I Don’t Think “Exclusivity” Means What John Yoo Thinks It Does

I wanted to focus some attention on one tiny part of the interchange I highlighted yesterday. In the guise of explaining to Administraton apologist David Rivkin the Kafkaesque process by which he has gotten some of the Office of Legal Counsel’s opinions declassified, Sheldon Whitehouse revealed he has been trying to get one more opinion declassified–one relating to exclusivity:

I’d be delighted to show you the whole rest of the opinion [stating that the President tells DOJ how to interpret law] but I’m not allowed to. It’s classified. I had to fight to get these declassified. They made me take … they kept my notes. They then delivered them to the intelligence committee where I could only read them in the secure confines of the intelligence committee and then I had to, again, in a secure fashion, send this language back to be declassified. I’m doing it again with a piece of language that relates to exclusivity. There is a sentence that describes whether or not the FISA statute’s exclusivity provision is really exclusive enough for the OLC and that is, we’re still going through this process. I’d like to be able to tell you more about this.

Exclusivity, you’ll recall, refers to the language in the original FISA bill that requires that FISA be the only means under which the executive branch conducts domestic surveillance. Here’s Anonymous Liberal on exclusivity:

Perhaps the most important provision in the entire FISA legal framework is 18 U.S.C. § 2511(2)(f)–commonly known as the exclusivity provision–which states that the "procedures in this chapter or chapter 121 and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 shall be the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance, as defined in section 101 of such Act, and the interception of domestic wire, oral, and electronic communications may be conducted."

It is through this provision that Congress made it clear that FISA’s warrant requirement and other procedures were mandatory and that it did not intend to leave the president with any residual authority to conduct warrantless surveillance outside of the FISA framework.

Now, as AL points out, the Protect America Act introduced a loophole by which the Administration could get around the exclusivity provision, one DiFi has been trying to ensure stays closed in the amended FISA, and which the Administration hopes to keep open. But what Whitehouse seems to be pointing to is the means by which the Administration dismissed the clear requirement that FISA be the only (that is, exclusive) means by which the Administration could tap Americans. We know the Administration, when pushed, claimed that the Authorization for Military Force was legislation that superseded FISA, but Tom Daschle has clearly debunked that cute little legal theory.

Given this little tidbit from Whitehouse, it appears there’s some more John Yoo (presumably) sophism designed to suggest that exclusivity doesn’t mean exclusivity.

54 replies
  1. Minnesotachuck says:

    Congrats on being sprinkled with Pixie Dust by Project Censored! (I’m just catching up on EW posts after being out last evening.)

  2. JamesJoyce says:

    The illegal use of executive privilege and state’s secrets law combined with erroneous legal interpretations enable Nazis to consolidate power in prewar Nazi Germany. What we are witnessing with this administration is the usurpation of constitutional law under the color of law. This behavior by corporate aristocrats is enabled by “Executive Oil.” Jefferson feared the rise of a corporate aristocracy, that would perpetually work towards the usurpation of constitutional checks and balances in the lust for endless profit. Thee can be no doubt that the price we pay for energy today enables those corpo-aristocrats Jefferson feared would “usurp law” in the lust for endless profit. Jefferson’s fear in this regard is realized!

    • klynn says:

      You got me in a Jeffersonian mood…

      “I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

      “The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.”

      “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”

      “If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.”

      Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny”

      Leave no authority existing not responsible to the people.”

      “There is…an artificial aristocracy founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talents…. The artificial aristocracy is a mischievous ingredient in government, and provisions should be made to prevent its ascendancy.”

      “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”

      – Thomas Jefferson

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Excellent reminder of what a famous originalist really intended.

        Interesting to note that the corporations whose power Jefferson feared — merchant trusts and monopolists like Britain’s East India Company — pre-dated the rise of the modern corporation. The pre-eminent example of that is the mid-nineteenth century railroad, with its huge investment base via widely spread stock ownership. Its lobbying to acquire for free huge tracts of federal lands from sea to shining sea. And the monopoly power to hold sway over its suppliers, even the great steel and coal companies, and over freight rates and property development along its junctions.

        Steel and coal were huge, but originally depended on their biggest customers, the railroads (and then urban construction). But the railroads weren’t powerful enough to withstand the onslaught of the next generation of companies built around big oil.

        Rockefeller’s Standard Oil acquired so much power that he could force railroads to charge him a pittance to get his oil to market (in pre-pipeline days, the only viable method of transport). More devastatingly, he had the power to get them to charge his competitors more than double that rate — and to rebate much of the difference to him. In effect, that allowed his oil to be transported for free while slamming his competitors with high costs.

        That was all before the First World War and the mass introduction of cars and trucks. Oil hasn’t lost its power. It’s competed for dominance with automotive manufacturing and now military contractors and high-tech companies, and rarely lost a step.

        Yoo’s arguments in favor of executive power don’t sound much different than those of a railroad or oil company lawyer arguing that “monopoly power” doesn’t mean what economists and nascent government regulators think it means. Like the 1960’s rivalries between conservatives and liberals that liberals thought they’d won, this is an old fight that hasn’t ended. It’s just taken on new faces and is being openly fought for control of government, not just the White House.

        • Anna says:

          This is what is getting to me. While Jefferson and others had great ideas “Justice for all”, the reality is that there are several justice systems in this country and have been for a very long time.

          I feel honored to come to ew’s and read the opinions of folks who obviously know far more about the law than most Americans. I also know that the majority of the learned people here at ew’s believe in JUSTICE. BUT over the last few years as I have read through the opinions here at
          EW’s in regard to the rule of law and its application (or not) to the Attorney General scandal, pre-war intelligence, torture, wiretapping, the outing of Valerie Plame/Wilson etc etc. I have become more discouraged than ever before by the lack of enforcement of our laws and the lack of accountability. Karl Rove, Addington, Libby, Feith, Fleisher, Cheney, Rosen etc. have committed crimes against our nation that they may never do a lick of prison time for and they are all still walking free.

          Last night there was a program on about our prison systems. People in prison for years for robbing a corner gas station, marijuana, jumping bail, not paying traffic fines etc. These folks know from direct experience that there are several justice systems in this country. The acceptance of such a dual system tears at the fabric of our nation daily.

          The lack of a fair justice system is something I feel I am coming to terms with. Although it saddens and sickens me in a way that is deeper than ever before.

  3. druidity36 says:

    Has the Administration ever followed the Exclusivity rule? Didn’t they start setting up the taps long before 9.11?

    It’d be good to have another law they’ve proven to have broken (for future prosecution under a Dem admin), but i can’t see this going any further than the other travesties of Law that have been investigated by Congress.

    I’m dismayed by Politics lately… heading out to the garden to start terracing my back slope. Got a Plum tree and some Asparagus heads to plant today. Happy Saturday to you!

    • masaccio says:

      That’s a good point. I wonder if Whitehouse could release the date of the opinion.

  4. BoxTurtle says:

    The think that confuses me is why in the world Yoo is still on a Law professor. He’s shown either a complete lack of respect of the law or a complete misunderstanding of the law. Or both.

    Boxturtle (He might make a good Political Science prof)

    • MarieRoget says:

      Despite Dean Edley’s letter on upholding the standard of academic freedom @ UC Berkeley, when Yoo becomes a bigger liability than an asset for Boalt Hall, a way will be found to remove him. But not before.

      EW, I’m catching up on backthreads, too. Congratulations on the nod from Project Censored!

  5. BoxTurtle says:

    Please ignore the typos, grammitical errors and mispellings above. I just woke up and it’s clear that the caffine has not yet kicked in.

    Boxturtle (Dumps the iced tea, grabs a Red Bull)

  6. LisainManistee says:

    I always find myself wondering:

    Do these people think they were going to be in power forever? Did they not think anyone would come after them and reveal their barely disguised crimes?

    They’re like children that never thought they’d get caught out.

    I have to say that I just don’t get the arrogance… What grown thinking adult behaves like this administration has behaved and doesn’t believe they’ll ever be caught out?

    It’s just mind boggling to me.

    • WilliamOckham says:

      Actually, they are confident that they will never be punished. Cheney’s entire aim is to push as far as he can towards a constitutional dictatorship.

    • selise says:

      They’re like children that never thought they’d get caught out.

      see iran/contra.

      do they have any reason to think that even with a change of administration there will be any real attempt at accountability? i don’t think so, if we are to depend on the D party leadership.

      but i do have hope. from marcy and the folks here, for example.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        More dangerously, they that they’ve built such a thorough system of support — Congressional, the MSM, think tanks and pundits — that not even getting caught is no problem. That is Lord Acton’s phrase in action – absolute power corrupting absolutely.

        Just in case, they’ve also so corrupted the DOJ that it will take two presidential terms to get it back on track and for it to weed through the many subsidiary, collateral scandals that also merit investigation and prosecution. Like schooling fish, but with the shark in the middle.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Cheney may well believe that Congress is outdated in an era of intercontinental missiles – a deliberative, seemingly unwieldy institution can appear outmoded. And we’ve all seen the bloviating in any number of Congressional Hearings; one can understand why a person in Cheney’s seat would want to cut the bloviators out of the decision-making process. Evidently, he wants to cut Congress out of the equation altogether.

        We’ve seen the problem with that — heightened risk of poor decision-making by ideologically driven, insular groupthink means that the ‘Deciders’ become extremely poor at identifying, absorbing, integrating, and synthesizing novel information. This is further complicated by individuals like GWBush who appear unable to tolerate ‘disconfirming’ information; a lot of well-intentioned, decent messengers get killed off as ‘collateral damage’, which destabilizes the whole system. Then events spiral out of control at increasingly accelerated rates, with increasingly accelerating costs.

        I sometimes think if Cheney ever ended up on the Starship Enterprise, Capt Kirk would have him hauled off to the brig if he as much as suspected that Cheney was inserting Trojan Horses into legal code, as EW points out:

        Whitehouse seems to be pointing to is the means by which the Administration dismissed the clear requirement that FISA be the only (that is, exclusive) means by which the Administration could tap Americans.

        Capt Kirk may be a fictional character, but we’ve all probably known someone a lot like him, and he’s my model of good leadership. For all of us, life is full of the unexpected; the quality of information available to make decisions is critical to good outcomes.

        Anything — or anyone — that screws with the quality of your information, or the integrity with which it is collected and presented, poses dangers. Every peer-reviewed science journal is based upon that simple fact of life; so are many fortunes, trademarks, copyrights, and related sources of wealth.

        Whitehouse gets it. So does Feingold.

        • pdaly says:

          I sometimes think if Cheney ever ended up on the Starship Enterprise, Capt Kirk would have him hauled off to the brig if he as much as suspected that Cheney was inserting Trojan Horses into legal code, as EW points out:

          This reminds me of reports that Scooter Libby was a devotee to the original Star Trek series–can name every episode.
          I wonder what character he sees his pals occupying. If he sees the WH as the team on the Bridge, does it ever occur to Scooter that this could be one of those episodes where a foreign intelligence has taken over the minds of the crew and that they are behaving destructively?

          • bmaz says:

            I have no idea what L’il Scoots would say, but I could see the Bush WH folks as the bridge crew in the episode Mirror Mirror. Shrub, Darth, Addington et al. would fit in perfectly on the Evil Enterprise.

            • pdaly says:

              I definitely missed that episode. How true.

              I have a feeling Scooter considered himself the Spock of the group.

              This part caught me eye (from your link to wikipedia).

              Mirror-Spock suddenly comes to and quickly mind melds with McCoy in order to read his mind. He discovers the switch, and offers to operate the transporter so that the entire landing party may return to their own universe. This convinces Kirk that this universe’s Mr. Spock is still an ethical Vulcan guided by logic. He suggests to mirror-Spock that a Federation-like system is more logical than the ruthless totalitarian Empire. Mirror-Spock agrees to consider the idea.

              If only…

    • Minnesotachuck says:

      Do these people think they were going to be in power forever? Did they not think anyone would come after them and reveal their barely disguised crimes?

      This was their goal! Karl Rove’s mission was to do whatever it took to tilt the playing field so as to establish a generations-long GOP electoral majority.

      The fundamental challenge of our time arises from the realignment of the two major parties that has taken place since the 1960s. From the inception of this country, one of the core values of Southern political culture has been unequal enfranchisement. In fairness, it hasn’t always been all that high on the North’s list either, and in fact until the mid-20th century broad-based enfranchisement was probably more associated with the GOP than with the Democrats. With the Southern takeover of the GOP, beginning in earnest in the 1960s in response to that decade’s civil rights legislation, selective enfranchisement for purposes of partisan advantage has become a core principle of the Republicans, and has reached its apotheosis (so far) in the Bush-Cheney cabal.

      A key point that has to be put across to the American people is that this aspect of the last eight years of Republican misrule is not just a Bush-Cheney-Rove thing. It is embedded in the DNA of the mongrel that the GOP has become since the cross-breeding with Southern racism that began four decades ago. And because of that party’s close affiliation with the private and corporate moneyed interests in this country, it has become subversive to American democracy. From an internal standpoint, it is a far more lethal threat than the Red Menace of the 1950s ever was. This threat will not be purged from the American scene unless and until that party is administered the mother of all electoral enemas by the American people.

      So, whenever we run across a swing voter who is leaning toward McCain, we’ve got to make the point that this election isn’t a beauty contest. It’s not, first and foremost, about the alleged qualifications (or lack thereof) for the presidency. It’s about whether the tumor that the GOP has become will be excised from the American body politic.

  7. klynn says:

    And in full context:

    …there is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents. Formerly bodily powers gave place among the aristoi. But since the invention of gunpowder has armed the weak as well as the strong with missile death, bodily strength, like beauty, good humor, politeness and other accomplishments, has become but an auxiliary ground of distinction. There is also an artificial aristocracy founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talents; for with these it would belong to the first class. The natural aristocracy I consider as the most precious gift of nature for the instruction, the trusts, and government of society. And indeed it would have been inconsistent in creation to have formed man for the social state, and not to have provided virtue and wisdom enough to manage the concerns of the society. May we not even say that that form of government is the best which provides the most effectually for a pure selection of these natural aristoi into the offices of government? The artificial aristocracy is a mischievous ingredient in government, and provision should be made to prevent it’s ascendancy.

    -Thomas Jefferson

      • klynn says:

        And most profound:

        “An enemy generally says and believes what he wishes..”

        -Thomas Jefferson

      • klynn says:

        And finally, the prophetic Jefferson:

        Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.

        Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

        (Got that out of my system…now for java…)

  8. phred says:

    Thanks for the post EW. It is good to see Whitehouse laying the groundwork for future challenges to the UE theory. It gives me some hope to see a member of Congress working to at the very least inform the public of what has happened. Now lets see if the combination of Russ’ hearing, your work as highlighted by the Guardian, and the glancing notice of the NYT can attract the attention of the MSM (note, I’m not holding my breath, but these do seem to be significant drops accumulating in the bucket).

    If Whitehouse and Feingold keep up the good work, I’m hopeful that the next Congress will give some real attention to seriously corrective legislation to address BushCo’s abuses of power. Of course, prosecuting BushCo is my fondest wish, but at the moment, I’ll take what I can get.

  9. behindthefall says:

    Sen. Whitehouse “had to fight”. What the heck does a freshman senator, no matter how brainy, have to fight with? What’s he holding, besides persuasiveness? Is his (I think) poorly understood stance on “telecom immunity” a little protective coloration here, a concession to someone, or what — is that his “shark cage”?

    Is Whitehouse the chosen point man on this? Does he do it alone, unaided by other representatives or senators? How far out is his neck? Is he in danger … ?

  10. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Why do you need another way to spy unless you need less restrictions to spy on Americans?

  11. TheraP says:


    I’m just stopping by briefly for a short “Thank You.” And I believe I speak for many who stop by, read, don’t comment much.

    Thank you for keeping your eye on the ball!!! Thanks for not getting distracted by all the electioneering which has consumed many of us for too long! Thanks for making sure the groundwork is laid – so that when we get a Dem president (and even before of course) we know where some of the bodies are buried, even if we don’t know much about them. And we know what rocks to look under. What caves to search through. Etc.

    So I commend you. And all those who are devoted to commenting here, to following all the details which not all of us have time to follow or comment on.

    Bravo! Words cannot express what’s being done here!

  12. ezdidit says:

    Marcy – I have appended my email signature with your little history lesson for all to see, if I ever have to explain my intemperate PRIVATE communications.

  13. JimWhite says:

    OT–Looks to me like yesterday’s evening dump was the filing of papers in the lawsuit over the subpoena of Miers and Bolten:

    The House Judiciary Committee is demanding documents and testimony from President Bush’s closest advisers about the firing of federal prosecutors.

    When the White House refused, the Democrat-led committee went to court. Lawyers called the president’s actions the most expansive view of presidential authority since Watergate.

    Late Friday night, the Bush administration responded with court documents of its own, similarly steeped in history. Lawyers called the lawsuit unprecedented. Citing George Washington and Grover Cleveland, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, they said these types of clashes get resolved without going to court.

    “For over two hundred years, when disputes have arisen between the political branches concerning the testimony of executive branch witnesses before Congress, or the production of executive branch documents to Congress, the branches have engaged in negotiation and compromise,” Justice Department lawyers wrote.


    Congress says it has tried negotiating and is left with no other options but a court case. The Bush administration countered in court documents Friday that, if Congress really wants to put up a fight about this, the Constitution offers plenty of ways for lawmakers to dig in their heels.

    Congress can block presidential appointments until its demands are met, attorneys said. And since Congress controls the government’s purse strings, it can cut off funding for the Executive branch agencies.

    Maybe some of our legal eagles can their hands on the documents and let us know what they look like. From he description in the AP article, I get the impression the White House is running scared and fears they may harm the longterm future of executive privelege. We should be so lucky…

    Finally, these idiots are suggesting compromise as the route to resolving the controversy. The reason it won’t work with them is that W’s view of “compromising” is to get everything he wants, and then some.

    • phred says:

      From he description in the AP article, I get the impression the White House is running scared and fears they may harm the longterm future of executive privelege.

      One of the most consistent things BushCo has done is to retreat rather than to have their UE theories tested in court. As long as a court doesn’t formally reject their assertions of power, they can keep asserting them. I find it very heartening that you get a sense the WH is scared of being taken to court in this case. Still, I would find it more heartening with a different Supreme Court ; )

      And I agree with your view that BushCo is unfamiliar with the proper meaning of “compromise”. I find it galling to be lectured by anyone in the Republican camp (whether BushCo, Rethug Congresscritters, or the likes of David Brooks) on the virtues of bipartisanship and compromise. Funny how they suddenly advocate good sportsmanship when they are staring a massive defeat right in the face. Or, maybe not so funny. Maybe it’s merely contemptible.

  14. whitewidow says:

    More of kagro x predictions coming true, maybe? By this I mean that kagro has long argued that these things would never be decided by the judiciary branch, because they have always declined to get involved in the past in arguments between the legislative and executive, and I suppose now the Fourth Branch, too. So the game has been to stall. Several Republicans and Democrats have said “the courts will decide” and now the administration finally, when completely up against it, invokes this argument. I fear they are correct and the court will not decide. The Dems will never invoke inherent contempt, there is no circumstance under which I can see the Sgt. at Arms hauling anyone to serve for contempt in the capital jail cell, precedent will be set by a lack of legislative branch action, and all will wring their hands and say “but what is there to do?”

    • JimWhite says:

      “but what is there to do?”

      Believe it or not, that same AP articles says:

      The Bush administration countered in court documents Friday that, if Congress really wants to put up a fight about this, the Constitution offers plenty of ways for lawmakers to dig in their heels.

      Congress can block presidential appointments until its demands are met, attorneys said. And since Congress controls the government’s purse strings, it can cut off funding for the Executive branch agencies.

      That would be a courageous Congress that took those actions. We don’t have one, and the White House is calling them chicken to their faces.

      • skdadl says:

        … and @ 25:

        The Bush administration countered in court documents Friday that, if Congress really wants to put up a fight about this, the Constitution offers plenty of ways for lawmakers to dig in their heels.

        @ 28:

        the White House is calling them chicken to their faces.

        As you’ve laid it out, this reads to me so much like a case of domestic abuse that I can hardly sit still while I’m reading it.

  15. masaccio says:

    I am worried about the sclerotic leadership of the democratic party in DC. Pelosi and Reid are in office because they outlasted everyone else. Hoyer and Emmanuel look from here like two more of the same kind of people, only with more attachment to the money than the other two. I don’t think we were in the wilderness long enough to weed out the weaklings and replace them with younger, sharper people, with strong ideological positions, of the kind that truly differentiate the Ds from the Rs.

    That is why I think the focus this year, for activists, has to be electing progressive congresspeople, not the presidential race. I don’t think we can expect new outcomes from the same old people, and even Obama doesn’t seem likely to put a stake in the heart of bushism.

    • JohnJ says:

      Thank you! I have been saying since the first weeks after 2006 that Pelosi and Reid are just the best SURVIVORS. To still be there after a decade of GOP rule, they must not have been much of a threat to the rulers. This is one case where seniority is a negative.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I would agree, certainly based on Sen. Reid’s participation in the FDL blog just now. It was great to have the opportunity to ask him questions, but, not surprisingly, he answered no hard ones and left within 45 minutes. He just kissed the babies.

        • phred says:

          True, but you didn’t really expect anything more than that did you? He didn’t get to be Senate Majority Leader by answering politically awkward questions directly. He was there to sell his book, give us his autograph and a smile, that was it. I thought EW’s question was best (no surprise there, eh?) because it addressed process rather than policy and there was a reasonable shot that he would answer it. Unfortunately, Reid doesn’t appear to be a student of history because I doubt he could have properly answered her question if he wanted to. I thought the exchange about Lieberman and the Gang of 14 was interesting though. That was about it.

          Reid will never be the leader we need him to be, no matter how cool it was for him to survive his childhood. We got the true measure of the man when he handed McConnell victory on a silver platter by agreeing to a 15 day extension to PAA after we had already won the game, set, and match by letting it die. Nothing short of a change in leadership in Congress will save us. No matter how good a President Obama may prove to be, he will never be able to singlehandedly get Congress to do their damn job.

  16. kspena says:

    OT- back to phone lines in ME and the ‘cutting’ of them. Here’s what Nasrallah is fighting over in Lebanon. It seems that bush is behind this move to cut off Hizballah’s [heavily coded]communications.

    “In a news conference on 8 May, Hizballah Secretary General Hasan Nasrallah rejected the government’s demands and threatened a violent response if the government acted against Hizballah’s telephone network.

    Nasrallah declared: “We have the right to defend ourselves,” and “we will cut off the hand” of anyone threatening to take away
    Hizballah’s “resistance weapons regardless of the person it belongs to…we will not be lenient with anyone no matter who he is” (Al-Manar TV, 8 May).”

    Instead of shutting down Hizballah, US front man Hariri’s properties were destroyed, including his TV station.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      My, oh my.
      That is certainly an interesting piece of info you’ve tossed into the thread.

    • bmaz says:

      The problem with constantly jerking Hezbollah’s chain is that, when push comes to shove, they seem to have greater support from, and a bigger cache of credibility with, the Lebanese people.

  17. pdaly says:

    Great quotes, klynn.

    Here’s another one I wish we could carve over the portico of the White House as a reminder that America is against secret government.

    “When a man assumes a public trust he should consider himself a public property.” -Thomas Jefferson

  18. pdaly says:

    Nice post, emptywheel.

    I think Sen. Whitehouse should add the phrase “no pixie dust” amony others to clarify for all what he means by FISA’s exclusivity.

  19. pdaly says:

    I should mention my Star Trek viewing was very spotty.

    Long after seeing an episode with Tribbles I kept referring to them as Klingons (thinking I was saying Cling-Ons). Well the Tribbles did look clingy. A college roommate cleared up my confusion and was more exasperated than amused.

  20. JamesJoyce says:

    Natural Selection, Corporate Treason, Executive Oil and the Iraq Oil Plot!

    Many Americans are akin to silent Germans……. Life Liberty and Happiness in the hands of oil speculators. This is the epitome of retardation.

  21. phred says:

    Just in case anyone here is hoping that our lame duck President is starting to fold his tent to go home… This post over at DKos this morning talks about the new classification rules released on Friday (there’s the docu-dump you were looking for) will make it even easier for BushCo to sweep things under the rug.

    I am reminded that Addington has said that they will “push and push and push until some larger force makes us stop”. Well, Senator Reid, what do you propose to do to make them stop?

    • bmaz says:

      Well, Senator Reid, what do you propose to do to make them stop?

      Well, Hanoi Harry proposes keeping up the same “tough” stance he has never been taking with the Bushies. Unfortunately, the queen of “the table”, Nancy Pelosi feels the same way. And, by the way, I don’t think newly annoited President Obama is interested in imposing any accountability either. Doesn’t jibe with his vaunted “new way” if you are to believe Stoller and Digby’s friend dday. Once again, these zombies are going to be left undead in order to roam free terrorizing us and our democracy again with impunity 10-15 years down the road. If you no killee, they come backee.

      • phred says:

        Ah, but they’ll have HEARINGS! And then bumbling nincompoops who “aren’t qualified to run a lunch counter” (h/t Sen. Leahy) will resign (not be FIRED, but resign) and then they’ll be replaced by far more effective conniving criminal apologists (what us torture?) and all will be hunky dory in Reid’s world… Ahhh, I feel sooo much better already ; ) Yep, resignation is the harshest possible consequence — I’m sure it keeps Reid up at night fretting about whether it is too harsh for such a civilized society as the Beltway.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          I have the highest regard for y’all, but having lived in a few conservative regions of the Western US, it’s still a marvel to me that Harry Reid ever got elected from NV.

          Does he do all the things that I wish he would? No.
          Did he support Howard Dean’s ‘50 state stragegy’? Yes.
          Did he somehow manage to stall Net Neutrality back in June 06 when Toobz Stevens and the GOP still controlled both houses of Congress? Somehow, Reid must have been a key player there, and it was a **huge** victory that I suspect (if I’m right, and he was a key player) he’s too smart to crow about.
          Does he have GWBush’s number? Yup.

          Perfect, he ain’t.
          Is he my dream Majority Leader? I don’t think it matters.

          Look at the way he grew up — my hunch is that he can spot an asshole pretty fast. In many respects, there’s probably no better qualification.

          He needs more ammo. He needs more votes on his side.
          Then, we might seem him work a little magic.

          I realize that it’s frustrating to watch all this play out, but it’s still a marvel to me that a Dem like Reid ever got elected from corrupt, water-needy NV in the first place. Look at Kyl, or Coryn and then figure the odds that Reid ever got elected. I’d say lower than 1:6,000,000.

      • masaccio says:

        I bet you are right, Obama will not set up so much as a Truth and Reconciliation Committee. On the other hand, maybe his administration will not be so resistant to FOIA requests, declassification of wrongfully classified materials, and other means of getting information before the public. A properly organized group could then assemble the materials in a way that would penetrate public indifference. All the smart people are on our side, and with a little help we could make a mighty show of it.

        • bmaz says:

          I think that is probably about right; and I suppose you have to take what you can get. And, make no mistake, I do want the new administration to go about tackling the big problems and making the country better for the future. But, by the same token, the history (and I firmly believe in that old saw about failure to be a student of history dooms you to repeat it) is that these guys keep coming back. And they have been allowed to groom and implant a whole new generation of themselves too. This may be the last dance for the old guard like Cheney and Rumsfeld etc; but like an earwig that has crawled inside a person’s head and laid eggs, they have implanted the seeds of their propagation. While the freeing up of the FOIA stuff so that people like us can work it up is great, it simply will not have the effectiveness of something official and will be easy for the Goopers to laugh off. There needs to be something official if there is to be a real attempt to weed out the wrongfully implanted civil service, non-political position seed pods that have been implanted throughout the bureaucracy.

            • Anna says:

              Rod Serling often hit the nail on the head. Grew up down the road from where he lived in Yellow Springs Ohio. He served in WWII


              Military service
              Rod Serling served as a U.S. Army paratrooper and demolition specialist with the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 11th Airborne Division in the Pacific Theater in World War II from January 1943 to January 1945. He was seriously wounded in the wrist and knee during combat and was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

              Serling’s military service deeply affected the rest of his life and informed much of his writing. Due to his wartime experiences, Serling suffered from nightmares and flashbacks. During his service in World War II, he watched as his best friend was crushed to death by a heavy supply crate dropped by parachute onto the field.

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