Afghanistan Crisis, Constitutional Debacle

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Afghanistan Crisis Worse Than Iraq

It says that Afghanistan constitutes a worse crisis than Iraq. Not just because of the escalating violence (8,000 Afghans killed last year, and 1,800 so far this year; more NATO troops killed in May in Afghanistan than in Iraq) or the opium that finances the insurgency. Or the ineffective Hamid Karzai who presides over corruption, warlords and drug barons. Or the frightening rise of Taliban sanctuaries and sympathizers across the border in Pakistan.

Afghanistan affects the entire region. The turmoil in Pakistan is well-known. Problems are also brewing in the five Central Asian states, especially Uzbekistan, where a repressive dictatorship is battling (and feeding) a rising Islamic militancy, whose tentacles reach back into Afghanistan and Pakistan. “Central Asia is the new frontier for Al Qaeda.”

Most people associate the Middle-East with Islam, but there are more Muslims in Asia then the Middle-East. This trend in Afghanistan and the region lends even more support to the predictions from as far back as 2002/03 that Iraq would drain resources away from Afghanistan and be a recruiting tool to radicalize even more recruits. Another gift of the Bush legacy, a legacy that like the toxic runoff from an abandoned mine will just keep on giving.

Hasselbeck on Obama: “[H]e seemed for a while more willing to give the fist bump to Ahmadinejad than our own General Petraeus” Obama has meet with Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, but Hasselbeck realizes that there is an election coming up and sacrificing some integrity and telling a few lies is practically a requirement for all good little wingers. I wonder if she knows that Bush has and continues to have talks with Iran through Ambassador Crocker.

This Spade is a Spade: FISA Deal Is Bunk

Remember that horrible bill the Senate passed earlier this year? The one that had virtually no Fourth Amendment protections? Ok, now imagine Congressman Hoyer and Senator Bond putting a really pretty, really meaningless bow around it to distract you from what’s actually inside. Then they added a giveaway to the phone companies. There. Now you have the current FISA bill. Let me explain.

* Court review? Pssh. Please. This is how it would work: The government wants to tap someone’s phone. It claims “exigent circumstances” and begins to do so. Then it goes to the FISA Court to be granted a warrant. “Hold up,” says the court. “This application is problematic and based on heresay.” Now the government starts the appeals process and that goes on for heaven knows how long. When does the surveillance stop on the problematic target? Um, never. The government is allowed to begin tapping without the courts and continue tapping when the court says no, provided it appeals. Nice, strong and meaningful judicial review, huh?

* Immunity? Yes. Yes, it is. Here’s why: This immunity “compromise” sets the bar so low that anyone can clear it. Immunity hinges on whether a document from the president or government exists asking the companies to comply? We know they have them. You know who told us? The president. Asking the phone companies to put on their Sunday best, waltz to the courthouse and present a note from the leader of the free world does not a full and fair airing of the facts make. It’s a farce and, frankly, it’s offensive to those of us who cherish our privacy rights. Congress will be opening a Pandora’s box if this provision becomes law. What’s to prevent these companies from handing over our information again? Absolutely nothing.

Hoyer and the Blue Dog Dems are clearly complicit. Yet the irony that just will not die is that Republicans have shrouded themsleves in the cloak of Constitutuional explciticity and found some implied part of the Constittution that says they have the right to give the president powers that preempt the Constittion and Congressional legislation. The law of the land gives the prez the right to not be accountable to the law of the land. Jefferson and Madison aren’t spinning in their graves, just their heads. Isn’t the sworn mission of al-Queada to undermine and destory democray. They can relax. Bush and the U.S. Congress seem all too willing to do the dirty work for them.

Well, That’ll Show ‘Em!

My favorite bit, however, is the Pelosi expectation that “the language would prevent Mr. Bush, or any future president, from circumventing the law.” Yeah, right — just as it “prevented” President Bush from authorizing wholesale violations of FISA from 2001 until 2007. (Note to Speaker Pelosi: President Bush’s official view, vigorously defended by the Department of Justice, is that the “exclusive means” provision is unconstitutional, and can therefore be disregarded. FYI)

And Glenn, George Bush’s latest powers, courtesy of the Democratic Congress. Dissappointing is the least one can say about Senator Obama’s lack of leadership on this capitulation. Obama’s AWOL statuss on this cruical issue is enough to make me consider sitting this election out or skipping the presidential ticket at least.

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