“Sure,” I said. “Dummies. I know them—lots of ’em.”

Hayek is a European and because of that he comes to liberalism from a slightly different tradition then American liberals. American liberals roots are in James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, but Madison and Jefferson took their philosophies from a range of influences including the Greeks and Romans, the French Revolution and native Americans , but his point of view is still applicable in so far as some general attitudes….. Why I Am Not a Conservative By Nobel laureate F. A. Hayek

Let me return, however, to the main point, which is the characteristic complacency of the conservative toward the action of established authority and his prime concern that this authority be not weakened rather than that its power be kept within bounds. This is difficult to reconcile with the preservation of liberty. In general, it can probably be said that the conservative does not object to coercion or arbitrary power so long as it is used for what he regards as the right purposes. He believes that if government is in the hands of decent men, it ought not to be too much restricted by rigid rules. Since he is essentially opportunist and lacks principles, his main hope must be that the wise and the good will rule – not merely by example, as we all must wish, but by authority given to them and enforced by them.[7] Like the socialist, he is less concerned with the problem of how the powers of government should be limited than with that of who wields them; and, like the socialist, he regards himself as entitled to force the value he holds on other people.

Democracy is not just a liberal invention, democracy is liberalism extended to a system of government. Whether its the conservatism of the Gilded Age or modern conservtism which is based largely on social-darwinism, conservatism is the antithesis of democracy. If liberalism or democracy has a weakness it is that it allows clicks to act as a kind of mob rule by combining into a majority. Madison said, “by a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.” Adverse to the rights of others: could anythings more apt to describe the major trait of modern conservatives.

Guess who has been put in charge of the Iraqi Oil Ministry ?


Top Ten Myths about Iraq in 2005

4. Iraqis are grateful for the US presence and want US forces there to help them build their country. Opinion polls show that between 66% and 80% of Iraqis want the US out of Iraq on a short timetable. Already in the last parliament, some 120 parliamentarians out of 275 supported a resolution demanding a timetable for US withdrawal, and that sentiment will be much stronger in the newly elected parliament.

In the why aren’t the Right-wing blogtopians writing about this story department, besides being busy jumping up and down like spoiled brats claiming that Buunypants has war powers that Congress never gave him……..Dr. Germ and Mrs. Anthrax Set Free

After all, it was to stop these mad leaders of Saddam Hussein’s allegedly booming weapons-of-mass-destruction programs that the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003. We were told at the time by the White House that the U.N. inspectors scouring the country were being blocked by lying officials and scientists, themselves complicit in breaking U.N. sanctions, and so we wouldn’t get the truth until we could interrogate them as prisoners. Yet, when Rihab “Dr. Germ” Taha and Huda “Mrs. Anthrax” Ammash, both of whom were once on a Pentagon most-wanted list, were released after two-and-a-half years, their U.S. captors didn’t even announce it. When questioned afterward as to why no war crimes charges had been brought against the pair, U.S. commander Gen. George Casey said in a joint statement with the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, that they “no longer posed a security threat to the people of Iraq and to the Coalition forces.” U.S. forces “therefore, had no legal basis to hold them any longer.”

In the up is down, down is up department….DOJ Investigation of NSA Whistleblower, Says Government Must Independently Investigate Violation of Wiretap Laws

“President Bush broke the law and lied to the American people when he unilaterally authorized secret wiretaps of U.S. citizens. But rather than focus on this constitutional crisis, Attorney General Gonzales is cracking down on critics of his friend and boss. Our nation is strengthened, not weakened, by those whistleblowers who are courageous enough to speak out on violations of the law.” “To avoid further charges of cronyism, Attorney General Gonzales should call off the investigation. Better yet, Mr. Gonzales ought to fulfill his own oath of office and appoint a special counsel to determine whether federal laws were violated.”

At the very least Gonzales shouls recuse himself sense he has been the one selling the claim that Congress granted Bunnypants unlimited powers……..Congress Denied Bush War Powers in U.S.

“Literally minutes before the Senate cast its vote, the administration sought to add the words ‘in the United States and’ after ‘appropriate force’ in the agreed-upon text,” Daschle wrote. “This last-minute change would have given the president broad authority to exercise expansive powers not just overseas — where we all understood he wanted authority to act — but right here in the United States, potentially against American citizens. I could see no justification for Congress to accede to this extraordinary request for additional authority. I refused.”


THERE I was, sitting in my office in Manhattan and minding my own business, when the bald-headed guy walked in and tossed five C notes on my battered desk.

 If there had been any business save my own to mind, I probably would have been more particular. But five C’s—when you were just contemplating if Shanty Sam around the corner would go on the arm for another couple of hamburgers—definitely was real kush. So when he put the valise, about four-by- three feet, on my desk alongside the five centuries, Mike Grady wasn’t in any mood to argue.

“Just deliver this to me in the St. Francis in San Francisco,” he said. “There’s nothing hot about it. It’s only a piece of wood, harmless and inanimate.” Boy, what a soft touch this was, boy, oh boy! “What’s in it?” “A dummy,” he mumbled. “Just a dummy. One of those things a ventriloquist uses. You know—a dummy?” “Sure,” I said. “Dummies. I know them—lots of ’em.” – from the story TIME TO KILL By Leo Hoban


hopeless fight against criminals in high places, beyond the reach of the law

Pollster: When you hit your husband, do you use your fists, a baseball bat, or a cane ? This is a sample of a push poll. One worded in such a way that it illicits certain answers. It leaves out an obvious choice, that you may not and probably don’t hit your spouse. Unclaimed Territory takes a look at the Rasmussen Reports push poll Public opinion & Presidential law-breaking — A few facts

But that smoke will clear as more facts are revealed. Americans will realize that Congress – with the agreement of the Executive Branch and the intelligence community – all agreed that eavesdropping on American citizens without a warrant should be and is a crime. And knowing that, Bush ordered his Government to do it anyway. He therefore broke the law, and is unrepentant about it. Once the smoke clears, those are not difficult concepts to grasp, and Americans — thanks to Watergate — have a visceral aversion to illegal White House eavesdropping and Presidents who claim the right to break the law. These are not difficult issues to explain.

If you hadn’t heard by now, the brave new world of chicken-hawkery, other wise known as conservative pundits and their echo chamber the blogs-of-wingnuttia have declared that we’re all gonna die unless Bushbunny is granted Emperial Powers. The thing is that he’s already been granted those powers, we’d just like him to obey the law and fill out a little paper work before he reads Aunt Millie’s e-mail to the Quaker missionaries in Afghanistan….Reality Check: We Did Amend FISA After 9/11

The fact is the administration sought, and received, major amendments to FISA just weeks after 9/11 through the PATRIOT Act. Specifically, Section 218 of the PATRIOT Act loosened the requirements of FISA. Previously, the government was required to certify that obtaining foreign intelligence was the purpose of the surveillance. Section 218 allowed surveillance to be approved even if obtaining foreign intelligence was only a purpose of the surveillance. It sounds like a small change, but it is considered one of the most controversial provisions in the PATRIOT act. The Bush administration argued then, and continues to argues today, that this change was essential for national security. We now know it’s all a ruse. Time spent in Congress debating Section 218 of the PATRIOT Act was a charade. President Bush ignores FISA completely when it suits his purposes.

Myth’s are often thought of as something only the ancient Romans believed in or something out of a Harry Potter book, but certain persons of low character and media outlets with fat bank accounts seem to live by them, even in the 21st century… The Moussaoui Myth

[N]o evidence of Moussaoui’s suspicious flight training and ties with terrorism was presented to the Justice Department. The department was never contacted and so did not decide anything; therefore, no decision was ever made regarding the given evidence and its subsequent application to FISA standards. That means the FISA procedures were not the reason the FBI failed to inspect Moussaoui’s computer files. Rather, the FBI’s failure to share and analyze intelligence sufficiently is what enabled Moussaoui to escape further investigation.

Worth noting is that Coleen Rowley, a former FBI agent got the information about Moussaoui pre-Patriot Act and before Bunnypants decided he was Queen of America. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a Queen per se. Speaking of Queens and the culture of corruption….Causey’s plea wreaks havoc for Lay, Skilling

After Enron’s former top accountant entered a guilty plea Wednesday, Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling were granted an extra two weeks to prepare for trial, but legal analysts suggested more time may not be enough to offset the potential damage.

Bunnypants Bush’s old friend Ken Lay may be in more trouble then his high hat connections can get him out of,

Mr. Lay and his wife gave Mr. Bush three times more money [italics Chatterbox’s] than Ms. Richards in their gubernatorial contest, according to a computer-assisted review of campaign finance reports by The Dallas Morning News. … Mr. Bush, a Republican, collected $37,500 from the Lays in his successful bid to unseat the Democratic incumbent, state records show. Ms. Richards received $12,500.”

Kenny Boy was even a Pioneer

Topping Enron’s political wish list in Texas was deregulation of the state’s electrical markets. Bush signed this dream into law in ’99.

Cooruption is like alcoholism to some politicians, once they take a sip they’re hooked…..The Abramoff Galaxy is like a Mutual Jerk-off Society that includes Jack Abramoff as the Grand Pooh-Pah of Jerks and included such fine jerkers as Ralph American Taliban Reed, Grover Norquist, lobbyists Preston Gates&Ellis, Tom Delay, and Rep. Robert Ney among others that for years wore their “values” like a chip on their shoulder.

Jack Abramoff is negotiating a possible deal with federal prosecutors to plead guilty and cooperate with their investigation into corruption in Washington. For more than five years, Abramoff was one of the capital’s most prominent Republican lobbyists. E-mails, documents and interviews with his former associates show that he set up many interlocking political and business entities to raise money, pay for lawmakers’ trips and other favors, fund his pet projects, and gain influence for himself and his clients.


For that headquarters, located not far from New York’s East Side, was known throughout the world as Justice, Inc. And Dick Benson, its guiding genius, was known as The Avenger. To that building on Bleek Street in New York, came men and women from all the far corners of the world—men and women who could not find justice anywhere else; men and women who found themselves beaten in a hopeless fight against criminals in high places, beyond the reach of the law. Those men and women The Avenger helped. For he could go where the police dared not. His justice was neither blind nor shackled.

-A COFFIN FOR THE AVENGER! by Kenneth Robeson

“Whatever somebody might need. Let’s say that ….

Bunnypants or the no-cattle cowboy is reviving an old western custom, whereby you run off a new land squatter by poisoning the well. Turned out this isn’t a good idea since wells are part of underground lakes. If ya poison the other guys water source, you’re probably poisoning yours as well….GOOD NEWS FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE BAD NEWS.

The reason is that the illegality of the unlawful operations winds up poisoning the operations of the normal legal process, as we’re seeing today, rendering it increasingly ineffective and forcing more and more things to be pushed into the “off the books” illegal side of our policy. You can’t, in the long-term, suspend due process and normal legal procedures “just a little.” Once you reach a critical mass of outside-the-law activities, their scope will keep on expanding unless you reach a point where you’re prepared to disavow them entirely.

So, in a hurry to poison the well and get those nasty folks next door, only, what if at least some of those folks ain’t exactly angels, but they’re not rag headed evil doers either. Then you’ve got two kettles of trouble. One is the dirty angels, the average American sinner have been sullied even more and the giant hand of big gov’ment is liable. Two, the tin badges have been wearing down some shoe leather and pull’n some all nighters listening on some taps that Bunnypants says are legal. The tin badge has 10 years toward a pension and a kid that needs braces, so he’she says what the hell, I’m playing by the rules and manages after a few months to put some gonernment issue bracelets on some real bad guys, only we can’t use a good part of the evidence because Bunnypants was talk’n outa his a*s about not needing a warrant for the domestic spying. – Secret court modified wiretap requests

To win a court-approved wiretap, the government must show “probable cause” that the target of the surveillance is a member of a foreign terrorist organization or foreign power and is engaged in activities that “may” involve a violation of criminal law.

Faced with that standard, Bamford said, the Bush administration had difficulty obtaining FISA court-approved wiretaps on dozens of people within the United States who were communicating with targeted al-Qaida suspects inside the United States.

A commenter over at the ACSBlog seems to have a handle on the situation – Joseph Onek on Domestic Surveillance – commenter Reichstag Burning :

1. As far as the “domestic” versus “foreign” distinction is made, I believe that the central issue is that US citizens/residents, while present in the US and subject to both the restrictions of US laws and the protections of its constitution, are being subjected to surveillance without a lawful warrant or other court-supervised order, in contravention of express statute. Whether they are communicating with another US person or a foreign national is immaterial to whether they are protected by the constitution. They are so protected.

2. The relationship of the FISA statute to case law appears to be that case law was controlling before FISA was enacted, but is now mooted and replaced by the procedures of the statute. Karlson’s comment appears to be a red herring.

3. The critical difference between Clinton’s transgression and Bush’s apparent felony is that lying about a personal matter to avoid an embarrasing disclosure is essentially a non-event in terms of the operation of government. No congressional or judicial turf was trespassed. No presidential power was mis-directed to the detriment of the nation. On the other hand, what Bush is doing is aggressively promoting a re-alignment of the structure of the federal government to place the executive in a position superior to congress and the courts. This strikes at the heart of our democratic system. It paves a path to autocracy and the breakdown of the rule of law.

You may fairly ask how I could conclude that Bush has such an agenda. The proof is in his public statement. He stated first that he had authorized the warrantless wiretaps more than 30 times; and he stated his intent to be fighting terrorists and concealing his actions in order to not tip his hand to the enemy. So far, so good.

What he said after that was the smoking gun. He did NOT say words to the effect that he violated the law only to protect Americans, and that now that the operation was public knowledge, he would directly ask congress to revise FISA to enable him to continue his efforts lawfully.

What he actually said was that he intended to continue on the same path, authorizing illegal wiretaps. That simple statement on his part betrayed two things about his motivations: First, that he has no regard for the legislative branch of government, or its role in the national system. Second, he views the executive as inherently free of legal (or constitutional) restraints. In short, he is in defiance of the rule law as much as any common street criminal would be. His view of himself must be megalomanic, I think.

Well worth a read to put in perspective who is being watched, how and why, and the threats or nonthreats they represent. – Surveillance vs Civil Liberties

There are three groups who are traditionally “of interest” to security operations. They are known political or social activist groups, foreign security and political operations, and unknown activists.

“I don’t know , Easy” He shrugged his great white shoulders.
“Whatever somebody might need. Let’s say that you need to get a
message to someone but it’s not, um, convenient for you to do it
in person; well, then you call me and I take the job. You see I always do the job I’m asked to do, everybody knows that, so I always have lots of work.And sometimes I need a little helper to get the job done. That’s where you come in.” – Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy Rawlins Mysteries)
by Walter Mosley




I’m offering you your pick out of one of the richest gem beds

Pressure to tell it like it isn’t. Robert Fisk writes the pressure exerted on journalists to change reality…Telling it like it isn’t

I FIRST REALIZED the enormous pressures on American journalists in the Middle East when I went some years ago to say goodbye to a colleague from the Boston Globe. I expressed my sorrow that he was leaving a region where he had obviously enjoyed reporting. I could save my sorrows for someone else, he said. One of the joys of leaving was that he would no longer have to alter the truth to suit his paper’s more vociferous readers. “I used to call the Israeli Likud Party ‘right wing,’ ” he said. “But recently, my editors have been telling me not to use the phrase. A lot of our readers objected.” And so now, I asked? “We just don’t call it ‘right wing’ anymore.” Ouch. I knew at once that these “readers” were viewed at his newspaper as Israel’s friends, but I also knew that the Likud under Benjamin Netanyahu was as right wing as it had ever been.

and he wraps up the view held by the hard headed realists,like me:

So let’s call a colony a colony, let’s call occupation what it is, let’s call a wall a wall. And maybe express the reality of war by showing that it represents not, primarily, victory or defeat, but the total failure of the human spirit.

For those that took some college science courses may remember ecountering the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, “The more precisely the POSITION is determined, the less precisely the MOMENTUM is known.” I, feet on desk, keyboard on lap, am not the first to notice that the attack from the far right zealots on the press is different from that of the Jeffersonians. The Faux Red State crowd is has two props on their crazy plane. One prop is the view that the media’s job is to reassure them, by telling them what they want to hear. Spinning simutaneously is the second prop which says that something like the Heisenberg Principle applys to all reportage, that the actual act of reporting something changes the event so much that it no longer resembles reality. As such we’re probably better off either not having professional journalists who are all changing reality, or we just have something like Fox, the 700 Club, the Washington Times, right-wing blogs, etc which for the most part just echo their world view. Any facts that manage to pass through to the public are simply uncertain sketchy glimpses of some reporters altered reality. Any attempts at objectivity are futile. Reality is relative. I readily acknowledge that total objectivity is impossible, the attempt is not. If facts about the war, the national debt, environmental degradation, or education standards are all relative, then morality is relative. I’m comfortable with a large amount of ambiguity regarding some issues and even life in general, but its a mistake to think that facts such as Fisk describes don’t exists. People do die in combat and crying against their names being broadcasts, or pictures of flag draped coffins being shown is simple ostrich behavior. Phoney outrage over exposing warrantless domestic spying, exposing torture, secret prisons/rendition, or even what consenting adults do in their homes isn’t just petty, its dangerous.


There were no WMD, an unsettling fact to many, so with tin foil firmly in place why not invent some for those that still dream of swiftboats…..Making Stuff Up


The dark man in the garb of a native smiled an oily, ingratiating smile and brushed away his captor’s words with a wave of his hand. “I ain’t offering you a dinky coupla thousand dollars; I’m offering you your pick out of one of the richest gem beds in Asia—a bed that was hidden by the Mran-ma when the British jumped the country. Come back up there with me and I’ll show you rubies and sapphires and topazes that’ll knock your eye out. All I’m asking you is to go back up there with me and take a look at ’em. If you don’t like ’em you’ll still have me to take back to New York.” Hagedorn shook his head slowly. “You’re going back to New York with me. Maybe man-hunting isn’t the nicest trade in the world but it’s all the trade I’ve got, and this jewel bed of yours sounds phoney to me. I can’t blame you for not wanting to go back—but just the same I’m taking you.” Barnes glared at the detective disgustedly. “You’re a fine chump! And it’s costing me and you thousands of dollars! Hell!”

from The Road Home by Peter Collinson

You can’t tell any thing about an outfit like that

Double h.t. to Avedon Carol and Bad Attitudes for this article from Paul Bigioni The real threat of fascism

Observing political and economic discourse in North America since the 1970s leads to an inescapable conclusion: the vast bulk of legislative activity favors the interests of large commercial enterprises. Big business is very well off, and successive Canadian and US governments, of whatever political stripe, have made this their primary objective for at least the last 25 years. Digging deeper into 20th century history, one finds this steadfast focus on the well-being of big business in other times and places. The exaltation of big business at the expense of the citizen was a central characteristic of government policy in Germany and Italy in the years before those countries were chewed to bits and spat out by fascism. Fascist dictatorships were borne to power in each of these countries by big business and they served the interests of big business with remarkable ferocity. These facts have been lost to the popular consciousness in North America. Fascism could therefore return to us, and we will not even recognize it.

Powell the Disappointer

Continuing his slide into disgrace and eventual irrelevance by chipping away at his own backbone out both sides of his mouth, Colin Powell has decided to come out as both sort of for and sort of against the administration’s secret spy program.

And You Think America Is Repressive? is the sort of lightweight dogeral that the far right pulls out of its burglars bag when they can’t make a cogent argument. Let’s see, what Bush is doing is not so bad because France does it. Is that really a good argument. Since we should do whatever France does, can we expect national health care for every American ? Or since Great Britain is doing it, can we have a no-confidence election and change governments mid-stream ? Clear As Mud Politics even drags out the Gorelick myth……… which Think Progress debunks

In 1995, with President Clinton’s signature, FISA was amended to include physical searches. That law prohibited warrantless domestic physical searches. No one in the Clinton administration, including Gorelick, ever argued that the administration could ignore the law, before or after it was amended.

Its nice to know who a blonde broad can turn to when times are rough……….White House Aids Playboy Playmate in Court

The administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer filed arguments on Smith’s behalf and wants to take part when the case is argued before the justices.

A commenter at Attytood defend BushCo….

Bush’s Solicitor General is NOT “going to bat” for Anna-Nicole Smith. He is weighing in on a narrow question, that having to do with whether the federal bench has the power to rule on such cases. It will help Smith but it’s not like anybody’s zealously advocating for a bimbo to get a payday.

bold emp. mine. The commenter was in such a rush to defend his dear King that he forgot one thing, that Bushbunny is once again advocating more federal power, not less. Possible candidate for Republican hypocrisy #1569.

Fear destroys what bin Laden could not…. we at the battered and bruised patriot detective desk compile the dossier and you decide.

One wonders if Osama bin Laden didn’t win after all. He ruined the America that existed on 9/11. But he had help. If, back in 2001, anyone had told me that four years after bin Laden’s attack our president would admit that he broke U.S. law against domestic spying and ignored the Constitution — and then expect the American people to congratulate him for it — I would have presumed the girders of our very Republic had crumbled. Had anyone said our president would invade a country and kill 30,000 of its people claiming a threat that never, in fact, existed, then admit he would have invaded even if he had known there was no threat


I lit a cigarette and dragged a smoking stand beside the chair. The minutes went by on tiptoe, with their fingers to their lips. I looked the place over. You can’t tell any thing about an outfit like that. They might be making millions, and they might have the sheriff in the back room, with his chair tilted against the safe. Half an hour and three or four cigarettes later a door opened behind Miss Fromsett’s desk and two men came out backwards laughing. A third man held the door for them and helped them laugh. They all shook hands heartily and the two men went across the office and out. The third man dropped the grin off his face and looked as if he had never grinned in his life. He was a tall bird in a gray suit and he didn’t want any nonsense.

– The Lady in the Lake by Raymond Chandler

The Naked Emperor and Gangland

It would seem to me that the smaller government is better then large uneffective government, that since I must live within a budget so should the government, reasonable people can through diplomacy settle their differences though since some people will not listen to reason a military capable of responding to real threats is obvious, all of us have inherited and are guardians of the land and air for the next generation, and some of what consenting adults do behind closed doors may be personally disturbing to me, but hypocrisy and oppression is the only result of letting the people use governemnt to dictate morality to the Nth degree. So I became a real conservative, I became a liberal. Modern conservatism doesn’t really exists, its an ad campaign aimed at Joe Sixpack and Jane Judgemental. Joe and Jane’s rush to pass quick and hypocritical judgement buttons are not much different from anyone else’s, they’re just easier to push and easier to manipulate, and if all else fails they can always be manipulated with fear. via the newly redesigned The Heretik THE EMPEROR WEARS NO CLOTHES and here

President Bush is a bundle of paradoxes. He thinks the scope of the federal government should be limited but the powers of the president should not. He wants judges to interpret the Constitution as the framers did, but doesn’t think he should be constrained by their intentions.

He attacked Al Gore for trusting government instead of the people, but he insists anyone who wants to defeat terrorism must put absolute faith in the man at the helm of government.

His conservative allies say Bush is acting to uphold the essential prerogatives of his office. Vice President Cheney says the administration’s secret eavesdropping program is justified because “I believe in a strong, robust executive authority, and I think that the world we live in demands it.”

But the theory boils down to a consistent and self-serving formula: What’s good for George W. Bush is good for America, and anything that weakens his power weakens the nation. To call this an imperial presidency is unfair to emperors.

from skippy christmas in iraq and here

At least five Iraqis and a U.S. soldier were killed in violence in Iraq on Sunday as fresh street protests over election results kept up tension that has soured the mood after a peaceful ballot 10 days ago.

In the turbulent northern city of Mosul, the killing of a Sunni Arab student leader abducted after heading a demonstration against the election results prompted accusations by mourners at his funeral against militias loyal to the victorious Shi’ite Islamists and their Kurdish allies in the interim government.

ARFT or The Armed Forces Relief Fund

many of the men and women serving our country are facing personal and financial hardships. Family budgets are strained and those who remain at home face a mounting workload. The large activation of Reserve and National Guard personnel has further strained the resources needed to take care of our troops and their families.

If there is such a thing as Islamic-fascism as a real movement in the mold of German, Italian, or Spanish fascism and it is a threat to our freedom; should we be abandoning the constitution and the rule of law in order to win or will we have in fact done the Islamic radicals work for them by ending the democracy that they see as a threat to their delusional dreams of some pan-arabian theocracy. Since Stalin and Hitler all totalitarian movements have had one thing in common, they’ve declared that liberalism is their worst enemy. The Agency That Could Be Big Brother

Originally created to spy on foreign adversaries, the N.S.A. was never supposed to be turned inward. Thirty years ago, Senator Frank Church, the Idaho Democrat who was then chairman of the select committee on intelligence, investigated the agency and came away stunned.

“That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people,” he said in 1975, “and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.”

He added that if a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A. “could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.”

There were many of the “wise ones” who believed that Eddie Fogarty had reached the limit of his power. The life span of a gang chief is never very long and Spend-A-Thousand Eddie had already ruled his mob for eight hard and bloody years.– from Guns of Gangland By FREDERICK BORDEN

We, we didn’t exactly believe your story

Unwarranted Executive Power. The culprit having been caught red handed, invents a story so convoluted that only those that put loyalty to political party above loyalty to country will swallow it. They, the loyal royalists of the 21st century will have been feed in twisted bits of rationalization, a steady diet of which has had the effect of shunting off the flow of blood to their brains.

Perhaps they were researched in a Star Chamber? Putting the president above the Congress is an invitation to tyranny. The president has no powers except those specified in the Constitution and those enacted by law. President Bush is stretching the power of commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy by indicating that he can order the military and its agencies, such as the National Security Agency, to do whatever furthers the defense of the country from terrorists, regardless of whether actual force is involved. Surely the “strict constructionists” on the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary eventually will point out what a stretch this is. The most important presidential responsibility under Article II is that he must “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” That includes following the requirements of laws that limit executive power. There’s not much fidelity in an executive who debates and lobbies Congress to shape a law to his liking and then goes beyond its writ.

We, we didn’t exactly believe your story, Miss, uh…What is your name, Wonderly or Leblanc?…We didn’t exactly believe your story, Miss O’Shaughnessy; we believed your two hundred dollars…I mean, you paid us more than if you’d been telling us the truth, and enough more to make it all right. -Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon

Nightmare Town

“Well, what’s he charged with?” His voice was thin, harshly metallic. He kept his feet on the table.
The marshall drew a deep breath, and recited:
“Driving on the wrong side of the street, exceeding the speed limit, driving while under the influence of liquor, driving without a driver’s license. endangering the lives of pedestrians by taking his hands off the wheel, and parking improperly–on the sidewalk up against the bank.” from Nightmare Town : Stories (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
by Dashiell Hammett

Unchecked Powers Unthinkable in a Democracy ?

 12 media myths and falsehoods on the Bush administration’s spying scandal
Just some highlights from the Media Matters article:

1: Timeliness necessitated bypassing the FISA court

Various media outlets have uncritically relayed President Bush’s claim that the administration’s warrantless domestic surveillance is justified because “we must be able to act fast …

2: Congress was adequately informed of — and approved — the administration’s actions  

In fact, both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have said that the administration likely did not inform them of the operation to the extent required by the National Security Act of 1947, as amended in 2001.

8: Gorelick testimony proved Clinton asserted “the same authority” as Bush  

In October 1994, Congress passed legislation — with Clinton’s support — to require FISA warrants for physical searches. Thereafter, the Clinton administration never argued that any “inherent authority” pre-empted FISA. 

Its called the boob tube for a reason. I’m not sure what excuse the media has. Katie Couric for example, makes millions, yet echoed talking points without doing any real research. All the big network’s news divisions and morning talk/news programs are cash cows so there’s no excuse for not having some researchers thouroughly research the issue and all the salient points involved in the issue. Blogs (not this one ) would be a good starting point to see the reaction of people across the political spectrum. Daily Kos and Glenn Greenwald have done a better job of lookijng at the constitutional issues then the evening or cable news programs. Where are the watchdogs of democracy ?………….Does War Make Presidents Kings? and  Bush justifications for law-breaking .

The self-evident strategy of the Bush defenders is to cloud the extremely clear fact of Bush’s illegal conduct with so many legalistic justifications that people will throw up their hands and decided that this is nothing more than an esoteric lawyer game, not a serious threat to the founding principles of the nation and to the rule of law. But the principle that the President does not have the right to engage in conduct which the Congress prohibits under our criminal laws is one that is as clear as it is critical to our system of government, and it is urgent that this clarity be maintained and the rule of law enforced.