Letter Trumps Spirit
Duncan Black is trying to throw us off his trail by declaring that he is not stupid, but read what he says about the New York Times' report that President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on the phone conversations of potential terrorists:
So, publishing the fact that Bush has decided he can spy on people without warrants is going to damage national security even though we already had a very public policy which allowed us to do the same by getting a warrant which didn't even have to really be gotten until 72 hours after the spying began?
Once again, I must ask: if these search warrants are so easily obtained, then what does that say about the oversight that the FISA courts provide? Isn't it more likely that the President's order to the NSA is a matter of acting in exigent circumstances to protect the American people? That isn't something that depends on retroactive authorizations ---which is a meaningless procedural burden to anyone who thinks about it for five seconds. Instead, Bush's order has been subject to dozens of reviews to guarantee that no civil liberties have been trampled on unnecessarily. What else should matter?
If it makes you feel better, Duncan, I'm sure that no court in the land would admit those eavesdropped recordings at trial without a prior search warrant. So buck up: your instinct to sympathize with and demand the rights of murderers to a fair trial is undiminished.
Bush is a lying criminal.
And a wanker.
Clearly, Duncan Black is a brave man to test the chilly waters of the Fourth Reich like this. After all, hundreds of bloggers have already been rounded up and concentrated in camps: doesn't he know he could be next?
Sympathize! Now Playing: "Time of the Season" by the Zombies
Condoleezza Rice just told Tim Russert that the President's NSA eavesdropping program is restricted to spying on those who have links to al-Qaeda.
If this is true ---and were reported with the same conspicuity as the breathless headlines saying the President is spying on YOU--- then no thinking American would object.
But since most Americans get their news from the pro-Democrat Big Media machine, the full story won't get through. People will only know that the President is spying on American citizens because that's what's interesting ---and not the fact that he is only spying on the enemies of our country.
Enjoy your shit pie, liberals. Now you can tell us why you are in the position of defending the right of al-Qaedists to communicate from our own soil with those who are helping them plot mass murder.
Democratize the Press!
My recommendation to the Bush White House is that they start choking off Big Media outlets that don't know what time it is. They should start leaking their own information to friendlies in the blogosphere. Make the fuckers who run the networks and the major dailies go crawling the Internet if they want to get in on the action.
That would move the center of gravity of public opinion in a very interesting way.
The whole Big Media dynamic could be changed in short order if this recommendation were implemented.
The Threshold of Unprecedence Now Playing: "Break It Up" by Foreigner
Via Michelle Malkin, go read this beautiful essay by Jeff Harrell at The Shape of Days:
For the first time in six hundred generations, the people of Iraq are truly free. Not by coincidence, not because of some random confluence of events, but because a group of determined visionaries and hundreds of thousands of soldiers from dozens of nations acted with swift resolve to make it so.
How can any of us not be rendered speechless by that?
Thankfully, Harrell overcomes his awe. Check it out. I think the guy knows what he's telling you.
Almost Stepped on a Cockroach Now Playing: Hamlet's famous soliloquy
Jeff Goldstein directs us to this report of an assassination attempt on Iranian psychopath Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
Tehran, Iran, Dec. 17 – One of the bodyguards of Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was killed and another wounded when an attempt to ambush the presidential motorcade was thwarted in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan, according to a semi-official newspaper and local residents.
“At 6:50 pm on Thursday, the lead car in the presidential motorcade confronted armed bandits and trouble-makers on the Zabol-Saravan highway”, the semi-official Jomhouri Islami reported on Saturday.
“In the ensuing armed clash, the driver of the vehicle, who was an indigenous member of the security services, and one of the president’s bodyguards died, while another bodyguard was wounded”, the newspaper, which was founded by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, wrote.
This may very well be some sort of martyrific pantomime made to order for domestic consumption in Iran, but it would be a consummation devoutly to be wished.
For some reason, I've been privileged to have a very thoughtful and insistent commenter at this site who goes by the name of Rider. He writes (below, in italics) to chide me for my defense of the NSA leak in the New York Times yesterday:
Good for the Times. You know they withheld the story for a year. And why? Because the White House claimed that it would compromise national security. Read: jeapordize Bush's re-election.
Funnily enough, our national security did depend on Bush's re-election last year. So, in this case, your translation is correct.
A clear example of the White House using its national security powers as an abusable political weapon to strengthen its grip on power.
Civil libertarians too often conceive of civil liberties only in the abstract, free of any complicating impurities such as contingency or even reality itself. But you do have an obligation to understand that Americans do not exercise their rights in the same ways in every phase of our history. The pendulum swings. Maybe we're just playing our parts in arguing the point, but the difference in this time is that we are in a war of some unprecedence, including most especially the instantaneity and ubiquity of communications of every kind. If, in the race to keep up with the cellular or Internet communications of our enemies, our intelligence services sometimes listen in on something without prior approval (which, I suspect, is largely pro forma, anyway), then I am not going to sweat it. I'm not going to go on and on about the travesty being done against our liberties because I know why our agencies are eavesdropping. I think you do, too, but don't want to miss the chance to unload on the Chimperor.
You wouldn't know a totalitarian police state if it jumped up and bit you in the ass.
Your suggestion is ludicrous. Big Brother isn't bothering with us in this forum. Why should he?
You mock the very liberties our troops are sworn to defend.
Your faith in the government to know what is best for you and not to use their power as an abusable political weapon is touching. Was that what you were saying during Filegate, btw?
And what was the contingency that justified the Clintons' deliberate and premeditated spying? I'll bet that question is more easily answered in the present case.
Note that it was NSA intelligence officers - real American patriots - who blew the whistle on this (or tried to a year ago). They did it because they were alarmed by the illegal powers Bush (Bush and only Bush) tried to push on them as he turned an agency for foreign spying - the most powerful and most secret we have - against Americans on American soil.
I very much doubt your characterization of those who leaked this information. That is to say, it was probably someone like Dick Clarke (the notorious war profiteer) who handed this shit to the Times in an effort to politically damage the President. Which makes it treason.
They were disturbed that he had not even made use of the special, secret rubber-stamp court the Patriot Act itself had provided for approving surveillance and which routinely approved all requests! Is that too much to ask?
Well, Rider. I think you've given the game away. If you, too, concede that the prior approval of a FISA court is just a "rubber stamp," then what's with the moral outrage here? You have no respect for the authorization required, so why the pretense?
Liberals-are-traitors is a Rovian refrain almost constantly being pumped out on the RNC talking point faxes.
I don't have that sort of fax machine. Or any, for that matter.
You tell us here on a daily basis there is no difference between some real Americans and would-be Muslim murderers. Mother Sheehan leaps to mind.
I don't understand this. It is undeniable that Sheehan is a Jew-hating terrorist-sympathizer and Leftist. She has devoted her life for the past year or so to undermining the morale of the American serviceman. I don't know why she's doing it except that she might be mad.
It is no stretch to suggest that people who do not hesitate to call their political enemies traitors or roadside bomber-dhimmies or terrorist-lovers or Al Qaeda-sympathizers might literally decide to surveil its political enemies...for reasons of national security, of course.
Let's have some names! Where is your evidence that Bush has spied on a Democratic Representative or Senator or even Mother Sheehan?
We just learned this week that anti-war protesters had been surveilled recently. Who exactly did the NSA surveil? I don't know. And you don't either. No one is watching the watchers.
Not to be too cynical, but I can't think of any Leftist or anti-war/anti-Bush activist who would not benefit immensely from the disclosure that he or she had been spied on by Bushitler. It would absolutely be the greatest thing that had ever happened to the fucking moron.
Dare Call It Treason Mood:
I am very pleased to see that this President is fighting back against the traitors in our government and in Big Media who disclosed the NSA eavesdropping story yesterday.
Listen to what the man said in his radio address this morning:
In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on our nation, I authorized the National Security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. Before we intercept these communications, the government must have information that establishes a clear link to these terrorist networks.
This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security. Its purpose is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, our friends and allies. Yesterday the existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports, after being improperly provided to news organizations. As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk. Revealing classified information is illegal, alerts our enemies, and endangers our country.
Mr. President, I recommend that you get Stephen Hadley on the case post haste. If that means the son of bitch has to work Christmas Day, so be it, but you need to find the worthless Plame-like fuckers who are leaking these stories to the New York Times and the other propaganda organs of the Left and prosecute them for treason.
Don't tell me about how we're no better than our enemies when we listen in on communications between young Muslim men from the Middle East and their benefactors back home. The NSA isn't listening to and doesn't care about Aunt Madge's gossip; they're trying to figure out whether Mo is cooking up death for our fellow Americans. Quit seeing everything through the prism of pure Constitutional principles and recognize that this is a dangerous time that requires extraordinary measures.
If the NSA listening in on some towelheads' phone calls is why we haven't seen a terrorist attack on our soil in four years, then I'll take that trade every time, comrade.
Keep up the good work, Mr. President. When these snivelling Leftist tools lie and dissemble and propagandize and leak information to undermine you and our troops and our national security, fight back, sir. FIGHT BACK!!!
Squaring Some Ass
I'm not going to go looking for all the gossip that's out there right now about it, but there's a story that's being widely reported in the local media tonight about two possible criminal incidents involving at least two of the starters for my Texas Longhorns football team.
I'm not going to mention the names, but I hope that this is just a lot of bullshit.
I'll say this much, though: there are a lot of big names in this town talking in offices and over phones at this very hour. You're talking major movers, baby ---men that get their way with a word.
I Can Hear You through the Wires Now Playing: "Wichita Lineman" by Glen Campbell
I realized a long time ago that I can't really draw in the naturalistic way I would like to, but I can make these excessively rote and highly-stylized shapes and lines. There is practically no variation in these doodles ---and hasn't been in many, many years. It's almost like it would ruin whatever the thought might be at the moment I begin these designs to try to introduce whimsy into them.
They are my brain dumping its neural diagram cache.
Are we supposed to believe, as Ann Kornblut does, that there was no collusion between her paper's report today that the National Security Agency is eavesdropping on phone calls without search warrants and the use of that story on the floor of the U.S. Senate during a filibustered vote to reauthorize certain parts of the Patriot Act?
Well, the non-collusion worked: the renewal failed.
Here's New York Senator Charles Schumer on just how influential the report was:
"I went to bed undecided," Mr. Schumer said on the Senate floor, "but today's revelation that the government has listened in on thousands of phone conversations is shocking and has greatly influenced my vote."
I understand that the Patriot Act is a great potential intrusion upon the civil liberties of all Americans, but the fact is that this law has been used relatively sparingly ---and not as an abusable political weapon.
Let's not forget the context in which the Patriot Act was passed: that of a war against the enemies of Civilization. I'm sure it's romantic and daring to declare that our Bill of Rights is being burnt before our eyes, but it's nonsense. There are contingencies in times of war that would be real threats in times of peace. For instance, we would not want a President ---who is also the leader of his own political party--- to authorize NSA telecommunication intercepts on his domestic opponents at any time. But as we fight a global war against Islamofascist murderers, I want my President to spy all he wants on Muslim immigrants and converts. I couldn't care less whether the NSA or CIA or FBI ignores FISA court search warrants. If these guys can catch wind of some terrorist strike or of some operational detail by listening to Mo call his uncle back in Riyadh, good on 'em.
We live with a lot of illusions in a democratic society. One of them is the idea that we are presumed innocent of whatever crimes we've been charged with until proved guilty. Well, the state wouldn't bother to prosecute us if they didn't think we were guilty, so such a presumption is a little fiction.
Another illusion is the idea that we aren't already being monitored. Credit reporting agencies, financial institutions, credit card companies, law enforcement, the insurance industry, et al: Big Brother owns our asses every time we buy a meal or pay a bill or click on a webpage. It would be nothing to the state to dig up every major or minor fact of our lives if it wanted to. But I don't think the state cares that much to devote its time and resources to spying on its own people. I think the state does care to spy on people who have come to our shores to do harm.
And, at that, I say get to it.
Don't pretend there's not a difference between real Americans and these would-be Muslim murderers.
Drinking and Blogging Mood:
suave Now Playing: "Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead!" by just about anyone you ask, frankly...
That's what I'm up to right now. Drinking surprisingly good Bloody Marys and telling you about it.
I don't remember the last time I drank hard liquor. At least six months. I usually get into and out of the bottle after two or three drinks and don't get back around to it for another several months.
But I don't need no damned celery or celery salt. Just some cheap vodka, some lemon juice, Tabasco, ice, and tomato juice. I hear V-8's the better way to go, but I don't have any at hand.
Know what happens when you make fun of Duncan Black's irrelevant notice of some stupid poll showing that Bush is a monster?
Too bad that the creatures inhabiting his day lounge reflect so poorly on him and his cause. They just can't stand to be bothered when it's time for their apple sauce, meds, and The Price Is Right on the old black-and-white.
I'll tell you what, boy: that ol' Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is one crazy fuck. Charles Krauthammer explains that the new Iranian president
is a confirmed believer in the coming apocalypse. Like Judaism and Christianity, Shiite Islam has its own version of the messianic return -- the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam. The more devout believers in Iran pray at the Jamkaran mosque, which houses a well from which, some believe, he will emerge.
When Ahmadinejad unexpectedly won the presidential elections, he immediately gave $17 million of government funds to the shrine. Last month Ahmadinejad said publicly that the main mission of the Islamic Revolution is to pave the way for the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam.
Is there any question that we need to have all of our available fingers in the pie of the Middle East right about now? We need to be there to put the squeeze on this unstable bastard and keep him from destroying the region.
After his U.N. speech in September, Ahmadinejad was caught on videotape telling a cleric that during the speech an aura, a halo, appeared around his head right on the podium of the General Assembly. "I felt the atmosphere suddenly change. And for those 27 or 28 minutes, the leaders of the world did not blink. . . . It seemed as if a hand was holding them there, and it opened their eyes to receive the message from the Islamic Republic."
Jesus Christ! The guy is positively insane.
It's only a matter of time until Israel unloads on him. They have no choice. Ahmadinejad says the Jews should be exterminated.
Laying Down a Weasel This is in today's Washington Post (emphases mine):
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said yesterday that Democrats should not seek a unified position on an exit strategy in Iraq, calling the war a matter of individual conscience and saying differing positions within the caucus are a source of strength for the party.
This is almost shockingly bullshit. This woman has done everything she can to lead the opposition in her Democratic Party to this war and to our President. For her to now disavow the clear anti-war direction of her party in such a way is goddamned nonsense.
Pelosi said Democrats will produce an issue agenda for the 2006 elections but it will not include a position on Iraq. There is consensus within the party that President Bush has mismanaged the war and that a new course is needed, but House Democrats should be free to take individual positions, she said.
This is absurd. Opposing the war is a major reason why Pelosi was made the Minority Leader in 2002. It's what made John Kerry the party's nominee in 2004 and Howard Dean the party's chairman in 2005. It's what energizes the party's base and what has catalyzed the party's psychotic hatred of George W. Bush. It simply isn't serious to say that the Democratic Party can abide whatever pro-war position its membership might adopt because that is not what it has done in any meaningful way up to this point.
But, you see, this is Pelosi's way to let Hillary Rodham Clinton off the hook. Otherwise, I have no idea how such a statement is operable.
"There is no one Democratic voice . . . and there is no one Democratic position," Pelosi said in an interview with Washington Post reporters and editors.
Pelosi recently endorsed the proposal by Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) for a swift redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq over a period of six months, but no other party leader followed, and House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) publicly opposed her.
And why is that? Because the Democratic Party is hedging its bets. Because they are not to be taken seriously on matters of war or national security. They are inconsistent poseurs and hypocrites who do not stand for America's moral right to make the Middle East safer.
She said her support for Murtha was not intended to forge a Democratic position on the war, adding that she blocked an effort by some of her colleagues to put the Democrats on record backing Murtha.
Pelosi's lost her leverage. The Democratic Party is going to strangle itself on the stupidity of Dean and Kerry and Pelosi and all the rest of them who can't figure out what the fuck they stand for. Ever. All they know is that they oppose Bush.
Not only is that not enough, it's a dereliction of their duties in a two-party system. Shame on these weasels.
Post-Shower Update Now Playing: "Take My Breath Away" by Berlin
Well, I got through it. It's miserable, but the idea, see, is to start off with the shower pressure at about half-strength. Just get your hands and forearms wet first. Then, start working some water into your hair a little at a time. Nothing too bold, but it's the way to build up the courage to turn and let that iciness run down your back and take your breath away.
Eventually, your flesh gets acclimated and all that's left to do is to have done with it.