Tommy Tutone's Dark Secret
'Jenny, I Got Your Number ... From the NSA!' *

When USA Today revealed that the NSA has been secretly collecting phone logs of millions of Americans, defenders of such programs argued our intelligence agencies ought to have as much information as possible to identify terrorist threats. It just makes sense, they said.

Does it?

As of four years ago, "the agency does not have adequate means to filter out the millions of bits of irrelevant information it scoops up each day." Remember the Sept. 10, 2001 intercepts that weren't translated until Sept. 12? Granted, it doesn't seem likely that having those messages two days earlier would have stopped the attacks. One would also hope there have been some equipment upgrades and new hires since then that allow faster procesing of information.

Still, a compelling case can be made that more raw information is not the answer. Carefully targeted data collection would ensure better use of resources and would be more likely to yield useful results. Start with known or suspected terrorists, and trace the path from there.

Even then, of course, there's still the Kevin Bacon problem. (It would also be nice if a warrant were involved, but that's a separate issue.) Asks one editorial board: "If our government is resorting to this kind of needle-in-a-haystack-search data assembly, what does that say about our progress in tracking down terrorist cells?"

*The title of this post was really just a cheap excuse for making the URL end with 867-5309.html -- as far as I know, the NSA is not giving out anyone's phone number to men who read grafitti on walls and then sing songs about it. Indeed, the NSA is notorious for not revealing information -- a few decades ago, no one even knew it existed!

By Emily Messner |  May 19, 2006; 1:44 PM ET  | Category:  National Politics
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Compared to massive data collection efforts, posting agents in Starbucks around the nation and hoping one overheard people plotting over their lattes would be far more effective in capturing terrorists.

Legal issues aside, this is a case of people being enchanted by technology before they understand what the technology can and *cannot* do. Sure, current technology may allow an organization to record every phone conversation in the world. And then? It would still take every adult on the planet years to winnow away all the "hay." It also assumes that terrorists will ALWAYS plot via communications that can be intercepted. What if my neighbors and I decide to commit mass murder and we hold meetings in my backyard?

If you haven't yet, read Blink. There is an interesting (and delightfully ironic)chapter that illustrates how assuming better technology makes you superior and therefore safe from harm is a big mistake.

(Excellent title by the way)

Posted by: | May 19, 2006 02:56 PM

Let's not confuse programs here. The NSA runs several SIGNAL INTEL programs. Now, one can intercept electronic communications for purposes of "listening" in -OR- they can analyze PATTERNS of communications to develop profiles of communication habits and WHO is talking to WHO.

The MASSIVE database referred to in the news article is the latter. They are feeding a database with connected calls that can show several things:

- Who is talking to who (at least by number)
- Timing of communication
- Type of communication and equipment being used
- Calls made AFTER the current call being tracked (then the whole process repeats)

All of this data is fairly easy to put into a database and not too tough to crunch with link analysis and neural net chains. How do you think Wal-Mart knows what you like? How do you think the phone companies know how to provide sevices.


It's the same thing the NSA is doing, but on a grander scale and with a different objective.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 19, 2006 04:06 PM


May 19, 2006 -- Tony Snow's "tar baby" comment was not his most egregious utterance. Tony Snow defended his use of the term "tar baby" in his Tuesday press conference, his first after succeeding Scott McClellan. Snow correctly states that the term is used as a reference to Uncle Remus hugging a tar baby, which means he was in a sticky situation. The term has also been used in a racist context.

However, when Snow began to cry while talking about his bout with cancer, he apologized for his "Ed Muskie moment." While Snow can, perhaps, be given a pass for the tar baby comment, his reference to a situation involving Ed Muskie's presidential primary campaign in New Hampshire in 1972 was nothing less than appalling. Muskie, who was the clear frontrunner in the New Hampshire primary, was responding to a couple of nasty articles in the conservative Manchester Union Leader. The paper had published a story suggesting that Muskie's wife Jane used an ethnic slur to describe Americans of French-Canadian descent. Muskie, standing on the steps of the Union Leader and denouncing the false reporting of the paper, broke down in tears. The media picked up on the event and, in suggesting that Muskie demonstrated weakness, helped erode Muskie's support. He barely eked out a victory in New Hampshire over Sen. George McGovern and went on to lose the national primary race. It turned out that the Union Leader's story about Jane Muskie was based on a forged letter prepared by Richard Nixon's campaign. The perpetrator of the forgery was one Donald Segretti, later jailed in the Watergate scandal for, among other things, planting forged documents and criminal conspiracy. During the 1972 campaign, Segretti became aware of a young Republican political activist in Texas who showed much promise in the dirty tricks department. His name -- Karl Rove.

Now Rove faces his "Segretti moment" in the CIA Leakgate affair. Washington, DC has been abuzz with rumors and story planting for years in this case. Rove learned well from his mentor Segretti. This morning, DC anxiously awaits a press advisory from the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) regarding a major development in the Rove case. If past is prologue, a press advisory will be issued mid morning about an afternoon press conference. We are standing by.

Note on U.S. Attorney John Briggs vs. US Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald. Archibald Cox, the Watergate Independent Counsel, was appointed in May 1973. Briggs indicted Segretti the same month after a Justice Department investigation that took about a half a year. Rove has been under investigation by Fitzgerald since the Special Counsel's appointment on Dec. 30, 2003, a period of two and a half years. Briggs coordinated his investigation with Independent Counsel Cox and Attorney General Elliott Richardson while Fitzgerald, as a Special Counsel, is only protected from pressure from the White House by an administrative firewall. This clearly demonstrates the problems that can be encountered in not having an Independent Counsel Statute to avoid the political pressure that can be applied to a less independent Special Counsel.

Posted by: che | May 19, 2006 04:22 PM

Please bookmark the following sites:

Senate hearing on CIA nominee: Democrats rubberstamp Bush police-state spying

By Patrick Martin
19 May 2006

Use this version to print | Send this link by email | Email the author

The Senate hearing Thursday on the nomination of General Michael Hayden to head the Central Intelligence Agency demonstrates the bipartisan congressional support for the Bush administration's assault on the democratic rights of the American people.

While there were scattered criticisms of the methods of the Bush administration, particularly its failure to consult with Congress, every senator on the Intelligence Committee accepted the premise that the United States is engaged in a "war on terror" and that the Bush administration's escalation of domestic surveillance and wiretapping is a product of that war.

There was no challenge to the Orwellian label, "terrorist surveillance program," which the Bush administration has chosen to apply to a program which actually involves the surveillance of the telephone calls and Internet messaging of nearly the entire American population--an estimated 225 million people. It would be far more accurate to describe the electronic monitoring and data-mining by the National Security Agency (NSA) as the "universal surveillance program"--or as the Pentagon once labeled its own version of the program, "Total Information Awareness."

Not one senator, on the Intelligence Committee or off it, will acknowledge the basic truth that the Bush administration is a far greater threat to the democratic rights of the American people than all the terrorists in the world. Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda may be capable of terrible crimes, but they cannot impose a totalitarian dictatorship in the United States. That threat comes solely from the American ruling elite and its military-intelligence apparatus.

General Michael Hayden is a sworn enemy of the democratic rights of the American people. In his six years as head of the NSA, from 1999 to 2005, he was responsible for both the program of interception and eavesdropping on international phone calls, revealed by the New York Times in December, and the creation of an enormous database of the telephone calling records of 225 million Americans, made public by USA Today May 11.

While some press reports in the past week have suggested that the domestic telephone monitoring was less sweeping than reported by USA Today, perhaps limited to long distance phone calls, about 20 percent of the total, the New York Times quoted an unnamed "senior government official, granted anonymity to speak for publication about the classified program" confirming that "the security agency had access to records of most telephone calls in the United States."

A lawsuit brought by the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF), a group opposed to Internet censorship and spying, has produced evidence of widespread interception of traffic on the web by the same telecommunications companies that turned over phone records to the NSA. EFF legal director Cindy Cohn told Bloomberg News Wednesday that AT&T had carried out "real-time diversion of customer Internet data" as part of its collaboration with the NSA.

In his appearance before the Senate committee, Hayden adamantly defended both the legality and the necessity of telecommunications spying, while refusing to discuss any aspect of the program except in a closed session, where members of the Senate panel were sworn to secrecy. This was combined with a denunciation of leaks to the press which exposed both the illegal domestic surveillance and the CIA's network of secret prisons overseas, where selected prisoners are interrogated and tortured outside of any legal process. CIA officers "deserve not to have every action analyzed, second-guessed, and criticized on the front pages of the newspapers," he said.

Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, sounded the same note in his opening remarks, when he rejected


Posted by: che | May 19, 2006 04:28 PM

There is a cognitive disconnect at work with the Left.

The Left believes we should be guaranteed in our safety as much as possible by a protective government from "criminal attack". To do this, they hold the following beliefs:

1. It is the governments obligation to keep us safe from people trying to kill us by "connecting the dots" so another 9/11 doesn't happen again...before we convince noble radical Muslim peoples that we are truly sorry for causing all their root causes of murderous rage and they learn to love us for our freedoms.

2. But it is wrong to snoop and profile and single out just Muslims as a potential source of Muslim terror and collect "dots". Or try and connect those dots between radical Muslims.

3. However, the problem with collectively watching the whole population if we believe profiling is worse than mass slaughter is that it affects the precious civil liberties of non-terrorist loving US citizens. So any effort to collect "dots" should be discouraged because innocent "dots" will be collected. And efforts to analyze those "dots" must be fought at every turn because the government can't be trusted. Only lawyers in robes can be trusted. So only those "dots" already known rise to "probable cause" and only those "dots" approved for analysis by mutual agreement of 535 members of Congress, the 4th Estate, and the Courts (after full adversarial due process) may be permitted to be examined by the Executive.

Now - that's all nice - as long as it is recognized that Lefty objective #1 is incompatable with following both Lefty objectives #2 and #3.

If objective #1 is essential, the Left must end their dishonesty and choose between dropping #2 and #3 or work out a hybrid dropping of elements of those latter demands.

The weakness of the hated Bush-Hitler convinces many Lefties their "enemy rights" and "no diminishment of privacy for anyone" to find and connect dots, their argument, is stronger and more of a "winner" than it actually is. In truth, they are way out on a limb and will likely be blamed if their obstructionism hindered the ability of our government to find and connect the dots if another mass death of
Americans happens and the public determines it would have been preventable but for the efforts of the Left to deny us defenses.

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 19, 2006 06:09 PM

Chris Ford is Tommy Onetone when it comes to the Left. What a crackpot. : )

Posted by: ErrinF | May 19, 2006 08:05 PM

Chris Ford wrote:

". . . preventable but for the efforts of the Left to deny us defenses."

This is a good example of left-wing assumptions swallowed up by the right.

The fundamental problem is not insufficient defenses and a failure to connect all the trillions of dots captured by some NSA computer.

The problem is a lack of credible offense. Knock their block off. Decapitate the insanely ranting and hostile heads. Make the rubble bounce.

No more nice talk. You kill our people, send money to insurgents threatening or killing our people, export weapons components used against any American or Israel, export drugs to America, create insurrection outside your delineated bit of territory and harming us; then you have commmited a capital crime where we are judge, jury, and executioner.

Make this clear now, before the creeping contagion expands to weak-headed people in central and south America.

In real war, the issues are absolute and not relative. The present self-destructive fear fostered within our own system is fermenting as a result of the temporarily faulty political process. At some point we will have our clarifying Churchill in America. Then the real deal will be to go from retail to wholesale and make all those hostile to the existence of this exceptional country, situated between the oceans, think very carefully with each international move, and tremble with fear before they entertain any throw-back delusions that they will affect what America is about.

There has been procrastination to make a necessary and credible show of offense ever since Vietnam, an attitude exploited and mocked by our sworn enemies. Time passes. Soon some unlucky slob playing games against America will step forward to provoke the USA and thus allow the point to be made for all other annoying tinhats. Quadaffi was smart and intuitive enough to sense this and avoid the destructive outcome. Like England in WWII, we will reach out for allies, and enough sensible ones ought to emerge among those who want to survive and who will therefore seek to align with a winner. It would not be a surprise to include Muslim states amongst them.

Posted by: On the plantation | May 19, 2006 09:26 PM

Posted by: Chris Ford

"The weakness of the hated Bush-Hitler convinces many Lefties their "enemy rights" and "no diminishment of privacy for anyone" to find and connect dots, their argument, is stronger and more of a "winner" than it actually is. In truth, they are way out on a limb and will likely be blamed if their obstructionism hindered the ability of our government to find and connect the dots if another mass death of
Americans happens and the public determines it would have been preventable but for the efforts of the Left to deny us defenses. "

You're the one out on a limb dude, and your limb broke and you fell on your head! The weenie-conservative-right has controlled congress since 1994. And instead of trying to guide our government in the direction of catching terrorists, the weenie-conservative-right has gone after gays, abortion, cutting taxes for the rich, and who was playing with Bill Clinton's weenie.

Fordo, Bush wanting to know what soccer mom is calling what other soccer mom is not going to stop Terrorists. Getting the partisan weenie-conservative-right republican hacks out of our spy agencies will and replace them with non=partisan professionals. You know the ones I'm talking about? The ones that tell GWB only what he orders them to report.

Now Chris you know for a fact, we should have stayed out of Iraq and kept all our forces in Afghanistan to apprehend Osama. Yet you continue to play the old partisan politics blame game. Now tell me honestly, would you want me working for NSA and listening to every phone call you made, reading every email you sent, and reading of instant message you sent? Would you? Grow up Chris.

Posted by: Jamal | May 19, 2006 10:56 PM

without oversight,

any surveillance is bs, it is not for the country it's being done for whoever has a wild hair to do what they think will be cool....

how many have done a project with people that want to _try_ something that means that you'll never get done or the boss is going to fire everyone...

what is wrong with oversight?

the other thing is this:

encroachment is like a child molestor, checking to see if they're dealing with someone that is innocent and can't protect themselves vs dealing with someone that has parents that have taught them about not letting _perpatrators_ touch them in

bad places...


IN THE LAST 6 (ssix) years

to be _less_ sensitive to encroachment by perpatrators and predators.........

you have been desensitized to be taken advantage of....

where is the middle class?

being replaced by retail.

can you live on minimum wage?

why do we have minimum wage, why do we have child and labor laws?

because the ELITE _regularly_ gain control of the country and start making it all about them....

you want to get rid of the illegals without spending money?

arrest those that hire, arrest all congress people and people in the EXECUTIVE branch and Judicial branch that hire or consort with those that do...including their families.

take action to protect your country,

before it is sold to friends of this administration


and you are back in the peasant class...



Posted by: regarding surveillance... | May 19, 2006 11:31 PM

There is a cogwheel dissonance at work with the Right.

The Right assume we should be quarantined in our stupor as much as possible by a protectorate government from "enema combatants". To do that, they hold the following truths:

1. It is the government's right to keep us in the dark from people trying to dope us by "collecting the bits" so 9/11 can be replayed again and again...until we become convinced that noble savage Muslim peoples must be feared and their tactics emulated if we are truly to root out the causes of their murderous rage and we learn to live without our freedoms.

2. But it is right to snoop and profile and single out not just Muslims as potential target of error and collect "bits". Or try and connect those bits between radical liberals.

3. Nonetheless, the problem with collectively watching the whole population if we believe profiling is more effective than mass amnesty is that it does nothing for the precious bank accounts of non-terrorist loving US fat cats. So any effort to collect "bits" should be discouraged if only guilty non profitable "bits" will be collated. And efforts to synthesize those "bits" must be wrought at turns because only the protectorate govermental industrial complex can be trusted. No lawyers in robes can be mussted. They could be gay and butte crested. So no "bits" known to sink under "probable cause" and only those "bits" proven for synthesis by mutual of osama could be delivered to the Executor for intimidation.

Now - that's all nice - as long as it is deconstructed that Righty objective #1 is unprofitable with both Righty objective #2 and #3. If you wanna play, then you must pay. On K.

If objective #1 is unprofitable, the Right must end their honesty and choose both doping #2 and #3 or work out a hybrid payment of elements of those former associates. That cannot be delayed . Nor fristed away.

The strength of the loved Bush-Savior cons many Righties their "neighbor rights" and "no privacy for anyone" to amass and connect bits, their grand delusion, is working and more of a "binger" than it potentially was. In confession, they are way out on a limb and likely will be caught if their snooping into their neighbor's bedroom facilitated the enema to lose and drop the bits if another mass movement of illegal bits hops and the public determines it would have been preemptible but for the efforts of the Right to deny us our rights.

The committee for the right to be lefties sponsors this message. If it only makes noise to you that's because we have not collected enough "bits" and collated them neither Left nor Right.

Posted by: The committee for the right to be lefties | May 19, 2006 11:32 PM

are labels for the intellectually challenged...

can't understand what's going on?

pick a team and support it....

that way you don't have to prove that you don't know how to think....

anyone that can think knows you can't because you live

"by the label"

I wear (whatever they're wearing, intheHamptons),

I worship (deep thinkers, like Nietzche, though I've never read him)

I can't think for myself, but I know if I drink beer, live in georgetowne, have a place in kennebunkeport, or graduate from Santa Barbara....

that means _I'm somebody_ not that I'll ever really feel like that, but since I need approval

from other morons, I'll find out what the winning team is and support it...

because I'm stuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuupid...

I'll prove it by voting for George Bush because he's supporting family values like

homo phobia,

killing people from other countries that wear towels on their head,

beer drinking and barby ques....

and he loves gawd....that's why he sends people overseas to kill the ones that gawed doesnt' love....the

ALLAH WORSHIPERS....everyone with a brain knows that gawd is not called allah...

sounds like a girl...kill em...

left right conservative, I'm a simple soul just needt o be toold how to vooooote

thanks so much,

I live you!


Posted by: liberal and conservative | May 19, 2006 11:33 PM

enough to vote on issues,

so they need to join groups,

and since they don't have self esteem,

they need to say they _are_ (this)

I don't care about your (this)

it is an illusion.

speak to the truth, it's the only thing worth supporting

and it supports itself,

just like I kicked you fee t out from under you with a few simple sentences.

they are obvious facts.

ilike to kick dancing chickens...they make a meaty thud when my jackboot comes into contact with their white boontocks...

georgy porgie puddin and cheyney sitting in a tree...b u l l y n g

knock em down.


Posted by: some people are not smart | May 19, 2006 11:36 PM

legitimizing an occupation,

is that,

you can put make-up on it, sing songs about it.

but we are in Iraq because it makes sense to some people with oil stock...

it has nothing to do with democracy,

it has nothing to do with womens rights,

and it has nothing to do with honesty...

anyone, condo lizzard,

who is willing to give themselves away to support that deserves to be called a brownnoser...

do you understand?

I am a citizen, not a liberal, an anti-war, a right wing or a friggin republican or democrat...

if you valued honesty you'd lose the labels...

. . .
look. .

Posted by: look, regardin g condo sleezi.... | May 19, 2006 11:39 PM

mixing things up...

I'm the decider,

you're the reciever...

and it's about enemae time for you....



Posted by: you're | May 19, 2006 11:53 PM

I'm the decider,

that makes you
the decidees.




then you


in youer


rightist mind

Posted by: the deciderdee | May 20, 2006 12:20 AM

It will be a fascinating subject, if not tragic, for future historians to record and make their judgment about the legal musings of some intellectuals, pundits, and politicians, when America, and the West in general, were under a mortal threat, whether the monitoring of the "ringing" spying phones, were legal or not.

In our contemporaneous times, when lightning speed crucially determines so many areas of our life, especially in war against phantom enemies, to adopt primarily, all in the name of freedom from spooks, but at the expense of life, the involved, slow, and litigiously argumentative legal process before one could fight global terror, is the apex of absurdity.

As to Bobby Inman's dispute that "Congress authorized the secret spy program when it authorized the president to use force following Sept.11", is itself not only highly disputable, but also highly illogical. That Congress would authorize the President to go to war, without giving him at the same time effective means to fight the enemy in all fields of battle, including the spying field, is beyond credulity. And if Congress did not give him this authority, then its dereliction of duty had somehow to be corrected by the President.

Yet it's by such absurdities that the critics of the Bush administration are making their case.

Posted by: Kotzabasis | May 20, 2006 08:37 AM

Yeah yeah yeah. Scare us some more Furd, Krove, and Kotza. Phantom enemies is exacly right. Phantom. Nineteen nutcases and two guys hiding in cave five years later and you still want to turn our society upside down. Just throw away more than two hundred years of our way of life?

Eleven million illegal foreigners here they cannot account for and cannot send home because "it's impractical". No can do! Can't be helped. They here to stay. And you want to know whom the rest of us all called last night so you can by some off chance catch some phantoms? Sorry that dog don't hunt. Not any more. Seventy one percent of Americans say so.

In case you don't know, that somehow it's beyond your level of education. The fourth amendment is not something even Congress can give away. It would take two third of them plus three fourths of all fifty states to do so. The US Constitution says so mate.

Posted by: Phantom of the Ronght | May 20, 2006 10:42 AM

pertinent ni the sense that you understand what effect it is you're trying to have...

a mynah bird can mimic, but not doesn't make them human...

exa mine

Posted by: having an effect is | May 20, 2006 10:44 AM

the invasion of Iraq,

was an invasion.

we are not there to fight terrorism, we are there to control a resource.

the result of us being there is the legitimazation of the mindset that the western governments are imperialistic in nature....and ruthless, and a lying pack of selfish bastids'

that are willing to spend the lives of their citizens and those that don't look like them in order to corner the futures market on oil

when simply deciding to find an alternative fuel source would have been most effective


they were concerned that a bunch of arabic primitives would use "all that money" to create a different world than the one they envisioned...

simply having a more effective alternative source of fueling civilization is the correct response....


ala the Hunt Brothers and silver, they are also from Texas, along with the murderers of John Kennedy........quite a mystery eh?!

I don't think so,

1 + 1 ='s two do the math.


Posted by: the absurdity is this... | May 20, 2006 10:53 AM

Look furd enema combatants, enema combatants on the loosed phone.

Quick call the dot connectors. Lock and load. Wait. The computer is down. Boot and load. Boot and load.

Posted by: Enemy You! | May 20, 2006 11:10 AM

I admired what those crafty varlets the hunts did in the 70's that drove silver from $5 an ounce to $40 dollars within six months...

you could make some money by controlling a scarec resourec...hay know?


Posted by: my name is george... | May 20, 2006 11:11 AM

I can smell pork cooking from here.


Posted by: you are so sweet, | May 20, 2006 11:12 AM

Ensign Furd: Ayre torpedo in the water! Enema torpedo in the waters!

Commodore Kotza: Stop. Trim sails. Full speed aback.

Ensign Furd: There is more to fear than fear itself.

Commodore Kotza: You scare 'em. And I rob 'em.

Ensign Ford: Thare more oil where we hide them.

Commodore Kotza: Off to see the emir we go.

Ensign Furd: To Dubai! To Dubai! Ho!

Commodore Kotza: Ho in Dubai? That you got to show.

Posted by: Enema in the water! | May 20, 2006 11:19 AM

Congress did not authorize the President to "go to war" (not that they can delegate such a plenary power to begin with), nor did Congress declare war. It authorized the use of military force. From our earliest cases, decided by justices who were members of the Constitutional Convention, the Supreme Court has held that Congress has the authority to authorize the use of force without declaring war; but, the authorization to use force does not entail all the war powers, without an express declaration of war. Not only was that a recognition that international law (contrary to the pretensions of Scalia and the neo-know-nothings, they quoted Grotius, in the original Latin)itself recognizes the use of force short of war, but as a matter of constitutional principles, that there may be situations where Congress would want to authorize the executive to use force without ceding all the war powers. Ergo, whatever the extent of presidential war powers may be, they cannot be constitutionally invoked for the current unpleasantness.

Even the Bush Administration recognizes that they are not at war: For economic sanctions against Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and related terrorists, they do not cite the Trading With the Enemy Act, but rather the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. It is a legal admission that we are not, constitutionally, at war.

Posted by: Mike Deal | May 20, 2006 01:45 PM

Mike Deal wrote:

" . . . they do not cite the Trading With the Enemy Act, but rather the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. It is a legal admission that we are not, constitutionally, at war."

Sounds interesting. Could you please elaborate some for the layman?

Posted by: On the plantation | May 20, 2006 03:29 PM

Mike Deal - "but, the authorization to use force does not entail all the war powers, without an express declaration of war."

I'm afraid that is purely anal-retentive hair splitting.

A Vietnam War Vet is not a "real Vet" from a "real war"?

What happened is our archaic language contained within the Constitution in many cases has not caught up to modern realities. Letters of Marque, for example, were agreed to be banned by all nations back in 1837 - part of the Royal Navy's anti-slavery effort and regularizing laws of sea. The US signed it. IT's still in the Constitution because our Congress is lazy and our Amendment process time consuming and cumbersome unless 9 lawyers in robes "magically" revise it.

The last formally declared war was June 1945, Soviet Union declaring war on Japan. Since then, the UN bars "formally declaring war".

Given the same anal retentive libertarians and Lefties that see "all war is hereby rendered illegal" from our UN membership coupled with the obsolete phrases of the Constitution, some argued that we were indeed barred legally from defending ourselves by going after Islamoids in Afghanistan without "full UN permission", and then only as a "peacekeeping operation".

Which is drivel.

Same applies to other laws that still do not recognize that "formal declarations of war" are now diplomatically banned. Though Trading With the Enemy Act is not one of them. That is what the wealthy Mark Rich and Pincus Green were charged with after aiding Iran, and spending 12 years on the lam in Israel and Switzerland for. The problem with the Trading With the Enemy Act is that it was written by lawyers and approved by lawyers in robes ONLY to apply to NATIONS, NOT EXTRA-NATIONAL ISALAMOIDS. And written that way because the old reality of the Founders only recognized that nations or pirates would seek to kill Americans. Your interpretation, Mike Deal, that we subordinated prosecution of enemy sympathizers to the Imperial President's emergency powers is also wrong. We have nailed enemy agents here under criminal conspiracy statutes instead.

Though in my opinion, they all should, agents and traitors of the enemy Islamoid alike, be tried in front of a military tribunal and shot.

It's just that 9/11 was simply not enough butchery to convince enemy rights lovers an actual war is underway. More Americans must die before that reality sinks in. Preferably in heavily liberal city, if it must happen as a reality lesson.

Posted by: Chris Ford | May 20, 2006 10:11 PM

Hey "The committee for the right to be lefties" - Thanks, I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.

Posted by: DK | May 20, 2006 10:53 PM

This is way off topic, and I'm going to pull a bit of a che. Haven't been on-line lately, but when I started doing the blog round up tonight, I found this at the Jesus General site (Chris Ford, I know how left that site is, so don't bother pulling out that straw man). Jesus General referenced MSNBC.

Q: Is the following story true?

If so, then:

1. Why has there been no prominent coverage of this on the front page, or for that matter, by the media in general?

2. Do we still have the right to call anyone else, and I mean anyone else, terrorists?

3. Do you have kids? Brothers? Sisters? Parents? Grandparents?

4. Have you ever fed an infant?

5. Have you ever seen a dead person?

6. Have you ever seen a dead person who had died of grievous injuries?

7. Have you ever seen a dead person who had died of grievous injuries sustained as a result of an attack by another person?

8. Someone please explain (not with lies or excuses) why we are doing this (the war)?

9. Do Christians really understand the teachings of their savior, Jesus Christ, or is it all just political hipocrisy?

10. If Lot, the biblical character, was alive today, and he was an American, would he be able to find one good, honest man? Does telling the truth count for anything anymore?

This is enough to make me puke - and I'm a full grown, world-wise, world-worn man.

The article:

On Wednesday, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said the accounts are true.

Military officials told NBC News that the Marine Corps' own evidence appears to show Murtha is right.

A videotape taken by an Iraqi showed the aftermath of the alleged attack: a blood-smeared bedroom floor and bits of what appear to be human flesh and bullet holes on the walls.

The video, obtained by Time magazine, was broadcast a day after town residents told The Associated Press that American troops entered homes on Nov. 19 and shot dead 15 members of two families, including a 3-year-old girl, after a roadside bomb killed a U.S. Marine.

On Nov. 20, U.S. Marines spokesman Capt. Jeffrey Pool issued a statement saying that on the previous day a roadside bomb had killed 15 civilians and a Marine. In a later gunbattle, U.S. and Iraqi troops killed eight insurgents, he said.

U.S. military officials later confirmed that the version of events was wrong.

Murtha, a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq, said at a news conference Wednesday that sources within the military have told him that an internal investigation will show that "there was no firefight, there was no IED (improvised explosive device) that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."

Military officials say Marine Corp photos taken immediately after the incident show many of the victims were shot at close range, in the head and chest, execution-style. One photo shows a mother and young child bent over on the floor as if in prayer, shot dead, said the officials, who spoke to NBC News on condition of anonymity because the investigation hasn't been completed.

One military official says it appears the civilians were deliberately killed by the Marines, who were outraged at the death of their fellow Marine.

"This one is ugly," one official told NBC News.

Three Marine officers -- commanders in Haditha -- have been relieved of duty, and at least 12 Marines in all are under investigation for what would be the worst single incident involving the deliberate killing of civilians by U.S. military in Iraq.

Posted by: smafdy | May 20, 2006 10:56 PM

The rest of the article (sorry for the botched cut and paste):

Ali, 76, whose left leg was amputated years ago because of diabetes, died after being shot in the stomach and chest. His wife, Khamisa, 66, was shot in the back. Ali's son, Jahid, 43, was hit in the head and chest. Son Walid, 37, was burned to death after a grenade was thrown into his room, and a third son, 28-year-old Rashid, died after he was shot in the head and chest, Rsayef and Hamza said.

Also among the dead were son Walid's wife, Asma, 32, who was shot in the head, and their son Abdullah, 4, who was shot in the chest, Rsayef and Hamza said.

Walid's 8-year-old daughter, Iman, and his 6-year-old son, Abdul-Rahman, were wounded and U.S. troops took them to Baghdad for treatment. The only person who escaped unharmed was Walid's 5-month-old daughter, Asia. The three children now live with their maternal grandparents, Rsayef and Hamza said.

Rsayef said those killed in the second house were his brother Younis, 43, who was shot in the stomach and chest, the brother's wife Aida, 40, who was shot in the neck and chest while still in bed where she was recuperating from bladder surgery. Their 8-year-old son Mohammed bled to death after being shot in the right arm, Rsayef said.

Also killed were Younis's daughters, Nour, 14, who was shot in the head; Seba, 10, who was hit in the chest; Zeinab, 5, shot in the chest and stomach; and Aisha, 3, who was shot in the chest. Hoda Yassin, a visiting relative, was also killed, Rsayef and Hamza said.

The only survivor from Younis's family was his 15-year-old daughter Safa, who pretended she was dead. She is living with her grandparents, Rsayef said.


Kina breaks you heart doesn't it?

Posted by: smafdy | May 20, 2006 11:01 PM

That last part was attributed to Fox.

Posted by: smafdy | May 20, 2006 11:53 PM

there is no war,

there is an occupation of prime realestate...

the worlds second largest oil reserves...

raht next door to Saudi, Kuwiat, UAE, Afghanista/CaspianSeaRussia, and other oil rich nations....

sounds like an economic control to me...

so Jesus says:

Mike Deal wrote:

" . . . they do not cite the Trading With the Enemy Act, but rather the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. It is a legal admission that we are not, constitutionally, at war."

Sounds interesting. Could you please elaborate some for the layman?

Posted by: the real deal says... | May 21, 2006 12:52 AM

Mike Deal

A nation of shopkeepers sells its goods at the lowest price. A nation, inundated with second rate lawyers, such as America, sells its legal musings at the lowest price, since there are no too many buyers for shoddy out of date legal interpretations, which you obviously render.

I'm no lawyer, but I think Chris Ford's intellectually deep and robust retort to your argument, has put so many holes in the sails of your legal interpretations that the only port that you could find for your disabled boat, is a "port of inanities".

It's amusing furthermore, that you imply that the attacks on 9/11 were rather random and without continuity, since you dub them as "current unpleasantness", which constitutionally could not invoke "presidential war powers".

Posted by: congeorgekotzabasis | May 21, 2006 02:18 AM

I'm no lawyer, but I mink Christo Furd's bowelly deep and robust tort movement has put so many moles in the tails of your entanglement that the only court that you could mine for your floating moat, is a court of hanities.

Posted by: I'm so desperate i toot my own blog | May 21, 2006 08:12 AM

Section 2. The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.

The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.

Section 3. He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.

Posted by: Presidential powers | May 21, 2006 08:26 AM

Section 8. The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;

To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;

To establish post offices and post roads;

To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;

To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;

To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;

To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

To provide and maintain a navy;

To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;--And

To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

Posted by: Congressional powers | May 21, 2006 08:32 AM

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Posted by: The People's powers | May 21, 2006 08:38 AM

Now where in the Constitution are "presidential war powers", except the commander in chief part, mentioned?

Posted by: Tell me Furd! | May 21, 2006 08:41 AM

Did no one else listening to the hearings for Gen'l Hayden last week find interesting his reference to domestic spying that had foiled terrorist attacks in the U. S.? I did.

Most interesting in the references were the inferences that a) unpublicized attacks had been stopped and that b) the "action" of U. S. agencies (forces, whatevers) had used information gleaned from these "unconfirmed" intelligence activities to do so. Is this reality or "believe it because I say it"?

Posted by: Jazzman | May 21, 2006 11:43 AM

Interesting set of articles linked in your opening discussion Emily.

I found the one by Morrissey in the New York Post compelling as far as the utility of the database and yes I do believe NSA has the technology to sift through all the noise and find needles in haystacks. The key, though, is to have some target numbers to begin with.

What I am curious about is how NSA is keeping this database up to date. So many of these articles make it sound like NSA went to the phone companies and persuaded them to hand over a massive chunk of data composed of all dialed numbers. But this doesn't make sense! That database would be a log of dialed numbers from the time of data transfer back to the start time asked for by NSA.

It seems to me that in order for this to be an effective tool, there needs to be a constant updating of the database. If that is so, the cooperation between NSA and the phone companies would have to be at a different level. NSA would have to be constantly monitoring all dialed numbers and constantly feeding the database. Its not clear if that is happening or not. If not, when did the data transfer take place 2002? Supposedly that is when the program was initiated. Then that database would have a lot less utility now than it did back in 2002 and 2003.

The next thing that is unclear is the seeming contradiction between the Communications law (I can't find the link just now, I'll try to get it later) I have seen referenced in a few articles that says the phone companies were required to ask for a warrant before handing out customer phone call data and the Smith v. MD ruling. Maybe some of the more legal saavy debaters could clear that up for me.

Lastly, the lack of oversight is appalling. This is the primary problem with all of this and a theme that runs through much of what this administration does. Senators during the Hayden confirmation hearing were saying that they should have been informed of the program 5 years ago. The problem of Congressional oversight of secret programs has been handled in the past - why not in this instance? Same thing with requiring warrants. The purpose with requiring the warrants is to ensure that the capabilities are being used for the correct purposes. The problem of getting a warrant for a clandestine operation has been addressed through FISA with a provision for getting the warrant 72 hours after the fact. If the law needs to be revised why doesn't the Bush admin approach Congress, lay out their case for revision, and work with Congress to get it done. If they're afraid that Congress (a republican controlled Congress that has spent much of the last 5 years acting as a rubber stamp for this administration) won't work with them to revise the law, it makes me very suspicious about what they're trying to do. It seems to me that they want the freedom to take whatever measures that are necessary at the spur of the moment to protect the country, and revising laws would only change restrictions that they might have to circumvent later anyway. There is a very short-sighted logic to that approach that is probably effective for heading off terrorist attacks regardless of the everchanging tactics that the terrorists use, but it leaves the country vulnerable to abuse of our capabilities by whomever is in power.

So the problem with the BA approach is the following:

1) that in order to feel comfortable now you have to be willing to put full blind trust in all the BA officials.

2) the potential precedent that is being set can erode our system of checks and balences for years to come or perhaps forever if SCOTUS eventually hears a challenge to any of these BA policies and upholds them.

If and when these approaches used by the Bush administration are challenged in the SCOTUS it is crucial that the Court find the policies unconstitutional. If they don't we're in for a fundamental change in the nature of the United States of America. Our very identity as a nation will be altered. The concepts embedded in all of us from the time we were schoolkids learning about our country for the first time will no longer be consistent with reality, and our Judiciary, the last line of defense for the constitution and the Bill of Rights, will have failed us all.

In one of Chris Ford's diatribes earlier in this topic, he talked about the "lefty disconnect" of expecting total protection without giving up and civil rights. While I'm not sure exactly who those lefties are, but I think we do need to acknowledge his point. My difference with him is that I'm ready to say enough circumvention by the Bushies in the name of protection and if that leaves us somewhat more vulnerable than we would be without the checks in place, then so be it.

I say that in consideration of all the indications that we had prior to 9/11 of an attack coming.Before the Patriot Act, before warrantless wiretapping, Dept. of Homeland Security, an NSA database of all phone calls made, secret prisons, and prisoner torture, we had the information needed and it was being reported. It was just that at the time we weren't prioritizing and sharing information properly at the analysis or the decision making level. I believe we can attain an acceptable level of safety while still maintaining oversight of the executive branch and holding the executive branch accountable to laws designed to facilitate that oversight. If I am wrong and I was ever in a position to face the families of loved ones that had been killed as the result of a successful attack it would be with a heavy heart and a terrible feeling of failure. I think the least of my worries at that moment would whether or not I would be voted out of office. We'll all be better off if we all realize that none of us is indispensible.

This is the level of risk we all have to be willing to accept if we want to hold to our national values.

Posted by: DK | May 21, 2006 11:56 AM

We all need to accept the risk of failure and the supremacy of the rule of law. If we fail within the bounds of the law we have to accept the consequences. This goes for ourselves as well as the leaders that we vote for and support. We have to acknowledge the rule of law over all those things. Our patriotism must be based on that first. If changes are needed there is a process for implementing change and we should look to that process first instead of trying to circumvent the law to ensure our "success" or the "success" of our leaders.

Posted by: DK | May 21, 2006 01:15 PM

Calling me an anal retentive hairsplitter is flattering, but I can't but notice that while you criticize "nine lawyers" for supposedly substituting their judgment for law, you happily do the same thing.
I have not suggested that the President does not have war powers; only that there is a difference between authorizing the use of military force and a declaration of war, and that there are often good reasons for making that distinction. If the Congress really wants to give Boy George the full panoply of war powers, they may do so by simple majority vote. But the fact is that they have consciously chosen the lesser degree of authority.
Throughout its history, the US has made that distinction when the international circumstances called for it.

While it is true that we have agreed by treaty to no longer issue letters of marque and reprisal, that is a matter of treaty, not a constitutional amendment, and can be abrogated by a simple act of Congress (and, given rules enforced by prize courts) might actually be a valuable addition to preventing illegal drug and immigrant smuggling).

In fact, you describe an alternate history worthy of Harry Turtledove, but which issimilar to but not descriptive of our real history. Which is, in your words, "drivel":

Nothing in the UN Charter prohibits member states from declaring war. Indeed, the Geneva Conventions of 1949, which postdate the Charter, suggest otherwise. What Article 2 of the Charter prevents is the first use of force. The Charter explicitly recognizes the inherent right of self-defense, and imposes no limits on declaring war in self-defense. Thus, a war against Al Qaeda and other terrorists in consequence of an actual or immediately impending attack is completely consistent with modern international law.

Likewise, you assertion that Mark Rich was charged under the Trading With the Eneemy Act is simply wrong. He was charged with tax evasion and violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the same law used against Al Qaeda, the Taliban, assorted designated international terrorists, narco-terrorists and "drug kingins", and a variety of non-state actors. The Iran hostage crisis was its first use. The operative language of IEEPA is almost exactly the same as Sec. 5(b) of the Trading With the Enemy Act. Neither makes a distinction between state or non-state actors; rather, IEEPA differs from TWEA in that it prohibits controls or regulations on mail and communications of information and does not authorize the vesting of title in frozen assets. Two rather important areas.

War against non-state actors is not unknown in American experience. Our first foreign war was against the Barbary Pirates. Later we fought against Islamic groups in the Phillippines.

Nothing in what I wrote suggested that I support enemies' rights. (For the avoidance of doubt, my reference to "unpleasantness" was an allusion to the euphemism that Southerners of my age would use for the War of Northern Aggression when in the presence of Yankees and other foreigners) Rather, I'm concerned with the rights of citizens. 9/11 was more than "enough butchery to convince" me "that an actual war is underway".
Unfortunately, for its own reasons, the Bush Administration has chosen not to prosecute the actual perpetrators like a real war, but are all too ready to invoke 9/11 for surveilling and suppressing fellow citizens, especially those who call attention to their incompetence. We've never had more than the equivalent of a reinforced division in Afghanistan, and the Bushies refused to airdrop a Ranger battalion when the CIA task force commander requested it in order to close off the retreat of Usama and his cadre. The Bush Administration continues to give Pakistan a free pass for only token assistance even though the Paki ISS played fairy godfather to the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Posted by: Mike Deal | May 21, 2006 02:42 PM

Former NSA staffer Russell Tice will testify to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week that not only do employees at the agency believe the activities they are being asked to perform are unlawful, but that what has been disclosed so far is only the tip of the iceberg. He says former NSA head Gen. Michael Hayden, Bush's nominee to be the next CIA Director, oversaw more illegal activity that has yet to be disclosed. Tice will tell the NSA conducted illegal and unconstitutional surveillance of US citizens while he was there with the knowledge of Hayden. We suspect he'll go into the Echelon program, which is a massive system designed to intercept virtually all electronic communications throughout the world. Phone calls, fax traffic and e-mails are analyzed despite laws in every country banning such activity, including the US. The system was developed in 1947, and was taken over by the NSA in 1953. The operations at Fort Meade worked from Menwith Hill in England. It was used during the Cold War era to keep an eye on the Soviet Union. We also had stations for all kinds of electronic intercepts throughout the world, we know we were there and we were involved in it. We can only remember of two instances in which we were aware of spying on others than the Soviet Union and its satellites - once on our own field units and other times on British and French aircraft.

Echelon was designed primarily for non-military targets: governments, organizations, and business in every country. It can also be considered industrial espionage. The analysis was based on key works like money, stocks, drugs, etc. We did not work on Echelon but we knew all about it. Echelon concentrated on foreign nations up until 1985 and it then started monitoring Americans.

As we all now know, tens of millions of phone calls by US citizens and others in the US have been monitored by the government since 2001. The phone companies now must answer for this invasion of privacy and explain their willingness to violate the Constitutional protections of the Fourth Amendment, in addition to violating provisions of the 1978 law governing spying on US citizens. The bottom line is our government is at war with its citizens and we have our own government as our enemy. The corporate fascist interests that run our country want to establish unilateral control over everyone and everything, and if you expose the truth about what they are doing you are the enemy. We are the victims of state terrorism.

Posted by: che | May 21, 2006 02:43 PM

From McYellowcakeland and foreign headquarters of Halliburton, we who are on the depletion slope of the petroleum curve salute you.

Does it not seem obvious that NSA trawlers must also fish through the waters of opposition to the Bush Administration? Why not Congress, the Senate, lawmakers and leadership at every level? Why stop at the media?

Can it be that any Administration is just a facade for something or somone else? Who pray is the singer and who the song?

Posted by: Chris Shaw, Australia | May 21, 2006 05:46 PM

I found the excerpt from a news story I mentioned earlier:

"Still, a Democratic commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) called for the agency to investigate whether BellSouth and the two largest U.S. telephone companies broke the law by reportedly disclosing consumers' calling records to the NSA.

"The FCC should initiate an inquiry into whether the phone companies' involvement violated Section 222 or any other provisions of the Communications Act," said FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, one of two Democrats on the five-member FCC.

Section 222 of the 1934 Communications Act requires telecommunications carriers to protect the confidentiality of certain consumer call information, "except as required by law" or when the customer approves its release.

I suppose the "as required by law" provision is where Smith v. MD fits in, but maybe I'll look into it more closely.

Posted by: DK | May 21, 2006 11:22 PM

Mike Deal

Your noetic levity and lack of logic is astonishing. You are an avatar of contradictions.

Now you are saying, about the greatest danger that America is facing in its history, post 9/11, that you described this danger in the form of a "EUPHEMISM", "unpleasantnes". While you concede at the same time that "9/11 was more than 'enough butchery to convince' me that an actual war is underway". And in YOUR "real war" you would not actually place the most necessary and effective surveillance upon a most dangerous fifth-column of terrorists who are deeply ensconced within America.

Moreover, with the typical legerdemain of a lawyer's chicanery, you turn this surveillance of the fifth- columnists, into an instrument of suppression against the critics of the Bush administration.

With such credentials as the above, you would make KITZSCH out of a strategy of against global terror. And a very poor and weak commander-in-chief to boot.

Posted by: congeorgekotzabasis | May 22, 2006 12:49 AM

Why is it that those that complain the most about the "left" wanting the government to protect them, scream the loudest about letting the government do whatever they want to "protect us"?

I think the "Right" feels they have much more to lose and therefore are so scared that they will willingly give up their individual rights to ensure the status quo.

The funny thing is, those that "scream" the loudest don't seem to understand that it's the PEOPLE of this country that protect us, NOT the government. It takes dedicated police, military, intel and other personnel to protect us; funny, the screamers never seem to be any of these. It takes an INFORMED citizenry to understand the complexities of our situation and to DEMAND APPROPRIATE action from our Government.

Ford et al suffer from the delusion that there is an ABSOLUTE right way and they know what it is. Well, we've suffered through 6 years of governing by ABSOLUTE belief and we have this mess to show for it.

I guess it will ALWAYS be SOMEONE ELSE'S fault.'s called a mirror.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 22, 2006 09:55 AM

Am I the only one out here who thinks that this NSC data collection plan is yet another Bush screwup operation that gives the public the appearance of motion when in fact nothing of substance is being accomplished.

If I understand correctly, this plan has been in operation now since Sep 12, 2001. How many substantive arrests of terrorists have been made on the basis of any information collected arising out of this program? Why was our information so shoddy, so lousy and so completely bogus in the runup to the Iraq war? One would have thought that at least on communique involving Sadaam's deceptions on WMD would have been uncovered in the light of such a massive data collection effort.

How was it in the face of such massive data collection, the administration failed to detect the true nature of the bogus Italian intelligence on Sadaam's alleged purchases of nuclear material, which led to the President of the United States disgracing himself by putting a lie into the SOU Address?

Any one of you Bush supporters out there is welcome to explain to me the value of a data collection effort that has failed so massively since its inception one day after the attack on 9-11, 2001. If this program is working as billed, where are the fruits of that success? Why have we not captured Bin Laden? Why is Zarkawi still at large and killing Americans and innocent men, women and children in Iraq? What is the value of a surveillance program that has yielded so little success?

Posted by: Jaxas | May 22, 2006 10:03 AM


There is no doubt that Al Qaeda and the other jihadists are a threat, not just in terms of individual acts of terrorism, but in the potential disruption to a significant portion of the world oil supply, for which there is no short term replacement. But to call them the greatest threat in our history is either incredible hyperbole, or a lack of appreciation for our history. The real Axis powers were far more of a threat, as was the Soviet Empire. Earlier in our history, The Great Powers of Europe were all far more of a threat, as the War of 1812 proved.

Although you think of the world in bi-polar terms, left vs. right, the reality is that not all criticisms of this Administration originate from a single axis political dimension of left or right. E.g., many in the Army are disenchanted with Bush the poser. To despise Bush is not to favor the jihadists. (Not that the Pelosi-Reid crew is up to it, but there are alternatives in both parties).

In any event, the point is that the Bush Administration has not fully mobilized the nation for war against the jihadists, but is simply using 9/11 as an excuse for certain policies, programs and activities where it suits their agenda. Instead of mobilizing the nation for a real war against those who perpetrated 9/11 and their affiliates, allies, and fellow travellers, we were given tax cuts and told to go shopping while the "professionals" would take care of us. In other words, rather than rallying the country and going after the evil-doers with our full might, the administration sent an undermanned expeditionary force farmed out most of the war and then went back to its original agenda.

Posted by: Mike Deal | May 22, 2006 11:30 AM

" the public the appearance of motion when in fact nothing of substance is being accomplished."

Jaxas, I would agree with you but I have decided to stop thinking since certain people (ie, C.F.) are all to happy to TELL me what I am thinking.

(I had no idea I was clamoring for the Admin. to "connect the dots," to keep me safe. I thought that as an adult I had accepted the fact that there is no way to be safe, ever. Even if every terrorist on the planet could be rounded up, there are still random maniacs with guns, pollution, disease, people driving SUVs while chatting on their cell phones and on and on.)

Anyhoo, I also think (or I would think if I needed to bother) the desire to appear to be doing something certainly does explain why the White House will admit, when confronted, that it has been playing around with phone and Internet communications (always with the caveat that it is to stop A.Q. terrorists). Not only does it distract people from that war that does not seem to be ending any time soon, it looks good (if you are willing to ignore some of the legal issues). "Hey, we've got all of these fancy computers and they are doing SOMETHING to PROTECT you and catch bad guys," sounds a lot better than "Look folks, if a group or an individual is determined to harm a lot of you all at once, some one will eventually succeed."

The former might give us warm fuzzies but the latter is more realistic.

Posted by: What, me worry? | May 22, 2006 11:35 AM

Jaxas & Afghan Vet,

I'd like to throw my 2 cents in also. It seems we think along the same line consistantly so. Vietnam was not ever a declared war, just like Korea, Or this little thing we are in now. I don't remember congress ever issueing a Declaration of war. I only remember them issueing a use of military force should it be deemed necessary. Therefore the idiots in the whitehouse and their so-called justice department lawyers have a great deal of explaining to do when the use the arguement that the use of force constitutes a declaration of war.

What also bothers me is that no one has bothered to mention this as far as our elected officials, so-called legal scholars, even the media. Because anyone who has opposed this administration and its bunch of neo-con flunkies led by Cheney and Rove have been labled weak on defense of this country. With the republican held congress just rubber stamping anything Bush and his administration seemingly wants to do is totally rediculous. I really want to know if anyone in congress has a backbone? There should be hearings for all members of this administration, members of the Senate and the House for violating the Constitution of the United States and the laws governing the freedoms that they broke. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzalles, and the rest of the DOD both military and civilian need to be brought up on war crimes they brought about because of lying to the American public about Iraq and any crimes commited while we are in Iraq. Anyone who uses fear mongering should be brought up on charges also. I still can't believe that there are still people that beleive that Saddam and Bin Laden had a link between them, and Bush said that he never said that they did, or did he ever mean to imply they did, in an interview a few weeks ago.

I really think it's time that Americans clean house literally. Start with the House of Representives, next the Senate & the White House. It's time the people we elect start doing for the people who elected them for office and not their favorite charity, THEMSELVES!!!!!

Posted by: Lab Rat | May 22, 2006 11:43 AM

"I'm ready to say enough circumvention by the Bushies in the name of protection and if that leaves us somewhat more vulnerable than we would be without the checks in place, then so be it."

Thank you DK. Its time the "righty false-connect" got some attention, instead of our just rolling over while they put words in our mouths and teach their sheepul what they want them to think we think.

For five years after 9-11 we left the barn door open, essentially unrestricted border access over thousands of miles with both Mexico and Canada. For God's sake, there are places crossing to Canada where the crossing is "honor system".

For five years our ports have been left with merely a weak illusion of security. Since 9-11 ABC smuggled enough spent uranium into the country to make a dirty bomb - twice. The second time they were threatened with prison if they tried it again.

A pre-911 panel said the biggest threat to our national security was loose HEU in the former USSR. But until 9-11 Bush cut funding to secure it, then after 9-11 restored (but did not increase) the funding, then after we invaded Iraq pissed off the other G8 nations he recruited to help us with the bill so they reneged on their pledges. Now the USSR won't even let us at all of it so the budget has been cut back again since we can't spend it. There have been 18 episodes where it has been found, but we don't know how many thefts there have been.

And, finally, we built al Qaeda a terrorist generating machine of epic proportions, spewing out new terrorists faster than we can kill them.

Yes, I expected my government to protect me. I don't believe they are. And I'm not willing to look past open borders, open ports, failure to secure nuclear material and creating a rising tide of new terrorists in order to turn over my civil rights to a nascent Christian Taliban. They want the appearance of protecting me when what they really want is unquestioned power.

I think what bothers me the most is that the terrorists know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and the Taliban must be feeling very flattered by the rise of the imposition of Christian fundamentalism and the erosion of civil rights in this country. We are starting to look just like them.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | May 22, 2006 12:11 PM

Zack Exley

Message for '08 Dems: Only cowards think we're at war

Ever since 9/11, whenever Dems try to stand up for the Constitution, protect our civil liberties, or dissent in any way, what do Republicans say? "We're at war!"

And fearing some won't understand the stakes of war, people like Senator Pat Roberts spell it out: "You don't have civil liberties when you're dead."

Democratic instincts tend to generate the following automatic response: "Even in wartime, we have to protect our civil liberties!" Very bad instincts. Because, if America really were at war, then it would of course make sense to temporarily sacrifice some liberties -- as well as other things, like tax cuts for the wealthy and good relations with Saudi monarchies.

Our soldiers are at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. And our intelligence forces are at war against terrorist groups around the world, in battles we only hear about when CIA spouses criticize the White House. And it's impossible to overstate the sacrifice they and their families are making.

But America is not under attack by an enemy force of any significance. We got sucker punched by 19 maniacs with box cutters. Republicans want us to run scared because of that for the rest of our lives. But the thing about a sucker punch is that you can't protect yourself against it. Any idiot can take the breath out of you, no matter how tough you are. But only cowards -- actually I think "scaredy cat" is more appropriate here -- live their lives worrying about such things. Of course you've got to do your best to stay alert -- in this context that means port, air and many other types of security. But freaking out and becoming paranoid leaves you more vulnerable, not more protected.

The American people are not cowards. They are not the ones behind this prolonged state of panic. Americans are prepared to walk tall and fearlessly even with the possibility of another attack, even though we know it could kill thousands -- because we know that America is not in danger. We live happily with many extremely-unlikely dangers in our lives, and we reject the idea that America should degrade its democracy just because some tiny extremist groups have added themselves to the list. (They are so far down that list, in fact, that you are 390 times less likely to die in a terrorist attack than in an auto accident.)

Add up all the little bands of anti-American terrorists. They can't invade America. Or any of our allies for that matter. Or anyone. They can't hurt our economy -- unless cowards in government let them. The only thing they can do is try to get in another suck punch sometime. And yeah, it will hurt. But our country, our traditions, our future have nothing to fear.

In the face of our natural American courage, some Republicans will try anything to make individuals focus on the chance of becoming victims. RNC direct mail in 2004 used pictures of children in the Breslan massacre and other scenes of terrorism. The "threat level" program tried to make the infinitesimal chance of being harmed by a terrorist feel inevitable. And many Republicans use fear in their words and speeches everyday: "The terrorists want to kill you! The terrorists want to kill you! The terrorists want to kill you!" (So do a lot of people. But they can't. So stop obsessing!)

Thinking about yourself as the potential victim of an attack is scary. "What if it's the skyscraper I work in next time?" Some of my friends who work in New York towers were fearful for a moment after 9/11. But they sucked it up and forced themselves to think rationally about how tiny the risk actually was.

In other words, they were brave. They didn't quit their skyscraper jobs. They got on with their lives. Anything less would have given those insignificant terrorists who sucker punched us way more power than they deserved -- it would have been cowardly, though it doesn't sound nice to say that. What would have happened to them if they had never pulled themselves together? Maybe they would've been sent off to therapy by their bosses, and coached to think about the risks realistically.

So should we send hysterical, terror-obsessed Republican leaders into therapy? If their fear were sincere, then: yes. But they're only pretending. If they were really scared of the next terrorist attack, then they'd try to do something to reduce the risk of one: improve port and air security and stop giving the airline and freight lobbies whatever they want. If they really thought we were "at war with the terrorists," they'd stop with the tax cuts, hold civilian contractors accountable for failures to rebuild Iraq, and get tough with governments who actually do allow terrorism to flourish within their borders, like Saudi Arabia.

Democrats can't be faulted for staying silent in the moments immediately after 9/11, when Bush established the wartime paradigm. We count on Presidents to refrain from exploiting moments of national crisis for personal and political benefit -- Bush let us down. There was simply nothing Democrats could have done to stop Bush from savaging our Democracy while the Twin Towers were still burning and America was reeling emotionally.

But now it is the duty of all patriots to put America back how it's supposed to be, and this time that job falls to Democrats. The 2008 presidential race is the only forum in which this can happen, because it is the only time an individual leader will be able to take a stand on this, personally take the Republicans to task, and explain his or her position fully to the people.

Every Democrat taking part in the '07-'08 primary spectacle will have a choice to make: accept the Republican war paradigm, pretend it's not there, or challenge it head on. Only by challenging it head on will a Democrat be able to win both the primary and the general election.

We need a Democrat in '08 to say: "If you want to live in fear, then vote for one of them. If you want to stand tall, and show the terrorists that we don't give a damn about them, then come with me."

Until that happens, we're going to loose every argument about the Constitution, civil liberties and anything else -- because you just can't win arguments against the logic of, "You don't want to DIE DO YOU?"

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 22, 2006 12:22 PM

I think Murtha said it best when he predicted Democrats will win back both the House and Senate:

"The Republican administration better be prepared to answer tough questions about the war"
"It will be a stunning thing to them, and then the investigations will start"

If you want to know what is going on and want it investigated, don't vote republican this fall.

Posted by: Sully | May 22, 2006 12:32 PM

patriot 1957, Lab Rat, What, me worry?, Mike Deal, Jaxas, & AfghanVet-

Well said, gentlemen, well said! My feeble 2 cent contribution is this: Every day I become more outraged that the cost of this idiotic war on terror is being borne only by the brave men and women on the front lines, and their families. God forbid the American public should sacrifice anything but our civil liberties.

I have voted for Tom Davis since he was on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. This Novemeber I will cast my vote for his opponent, whoever that may be. It is time to take a fire hose to Washington and clean them all out!

See you at the polls.

Posted by: wiccan | May 22, 2006 12:35 PM

"How was it in the face of such massive data collection, the administration failed to detect the true nature of the bogus Italian intelligence on Sadaam's alleged purchases of nuclear material, which led to the President of the United States disgracing himself by putting a lie into the SOU Address?"

Jaxas, the documents you refer to were sent to the US State department on or about October 9, 2002. Imagine the conversation between the US Italian ambassador and the State Department - the SMOKING GUN documents were on the way from Italy!!!! Do you suppose they woke up the President to tell him? Colin Powell? Was Judy Miller leaked to?

If there had been even one iota of believability in these documents they would have been leaked to the press or publicly announced by Georgie porgy. "THE SMOKING GUN HAS BEEN FOUND", his speech or Judy Millers byline would have screamed. Of couse we knew they were forgeries, so, like all the other data that didn't support the invasion of Iraq, they were buried when it was discovered they werent' useful.

My guess is that we planted them, and that there were more than a few unprintable words back to Michael Ledeen when the documents found their way back to us and the instigators found out what a laughingstock the documents actually were.

Posted by: | May 22, 2006 12:38 PM

we invaded a soveriegn nation without provocation except greed...

there should be no "war powers"

unless you think we should be giving them to sleazy used

car dealers, who need to convince that mom and apple pie stand

behind their deal...not the cloven hoofed idol of the decietfully slovenly

flowery language is the last refuge of those who try to cover thei

rcrap with parfume....

di dyou know that big lips.???????

bite me...

Posted by: whatever.. | May 22, 2006 01:03 PM

let that become apparent...let the lies be revealed...

open the gates of true vision...

Posted by: I smell sulfure and brimstone emenating from the | May 22, 2006 01:07 PM

emenating from the white house and this congressssssssssssss....

a beast has take n our land ....

and we are mad e unclean.

Posted by: there is a foul smell | May 22, 2006 01:09 PM

with chains of truth...


Posted by: let them bind the beast and beat it | May 22, 2006 01:10 PM

wiccan wrote:
"I have voted for Tom Davis since he was on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. This Novemeber I will cast my vote for his opponent, whoever that may be. It is time to take a fire hose to Washington and clean them all out!"

I actually like Tom Davis even though I'm from the People's Republic of Maryland. :^}

I have to agree with you though, even good republicans are supporting this administration by helping to create the majorities in the House and Senate, and thus gave power to the likes of Delay, Gingrich, Lott and Frist. If the republican leadership, which has ignored their duty to protect the constitution from the assaults by this president, is to be voted out, the pillars that hold them up must be knocked down by voting out all republicans. As a party they have not only failed, they have participated in the violations of laws and 4th ammendment rights by not overseeing this president, not to mention running up a national debt that no democrat could do on the best of days. Maybe Davis will switch to the democratic party...he just might be welcomed...

Meanwhile, here in MD we have to get rid of Ehrlich as govenor. He's been sending his hit men into state agencies to determine which state employees (not just appointed employees) are democrats and then firing them. It was done by two different individuals and is well documented including suits the state lost due to firing the employees without cause. Typical republican ethnic cleansing... There is a lot to clean up in this country, at all levels...

Posted by: Sully | May 22, 2006 02:00 PM

Here in Florida good ole Jeb has been trying to find someone to run against Katherine Harris, because he knows she doesn't stand a snowballs chance in hell of winning against (D)Senator Nelson. I think you all should remember her name, as she was the one who stopped the recount in 2000, thus handing the election to Bush. She's been running political commercials here already touting `"Security and Honesty" what a Joke!!!!! I have a feeling that the Republicans in the state houses are in for a very rude awakening also seeing some of the articles that have been put out on the "under the table" sliding of money from the stae Republican coffers to unknown political action commitees, that have been putting out bald faced lies about Democratic challengers, they have even gone to the point of listing the challengers home telephone numbers and telling people to call them and complain based on a lie.

Posted by: Lab Rat | May 22, 2006 02:16 PM

"I think Murtha said it best when he predicted Democrats will win back both the House and Senate:"

Don't forget the Governors races - that's going to be a massive landslide too.

So, why are we paying good tax dollars to build a Wall, like East Germany did, to keep us "safe" from the people our own CEOs and CFOs are hiring on purpose? Why not just jail the employers instead and confiscate their assets to pay for the war in Iraq?

Posted by: Will in Seattle | May 22, 2006 02:21 PM

What a ridiculous administration we have. I thought Bush was president of ALL the people here, not just his 33% stick-your-head-in-the-sand fan club members, most of whom are the "religious" don't-think-for-yourself types, and the top 3% who only care about their beloved tax cuts.

The money (ours - present and future) that they are spending on so-called 'security' and the unnecessary war is so ludicrous that it's sickening.

Am I the only one that is so totally disgusted with this whole crew?

I agree with the previous poster who said there is no such thing as true security. I'm starting to wonder if they're using their pre-determined war as an excuse to step on our rights and create the biggest deficit this country has ever has.

Posted by: js | May 22, 2006 02:32 PM

Good points Will in Seattle. I was just reviewing Bush's May 15th speech on immigration:
and found the following which shows just what a weasel Bush is:

Bush said:
"Once here, illegal immigrants live in the shadows of our society. Many use forged documents to get jobs, and that makes it difficult for employers to verify that the workers they hire are legal. Illegal immigration puts pressure on public schools and hospitals, ... it strains state and local budgets ... and brings crime to our communities. These are real problems, yet we must remember that the vast majority of illegal immigrants are decent people who work hard, support their families, practice their faith, and lead responsible lives. They are a part of American life but they are beyond the reach and protection of American law."

How can our president call these people "decent people who work hard, support their families, practice their faith, and lead responsible lives" when he says that "Many use forged documents to get jobs"? Wasn't a guy in VA prosecuted for selling some 9-11 hijackers forged documents that he normally sold to illegals? That underground system of forged documents should be alarming in the post-911 world.

Bush said:
"to secure our border, we must create a temporary worker program". Now this is just a non-sequitor. Why not say in order to secure our borders we need tax cuts. One has nothing to do with the other. He seems to be giving up and saying we cannot control the borders so the best we can do is hope they will allow us to document them as they come in. That is securing a border?

Bush said:
"we need to hold employers to account for the workers they hire. It is against the law to hire someone who is in this country illegally. Yet businesses often cannot verify the legal status of their employees, because of the widespread problem of document fraud."

Now this is just a bold faced lie. Everytime an employee is hired they fill out a W-2 form for tax withholding. I'm sure you have done this. They need your SS# and the info is sent to the IRS. If the information the government has on the SS# does not match what the IRS has, the IRS tells the employer the information they sent the IRS is inconsistent. It is up to the employer to have the new employee correct the information and give it to the IRS. Now an employer can just ignore the IRS warning but they know there is a problem as does the IRS. So the result is not so much document fraud as it is employers looking the other way and not following up on what has been shown to be inconsistent documents and the IRS not pursuing W2 inconsistencies. That should be made criminal for employers to ignroe and followed up by the IRS. Bush does not want either.

Bush said:
"It is neither wise nor realistic to round up millions of people, many with deep roots in the United States, and send them across the border."

But he does not say this about other lawbreakers. Maybe it isn't wise to round up all drug users and clog up the criminal justice system for what many feel is a victimless crime. Bush is basically saying that illegals are too much trouble to police. What a wimp, like his father.

Vote the republicans out this fall and let the investigations begin!

Posted by: Sully | May 22, 2006 02:55 PM

I believe the democrats will win this november, despite the mud slinging that Rove and Ken Melman will wage.

With 75% of the population not liking the current status, if the republicans DO win, it might be time to seriously look into voter fraud (at least THIS time around) I still have my doubts that the last 2 elections were honest.

Posted by: mark | May 22, 2006 03:01 PM

js - I'm starting to wonder if they're using their pre-determined war as an excuse to step on our rights and create the biggest deficit this country has ever has.

starting to? better late than never I guess. Now please wave that cup of fresh brewed coffee under the noses of a few more sleeping AMericans and get them up to speed, won't you?

Posted by: | May 22, 2006 03:03 PM

A moderate republican is still a republican. They have to kowtow to the conservatives to get seated at the table. On every issue that counts they vote the party line.

You want change vote the moderate republicans out.

Posted by: | May 22, 2006 04:20 PM

Non sequitur? His whole life has been a non sequitur.

Posted by: | May 22, 2006 04:23 PM

thanks, sully.

Did you notice the foreign news caught Blair in one of the lies told at the joint Bush-Blair Iraq news conference today, while the US news has mostly just bought the latest pack of lies wholesale?

Specifically, the fact that the UK won't be withdrawing troops at the rate Blair was pretending they would.

It's like they don't get it that the Internet doesn't have any Giant Walls - even comrade Bush's friends in China are learning that.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | May 22, 2006 04:29 PM

It's no secret that's their strategy. Both know any withdrawal will leave behind a bloody mess not just in Iraq but thru out that region - possibly the whole world as well from the oil fallout - and they will then get the blame head on. So any full blown withdrawal will be left to the next guys/gals on either side of the Atlantic. Such profiles in courage!

Posted by: | May 22, 2006 04:41 PM

Afghan Vet wrote:

"It takes an INFORMED citizenry to understand the complexities of our situation and to DEMAND APPROPRIATE action from our Government."

I agree with what you're saying and I want to build on it by adding that not only do we need an informed citizenry, we need a citizenry that values our nation's ideals to the point where, if faced with a choice between eroded freedoms with "greater security" and a "lesser degree of security" but freedoms remaining intact, the citizenry will as a body choose the latter.
Jaxas writes:

"What is the value of a surveillance program that has yielded so little success?"

The question you raise makes me wonder whether or not the choices of eroded freedoms with "greater security" and a "lesser degree of security" but freedoms remaining intact, is truely an "either/or". Chris Ford in his earlier post would have us believe the choices are a true either/or. I'm skeptical. I fall somewhere between you and him, where I believe the programs probably do increase our level of security, but I don't believe it when it is stated or implied that those programs have to be conducted without warrants or Congressional oversight. If laws need to be changed, then we should change them, not circumvent them. If I'm wrong and Chris is rightabout the either/or, I would choose to forego the programs in favor of keeping our freedoms intact for now and for the future.

Posted by: DK | May 22, 2006 04:47 PM

Good thing the admin. has made it clear it only seeks to protect us from A.Q baddies when it ferrets about in personal data. Apparetly an idiot government employee mis-handling the personal info of veterans is another matter all together, I guess.

I know the two are not related. I just find it bitterly amusing that as one part of the government is telling us it HAS to look at data on individuals, something like this happens. What a mess.

Posted by: Speaking of Data Mining | May 22, 2006 05:50 PM

are protecting us from is manufactured,




then any conclusions about what they need to do

to protect us from that manufactured threat



bogus, bs

and equally manufactured....

the real threat is to the stability of our

United States of America,

as it's sold to friends of this

complicit congress,


the Executive branch of government, who should be arrested, their properties (gained through illegal manipulation of the government) seized, and have them ride the twister of about 200,000 volts, and 75 amps...

while wearing funny little hats and with a damp sponge underneath of it...

thanks so much, hope there's a video.


Posted by: if the threat that they | May 22, 2006 08:25 PM

happened on a man last night, frantically searching under a street light - I asked, what are you looking for? he replied "the diamond from my favorite ring - i lost it down the block there about an hour ago ..."

"but sir, why are you looking for it here?"

"because the light is so much better here, of course!"

gosh - if only Al Quaeda would co-operate ... and use communications techniques that NSA can search by brow-beating American companies into sharing domestic US records .... though all the Al Quaeda leaders are apparently somewhere else on the planet .....

Posted by: Mill_of_Mn | May 22, 2006 09:30 PM

and the lack of

government oversight:

why is it that no matter what the people want,

the government always votes something that makes them or their friends richer?

that the Hayden confirmation,

Scooter LIbby thing,

Karl Rove thing,

and the _illegal_ immigrant, ants in the kitchen, arrest the employers to eliminate the lure of "easy money,"....make them felons thing...

sort of go underground and then what "they"

the evil, dark ones want to happens, as if the people wanted it...

just like they want 6,000 friggin National Guardsmen that know squat about INS (now department of das Homelunt SSecurity)....

I din't hear any people asking for that,

I heard them asking that congress people that hire illegals, and friends of congress people that hire illegals, including the bushes....

gget friggin arrested and charged with felonies,

because people that can't obey laws should not be able to

legislate on them.

Posted by: about secret midnight meetings and confirmation | May 22, 2006 11:49 PM


The greatest threat lies in that America is facing a "ghostly", fanatic, and irrational enemy, with the high probability of being, in the near future, armed with nuclear weapons. And in that still fledgling enemy, as he was when he attacked America on 9/11, for the first time in its history on its own soil--which even the powerful Axis could not do-- growing into a full blown lethal entity that the danger to America, and in general to the West, lies. Hence, it is a war à outrance.

I'm not suggesting at all, that the criticism of Bush arises from a "single axis". And this is precisely where the other internal danger lies, that it has a wider axis, because of the errors in Iraq that have been overblown by the irresponsible populist saturated liberal media and by the opportunistic political cocottes of the Democratic Party. At a time when America needs its people to unite unflinchingly behind their government, of whatever political colors, to fight this "real war", to quote you, aganst this mortal foe.

I would agree with you, that Bush failed to fully mobilize the nation for war. But I would disagree with you, that he used 9/11 for a sinister agenda that had nothing to do with the war. It was always a war agenda, but "buckshot" with some mistakes.

And finally, you have to be consistent with your own logic. If America has to wage a "real war", then it has to do so, as you correctly point out, neither by an "undermanned expeditionary force", to quote you, nor by 'undermanned' and effete internal measures against the fifth columnists that are embedded in America. So according to your logic, you should have no qualms at all about the surveillance measures since they play such a vital part in your real war against the Jihadists.

And needless to say, all wars are riddled with errors and military reverses. But the "art" of statesmanship is to stand firm, despite the errors and reverses, on its strategy, while correcting the errors.

P.S.For more you can visit my website--

Posted by: congeorgekotzabasis | May 23, 2006 02:38 AM

The problem with getting the right equipment to the right people on the battlefield is extremely complex and is the result of a mixture of several problems and dysfunctions within the military as a whole and the United States Army and Government specifically.

These problems can be summarized as follows:

- The procurement system is cumbersome and built to supply a peacetime army that, as Rummy says, goes to war with what it has.
- The organization of the military and the Reserve/National Guard component are not compatible with modern military war AND certainly not with joint warfare or countering long term insurgencies.
- The financial, logistical and administrative systems are not geared for long-term war and are not compatible across the active and Reserve/NG components.
- Funding is NOT infinite and we are desperately trying to run the "war on terrorism" on the cheap. We have not raised taxes, encouraged war bonds, and we are faced with a looming domestic financial crisis-meaning we can't pay for the war now, much less in the future.
- The failure to adequately conduct contingency planning OR outright failure to plan for occupation and reconstruction has provided the catalyst for the synergistic affects of all of the above. We shall suspend comment on the wisdom of our actions in the first place, as the point is now moot.

First, let's discuss the procurement system. I will not waste your time with the problems of procurement from the process perspective as that can be easily researched and documented. What I think is pertinent to this discussion is the goal of the current procurement system with respect to the military with which we went to war.

Prevailing theory was that no country can sustain heavy combat on a continuous basis for more than a year. Economics and the complexity of weapon systems would preclude anyone from producing enough replacements in a short enough period of time to allow for sustained operations at a "total war" OPTEMPO. Furthermore, the expense of the modern military meant that one could not afford to "turnover" their inventories too quickly as a country would go bankrupt trying to replace battlefield losses. Lastly, the expense and the complexity of these systems necessitate an inordinately lengthy procurement process that means systems are in the pipeline for 10 to 15 years BEFORE they are ever deployed for use.

The result of this stance was that we built a military that, as Rummy said, goes to war with what they have. The problem is that the war they were supposed to be going to was a "total war" with the Soviet Union. That meant when all was said and done, both sides would have endured heavy losses and it would be a matter of who had enough left to declare victory. The Reserves were just that; when the first line was exhausted, the second tier would get thrown in - the same with the National Guard. Long term counter insurgency and rebuilding was never considered because after total war, insurgency wouldn't be an issue and rebuilding would be a global effort much like after WWII. We learned that such a counter insurgency and nation building effort such as Vietnam can only be conducted with a force larger than needed to conduct total war operations. This type of war is expensive and usually means a messy little word called the draft because occupation and construction takes more boots on the ground than just kicking ass. This is why the term "Nation Building" was taboo within the Republican Party and the Neo-Cons who now reside in office. Do you see the disconnect?

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 23, 2006 09:27 AM

The problem with the war in Iraq is that it is now a counter insurgency that seems more like Vietnam every day; something the GWOT has always been - no matter if this administration recognizes this or admits it.

This means, that we have fallen out of the category of warfare for which our military was built. While tactically we are capable of adapting to the environment and fighting a counter insurgency, we are NOT capable of turning around our procurement and supply systems accordingly - the ship that is supply is simply to big AND too politically and financially connected to turn around quickly. We are also NOT capable of shifting strategic approaches to war, which affect our ability to implement evolved tactics to their fullest extent. This brings us to the second issue with our military's lack of logistical capability, organization.

Let's assume that we could magically throw a switch and have a pot of gold big enough to pay for all that we now know we need; that supplies us with all the parts we need to put the systems together; that supplies the trained workers and creates the factories in which the systems will be built. Even if we had that, the SYSTEM that is the modern PEACETIME military wouldn't know what to do with it.

I will start with an anecdote. When my unit deployed to Afghanistan, we were limited to taking equipment as prescribed by our MTOE (modified table of organization and equipment), which describes what we are authorized to be equipped with. Our MTOE was based on OLD doctrine and was awaiting final approval of a new MTOE that would allow us to be compatible with the Special Forces units we would be operating with in the field. Because of this we were NOT authorized to take radios that would allow us to communicate on a tactical level with the units we were attached to AND we were NOT authorized M-4 rifles or dual weapons systems, i.e. M9 pistol and M-4 rifle.

We were given our M-16 A-2's and some of the officers were given pistols, but not M-16's. The REASON the SF carry the dual weapons system is because of the nature of the work they do, close in, counter insurgency, where things can go from calm to hell in a heartbeat. Now, technically, by MTOE, we had everything we needed, but little of what we needed to accomplish the mission. We could not communicate with the units we were assigned to and we couldn't react to ambush or conduct operations appropriately as while the M-16 A2 is a fine weapon, I challenge you to shoot one effectively from a HMMWV or, God help you, get out of one during an ambush with what we affectionately called a musket. There were other items that we did not have or get, but you get the point.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 23, 2006 09:29 AM

Now, one would think that during wartime it would be easy enough to show some initiative and just overlook doctrine that is clearly out of touch with the mission, but no. First, given the issue discussed above, their simply were no radios to be had. I was told by the 3rd SF Group Commander that the radios were being built as fast as possible and that so many people needed them that they were being rationed out. The same was the case for the weapons systems. Now, one can understand these things if you are in the military long enough, it is what it is. But, it's much harder to understand the logic of the Reserve Unit that insists that you cannot keep pistols because their inventories back at home must be kept up in order to make sure they can pass their next inspection. Instead of allowing us to keep M203's (M16 w\grenade launcher), and M9 pistols ALREADY IN THEATRE, we were forced to return them so they could collect dust in an arms room so that some Active Guard/Reserve (AGR) supply sergeant can keep his or her books straight. No, I am not kidding.

The organization of the current military also follows the "come to war with what YOU have" philosophy. So much so, that the Air Force is kept in business flying equipment back and forth from CONUS to theatre in an exercise that is nothing more than flying one unit's HMMWV out and flying another unit's in. That's right, thousands of man-hours, millions of dollars, and enormous amounts of time are spent shipping equipment over and then returning it so that inventories can be kept up and money can be accounted for. And, what if you get multiple rotations to the same theatre? You pack it all up and do it again.

Why? Because that's what peace time armies do. Modern, peacetime commanders spend as much time, if not more, on the administration of their units as they do on training for war. And, because the system never anticipated long-term rotations of units, they do what they know. What they know is the Joint Readiness Training Center, where large scale war games are conducted. There, they pack up the stuff, show up, fight, pack it all up again, and ship it back. Now because the peacetime military and its civilian leadership see only short term war this back and forth seems logical AND, in fact, the SYSTEM demands it. God help you if you cannot account for your equipment. The surest way to kiss you next promotion goodbye is to lose or not be able to account for your equipment. And, war or no war, promotions are not exactly on the backburner, especially for officers.

Afghanistan was like the Special Forces Olympics; virtually every western-aligned nation sent some. And, one group I spoke with almost laughed themselves to tears when they realized what we were doing with our equipment. He said, "We just pick a unit to go, they take what they have, and they leave it behind for the next unit and get reequipped when they get home. That same stuff is used and replaced or augmented as needed until the deployment is over." Wow, why didn't we think of that?

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 23, 2006 09:31 AM

Well, we do, sort of, but only for stuff purchased specifically for that deployment. If you buy special jeeps or equipment with what is called your OPFUND (usually an augmentation to your yearly budget), then you can leave that equipment behind for the next guy. And, in addition to that, some of your other stuff can be "laterally transferred" to the incoming unit if they'll take it. The problem is that once they take responsibility for that equipment, they are stuck with it and all the associated costs for maintenance and control. Don't EVEN get me started on accounting for OPFUND expenditures and the paperwork involved in executing lateral transfers of equipment. (We returned in January of 2004 and are STILL dealing with investigations into transfers conducted in March 2003) This brings us to our next issue, the dysfunctional relationships within the active and reserve components as well as between units, active or otherwise.

Like a business, power in the military organization is seated where the money is controlled. He who has the budget wields the biggest stick. The problem is that money is a finite resource, even in war - especially this war, and most, if not all modern operations are joint efforts that mix and match units to try and suit the needs of the mission. Again, we can tactically adapt, just not strategically.

What this means is that you have several sub-units from larger units being mixed together to create a fighting force tailored for the specific mission. In order to bring some sense of organization to this mess, they create accounting and administrative tracking numbers known as derivative UIC's (Unit Identification Codes). Regular UIC's are used to budget money in peacetime and to track expenditures and the like for homogeneous units. When units are thrown together, a new, temporary "derivative" UIC must be assigned so that the appropriate command can provide funding and control for operations of that unit while they are away from their parent unit. This SEEMS like a helpful tool, but then the system crushes it under the weight of its own bureaucracy.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 23, 2006 09:34 AM

In the military you can be a Force Provider or a Combative Commander (forget the Freudian slip). The Force Provider need only "provide" the forces called for in the mission order - the reserves see themselves largely as "force providers". Once those units are assigned to the Combative Commander, all budgetary and administrative responsibilities are transferred to said Commander. In short, your unit and corresponding derivative UIC is, by order, assigned and attached to the commanding unit and UIC. The problem is that budget for that commanding UIC is usually NOT augmented to cover the additional men and materials with respect to basic mission systems. You don't just come with your equipment to war, you come with your budget, which may or may not have been augmented for combat operations. And, even if they are augmented, it's usually in the guise of OPFUND that has significant restrictions on what you can purchase and usually, again, does not cover the attachment of additional units and large items such as weapons, radios or HMMWVs.

What happens is that the "force provider" often "dumps" the unit onto the "force commander" and walks away. This unit, generally, has the minimum of what it needs to operate, and if it comes from the reserves, that minimum can be wholly incompatible with the mission or the tactics of the gaining unit. Hence, the "force commander" is left with either trying to make up the shortfall with no budget augmentation or is left with a force less than prepared to provide the support the attached unit is responsible for giving.

In our case, and I suspect many other cases, that means we only get what the force commander can spare - and that ain't much. Because, if he gives up his spares, than he doesn't have any for his own troops and if he has no or little budget augmentation, he cannot replace what he gives up. SF maxim: two is one, one is none.

To further exacerbate the problem, you are no longer technically part of your home unit; you are in this military administrative limbo land that means you can't "call home" and ask for what you need. And, even if you did they would say, "You're not authorized that equipment so we can't get it or buy it." OR "We cannot deplete our inventory or transfer it to you because technically, you aren't part of our unit anymore."

Yes, I implore you to read the book Catch 22. It will teach you EVERYTHING you need to know about the military.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 23, 2006 09:35 AM

Whew! Let's take a breather and review shall we?

First, the complexity and expense of modern war fighting materials means that you cannot "surge" produce many, if not most, of the items most needed during combat. Their expense and complexity, and the laws of contracting with the government, means that the procurement process to get the items is so long that the pipeline to even produce them is elongated to the point where you are getting systems designed a decade earlier. This is one of the biggest limiting factors in any operation as long-term engagements are constrained by resource availability and restocking.

Second, even if you had an infinite supply of equipment, the system wouldn't know how to get it out to the troops and manage it. Because we are fighting a long-term war with a military trained and geared towards short-term engagements and headed by peace time leaders who are more business managers than combat commanders, we are busy flying what we do have back and forth to make sure we can keep our books square. The pipeline through which an infinite supply of equipment would have to traverse is so inefficient that it wouldn't get to where it was needed even if we had it.

To be fair, the rules of the game force leaders to be MBA's because promotions in peace time are based on "managing" your unit, not leading your unit to close with and kill the enemy. AND, because we aren't REALLY at war (forget that people are dying and ask yourself if this country is mobilized for war), there isn't a career minded officer (and most of them in positions of power are career minded) who isn't hedging his bets to the tune of conducting war via the peacetime process. "Hey, it's only one or two OER's that will come of this war; my 'career' needs more than that so I sticking to the rules - so go get your own HMMWV."

Third, the incompatibilities of active and reserve units coupled with the doctrine of joint warfare make the budgeting and administrative process a nightmare. Furthermore, this nightmare actively works against equipping troops for the mission at hand because it does not provide a process by which combatant commanders can appropriately augment their budgets to account for absorbing attached units. The money has to come from somewhere. The equipment has to be paid for somehow and from someone's budget. But, like giving up spare equipment, why would you want to spend YOUR budget on someone else's unit? Again, forget mission accomplishment. "This war is only going to last so long, certainly not longer than my career, and I won't be the one that screwed the budget and left my unit unprepared."

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 23, 2006 09:35 AM

Add to this the overall budget process of the US Government and it's a nightmare within a nightmare. Even if you wanted to ask for a supplemental budget, the money has to be first appropriated to the military by the government because, like a business, the peacetime army has a budget cycle and you go to war with the budget you were given. And, since planning for this shindig was less than thorough, we have to run to the well to get more. Then, we have to divvy it up and then we have to apply it. The peace time system is simply too cumbersome to allow commanders to efficiently run operations and equip their troops.

You would think that would be enough to explain the problems of procurement and logistics in modern war given the current peace time processes and military industrial complex, but it's not. Tie all of the above together and throw it into the soup of conducting war like a loss leading business, i.e. as cheaply as possible, and a whole lot of poor and non-existent planning and you have a recipe for disaster, e.g. picking parts out of the junk yard to try and protect yourself.

One need not dig too deep to realize that the civilian leaders of our military are business men, not military men. They made their marks as business men and they made their marks in the military by trying to establish business-like processes to the way the military does its thing. The "theory" was, and still is, that if the military, and the government for that matter, were run more like a business, than it would be more efficient and hence, more effective. The problem is war is NOT like business and the business of war is not won or lost on administrative efficiency or on profit motive.

War cannot be budgeted and "managed". The unknown variables are simply too extensive to allow for "management"; no matter how good that management may be. Furthermore, the management processes and techniques that make one a good peacetime commander have nothing to do with what makes one a good combat leader. In short, once war begins, budgets, books and ledgers should be thrown out the window. A combat leader simply cannot be expected to manage a budget and administrative functions when they are trying to close with and kill an enemy.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 23, 2006 09:36 AM

The problem is the current political climate combined with the current theory of preemptive war simply do not account for long-term, multiple rotation, counter insurgency engagements. The current administration is filled to the gills with anti-nation building types who shudder at the thought of having to rebuild what they break - especially if they deserve to have it broken. Their idea is that if we go in and punch them in the mouth hard enough, they will leave us alone and become good citizens of the world. To do that, all we need is enough troops and equipment to complete the ass whipping and then we can just go home; a sort of reverse Domino Theory.


The real world just doesn't want to work that way. So, now we have a military that is led from the top by leaders that utilize business management theory and operate on a theory of warfare that has no basis in the real world. Consequently, even if Rummy got his ideas pushed through for the leaner, more agile military, the resultant military still wouldn't be capable of handling the mission in which it is now involved. We certainly would be able to ship stuff to and fro quicker, but the process and internal structure simply would not change and the peacetime management of the Army would not be changed at all.

Even IF we were to effectively shorten and speed up the procurement process, the "art" of war and the "business management" of the units conducting the war would not change because we would still be training the military for quick strikes when the only effective approach to building lasting peace is to commit for the long haul. Infantry has been, and always will be, the Queen of battle. In order to WIN, in order to BUILD PEACE, you must be able to occupy the land of those you conquer long enough to build a lasting, stable government, or you will just have to go back and do it again, against a better prepared foe. You cannot do it on the cheap and you cannot have your cake and eat it to.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 23, 2006 09:37 AM

Add all this to the political realities of a domestic agenda that cuts taxes while increasing spending and you have a real problem. Because the "theory" was that we could cut and run after said ass whipping, money wasn't going to be an issue. Hell, the oil is going to pay for it all, right? And, we certainly won't be the only ones sharing the burden, right? A funny thing happened to Mr. Theory on the way to reality. Our enemies are not going to fold after getting beaten on a battlefield that is then left unattended. We cannot conduct a long term effort with supplemental budgets and political gamesmanship geared to conducting the war in the cheapest way possible.

Now the President is stuck with a "failing business" that is a money pit that he cannot afford to let fail. And, because the President and the Republicans who bought into the theory of preemptive war want to be reelected, they can't allow the war to get too big, because then all their theories and ideas would be exposed for what they are...BS. Can't have that! So, now they are stuck with trying to stem the bleeding and "manage" the war instead of win it. We would try to find a "buyer", but we told them all to go pound sand if they weren't going to run their business using our model.

This management of the war means making sure no supplemental budget "item" is so large that it shocks the people. I mean, no one is going to look back and add it up, and if they do, well, that's the cost of war, right? It means never talking about the wounded. It means never talking about lack of equipment. It certainly means never admitting that either the theory is flawed or the execution of the theory is flawed.

Tie ALL of this together with the aforementioned procurement and logistics problem and you have a synergistic combination of a bad business plan, poorly executed, and executed with a process designed for the wrong business. This is exacerbated by the political necessity to make sure the theory is proved correct above all else. This is further exacerbated by the continued push towards reshaping the military to fight wars unlike the one we are fighting now and will most likely be fighting for the foreseeable future because it runs counter to administrative theory.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 23, 2006 09:38 AM

The only way to overcome the procurement issues that cause soldiers to dig through dumps for equipment is to overwhelm the system. There are two ways that can happen. You can PLAN up front for such an overwhelming force or you can throw out the budgets and processes and commit yourself to the realities you face.

The first approach was ignored. General Shinseki knew that winning the war is different from winning the invasion. He was summarily dismissed. Secretary of State and former General Powell also knew that if you break it, you fix it. He was ignored. Both these men, who knew the limitations of the military and the meaning of going to war as well as the winning strategy for war, knew that to overcome the limitations of our systems as it is today, overwhelming force would have to be applied. By forward deploying more than you need for the invasion, you ensure that 1) you can put out "fires" before they get too big, and 2) you have the equipment you need to secure the peace and put out the "fires" you cannot stop from happening. The procurement and logistics process then becomes irrelevant. But, that means that the war is no longer marketable.

Forget the misleading and outright lies about WMD and the like and think about how well it would have gone over with the American public and Congress if they had said it would take 300,000 to 400,000 troops, 200 billion dollars of our own money and 3 to 5 years to pacify and stabilize Iraq. Puhhhhlease. It wouldn't have made it past the front page of the Washington Post. This is why General Shinseki was dismissed and why Secretary of State Powell was ignored. The theory said it would work and that was that. They didn't have to buy their own BS; they just had to sell it.

The other option is to throw out the books, make the commitment to long-term counter insurgency and reconstruction and winning the war. The problem with that means the mobilization of the country, gross expenditures and sacrifice at home. Can't have that, because America wants to be able to send other people's sons and daughters to war, not theirs AND they don't want to have to give up their new toy because they have to pay for it too. Get rid of Saddam? Sure, just don't bother me. How righteous would John Q. Public think the war would be if his taxes were raised to at least fake like we were paying for it? Or, worse yet, little Johnny got called up. Yeah, didn't think so.

So now, we are left with soldiers digging through junk yards to protect themselves because the system and reality do not match up with theory. We are left with soldiers needlessly dying on missions for which they are not equipped. We are left with an administration that will blame the system instead of their lack of wisdom and leadership. We are left with leadership that is trying to "manage" a war for political purposes. The leadership should be held accountable.

One of the military's leadership principles is to "Employ you unit in accordance with its capabilities." In this case, the unit is the entire US Military. In this case, the unit was not employed correctly because the mission for which they were employed was not the one they ended up conducting. Lack of risk analysis, lack of contingency planning, lack of long range thinking and lack of critical thought allowed this to happen. This is not the fault of a "system", although the system is faulty, it is the fault of our leaders to recognize the limitations of their assets within the context of the system they developed, managed and utilized.

Criticizing the military for its inability to provide for the troops is akin to criticizing how we put out fires we start ourselves. This wouldn't be an issue if those who put us in the situation in the first place had at least listened to those who were experts and trained in the art of war, as opposed to theorist; or at least applied some critical thinking and forethought.

As long as we are unwilling to hold those at the top accountable for this mess, that specialist and many after him are going to be rooting around junk yards in hopes of saving their lives.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 23, 2006 09:39 AM

"At a time when America needs its people to unite unflinchingly behind their government, of whatever political colors, to fight this "real war", to quote you, aganst this mortal foe. "

You, sir, are the real danger to the United States of America. You are a wolf in sheep's clothing who would massage fear to your own purpose, e.g. total control.

Yours are the words uttered by every nascent dictator in the history of the world: "Fear, and then put blind trust in me to save you". Italy fell for it, Germany fall for it, Spain fell for it, Chile fell for it, Peru fell for it. Do you think all Americans too poorly read to understand history, or only the 50.1% you need to get control of the government while silencing or discrediting those of us who see you?

What this nation needs is to stop fearing, stop blind partisanship, and demand a government that is both competent and respectful of the Constitution. This we do not find in your honeyed tongue.

You sir, are the enemy of democracy.

Posted by: Constitution | May 23, 2006 09:40 AM

Sorry for the overly long post, but I wanted to put some perspective on our "Global War on Terror". We are NOT at war. Forget about the fact that men and women are fighting and dying, we are NOT mobilized for war.

All the honorable and glory-ridden hyperbole about the threat to our nation and 9/11 is nice, but misplaced. If we were at war, we wouldn't be discussing this on a blog because you would all be worrying about when your draft number was going to come up.

So, the argument that we are at war is a false flag which calls into question all conclusions based on the original assumption.

So, please spare me any talk of the "long war" and our commitment to fighting it.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 23, 2006 09:43 AM

congeorgekotzabasis wrote:
"The greatest threat lies in that America is facing a "ghostly", fanatic, and irrational enemy, with the high probability of being, in the near future, armed with nuclear weapons. And in that still fledgling enemy, as he was when he attacked America on 9/11, for the first time in its history on its own soil--which even the powerful Axis could not do"...

There is a lot in here that is debateable:

1) "high probability of being, in the near future, armed with nuclear weapons."

And your evidence or intelligence for this is what? If Iraq could not do it and Iran can not do it how are a bunch of fanatics hiding in caves and basements going to do it? I agree its something we need to watch for and create conditions to deter, but to say its a "high probability" is pure hyperbole. And even if true would not come close to destroying America or its way of life as Germany or Japan could have done.

2) "...attacked America on 9/11, for the first time in its history on its own soil--which even the powerful Axis could not do"

Well that should tell you something. Even germany and japan could not touch American soil on FDR's watch but al qaida did on Bush's watch. There is more than enough evidence that Bush turned a blinds eye to warnings even coming from within his administration before 911 (read Richard Clarke's book).

3) "I would agree with you, that Bush failed to fully mobilize the nation for war. But I would disagree with you, that he used 9/11 for a sinister agenda that had nothing to do with the war. It was always a war agenda, but "buckshot" with some mistakes."

Are you saying he did not use 911 as a reason for invading Iraq? Bush said over and over that preemptive means were REQUIRED in a post-911 world! He has used this post-911 mindset to spy on Americans against the constitution. You may not think it is sinister, but a previous republican president used these very techniques for pure political gain. And since the republicans refuse to oversee what Bush is doing, there is no way anyone can say the reasons are not sinister. America is a government built on checks and balances, not trust. We know power corrupts and so power must be overseen. Right now Bush has taken power without oversight. It will corrupt.

4) "And needless to say, all wars are riddled with errors and military reverses. But the "art" of statesmanship is to stand firm, despite the errors and reverses, on its strategy, while correcting the errors."

That assumes your original reasons for launching the war remain valid. When the US went to war with Germany in 1941 its goal was to remove Hitler and shut down the German war machine that had taken France, Poland and pounded Britain and Russia, and was to preserve democracy, which at that time was a minority in a world of fascist and communist governments. In Japan it was a complete victory over the Japanese Empire due to its attack on our naval base. None of those reasons changed during the war. Bush's invasion of Afganistan had valid reasons that remain valid today. His invasion of Iraq however was based on what we know today to be totally invalid reasons, yet he continues to fight in Iraq as though they were valid. Even Vietnam had valid reasons for war. To talk about standing firm when your reasons for war turn out to be false is just a huge mistake. Imagine you punch your neighbor in the nose because you though he tried to kill your dog, then you find out he did not try to kill your dog. Do you still continue punching him in the nose because you must stand firm? What type of "art of statesmanship" is this?

Bush is no statesman as the view of America from the rest of the world shows. He has broken American laws and should be impeached. When the republicans loose power in congress this fall his shield against oversight will be gone and the truth of this administration and its sinister motives will be exposed. I predict a frantic fight this fall with lots of lies, mudslinging and law breaking by the republicans in a desperate attempt to retain power because if they loose power what they have done will be exposed and they will have to pay the consequences.

Posted by: Sully | May 23, 2006 10:04 AM

DK, Chris--like so many other true believers--is a practitioner of what in logic is called "two dimensional thinking". The world of logic isn't all that different from the world of physics. In order to gather meaning, one has to move in all three dimensions.

People like Rush Limbaugh, James Dobson, Michael Moore, and frankly George W. Bush as well, are comfortable moving within a two dimensional universe where all questions are boiled down into an either-or proposition. It simplifies their choices and avoids the headache of having to engage in the difficult activity of rational thought.

I have noted that the seat of all of Bush's problems is this penchant for seeing the world in such two dimensional terms. It is the very reason he is still stuck in a rut in Iraq. He cannot verry well come up with a third alternative now since it would be a complete repudiation of his two dimensional philosophy.

Rush Limbaugh wears his badge of two dimensional absolutist thinking proudly, boasts about it all the time.Yet, he has great difficult actually practicing when his own neck is on the block. His recent moral relativism over his own ethical failings is a good example of a two dimensional absolutist resorting to the worst forms of rationalist nuancing. His backsliding was a necessary act to preserve his lucrative standing with all of those other dumbed down two dimensional thinkers who make up his listening audience.

I suspect that one day George W. Bush will have to do some serious backsliding as well to preserve his own worthless hiney.

Posted by: Jaxas | May 23, 2006 10:28 AM

Jaxas wrote:
"People like Rush Limbaugh, James Dobson, Michael Moore, and frankly George W. Bush as well, are comfortable moving within a two dimensional universe ".

I disagree. Even two-dimensional thinkers can see a mistake when they make it. They do not think in complex terms, but when a mistake is obvious even they can see it and make corrections. Bush and Limbaugh for example do not admit their mistakes. They either do not know they made them or they know but refuse to admit it. In either case reality is replaced with fiction and they begin to live within the fiction. Over time their lives appear to the rest of us more and more as fiction and it is this I feel is the reason for the decline in popularity of both.

Now, the question is whether these two are deluding themselves into believing their own fictions or whether they are knowingly pushing these fictions onto the mostly two-dimensional thinkers who support them - people who cannot analyse the information they receive and simply believe because they trust. My guess is the latter. Both Bush and Limbaugh have made fortunes but a two-dimensional thinker cannot sustain success since two-dimensional thinking is bound to lead to failure. In other words, I'm pretty sure both are complex people who think in complex terms but talk in two dimensional terms to garner the support of those who think in two-dimensions. Another word for it is lying, obfuscating and deceiving.

Posted by: Sully | May 23, 2006 11:07 AM

Wall Street Journal
May 23, 2006
Pg. 16

Revisionist History

By Peter Wehner

Iraqis can participate in three historic elections, pass the most liberal constitution in the Arab world, and form a unity government despite terrorist attacks and provocations. Yet for some critics of the president, these are minor matters. Like swallows to Capistrano, they keep returning to the same allegations -- the president misled the country in order to justify the Iraq war; his administration pressured intelligence agencies to bias their judgments; Saddam Hussein turned out to be no threat since he didn't possess weapons of mass destruction; and helping democracy take root in the Middle East was a postwar rationalization. The problem with these charges is that they are false and can be shown to be so -- and yet people continue to believe, and spread, them. Let me examine each in turn:

The president misled Americans to convince them to go to war. "There is no question misled the nation and led us into a quagmire in Iraq," according to Ted Kennedy. Jimmy Carter charged that on Iraq, "President Bush has not been honest with the American people." And Al Gore has said that an "abuse of the truth" characterized the administration's "march to war." These charges are themselves misleading, which explains why no independent body has found them credible. Most of the world was operating from essentially the same set of assumptions regarding Iraq's WMD capabilities. Important assumptions turned out wrong; but mistakenly relying on faulty intelligence is a world apart from lying about it.

Let's review what we know. The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is the intelligence community's authoritative written judgment on specific national-security issues. The 2002 NIE provided a key judgment: "Iraq has continued its [WMD] programs in defiance of U.N. resolutions and restrictions. Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of U.N. restrictions; if left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade."

Thanks to the bipartisan Silberman-Robb Commission, which investigated the causes of intelligence failures in the run-up to the war, we now know that the President's Daily Brief (PDB) and the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief "were, if anything, more alarmist and less nuanced than the NIE" (my emphasis). We also know that the intelligence in the PDB was not "markedly different" from that given to Congress. This helps explains why John Kerry, in voting to give the president the authority to use force, said, "I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security." It's why Sen. Kennedy said, "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." And it's why Hillary Clinton said in 2002, "In the four years since the inspectors, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability and his nuclear program."

Beyond that, intelligence agencies from around the globe believed Saddam had WMD. Even foreign governments that opposed his removal from power believed Iraq had WMD: Just a few weeks before Operation Iraqi Freedom, Wolfgang Ischinger, German ambassador to the U.S., said, "I think all of our governments believe that Iraq has produced weapons of mass destruction and that we have to assume that they continue to have weapons of mass destruction."

In addition, no serious person would justify a war based on information he knows to be false and which would be shown to be false within months after the war concluded. It is not as if the WMD stockpile question was one that wasn't going to be answered for a century to come.

The Bush administration pressured intelligence agencies to bias their judgments. Earlier this year, Mr. Gore charged that "CIA analysts who strongly disagreed with the White House . . . found themselves under pressure at work and became fearful of losing promotions and salary increases." Sen. Kennedy charged that the administration "put pressure on intelligence officers to produce the desired intelligence and analysis."

This myth is shattered by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's bipartisan Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq. Among the findings: "The committee did not find any evidence that intelligence analysts changed their judgments as a result of political pressure, altered or produced intelligence products to conform with administration policy, or that anyone even attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to do so." Silberman-Robb concluded the same, finding "no evidence of political pressure to influence the Intelligence Community's prewar assessments of Iraq's weapons programs. . . . [A\]Analysts universally asserted that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments." What the report did find is that intelligence assessments on Iraq were "riddled with errors"; "most of the fundamental errors were made and communicated to policy makers well before the now-infamous NIE of October 2002, and were not corrected in the months between the NIE and the start of the war."

Because weapons of mass destruction stockpiles weren't found, Saddam posed no threat. Howard Dean declared Iraq "was not a danger to the United States." John Murtha asserted, "There was no threat to our national security." Max Cleland put it this way: "Iraq was no threat. We now know that. There are no weapons of mass destruction, no nuclear weapons programs." Yet while we did not find stockpiles of WMD in Iraq, what we did find was enough to alarm any sober-minded individual.

Upon his return from Iraq, weapons inspector David Kay, head of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), told the Senate: "I actually think this may be one of those cases where [Iraq under Saddam Hussein] was even more dangerous than we thought." His statement when issuing the ISG progress report said: "We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities" that were part of "deliberate concealment efforts" that should have been declared to the U.N. And, he concluded, "Saddam, at least as judged by those scientists and other insiders who worked in his military-industrial programs, had not given up his aspirations and intentions to continue to acquire weapons of mass destruction."

Among the key findings of the September 2004 report by Charles Duelfer, who succeeded Mr. Kay as ISG head, are that Saddam was pursuing an aggressive strategy to subvert the Oil for Food Program and to bring down U.N. sanctions through illicit finance and procurement schemes; and that Saddam intended to resume WMD efforts once U.N. sanctions were eliminated. According to Mr. Duelfer, "the guiding theme for WMD was to sustain the intellectual capacity achieved over so many years at such a great cost and to be in a position to produce again with as short a lead time as possible. . . . Virtually no senior Iraqi believed that Saddam had forsaken WMD forever. Evidence suggests that, as resources became available and the constraints of sanctions decayed, there was a direct expansion of activity that would have the effect of supporting future WMD reconstitution."

Beyond this, Saddam's regime was one of the most sadistic and aggressive in modern history. It started a war against Iran and used mustard gas and nerve gas. A decade later Iraq invaded Kuwait. Iraq was a massively destabilizing force in the Middle East; so long as Saddam was in power, rivers of blood were sure to follow.

Promoting democracy in the Middle East is a postwar rationalization. "The president now says that the war is really about the spread of democracy in the Middle East. This effort at after-the-fact justification was only made necessary because the primary rationale was so sadly lacking in fact," according to Nancy Pelosi.

In fact, President Bush argued for democracy taking root in Iraq before the war began. To take just one example, he said in a speech on Feb. 26, 2003: "A liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region, by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions. America's interests in security, and America's belief in liberty, both lead in the same direction: to a free and peaceful Iraq. . . . The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life. And there are hopeful signs of a desire for freedom in the Middle East. . . . A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region."

The following day the New York Times editorialized: "President Bush sketched an expansive vision last night of what he expects to accomplish by a war in Iraq. . . . The idea of turning Iraq into a model democracy in the Arab world is one some members of the administration have been discussing for a long time."

These, then, are the urban legends we must counter, else falsehoods become conventional wisdom. And what a strange world it is: For many antiwar critics, the president is faulted for the war, and he, not the former dictator of Iraq, inspires rage. The liberator rather than the oppressor provokes hatred. It is as if we have stepped through the political looking glass, into a world turned upside down and inside out.

Posted by: Truth Bringer | May 23, 2006 11:13 AM

"The greatest threat lies in that America is facing a "ghostly", fanatic, and irrational enemy, with...."

yeah, like Dick Cheyney, read Project for a New American Century....and look at what Paul Wolfowitz wrote about pre-emptive strikes...

try some honest tea boyo,

9/11 was an attack on American soil by US operatives...the "ghostly enemy" is currently ruining your country with his

"it's all about me and my friends"


grow up and quit spreading your lies,

preventing people from hearing and seeing the truth as their liberties are being abused and stolen,

could be called,

treason - us,

and you may be called to answer for your crimes if it can be shown that your are knowledgeable.




Posted by: jees...talking about crazi people.. | May 23, 2006 11:16 AM

truth bringer?

is that the same thing as spraying pig faeces on crops?

Posted by: hello mr | May 23, 2006 11:18 AM

Army Times
May 29, 2006
Pg. 70

Disgruntled Generals' 'Whining' Is Self-Serving

After hearing a recent radio broadcast featuring retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste spout off ad nauseam against Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, I came away sick and saddened that once-respected generals continue to cast themselves with anti-war, anti-American scoundrels.

What is more stupefying is that these soured generals have no common manifesto. Instead, their loosely wired personal -- as opposed to professional -- agendas continue to run amok and garner them false fame and profit.

It's time to put the spotlight on them.

*Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni is a Clinton-era appointee to his last military command, Central Command. It wasan inglorious command tenure by all accounts. He retired before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and remains uninformed on the dynamics regarding the current war on terrorism and daily operational affairs in Iraq.

*Retired Lt. Gen. Greg Newbold's intractable notions run counter-culture to the warrior ethos of our proud Marines serving today. His sour-grapes criticism and castigation of Rumsfeld do nothing more than undermine the Marines losing their lives every day fighting in a noble cause. Be assured, Newbold's and Zinni's anti-war mantras are the real issue.

*Retired Maj. Gen. John Riggs is a loyalist of former Army Chief of Staff retired Gen. Eric Shinseki. Riggs helped craft Shinseki's misguided transformation plan, which ground the Army to a halt. He served as a lieutenant general up until he retired; and it was Rumsfeld who retired him as a two-star.

*Retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton once commanded the Army Infantry Center and later oversaw the training of Iraqi forces. Although Eaton never worked higher than the tactical level, he somehow felt compelled to state that "Rumsfeld was incompetent at the tactical, operational and strategic levels of war." The bottom line, here you have a soured two-star general assessing the secretary of defense.

*Retired Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack commanded the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq late in the war. A Fayetteville, N.C., newspaper put his criticisms in their proper context. The real agenda: Swannack was miffed that Rumsfeld did not support his nomination for promotion to three stars.

*Retired Maj. John Batiste. On the radio show, Batiste stated Rumsfeld did not seal off Baghdad once we took it and wrongly directed the Iraqi army and Iraqi police forces to stand down.

These amounted to major mistakes, as Batiste puts it, and were the reasons he felt compelled to retire "as a matter of principle" in order to speak out against Rumsfeld. Funny, these alleged actions of Rumsfeld took place in 2003. Then, 2.5 years later, after Batiste pinned on a second star, after he commanded his Division in Iraq, and after he stayed in long enough to ensure he would get two-star retired pay, he stumbled across this principle.

Generals who have worked closely with Rumsfeld at the strategic level all support him -- retired Gen. Tommy Franks, retired Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, Gen. George Casey, Gen. John Abizaid and Gen. Peter Schoomaker.

Now, who do you believe? I'll give you a hint. It shouldn't be the six whining, self-serving generals who fervently believe they have a vote in the selection of the nation's secretary of defense.

To these generals, I say, grow up, count your blessings and pray for every man and woman in the defense establishment serving in time of war. That includes Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

I'll end by passing along the words of an active-duty Army staff sergeant with two recent Iraqi tours, who called in on that same radio show. He said, "General Batiste, in the Army, we are taught to support the chain of command, regardless of your personal feelings. Why are you doing otherwise?"

Sounded like Batiste shuffled his feet. Then, the sergeant went on to say that the actions of these outspoken generals have a detrimental effect on the morale of an Army and nation at war. Batiste simply blew him off.

We should all praise the wisdom and unflappable loyalty of that brave staff sergeant.

The writer is a retired brigadier general who was assistant division commander, 1st Armored Division, and once managed the Army's $1.5 billion morale, welfare and recreation program as well as all child and family programs. He retired Feb. 1, 2005, after 32 years of service.

Posted by: Truth Bringer | May 23, 2006 11:21 AM

May 2006
Pg. 21

Letter To Congressman John Murtha

Dear Congressman Murtha,

Although it is difficult to keep up with politics from over here, your comments on immediate withdrawal have been noted by all of us. I cannot tell you the overall sense of discouragement, sense of betrayal and the feeling that few appreciate our efforts your comments have created. 1BCT has been frequently deployed in support of the War on Terrorism and we believe it is the correct fight and we believe we are winning. We have seen a significant improvement on the ground since we began combat operations in Baghdad three months ago.

I started in the U.S. Army in 1968 and retired in 1992, with most of my time in Special Forces or Airborne Infantry units. I came out of retirement to come to Iraq with the 1BCT and I enjoy service with these outstanding officers and men. They are better than we were and they carry the terrific burden of frequent deployments and a high operational-tempo. There are few complaints as they feel the mission is extremely important to the nation's security, their families and to most Iraqis. They are dedicated to winning and I believe they are winning. It is obvious to this "old paratrooper" that your comments have hurt their morale and will eventually impact negatively on their efforts here.

"It is not enough to fight. It is the spirit which we bring to the fight that decides the issue. It is morale that wins the victory.

"Morale is a state of mind. It is steadfastness, and courage, and hope. It is confidence and zeal and loyalty. It is elan, esprit de corps, determination.

"It is staying power, the spirit which endures in the end... the will to win.

"With it all things are possible; without it everything else, planning, preparation, and production, count for naught." -- General George C. Marshall

I sincerely believe General Marshall as deeply as I believe your statements have undermined the morale of these young soldiers. I have watched intently as your political party has attempted to use this war for political advantage and find it to be repugnant in the extreme. That your name is now inextricably linked to Senators Kennedy, Biden and Durbin -- politicians who we believe do not support us -- must be of great concern to your constituents.

How can you ask us to leave? Must we forget all the sacrifices, the deaths, lost limbs, lost marriages and the daily struggle to win? What do I say to my 22-year-old nephew, a staff sergeant with the 1/75th Rangers seriously wounded in Mosul last month or his brother, a sergeant in Germany just back from Afghanistan or my niece in ROTC, or my brother-in-law, a lieutenant colonel getting ready for his second deployment?

Would you have me tell them that all we have done thus far is for naught? It means nothing? How about, "Don't worry; it happened to us coming out of Viet-Nam." Don't you remember?

Make no mistake; we are winning here. It ain't easy and it may be difficult for you to see from your elevated position, but day in and day out, 24/7 we are pushing out combat patrols, taking the initiative away from the beheaders, limiting their ability to move, resupply and detaining and killing them. We are going to win here. We are going to leave this country far better off than when we started and America is going to be more secure for it. We will make the sacrifice. Will you? Will America?

Remember 9/11.

Dave Rockwell, U.S. Army Paratrooper (Ret)

Posted by: Truth Bringer | May 23, 2006 11:22 AM

Los Angeles Times
May 17, 2006

Max Boot: Forget Privacy, We Need To Spy More

Electronic surveillance is a key weapon in the war on terror. Don't handcuff the president and the NSA.

By Max Boot

PRETTY MUCH everyone agrees that our human-spy capacity is missing in action. The chances that a CIA agent will be in the same cave as Osama bin Laden when the next 9/11 is being plotted are vanishingly small. The chances that our porous border security or transportation security will stop the next gang of Islamist cutthroats aren't much better. It's simply impossible to protect every inviting target in a continent-sized nation of almost 300 million people.

When it comes to the war on terror, the biggest advantage we have comes from our electronic wizardry. The National Security Agency has its share of problems, but it has long been the best in the business at intercepting and deciphering enemy communications. Until now. If civil liberties agitators, grandstanding politicians and self-righteous newspaper editorialists have their way, we will have to give up our most potent line of defense because of largely hypothetical concerns about privacy violations.

Assorted critics, taking a break from castigating the Bush administration for doing too little to protect the homeland, are now castigating it for doing too much. How dare the NSA receive without benefit of a court order telephone logs from AT&T, BellSouth and Verizon? Even though the records were anonymous and did not include the contents of any calls (Verizon and BellSouth have now denied offering any information at all), hyperventilating worrywarts fret that fascism has descended.

Qwest is supposed to be the hero of this drama for having, in USA Today's words, "the integrity to resist government pressure." That is not a compliment often paid to a company that has been accused of massive fraud and whose former chief executive is charged with 42 counts of insider trading. Maybe Qwest should celebrate by launching an advertising campaign touting itself as the preferred telecom provider of Al Qaeda.

All this concern with privacy would be touching if it weren't so selective. With a few keystrokes, Google will display anything posted by or about you. A few more keystrokes can in all probability uncover the date of your birth, your address and telephone number and every place you have lived, along with satellite photos of the houses and how much you paid for them, any court actions you have been involved in and much, much more.

It is only a little more work to obtain your full credit history and Social Security number. Or details of your shopping, traveling and Web-browsing habits. Such information is routinely gathered and sold by myriad marketing outfits. So it's OK to violate your privacy to sell you something -- but not to protect you from being blown up.

HOW FAR DO the civil-liberties absolutists want to take their logic? Will troops in Afghanistan and Iraq soon have to read Miranda warnings to captured suspects and apply for a court's permission before searching a terrorist safe house? Or do such niceties stop at our borders, thereby giving Al Qaeda and its ilk the freedom to operate unhindered only in the U.S.?

Much of this silliness can be traced to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which for the first time made judges the overseers of our spymasters. This was an understandable reaction to such abuses as the FBI's wiretapping of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. But FISA is a luxury we can no longer afford. Were it not for FISA's high standard of "probable cause," the FBI could have examined Zacarias Moussaoui's laptop in August 2001 and perhaps saved 3,000 lives. The Patriot Act scaled back some FISA provisions, such as the "wall" between intelligence and law enforcement agents, but enough remain intact to raise unnecessary questions about the legality of some much-needed homeland security measures.

This archaic law should be euthanized. Replace it with legislation that gives the president permission to order any surveillance deemed necessary, subject to only one proviso: If it is later determined that an intelligence-gathering operation was not ordered for legitimate national security objectives -- if, for instance, it was designed to gather dirt on political opponents -- then the culprits would be punished with lengthy prison sentences. Given that our intelligence bureaucracy leaks like a sinking ship, it is a safe bet that any hanky-panky would become front-page news faster than you can say "Pulitzer Prize."

So far there has been no suggestion that the NSA has done anything with disreputable motives. The administration has nothing to be ashamed of. The only scandal here is that some people favor unilateral disarmament in our struggle against the suicide bombers.

Posted by: Truth Bringer | May 23, 2006 11:24 AM

REMEMBER the current fiasco/regime STARTED?

probably not, it was actually more than a few years ago.

key player:
Bush Sr. is the former head of CIA, Congressman before that, operative before that, Vice President, then President...probably more than 50 years of his life making connections...and setting the stage for PNAC...

George H.W. Bush Sr.:
sent April Glaspie to Iraq, who with a nod and a wink told Saddam that his border dispute with Kuwait was an internal matter. I think Saddam was suckered into invading because the US needed a new enemy after the collapse of the soviet union....

Saddam invades Kuwait, we now have an official reason to be there....
looks like we'll establish a presence in Kuwait, we already have one in Saudi...our CIA trains them...CIA trained the 9/11 pilots.

Saudi Royals was given the rights to Saudi Arabia by the Brits after WWII, the Royals were put into power...

who owns the ports on US soil? the Brits...who's supporting us in Iraq?

Protecting the Kuwaiti's and getting oil:

We go into Iraq with Stormin Norman....and kill a couple of 100 thousand Iraqis and

stop short of know why, WE'RE GOING BACK...that's why we stopped...

and now that we occupy, are embedded in Kuwait,

we put the country of Iraq in STASIS with EMBARGOes until we need it........or the world economy is shifting and things are ripe....China Pakistan, and India are emerging...

THEN, the _family_ needed to intervene....

in this case the _international_ riche, and WE ARE THEIR TROOPS,

your sons and daughters are slaves of the international elite, giving their lives to a group of people vying for _deep_ wealth, not democracy.

which includes the Saudis, Kuwaitis, and the US Affluent that stand to make a bit of cash....mind you the Germans, English and French have their hands in this...but your buddy dubya, is the gawdfathers only visible son....unless you need the state militia called to keep Terry Schiavo from being a grandstanding sending 6,000 National Guardsmen without experience to the Mexican border

so we intervene on national television...bombs going off, constant coverage, city surrounded, surveillance on every living thing that's bigger than a booger..

and somehow, miracle of miracles, like the virgin mary turning up on your french toast:
Saddam escapes from Bagdhad with three tractor trailer loads of cash, $9 BILLION$ in CASH right? Anyone in dubyas extended family gotten riche lately?

the museums were emptied right? ha ha ha...that's rich.

as far as conspiracy goes,

there never was a CIA/NORIEGA/BUSH Sr. connection right? and the Chilean president wasn't asassinated in DC with full CIA knowledge, and where'd that white up George W. Bushes nose come from? Panama?

the thing of it is,
the United States suckered, under George H.W. Bush, Saddam Hussein into attacking Kuwait, so we could be the "heroes", and become military lead us to this point....

walking down the road with no impetus to replacing our dependence on oil, a non-renewable resource....because it's not to the benefit of the countries leaders

this has a lot to do with _families_ working together _not related by blood_, as well as politics that don't include you as a positive recipient of thier efforts, as well as...

helping you to understand that it isn't all cowboy hats and honesty leading you...

Saddam was deliberately mislead into attacking Kuwiat, by President George H.W. Bush, we indicated that we would look the other way if Saddam wanted to reacquire some land and oil wells that he thought the Kuwiatis had we would have an excuse to extend our influence.

did we tell Saddam Hussein the truth?


it wasn't to our advantage.

the bushes intimately understand the middle eastern tribe mentality, they have trbal mentality, they protect and work with their own....they use the government to get what they want for their tribe

ps. you're not included in their tribe....

morons in charge and morons voted them in...using demagoguery as a political tool needs to be exposed....predjudice as a tool.

you want a better country quit pandering to morons and pandering to hate.....

the point of it is, the bush family, is trying to bury some information that needs to be understood

the ultimate threat to this country is people that can write but can't think or see...or don't want you to.

I would suggest that those who would use thier governmental office for personal gain at the expense of the citizens lose thier citizenship, and be charged with treason and their properties confiscated....

intimidation as control shouldn't be tolerated....
read the bill of rights, the right to bear arms was specifically inserted into the Bill of Rights to prevent the United States from being taken over from within, which is what what is happening now....

that's the point, a dictatorship and a congress that takes advantage of citizens, doesn't deserve to serve....

tom delay: violated his oath of office twice and not a single member of congress has the oats to call him on it....cowards or fellow crooks?

who needs to look for leaks when anyone with two eyes can see a pattern...of deceit and corruption.

Posted by: hows 'bout some honsest tea...frankie? | May 23, 2006 11:26 AM

truth bringer?

is that the same thing as spraying pig faeces on crops?

Posted by: nice to see the devils work calling itself truth... | May 23, 2006 11:27 AM

AfghanVet your post(s) have given me an idea:

The military can drop its paper work over insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. By the time they finish digging out they will be too tired to fight. What a nightmare.

Seriously, I knew something was very, very wrong when I started meeting people who had to pay for body armor for family members serving in Iraq. (What next? Bring Your Own Boots?) Then I read about soldiers rummaging through the garbage to cobble together armor for their vehicles a la "Road Warrior." Runsfilled's comment about "The army you have," made me sick because it sounded crass, cynical and WRONG. (OK, he makes me sick anyway, but at that moment I wanted to take his little smirk and drop it and the rest of him off in the middle of the worst fighting in Iraq.)
I also have heard soldiers who served in combat (Afghanistan/Iraq) mention in passing that the system is "broken." I see now that these men and women were all masters of understatment. Thank you very much for your explanation of exactly HOW it is broken (or wrecked or utterly destroyed or...perhaps we need a new word).

I encourage everyone to go back and read the posts, they are long but well worth reading. If they don't make your hair stand on end, check your pulse. You might be dead.

Posted by: NOW I'm worried | May 23, 2006 11:29 AM

Dana Priest article on prisons

was simply a leaked, purposely, article that would make it plausible for them to say that they had


someone without having to prove it,

I do not feel that Dana Priest is anything more than

an intelligence agency shill, I don't believe she has

revealed anything that wasn't planted purposely by this administration.

has the president arrested those responsible for the Valerie Plame leak as he promised?

Posted by: I personally think that the | May 23, 2006 11:31 AM

if the threat that they

are protecting us from is _manufactured_,




then any conclusions about what they need to do

to protect us from that manufactured threat



bogus, bs

and equally manufactured....

the real threat is to the stability of our

United States of America,

by international pirates, destruction of life liberty and happiness, as your country is sold outfrom under you

and your jobs and money shipped overseas.

as _your_ country is sold to friends of this

complicit congress, they are passing the laws that they want to (bridge to nowhere),

as your poverty stricken mulitply and they give your blue collar jobs to Mexicans...


the Executive branch of government, who should be arrested, their properties (gained through illegal manipulation of the government) seized, and have them ride the twister of about 200,000 volts, and 75 amps...

while wearing funny little hats and with a damp sponge underneath of it...

thanks so much, hope there's a video...

send them home tonight


Posted by: send them home.... | May 23, 2006 11:36 AM

*Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni is a Clinton-era appointee to his last military command, Central Command.
Posted by: Truth Bringer | May 23, 2006 11:21 AM

So was Tommy Franks yes? Let us review Tommy's command record:

1. Let OBL escape not once but twice. First time from Kandahar. Second from Tora Bora. Yes? You think Ike would have let Hitler slip? What did the general think his objective in Afghanistan was? Rough up the Bans a little and run OBL out of town?

2. Did not finish the fight in Afghanistan. The Talibs are now back as an an active fighting force almost five years after 9/11. Five years! What does the man need? A one hundred year war?

3. Could not finish the fight in Iraq due to badly planned war strategy and tactics which now dooms US effort there to a stalemate at best. Probably downright defeat eventually if continued on current path.

4. Helped set the stage for the rise of Iran. Iran!

Ya ain't no 'Truth Bringer', ya a

Posted by: Truth Binger! | May 23, 2006 11:56 AM

*Retired Maj. Gen. John Riggs is a loyalist of former Army Chief of Staff retired Gen. Eric Shinseki. Riggs helped craft Shinseki's misguided transformation plan, which ground the Army to a halt.

Posted by: Truth Bringer | May 23, 2006 11:21 AM

Talk about rivisionist history before the history is even written! Where was Shinseki's Army grounded to a halt? In Iraq?


Ya ain't no 'Truth Bringer', ya a

Posted by: Truth Binger! | May 23, 2006 12:01 PM

Iraqis can participate in three historic elections, pass the most liberal constitution in the Arab world...

Posted by: Truth Bringer | May 23, 2006 11:13 AM

Ain't we glad our effort in Iraq is to spread LIBERAL democracy! What no more neoconservatism on the march? Thrown out in the dust bin of Iraq?

Ya ain't no 'Truth Bringer', ya a

Posted by: Truth Binger! | May 23, 2006 12:07 PM

Truth Bringer provided an article by Max Boot from the Los Angeles Times that lies, deceives and obfuscates reality as we have seen from many who cannot find fault with this administration. The article is long but there is enough in the last paragraph to illustrate how defending the undefensible is done using lies, deceit and obfuscations.

Lets take the last paragraph sentence by sentence to find the deceit, obfuscation and lying used to sway people:

1) "So far there has been no suggestion that the NSA has done anything with disreputable motives."

Deciet: It is deceiving to say the arguments against the NSA spying is based on disreputable motives. No one has said that. What is wrong is that it is being done without oversight, against FISA laws and in disregard to the 4th ammendment. The POTENTIAL for misuse exists and that is enough under the constitution. Checks and Balances are not being applied. We instead are asked to trust. This nation only trusts in God and rightly so.

2) "The administration has nothing to be ashamed of."

Obfuscation: Such a blanket statement obfuscates the reality of what Bush et. al. have done. Bush and each member of Congress have sworn an oath to preserve, protect and defend the constitution. Violating one of its ammendments should be a big deal, one done with consultations and lots of legal advice, not in secret with national security used as an excuse. Violating an oath should be something to be ashamed about and to say otherwise obfuscates the meaning of taking an oath.

3) "The only scandal here is that some people favor unilateral disarmament in our struggle against the suicide bombers."

Lying: This statement is not based in fact and is thus a lie. Those who attack the administration for unconstitutional NSA spying are themselves attacked with a red herring, that they favor disarmament against suicide bombers. Yet no evidence it given, just a blanket statement meant to draw your attention away from the subject, the unconstitutional NSA spying program(s) and make those who disapprove of the administration look weak and unpatriotic.

We all should have our guard up against anyone who would defend what we feel in our bones is probably not right. A few years ago I sat in a car dealership and listened to a car salesman lie, deceive and obfuscate while trying to sell a woman a car. She soaked it all up and agreed to buy the car. As the salesman left to write up the contract I sat down with her and pointed out the lies and twisted truths she was told. Undercoating does nothing to protect a car these days and "paint protection" is really just wax that costs $250. When the salesman returned and she stared questioning these points, he pointed to me and said I did not know what I was talking about (attacking with lies). He then asked me to leave, which I did but so did the lady.

Think for yourself and question authority.

Posted by: Sully | May 23, 2006 12:56 PM

Tommy Franks is the George McClellan of our time. What we are all waiting for is a Ulysses Grant.

And a Lincoln!

Posted by: | May 23, 2006 01:17 PM

sully, jaxas and others

I was brought up to believe people who used drugs were evil. Then I went to college. The girl in the room next to me used drugs. But she was nice. And thoughtful. And would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it. She wasn't evil at all.

This did not compute in my 18 year old "black and white" conditioned brain. It was the dawning of my own age of Aquarius - everything my parents told me wasn't true, and the world couldn't always be neatly categorized into a or b.

Some people simply don't have the capacity to see the world as other than a or b. Some haven't had the opportunity to challenge the black and white view ingrained in them in childhood and sustained by some fundamentalist organized religions.

But the real evil people are the Ellsworth Toohey's who prey on those without the capacity or means to grasp nuance. (Don't know who Ellsworth Toohey is? Start reading Ayn Rand, yesterday is too soon).

This is why it was so easy for Karl Rove and Frank Luntz and Rush Limbaugh to bamboozle Americans into accepting a nascent fascist government that is slowly dismantling our democracy.

I was seeing the seeds of the Democratic response, pointing out that helping the poor and refraining from unjust war were family values. It was countered yesterday by Bush in his speech yesterday reminding us that Jesus told us to feed the hungry and clothe the poor. And if Americans are so simple that they cannot see that his actions and rhetoric don't jive, I think we have just seen the 2006 Republican election strategy.

Posted by: pig in a poke | May 23, 2006 01:39 PM

I'm sorry, TB could you please explain the purpose of copying & pasting several opinion pieces into a debate? Do you agree with the writers? Are you trying to show even the most deluded individuals can get their thoughts in print? Please, tell us, what do YOU think?


Posted by: NOW I'm worried | May 23, 2006 01:39 PM


It has NEVER been about spying or not spying...but HOW we spy. The only people who dumb down the issue are Republicans and BushCo et al because that is how they sell their ideas on HOW it should be done. If they don't simplify the issue to such an extreme it becomes apparent that they are running roughshod over the laws of this nation.

NO ONE IS ADVOCATING NO SPYING!!! We are advocating a PROCESS and a "HOW", if you will, that provides for oversight and protection of civil liberties to the extent possible. We have none of that now. Accountability and TRANSPARENCY in the PROCESS of oversight and legal ramifications of abuse are what need to be clarified.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 23, 2006 01:55 PM

untruth bringer

explain again how we can see that our ports and borders have been left unguarded for five years post 9-11, even while knowing nuclear material had been smuggled in twice in that five years (by a news team) and is missing from the former Soviet Union, but that we should ignore this and instead roll over and surrender our civil liberties to "prevent terrorism"?

get a clue. this nation is waking up to the naive stupidity that elected gwbush in 2004.

Posted by: | May 23, 2006 01:59 PM

"So far there has been no suggestion that the NSA has done anything with disreputable motives."

MOTIVE is not the issue. The best intentions are subverted by BAD PROCESS!!!!. You SAY that there should be legislation...well, YOU'RE RIGHT...but there isn't yet and Bush isn't asking for such because the American people will NOT allow the Executive Branch to have so much power.'s about HOW, not IF or WHETHER or WHY.

I DON'T CARE IF ONE'S HEART IS IN THE RIGHT PLACE! I DO care HOW they go about doing what's in their heart.

Abortion clinic bombers have their "heart" in the right place, but their methods speak to having their head in their fourth point of contact.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 23, 2006 02:01 PM

"Generals who have worked closely with Rumsfeld at the strategic level all support him -- retired Gen. Tommy Franks, retired Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, Gen. George Casey, Gen. John Abizaid and Gen. Peter Schoomaker."

Yes, Generals who were politicians. You do not get past combat command and into JCS positions without being a politician. Politicians are lousy combat commanders. Why do you think seek out desk jobs instead of retirement once they finish their combat commands? Why do you think they ignored Powell and retired Shenseki? Why do you thin Schwarzkopf retired after such a victory?

They didn't want combat generals, they wanted politicians who would do and say as they were told. They didn't want intelligence analysis, they wanted ammunition for their theories. I KNOW the process for creating NIE and the like and with the VP their overseeing the editing, they are about as independent an assessment as ENRON'S accounting.

IF everything this administration did from Energy Policy to War were based on critical thought, problem solving and factual evidence, then why not open up the records and show it as such? Why? Because the information has been cherry-picked, the people have been picked for their loyalty to our dear leader and the grand NEO-TARD theories, and the planning never goes past getting something implemented. Why no planning? Because they have FAITH in their THEORIES...not evidence of the outcome and related risk analysis.

See, usually, Bush walked away from his failures...he can't do that now. So, those loyal minions whose jobs and credibility hinge on BushCo and their rediculous theories will write, say and do anything to protect the theory and the dear leader; REGARDLESS of ANY evidence to the contrary.

THAT is what you get when you choose loyalty over competence and faith over reason.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 23, 2006 02:27 PM

Here, let me start another firestorm...

Gen. Franks and others of his ilk can be easily categorized as part of the "faith-based military coalition". Yes, the whole fiasco at the Air Force Academy is the tip of the iceberg. Seriously.

All the "faith-based" people who are in the military support BushCo et al because they lack, forget or refuse to use any critical thought in their jobs or lives. Therefore, they will support our dear leader no matter what.

The replacement commander for the unit I was assigned to in Afghanistan (who was yanked out of the school hallways in order to get his checkmark for combat command on his way to a first star) was one of those faith-based commanders. He immediately posted a "prayer" in the mess hall imploring "God" to help us "smite our enemies". No matter that we had locals working in the mess hall. Oh, and he really enjoyed the health and welfare inspections where he would pour out listerine and after-shave because it "might have alcohol in it." Nothing like THOSE morale boosters.

Needless to say, the unit effectiveness took a nose dive. Why? Well, like I said above, the previous commander was a warrior first class. He didn't play games and I actually watched him (a colonel) tell a 2 star what was what without flinching. He commanded one of the most effective rotations in Afghanistan. He was offered a desk job and his star...and he retired. He knew there was nothing he could do for his men or the fight anymore and he didn't want to have to deal with kncukleheads referenced above.

If you want a root cause for ALL of BushCo et al's problems, start with their approach to planning and decision making and compare it to their faith-based reasoning. They are BELIEVERS, not thinkers. And, like any good BELIEVER, they only change their minds, or admit fault or mistakes or fallacy, when hit over the head with the proverbial bat. And, some would rather die from the bat wounds then admit that they have had it wrong for so long.

"We do NOT revolve around the SUN and you offend me for saying so."


" attack me because of my faith!"


"You cannot PROVE your theory of earth/sun revolution, so you attck my faith."


", I will not admit it's true...never!"


"You hate me for my faith!"


Posted by: AfghanVet | May 23, 2006 02:48 PM

Afghan Vet said: See, usually, Bush walked away from his failures...he can't do that now

You know, I hadn't thought about it that way. Daddy always rescued him. From the oil company, from the insider trading, from the baseball team......

Ya gotta admit, the guy's consistent.

But about the military - I think it attracts career people who are comfortable thinking in black and white instead of color. Someone makes the decisions and they obey. John Glenn's autobiography is absolutely fascinating - God, Country, Family, and the rest is just window dressing. In the initial astronaut program it is said the psychologists couldn't believe how "black and white' Frank Borman was in his thought processes. That same rigidity attracts both religous fundamentalism and military thinking, so its not surprising to see them together.

I can't really tell if Truth Bringer is merely a victim of the puppetmaster, or one of the puppetmasters. That he would accept work written by others instead of fronting it as his own ideas (a la ford) suggests he is a victim. But not to worry. When he realizes his "facts" don't hold up to the cold hard light of day, someone that deep in the spell will likely join in the chorus that the teachers who taught us to think for ourselves (so we could discredit his tripe) must be discredited as liberal academic elite.

Posted by: patriot1957 | May 23, 2006 03:52 PM

I stopped providing my own opinions on this site a long time ago because the loonie left doesn't know how to debate without trying to attack someone's character.
I'm simply providing the thoughts of others to show that not everyone in this country shares in your hatred for our leaders, our beliefs, and our men and women in uniform.
These opinions come right from the horse's mouth - Soldiers in the field of battle. It's simply a way of stating that not everything you see on TV is truth. I know that's hard for you numbskulls to understand, but it's about time we accepted what's given to us from those who are actually a part of it instead of those who are simply reporting what they think you want to hear, or what will increase their own popularity.

Posted by: Truth Bringer | May 23, 2006 04:17 PM

Truth Bringer,
The loonie left only resorts to personal attacks? Have you read any of Ford's posts?! Or your own where you call us Numbskulls? Yah, you totally proved your point right there.

Please submit proof of where the left hates its men and women in uniform. Please do so.

And for your comment regarding taking information from people that have been there as opposed to reports, I guess you just kinda shot yourself in the foot seeing as AfghanVEt was relating personal stories.

Good job discrediting yourself more than we could.

Posted by: Freedom | May 23, 2006 04:23 PM

AfganVet wrote:
"If you want a root cause for ALL of BushCo et al's problems, start with their approach to planning and decision making and compare it to their faith-based reasoning. They are BELIEVERS, not thinkers."

I can't believe Karl Rove has done what he has done by being a true believer. He truly has been amazing in his methods of twisting facts and distorting truth. True believers typically don't do that because they believe they are completely right and you just need to understand that. I think most of BushCo are simply politicians who see a group, evangelicals, they can make happy with petty legislation such as gay marriage ammendments in exchange for votes to bring them a majority. I mean, if you look at the number of people killed since Bush took office you would have to wonder where the Christian values are in it all. Not to mention the level of poverty, the funneling of wealth to the wealthy, etc... All very non-christian, unless you hear Rove explain it...

Posted by: Sully | May 23, 2006 04:23 PM

I could post my opinions as General Franks, would you actually believe it was Tommy Franks debating with you?
Calling you numbskulls was an initial strike because I know what follows. It was only in response to what I had read you all blab about since I posted the articles.
Let's just agree to disagree. The loonies' stance on issues will run this country in to the ground, and make us all the gutless weaklings you want us to be.
Your actions show your hatred for our men and women in uniform. Just because you don't come right out and say it doesn't mean you don't. You might truly believe you don't, but when you take away their morale you handcuff them and take away their capability.

Posted by: Truth Bringer | May 23, 2006 04:45 PM

Truth Bringer,
If you insult us, you're doing exactly what you claim to hate and use as an excuse not to post. Its safe to say that when I call you a hypocrite, its not so much personal attack as statement of fact.

And I'm sorry that you insist on saying that the left, and through association, myself, hate the men and women of uniform, whether we say so or not. I'm sorry, because your argument has two flaws. One, it allows blanket statements open to anyones interpretation, regardless of proof of fact. Therefore, I can claim that you're a woman hating, baby killing nazi and state that its your actions that show you to be. I offer no proof other than a blanket claim over all of your actions, similar to how you have done. Second, the flaw is that our country is founded based on the beliefs of right to dissent and checks and balances, to name two. The right to dissent ensures that our country stays on track. The idea being that people not having to be afraid of speaking their beliefs helps to encourage free thought and a protection of the values of the country. I'm truly sorry that you and your ilk wish to destroy it through attacking whoever dissents by claiming they are weak, hate the country, and hate the troops (Hmmm, and you say you don't resort to personal attacks?). All the left asks for is checks and balances. We don't all share the same trust you do, nor did the founding fathers. By having oversight and accountability, this country can stay on track and remain what it was. A great country that is famous for being a beacon of civil rights. I'm sorry you wish to destroy that.

Posted by: Freedom | May 23, 2006 04:54 PM

Truth Bringer,
Perhaps you should think before you post. By attacking anyone excercising their freedom of speech and freedom to dissent by trying to quell them into submission through unprovable claims of hatred, you show that you truly hate the troops of America. You hate them, because you hate what they are fighting to protect. And if you hate what they are trying to protect, can you claim not to hate them themselves?

Posted by: Freedom | May 23, 2006 04:56 PM

Truth Bringer spouted:
"Let's just agree to disagree. The loonies' stance on issues will run this country in to the ground, and make us all the gutless weaklings you want us to be."

I submit that has already happened by the gutless weaklings currently in office. This country was attacked under Bush's watch by 19 people and Bush launched two wars, one of which had nothing to do with the attack. He has squandered alliances and the treasury to the point where we worry about China bringing financial ruin to the US. If anyone is loonie its someone who looks at where we are today and say things are so much better than before Bush took office and what a good job he has done.

Truth continues:
"Your actions show your hatred for our men and women in uniform."

Please explain why Bush does not allow the press to take pictures of the galent men and women coming back in flag draped coffins at Dover? Is he embarassed that anyone should see the result of his folly? I and all the people I know who have turned against Bush do not want to see another soldier die for Bush's falsified invasion. If you respect the soldiers you would not have let the situation get to where it is now.

Truth continues:
"Just because you don't come right out and say it doesn't mean you don't. You might truly believe you don't, but when you take away their morale you handcuff them and take away their capability."

Oh, I see, you have bought into the "with us or against us" mentality. Well maybe you should talk to Rumsfeld and ask him why he did not give those troops the material they needed to do the job or protect themselves, or ask Wolfowitz and Franks why they ignored top generals and sent in too few troops. And ask Bush where the post war plan was. There was none! If anyone has handcuffed our troops it was this incompetent administration that to this day would rather see soldiers die than admit to and correct the mistakes that lead to the current situation in Iraq.

Posted by: Sully | May 23, 2006 05:03 PM

Exercise away my friend. No one's saying you can't do that. It's just that your exercising is moronic and lacks integrity. Nice try in turning it around in to me hating Soldiers. That's exactly what I'm talking about.
I guess I'm just use to being called a Bushbot or jingoistic so much I just come out first with it now. Keep your hate alive there Freedom. Believe me the truth shines through.

Posted by: Truth Bringer | May 23, 2006 05:04 PM

Obviously you haven't read enough of the previos blogs. It's the same old talk with you loonies. Bush made 9/11 happen, invaded Iraq under false pretenses, didn't have a plan. Just keeping watching CNN.
I guess it was ok for Hussein to continue his pursuit of WMD. I guess it was ok for him to house and train terrorists. I guess it was Bush's fault 9/11 occured eventhough he'd only been in office for 8 months. If you knew anything about politics or the in depth planning 9/11 took, you'd know that's hardly enough time to claim Bush's incompetence let it happen.

Posted by: Sully | May 23, 2006 05:08 PM

Truth wrote:
"Believe me the truth shines through."

Ah we agree on something. Truth shining through is why Bush's approval is where it is today and even the great Karl Rove admits its America's disapproval of the way Iraq has been handled. Truth is very important yet Bush will not tell the truth of the NSA activities, even to Congress as he is required. We agree, truth needs to shine through.

Posted by: Sully | May 23, 2006 05:09 PM

Did you post as me (Sully) at 5:08PM? That's low Truth. You've shown just what a standup guy/gal you are.

Posted by: Sully | May 23, 2006 05:12 PM

Honest mistake Sully and I apologize. I'm in the middle of something. I was trying to write that to you.

Posted by: Truth Bringer | May 23, 2006 05:14 PM


The problem is we KNOW now that he indeed had NO WMD program other than paper. He was NOT training terrorists other than those he could control for regional issues...NOT GLOBAL, i.e. NO ALQUEDA CONNECTIONS! None, ZERO, ZIP!

As for causing 9/11, no, it's not Bush's fault. As for missing the execution stages of the 9/11 operation, it is DEFINITELY his administration's fault. IF you knew anything about clandestine operations you would know that exposure to counter measures and security forces of your target increases proportionally to how close one is to actually executing the operation. Why? Because ALL logistics have to be in place, ALL surveillance and casing must be complete AND your personnel must finally expose themselves in order to carryout the operation.

What has become CLEAR is that ALL of the necessary information needed to expose the conspiracy was known to the various organizations charged with intelligence and counter-intelligence as well as law enforcement. PID anyone????

What did NOT happen was the INTEGRATION of the information across the various agencies in order to allow for effective link analysis and resultant investigation and destruction of the conspiracy. Now, the overall reason for this disconnect is systemic. The INTEL system is broken...and still not fixed. But, that is why Richard Clarke and others like him supply a hub to all of the INTEL spokes. AND...what did BushCo do when he told them that they shouldn't ignore the threat...they told him to go pound sand.

Why? Because tax cuts, abortion, gay marriage, destroying social security, rewarding oil company execs and the like was more important and they just knew better.

Guess not.

Now, we have gone off half-cocked because we never really had a plan for foreign affairs anyway and the one we came up with, based on bogus assumptions and cherry-picked INTEL turned out to be short-sighted at best and neglegent at worst.

So, indeed, THIS administration bares the majority of blame for not only 9/11, but certainly for the fiascos that have followed.

Now, as far as your claim that no one addressed you comments as opposed to just you, I suggest you go back and read my posts and tell me where, in fact, I have posted to you personally. I suspect you are making excuses for A) your inability to develop your own opinion, and B) defend your position with facts and data as opposed to opinion about said facts and data.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 23, 2006 05:42 PM


Karl is a tool (pardon the pun...maybe not), not a policy person. Karl is an expert in one thing...winning elections. Karl would, and probably has, sell his soul to WIN, regardless of the platform HIS candidate stands for.

Karl uses the same techniques as high-pressure sales people to package crappy ideas and make them emotionally appealing. Again, HE doesn't have to BUY his BS, he just has to sell it.

He told BushCo and all of the NEO-TARDS exactly how to cobble together enough electoral votes to WIN. His strategy has nothing to do with BELIEVING gay people are evil (cause, frankly, the jury is out on him), it had to do with SAYING the right things to the RIGHT people to get those who would NOT benefit from the ACTUAL AGENDA (BIG BUSINESS and FREE MARKET) to bite on something emotional in order to have "skin in the game".

Hell, they couldn't give a rat's ass about birth control, abortion or gays. They just need to say it. I'll tell you right now that if one of the Bush twins got knocked up, they would never have that child out of wedlock. AND...why won't that happen...BECAUSE THEY ARE USING BIRTHC CONTROL.

So, you're right, Karl is NOT a believer, he is a manipulator. But, he manipulates for the BELIEVERS because he only cares about winning, not solving problems or governing.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 23, 2006 05:52 PM

Notice how the number of people who fit TB's and other like minded individuals' definition of who is an anti-American soldier-hating loonie continues to grow:

Long haired smelly hippy types who protest the war? Mais oui.

Icky whiny Democrats (regardless of hair length) who protest the war? Certainly.

People who have been in the military since they were old enough to join and only quit because they were disgusted by Rumsfeld's complete inability to understand war is more than photo ops? Yep.

Veterans of other wars who protest the war in Iraq? Um... gee, I guess so.

Veterans of the war in Iraq or Afghanistan who think the war/Bush & Co are an unmitigated nightmare? Sorry, add them to the list. (Does this mean they hate themselves? I guess so, poor things.)

Any one, regardless of party affiliation or military career who dares to question Bush & Co's policies?

Yes, my friends, they are ALL anti-American, soldier-bashing, flag-burning, terrorist-cuddling scuzzbuckets who should be chased into Canada with pitchforks.

These are the people (if you believe TB or the articles s/he pulled) who are making this country weak and sapping the morale of soldiers with all of their drivel about dissent and Free Speech, the Constitution and checks and balances and always the questions, questions, questions. And how dare they try to claim THEY are patriots or true Americans when Bush co-opted those words soon after September 11th. Shame on the copy cats! TB et al. would cry.

Why, I guess TB is asking, can't we all behave like the good little soldiers that Rumsfeld dreams about? You know, the men and women who are bright enough to run complex missions, use insanely expensive equipment, go into very dangerous places and come back alive, but are at the same time too dim to think about WHY.

Posted by: NOW I'm worried | May 23, 2006 06:14 PM

Truth Bringer-

If our civil liberties are inconveniences the government must forgo to ensure our "safety" and rational dissent is treachery, just what the hell are we fighting for? Truth, justice, and the American Way?

Too many Americans have given their lives for my right to speak my mind about the idiots who are running this war and this country for me to dishonor their sacrifice with silence.

What are you fighting for?

Posted by: wiccan | May 23, 2006 08:25 PM

Truth wrote:
"Honest mistake Sully and I apologize. I'm in the middle of something. I was trying to write that to you."

Thanks for the apology. I just wish Bush could recognize a mistake and accept the responsibility as well as you have.

Truth also wrote:
" guess it was ok for Hussein to continue his pursuit of WMD."

Well lets see, just before the invasion we had no fly zones around northern and southern Iraq and UN inspectors on the ground. How could he have pursued WMD under those circumstances?

Truth continues:
"I guess it was ok for him to house and train terrorists."

Name one.

Truth continues:
"I guess it was Bush's fault 9/11 occured even though he'd only been in office for 8 months."

He was warned and did nothing. Read Richard Clarke's book. Clarke was inside both the Clinton white house and Bush white house and during 911. His story is one everyone who wants to know what both the clinton and bush white house did should read.

Truth continues:
"If you knew anything about politics or the in depth planning 9/11 took, you'd know that's hardly enough time to claim Bush's incompetence let it happen."

I can give him a pass considering even if he did react as Clinton would have done, 911 still might have occured. However since 911 the level of incompetence in every area just astounds me. The Afgan war seemed well planned but Tora Bora baffled me. Then there was talk of Iraq. Iraq? OBL was not caught and Bush only cared about Iraq? Then the planning, Wolfowitz saying the war would pay for itself and we needed only a few troops. Shinseki told the truth and was retired. Then the propaganda started. You can read a little about how the pentagon spun Jessica Lynch's story here:
Then the reconstruction or more appropriately it should be called non-reconstruction. Its three years later and billions spent and water and electricity are still issues. The 911 commission gave a report but Bush has failed to enact their recomendations. Then Katrina hit and the pictures of people waiting for help reminded me of Baghdad after we took it with no one around but people looting and looking for help. No security. We now know most IEDs are from looted munition stores we knew about but did not have the troops to guard. Then Dubai Ports World just made me throw up my hands and wonder who was running this country. I thought that was the most amazingly stupid thing he has done on all levels until I heard about the NSA spying. Now its gone beyond incompetence to law breaking.

Bush's incompetence, or at least the incompetence of his administration, is not in question. The evidence keeps mounting. The lack of any planning or follow through, the turning a blind eye to anything they do not want to consider, and his inability to admit any mistakes and thus learn from them and correct them. No Truth, this president is a failure in so many ways except providing for the reduction of taxes for the wealthiest Americans. For that he is a success to the detriment of our Nation.

Posted by: Sully | May 23, 2006 11:28 PM

"I think most of BushCo are simply politicians who see a group, evangelicals, they can make happy with petty legislation such as gay marriage ammendments in exchange for votes to bring them a majority"

Its worse than that. Nascent fascists always wrap themselves in the flag and the church. God is on their side. Its part of the schtick.

There are three paths to POWER (as opposed to power). One is by coup, and one by revolution. It is the third that is the most interesting - legal dictatorship. The serious fascist states in history got there legally. Hitler was appointed and then given dictatorial powers by the Reichstag, the order making him dictator had sunset provisions and had to be reapproved every 4 years. Mussolini was also appointed, then gained control of the legislature and courts to make his rule "legal". People say it can't happen here. It is happening here. The Patriot Act was just a start. One more attack and congress will give Bush unlimited "special powers", Gonzales will make sure large swaths of Americans can't vote, and that will be that.

There is a tried and true "recipe' for fascist stew. Patriotism, God, and FEar are the main ingredients. Make people afraid, playact at creating a law and order Godly society, make dissent unpatriotic, discredit the academics who can expose you, control the media, fudge the elections, and strong arm the legislature and courts. TB is only doing his job trying to make our dissent unpatriotic, Gonzales is threatening the media with jail, and today the harrasment of the legislature began. You don't really think these events are a coincidence, do you?

Sully, I know TB is frustrating. I'm sure his shirt is very brown. And there are lots more of him. It would seem that when we do not learn from history we are doomed to repeat it. Use him to learn how to combat their lies and brainwashing, and go work on the reasonable people in the middle. Last Friday I was so inent on the radio I missed the hot dog vendor asking for my order. I apologized, saying I was intent on listening to the news to see if Karl Rove had been indicted. The response was "who's he". There's lots of innocents out there being brainwashed by Fox who need conversion.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | May 24, 2006 12:54 AM

Surely no one believes it is a coincidence that Gonzales is threatening the free press with jail for daring to report the BA's lawbreaking, at the same time they are making a blatant attempt at intimidation against Congress.

Control of the legislature and control of the media are required for control of the country.

Posted by: Constitution | May 24, 2006 02:05 AM

That old paratrooper, Dave Rockwell, in his letter to Congressman Murtha, has eloquently said it all.


Don't waste your time in replying to the shallow arguments of your traducers emanating from their moral and intellectual weakness. The fact that they are SERIALLY responding to your posts, reveal how many chips they have on their shoulders, as a result of their spiritual effeteness.

Just bombard them with the TRUTH, and accept gracefully, which is the characteristic of the strong, their "counter-flak" of vituperation and LIES, which are the characteristic of the weak.

Posted by: Con George-Kotzabasis | May 24, 2006 03:24 AM


And you just responded with the usual EMPTY LANGUAGE of the right. Sure sounds pretty and intellectual and says absolutely NOTHING. We respond "serially" to "truth" because his postings contain so little of what his name suggests.

If you would like to impress us with YOUR intellectual and moral capabilities, please try posting something other than empty language tripe; something like your own opinion.

O ye 30% who just cannot give it up.

Simple is as simple does.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 24, 2006 08:56 AM

Spiritual effetness? Wow...that's quite a phrase.

So tell me, please, just who would Jesus bomb first? Who would he tell you to hate first? Who would the Buddha ask you to NOT show compassion to?

Empty language...look it up:

"Just as we seldom question the content of potato chips while enjoying their pleasurable taste, recipients of empty language are usually distracted from examining the content of what they are hearing. Dominators use empty language to conceal faulty generalizations; to ridicule viable alternatives; to attribute negative motivations to others, thus making them appear contemptible; and to rename and "reframe" opposing viewpoints."

For someone with your spiritual fortitude, you seem to harbor a great deal of anger and hate. Exactly what spiritual path or religion or faith are you drawing that from?

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 24, 2006 09:07 AM

AfganVet wrote:
"Sully, I know TB is frustrating. I'm sure his shirt is very brown. And there are lots more of him. It would seem that when we do not learn from history we are doomed to repeat it."

Frustrating? No. I have history on my side to comfort me. The truth will come out.

I remember the TBs of the 70s. They lauded Nixon for standing up to the democrats who they said were lying and trying to force him from office for political purposes. Georgie Jessel (a commedian of the 40s and 50s) called the Washington Post "Pravda" to make his point about the Post's reporting of the Nixon administration's crimes. Many people, including my dad, thought Nixon was a smart man (he was) and a patriot (he was) and totally innocent of the stories printed in the Post (he was not). Nixon gave "transcripts" of the infamous tapes and they showed no illigalities. They were placated and attacked the "pinko left" and Post even more. It wasn't until the tapes were actually acquired by Congress and played to the American people that all of the people knew what crimes had happened and what louses the president and his men were. At that moment my father and I had a rare moment. He looked at me and said "you were right" and I just said that it was ok because I understood it was so hard to believe. The nation went through a similar moment. It was like a war had ended. That day will come when Bush & company are investigated and the truth is told. My fear is that with what Bush & company know happened to Nixon, they will go to extradordinary lengths to prevent loosing the majority this fall so as to prevent investigations. I expect illegalities in the coming election year from the republicans. It will not be pretty especially with the advanced guard established in Limbaugh and Fox News. And TB will be there fighting with them, ignoring any possibile wrongdoing as he cheers his heros on. But that does not make him a Nazi. My dad was not a Nazi. He did choose to ignore the evidence that was mounting, mainly because he trusted the government to ensure what was being reported could not happen. I believe the TBs of the world, like my dad, will one day see the evidence laid out and feel embarrassed for supporting Bush. History is repeating itself AfganVet. But its the early 1970s in America where Nixon & company were breaking laws and an unpopular war was raging, not the 1930s in Germany.

Posted by: Sully | May 24, 2006 09:49 AM

Just bombard them with the TRUTH, and accept gracefully, which is the characteristic of the strong, their "counter-flak" of vituperation and LIES, which are the characteristic of the weak.

Posted by: Con George-Kotzabasis | May 24, 2006 03:24 AM

Bombard em with truth? Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

The truth won't set them free? You got to bomb them with it instead?

Here's an idea. If you've got the truth why such need for secrecy? Why hide it? Why "the truth" keeps seeping out in the press bit by bit like sewage? Does your "truth" stink?

Are you a con, Georgie?

Posted by: Your truth stinks! | May 24, 2006 10:19 AM

Ensign Furd: Ayre! Enema combatants on starboard.

Commodore Kotza: Prepare for bombardment. Load the 500 lb Truth Sinkers.

Ensign Furd: Where sire? We are in Dubai. They are friendlies yes?

Commodore Kotza: There are no friendlies. You either seek Truth. Or you get bombed with it.

Ensign Furd: But we trust 'em with our ports sire!

Commodore Kotza: Port? I thought you said starboard?

Ensign Furd: It is starboard sire. But what about our ports?

Commodore Kotza: What about them? The Emir got our back. Don't worry ensign.

Ensign Furd: And our border sire?

Commodore Kotza: Fox got it too!

Ensign Furd: We are all right then.

Commodore Kotza: We are all right ensign. As long as we guard the oil.

Ensign Furd: And bomb the Truth!

Commodore Kotza: Bomb away. The Truth will smash them free.

Ensign Furd: It's still odd sire. The Emir runs our ports. And we guard his harbor.

Commodore Kotza: The Truth is odd ensign. But it's profitable. Very profitable.

Ensign Furd: For whom sire? The Truth Maker?

Commodore Kotza: And the Truth Hoarder. Speaking of hoarding. Tell me about them ho's. They in Dubai too?

Ensign Furd: They everywhere sire. Like our Truth. You can't live without them.

Commodore Kotza: And you can't live with them. That's for sure.

Ensign Furd: Truth ho!

Posted by: Truth Bombardier | May 24, 2006 11:00 AM

Bombardier wrote:
"The Emir runs our ports. And we guard his harbor."

Forget the harbor and oil, protect the ski slope!

Posted by: Sully | May 24, 2006 11:23 AM

Listen, Emily, would you just ban that useless spammer Che already? I'm sick of his page-scrolling idiocy posting his entire articles from his Blog.

Be DONE with him!

Posted by: Dude! | May 24, 2006 11:33 AM

Sully, it was me not Afghan vet.

But I think you mistook my meaning.

I too remember my father shouting "Liar liar, our president would never do that" at John Dean on the radio. And his utter disillusionment when he realized it was true.

But he found out it was true because we still had a free press and a Congress willing to exert oversight and a Justice Department willing to investigate. Watergate is no comparison to what's going on today. Nixon didn't have the two decades of set up this gang has.

You should not underestimate the ominousness of Gonzales' threat to prosecute the NY Times for daring to print the truth. They got the media to ask "how high" by labelling them as "liberal". When that stopped working they had their own lying network to feed the masses, but now that less than 50% would call Bush honest and trustworthy, they still have a problem. Solution? Intimidate the press into stopping their exposure of his illegal and immoral acts.

You should also not underestimate the gravity of the BA's blatant first strike at intimidation of Congress in the search of Jefferson's office. The message was quite clear - we'll go after any of you who don't toe the party line - this is politics after all and if we look hard enough we'll find something. You should not forget that in the 2004 elections, PRIMARY candidates ran on a platform of "I'm Bush's choice". RINO's have already been threatened with loss of party support and primary fights.

You accept the rightie propaganda of equating fascist with Nazi. Fascism is a form of government of which the Nazi's were but one example. Mussolini was not a Nazi. Pinochet was not a Nazi. Franco was not a Nazi...

YOur acceptance of this fascist = Nazi propaganda leads you away from the central question - how did Hitler and Mussolini et al consolidate their power?

They intimidated the press, and they intimidated the legislature. Once they hounded/intimidated/illegally voted out enough of the other parties and made unholy alliences wiht the ones they couldn't intimidate, they got the legislators to vote them "special" powers so they could "protect' the people from the terrorist, whoops strike that, Communist threat.

Look for more intimidation of both the press and Congress. Look for an "October Surprise' designed to bring fear back into the equation.

I used to wonder why people stayed in Germany - why couldn't they see the writing on the wall? Now I understand.

Posted by: patriot1957 | May 24, 2006 11:39 AM

patriot1957 wrote:
"I used to wonder why people stayed in Germany - why couldn't they see the writing on the wall? Now I understand."

It was not all threats and intimidation. Germans loved Hitler and they loved the Germany he was creating. These were a people defeated only 15 years earlier in WW1 and made to suffer humiliation in defeat. They stayed and they supported hitler's vision. And hitler delivered the goods. Germany was the economic envy of a world still suffering through a worldwide depression. He lead Germany to take back what it lost in WW1 and the people cheered. He did not rule only through intimidating his critics, he ruled by delivering prosperity and dignity to the country, at least those in the country allowed to prosper and have dignity. Bush is not doing the latter and doing a poor job of intimidating as well. Look how well he intimidated congress on the Dubai Ports World deal or how his Social Security legislation passed (not!). To compare him and his lazy administration with Hitler's Germany is a stretch. To say his methods are akin to fascism is also a stretch. This is a man who hid in a hole on 911 and watched Katrina destroy a city while he went on vacations and fund raisers. Fascists are active people and always worry about the level of anger in the populace. Bush is simply too stupid and lazy to be a fascist.

As for Gonzales, I think he is simply pushing around a weak congress but I think even republicans in congress will worry about the executive branch searching their homes. And the press, well, they need a spine and the MSM has lost it in favor of invitations to White House news conferences and parties. There is other press and they have shown they can lead the news the MSM is not covering. I have no worries about the press. Dana Priest is a breath of fresh air for example. And there is the press in other countries. The world is different today and controlling the press is not as easy as it was in 1933. The Chinese are well aware of this.

Posted by: Sully | May 24, 2006 12:40 PM

"Its worse than that. Nascent fascists always wrap themselves in the flag and the church. God is on their side. Its part of the schtick"

And notice that as with other proto-totalitarian regimes God (or religion) is a Tinker Toy that can be broken down and rebuilt to fit their program. Sorry lads, even this very lapsed Catholic can tell you: If you think God approves of killing in His name, check out the SECOND part of the Bible.

I think the biggest problem with blocking Shrub & Co. is how people THINK a dictatorship comes into being: One minute everyone is peacefully minding their business, the next jack booted thugs are dragging people from their beds. (And then Bruce Willis saves the day!)

It doesn't even take active malice on the part of the budding dictator. (This is me being charitable.) In this instance Bush, Cheney, Rove, did not wake up one day and say "Gee, I feel like cutting up the Bill of Rights and turning the U.S. into the most hypocritical nation on the planet!" Instead, people who are used to being complete and total control of everything (as the very rich often imagine themselves to be) found themselves in a situation they could not control and got very, very scared.

That is what makes the whole lot so frightening to me. I don't think Bush sits in the Oval Office (or down on The Ranch) cackling and setting fire to copies of the BoR. He is scared, he is confused, he is, let us speak frankly, dumber than a box of very backward rocks. The semi-reformed addict thing just adds to his problems. I would rather deal with a confident person holding a shot gun than a insecure, brown-pants scared person armed with nothing more than thier own hands and feet. Scared people do crazy things. Sometimes they hurt other people in their attempts to stop the thing causing fear. When they have power the number of people who can get hurt increases in proportion to the amount of power. When the truth is what frightens a person... look out. So because the President of the United States is experiencing emotions he cannot cope with he is willing to do ANYTHING to make those feelings go away. Does this excuse him and his henchmen? Nope. There are a million other ways they could have coped with the attacks on Sept. 11th.

ShrubCo picked the worst one: They decided the worst thing that could happen was for George Bush (and by extension, themselves) to look stupid. Pride must come before everything else. So they start to lie to cover up the mistakes. Not just to the public but to themselves so they can continue to live under the delusion that they are infalliable and in complete control.

That doesn't work. People start to ask questions, others start to come forward with PROOF that they tried to warn SOMEBODY and no one listened. War on Afghanistan was the next step. That was the last thing the Admin. did that made sense. However, it didn't stop the questions and even they must be aware that catching Bin Laden won't cause more than a brief burst of static in ONE terrorist network. "Hey, I know, lets distract the planet via war on a country that was not involved with the attacks." I would have a lot more respect for Shrub if he had just said "Look, I want to kick Hussein's backside and dress up in a flight suit." (It would still be very wrong but at least it would be HONEST.) Well, that didn't work because lo and behold there were no WMDs. Remember the excitment when a Dutch (I think) unit found some suspicous canisters buried in the desert? Remember how quickly that story went bye-bye when it turned out they were very defunct weapons left over from the Gulf War?

And the Bin Laden/Hussein connection didn't pan out either.

So now people are asking MORE questions and getting upset because the lies don't even hold together and the invasion isn't going as scripted: Roll in, oust S.H., receive the thanks of a liberated nation, come home for the parade.

"Well, what if we say we did it to spread Democracy?" Sure. That sounds great. (I guess we'll get to the other countries in sore need of a little liberty and justice for all later - watch out Saudi Arabia!) But darn it, people keep harping on the non-existent WMDs and the Bin Laden non-connection and now they are asking about Guantanamo. And oh CRAP, who released those pictures on the Internet? "OK, don't panic, we'll blame Abu Gahrib on some kids and someone who had no connection with the prison and why not start saying people who disagree with us are anti-American? It makes no sense, because Bush is NOT America but it might shut them up for a bit."

Meanwhile there is the problem of making sure there isn't a second attack because all of those promises to keep people safe will sound pretty bloody hollow if more buildings are turned into smoking craters. (Even though the Admin. knows - or would know if it hadn't made itself stupid so it could tell its lies with a straight face - that there is no way to guarantee our safety from a determined bad guy. One of them is being tried in Maryland right now.) So why NOT get creative with the law? Why NOT put a spin on our Founding Father's intent that would make them sit up in their graves and shout "Traitor"? We have to do SOMETHING to keep from admitting we were WRONG because we find that idea far more frightening than any number of nuke-totting terrorists. And while we're at it let's say we are on God's side and we're going to do something about those icky gay people.

And they are still not past the point of no return. They could STILL say: "We lied. We're sorry. We'll stop buggering your rights and try to do all we can to protect America INCLUDING the ideals on which it was founded." And more people than not would eventually say "That's OK." But they won't because the idea of saying they were wrong makes them sick with fear.

So now the country is in the hands of a bunch of people in "Cornered Rat" mode. Must... protect... pride! The Admin. won't go back and try to start over (that would mean admitting mistakes were made) they can only go forward and keep hoping... I don't know what they hope. That we'll forget? Or get distracted? They are frightend and irrational so I doubt they even know what they want. Right now, how far they will go is only limited by us proles using our BRAINS and our right to vote. (We still have the right to vote, don't we?)

If someone really wants to destroy America all they have to do is detonate a small bomb any where in the country. We'd have Martial Law faster than you can say Nuculer, you might well see the return of "Internment Camps," they would stop whittling away at the 4th Am. and just scrap it, along with all those other inconvenient laws designed to keep the government in check. I don't know if they will ever get that far or if the next election cycle will send a lot of people scurrying out of the country before the hearings start. However, look for Rove et al to empty their bag of tricks in their attempt to connect the word Democrat with everything from the fall of the World Trade Centers to sheep fondling. After all, what's a few lies about a candidate to several thousand deaths caused by a lie?

Posted by: Now THEY'RE worried | May 24, 2006 12:54 PM

This just in. More problems for Gonzales and not something that would happen in a government moving toward fascism:

WASHINGTON -- House Speaker Dennis Hastert demanded Wednesday that the FBI surrender documents it seized and remove agents involved in the weekend raid of Rep. William Jefferson's office, under what lawmakers of both parties said were unconstitutional circumstances.
"We think those materials ought to be returned," Hastert said, adding that the FBI agents involved "ought to be frozen out of that (case) just for the sake of the constitutional aspects of it."

Posted by: Sully | May 24, 2006 01:00 PM

"Bush is simply too stupid and lazy to be a fascist."

There is nothing in the tenets of fascism that says it begins with a one man dictator with a funny mustache - that is rightie propaganda. A cabal of industrialists or other rich powerful men are always behind it - and are happy to profit from it while they leave the window dressing to someone else. And the people are generally behind it, for a while. It promises to make them safe and fix their economic and security and morality woes. By the time they wake up its too late, the Enabling Act, or whatever the act of legislature giving the executive emergency powers is called, has been passed.

This gang has been stalled a bit. The people and Congress are waking up ahead of schedule. The Patriot Act and even Patriot II aren't quite enough. It will take another terrorist attack or a lot more intimidation to get an Enabling Act. I don't put much past them.

But how on earth do you think the Enabling Act got passed without intimidation? They burned down the Reichstag and used that as an excuse to throw the Communists out of office, murdered or otherwise intimidated the Social Democrats, and promised that he could "hardly see any emergency great enough to acutally use" the the special powers afforded by the Act.

Posted by: patriot1957 | May 24, 2006 01:18 PM

"If someone really wants to destroy America all they have to do is detonate a small bomb any where in the country. We'd have Martial Law faster than you can say Nuculer,"

You got it. October's not that far away

Sully, the raid on Congress was part of an attempt to intimidate them back into submission. Maybe we'll be lucky and it won't work. Maybe Congress will suddenly grow a spine and take this all the way to the Supreme Court and maybe the court will find for Congress who will suddenly "discover' the way they've been used.

You have to admit its a brilliantly executed intimidation threat - against a minority party member known to be guilty of a crime, and against a statute that would not mount the strongest defense to SCOTUS - almost a he said/she said interpreatation thing.

A perfect place to start down the slippery slope.

Next it will be RINOS who, tut tut, were too friendly with Jack Abramoff.

You don't cross the Godfather. the only question is, who is the real Godfather?

Now, that said, anyone interested in the rumor that a sealed incictment came down against Rove and that Cheney is next in line? Or is it just wishful thinking?

Posted by: | May 24, 2006 01:30 PM

"If someone really wants to destroy America all they have to do is detonate a small bomb any where in the country. We'd have Martial Law faster than you can say Nuculer,"

Well we had that in Oklahoma City in 1995 and there was no Martial Law, even when we initially thought it came from the Middle east. Of course that was Clinton's time, not Bush's, but my point is that what I see happening first and foremost is a weak congress. The executive begins pushing it around, first with their complicity ala Delay and now simply out of weakness. Bush/Rove/etc may be allowing those who have fascist tendencies, say someone in the NSA who believes they can eavesdrop on American's phone calls without a warrant, and lets them go at it, not in an attempt to eat away at American's freedoms but out of stupidity, laziness and fear that something has to be done and havn't a clue how to do it right.

But Hastert is standing up to Gonzales today! Why? Because mid-term elections are coming up and you can believe all you want that the wealthy control this nation, and in some respects they do such as choosing which canidates will run in the primaries, but its still the final vote that determines the winner and right now things are looking pretty bad for the spineless republicans.

Someone wrote:
"...anyone interested in the rumor that a sealed incictment came down against Rove and that Cheney is next in line? Or is it just wishful thinking?"

I think Rove will be indicted eventually, though I'm not sure an indictment has been made. Rove is giving too many speeches which seem to be setting him up for a 2008 run to be worried about an impending indictment. Cheney I'm not so sure about since I don't remember him being questioned before the grand jury under oath. Now if you see Cheney GO before the grand jury, then you'll see the republicans running around DC like they their hair was on fire! That is the moment to wait for...

Posted by: Sully | May 24, 2006 01:59 PM

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 24, 2006 03:59 PM

Re: Negroponte and SEC regs. Yep. The next step in the stonewalling process: EAT THE TAPES. No, sorry, wrong scandal. Say we'd love to tell you but it is a secret:

Keep it up ShrubCo. Piling lies atop the truth doesn't alter the truth. It just means the exposure of your lies will go on and on and on well past your time in power.

Does anyone else hear the pitter patter of Republican feet rushing to distance themselves from this fricking disaster?

Posted by: Now I feel sick | May 24, 2006 04:20 PM

But Hastert is standing up to Gonzales today! Why? Because mid-term elections are coming up ...

Posted by: Sully | May 24, 2006 01:59 PM

Nah, more likely because his own ox is getting gored. Calm down Mr. Speaker, the AG is only applying the Patriot Act to members of Congress. Or maybe it's implied in the War Authorization Act?

What? You never thought it would come to that? They your boys no?

Posted by: Patriot What? | May 24, 2006 04:23 PM

Afghan Vet-

not damn... DAMN!!

"President George W. Bush has bestowed on his intelligence czar, John Negroponte, broad authority, in the name of national security, to excuse publicly traded companies from their usual accounting and securities-disclosure obligations."

Do we even get to know which companies don't have to report? Could one of them be, oh say...HALLIBURTON?!

Sully said, " can believe all you want that the wealthy control this nation, and in some respects they do such as choosing which canidates will run in the primaries, but its still the final vote that determines the winner and right now things are looking pretty bad for the spineless republicans."

I don't know, Sully, looks like the puppetmasters have been pulling Georgie's strings. Time for the Revolution. Where's a guillotine when you need one?

Posted by: wiccan | May 24, 2006 04:25 PM

Well now if members of Congress have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear ... from midnight FBI searches?

On the other hand, twelve years of records of payola from project K Street ....

Big Brother is watching

Posted by: Congress? Oh my. | May 24, 2006 04:33 PM

Good find AfganVet. But it just looks to me like more of the same laziness in this administration. Delegate and hope for the best...

Posted by: Sully | May 24, 2006 04:53 PM

"..but my point is that what I see happening first and foremost is a weak congress."

I would quibble and say it was and still is a scared Congress. Forget the love of money, cowardice is the root of all evil. No one wanted to stand in Bush's way when he passed the prettily-named PATRIOT Act, because they were all afraid either of what had just happened or risking their jobs or both.

The number of people on both sides of the aisle who are willing to do more than clear their throats and whisper "Maybe we should think about this first," is still frustratingly low but it is growing. However, I agree with you, weak, scared, lazy, all of the above, one cannot become a doormat unless one lies down. The problem now facing those members of Congress who are sick of it is (or know their constituents are sick of it which is the same thing), having served as the Bush Leagues' foot wiper since 2002, how will Bush react if it finally stands up?

Methinks it won't be pretty, but the harder he stamps down the worse he will look. And I'm still betting at least one member of the Shrub inner circle has a total melt down in public before 2008.

Posted by: | May 24, 2006 05:23 PM

May 24, 2006 6:24 PM

Brian Ross Reports:

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert, is under investigation by the FBI, which is seeking to determine his role in an ongoing public corruption probe into members of Congress, ABC News has learned from senior U.S. law enforcement officials.

Federal officials say the information implicating Hastert was developed from convicted lobbyists who are now cooperating with the government.

Posted by: Well well... | May 24, 2006 08:17 PM

Woodward: Follow the money again?

Deep Throat: Look in the freezer.

Woodward: Freezer?

Deep Throat: They all got freezers.

Woodward: What else?

Deep Throat: Reservations.

Woodward: Restaurants? Hotels? Secret meeting places?

Deep Throat: No Indian. Casinos. Texas Hold'em.

Posted by: Deep Freeze | May 24, 2006 08:37 PM

freedom is obtained by earning it not by believing that you need to give it to someone that doesn't obey the law...

every congress person needs t o be examined a t the same level that you would be if you were involved in

sensitive work.

they pass laws,

they should be able to pass a background investigation and a poly.....

you would if you were involved in transactions to regulate or control the flow of money.....

they should be too....

arrest them .


Posted by: texas toast em.... | May 24, 2006 08:52 PM

texas toast em is scaring me

Hmm. Do ya suppose the raid on Jefferson and the "investigation" into Hastert are warnings to Hastert to play nice and keep his flock in line or else..... Gee what a concept!

The BA has been able to stop almost any investigation they want by denying the "classified" info to the investigators. Plame gate may be the exception - apparently they didn't know there was one last server that had stored the email that was 'accidentally" erased.

So why would threats against Republican House members go forward? Behavior modificaton. Play it our way or we'll replace you with someone who will. Don't forget the way the House is gerrymandered these are strongly Republican districts - it will be easy to replace Hastert with a more, shall we say, pliable Republican.

I don't know what worries me more - a Congress so pitifully corrupt that we don't have enough jail cells for all of them.... or an administration that would take advantage of their corruption to keep them in line with endless investigations and jack booted thugs tearing into their offices without warrants

Posted by: Constitution | May 24, 2006 09:23 PM

that's pretty funny.

DC Metro has more clearances per square inch than most people outside of the area understand...

it's the only place in the world,

that asking this question, "where do you work,"

will make you the most unpopular person at the party....

working in computers, military, agencies, banking, communications, satellites, etc.

having a clearance is almost like having a blood type in DC, everyone has one but the

law makers....

that in and of itself is scary....

the ordinary United States citizen, to get just about any job nowdays,

goes through a background check, references checking, and a credit check and can be disqualified for any reason from being employed with no explanation...

if you work in the DC Metro area, even working at the Smithsonian in some areas requires you to get a clearance....

the congress needs to be cleared...

don't _you_ find it interesting that there's no NSA oversight because they say they don't have time to clear people to hold the hearings?

people shouldn't pass laws that don't obey them...

people that hire illegals,

people that have private interviews with Oil execs...that retire with $380 Million dollars, that have friends and family that play oil futures marketss....,

people that arrange deals with internationals to get preferential treatment, greater than that of citizens....

hell torture is too good for them....

out them and turn them over to the red necks that have lost their jobs to overseas people so your congress people could get somea that thar lobbyin money...or some comity money (bridge to nowhere 43 Million)

cheesits chrisco


Posted by: I'm scaring you? | May 25, 2006 12:06 AM

I once read a book about FDR called The Lion and the Fox by James MacGregor Burns. It was a biography of FDR that focused on his political savvy. It brought the reader up to his 1940 election.

One of the theme's of the book was that the first rule of politics is to gain and maintain power. That must be the highest priority because if you can't do that, anything else you attempt (even out of the best of intentions) will go for naught.

Burns said there were two ways to gain and maintain power. A politician could act as a lion or act as a fox. To act as a lion is to use fear and raw power as a weapon to cow and subdue opponants. To act as a fox is to use manipulation, magnanimity, and wiliness to get potential opponents to act as allies or to do what you want them to do. Burns gave examples of how FDR used both approaches to hold power for as long as he did.

To be completely effective, Burns argues, a politician must be able to act as either a lion or a fox as the situation requires.

With the Bush Administration we have an example of those that take the first aspect (the need to gain and hold onto power as first and foremost in importance) very seriously. I believe they have taken it so far that they have stepped on too many toes with their need to keep people in the dark and exclude them from decision making. They have acted as both a lion and a fox, much in the way Roosevelt did, but I don't believe they will be looked at by history in the same light as Roosevelt and others who were successful at being lions or foxes.

The BA has overplayed their hand as lions (raising spectres of fear to get the public behind them and to stop asking questions or now trying to strong arm Congress - and when acting as foxes they have used approaches that most consider either exclusionary or illegal (e.g. placing industry business leaders in charge of agencies that regulate the industry they work in, or muffling scientists that try to publish work that could conflict with administration policies, or undocumented warrantless wiretapping and now the NSA phone call database). Instead of building relationships based on trust and doing favors to establish alliances, and instead of wielding power judiciously in legal and more acceptable ways, the BA has followed the paths of both the lion and the fox arrogantly. The facade is falling all around them now and they are desperate to save face, recover, and implement what they can of their agenda before 2008 comes along.

I would say that Burns forgot one animal that FDR and other great Presidents emulated that Bush has not emulated - the owl, representing wisdom. That is the one characteristic that has been most lacking in this Presidency.

There are opinions going around about whether or not the Bush Administration is fascist. Thats a tough one. They have certainly been trying to hold onto power in ways that seem fascist to many Americans, but they don't dare take it too far. As much as I'm disappointed in the level of apathy in the citizens of this country, I still have faith to the point where if serious levels of fascist actions were to start taking place such as opponants being carted off to jail a'la the Alien and Sedition Acts of the late 1790's, I believe the people would rise up with such an outcry that it would be stopped. What concerns me is a much slower erosion of liberties over time. The incompetence and arrogance of this administration is worthy of immediate concern, but I don't see them ever being able to take control the way Hitler or Mussolini did. There is simply too much that would have to change first. However, if some liberties are lost under this administration, and the next administration builds off those changes and people begin getting used to it, little by little over the course of several administrations we could reach such a point. That is why we must be ever-vigilant against allowing such precedents as unwarranted wiretapping, open-ended use of the War Powers Act, patterns of circumvention of Congressional oversight, and dubious legal interpretations that favor improper administration policies to be enacted and upheld.

Posted by: DK | May 25, 2006 12:06 AM

Perhaps that is how one must play politics, but the real world demands competent policy from both the Lion and the Fox.

You can lie on your resume and most likely get away with it, but you will eventually be asked to do what you SAID you could do, and then the TRUTH will come out.

Everytime Bush's resume caught up to him, he walked away. He can't do that this time.

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 25, 2006 08:59 AM

DK wrote:
"The next thing that is unclear is the seeming contradiction between the Communications law (I can't find the link just now, I'll try to get it later) I have seen referenced in a few articles that says the phone companies were required to ask for a warrant before handing out customer phone call data and the Smith v. MD ruling. Maybe some of the more legal saavy debaters could clear that up for me."

There is an article about this in today's Post:
"Noting that Congress in 1986 passed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act in reaction to the Smith v. Maryland ruling to require court orders before turning over call records to the government, G. Jack King Jr. of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers said Gonzales is correct in saying "the administration isn't violating the Fourth Amendment" but "he's failing to acknowledge that it is breaking" the 1986 law, which requires a court order "with a few very narrow exceptions."

Posted by: Sully | May 25, 2006 09:22 AM

Since I was kind of this blog's Smith V MD cheerleader I should respond to the article since it does raise some questions about that case.

I was totally unfamiliar with the 1986 law, for one. Sorry on that.

But I'll stick to my original guns that the 4th amendment does not protect those phone records. I believe it was patriot (sorry if it wasn't!) who said, and I'm paraphrasing "So would it be unconstitutional to legislate privacy?" My response was of course not; just because something is not protected by the 4th amendment does not mean you cannot protect it with legislation. Or legal contract.

I still think the important fact about Smith V MD is that it allows for vital cooperation with authorities in tracking down criminals. I think that at the very least in the very narrow Smith V MD it was utterly justifiable. And if it turns out that reporters had their phone records handed to FBI officials through voluntary request then that would be a narrow enough scope for my support (since the FBI is investigating a particular type of crime).

What I've found interesting about this entire thing is that it is becoming increasingly clear that the phone companies have given out some people's phone records. They keep denying, repeatedly, that they've participated with the NSA... so why hasn't anyone asked them the more obvious question? If you didn't give the phone numbers to the NSA, who did you give them to? The FBI? A third party who you knew would later give them to the NSA, or FBI, or some other law enforcement?

I'd appreciate any links that show someone putting it to the phone companies. I'd be interested to know just who they are giving information away too and why.

Posted by: Will | May 25, 2006 10:36 AM

Something still does not smell right. The perception of the nature and degree of the offense being set up for the public does not make complete sense.

Was all this about "turning over" call records, or more truly about automatic and real-time extraction of call records?

One cannot imagine, with the evolution of technology, that business files collected by the phone company are batched up and transferred over to the government directly. More likely, particularly based on some clues left by another poster on WP regarding surveillance, the NSA has black boxes installed on the trunk lines of the phone companies and just extracts the data on a continuous basis.

Posted by: On the plantation | May 25, 2006 11:09 AM

OtP wrote: "More likely ... the NSA has black boxes installed on the trunk lines of the phone companies..."

Did you see this article in Wired?,70944-0.html
The .pdf document was accessible through the article (at least it was yesterday).

I of course have no way of knowing if it is true or if Mr. Klein has watched too many repeats of the X Files, but if it IS true then you are absolutely right and what a horrifying thought it is.
I don't think either the SC or later law makers would find this acceptable, although I'm sure Mr. Gonzales would disagree.

Posted by: Now I'm worried | May 25, 2006 11:40 AM

DK, I certainly hope you are correct that Americans would stand up before things reach the tipping point where they can no longer stand up.

I myself am more pessimistic right now. The brainwashing has gone pretty deep. The knee jerk response seen in the WaPo poll right after the spying was made public concerns me. In spite of approval numbers at 33%, the letters to the editor continue to exhibit a shockingly simplistic "how dare you be unpatriotic enough to question our president, especially during war", mentality, and face it, even though Fox News ratings are going down, they still have more viewers than the other news networks combined and they're still lying. I work with a lovely well educated intelligent woman who believes in her heart that the shrub is a nice honest man who really believed he was saving us from near-imminent death and destruction when he invaded Iraq (its not his fault the CIA got it wrong) and he really has our best interests at heart and couldn't possibly be nefarious enough to really restrict our important civil rights :) (imagine hearts and flower characters here). And in this post 9-11 world people are indeed desperate to believe in someone who will show them the way to safety and security, and who, aw shucks, seems to be a nice guy who really only has our best interests at heart.

More reasons for my pessimism. The jackbooted thugs will start down the slippery slope with people who actually committed a crime - thus things like invading Jefferson's office seem, well, deserved. And people will stand for it because, well, he committed a crime. People have bought hook line and sinker this nonsense that telling the terrorists that we listen to their phone calls without a court order made us less secure. In the minds of the brainwashed sheep its not then such a stretch that we should punish those who commit acts of such "treason". Of course telling the world we are now mimicking the evils of North Vietnamese or WWI Japanese internment camps probably did make us less safe because it inspired more terrorism against us. But really, how patriotic is it to allow a country whose entire history is the pride of being "the shining city on the hill" so become a first strike nation of conscience-free torture and not speak up?

I am discouraged. It would make me feel better if Congress actually kept their spine this time, rather than caving as they have on every other responsibility they have to maintain the checks and balances of the Constitution. If they cave again, I think we could be in real trouble. I guess time will tell.

Posted by: patriot1957 | May 25, 2006 12:14 PM

Re: NSA secret rooms in bowels of phone companies

It would explain the essential non-denial denials by the phone companies where they categorically say they have not handed any information to the NSA. Allowing the NSA access to your equipment in-house could be argued by some thoughtful executive as not "handing over" information so much as it is "allowing them to take it." What I don't understand is why people aren't asking the phone companies some tougher questions: Did you hand our phone records to anyone? Does the NSA have any tangential access to these phone records that you are aware of? Etc.

As for the article, I like that the process is working. I stand by that there is no 4th amendment protection over the records in question... but there might be a strong civil case. Which is exactly what is happening. On behalf of customers it appears there is a class action suit to determine if the phone companies willfully violated their privacy by participating in an illegal operation. That would be a legitimate complaint, in my eyes. Obviously some more facts are needed but they will show up in court. A phone company is not the NSA. They cannot classify information. And we'll get those answers so long as people are willing to ask.

I wouldn't get "horrified" just yet, though.

Posted by: Will | May 25, 2006 12:19 PM

Most of the people I talk with are tired of the BA using fear tactics as their method of getting people to be okay with what they are doing.

Do I fear another attack in the U.S.? No. Do I fear the economy will crash if the rich don't get their tax cuts? No. Do I fear the bird flu? No. (eyes rolling up).

What I fear is this whole administration and how warped this country is becoming. I also fear for my children and grandchildren in having to pay down the debt. The debt from the tax cuts and this stupid so-called war in Iraq.

Posted by: | May 25, 2006 12:24 PM

Will, I wondered if we'd hear from you again on this issue.

Here is a question to ponder. How many Fox news viewers know about the 1986 law? I knew that Congress had passed a law at a later time to supposedly fix the problems with Smith vs MD, but even watching mainstream news and reading mainstream media I didn't know the details that the Post article brought to light.

And, why are these laws, for example this 1986 law and the FISA laws, "voluntary" for this administration.

What kind of political system sells itself to the public as a "law and order" government, making examples of lawbreakers and promoting an aura of "peace" and "safety" as a result of their aggressive law and order efforts, but behind the scenes dont' consider any of those laws as applying to themselves?

Posted by: patriot1957 | May 25, 2006 12:26 PM

"I stand by that there is no 4th amendment protection over the records in question... but there might be a strong civil case. Which is exactly what is happening. On behalf of customers it appears there is a class action suit to determine if the phone companies willfully violated their privacy by participating in an illegal operation. That would be a legitimate complaint, in my eyes."

I don't understand your logic. How can it be legal for the NSA to take the records but not legal for the phone companies to give them to the NSA?

Posted by: | May 25, 2006 12:29 PM

I would read "The Book of Five Rings," and apply it to your posting...

and then apply, "The Art of War," as well.

it is a postulate of maintaining power that eliminating corruption is a mainstay of holding onto power....

it is considered rot, and will bring down any ruler, and thus it is destroyed where it is found....

not enhanced and certainly not hidden,

destroy corruption permanently,

cleanse them of their ability to regain station....sue them to acquire their illegal properties and make them clean state highways for eternity.....until they have paid for every young man or woman who gave their lives so that the "family in power" could have

more money.


Posted by: if I were you, | May 25, 2006 12:34 PM

Will wrote: "A phone company is not the NSA. They cannot classify information. And we'll get those answers so long as people are willing to ask."

In a sane society you would be right. But what if the NSA steps in front of the phone company and says, sorry nosy people, they are protected because the program is classified:

This is why I'm horrified (or at least queasy). It is things like this that make me think we are at what another writer (Patriot1957?) called the "tipping point." A legitimate investigation into possible wrong doing by a PRIVATE company gets blocked because the GOVERNMENT says so? The facts will never make it to court because another branch of the government has said nope, we say it's a secret so THEY can't tell you. Where the heck does THAT end? In some sort of fight, ultimately. Whether it is in the the Senate or the courts or out on the streets I don't know.

(The following is not directed at you Will, I'm just blabbing.)

I'm sure some people would say "But we're at war," to which I would respond that war (despite some PR person creating the War on Drugs) usually requires at least two clearly identified enemies, not an international group of individuals that share some violent ideals.

Also, if one does accept the US is at war against terrorism one also has to accept that it is a war without a clearly identified enemy, without borders, WITHOUT BLOODY END. We are never going to eliminate people who think mass murder proves their point. The fight against terrorism did not begin Sept. 11, 2001. It did not begin in the US. (Does anyone remember the IRA?) It will not end until we evolve into a new species that has no violent urges.

Forget it. I'm not horrified, I am deeply disgusted and not a little peed off.

Posted by: | May 25, 2006 12:44 PM

I keep forgetting to add my name. The message that begins "Will wrote:" 'twas me.

Posted by: Now I'm worried | May 25, 2006 12:46 PM

patriot1957 wrote:

"I am discouraged."

Don't be. True patriots know that reality (i.e. truth) is an eternal victorious force.

Posted by: On the plantation | May 25, 2006 01:02 PM

Discouraged? Try sick, disgusted, fed up, ad nauseum.

Nothing would make me happier than to get this whole crew out and replaced by people who can make our country great and represent the american population like I thought was the whole reason for their jobs in the first place.

Everyday I read the news I get more turned off to this administration. They do not have our well-being at heart. All they seem to care about are their corporate interests.

It totally disgusts me with all their NSA spying crap and justifying it that we are 'at war'. The type of war we are supposedly in will never ever end.

If the american people are so willing to give up our hard fought freedoms and rights in order to feel supposedly secure, God help us all.

Posted by: js | May 25, 2006 01:15 PM

Now I'm worried wrote:

Did you see this article in Wired?,70944-0.html

The article you bring up is a bombshell. No, I hadn't seen it.

It's not clear in close reading whether this setup is for internet surveillance only, and not voice traffic. But it certainly leaves open the idea that voice wouldn't be overlooked. If it set up to process internet traffic in particular, then perhaps that is another way for official denials to nuance the story with half-truths.

Posted by: On the plantation | May 25, 2006 01:16 PM

Posted by: | May 25, 2006 01:32 PM

The Bush administration is spraying Africans with DDT, a substance banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States. As part of an anti-malarial effort, the Bush administration is providing Uganda with $10 million so it can spray homes throughout the nation with harmful dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT), a pesticide banned domestically by the Nixon administration in 1972. The about the DDT spraying, scheduled to begin in July, came from the Ugandan newspaper New Vision. The Bush administration is funding similar operations in Angola and Tanzania. Angola is a major oil producer while oil and natural gas reserves have been discovered in Uganda and Tanzania.

Posted by: | May 25, 2006 01:38 PM

Anonymous wrote"

"They're ALL nuts!"

Fixation on control, leads to . .

Loss of perspective, which leads to . . .

Loss of control, which leads to . .

Fixation on control.


We seem to be experiencing this cycle a lot in these times. I could recite examples down to the county school board.

The old fools are making America look ridiculous. Although the federal ones want to induce domestic fear, it's hard to sustain a continuing fear of them directly since they are proven so incompetent. But their actual incompetence in any of about a half dozen external areas is what could get us all deeply injured.

Posted by: On the plantation | May 25, 2006 02:07 PM


I really cannot speak for Fox news or its viewers; I am neither. I don't know how many Fox viewers there are, or what constitutes a Fox viewer (I watch the Simpsons). I didn't know about the 1986 law. I don't know about a lot of laws, many of them passed in 1986. Just as I didn't know about the FISA law prior to our debate on that. One reason I enjoy this blog is because eventually, if you swim through all the rhetoric, there's actually some objective information in a debate. We can all have value-judgement disagreements, but the facts don't change. That's why discussion is important, to establish the facts.

"And, why are these laws, for example this 1986 law and the FISA laws, "voluntary" for this administration."

I certainly don't think they are. The problem is, will the President investigate himself? Of course not. Will a Republican Congress do anything about? Probably not.

My personal opinion is that there is a clear violation of FISA. If we agree on the very little this administration has admitted to on the domestic surveillance program, it is clear that the law was broken. If the law says you require a warrant, and you do not get a warrant, then you've broken the law.

The administration has not answered some questions that they MUST answer. If the President thinks FISA is unconstitutional, he needs to take his case to the Supreme Court. He has not done that. His legal team is not the ultimate arbitrator of such things.

If the President thinks bypassing FISA is necessary, then he needs to take his case to the people through the legislator. It could be argued that he did this to a lesser degree. I think he could've done more and should do more in that regard.

I don't know the ins and outs of the 1986 law, but I at least acknowledge the possibility that it was broken. If so there needs to be accountability.

Posted by: Will | May 25, 2006 02:46 PM


"I don't understand your logic. How can it be legal for the NSA to take the records but not legal for the phone companies to give them to the NSA?"

There is a difference between what one is "constitutionally protected from" and what one is "legally entitled to do." The constitution does not protect my right to receive Social Security payments --only legislation can do that. The Constitution does not protect my right to drive my car 65 miles per hour on Texas highways; only legislation can grant or deny that.

And I've never said it was legal for the NSA to take records, in fact I didn't even say it was constitutionally protected. If the phone company gives records to the NSA that were voluntarily given to them, there is no violation. If the NSA was given --in house-- access to monitor phone company records then customers might be able to file class action suit against them, the phone company that is.

Against the government? Trickier thing. They should, but the NSA has an interesting defense of always classifying what they don't want you to see. The fact is, this country needs classified information. Some of it is valuable. The more practical response is for consumers to give phone companies a disincentive to cooperate with the NSA; take your business elsewhere.

Further I might raise a reasonable doubt about whether or not the NSA, once given access to business servers, was really only monitoring relevant business information regularly collected in the normal course of business (the burden in Smith V MD). That would be negligence to the tune of releasing great white sharks into a public swimming pool --from a consumer's standpoint at least.

The difference between the phone companies handing information to the NSA and the NSA collecting information from in-house is that phone companise can monitor the information that is given in the former but not the latter. That is relevant.

Posted by: Will | May 25, 2006 03:20 PM

The administration has not answered some questions that they MUST answer


Who will make them? Congress? ROTFLMAO

Posted by: | May 25, 2006 03:33 PM

anonymous person-

Must answer is in I am interested in the answers to those questions, not that they will get answered. I don't think they will get answered for the same reason you don't, as evidence by this from my post:

"The problem is, will the President investigate himself? Of course not. Will a Republican Congress do anything about? Probably not."

And that's why I will either vote for a Democrat or stay home next year.

Posted by: Will | May 25, 2006 04:04 PM

Hey, even if they find MORE democrats to raid, like Jefferson, whom I'm inclined to believe is typical Karl Rove on an election year, I'm STILL voting democrat this fall. At this point any fallen democrat looks 100% better than the kiss-ass pro-oil and pro-big corporation republicans who need to grow a spine.

However, it should be quite amusing to watch the republican mud-slinging this fall. Every time I see that in action, all I can think of is how childish they all are. They don't have anything to say on their own merit to make people want to vote for them, so they a la swiftboat their opponents.

Posted by: | May 25, 2006 04:19 PM

Will wrote

"The more practical response . . ."


If you're in a terrorist cell, it's easy, you use strong encryption and code words.

If you're a regular citizen, you vote for a representative who makes domestic surveillance an issue and demands proper non-secret remedies. There are two I can think of: (1) Put the opposition party in control with the pledge that they will investigate, investigate, and go for impeachment if laws are broken. (2) Make it the law that any intercepted messages captured without a warrant issued in advance cannot be used as evidence against any citizen; and that any intercepted information taken without a warrant cannot be used as the basis for subsequently requesting a warrant.

The other option is to do absolutely nothing, thus allowing the old fools to continue on their path of political self destruction in the long run. On the present path with their stewartship, the rights we have remaining won't be worth having.

Posted by: On the plantation | May 25, 2006 04:26 PM



Posted by: Will | May 25, 2006 04:47 PM

Truth usually does win out... eventually.

For the old USSR the "long run" was about 65 years. I'll be dead by then.

Please go out and vote, Will, even for a smarmy challenger. Let's restore the Constitution and then deal with their smarminess.

Posted by: patriot1957 | May 25, 2006 05:08 PM

I'll vote for a smarmy Democrat rep in my district over any given Republican challenge... because I think one-party rule just doesn't work. That might incline me to vote for a Democrat in the Presidential election, assuming the Democrats fail to take either house (I'd be shocked).

Frankly though it really doesn't matter who I vote for in the Presidential election either way. Living in Texas is like living in Russia; it really is a one party system. But even if I lived in a swing state it wouldn't make a difference. I'm come to the conclusion that it's impossible, given the makeup of the electoral college, for a Republican to lose a Presidential election. The only way a democrat wins is either a) a significant third party runs (Ross Perot in '92 and '96) or if the Republican candidate is so incompetent or repugnant that he manages to lose what is otherwise a sure-win. George Bush was about the weakest presidential candidate in years which is why --amazingly-- he nearly lost a Presidential election as a Republican.

Posted by: Will | May 25, 2006 06:09 PM

Latest on FBI raid of Jefferson's office - Bush steps in and seals records

Two Bush quotes that made me groan:

"Our government has not faced such a dilemma in more than two centuries,"

Oh yes Mr. President, the problem of a deranged Executive Branch ain't nuthin by comparison. Feh.

"Those who violate the law -- including a member of Congress -- should and will be held to account," the president said. "This investigation will go forward and justice will be served."

Unless justice might be served to a friend of mine. In which case I will forget I ever said this.

Double feh.

Posted by: Distract-o-vision | May 25, 2006 06:39 PM

"They're not leaking information to try to undermine the House speaker," Snow said. "I got pretty categorical denials."


Gotta go home, just peed my pants from laughing so hard.

Posted by: patriot1957 | May 25, 2006 07:03 PM

You guys are awesome. Emily, I'm truly sorry to know of your loss.

Keep the truth rolling. There are eyes that see, and as long as we have the power of voice and expression, there are those who will not let it be buried or denied. You should all be proud of yourselves - you are our national defense. There are times to say "yes" and pitch in and there are times to say "no" and stand up. This is the latter. Democratic republics are not guaranteed without courageous citizens. We differ from pre-WWII Germany and Italy precisely because we will stand and shout against violation of our most precious rights and the principles. And every day there are more Americans who see how a brutal gang of political hooligans have hoodwinked the public. Stand fast, friends, there is a light and the tunnel is not infinite.

Posted by: Jazzman | May 25, 2006 10:34 PM

Jazzman, as usual, you are eloquent.

Posted by: | May 26, 2006 02:24 AM

Someone wrote:
"However, it should be quite amusing to watch the republican mud-slinging this fall. Every time I see that in action, all I can think of is how childish they all are. They don't have anything to say on their own merit to make people want to vote for them, so they a la swiftboat their opponents."

But it works. Don't think it will not work this fall. People are stupid. Not all the time mind you, but in general people can be influenced to go against what they think is right or what is the truth. People like Rove know how to influence and have made a living doing it. The question is how to see it for what it is and help those who fall under its spell. Kerry et. al. obviously did not know how in the last election. The swiftboaters and Rove had Kerry defending himself constantly against things he did not need to defend. If Rove turned deception and dirty tricks into an artform, we need people who can counter those attacks with skills that can effectively nullify them. John Kennedy was excellent at this. He used charm and truth. Once people understood how childish the attack was and that Keddedy wasn't shaken, it made the attacker look bad.

I think one method was seen in Jack Murtha's public call for a withdrawl from Iraq. He was mad. He spoke the truth in emotional terms when he talked about visiting troops in the hospital recovering and what he was hearing from them. The republicans tried their usual tricks to attack him but he kept telling the truth and pointing the finger directly at Bush and Rumsfeld. He wasn't shaken and the republicans crumbled. Murtha has a lot of respect today and it was the beginning of Bush's slide into low numbers. America needs more people like Murtha speaking the truth and not worrying about their poll numbers and the eventual bullying from the republicans. No one ever respected the high school kid that gave into the bullies and I would respectively ask every democrat that is afraid of republican attacks to not seek re-election.

Posted by: Sully | May 26, 2006 08:49 AM

In today's Post:

I heard this story last week on the radio (NPR) and My Lai immediately came to mind. For those too young to know about My Lai, here's a link:

If this story is as horrifing as it suggests it will kill any remaining support Bush has for the Iraq occupation as the investigation unfolds. Rumsfeld will have to resign. Expect Bush's poll numbners to drop into the teens in the next few months.

Posted by: Sully | May 26, 2006 09:30 AM

How the incompetent continue to rise:

The Harvard Crimson: "A 26-year-old college dropout who carries President Bush's breath mints and makes him peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches will follow in his boss's footsteps this fall when he enrolls at Harvard Business School (HBS)."

"Though it is rare for HBS -- or any other professional or graduate school -- to admit a student who does not have an undergraduate degree, admissions officers made an exception for Blake Gottesman, who for four years has served as special assistant and personal aide to Bush."

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 26, 2006 10:05 AM

I guess what I don't understand is:

1. Why did we first go to war because of WMD, but now they're calling it democracy building?

2. Who put the U.S. in charge of "reforming" other countries in the first place?

3. Why does the average U.S. citizen have to PAY for it?

4. Why does the average person have to go without if they don't have the money for something but our government can put us deeper and deeper into a deficit?

5. Why can't the amercian people realize that all the tax cuts are doing is making the fees and property taxes go up in each state? This is putting additional financial pressure on each person with higher rent and house payments.

6. when does this "wartime" period end? when every single terrorist is captured/killed? Define it for me & the rest of us.

7. Apparently the integrity of our electoral system is not of great importance to most of the mainstream corporate media. why not?

Posted by: Just Wondering | May 26, 2006 10:16 AM

Well here you go ... he's a crony. It all makes sense now:
"Gottesman, a Texas native who attended Claremont-McKenna College in California for one year, has long had ties to the Bush family. He dated the president's daughter, Jenna Bush, nearly ten years ago when he attended St. Andrew's Episcopal School of Austin."

Its not who you know its what you know right? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

How in God's name am I going to explain to my daughter that you have to work hard in school to get into a good college.

Posted by: Sully | May 26, 2006 10:18 AM

if this story is as horrifing as it suggests it will kill any remaining support Bush has for the Iraq occupation as the investigation unfolds. Rumsfeld will have to resign. Expect Bush's poll numbners to drop into the teens in the next few months.

Posted by: Sully | May 26, 2006 09:30 AM

If not, maybe this one will:

"Iraqi Minister Backs Iran on Nuclear Research

Published: May 26, 2006

Iraq supports Iran's right to pursue nuclear research, its new foreign minister said today, taking a position at odds with that of the Bush administration.

The foreign minister, Hoshiyar Zebari, spoke during a visit to Baghdad by Iran's foreign minister, Manoucher Mottaki...."

Posted by: How did we get here? | May 26, 2006 10:28 AM

First we'll have to withdraw from Iraq. Then we'll have to assemble a new coalition of the willing. Then we invade Iraq again to remove the government we spent three years twenty thousand casualties three hundred billion dollars to install but now has clearly allied themselves with our new found enemy the WMD mad Iran. Then we give the country back to the Baathist Sunnies...

Ah just forget it and get out.

Posted by: Where we go from there.... | May 26, 2006 10:44 AM

It is becoming clear that ANYONE around BushCo is simple a crook.

AP: "Lay was a campaign benefactor who President Bush nicknamed "Kenny Boy" when the two were up-and-comers in Texas. The Center for Public Integrity, a Washington-based nonprofit group, said the Lays had given $139,500 to Bush's political campaigns over the years. Those donations were part of $602,000 that Enron employees gave to Bush's various campaigns, making the company the leading political patron for Bush at the time of the company's bankruptcy in 2001."

Posted by: AfghanVet | May 26, 2006 10:46 AM

"Though it is rare for HBS -- or any other professional or graduate school -- to admit a student who does not have an undergraduate degree, admissions officers made an exception for Blake Gottesman [Does this translate as God's man?]..."

Any one remember the Chris Rock bit re: Marion Barry?

(As an adult speaking to a child): Don't do drugs, you won't be nuthin'.
(Responding as the child): I could be mayor!

I heard about this last week and thought "Harvard? Surely that pinnacle of higher education won't prostitute itself in that way." But then I thought of the other infamously incompetent HBS graduate. However, HE at least graduated. (Whether or not large sums of money flowed from mommy & daddy's coffers into Yale's to get and keep him in there is something that is up for speculation.)

This brings up another of my beefs with BushCo. One of Shrub's appeals to the masses is that he is a plain old Joe, just like the rest of us, therefore by voting for him (and his friends) we are really voting for ourselves. The Bush machine goes to great lengths to distance Shrub from the Heathen Liberal Elite of the North East. Hello? Yale? Harvard? Oil tycoon? Yeah. Just like the rest of us.

Posted by: Triple feh | May 26, 2006 11:02 AM

you need to lose it.

if it's in the leaders of this government.

the internet was established on a connective line that established communications between agencies and colleges...

originally the tenet was to be able to have communications even if some cities were bombed...has to do with packet switching and being able to route a message in pieces...using routers,

you can fix a router to hard switch or copy messages with certain another location

there is voice recognition software installed on phone lines....looking for key phrases...

I occaisionally include key phrases in my postings to make sure that some of the grunts hear what I'm a way of communicating to the "little people," that do the bidding of the schemers...the bloodless ghouls that suck the life out of America, and give it to their foreign firms/ your quality of life diminishes.

every message has an addy, and a destination...

many times what was being done at colleges was a "black program," nothing wrong with just means, "without tracking, underground," for an agency or the military.

originally, or back then the internet was called DARPAnet, then it broke into two distinct pieces. DODnet and ARPAnet....colleges, institutions and agencies....combined with form two distinct pieces, still connected. YOU just can't see the MILITARY portion...

anyone who worked at military or government offices or at some colleges was on the internet....usually on Unix boxes some years before it was available commercially....

so your "commercial internet" has been part of the United States Military Industrial complex since the beginning...

UUNET which is in Arlington, or Falls Church used to be the place that gave out IP addresses....simply a numbering scheme to associate nodes with physical locations and to allow people to host or receive messages...

there has always been an intention to track information....

what needs to be done for your safety is that there is oversight to that tracking...

with cell phones having GPS, cameras mounted at every intersection blah blah blah....

it could get nasty,

heck just knowing shopping habits, influencing media, the next thing you know you could be getting hypnotic messages to buy COCO PUFFS or something, as well as having your DNA and medical records scanned to make sure that you're not a medical risk to hire in this day and age of the company being more important than the people that created it or the spirit of

honesty, integrity or accountability.

where else do you have a president intervening to make sure an old friend doesn't get arrested for a crime he did?



you watch my back, I got yours, we'll work together to loot America...

doesn't matter that Jefferson didn't pay taxes on it? Or that there was a videotape of it? Or that that is "business as usual" around the Bush Whitehouse...

you can almost hear the STINK coming off the place the howl of the Attorney generalisimo asking for all the little pedros to be given the jobs of your out-of-work tradespeople and factory collar used to make up 56% of the MIDDLE CLASS

think working retail is middle class?

maybe if you have three jobs...

Posted by: dear people of the faith... | May 26, 2006 12:47 PM

Bush and his compadres for complicity...

and put them in public stocks in Massachusetts or in the Mall,

which ever is convenient and put five gallon buckets of tomatoes out in front of the stocks and sell them at 10 dollars a bucket to reduce national debt...

then liquidate their estates...


Posted by: I think the first thing to do is ask that the FBI arrest | May 26, 2006 12:54 PM

Sorry to burst your bubble Sully, the civilian massacre story broke almost two weeks ago. I heard it on CNN. Obviously the outrage was heard everywhere....NOT. But then, it took the Watergate story 2 years to catch on, so you never know, maybe this story will see some light eventually. ONce we stop letting the prez change the subject - immigration one day, FBI raids in Congress the next...

I have never been in a situation where I was surrounded by people trying to kill me, people who blended in with the population, where I couldn't always tell who the actual enemy even was, scared witless and fresh from my buddy's getting blown up. Somehow I am not certain it wouldn't be me shooting first and asking questions later.

Add to this a mission whose purpose may no longer be clear, and you have the final ingredients for disaster. Eventually some significant portion of those 85% who reported they were there to retaliate for Saddam's role in 9-11 or ties to al Qaeda are going to learn the truth.

My uncle, a Korean vet, told me all about what it was like there under exactly these circumstances - young scared kids fighting a guerilla enemy that had some measure of support from the people and a somewhat fuzzy mission ...eventually the mission becomes survival, your survival. When a kid blows up your buddy right under your nose, then runs into the village and is protected by the villagers, and you know that as soon as you turn your back he'll be coming back for your or another of your buddies, its not that much of a stretch that mortally angry or scared witless soldiers would start shooting villagers until they turned over the kid. Korea, Vietnam, any guerilla war with a poorly defined enemy and a poorly defined mission is ripe for this sort of thing.

The soldiers will certainly have to answer for their acts. But so must their Commander in Chief who sent them in there with a false mission, inadequate equipment, criminally poor planning, and an local populace who are watching us commit torture and rendition on their countrymen, setting them up to fail in this way.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | May 26, 2006 01:01 PM

The Admin stampedes past Contemptible and heads deep into Perdition.

Why don't they just replace Gonzales with a big parrot?

"Raaawk! Secret! Protect! Security clearance! Terrorism! Aaaawk!"

That is all he says these days. I don't see why the money spent on his salary shouldn't go towards something useful. Besides, which would you rather look at?
1. A parrot.
2. A.G. suavely assuring us the President isn't driving this country the down road to hades even though it keeps getting hotter and hotter and hotter.

Yeah, I thought so.

I will be interested to see what becomes of the clever attempt to counter this latest derailment of a legitimate investigation.

Posted by: Now I'm annoyed | May 26, 2006 01:13 PM

I will be interested to see what becomes of the clever attempt to counter this latest derailment of a legitimate investigation.

Don't hold your breath

Posted by: | May 26, 2006 01:26 PM

we'll be seeing the President and Gonzales getting arrested as part of the obstruction of justice lawsuit brought as a

class-action lawsuit by the ACLU

thanks so much for the suggestion....


Posted by: well if there is a gawd... | May 26, 2006 01:38 PM

patriot wrote:
"Sorry to burst your bubble Sully, the civilian massacre story broke almost two weeks ago. I heard it on CNN. Obviously the outrage was heard everywhere....NOT. But then, it took the Watergate story 2 years to catch on, so you never know, maybe this story will see some light eventually."

I heard it then too, only then it was a firefight where civilians died, again, and there were disputes as to what happened. Now we have the truth unfolding and to the military's credit they seem to be not only getting at the truth but letting it out to the media. It is unraveling like Watergate, which began as a '2nd rate burglary'. I seriously think that as this unfolds Rumsfeld will be forced to resign.

Posted by: Sully | May 26, 2006 02:13 PM

What I really miss is Sassoon shampoo. It smelled like almonds, sweet almonds. You can't get it anywhere anymore. Who do I talk to about that, huh?

Posted by: BunnyMan | May 26, 2006 06:06 PM

Another case of how wishful thinking will only take you so far. On the eve of the invasion and soon after I seem to recall various Admin. talking heads pooh-poohing the idea that it would turn into an urban combat situation.
I wondered at the time how they could know it wouldn't. Obviously they couldn't know they just didn't want it to happen because even Sgt. Rummy is aware that unless you get all of the civilians out of the area there are going to be civilian deaths that can't be put down as "collateral damage" or blamed on the bad guys who hid out in the town.

Of course, I would guess it is much harder to plan and train troops for THAT type of mission and we know this Admin is not into hard things. Like thinking. Or questions.

Posted by: NIW | May 26, 2006 06:30 PM

afghan vet wrote :How the incompetent continue to rise:

The Harvard Crimson: "A 26-year-old college dropout who carries President Bush's breath mints and makes him peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches will follow in his boss's footsteps this fall when he enrolls at Harvard Business School (HBS)."

---Mr Hashima(former spokesman for the murderous Taliban, equivalent to Hitlers Goebbels) has a fourth grade education and a high school equivalent degree but is now a student at Yale. Yale will divest from Sudan for "moral reasons" but sings a diff tune when it wants to.

Posted by: drew | June 14, 2006 11:40 PM

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