Saturday, December 31, 2005

OK, I'm back. Happy New Year!

Sorry, I didn't mean to go this long without posting.
I had planned to visit relatives for the holidays but I hadn't planned on being starved of the net for the duration. I took my laptop with me with the plan that I would sign up for a trial aol membership and get my netfix at night when tying up the phone line wouldn't be a problem. I didn't figure on there being no local access # to any isp other than the local cable company, and they only had dial up for 29.95 a month with a years commitment. WTF? I knew my family lives spread out in rural Ks, Ok, Mo, but I never realized just how bumfukegypt the place really is. 6-8 christian oriented radio stations, 4 music; 1 rock, 1 oldies (50's oldies) and 2 country, and no NPR. Fauxnews was on basic cable but CNN, which no one I met had, was part of their premium channel lineup. msnbc wasn't available at all. That's why 30-40% of the country still supports the president. Half of them don't even have access to real news. The infrastructure is such that they can't have an informed opinion.
IMHO, If you don't have access to any news source left of CNN you shouldn't be allowed to vote.
Though most of my family is from there I grew up as a military brat and have only visited there every few years. Clinton was still the President the last time I was there.
I really was miserable there, for a lot of reasons other than no internet. I have to chalk this up as the lousiest xmas I've ever had. I drove instead of flying because I couldn't get a cheap ticket and it's a 2+ hr drive to to the nearest airport in Tulsa even if I flew. I had relatives to visit spread out over 100 miles or so and rentacars and country roads is not a very good idea, as that's how I found out the hard way that the $10 a day insurance is worth it. 19+ hrs of straight driving, $120 in gas one way. That and I also had a state trooper ask me for my autograph on the way back. Yuk!
Sorry Dorothy, I was literally clicking my heels together hoping to get the hell out of Kansas.
There's no place like home.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Our President Is A Liar

Video provided by CanOFun...
He was lying then and he is lying now

"He is President, Not A King" Russ Feingold

Heads roll at Veterans Administration

Mushrooming depleted uranium (DU) scandal blamed
Preventive Psychiatry E-Newsletter charged Monday that the reason Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi stepped down earlier this month was the growing scandal surrounding the use of uranium munitions in the Iraq War.

Writing in Preventive Psychiatry E-Newsletter No. 169, Arthur N. Bernklau, executive director of Veterans for Constitutional Law in New York, stated, “The real reason for Mr. Principi’s departure was really never given, however a special report published by eminent scientist Leuren Moret naming depleted uranium as the definitive cause of the ‘Gulf War Syndrome’ has fed a growing scandal about the continued use of uranium munitions by the US Military.”

Bernklau continued, “This malady (from uranium munitions), that thousands of our military have suffered and died from, has finally been identified as the cause of this sickness, eliminating the guessing. The terrible truth is now being revealed.”... (more)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

AK-Sen: Is Stevens finally taking his ball and going home?

click on pic for video by dionysus
by kos
It seems that every single vote the past three months having something to do with Alaska, Stevens has threatened to quit the Senate if the vote didn't go his way. It's happened with several early votes on drilling in ANWR, as well as the vote to defund the Bridge to Nowhere.
Apparently, he made the threat last night as well, but it didn't work this time. The Senate killed efforts to open up ANWR to drilling.
So Stevens said:
"This has been the saddest day of my life," he said. "It's a day I don't want to remember. I say goodbye to the Senate tonight. Thank you very much"
Buh Bye!

Bush Lied Again

Bushco have been all over defending the President's disregard for the law and attacking whoever leaked the story as damaging to our national security. Bush has repeatedly equated the leak to one in 1998...

Wapo 12-20: "The fact that we were following Osama bin Laden because he was using a certain type of telephone made it into the press as the result of a leak," the president said. "And guess what happened? Saddam -- Osama bin Laden changed his behavior. He began to change how he communicated."
Well, as it turns out, Bush was full of shit again.


The al Qaeda leader's communication to aides via satellite phone had already been reported in 1996 -- and the source of the information was another government, the Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan at the time.

The second time a news organization reported on the satellite phone, the source was bin Laden himself.

Chimpy has clearly broken the law to spy on americans, so he says to provide us greater intel to keep us safe. Why don't I feel safer when they can't even get facts straight that are in the public domain? They want us to trust them with sifting info gleaned from illegal wiretaps when they can't even sift good info from lexis nexis. Bush either lied about this, or his administration is waaaay too incompetent to lead our country. If the latter, his whole presidency is a lie. Either way, we've been lied to again.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Diebold Hack Hints at Wider Flaws

(wired news) Election officials spooked by tampering in a test last week of Diebold optical-scan voting machines should be equally wary of optical-scan equipment produced by other manufacturers, according to a computer scientist who conducted the test.

Election officials in Florida's Leon County, where the test occurred, promptly announced plans to drop Diebold machines in favor of optical-scan machines made by Election Systems & Software, or ES&S. But Hugh Thompson, an adjunct computer science professor at the Florida Institute of Technology who helped devise last week's test, believes other systems could also be vulnerable
.... (more)


And then there is this almost unbelievable news...

City election board selects Diebold for new voting system

The St. Louis Election Board voted today to select Diebold Election Systems to provide a new voting system for the city....(more)

Are people in St Louis really that stupid?

NYT: The Business of Voting
Video: Voting Machines Hacked?
Elections Official: Some Voting Machines Could Be Hacked
The Dirty Little Secrets of Voting System Testing Labs
Powerful Government Accountability Office report confirms key 2004 stolen election findings
Diebold: Vote Hacking made easy 101
Electronic Voting Machines Steal Elections?

Tom Delay Is A Big Fat Lying Hypocrite

David Sirota has some tough chewing for the ex-majority leader...


Tom DeLay's Words from 1995 Challenge Tom DeLay in 2005

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is
facing a major ethics investigation into his past lavish, lobbyist-paid trips. DeLay has so far refused to offer any details into his activities. Maybe DeLay should take his own advice from 1995 and follow his own standards in 2005:

"The time has come that the American people know exactly what their Representatives are doing here in Washington. Are they feeding at the public trough, taking lobbyist-paid vacations, getting wined and dined by special interest groups? Or are they working hard to represent their constituents? The people, the American people, have a right to know...I say the best disinfectant is full disclosure, not isolation." - U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, 11/16/95

(related posts)

Abramoff lawyers in talks with DOJ
DeLay May Still Face Conspiracy Charge After All
Corruption likes Company: Delay and Duke

FISA Court Judge Quits over Bush's Despotism

Wapo- A federal judge has resigned from the court that oversees government surveillance in intelligence cases in protest of President Bush's secret authorization of a domestic spying program, according to two sources.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson, one of 11 members of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, sent a letter to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. late Monday notifying him of his resignation without providing an explanation.

Two associates familiar with his decision said yesterday that Robertson privately expressed deep concern that the warrantless surveillance program authorized by the president in 2001 was legally questionable and may have tainted the FISA court's work...

"They just don't know if the product of wiretaps were used for FISA warrants -- to kind of cleanse the information," said one source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the FISA warrants. "What I've heard some of the judges say is they feel they've participated in a Potemkin court."... (
more)


And Joe at A'blog has this...

They were spying on "purely domestic communications"


Okay, so now we learn that there was some "accidental" spying on communications that took place solely within the U.S.
(NYT) A surveillance program approved by President Bush to conduct eavesdropping without warrants has captured what are purely domestic communications in some cases, despite a requirement by the White House that one end of the intercepted conversations take place on foreign soil, officials say.

The officials say the National Security Agency's interception of a small number of communications between people within the United States was apparently accidental, and was caused by technical glitches at the National Security Agency in determining whether a communication was in fact "international."


Now, how soon before we find out that these weren't accidental or technical glitches? They've already lied about it:


And Moxiegrrl has this...

Wow, Everyone's Talking About Bush's Law-Breaking

(related posts)
Bob Barr Barr: The president violated the law
Do Not Pass Go!
The President is a Criminal.
Report: Bush eased domestic spy rules after 9/11

Abramoff lawyers in talks with DOJ

WASHINGTON - Lawyers for Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff are in discussions with the Justice Department about his possible cooperation in a congressional corruption probe, a person involved in the investigation said Tuesday night...

I can only hope Abramoff comes clean. It'll ruin the GOP for some time to come.

(related posts)
2nd Columnist Canned for Taking Abramoff $ For Columns
Abramoff Partner Pleads Guilty
In Messages, Lobbyist Says DeLay Pressed for Donation
Abramoff charity's claims disputed
How Abramoff Spread the Wealth

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Legal Shield for Vaccine Makers Is Inserted Into Military Bill

NYT- WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 - Companies making vaccines to protect against biological agents or pandemic viruses would be shielded from lawsuits, even if they are negligent or reckless, under a provision inserted into a military spending bill by Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the majority leader...

Senator Edward M. Kennedy... said he would try to strip the language from the bill, arguing that it was not relevant to the military measure...

Critics said that authority, broadly construed, could apply to heart drugs or diabetes, for example, should the secretary declare heart disease or diabetes an epidemic... (more)

Frist sucks! Has he been indicted yet?

American Taliban Petitions For Reduced Sentence

LINDH PETITION BEING REVIEWED BY FEDERAL OFFICIALS

A U.S. Justice Department spokesman said today that federal officials are still reviewing a commutation request submitted to President Bush last year by former Taliban fighter John Lindh...

One of his lawyers, James Brosnahan of San Francisco, announced today that Lindh submitted a renewal of his petition to the president on Monday after not having received a response to the original filing...

Lindh was the first person to be charged in a U.S. court in the post-Sept. 11 war on terrorism...

Lindh's attorneys contend his sentence is unfair and excessive in comparison with the treatment of other suspects in the war on terrorism, including Yaser Hamdi, an American citizen who was released last year after less than three years in custody.

Brosnahan said, "Justice and fairness require that Mr. Lindh's 20-year sentence be commuted."

Brosnahan said Lindh's conduct was "materially the same" as Hamdi's...

The attorney said Lindh "never fought against Americans in any way, shape or form and never participated in any terrorist activities against this nation or any other country."...
(more)


Let's face it. This guy got screwed. He was just a kid on a spiritual quest who got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
There never was any evidence the public has been made aware of that he played any role in planning or carrying out any terrorist attack or that he ever fought against Americans.
If we are going throw Americans in jail for hanging out with the Taliban how about starting with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.

Rohrabacher on left posing with Afghan fighters 1988

And just what was Rohrabacher doing going on a secret mission to meet with the Taliban, a govt the US did not recognize, 5 months before Sept 11??? It doesn't pass a smell test.

Bolivia To Legalize Cocaine

Cocaine plants to be legalised by the first home-grown President

(timesonline)...He has also promised to ally Bolivia with other regional left-wing
leaders such as Presidents Chávez of Venezuela and Castro of Cuba....

Señor Morales, who used to lead a coca-growers’ union, has promised to
legalise the cultivation of coca, the primary ingredient in cocaine — to the
horror of the US, which has pursued a big coca eradication effort in Bolivia in
recent years. Bolivia is the world’s third largest producer of cocaine...

(related posts)
Head South, Turn Left

Monday, December 19, 2005

Dionysus "Meet the New Jeff Gannon"

via Daily Dissent...
At today's press conference we were introduced to what appears to be the latest White House plant. "Joe" pitched the following softball (video):
You said last night that there were only two options in Iraq -- withdraw or victory. And you asked Americans, especially opponents of the war, to reject partisan politics. Do you really expect congressional Democrats to end their partisan warfare and embrace your war strategy? And what can you do about that to make that happen?
Oddly enough, Bush still fumbled for a coherent response.

Apparently the sycophant's name is Joseph Curl, and he has been making regular appearances on Fox News as of late. He might truly be Gannon's replacement after all.

mediamatters...
Wash. Times reporter Joseph Curl's pattern of misinformation

2nd Columnist Canned for Taking Abramoff $ For Columns

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. newspapers said on Monday they would stop publishing articles by a conservative commentator who was paid by a criminally indicted lobbyist to write pieces favorable to his clients.

Peter Ferrara has admitted taking payments from Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a key figure in a growing probe into payments to members of Congress who has already been indicted for fraud in the purchase of a casino cruise line in Florida.

The Manchester Union Leader and the Washington Times, which run influential conservative opinion sections, said they did not know that Ferrara took undisclosed payments for his op-ed pieces and did not think the activity was appropriate.
Ferrara, a prominent advocate of Social Security reform, told BusinessWeek Online last week that he takes payments from lobbyists "all the time" to write articles favorable to their clients and did not see anything wrong with the practice... (more)

(related posts)
Columnist Resigns For Accepting Abramoff $ for Favorable OpEds

Abramoff Partner Pleads Guilty

How Abramoff Spread the Wealth

NYT: The Business of Voting

Click on pic Video: Voting Machines Hacked?

Diebold, the controversial electronic voting machine manufacturer, is coming off a tumultuous week. Its chief executive, Walden O'Dell, resigned. It was hit with a pair of class-action lawsuits charging insider trading and misrepresentation, and a county in Florida concluded that Diebold's voting machines could be hacked. The company should use Mr. O'Dell's departure to reassess its flawed approach to its business. The counting of votes is a public trust. Diebold, whose machines count many votes, has never acted as if it understood this.

Mr. O'Dell made national headlines when he wrote a fund-raising letter before the 2004 election expressing his commitment to help deliver the electoral votes of Ohio - where Diebold is based, and where its machines are used - to President Bush. Under pressure, Diebold barred its top officials from contributing to campaigns. But this month, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland reported that three executives not covered by the ban continued to make contributions to Republican candidates.

Diebold's voting machines have a troubled history. The company was accused of installing improperly certified software, which is illegal, in a 2002 governor's race in Georgia. Across the country, it reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with the California attorney general last year of a lawsuit alleging that it made false claims about the security of its machines. Last week, the top elections officer in Leon County, Fla., which includes Tallahassee, concluded after a test that Diebold machines can be hacked to change vote totals. (more)

(related posts)

Another Kind of Prison Torture

From Pogo,
According to a letter yesterday from Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), the Justice Department's Federal Bureau of Prisons has refused to help a security officer whose life has been threatened for blowing the whistle...
Despite this, the Bureau of Prisons has refused to take steps to protect the employee from possible harm by relocating him to another facility where he would be less likely to be found and harmed. According to the Senators:
Read more here and a letter from the whistleblower here...

Let the uncaring bureaucrats know that you are outraged about this case -- please send an email to Harley G. Lappin, Director of Federal Bureau of Prisons, his email is Hlappin@bop.gov, and post a copy here too if you'd like to share.

Head South, Turn Left

Leftist claims Bolivia poll win

(CNN) -- Bolivian socialist leader Evo Morales has claimed victory in that turbulent Andean country's presidential election after conservative rival Jorge Quiroga conceded defeat....

Official results are not expected until Monday. But Quiroga conceded after exit polls showed a stronger-than-expected showing for Morales.

Morales, 46, is a friend and ally of Venezuela's outspoken leftist President Hugo Chavez and Cuban President Fidel Castro...
Chavez and Uribe Put Aside Differences
(AP abcnews) ...Uribe, one of Washington's best friends in South America, told the United States to stop "meddling" in his country's affairs....

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Bob Barr: The president violated the law

Video From C&L


Bob Barr came out swinging against Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)on CNN yesterday-over news that President Bush has been spying on U.S. citizens.

BARR: What’s wrong with it is several-fold. One, it’s bad policy for
our government to be spying on American citizens through the National Security
Agency. Secondly, it’s bad to be spying on Americans without court oversight.
And thirdly, it’s bad to be spying on Americans apparently in violation of
federal laws against doing it without court order...


BARR: Well, the fact of the matter is that the Constitution is the
Constitution, and I took an oath to abide by it. My good friend, my former
colleague, Dana Rohrabacher, did and the president did. And I don't really care
very much whether or not it can be justified based on some hypothetical. The
fact of the matter is that, if you have any government official who deliberately
orders that federal law be violated despite the best of motives, that certainly
ought to be of concern to us...


BARR: The fact of the matter is the law
prohibits-specifically prohibits -what apparently was done in this case, and for
a member of Congress to say, oh, that doesn’t matter, I’m proud that the
president violated the law is absolutely astounding, Wolf." (Full transcript)


Jane says We Got Gamed


Josh Marshall says

As I noted below, one of the alleged rationales for sidestepping the law and the FISA Court with these NSA wiretaps is the need for timeliness....

It turns out that FISA specifically empowers the Attorney General or his designee to start wiretapping on an emergency basis even without a warrant so long as a retroactive application is made for one "as soon as practicable, but not more than 72 hours after the Attorney General authorizes such surveillance." (see specific citation, here).




Saturday, December 17, 2005

Do Not Pass Go!

The President is a Criminal.

via atrios...
Feingold Statements

Portions of a statement/fact sheet he's released:
“The President's shocking admission that he authorized the National Security Agency to spy on American citizens, without going to a court and in violation of the Constitution and laws passed by Congress, further demonstrates the urgent need for these protections. The President believes that he has the power to override the laws that Congress has passed. This is not how our democratic system of government works. The President does not get to pick and choose which laws he wants to follow. He is a president, not a king."

* FISA makes it a crime, punishable by up to five years in prison, to conduct electronic surveillance except as provided for by statute. The only defense is for law government agents engaged in official duties conducting “surveillance authorized by and conducted pursuant to a search warrant or court order.” [50 U.S.C. § 1809]

* Congress has specifically stated, in statute, that the criminal wiretap statute and FISA “shall be the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance . . . and the interception of domestic wire, oral, and electronic communications may be conducted.” [18 U.S.C. § 2518(f)]

"If someone committed a crime, they will no longer be in my administration," Bush
Buh Bye!

(related posts)
Hey Chimpy, Here's A Purple Finger For Ya
Why didn't the NY Times publish the domestic spying story last year...before the election?

Video: Voting Machines Hacked?

An update to earlier post Elections Official: Some Voting Machines Could Be Hacked This WESH ch2 News segment on how easy it is to hack a diebold. check it out
(related posts)

Feds Visit Dartmouth Student after Request For Book

pic from wikipedia


The Standard Times NEW BEDFORD -- A senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's tome on Communism called "The Little Red Book."

Two history professors at UMass Dartmouth, Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand, said the student told them he requested the book through the UMass Dartmouth library's interlibrary loan program...

The professors said the student was told by the agents that the book is on a "watch list," and that his background, which included significant time abroad, triggered them to investigate the student further.
"I tell my students to go to the direct source, and so he asked for the official Peking version of the book," Professor Pontbriand said. "Apparently, the Department of Homeland Security is monitoring inter-library loans, because that's what triggered the visit, as I understand it."
What could possibly be in that book? I'm pretty sure it doesn't contain info on how to make bomb vests or IEDs. Could our govt still be afraid of an ideology? I'm going to request a copy through interlibrary loan asap! I can't wait to see what if anything happens.

Powell raps Europe on CIA flights

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has indicated that Europeans are being disingenuous when they deny knowledge of the rendition of terror suspects.
Mr Powell said the recently highlighted practice of moving people to places where they are not covered by US law was neither "new or unknown" to Europe....

Three True Patriots Defend Our Civil Liberties

Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) blast the Bush Administration for illegally spying on the American public (video by Daily Dissent).

Frist AIDS Charity Paid Consultants

[Update] The yahoo link was dead. I try not to link so much anymore to Yahoo or NYT etc, all sites that move or hide their articles after only a week or two. The article is still up today, March 25, 06, over at USA Today.

AP: WASHINGTON- Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's AIDS charity paid nearly a half-million dollars in consulting fees to members of his political inner circle, according to tax returns providing the first financial accounting of the presidential hopeful's nonprofit.

The returns for World of Hope Inc., obtained by The Associated Press, also show the charity raised the lion's share of its $4.4 million from just 18 sources. They gave between $97,950 and $267,735 each to help fund Frist's efforts to fight AIDS.

The tax forms, filed nine months after they were first due, do not identify the 18 major donors by name...

World of Hope gave...$456,125 in consulting fees to two firms run by Frist's longtime political fundraiser, Linus Catignani. One is jointly run by Linda Bond, the wife of Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo...

Kent Cooper, the Federal Election Commission's former public disclosure chief, said the big donors' motives are also suspect...


Oh, do read on. It seems the money was "raised in the political arena at the 2004 Republican Convention", when Frist's charity "held a benefit concert in New York...at which President Bush was nominated for re-election. The "consulting fees were "excessively high", and a "charity could lose its tax-exempt status if it is found to be involved with political activity."

Columnist Jack Anderson Passes Away

WASHINGTON — Jack Anderson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning muckraking columnist who struck fear into the hearts of corrupt or secretive politicians, inspiring Nixon operatives to plot his murder, died Saturday. He was 83.

Anderson died at his home in Bethesda, Md., of complications from Parkinson's disease, said one of his daughters, Laurie Anderson-Bruch.

Anderson gave up his syndicated Washington Merry-Go-Round column at age 81 in July 2004, after Parkinson's disease left him too ill to continue. He had been hired by the column's founder, Drew Pearson, in 1947.

The column broke a string of big scandals, from Eisenhower assistant Sherman Adams taking a vicuna coat and other gifts from a wealthy industrialist in 1958 to the Reagan administration's secret arms-for-hostages deal with Iran in 1986...
We'll miss you Jack. 8^(

McCain Torture Policy Undercut By Amendment

via talkleft...

You had to know it was too good to be true. Don't praise John McCain's torture amendment too soon. The Levin-Graham Amendment passed along with it, and it amounts to a license to use coercive techniques, particularly on detainees at Guantanamo:

House and Senate negotiators agreed Friday to a measure that would enable the government to keep prisoners at Guantánamo Bay indefinitely on the basis of evidence obtained by coercive interrogations....

MORE...

(related posts)
As Torture Amendment Nears Passage, Pentagon Rewrites Army Detainee Standards
The US has used torture for decades. All that's new is...

They're Not Only Paying For Fake News In Iraq, they Are Expelling Journalists For Reporting The Truth!!

MRE Criticizes Expelling of Embeds Over Pix of Shot-Up Humvee
NEW YORK The expulsion by U.S. military officials of two embedded journalists in Kuwait, reportedly for photographing a shot up military vehicle, has prompted outrage from Military Reporters and Editor(MRE), which is calling for a change in embed rules that apparently led to the action.

$100,000, a Cadillac Escalade, a trove of illegal weaponry...!!!

WTF was she trying to do?
2nd Army Officer Charged In Iraq Rebuilding Scandal
NYT- An Army lieutenant colonel who received the Bronze Star for her wartime service in Iraq was arrested yesterday and charged with taking bribes in a growing corruption scandal involving the Iraq reconstruction program....

The officer, Lt. Col. Debra Harrison, a reservist in a civil affairs unit based in Norristown, Pa., is the fourth person and the second senior Army officer to be arrested and charged in the scandal...

She is charged with receiving cash bribes of $80,000 to $100,000, a Cadillac Escalade, a trove of illegal weaponry and other items for steering construction jobs to an American contractor in Iraq.

Some of the cash, intended for projects like a library in the holy city of Karbala and an Iraqi police academy south of Baghdad, paid for a new hot tub and a deck for Colonel Harrison's home in Trenton, according to the federal affidavit. Conviction on the charges, including conspiracy to commit bribery and money laundering as well as a long list of weapons charges, could put her in prison for up to 30 years, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Kristine Belisle, a spokeswoman for the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, the independent office whose investigators uncovered what they say is a bribery and kickback scheme, said more people would probably be arrested.

Misery in the Name of Democracy

The US Works Elections in Iraq, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Haiti

Democracy in Iraq: The Freedom to Do What We Tell You

In 1819 Simon Bolivar observed that, "The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of democracy." The Bush Administration is intent on extending this destiny to Iraq and the whole Middle East. Iraqis may be having an election this week, but the Bush Administration is no more interested in genuine democracy in Iraq than it is in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Chimpyco only supports democracy where the winner is who they say it ought to be.
(related post...)

Chimpy's Year In Review


Check Out Jib Jab's Latest!!!

lmao

Hey Chimpy, Here's A Purple Finger For Ya


from Steve Soto @ leftcoaster...

Just when Bush was hoping to get wall-to-wall weekend news coverage of the latest "purple finger" election in Iraq, he instead has to dance away from the crash and burn of the Patriot Act extension and his own illegality in authorizing domestic spying by the NSA.

So what to do? Well, let's suddenly decide to give a safe speech from the Oval Office away from hostile reporters and try to spin everyone's attention back towards the purple fingers.

And if the Times suddenly saw a reason to "un-bury" a story they stupidly agreed to eat last year to help Bush get reelected, how many other stories are out there with their competitors that also stupidly agreed to eat their stories?
By the way, how inept is Bill Frist anyway? Did he not know that at least a half-dozen of his own caucus were going to barf up opposition to the Patriot Act today? Did he or his staff not read the NYT this morning and see that it was the wrong day to push through anything that pissed on the Bill of Rights?

And, oh, rhetorically speaking anyway, if lying to a grand jury about blowjobs was grounds for impeachment, then what is violating your oath to uphold the Constitution worth?

Bravo!
(related posts...)

Jean Schmidt: They think I'm a hottie!

(pic by Monk at Inflatable Dartboard)
ok this is tooooo funny. From C&L...
I kid you not. The Jean Schmidt that called John Murtha a coward, (see the video) has had several marriage proposals since her tirade on the the House floor: Link

"Schmidt said she's received both praise and scorn. She got a round
of applause at a recent closed-door meeting of House Republicans. She's even
gotten several marriage proposals. "I have! It's amazing. There have been
three marriage proposals and lots of dates. They think I'm a hottie.,"
Yeah she's a hottie allright. She's so hot she's on fire.
Please somebody throw some water on the stupid witch!

Bush Worst Of Last 10 Presidents

(hat tip to bradblog for the pic. click on it to see his archive)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush ranks as the least popular and most bellicose of the last ten U.S. presidents, according to a new survey.

Only nine percent of the 662 people polled picked Bush as their favorite among the last 10 presidents. John F. Kennedy topped that part of the survey, with 26 percent, closely followed by Bill Clinton (25 percent) and Ronald Reagan (23 percent).

Bush was also viewed as the most warlike president (43 percent), the worst for the economy (42 percent) and the least effective (33 percent). But he was rated most highly in response to a question on who would do the right thing even if it were unpopular.

Chimpy is the worst leader in over 50 years.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Cafferty's Rant: Who Cares, Just Do It


Jack Cafferty
Who cares whether or not the Patriot Act gets renewed. You want to abuse our civil liberties? Just do it. Who cares about the Geneva Conventions. You want to torture prisoners? Just do it. Who cares about rules concerning the identity of CIA agents. You want to reveal the name of a covert operative? Just do it. Who cares whether the intelligence concerning of WMDs is accurate. You want to invade Iraq? Just do it. Who cares about qualifications to serve on the nation's highest court. You 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. You want to wiretap their phone conversations? Just do it. What a joke -- a very cruel, a very sad joke.


CNN should wise up. Jack needs his own show to go up against O'Reilly

The No Bullshit Zone

Why didn't the NY Times publish the domestic spying story last year...before the election?

by John

Read the post from Will Bunch on this subject. He asks and gives some good answers to that question.

Okay, we'll never know for sure whether the NY Times helped Bush during the 2004 by holding back the story that he allowed spying on US citizens without warrants -- an action that is illegal. This looks like another situation where the Bush team cowed the media by playing the politics of national security. Bunch nails it:
And there lies the real story behind the story. Because it appears it may have been possible for the Times to publish at least some of the details of the Bush-ordered domestic spying before Nov. 2, 2004, the day that the president nailed down four more years. Although Bush won by 2 percent nationally, a switch of just 59,302 Ohio voters from Bush to John Kerry would would have put the Democrats back in the White House.

Would Bush won the election if the extent of his seemingly unconstitutional domestic spying had been known? We'll never know. For roughly a year, the White House successfully leaned on the Times to keep the story under wraps. It's not known when the Bush lobbying of the Times began. But it is clear that the warning signs about the program -- the alarm bells that likely triggered the Times investigation in the first place -- were going off by mid-2004, months before the vote....


Bush should be impeached

From Kevin Drum's blow (guest blogger Hilzoy)
...Bush signed an order allowing the NSA to spy on US citizens without a warrant.

This is against the law. I have put references to the relevant statute below the fold; the brief version is: the law forbids warrantless surveillance of US citizens,...

Bush's order is arguably unconstitutional as well: it seems to violate the fourth amendment, and it certainly violates the requirement (Article II, sec. 3) that the President "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed."...

I am normally extremely wary of talking about impeachment.... But I have a high bar, not a nonexistent one. And for a President to order violations of the law meets my criteria for impeachment....

And this is something that no American should tolerate. We claim to have a government of laws, not of men. That claim means nothing if we are not prepared to act when a President (or anyone else) places himself above the law. If the New York Times report is true, then Bush should be impeached.


FLASH: Novakula Becoming Fox News Channel "Contributor"

This story suddenly becomes more interesting: As soon as Bob Novak's contract with CNN runs out on Dec. 31, he will become a contributor to the Fox News Channel, the the AP scoops. FNC spokesman Brian Lewis confirmed his signing with the network to David Bauder. "Novak said the switch to Fox had nothing to do with finding a more comfortable home for his views."...

Update: 12:50pm: Within minutes of the announcement that Novak was leaving CNN, commenters on Think Progress predicted the move. "Fox News must be in his future," one person said. "He'll be on Fox before the end of January," said another...


LMAO!!

Senate Rejects Extension of Patriot Act

WASHINGTON - The Senate on Friday refused to reauthorize major portions of the USA Patriot Act after critics complained they infringed too much on Americans' privacy and liberty, dealing a huge defeat to the Bush administration and Republican leaders.

In a crucial vote early Friday, the bill's Senate supporters were not able to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster by Sens. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and their allies. The final vote was 52-47.....

Yes!!!
Hellfuckinayeahrighton!!!
Thank You Feingold!!
Feingold '08

(related posts..)

Columnist Resigns For Accepting Abramoff $ for Favorable OpEds

Op-Eds for Sale

BusinessWeek Online: A columnist from a libertarian think tank admits accepting payments to promote an indicted lobbyist's clients. Will more examples follow?

A senior fellow at the Cato Institute resigned from the libertarian think tank on Dec. 15 after admitting that he had accepted payments from indicted Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff for writing op-ed articles favorable to the positions of some of Abramoff's clients. Doug Bandow, who writes a syndicated column for Copley News Service, told BusinessWeek Online that he had accepted money from Abramoff for writing between 12 and 24 articles over a period of years, beginning in the mid '90s.....

MULTIPLE TRAVAILS. A former Abramoff associate says Bandow and at least one other think-tank expert were typically paid $2,000 per column to address specific topics of interest to Abramoff's clients. Bandow's standing as a columnist and think-tank analyst provided a seemingly independent validation of the arguments the Abramoff team were using to try to sway Congressional action....


[UPDATE] 12-17
MORE COLUMNISTS ON THE TAKE. Via Via Laura Rozen,
Copley News Service syndicated columnist Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the CATO Institute, and Peter Ferrara, a senior policy adviser at the Institute for Policy Innovation (and formerly of Americans for Tax Reform), admitted to Businessweek that they wrote opinion columns favorable to Jack Abramoff's clients in exchange for payments from the lobbyist. Ferrara defends the practice and says he'll do it again.
These revelations are, unfortunately, only the tip of the iceberg....

WHY PAYOLA? An interesting Jonathan Adler post on cash-for-columns:
When I was working at CEI, I was offered cash payments to write op-eds on particular topics by PR firms, lobbyists or corporations several times. The offered $1,000 or more for an op-ed saying things I agree with anyway was a big deal given the salary structure at a small free-market non-profit. I turned down such proposals every time nonetheless. Send me good information, I would tell them, and if the information checks out, and the story is that good (as it often was), I'll write about it on my own.
Part of what amazed me is the resistance that I would get from PR firms to this attitude.....

(related posts)

Elections Official: Some Voting Machines Could Be Hacked

There's new evidence that computer hackers could change election results without anyone knowing about it, WESH 2 News reported.

The supervisor of elections in Tallahassee tested voting machines several times over the last several months, and on Monday, his workers were able to hack into a voting machine and change the outcome. He said that same thing might have happened in Volusia County in 2000.

The big controversy revolves around a little black computer card that is smaller than a floppy disk and bigger than a flash drive. The card is inserted into voting machines that scan paper ballots. The card serves as the machine's electronic brain.

But when Ion Sancho, Leon County's Supervisor of Elections, tested the Diebold system and allowed experts to manipulate the card electronically, he could change the outcome of a mock election without leaving any kind of trail. In other words, someone could fix an election and no one would know.

"The expert that we used simply programmed it on his laptop in his hotel room," Sancho said.

Sancho began investigating the problem after watching the votes come in during the infamous 2000 presidential election. In Volusia County precinct 216, a memory card added more than 200 votes to George W. Bush's total and subtracted 16,000 votes from Al Gore. The mistake was later corrected during a hand count.

After watching his computer expert change vote totals this week, Sancho said that he now believes someone on the inside did the same think in Volusia County in 2000.

"Someone with access to the vote center in Volusia County put it on a memory card and uploaded it into the main system," Sancho said....

The concerns come on the heels of the resignation of Diebold CEO Wally O'Dell, a Republican fundraiser and staunch Bush supporter. Diebolds were used in Florida and Ohio in 2004, and skeptics are raising a lot of questions.

The same Diebold voting machines are still being used in Volusia, Brevard, Seminole and Osceola counties. They are also used in 26 other counties across the state....

(related posts)

Republicans Risk Losing Key Voting Bloc

WSJ-Senior Citizens' Unhappiness With Issues
Has Implications for Midterm Elections
...The results can be seen in Americans' attitudes toward Congress 11 months before Election Day 2006. By a 65%-19% margin, Americans age 65 and above disapprove of the performance of Congress; those under 65 are also negative but less lopsidedly, 58%-27%. Moreover, senior citizens say by 47%-37% that they want Democrats rather than Republicans to win control of Capitol Hill. Those under 65 prefer a Democratic victory by a narrower 45%-39% margin.

That disparity, like some other political differences between older and younger Americans, is relatively slight. But it has big implications for the 2006 campaign...(read on)

The Dirty Little Secrets of Voting System Testing Labs

Avi Rubin at Huffpo...

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke at a voting system testing summit hosted by the Secretary of State of California, Bruce McPherson. It was an event that included members of the US Election Assistance Commission, Secretaries of State, local election officials, vendors, voting machine testers, representatives from NIST, social scientists who study voting issues, and computer scientists, such as myself.
Most notable by their absence were Wyle Laboratories and Ciber Inc. Let me explain.
Before election officials can purchase voting systems, those systems need to be certified by a federally accredited lab called an Independent Testing Authority (ITA). There are three such labs in the US: Ciber, Wyle Labs, and Systest. These labs are tasked with testing any proposed voting systems against federal standards, in this case, the 2002 federal standards, soon to be replaced by the 2005 voluntary voting system guidelines (VVSG). You would think that these labs would be very interested in attending a summit such as this, and in fact, they were all invited. Only Systest showed up.....

related posts...

Patrick Fitzgerald is a Busy Boy

I ♥ Jane

What a delightful stocking stuffer. In a case totally unrelated to the Plame affair (unless you want to count the cosmic neocon comeuppance factor), Patrick Fitzgerald has added a superseding indictment for racketeering and obstruction to the fraud charges already faced by big neocon chiseler Conrad Black.

Meanwhile, the SEC is tantalizing us all by serving up Wells notices to Hollinger board members Marie-Josee Kravis (wife of Henry Kravis), Richard Burt, former US ambassador to Germany, and former Republican Illinois Governor James Thompson. A Wells notice is "a formal warning that the agency's enforcement staff has determined that evidence of wrongdoing is sufficient to bring a civil lawsuit."

You'll recall that Richard Perle was recently on the receiving end of a one of these babies in the Hollinger case.

While Kravis, Burt and Thompson are in the crosshairs for having served on the board's audit committee and rubber stamping Black's efforts to loot the company, it's worth noting that a) the SEC doesn't seem to be done, and b) their fellow board member at the time was Henry Kissinger.

A girl can dream, can't she?
Keep on dreaming!!
related posts...

Abramoff Partner Pleads Guilty

Lobbyist's Ex-Associate Pleads Guilty to Fraud
As always, if it bugs you for site registration bugmenot.com

latimes- Adam R. Kidan changes his plea in a case linked to a purchase of Florida casino boats. Former partner Jack Abramoff has pleaded not guilty.
Adam R. Kidan, who had entered a plea of not guilty after he was indicted in August, said he and his onetime partner defrauded lenders of $60 million five years ago by faking a $23-million wire transfer to get financing to buy the SunCruz Casinos fleet.
Abramoff pleaded not guilty in August to a six-count federal fraud and conspiracy indictment stemming from his role in the purchase....

Kidan could receive as much as five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the two counts. Under the plea agreement, other federal charges against Kidan were to be dropped. He is to be sentenced in March....

Outside the federal courthouse, Kidan's lawyer said his client was ready to take the witness stand at Abramoff's trial in the SunCruz case, scheduled to begin early next year. "If the government intends to call him," said Joseph Conway, "he's prepared to testify."

Conway said Kidan also would cooperate with Florida prosecutors in their investigation into the
murder of Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, the former owner of SunCruz Casinos who sold the line to Kidan and Abramoff in a $147.5-million deal. Five months after the sale, on Feb. 6, 2001, Boulis was shot dead in his BMW sedan in a mob-style hit in Fort Lauderdale.

This is the second Abramoff partner in the last few weeks to agree to squeeeeeeeeeeel...

Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Michael Scanlon pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud clients and to corrupt public officials, clearing the way for his cooperation in a widening investigation of former partner and Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

related posts...

Repuke Guilty of Cheating 02 Election

GOP Official Convicted in Phone-Jamming

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- A former top Republican Party official was convicted on telephone harassment charges Thursday for his part in a plot to jam the Democrats' phones on Election Day 2002...

He could get up seven years in prison and $500,000 in fines when he is sentenced in March.
Scumbag better get some jail time out of it.

Hey Lou Dobbs. Wanna See A Real Illegal Alien Problem

Check out this documentary. Scary stuff. You sure as hell aint going to seal the borders away from that immigration problem, and the discrimination and abuse is terrible. Shocking.
lol

Journal: Wikipedia as accurate as Britannica

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- Wikipedia, the encyclopedia that relies on volunteers to pen nearly 4 million articles, is about as accurate in covering scientific topics as Encyclopedia Britannica, the journal Nature wrote in an online article published Wednesday.

HaHa!

Report: Bush eased domestic spy rules after 9/11

Eavesdropping allowed without search warrants, NYT says

NEW YORK (AP) -- President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States -- without getting search warrants -- following the Sept. 11 attacks, The New York Times reports.

The presidential order, which Bush signed in 2002, has allowed the agency to monitor the international phone calls and international e-mails of hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States, according to a story posted Thursday on the Times' Web site.

Why does chimpy hate freedom?

[UPDATE] 12-16
Atrios...

Criminal Penalties and Civil Liability
There are laws. There are consequences for breaking them.
The president does not have the authority to overturn statute by executive order.

TPMCafe...
The revelation that the National Security Agency was allowed to conduct non-FISA intercepts of American citizens should bring last summer's hearing on John Bolton's nomination to the United Nations back into focus. As Legal times noted in September of this year, "During the confirmation hearings of John Bolton as the U.S. representative to the United Nations, it came to light that the NSA had freely revealed intercepted conversations of U.S. citizens to Bolton while he served at the State Department....

Truth Exposed! The Chimperor Bears No Cause!!



ROFLMAO!!! Good stuff from informationclearinghouse

Bush Lied!


Hat tip to Josh
President Bush says Congress saw the same intelligence he did in the lead-up to the war in Iraq. So Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) asked the non-partisan Congressional Research Service to look into the matter and report back whether or not what the president said is true.

They reported back today. The verdict: not true.
Congressional Access to Intelligence Information Not Routinely Provided in Four Areas

The executive branch generally does not routinely share with Congress four general types of intelligence information:

-the identities of intelligence sources; [NO, THEY SHARE THAT INFO WITH REPORTERS]
-
the "methods" employed by the Intelligence Community
-raw" intelligence, which can be unevaluated or "lightly" evaluated intelligence
- certain written intelligence products tailored to the specific needs of the President and other high-level executive branch policymakers.


Classified Intelligence Products Which Generally Are Not Routinely Shared With Congress

The President's Daily Brief (PDB)
Presidential Daily Brief Memoranda
Senior Executive Memoranda
National Terrorism Brief (NTB)
The Director's Daily Report
Red Cell analyses
Raw intelligence
TDs (Telephonic Disseminations)
Chief of Station (COS) Reports

Dingle's Jingle


Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) recites a poem on the House floor concerning the fabricated "War on Christmas" (transcript).Keith Olbermann's new and improved montaged version (video).Bravo, Congressman Dingell. Bravo.

CNN: Official: Al-Zarqawi caught, released

Authorities didn't realize prisoner was terrorist mastermind
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraqi security forces caught the most wanted man in the country last year, but released him because they didn't know who he was, the Iraqi deputy minister of interior said Thursday....
OMG

Feingold Now Has Numbers on His Side AP

WASHINGTON - In Congress, where numbers are everything, the math on the Patriot Act suddenly seems to be moving in favor of Sen. Russell Feingold.

He was a minority of one four years ago, when the Wisconsin Democrat cast the lone Senate vote against the USA Patriot Act in the traumatic weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks. The law, he said then, gave government too much power to investigate its citizens. Ninety-nine senators disagreed.

Now add more than two dozen senators to Feingold's side, including the leaders of his party and some of the chamber's most conservative Republicans, and the balance of power shifts....

Democrats plan to filibuster Patriot Act
Washington Times
Senate Democrats say they will filibuster the extension of the USA Patriot Act, which passed the House yesterday on a bipartisan vote, despite some concerns that provisions of the bill trample civil liberties by giving law enforcement too much power.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, said he will not demand that his entire caucus support a filibuster but said that he certainly would.
"Because of 9/11, we rushed to judgment on a number of provisions in that bill," he said. "We certainly shouldn't do that this time."

Feingold's Senate Statement On the Reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act

Ok, this was a very long floor statement. I'm going to butcher it here to point out what I feel are the more important points. I'll further try to bold the main points of that. Still, this is going to be a long post.

Let me start with Section 215, the so-called “library” provision, which has received so much public attention....

Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows the government to obtain secret court orders in domestic intelligence investigations to get all kinds of business records about people, including not just library records, but also medical records and various other types of business records. The Patriot Act allowed the government to obtain these records as long as they were "sought for" a terrorism investigation. That’s a very low standard. It didn’t require that the records concern someone who was suspected of being a terrorist or spy, or even suspected of being connected to a terrorist or spy. It didn’t require any demonstration of how the records would be useful in the investigation. Under Section 215, if the government simply said it wanted records for a terrorism investigation the secret FISA court was required to issue the order -- period. To make matters worse, recipients of these orders are also subject to an automatic gag order. They cannot tell anyone that they have been asked for records....

The government should not have the kind of broad, intrusive powers it gave itself in Section 215. And the American people shouldn’t have to live with a poorly drafted provision that clearly allows for the records of innocent Americans to be searched and just hope that the government uses it with restraint. A government of laws doesn’t require its citizens to rely on the good will and good faith of those who have these powers -- especially when adequate safeguards can be written into the laws without compromising their usefulness as a law enforcement tool.

After lengthy and difficult negotiations, the Judiciary Committee came up with language that achieved that goal. It would require the government to convince a judge that a person has some connection to terrorism or espionage before obtaining their sensitive records. And when I say some connection, that’s what I mean. The Senate bill’s standard is the following: (1) that the records pertain to a terrorist or spy; (2) that the records pertain to an individual in contact with or known to a suspected terrorist or spy; or (3) that the records are relevant to the activities of a suspected terrorist or spy. That’s the three prong test in the Senate bill and I think it is quite broad, and more than adequate to give law enforcement the power it needs to conduct investigations, while also protecting the rights of innocent Americans. It would not limit the types of records that the government could obtain, and it does not go as far to protect law-abiding Americans as I might prefer, but it would make sure the government cannot go on fishing expeditions into the records of innocent people...

The conference report did away with this delicate compromise... The conference replaces the three prong test with a simple relevance standard. It then provides a presumption of relevance if the government meets one of the three prongs.... That is not simply a loophole or an exception that swallows the rule. The exception is the rule.

I’ll try to make this as straightforward as I can. The Senate bill requires the government to satisfy one of three tests. Each test requires some connection between the records and a suspected terrorist or spy. The conference report says that the government only is required to satisfy a new, fourth test, which is relevance, and which does not require a connection between the records and a suspect. The other three tests no longer provide any protections at all...

Mr. President, let me turn next to a very closely related provision that has finally been getting the attention it deserves: National Security Letters, or NSLs, an authority that was expanded by Sections 358 and 505 of the Patriot Act. This NSL issue has flown under the radar for years, even though many of us have been trying to bring more public attention to it...

What are NSLs, and why are they such a concern? Let me spend a little time on this because it really is important.

National Security Letters are issued by the FBI to businesses to obtain certain types of records. So they are similar to Section 215 orders, but with one very critical difference. The government does not need to get any court approval whatsoever to issue them. It doesn’t have to go to the FISA court and make even the most minimal showing, it simply issues the order signed by the Special Agent in Charge of a Field Office or some other supervisory official...

Specifically, NSLs can be used to obtain three types of business records: subscriber and transactional information related to Internet and phone usage; credit reports; and financial records, a category that has been expanded to include records from all kinds of everyday businesses like jewelers, car dealers, travel agents and even casinos...

...the conference report permits recipients to consult their lawyer and seek judicial review, but it also allows the government to keep all of its submissions secret and not share them with the challenger, regardless of whether there are national security interests at stake. So you can challenge the order, but you have no way of knowing what the government is telling the court in response to your challenge. The parties could be arguing about something as garden variety as attorney-client privilege, with no national security issues, and the government would have the ability to keep its submission secret. That is a serious departure from our usual adversarial process, and it is very disturbing.

One of the most fundamental protections in the Bill of Rights is the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee that all citizens have the right to “be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects” against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” ... One is the requirement that a search be conducted pursuant to a warrant. The Constitution specifically requires that a warrant for a search be issued only where there is probable cause and that the warrant specifically describe the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized...

...when defenders of the Patriot Act say that sneak and peek searches were commonly approved by courts prior to the Patriot Act, they are partially correct. Some courts permitted secret searches in very limited circumstances, but they also recognized the need for prompt notice unless a reason to continue to delay notice was demonstrated. And they specifically said that notice had to occur within seven days.

Section 213 of the Patriot Act didn’t get this part of the balance right. It allowed notice to be delayed for any reasonable length of time. Information provided by the Administration about the use of this provision indicates that delays of months at a time are now becoming commonplace.

...The Patriot Act also broadened the justifications that the government could give in order to obtain a sneak and peek warrant. It included what came to be known as the “catch-all” provision, which allows the government to avoid giving notice of a search if it would “seriously jeopardize an investigation.”...

Let me make one final point about sneak and peek warrants. Don’t be fooled for a minute into believing that this power is needed to investigate terrorism or espionage. It’s not. Section 213 is a criminal provision that could apply in whatever kind of criminal investigation the government has undertaken. In fact, most sneak and peek warrants are issued for drug investigations.

...I should mention the one significant improvement to the conference report over last month’s draft. This new version includes four-year sunsets on three of the most controversial provisions: roving wiretaps, the so-called “library” provision, and the “lone wolf” provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Previously, the sunsets on these provisions were at seven years, and it is certainly an improvement to have reduced that number so that Congress can take another look at those provisions sooner.

But, Mr. President, adding sunsets and new reporting and oversight requirements only gets you so far. The conference report remains deeply flawed...Sunsetting bad law in another four years is not good enough. Simply requiring reporting on the government’s use of these overly expansive tools does not ensure that they won’t be abused. We must make substantive changes to the law, not just improve oversight. This is our chance, and we cannot let it pass by....(read the whole thing)

related post...
PATRIOT ACT UPDATE
By Russ Feingold

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Powerful Government Accountability Office report confirms key 2004 stolen election findings

As a legal noose appears to be tightening around the Bush/Cheney/Rove inner circle, a shocking government report shows the floor under the legitimacy of their alleged election to the White House is crumbling.

The latest critical confirmation of key indicators that the election of 2004 was stolen comes in an extremely powerful, penetrating report from the Government Accountability Office that has gotten virtually no mainstream media coverage. Click here for GAO Report...

(Ok, this story circulated a month or so ago, but seeing as how I just started this site just over 4 days ago I will be posting a few of these to bring current issues up to speed )


earlier related posts...
Diebold: Vote Hacking made easy 101
Electronic Voting Machines Steal Elections?
Did you know....20 Amazing Facts About Voting in the USA
Diebold CEO Who "Delivered" Ohio To Bush In 2004 Resigns Suddenly

In Messages, Lobbyist Says DeLay Pressed for Donation

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 - Newly disclosed e-mail messages from the lobbyist Jack Abramoff show that he told an Indian tribe client that he was being pressured by Representative Tom DeLay for a contribution for a $25,000-a-table Republican fund-raiser and that Mr. DeLay had personally phoned the lobbyist's office in search of the money....

related earlier posts...
Abramoff charity's claims disputed
How Abramoff Spread the Wealth
DeLay May Still Face Conspiracy Charge After All
Corruption likes Company: Delay and Duke

Kerry Links Retaking House To Bush Impeachment

MA. Sen. John Kerry said last night that if Dems retake the House, there's a "solid case" to bring "articles of impeachment" against President Bush for allegedly misleading the country about pre-war intelligence, according to several Dems who attended...
Now that's what I'm talkin about!

ABOUT SCHMIDT


Democrats savage Ohio Rep. who called anti-war Democrat and ex-marine a coward

Doobie Brother now a secret weapon on terror

Rock ‘n’ Roll guitarist Jeff Baxter talks about being one of the countries top counter-terrorism experts. ‘Today’ correspondent Jaime Gangel reports
Guitarist Jeff Baxter is a founding member of Steely Dan and a member of the
Doobie Brothers. The 56-year-old Baxter has eight platinum albums and two
Grammy’s but he likes to call himself a hippie rock guitarist with top secret
clearances. Now, believe-it-or-not, he is one of the countries top
counter-terrorism experts. “Today” national correspondent Jamie Gangel caught up with Baxter in between top secret meetings in our nation’s capitol...

Clean Money Comes To Conneticut!

Conn. Governor Signs Campaign Finance Bill

Gov. M. Jodi Rell, flanked by a bipartisan group of state lawmakers, signed legislation Wednesday that imposes strict limits on campaign contributions and establishes a voluntary publicly funded election system.

The legislation is aimed at renewing confidence in the state's leadership after a corruption scandal that sent former Gov. John G. Rowland to prison....

Democratic House Speaker James Amann said Connecticut is "a national model for campaign finance reform."

"What a day," he said.

The law bans contributions from lobbyists and state contractors, and establishes a voluntary public financing system. It takes effect Dec. 31, 2006.

This is great news.
Clean Money campaigns are underway in many states today.
Clean Money, Clean Elections
publicampaign.org

32% Favor Bush Impeachment

Rasmussen Reports

Abramoff charity's claims disputed

Groups listed as beneficiaries of more than $330,000 in gifts say they never got them
AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Capital Athletic Foundation, a charity run by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff now at the center of an influence-peddling investigation on Capitol Hill, told the IRS it gave away more than $330,000 in grants in 2002 to four other charities that say they never received the money....
Busted!

NBC/WSJ Approval: Bush at 39%, Congress at 25%

Poll suggests Bush’s free-fall appears to be over
But majority still down on his performance, NBC-Wall St. Journal poll finds
According to the poll, 39 percent approve of Bush’s handling of his job while 55 percent disapprove. That’s a slight improvement from the NBC/Wall Street Journal survey last month, when 38 percent gave him a thumbs-up. In fact, it’s the first time since January that Bush’s job-approval rating has increased in the poll.

Is the Pentagon spying on Americans?

With video from nbc news
Secret database obtained by NBC News tracks ‘suspicious’ domestic groups

WASHINGTON - A year ago, at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Fla., a small group of activists met to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools. What they didn't know was that their meeting had come to the attention of the U.S. military.

A secret 400-page Defense Department document obtained by NBC News lists the Lake Worth meeting as a “threat” and one of more than 1,500 “suspicious incidents” across the country over a recent 10-month period....

The Defense Department document is the first inside look at how the U.S. military has stepped up intelligence collection inside this country since 9/11, which now includes the monitoring of peaceful anti-war and counter-military recruitment groups....

Full Index of What Really Happened on 9/11

(hat on)
The World Trade Center Collapses
President Bush's 9/11 Visit To Booker Elementary
The 9/11 Hijackings
The 9/11 USAF Stand Down
War Games: The Key to a 9/11 USAF Stand Down
The 9/11 Reichstag Fire
The Pod People and the Plane That Crashed Into the Pentagon
Eyewitness Accounts of the Pentagon Crash
9/11 and Israel
Osama bin Laden
The Truth is a Valuable Commodity

Rumsfeld Subpoenaed In House's Katrina Inquiry

(AP) WASHINGTON A House committee investigating the government's response to Hurricane Katrina issued a subpoena Wednesday to force Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to turn over documents but stopped short of sending a similar legal demand to the White House.

The subpoena commands Rumsfeld to produce internal records and communications about the Pentagon's response to the Aug. 29 storm, including efforts to send supplies to victims, stabilize public safety and mobilize active duty forces in the Gulf Coast. It requires the Pentagon to deliver the documents, spanning from Aug. 23 to Sept. 15, from Rumsfeld and eight other top military officials by Dec. 30....

The chairman of the special House committee rejected, for now, legal action against the White House, but left open the possibility of a future subpoena. Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., asked lawmakers to wait until after a private briefing Thursday at the White House before deciding whether to go ahead with a subpoena....

Louisiana has handed over more than 100,000 documents to the committee. Though the White House said it has provided 450,000 documents, lawmakers said it has claimed executive privilege to refuse e-mails sent to and from White House chief of staff Andrew Card.

And lest we forget...
The hearing came as FEMA pledged to continue paying for hotel rooms for evacuees still unable to find apartments, trailers or other stable housing by Feb. 7, a month beyond the agency's cutoff date....

An estimated 40,000 families still are living in hotels, compared with a peak of 85,000 two months weeks ago....