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Old 01-01-2006, 01:43 PM   #286
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It's OK, it's only incoming calls - it's just like hitting the memo/record button on your answering machine without telling the person, that's all.


SAN ANTONIO -
President Bush on Sunday strongly defended his domestic spying program, saying it's a limited program that tracks only incoming calls to the United States

Bush spoke to reporters at Brooke Army Medical Center where he was visiting wounded troops. He said the fact that someone leaked information about the secret order to eavesdrop on Americans with suspected ties to terrorists causes great harm to the nation.

"It's seems logical to me that if we know there's a phone number associated with al-Qaida or an al-Qaida affiliate and they're making phone calls, it makes sense to find out why," Bush said. "They attacked us before, they'll attack us again."

Asked how he responds to Americans worried about violations of their privacy, Bush responded, "If somebody from al-Qaida is calling you, we'd like to know why."

The president said that he is conscious of people's civil liberties.

"This is a limited program designed to prevent attacks on the United States of America and, I repeat, limited," he said.
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Old 01-01-2006, 04:09 PM   #287
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or blindly follow.
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Old 01-03-2006, 10:59 AM   #288
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http://www.thenation.com/docprint.mh...60109&s=schell

The Hidden State Steps Forward
by JONATHAN SCHELL

[from the January 9, 2006 issue]

When the New York Times revealed that George W. Bush had ordered the National Security Agency to wiretap the foreign calls of American citizens without seeking court permission, as is indisputably required by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), passed by Congress in 1978, he faced a decision. Would he deny the practice, or would he admit it? He admitted it. But instead of expressing regret, he took full ownership of the deed, stating that his order had been entirely justified, that he had in fact renewed it thirty times, that he would continue to renew it and--going even more boldly on the offensive--that those who had made his law-breaking known had committed a "shameful act." As justification, he offered two arguments, one derisory, the other deeply alarming. The derisory one was that Congress, by authorizing him to use force after September 11, had authorized him to suspend FISA, although that law is unmentioned in the resolution. Thus has Bush informed the members of a supposedly co-equal branch of government of what, unbeknownst to themselves, they were thinking when they cast their vote. The alarming argument is that as Commander in Chief he possesses "inherent" authority to suspend laws in wartime. But if he can suspend FISA at his whim and in secret, then what law can he not suspend? What need is there, for example, to pass or not pass the Patriot Act if any or all of its provisions can be secretly exceeded by the President?

Bush's choice marks a watershed in the evolution of his Administration. Previously when it was caught engaging in disgraceful, illegal or merely mistaken or incompetent behavior, he would simply deny it. "We have found the weapons of mass destruction!" "We do not torture!" However, further developments in the torture matter revealed a shift. Even as he denied the existence of torture, he and his officials began to defend his right to order it. His Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, refused at his confirmation hearings to state that the torture called waterboarding, in which someone is brought to the edge of drowning, was prohibited. Then when Senator John McCain sponsored a bill prohibiting cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners, Bush threatened to veto the legislation to which it was attached. It was only in the face of majority votes in both houses against such treatment that he retreated from his claim.

But in the wiretapping matter, he has so far exhibited no such vacillation. Secret law-breaking has been supplanted by brazen law-breaking. The difference is critical. If abuses of power are kept secret, there is still the possibility that, when exposed, they will be stopped. But if they are exposed and still permitted to continue, then every remedy has failed, and the abuse is permanently ratified. In this case, what will be ratified is a presidency that has risen above the law.

The danger is not abstract or merely symbolic. Bush's abuses of presidential power are the most extensive in American history. He has launched an aggressive war ("war of choice," in today's euphemism) on false grounds. He has presided over a system of torture and sought to legitimize it by specious definitions of the word. He has asserted a wholesale right to lock up American citizens and others indefinitely without any legal showing or the right to see a lawyer or anyone else. He has kidnapped people in foreign countries and sent them to other countries, where they were tortured. In rationalizing these and other acts, his officials have laid claim to the unlimited, uncheckable and unreviewable powers he has asserted in the wiretapping case. He has tried to drop a thick shroud of secrecy over these and other actions.

There is a name for a system of government that wages aggressive war, deceives its citizens, violates their rights, abuses power and breaks the law, rejects judicial and legislative checks on itself, claims power without limit, tortures prisoners and acts in secret. It is dictatorship.

The Administration of George W. Bush is not a dictatorship, but it does manifest the characteristics of one in embryonic form. Until recently, these were developing and growing in the twilight world of secrecy. Even within the executive branch itself, Bush seemed to govern outside the normally constituted channels of the Cabinet and to rely on what Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff has called a "cabal." Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill reported the same thing. Cabinet meetings were for show. Real decisions were made elsewhere, out of sight. Another White House official, John DiIulio, has commented that there was "a complete lack of a policy apparatus" in the White House. "What you've got is everything, and I mean everything, being run by the political arm." As in many Communist states, a highly centralized party, in this case the Republican Party, was beginning to forge a parallel apparatus at the heart of government, a semi-hidden state-within-a-state, by which the real decisions were made.

With Bush's defense of his wiretapping, the hidden state has stepped into the open. The deeper challenge Bush has thrown down, therefore, is whether the country wants to embrace the new form of government he is creating by executive fiat or to continue with the old constitutional form. He is now in effect saying, "Yes, I am above the law--I am the law, which is nothing more than what I and my hired lawyers say it is--and if you don't like it, I dare you to do something about it."

Members of Congress have no choice but to accept the challenge. They did so once before, when Richard Nixon, who said, "When the President does it, that means it's not illegal," posed a similar threat to the Constitution. The only possible answer is to inform Bush forthwith that if he continues in his defiance, he will be impeached.

If Congress accepts his usurpation of its legislative power, they will be no Congress and might as well stop meeting. Either the President must uphold the laws of the United States, which are Congress's laws, or he must leave office.
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Old 01-03-2006, 11:13 AM   #289
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tripe.

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Old 01-03-2006, 12:22 PM   #290
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it appears as if we have a president who believes that he alone can determine any policy even vaguely related to a war that he has defined as a permanent condition for the indefinite future.

i bet we've only begun to find out what powers he has secretly assigned to himself. essentially, Bush has told us that he can and will violate the law whenever he feels like it, thus begging the question, if the president can simply break the law when he feels like it, why bother with the Patriot Act?

once again, the Republicans have pulled another trick over they eyes of their base -- we've been arguing about abortion rights and the right of women not to be treated like cattle by SCOTUS, when, really, what Bush has been most concerned about is stacking the Courts with men and women completely deferent to executive power.
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Old 01-03-2006, 03:03 PM   #291
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Exactly irvine, that's the worst thing about Alito.

Cafferty (CNN) hit this one out of the ballpark.

Cafferty: Who cares if the Patriot Act get's renewed. Want to abuse our civil liberties-Just do it! Who cares about the Geneva conventions? Want to torture prisoners-Just do it! Who cares about rules concerning the identity of CIA gents. Want to reveal the name of a covert operative? Just do it!

Who cares about whether the intelligence concerning WMD's is accurate. You want to invade Iraq? Just do it. Who cares about qualifications to serve on the nation's highest court. Want to nominate a personal friend with no qualifications? Just do it.

And the latest outrage, which I read about in "The New York Times" this morning, who cares about needing a court order to eavesdrop on American citizens. Want to wiretap their phones conversations? Just do it.... What a joke. A very cruel, very sad joke

Diamond go back to blindly admiring Dubyah.
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Old 01-03-2006, 03:16 PM   #292
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Jack Cafferty

When that guy is on, he's really on
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Old 01-03-2006, 03:21 PM   #293
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Quote:
Originally posted by Scarletwine
Exactly irvine, that's the worst thing about Alito.





Diamond go back to blindly admiring Dubyah.
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Old 01-03-2006, 10:53 PM   #294
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Jack Cafferty is my new hero!!!

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Old 01-04-2006, 12:04 AM   #295
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The Patriot Act is a moot point plus the powers that be will work even harder to cover up the stuff that the nosy public isn't supposed to find out. Our press in Canada is constantly using the Freedom of Information Act to get stuff from the courts, & government, it's almost like they think we would not be able to handle the truth ( cue Jack Nicholson) or THEY FEAR US!!!!!

Ah, freedom!!
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Old 01-05-2006, 12:05 PM   #296
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http://www.salon.com/politics/war_ro...our/index.html

Spying, CNN and the Kerry campaign: Is there a there there?

It gets curiouser and curiouser.

As we noted Wednesday, AMERICAblog's John Aravosis noticed an odd moment in Andrea Mitchell's interview this week with New York Times reporter James Risen: While interviewing Risen about his new book and revelations that George W. Bush authorized warrantless spying on American citizens, Mitchell asked Risen if he had any information suggesting that CNN's international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, "might have been eavesdropped upon." Risen said he didn't. But as Aravosis surmised, the question certainly suggested that Mitchell did.

Right about the time Aravosis' theory started floating through the blogosphere, somebody deleted Mitchell's question and Risen's answer from the transcript posted on MSNBC's Web site. We said we'd like to hear an explanation, and TVNewser actually went to the trouble of getting one. "Unfortunately this transcript was released prematurely," reads a statement TVNewser says it got from NBC. "It was a topic on which we had not completed our reporting, and it was not broadcast on 'NBC Nightly News' nor on any other NBC News program. We removed that section of the transcript so that we may further continue our inquiry."

Assuming the statement is legitimate, that sure seems to us like a long way of saying, "Yeah, we're looking into the possibility that the Bush administration was eavesdropping on Christiane Amanpour."

Now, it's probably time for a deep breath and some patience here. What we've got here is some reading between the lines, and it's about a question, not an answer. But as we said yesterday, if the answer is ultimately answered in the affirmative -- that is, if the Bush administration has indeed been listening in on Amanpour's phone -- the implications are enormous. We don't much like the idea that the government might be listening in on the conversations of a reporter. And Amanpour isn't just any reporter: She is married to Jamie Rubin, a State Department spokesman under Bill Clinton and a foreign policy advisor to John Kerry's presidential campaign. If the Bush administration was listening in on Amanpour's phone, was it listening when she talked with her husband? Was it listening when he might have used her phone himself?

Again, what we've got here are hints about a question. We're a long way from an answer. But when you start circumventing Congress and the courts and begin to spy on Americans in a way that you insist you aren't, you invite questions like these. And along the way, you invite people to think about the last time some people who worked for a president tried to spy on the opposition.

-- Tim Grieve
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Old 01-05-2006, 12:16 PM   #297
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This is fascinating. Bring 'em all down.
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Old 01-05-2006, 01:19 PM   #298
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And that is what my fear was earlier on in this thread. It is appearing like this was a blanket sweep of phone calls...

What if they were listening to MoveOn.org? Not targeting them, but pulling them in through the sweep.
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Old 01-05-2006, 01:19 PM   #299
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Old 01-05-2006, 01:42 PM   #300
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Looks like a great example of the media becoming the media story. A theory based on a question asked by a reporter?
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