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November 05, 2007


After reading John-boy's editorial last night, I was prepared to stay up really late and tear him a new as*hole write a well-reasoned and inarguable response.

Didn't. Went to bed and still almost slept through the alarm. *g*

Anyways, I was struck by John-boy's total lack of understanding wrt to both the Constitutional requirements he pledged to uphold as well as the clear firewall duties Telcos were obliged to undertake as intended by FISA. No warrant, no eavesdropping.

John-boy would have us limit the discussion to whether the Government was dutiful in its responsibilities, instead of bringing to justice those who violated clear criminal laws.

Like most of the defenders of this injustice, John-boy would have us accept that "fear" is legal justification for violating our constitutional rights.

I've made this point before (and I'm making it again *g*):

If the government actually had "suspects", it would have applied to the FISC for the requisite warrants.

The fact that the Government did not have any suspects coupled with the temptation of kazillions of megabytes of data just laying there in private databases that must have some suspects in it, was a temptation to big to pass up.

And who would ever know? Let's just eavesdrop and troll through every American's private information and perhaps we can come up with some suspects.

John-boy, there's a reason that our founding fathers made that constitutionally illegal.

But then, it's just a piece of paper, doncha know?

I had some thoughts and comments on this OpEd too.

cboldt comments on Ashcroft's immunity arguments, in a word, Ashcroft's arguments are pathetic.

EW -- this is pitch-perfect.

what was the name of that song
he sang (and wrote, apparently)?

"where the eagles soar". . . yeh,
i think that was it. . . one could
not script a stranger fantasy, than
this actual telco immunity deal is
playing out to be -- with the former
chief law enforcement officer of the
nation lobbying to protect the companies
that went along with his "unlawful" -- in
every sense of that word -- spying on
innocent americans. . .

wow. just wow.

He's right in one regard: the question of "whether to terminate the huge lawsuits" is not complicated.

Clearly, they should not be terminated.

Poor Ashcroft (or is that, poor country?) That three branches of government thing is tough for him. In particular the part where his Branch, the Executive, is only supposed to enforce the laws, not covertly make them up as they go along, nor make determinations about lawfulness.

cboldt has a very good piece up, but some of what Ashcroft says is just flat laughable. Apparently, he does remember that there is a legislative branch and feels that - now that DOJ and telecoms may be riddled with lawbreakers - resort to that branch might be useful, but his arguments THERE completely cut him off at the knees as to his argument that breaking those laws, because the President said to, was "lawful."

For domestic purposes, proper accountability already exists through the peoples elected representatives on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

Really? And here I thought that the Constitution had a scheme for ALL the States and ALL the people to be involved in Executive Branch accountability. Try even being able to send an email to a member of a House committee who is not your regional representative.

And those committees have said nobody has filled them in on things. It is through the legislature, not lawsuits, that we as a nation have tried to balance the need to let our intelligence agencies operate in secret, as they must if they are to be effective, and the need to ensure that they do so lawfully.

NO NO NO No. We, as a nation, have this third branch of government that determines the laws and whether or not behavior is lawful.

As a matter of fact, Rockefeller (who also seems like he isn't all there at times) in his press release *explaining* why he supported telecom immunity says, 'duh, I dunno' on the issue of legality of the program.

Which brings us again to Ashcroft's statement that the activities were "determined to be lawful."

By WHICH branch of government were they determined to be lawful?

Because there is only one branch that can make that interpret the law and apply to the facts to make that ultimate determination. And while this is true in every instance, it is specifically spelled out to be the case with respect to searching and seizing a citizen's communications - as spelled out by the Fourth Amendment as well as by then existing Congressional statutes.

Here's a point that gets ignored over and over, but which I think is one of the most telling. Leonig reported, for WaPo, a long long time ago, that the FISC chief judge (then Lamberth and apparently Kollar-Kotelly was also briefed later) was briefed about the program early on and said they thought it was unlawful and set up firewalss to keep its fruits out of their court.

OK --- follow this through. A member of the ONE BRANCH of government charged with actually interpreting the law said, at the initial stage, that the program seemed pretty illegal to them.

How, then, does Ashcroft argue that the "determination" was made that the program was lawful?

The only branch of government that could make that determination, when exposed to the program, found just the opposite.

Oh, and once the program was "brought within" the FISC? Well, apparently parts of it where found to be illegal yet again - which is why they are wanting to change the laws and why tanned and teary Boehner leaked saline and secrets on FOX.

BTW - when is anyone going to get around to asking Ashcroft about those basketball games with Ring after Ashcroft's Chief of State leaked classified info to Abramoff for Abramoff's financial gain with his Marianna's clients?

I guess that was "determined" to be lawful too, eh?

One interesting thing about Qwest is that CEO Naccio stood up for his customers while he was getting fat on the insider trading that got him dumped. Right into the courtroom.

Can we call it Amnesty?
Not immunity, which is a Bullshit Framing Propaganda Word, but Amnesty.

The Bush Administration wants Amnesty for the crimes committed in the illegal Warrantless Wiretap Program.

We immunize people before they get a disease, not after; in this case malignant constitutionalopathy.

Immunity is given to minor criminals to secure prosecution of major criminals; in this case the Bush Administration wants Amnesty for the Telcos to preclude discovery of the details of the major crime the Administration committed.

We immunize people before they get a disease, not after; in this case malignant constitutionalopathy.

Bush wants immunity for telecoms thereby amnesty for BushCo.

OT: Wilkes jury is back.

via TPM, http://weblog.signonsandiego.com/news/breaking/2007/11/wilkes_verdict_coming_in.html

Thanks for the heads up tekel -- TPM reporting Wilkes convicted on all 13 counts.

Wilkes convicted on all 13 counts. Guess they didn't need to call Duke after all.


OT - but as all of you are undoubtedly aware the WGA is on strike. May I politely request that some of you wiz kids try to hit blogs related to this event and help the writers out?

The freepi and the corporations are clearly bombing blogs all over the place to turn public opinion against writers. They have even been calling writers "leftist who have been shoving their adgenda down our throats for years." They are even blaming writers for all the bad shows over the last few years in a shameless attempt to disparage writers. Any person with two wits to knit knows that writers don't get to decide what's produced.

The writers need the progressive blogosphere's help. The industry is clearly gettting freepi help.

Please spread this message as you feel appropriate. Thanks.

Dismayed -- It's ironic to hear blame cast upon the writers for the crap "reality" shows that have infested the airwaves of late. I distinctly remember reading that networks loved that format because it was so much cheaper than hiring a staff of writers for more traditional network programming.

I hate television. With or without writers. And the industry argument about revenue models is actually pretty good- I'm never going to pay a goddamn cent to download content that I can get for free, with the commercials already stripped out. So why should the writers get paid, if the studios aren't getting paid either?

If corps are already cancelling advertising, the strike is working. It doesn't matter what blogs have to say. When it gets too expensive for GE/NBC to have no new shows, they'll be forced to settle.

The telco’s are billion dollar corporations with highly qualified legal staffs. That they say they thought it was OK because Bush said it was is simply not credible. They, like Qwest, knew full well it was illegal. And it’s more than a little suspicious that the SEC went after Naccio after he refused to play ball.

drational - IMO the minimum Congress should be forcing is a plea bargain with probation. They aren't even doing that, so I think we should lift from the Catholic approach and call it a bought and paid for dispensation.

The reason they are calling it immunity is exactly what you mention in your "before they get the disease" reference though.

Right now it's pretty clear that, whatever Congress does or says, there are some significant 4th Amendment issues with what is being done - and Congress wants the telecoms to continue to violate the Constitution going forward. Hence - immunity.

Tekel, the cancelled advertising was TV networks cancelling radio advertising for sweeps week - not cancelled TV revenue as you implied.

You additional commnent as such obvious disinformation and distortion that I'm not even going to dignify them with disection.

You are a fine example of my point.

See what you get when you start with a harebrained "sift through data" scheme?


the FBI sifted through customer data collected by San Francisco-area grocery stores in 2005 and 2006, hoping that sales records of Middle Eastern food would lead to Iranian terrorists.

The idea was that a spike in, say, falafel sales, combined with other data, would lead to Iranian secret agents in the south San Francisco-San Jose area.

The brainchild of top FBI counterterrorism officials Phil Mudd and Willie T. Hulon, according to well-informed sources, the project didn’t last long.

I can just see Schumer, Reyes, Pelosi, Spectre etc. all wide-eyed with wonder over what a great plan this was. Unfortunately for the Congressional fans of the Theatre of the Absurd:

It was torpedoed by the head of the FBI’s criminal investigations division, Michael A. Mason, who argued that putting somebody on a terrorist list for what they ate was ridiculous — and possibly illegal.

What is this thing called "illegal?"

Mason may never get to find out if there is such a thing as "illegal" bc he has left the FBI to become, "to become security chief for Verizon."

small meet world

Falafels?!? I can't believe what I'm reading.

Falafels?!? I can't believe what I'm reading.

Mary said: "See what you get when you start with a harebrained "sift through data" scheme?"

Thanks for helping keep the focus on all the 4th amendment skullduggery.

Too many folks think this is only about warrantless wiretapping.

The truth covers far, far more ground than a measly wiretap of a phone line.

The truth is that this Administration has been and is doing massive drift-netting of all kinds of databases from Telco call records to grocery store purchase records.

Think of your VISA account, and be worried.
Think of your Bank account, and be worried.
Think of your Travel reservations, and be worried.
Think of your Internet access, and be worried.

And if you have any worry leftover, think of your family's access to the above.

Think of your friend's access to the above.

Think of anyone you called or who called you and their access to the above.

This Administration did not stop at wiretapping. It gave the go-ahead to invade all of the above.

And they haven't stopped yet.

Well, I'm in trouble then, because I've bought online some books that involve the Middle East, even though they are neither political nor current. Of course, beign here isn't exactly good for my future travel, either.

A wee bit tangetial, - New poll at The Poll Vault:

Should the Senate Democrats vote to confirm Mukasey as Attorney General?

Don't recall this being discussed here, but my long term memory is rather short.

expectation of email privacy doesn't exist according to US govt


"It was torpedoed by the head of the FBI’s criminal investigations division, Michael A. Mason, who argued that putting somebody on a terrorist list for what they ate (falafel) was ridiculous — and possibly illegal."

Fact that really torpedoed the falafel snooping program - the only suspect it rolled up was Bill O'Reilly.

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