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Tilting at Windmills

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February 9, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

NSA SPYING UPDATE....The Bush administration finally briefed a House subcommittee Wednesday on the NSA's domestic spying program. Blue Dog Democrat Bud Cramer apparently came away impressed:

"It's a different program than I was beginning to let myself believe," said Alabama Rep. Bud Cramer, the senior Democrat on the Intelligence Committee's oversight subcommittee. "This may be a valuable program," Cramer said, adding that he didn't know if it was legal. "My direction of thinking was changed tremendously."

On the other hand, the current and past presiding judges of the FISA court have some issues:

Twice in the past four years, a top Justice Department lawyer warned the presiding judge of a secret surveillance court that information overheard in President Bush's eavesdropping program may have been improperly used to obtain wiretap warrants in the court, according to two sources with knowledge of those events.

The revelations infuriated U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly who, like her predecessor, Royce C. Lamberth, had expressed serious doubts about whether the warrantless monitoring of phone calls and e-mails ordered by Bush was legal....Both judges expressed concern to senior officials that the president's program, if ever made public and challenged in court, ran a significant risk of being declared unconstitutional, according to sources familiar with their actions.

Curiouser and curiouser. Not just illegal, unconstitutional.

UPDATE: On the positive side, the Wall Street Journal reports that the recent surge in wiretaps has been great for businesses that help telecoms companies respond to law enforcement requests. Gotta love the Journal, always finding the business angle the other guys miss.....

Kevin Drum 1:56 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (80)

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Comments

Not just illegal, unconstitutional.

But that don't seem to bother ol' Bud.

Posted by: snowy s.o.b. on February 9, 2006 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

It's not what, Cheney?

And, in this case, Kevin's assertion is neither bald nor unsupported.

Posted by: snowy s.o.b. on February 9, 2006 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

I find this unconvincing. Bush is using the NSA to spy on his domestic political enemies and anyone who says otherwise is full of shit. Prove me wrong.

Posted by: MillionthMonkey on February 9, 2006 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

I thought we already established that this was both unconstitutional and illegal. Right here in these threads...

Just waiting for official confirmation now.

Posted by: Jimm on February 9, 2006 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

Worst. Destructive. Presidential. Emanation. From. The. Bowels. Of. Hell. Ever.

+++

When the Government is cut down to a size where it can be drowned in a bathtub, look for the stain that the drained Constitution leaves behind. Democracy will be like the nuclear shadows left in Hiroshima: you can see the actual moment it was completely obliterated.

+++

Posted by: MJS on February 9, 2006 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

....Both judges expressed concern to senior officials that the president's program, if ever made public and challenged in court, ran a significant risk of being declared unconstitutional, according to sources familiar with their actions.

"Concern" that it ran a "risk" of being declared unconsititutional is about where we have been all along. It seems to have been carefully "calibrated" to be just barely constitutional. Obviously it will look risky to some. A Supreme court decision to support the administration might even be an awful 6-3, like Roe v. Wade. there has been "concern" that roe v. Wade risked enlarging the concept of "privacy" beyond all recognition.

get a grip. "concern" over possible "risk" of being declared unconstitutional is hardly enough to warrent being written down. I posted a better argument against the administration yesterday or day before.

Posted by: contentious on February 9, 2006 at 2:35 AM | PERMALINK

Not just illegal, unconstitutional.

No, its not.

(It's fun to argue with bald, unsupported assertions!)
Posted by: Cheney on February 9, 2006 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney, you wouldn't know a constitutional if it took a 45 minute walk after dinner to get rid of it.

Posted by: jcr on February 9, 2006 at 2:42 AM | PERMALINK

Crap. Whats so suprising about judges thinking their court has more power than they thought?

They have a vested interest in their court being more influential.

Posted by: Mca on February 9, 2006 at 2:42 AM | PERMALINK

Crap.
Posted by: Mca on February 9, 2006 at 2:42 AM | PERMALINK


Now that is just damn prophetic!!!

Posted by: jcr on February 9, 2006 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

MillionthMonkey >"...Bush is using the NSA to spy on his domestic political enemies and anyone who says otherwise is full of shit..."

Well we`ve always know the ReThuglicans were full of it so what`s your point ?

MillionthMonkey >"...Prove me wrong."

Only in an alternative universe where Black IS White

"Our ignorance is not so vast as our failure to use what we know." - M. King Hubbert

Posted by: daCascadian on February 9, 2006 at 2:49 AM | PERMALINK

Now that is just damn prophetic!!!
Posted by: jcr on February 9, 2006 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK


Validation is a wonderful thing.

Goodnight all.

jcr = jcricket

Posted by: jcricket on February 9, 2006 at 2:51 AM | PERMALINK

LOL - I might just be willing to accept "Worst. Destructive. Presidential. Emanation. From. The. Bowels. Of. Hell. Ever" if Rummy gets to keep "Best Secretary of Defense the U.S. Has Ever Had" - is it a deal?

Best S of D? Uh-huh. I hear the Green Zone is lovely this time of year. Best not to wander off too far, though. Seems all those "Best" awards have got the natives riled.

+++

Posted by: MJS on February 9, 2006 at 2:54 AM | PERMALINK

Is it me?

Isn't the story here NOT that the firewall between NSA wiretap info and the regular FISA Court failed twice, but that THERE'S A FIREWALL SET UP BETWEEN THE NSA WIRETAP INFO AND THE REGULAR FISA WARRANT PROCESS, BECAUSE THE PRESIDING JUDGES DIDN"T WANT THE NSA INFO CONTAMINATING REGULAR FISA CASES!!! (which, by the way, failed twice, contaminating any possible future criminal charges.)

I'm also not clear on what the article is trying to (not) tell me about NSA wiretap cases where Justice Dept. lawyers CAN'T "independently gathered information provide the justification for FISA monitoring". Do they get some sort of 'warrant with NSA cooties on it', so they can do further monitoring of that person who might actually be worth keeping an eye and an ear on? Or failing that, does George "nothing will stop me!" Bush go ahead and (gasp) monitor ALL the guy's calls, domestic and international, warrant or no, despite what every White House official within 50 feet of a TV camera has been telling us?

I really don't know, and I don't think the article says, one way or another.

Posted by: Robert Earle on February 9, 2006 at 4:19 AM | PERMALINK

On the News Hour last night, no one aske Jane Harman or Lindsey Graham whether the briefers were under oath.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on February 9, 2006 at 7:53 AM | PERMALINK

Damn, there he goes again...

Get this load of bullshit:

contentious: "Concern" that it ran a "risk" of being declared unconsititutional is about where we have been all along. It seems to have been carefully "calibrated" to be just barely constitutional. Obviously it will look risky to some.

You're a big fan of the misuse of the word "theory", too, aren't you? Jesus H. Christ. "Risk" does not mean "comes close to but does not pass", you ass. "Risk" means "may be". If there is a significant risk of something being unconstitutional - and I know you think the Constitution is just a piece of goddamn paper - those of us who believe in America and the rule of law, well, we get concerned.

Your bloviating about Roe v. Wade is, of course, completely irrelevant.

get a grip. "concern" over possible "risk" of being declared unconstitutional is hardly enough to warrent being written down. I posted a better argument against the administration yesterday or day before.

Yeah... like I said, those of us who believe in the rule of law find a significant risk of something being unconstitutional to be important. Since you obviously don't, please have the courtesy to STFU rather than continue to try and blow smoke up our ass.

And you haven't posted a good argument since you got here; all you do is spin, spin, spin, in this case with some of the weakest semantic arguments I've seen.

Posted by: S Ra on February 9, 2006 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

I wouldn't be too impressed by Cramer's being impressed.
Unless you have some familiarity with statistics and technology, it is easy to get snowed.

It is easy to get up a high-tech PowerPoint presentation that shows lots of arrows zipping around the screen and *real evidence* pouring out of a hopper at the end. "Look, Congressman, it really works!"

This is exactly how the defense companies snowed people on the original Star Wars boondoggle--they'd have animated cartoons of death lasers zapping missiles out of the sky, and clueless congressmen would come away "very impressed!"

So--yeah. The program's defenders put on a good dog-and-pony show. But it didn't mention error rates, false positives, false negatives, and so on. And--oh, by the way--did it mention all of the successful prosecutions and convictions this brilliant system has led to? And did it mention the fact most actual constitutional scholars agree that the whole thing is unconstitutional?

Well, no, but the graphics were *really* cool.

Posted by: Tad Brennan on February 9, 2006 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

>"This may be a valuable program,"

Yeah governments have found a lot of fucking ugly things provably valuable to them, and often times their citzens at that particular momemt, thru the course of history.

But Fugly is Fugly and it eventually gets you and that's why our Founding Fathers (which conservatives supposedly revere) wrote the Constitution. Y'know, the "those who give up a little liberty for security...." people.

God and we have guys like Cramer, who apparently couldn't pass a high school civics class, sitting in the Capitol.

Posted by: doesn't matter on February 9, 2006 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

*THE PRESIDING JUDGES DIDN"T WANT THE NSA INFO CONTAMINATING REGULAR FISA CASES!!!*

To me, this will be the spying program's downfall.

The Bushies are currently attempting to win over a pissed-off Congress by giving them a little taste of the secret program - after the fact. SOPs like Cramer are "impressed". woweee!

But the FISA Court is not. If 'legal' warrants are sought using 'illegally obtained' information from the spying program, then this Court has just been rendered invalid. They remain pissed-off, and will likely make a lot of noise.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on February 9, 2006 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

We should just trust the president. His record on Iraq\WMD\Osama bin Laden\homeland defense is so impressive, why would anyone question him ?

Posted by: Stephen on February 9, 2006 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Tad Brennan is exactly on target.

It's all bullshit, unless you get down to inputs and outputs.

Namely, on input, how many people's communications had to be intercepted?

On output, how many false positives were there (innocent people suspected of terrorism)? How many false negatives (genuine terrorists not caught by the scheme)? And how many TRUE positives (actual, legitimate, genuinely dangerous terrorists)?

But we already know the answer to the most important of these questions.

The number of false negatives, according to the NY Times, is in the tens of thousands. The number of TRUE positives is 0, because the administration has not produced a single example of such a person (and, no, the loon who wanted to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge by blowtorches doesn't count, for any number of reasons).

Everything else is pure snow job. This idiot Congressman who is so impressed should go back to Alabama and call pigs, or whatever the hell it was he did before he managed to get elected to Congress.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 9, 2006 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

I meant

The number of false positives, according to the NY Times, is in the tens of thousands.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 9, 2006 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

This administration was never elected in the traditional sense.

They stormed into office in a Supreme Courte sanctioned coup d'etat with a little help from Big Brother's little brother.

They have since ridden roughshod over the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and everything else we hold sacred in this country.

These men are the represent the antithesis of American values, and they should and will be tried and punished for their crimes.

They are war criminals. They have sanctioned torture. They were criminally negligent in their performance with respect to 9/11.

They are all eligible for the death penalty under existing US law. I can't wait for the day when they are prematurely sent to meet their makers.

Posted by: malcolmjames on February 9, 2006 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK
It's neither llegal nor un-Constitutional, according to other sources familiar with our actions.

But, clearly, not familiar with either the applicable subconstitutional law (FISA), or the applicable provisions of the Constitution (particularly, the Fourth Amendment), or, in some cases, the basics of legal construction (those who argue that some imaginary and vague "Article II power" to conduct searches trumps the Fourth Amendment, implicitly arguing that earlier, more general enactments supercede later, more specific ones.)

Posted by: cmdicely on February 9, 2006 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK
Shouldn't you be more concerned about Cindy Sheehan running against Dianne Feinstein?

Whyever would that be a matter to be "concerned" about? Unless, of course, you are Dianne Feinstein?

Posted by: cmdicely on February 9, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

LOL - I might just be willing to accept "Worst. Destructive. Presidential. Emanation. From. The. Bowels. Of. Hell. Ever" if Rummy gets to keep "Best Secretary of Defense the U.S. Has Ever Had" - is it a deal?

You can't "keep" something you never had in the first place. So, outside of the minds of a few insane people like yourself, Rummy can't "keep" that.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 9, 2006 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

I didn't say that, Cheney, you clueless facsist fuck.

I said that I can't wait until justice is actually served in this country and those traitors responsible for leading our nation astray are made to pay for their crimes.

Big difference.

I demand justice.

Posted by: malcolmjames on February 9, 2006 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

"Concern" that it ran a "risk" of being declared unconsititutional is about where we have been all along. It seems to have been carefully "calibrated" to be just barely constitutional.

It is not necessarily the data collection itself (which, based on the judge's statements on the FISA court indicate IS part of the program's problems) but the total lack of oversight. There MUST be oversight and a counterweight to the Executive. It is flat-out unacceptable for any such program to be entirely run and controlled by the Executive without any oversight. It is unacceptable in our democracy to go along with a "trust us" defense.

No, I will NOT trust you. It has to be "trust but verify". There MUST be external review to make sure that there is no creeping of such a program into domestic political opponent surveillance (oops, likely too late). There must be NO creeping into domestic dissenter surveillance. THAT is the real problem (that, and the fact that they went around the law and refused to even try to get a legal sanction and Congressional review).

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on February 9, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

How about that foiled attack in 2002 in which plotters planned to use hijacked commercial airplanes to strike the West Coast?

Yeah? Well I foiled 3 attacks last year all by myself, with my Scooby-Dooesque sleuthing and physical daring. I did foil 3 terrorist attacks too. You can take my word on THAT. I had to do a lot of looking through women's windows at night, a lot of hiding of minicameras in girl's locker rooms all over the place, but it paid off! You can trust me on that. I said I did it and so it is true!

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on February 9, 2006 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney,

Seems it was never known whether the LAX "attack" in '02 was real. Authorities intercepted rumors and irratic communication suggesting such an attack, then charged in with an army to stop it.

Good intentions all the way, and I'm glad they took action. But it is merely speculation that the heightened security actually stopped anything.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on February 9, 2006 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

I stand by my comments completely.

I can't wait until we can again have democratically elected leaders in this country as opposed to the election rigging fascists in control now.

They have ZERO credibility on anything and are guilty of myriad high crimes and misdemeanors against the nation and the Constitution.

They will pay for their crimes.

Posted by: malcolmjames on February 9, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Praedor Atrebates,

Thanks for the tapes.

Posted by: College Girls Gone Wild on February 9, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Are you off your meds and thinking you are back in the Oval Office again, Praedor Atrebates - let's see your credentials vs. the Commander-in-Chief - kinda a tiny difference there, don't you think?

Yes indeed, there IS a huge difference between Bushie and myself. I not only tell the truth, even when it is unpleasant, I accept reality as it is and never ever think that I "create reality". See, I live in the scientifically/reality-based world. I don't live in the faith-based world.

Also, unlike Bushie, I have actually served in the military...and in combat. I never, ever did coke, nor pot, nor had a drinking problem, etc. Hell, the differences are astounding in their sheer volume.

Oh, and I did, all by myself, foil 3 terrorist attacks last year. You can believe me sans evidence, based purely on my say-so, because, you know, you reside in a faith-based universe. I swear what I say is true. See? So you can believe me!

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on February 9, 2006 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney, there is a difference between Praedor Atrebates' credibility and that of the "president": George Bush has pissed away whatever shred of crediblity his apologists in the corporate media provided for him.

He lied about his knowledge of Enron's fiscal crisis and of its involvement in the California Energy Crisis.

He lied about 9/11.

He lied about WMD.

He lied about Saddam's Al Qaeda connection.

He lied about the cost of the Medicare prescription drug bill.

He lied about his illegal domestic spying program.

He lied about wanting to find out who the traitor was who divulged the identity of a covert US national security asset.

He and his administration have ZERO credibility on anything. They are illegitimate usurpers of power and are squatters in the people's house.

They will be destroyed by their own hubris.

Patrick Fitzgerald is going to take the entire administration down, mark my words.

And you, my friend, will surely burn in hell.

Posted by: malcolmjames on February 9, 2006 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney, thanx.

I can not get this morning's speech's text, so I'll have to check it out later.

But Bush has never offered a speech on 'specifics' in his life. Doubt we're gonna hear any today.

If the proof of the LAX '02 attack falls into the "Atta in Prague" category, we're right back to rumors.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on February 9, 2006 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Bush is making such an important speech....
that no one is bothering to cover it much.

Two vague references to foiled plots in 2002 and 2003, and Jose Padilla. Uh huh.

Charlie, why do you post here? Is it a slow day at the RNC?

Posted by: marc on February 9, 2006 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Bush yapping on about domestic spying without oversight (more accurately, his butchery of the spoken English language) while he is NOT under oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, is meaningless. It is just a rearrangement of the same justifications and platitudes he and his minions have offered since they illegal program was leaked by true heros.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on February 9, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Okee Dokee...so now they CAN brief more people in Congress...and perhaps even garner some support for the program...so WHY didn't they do it before?...or use the FISA court provisions to do their will and seek the warrants later? Anyone out there falling for this doublespeak AGAIN...deserves what will be their ultimate distress when forced to face who/what they have been supporting blindly!

Posted by: Dancer on February 9, 2006 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

How about that foiled attack in 2002 in which plotters planned to use hijacked commercial airplanes to strike the West Coast?

Look, even the real Cheney has not claimed that this "foiled attack" had anything to do with the NSA program. In fact, the ONLY real domestic case that was offered up as an example of "success" was the Brooklyn Bridge blowtorch loon.

And the problem with THAT case is that it was obviously NOT flushed out by the NSA program -- the loon who thought up the scheme was a FRIEND of the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks -- you need a data mining program to tell you that HE might be someone worth keeping an eye on? Please.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 9, 2006 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

It doesn't matter what Bush (Worst President Ever)says in his speeches; it either turns out to be just untrue (WMD), or he's not speaking "literally" (Middle Eastern Oil).

Posted by: Charlie on February 9, 2006 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

- the White House is putting out the Fact Sheet on it today -

If its in a White House "Fact Sheet", then it must be true.

Posted by: Stephen on February 9, 2006 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

BTW,

As I look at the AP description of the supposed West Coast supposedly foiled supposed attack, even the few details mentioned say:

The White House said at least one planner of the West Coast attack was a key figure behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

Now I ask, if such a guy was the planner, please tell me why you need a stinking data mining program to figure out that he would be one whose movements one had better follow?

Please?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 9, 2006 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Let me try my post again, with proper html:

BTW,

As I look at the AP description of the supposed West Coast supposedly foiled supposed attack, even the few details mentioned say:

The White House said at least one planner of the West Coast attack was a key figure behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

Now I ask, if such a guy was the planner, please tell me why you need a stinking data mining program to figure out that he would be one whose movements one had better follow?

Please?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 9, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, the two positions are not contradictory, and you've fallen headfirst into the Republican trap.

Yes, I've always assumed a program to intercept al Qaeda terrorists -- whatever the details of that program are -- is a "valuable" program (the word that Rep. Cramer uses).

That, however, is not the question.

The question is whether it is legal/constitutional, a prospect that (according to your second story) is extremely dubious.

Posted by: Kashford on February 9, 2006 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

The White House said at least one planner of the West Coast attack was a key figure behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

How much you wanna bet that this guy is also THE number three Al Qaeda guy? Err, well, just one of an endless supply of number threes.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on February 9, 2006 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

To amplify on my post, if one of the alleged planners of the allegedly foiled allegedly planned alleged attack on the West Coast was "a key figure behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001", why would there NOT be good enough evidence under standard FISA to wiretap him up his ass?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 9, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

What assurance is there the the program they briefed congress on is actually the same program?

Or that they don't feel obligated to lie to the public about the program in order to protect its secrect operational details? Didn't AG refuse to answer whether it was in the president's power to use disinformation?

Posted by: tinfoil on February 9, 2006 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK
The President is delivering a speech on the specifics as I type - the White House is putting out the Fact Sheet on it today - no longer "rumors".

Claims of this White House are, based on past experience and absent independent substantiation, less credible sources of accurate factual information than "rumors".

Posted by: cmdicely on February 9, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

why would there NOT be good enough evidence under standard FISA to wiretap him up his ass?

The article doesn't even claim that they used the NSA program in this case. It is a totally irrelevant example, revealed only to renew fears...

Posted by: tinfoil on February 9, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK
P.S. - you don't have "Worst. Destructive. Presidential. Emanation. From. The. Bowels. Of. Hell. Ever" yet either

Technically correct, as it is not yet established that Bush actually comes from the Bowels of Hell, though that's really a superfluous qualifier, anyway.

Haven't you graduated from that law school yet?

No, even full time conventional law schools -- which isn't what I'm in -- take more than one year.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 9, 2006 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

White Hous is publishing a fact shhet.

In another new development, Jonah Lucianne Goldberg is going to reveal today that he has a Ph. D. in High Energy Physics for work done under Stephen Hawkins.

Posted by: lib on February 9, 2006 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Well, at last the White House is putting out a "Fact Sheet" as to the accomplishments of Tommie Lee Jones and Will Smith.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 9, 2006 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK
Well, cmdicely, I wouldn't necessarily say the Office of Legal Counsel is "not familiar with either the applicable subconstitutional law (FISA), or the applicable provisions of the Constitution (particularly, the Fourth Amendment), or, in some cases, the basics of legal construction" but I guess you, as a law student, would know better.

Well, if they are making clearly erroneous claims like that vague Article II powers trump the Fourth Amendment, they either don't know what they are talking about, or they are lying.

The latter is a rather more ungenerous assumption, though one consistent with every other act of every other part of this administration.

And, Boxer is urging Sheehan not to run - why do you think that is?

Well, Sheehan winning would certainly threaten to weaken Boxer's status as a favorite Senator of liberal Democrats, particular California liberals, as Sheehan is, at least on the narrow issues she's taken a stand on, to Boxer's left, unlike Feinstein who is considerably to Boxer's right on most issues where they disagree.

Plus, of course, its just courtesy to discourage primary challenges to fellow incumbents of your own party, absent the most overwhelming enmity.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 9, 2006 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

How long will it take democrats before they realize there is absolutely no value in commenting on something like that?

Bush has lied to and deceived them numerous times, and still, anytime he says something, they take it at face value and forget everything that led up to it.

Regardless of how impressive the operation is, the reality is:

1) Bush believes during war time, Americans have only the privacy and due process rights he believes they have, regardless of what the congress or courts say.

2) Bush misled the nation and the congress about this operation, and blatently lied about what his administration was doing.

3) Bush is not trustworthy, and anything his administration tells you, particularly things told by people who refuse to go under oath, is not credible.

Posted by: derek g on February 9, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

WH Fact sheet:

Wolf!

I said Wolf!

Did you hear me?!?! Wolf, Wolf, Wolf, for fuck's sake!

Why aren't you running! I'm scared myself out of clean underwear, you've gotta be scared!!!

Fucking Wolf!

Oh shit. This just ain't working, Karl. You got another idea?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 9, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

WH "Fact Sheet":

Short on fact. Long on sheet.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 9, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

"It's a different program than I was beginning to let myself believe,"

As I suspected. It's a Rove-a-Dope.

When you control the media, it's not a particulary brilliant or amazing thing.

Step 1: "leak" or allow to be leaked, a partial story, which, on it's surface, reflects poorly on the administration.

Step 2: Give the left some time to get all spun up and angry over it. If they get any hearings, stonewall as much as possible - to make them think you've got something to hide (even if you do).

Step 3: Allow more information to be released that makes the left's reaction to the original information look unjustified and persecutory.

Step 4: Use the blackmail information and other intimidation tactics to keep whistleblowers quiet about the REAL damaging stuff, which will never see the light of day.


- - -
You all should know by know, that this is precisely the reason why the neocon cabal chose Bush as their candidate. Bush is a lightning rod, because he's a drunk, druggie, draft-dodging, deserter, flight-school wash-out, cheerleader, serial business failure, terrible public speaker, can't think on his feet, coward, liar, scion of wealth and power.

This whole presidency was designed by Rove to create "Irrational Bush Hatred Syndrome" (though it's still OK to hate Bush, he's quite deserving of it).

The cartoon flap is another good example.

Until the Left can somehow figure out a tactic that can defeat this Information Warfare, there's no way in hell we can prevail. You all think that the left is going to sweep congress in 06. Keep watching. Dems are going to get murdered in their sleep in November.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 9, 2006 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

If it is legal, if it is constitutional, why did they go around FISA??? Why did the AG not testify under oath??

The big question is:" What did the Bush administration not tell?"

Why can't we have an honest to goodness public investigation? There is no way to believe a word from the Bush people, they lie the moment they open their mouth. That is why the AG did not testify under oath, he lied.

Posted by: Renate on February 9, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

OBF

More than anything else, Rove is a product of Dem leaders' effort to justify their abysmal electoral failures. Rather than admitting that they are not that good at electioneering, the create this uber genius bogeyman who cannot be defeated by anyone.

Rove does nothing that a 7th grade amoral bully cannot do. He can easily be defeated by adopting the tactics appropriate for such a foe.

Posted by: lib on February 9, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

The information on this supposed 02 West Coast attack comes from the interrogation of a suspect captured in some unspecified asian pacific country.

In other words, this is more made up crap by a guy who was trying to get them to stop torturing him.

Has nothing at all to do with the domestic surveilllance program. Nothing at all to do with DHS. Nothing at all to do with the Iraq occupation.

If the plot was real - then we can chalk this up to a success of international cooperation, at best.

If the plot was fake, well, that's torture for you. Duh.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 9, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK
More than anything else, Rove is a product of Dem leaders' effort to justify their abysmal electoral failures.

I don't think its really that; I think a lot of the Rove mystique is a result of the wing of the Democratic Party that has always opposed strong, value-based advocacy of liberal positions and favored being Conservative-light has seized upon Rove as a new excuse for their habitual surrendrism.

Its not so much a matter of excusing the losses themselves as opposing the wishy-washy stands that produce the losses as a tool to "minimize" losses.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 9, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

... the create this uber genius bogeyman who cannot be defeated by anyone.. . .
Posted by: lib on February 9, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not saying that Rove is an uber genius bogeyman.

The threat here is the weapon he controls. The Mighty Wurlitzer. Ignore it at our mutual peril.

It doesn't take a genius to do the things Rove's doing. It just takes billions and billions of dollars to set up and fund all the Cato/Heritage/Focus-on-the-family/etc groups, and Rupert Murdochs of the world. This propaganda machine is what the Democrats are up against.

This weapon, in the hands of someone like Rove - above average intelligence, machiavellian sense of ethics, is a powerful and dangerous one, and probably insurmountable. Because fighting it, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

It's as has been said here thousands of times before. They could show video of Bush raping a 10 year old boy - and his supporters would still rally behind him. Because after about two to four weeks of allowing the Dems to scream bloody murder about it, it will be revealed that the boy was Osama bin Laden's son, and that by raping him, Bush was able to personally foil a major terrorist attack saving millions of lives. Whether either part of the whole story is true doesn't matter. They could both be false. The end result would be that the Dems get discredited. No matter what they do. Even if they played it smart, in this hypothetical scenario, and didn't say anything at all, they'd get branded cowards by not acting or protesting or saying anything, or calling for hearings, or putting forth impeachment papers on Bush. And then they'd simply crank part 2 of the story down a notch or two.

This is modern Information Warfare. The Democrats are fighting bare-knuckled against the equivalent of long-range nuclear death-rays.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 9, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

The article doesn't even claim that they used the NSA program in this case. It is a totally irrelevant example, revealed only to renew fears...

It's just not clear where the Bush WH is going with this, yet. I'm pointing out that, whatever the example might be, it's almost impossible that it could be an example of the success of the very program that everyone has rightly decried as illegal.

And yet, who can doubt but that confusion on this point is the EXACT reason that Bush is talking about this case at this time?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 9, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

According to CNN:

Bush has been on a campaign to defend his controversial domestic monitoring program. But the White House would not say whether the 2002 plot was thwarted as a result of the National Security Agency program to eavesdrop on the international emails and phone calls of people inside the United States with suspected ties to terrorists.

So, yes, the question is, why is Bush even bringing up this issue now, except to throw sand in everyone's eyes?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 9, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

While I'm not sure I have any faith that Sheehan will be a competent Democratic politician (she seems to work very hard to play right into the hands of the character assassins and slime machine of the mainstream press) - She certainly wouldn't be any worse that Boxer and Feinstein.

Both Boxer and Feinstein are TERRIBLE representatives. Feinstein is deeply conflicted with defense-industry investments, and Boxer has sold our rights to the RIAA and MPAA with regard to her support of absurd legislation such as the DMCA. Both could contract bird-flu and perish, and I wouldn't care.

I can say that Boxer has, at least, shown some cujones to speak out against Bush, and she's been pretty smart about ducking when the character assassins' bullets begin to fly. But she's a filthy lying corporate whore.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 9, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

cheney: the White House is putting out the Fact Sheet on it today

a.p. report afterwards: Meantime, aides are denying that release of the information is aimed at shoring up support for Bush's embattled domestic eavesdropping program.

only dead enders believe the bush admin. any more


Posted by: thisspaceavailable on February 9, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK


meanwhile,

bush admin. mine safety guy walks out on a congressional hearing...

the bush admin. refuses to release katrina communication documents after requested to do so by a congressional hearing..

and the white house "declines" to provide contacts between jack abramoff and the president...


and up until the last 36-hours.....the bush admin. refused to tell congress anymore about the wiretapping...

and the beat goes on....

remember in november


Posted by: thisspaceavailable on February 9, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

In other news, FOX has announced that there will be a Medal of Freedom ceremony tomorrow in the Rose Garden. Tommie Lee Jones, Will Smith and Rip Torn will be honored for their heroic efforts in stopping the LA bombing attack. Once again, our "Men in Black" at their best.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 9, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK


and another note as to bush credibility...

59% say the Bush Administration tells the truth only sometimes or hardly ever; just 39% say the Administration is truthful always or most of the time. - CBS NEWS POLL 2/7/06


Posted by: thisspaceavailable on February 9, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

I live in the Ala 5th. Cramer is a Democrat in a very Republican area. He has to tread lightly.

Posted by: veloer on February 9, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 9, 2006 at 12:57 PM


Stuff like that is what keeps the Republicans in power. Sheehan could not possibly be anywhere near as good as either Boxer or Feinstein.

Posted by: contentious on February 9, 2006 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely wrote this: I think a lot of the Rove mystique is a result of the wing of the Democratic Party that has always opposed strong, value-based advocacy of liberal positions and favored being Conservative-light has seized upon Rove as a new excuse for their habitual surrendrism.

You seem to be saying that the more Democratic candidates appeal to the "mainstream" or "swing voters", the easier it is for Rove-backed Republicans to defeat them. The problem with "value based advocacy of liberal positions" is that (as usually so also with value-based advocacy of conservative positions), such advocacy is accompanied by self-serving specifics. "Health care" is backed by people who want wealth transferred to themselves; "good education" is backed by people who treat public school teaching as a sinecure. Put differently, Democrats are as hypocritical as Republicans, only with different cosntituencies supporting the hypocricies.

Posted by: contentious on February 9, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

S Ra wrote this of me: And you haven't posted a good argument since you got here;

my mistake. I posted a link to a better anti-Bush article than this; I didn't post the argument myself.

Posted by: contentious on February 9, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

those of us who believe in the rule of law find a significant risk of something being unconstitutional to be important

but the original, quoted by KD, did not say "significant." My comment was that the "news" item contained no news. That the risk was present is something we have known all along.

Posted by: contentious on February 9, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Praedor Atrebates on February 9, 2006 at 10:29 AM


That is pretty well written. But it isn'w what was in the text posted by KD that I quoted.

Posted by: contentious on February 9, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK
You seem to be saying that the more Democratic candidates appeal to the "mainstream" or "swing voters", the easier it is for Rove-backed Republicans to defeat them.

Um, no.

I happen to think that obvious tactically calculated surrender appeals less to mainstream and swing voters than strong principled stands, even when those voters sometimes disagree with some of those stands. And I think there is considerable evidence in the rise in power of the hard Right that this is the case.

Character is important in elections, and its not a matter of just the absence of scandal, but the perception of personal commitment. Someone who doesn't seem firmly committed to values seems like an opportunist, and is automatically distrusted -- and, frankly, rightfully so.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 9, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

What, exactly, is a "significant risk of being declared unconstitutional"?

Kevin Drum goes so far as to push away from the moorings presented by "significant risk" and drift off into the "unconstitutional" waters. Fair enough.

But note how quickly many on the Left are to travel from "some lawyer could make a good argument that something is illegal/unconstitutional" (As if it's hard to find a lawyer willing to argue some, scratch that, ANY point.) and move to "QED, it's illegal/unconstitutional."

It is to wonder...

Posted by: Birkel on February 9, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely wrote: I happen to think that obvious tactically calculated surrender appeals less to mainstream and swing voters than strong principled stands, even when those voters sometimes disagree with some of those stands.

I think that a lot of swing voters would support a candidate who made a strong principled stand that the war must be won and that civil liberties must be preserved, in that order. What the Democrats present is a set of candidates (Kerry, Dean, Sen. Clinton) who do not in principle believe that the war should be won, and their occasional rhetorical forays in support of winning appear as "tactically calculated surrender".

In three phrases known to all, "life" is first. "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", and "Life, liberty and property". Democrats mock the idea of the war, and they put "pursuit of happiness" first.

The enemy that is attacking us is more like a fungus than a pride of lions, but it is attacking. A fungus will kill just as dead, it only takes longer. (to carry this to extremes, anit-war leftists could be viewed as HIV, which weakens the immune system till the fungus can overpower it, but I don't really think of anti-war leftists as an invasive virus. They are merely like "copperheads", with little lasting effect.)

Posted by: contentious on February 9, 2006 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

Unless the 4th Amendment is made to disappear, there's nothing curious about this program being considered unconstitutional. As someone said in comments to Glenn Greenwald's excellent post on how we can push back in a principled way:

Even Congressional approval cannot give [the President] the ability to write the Judiciary out of the 4th Amendment - neither he, Congress, nor both. ... No revision to FISA can delete the warrant requirement for US citizens in the US.

Posted by: Nell on February 10, 2006 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK
In three phrases known to all, "life" is first. "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", and "Life, liberty and property".

Um, that's two phrases, and they articulate complementary, not conflicting, values. Where a choice has to be made between them, there are couple other well-known phrases from American history: "Live Free or Die" and
"Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death".


Posted by: cmdicely on February 10, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Three for two is a pretty funny mistake.

"Give me liberty or give me death" is good too.

Posted by: contentious on February 10, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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