They generally turned up a few hours after darkness fell

President Equivacator of Truth opened up his tiresome public relations approach to any and all problems Monday by apparently speaking to a dog made of straw, Bush Says Surveillance Legal and Necessary

Bush on Monday rejected critics’ assertion that he broke the law by authorizing domestic eavesdropping without a warrant, saying he was doing what Congress authorized him to do to protect Americans from terrorist attacks.


“It’s amazing that people say to me, `Well, he’s just breaking the law,” the president said, with Roberts sitting behind him on stage at Kansas State University. “If I wanted to break the law, why was I briefing Congress?”

President Equivacator may try being amazed at the amazement of those that are paying attention. Congressional Agency Questions Legality of Wiretaps

The Congressional Research Service opinion said that the amended 1947 law requires President Bush to keep all members of the House and Senate intelligence committees “fully and currently informed” of such intelligence activities as the domestic surveillance effort.

Two important issues here. One, and its nothing new, Bush is lying when he says that he has undertaken this spying program with the approval of Congress. To use Bush’s own school yard logic, its amazing that it would put words in Cogress’s mouth that were never spoken or ascribe oversite actions to Congress that they were never able to perform.

The White House has said it informed congressional leaders about the NSA program in more than a dozen briefings, but has refused to provide further details. At a minimum, the briefings included the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence oversight committees and the two ranking Democrats, known collectively as the “Gang of Four,” according to various sources.

“We believe that Congress was appropriately briefed,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said in a statement last night.

There are about 435 Representatives in Congress and 100 Senators and at minimum we have had 4 people get about a dozen briefings, not to mention that the Senate Intelligence Committee has never been allowed any oversite.

When people have been asked in other polls to balance their worries about terrorist threats against their worries about intrusions on privacy, fighting terror is the higher priority.

That is kind of the history of humanity, people have always be too quick to give up their rights in face of threats, real or imagined. That Bush and supporters are all too willing to exploit those fears are a very good example of this cadres Machiavellian approach to politics. It has never been their effort to walk that noble line that balances security and liberty, to inform the populace, to educate and calm the people, but to exploit American public opinion to any electoral advantage they can squeeze out of any issue. There are many factors that go into making a good statesman and using fear and false equivalence is not among them, but it is indicative of extremists political manipulators.
Yet again and we will see it echoed across right-wing pundit-land is the complete and total lie that the issue is about spying on terrorists. Each and every time Bush or one of his minions pulls this straw doll out of their moist pockets, they’re pulling the same public image trick that every despot has learned in public manipulation 101, contort the issue to your advantage no matter how far you have to sink into the sewer…..Daschle: Congress Denied Bush War Powers in U.S.

The Justice Department acknowledged yesterday, in a letter to Congress, that the president’s October 2001 eavesdropping order did not comply with “the ‘procedures’ of” the law that has regulated domestic espionage since 1978. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, established a secret intelligence court and made it a criminal offense to conduct electronic surveillance without a warrant from that court, “except as authorized by statute.”

Bush claims powers that Congress did not give, Bush claims the DOJ said it was OK and DOJ admitted Bush’s procedures didn’t comply with law.

“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.”

Looking at the new so-called campaign to rescue this Gang of Punks approach to handling an issue that they cannot even acknowledge in honest terms, the Punk Gang’s Brain, Karl Rove: Rove Wrong on Domestic Spying

“This statement is factually false, and Rove has to know that it’s false. Nobody of any note – let alone “some important Democrats”-disagree that it’s “in our national security interest to know” who Al Qaeda is calling and why. Nobody opposes eavesdropping on Al Qaeda, and Rove knows that. And yet, here he is, claiming, falsely, that the NSA scandal is based on a disagreement about whether the Government should be eavesdropping on Al Qaeda, even though no such disagreement exists…

Karl Rove ethics, with the help of a construction crane might some day raise to the level of pond scum. Maybe.

Via blatherWatch, The Northwest Progressive Institute has started a progressive podcast. This is a link to some torrents from The Mike Malloy Show on Air America and The Randi Rhodes Show

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This night, now drawing to its close, was no exception. Nor did he have to wait for the shadows – or the visitors, as he sometimes called them – to put in an appearance. They generally turned up a few hours after darkness fell. Were there without warning, by his side, with silent white faces. He’d got used to their presence after all the years, but he knew he couldn’t trust them. One of these days they’d be bound to break loose. He didn’t know what would happen then. Would they attack him, or would they betray him? There had been times when he’d shouted at them, hit out in all directions to drive them off. He’d kept them at bay for a while. Then they’d be back and stay until dawn. He’d sleep in the end, but usually for only a few hours because he needed to get up and go to work. –
Excerpted from The Return of the Dancing Master by Henning Mankell Copyright © 2000 by Henning Mankell