Sex trumps serious news everytime

The Eliot Spitzer scandal has been a boon to network news. A well known Democrat and sex. Much easier to wrap their little minds around and spend hours getting to the bottom of a juicy tabloidish tale then other issues that have a genuine impact on the nation. Fox might be a little torn as they can’t devote as much time to the latest missing attractive blond woman. What goes on in the minds of men like Spitzer is beyond me. he knew what prostitution was, Foes of Sex Trade Are Stung by the Fall of an Ally 

As New York’s attorney general, Eliot Spitzer had broken up prostitution rings before, but this 2004 case took on a special urgency for him. Prosecuting an international sex tourism business based in Queens, he listened to the entreaties of women’s advocates long frustrated by state laws that fell short of dealing with a sex trade expanding rapidly across borders.

And with his typical zeal, he embraced their push for new legislation, including a novel idea at its heart: Go after the men who seek out prostitutes.

It was a question of supply and demand, they all agreed. And one effective way to suppress the demand was to raise the penalties for patronizing a prostitute. In his first months as governor last year, Mr. Spitzer signed the bill into law.

I’ve always had my doubts about the psychology of self-destruction where people set themselves up for a fall, but Spitzer has made me reconsider. Laura Schlessinger was on the Today Show blaming Spitzer’s wife. leave it to the wing-nuts to add some perverse angle to the story.

If the morning newstainment goes as I predict there is likely to be little if any coverage of actual news such as this, NSA’s Domestic Spying Grows As Agency Sweeps Up Data 

Largely missing from the public discussion is the role of the highly secretive NSA in analyzing that data, collected through little-known arrangements that can blur the lines between domestic and foreign intelligence gathering. Supporters say the NSA is serving as a key bulwark against foreign terrorists and that it would be reckless to constrain the agency’s mission. The NSA says it is scrupulously following all applicable laws and that it keeps Congress fully informed of its activities.

According to current and former intelligence officials, the spy agency now monitors huge volumes of records of domestic emails and Internet searches as well as bank transfers, credit-card transactions, travel and telephone records. The NSA receives this so-called “transactional” data from other agencies or private companies, and its sophisticated software programs analyze the various transactions for suspicious patterns. Then they spit out leads to be explored by counterterrorism programs across the U.S. government, such as the NSA’s own Terrorist Surveillance Program, formed to intercept phone calls and emails between the U.S. and overseas without a judge’s approval when a link to al Qaeda is suspected.

The NSA’s enterprise involves a cluster of powerful intelligence-gathering programs, all of which sparked civil-liberties complaints when they came to light. They include a Federal Bureau of Investigation program to track telecommunications data once known as Carnivore, now called the Digital Collection System, and a U.S. arrangement with the world’s main international banking clearinghouse to track money movements.

The effort also ties into data from an ad-hoc collection of so-called “black programs” whose existence is undisclosed, the current and former officials say. Many of the programs in various agencies began years before the 9/11 attacks but have since been given greater reach. Among them, current and former intelligence officials say, is a longstanding Treasury Department program to collect individual financial data including wire transfers and credit-card transactions.

Which as Wired surmises is simply a resurrection of “Total Information Awareness”. It also puts to rest Bush’s assertion that his program was directed at specific targets consistant with the Fourth Amendment,

Bush said the program was narrowly designed and used “consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution.” He said it is used only to intercept the international communications of people inside the United States who have been determined to have “a clear link” to al-Qaida or related terrorist organizations.

If that were the case few Americans would have a problem, but it looks as though we’re all assumed guilty until proven innocent. So Bush has been given multiple opportunities to be truthful, to display some sembalance of honor and chosen not to.

Study Discounts Hussein, Al-Qaeda Link 

An examination of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents, audio and video records collected by U.S. forces since the March 2003 invasion has concluded that there is “no smoking gun” supporting the Bush administration’s prewar assertion of an “operational relationship” between Saddam Hussein and the al-Qaeda terrorist network, sources familiar with the study said.

This can’t be true, that Republican paragon of integrity, one Richard Cheney, the Vice_president of the U.S. assured us that there were links between Al-Qaeda and Iraq, Cheney claims al Qaeda link to Hussein

“There’s overwhelming evidence there was a connection between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government,” Cheney said in an interview on National Public Radio.

Cheney and Bush probably do fight. They sit in the Whitehouse sandbox arguing over who gets the red sand bucket or the little yellow dump truck, Bush’s tortured veto

We do not torture,” President Bush insists, yet that assurance is accompanied by an unspoken “but.” In vetoing legislation that would require CIA interrogators to abide by the same humanitarian standards imposed on their counterparts in the U.S. military, Bush again has drowned out his denials with an ominous silence about just what “enhanced” interrogation tactics he considers appropriate.

In a shameful Saturday radio address justifying his veto, Bush argued that CIA interrogators can’t be confined to techniques allowed by the Army Field Manual “because the manual is publicly available and easily accessible on the Internet.” So, of course, are the Geneva Convention and the Detainee Treatment Act, which prohibit “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.” By the president’s logic, acceptance of the humanitarian standards included in those documents also deprives the United States of the element of surprise.

Bush has been playing a dangerous game, forswearing torture while making the argument that suspected terrorists must be made to give up their secrets at any cost. In his radio address, he claimed that the CIA interrogation program pried loose information that helped avert a series of terrorist attacks, including one in Los Angeles. If the stakes are that high and the alternatives futile, why not torture?

The best answer to that question was offered by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2005. Calling terrorists “the quintessence of evil,” McCain insisted that “it’s not about them; it’s about us. This battle we’re in is about the things we stand for and believe in and practice. And that is an observance of human rights, no matter how terrible our adversaries may be.”

Alas, the man who spoke those words before he became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee voted against the legislation Bush vetoed. But McCain was as right in 2005 as he is wrong now.

So lets see there are terrorists that are going to stop being terrorists because the CIA might capture and torture them. Seems unlikely. Or maybe there are terrorists that will up the pace of terrorism because the CIA has switched to the standards laid out in the AFM. Doesn’t make any more sense then the babbling one would here from a brain dead yak, but Bush and his supporters are Republicans and dammit they are serious about fighting terrorism.