weapons of mass destruction was set to air on Sept. 8 but was put off in favor of a story on President Bush's National Guard service. The Guard story was discredited because it relied on documents impugning Bush's service that were apparently fake.

CBS News spokeswoman Kelli Edwards would not elaborate on why the timing of the Iraq report was considered inappropriate.

Simply put, the Bush White House gamed the media in 2004. They used every trick in their playbook: Manipulating the comatose post-9/11 media and its gullible trust in authority, playing on kneejerk protection of sources, and when that failed, either resorting to bullying (as in the case of CBS) or pleading national security on barely defendable grounds.

And we fell for it, big time. Voters could have gone to the polls on Election Day, Nov. 4, 2004, knowing that Bush was spying on Americans, that a key White House aide was charged with felonies, and that the initial rationales for Iraq were bogus.

And so it turns out that the media had the power to alter this country's disastrous direction back in 2004, after all. And we didn't even have to click our heels three times.

We'd only needed to do our job.

UPDATE: Times editor Bill Keller has issued a statement, and you can read it here at Salon (non-members -- i.e., most people -- must watch an ad first). It's not too satisfactory, though. It seems to sidestep the timing issue. Also, this line about the initial decision to hold the story jumped out at us:

Officials also assured senior editors of the Times that a variety of legal checks had been imposed that satisfied everyone involved that the program raised no legal questions.

It's that easy, huh?

Bush Admits To Impeachable Offenses

Via Think Progress

BREAKING: Bush Admits Authorizing Secret Domestic Spying Program

From his radio address this morning:

This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security. Its purpose is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, our friends, and allies. Yesterday, the existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports after being improperly provided to news organizations. …I have reauthorized this program more than 30 times since the September the 11th attacks

Bush claimed it was consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution. Many experts disagree.


An Official ReBelle Nation Milestone....

Not too long ago we placed a tiny counter on here. Now we removed it once, when we were forced to switch templates, and we replaced it with its last registered count intact. So we know it is not completely accurate, but.....

That counter has just registered over 25,000 hits.

Since the counter was not replaced for almost two, of the 5 months it has been up in total, I will guesstimate that 25,000 to have covered about 3 months.


We are truely honored by your presence.

But mostly, THANK YOU ROSSI...

You are my dear, dear friend and I am in awe of you.

Most of everything here is your work alone and it is an AWSOME collection and reflection of incredible times. You are simply the most well informed person I have ever known.

And wickedly sexy and dangerously funny, too boot.

Most people are aware this is a site I created, but it is you alone who has earned it most.

Let this serve as notice to the entire world, that it is YOU that OWNS this wonderful place we built.

And I am truly blessed to work with you.

I love you Rossi.


We should be drunk or...something...


Art For Boys

Another post ONLY for the STUPID people...

Before you write me spouting the MYTH that ...

'Our intell system was broken BEFORE Sept. 11th'

Let me cut you off now and remind you of what a moron spouting such makes you...

It was called the PDB and was delivered onto BUSH DESK on August 6th 2001.

It was even named something vauge like "Osama bin Laden Determined to strike in the USA" and went on to detail how certain terrorists were planning to WHAT WHAT WHAT...???

Why highjack commercial airliners and ram them into ...oh I dont know... THE WORLD TRADE CENTERS....!!!!





It will not happen on HIS watch...???



Body found, bringing Katrina toll to 1,321

BATON ROUGE, La. --The body of another Hurricane Katrina victim was found this week, bringing the number of verified deaths caused by the storm to 1,321.

The body search in Louisiana, where 1,072 people died because of Katrina, was called off Oct. 3, but emergency workers and residents returning to destroyed homes continue to find the dead.

Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals reported the latest recovered body Friday, but did not provide any details. It said 1,095 bodies have been found in the state since Katrina struck the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, but some deaths were deemed unrelated to the storm.

I can't believe the death toll is so low? !!!!!!!!! Randy Rhodes stated there are 6000 people unaccounted for, but I am darned if I can find that number anywhere, but normally she is right on top of things, so Big ? mark

Link Here

Bush Raps Senators on Blocking Patriot Act

President Bush said Saturday that senators who are blocking renewal of the terrorism-fighting Patriot Act are acting irresponsibly and standing in the way of protecting the country from attack.

"In the war on terror, we cannot afford to be without this law for a single moment," the president said in a live broadcast from the White House of his weekly radio address. Senate Democrats, with the aid of a handful of Republicans, succeeded Friday in stalling the bill already approved by the House. The vote to advance the measure, 52-47, fell eight votes shy of the 60 votes required to end debate.

"That decision is irresponsible and it endangers the lives of our citizens. The senators who are filibustering must stop their delaying tactics and the Senate must reauthorize the Patriot Act," Bush said. Opponents of renewing the law, most of whom are Democrats, argue that it threatens constitutional liberties at home. Most Republicans and other supporters say the act is essential for protecting the country against terrorists. The law was enacted in the aftermath of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

HILL TO VP (Chickenhawk Chain-Knee): GO TO IRAQ


By IAN BISHOP Post Correspondent
December 17, 2005 -- WASHINGTON — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton offered Vice President Dick Cheney a little unsolicited advice yesterday: go take a firsthand look at what's going on in Iraq. Clinton's surprising suggestion came moments before a top-level war briefing at the White House, a source involved with the meeting told The Post.

Clinton, who has been to Iraq twice and has been sharply critical of the administration's handling of the war, told Cheney it would be a positive experience to see the troops and terrain for himself, the source added.

Cheney, who has not been there since before the war, looked at Clinton but didn't respond to her remark, the source said.

Her spokesman, Philippe Reines, later declined to comment on any "private conversation."

Hours later, Cheney announced a trip next week to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Oman, Egypt and Saudi Arabia — opening the door for a stealth visit to Iraq.

Link Here

Persian Fire

Saturday, 17 December 2005
So now we know: Next time the fire will come in Iran. The blow will be delivered by proxy, but that will not spare the true perpetrator from the firestorm of blowback and unintended consequences that will follow. Even now, the gruesome deaths of many innocent people in many lands are growing in futurity's womb.

The Rubicon of the new war was crossed on Oct. 27. Oddly enough for this renewal of the ancient enmity between the heirs of Athens and Persia, the decisive event occurred on the edge of the Arctic Circle, at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, where a Russian rocket lifted an Iranian spy satellite, the Sinah-1, into orbit. This launch, scarcely noticed at the time, has accelerated the inevitable strike on Iran's nuclear facilities: Israel is now readying an attack for no later than the end of March, The Sunday Times reports.

The order, from embattled Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, puts Israel's special forces at the "highest stage of readiness" for the strike. While Iran's plan to begin enriching uranium -- which will give it the capability of building a nuclear bomb -- is the precipitating factor, the budding Iranian space program is a "point of no return" for Sharon, and that is what is driving the actual timing of the strike. The Sinah-1 is just the first of several Iranian satellites set for Russian launches in the coming months.

Thus the Iranians will soon have a satellite network in place to give them early warning of an Israeli attack, although it will still be a pale echo of the far more powerful Israeli and American space spies that can track the slightest movement of a Tehran mullah's beard. What's more, late last month Russia signed a $1 billion contract to sell Iran an advanced defense system that can destroy guided missiles and laser-guided bombs, the Sunday Times reports. This too will be ready in the next few months.

There is of course another "precipitating factor": the Israeli elections on Mar. 28. Sharon, who has left the Likud Party to form his own cult-of-personality party, faces a fractious electorate, with his former comrades guaranteeing an attack on Iran's nuclear sites if Sharon is too "weak" to do it before the vote. He may well decide to rally the nation -- and stave off this lunge from the right -- with a blow against Tehran. Such a move would doubtless be popular at home; everyone agrees that Iran cannot be allowed to have the kind of nuclear weapons that Israel itself possesses in such bristling abundance.

The move will be popular in Washington as well. Only a fool would believe that the fools in the Bush Regime have abandoned their bloody-minded ambitions for "full-spectrum dominance" in the Middle East, just because Iraq has turned to goo in their hands. To these schemers, Iraq has always been merely a stepping-stone toward the "far enemy," Iran. Indeed, they used Saddam himself for years as a useful stick to bash the Iranians, until he stepped out of line with his attack on the Bush family's longtime business partners, the Kuwaiti royals. Murder, torture and military aggression are always welcome in the service of Washington's power elites, but defiance is not allowed.

Link Here

Oil for Blood. Exxon offers swap

Recently arrived in New York Mailboxes...

The New York Blood Center and Mobil have teamed up to offer a $5 gift card to people who donate blood between December 22nd and January 9th.

Link Here

Personally authorized two dozen wiretaps; Sens. want probe; Times held story.

Bush personally authorized spying

Personally authorized two dozen wiretaps; Sens. want probe; Times held story.

Rove, Hadley email 'at crux' of CIA leak investigation

Times Defends Decision To Withhold NSA Story For A Year

CNN December 16, 2005 at 11:06 PM
READ MORE: George W. Bush, New York Times

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The following is a statement from New York Times executive editor Bill Keller on the paper's decision to print a story Friday that said President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens and others in the United States who were communicating with individuals overseas.

The Times story said the White House had asked the paper not to publish the article, and that the paper had delayed its publication for a year while it conducted additional reporting.


National Security Legal Expert: "I Was Frankly Astonished…My Head Is Spinning"…

New York Times SCOTT SHANE December 16, 2005 at 11:51 PM
READ MORE: George W. Bush

WASHINGTON, Dec. 16 - A single, fiercely debated legal principle lies behind nearly every major initiative in the Bush administration's war on terror, scholars say: the sweeping assertion of the powers of the presidency.

From the government's detention of Americans as "enemy combatants" to the just-disclosed eavesdropping in the United States without court warrants, the administration has relied on an unusually expansive interpretation of the president's authority. That stance has given the administration leeway for decisive action, but it has come under severe criticism from some scholars and the courts.


This is Big Brother run amok.

LA Times Richard B. Schmitt December 17, 2005 at 08:49 AM
READ MORE: George W. Bush

[...] The report, confirmed by the Los Angeles Times, describes a highly classified program of monitoring communications between Americans in the U.S. and individuals overseas who were suspected of having ties to terrorist networks. The program, run by the top-secret National Security Agency, was approved by Bush in the wake of Sept. 11; it is drawing criticism because intelligence agencies ordinarily must gain permission from special courts before they can listen in on conversations of U.S. citizens, domestically or overseas.

"If we needed a wake-up call about the need for adequate civil liberties protections to be written into our laws … this is that wake-up call," said Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), part of a bipartisan group of senators who ignited the filibuster fight. "They are saying, 'Trust us, we are following the law.' Give me a break," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.). "Across the country and across the political spectrum, no one is buying it anymore. There is no accountability. There is no oversight…. This is Big Brother run amok.

Read the story here

Sen. Salazar: "If We Needed A Wake-Up Call…This Is That Wake-Up Call"…This is Big Brother run amok.

LA Times Richard B. Schmitt December 17, 2005 at 08:49 AM
READ MORE: George W. Bush

[...] The report, confirmed by the Los Angeles Times, describes a highly classified program of monitoring communications between Americans in the U.S. and individuals overseas who were suspected of having ties to terrorist networks. The program, run by the top-secret National Security Agency, was approved by Bush in the wake of Sept. 11; it is drawing criticism because intelligence agencies ordinarily must gain permission from special courts before they can listen in on conversations of U.S. citizens, domestically or overseas.

"If we needed a wake-up call about the need for adequate civil liberties protections to be written into our laws … this is that wake-up call," said Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), part of a bipartisan group of senators who ignited the filibuster fight. "They are saying, 'Trust us, we are following the law.' Give me a break," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.). "Across the country and across the political spectrum, no one is buying it anymore. There is no accountability. There is no oversight…. This is Big Brother run amok.

Read the story here.

"The Ad Says That Arabs Are Dangerous And Violent People…It's Racist"…

Associated Press NATALIE GOTT December 17, 2005 at 12:08 AM
RALEIGH, N.C. (Dec. 16)

- The billboard image is striking: a photo of a man shrouded in a traditional Arab head scarf clutching a grenade and a North Carolina driver's license.

The message: "Don't license terrorists, North Carolina." A New York-based group that plans to place the ad near North Carolina's Capitol this month says it is meant as a critique of the state's driver's license laws but Arab-American groups complain it is inflaming an anti-Arab sentiment.


Bush Now Says He Doesn’t Think DeLay is Innocent…

Associated Press December 16, 2005 at 11:37 PM
READ MORE: George W. Bush, Tom DeLay

President Bush said Friday his statement that former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was innocent of criminal charges in Texas was meant to signal confidence in the justice system and not to make a pronouncement about the individual case.

"The point I was making was 'innocent until otherwise proven,'" Bush said in an interview to Friday for "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer." "It's a belief in the system, and that's not always the way people are treated here in Washington as you know."


Shocked Lawmakers Demand Spy Program Probe

Bush Secretly Authorized Eavesdropping On Americans Without Court-Approved Warrants... Shocked Lawmakers Demand Spy Program Probe… Admin. Asked The NYT Not To Publish Article… Bloggers Give Strong Reactions… Decision To Withhold Story Caused Friction At The Times… Times Defends Decision… Bush Refuses To Answer Questions... Rice Won’t Answer Questions... Sen. Schumer: “Today's Revelation Makes It Crystal Clear That We Have To Be Very Careful, Very Careful“... Sen. Specter: "That Is Categorically Wrong," Calls For Investigation... "I Was Frankly Astonished…My Head Is Spinning"…

AP KATHERINE SHRADER December 16, 2005 at 06:47 PM
From infowars.com

WASHINGTON - Dismayed lawmakers demanded on Friday that Congress look into whether the highly secretive National Security Agency was granted new powers to eavesdrop without warrants on people inside the United States.

"There is no doubt that this is inappropriate," declared Republican Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record) of Pennsylvania, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He promised hearings early next year.


Friday, December 16, 2005

Former NSA analyst and White House Secret Service officer found guilty in politically-motivated trial.

Story linked below this post. Darn Darn Darn I am outta here, call me when these assholes go down, and for God sake dont ever talk about American Democracy with these thugs and goons in the White House.

Former NSA analyst and White House Secret Service officer found guilty in politically-motivated trial.

December 16, 2005 -- Former NSA analyst and White House Secret Service officer found guilty in politically-motivated trial. Yesterday, a chill blew across Washington, DC from the "Department of Pre Crime"- like U.S. Court House in Greenbelt, Maryland. However, the chill was not just a result of the icy weather that hit Washington yesterday afternoon but also a warning to anyone in the U.S. intelligence community who has not yet been purged from the ranks that they could now face prison if they dare contradict the Bush administration.

WMR earlier reported on the case of former NSA analyst Kenneth W. Ford who worked in the National Security Agency's Iraq shop in the Signals Intelligence Division between November 2002 and May 2003. Ford was found guilty of possessing classified material at his home and failing to tell the truth on a security form for a post-NSA civilian contractor job. As the verdict was read and Ford became emotionally distraught, four of the female jurors and the court clerk openly wept. The jury of 12 members and four alternates, made up of nine white females, three African-American females, three African-American males, and one white male, deliberated only four hours before reaching a guilty verdict.

Ford's name appeared as the author of an NSA intelligence report on intercepts of Iraqi communications that concluded, contrary to Bush administration claims, that there was no evidence to support the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Shortly after Ford left NSA for a job in the private sector in January 2004 he was confronted with a jaded FBI confidential informant planting two boxes of classified training material and other documents in his Waldorf, Maryland home. Evidence in the case clearly showed that the boxes had never left the custody of NSA, however, relying on perjured testimony by NSA Security personnel and FBI agents, US Assistant Attorney for Maryland David I. Salem contended that Ford drove his pickup truck in broad daylight to a highly-secured building at Fort Meade, Maryland and casually loaded two boxes in the back from an unguarded loading dock and drove off unchallenged. Furthermore, the government contended that a security camera located at the loading area was inoperative on the day the event supposedly occurred. Later, the government contended that Ford lied on a security questionnaire about prior arrests.

Because the trial was held in public, the government did not present the jury with details about Ford's job at NSA and his role in analyzing Iraqi communications. There is also evidence of possible jury intimidation, manipulation, and tampering. One of the jurors reportedly was employed by Northrop Grumman, the same company that employed Ford at the time of his arrest. That fact, alone, should have made the juror ineligible.

On the subject of jury tampering, today, Democratic leaders, including Senate Minority Leader harry Reid, accused President Bush of jury tampering by saying that ousted House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is innocent of money laundering charges. Reid said, "To have someone of his stature, the president of the United States, prejudge a case is something I've never seen before." Jury tampering appears to be endemic in the Bush administration.

In addition, Salem asked Judge Peter Messitte to jail Ford immediately upon conviction. Messitte, an international judicial and human rights specialist who speaks Spanish and Portuguese and who was nominated by President Clinton in 1993, denied Salem's request.

For WMR background on Ford case click here.

UPDATE: December 16, 2005 -- Evening Edition: WMR has discovered there is much more to the government's harassment of Kenneth W. Ford. Yolanda Gibson-Michaels, Ford's second cousin, to whom he is close, filed major fraud and conflict of interests charges against Donald E. Powell, the chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and a close political ally and friend of George W. Bush who served as President of First National Bank of Amarillo, Texas and Chairman of the Board of Regents of Texas A&M University.

Gibson-Michaels, a whistleblower who worked for the FDIC Legal Division, uncovered fraud involving senior FDIC officials and scandals involving Bank Hapoalim of Israel, Bank Leumi of Israel, Russian-Israeli mob figures Vladimir Guzinsky and Arkady Gaydamak (a financial partner of Cheney while he was at Halliburton), Bank Leumi's Chairman Eitan Raff, SunTrust Bank of Florida (the bank from where the FBI's confidential informant Tonya Tucker (who stung Ford) received checks while she was in the Washington area, the Washington Field Office of the FBI, illegal Congo diamond trading involving DRC Resources Corporation, massive overcharging of the FDIC by outside counsel law firms, Saudi lobbyists in Washington, the Wells Fargo-Tejas merger, Tyco International, Enron off shore entities, and Halliburton. WMR will bring more details about this massive fraud involving the FDIC, described as a $3 trillion slush fund for Bush, Cheney and their business friends and associates around the world.

Considering Ford's cousin's high profile FDIC investigation (also involving Securities and Exchange Commission probes) of politicians and businessmen connected to Bush, Cheney, and Israeli interests, perhaps David I. Salem, the U.S. Assistant Attorney who was so quick to see Kenneth Ford sent to prison, should also have any of his possible connections to the Bush White House, the GOP, and Israel thoroughly investigated for potential conflicts of interest and criminal conspiracy.


Argentina to Pay Entire IMF Debt 4 Years After Default (Update)

Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Argentina said it will pay back its entire $9.8 billion debt to the International Monetary Fund, severing 22-year-old ties with the lender that the government blames for its 2001 debt default.

President Nestor Kirchner, who at rallies and speeches this year has called IMF officials ``rude'' and demanding, said at a press conference in Buenos Aires the government will make the payment after three years of economic growth bolstered foreign currency reserves. The economy grew 9.2 percent in the third quarter on a surge in public spending, the government said today.

Kirchner, 55, vowed to take the decision on several occasions this year to ensure the administration isn't dependent on policies endorsed by the Washington-based lender, including spending caps and higher utility rates. The announcement comes two days after neighboring Brazil said it would repay its $15.5 billion IMF debt.

``The objective of this is more political than economic,'' said Alberto Bernal, an economist at Bear, Stearns & Co. in New York. ``It's to get rid of the IMF obligations >>>cont

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"Voice Of Integrity" Dan Ochsner's Campaign Literature Features Doctored Photo, May Violate Campaign Laws

Bush: I Was “Just Saying He’s Presumed Innocent

Wednesday on Fox News, President Bush said that he believed Tom DeLay was innocent of money laundering:

HUME: Do you believe he is innocent?

BUSH: Delay? Yes, I do.

The comment caused considerable controversy because the White House has been deflecting comments about the CIA leak for months, claiming it’s their policy not to comment on ongoing criminal investigations.

ThinkProgess has obtained an advanced transcript of Bush’s upcoming interview on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. In it, Bush claims he only meant that DeLay was presumed innocent until proven guilty:

MR. LEHRER: You don’t know. Okay. The–you mentioned Tom Delay. Why did you say he was innocent?


MR. LEHRER: This is an interview with Brit Hume.

PRESIDENT BUSH: I did and–but the point I was making was innocent till, until otherwise proven, and I was also asked did I hope he would come back to Congress. The answer was yes.
MR. LEHRER: But you–I looked very carefully at that transcript. I mean, you essentially said he was innocent. I mean, you weren’t–that wasn’t–you weren’t really saying that then? You were just saying he’s presumed innocent?

PRESIDENT BUSH: I–that’s exactly what I was saying.

Bush didn’t make a mistake by violating White House policy. We just misinterpreted what he was saying. Got it?

Link Here

In survey of ten US presidents, Bush fares badly

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush ranks as the least popular and most bellicose of the last ten U.S. presidents, according to a new survey.

Only nine percent of the 662 people polled picked Bush as their favorite among the last 10 presidents. John F. Kennedy topped that part of the survey, with 26 percent, closely followed by Bill Clinton (25 percent) and Ronald Reagan (23 percent).

Bush was also viewed as the most warlike president (43 percent), the worst for the economy (42 percent) and the least effective (33 percent). But he was rated most highly in response to a question on who would do the right thing even if it were unpopular.

The survey was conducted by the Chicago-based National Qualitative Centers, a marketing research company, as part of research for a forthcoming book on popular preferences, one of its authors, Ken Berwitz, said on Friday.

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MRE Criticizes Expelling of Embeds Over Pix of Shot-Up Humvee

Files subpoenas seeking evidence prosecutor 'shopped' case to juries.

Jack Abramoff's Business Partner Pleads Guity, To Testify Against Abramoff...

Bloomberg Michael Forsythe and Mort Lucoff December 16, 2005 at 08:56 AM
READ MORE: Jack Abramoff

Lobbyist Jack Abramoff's former business partner pleaded guilty in a wire-fraud case involving a Florida casino ship company and said he's willing to testify against Abramoff.

Adam Kidan faces up to 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and one count of wire fraud. He becomes the second former Abramoff associate in a month to agree to cooperate with investigators. Michael Scanlon agreed on Nov. 21 to aid a separate Justice Department probe in Washington involving $80 million in fees the two men got from Indian-tribe clients.


A Satisfying moment in Camberra


Christian Conservative Ralph Reed: I’m Sorry I Worked With Abramoff…But I’m Not Returning The Money Yet…

Atlanta Journal-Constitution JIM GALLOWAY December 16, 2005 at 09:02 AM
READ MORE: Jack Abramoff

Ralph Reed, the political strategist and candidate for lieutenant governor, said recently that his work for disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff was a mistake that — if given the chance — he wouldn't repeat.

"Had I known then what I know now, I would not have undertaken that work," Reed said, according to the text of a speech posted on his campaign Web site this week.


Impeachment Time.. Indeed.. Via Atrios...

Hilzoy Speak

You Listen:

This is against the law. I have put references to the relevant statute below the fold; the brief version is: the law forbids warrantless surveillance of US citizens, and it provides procedures to be followed in emergencies that do not leave enough time for federal agents to get a warrant. If the NY Times report is correct, the government did not follow these procedures. It therefore acted illegally.

Bush's order is arguably unconstitutional as well: it seems to violate the fourth amendment, and it certainly violates the requirement (Article II, sec. 3) that the President "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed."

I am normally extremely wary of talking about impeachment. I think that impeachment is a trauma for the country, and that it should only be considered in extreme cases. Moreover, I think that the fact that Clinton was impeached raises the bar as far as impeaching Bush: two traumas in a row is really not good for the country, and even though my reluctance to go through a second impeachment benefits the very Republicans who needlessly inflicted the first on us, I don't care. It's bad for the country, and that matters most.

But I have a high bar, not a nonexistent one. And for a President to order violations of the law meets my criteria for impeachment. This is exactly what got Nixon in trouble: he ordered his subordinates to obstruct justice. To the extent that the two cases differ, the differences make what Bush did worse: after all, it's not as though warrants are hard to get, or the law makes no provision for emergencies. Bush could have followed the law had he wanted to. He chose to set it aside.

And this is something that no American should tolerate. We claim to have a government of laws, not of men. That claim means nothing if we are not prepared to act when a President (or anyone else) places himself above the law. If the New York Times report is true, then Bush should be impeached.



Bush Refuses To Answer Questions About Wiretapping...

The New York Times JENNIFER LOVEN December 16, 2005 at 03:14 PM
READ MORE: New York Times, George W. Bush

President Bush refused to say whether the National Security Agency eavesdropped without warrants on people inside the United States but leaders of Congress condemned the practice on Friday and promised to look into what the administration has done.

"There is no doubt that this is inappropriate," said Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record), R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He said there would be hearings early next year and that they would have "a very, very high priority." He wasn't alone in reacting harshly to the report. Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz., said the story, first reported in Friday's New York Times, was troubling.


A well kept secret of this blog...

If you would like to email us but have no idea how... simply leave a comment and it magically turns into an email that will land somewhere near one of us.

And to answer one of the more common questions, YES, you may request works of art be re-posted... Or even certain types or styles, subject, by artist, or even eras of art...

I will do my best...

Party On.

Radical Right Columnist Paid Off By GOP Lobbyist Abramoff To Write Favorable Columns About His Clients

Business Week Eamon Javers December 16, 2005 at 02:18 PM
READ MORE: Jack Abramoff

A senior fellow at the Cato Institute resigned from the libertarian think tank on Dec. 15 after admitting that he had accepted payments from indicted Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff for writing op-ed articles favorable to the positions of some of Abramoff's clients. Doug Bandow, who writes a syndicated column for Copley News Service, told BusinessWeek Online that he had accepted money from Abramoff for writing between 12 and 24 articles over a period of years, beginning in the mid '90s.

"It was a lapse of judgment on my part, and I take full responsibility for it," Bandow said from a California hospital, where he's recovering from recent knee surgery.


Art For Girls

Sydney Beach (Australia)


Robert Novak Leaving CNN for Fox News

Associated Press DAVID BAUDER December 16, 2005 at 12:44 PM

Commentator Robert Novak, who hasn't been seen on CNN since swearing and storming off the set in August, will leave the network after 25 years and join Fox News Channel as a contributor next month.

Novak, 74, said Friday he probably would have left CNN anyway when his contract expired this month even if it hadn't been for the incident.


"To Have The President Prejudge A Case [And Say DeLay Is Innocent] Is Something I've Never Seen Before..."

Washington Post Jonathan Weisman December 16, 2005 at 11:18 AM
READ MORE: Tom DeLay, George W. Bush

Democratic leaders sternly criticized President Bush yesterday for saying former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) is innocent of felonious campaign finance abuses, suggesting his comments virtually amounted to jury tampering before DeLay stands trial.

"The president of the United States said a jury does not need to assemble, that Tom DeLay is innocent," said Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). "To have someone of his stature, the president of the United States, prejudge a case is something I've never seen before."



'...dealing a huge defeat to the Bush

administration and Republican leaders.'

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Voting machines won't be retested, state officials say (Florida)

State elections officials aren't ready to re-examine electronic voting machines -- even after a supervisor reported hackers could rig votes on some machines.


TALLAHASSEE - Top computer scientists and voting experts said Thursday that Florida must re-examine the way it tests voting machines and needs to verify claims by a Tallahassee elections official who said hackers could alter some computerized election results. But acting Florida Secretary of State David Mann, whose office oversees the state elections department, said Thursday that he has such ''confidence'' in his agency's certification process that he has no intention of doing any double-checking right now.

At the center of the controversy: Leon County's elections chief, Ion Sancho, a nonpartisan maverick who's determined to avoid the 2000 Florida elections' debacle that led lawmakers to mandate the very computerized voting systems he is now questioning. Over the past six months, Sancho gave two computer hackers access to his optical-scan voting machines, in which voters cast fill-in-the-blank ballots. Attacking different parts of the system from the inside, the hackers said they were able to easily bypass security codes, make losing candidates win, add or subtract voters -- and do it without leaving a trace.

On Tuesday, Sancho officially dumped the voting machine system made by Diebold Elections Systems in favor of another made by Election Systems & Software. ES&S also manufactures Miami-Dade and Broward's ATM-like touch-screen voting machines, which experts say also could be vulnerable to attacks from advanced insider-hackers. A Diebold spokesman said Sancho's test was bogus. Including Monroe, 29 counties use Diebold's touch-screen and opti-scan machines. The reports from the Leon County hackers, especially the most recent from Finnish computer scientist Harri Hursti, raised red flags in the small world of computer-security and voting experts.

''The most important thing is that these claims not be ignored,'' said Ronald L. Rivest, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientist who's known among colleagues as one of the world's most influential computer cryptographers.

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Stunning allegations in Polk County

Official: Al-Zarqawi caught, released Authorities didn't realize prisoner was terrorist mastermind

New Jersey Senate Passes Death Penalty Moratorium

The New Jersey Senate today passed a one year moratorium on the death penalty.


Congressional Research Service says president limits Congressional access.

Report: Not all intel shared with Congress

December 14, 2005
Sen. Dianne Feinstein
Alfred CummingSpecialist in Intelligence and National SecurityForeign Affairs, Defense and Trade Division

Congress as a Consumer of Intelligence Information

This responds to your request for a discussion of Congress and its role as a consumer of national intelligence, and for a listing and a description of some of the U.S. Intelligence Community's principal intelligence products, including an identification of those which the executive branch routinely shares with Congress, and those which it does not.

Limitations on Congressional Access to Certain National Intelligence

By virtue of his constitutional role as commander-and-in-chief and head of the executive branch, the President has access to all national intelligence collected, analyzed and produced by the Intelligence Community. The President's position also affords him the authority - which, at certain times, has been aggressively asserted (1) - to restrict the flow of intelligence information to Congress and its two intelligence committees, which are charged with providing legislative oversight of the Intelligence Community. (2) As a result, the President, and a small number of presidentially-designated Cabinet-level officials, including the Vice President (3) - in contrast to Members of Congress (4) - have access to a far greater overall volume of intelligence and to more sensitive intelligence information, including information regarding intelligence sources and methods. They, unlike Members of Congress, also have the authority to more extensively task the Intelligence Community, and its extensive cadre of analysts, for follow-up information. As a result, the President and his most senior advisors arguably are better positioned to assess the quality of the Community's intelligence more accurately than is Congress. (5)

In addition to their greater access to intelligence, the President and his senior advisors also are better equipped than is Congress to assess intelligence information by virtue of the primacy of their roles in formulating U.S. foreign policy. Their foreign policy responsibilities often require active, sustained, and often personal interaction, with senior officials of many of the same countries targeted for intelligence collection by the Intelligence Community. Thus the President and his senior advisors are uniquely positioned to glean additional information and impressions - information that, like certain sensitive intelligence information, is generally unavailable to Congress - that can provide them with an important additional perspective with which to judge the quality of intelligence. >>>cont

Authorities Governing Executive Branch Control Over National Intelligence

Link Here

The White House asked The New York Times not to publish this article

Republicans Want To Build 700 Miles Long Fence To Shut Down Illegal Immigration...

Associated Press SUZANNE GAMBOA December 15, 2005 at 11:56 PM
AP/Enric Marti

The House called for construction of a fence along parts of the U.S. border from the Pacific Coast to the Gulf of Mexico as a bill aimed at shutting down illegal immigration moved forward Thursday.

The two-layered fence, about 700 miles long, would be built in parts of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The provisions, passed 260-159, put priority on construction near Laredo, Texas. The city is across the border from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, where warring drug cartels have been blamed for more than 140 murders this year.

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