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    23 December 2005

    Republican 'Cut 'n Run' | more on 'Snoopgate'

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    - When Murtha proposed a troop redeployment in Iraq to pull the troops to the fringes and let the Iraqi troops stand up to the terrorists and insurgents, Republicans raised Holy Hell and went through several political maneuvers to attack and divide the Dems in the Senate. Weeks later the Republican leadership is beginning their own form of 'cut 'n run' in Iraq. Instead of ignoring domestic politics and attempting to finish the job, or salvage what's left, in Iraq; the Republicans have begun the withdrawal en mass. Rummy, and Bush, have ignored post election developments and seem to believe that the 'peaceful' elections indicate some sort of victory. They also seem content with the increasing possibility of, and almost assured alliance with Iran. I've never been a fan of the 'bring them home' rhetoric because it would mean several thousand men and women will have lost their arms, legs, or lives fighting or another democratic theocracy like Iran. Our troops fought hard and don't deserve to have their brave efforts washed away in anticipation of November 2006. But that's democracy I guess. How is it that the administration can say that Iraq will be a partner against terror? How is it that a percentage higher than the roughly 20% of die hard pro-Bush Americans can be falling for this crap? Maybe some of them need to go back to school or read a book instead of taking everything that their favorite politician or pundit says as fact. I sure don't.

    - The Boston Globe is reporting
    The National Security Agency, in carrying out President Bush's order to intercept the international phone calls and e-mails of Americans suspected of links to Al Qaeda, has probably been using computers to monitor all other Americans' international communications as well, according to specialists familiar with the workings of the NSA.

    The Bush administration and the NSA have declined to provide details about the program the president authorized in 2001, but specialists said the agency serves as a vast data collection and sorting operation. It captures reams of data from satellites, fiberoptic lines, and Internet switching stations, and then uses a computer to check for names, numbers, and words that have been identified as suspicious.

    "The whole idea of the NSA is intercepting huge streams of communications, taking in 2 million pieces of communications an hour," said James Bamford, the author of two books on the NSA, who was the first to reveal the inner workings of the secret agency.

    "They have a capacity to listen to every overseas phone call," said Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, which has obtained documents about the NSA using Freedom of Information Act requests.

    Illegal? Not really so long as it (the untargeted peoples communications) isn't read by a human, but that is shakey logic and you can bet that this was exploited by the administration to look at potential troublemakers in the process (that's my opinion).

    As Cafferty speculates
    "You know what? He's in big trouble, and I can't wait for the hearings to start."

    In a just world that might be, that world does not exist in America anymore.

    - A
    judge concluded
    in a case that "the continued detention of two ethnic Uighurs at the U.S. prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is 'unlawful'" But since we have King George and his loyal SS types in control, he concludes that the court is powerless to enforce the decision and order their release.

    America.
    - The Most outrageous statements of 2005 are in (via dKos). Here's my favorite:
    Pat Buchanan: "Our guys" in Iraq "have got every right to have good news put into the media and get to the people of Iraq, even if it's got to be planted or bought." [MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, 12/1/05]

    and the most sickening:
    Rush Limbaugh (a tie)on the kidnapping of peace activists in Iraq: "I'm telling you, folks, there's a part of me that likes this." [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/29/05]

    Radio host Glenn Beck: "[Y]ou know it took me about a year to start hating the 9-11 victims' families? Took me about a year." [Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program, 9/9/05]

    Who the hell is Glenn Beck??

    Note: This may be my final post before Christmas, sooooo a great big 'Merry Christmas' to all my regulars and anyone else who might read this. May the second half of this decade turn out better than the first. Be safe everybody!

    Posted by Geoff

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