Hillary Clinton is one of the most ethical and most lied about political leaders in America

Hillary Clinton is one of the most ethical (and most lied about) political leaders in America

Democrats are sick and tired of the endless lies about Hillary Clinton, the character attacks, the distortions of her record, the contorted caricature portrayed in the media. They want an unfiltered connection to her without the prism of GOP-style talking points and false frames.
If the headline of this piece blows some minds, you can thank three decades of relentless lies and smears by the conservative attack machine and its corporate media enablers, who have labored to create an aura of corruption around Hillary Clinton. Her detractors on the right, left and center reel off a laundry list of unsupported accusations with an air of absolute authority, as though it is simply a given that she is a terrible, horrible, no-good human being.
And that is precisely the intention: Taint her through innuendo and guilt-by-association, throw enough dirt at her that voters develop an instant negative association with her name. Accuse, accuse, accuse until the accusation becomes the reality, and may the truth be damned.
Karl Rove, the Koch brothers, and billionaire conservative moneymen like Paul Singer have spent inordinate sums to paint a malignant picture of Hillary, using sophisticated propaganda techniques to render her toxic to the American electorate.
Sadly, too many on the left imbibe and regurgitate these fabricated narratives. They are joined by corporate media operatives with personal vendettas, whose venomous words reveal more about their own failings than about Hillary.
But the fact is this: no one has ever produced an iota of evidence that Hillary has behaved improperly because of a campaign contribution. No one has produced a scintilla of proof that there is a quid pro quo when it comes to her speaking fees. From Whitewater to Benghazi to her emails, nobody can point to a single instance of corruption or wrongdoing on Hillary Clinton’s part.
None. Zero. Ever.
The most they have are votes and positions they disagree with or mistakes for which she has expressed regret. And even there, the false frames are tossed around with no regard for facts. During the Democratic primaries, Hillary’s critics portrayed Bernie Sanders as pure good and Hillary as pure evil. That’s hogwash. They are both politicians who make judgments and adopt positions, some of which we agree with, others we don’t.
Hillary’s Republican opponent, Donald Trump, has spent a year hurling insults at people who disagree with him. He has embraced intolerance as a platform. He has a shameful history of demeaning and degrading women. He lashes out at reporters in the most personal terms whenever he is questioned. He lacks even the most rudimentary preparedness for the office he seeks. He has a self-admittedly vindictive temperament which is profoundly ill-suited for the presidency. He has called our sitting president a terrorist and threatened Hillary’s life. Yet astonishingly, he receives less (yes, less) negative coverage than she does, according to two independent studies.
No matter how shocking this may sound to Hillary’s professional critics – those who spend their time condescendingly mocking anyone who says a good word about her – Hillary is an upstanding, principled and dignified leader who has survived the most intrusive, invasive, aggressive and unending vetting process in political history.
Time and again, she has emerged with her integrity intact. In the words of the Des Moines Register, which endorsed her in January, “Clinton has demonstrated that she is a thoughtful, hardworking public servant who has earned the respect of leaders at home and abroad. She stands ready to take on the most demanding job in the world.”

Continued at link…

There is No Hillary Clinton Email Scandal

Republicans are hypocrites and liars switch into hypocritical liar mode when discussing Hillary emails.
Republicans are hypocrites and liars switch into hypocritical liar mode when discussing Hillary emails.

The non-scandal of Hillary Clinton’s email has been placed in a prominent place in the radical Right’s outrage machine, and yes it is an actual organized smear campaign. Hillary may have made an error in judgement, but  that is  a matter of pure opinion, not fact. There a very simple test to determine if the radical Right is truly concerned about an individual’s actions or if they are just engaged in their never ending witch hunts. How many people on the list above have Conservatives millions of tax dollars investigating and then created an echo chamber of smears? Did anyone guess one? Four? How about zero. Because as always Republican bull can be a mile high and wide, and stink like raw sewerage, and to Conservatives it smells like roses. On the other hand, a small error in judgment, a small mistake by a Democrat and the anger and outrage is the grand comic opera of politics, the never ending melodrama they have the gull to wrap in patriotism and platitudes.Propagandist attack poodle Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) Says FBI Gave Top Clinton Aide Immunity in Email Investigation. The headline was taken and blown up like the Goodyear blimp by every radical right sycophant and of course leaving out the last bit,

Clinton aide Heather Samuelson, who worked with Mills to sort Clinton’s emails, also received a similar immunity deal.

Beth Wilkinson, the attorney for Mills and Samuelson, said in a statement to ABC News: “As the government indicated in these letters, the DOJ and FBI considered my clients to be witnesses and nothing more. Indeed, the Justice Department assured us that they believed my clients did nothing wrong. At all points my clients cooperated with the government’s investigation, including voluntarily participating in interviews with the FBI and DOJ.”

According to The New York Times, two additional staffers were granted immunity for cooperating with authorities.

The Associated Press first reported the new details of the immunity agreements.

The Clinton campaign criticized Chaffetz’s comments about the immunity deal and investigation, which the FBI closed without recommending charges against Clinton for using a private email server as the nation’s top diplomat.

If you have the money for a good lawyer, anytime the FBI wants an official on the record interview, your lawyer will get you immunity in case you inadvertently say something stupid – which we all know is what people tend to do under stress. After the FBI cleared Hillary of any illegal activity – literally millions of dollars and hundreds of hours of investigation, the State Department also closed its investigation, CNN Reporter Admits Email Hearings Led By Trump Allies In Congress. 

A lot of Donald Trump’s allies on Capitol Hill are trying to paint her as the one who is reckless by the way she handled her emails. And that’s going to be a big focus on Capitol Hill going forward.

 

Bless their evil little hearts: I’ve read a dozen or so of the major right-wing hate sites such as Breitbart and its ilk (Fox News), they’re lying like their lives depend on it. Myths And Facts On Hillary Clinton’s Email And Reports Of “Top Secret” Materials

Media are exploiting news that two emails Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton turned over to the State Department from her time as secretary of state may be retroactively classified as “top secret” to push myths about Clinton’s handling of government information and scandalize her email use. Here are the facts.
FACT: None Of The Emails Sent To Clinton Were Labeled As “Classified” Or “Top Secret”

FACT: Emails Originated In State Dept. System, And Questions About Retroactive Classification Would Have Occurred Regardless Of Clinton’s Server Use

FACT: Experts Have Debunked Any Comparison Between Clinton’s Email Use And David Petraeus’ Crimes

FACT: IG Referral To Justice Department Was Not Criminal, And FBI Isn’t Targeting Clinton Herself

Not much has really changed about the Conservative movement and the lies they told about Iraq. Republicans are the radical party of the Big Lie. They repeat Big Lies until they have saturated every part of the delusional echo chamber. Throughout history those political movements that have depended on a foundation of lies – not the white lies and exaggerations all politicians make, have caused incredible to their countries and the world. Worth a read, Clinton’s Fibs vs. Trump’s Huge Lies. The media has been attacking the Clintons since the 90s and Whitewater. Together they might be the most investigated couple in history, yet Hillary has committed not one criminal and the Big Dog made his famous sex lie before a grand jury – which he was impeached. Bush and Cheney with millions of enablers got 4000 American killed in Iraq for multiple lies, yet no criminal charges. Talk about some incredibly lopsided double standards. When it comes down to issues of integrity and leadership, there really is no contest, Trump is utterly without integrity, No Honor Donald: 101 Of Trump’s Greatest Lies 

Will Conservatives show the tiniest bit of integrity and investigate this real email scandal, Leaked emails show how the Republican governor of Wisconsin flouted campaign finance law to court secret donors.

 

 

Should America Vote for Trump Part 4

Can Florida and Colorado voters trust this conman
Can Florida and Colorado voters trust this conman

Trump Presidency Would Be an Economic Nightmare, Nobel Prize-Winning Economist

“For our economy, I think the uncertainty of this political leader who clearly has no deep understanding of economics other than knowing how to go bankrupt [is a major problem]. And we can only hope that he won’t bankrupt the country, but he has said things like ‘let’s renegotiate the national debt’ … that’s something that’s almost unimaginable that any leader would say,” he said.

Stiglitz theorized on how Trump would do business in the White House based on the GOP nominee’s statements: “You know you’ve lent us money that was just the initiation of a negotiation, we’ll negotiate whether we’ll pay you back.”

“That’s not the way capital markets work,” he said, “So I guess I say it’s a nightmare. Fortunately, the probability that nightmare coming true is small and hope it’s getting smaller by the day.”

Stiglitz empathized with the middle class and poor people in America, who feel squeezed in the current economy; particularly voters willing to take a chance on some of Trump’s far-fetched ideas just because they want change.

“What we have to do is rewrite the rules of the market economy,” Stiglitz insisted. “We have to, for instance, try to encourage firms to be more long-term, less excessive CEO pay, pay more attention to strengthening workers’ bargaining rights … I don’t think it’s rocket science, but we haven’t paid any attention because we were blinded by the ideology of trickledown economics—that if the top did well everybody would do well, and that has been proven wrong.”

Trump makes new promises every day and changes the details to suit the audience – we used to call people like that ass kissers. But one thing he has pretty much stuck with is trickle down supply side economics with even more tax cuts for millionaires. A large percentage of the blame for the Great Recession of 2007-2008 goes to trickle down Republican policy. Working class and middle class Americans would not have suffered as much if more of the capital they created went into their pockets and savings accounts instead of tax breaks for the Donald Trumps. Speaking of which; it doesn’t matter if you live in Colorado, Ohio, Florida or somewhere in between, you helped pay for Trump’s financial shenanigans, Ask Trump for a Refund, He Received $885 Million in Tax Breaks for His New York Empire

Trump says he’ll be great at fighting terrorism If so, highly doubtful considering he doesn’t even know how our military works. On the hand, no bragging, just facts, Democrats are simply the greatest terrorists hunters in the history of the USA.

The president is a superior terrorist hunter. He has also neutralized a profound existential threat to U.S. allies in the Middle East, and denied ISIS access to vast storehouses of deadly chemical weapons. So why does he get no credit?

 

Hillary Clinton will continue this astounding anti-terrorism record, Who Let Terrorists Kill People, Democrats versus Republican leadership.

Republican leadership tragically sucks at keeping America safe.
Republican leadership tragically sucks at keeping America safe.

Research shows Democrats are better for the economy.

While the GOP convention news focused on Melania Trump’s plagiarism and Steve King’s claim about white civilization being superior, another thing that set it apart was that there was very little traditional GOP red meat. Rather than focus on jobs and economic growth, the convention centered around crime and undocumented immigration, both of which have decreased dramatically in the last several years. Indeed, recent Pew data suggest that the economy and jobs are far bigger concerns for the public than immigration and crime (though terrorism ranks high).That is true for Republicans, Democrats and Independents. Gallup data show that while the economy has declined in importance, is it still ranked far higher than immigration and crime.

Further, numerous studies, using numerous different methods, suggest that Democrats are better for economic growth and jobs than Republicans. In addition, under Democrats, the growth is distributed more equally across income groups.

Should America Vote for Donald Trump Part 3

Intelligence officials write open letter exposing the dangers of a Trump presidency

Mr. Trump, with all due respect to you as the presidential nominee of the Republican Party, you cannot credibly serve as commander in chief if you embrace Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader has repeatedly shown himself to be an adversary of the United States. Putin, during his long tenure, has repeatedly pursued policies that undermine U.S. interests and those of our allies and partners. He has steadily but systematically moved Russia from a fledgling democratic state to an authoritarian one. He is the last foreign leader you should be praising.

50 G.O.P. Officials Warn Donald Trump Would Put Nation’s Security ‘at Risk’

How Trump recreated his Foundation to take other people’s money and make it look like he was the virtuous donor

Trump’s failed Baja condo resort left buyers feeling betrayed and angry

In the end, nothing at all was built at Trump Ocean Resort, and Simms lost her money. As did about 250 other buyers, most of them from Southern California.

All told, two years of aggressive marketing yielded $32.5 million in buyer deposits, every bit of it spent by the time Trump and his partners abandoned the project in early 2009 as the global economy was reeling. Most of the buyers sued them for fraud.

Mike Pence might not be a throw-back mid-century fascist, he just has some beliefs in common with Nazi ideology

Ex-Benghazi investigator-intelligence officer (a Republican) says U.S. panel targeted Clinton. Yet every Conservative Trump supporting web sites has spun a false, frequently outrageous narrative about Benghazi. Throughout history when a political movement tells more lies than truths, manufactures narratives, spins like crazy, they always have a nefarious agenda.

IS THIS TRUMP’S BIGGEST FINANCIAL CON YET?
The Republican standard-bearer’s new economic plan may be his emptiest promise.

How Donald Trump Exploited Charity & Veterans for Personal Gain

 

 

Should Americans Vote for Donald Trump Part 1

The fatal flaw in Trump’s Frankenstein economic plans

The second problem for Trump’s Frankenstein economics is that his seemingly contradictory proposals would be a disaster if they were enacted. Moody’s economic forecasting conducted a nonpartisan analysis of Trump’s proposals and concluded that they would lead to a loss of 3.5 million jobs. And they would cost the U.S. economy trillions of dollars of lost growth.

Former models for Donald Trump’s agency say they violated immigration rules and worked illegally

There is no Clinton email scandal, its all about the media trying to balance Trump’s daily insanities

Trump is $650 mill. in debt and part of his debt is carried by the Bank of China

Donald Trump made millions from Saudi Arabia, but trashes Hillary Clinton for Saudi donations to Clinton Foundation (the Saudis have also made donations to both Bush presidents for their libraries).

Voting Rights for Women Should Be Revoked According to How They Obtain Their Birth Control, Says Author of ‘Handbook for the Trump Revolution’

Who should America believe when it comes to Hillary Clinton’s email, the FBI or some unhinged Hillary haters.

Page 11: On January 23, 2009, Clinton contacted former Secretary of State Colin Powell via e-mail to inquire about his use of a BlackBerry while he was Secretary of State (January 2001 to January 2005). In his e-mail reply, Powell warned Clinton that if it became “public” that Clinton had a BlackBerry, and she used it to “do business,” her e-mails could become “official record[s] and subject to the law.” Powell further advised Clinton, “Be very careful. I got around it all by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data.”

This is important. First, it makes clear that Hillary conversed with Colin Powell two days after becoming Secretary of State, not “a year later,” as Powell has claimed. Second, Powell essentially told her that he had just gone ahead and broken the law by “not using systems that captured the data.” Hillary, by contrast, chose instead to retain everything as the law required.

Conservatives Who Have Bungled Foreign Policy For Years, Have No Humility on Syria

Summer Flowers wallpaper

Summer Flowers wallpaper

 

MoJo goes out of their way to present all the sides – Democrats for and against, Cons for and against, Bombing Syria: A Running Guide to the Debate. I recommend reading the whole article and their on-going updates, but here are a couple items that stand out,

Steven Cook, a senior fellow for Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, published a piece in the Washington Post on Friday contending that an assault on Syria would do far more damage than good. Cook, who previously had recognized a case for intervention, wrote:

The formidable U.S. armed forces could certainly damage Assad’s considerably less potent military. But in an astonishing irony that only the conflict in Syria could produce, American and allied cruise missiles would be degrading the capability of the regime’s military units to the benefit of the al-Qaeda-linked militants fighting Assad—the same militants whom U.S. drones are attacking regularly in places such as Yemen. Military strikes would also complicate Washington’s longer-term desire to bring stability to a country that borders Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Israel. Unlike Yugoslavia, which ripped itself apart in the 1990s, Syria has no obvious successor states, meaning there would be violence and instability in the heart of the Middle East for many years to come.

While others have pointed out that the goal of a retaliatory attack would be to make the targets ones that would damage Assad’s military capability, causing just enough damage to motivate Assad to come to a negotiated settlement. With aid from Russia and Iran, Assad could run this civil war into a years long stand-off. Mojo mentions the record 2 million refugees produced by the war. There is no reason to believe it will get better without a precise tactical strike. Mojo gives us a look at the same old opinions from the same bungling analyst that served us so well with Iraq, like Fareed Zakaria. Zakaria gets some little bit right once in a while that is not a complete hack, but really, is this guy the one to listen to with a grade of D in foreign policy issues. Though Zakaria looks like a razor sharp analyst compared to “James Ceaser, professor of politics at the University of Virginia (who the Weekly Standard’s William Kristol calls one of “American conservatism’s leading thinkers.” Always Wrong Kristol’s recommendation is like getting a thumbs up from an arsonist. Conservatives and the media have this toxic relationship where they help lead each other off the cliff, repeatedly, yet they keep holding hands and walking towards the cliff, dragging the American public along for the ride. Conservatives, including the bizarre Rand Paul (R-KY) have nothing worth listening to. If they happen to say something someone agrees with, it is pure luck, like getting your number on a roulette wheel. Oh, and former congressional representative Allen West (R-FL) is still a venal cowardly tree stump that can make sounds. If Ceaser, Kristol, West, John McCain, John Bolton and Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) had their way we would be neck deep in a war with Iran right now. These conservatives are not concerned with what is best for the USA or Syria, they’re focused on how to best make a Democratic administration look bad, so they’ll take any position on the buffet table to do so.

Senate hearings are ongoing as I post: They will not authorize ground troops and will set a time table or window within which the strikes may occur. I don’t think anyone wanted ground troops anyway, so that was a no brainer.

Liberals disenchanted with this administration, just a reminder of the kind of mindless arrogance we could have in the White House – Rubio: We Wouldn’t Be At This Stage With Syria ‘If I Had Been In Charge’ (VIDEO). Yep Moses Rubio would have spoken from the mountain top and everyone would just stand in awe of his magnificence. I hope every single day that by way of some miracle, the conservative movement gains some modicum of humility. Remember everyone in Afghanistan and Iraq was just going to give up after a couple of months at most.

Labor Day, War Powers and Wages

Season Changes wallpaper

Season Changes wallpaper

We all know the rules. Since president Obama was elected for his first term, conservatives in typical knee-jerk reaction hate everything he likes, are against everything he is for. For almost eight years they loved war, they claimed freedom wasn’t free and if they had to lie your son, daughter, spouse to their deaths in some Middle-east sand pile, well it was for the good of the Republican Party and anyone who did not support their less than sane agenda was a terrorist loving hippie. NO, OBAMA ISN’T GOING TO WIN THE HOUSE VOTE

Free Republic directs me to this post by a popular right-wing blogger known as Soopermexican (the post is also at his blog):

Viral Facebook Post: ‘I Didn’t Join The Navy To Fight For Al Qaeda In Syria!’

… this post, reportedly from a U.S. Naval Chief Petty Officer, on Facebook for a conservative talk show has more than 5,000 ‘shares’ even though it’s only been online for four hours.

Us hippies warned everyone that invading Iraq would make Iran’s influence in the region stronger, and we were right. That did not stop  – let’s assume there is a real senior Chief involved – from supporting a war based on lies about WMD. Now he doesn’t support a limited military strike against a sociopath that actually used WMD. So he and this FaceBook posse of Koservative Keyboard Pacifists are on the side of the ACLU, ACLU Urges the President to Obtain Official Congressional Authorization Before Taking Military Action in Syria. I saw a poll from a couple of days ago that showed a majority of Americans do support a limited military strike, like using a cruise missile or perhaps a drone strike on Assad’s military. That is what the president is talking about, not boots on the ground. That is not an unreasonable response to the actions of Assad. If there is no consequence, he may be emboldened to take even more criminal actions. Though I agree with the ACLU, it would be best if we started a tradition of adhering to the Constitution before we started military actions against foreign powers. If Congress wants – with a conservative majority in the House big enough to stop any kind of military action – to give Assad a pass, well, that the way we’ll go. Though a few weeks or months from now when Bashar al-Assad ( Syria’s president, with help from Iran and Russia) launch another chemical attack, we should not hear any arm-chair quarterbacking from conservatives. But you know we will because conservatism is just another name for weasel-brats.

Fox’s Payne Distorts Argument Against Minimum Wage Increase

Neil Cavuto hosted Fox Business contributor Charles Payne on the August 28 edition of Fox News’ Your World with Neil Cavuto to discuss protests planned by fast-food workers, who are demanding higher pay and the right to unionize. Payne claimed during the segment that employers don’t owe a debt to their employees and mischaracterized the minimum wage increase as a sliding scale of pay:

PAYNE: Listen, I don’t begrudge anyone for trying to earn extra money, but what they’re essentially saying is that their salary should be doubled from where they are. It doesn’t match the skill set. Now, if we start to talk about this — and listen, it’s something that’s been echoed all day long with theme of the March on Washington — that somehow corporations owe a debt to people who work for them. So if Susan has two kids, she gets X amount of income, then she has another child, then the corporation should pay more money specifically because they owe her a debt and she had another kid — sort of the responsibility or the welfare state that’s been such a burden on America is now being thrusted, or attempted to be thrusted on the shoulders of corporate America.

This is the real world, not the LSD fueled fantasies of Fox News, Neil Cavuto and Charles Payne. McDonald’s paid CEO Don Thompson a compensation package worth $13.8 million this year. Everything over say $100k is money Thompson stole from the profits produced by the labor of front line employees. In no way, at no time will Thompson ever do anything, or have any ideas worth more than $75k a year. Thompson like the rest of the corporate plutocracy has made employees into serfs and made themselves into feudal lords. Their compensation has become completely unconnected to any value and work they bring to a company. They have the power to redistribute incredible sums of money from the working class to themselves. So they do. Until some of that power is take back by workers the welfare for the arrogant greedy plutocrats will continue.

Shameless Hypocrisy of the Day, The Supernaturally Incompetent Conservative Donald Rumsfeld Criticizes Foreign Policy

Heroes in Ebony

Heroes in Ebony–The captors of the Confederate steamer USS Planter (1862), Robert Small, W. Morrison, A. Gradine and John Small.

At 04:00 on 13 May 1862, while her captain, C. J. Relyea, was absent on shore, Robert Smalls, a slave who was Planter’s pilot, quietly took the ship from the wharf, and with a Confederate flag flying, steamed past the successive Confederate forts. He saluted the installation as usual by blowing the steam whistle. As soon as the steamer was out of range of the last Confederate gun, Smalls hauled down the Confederate flag and hoisted a white one. Then he turned Planter over to the USS Onward of the Union blockading force.

Besides Smalls, Planter carried 15 other slaves to freedom behind Union lines: seven crewmen, five women, and three children. In addition to the cargo of artillery and explosives, Smalls brought Flag officer Samuel Francis Du Pont valuable intelligence, including word that the Confederates had abandoned defensive positions on the Stono River.

While we’re delving into history, some quotes from former conservative Republican Secretary of Defense in the Bush administration, Donald Rumsfeld:

I can’t tell you if the use of force in Iraq today would last five days, or five weeks, or five months, but it certainly isn’t going to last any longer than that. – Interview with Steve Croft, Infinity CBS Radio Connect, November 14, 2002

But no terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. – Hearing Before the House Armed Services Committee, September 10, 2002 [9]. Quoted on March 14, 2004. Iraq was not a leading exporter of terrorism against the U.S. then or any other time, and they had no connections to al Qaeda or 9/11.

We know where they [Iraq’s WMD] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat….I would also add, we saw from the air that there were dozens of trucks that went into that facility after the existence of it became public in the press and they moved things out. They dispersed them and took them away. So there may be nothing left. I don’t know that. But it’s way too soon to know. The exploitation is just starting. – Interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News This Week, March 30, 2003. This is my favorite quote from Rummy. There was never any WMD, Bush called off the hunt for them several years after he kicked out weapons inspectors and invaded Iraq.

Rumsfeld, like the other neocons never had much humility or honor. That is why he shamelessly weighs in on the current situation in Syria,  Rumsfeld: Obama Administration Hasn’t Made Case for Intervening in Syria

Rumsfeld explained that “there really hasn’t been any indication from the administration as to what our national interest is with respect to this particular situation.” (Yesterday, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters it is “absolutely in the national-security interests of the United States and the international community” to respond to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.)

In an interview with Neil Cavuto that will air Wednesday night on Fox Business Network, the former Bush secretary of defense blasted the administration as “mindless” for tipping its hand and said he “[couldn’t] imagine what they’re thinking” by giving President Bashar Assad’s regime “crystal clarity, with respect to what they attempt.”

Of course the current administration should listen to the shameless venal rantings of someone who has proven to be singularly incompetent in foreign policy and management of U.S. military forces. Give the country fifty years and scholars will be writing about how the Bush administration, the invasion of Iraq and the management of that invasion was one of the most egregious betrayals of the American people in the nation’s history. The only episode that comes close is Nixon and Kissinger’s malicious prolonging of the Vietnam War for political gain.

Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein

“Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein,” Iraqi President Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad on December 20, 1983. This is after Iraq had used poison gas against Iran and the Kurds.

From Civil War Balloons To The Patriot Act and Massive Data Mining

Professor Lowe in his balloon

Stereograph showing Professor Thaddeus S. Lowe observing the battle from his balloon “Intrepid” while soldiers in camp hold the balloon’s ropes in Fair Oaks, Virginia. Published: Hartford, Conn. : The War Photograph & Exhibition Co., No. 21 Linden Place, 1862 May 31. To me this photograph is both funny and a fascinating bit of history. Since I climbed trees as a kid I can appreciate the professor’s line of sight, he is at about tree top level. Why not pick a especially tall tree and get a young recruit to climb up. On the serious side he was establishing the importance of air power and technology, the ability to track adversary movement and intelligence gathering.

In case anyone missed it, some of the basics of the NSA’s surveillance program, What You Need To Know About The Government’s Massive Online Spying Program

PRISM appears to closely resemble the warrantless surveillance orders issues by President Bush after the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks rather than a dragnet data collection operation, but the NSA has the capability to search through the company’s servers for whatever it likes. To collect data, analysts in Fort Meade key in search terms designed to produce an “at least 51 percent confidence in a target’s ‘foreignness.’”

FaceBook and Google are both denying that they simply hand over any and all data or provide direct access to their servers at the mere request of government officials.

back when Bush was found to have enacted his very own massive surveillance program without telling Congress or going to the FISA Court for warrants, conservatives thought that was great. In their view any violation of the law was justified in the supposed cause of national security. One example from a far Right conservative site that is alleged to represent the height of conservative intellectual thought and constitutional expertise, called American Thinker, NSA surveillance and the contrapositive By Greg Richards

We can apply this to the NSA anti—terrorist wiretaps.  President Bush’s political opponents and some civil libertarians are upset that he approved wiretaps without a court order.  AT and other blogs have already demonstrated that doing so is (a) well within the letter of the law and (b) is in accord with practices of previous presidents.  But for those still not convinced, let’s try the contrapositive:

President Bush receives information from the NSA or the CIA or the FBI or some other source that a conversation is very likely to be carried on between a suspected terrorist and a foreign source.  Suppose the President does not approve this wiretap, or, what amounts to the same thing, suppose he applies to a FISA judge for a court order and the order is refused.  What does President Bush do then?

AT and Richards would gladly give Bush dictatorial powers, even though presidents take an oath to uphold the Constitution. Laws passed by Congress supersede presidential directives. That is case law. Period. See President Truman versus U.S. Steel as a prime example. Even in a war time emergency preferential power is not unlimited. At the time Bush violated the law, and was thus guilty of high crimes that merited impeachment, the patriot Act did have a spy first get a warrant later provision. The NSA or FBI could perfumer any surveillance they liked for 72 hours and then get a warrant. Conservatives back during the Bush years were very prone to using thriller spy novel scenarios to justify any trampling of the law by the executive branch. Something the Constitution was written to guard against. In our over two hundred years of assistance there have been very few years we were not engaged in some kind of combat somewhere. Which brings us to a history lesson from Michelle Malkin. Which is like taking lessons in how to make your marriage work from Rush Limbaugh, History lesson: The crucial differences between Bush and Obama’s NSA phone surveillance programs

It is certainly schadenfreudelicious to see Al Gore and assorted Democratic tools going bonkers over news of President Obama’s radically expanded phone call data collection program — which he, ahem, inherited from the Bush administration and has apparently now widened far beyond anything Bush ever enacted or proposed.

But unlike Gore and company, I am not going to engage in a full, NSA-bashing freakout. Some of us have not regressed completely to a 9/10 mentality.

I will instead provide you with a sober reflection on why I supported the Bush NSA’s work and why Obama’s NSA program raises far more troubling questions about domestic spying than his predecessor.

As longtime readers know, I supported the NSA’s post-9/11 efforts to collect and connect the jihad dots during the Bush years. When left-wing civil liberties absolutists were ready to hang Bush intel officials, I exposed the damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t hypocrisy of Bush-bashers who condemned the administration for not doing enough to prevent the 9/11 jihadi attacks and then condemned it for doing too much. Bush defended himself ably at a press conference in December 2005 — refresh your memories here.

Malkin still cannot write, make an argument without using a straw man liberal. Malkin is also a great case against using the falsehoods she used before to justify her new argument. Bush’s program was ruled illegal because, as mentioned before, he thought being president was the same thing as being absolute ruler. Or as John Yoo argued, still a respected constitutional legal scholar on the far Right; if the president does it, it is legal. Liberals never argued – one or two obscure liberal bloggers don’t count – that Bush could not take full advantage of FISA, they generally argued that he could not break laws passed by Congress or violate the Constitution. The difference between the Bush program and the Obama program is that president Obama is not violating the law as far as we know, today. That is the history lesson. If anyone dislikes what President Obama is doing, and doing within laws passed by Congress that’s fine. By all means don’t like what you see as over reach on national security – and do something about it with my full support. Though do not forget that Congress – with almost all conservatives and quite a few Democrats passed the laws that allowed this president or any president to conduct this type of surveillance. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) makes a good poster boy for the faux outrage and shameless hypocrisy of pundits like Malkin and AT. here’s a history lesson, Author Of Patriot Act Now Seeks To Limit Government Surveillance

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who helped draft the PATRIOT Act, is exploring options to narrow a provision of the law that allows the National Security Agency (NSA) to obtain telephonic metadata on nearly all Americans.

[  ]…Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows the government to order businesses to turn over “the production of any tangible things” if it can prove that “there are reasonable grounds to believe” that the tangible things sought are “relevant to an authorized investigation .. to obtain foreign intelligence information… or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.” The government has been obtaining metadata records from telephone companies for years and has used three-month secret warrants fromt the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) court since 2006. ( Malkin conveniently leaves out that what she is so outraged about and so vvvery different from a program started under Bush)

So the brilliant mastermind Jim Seensenbreener is now saying that the law he helped draft is so  vaguely worded that someone like the president might not keep within limits that Jimbo meant to include but forgot.

Then we have Congressional reps who are saying, yea well, he might be obeying the law, but President Obama has not kept us fully informed as to the details of the program. let’s say that Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) – a pretty decent guy – is not completely bullsh*ting everyone. And even if he is might have part of a point. Why hasn’t Congress kept it’s foot in the door and demanded regular reports on the details of PRISM or any other activities authorized by the FISA Court. This is the Congress we’re talking about,  Mad about NSA’s overreach? Blame Congress. There’s plenty of fault to go around, from Bush to Obama to NSA itself. But the legislative branch truly failed us

Did you notice the word I used in each of the other cases? The key word: law. As far as we know, everything that happened here was fully within the law. So if something was allowed that shouldn’t have been allowed, the problem is, in the first place, the laws. And that means Congress.

As the Washington Post reports, two laws in particular. The Protect America Act of 2007 passed the Senate 60-28; Democrats split with 17 voting in favor and 28 against, while Republicans were unanimous in support. In the House, Democrats opposed it by a wide 41-181 margin, while Republicans vote for it 186-2. However, Democrats can’t simply pass the blame; they had majorities in both chambers and could have brought different measures to the floor. And then the next year the FISA Amendments bill had a similar partisan breakdown, although with a bit more Democratic support. The latter was then extended last year. This time, a majority of Senate Democrats voted for it, with only 20 dissenting, and they were joined by three Republicans; in the House, most Democrats still opposed it, while all but seven Republicans voted yes.

Of course, if Democrats had really wanted to change the law, they could have done so during the 111thCongress early in Barack Obama’s presidency, but they did not.

The point isn’t so much which party in Congress is responsible; it’s that both parties have more than enough responsibility to go around. Republicans simply flat-out favored pretty much a blank check, with only a handful of exceptions; Democrats were legitimately split, but overall failed to draft good laws. Give those Democrats who did oppose surveillance, along with the tiny GOP civil liberties caucus, the credit they deserve – but overall, this policy happened because Congress wanted it to happen.

One of the worse kinds of framing that the media does, and too many Democratic voters go along with is the if four conservatives do it and two Democrats, both sides do it and both sides are just as bad. Numbers matter. Not thinking everything the president does is legal just because he is president matters. Not everyone is guilty – the champions of civil liberties are still most left of center, the party that at least stays within the law is Democratic, not conservative. If Congress changes the law and severely curtails surveillance by any government agency, this president will at least abide the law. Though let’s step back and take a breath. Clearly conservatives are being dishonest and disingenuous – they should shrub their archives from the Bush years if they do not want to end up looking ridiculous – oh, its too late. There will be lots of noise, more congressional hearings, and nothing to very lintel will change because America decided 12 years ago to trade liberty for some imagined security. These screen captures below are from a satire Twitter account, but the tweets are real,

Nothing to Hide'

Nothing to Hide1

Nothing to Hide

Nothing to Hide 2

Those people are ridiculous. They should be taking a serious interests, beyond seat-of-the-pants notions about privacy, before they tell the world how naive they are. Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have ‘Nothing to Hide’.

On the surface, it seems easy to dismiss the nothing-to-hide argument. Everybody probably has something to hide from somebody. As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn declared, “Everyone is guilty of something or has something to conceal. All one has to do is look hard enough to find what it is.” Likewise, in Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s novella “Traps,” which involves a seemingly innocent man put on trial by a group of retired lawyers in a mock-trial game, the man inquires what his crime shall be. “An altogether minor matter,” replies the prosecutor. “A crime can always be found.”

One can usually think of something that even the most open person would want to hide. As a commenter to my blog post noted, “If you have nothing to hide, then that quite literally means you are willing to let me photograph you naked? And I get full rights to that photograph—so I can show it to your neighbors?” The Canadian privacy expert David Flaherty expresses a similar idea when he argues: “There is no sentient human being in the Western world who has little or no regard for his or her personal privacy; those who would attempt such claims cannot withstand even a few minutes’ questioning about intimate aspects of their lives without capitulating to the intrusiveness of certain subject matters.

Maybe, fingers crossed, everyone will thoughtfully consider changing the Patriot Act ( the most ironic name for legislation since Bush’s Clear Skies Initiative) and reign in the worse excesses. Obama is right when he says we have to have some compromise between privacy and security, but some of us think that compromise may have drifted too far into compromising our civil rights and spending too much on massive, and mostly worthless data mining.