Thursday, May 11, 2006

411...

Hey, I've got a great idea. Let's take the guy in charge of the illegal NSA domestic spying ordered by the President and make him the head of the CIA. It's pure genius.

Let's see those wiley Quaker terrorists escape our nets this time.

On a dollar saving note, I wonder how much the NSA will charge to look up numbers and connect me directly? If it's cheaper than my cel phone company, I'm just going to call them now. They probably have more up to date phone records than my cel company anyway.

36 comments:

Miranda said...

Maybe I watch too many movies and TV shows, but it doesn't seem to me like authorities looking at phone records is a new thing. It happens a lot in Law and Order re-runs and Monk. And it's not even the CIA summoning the records. It's policemen. Maybe that's why I'm not filled with panic and Bush hatred now.

Laura said...

Miranda: Those phone records you speak of are obtained legally, with a warrant approved by a judge only after evidence is put forth that there is probable cause to look at such records.

Might I remind everyone of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution: " The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

The argument of if you're not doing anything wrong, then you should worry doesn't hold water with me.

I think we should all call the NSA and ask them whether our spouses/significant others are cheating on us...

Shawn said...

It's just another exsample of the President's disregard for the Constitution of our great country. But in the current culture of corruption, who could be surprised. Lord only knows what will fall out of the closet next.

But it's not only the trampling of the Constitution that's troubling, it's the fact that nobody with any sense seems to driving the car.

If you were bent on jihad, snuck into this country illegally, blended in with the millions of others here illegally and living below the government's radar, would you be calling Osama Bin Laden to shoot the shit from your house? Or would you maybe use a different phone every time?

No, this administration is more intent on continuing it's catchphrase leadership and using it's million dollar talking points of the week than constructively building a better America.

It's like watching John Candy driving the wrong way on the freeway in 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles.' People are screaming out warnings - 'You're going the wrong way!' but he doesn't want to hear it. Only the President is out of control with our country not a rental car in a movie.

Wendy said...

I wonder if we can get that service extended to Canada, what with NAFTA and our new Conservative government and all...

Shawn said...

Wendy - Probably...you might have to swear undying allegiance and spit swear like the Tony B. and the Brits.

Miranda said...

Laura:
You have to be very...liberal with your interpretation of the constitution to make it apply in this case. If you read it with the
intent to prove that Bush MUST have done something wrong, you might be inclined to believe it. But no one's person, house, or papers have been searched or seized. No one's house is being broken into. These are not records that are kept by individuals. They're records held by companies - companies that don't have the same rights as you and I do as individuals.

You can call the NSA if you like, but it wouldn't do you any good. The records in question are not audio copies of calls. The information in them, if I understand things correctly, tells
those looking at it who called what number. Hardly an invasion of privacy, although I suppose it might be a little embarassing for
someone who makes a lot of 1-900 calls, or inconvenient to those who have ties to known terrorists -for which I am most heartily sorry.

Shawn:
I don't think it's quite fair to say the president disregards the constitution. I do think it's fair to say he at least believes in
the country, and he at least still speaks well of it. It's a little
hard for me to believe that someone who says this country doesn't stand for liberty and who disregards the great things his countrymen have done really cares about that country's constitution.

"If you were bent on jihad, snuck into this country illegally, blended in with the millions of others here illegally and living below the government's radar, would you be calling Osama Bin Laden to shoot the shit from your house? Or would you maybe use a different phone every time?" Maybe. Criminals often do stupid things. And wouldn't it be embarassing if we COULD have caught a terrorist who was doing just that, but we didn't?
I can already hear the criticism.

"No, this administration is more intent on continuing it's catchphrase leadership and using it's million dollar talking points of the week than constructively building a better America."

Find me a democrat who doesn't use catchphrases and talking points. Which side was it that got caught passing along the memo, anyway? And remember the "Lockbox?"

The president doesn't have the power to steer the car by himself.
The government is run by a number of people - some of them democrats. Are they all doing a great job in your opinion? Is it just the president who is terrible enough to warrant protest?

Slade said...

have you read miranda's recent post???

Laura said...

Miranda... My last comment was a joke. Sorry if I lost you on that one.

It IS an invasion of privacy in my opinion to be rooting around in people's personal lives with no probable cause and no warrants. Phones didn't exist in the 18th Century, so they could hardly add that to the list. I guess, by your interpretation, Emails wouldn't be considered personal records either - since they're not papers? Who I call and when, and for what purpose, is no one's concern unless I am suspected of doing something wrong. The problem with warrantless tapping and seizure of phone records is that the definitions of terrorists, and terror, and terrorist orgainziations are so loosely defined. We're on (to use a favorite Conservative phrase) a slippery slope here. If some secret tribunal decides that participating in an immigration rally is dangerous to national security and I was an organzier - they know how my phone records without a warrant.

Our government and constitution was based on citizens perpetual mistrust of power, because the founders believed that power unchecked leads to corruption. I think our recent decades have proven them correct. You're far too trusting of your government.

And aren't republicans supposed to be the party in favor of less government intrusion on people's lives?

Shawn said...

"Hey Man, looks like you got a flat tire..."

"What?! Do you hate cars, or something!"

"No...I was just saying that tire looks flat."

"You think nobody else has ever had a flat tire?! That guy over there has a tire that's low and I don't see you sayin' anything to him."

"Dude, I saw your tire was low and thought I should tell you. Holy crap! Is that gas leaking from your car?!"

"Now you've gone too far Car Hater!"

"What's going on?"

"Nothing Honey...just another one of them Car Haters trying to tell me our car has a flat tire and is leaking gas. Next he's gonna say it's dangerous. Don't listen to him. He just hates cars..."

"Dude, your car is dangerous. You could hurt somebody. Say...have you been drinking?"

"I may or may not be on prescription drugs, not that a Car Hater like you needs to know. You probably don't even go to church."

"You shouldn't drive that car in your condition."

"C'mon Honey, let's get away from this Car Hater."

"Yeah! Leave us alone Hater!"

Zooom...crash...

Shawn said...

The government is run by a number of people - some of them democrats. Are they all doing a great job in your opinion? Is it just the president who is terrible enough to warrant protest?

Ummm...yeah. I forget that those poor Republicans haven't had a majority in the House and Senate. It's so hard to drive from the back seat. Oh, wait...

And, no, there are plenty of others worthy of protest...Tom DeLie, Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney, Donald 'I don't like me them Negroes either Mr. President' Rummy, You're doing a heck of a job' Brownie, CIA No.3...

And you misunderstand me...the President warrants not only protest, but jail time.

Hardly an invasion of privacy, although I suppose it might be a little embarassing for
someone who makes a lot of 1-900 calls, or inconvenient to those who have ties to known terrorists -for which I am most heartily sorry.


So, there are known terrorists hiding in our country? Holy Crap! Maybe they'll check stuff out at the liberry. We oughta check them records too.

Um, yeah...it's just another tool for law enforcement. My bad.

Wait...if you know their terrorists, why don't you arrest them? You can toss them in Gitmo with the other 'known terrorists' you're holding without trial and make them eat copies of the Constitution you're trampling...the fiber will do them good.

Miranda said...

I understood that it was a joke. But there was still a point to make related to it.

The constitution does _not_ give anyone the right to privacy - and it shouldn't. There are a lot of things that can be done in private that we need to protect ourselves against. I mean, seriously, what if
Lindy England used the "right to privacy" argument and it flew?

My argument isn't that telephone records aren't protected because they're not papers. It is that they're not anyone's personal belongings.

The definition of "terror" is indeed broad. So is the definition of "probable cause." But that's what is written in the constitution. If someone has done
something that makes them a terror suspect that IS probable cause, broad as the term may be. And whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, I believe it makes the NSA's actions permissable. No law has been broken. Which means that claiming that those involved acted illegally is disingenous. It's fair to say they did things you think ought to be illegal, but anything more is a stretch.

"Our government and constitution was based on citizens perpetual mistrust of power"

That was one consideration. It was not the entire basis of the constitution.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America."

Note that it does not say, "We the People of the United States, Because we mistrust other governments....etc."

It's a positive document. Written to create something wonderful. And they DID create it.

Am I too trusting? Very possibly. I'm very biased towards America.

I'm not a Republican because of my beliefs on government size. I'm a Republican because the Republicans run candidates who don't hate everything I stand for and they tend to have a more optimistic view of America and its future than do Democrats. I can't vote for someone who runs my country and my values down. I'll vote for
someone who will at least throw my side a bone once in awhile ;).

Shawn:
*Grin* Okay. When the Democrats start winning elections, though, and I still don't see any criticism that argument won't work.

Okay. The president deserves jail time for breaking which law? While, meanwhile, Kennedy and Clinton should get off without paying any penalties?

Of course there are. And *gasp* there are actually people who've stolen, murdered and raped walking free in this country. Shall we stop trying to find them? Maybe it would be better if we just left everyone alone, since privacy is a much greater concern. And the Amber alert system has got to go. Imagine! Broadcasting someone's license plate number everywhere for all to see! Where ARE people's priorities today?

Sometimes international laws make it hard to catch people. Besides. If you can catch two terrorists, why take only one?

President Bush may trample the parts of the constitution that "emanate from penumbras" but the parts written by the founding fathers he's left untouched. And that's good enough for me.

greatwhitebear said...

Okay, let me get this straight. Miranda is honestly arguing that if Bush should go to prison for illegally ordering the torture of people, illegally interning Americans without access to legal council, and spying on American citizens without a warrent... Clinton and the ghost of JFK should go to jail for having sex outside of marriage with consenting adults? Please tell me I misinterpreted that!

greatwhitebear said...

oh yeah.. and WHAT values? They are going to have to build an annex at Levenworth by the time all the current scandals in Washington play out. Quite frankly, we wouldn't be in the huge mess we are in if Republicans had any values.

Miranda said...

GWB: I'm right here posting. If you have a question or comment about my post you COULD address it to me. But, hey. If it makes you feel better to be condescending to women, so be it.

In response to your comments:
First of all, just so I'm clear on things, could you explain to me the difference between legally and illegally ordering torture? Then, if you'd be so kind, could you provide me with a citation of Bush's order to illegally torture someone?

You don't need a warrant to spy on people. You do need a warrant to search and seize their personal property without probable cause. There IS probable cause. No one's personal belongings are being being seized, the information has been provided willingly by telephone companies to the NSA after the NSA requested those records and it looks like nothing terribly private has been revealed. Not even names. It's looking less and less like a scandal to me, and your side is looking more and more paranoid.

JFK is not the Kennedy I meant. Ted Kennedy is. Not because he's a creep who cheats on his wife, but because he's a creep who covers it up by driving his girlfriend into a lake and letting her drown.

Clinton shouldn't serve jail time because he's a creep who cheats on his wife. He should serve jail time because he's a creep who harasses, threatens, and destroys the lives of women to cover it up.
And you can pretend those things aren't important if you like, but
they're a whole lot worse than looking at patterns in telephone records. Except of course to a Democrat.

At least we value the country and life. If you cherish anything it's hatred and a disregard of all things truly beautiful.

Miranda said...

Actually, I'm curious Great White Bear. What DO you value?

Laura said...

Bwahaha... GWB condecending to women? I've never gotten that vibe.

Ok, the Administration has broken laws, first off. It is against the law, according to the Federal Communications Act of 1934 (as ammended in 1996) - which protects the privacy of telecommunications customer information - including the use, duration of use of services. Alberto Gonzales, when asked why he didn't just push to change the law, said that he didn't think Congress would.

So that's where we're at here. An Administration that circumvents laws that are inconvenient?

Where's the checks and balances?

Congress makes laws that bind everyone, even the president. No one is above the law - except, apparently, King George II and his court of jesters.

If you value America so much Miranda, why aren't you concerned with a government that sneaks around the law rather than going through proper channels?

Or might I remind you of a few good quotes:

"If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier - just so long I'm the dictator." December 18, 2000. George W. Bush

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both". -Benjamin Franklin

Laura said...

Oh, and one more thing:

Does anyone else find it odd that they're trolling through millions of records? There aren't millions of terrorists in the country (or maybe there are, given the loose definitions ;)).

Think about it.

Either they are so clueless and inept that they're resorting to datamining millions of records because their intelligence is so bad that they can't narrow in a some suspects.

OR

They're not doing what they say they're doing.

Shawn said...

[another driver is trying to alert them that they're driving on the wrong side of the highway]
Neal: He says we're going the wrong way...
Del: Oh, he's drunk. How would he know where we're going?


Yup, drunk with power and behind the wheel.

They're not doing what they say they're doing.

Larura, I'm shocked. To even imply such a thing proves you hate America.

The Emperor does too have clothes...

Shawn said...

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America."

Note that it does not say, "We the People of the United States, Because we mistrust other governments....etc."


Maybe they figured that this little document sort of said that already. I'm guessing that the dudes who wrote the Constitution had maybe heard tell of it. Call it a hunch.

Or maybe it was that they said this:

"THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution."

My mind is getting soft, sometimes I forget things so maybe I'm just a bit addled by my blinding hatred of this president and his merry band of tricksters.

The definition of "terror" is indeed broad. So is the definition of "probable cause." But that's what is written in the constitution. If someone has done
something that makes them a terror suspect that IS probable cause, broad as the term may be. And whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, I believe it makes the NSA's actions permissable. No law has been broken. Which means that claiming that those involved acted illegally is disingenous. It's fair to say they did things you think ought to be illegal, but anything more is a stretch.


Ummm...must have nodded off and missed the warrant part. Where is that pesky thing? Oh yeah...

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Yeah, I hate my country so much I spent my college years studying it's laws and policies, worked on two presidential campaigns, fought two state resolutions that limited some peoples rights based on who they chose to sleep with, and continue to both study my country's laws and work on trying to shape better ones.

Saying there are problems and we should work to fix them is far less hateful than denying there are problems or admitting there are problems and saying it's hateful to want to address them because it might make the president look bad.

Don't worry, his dishonesty already did that.

Yesterday, I took my Dad to the hospital. I'm thankful I live in a country that has good medical care.

Today, I watched my nephews get in the car to go to church. I'm thankful they live in a country where they can do that.

Tomorrow, those boys will be grown up and having kids of their own. I'll be damned if I let them be left with a country that allowed all their precious rights to be given away because nobody was willing to say anything.

Gregg said...

This, from a purely legal standpoint, is not a fourth amendment issue. In SMITH v. MARYLAND, 442 U.S. 735 (1979) The Court of Appeals affirmed that "there is no constitutionally protected reasonable expectation of privacy in the numbers dialed into a telephone system and hence no search within the fourth amendment is implicated by the use of a pen register installed at the central offices of the telephone company." Id., at 173, 389 A. 2d, at 867. Because there was no "search," the court concluded, no warrant was needed.
This is the law, if you would like to argue the morality of it, fine, but it does not change the fact that they are within the parameters of said law.
On a more personal note, I think I'm in love with Miranda.

greatwhitebear said...

Miranda - Speaking of condescending...

What do I value? You mean besides life, liberty and the persuit of happiness? Besides the right to say and do as I please? The right to worship or not as I please with out having the government or a bunch of right wing wackos tell me who or what I must worship? Without having to put up with the government colluding in proseltyzing my grandchildren? The right to breath air and drink water that doesn't poison me? The time I get to spend enjoying nature? My children and grandchildren? Besides that? Gee, and you thought I WAS CONDESCENDING!

And since it is illegal to torture any human being under both US and international law, it isn't exactly a giant leap to figure out it is illegal for someone to order said torture. And, at least in the military code of justice, it is specifically illegal (note that mr. commander in chief)

No, I am not condescending, I just don't suffer fools lightly.

Shawn said...

G - Have you mentioned your newfound love to your girlfriend yet? And you can't be in love with Miranda, 'cause I was first.

This, from a purely legal standpoint, is not a fourth amendment issue.

This, from any standpoint is only part of the package - a package which also includes warrantless wiretaps of conversations with at least one person on the line in this country.

Anyone who believes there isn't - and hasn't been - more surveillance of U.S. citizens than this is naive.

Cheers.

Dan said...

I know a lot of this has been addressed already, but let me restate a few things here just so everybody is clear. The NSA has siezed public and private phone records, ostensibly to help ferret out suspected terrorists operating on US soil. Yes, these records in question are held by companies, however...These corporations do in fact enjoy and are regulated by the exact same laws as private citizens. True, there are more laws that regulate what a corporation can and cannot do, but all this is academic.

The true heart of this matter has little to do with the legally gray area of "right to privacy." (Something which in my opinion has no business having any gray areas incidentally.) The fact of this whole dustup over illegal wiretapping is that the President of the United States issued orders for wiretaps on US citizens, on US soil, without probable cause, and without recieving a Federal Court issued warrant. Federal Law specifically outlines the process that every agency must go through to tap someone's phone, including the President of the United States, and the NSA. When these two agencies ignored this process, they broke the law. There is no "legally gray" area here. This is the exact same legal issue that forced President Nixon's resignation.

This President thinks he is able to interpret the law however he sees fit, if you doubt this, read through any signing statement he's ever issued. To date, this President has signed over 750 congressional bills into law with a presidential signing statement attached that outlines his personal interpretation of said law, including how the law in question does not apply to him.

It is not the job of the executive branch of our government to interpret the law. That's why we have a judicial system.

Shawn said...

Dan - That's so weird, I just recently heard about the prez and his not signing bills without making little notes about how they don't apply to him or how they need to be interpreted.

Thanks for stopping by my little chunk of e-real estate. And thanks for the shout out too, that was awesome.

What you seem to be forgetting is that we're at war here. You know, the one that was declared by somebody. Nevermind who it was, the point is that it has a catchy name and is vague enough to allow it to go on forever.

Anyway, these are really bad people we're fighting here and a few cameras in your bathroom shouldn't be too much to ask. If you loved America and the baby Jesus, you wouldn't complain.

Just sayin'...

Cheers.

Miranda said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Miranda said...

This will probably be one of my last comments on this post. I don't want to start repeating myself over and over again :P And besides, SOMEONE needs to post a new post.

Laura:
If I was convinced that the president was actually trying to circumvent laws, I'd be more concerned. The problem is,
that the president's opponents have been launching
accusations at him since the beginning of his presidency. Most
of them haven't been at all credible. The fact that so many
of those accusations turned out to be false, or exaggerated makes me a little less willing to think ill of the president and a little more likely to scrutinize the arguments of those who are against him.
My side tried to impeach Clinton. Your side's been trying to get a little packback since then. That's not to say I'm not biased. I am.
But your side hasn't done itself any favors by fabricating scandal after scandal.

And no, it isn't odd that they're going through millions of records.
When a criminal is hiding among millions of people, to find him,
you've got to search through them. You can't just say, "Oh, look, we have a million files to look through, we better not even try."
The truth of the matter is that there were terrorists in the country
before 9/11. We didn't catch them even though a number of things might have tipped us off to their presence if we'd been vigilante. But we weren't. And Bush was blamed for that. He's not making the same mistake twice.

Shawn:
I did say it was one consideration. I just don't think it's the entire basis of the constitution. There were also things like establishing justice and securing the Blessings of Liberty.

On the warrants:
We're not talking about someone's property being seized and search through. We're talking about materials being provided voluntarily by their owners. Which means no warrant is necessary.

Studying does not equal loving. I studied hard for math tests and I still hate math. Passionately. If someone studies my country, but then continues to bash it, never offering any praise of it, suspecting that they don't love it isn't really so far fetched. People who plan on attacking our country study its laws and policies in college too.

I don't mind people saying the country has problems. It does. And yes, we should work on them. But I haven't really seen
people on your side talking about fixing the countries problems.
Mostly, I see criticism of Bush and the country, with no
alternatives suggested. Of course, I don't offer solutions either.
I'm too busy trying to write defenses.

Do I get to be in the merry band of tricksters?

And it's not criticizing Bush that makes me think you don't like America. It's criticizing America that makes me think it. I'm still grouching about the "America doesn't stand for liberty post." But I suppose I should let it go. I know you don't really hate America.

I hope your dad is feeling better.

Gregg:
*clap* A law scholar. Thanks for the backup You need a blog!

GWB: Is it condescending to ask what values you have?
You asked me the same question. I think it's fair enough to ask back.

So, then. What is legal torture? And how DO you suffer fools?

Shawn:
You'll both have to fight off my anonymous poster. He loves me most! Especially my nose!

That said, the wiretaps may be another matter altogether. I need to research what's going on with them before I know. However,
the wiretaps certainly don't violate the fourth amendment. So claiming that the president's trampling over the constitution because of them is a little hard to do.

Dan:
It is not the job of the executive branch of our government to interpret the law. That's why we have a judicial system.
We also have it to create new rights that congress has a hard time passing laws to create.

Dan said...

We also have it to create new rights that congress has a hard time passing laws to create.

Heh you are too right there. See, I knew there was a reason I liked you even though you're a *shudder* conser... um you know. Anyways, don't panic too much about all the defending you're doing here. You are doing extremely well. If it gets too far out of hand just say the word and I'll start playing devil's advocate. And if GWB gets to be too much, threaten him with the return of monkey boy. He'll know who you mean *and he won't be certain you don't know the guy.*

Shawn

Actually I read your blog all the time, I just rarely comment. Something I hope to change starting today.

greatwhitebear said...

Miranda- a) I didn't ask you about your values. I just said Republicans don't have any.

b) implicit in your remarks that "At least we value the country and life. If you cherish anything it's hatred and a disregard of all things truly beautiful", is that you somehow love America more than I do. Which was extremely condescending. Let me point out to you that I am the one standing up for the values of forefathers, not you. I could also point out to you my families service to this country since the revolutionary war, the fact that I have membership pending in the Sons of the American Revolution, and that I take my citizenship duties extremely seriously. DON'T EVER question my love of country or true American values.

c) even though this is the world's stupidest question, I will answer it anyhow, because you seem to think it is clever. If GW Bush or anyone else, was head of a country that wasn't a signator to the Geneva Conventions, and where there were no laws prohibiting it, torture would be legal. Morally reprehensible, but legal. Btw, who would Jesus torture?

d) how do you suffer fools lightly? By pretending they aren't fools.

Laura said...

Two things & then I'm done with this.

Miranda said "The problem is,
that the president's opponents have been launching accusations at him since the beginning of his presidency. Most of them haven't been at all credible."

Well, time will tell about that one. Plamegate is looking like it's resting on Cheney's doorstep. The Exec branch sent edited records of Abramoff's visits to the whitehouse... we shall see.

The fact that "my side" as you call it has launched attacks since the beginning is no different than when "your side" did it to Clinton. But we're not talking about that. I have this strange ability to set aside personal feelings about politicians (who are pretty much all smarmy bastards) and focus on what they've done.

To answer Reagan's question from the 1980 (?) election: I am not better off than I was 6 years ago. Neither are a lot of people in this country and in many other countries where our foreign policies have affected people's lives. I cannot honestly think of one good thing Bush has done since he took office. There's lots of things that would have been good if he followed through on them (Afghanistan, Osama). But PNAC and Iraq got in the way of that.

I also find it odd that a true conservative would support Bush at this point. He over spends, creates vigilante policies and military operations, flagrantly ignores the judicial and legislative branches of his government, pushes his own religious morals on a very diverse nation, and has never taken any accountability for anything. That sounds more like a radical to me.

And about the millions of records etc. Sure, they're hiding among millions. But that's why we have the CIA and NSA - they HAD informtion on these people before 9/11 but the agencies didn't collaborate with the FBI. So Bush created Homeland Security - another good idea gone awry. What has DHS done except create cute color coded "warning" messages to be used to scare the pants off soccer moms right before elections? Misspend billions of dollars so far is what they've done - and our intel isn't any better for it.

But that's ok... I just hate this country I guess. No point in standing up for what I believe it should stand for - that makes me unAmerican. Whatever.

greatwhitebear said...

Why is it I suddenly feel like Dan Akroyd on Saturday Night Live? I just want to yell "Miranda, you ingnorant slut!" Even t hough Miranda doesn't look anything like Jane Curtain. Oh hell, why am I rambling? Probably noboday here old enough to even remember when Akroyd aand Curtain were even on SNL.

Miranda said...

Greatwhitebear:
The right to do as you please is not one endorsed by the founding fathers. Nor did they give you a right not to be told what to do by "right wing wackos." None of them ever made, to my knowledge, any law about air or water. Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and freedom of speech were important to them, and it's nice that you at least value them enough to recite them. But I don't think you truly stand for them at all.

The founding fathers kept congress from establishing a national religion, but they did NOT forbid government officials from expressing their religious views or from consulting them before acting - politically or otherwise.

In fact, the fathers expressed their own religious views often, and even asked that the country not forget its religious roots, because America had been blessed.
Read some of Washington's speeches sometime. You'll hate them.

Not only is there an establishment clause, there is also a clause that defends freedom of expression.

And it seems like you're against that, rather than for it.

Meanwhile, you do seem to support freedom of speech - for yourself and those who agree with you. But not for anyone who has different views than you. You want to silence Bush, and you want to silence me (as indicated by your "shut up" comment). That sort of selective support makes you no better than those our forefathers opposed.

The founding fathers would not, I think, have supported your perverted version of their values, nor would they be impressed by your manners.

As for your relatives, I am grateful to everyone who has died or sacrificed for my freedom. However, one of the things that makes this country great is that we believe that all men are created equal, rather than believing that lines of lineage make men great. If everyone in your family supported life and liberty and you oppose them, you are no better than someone who opposes them but has no great family ties.

I won't question your values anymore, greatwhitebear. Following your big-hearted example, I will, instead, simply assume you have none.

I did not ask how to suffer fools lightly. I asked how you DID suffer fools.

And as to your last comment:
Why is it I suddenly feel like Dan Akroyd on Saturday Night Live? I just want to yell "Miranda, you ingnorant slut!"

I suspect you feel that way because you want to show the world how much you value free speech.

Dan:
Thanks very much, but I'd rather see what your real views are. GWB is not at all too much, but I am curious as to who this legendary "monkey boy" is.

Miranda said...

Laura: "Plamegate" seems so far to me to be another manufactured scandal. The CIA provided information to the president saying that there were WMDs in Iraq. When it started to look like perhaps the WMDs weren't there, people wanted to know who to blame.
Columnist Robert Novak suggested that one of the people to blame for the misinformation was a man named Wilson, Plame's husband, who had been given the position at the urging of Plame. Nothing was said about Plame being a secret operative. And so far, not a scrap of evidence has been produced to say that Plame was at all endangered by anything that was revealed. Plame's defense is now focusing, not on charges that have anything to do with her endangerment, but instead on alleged lies told to the grand jury. The other charges, the defense says, are not important.
I have my doubts about whether or not any lies were actually told. And I suspect that this scandal, along with the other manufactured
scandals, will end in nothing. But I've been wrong before.

My side did not attack Clinton in such a manner from the beginning of his presidency. He was seen as a moderate and supported to some degree by Republicans. It wasn't until he had actually done things
that he was accused. Meanwhile, Democrats have been pushing for Bush's impeachment since the beginning, because they're looking for payback. Which means, if Bush actually does do something that warrants impeachment, they'll have to work extra hard, because they've sure cried wolf a lot.


Maybe you aren't better off than you were six years ago. I am. And so are a lot of other people. Those who were burried alive in Sadam's grave are certainly better off than they used to be. Those who can read when they could not before, those who are no longer subject to the mutilation they used to be, and those who can now vote are better off. Oh, no, Iraq isn't perfect. It's a hard place to live in, but it's hard to say it's not a better place than it was.

Most of Bush's overspending has to do with how moderate he tries to be, not how radical. He's spent a lot on programs that appeal to liberals. While I don't support that, I would rather have a big spender who stands for liberty than a fiscal conservative who cares nothing about any country other than his own, and I would
rather have a moderate who will try to ban things like partial birth abortion than a man who
"supports diverse views."
I'm not a conservative just to have conservative as a title.

And yes. The CIA has problems. People like Mr. Wilson are in it.

Shawn said...

Well, I've been good for a while...

Some of your Plamegate notions are a little off M. First off, Wilson was asked to go because he had background in the area. He was stationed a country away from Niger and had good knowledge of the players in the area. He also has a background that gave him knowledge of mining, and uranium in particular.

It's not some little slip that he was sent to check out something that, I would hope, would be taken seriously at the highest levels - the possibility that Iraq was trying to obtain materials for a nuclear weapon.

He returned and presented his findings - that there was no basis for the allegations and any previous tips to the contrary were wrong. His report went through the CIA, which also came to the same conclusion. It's disingenuous for the administration to try and lay the blame for invading Iraq on the CIA's steps. The administration wanted this war and was willing to skew the facts and fabricate false reasons for invading.

Wilson didn't come out with his op-ed piece until after the president stated in his State of the Union address that Iraq was purchasing enriched uranium with the intention of building nuclear weapons.

The march to war was well under way and no one in the administration wanted anything to stop that.

Plame was working as an operative for the CIA. Whether she was hanging out in Washington, eating at Denny's, or stationed overseas, nothing changes that. Someone - let's not pretend it wasn't Dick Cheney - leaked that information to sympathetic members of the press. Novak had a piece run that essentially outed Plame as a CIA operative and thus derailed her from that career track.

Even if the piece never ran, a fairly important law was broken. It's not a wee little thing to reveal the identity of people working for this country when the law prohibits it. This is especially true when it was done as nothing more than a vindictive political move to harm someone who disagreed with the administration and called them on a lie (if you're distrustful of them) or an erroneous belief (if you steadfastly support them).

Essentially, Cheney did what you like to pin on Clinton. He ruined a woman's career. It takes big nuts to go after someone's wife because they dare to throw a kink in your plans to create a war.

It's not a stretch to say that in a 'time of war' it's even more hurtful to the country to play politics with the identities of operatives. It's a step short of revealing troop movements or upcoming attack plans. And remember, this is all from an administration and president that came out loudly proclaiming that anyone who leaked intelligence was a traitor and criminal.

But instead of either defending the action, Cheney has let his aide take the heat and face possible jail time. Instead of apologizing, he and the rest of the administration's hit squad have tried to disparage both Plame and Wilson.

If I were Wilson, I would quietly bide my time, and when Cheney's out of office I would deck him and tell him 'that's for fucking with my wife.' That's just me, but I like to think there are plenty of husbands who would do the same if someone treated their wife that way.

As a professed neo-Con, you should at least know that one of the stated ideals of the current crop of neo-Conservatives is that war is a natural state and thus pre-emptive strikes are essential. Another is that America should exercise it's military might unilaterally if it's necessary to reach our political ambitions. This is our right as the world's only superpower. These beliefs were most clearly outlined by members of PNAC (Project for the New American Century) of which more than a handful of this administration's key figures were part of.

But that's irrelevant. The facts are that members of the administration broke a serious law and placed themselves in the grey legal area that borders high crimes and misdemeanors.

Miranda said...

Unless there is good evidence to support it, it is not at all fair to say that Cheney is guilty of breaking the law. I haven't seen any evidence produced to implicate him. And this is my major problem with those who want to make this "Plamegate", automatically assume the Vice President is guilty, just because he has been accused. As I've indicated before, it would be a lot easier to give credence to those accusers, if they hadn't been grasping at straws through the entire Bush presidency. Let's not forget that the first accusations included
blame of the president himself, and there certainly hasn't been a scrap of evidence to support the claim that Bush had anything to do with Novak's article, or this so-called Plamegate. Liberals seem to be convinced that, just because they don't like Bush, every accusation made against him must be true.

So, here's the deal. Wilson says Cheney sent him. Cheney says he did not. Wilson hasn't been paid by Cheney, nor has he filed a report with him. Wilson also claims that Cheney outed his wife. Cheyney says he did not.
So far I haven't seen any evidence that proves that either one is telling the truth. I did read that Valerie Plame wrote a memo recommending Wilson for the job. One way or another, someone is lying. If it is Cheney, then
Cheney has committed the crime. If it is Wilson, then Wilson has committed the crime. But at this point in time, there isn't enough evidence to say that either one positively did (correct me if I am wrong, I could be, I just
haven't seen a record of any). Because I've followed the other "scandals", like the memo one, my money is on Wilson. If it turns out I'm wrong, I'll eat my words.

Shawn said...

Wilson says Cheney sent him. Cheney says he did not. Wilson hasn't been paid by Cheney, nor has he filed a report with him. Wilson also claims that Cheney outed his wife. Cheyney says he did not.

Wilson hasn't said Cheney sent him. The CIA sent him. The State Department was against it because they had already concluded that the yellowcake story was false and it would be a waste of time to send someone. Why would Cheney ever pay Wilson?

Cheney isn't accused of outing Wilson's wife. He's accused of being behind the actual outing.

There was a leak and that leak appears to be Cheney's aide-de-camp, Scooter Libby. Libby has been indicted for essentially perjury. He could also face, at worst, the much more serious charge of identifying a covert agent, or another serious charge of revealing classified information.

Others, including Cheney, are still being investigated and a new grand jury has been asked for.

Several journalists could also face charges if it can be proven that they knew they were revealing classified information.

Shawn said...

Of course, most of us had to wonder if Bush was behind the leaks. It's reasonable to assume that the person in charge would likely know what is going on around him.

Most liberals believe Bush wasn't behind the leaks at all, but that he has backpeddled on earlier statements in order to protect those in his administration that are guilty.