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October 26, 2007


treason, over and over again, incident after incident. when in the course of human events...

If any Senator on those committees was worth his or her salt, he'd read whatever documents they gave--I'm of the opinion the records are incomplete--and come out swinging, saying that what the administration has been doing is outrageous, preposterous, and almost certainly illegal. Furthermore, they should be made public forthwith, in their entirety, so that the public can see for itself how craven and degenerate this administration has been in the protection of ordinary citizens' rights. Also, that they are throwing down the gauntlet to wage war on the administration to protect us from unfettered, universal spying.

Even if the documents don't support that, how would anyone dispute that that's what the documents say? They're secret, and taking such a position would put the administration on the horns of a dilemma: either they cave to this Senator's demands, which could be played up as a major defeat. If they leaked portions of the documents (presumably to help pass the bad FISA legislation), the Senator could demand an investigation of the leaker.

Politics is a contact sport. They should give the administration a bloody nose and a well-earned defeat.

Bet is Leahy will read, then agree to immunity without revealing any contents.

There is so much in need of repair...

Who was it who called for a second constitutional convention?

This administration has already revealed itself to be a coven of malicious, ignorant outlaws. If the Senate can't bring itself to demand respect for itself as an institution and for the rule of law, it will shrink even further in the public estimation.

This is still about checks and balances and until that measure is taken Congress hasn't righted the scale.

Jay: Politics is a contact sport. They should give the administration a bloody nose

Bloody nose? Leahy should open that fat sow up from navel to necktie, and then stand there laughing as the diseased guts run all over the floor. Every person who has served in the Bush Administration should do hard time in prison.

There needs to be a legislative fix here, a law that defines what types of information may be classified, and for what reason. That would effectively boot the problem from the legislative branch to the courts whenever there is a dispute as to why something was classified. That way, a party could challenge the underlying motive for classification, and have a (sort-of) neutral judgment as to the validity of the classification. As the law now stands, I believe the government can classify almost anything, without ever having to justify the decision.

Bloody nose . . .

Well, in the interest of full disclosure I settled on bloody nose because "break their jaw" didn't seem appropriate to the substantive nature of the discussion on this site.

What we need to do is use the administration's secrecy against it. In a world of secrecy you can just make shit up, which is precisely what they do. "Incontrovertible evidence of":

Saddam Hussein's Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical ambitions
Technology transfers to Syria shortly before the war (oh yeah, that's where those WMDs wound up . . .)
Iranian meddling and supply of Improvised Explosive Devices or IED materials

They want secrecy? Fine. We should leak what we know about:
George Bush's secret Executive Order explicitly defining methods that are not considered torture and authorizing their use, such as waterboarding, pulling out fingernails, administration of psychotropic drugs, electrical shocks, "pain ray" technology . . .
Another secret Executive Order authorizing private companies to aggregate private information about citizens for distribution to the Pentagon . . .
Another secret Executive Order authorizing a list of bomb targets in Iran and specifying the exact date for the air strike . . .
Cheney commission abolishing Congress and national elections during a national emergency and the institution of private paramilitary companies as federally-deputized "peacekeepers" until the President deems that order has been restored . . . .

Don't think these are right? Can't prove it? Bet they are, and I'd be interested in hearing the non-denial denials . . .

The "Trial was long the Jury was bored" Appeal

"We agree with the panel majority that the evidence of the defendants' guilt was overwhelming," Posner wrote with Judges Ann Claire Williams and Michael Kanne. "But guilt no matter how clearly established cannot cancel a criminal defendant's right to a trial that meets minimum standards of procedural justice."

The dissent warned that marathon trials scare off many competent jurors. Those left become overwhelmed by the vast amount of evidence, they wrote.

"The longer the trial, the less likely the jury is to be able to render an intelligent verdict," the opinion said.

The trials should not have gone anywhere near six months, the dissenting judges said. They said that in a "super-long trial," jurors are more likely to become "bored, impatient, irritated" and to disobey the judge's instructions.

Ryan down to last hope
Ex-governor looks to high court to overturn corruption verdict

More likely sure but any evidence thereof?

How the “manufacture of consent” had deranged democracy. Blumenthal

Dodd is on the foreign Committee. It basically runs PC. He is now insisting it's too early to leave Iraq. He keeps on insisting this about PC in countries that have US and UN sanctions. PC gets waivers from the White House. The PCVs get screwed. Their clearances get all messed up and its hard to find work for the government; like JOe(RPCV) and PLame(CIA). It's very dangerous. So, is he the guy asking for all these waivers?

The House Intelligence Committee and the House Judiciary Committee going to see files of governmet employees pulled by CIA? Maybe Plame didn't do anything wrong with her domestic investigation of political groups? Maybe Ames iddn't violate IIPA too.

"If Chris Dodd's stance on FISA has succeeded in one thing, it has been to ratchet up the pressure on the Administration to negotiate.."

Negotiate??? You have got to be kidding me. This isn't a negotiation. Its fucking kidnapping and extortion! The Unitary Fourth Branch has taken one of democracy's favorite children, informed and valid Congressional oversight, and is demanding to be given everything they want before returning it after the fact. It is absolutely beyond mind boggling that we are discussing this situation as being ... wait for it ... progress. The rapacious nature of the Administration's mindset and conduct has so shifted the median norm in political discourse that even the fine folks here are relegated to discussing things in the new created reality.

The proper response to this horseshit is a firm and fair declaration that what the Administration is doing is unconstitutional, un-American, a dereliction of duty and obligation to the country, and a violation of the separation of powers doctrine; and, further, that the Administration can either turn over ALL of the pertinent and germane legal opinions and other supporting documents, as well as fully and completely brief the Congress on what it has actually been doing in the name of the American public, or face an immediate impeachment investigation. Anything short of that is total BS and serves to ratify the egregious conduct of the Administration.

I'd expect this on a schoolyard playground, but the fact that it's coming out of Bu$hCo speaks volumes. Please indulge my efforts at revision.

Mr. Fratto...suggested wankered and bullied that unless that changed, the House committees would not see the documents because he has an appointment for a manicure and facial and can't drop the papers off this afternoon.
“If we can get people to believe that the committees say they have no interest in legislating on the issue of liability protection, we have no reason to accommodate act like sane, reasonable adults by cooperating with them . After all, rather than be patriotic American citizens, we prefer to be knuckleheaded, insolent, petulant control freaks -- but let's keep that Our Little Secret, because we soooooo love secrets,” he said.

Ergo, the Imperial Bu$hCo 'We' shall not accommodate the weensie, teensie Congressional 'them'.
So Bu$hCo thinks it's little spat with Congress is 'leadership'?
God help us.

Jeez, here's what I'd love to see from Congress:

Tony, dahling. You silly little wanker, you! We know it's been a rough few weeks. You need to relax. Go get your nails done -- we hear the autumn polishes are lovely. Let's hope a little Personal Care brings your Insolence Levels down a notch; cause we're a little worried that you're 'losing it', buddy.

Just toss those documents in the left bottom drawer of the Committee Secretary's file cabinet; we'll get to them when we swing in on Monday. Don't let your heels trip on that nasty carpet in the office, and we'll hope your afternoon at the Spa improves your overall mental health, cause we've had a few reasons to be concerned about you lately.

Love, Congress

How funny is it that the WH (now that it has the Senate bill's immunity that it required before giving over information) is willing to clear Teddy Kennedy for the program when they absolutely couldn't clear anyone in OPR for it when the Gonzales investigation was in the offing?

bmaz - I agree, but also think it is even simpler. Add an affirmative statement to FISA that no warrants are required for foreign power (or agent of) to foreign power (or agent of) communications that go through US based switching statements (Bush's so-called concern) and provide a very specific and limited immunity - - only for allowing specific access to f.p. to f.p. calls that went through US switching stations (see, that sparkly is all taken care of) and ALSO providing that all statutes of limitation for FISA criminal and civil violations other than the specific possible violations immunized are extended for so long a period of time as pertinent FOIA requests and Congressional information requests are blocked by classification or failure to release.

That's ratcheting up negotiations.

Well said bmaz, couldn't put it better myself. Reading the NYT piece is infuriating, the whole tone oozes excessive civility, where in reality there is none. I realize Congress OUGHT to call bullshit on the whole notion of the Administration's claim to be able to take the ball and go home if they don't get their way. But why on earth does Scott Shane write this point of view as if it were a fact??? What the hell does Bill Keller do all damn day, it certainly has nothing whatsoever to do with making sure his reporters get their facts straight. Maybe we should take up a collection and send the NYT a box full of copies of the Constitution to hand out to everyone in the newsroom. Not only should they get a copy, they should be required to read it and pass a quiz on it. Then the next time Fratto says something that ignorant of the law maybe, just maybe, Shane will call him on it. Yeah right. The Lady isn't just Gray, she's hard of hearing with failing sight.

I just remembered, from the title of this post, that the enforcement of ISOO protocols are also the Attorney General's responsibility.

Maybe we need to know whether Mukasey intends to enforce ISOO regs against Fourthbranch before punching his ticket, too.

since it's a weekend, and the next installment of "A Next Hurrah Gossip Extravaganza" is probably gonna take a while ...

there's a new petition by larry craig that we could have some fun with

if you're in to stuff like that

let me just put it this way

a homophobic repuglican senator who ISN'T GAY is arguing that soliciting gay sex in a public restroom is a constitutionally protected right

it doesn't get any better than this

For the anti-immunity crowd, the great white hope for blocking immunity is the House Rules Committee....

SSCI Wants Immunity
A Senate version of permanent FISA revision was passed out of the SSCI with only Feingold and Wyden voting against this bill, which grants immunity to TelCos.

SJC will Approve Immunity

The Immunity Bill is now in the SJC. Dianne Feinstein and Sheldon Whitehouse have already voted for the bill in the SSCI, and Republicans will undoubtedly support the bill. The bill can escape SJC without Leahy or Specter support, but only if it gets introduced for discussion. Now that the White House has permitted Leahy and Specter to view the documents, it is likely Leahy will permit discussion and a vote in SJC. Even if Leahy is successful in getting access to the documents for all of the SJC Dems, with Feinstein and Whitehouse already in the approve column, the bill will leave SJC with a vote of 11-8, at best. The White House let Leahy and Specter see the documents so they could pretend to make oversight and then acquiesce with "the Rights and Privileges of the Esteemed Senate" intact.

The Senate will Approve Immunity

As for a filibuster on the Senate Floor, don't hold your breath. Reid has already said he would advance the bill despite a Dodd "hold", and there were only 28 Senators voting against Protect America Act (PAA) in August. Two of these, Whitehouse and Rockefeller are already on the books for immunity. So this means, if all the rest of the prior PAA "Nays" hold their line, a Senate filibuster needs 15 new votes from the ranks of those who previously abstained or voted for PAA to prevent cloture. Dodd's own campaign website is begging people to whip the SJC votes, probably because he knows filibuster is an impossibility. Reigning in Whitehouse and Feinstein is the only hope, but I am not sure how they will reconcile the prior SSCI pass with a stand now.

Only the House of Representatives Can Stop TelCo Immunity

An immunity bill is destined to be referred to the House. Nancy Pelosi will control scheduling for a floor vote.

Unless the Administration changes its mind and allows ANYONE in the House to see the wiretapping legal justification, the House will be voting on BLIND IMMUNITY for TelCos:

Neither the House Intelligence Committee nor the House Judiciary Committee has been shown the documents. Mr. Fratto noted that a bill pending in the House contained no provision for immunity from lawsuits and suggested that unless that changed, the House committees would not see the documents.

“If the committees say they have no interest in legislating on the issue of liability protection, we have no reason to accommodate them,” he said.

Because there is no ability for filibuster in the House, the House Rules Committee will have tremendous power in shaping the debate over any immunity bill. Importantly, every single Democrat on the House Rules Committee voted against PAA, indicating their support for Civil Liberties. The House Rules Committee can permit longer debate and allow amendments. If the Rules Committee restricts debate, prevents amendments or otherwise makes the Senate version of the immunity bill unchangeable during House consideration such as was done for the PAA, immunity passage will likely be imminent.

Nancy Pelosi can issue orders to the Rules Committee, but these members are nominally independent. They are the last hope for stopping immunity as will likely be passed by the Senate. Rules Committee Democrats:

Does anyone have a clue as to why Sheldon Whitehouse voted for immunity in the SSCI?

Bush doesn't read newspapers.

At best he only reads a few 'safe' clippings presented to him by his staff, on hot-button issues, and almost exclusively, it seems, from either the Wapo or the NYT.

In this case, Bush is 'nervous' to say the least that the men and women of Congress show him proper respect as the UE - up front as the cost of a 'viewing,' and on the back-end presumably some kind of bowing down to his Glory now that his self-authored Writ of Above-the-Law-ness has revealed him as the annointed Unquestionable Holy Daddy of the Country.

So, when I see a wierd duck article like this one, written slowly and deliberately with a fat pencil, full of stated and unstated protocol buffoonery, I get the feeling the staff is 'leaking tomorrow's clipping' to re-assure the Boss that his ego isn't being called Criminal in that viewing room - that everyone is instead filing by reverently.

We need an Official Secrets Act!

This hodgepodge of laws just doesn't work.

now WHY would ANY Democrat believe they will actually get to see THE documents concerning FISA and not just SOME cherry picked, admin friendly severely edited Documents hand picked to show democrats???

the moment the WH agreed to let Leahy see these 'documents' bells, whistles and fireworks should have gone off in the head of every person in the Democratic party... and the dots to their being 'had' by the WH should have started being connected.

BUSH isnt going to allow ANYONE to see the real documents, he will only allow people to see what HE wants them to see, which is just enough to force his retroactive immunity through congress.

Why in the hell did we put Mike Arcuri (or any freshman in a GOP district) on the Rules committee?

It doesn't matter cause the committee membership is stacked 9 to 4 or something like that, but still. Why put a freshman in the position to make those kinds of votes where he either pisses off the base or looks "partisan" and "immoderate"?

On a related note, check this out, via war and piece. ew, you're gonna love this, for more than one reason. Who knew David Shedd was now a deputy to McConnell? Can't imagine who's behind this.

We. Do. Not. Need. An. Official. Secrets. Act. The British version allows the executive to issue virtually unlimited gag orders, regardless of how small the claimed harm or the countervailing interests in favor of disclosure. We have too much secrecy now, not too little, and no rational basis for distinguishing among secrets that should be kept and those that should be widely publicized.

As for FISA, better that the House vote No on the Senate version and kill the bill than allow it go forward. The earlier amendments would then expire in February - though programs authorized under them could continue another twelve months.

The House should then keep up the pressure for their own version, with a backup plan of enacting a limited technical amendment regarding tapping US-routed communications of exclusively foreign actors. That addresses the technology issue while preserving debate on the wider issues, which principally involve listening to communications of US persons, and granting immunity to Telcos - AND to any other person who assists an intelligence entity to obtain the information it seeks.

As the MCA demonstrates, it is infinitely harder for a later Congress to repeal enacted legislation than to enact a better statute from the get go.

OT. On the last thread about the Syrian supposed reactor site. If you have Google Earth you can actually find the site on th Euphrates in Syria. The image was taken earlier than the "before" shot of the NYT's. The river runs west to east, then bends to a southeast direction heading toward Iraq. It didn't take much effort to find.

Troll, think about this (from LS at FDL):

"The very word 'secrecy' is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know."


http://www.jfklibrary.org/Historical Resources/Archives/Reference Desk/Speeches/JFK/003POF03NewspaperPublishers04271961.htm


I think the Troll wants the government spying into their bedroom. Cheap thrills you know.

Shit stain Troll.

I just saw Bush on Olbermann, and boy did he look petulant and ticked off. It does my heart good.

P J,

well you are pretty emphatic about not wanting secrets so in the spirit of that belief, please list here for all to see:

Your full name,
date of birth,
current address,
social security number,
any credit cards with the numbers that you use.

Thanks. I love your open spirit. It is so refreshing.

Hey Jodi,

Just as soon as you permit Cheney to put cameras in you bedroom.

F*ck off IDJO, Some of us have been on software or other forums for years now. Our screen names are more revealing than our 'other' names in many cases.

Besides, any half-brained NSA employee, telecom employee, or geek can trace our comments here anyway.

I find it incredible than in an era of Open Source software, and globalized business, the US administration is operating -- secretly -- as if it were 1978. The problem here, as some of us probably realize, is that there are plenty of hackers on the planet who know MORE about the US government, its contracts, its secrets, and its agendas than many of us who comment on blogs.

Not being a hacker myself, and not having any time nor inclination to become one, I basically know less about what my government is up to than probably some hacker in China, or India, or Pakistan, or heaven-only-knows where.

Some of us think we'd actually be SAFER with more transparency. It requires people to conduct their affairs with certain levels of responsibility, and also to meet certain standards. As it is, we're helpless in the face of enemies who probably know more than we do, while our government keeps us in the dark.

If that doesn't meet your definintion of 'scary,' then I don't know WTF would.

I am sure I read last week that the Administration had released "millions of pages" of documents to Rockefeller's staff and he reviewed them all by the next morning and was convinced by then of the importance of granting retroimmunity. They really read millions of pages overnight? Did Leahy and Specter read this fast?

I think the Administration is once again trying to "hide the salami" (gotta love howie) by overwhelming the committee with papaer and still hiding what's important.

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