You are viewing brst

 

Common Sensibility

About Recent Entries

Once again the death of the Democratic Party is announced Jan. 28th, 2006 @ 11:21 am
Yep, they keep trying. One of these days it just might be true.

Someone noted a month ago that the Israeli press started a death watch on Sharon's new party. (This was before his second stroke brought on by blood thinners).

It sounded just like the safe game the US news media plays with American's minds.

You can repeat repeat and repeat about how the Democratic party will lose, because big business owns you.

All the damage you can do to the Democrats is welcome and won't threaten your paycheck.

And here we go again.

Why don't they mention the fact that much of the Republican party appears to be on the edge of splitting over warrantless wiretapping?

Bush visits NSA. Repeats his demand for warrantless wiretapping Jan. 25th, 2006 @ 03:07 pm
The New York Times again posts one of those biased reports on a Bush speech.

They come in right after a speech and contain mostly some version of right wing talking points throughtout.

Possibly it isn't a plant, but better attention to balance could make this work.

Heck, the guy is on payroll can't he make sure to contact 8 or 10 Democrats instead of 2?

He could make plans in advance to get their post speech remark.

Right now it looks like Stout is a shill for the Bush administration.

He even has the McClellan idiocy that makes 'Ma Bell' the highest law of the land.

Earlier in the day, the chief White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, rejected various critical descriptions of the program.

[Note here how he gives the news media instructions on how to talk about the warrantless wiretappping]He said the effort was well-grounded legally and constitutionally and that it should be referred to as "surveillance" rather than spying. He also said it should not even be considered "domestic," because one party to each monitored call or e-mail message had to be abroad. It is no more accurate to call those communications "domestic," he said, than it would be to apply that term to phone calls from the United States to another country.
(Rephrasing something he said yesterday--Catapult that propaganda, Scotty!)

That quote proves what I thought for a while now: Mc Clellan is the new Goebbels. He excels in simplistic jingoism.

Today Bush pushed further on his right to spy on Americans.

His obfuscations are deeper. He's believes people have forgotten the 911 Commission Report. From what I've seen the news media sure has certainly forgotten what was discovered in those hearings.

We must be able to quickly detect when someone linked to Al Qaeda is communicating with someone inside of America," the president went on. "That's one of the challenges of protecting the American people, and it's one of the lessons of Sept. 11."

...

In the face of constant charges from Democrats that his administration's surveillance program has trampled on the Constitution and done little or nothing to improve national security, the president asserted that he had followed the law and the specific authorization of Congress.

He suggested, too, that at least some of the carnage of 9/11 might have been averted, had such a surveillance program been in place before Sept. 11, 2001. "We know that two of the hijackers who struck the Pentagon were inside the United States communicating with Al Qaeda operatives overseas," he said. "But we didn't realize they were plotting the attack until it was too late."


Where to start with that?

The Republican controlled Congress gutted Bill Clinton's counterterrorism in 1995. In a near partyline vote the Republicans took the permission for the Clinton administration to do roving wiretaps (which would still have to be cleared by FISA). This is a right they did give to Bush within days of 911. I would be remiss to mention that the 1996 counterterrorism act passed the Senate without the help of many Democrats for some reason. (The entire bill had already been taken away from Clinton via a tabling in 1995 to be revived as a virtually identical Republican bill in December 1995, in an act of scullduggery that must have warmed the hearts of terrorists around the world.)

The 911 Commission said that the scandalmongering done by the US Congress in the late 90s had created a vaccuum where there should have been Congressional oversite of US counterterrorism.

They then seemed to ignore something that most people should remember, that searching for Clinton's sins also used up $70 million taxpayer dollars and up to 200 intelligence agents at any one time that could have been used to protect Americans.

Instead those agents were sent out to investigate everything about Bill Clinton, and his wife up to and including their underwear drawers, and everything about the Clinton administration, only to find 1 lie about consensual sex.

No murders, no rapes, no setting the IRS on enemies. Ken Starr et al. investigated everything and found the one lie under oath about consensual sex.

In the meantime collussion between an FBI director that the president was beginning to realize was incompetent and the Republican controlled Congress meant that Louis Freeh could not be removed while the Republicans had him investigating Clinton, and working up whatever dirt he could find on the sitting president.

Freeh---a Republican---never got along with the Clinton White House, outspokenly pushed for independent counsels and investigations of various Clintonites, and bickered with his nominal boss, Attorney General Janet Reno. But much as Clintonites and Democrats might loathe Freeh,...Firing Freeh ... was never politically possible because of the FBI's involvement in the various investigations of the Clinton White House.
From LOUIS FREEH: THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE.

Other sources say that Freeh's house cleaning of the FBI instilled a fear of being too bold to discover investigation deepening details in important cases that may have hampered law enforcement and counterterrorism. More on Freeh

Then there is George Tenet. Though we give Tenet credit for at least having his hair on fire in the summer of 2001 over the threat of terrorism, his CIA bungled some important information.

They were given the phone number and first name of Mohammed Atta's roomate and co-conspirator by the Germans in 1999. They didn't even call the number and have a chat.

Additionally they were given the names, and whereabouts and evidence of al Qaeda connections on the cell that settled in San Diego, and did nothing with the information. This was all available and could all be checked out via normal legal means. It was not FISA that stopped those investigations.

Again George Tenet was not Bill Clinton's pick to be CIA director. President Clinton's selection was Anthony Lake according to Richard A. Clarke in "Against all Enemies". The leaders of the Republican controlled Congress told Clinton to nominate Tenet, a friend of Bush 41, or have his selection refused.

Obviously Clinton was not willing to put the safety of the nation behind partisan struggles. Unfortunately the Republicans were.

Yet, it's clear that the two most important intelligence positions in the Clinton administration in the late 90s were determined by the Republicans.

It's a wonder that Richard A. Clarke and the rest of the close White House counterterrorism staff stopped a number of 911 value attacks during the Clinton administrationa s noted by the 911 Commission.

(There are other ways that just good quality legal anti-terorrism could have stopped 911. I have some of them in the post below dealing with a list of things wrong in Bush's speech on Monday . I didn't want to duplicate them and make your read them twice so please read the next post too. I have to go look something up in the official report of the 911 Commission. If I can find it, it was another important thing that went wrong pre-911.)

RE: Bush's warrantless wiretapping Jan. 25th, 2006 @ 12:36 pm
Bush is on the campaign trail talking about the warrantless wiretapping again. Yeah, I know it's not a presidential campaign year. Still he spends our money on his campaign for his poll numbers.

1)Michael Hayden stood up with Bush a few days ago and supported his warrantles wiretapping.

But as the reports noted General Hayden was given the job of Deputy Director of National Intelligence last year as the administration was filling up such top spots with absolute loyalists (aka cronies).

And it has already been shown that the general was lying at some time over the program:

[While speaking Monday] Hayden... stressed that the program operated under strict controls within the NSA. After previously saying that NSA shift supervisors could make decisions on domestic eavesdropping, Hayden modified his remarks Monday to say that such decisions were made by a "very small handful" of senior officers at NSA.


(To return to this spot from any of the links below, just hit the back arrow on the browser)

And the New York Times notes that General Hayden uses friendly relations with reporters to divert questions of his openness. Details, links here Or scroll down to report on Hayden and his friendly ties to the news media.

2) Another Bushism:
"I'm mindful of your civil liberties and so I had all kinds of lawyers review the process,"


Ha Ha, Sir. We know the kinds of lawyers you employ. We think of Alberto Gonzales who believes Bush should be able to do whatever he wants.

And Harriet Miers who says Bush is the smartest man she's ever met.

3) Then Bush laughed at us and said:
"It's amazing that people say to me, 'Well, he's just breaking the law.' If I wanted to break the law, why was I briefing Congress?"
Source 1

But when Senator Rockefeller, Source 2, complained that the small group of Senators who were briefed on the subject, were not told enough, and even on what they were told they wanted to lodge a complaint that American's rights were being taken away, he was ignored.

4) In a separate speech later in the day [Again Monday January 23, 2006], President Bush also repeated his argument that Congress effectively endorsed the program of eavesdropping without warrants under its authorization of military action against al Qaeda, dubbing the effort "a terrorist surveillance program." </blockquote>

But:

Senate Majority Leader in 2001, Tom Daschle, Source 3, also wrote in the Post that the Senate leaders in 2001 were asked to approve wording that would have given the exact kinds of eavesdropping rights that the Bush administration went on to tell the NSA to perform, and they were explicitly turned down.

Ergo. The Senate said no. If Bush did not want to grab dictatorial powers he needed to take "No" for an answer.

5)
experts on intelligence and national security law have said that the president overstepped his authority in ordering the NSA spying, and that the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) specifically prohibits such domestic surveillance without a warrant.
(also Source 1)

6)
Bush and Hayden provided varying and sometimes contradictory descriptions of who has been targeted by the NSA spying. Bush said the program involved a "known al Qaeda suspect, making a phone call into the United States." Hayden said one of the ends of an international call must be overseas but did not indicate that the suspected al Qaeda link must be foreign.

At various points in his remarks, Hayden said the program targeted communications "that we have reason to believe are al Qaeda communications," that involve "someone we believe is associated with al Qaeda" or that "we have a reasonable basis to believe involve al Qaeda or one of its affiliates."
(Source 1 again)

7)
Hayden echoed a claim earlier this month by Vice President Cheney that, if the NSA program had been in place prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, "it is my professional judgment that we would have detected some of the 9/11 al Qaeda operatives in the United States."


But Hayden like other administration members did not admit that the Bush administration had the information they needed to round up the San Diego cell of 911 hijackers received under normal FISA approved methods long before 911.

Washington Post (Source 1) also reported that the NSA had actually, via normal FISA aproved methods, picked intercepts that gave warnings of what would happen on September 10, 2001., but they didn't translate it until September 12, 2001. No new dictatorial powers were needed, just faster more focused work. (Source 1)

8) FISA rules accept 72 hours before warrants have to be drawn. Quite a bit of information can be gotten on whether a person is a threat within 72 hours. Evidence that could lead to a warrant.

Source 1 is a report in the Washington Post dated January 24 2005. Name: "Campaign To Justify Spying Intensifies".

Source 2 is a report in the Post dated December 20, 2005. Name: "Senator Sounded Alarm in '03". Search the Washington Post for it.

Source 3 is a report in the Post dated December 23, 2005 Name: "Power We Didn't Grant". Search the Washington Post for that one too.



There are other points, but I need to find the sources I've seen before. I'll work on it more this evening.


So it's been Bush, Cheney, Bush and Hayden, Gonzales, Bush. Where's Condi to step up and repeat, repeat, repeat the lies of the month?

Her little spiel about smoking gun mushroom clouds ought to do the trick.

Toon: Torture ban Jan. 25th, 2006 @ 12:05 pm
Ted Rall


I have more toon links below so come on back when you're done.

People aren't scared enough? Get those wailing sirens going every week! Jan. 25th, 2006 @ 10:47 am
Terror Terror Terror!

All the time Terror!

Those weekly tests of wailing sirens worked well during the cold war.

It might have been less crazy inside the US during the 50s and 60s (unless you were a minority), but the weekly wailing of the sirens reminded us that the Commies were going to get us some day.

That kind of thinking allowed the US to send 50,000 young men to their deaths in Vietnam killing 3 million citizens of that nation just because the majority people of Vietnam wanted their leader to be the socialist Ho Chi Minh (who had been our valuable ally in WW2).

What? They didn't want to be economically raped by the US and/or other western nations?

Imagine how those now in control in DC will be riffing off those weekly wailings.

Terror Terror Terror.

How very 1984.

White House proclaims "Executive Priviledge er Privacy" over failure Katrina rescue failure Jan. 25th, 2006 @ 10:15 am
Even Republican pols are outraged.

The Bush administration, citing the confidentiality of executive branch communications, said Tuesday that it did not plan to turn over certain documents about Hurricane Katrina or make senior White House officials available for sworn testimony before two Congressional committees investigating the storm response.

The White House this week also formally notified Representative Richard H. Baker, Republican of Louisiana, that it would not support his legislation creating a federally financed reconstruction program for the state that would bail out homeowners and mortgage lenders. Many Louisiana officials consider the bill crucial to recovery


Democrats and Republicans decry the lack of candor that could keep Congress from learning what went wrong.

Senator Susan Collins R-ME notes that even non-members of Bush's staff were being shielded. That goes outside the bounds of previous executive secrecy decisions. Of course, for the Bush administration, the more secrecy, the better as we have seen.

Other members of the committees said the executive branch communications were essential because it had become apparent that one of the most significant failures was the apparent lack of complete engagement by the White House and the federal government in the days immediately before and after the storm.

"When you have a natural disaster, the president needs to be hands-on, and if anyone in his staff gets in the way, he needs to push them away," said Representative Christopher Shays, a Connecticut Republican and member of the House investigating committee. "The response was pathetic."

Toon: RE: About Bush's "all kinds of lawyers" Jan. 25th, 2006 @ 10:03 am
Daily Scribble

Warning one adult language word used in cartoon. Do now view if that will offend you.

Sexual Harrassment on college campuses mostly a joke. Jan. 25th, 2006 @ 09:55 am
62% of students on college campuses say they've been sexually harrassed.

And the divide on male and female harassment is nearly even says a Washington Post article.

But the males complained mostly about anti gay harrassment.

And of the 'harrassers' questioned nearly 60% of respondents said the perceived advancement or slur was meant as a joke. Then again that's what one probably would say, wouldn't they when confronted with such behavior.

So be aware, Dummies (males, females, straights, or gays whoever you are), that -- however you want to portray that unwanted sexual advance, look, or slur to yourself or others -- the other person is just seeing a big jerk.

Try having some class next time. You might get lucky in the end.

Scott McClellan says the telephone company is the highest authority on domestic spying. Jan. 25th, 2006 @ 01:33 am
Return to aboveTuesday Scott McClellan snapped back at reporters asking about the domestic spying program:
"I reject your characterization to suggest it's domestic spying," he added. "That's like saying someone making a phone call from inside the United States to another country is a domestic call. It is billed the international rate."

So now we're turning the judicial branch of the government over to Ma Bell?

Thanks for telling us, guy.

Are boys and girls intrinsically different? Jan. 24th, 2006 @ 11:19 pm
I doubt it.

Even feminist Carol Gilligan gets caught up in the boys and girls are "different" trap.

Girls are different because they are expected to behave and are more sheltered from an early age.

That doesn't mean they're better or worse. In some ways the oversheltering and over expectations of feminine behavoir can hurt both the female that follows the mold and the young woman who doesn't.

It also hurts the male child who suddenly must behave in class at the age of 5 or 6 when he's been able to act out at home quite a bit.

As Ms. Gallagher points out letting boys be boys can cause them to be very insightful and unafraid. Yet in school, some people see such talents as a threat. Ms. Gallagher makes such good points in the article at the link above, I don't think I need to add more on the problems of young boys.

But, since our society values the person that can bust out and get things done without fear of stepping on someone's toes, girls that were raised to be feminine are crippled in necessary brashness, while a girl who wasn't molded 'properly' (that's sarcastic) constantly faces criticism through the media at the least (and sometimes face to face if she's not lucky).

Luckily, my S.O. and I both fail the expected molding for a straight couple. One does not have to try to keep the other happy at all times and be the helper and healer for the whole family. The other doesn't have to be macho, and helps with chores and child care.

I think this would be a good ideal to promote.

I suppose it wouldn't sell as many stilletos or cheeseheads though.

And we could do something about idolizing the self centered business executive too.

Our society would be a lot better for it.

Army to Scrounge up Vietnam era program for "elite forces"? Jan. 24th, 2006 @ 08:36 pm
Plan Seeks More Elite Forces to Fortify Military

Really?

Because that worked so well back then, right?

Elite forces shot up whole villages or took out unarmed civilians one by one.


More nice stories:

HRW:
U.S. Must Investigate Alleged War Crimes


Paul Martin Letter 02 14-Mar-2004 American war crimes


Yesterday NPR played a snip of former commander of Iraq forces General Ricardo Sanchez's voice saying that Civil War had already started in that beleaguered nation.

It gets more and more like 'Vietnam in a desert' everyday.

So the solution is more special units?

What kind of magic will be available to create those when:
Stretched by frequent troop rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has become a “thin green line” that could snap unless relief comes soon, according to a study for the Pentagon.".


Have they not been adequately training and equipping our troops now?

Is that it?

If it takes "special forces" to get real training and equipment then we should have done that from the first.

Or are special forces the types of people who can kill civilians without qualms?

The article in the Washington Post article doesn't go into those kinds of specifics or indeed into much useful information at all..

But basically this action so late in the game is an admission that we are indeed losing.

And what do we lose? Apparently, if we don't secure things for the Iranian friendly Shiites that will be running Iraq, they won't give big oil the cheap crude. Or maybe it's just Bush's poll numbers at stake.

Already we have created a civil war. What could possibly be worse than that?

Maybe losing what Senator John Warner suggested was a "dictator's need for 'cover' for crimes against his own people at home".

Group asks the questions Is Bush evangelical, Christian, or even down home Texan? Jan. 24th, 2006 @ 12:34 pm
Etherzone Article

Bush's conversion was prompted by an evangelical, Billy Graham, and he speaks of his conversion to Christianity in a way that is familiar to evangelicals. (Some cynics might suggest that even his conversion story was coached so as to play better with the party base. Again, I accept the President’s testimony at face value. But it is clearly on the record that his father was coached that he could not reply in the negative to the question, "Are you born again?" "Born again" being terminology familiar to evangelicals but not familiar to many traditional mainline church members.) Perhaps, his familiar conversion story has contributed to some of the confusion, but he did not following his conversion seek out a conservative evangelical church to start attending.

Dan Froomkin gets it right Jan. 24th, 2006 @ 12:22 pm
The best mainstream explanation of Bush's speech that I've read.

But we can trust the government, right? Jan. 24th, 2006 @ 12:12 pm
Well, maybe not

The demonstration seemed harmless enough. Late on a June afternoon in 2004, a motley group of about 10 peace activists showed up outside the Houston headquarters of Halliburton, the giant military contractor once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney. They were there to protest the corporation's supposed "war profiteering." The demonstrators wore papier-mache masks and handed out free peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches to Halliburton employees as they left work. The idea, according to organizer Scott Parkin, was to call attention to allegations that the company was overcharging on a food contract for troops in Iraq. "It was tongue-in-street political theater," Parkin says.

But that's not how the Pentagon saw it. To U.S. Army analysts at the top-secret Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), the peanut-butter protest was regarded as a potential threat to national security. Created three years ago by the Defense Department, CIFA's role is "force protection"—tracking threats and terrorist plots against military installations and personnel inside the United States. In May 2003, Paul Wolfowitz, then deputy Defense secretary, authorized a fact-gathering operation code-named TALON—short for Threat and Local Observation Notice—that would collect "raw information" about "suspicious incidents." The data would be fed to CIFA to help the Pentagon's "terrorism threat warning process," according to an internal Pentagon memo.


Also:
...a close reading of internal CIFA documents suggests the agency may be expanding its Internet monitoring, and wants to be as surreptitious as possible. CIFA has contracted to buy "identity masking" software that would allow the agency to create phony Web identities and let them appear to be located in foreign countries, according to a copy of the contract with Computer Sciences Corp.

..."What we're looking at is hints of what they're doing." As far as the Pentagon is concerned, that means we've already seen too much.


Of course contact with foreign sources then leaves a person open to NSA surveillance.

Cartoon -Lobby Reform Jan. 24th, 2006 @ 12:11 pm
Bill Schorr

Cartoon Jan. 24th, 2006 @ 12:03 pm
David Horsey's latest

Michael Hayden promotes friendly ties to press. His lies get little examination as a result. Jan. 24th, 2006 @ 11:25 am
Return to above.You have to ask yourself when was Michael Hayden lying.

When he first spoke on the NSA warrantless spying program? Or after he was coached for hours and was standing at the podium with George W. Bush (Oh there'll be a new vanity photo for the Hayden family this year!)

From way back down at the end, second page of LA Times report on the speech we get the tiny note:

Hayden, the intelligence official, stressed that the program operated under strict controls within the NSA. After previously saying that NSA shift supervisors could make decisions on domestic eavesdropping, Hayden modified his remarks Monday to say that such decisions were made by a "very small handful" of senior officers at NSA.


This is a good example of the read between the lines style of news reporting. One must treat an ally of the Bush administration as if they were telling the truth all the time, but then get inventive to try to get people to understand.

If TV news even did this much, there would be a sea change in the the nation. I think Keith Olbermann is about the only person on TV who would even imply that Hayden lied in one speech or another.

The reason for the bend over backward attitude towards Hayden is apparently because the general has worked to promote friendships and a pretense that he was giving reporters insight on NSA secrets . Unfortunately, apparently reporters and other writers didn't consider the possibility that the man could be just lying or passing on a few carefully vetted pieces of information.

In fact, it is well known that generals who are very useful to neocon administrations get a lot of nice perks from business groups after their retirements. I'm sure that doesn't excape the notice of General Hayden.

I'm heated about Hayden's statements in that speech itself, beyond the fact that he proved himself to be a liar.

"I'm trying to communicate to you that the people who are doing this, O.K., go shopping in Glen Burnie and their kids play soccer in Laurel," he added, referring to suburbs near N.S.A. headquarters in Maryland.


In other words "This is only being done to brown people. Go about your lives, citizens."

And all those crack lawyers on the case? Well, those would be Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and Harriet Miers for two, wouldn't they?

One has already decided that Bush can do whatever he wants, from his written statements. And the other says George W. Bush is the smartest man she has ever known--from her written statements. Yeah, that kind of sold out lawyers are the only kind the Bush administration hires (Ergo Alito).

The LA Times article linked above (top link in this post) adds:

The American Civil Liberties Union, among others sharply critical of the program, has said that it is an illegal operation that violates the letter and spirit of the laws governing wiretapping. The Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan agency, said this month the program was in conflict with the law and rested on weak legal arguments.


For those of you who like your propaganda served with a little rebuttal.

White House Got Early Warning on Katrina? Jan. 24th, 2006 @ 10:50 am
So this is a lot like when the Bush administration got a note from George Tenet that al Qaeda was determined to attack the US and just ignored it?

Hey, maybe if they got approval for eavesdropping on hurricanes they could react better next time to the warnings they already had.

Yep, it's been proven that the Bush administration already had the information they needed to know to stop 9ll. See in this post. In fact they had the data on the San Diego group that Bush holds up as some people who needed to be spied on with his warrantless telephone surveillance. But the data was with the intelligence agencies that would have given the Bush adminsitration the warrant they could have gotten. But under the Bush people the data was never dealt with.

And now it's been proven that they had the information they needed to adequately react to Katrina.

What they needed was to have done their job in getting FEMA to prepare for another disaster, whether natural or terrorist. If it were terrorist there would still be people to rescue, provide, and feed.

I think what Katrina showed was that the Bush administration's plans for disasters and their own incompetencies is to use their own control over the news media instead of actual timely, and quality rescue and help when facing disasters and or acts of terrorism.

Exactly what we've been saying Jan. 24th, 2006 @ 10:25 am
Alito is very likely to overturn Roe v Wade.

Welcome to 23 years of enforced slavery (for males and females) and never knowing if you were wanted for children.

And please note that the protesters are also against birth control.

They have been hiding this pretty well before.

[Protesters were wearing] T-shirts that read, "Abortion is Mean" and "Sex is good, the pill is not."


The anti choice people like to hide the fact that they will be taking away birth control pills next.

Why? Because anti-choice was created as an issue to insure an oversupply of servile employees. Many churches and intra church groups have found it financially profitable to promote anti-choice because they receive money from business groups if they do.

Also they actually gain members if they can scare enough people out of mainstream churches with the idea that you will go to hell if you don't support the most extreme right wing Christian ideas. Every one of those new converts then owes the new church that golden 10% of their income.

The capturing of tithes and business donations is the original basis for the anti-choice game.

If many of the people at Washington's rally look familiar, it because they're paid protesters. In fact you propably saw them in pictures last spring outside of the hospice in which poor braindead Teri Schiavo was lying. (Schiavo's parents, being much more important that ordinary protestors, got millions from right wing groups for their stance. And those millions will be available to important people who can make other stinks too. Most paid protestors though live on much less. Sometimes I almost feel sorry for them shuttling around in their shabby cars. But I figure, the pay is probably better than at WalMart which is where they would be working if they didn't have this to do.)

Also see: The Marchers State Their Case: Alito v. 'Roe'

More Great Wasserman cartoons available Jan. 23rd, 2006 @ 02:14 pm
Don't forget to check him out

NSA makes 650,000,000 million intercepts a day Jan. 23rd, 2006 @ 01:35 pm
Those "Suspected al Qaeda members", must be breeding like flies."

In fact 650 million that has to be more than the total number of phone calls out of the US each day. In fact if you add in the calls we all make to our local Qaeda suspects just to check in and see if they're okay today, could that equal 650 million?

Return to above What the heck is the NSA spying on with 650 million hits a day?

This data is from a Washington Post article named "The NSA's Overt Problem" published January 1, 2006 in the technology section (therefore few people read it). You will have to search the Post archives for that.

And Congress people have shown that Bush was not really telling
Congress everything.

From what Bush is saying in this article, I think he's enjoying lying a little too much!

He's beginning to have a lot of fun with it.

And here's another one.

"Congress gave me the authority to use necessary force to protect the American people, but it didn't prescribe the tactics," he said. "It said, Mr. President, you've got the power to protect us, but we're not going to tell you how."


In fact, the Bush administration specifically asked Congress to approve a system of spying on people in the US like the one they actually did, and Congress said no. (From Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's article a few weeks ago.)

Now under the American system, if Congress tells you "no" then it means no, unless you are reaching for dictatorial powers.

The question is whether the Republican controlled Congress will bend over for the Bush administration's undemocratic tactics.

Hayden said that if the program had been in place before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, "it is my professional judgment that we would have detected some of the 9/11 al Qaeda operatives in the United States and we would have identified them as such."


At least one cell in the US was pointed out as al Qaeda, but the Bush administration ignored the information on the group in San Diego that they did have. Catching that one group would have led (hopefully even the Bush administration could have taken the threat seriously after that) to at least warnings if not to catching all the other groups involved with 911.

In fact, the Bush administration did not fill any but the top spots in counterterrorism until they were done passing their huge taxcut for the rich. Not until June 2001 did the Bush administration begin to fill up the lower level spots. (That fact is from the 911 Commission Report!) And many weren't filled until after 911.

The lack of personnel crippled US counterterrorism and when George Tenet took the extreme step of sending President Bush a daily intelligence update that explicitly said "Al Qaeda determined to strike in the US" he ignored it!

In fact, even Bush wouldn't be so stupid 2 times in a row. Al Qaeda will not strike again in the US with or without spying on Americans (650 million intercepts a day is not just a few). Another attack could only happen if the Bush people actually wanted one.

But the Republicans controlling Congress will cover everything up for him, and let the NSA continue to spy.

The question is whether we will let them enable the Bush administration's fantasies of extreme power.

And our news sources who pass on the president's lies, now that he is on permanent campaign should give article by article rebuttal to the opposing side by someone with the same resources that the president has.

Pakistan Prime Minister says Bush is lying about important al Qaeda being killed in village. Jan. 23rd, 2006 @ 10:22 am
I told you this the other day*, didn't I?

From the words they used, and the people they got to verify their claim that important al Qaeda were killed in the Pakistani village along with 13-18 villagers, it is likely that the Bush administration was passing a hoax meant to take the edge off killing innocents. With US money it's easy to bribe some local officials to say what you want.

And with Bush cronies totally in charge of our Intelligence services these days, they can tell all the lies that they want--as long as the Republicans control the Congress.

And it looks like the Washington Post still hasn't gotten the word that it was all a lie. How likely is that the Bush administration will be able to stop the next terror attack on the US when they are bending the whole of the US Intelligence to the purpose of getting their Republican protectors back into control of the House and Senate? Ask yourself that.

From the Post:
The Pakistani government's response has been as conflicted as the reports. Some officials joined with the protesters in vehemently denouncing the attack, while others acknowledged that militants operate in the area. Even as the Foreign Ministry lodged a formal objection with the U.S. Embassy, Musharraf stayed silent in public, except to warn his countrymen not to harbor terrorists.

Now though, the PM of Pakistan has said there were no important al Qaeda killed in Damadola.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on Sunday ridiculed as "bizarre" a U.S. report that senior al Qaeda leaders were killed in a CIA attack on a home along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

"There is no evidence, as of half an hour ago, that there were any other people there," Aziz said on CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer."

"The area does see movement of people from across the border. But we have not found one body or one shred of evidence that these people were there."
U.S. counterterrorism officials have said they believe the January 13 attack killed four to eight al Qaeda-affiliated "foreigners" attending a dinner meeting.


Oh now it's eight al Qaeda. Those dead guys really are breeding rapidly. Must be like bedbugs.

Do the local people, who tell the CIA what they want to hear, get so much per important body they claim to have seen?

Republicans will use terror for campaign Jan. 21st, 2006 @ 07:02 pm
Yeah, duh!

That's what we liberals have been saying for years.

They'll also use paid and provisioned bloggers, and message board spammers, trolls in your churches, schools, and even groups who stand to gain greatly if they make up lots of BS for the news media to repeat to Americans.

But this is really funny! Their whole game plan for winning against terror -- which they made worse by their invasion of Iraq and neglect to finish the Afghanistan conflict and rebuilding -- is to take your rights away!

Do they really think it will fly?

I think that in reality they are going to have to rely on their more underhanded methods for winning.

Did you see this the other day?

A Republican allied group is offering students money for evidence (that could be faked) of liberal bias in schools. It has already been proven that the evidence that David Horowitz is passing off is faulty, yet he still gets major news reports treating his info as valid.

The money just flows to people passing right wing talking points, making up fake evidence against anyone that doesn't follow the neocon right wing.

The only thing that will stop this is talking, working, and voting against it.

Is Google spying on you? Jan. 21st, 2006 @ 09:15 am
Why was Google saving searches in the first place if not to sell to others whether government or business?

Do you smell something fishy, like faux news to make it look like Google is protecting your privacy?

Google is now working with the Bush administration through NASA. For that kind of money, businesses sometimes do give things through the back door.

The Washington Post article says that the company places a tracking cookie storing the address of your computer (which, unless you're out at Starbucks or using someone else's internet connection leads right to you most likely), as well as:
    type of Web browser used, and date and time of each query submitted.
So yeah, they are tracking your searches. They are just storing the information on your computer.

I recently had an experience that makes me wonder if Google regularly spies on people who use their products.

Here's what happened.

A friend offered me the chance to try posting on his Eblogger blog to see how I liked it.

I usually use Firefox, but lately it has been giving a bit of trouble. Time to refresh everything, I know, I've just been lazy.

So I opened up the eblogger editor in IE.

Every 2 seconds the computer started a grind that often lost letters in my typing, and delayed printing so I wouldn't even see the loss for half a sentence. It also resembled a bunch of short searches. When I was done with the post, and had sent it on it's way the sounds stopped. When the noises started I opened Windows task manager and checked to see if anything was going or coming on the internet. While every noise period did not coincide with internet activity a moderate sized set of something came or went on the internet at one time during the writing session before I posted. I had not opened nor closed anything during the interval before I sent the post off.

I tried just opening the same editor in Firefox to check and it doesn't start the noise, but the question is why it does it at all. Besides the fact that it is enormously annoying, what is the purpose?

(The Internet data coming down or going up at regular intervals did not stop when I closed eblogger or IE. but continued until I closed Firefox. It was in fact, the service I have installed on FF which checks for new headlines from the BBC at regular intervals.

Also, I actually used the same IE window to come post this right now. No grinding and no delays. But if I post to Eblogger in FF I do not have the delays or grinding either, even if it is only stored on my computer.

The Stock Market Giveth and the Stock Market Taketh Away Jan. 20th, 2006 @ 01:39 pm
Sorry Guys and Girls. It's back to work for all of us.

Cartoon Iran and Nukes. It's all under control Jan. 20th, 2006 @ 01:34 pm
Seattle Post Intelligencer

Wayward Christian Soldiers Jan. 20th, 2006 @ 01:22 pm
IN the past several years, American evangelicals, and I am one of them, have amassed greater political power than at any time in our history. But at what cost to our witness and the integrity of our message?

Recently, I took a few days to reread the war sermons delivered by influential evangelical ministers during the lead up to the Iraq war. That period, from the fall of 2002 through the spring of 2003, is not one I will remember fondly. Many of the most respected voices in American evangelical circles blessed the president's war plans, even when doing so required them to recast Christian doctrine.

Charles Stanley, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta, whose weekly sermons are seen by millions of television viewers, led the charge with particular fervor. "We should offer to serve the war effort in any way possible," said Mr. Stanley, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention. "God battles with people who oppose him, who fight against him and his followers." In an article carried by the convention's Baptist Press news service, a missionary wrote that "American foreign policy and military might have opened an opportunity for the Gospel in the land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."

As if working from a slate of evangelical talking points, both Franklin Graham, the evangelist and son of Billy Graham, and Marvin Olasky, the editor of the conservative World magazine and a former advisor to President Bush on faith-based policy, echoed these sentiments, claiming that the American invasion of Iraq would create exciting new prospects for proselytizing Muslims. Tim LaHaye, the co-author of the hugely popular "Left Behind" series, spoke of Iraq as "a focal point of end-time events," whose special role in the earth's final days will become clear after invasion, conquest and reconstruction. For his part, Jerry Falwell boasted that "God is pro-war" in the title of an essay he wrote in 2004.

The war sermons rallied the evangelical congregations behind the invasion of Iraq. An astonishing 87 percent of all white evangelical Christians in the United States supported the president's decision in April 2003. Recent polls indicate that 68 percent of white evangelicals continue to support the war. But what surprised me, looking at these sermons nearly three years later, was how little attention they paid to actual Christian moral doctrine. Some tried to square the American invasion with Christian "just war" theory, but such efforts could never quite reckon with the criterion that force must only be used as a last resort. As a result, many ministers dismissed the theory as no longer relevant.

...there is no denying that our Faustian bargain for access and power has undermined the credibility of our moral and evangelistic witness in the world.
Wayward Christian Soldiers

Well, if it takes a hunger for more followers to get a pastor to see the light, then I'm all for it. One would think that the church could have followed for the sake of Christian principles as in the Bible, even if they hadn't been worked up at a conference. I read an article near the time of the invasion in which a pastor thought other pastor's might have supported the war -- or at least remained quiet in opposition -- because they were threatened with being turned down for faith based charity money otherwise.

It makes one wonder what has happened to the church.

More to read in article referenced. See link above.

Cartoon: The Imperial Presidency Jan. 20th, 2006 @ 01:20 pm
Daily Scribble Caution: Some adult language involved. Do not visit if that offends you.

We'll always have Iran Jan. 20th, 2006 @ 01:03 pm
Apparently the threat from Iran just works into the generalized threat, and people cling closer to Bush (at least that's what KR believes).

I think Senator Clinton is trying to wake Americans up.

We've heard for a couple of months how Bush is back on the campaign trail to save his candidacy.

I think we are looking at what it's like when a nation is run like a permanent campaign.

Whatever will do the best for the administration's poll numbers.

Shove that Iran threat over the side. It's okay to have Condi or Scott McClellan expostulating over the "Iran threat", and every once in a while Cheney can show his bottom teeth over the issue, but nothing is really being done.

Time for cowboy George to git on up there and play Sheriff. But it isn't happening.

Do you think Bush has time to play Lance Armstrong, learn to pronounce words that most Americans use for his next speech of self praise, and actually pay attention to world events?

Karl's got all he can do getting the boy to practice, practice, practice.

Maybe in a couple of weeks, they'll have time for Bush to have a press conference to tell people what a great job he is doing on the Iran nuclear crisis.

Unfortunately Hillary wants more.

Can we really afford to let Iran make a half dozen nukes like we did North Korea? We'd better figure that out fast. Because that's what it seems is happening.

You always hurt the one you love. Jan. 20th, 2006 @ 11:59 am
So the National Zoo's Tony is ailing from lack of space.

But she would be upset to have a big change.

Animals often do form attachments to their handlers.

An animal sanctuary seems like a lonely place for one who has especially one who is ailing.

Would she receive as good care there?

Big question.

From what I've seen in the last few years, I no longer trust non-profits to be taking care of animals. Granted though they are better than for profits.

But after one non-profit lost "Keiko" just as the US stock market tanked in the summer of 2002 (and one can assume their donations started to shrink), I'm very skeptical of animal care non-profits real motives. Even without making a profit they seem to make a lot of money for their officers.

I do think that Tony's predicament shows that zoos need to develop standards for elephants that can keep them from getting problems from lack of space and hard surfaces.

Cartoon: Alito and Bush Jan. 20th, 2006 @ 01:34 am
Is this what we want?

Big Questions about the Cisneros case. Jan. 20th, 2006 @ 01:24 am
If there was a coverup, why didn't David Barrett have the people responsible dragged into court?

They've have 5 years of Bush to do so.

This is more of what the 911 commission noted helped bin Laden attack our country, the incessant scandalmongering of the Republican controlled Congress.

This looks like they are trying to start it all up anew, now that they've been caught doing the dirty with Abramhoff and other lobbyists.

I think that most Americans are getting really sick of their games.

Cartoon: That's What he said about Harriet Jan. 20th, 2006 @ 01:22 am
Oliphant

Vatican comes out in favor of Darwin for science Jan. 20th, 2006 @ 01:03 am
The official Vatican newspaper published an article this week labeling as "correct" the recent decision by a judge in Pennsylvania that intelligent design should not be taught as a scientific alternative to evolution
...it is not correct from a methodological point of view to stray from the field of science while pretending to do science," he wrote, calling intelligent design unscientific. "It only creates confusion between the scientific plane and those that are philosophical or religious."

The article was not presented as an official church position. But in the subtle and purposely ambiguous world of the Vatican, the comments seemed notable, given their strength on a delicate question much debated under the new pope, Benedict XVI.
In 'Design' vs. Darwinism, Darwin Wins Point in Rome

The vatican backing of evolution as science comes out even stronger further in the New York Times piece, but a 'intelligence design' fan says that believing what they Vatican is saying is like putting words into the mouths of the church leaders. Huh?

Go figure.

Some people are definitely not intelligently designed. I think we can agree on that.

web log free

Telling the Truth messes up Senate decorum? Jan. 20th, 2006 @ 12:58 am
I'm sorry Senator Reid feels that way.

I think that the Quid pro Quo that the Republicans did with Jack Abramhoff, Scanlon, and their clients is a lot worse than a few words.

I know that Reid is just trying to keep things at a dull roar while the investigations work through, but it's just my feeling that he doesn't need to apologize.

I guess he's a lot more cultured than I am.

Get it out in the open is what I'd do. Then again I'm not a senator, am I?

The Iranian hostages and the treason that kept them imprisoned for 4 extra months. Jan. 20th, 2006 @ 12:25 am
Do people not recall that the hostages were released on the day that Reagan took office?

That was because the Reagan Bush campaign had made a backdoor deal with the Iranians to keep the hostages iimprisoned originally just until after the election, but then (I'm guessing because it suited the fancy of some Karl Rove clone) until Reagan's inauguration day.

The evidence is quite clear. Barbara Honegger of the Reagan campaign and administration was first to write a book about that.

Others did too.

When Bani Sadr, the president of Iran at the time of the hostage crisis, wrote his memoirs, he said that there was some kind of deal with the Reagan campaign.


Also, Oliver North -- of Iran-Contra fame -- may have had an important role in the failure of the rescue attempt.

See one of the copies of an important report on the web.

And now that Scott McClellan has said that the Bushies "don't negotiate with terrorists" we might want to pause to remember what was proven about the last administration to take that flamboyant pose.

They were caught negotiating with two terrorist groups, and helping one of them bring crack cocaine into the US.

So that makes me wonder what the Bush administration really is doing with Osama.

Cartoon -- A day in the Bush administration Jan. 19th, 2006 @ 01:43 pm
See here.

Audit needed of whole Government Jan. 19th, 2006 @ 01:40 pm
It's bad enough knowing that more Homeland Security money went to small towns that to prime big city known terrorist targets, but when the DHS can't even track where the money went to you know a lot of its been wasted or used to fulfill some Quid pro quo.

Liberal press, liberal academia!!! Jan. 19th, 2006 @ 01:04 pm
Just repeat that over and over and over again.

Then you'll sound just like a Republican.

Do you know who started the propaganda about liberal press and liberal academia?

It was Adolph Hitler (can't even blame Goebbels for this. It's in Mein Kampf which predates Goebbels taking over propaganda for the Fuhrer.)

The right sure knows where to get the simplistic propaganda to spew, don't they. There are other Republican "truths" that I've searched for and found in Mein Kampf. It's pretty scary.

The Washington Post report does not mention that important Republicans are leaving a conservative alumni organization that has been found to have been paying students to cook up evidence of "liberal bias" among professors.

Former representative James Rogan and 2 others left the "Bruin Alumni Association" after
it offered students money to police professors accused of pushing liberal views. Former Rep. James Rogan, a Republican who served two terms, sent an e-mail Wednesday to Andrew Jones, head of the Bruin Alumni Association, saying he didn't want his name connected to the group.

"I am uncomfortable to say the least with this tactic," Rogan wrote in his e-mail...

Rogan's resignation follows those of Harvard historian Stephan Thernstrom and UCLA professor emeritus Jascha Kessler, who both quit the board once they learned of the group's activities.


Also note, the when suddenly all news sources are put to task reporting about such a minor issue there is some behind-the-scenes arm twisting being done. This apparently will be the smoke screen behind which the Republicans will hide this year.

Thanks Adolph, they couldn't have done it without you.

Will there be a decent investigation of Bush, ever? Jan. 19th, 2006 @ 12:39 pm
It's coming up on 2 years since the Republicans in control of Congress promised they'd get to the bottom of whether the Bush administration forced the CIA and DIA to take evidence from known liars like "Curveball" used only the intelligence they wanted to get their war on Iraq. Even last November when the Democrats forced the issue they said they'd have something in a week.

A week. Dang what a long week that's been.

So will we see an investigation of George W. Bush and his illegal spying, etc?

Not while the Republicans stay in charge of Congress -- obviously.
Top of Page Powered by LiveJournal.com