Tuesday, February 28, 2006

WHY THE PORT DEAL IS GREAT FOR THE BUSH FAMILY

I knew the Bush family would somehow profit from the ports deal.

Lo and behold Ken sent this utterly stunning, well researched and documented piece from Buzz Flash.com today.

I have attempted to provide live links to all of the resources cited.

This is not a quick read. You may want to go to each link and print the articles for a thorough study. LS

Connecting Dubai Ports World, the Carlyle Group, CSX, John Snow, and David Sanborn

BUZZ FLASH ANALYSIS HERE

A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by A BuzzFlash Reader

Dear Buzz,

Remember these two names: John Snow and David Sanborn. Then remember these three companies: Carlyle Group, CSX, and Dubai Ports World.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

PART OF CSX -- namely, CSX Lines -- was sold to ...drum roll, please....
The Carlyle Group, early in Feb. 2003, for $300 million.

One of the biggest customers of CSX Lines is the US military.

John Snow, the CEO of CSX, was appointed Treasury Secretary by Bush jr. on Feb. 7, 2003.

Read about this cozy deal at:
COZY DEAL PIECE HERE

and at: AND HERE FOR THE UK OBSERVER GUARDIAN

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
David Sanborn was an executive with CSX and, then, a senior Dubai Ports World executive whom Bush appointed last month to be the new administrator of the Maritime Administration of the Transportation Department. Sanborn worked as Dubai Ports World's director of operations for Europe and Latin America.

Gee, d'ya think Sanborn greased the skids for Dubai Ports World to get Bushite approval to run operations at six of our nation's ports?

D'ya think?

Lawmakers from both parties have noted that some of the Sept.
11 hijackers used the United Arab Emirates as an operational and financial base. In addition, critics contend the UAE was an important transfer point for shipments of smuggled nuclear components sent to Iran, North Korea and Libya by a Pakistani scientist. >>

Read more at: CLICK HERE FOR MORE

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
More about DAVID SANBORN and JOHN SNOW at: CLICK HERE

I am surprised that nobody here has mentioned the most obvious connections -- Treasury Secretary John Snow, and brand-spankin'-newbie-crony David Sanborn.
John Snow was formerly CEO of CSX ... David Sanborn was an executive with CSX/Sea-Land division.

Then SANBORN left to become a director with Dubai Ports World and brokered a deal for Dubai Ports World to purchase the South American and Asia port operations from CSX. Now -- just two weeks ago -- Sanborn is introduced as the new Assistant Secretary of Transportation -- Marine Administration.

Then the quasi-secret "Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States" (CFIUS), which is chaired by John Snow, makes this ruling.>>

LINK HERE

And I would bet that the law firm Baker Botts, of which James A. Baker III is a major partner, had a hand in this. James A. Baker III is also affiliated with the CARLYLE Group.

Why do we care about the Carlyle Group? I'll answer that by telling you who some of the investors are? Among the firm's multi-million-dollar investors were

-- members of the family of Osama bin Laden
-- George Bush Sr
-- former British prime minister John Major
-- Frank Carlucci - Ronald Reagan's defense secretary
-- James A. Baker III

Read more about The Carlyle Group at:
HERE

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

*MM&P-contracted CSX Lines Purchased by the CARLYLE GROUP* Masters, Mates & Pilots Wheelhouse Weekly Feb. 2006 (original date of this unknown, but it is around Feb. 2003)

<< MM&P-contracted CSX Lines, the US-flag container shipping subsidiary of CSX Inc., will be sold to the CARLYLE GROUP, a private equity firm based in Washington, DC for $300 MILLION. The acquisition will give CARLYLE control over the nation's largest Jones Act container fleet and will add to the company's growing transportation portfolio.

CSX Lines will be renamed Horizon Lines LLC, when the transaction is completed early next year pending regulatory approval. CSX Lines is the nation's largest ocean transport company, with 17 US-flag vessels and 22,000 containers, providing ocean transportation and logistics services to and from the US, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

CARLYLE's other maritime holdings include Seabulk International, formerly Hvide Marine, which owns and operates 10 Jones Act tankers in the Gulf of Mexico. Through United Defense Industries, CARLYLE controls United States Marine Repair, the nation's largest non-nuclear ship repair and conversion company.

Carlyle Group is a politically-connected global private equity firm with reportedly more than $13.9 billion under management. The company's directors and advisors include former President George H.W. Bush, former British Prime Minister John Major, and former Secretary of State JAMES BAKER III. IBM Chairman Louis Gerstner is slated to become chairman of Carlyle on January 7, replacing former Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci.

John Snow, the CEO of CSX, was appointed Treasury Secretary by the younger President Bush last week. The current CSX Lines President and Chief Executive Charles Raymond and his management team will remain in place.
Raymond will also serve as chairman of the board.>>

Read this at: LINK HERE
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It just gets weirder and weirder.

After I learned the above about the Dubai Ports World deal... along with tidbits about CSX Lines and its purchase in Feb.. 2003 by The CARLYLE Group .. I came upon an article that asked WHY in the world The Carlyle Group would buy such a motley assortment of old boats.

Well, in one year, The Carlyle Group's purchase price of $300 million to buy the CSX lines, which it RENAMED Horizon Lines, was turned into a hefty PROFIT of ... drum roll, please ... $350 million.

Carlyle bought CSX LInes for $300 million in Feb, 2003, and sold it (as Horizon Lines) in March of 2004 for $650 million.

Nice profit.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

*HORIZON LINES [CSX Lines] FOR SALE AGAIN ALREADY*.
Comment On The Maritime News
by Tim Colton
March 5, 2004 [NOTE DATE]

<< The news that Horizon Lines [formerly CSX Lines] is for sale again, only
15 months after CSX sold it to CARLYLE GROUP, confirms what I've suspected all along, that Carlyle Group never understood what it was getting into. Due diligence is not, apparently, a concept with which Carlyle Group is familiar.

Here's what I wrote at the time (and read my position paper on this subject by clicking here):

- - - - - - - -
WHY WOULD CARLYLE WANT CSX LINES, ESPECIALLY AT THAT PRICE?
by Tim Colton
December 19, 2002

Why would anyone want to be a Jones Act operator? Why, in particular, would an investment group that's heavily involved in the defense industry, and doesn't have a CCF, want the collection of floating razor-blades that constitutes the bulk of the CSX Lines fleet (see below). A total of 16 ships, with an average age of 25 years. Only 3 of the 16 are under 20 years old: the other 13 have an average age of 28. And these 13 ships are not only old, they're also steam-powered: it's getting harder every year to find marine engineers who can remember what a steam plant looks like.

CARLYLE is paying $300 million for a company that had net earnings last year of $17 million on total revenues of $681 million, an unimpressive 2.5%. Its net cash flow was, wait for it, zero. The book value of its fixed assets at the end of last year was $167 million. The scrap value of the 13 old ships is around $30 to $35 million, total, and their replacement cost is over $1 billion.

So, if Carlyle didn't buy CSX Lines for its income, and it didn't buy it for its assets, and it can't have bought it for its cash flow, why did it buy it? Somebody please explain this deal to me.
- - - - - - - -

So, the big questions now are (a) who will buy it and (b) how much of a bath will Carlyle have to take? by Tim Colton, March 5, 2004.>>

[NOTE FROM ME: The ANSWER is below.]

Read this at: LINK HERE

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

*Company News; Horizon Lines Shipping Sold for $650 MILLION* The New York Times May 25, 2004

<< Castle Harlan, a New York private equity firm, said yesterday that it had agreed to buy Horizon Lines, a container shipping company, for $650 million from the Carlyle Group, another buyout firm.

Horizon, which owns 16 vessels and about 21,700 cargo containers, generated fiscal 2003 revenue of more than $830 million, Castle Harlan said.

Carlyle acquired Horizon from CSX in February 2003. The company handles more than a third of marine container shipments between the United States mainland and the ports of Alaska, Guam, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, the companies said. >>

Read this at: LINK HERE
res=9A00E7DA143EF936A15756C0A9629C8B63

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

READ ABOUT Castle Harlan, Inc. at: LINK HERE

Castle Harlan's holdings at: http://www.castleharlan.com/letter/default.html

The US military is one of the biggest customers of CSX Lines, which The Carlyle Group had RENAMED as Horizon Lines before selling it to Castle Harlan.

Another part of Castle Harlan, Castle Harlan Partners II (CHPII), owns the Statia Terminals Group N.V., one of the world's largest independent Marine terminal companies.

<$235 million.>>
LINK HERE

My head is spinning. (And so is mine.) LS

A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS

Monday, February 27, 2006

A PRESIDENCY BUILT ON A LEGACY OF LIES AND UNPARRALLED CORRUPTION

AND ONE THAT IS ENDORSED AND ENABLED BY COMPLICIT GOP LAWMAKERS

Hold on to your hats my friends. There is a lot of news tonight that will take your breath away. LS

WHO WOULD TRUST BUSH WITH OUR NATIONAL SECURITY?

NOT THE COAST GUARD.

Ken sent this riveting piece today from THINK PROGRESS.ORG

Excerpts:

But Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) today released an unclassified version of a document showing that the U.S. Coast Guard — located in the Department of Homeland Security — “cautioned the Bush administration that it was unable to determine whether a United Arab Emirates-owned company might support terrorist operations.” From the document:

There are many intelligence gaps, concerning the potential for DPW or P&O assets to support terrorist operations, that precludes an overall threat assessment of the potential merger. … The breadth of the intelligence gaps also infers potential unknown threats against a large number of potential vulnerabilities.

COAST GUARD SOUNDS ALARMS OVER DUBAI COMPANY PORT DEAL

WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE COMPANY WHO PROVIDES SECURITY FOR THE UNUSED HOME TRAILERS FOR HURRICANE VICTIMS IN MISSISSIPPI?

HINT: THEY HAVE OFFICES IN THE UK AND UAE.

Brownie did a heck of a job for Bush all right.

Why can’t we guard our own unused home trailers for hurricane victims and oversee our ports? Why are overseas firms hired to safeguard our national security? We should be doing this ourselves. I mean, it is an obvious no brainer. I am confused. Someone enlighten me please.

A friend and colleague heard a piece on CNN the other night in which Anderson Cooper and Linda Lu were denied access to the area where the house trailers for hurricane victims are presently stored in Mississippi. The reporters were not allowed entry to the area for “security reasons”. My friend noticed “Olive Group” written on a sign in the area. She did a bit of research and learned that a firm owns the company with offices in the UK and UAE. I tried to do a little research myself but the site is down for construction (or purging perhaps). My friend sent the info to CNN and I sent it to Raw Story.com. LS

THE OLIVE GROUP FROM THE UK AND THE UAE

45 DAY INVESTIGATION INTO DUBAI PORT DEAL IS BASICALLY A SHAM AND MERE FACE SAVING DEVICE FOR BUSH

Orchestrated by GOP hack Frist. LS

From the Washington Post.com via The Huffington Post. The Huffington Post

Before reading the Washington Post below, check out what the Daily Kos has to say about the port review process. DAILY KOS.COM LS

Why the 45-Day CFIUS Review Is A Sham
by georgia10

Mon Feb 27, 2006 at 02:21:26 PM PDT

In an effort to save face and calm the public furor over the ports deal, Dubai Ports World (DPW) has agreed to "request" the 45-day investigation that should have been been conducted by CFIUS initially. DPW has also said it's delaying taking control over U.S. ports. Yet, as Think Progress points out, the delay is just a sham, and barring any Congressional action, the deal will be finalized on March 2.

So, this deal will go back to the same committee that approved of it unanimously. Does anyone really believe that their conclusion will differ at all? More importantly, will the process of investigation be any better? In 2005, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office conducted a review of the Exon-Florio process and how CFIUS evaluates national security issues. (Hat tip to Kossack DC Pol Sci for the tip and pdf link.)

WASHINGTON POST PIECE ON PORTS HERE

THE NEW YORK TIMES SUES THE PENTAGON OVER DOMESTIC SPYING

I can’t believe this! The NYT appears to have rediscovered courage and integrity in reporting after Judith Miller “retired.” LS

THE NEW YORK TIMES SUES THE PENTAGON

EVEN GOP LAWMAKERS ARE FREAKED BY THE DUBAI PORT DEAL

Not to mention they are also a tad freaked by the forthcoming 2006 elections and are finally realizing Bush/Cheney may be weapons of democracy destruction. The GOP who should have seen this all along and let it happen is disgusting. We have had to endure Bush’s insane policies for 5 years before anyone in his party got a mini grip on the nightmare that has been visited upon us. The GOP is reprehensible. Fire them all. Each and every one of them, including any Democrats who played along with the corrupted and spineless GOP cowards. Just fire them. LS

From the NEW YORK TIMES via . The Huffington Post

Excerpts:

But pressures from far beyond the capital forced the spotlight onto the Dubai deal. Fueled by a backlash on conservative talk radio and taunting by liberal blogs and comedy shows, the national outcry seemed almost organic, a bipartisan chorus that grew ever louder over the span of a week, reaching a cacophony that President Bush and members of Congress, besieged by calls from constituents, could not ignore.

"People were crazy about this," said the conservative talk show host Michael Savage, who railed against the Dubai contract on his radio program, broadcast on 370 stations with an estimated 8 million to 10 million listeners. "Even the Bush supporters went nuts."

The uprising is, in one sense, a clash over economics and national security that played on Americans' fears of another terrorist attack. Many shared the sentiments of Cira Alvarez, a 74-year-old Republican in Miami, who said of Mr. Bush, "I have supported him just about everywhere else, but this is just horrible."

But the story has a political element, too, featuring administration missteps, including a bungled Sunday morning television appearance by the homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, political calculations by Democrats and a growing restiveness among Republicans, including the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, who were irked at having been kept in the dark. Some of the Republicans apparently decided that standing alongside an embattled president yet again this year would do them more harm than good.

HOW THE DUBAI DEAL BECAME A LIABILITY FOR THE GOP

MOVING ON TO A RED STATE OF GOP SLEAZE

OHIO’S NOE HIRED HACKS FUNNELLED DONATIONS TO BUSH’S 2004 CAMPAIGN

Here is another humdinger sent by my friend Christopher in Dallas found on The Toledo Blade.com. LS

Excerpts:

H. Douglas Talbott told investigators last summer that he and Doug Moormann took part in Mr. Noe’s alleged scheme in October, 2003, to illegally funnel money into the President’s campaign.

As a reward for their fund-raising efforts, Mr. Noe gained the elite fund-raising status and an invitation to a White House Christmas party, and Mr. Talbott had his photo taken with the President, Mr. Talbott said.

Mr. Talbott and Mr. Moormann, also aides to former Gov. George Voinovich, were convicted on ethics violations yesterday for failing to report money they were given from Mr. Noe. Documents released by prosecutors detailing their probe into the former aides — although heavily redacted because of ongoing investigations — provided new details about Mr. Noe’s generosity toward public officials and his eagerness to curry favor with all levels of government.

Damien LaVera, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, said yesterday that Mr. Talbott’s statements to investigators “shows that this scandal lies right at the steps of the White House.” The President has returned $4,000 in contributions made directly from Mr. Noe and his wife, Bernadette, but he has resisted returning more than $100,000 that the coin dealer raised for Mr. Bush’s campaign.

WITNESSES SAY THEY FUNNELED DONATIONS TO THE BUSH CAMPAIGN IN 2004"

BUSH NEO-CON "DEMOCRACY" IN IRAQ LEAVES 1300 DEAD IN ONE WEEK ALONE.

Simply appalling. Horrifying. Shocking. Revolting. Devastating. Disgraceful. Shameful. Reprehensible. Of course Iraq is not in the thoes of a civil war. Why not? Because Bush says so and the GOP agrees with him. LS

From the Washington Post.com

1300 KILLED IN IRAQ IN ONE WEEK ALONE

Thursday, February 23, 2006

SLICING AWAY AT OUR LIBERTIES

BUSH/CHENEY AND THEIR GOP LOYALISTS ARE SLICING AWAY AT OUR LIBERTIES MUCH LIKE THE NAZIS DID IN 1933

Sarah sent the stunning and alarming piece below, written by Bernard Weiner, Ph.D. Dr. Weiner has taught at various universities, wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle and now co-edits The Crisis Papers. (CRISIS PAPERS)

Excerpts:

Not only do the Busheviks pay no attention to modern history, but they seem to have forgotten how our very nation came into existence and why: Our Founding Fathers rebelled against a despotic British monarch, a George who ran roughshod over their rights and privacy and religious beliefs. Learning that hard lesson, they established a system of government that scattered power so that no person or party or religion could easily reinstate authoritarian rule. Politicians and citizens would have to compromise and cooperate in order to get anything done. It's a slow, cumbersome system ("Democracy," said Churchill, "is the worst form of government ever invented, except for all the others"), but the system they devised served this nation well for more than two centuries, making American government a model for much of the rest of the world.

And now, using the fear of terrorism as justification for all their actions, the Bush-Rove-Cheney-Rumsfeld crew within just a few years have moved America closer to a militarist, one-party state, led by a ruler in whom virtually all power is vested. In '30s Germany, this was called the Fuhrer Principe, the principle of blind obedience to the wise, all-powerful Supreme Leader. We've seen other such examples in Stalin's Soviet Union, Kim's North Korea, Mao's China, Saddam's Iraq, etc.

SLICING AWAY AT OUR LIBERTIES


CHENEY WAS SLOSHED WHEN HE SHOT HIS FRIEND WHILE HUNTING, ACCORDING TO SECRET SERVICE AGENTS.

Just great. We have a wet drunk and a dry drunk running our country. Lovely.
Off with the whistle blowers' heads! One secret agent was put on administrative leave and another asked to be transferred to another department. Wonder if Cheney will send the Secret Service agents who told the truth about him to one of our nation’s torture chambers abroad. LS

From Capitol Hill Blues sent by Ken last night.

CHENEY DRUNK WHEN HE SHOT HIS FRIEND WHILE HUNTING


OBSURE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY REVIEWED DUBAI PORT DEAL

Found on Reuter’s UK

Why do we always find the most damning news on British news sources first? LS

Excerpt:

The Intelligence Community Acquisition Risk Centre, or CARC, overseen by the office of intelligence chief John Negroponte, was asked by the government committee that vets foreign investments in the United States to look into the ports deal soon after it came to its attention in early November.
U.S. officials approved the sale of British-based P&O to Dubai Ports World of the United Arab Emirates on January 16, giving the Arab-owned firm a green light to take over port operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Miami.

OBSCURE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY REVIWED DUBAI PORT DEAL

REPORTS OF UAE TIES TO BIN LADEN AND COLE BOMBING

Perhaps I was wrong in making the comment above in which I wrote that the most damning news is found in the UK press first. Below is a piece from Raw Story.com, which reveals ties between the UAE, Osama boy, and the Cole bombing.

RAW STORY PIECE ON UAE, BIN LADEN AND COLE BOMING HERE

BUSH SAYS PORT DEAL NOT A THREAT

From the Associated Press

Sure it isn’t. LS

BUSH SAYS DUBAI PORT DEAL IS NOT A THREAT

MOVING BACK TO ABRAMOFF

It seems that Abramoff has had his fingers in numerous pies around the globe. Now the investigation widens to include his dealings in Russia. It is a given that where and when Abramoff is involved, so is one of our GOP lawmakers. Which one will it be this time? DeLay? By the way, the article indicates that Abramoff is registered as a “foreign agent.” Mon Dieu! What these GOP types will do for money. LS

From The Huffington Post.com (The Huffington Post.com

ABRAMOFF HAS TIES TO RUSSIA

CHIPPING AWAY AT OUR LIBERTIES AND OUR DOLLARS

ABRAMOFF SCANDAL ANOTHER ENRON?

Another great find on The Huffington Post in which Catherine Crier draws a brilliant analogy between the crimes of Enron and those of Abramoff and of course, our GOP lawmakers who always seem to be in the mix with the most corrupt lobbyists. It is all about Washington fraud and sleaze at its finest, all at our expense. LS

Excerpt:

In the spring of 2001, Ken Lay was at the first of Enron's six meetings with Vice President Cheney as part of the Energy Task Force. Not surprisingly, almost all of Enron's proposals were incorporated into the final recommendations. The GAO, for the first time in eighty-eight years, filed suit to inquire about these meetings. It was rebuffed by a Supreme Court that included Justice Antonin Scalia, who refused to recuse himself despite his recent duck hunting trip with defendant, Dick Cheney.

But others did recuse themselves when the inquiries began. Attorney General John Ashcroft bowed out, although his assistant Larry Thompson, whose former law firm represented Enron, did not. Thompson in fact led the investigation that followed. The entire U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas stepped aside as did many of the judges in Houston. The Enron Task Force was created to investigate, with mixed results thus far.

The current trial is seen as the ultimate test. Will the big guys go down? The answer to that question can be delivered before any verdict is reached in Houston. It is a resounding "No". The Enron chiefs executed the game plan that wreaked such havoc, but Washington officials made it all possible. They welcomed the contributions and lobbyists, hired and appointed the corporate players and passed the rules or exempted the regulations that gave the green light to the game.

CATHERINE CRIER’S PIECE ON ABRAMOFF AND ENRON HERE

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

BUSH IS OUT OF CONTROL

DO WE WANT A FOX GUARDING OUR HEN HOUSE? THIS ADMINISTRATION CANNOT HANDLE TWO WARS AND A HURRICANE AT THE SAME TIME.

HOW CAN THEY PROTECT US FROM THE FOX?

Or just perhaps, the Bush/Cheney team IS the fox.

Turn on the TV cable news, which is teaming with Bush shills and GOP apologists who tell us it is perfectly fine for the fox to guard our hen house. Tune in for entertainment and a few chuckles at the incredibly bad acting jobs.

For noteworthy news, however, following are several stories found on Raw Story.com over the past two days, concerning the outsourcing our port security to a Bush friendly firm in Dubai.

DUBAI COMPANY TO GUARD OUR PORTS

EVEN FRIST DOESN'T LIKE DUBAI DEAL

FRIST AND MANY GOP DON'T LIKE DUBAI DEAL

NOW BUSH SAYS HE DIDN'T KNOW OF DUBAI DEAL UNTIL RECENTLY YET HE WILL VETO ANY BILL STOPPING IT

BUSH SAYS HE WAS UNAWARE OF PORT DEAL BEFORE ITS APPROVAL

TAMPA APPROVES PORT DEAL

Well, go figure. Jeb and George will probably get richer in some fashion through this deal. After all, their grandfather Prescott Boy had no trouble doing business with the Nazis during WW2.

Excerpt:

In Tampa, Ronda Storms, a Hillsborough County commissioner who serves on the port authority board, said that while the UAE is an ally, news organizations have reported that some of the Sept. 11 hijackers used the nation as an operational and financial base. She cast the lone vote against moving forward with the deal.

"What you're being asked to do is pay no attention to the man behind the curtain," she said. "We are being encouraged to ignore possible risks and questions raised by good and diligent people."

But Port of Tampa Director Richard Wainio and most port commissioners said they trusted the review of the deal by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which represents 12 federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security.

TAMPA AOK WITH DUBAI PORT DEAL

ANOTHER SHOCKING REVELATION: BUSH NOMINATES GOOD BUDDY FROM DUBAI PORT COMPANY TO HIGH LEVEL MARITIME POSITION.

Anyone who does not see a pattern here is downright ignorant. Davvy will do a heck of a job no doubt. LS

BUSH BUDDY FROM DUBAI PORT COMPANY NOMINATED FOR MARITIME POST

DAVID SIROTA REVEALS THE MOTIVATION BEHIND BUSH'S BACKING OF THE DUBAI PORT COMPANY

This is a well-researched piece with links to historical data and articles. LS

"THE DIRTY LITTLE SECRET BEHIND THE UAE PORT SECURITY FLAP"

Bottom line: Bush sells out on our national security for self and corporate interests. LS

Excerpts:

How much does "free" trade have to do with this? How about a lot. The Bush administration is in the middle of a two-year push to ink a corporate-backed "free" trade accord with the UAE. At the end of 2004, in fact, it was Bush Trade Representative Robert Zoellick who proudly boasted of his trip to the UAE to begin negotiating the trade accord. Rejecting this port security deal might have set back that trade pact. Accepting the port security deal - regardless of the security consequences - likely greases the wheels for the pact. That's probably why instead of backing off the deal, President Bush - supposedly Mr. Tough on National Security - took the extraordinary step of threatening to use the first veto of his entire presidency to protect the UAE's interests. Because he knows protecting those interests - regardless of the security implications for America - is integral to the "free" trade agenda all of his corporate supporters are demanding.

The fact that no politicians and almost no media want to even explore this simple fact is telling. Here we have a major U.S. security scandal with the same country we are simultaneously negotiating a free trade pact with, and no one in Washington is saying a thing. The silence tells you all you need to know about a political/media establishment that is so totally owned by Big Money interests they won't even talk about what's potentially at the heart of a burgeoning national security scandal.

DAVID SIROTA BLOG HERE

BUSH SCRAMBLES TO SAVE DUBAI PORT DEAL

Naturally he has to convince Frist and other corrupt GOP that the Dubai deal is a win win for the GOP corporate interests. Bet it won't be a hard sell. LS

RAW STORY PIECE ON BUSH SCRAMBLES TO SAVE DUBAI DEAL

US HAD CALLED OFF STRIKE ON OSAMA BIN LADEN BECAUSE UAE ROYAL FAMILY MEMBERS WERE HIS GUESTS

DEMOCRATIC UNDERGROUND PIECE ON OSAMA AND UAE ROYAL FAMILY HERE

MOVING FROM DUBAI PORT NIGHTMARE BACK TO GOP AND THE LOBBYISTS

Another amazing piece found on Raw Story.com

Democrats put together a scathing report detailing how the GOP's ties to lobbyists have cost Americans millions. Here are a few choice examples of the GOP's cost of corruption. If this doesn't make your blood boil, you should sign up for a heart transplant or an implant, if you don't have a heart at all. LS

*14.2 million American seniors (including millions of our sickest and most vulnerable seniors) are stuck in a complicated, expensive, and inefficient Medicare prescription drug program because the Republican Congress and the Bush Administration allowed lobbyists from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries to design this program.

*60 million American families who heat their homes with natural gas and 8 million families who heat with heating oil are paying higher bills this winter, even though the Republican Congress recently passed their "national energy plan" into law. Although this plan gives the energy industry billions in new tax breaks and subsidies, it doesn't lower prices for consumers or make our country more energy independent.

*The 150,000 U.S. troops currently deployed in Iraq may not have the equipment they need because of waste, fraud and cronyism by the Republican Congress and the Department of Defense. While Halliburton and other companies with Republican connections get their contracts, our soldiers still don't have the body armor and armored vehicles they need to fight the war.

*750,000 households in the Gulf region are still displaced today, more than 5 months after Hurricane Katrina hit that region, at least in part because the political hacks the Bush Administration put in charge of crucial homeland security functions were not adequately prepared to prepare for or respond to this disaster.

*More than 10 million students and their families will have larger student loans to repay because House Republicans, led by new Majority Leader John Boehner working hand-in-hand with his commercial loan industry allies, cut $12 billion from the student loan program in the recent reconciliation bill and shifted the costs on to students and their families.

GOP TIES TO LOBBYISTS: THE COST OF THEIR CORRUPTION

HOW THE GOP STEALS ELECTIONS

Get ready for 2006 and 2008 folks. Ready yourselves for the fight. The GOP will be out in full swing in the dirty tricks department at the voting polls. LS

THE BRAD BLOGS REPORTS ON VOTING MACHINE SCAMS HERE

Monday, February 20, 2006

HEY AMERICA! ARE WE HAPPY YET?

My husband and I bravely ventured out of Houston on Saturday and drove to a wealthy, mostly white, naturally republican and very comfortable and well-protected outpost in the northern suburbs, nearly 40 miles away. (Um...I have some relatives there..) That confession having been confessed......the bumper stickers on our non-republican car:

Barbara Ann Radnofsky for U.S. Senate 2006
Texas Democrat
Support Our Troops NOT Bush

drew a few interesting and perplexed glances at stop lights. Indeed, teenagers had gathered behind our van in a restaurant parking lot to read the stickers. No, the van was not vandalized, nor were the signs removed. The kids probably had never seen or heard anything but W./Cheney, FOX Republican "news" and Rush driven propaganda in their mostly white, very wealthy and naturally republican and well protected homes. Hopefully the kids will become more informed than their parents. LS

ON TO NEWS ON THE DUDES FOR WHOM THE LAWS OF OUR LAND DO NOT APPLY

As Randi Rhodes of Air America Radio suggested today, watch The Godfather I and The Godfather II to gain a keen understanding of how the Bush Administration operates.

A MEMO THAT WARNED OF DETAINEE ABUSE AND TORTURE WAS THRWARTED BY THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION

Found on Raw Story.com.

Excerpts:

Alberto J. Mora was informed of detainee abuse at GuantŠ±namo back in December of 2002 by the head of the Naval Criminal Investigation Service, David Brant, who said that nobody else seemed to care, because after 9/11, the "gloves had to come off" and the United States "had to get tougher."

The memo is a chronological account, submitted on July 7, 2004, to Vice Admiral Albert Church, who led a Pentagon investigation into abuses at the U.S. detention facility at GuantŠ±namo Bay, Cuba. It reveals that Mora’s criticisms of Administration policy were unequivocal, wide-ranging, and persistent. Well before the exposure of prisoner abuse in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, in April, 2004, Mora warned his superiors at the Pentagon about the consequences of President Bush’s decision, in February, 2002, to circumvent the Geneva conventions, which prohibit both torture and “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.” He argued that a refusal to outlaw cruelty toward U.S.-held terrorist suspects was an implicit invitation to abuse. Mora also challenged the legal framework that the Bush Administration has constructed to justify an expansion of executive power, in matters ranging from interrogations to wiretapping. He described as “unlawful,” “dangerous,” and “erroneous” novel legal theories granting the President the right to authorize abuse. Mora warned that these precepts could leave U.S. personnel open to criminal prosecution.

MEMO EXPOSING TORTURE THWARTED

HOW THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION SHUT DOWN PROBE ON WIRETAPPING

Andy Card put the squeeze on moderate Republicans who caved in to Bush pressure. It seems the party of corruption is also a party of moral wimps. LS

From the Washington Post via Raw Story.com

WHITE HOUSE TIRES TO AVOID WIRE TAP PROBE

WHEN THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION IS BUSTED FOR COMMITTING A CRIME, THE OPERATING IMPERATIVE IS TO IMMEDIATELY OBSTRUCT DUE PROCESS

From the New York Times via Buzz Flash.com

Excerpt:

The prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, said the requests for a large amount of sensitive information beyond what they had been given was unjustified. Mr. Fitzgerald told the federal judge hearing the case that defendants like Mr. Libby had an incentive to derail their trials by asking for sensitive documents that the government might not want discussed openly.

Graymail is the practice of discouraging a prosecution from proceeding by contending that a defendant may need to disclose classified or sensitive information as part of a full defense. Such an approach can force the government to choose between dropping the prosecution or allowing the information to be disclosed at a trial.

FITZGERALD SAYS LIBBY IS TRYING TO THWART CRIMINAL CASE

CNN SAYS BUSH NOW LAMEDUCK BECAUSE OF CHENEY'S SHOOTING

Let's hope so. We certainly do not need any more of Bush/Cheney's evil "law making." These dudes and dudettes have done far too much raping and pillaging of our constitutional rights and democracy.

CNN SAYS BUSH IS A LAMEDUCK

BUSH'S SPEECHES ON TERRORISM CONTRADICT ONE ANOTHER

Go figure. Everyone knows the guy is a moron, though a very dangerous one, indeed.

Found on Crooks and Liars.com

Excerpt:

George Bush gave another speech yesterday on the "Global War on Terror." If one actually sits down and reads these speeches, it really is staggering how much deceit and propaganda gets packed into each one of them. What they have him say is not just factually false, but directly contrary to claims he made in the past or which other Administration officials are making now. Sometimes, the most compelling argument against the White House's propaganda is simply to place it side-by-side with prior Administration statements and/or undisputed political facts:

BUSH SPEECHES ON TERRORISM CONTRADICTORY AND DECEITFUL

BUSH DRUG PLAN MAY RUN OFF OLDER VOTERS

Music to my eyes. Only a senile idiot would believe anything W. has to say anyway. LS

From the New York Times

BUSH DRUG PLAN RUNNING OFF OLDER VOTERS

THE DYING SCANDAL THAT WON'T GO AWAY

Ken sent this wonderful piece written by Glenn Greenwald. Mr. Greenwald served as a litigator in NYC for 10 years specializing in First Amendment challenges, civil rights cases and corporate and security fraud matters. Sounds like the perfect dude to go after Bush, if you ask me. By the way, find a copy of the U.S. Constitution, read the Amendments and try to find where it says it’s AOK to spy on Americans. You don't need a law degree to realize Bush has lied once again. LS

From Glenn Greenwald.blogspot.com

GLENN GREENWALD BLOG HERE

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

THE REIGN OF ARROGANCE, INEPTITUDE AND PROPAGANDA

I am not going to spend much time on the Cheney incident since the MSM is running with it non stop, including FOX and its canned, taped, edited and vetted interview with Cheney. Nonetheless, I've posted a few pieces below that one won't read or hear about in the mainstream news sources. The real story, of course, is not one on an accidental shooting. The story is about another Bush cover-up and the overwhelming and extraordinary arrogance of an irresponsible and heartless GOP administration. Or maybe this whole shooting thing is merely a Rove driven distraction to keep our sites off the real horror shows that are currently playing under the Bush Administration. One can never be sure.

The Bush Administration is known for its self-righteous, and God-fearing proselytizing on the values of personal responsibility and accountability. However, the rule of personal integrity may apply to all Americans, but certainly not to the Bush/Cheney folks. They play by a different kind of value system. Morals are for the clueless masses.

The double standard theory isn't playing well here in Texas. LS

Below is a wonderful piece written by Molly Ivins. Found on Alternate.org

"DICK CHENEY GOES HUNTING"

Ken sent the great piece below from The Huffington Post, written by R.J. Eskow

There are also a couple of other interesting articles on the Cheney incident posted on this site.

"CHENEY'S CHAPPAQUIDDICK II: THE REAL STORY EMERGES

WHO'S FAULT IS IT? THE GUY WHO SHOOTS THE VICTIM OR THE VICTIM FOR BEING THERE?

Cheney, acting President of the United States and GOP Puppet Master stepped up to the plate today and publicly took responsibility for his hunting accident, in an “interview” with none other than Fake Fox News, but only after he was forced to do so by relentless and angry questioning by the mainstream media and pressure from within the White House.

BUT THEN, MAYBE CHENEY’S ACCIDENTIAL SHOOTING OF A FRIEND IS A ROVE MANIPULATED DISTRACTION?

Anything is possible under Cheney and Rove. Maybe we started nuking Iran over the weekend and don’t know it yet because Cheney shot his friend instead of a quail.

Interesting observation by PM Carpenter

CHENEY’S SHOOTING A DISTRACTION FROM THE BURNING GEO-POLITICAL ISSUES AT HAND?

Enough about Cheney and Rove. With any luck, Rove will be occupying a jail cell in the near future and Cheney will ride off into the sunset with his gun at his side, or maybe he and Rove will become roomies. LS

MOVING ON TO OTHER NEWS IN THE BUSH/CHENEY REIGN OF ARROGANCE, INEPTITUDE AND PROPAGANDA

ABRAMOFF BOASTS OF RELATIONSHIP WITH ROVE

Rove serves as the White House's Puppet Master when Cheney is off shooting friends instead of quail. LS

Another great find on Raw Story.com

Excerpts:

Abramoff contacted presidential advisor Karl Rove on at least four occasions to help arrange a meeting, the witness said.

Finally, the former associate said, Rove's office called to tell Abramoff that the Malaysian leader soon would be getting an official White House invitation.

Neither the former Abramoff associate nor any others who spoke about the Malaysian contacts wanted their names used, out of fear they might damage future business opportunities.

In May 2002, Mahathir met with Bush in the Oval Office; his photograph with the president was beamed around the world.

Abramoff received $1.2 million from the Malaysian government for his lobbying services in 2001 and 2002, the former associate said. Documents obtained by Senate investigators appear to confirm at least $900,000 of that amount.

JACK AND KARL

THE WIRETAPPING ISSUE MAY BE GETTING HUGE

From the Associated Press International.

Excerpt:

A former NSA employee said Tuesday there is another ongoing top-secret surveillance program that might have violated millions of Americans' Constitutional rights.

Russell D. Tice told the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations he has concerns about a "special access" electronic surveillance program that he characterized as far more wide-ranging than the warrentless wiretapping recently exposed by the New York Times but he is forbidden from discussing the program with Congress.

WHISTLE BLOWER SAYS NSA VIOLATIONS BIGGER

SENATOR BYRD SEEKS NSA PROBE

Another remarkable piece found on Raw Story.com

SENATOR BYRD ASKS FOR PROBE OF NSA

THE GIFT THAT WON'T QUIT GIVING: BUSH AND CHENEY TO GIVE $7 BILLION TO OIL COMPANIES

Ken sent this piece from the New York Times yesterday. As he said, this article will make your blood boil. LS

Excerpts:

Indeed, Mr. Bush and House Republicans are trying to kill a one-year, $5 billion windfall profits tax for oil companies that the Senate passed last fall.

Moreover, the projected largess could be just the start. Last week, Kerr-McGee Exploration and Development, a major industry player, began a brash but utterly serious court challenge that could, if it succeeds, cost the government another $28 billion in royalties over the next five years.

In what administration officials and industry executives alike view as a major test case, Kerr-McGee told the Interior Department last week that it planned to challenge one of the government's biggest limitations on royalty relief if it could not work out an acceptable deal in its favor. If Kerr-McGee is successful, administration projections indicate that about 80 percent of all oil and gas from federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico would be royalty-free.

"It's one of the greatest train robberies in the history of the world," said Representative George Miller, a California Democrat who has fought royalty concessions on oil and gas for more than a decade. "It's the gift that keeps on giving."

BUSH AND CHENEY TO GIVE $7 BILLION TO OIL COMPANIES

THE COST OF GOP CORRUPTION

GOP BIG TIME FUNDRAISER IN OHIO, TOM NOE, IS CHARGED WITH EMBEZZLING $1 MILLION FROM STATE'S WORKER COMPENSATION FUNDS.

Story found on Buzz Flash.com

ANOTHER GOP CROOK CAUGHT AND CHARGED

PHOTOS ON ABU GHARIB THAT THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION TRIED TO SQUELCH ARE RELEASED

I found the abhorrent photos on The Randi Rhodes Show

Naturally the repugnant photos were found on a foreign news source.

WARNING: they are very graphic. To be honest, I couldn't view all 15 of them. It is too much for me. I can't believe we've come to this. LS

THE PHOTOS BUSH DOES NOT WANT US TO SEE

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

CHENEY LOST IT

ACCORDING TO REPORTS, CHENEY OUTED AN AGENT WHO WAS WORKING ON THE DISTRIBUTION AND ACQUISITION OF WMD TECHNOLOGY TO AND FROM IRAN. THE AGENT IS NONE OTHER THAN MS.VALERIE PLAME.

Excerpts from Raw Story.com (Thanks, Ken!) LS

According to current and former intelligence officials, Plame Wilson, who worked on the clandestine side of the CIA in the Directorate of Operations as a non-official cover (NOC) officer, was part of an operation tracking distribution and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction technology to and from Iran.

Intelligence sources would not identify the specifics of Plame's work. They did, however, tell RAW STORY that her outing resulted in "severe" damage to her team and significantly hampered the CIA's ability to monitor nuclear proliferation.

Several intelligence officials described the damage in terms of how long it would take for the agency to recover. According to their own assessment, the CIA would be impaired for up to "ten years" in its capacity to adequately monitor nuclear proliferation on the level of efficiency and accuracy it had prior to the White House leak of Plame Wilson's identity.

CHENEY OUTS VALERIE PLAME WHO WAS WORKING ON WMD IN IRAN

INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS SAY BUSH'S CLAIMS OF AL QUAEDA THREAT TO L.A. IS BOGUS

Remember the color code alerts for terrorist attacks? Red, orange, yellow, purple, green, magenta, whatever. Whenever Bush's approval ratings slid, we had a new terror alert. Seems that things haven't changed since the color code magic show.

It seems that more and more former (fired?) intelligence officials are returning from a Bush/Cheney imposed exile to play secondary if not leading roles in the singing bird opera. LS

From the Capitol Blue Hill.com blog.

INTEL FOLKS SAY BUSH IS LYING ABOUT FOILED ATTACK ON L.A.

BUSH SPENDS OVER $1.6 BILLION OF TAX PAYER MONEY ON ADVERTISING AND PR CAMPAIGNS, ACCORDING TO THE GAO

We are supposed to be happy and safely content with the Bush imperative to: obliterate medicare and benefits for our veterans; annihilate funds in education including The No Child Left Behind Act and Head Start programs; outsource jobs to GOP friendly territories that sanction slave labor practices and forced abortions – you know – the territories that contribute mega donations to the DeLay/Abramoff/Bush/Cheney wing of GOP. Now, add to the mix the GOP attempts to exterminate social security, while, at the same time, they bestow generous tax cuts to the wealthy and, unbeknownst to us, the Bush people simultaneously rob the national piggy bank to pay for its propaganda to give us a fake sense of safety and security in this wonderful land of liberty and opportunity.

Are we that stupid?

I don’t think so. LS

Another great find on Raw Story.com

BUSH SPENDS $1.6 BILLION OF TAX PAYER DOLLARS ON PROPAGANDA

MORE ON GOP STONEWALLING

WHITE HOUSE DELAYS INFO ON HOW CHENEY SHOT A FELLOW HUNTER FOR 18 HOURS

Once again the White House stonewalls on information that it cannot control or spin or interpret from an alternative reality point of view. LS

WHITE HOUSE DELAYS INFO ON CHENEY SHOOTING"

CONFIRMING THE DAMNING FINDINGS FROM THE DOWNING STREET MEMOS
By Robert Parry of Consortium News.com

Remember the Downing Street Memos? The mainstream media refused to touch the issue with a ten-foot poll. Well, it will not go away anytime soon, especially now that former and current intelligence officers are auditioning for leading roles in the Opera of the Singing Birds. LS

"WHY U.S. INTELLIGENCE FAILED, REDUX"

WHAT'S A FEW MORE BILLION DOLLARS OF HARD EARNED TAX PAYER MONEY SQUANDERED BY THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION?

I found this piece on the MSM, of all places, CBS News.com The MSM is awake and finally doing its job!? Mon Dieu! If this is the case, I won't have to post real news anymore. Well, not quite. I have lost faith and trust in journalism and the various news media today. I cannot help but continue to fish and dig. LS

Excerpts:

Billions of dollars are unaccounted for, and there are widespread allegations of waste, fraud and war profiteering. So far only one case, the subject of a civil lawsuit that goes to trial this week, has been unsealed. It involves a company called Custer Battles, and as 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft reports, the lawsuit provides a window into the chaos of those early days in Iraq.

In a memo obtained by 60 Minutes, the airport’s director of security wrote to the Coalition Authority: "Custer Battles has shown themselves to be unresponsive, uncooperative, incompetent, deceitful, manipulative and war profiteers. Other than that they are swell fellows."

"When questioned as to the serviceability of the trucks was, 'We were only told we had to deliver the trucks.' The contract doesn't say they had to work," Wilkinson says. "Which, I mean, when you're given that sort of answer, what can you do?"

How did they get away with it?

"Oh," says Wilkinson laughing, "I really don't know. I mean it was just a joke. The assumption that we had was that they had to have high political top cover to be able to get away with it. Because it was just outrageous: their failure to deliver that which they were contracted to do."

ARE WE GETTING IT YET AMERICA? LS

BILLIONS WASTED IN IRAQ

Friday, February 10, 2006

CHENEY IS LOSING IT

The last few days have certainly been eventful for the GOP, also known as the Party of Corruption and Cronyism. For starters, our renowned and beloved VP (who, by the way, can order a staff member to leak classified information to the press, then hypocritically howl about or threaten to "bring to justice" anyone who should dare to expose illegal acts committed by the White House), shot someone today or yesterday in Texas while hunting democrats. Whoops! Sorry - I meant quail.

The Sunday talk shows were alive today with discussion and spin on wiretapping and cherry picked intelligence leading to the war on Iraq to the point that it is clear Cheney cannot no longer slow the hemorrhaging of news that exposes or questions the Bush Administration’s policies. Tough luck Dick.

CHENEY SHOOTS FELLOW HUNTER

Libby squeals on Cheney while Brownie rats on the incompetent Department of Homeland Insecurity. I am sure you've read the pieces or heard the news on the MSM, but below is a couple of posts in case you missed the Operas of the Singing Birds or the Playing the Blame Game Soap Operas. Call it how you see it. Libby's singing is more cunning and cynical however, and may have been manipulated by Cheney the puppet master who may have orchestrated an outcome favorable both to Libby and Cheney. Beware the evil doing Cheney. If he shoots a friend, we need to be worried.

SQUEALING BROWNIE PIECE HERE

I read a wonderful piece in the NYT today on Brownie's testimony but cannot find it online. Here is one from yahoo.com published today, which is pretty close to the piece in the NYT.

BROWNIE BLAMES HIS BOSSES

LIBBY RATS ON CHENEY PIECE HERE

Following is a piece I found on Buzz Flash.com that nicely summarizes the chronicles of Jack, Brownie and Scooter.

THE CHRONICLES OF JACK, BROWNIE AND SCOOTER

THE BLAME GAME

GOP, TRYING TO SAVE ITS COLLECTIVE DERRIERE WITH REGARD TO KATRINA, WRITES SCATHING REPORT AND POINTS BLAME ON CHERTOFF

GOP BLAMES CHERTOFF FOR KATRINA

WHITE HOUSE CAUGHT IN YET ANOTHER LIE

TIME MAGAZINE REVEALS PHOTO OF ABRAMOFF WITH BUSH

This is great. There is a photo clip attached that shows three photos - the first is with Abramoff in the background. The other two photos reveal Bush with Abramoff's Indian tribe clients.

"FIRST PHOTO OF BUSH WITH ABRAMOFF"

THREE MORE GOP MEMBERS TIED TO ABRAMOFF

THREE MORE GOP MEMBERS TIED TO ABRAMOFF

MORE TROUBLE IN BUSHDISE

RETIRED CIA OFFICIAL SAYS BUSH/CHENEY CHERRY PICKED INTELLIGENCE TO GO TO WAR WITH IRAQ

Another beautiful aria sung in the Opera of the Singing Birds.

Found on Washingtonpost.com via The Huffington Post

Excerpt:

"Official intelligence on Iraqi weapons programs was flawed, but even with its flaws, it was not what led to the war," Pillar wrote in the upcoming issue of the journal Foreign Affairs. Instead, he asserted, the administration "went to war without requesting -- and evidently without being influenced by -- any strategic-level intelligence assessments on any aspect of Iraq."

"It has become clear that official intelligence was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between [Bush] policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community's own work was politicized," Pillar wrote.

Pillar's critique is one of the most severe indictments of White House actions by a former Bush official since Richard C. Clarke, a former National Security Council staff member, went public with his criticism of the administration's handling of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and its failure to deal with the terrorist threat beforehand.

"EX-CIA OFFICIAL FAULTS USE OF DATA ON IRAQ

BUSH/CHENEY ARE MUZZLING SCIENTISTS

Here is another humdinger on the Bush/Cheney agenda to control and dominate the entire planet, including our very own scientists.

Found on the Washingtonpost.com via The Huffington Post

"CENSORSHIP ALLEGED AT NOAA"

Thursday, February 09, 2006

THE TRUE PRINCES OF DARKNESS

WHITE HOUSE CAN'T SEEM TO SWEEP THE ABRAMOFF SCANDAL UNDER ITS FILTHY CARPET

Ken sent this great piece from the Wall Street Journal today.

TOO BAD, SO SAD: WHITE HOUSE CAN'T SWEEP ABRAMOFF ASIDE

BUSH CAN'T REMEMBER WHO ABRAMOFF IS YET THINK PROGRESS.ORG HAS DISCOVERED EMAILS WRITTEN BY ABRAMOFF DESCRIBING HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH BUSH.

UH OH! BUSH TELLS ANOTHER LIE

Anyone keeping track? I've lost count. LS

EMAILS DESCRIBING RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ABRAMOFF AND BUSH

NEW YORK TIMES BLISTERING EDITORIAL PIECE ON GONZALEZ'S ARROGANT AND DISINGENUOUS TESTIMONY YESTERDAY

Another great find by Ken.

Except:

On the absurd pretext of safeguarding operational details, Mr. Gonzales would not say whether any purely domestic communications had been swept up in the program by accident and what, if anything, had been done to make sure that did not happen. He actually refused to assure the Senate and the public that the administration had not deliberately tapped Americans' calls and e-mail within the United States, or searched their homes and offices without warrants.

Mr. Gonzales repeated Mr. Bush's claim that the program of intercepting e-mail and telephone calls to and from the United States without the legally required warrants was set up in a way that protects Americans' rights. But he would not say what those safeguards were, how wiretaps were approved or how the program was reviewed. He even refused to say whether it had led to a single arrest.

"THE ART OF SAYING NOTHING"

MAKING ROVE'S BLACKLIST

ONE BRAVE GOP BROKE RANKS WITH HER NAZI WANNABE PARTY BY CALLING FOR AN INVESTIGATION OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY

It may be time to bail from your party, Ms. Wilson. Rove is one hyper mean and vindictive dude. Besides, you would be more comfortable in the party of real compassion, real tolerance and real ethical grounding. LS

Another great piece from the NYT today found via Raw Story.com

Excerpt:

The lawmaker, Representative Heather A. Wilson of New Mexico, chairwoman of the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence, said in an interview that she had "serious concerns" about the surveillance program. By withholding information about its operations from many lawmakers, she said, the administration has deepened her apprehension about whom the agency is monitoring and why.

Ms. Wilson, who was a National Security Council aide in the administration of President Bush's father, is the first Republican on either the House's Intelligence Committee or the Senate's to call for a full Congressional investigation into the program, in which the N.S.A. has been eavesdropping without warrants on the international communications of people inside the United States believed to have links with terrorists.

The congresswoman's discomfort with the operation appears to reflect deepening fissures among Republicans over the program's legal basis and political liabilities. Many Republicans have strongly backed President Bush's power to use every tool at his disposal to fight terrorism, but 4 of the 10 Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee voiced concerns about the program at a hearing where Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales testified on Monday.

"REPUBLICAN WHO OVERSEES NSA CALLS FOR WIRETAP INQUIRY

ANOTHER GOP LAWMAKER BREAKING RANKS?

This is rather shocking. Mr. Sensenbrenner has historically and systematically attempted to shut down Mr. Conyers on just about every occasion when Mr. Conyers would demand hearings on the Bush Administration’s arrogant and deliberate obliviousness to the laws that guide our nation. This is the dude who routinely refuses to allow Mr. Conyers to reserve official conference rooms that are normally used for official hearings. On more than two occasions, Conyers has been forced to hold his hearings in a room in the Capitol’s basement, near or actually in the broom/mop/janitor’s closet.

Yet now even Sensenbrenner wants answers? Things must be really, really bad. LS

CHAIR OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CONGRESSMAN SENSENBRENNER SEEKS ANSWERS ON WIRETAP PROGRAM

Sensenbrenner gives Gonzalez until March 2 to respond.

What makes you think the AG will abide by your wishes, Congressman? LS

Another great piece of news found on Raw Story.com

"SENIOR HOUSE REPUBLICAN WANTS ANSWERS ON WIRETAP PROGRAM

NEWSWEEK IS PERPLEXED WITH THE GOP IN THEIR DEFINING BOEHNER AS A FRESH NEW FACE TO FIGHT LOBBYING CORRUPTION

The infinitely tanned Mr. Boehner (who must be going to the skin cancer parlors or he is never at work and is instead beaching or skiing on the taxpayers’ or lobbyists’ dime) is as closely tied to lobbyists as Tom DeLay. Boehner actually rents an apartment in Washington from one of Abramoff's chief lobbyist.

This is Mr. Clean? LS

"How an eight-term congressman with extensive ties to K Street became the new face of the House Republican Party."

BOEHNER THE FRESH NEW FACE TO FIGHT LOBBYING CORRUPTION?

THE PRINCES OF DARKNESS:

HOW THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION’S AND ENRON’S STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES ARE THE SAME

Disturbing and brilliant analysis found on Alternet.com written by Onnesha Roychoudhuri. The author analyzes in piercing detail how the mindset that drove Enron to defraud millions of people is similar to that of the Bush Administration and how such a mindset is responsible for Bush's current legal woes.

The head honchos in the Bush and Enron groups are criminals of the highest order and yet every single player in both groups shares the belief that he has nothing wrong. Not one bloody little thing. The dudes are that bad. They possess no conscience whatsoever and all of them are morally and ethically bankrupt. The Bush/Enron soul mates are immersed in a form of narcissism that is so far gone that all of them are completely incurable. Hell, they don’t even know how sick and twisted they are. LS

Excerpts:

By seeking out loopholes in laws in order to fit their agenda, and deluding the public (and possibly themselves) into thinking that these things were done in public interest, both Enron and the Bush administration have proven masters of generating alternate realities. They are symbols of a new paradigm wherein claims of following the specific letter of the law are accompanied by an incredible contempt for the substance of it.

Many of those following the Enron trial have argued that this case will set a precedent for what will and will not be tolerated in the business world. But the implications of the trial stretch much further. This trial is less about the laws that Skilling and Lay broke and more to do with whether or not supposedly "good intentions" and a deliberately skewed sense of reality can excuse unconscionable actions.

"THE TRIAL OF TRUE BELIEVERS"

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

FEINGOLD: "CONGRESS HAS LOST ITS WAY"

I am posting Senator Feingold's stunning speech, given on the Senate Floor, in its entirety.

Found on Raw Story.com

CLICK HERE OR READ BELOW


Amidst flurry of Bush attacks, Feingold hits Congress wiretaps: 'Congress has lost its way'
02/07/2006 @ 4:40 pm
Filed by RAW STORY


In a prepared speech advanced to RAW STORY, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) sears President Bush -- and Congress -- on the Senate floor over Bush's warrantless wiretap domestic spying program.

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Feingold's speech, in its entirety, follows:

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Mr. President, last week the President of the United States gave his State of the Union address, where he spoke of America’s leadership in the world, and called on all of us to “lead this world toward freedom.” Again and again, he invoked the principle of freedom, and how it can transform nations, and empower people around the world.

But, almost in the same breath, the President openly acknowledged that he has ordered the government to spy on Americans, on American soil, without the warrants required by law.

The President issued a call to spread freedom throughout the world, and then he admitted that he has deprived Americans of one of their most basic freedoms under the Fourth Amendment -- to be free from unjustified government intrusion.

The President was blunt. He said that he had authorized the NSA’s domestic spying program, and he made a number of misleading arguments to defend himself. His words got rousing applause from Republicans, and even some Democrats.

The President was blunt, so I will be blunt: This program is breaking the law, and this President is breaking the law. Not only that, he is misleading the American people in his efforts to justify this program.

How is that worthy of applause? Since when do we celebrate our commander in chief for violating our most basic freedoms, and misleading the American people in the process? When did we start to stand up and cheer for breaking the law? In that moment at the State of the Union, I felt ashamed.

Congress has lost its way if we don’t hold this President accountable for his actions.

The President suggests that anyone who criticizes his illegal wiretapping program doesn’t understand the threat we face. But we do. Every single one of us is committed to stopping the terrorists who threaten us and our families.

Defeating the terrorists should be our top national priority, and we all agree that we need to wiretap them to do it. In fact, it would be irresponsible not to wiretap terrorists. But we have yet to see any reason why we have to trample the laws of the United States to do it. The President’s decision that he can break the law says far more about his attitude toward the rule of law than it does about the laws themselves.

This goes way beyond party, and way beyond politics. What the President has done here is to break faith with the American people. In the State of the Union, he also said that “we must always be clear in our principles” to get support from friends and allies that we need to fight terrorism. So let’s be clear about a basic American principle: When someone breaks the law, when someone misleads the public in an attempt to justify his actions, he needs to be held accountable. The President of the United States has broken the law. The President of the United States is trying to mislead the American people. And he needs to be held accountable.

Unfortunately, the President refuses to provide any details about this domestic spying program. Not even the full Intelligence committees know the details, and they were specifically set up to review classified information and oversee the intelligence activities of our government. Instead, the President says – “Trust me.”

This is not the first time we’ve heard that. In the lead-up to the Iraq war, the Administration went on an offensive to get the American public, the Congress, and the international community to believe its theory that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction, and even that he had ties to Al Qaeda. The President painted a dire – and inaccurate – picture of Saddam Hussein’s capability and intent, and we invaded Iraq on that basis. To make matters worse, the Administration misled the country about what it would take to stabilize and reconstruct Iraq after the conflict. We were led to believe that this was going to be a short endeavor, and that our troops would be home soon.

We all recall the President’s “Mission Accomplished” banner on the aircraft carrier on May 1, 2003. In fact, the mission was not even close to being complete. More than 2100 total deaths have occurred after the President declared an end to major combat operations in May of 2003, and over 16,600 American troops have been wounded in Iraq. The President misled the American people and grossly miscalculated the true challenge of stabilizing and rebuilding Iraq.

In December, we found out that the President has authorized wiretaps of Americans without the court orders required by law. He says he is only wiretapping people with links to terrorists, but how do we know? We don’t. The President is unwilling to let a neutral judge make sure that is the case. He will not submit this program to an independent branch of government to make sure he’s not violating the rights of law-abiding Americans.

So I don’t want to hear again that this Administration has shown it can be trusted. It hasn’t. And that is exactly why the law requires a judge to review these wiretaps.

It is up to Congress to hold the President to account. We held a hearing on the domestic spying program in the Judiciary Committee yesterday, where Attorney General Gonzales was a witness. We expect there will be other hearings. That is a start, but it will take more than just hearings to get the job done.

We know that in part because the President’s Attorney General has already shown a willingness to mislead the Congress.

At the hearing yesterday, I reminded the Attorney General about his testimony during his confirmation hearings in January 2005, when I asked him whether the President had the power to authorize warrantless wiretaps in violation of the criminal law. We didn’t know it then, but the President had authorized the NSA program three years before, when the Attorney General was White House Counsel. At his confirmation hearing, the Attorney General first tried to dismiss my question as “hypothetical.” He then testified that “it’s not the policy or the agenda of this President to authorize actions that would be in contravention of our criminal statutes.”

Well, Mr. President, wiretapping American citizens on American soil without the required warrant is in direct contravention of our criminal statutes. The Attorney General knew that, and he knew about the NSA program when he sought the Senate’s approval for his nomination to be Attorney General. He wanted the Senate and the American people to think that the President had not acted on the extreme legal theory that the President has the power as Commander in Chief to disobey the criminal laws of this country. But he had. The Attorney General had some explaining to do, and he didn’t do it yesterday. Instead he parsed words, arguing that what he said was truthful because he didn’t believe that the President’s actions violated the law.

But he knew what I was asking, and he knew he was misleading the Committee in his response. If he had been straightforward, he would have told the committee that in his opinion, the President has the authority to authorize warrantless wiretaps. My question wasn’t about whether such illegal wiretapping was going on – like almost everyone in Congress, I didn’t know about the program then. It was a question about how the nominee to be Attorney General viewed the law. This nominee wanted to be confirmed, and so he let a misleading statement about one of the central issues of his confirmation – his view of executive power – stay on the record until the New York Times revealed the program.

The rest of the Attorney General’s performance at yesterday’s hearing certainly did not give me any comfort, either. He continued to push the Administration’s weak legal arguments, continued to insinuate that anyone who questions this program doesn’t want to fight terrorism, and refused to answer basic questions about what powers this Administration is claiming. We still need a lot of answers from this Administration.

But let’s put aside the Attorney General for now. The burden is not just on him to come clean -- the President has some explaining to do. The President’s defense of his actions is deeply cynical, deeply misleading, and deeply troubling.

To find out that the President of the United States has violated the basic rights of the American people is chilling. And then to see him publicly embrace his actions – and to see so many Members of Congress cheer him on – is appalling.

The President has broken the law, and he has made it clear that he will continue to do so. But the President is not a king. And the Congress is not a king’s court. Our job is not to stand up and cheer when the President breaks the law. Our job is to stand up and demand accountability, to stand up and check the power of an out-of-control executive branch.

That is one of the reasons that the framers put us here - to ensure balance between the branches of government, not to act as a professional cheering section.

We need answers. Because no one, not the President, not the Attorney General, and not any of their defenders in this body, has been able to explain why it is necessary to break the law to defend against terrorism. And I think that’s because they can’t explain it.

Instead, this administration reacts to anyone who questions this illegal program by saying that those of us who demand the truth and stand up for our rights and freedoms have a pre-9/11 view of the world.

In fact, the President has a pre-1776 view of the world.

Our Founders lived in dangerous times, and they risked everything for freedom. Patrick Henry said, "Give me liberty or give me death." The President's pre-1776 mentality is hurting America. It is fracturing the foundation on which our country has stood for 230 years. The President can't just bypass two branches of government, and obey only those laws he wants to obey. Deciding unilaterally which of our freedoms still apply in the fight against terrorism is unacceptable and needs to be stopped immediately.

Let’s examine for a moment some of the President’s attempts to defend his actions. His arguments have changed over time, of course. They have to – none of them hold up under even casual scrutiny, so he can’t rely on one single explanation. As each argument crumbles beneath him, he moves on to a new one, until that, too, is debunked, and on and on he goes.

In the State of the Union, the President referred to Presidents in American history who cited executive authority to order warrantless surveillance. But of course those past presidents – like Wilson and Roosevelt – were acting before the Supreme Court decided in 1967 that our communications are protected by the Fourth Amendment, and before Congress decided in 1978 that the executive branch can no longer unilaterally decide which Americans to wiretap. The Attorney General yesterday was unable to give me one example of a President who, since 1978 when FISA was passed, has authorized warrantless wiretaps outside of FISA.

So that argument is baseless, and it’s deeply troubling that the President of the United States would so obviously mislead the Congress and American public. That hardly honors the founders’ idea that the President should address the Congress on the state of our union.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was passed in 1978 to create a secret court, made up of judges who develop national security expertise, to issue warrants for surveillance of terrorists and spies. These are the judges from whom the Bush Administration has obtained thousands of warrants since 9/11. The Administration has almost never had a warrant request rejected by those judges. They have used the FISA Court thousands of times, but at the same time they assert that FISA is an “old law” or “out of date” and they can’t comply with it. Clearly they can and do comply with it – except when they don’t. Then they just arbitrarily decide to go around these judges, and around the law.

The Administration has said that it ignored FISA because it takes too long to get a warrant under that law. But we know that in an emergency, where the Attorney General believes that surveillance must begin before a court order can be obtained, FISA permits the wiretap to be executed immediately as long as the government goes to the court within 72 hours. The Attorney General has complained that the emergency provision does not give him enough flexibility, he has complained that getting a FISA application together or getting the necessary approvals takes too long. But the problems he has cited are bureaucratic barriers that the executive branch put in place, and could easily remove if it wanted.

FISA also permits the Attorney General to authorize unlimited warrantless electronic surveillance in the United States during the 15 days following a declaration of war, to allow time to consider any amendments to FISA required by a wartime emergency. That is the time period that Congress specified. Yet the President thinks that he can do this indefinitely.

In the State of the Union, the President also argued that federal courts had approved the use of presidential authority that he was invoking. But that turned out to be misleading as well. When I asked the Attorney General about this, he could point me to no court – not the Supreme Court or any other court – that has considered whether, after FISA was enacted, the President nonetheless had the authority to bypass it and authorize warrantless wiretaps. Not one court. The Administration’s effort to find support for what it has done in snippets of other court decisions would be laughable if this issue were not so serious.

The President knows that FISA makes it a crime to wiretap Americans in the United States without a warrant or a court order. Why else would he have assured the public, over and over again, that he was getting warrants before engaging in domestic surveillance?

Here’s what the President said on April 20, 2004: “Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires – a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so.”

And again, on July 14, 2004: “The government can’t move on wiretaps or roving wiretaps without getting a court order.”

The President was understandably eager in these speeches to make it clear that under his administration, law enforcement was using the FISA Court to obtain warrants before wiretapping. That is understandable, since wiretapping Americans on American soil without a warrant is against the law.

And listen to what the President said on June 9, 2005: “Law enforcement officers need a federal judge’s permission to wiretap a foreign terrorist’s phone, a federal judge’s permission to track his calls, or a federal judge’s permission to search his property. Officers must meet strict standards to use any of these tools. And these standards are fully consistent with the Constitution of the U.S.”

Now that the public knows about the domestic spying program, he has had to change course. He has looked around for arguments to cloak his actions. And all of them are completely threadbare.

The President has argued that Congress gave him authority to wiretap Americans on U.S. soil without a warrant when it passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force after September 11, 2001. Mr. President, that is ridiculous. Members of Congress did not think this resolution gave the President blanket authority to order these warrantless wiretaps. We all know that. Anyone in this body who would tell you otherwise either wasn’t here at the time or isn’t telling the truth. We authorized the President to use military force in Afghanistan, a necessary and justified response to September 11. We did not authorize him to wiretap American citizens on American soil without going through the process that was set up nearly three decades ago precisely to facilitate the domestic surveillance of terrorists – with the approval of a judge. That is why both Republicans and Democrats have questioned this theory.

This particular claim is further undermined by congressional approval of the Patriot Act just a few weeks after we passed the Authorization for the Use of Military Force. The Patriot Act made it easier for law enforcement to conduct surveillance on suspected terrorists and spies, while maintaining FISA’s baseline requirement of judicial approval for wiretaps of Americans in the U.S. It is ridiculous to think that Congress would have negotiated and enacted all the changes to FISA in the Patriot Act if it thought it had just authorized the President to ignore FISA in the AUMF.

In addition, in the intelligence authorization bill passed in December 2001, we extended the emergency authority in FISA, at the Administration’s request, from 24 to 72 hours. Why do that if the President has the power to ignore FISA? That makes no sense at all.

The President has also said that his inherent executive power gives him the power to approve this program. But here the President is acting in direct violation of a criminal statute. That means his power is, as Justice Jackson said in the steel seizure cases half a century ago, “at its lowest ebb.” A recent letter from a group of law professors and former executive branch officials points out that “every time the Supreme Court has confronted a statute limiting the Commander-in-Chief’s authority, it has upheld the statute.” The Senate reports issued when FISA was enacted confirm the understanding that FISA overrode any pre-existing inherent authority of the President. As the 1978 Senate Judiciary Committee report stated, FISA “recognizes no inherent power of the president in this area.” And “Congress has declared that this statute, not any claimed presidential power, controls.” Contrary to what the President told the country in the State of the Union, no court has ever approved warrantless surveillance in violation of FISA.

The President’s claims of inherent executive authority, and his assertions that the courts have approved this type of activity, are baseless.

The President has argued that periodic internal executive branch review provides an adequate check on the program. He has even characterized this periodic review as a safeguard for civil liberties. But we don’t know what this check involves. And we do know that Congress explicitly rejected this idea of unilateral executive decision-making in this area when it passed FISA.

Finally, the president has tried to claim that informing a handful of congressional leaders, the so-called Gang of Eight, somehow excuses breaking the law. Of course, several of these members said they weren’t given the full story. And all of them were prohibited from discussing what they were told. So the fact that they were informed under these extraordinary circumstances does not constitute congressional oversight, and it most certainly does not constitute congressional approval of the program. Indeed, it doesn’t even comply with the National Security Act, which requires the entire memberships of the House and Senate Intelligence Committee to be “fully and currently informed of the intelligence activities of the United States.”

In addition, we now know that some of these members expressed concern about the program. The Administration ignored their protests. Just last week, one of the eight members of Congress who has been briefed about the program, Congresswoman Jane Harman, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said she sees no reason why the Administration cannot accomplish its goals within the law as currently written.

None of the President’s arguments explains or excuses his conduct, or the NSA’s domestic spying program. Not one. It is hard to believe that the President has the audacity to claim that they do. It is a strategy that really hinges on the credibility of the office of the Presidency itself. If you just insist that you didn’t break the law, you haven’t broken the law. It reminds me of what Richard Nixon said after he had left office: “Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.” But that is not how our constitutional democracy works. Making those kinds of arguments is damaging the credibility of the Presidency.

And what’s particularly disturbing is how many members of Congress have responded. They stood up and cheered. They stood up and cheered.

Justice Louis Brandeis once wrote: “Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”

The President’s actions are indefensible. Freedom is an enduring principle. It is not something to celebrate in one breath, and ignore the next. Freedom is at the heart of who we are as a nation, and as a people. We cannot be a beacon of freedom for the world unless we protect our own freedoms here at home.

The President was right about one thing. In his address, he said “We love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it.”

Yes, Mr. President. We do love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it. We will fight to defeat the terrorists who threaten the safety and security of our families and loved ones. And we will fight to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans against intrusive government power.

As the President said, we must always be clear in our principles. So let us be clear: We cherish the great and noble principle of freedom, we will fight to keep it, and we will hold this President – and anyone who violates those freedoms – accountable for their actions. In a nation built on freedom, the President is not a king, and no one is above the law.

I yield the floor.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

THE GOP MANTRA: BULLYING, BRIBING, BLACKLISTING AND CHICANERY

The Bush/Cheney GOP mantra: bully, bribe, blacklist and lie, lie and keep on lying. What a grand old party indeed.

The White House must be getting rather petrified of the potential outcome of the Senate Judicial Hearings on Illegal Wiretapping. Rove is tearing around Washington bullying and blacklisting GOP lawmakers.

ROVE IS BULLYING GOP LAWMAKERS, THREATENING TO BLACKLIST THEM AND CUT THEM OFF FROM GOP FUNDING IF THEY DEMONSTRATE THEIR PATRIOTIC DUTY AND PERSONAL INTEGRITY BY VOTING AGAINST BUSH IN THE SENATE JUDICIAL HEARINGS ON WIRETAPPING.

Story found via Raw Story.com

ROVE BULLIES AND BLACKLISTS GOP LAWMAKERS WHO WILL NOT OBEY HIM

BUSH'S BUDGET BALONEY

Ken sent this very interesting piece today by Matt cooper of TIME Magazine

BUSH'S BUDGET TRICKS

MORE ON BUSH'S BUDGET CHICANERY

BUSH OMITS IMPACT OF HIS WRETCHED AND DEVASTATING POLICIES ON THE DEFICIT

Another amazing piece found on Raw Story.com

BUSH OMITS THE IMPACT OF HIS DEVASTATING POLICIES ON THE DEFICIT

THE REV. DR. LOWERY SKEWERS BUSH AT CORETTA KING'S FUNERAL SERVICE TODAY

Found on ThinkProgress.org via The Huffington Post

Excerpt:
We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there. [Standing Ovation] But Coretta knew and we know that there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war billions more but no more for the poor.

CALLING IT AS YOU SEE IT BY THE REV. DR. LOWERY

Here is another gem from The Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

WHY THE REPUBLICANS SHOULD BE WORRIED ABOUT THE MURTHA EFFECT

It seems that an archconservative newspaper publisher who was once dubbed the Funding Father of the Conservative Right has made a 360-degree turn by endorsing Murtha.

No wonder Rove is tearing around Washington like a mad man bullying, bribing and blacklisting Bush's disloyal subjects. The clock must be ticking. Run Karl run. Run, run, and run. Run straight into the hell of your making. Patrick Fitzgerald will get you in the end.

"THE MURTHA EFFECT: WHY REPUBLICANS ARE WORRIED

NOTED LEGAL SCHOLAR COMMENTS ON GONZALEZ'S FISA LIES TODAY

Another great find, Ken! Thanks as always, my friend.

It would be interesting to listen to the transcripts of the hearing today. According to Randi Rhodes of Air America Radio, Senator Leahy went into orbit over Gonzalez’s refusal to answer questions. A lot of information that is probably damning to the Bush Administration was most likely unveiled today in the hearings. I’ll do a search …LS

This is from someone named Marc Rotenberg, posting on the Interesting People email circle.

From his bio: Marc Rotenberg is Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in Washington, DC. He teaches information privacy law at Georgetown University Law Center and has testified before Congress on many issues, including access to information, encryption policy, consumer protection, computer security, and communications privacy. (I put the whole bio at the bottom.) -K

I am amazed by some of the things that the Attorney General is saying. The FISA is a complex statute but there are provisions that are straightforward and not subject to serious dispute. Gonzalez said at one point that he did not think the 72 hr provision was workable because it would require the government to tip off Al Queda. Let me unpack the AG's statement and explain why it is wrong.

The FISA has provisions for the Attorney General to issue "Emergency Orders" and then go back to the FISA court for approval within 72 hours. This mirrors the legal concept of "exigency" which recognizes that police must often search or arrest without judicial approval if there is concern about destruction of evidence or the flight of a suspect. The key is that there must still be some means of judicial oversight to ensure that the search was valid.

There are two emergency order provisions in the FISA, one for electronic searches and a second for physical searches.

What happens if the AG issues the order and the FISA court subsequently decides he lacked probable cause for the search? First, the government is not allowed to use the evidence obtained in a criminal prosecution. That makes sense since the use of unlawfully obtained evidence in a criminal trial would be a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment.

But what about the notice requirement that typically accompanies both physical searches and electronic searches by the government? Is the government required to notify a possible target when the AG certifies that a search should go forward under the "Emergency Orders" provision and the FISA court subsequently says that the search was not permissible?

Here is what the FISA says:

(j) Notification of emergency employment of electronic surveillance; contents; postponement, suspension or elimination If an emergency employment of electronic surveillance is authorized under section 1805(e) (!1) of this title and a subsequent order approving the surveillance is not obtained, the judge shall cause to be served on any United States person named in the application and on such other United States persons subject to electronic surveillance as the judge may determine in his discretion it is in the interest of justice to serve, notice of -


(1) the fact of the application; (2) the period of the surveillance; and (3) the fact that during the period information was or was not obtained.


Looks like the AG could be right. Maybe Al Queda would be tipped off. But that is not end of the provision. It goes on to say that the government can delay notice for 90-day with "good cause", and then -- and this is an amazing provision -- the court can, on the same standard in which it granted the original delay, effectively allow the government to forego any notice.

On an ex parte showing of good cause to the judge the serving of the notice required by this subsection may be postponed or suspended for a period not to exceed ninety days. Thereafter, on a further ex parte showing of good cause, the court shall forego ordering the serving of the notice required under this subsection.


Knowing the history of the FISA court's approval rate for FISA warrants, it is impossible to imagine that the AG is not able to get the court to prevent permanently notice to the target of FISA surveillance *even when the AG lacked the authority to permit the search.* More disturbing is the high likelihood that many Americans with no connection to Al Queda have been the subject of FISA surveillance and have never been notified.


Marc Rotenberg is Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in Washington, DC. He teaches information privacy law at Georgetown University Law Center and has testified before Congress on many issues, including access to information, encryption policy, consumer protection, computer security, and communications privacy. He recently testified before the 9-11 Commission on "Security and Liberty: Protecting Privacy, Preventing Terrorism." He has served on several national and international advisory panels, including the expert panels on Cryptography Policy and Computer Security for the OECD, the Legal Experts on Cyberspace Law for UNESCO, and the Countering Spam program of the ITU. He currently chairs the ABA Committee on Privacy and Information Protection, and is Secretary of the Public Interest Registry. He is editor of The Privacy Law Sourcebook and co-editor (with Daniel J. Solove) of Information Privacy Law (Aspen Publishing 2003). He is a graduate of Harvard College and Stanford Law School. He served as Counsel to Senator Patrick J. Leahy on the Senate Judiciary Committee after graduation from law school. He is the winner of the 2002 World Technology Award in Law