Saturday, December 24, 2005

Spy Agency Mined Vast Data Trove, Officials Report

Several officials said that after President Bush's order authorizing the N.S.A. program, senior government officials arranged with officials of some of the nation's largest telecommunications companies to gain access to switches that act as gateways at the borders between the United States' communications networks and international networks. The identities of the corporations involved could not be determined.

A match made in Hell: a secret government program and faceless corporations.

Continue shopping, prole! You may continue to recite the Bill of Rights, but under no circumstances are you allowed to think about or discuss what they mean. Unquestioning is the key to happiness. Everything is meant to be OK.

I'd like to be compensated by my phone and internet companies for selling out my Constitutional rights, please. I'm thinking an island in the Caribbean will be a good start - I may demand a lifetime supply of mangos and rum as well.

Friday, December 23, 2005

A Midlevel Aide Had a Big Role in Terror Policy

Some current and former officials said the urgency of events after Sept. 11 and the close ties that Mr. Yoo developed with Mr. Addington (who is now Mr. Cheney's chief of staff), Mr. Gonzales, Mr. Flanigan and the general counsel of the Defense Department, William J. Haynes II, had sometimes led him to bypass the elaborate clearance process to which opinions from the legal counsel office were normally subjected.


"They were not getting enough critical feedback from within O.L.C., or from within the Justice Department, or from other agencies," one former official said of Mr. Yoo's opinions. Officials said senior aides to Attorney General Ashcroft also complained that they were not adequately informed about some of the Mr. Yoo's frequent discussions with the White House.

Mr. Yoo said he had always duly notified Justice Department officials or other agencies about the opinions he provided except when "I was told by people very high in the government not to for classification reasons."

Addington: Yeah, is this the OLC? We're looking for someone over there who will give us some legal cover. Yeah, my boss, Cheney that is, has decided that he needs to have unlimited powers, forget the other two branches. Yeah, I'll hold.

Addington: You? No, I can't do it alone, we need someone from Justice, you know, to make it seem like this is a considered, somewhat objective opinion, not a power grab. What's that? Oh, John Yoo. Yeah, he'll do. Send him over.

Addington: One more thing...when he writes our opinions, I mean his opinions, make sure he writes "the president" in all the key passages. It'll be Cheney calling the shots, but the documents should say "the president." Thanks. Toodles!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Scottie Spokesweasel

Unanswer Man
Scott McClellan Is the President's Spokesman, Which Doesn't Leave Him Much to Say

Colleagues (on-message) say McClellan has held up well in these difficult months. Others (off-message) say he's had a tough time, has lost hair, gained jowls and looks stressed, especially over the Plame case, which made a return to the briefing room Thursday after an absence of a few weeks.

Well, gosh. He can always. Fucking. Quit.

It's a job. And let's face it, it's a job that should be almost impossible to fill.

Job requirements: Be the public face for the administration. Candidate should be aware that the administration lies about matters of life and death, about illegal and unconstitutional programs, and in general feels that the public and press corps can go fuck themselves. Long hours. No pancake-makeup allergies.

Candidate can look forward to a book deal after retirement, but really...who cares what a former White House flak has to say?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The governing philosophy of schoolyard rules

S&M at the Congress

I'm a bit creeped out by his S&M analogy, but that's just the prude in me. The Post's William Arkin explains how the whole "briefing the Congress" thing works.

Although it really sounds to me more like "pants-ing the Congress" than "briefing the Congress." They are left with their pants pulled down, humiliated and shamed, their pitiful junk hanging in the wind, while the White House points, laughs, and make sure the rest of the crowd knows who is in charge.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Big Brother, 12/20/05

F.B.I. Watched Activist Groups, New Files Show

F.B.I. officials said Monday that their investigators had no interest in monitoring political or social activities and that any investigations that touched on advocacy groups were driven by evidence of criminal or violent activity at public protests and in other settings.

Trust us!

One F.B.I. document indicates that agents in Indianapolis planned to conduct surveillance as part of a "Vegan Community Project."

Fucking Veganofascists! If they didn't do anything wrong, than why are we investigating them, and if we are investigating them, they must have done something wrong. See?

Administration Cites War Vote in Spying Case

Officials with knowledge of the program have said the Justice Department did two sets of classified legal reviews of the program and its legal rationale. Mr. Gonzales declined to release those opinions Monday.

Two of the key Democrats who had been briefed on the program said Monday that they had been told so little that there was no effective Congressional oversight for it.

White House Elaborates on Authority for Eavesdropping

Bush Addresses Uproar Over Spying

Asked what limits he sees on a president's power in a time of war, Bush said a few key congressional leaders were briefed on the domestic spying program and his administration reviews its own actions periodically. "I just described limits on this particular program," he said. "That's what's important for the American people to understand. I am doing what you expect me to do, and at the same time safeguarding the civil liberties of the country."

President, protector, daddy of all of us. No thanks. I'd rather have a serious, competent administrator. Can we get someone dedicated and qualified, please? You know...someone boring.

Legal Test Was Seen as Hurdle to Spying

Since Sept. 11, 2001, an obscure but powerful tribunal — the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — has been a solid ally of the Bush administration, approving hundreds of requests allowing government agents to monitor the conversations and communications of suspected terrorists.

So why did the administration go around the court in devising its most secret surveillance program?

Monday, December 19, 2005


Bush’s Snoopgate

In these times of Constitutional crisis, when the Executive office is acting illegally, and the Congress is failing to provide oversight, and the danger of dictatorship in this country is closer than ever, it is important that we focus on the important issues.

Like what to call this scandal. Here we have "Snoopgate."

People! Watergate is a hotel. In D.C. A specific place, at which specific events took place, over thirty years ago.

It makes no sense to suffix every scandal with -Gate. It is stupid and lazy, it trivializes the scandal, and dammit it takes away the creativity of our headline writers.

For the love of Nixon, let's just stick with Domestic Spying until we can come up with a suitable, non-Gate name.

We now return to our national crisis, already in progress.

Lowlights from the press conference

President Bush Holds a News Conference

As president and commander in chief, I have the constitutional responsibility and the constitutional authority to protect our country. Article 2 of the Constitution gives me that responsibility and the authority necessary to fulfill it.

These are some sections of Article 2, but I don't think these are what Bubble Boy has in mind:

he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed...

...a minority of senators filibustered the Patriot Act...

Uh, wanna check that math again, BB?

...junk lawsuits...

Wow. Issue of the day: Domestic spying. And here we have a reference to junk lawsuits. Nothing like keeping that stump speech handy.

And the American people have got to understand that we think in terms of elections. Most of our elections end the day after the election. Sometimes they don't.


BB: Remember when we litigated the shit out of the 2000 election, and then called in our chits from the Supreme Court?

Press Corps: Good times, Sir! Good times!

I mean, this is what -- and the attorney general was out briefing this morning about why it's legal to make the decisions I make.

Man, that's some telling phrasing right there. "It's legal to make the decisions I make." The more sensible and rational phrasing would be "the decisions I made were legal," or "the decisions I made followed the law." But instead he said, "it's legal to make the decisions I make" - so, all decisions he makes are legal? That seems to be what he is saying here. Anyone gonna call him on that?

Again, any public hearings on programs will say to the enemy, "Here's what they do. Adjust."

Well, ain't that convenient. Hey, you guys aren't shredding the Constitution in that closed meeting, are you? That sounds like a shredder! I know it is!

Saddam had the desire to reconstitute his weapons programs. In other words, he had the capacity to reconstitute them.

Desire and capacity are synonyms? That's excellent, because I have the desire for X-ray vision, so that must mean I have the capacity for it, too.

...democracies don't war; democracies are peaceful countries.

Except when we do it. Then it's fine.

I believe everybody has the desire to be free. [continuing]
BUSH: I recognize some don't believe that. That was -- basically condemned some to tyranny.

That is one whopper of a straw man. BB's opponents are against freedom and would condemn the Iraqis to tyranny. And a big fuck you to you, too, Bubble Boy.

I just want to assure the American people that, one, I've got the authority to do this; two, it is a necessary part of my job to protect you; and three, we're guarding your civil liberties.

One, trust me. Two, Georgie'll protect you. Three, trust me.

And on this program, to suggest there's unchecked power is not listening to what I'm telling you.

Ah, Bubble Boy the Lecturer. Just let him explain it all - your brain will seize up and you will feel less inclined to use it at all in the future, and really...won't that be better for everyone?

And again, I understand the press and members of the United States Congress saying, "Are you sure you're safeguarding civil liberties?" That's a legitimate question and an important question. And today I hope I helped answer that.

Wow. Does he even know what "civil liberties" are? I'm guessing no, except as some bullet point on his briefing sheet about ACLU and other whiners.

I mentioned in my radio address -- my live TV radio address...

Oh boy.

And the lowest of the lowlights:

BUSH: Thank you for violating the multiple-part question rule.

QUESTION: I didn't know there was a law on that.


BUSH: There's not a law.


It's an executive order.


In this case, not monitored by the Congress.


Nor is there any administrative oversight.


Press corps: Boy, when he gets on his material about dictatorship, he just fucking kills! (Wiping tears) Just kills!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Live Bush

Bush's live address. Five to one says he doesn't mention the whole domestic spying, pissing on the 4th Amendment thingy.

He's describing the run-up to Iraq. No reason to use the phrasing he uses except to deceive and distort. He holds our highest office?

Straw man: Terrorists only attack us if we provoke them ... or something. Are they also more afraid of us than we are of them? Is that what he's saying?

Straw man: Immediate withdrawal, U.S. has lost the war. Too bad no one is actually saying that.

"Iraq will be never again be a safe haven for terrorists." What an asshole. We created the terrorist problem there, and a big you're welcome to Iraqis for that.

Purple ink, bitches! Purple ink!

Defeatism not justified, except by the actual facts. Oh hell, my shorthand negated a falsehood and made it a true statement. Sorry, Bubble Boy!

Boy, he sure looks unaffected by this war. He speaks casually and the only emotion he shows is when knocking down his illogical little straw men.

"Only two options, victory or defeat." Third option - impeachment. Funny that he doesn't consider that one.

ABC News, New Kids: We should fluff the pres for a few minutes. Don't worry your little heads though, here's Desperate Housewives. Oh, and don't pay attention to those clicks you may hear on your phone - just ignore them!