I'm sitting here "thinking" (never my strong suit) about getting out my Christmas cards.
But what I do have is a lovely little Christmas video that you can watch here.
Feliz Navidad to all from California!
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Friday, December 23, 2005
Having to hear in the MSM and the lefty blogosphere spin and distort the issue of NSA intercepts is very frustrating for those of us in the blogosphere. In almost all instances, the MSM and the Left are portraying the NSA to be targeting "Americans." As Dick Cheney pointed out in the following conversation with the press, nothing could be further from the truth:
Q Do you not understand, though, that some Americans are concerned to hear that their government is eavesdropping on these private conversations?and as Cliff May subsequently points out:
THE VICE PRESIDENT: What private conversations?
Q The private conversations between Americans and people overseas.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Which people overseas?
Q You tell me.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's important that you be clear that we're talking about individuals who are al Qaeda or have an association with al Qaeda, who we have reason to believe are part of that terrorist network. There are two requirements, and that's one of them. It's not just random conversations. If you're calling Aunt Sadie in Paris, we're probably not really interested.
If an al-Qaeda operative in Karachi phones someone in Paris, France and tells him to go to the US to carry out an act of terrorism – obviously the President would have the authority to listen to that conversation without a warrant.
But if an al-Qaeda operative in Karachi phones someone in Paris, Texas and tells him to go to Houston to carry out an act of terrorism -- the President would not have that authority to listen to that conversation without a warrant?
In other words, once a terrorist lands on American soil he must be given additional rights, including an expectation of privacy when he gets a phone call from Osama bin Laden.
That's what the administration’s critics are arguing.
But, don't try and explain that to the DUers. They've all signed up to the theory that the NSA is watching your every move and tracking every FedEx and UPS delivery.
So, the most frustrating thing about being a blogger is that you find out that you know more about the facts than the MSM is presenting in the news.
In addition, the other frustrating part is the ridiculous charge that the NSA intercepts of communications by foreign terrorists (to other foreigners or to people here in the US) is "illegal" or unconstitutional. I think it's been pretty clearly demonstrated by Jeff Goldstein at ProteinWisdom (here, here, here, and here) and John Hinderaker at Powerline that these intercepts are neither illegal nor unconstitutional.
As I've stated in the comments to this post, if more oversight is required - fine. Let's give Congress some additional capability to have oversight into these activities - but not at the expense of speed and flexibility. As the editors at National Review pointed out, "the position of Bush's critics is that he can launch a Hellfire missile at an al Qaeda operative in Pakistan or Yemen, but can't listen to that operative's telephone conversations. Absurd."
Now, if you're a Lefty and wish to argue these points, fine... please read the research done by Hinderaker and Goldstein and then let's discuss. But it's extremely weak for you to simply throw at that King Bushitler has stolen our civil liberties and you won't even consider the possibility that the NYTimes and the MSM is trying to distort the activities of the NSA to fit to your preconceptions of Bushco.
As I've pointed out here, we are very clearly at war - although many refuse to accept that fact. I realize that many of you don't think it's an actual war and it would be better for us to return to the 90s when we were fat, dumb, and happy (except for the occassional terrorist attack), but that is not our future. Yes, the Spanish and the French have an occassional terrorist act and they don't seem to mind. Well, that's because they're French and Spanish - and they look to us to take down the bad guys. And while some might think it'd be great to be French and surrender to anyone with a sharp implement or a petrol bomb and a desire to torch some cars, there's nothing cool about being unable to defend yourself. And for all of the terrorist attacks that they've suffered, their enemies have not been able to land a decisive blow like we received on 9/11.
Or perhaps you've forgotten.
ARC: St Wendeler
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Saddam Proclaims White House "Biggest Liar in the World" and that He Was Tortured by the Americans - Now Where Did He Ever Get an Idea Like That?
Gee, I'm baffled? Where did Saddam get the idea that such a preposterous and incredible line of defense might work?
Oh, now I remember! It was from the Howard Dean, Jonathan Alter, The New York Times, Chris Matthews... blah, blah, blah
Hussein: White House 'No. 1 liar in the world'Your Co-Conspirator,
After day of outbursts, the trial adjourns until January
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The trial of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, which has fallen into a pattern of grim testimony interrupted by theatrical outbursts, adjourned Thursday for more than a month.
The trial resumes on January 24.
On Thursday, as in previous days, testimony about brutal treatment was interrupted by courtroom tirades by Hussein and his half brother.
Hussein charged Thursday that the Bush administration lied when it claimed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, just at it lied by disputing his claims of being beaten.
"The White House lies once more," Hussein said, "the No. 1 liar in the world. They said in Iraq, there is chemicals, and there is a relation to terrorism, and they announced later we couldn't find any of that in Iraq.
"Also, they said that what Saddam Hussein (said) was not true," he continued in an apparent reference to his claims Wednesday that he and all seven of his codefendants were beaten and tortured by their American captors.
Hussein: 'We don't lie'
"I have documented the injuries I had before three American medical teams," he said.
Hussein later appeared to waver, saying the medical teams numbered "two, for sure, unequivocally." He began to heal after eight months, he said, but bruises remain three years later.
"We don't lie," he said. "The White House lies."
The U.S. State Department and a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said Hussein's claims of beatings and torture were untrue.
Meanwhile, defense attorneys requested that the testimony of prosecution witnesses not be broadcast until all the witnesses have testified, saying they are watching each other's testimonies and repeating them. The court said it would consider that request.
A day of disruptions
Hussein and seven codefendants are charged with crimes against humanity, including the killings of 140 men and boys in the town of Dujail following a failed 1982 assassination attempt against Hussein there.
The trial went into a closed session Thursday at the end of an eventful day in which Hussein and his half brother, Barzan Ibrahim Hassan al-Tikriti repeatedly disrupted the proceedings.
The judge closed the session after Hassan, the former chief of intelligence, asked to speak to him in private. On Wednesday, Hassan said he wanted time to talk to the judge about his health.
Earlier in the day, Hassan launched into long political diatribes, hurling insults at prosecutors, complaining about the conditions of their detention and challenging the legitimacy of the court.
Ranting about the food he is being served, Hassan said a New York Times magazine column mentioned that his ribs are showing because of weight loss.
Hassan also accused prosecutors of being former Baath Party members, implying they should not be leveling accusations against him. The attorneys threatened to walk out and resign from the case.
"This is not justice," Hassan declared. "This is not democracy." Asked to stop by prosecutors, Hassan said, "My talk is strengthening the court, and will give it credibility."
At one point, a fracas erupted among Hassan, Hussein and prosecutors, prompted by Hussein's claim that a guard had been rude to him. "He acted without your orders, so he should be disciplined," Hussein said. "He is a small employee." The guard was removed from the courtroom.
Hussein also challenged the validity of a witness, the first of two to testify Thursday from behind a curtain to protect his identity. The witness said he was 8 years old at the time of the Dujail killings, but testified his father, his three uncles and his grandmother were arrested and imprisoned.
"She complained to us about what had happened to her," he said of his grandmother, who was released after four years. "They used to torture her before her children and they would torture her children before her. She said, 'They tortured us, and we did not know for what reason.' "
Defense attorneys and Hussein complained about the witness because he was a child at the time, was not arrested and did not see any torture or killings personally.
"His testimony is documented and accepted, and he's underage (at the time)?" Hussein asked. "This is something I would like to understand. Is this allowed? Is this permissible?"
Hussein claims he was beaten
On Wednesday, Hussein said his American captors beat him "on every part of my body and marks are still on top of my body and that was done by Americans," Hussein said. "Yes, we were beaten by the Americans, and we were tortured, everyone of us."
Chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Mousawi said he had visited the defendants in their cells and saw no signs of torture.
Christopher Reid, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, said none of the defendants has been tortured or beaten.
Also on Wednesday, witness Ali Haj Hussein al-Haydari described more than four years of captivity and torture, and the execution of family members, including several brothers. His brother Hassan, who was among those killed, was one of six men who plotted unsuccessfully to assassinate Hussein.
More than 40 members of his family were taken into custody by government agents. Al-Haydari also talked of "walking through dead bodies" at the headquarters of the Baath Party, the ruling party during Hussein's regime.
Another witness said he was tortured three times with electric shocks during the initial 17-day period and beaten with cables during the time at Abu Ghraib.
"Even children were beaten with cables," he said. "Children died at Abu Ghraib."
CNN's Aneesh Raman contributed to this report
***Welcome GatewayPundit and Grouchy Old Cripple Readers.***
Received this email from one of our soldiers, still tirelessly defending our freedom despite our current Commander-In-Chief. I know you will all enjoy - be sure to click on the references I've linked to throughout the email:
From: "SSGT Anthony Rimmage" - Anthony.Rimmage*us.army.mil
To: "ARC:St Wendeler"
Subject: Christmas Away from Home - Waiting for the Withdrawal Timetable
Well, St Wendeler... thought I'd give you an update from the front lines. Sorry for the delay in writing, but you know how hectic things can get over here. Here's my latest diary entry for today:
Wednesday, December 21st, 2005 - 08:30 Zulu Time
How long has it been? It seems like just yesterday that I was stationed here... but, how many Christmas celebrations have I spent in this God forsaken place? Yes, I guess it has been that long. Yet another Christmas is approaching and there's no chance that I'll be home to enjoy it with my friends and family. The recent elections here appeared to go well, but they sure resulted in a lot of political turmoil, what with the various factions all threatening to sit out and fail to create a coalition government. End the end, cooler heads eventually prevailed and a coalition of the two major parties was formed. I was just happy that they didn't end up getting violent - because these people really get enthusiastic when it comes to violence. Fortunately, if they had resorted to their baser instincts, my .50 caliber would've straightened things out... I guess it's encouraging to see democracy in action in a country that really has no history of such things... In fact, more often than not they have rejected any move towards democracy, so it's amazing how far they've come.
Sure, the locals seem friendly and all when we head into town and do a little socializing. But, you can just sense that these people don't want us here. In some cases, it's outright hostility. It seems like they question the motives of everything we do. How many of us had to die to give them freedom and this is how they thank us? I suppose if I had to put up with thousands of foreign soldiers occupying my country, I'd be pissed, too.
Heck, perhaps we're just inciting the locals and making the problem worse. Heck, their probably justified in their hatred for us. Well, one thing is for sure. If we do withdraw now, it's unlikely that the local forces would be able to protect this country from its enemies - internal and external. Add to that the damage that our withdrawal would have on this country's economy and I guess it's a lose-lose situation for everyone involved.
When will our country learn that we cannot be the world's policeman, taking down criminals around the world and replacing them with a form of government that we prefer? The constitution that we imposed on these people is a SHAM, I tell you and they'll figure it out some day.
We've got to stop being the perennial cowboy... This isn't fun & games and a lot of people are making huge sacrifices just so we can have this country as a military staging area. It's disgusting how we've imposed our system of democracy, "capitalism," and other "Western" values on these people - they didn't have a desire for any of this, but did we listen? No, we had the might and therefore we decided what was right.
Sorry to get so down, but today is the 22,144th day that I've been stationed here and I've lost all patience with our leadership's call to "stay the course." This will be the 60th Christmas that I'll spend away from home and I just don't think after all of the sacrifice that it was worth it...
Staff Sgt Anthony Rimmage *
1st Infantry Division
Schweinfurt, Germany **
Yes, Anthony... it's time to end the occupation and bring our forces home. The fight is over and 60 years is long enough. It's time for the German people to stand up and defend themselves. If you want to talk about withdrawal, I say let's start there. Let's pull our troops home, or as Murtha requested, redeploy them to a more important region of the world - like the Middle East.
ARC: St Wendeler
* Not a real soldier
** Instead of Germany, similar links could have been provided throughout related to the Phillippines, Japan, South Korea, etc, etc...
Scott Ott at Scrappleface so perfectly captures how silly we muss seem to our enemies:
Patriot Act, Global Jihad Get 6 Month ExtensionsFrankly, I don't think the GOP can get the requisite number of Dems to pass the thing. They'll try to blame Bush, but when the next attack occurs on US soil and they set up another commission to figure out who knew what and when, don't be surprised that some FBI agent comes out and mentions the fact that he had a warrant for Mohammed's land line and his main cell phone, but hadn't gotten one for his 5th cell phone - so, he couldn't find out when the attack was going to occur.
by Scott Ott
(2005-12-22) — Just hours after the U.S. Senate voted to extend the Patriot Act for six months, al Qaeda released a statement declaring that it would extend its global terror war for the same period.
Al Qaeda’s governing body approved the extension to the Martyr Act, which had been slated to expire December 31, despite controversial provisions which some in the international terror community say pose a threat to civil rights, or at least open the door to potential abuses.
“We have to strike that delicate balance of achieving our strategic goals without limiting the liberty that our people value so much,” said an unnamed aide to al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. “We’ll use this extension time to retool the Martyr Act in a way that addresses personal privacy concerns, without eviscerating our effectiveness.”
Critics of the Martyr Act contend that al Qaeda agents should have to show more evidence that a potential target is a threat to the establishment of a global Islamic Caliphate before they execute a suicide bombing, videotaped beheading or detonation of weapons of mass destruction.
“You have to have checks and balances,” the al Qaeda source said. “Otherwise, you have all of these independent cells out there terrorizing people with no cohesive vision. Someone in the chain of command has to have the authority to run a sanity check.”
The spokesman said six months should be enough time for “the hawks and the bleeding hearts to reach a reasonable compromise.”
But hey... if we can't protect civil liberties for the terrorists, we can't protect the civil liberties of all Americans. Except for the Mafioso... they've already lost their civil liberties when it comes to roving wiretaps. Thank God the Dems haven't made a stink about that.
ARC: St Wendeler
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
As we've been discussing here at Another Rovian Conspiracy, your perception of the appropriateness of these intercepts likely is entirely dependent on your assumptions regarding the War On Terror. If you view it as primarily a criminal matter (to be settled in the courts), then the warrantless intercepts surely will seem to be a prosecutorial overzealousness. If you view it as a hot war, then you recognize it as gathering of actionable intelligence consistent with standard practices of war.
This is the Quote of the Day, from this editorial in National Review Online, as it speaks directly to this difference in fundamental understanding of the War On Terror:
The position of Bush's critics is that he can launch a Hellfire missile at an al Qaeda operative in Pakistan or Yemen, but can't listen to that operative's telephone conversations. Absurd.The entire article is a must read.
ARC: St Wendeler
Mizzou will need miracle or twoAll I have to say is that if Mizzou wins tonight, it will be yet another sign that the Apocalypse is coming.
By Graham Watson
COLUMBIA, MO. — Illinois coach Bruce Weber said for tonight's annual Braggin' Rights game between his Illini and Missouri, you have to throw out the records.
Throw out the fact that Illinois is 11-0 this year and 48-2 over the last two seasons.
Throw out the fact that Missouri coach Quin Snyder is 1-5 against the Illini in his career, and the Tigers come into the game limping at 4-3.
When these two teams meet tonight at Savvis Center, the only thing that matters is how they play for a few hours.
Here is a history of the Braggin' Rights game. I happened to be sitting under the basket at the 1993 game, which had to be one of the best games in the history of the series - especially considering Mizzou pulled it out in the 3rd OT:
Year: 1993So, to all my co-conspirators... I know you'll all join in helping me sing the following. ;-)
Score: 108-107 (3 OT)
Illini top performance: Kiwane Garris 31 pts., 6 assists
Mizzou top performance: Melvin Booker 21 pts., 13 assists
Click Here for Audio
Every true son, so happy hearted,
Skies above us are blue,
There's a spirit so deep within us,
Old Missouri here's to you (rah rah!);
When the band plays the Tiger war song,
And when the fray is through,
We will tramp, tramp, tramp, around the columns,
With a cheer, for Old Mizzou!
Hit it, Hooray, Hurrah,
And a "Bully" for Ol' Mizzou,
Rah, Rah, Rah, Rah,
Mizzou-rah, Mizzou-rah, Mizzou-rah,
Fight, Tigers, fight for Old Mizzou,
Right behind you, everyone is with you,
Break the line and follow down the field,
And you'll be, on the top, upon the top;
Fight, Tigers, you will always win,
Proudly keep the colors flying skyward,
In the end we'll win the victory,
So Tigers, fight for Old Mizzou!
Now didn't that feel great? Thank you and GOODNIGHT!! I'll be here all week & please don't forget to tip the wait staff!!
ARC: St Wendeler
The Senate passes a bill that actually reduces spending. Meanwhile, Harry Reid demonstrates why Bush has been unable to change the partisan tone in Washington:
But Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada countered that the GOP was advancing "an ideologically driven, extreme, radical budget. It caters to lobbyists and an elite group of ultraconservative ideologues here in Washington, all at the expense of middle class Americans," he said.
Of course, the fact that the Dems don't play nice and pull out their usual, slanderous epithets is all the fault of Chimpy McHitlerBush...
The economy continues to grow at record pace:
By MARTIN CRUTSINGERNo doubt Harry would regard this as "an ideologically driven, extreme, radical [economy]. It caters to lobbyists and an elite group of ultraconservative ideologues here in Washington, all at the expense of middle class Americans." Just a hunch... Paul at Wizbang notes that there's no credit to the Bush administration in this AP wire story. (Wonder why?)
AP Economics Writer
Dec 21 8:37 AM US/Eastern
WASHINGTON - The U.S. economy turned in a remarkably strong performance in the summer despite surging energy prices and the battering the Gulf Coast states took from hurricanes, although business growth was slightly lower than the government previously estimated. The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that the gross domestic product, the nation's total output of goods and services, rose at an annual rate of 4.1 percent in the July-September quarter. It was the fastest pace of growth in 1 1/2 years.
While down slightly from the 4.3 percent GDP estimate made a month ago, the new figure demonstrated that the economy kept expanding at a strong pace during the summer, led by solid increases in consumer demand, especially for autos, and business investment.
While the Left and their propaganda arm in the MSM go apesh!t over the efforts of our NSA in this War on Terror, be sure to check out actual research and analysis of the FISA statute, Executive authority, and judicial precedent. All of this research is countered in the usual manner, but here's a snippet from Oliver Willis (who in an updated post refers to those of us who are strong on national security as "pro-bin laden" - One wonders how Osama would respond to such a characterization):
There are always going to be some people (Prtoien Wisdom .ed) who, short of murdering an old woman on live tv, are going to defend George W. Bush no matter what he does. But on the issue of this spying, I don’t care what the polls are. If only 1% of Americans understand that the president isn’t above the law, so be it. It is wrong.
to which Jeff at Protein Wisdom responds:
I’ve put research and time into establishing and arguing my position—which I developing by setting out to find out as much as I can about FISA, the President’s authority, etc; Oliver’s response is to call me a kneejerk Bush supporter—which is all he’s capable of, because even surfing the web is a strain on the fat !@#$.
If Oliver has some argument to make rather than irrelevant suggestion that “if it’s wrong it’s wrong” (I’m arguing that it’s not wrong, which makes his objection as flabby as his thighs), let him make it. Otherwise he should just get back to the business of mauling rib slabs.
See Jeff at Protein Wisdom . I especially liked this analysis which echoes my sentiment regarding the political implications of this for the Democrats:
f the Dems’ argument is that, should an al Qaeda operative phone a US number, the NSA should hang up for fear of violating the rights of US citizen—even though there is no evidence the government ever planned to use the information gleaned in a criminal proceding—well, then, let them make that case.
Democratic party spokespeople are all over TV today stuttering through their talking points about the President’s supposed violations of federal law, asserting such with absolute certainty—which, sadly and obviously, means they are forced to argue around the objections raised to their sudden rousing defense of FISA (and against Presidential powers claimed by Carter, Reagan, and Clinton). On FOXNews just now, my own Senator Salazar looked particularly unconfortable and out of his depth.
Tigerhawk also provides excellent analysis of this kerfluffle.
Armando has the following post at DailyKos:
Judge Posner: FISA Needs To Be Amended; Unsaid: Bush Committed CrimesMy next post will be on this subject: "Armando quotes Judge Posner; Unsaid: Armando is the real killer of Nicole Simpson"
Faces from the Front provides an analysis of George Clooney's war movies and comes to the conclusion that Clooney is a Neocon. Does anyone doubt that Clooney regards the characters he plays in these movies to be heros and antithetical to neocon foreign policy?
ARC: St Wendeler
Oh, wait... not quite. Even Katie Couric decried the "suffering" that the NYC Transit Strike is causing.
NYC Transit Strike Enters Day Two
POSTED: 7:18 am EST December 14, 2005
UPDATED: 10:16 am EST December 21, 2005
NEW YORK -- The New York City transit strike entered its second day Wednesday as lawyers for the city and state looked to the courts to inflict more punishment against union leaders, and commuters piled into cabs and walked the streets in the blistering cold.
New Yorkers were out before sunrise on Day Two of the strike, hoping to avoid the long lines and crushing crowds that formed at commuter rail stations during rush hour Tuesday. Outside Penn Station, a line of taxis were ready to pick up passengers around 7 a.m.
"A nightmare, disorganized, especially going home," Aleksandra Radakovic said Wednesday morning in describing her commute.
No worries... the Socialist Workers Online is there to take up the cause!
New York City transit workers need your support
Their fight is our fight
By Jen Roesch and Alan Maass | December 21, 2005
TRANSIT WORKERS in New York City are on an all-out strike for the first time in 25 years against the combined wrath of the city’s economic, political and media establishment.
It’s a battle that has already reverberated across the U.S. as the 33,000 men and women who keep New York’s trains and buses rolling draw a line in the sand for all workers against the relentless attacks of employers on wages, benefits and working conditions.What you can do
-- Collect donations for the TWU Local 100 Strike Fund. Checks can be sent to: TWU Local 100 Strike Fund, 80 West End Ave., New York, NY 10023.
-- Organize a delegation to visit a picket line near you. See www.twulocal100.org for picket locations.
-- Pass resolutions in your union in support of the transit workers and opposing the use of the Taylor Law.
-- Send e-mails in support of the transit workers to Mayor Bloomberg, Gov. Pataki and the MTA.
-- The New York Daily News is attacking the transit workers. Call (212-210-2100) or e-mail (email@example.com) the Daily News to let them know that you stand behind the strikers and oppose their anti-union campaign.
Following marathon negotiations, leaders of Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 announced in the early morning hours of Tuesday that the union had rejected the city’s “final” offer and was on strike effective immediately. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), a state agency that runs the city’s bus and subway system, immediately went to court, and a judge imposed fines of $1 million a day against the TWU.
A transit strike is illegal under New York’s Taylor Law, which prohibits walkouts by public-sector workers. Under the law, individual transit workers could be fined the equivalent of two days’ pay for every day on strike.
The intent of these mammoth penalties—a throwback to the judicial union-busting of the 19th century—is obvious: to stop workers from standing up for their rights and defending their union. The MTA wants to make an example out of transit workers—and if they get away with it, employers everywhere will be emboldened to demand even more concessions.
Waiting for Oliver Willis to jump in with a reference to 19th century union-busting
Wizbang has more on the New York transit strike
ARC: St Wendeler
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
It seems that this is a point that is in dispute by many on the Left. While they may pay lipservice to the War On Terror, they laugh at its implications... Yes, perhaps it should have been called the War on Islamofascism, but I think that the nuanced position of the administration (that we're against radical Islam that seeks to destroy the west through terrorist means and establish a caliphate) would be lost on the Muslim world (who would see such language as War On Islam). And there's little doubt that the New York Times would paint the same picture as Al Jazeera - inciting the entire Muslim world against us.
Anyway, as Jeff Goldstein points out in this EXCELLENT POST, the answer to this question will likely have an impact on your perception on Bush's super-secret NSA wiretaps of foreign terrorists.
If you think the "War On Terror" is primarily one for law enforcement (local, state, federal, and Interpol (LOL!)), then it's likely that you view terrorists as criminal suspects, requiring Miranda rights and protections against overzealous prosecution (such as viewing the capture of John Walker Lindh in Afghanistan as being a case of entrapment - ie but for the US becoming involved in Afghanistan, li'l Johnny wouldn't have raised arms against the US).
Jeff's post at Protein Wisdom is great and is a must read:
As Dale Franks argues in his rebuttal of fellow QandA contributor Jon Henke:Where the problem would come in—and I think it’s the only area that would be problematic—would be if the president was conducting the warrantless surveillance of citizens who could not, in fact, be shown to have contact with hostile foreign powers. Or, conversely, if these surveillance wiretaps were to be introduced as evicence in a criminal proceeding. In that case, I think the warrantless wiretaps would certainly have to be thrown out.
Absent that, it seems to me that the relevant case law, while not precisely on point, gives the president an excellent argument in support of his actions to conduct such surveillance, purely for intelligence-gathering purposes.
On several fronts, then, the legal question is murky (and the paradigm you choose will affect the degree of murkiness you see)—but there should be no doubt that, wherever you come down on that front, simply that there is a compelling legal argument to be made on the President’s behalf, coupled with the fact that he acted on the advise of counsel, engaged in 45 day oversight reviews with the FISA Court, and briefed congressional leaders, will be enough to militate in the President’s favor. When all the facts come out, the Dems will look either weak or confused—and worst of all, they will have tied themselves, in the public mind, to the leakers.
Which is why today we are seeing such a furious attempt to paint the leakers as “truth tellers” combatting the excesses of a rogue administration.
But it won’t fly. And once again, the Democratic leadership has painted itself into an undesireable corner. Should they press the issue, things will only get worse, I predict—unless, of course, the Administration truly was misusing the surveillance for unrelated domestic purposes, an idea that depends on a wide ranging conspiracy that only takes place in the minds of the most feverishly deluded anti-Bush progressives.
While the Dems and their propaganda arm call for the impeachment of the President (and incorrectly and prejudicially refer to the President's order as "illegal"), it's unlikely that the public will call for Bush's head because he sought out information which has prevented terrorist attacks in the past four years.
If you wrote this up as an episode of 24, the West Wing, or even Commander-In-Chief for cying out loud, I think the public would be rooting for the President, not the yapping Dems. And that, my friends, is all you need to know about the political implications of this story. Bush holding up pictures of radical, Islamofascists caught or killed in this War On Terror because of information from these NSA intercepts vs. Reid calling for their civil liberties under a Constitution (which the terrorists view as evil incarnate) to be extended to them.
See Tom Maguire at JustOneMinute and Michelle Malkin for more.
Also see some excellent research by Kevin Alyward over at Wizbang:
In the far corners of the Internet, the NSA's domestic spying capability is hardly news. In one section in a rambling history of the program the applicability of FISA is discussed.Your Co-Conspirator,Within the United States, FISA still leaves the NSA free to pull into its massive vacuum cleaner every telephone call and message entering, leaving, OR TRANSITING the country.The wisdom of a "black" operations like this (which dates back to the 1940's) is up for debate, but trying to spin it as an invention of the Bush administration, or their use of it as "unprecedented" doesn't jibe with history.
By carefully inserting the words "by the National Security Agency" into the FISA legislation, the NSA has skillfully excluded from the coverage of the FISA statute as well as the surveillance court all interceptions received from the British GCHQ or any other non-NSA source.
Thus it is possible for GCHQ to monitor the necessary domestic circuits and pass them on to the NSA through the UKUSA Agreement, giving them impunity to target and watch-list Americans.
While there may be debate about whether or not such spying is appropriate, it appears that the US government (and it's allies) have specifically built a system designed to give them the capability to do this type of surveillance, and apparently to do so legally.
ARC: St Wendeler
Here is the Democratic Leader and some of the other usual suspects at the signing of the Patriot Act back in the Dark Ages shortly after 09/11. What has changed since then, Senator? Can you explain yourself Senator? (H/T to Drudge.)
The Fourth Amendment (that we shall be secure in our homes and papers etc.) is a tricky rascal and one that I am a firm believer in. I am a true Libertarian about such things. Unless authorized the government shall not intrude. They need warrants supported by probable cause that a crime has been committed to break down your door and open sealed mail etc. Our rights under this amendment are basically described as being protected when we have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Does that apply to cell phones?
A cell phone is basically a radio. If you say something over a radio do you have an expectation of privacy? That seems ludicrous on its face. You put the signal out into space and it can, and will, end up almost anywhere. Want privacy? Find another way to communicate, say a land-line or letter (not to be confused with email which has essentially the same problem as a cell phone).
I am assuming (never a safe thing to do) that most of these intercepts involve wireless communication. If that is the case, I think the government is completely within its rights to intercept them. I know I do not say or do anything I do not want the world or God to know over a cell phone or the internet.
This is not to say that I think the government should be involved in this sort of thing on a regular basis. For one thing, to do so in an untargeted manner would involve billions of bits of information and would be hugely wasteful and unproductive. Secondly it is a way of slouching toward Big Brother and that makes me nervous indeed. Should it be shown that sort of thing was going on, which I doubt is the case, we would need to look seriously at some new privacy laws, not to mention encryption technology. But given the current state of technology and the law, I fail to see a problem with what the government has done here insofar as I understand the issue.
Eavesdropping on Bin Laden and his little friends is impolite but not illegal.
Monday, December 19, 2005
The Dems will try to pivot so they're on the right side of history. Unfortunately, we won't let them. Mark Steyn has a great article in the Chicago Sun-Times:
One day Iraq will be a G7 member hosting the Olympics in the world's No. 1 luxury vacation resort of Fallujah, and the Defeaticrat Party will still be running around screaming it's a quagmire. It's not just that Iraq is going better than expected, but that it's a huge success that's being very deftly managed: The timeframe imposed on the democratic process turns out to have worked very well -- the transfer of sovereignty, the vote on a constitutional assembly, the ratification of the constitution, the vote for a legislature -- and, with the benefit of hindsight, it now looks like an ingeniously constructed way to bring the various parties on board in the right order: first the Kurds, then the Shia, now the Sunni. That doesn't leave many folks over on the other side except Zarqawi and Dean. What do the two have in common? They're both foreigners, neither of whom have the slightest interest in the Iraqi people.
And no, I'm not questioning their patriotism. Honestly, who can be bothered questioning anything so footling as Howard Dean's patriotism? If you're a Democratic patriot and you're outraged by my linking your party to the "insurgents," take it up with your leaders: They're the ones who've over-invested the party in American failure. And instead of being angry at me you should be ashamed of them. Your party is regarded as unserious on national security because it got it wrong last time round, when Kerry spent the last half of the Cold War siding with every loser on the planet -- opposing the liberation of Grenada, supporting the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. And at least that little Sandinista guy looked awful cute in his fatigues, like a novelty houseboy Teresa picked up on vacation. It's hard to believe a bunch of crazy mullahs and suicide bombers are going to do much for the lefty T-shirt business.
George Clooney, the matinee idol, made an interesting point the other day. He said that "liberal" had become a dirty word and he'd like to change that. Fair enough. So I hope he won't mind if I make a suggestion. The best way to reclaim "liberal" for the angels is to get on the right side of history -- the side the Iraqi people are on. The word "liberal" has no meaning if those who wear the label refuse to celebrate the birth of a new democracy after 40 years of tyranny. Yet, if you wandered the Internet on Thursday, you came across far too many "liberals" who watched the election, shrugged and went straight back to Valerie Plame, WMD, Bush lied.
Bush lied, people dyed. Their fingers. That's what this is about: Millions of Kurds, Shia and Sunnis beaming as they emerge from polling stations and hold up their purple fingers after the freest, fairest election ever held in the Arab world. "Liberal" in the American sense is a dirty word because it's come to stand for a shriveled parochial obsolescent irrelevance, of which ''Good Night, and Good Luck,'' Clooney's dreary little retread of the McCarthy years, is merely the latest example. (Clooney says he wants more journalists to "speak truth to power," which is why I'm insulting his movie.)
Read the whole thing...
ARC: St Wendeler
First, the Democrats still do not grasp that foreign affairs and national security issues are their vulnerabilities, not their strengths. All of the drumbeat about Iraq, spying, and torture that the left thinks is so damaging to the White House are actually positives for the President and Republicans. Apparently, Democrats still have not fully grasped that the public has profound and long-standing concerns about their ability to defend the nation. As long as national security related issues are front page news, the Democrats are operating at a structural political disadvantage. Perhaps the intensity of their left wing base and the overwhelmingly liberal press corps produces a disorientation among Democratic politicians and prevents a more realistic analysis of where the country’s true pulse lies on these issues.
And while 9/11 has certainly faded in the consciousness for most in Washington these days (and for many in the country as a whole), for average Joe American security is still a critically important issue. And the bottom line is that average Americans’ sympathies are not with terrorists trying to kill innocents, but rather with our troops and security agents who are trying to combat these jihadists.
The public resents the overkill from Abu Ghraib and the hand-wringing over whether captured terrorists down in Gitmo may have been mistreated. They want Kahlid Mohamed, one of the master minds of 9/11 and a top bin Laden lieutanent, to be water-boarded if our agents on the ground think that is what necessary to get the intel we need. They want the CIA to be aggressively rounding up potential terrorists worldwide and keeping them in “black sites” in Romania or Poland or wherever, because the public would rather have suspected terrorists locked away in secret prisons in Bulgaria than plotting to kill Americans in Florida or California or New York.
One of the major problems working against Democrats is many on their side appear to be rooting for failure in Iraq and publicly ridicule the idea that we actually might win. When this impression is put in context of the debate over eavesdropping or the Patriot Act, Democrats run the significant risk of being perceived to be more concerned with the enemy’s rights than protecting ordinary Americans. This is a loser for Democrats.
This is a point that Brian and I have discussed at length. When the Kossacks & DUers are pushing them to the left and the MSM is holding your water for them, it's difficult for the Dems to develop an effective strategy that sells in the Red States. The whole point for the title of this blog was to make fun of the fact that the Left sees Karl Rove behind every Bush success and/or every disaster to the country, as in 9/11. The Left's failure to recognize fundamental problems with their policy positions and structural problems in their fractious party, they may be in the woods for some time to come.
Fortunately for the Dems, some presidential nominees are steering clear of Howard Dean and the rest of the party whackjobs... However, if the Left base of the Dem party continues to veer to the left and continues to do so in such a public way, they will likely be damaged by association.
As I've mentioned in the past, Dean's ascension from washed up Vermont Governor to Chair of the DNC has been a disaster for the Dems.
ARC: St Wendeler
Good rebuttal against the Dems & their propaganda arm. Just waiting for the questions from the Washington press corp. Why do I have the feeling that David Gregory (one of the biggest tools in the press corp) will ask his question au Francais? (Although, Gregory probably isn't in the audience, since he's doing the Today Show gig...)
I especially love the promotion of domestic successes... Most of the public doesn't know how good things are economically, although that's changing. I wish he would've extended his address last night and discussed this as well as the successes in the WOT. (Let's just hope that he doesn't promote the continued spending spree by Congress.)
*** UPDATE 1 ***
Love the direct attack on the leak of the NSA intercepts. "It's a shameful act [to disclose our methods of intelligence gathering]." Love the tie-in with Osama Bin Laden and how the WaPo publicized how we were monitoring him.
Democrats retort: "HALLIBURTON!!! Reichstag fire!!"
*** UPDATE 2 ***
John Roberts of CBS: "Can we dwell just a little bit longer on the multitudinous mistakes that you've made as President? The folks over at DailyKos are really peeved that you won't admit mistakes and those people run the country for crying out loud..." (Well, I'm paraphrasing...)
*** UPDATE 3 ***
Like that he mentioned the review that takes place every 45 days... also like the clarification about which calls are monitored.
Let's understand one thing. If you get an international call from an Al Qaeda terrorist, just assume that you're being listened to... If your phone number is in the address book of a captured Al Qaeda cell phone (as in the case of KSM) and you receive a call from an international terrorist, be prepared to be monitored.
*** UPDATE 4 ***
Bush is about as ticked as I've seen him. It's great... just confirmed that Scott Ott at ScrappleFace.com is correct. If we'd have been able to intercept communications back in 2001, we could've prevented 9/11.
Democrats retort: "BUSHITLER!!"
ARC: St Wendeler
Sunday, December 18, 2005
This speech will do two things:
- Celebrate the recent, successful elections in Iraq.
Bitch-slap rebut the Dems and the NYTimes for damaging our national security and our efforts in the War On Terror
At least, I would include the 2 item if I was giving the address...
The address will be live-blogged here... Co-Conspirators, set phasers to Fox News Channel
ARC: St Wendeler