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September 08, 2007


Man, you gotta have a chat with the UM scheduler. This is really brutal. Earlier this morning, in what appears to be a dead thread, I asked "Who the Maize, Black and Blue playing today?" Lookee here, my teevee says its Oregon! First the West Virginia, er I mean Appalachian State Mountaineers, now a Pac 10 team. My, my; any predictions?

Bushies spying on the "community of interest" is in perfect keeping with their known habits.

The Plame outing was clearly, at the time, aimed not only at Plame but even more at any potential dissidents within the adminstration who might consider talking out of school.

In fact, I think the Plame outing was, by its outrageousness, exactly the example the Busies wanted to use to show they were in control and would crush anyone who crossed them.

Spying on the "community of interest" to identify leakers is the same M.O.

Is or has anyone created a lexicon of all of the civil rights infractions and Constitutional attacks language and terms? It would be incredibly useful to be able to see the historical and chronological progression of the introduction of these terms, who used them first, how they were disseminated and integrated into mainstream and public conversation and what role, if any, that the traditional media had in promoting and disseminating them. FWIW, the blogosphere's reaction, use and awareness of them would also be extremely interesting. Dissertation, anyone?

As scummy and distasteful as it is, and it really is, the mining and mapping activity by the comms is probably quite legal as long as it is done for legitimate commercial purposes. The comms don't come under the penumbra of the 4th Amendment as long as they are doing it on their own for said legitimate commercial purposes; however, if done in conjucntion with, or on behalf of, the government, they do. The government is subject to the Constitutional restraints whether partnered with the comms, or simply seizing their previously collected data. My point here is the liability/immunity issue. Whatever the comms were doing, and are doing, on their own as far as mining and mapping; they probably don't have any liability exposure for, and if they do, that is their problem not the government's and there is no need nor basis for immunity for this conduct.

As to whatever information and/or assistance the comms gave the government pursuant to a warrant or other valid judicial process, the comms are already "immunized" for. As to whatever information and assistance that the comms gave to the government pursuant to government demand and certified by the Administration as legal and necessary for national security, for the life of me, I cannot see how the government will not have to indemnify and defend the comms for. The bottom line is, as I have been saying for a while, there simply is no giant exposure of the comms that necessitates a granting of immunity, prospective, retroactive or otherwise. The Bush Administration is bellowing this canard merely to prevent citizens from having a pathway to the truth of what they have done, and to shield themselves from criminal culpability. This is absolute bullshit, and nobody should give them the time of day on this issue.

Oh, bmaz, I assume Lloyd Carr's career is over. Pity, too. He was a good college coach.

From the article:
"The community of interest data sought by the F.B.I. is central to a data-mining technique intelligence officials call link analysis. Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, American counterterrorism officials have turned more frequently to the technique, using communications patterns and other data to identify suspects who may not have any other known links to extremists."

Well, all I can say is, Kevin Bacon had better watch his back.

But seriously, I'm surprised the "no fly" list was only numbered at 80K or whatever that ridiculous number was. They have got to be absolutely buried in data when doing analysis like this. The only thing that gives me any kind of peace of mind is knowing how the sheer volume of data they're dealing with is nature's best protection.

The thing that worries me most is wondering what their definition of "extremist" is, given all the press by idiots like O'Reilly about dkos and the blogosphere.

In Lloyd Carr's defense, he seems like a decent chap (but so would Atilla the Hun compared to Schembechler) and, at 1 win and 3 losses, his winning percentage in the Rose Bowl is clearly superior to Schembechler's. And what with Notre Dame up next, at least you have a break in the schedule for a week. 32-7. Ouch.

I don't doubt this particular revelation merely scratches the surface of the data mining crimes committed by the deputy dogs of this administration. I don't doubt, for example, that any one who has ever posted over at Kos has been surveilled, or those (like myself) who have left comments over the years have likewise fallen under the scrutiny of the unscrupulous. The democratic presidential aspirants should be called on to pledge that the wrongdoing will be fully exposed, whoever may assume the office.

This link analysis is apparently used by banks to detect fraud. Under the Bank Secrecy Act, the Anti-Money Laundering Act, and several provisions of the USA Patriot Act, money-handlers, including banks and brokers, are required to be able to detect a whole bunch of transactions which give rise to the requirement to file a Suspicious Activity Report. Ostensibly this is supposed to locate terrorist financing and money-laundering. Interestingly, this obligation does not give rise to obligations to bank customers or others who might be harmed by the activity. In fact, it is illegal even to inquire as to whether a bank filed an SAR. On the other hand, failure to implement the systems and operate them effectively permits the regulators to impose walloping fines. I know of one case in which a bank paid $40 million in fines.

I took a look at the software analysts notebook, referred to in the Lichtblau article. There is a fascinating demo on the site. I have a case where it might be fun to have it. I might add that private firms have much more complex programs than this one, usually highly specialized. Ask yourself this: how does Amazon decide what to put on the front page when you log on?

The case I mentioned with the fine involved a Ponzi scheme. It is a really interesting question whether the bank would have had exposure for letting the Ponzi scheme continue if, as I think, it actually knew that its customer was committing a blatant fraud.

massacio - That is a cool little demo; and I'll bet it just scatches the surface of what programs like this can really do. Your example of what Amazon does in relation to it's targeted approach to you when you interact with them is exactly the kind of thing I was referring to above as legitimate commercial activity. The two that crossed my mind when I said that were actually Double Click and Google, but same principle; and while we may not like it, it is everywhere out in the business world and is just the price of business in the electronic age regrettably. Again though, the telcomms and othe comms DO NOT need immuniztion, they are not in trouble; it is the Administration that is desperate for cover.

-- it is the Administration that is desperate for cover --

To wit, it is asking for a legislative solution for past action, when it has a solution of its own.

The president can dispose of the cases with a pardon. No need to admit or deny wrongdoing, just say "they followed my orders, and if those were illegal, tough, the actors are pardoned." That finally disposes of all the past, and puts the onus for the action right where it belongs, with the executive.

In Lloyd Carr's defense, he seems like a decent chap (but so would Atilla the Hun compared to Schembechler) and, at 1 win and 3 losses, his winning percentage in the Rose Bowl is clearly superior to Schembechler's. And what with Notre Dame up next, at least you have a break in the schedule for a week. 32-7. Ouch.

Those of us from the Pac-10 who're tired of being patted on the head and told we "don't play 'real' football" are gratified by today's results.

Been trying to switch over to the ND-Penn State game, but can't tear myself away from what's about to be the THIRD overtime in the Texas A&M-Fresno State game.

Frankly, I don't think ND's gonna be much of an opponent next week. Boy, Penn State's Derrick Williams is really looking good today.

cboldt - That is a good point. But, and I am looking for words to say this without coming across as mean and demeaning to Bush, and I just can't; Bush is always the tough decider guy until the rubber meets the road and you really got to be a man. He never has been, and he never will be. His record, from the backyard football games where he would change rules so it didn't look like he was losing, straight through till the present is literally perfectly consistent. Not to mention that such an act would diminish his abilities to "refresh the ole coffers" as he cravenly looks forward to (leaving aside the question of who the hell is going to pay all this money for a man that doesn't have much to say on his own and literally can't speak for shit). Lastly, that would be the last nail in the coffin leaving him exposed for post-presidency ciminal exposure. No, he'll fight for the cover of immunization and, thanks to the similarly craven irresponsibility of my party, he will undoubtedly get it. Profiles In Courage, like the Geneva Conventions, are but a mere quaint anachronism in this country.

Mauimom - Heh heh. That is exactly right; and for any out there that think I am pimping EW a bit hard on UM football; well, I am. EW is not a lifer Big Blue that I am aware of; but darn it, she is there now, and as Mauimom points out, this is a decades long deal with Pac 10 lifers. In the 60s when I was a kid, all you would hear about all year was freaking Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame; yet every time there would be a big game, especially a Rose Bowl, they invariably got their ass handed to them. Repeat and rinse every year; no respect for the west no matter what our teams did. We're still a little testy out here. It was especially sweet in years when a 10-1 or 11-0 Michigan or Ohio State team, already celebrating their pending National Championship, would come on out to Pasadena to play some 8-3 or 7-4 freak winner of the Pac 10(Pac 8 back then) such as Stanford or UCLA; and then go home to the midwest after a total drubbing (for example the 1971 Rose Bowl where Jim Plunkett absolutely killed the undefeated cocky Woody Hayes and Ohio State).

Given all that you say, why are you all so testy out there?

I wonder how much of this data ended up getting fed to Cheney and Rove by, cough.. complete accident. Any political operative would want to mine communications data to coordinate voter targeting -- both for getting out the vote and vote suppression. You could even mine keywords in email and phone conversations to determine targets.

It's also a no-brainer that Cheney and his thugs would want this data to target political opponents in and outside of the administration.

If the Democrats continue their spineless ways, it makes me wonder what Cheney has on them.

Prostratedragon - Until this Bush guy came along, life was pretty carefree out here in the land of surf and sand. Had to find something to get worked up about; so we gathered a chip on the shoulder on the football bit...

For what it's worth, bmaz, I seem to recall that after the questionable Notre Dame loss to USC in 1964, it was many years before USC was able to beat the Irish. Of course, we weren't going t0 bowl games then.

masaccio - The Irish did have a good string for a while there; but there was a big blip you forgot, i.e. 1967 when OJ ran wild on the Irish. I won't bring up 1972 and 1974 when Anthony Davis scored what seemed like 90 touchdowns on Notre Dame. I think it was only 10 or 11, but it is hard in my advanced age to remember him touching the ball without hitting the end zone. I should point out though that, as a lifelong ASU Sun Devil fan, ever since we joined the formerly Pac 8, most of the year I hate USC.

OK... If you have to discuss football, please talk about REAL football! I am second generation LSU, and both of my daughters graduated from there. As I sit here writing, LSU is stomping on Virginia Tech... ;-)

I have not been real active on the boards this last week or two, but I just have to throw this one out to think about:

How in the hell can our 'lustrious president declare this surge to be successful ("We're kickin' ass!), when he never stopped to figure out from the beginning what success would look like? I remember how shocked I was to find out that there was no plan in place for what happened after we defeated Saddam's forces. That also meant that there was no forethought whatsoever to what we really wanted to achieve.

I have had enough of these dickheads, and their sick ideas about democracy in Iraq. It ain't gonna happen because they didn't know what they wanted in the first place... except that it gave them a good excuse to declare that we are at war, and could get away with spying on the citizenry in the name of "protecting" us from terrorism.

Oh, a little humor to pass on...

I was listening to CBS Radio News last night on the way home from work, and got a good laugh -- and I am certain I remember correctly how this was phrase:

"Even though her husband is half a world away, Laura Bush has a pain in her neck and will undergo surgery to relieve the pressure..."

Poor phrasing, perhaps?

Is she going to get rid of the pain in the ass too?

"Oh, does she have hemorrhoids, too?" he asked innocently...

Impeachment is too good for these crooks!!! I think they deserve crucifixion!

Nope, I'm not a lifer in the Big 10. I only had season tix for one season, even--though it did happen to be a Nat Championship sharing season.

Maybe that's their problem.

Your inadvertant status as point person for Wolverweenie wrath is indeed unfortunate. C'estla vie; sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you. Sometimes it is a Duck doing the eating. From Oregon. Quack! Should be a scintillating game between the unvictorious and untieds next week....

This is too easy and unfair; I must stop.....

bmaz, I'm late to this thread, but I'm LMAO, I feel like Thanksgiving just came early... Every year I get this from my in-laws who are originally from the west coast and I swear all I have to do is walk in the door... As you may recall, I grew up in the bosom of the Big 10 and that is all it takes. I mean really, the Badgers, with some notable exceptions, have never been able to keep up with the likes of Michigan and Ohio, but do you think that matters to the in-laws, mais non! I get an earful. Every single year. You're a hoot. Go Packers! Go Badgers! Happy football season everybody!

The president can dispose of the cases with a pardon. No need to admit or deny wrongdoing, just say "they followed my orders, and if those were illegal, tough, the actors are pardoned."

Except that he can't pardon for state law crimes IIRC and a couple of state AGs are going after the telecoms too. Being stymied right now on state secrets assertions, but I think NJ was one of the states going after the telecoms for state law violations.

For the illuminati conspiracy theorist among us, check out www.zeitgeist.com

It's a two hour online film that does a great job of laying out the mythological basis of modern christianity, walks throught the truth of the world trade center black flag operation, then ties it all into monitary policy and it's relation to war in general.

It lays the case out very well. Has far and away the simplest and best layed out demonstration yet that it was our own leaders who facilitated 9-11.

take a look

Pardon me the site name is www.zeitgeistmovie.com.

Now clearly, I wasn't talking about Bush, for once.

(Sorry for the delay. It all started with a hot skillet and some Cuban heroes ...)

In D3, Amherst had an intra-squad scrimmage today at Pratt Field, which I did not see. I did see practice last Wednesday and I acquired a feel for the offense and defense they'll run... but not much more. A few of the freshman have size, speed and talent. Amherst has holes to fill at QB, Safety, outside linebacker and running back due to graduation. The strong safety who graduated was the defensive team captain. His first job was professional football in Europe. He was also a team captain on Amherst's national championship men's basketball team.

Next Saturday, Amherst has a home scrimmage against Williams, (who schedules these things?) and I plan to attend. They open against Bates away the following week.

BC has played well in the home opener against Wake Forest, and today’s home game against NC State. Keep an eye on this team. They've revamped their offense, shrunk their offense line in return for speed and agility and they're moving the ball down the field. Matt Ryan had 408 yards passing against Wake after an interception of his very first pass of the game was returned for a touchdown. Wake scored two of their touchdowns on defense due to turnovers.

I don't want to speak out of turn but isn't it good to see ND struggling? Their All-American safety was rushing a punt today early in the game. He put the Penn State player #5 that was blocking him on his back. That's how it's played. But then he punched him twice and ran behind the referee when the guy got up. Punching is an automatic suspension in football. The rules say the player is to be disqualified immediately. But no. I would be impressed if Charlie looked at the film and sat the guy down for a game but that seems extremely unlikely.

Gotta love US data privacy laws. Sorry, I meant EU data privacy laws.

But then he punched him twice and ran behind the referee when the guy got up.

Is it just me, or is there a higher edginess quotient than usual in all kinds of places these days?

Posted by: dead last | September 08, 2007 at 22:49

Friday, as I drove into Boston on Storrow Drive, there were two men holding signs above on an overpass. The signs said,
"Bush is gone if you're ready" and "Impeach Bush for War Crimes"

There were a lot of people honking their horns. Of course, this was just a stone's throw from the People's Republic of Cambridge (aka the liberal northeast) Still, the momentum is building.

Posted by: prostratedragon | September 09, 2007 at 02:10

I feel it too. I'm not sure if it’s lack of sleep, caffeine addiction or a condition that results from watching BushCo run amok and Congress act impotent in the face of a corrupt executive.

-- Except that he can't pardon for state law crimes IIRC and a couple of state AGs are going after the telecoms too. Being stymied right now on state secrets assertions, but I think NJ was one of the states going after the telecoms for state law violations. --

The state violations will persist even if/when Congress passes retroactive immunity for violation of federal law.

My thought was that President Bush doesn't need Congress to craft statutory immunity for violations from 2001 to 2007, although he prefers that route because it can be spun to make Congress look like it erred by putting the privacy laws on the books in the first place; or at least to deflect attention from the snoop orders and ire at publicizing of the warrantless snoop order program. But if the concern and contention is wrongful punishment, the president has pardon power to cure what he perceives to be a misapplication of law. He gave the snoop order, and he consciously avoiding asking for statutory changes ... so the heat should be on Congress? Heheh, typical deflection.

Not that I want them to do it, but I would think that, properly crafted, Congress could enact law that would preclude the state suits as well through some type of premption. Am I missing something in this thought? Bush doesn't have the cojones to stand up and be the man by pardoning everybody else. That would make him responsible and eliminate his ability to blame others; that just isn't in his DNA.

"...but I think NJ was one of the states going after the telecoms for state law violations."

Now there's something to follow up on. I'm wondering if the state violations are limited to customers in this state, etc. In any case, I'll have to research this some more and also see what I can do, who I can write to, etc., being a customer of Verizon, Cingular (AT&T) and Comcast in NJ.

I'm a little surprised, since our leadership tends to be telecom friendly in NJ.

-- I would think that, properly crafted, Congress could enact law that would preclude the state suits as well through some type of premption. --

The language proposed by the administration in April expressly makes the state cases into federal cases.


(a) IN GENERAL.--Notwithstanding any other law, and in addition to the immunities, privileges, and defenses provided by any other source of law, no action shall lie or be maintained in any court .... snippage

(b) JURISDICTION.--Any action or claim described in subsection (a) that is brought in a State court shall be deemed to arise under the Constitution and laws of the United States and shall be removable pursuant to section 1441 of title 28, United States Code.

H.R.5825, passed by the House last year, has the same language in its Sec. 10.

That's another reason why statutory immunity would be preferred. Not only does it deflect responsibility, it also facilitates Federal reversal of state privacy laws.

The list of defendants in the multidistrict litigation makes me think these state cases have already been removed to federal court.

Anyway, regardless of where this ends up, I think the "pardon" meme is useful for public discussion.

It's obvious from the press stories, pleadings and range of cases here that there is an interplay of statutes that implicate privacy.

The "communities of interest" fact appears in a review of National Security Letters. We don't know the extent of the fruit of -those- investigations being used to cull call contents under the FISA-like TSP.

Point being, "the privacy ball" is in play in numerous statutory venues. There are probably more than a few overlapping measures, where the administration is willing to sacrifice a "phony loss" in order to fool the ever-gullible public.

This tactic worked in passing the torture statute. Attention was diverted to Geneva Convention and away from the "must have" references to 18 USC 2430(2) and 18 USC 1365. McCain came out and asserted that he had gotten his way, when in fact, he'd been rolled (and he knows it too).

-- You can't really collect a "community of interest" and at the same time be claiming you're eliminating all data on those not directly targeted. --

It depends on how one defines terms. Maybe everybody in a community of interest is automatically gifted with the status of being directly targeted.

Similar to every participant to an international communication being presumed to be implicated in an exchange of foreign intelligence information.

The object is to erode the reasonable expectation of privacy. The greater the erosion, to less likely a privacy invasion is ruled as unreasonable.

All three branches work to erode the expectation, although not necessarily in lock-step or in harmony. The Executive by doing the snooping, the Congress by passing laws, and the Courts by refusing to rule, or by finding a particular snooping regime to be "in bounds."

I only caught the tail end of it. Fran Townsend on Fox News Sunday describing and justifying some surveillance program.

The transcript should eventually (sometime early this afternoon) show up at Fox News Sunday Transcript Archive

The state violations will persist even if/when Congress passes retroactive immunity for violation of federal law.

I think they are relying on pre-emption on the state law front, which I think you are picking up on via your later post. Interesting issue - a kind of retroactive pre-emption concept, but I think that is why legislative it MUCH preferred by the telecoms.

I always thought that pardon was the issue on the renditions and torture front, rather than the DTA and MCA - but apparently these days there is fine print in CapitulationONGRESS. They'd much rather destroy the laws, Consitution and nation than make Bush have to actually lay out the crimes that he personally authorized and then pardon for them.

I have no idea where the state suits stand, other than that there were intial roadblocks allowed by lower level courts when state secrets were asserted.

Here's a blurb from the NJ AG's site from 2006


And this recent article, talking mostly about the EFF suit,

does include this statement towards the end of the article:

Last month, a federal judge said five states -- Missouri, Maine, New Jersey, Connecticut and Vermont -- could continue with investigations into AT&T's involvement with the surveillance program. In fact, a U.S. District Court judge has already ruled that the Hepting case could continue despite government claims of the need for secrecy

So I wonder if the state AGs suits also were consolidated before Walker? I know there were several consolidations, but I missed what happened to the state suits after the NJ AG's subpoena request got smacked down by fed interventions claiming Our Crimes Should Be State Secrets.


Just a personal note. My Dad was the first varsity soccer coach at Ohio State University and his office was right next to Woody's. I loved toting along with my Dad at work when I was small. My Dad would have my Mom bring me over to the University for lunch on days he knew he had an away game or a night class, just so he could have time with me. I was allowed to hang around and draw on the chalkboard in the conference room where my Dad held student confernce hours. It was the same room Woody sometimes mapped out new plays with his special teams. So the chalkboard had a powerful mystique. Brown bag lunches in the staff lounge were common. He and Woody were not only coaches they were full time professors as well. Woody was an incredibly nice person and extremely intelligent historian. Loved to brown bag his lunch and kept a bowl of lemon drops on his desk to pass out to anyone who came to visit him in his office. I had my share of those old fashioned lemon drops myself, not to mention, he would let me pick out a piece of chalk from his "chalk box" to go and draw on the conference room chalk board. I never saw anything "cocky" about him in my personal contacts for many years. He actually was generous and humble in my personal interactions. He made time for people, even in the moments after a win or a loss in the Shoe. He never treated my father or his atheletes as the lesser sport. His famous "punch in the face" is something he humbly paid for the rest of his life. He dedicated his life, after that moment, to public speaking (often for free) to school groups and sports groups about the importance of learning good practices of sportsmanship and ways to control anger during competition in order to not repeat his unfortunate moment. He also became a historian about the volunteer spirit of America and gave wonderful speeches about "paying it forward" (yes, his words were part of the inspiration for the movie). He had a deep concept of fair play beleive it or not. FWIW.

Relating to this post...EW great post again. It's a good bet that many "community of interests" included target groups during election year too!. And how many Quakers are still listed in those community of interst groups? I have a friend who is Quaker out west, explained they took a different tactic with the surveillence that was happening to their group. They invited the agents to just come in and attend their meetings. They still do not know to what extend they are being watched or listened to...

KLynn - That is a very cool story. Don't mistake football puffery for anything of substance; whether out of me or anybody else. I obviously never met or knew the man; his contributions to both the game and life are clearly immense. Bo Schembechler may have been a great guy too for all I know (although my partner and I represented Bill Frieder for a while, and he did not have much good to say about him). Mauimom is right about where this all comes from. There was a period of time, which probably really lasted into the the early to mid 90s, that, other than USC, college football neither seemed to exist nor matter to the national press and TV networks. After a while we did get a chip on our shoulder, and the three biggest teams were always Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame; so they became the hated. Like most things in spectator sports, what gets ingrained into you as a kid sticks with you for life. This is the genesis of the whole schticht yesterday on football; and it was all in fun. As I said, I was an ASU Sun Devil fan from the time I was a kid and went to school there as well later on. During the 60s and 70s, ASU was coached by a fellow by the name of Frank Kush, who trust me was every bit the onery equal of Woody and Bo. But he was one hell of a football coach; his teams were fast, tough as nails and skilled with a wide open offense before it was in vogue. The Devils won everything in sight, but they were in the Western Athletic Conference and nobody would take them seriously. There would be years where they were undefeated or had only one loss and literally couldn't get invited to a bowl game. Michigan, Ohio State and a lot of the big teams in the midwest and south could be hardly better than .500 and they would get invited. There was a lot of animosity caused by these slights. You have probably heard of the Fiesta Bowl; it is now one of the three biggest bowl games and is one of the rotating sites for the Championship game. Well the Fiesta Bowl was literally started simply so that ASU could have a chance to play in a bowl game, even if it was a small bowl in their own stadium. That was how bad things were; and this in spite of the fact that ASU and Kush had a better winning percentage than Paterno, Hayes, Schembechler or anyone else for that matter. So this is where the funk and jive comes from; it is meant as nothing more than harmless fun. Again, cool story, thanks for relating it.

Didn't mistake it. Agree with the summary of bowl history and the conference friction historically. Just thought the personal side of Woody would be appreciated... Understood the fun! Glad you liked the story...

-- I think they are relying on pre-emption on the state law front, which I think you are picking up on via your later post. --

Yes, I changed my tune 180 degrees, once I reread the statutory immunity language. I don't see any way for a pre-emptive presidential pardon to cause the same effect. Some things work in revers, but state laws protecting the 4th amendment are hollow too, it seems. Or at least subject to attack by Congress.

Fran Townsend Interview Transcript

The government will be appealing Judge Marrero's decision. Ms. Townsend says the government needs all the contentious surveillance devices. FISA as stated in the PAA, NSL's as held unconstitutional by a Court, and within those warrantless NSL's, that "communities of interest" investigation be found a reasonable invasion of privacy.

[Hyperbole alert] Since we're in a time of war, why not go all the way and pass legislation quartering troops per the third amendment? It's the enemy among us that results in the urge to watch Americans, lest any one of us turn traitor against the government.


[Second Hyperbole Alert] Since we are at war, why not jail peple wearing anti-Bush tshirts, and make people take loyalty oaths to the Republican party before they can be allowed to listen to the words of the Vice President and use the military chaplains to threaten soldiers with burning in hell unless they become battlefield Christians and plant propaganda in the news media and ...

I'm not sure hyperbole really exists anymore.

Thanks for the Townsend link. I'm sure the fact that she reportedly got dissed by the FISA court for too much "truthiness" before them doesn't color her observations at all.

Still, my favorite parts were her insight into al-Qaeda. First she says that OBL is just an impotent in a cave without the ability to do anything more than issue a video - then she makes this wholly incompatible statement that Wallace just nods along with:

TOWNSEND: There is no question that the war in Iraq is used as a propaganda tool by our enemies. But our enemies have also said that it's critical to them to win that battle.

There is no question that Al Qaeda in Pakistan, in the federally administrated tribal areas, Al Qaeda operatives in the Taliban in Afghanistan are connected to Al Qaeda in Iraq. We take those threats very seriously.

Do they use images from the battlefield as recruiting tools? Absolutely, as enemies have historically in wars and conflicts. It is not a distraction. It is an integral part of the war effort.

And we know that because we know from Al Qaeda — intelligence that we've declassified that bin Laden watches and cares about what happens in Iraq, and he's tasked them to undertake external operations.

So we learn that OBL watches and cares about Iraq and he has "tasked them" and he is operationally linked with al-Qaeda in Iraq and its a very serious threat and that somehow, integral to our GWOT effort is giving al-Qaeda and radicals Iraq as a recruiting tool gift. After all - if the Iraq war didn't keep getting recruits for impotent old Bin Laden, loyal Bushies might not have a GWOT to justify all the blood on their hands and their loss of integrity, honor and the demise of the national rule of law and allegiance to the Constitution on their watch.

Isn't it amazing how some people argue there's no Right of Privacy guaranteed by the Constitution and they just happen to have the power to spy on everybody. Coincidence?

-- Isn't it amazing how some people argue there's no Right of Privacy guaranteed by the Constitution and they just happen to have the power to spy on everybody. --

The Constitution, while biased to "rights of the individual," gives plenty of power to the government, with the caveat that the government operate in the open, and with a balance of powers so no one branch alone can get over on an individual.

Personally, I'd be happy to trade all my privacy for a promise of no incarceration or indictment -- total freedom as against the state, for me. It won't happen, and it shouldn't happen. What if I commit murder?

Privacy can't be perfect or absolute. At some point, the right of the rest of us overcomes your right to privacy.

The gut issue with the TSP and NSLs is that the unchecked executive is either given (NSL) or taking (TSP) power to -secretly- presume suspicion on everybody.

I have a problem with the presumption of suspicion, but my ire is really stoked when the snooper lies about having the presumption. Trust and presumnptions are two way streets.

there's no right to privacy,
why is there a requirement for search warrants?
Doesn't that imply that privacy is a basic right?

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