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    20 December 2005

    more spying, a poll, and more crap this Tuesday morning

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    - More domestic spying, this time on behalf of the FBI. Bush is amazing, he can't decide what his legacy will be; torture, treason, cronyism, domestic espionage... Of course, what will probably happen is he'll become the worst president ever. That fits. One strange point, this started before 11 September so imagine how bad it is now after the attack.
    The papers offer no proof of PETA's involvement in illegal activity. But more than 100 pages of heavily censored FBI files show the agency used secret informants and tracked the group's events for years, including an animal rights conference in Washington in July 2000, a community meeting at an Indiana college in spring 2003 and a planned August 2004 protest of a celebrity fur endorser.

    The documents show the FBI cultivated sources such as a "well insulated" PETA insider, who attended the 2000 meeting to gain credibility "within the animal rights/Ruckus movements." The FBI also kept information on Greenpeace and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the papers show.

    Cheney was quoted saying
    It’s the kind of capability [that], if we’d had before 9/11, might have led us to be able to prevent 9/11.

    We had two 9/11 terrorists in San Diego prior to the attack in contact with al Qaeda sources outside the U.S. We didn’t know it. The 9/11 Commission talks about it. If we’d had this capability, then we might well have been able to stop it.

    So why didn't you do it. There is nothing illegal about this, what is illegal is doing this without a court order. Since 1970 only a handful of these requests have been rejected, most people have criticized FISA as to easy. So this is more BS from the mouth of a man who has repeatedly lied to Americans.

    - Speaking of lying, Bush continues to master the art of lying by omission.
    President Bush is making selective use of an opinion poll when he tells people that Iraqis are increasingly upbeat.

    The same poll that indicated a majority of Iraqis believe their lives are going well also found a majority expressing opposition to the presence of U.S. forces, and less than half saying Iraq is better off now than before the war.

    Bush frequently talks in general terms about millions of Iraqis "looking forward to a future with hope and optimism," as he put it in a news conference Monday. The previous evening, he was more specific in his televised address when he declared, "Seven in 10 Iraqis say their lives are going well — and nearly two-thirds expect things to improve even more in the year ahead."

    The results without the administration spin:
    *More than two-thirds of Iraqis surveyed face-to-face opposed the U.S. presence, but only one-quarter of respondents wanted American troops to leave right away.

    *44 percent said their country is better off than before the war.

    *More than six in 10 said they feel safe in their neighborhoods, up from four in 10 in June 2004.

    *Half said the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was wrong, up from 39 percent in February 2004.

    *More than two-thirds said they expect things to get better in the coming months.


    - Senators are coming down hard on the President and his monarch fantasies of an Orwellian World. Senator Jay Rockefeller made public a letter written to the VP expressing concerns about the new spying policy. This was so secret at the time he had to write it himself because the policy was to sensitive for his staff to know. If this is the administrations idea of oversight then we've entered a dark phase.

    Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has floated the 'I' word to several 'presidential scholars.' Of course they all replied, 'of course he could be impeached.' Then she told them about the admission to illegal spying, for 'presidential scholars' heads exploded yesterday.

    U.S. Rep. John Lewis (Ga) has expressed his concerns over the policy. He stated he would sign a bill of impeachment if one is drawn up and if the action was illegal.

    Senator Barbara Mikulski's (D-MD)captures the gist in one sentence
    "The President seems to have admitted that he secretly eliminated this entire legal process."

    she also asks
    Are there any other secret orders relating to spying on U.S. citizens?

    Of course there are Senator. We are dealing with the party of neo-McCarthyism.

    My Senator, Lindsey Graham (SC), had this to say on Face the Nation Sunday
    Sen. GRAHAM: Here's what I reject. Whether you're a Republican or a Democrat in the White House, I reject the ability of any president during a time of war to make findings to set aside the torture statute and give blanket immunity to people out in the field because that could come back and hurt our own troops in different scenarios. I reject the idea that any president can sit down with a handful of congressman and deal the courts out if the law requires the court to be involved. It is about the process. It's not about the politics.

    It is about winning the war, adhering to the values that we're fighting for and you can't set those values aside in the name of expediency.

    My other Senator, Jim DeMint is still trying to figure out what espionage means. He also spends most of his free time torturing homosexual school teachers in his basement.

    - Jonathan Alter fills us in on Bush's desperate plea the NYT to stop the printing of the Spying story a year after they (the NYT) first learned of the program. He points out that the President did not fear the damage to domestic security then, but was more concerned about the hot water below
    ...Bush was desperate to keep the Times from running this important story—which the paper had already inexplicably held for a year—because he knew that it would reveal him as a law-breaker. He insists he had "legal authority derived from the Constitution and congressional resolution authorizing force." But the Constitution explicitly requires the president to obey the law. And the post 9/11 congressional resolution authorizing "all necessary force" in fighting terrorism was made in clear reference to military intervention. It did not scrap the Constitution and allow the president to do whatever he pleased in any area in the name of fighting terrorism.


    - The Shiite alliance is leading in the polls in Iraq. A strong showing by the religious Shiite's would lead most to believe that Iraq is slowly entering Iran's orbit. Col. Lang talks about this development, focusing on the release of some former scientists and weapon experts of Saddam's government (Dr Germ and Mrs. Anthrax). Lang sees a deal in the works
    The US has now decided that it can not afford to see a long term political victory and control of the Iraqi government by the Shia religious parties (SCIRI, Dawa, Sadrists). What is the solution for us? It is to try to promote a coalition between the secular nationalists under Ayad Allawi and the non Jihadi insurgents and their Baathi and "rejectionist" supporters in the political world (read Sinn Fein here).

    Lang thinks this is a good thing, and it may be, provided the Shiite militias don't have a problem with it; which they will. If the case, we'll be fighting the Shiite militias again before this is all over. We'll also have a secular strongman in power in Iraq just like it had before this whole misguided adventure began years ago, only this government will be friendlier to the Kurds. Which is better, the latter probably.

    - Fox poll: 35% support Scalito Alito, down from 46% a month ago. (pdf)(oops! This link is broken, will try to update later if fixed.)

    - The Washington Post is a great newspaper, and their use of Technorati is sweet. But no one is allowed to call WaPo a paper with liberal bias ever again. According to them Bush's approval is soaring
    Bush's overall approval rating rose to 47 percent, from 39 percent in early November, with 52 percent saying they disapprove of how he is handling his job. His approval rating on Iraq jumped 10 percentage points since early November, to 46 percent, while his rating on the economy rose 11 points, to 47 percent. A clear majority, 56 percent, said they approve of the way Bush is handling the fight against terrorism -- a traditional strong point in his reputation that nonetheless had flagged to 48 percent in the November poll.

    Sounds to me like he bottomed out in November, he'll ride a brief incline in the aftermath of the elections in Iraq and his attack on the declining support for the war, but as soon as an insurgent kills a handful of our soldiers or something worse things will settle back down.

    In addition, this CNN poll directly contradicts the polling above
    A CNN/USA Today Gallup poll conducted over the weekend found his approval rating stood at 41 percent, while more than half, or 56 percent, disapprove of how the president is handling his job. A majority, or 52 percent, say it was a mistake to send troops to Iraq, and 61 percent say they disapprove of how he is handling Iraq specifically. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

    I'll take either one, this president is dead weight.

    - Right-wing pundits and bloggers (two g’s or one?) have been busy attacking Canada, calling them stalkers and Americas retarded cousin. Trivial for sure, this will likely help the liberal parties in Canada in the coming election cycle. Few in Canada have much respect for American politicians and their operatives. I'd like to say that I love Canada, and for more reasons than politics. It is a beacon of hope in an America that is approaching becoming a theocracy lead by a retarded president and religious fundamentalists.

    - Armando is a must read this morning.

    Posted by Geoff

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