FISA Redux: The Slippery Slope Becomes A Mine Shaft

(photo h/t Pointed Words)

Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

With the utterance of those words and placement of quill to paper, by Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, so began the half life decay of his wisdom. The surveillance state we occupy today is the festering, mature result of the acts of cloying politicians and barons of power to serve their own political and financial goals by declaring themselves the protectors of law and order. The daddy state. They spread fear of isolated, and ultimately inconsequential, yet publically hyped acts of crime and terror in order to supplicate the nation at large.

It has been a singularly effective scheme.

So it began with characterization of hideous and substantive Fourth Amendment violations of fundamental search and seizure law as "mere technicalities". Soon judges and prosecutors, being elected or politically appointed officials themselves, started shading their duties, principles and morals under the law to find creative ways around Constitutional protections in order to avoid results that would be unpopular. Then the officials ran again for reelection proudly proclaiming how they protected the "law and order for the citizens" by "clamping down on criminals" and "elimianting the criminal’s use of technicalities". The more they talked the talk, the more they walked the walk. Down the slippery slope.

And that is where we find ourselves today. From Spencer S. Hsu and Carrie Johnson in today’s Washington Post:

The Justice Department has proposed a new domestic spying measure that would make it easier for state and local police to collect intelligence about Americans, share the sensitive data with federal agencies and retain it for at least 10 years.

The proposed changes would revise the federal government’s rules for police intelligence-gathering for the first time since 1993 and would apply to any of the nation’s 18,000 state and local police agencies that receive roughly $1.6 billion each year in federal grants.

Quietly unveiled late last month, the proposal is part of a flurry of domestic intelligence changes issued and planned by the Bush administration in its waning months. They include a recent executive order that guides the reorganization of federal spy agencies and a pending Justice Department overhaul of FBI procedures for gathering intelligence and investigating terrorism cases within U.S. borders. (Emphasis added)

This is sick. Quite frankly, the contours of this have been quite obvious, and even partially stated, as being on the way for a while now if you were paying attention. This is why I was foaming at the mouth when the Protect America Act (PAA) was passed a year ago, and especially when Congress voted "just to extend (renew) it for a period". The passage of the PAA occurred under such fraudulent and dishonest conditions that it could have been discarded or unwound; but by the time the "extension" was voted on, the depravity and dishonesty of the Administration, what it had done, and what it was doing, was clearly evident. That vote set the die because it was done with fair knowledge and scienter where the first vote for PAA passage was quite arguably not.

And, so, here we are. Again, from the Post:

…law enforcement agencies would be allowed to target groups as well as individuals, and to launch a criminal intelligence investigation based on the suspicion that a target is engaged in terrorism or providing material support to terrorists. They also could share results with a constellation of federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and others in many cases.

Criminal intelligence data starts with sources as basic as public records and the Internet, but also includes law enforcement databases, confidential and undercover sources, and active surveillance.

It seems any citizen, right here in the good old USA, can become an investigative target based upon raw suspicion; and suspicion may be found from sources as innocuous as public records, "the internet" (That’s kind of broad eh? Know anybody that uses the net?) or confidential tips. Want to know a little secret? I have encountered an awful lot of "confidential tips", almost always attributed to unknown and unidentified "concerned citizens" in the various warrant affidavits and departmental reports I have had to deconstruct over the years, and more often than not those "confidential tips" are planted or instigated by the officers or agents working the case. Go figure. Who could of predicted that?

But wait! There’s more!

The rule also would allow criminal intelligence assessments to be shared outside designated channels whenever doing so may avoid danger to life or property — not only when such danger is "imminent," as is now required, German said.

If police officers no longer see themselves as engaged in protecting their communities from criminals and instead as domestic intelligence agents working on behalf of the CIA, they will be encouraged to collect more information," German said. "It turns police officers into spies on behalf of the federal government."

Well, there is one positive here. We ought to be able to dispense with prostate and colorectal exams since we’ll all effectively have probes up our rear constantly. We will have that going for us. Oh yes, lest I forget the icing on the cake.

Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said that the Justice Department will release new guidelines within weeks to streamline and unify FBI investigations of criminal law enforcement matters and national security threats. The changes will clarify what tools agents can employ and whose approval they must obtain.

I feel safer already, don’t you? How nice of the Bush/Cheney Administration to get all this cleaned up and in place for us before they leave.

The PAA and resultant FISA Amendments Act (FAA) were never about the "tweaking of FISA", anybody with a lick of common sense could see that. It was, from the start, a designed gutting of the 4th Amendment right to privacy and due process probable cause, the 6th Amendment confrontation clause, and to a greater degree than is obvious, the root presumption of innocence; all the primary foundations to which the rule of law, as has existed in this country since it’s founding, is based.

If the words and intent of our basic Constitutional criminal and privacy law in the United States is the sail of our societal ship, what we are witnessing with the FAA passage, the measures described herein, and the DOJ Guidelines "streamlining" that Mukasey will soon be announcing (these will seek to remove the same firewalls between law enforcement and prosecution that are being removed here between intelligence and all other law enforcement agencies; among other niceties) is the wind being shifted almost completely on the sail. As far as privacy and presumptive rights as citizens being the wind at our back, they are now the storm in our face.

This is what Obama, Pelosi, Reid and Hoyer hath wrought when they sold out on FISA for the sake of their petty and transient political power. And let me repeat something I have said before: once law enforcement, political and prosecutorial entities are vested with power and dominion such as described herein; it is never substantially relinquished; it becomes the new norm. The Democratic Leadersheep have led the lambs to slaughter. At least the evidence will be preserved in that datamine shaft. For at least ten years. I wonder if this is still the kind of "change" Mr. Obama supports?

  1. BayStateLibrul says:


    FISA is an attractive nuisance…

    Obama, Pelosi, Reid and Hoyer, four little kids, tempted by some water, now we have a drowning.

  2. plunger says:

    Fascism is here, under a different name…by design.

    WilliamOckham’s post in the prior thread about Michael Ledeens departure from the American Enterprise Institute sent me to the Googles to learn more about the evil bastard. Consider the following to be a researcher’s resource in your quest to understand how it is that FASCISM HAS COME TO AMERICA. Michael Ledeen is the nexus for nearly all of it, which explains why AEI wants to distance itself in advance of the bombing of Iran.

    Take the time to read, it’s frightening, and explains a lot:

    Scroll down to get to the main Ledeen facts and links.

    I particularly took note of this, particularly in light of the recent events in Georgia, which Rove is surely involved in:

    The BBC, the Washington Post and Jim Lobe writing for the Asia Times report that Michael Ledeen is the only full-time international affairs analyst consulted by Karl Rove (President G.W. Bush’s “brain”). Ledeen has regular conversations with Rove.

    The Washington Post said, “More than once, Ledeen has seen his ideas faxed to Rove, become official policy or rhetoric.”

  3. plunger says:

    “Peace is ABNORMAL. … Peace increases our peril by making discipline less urgent, encouraging some of our worst instincts, in depriving us of some of our best leaders.’ Peace . . . is a dream . . . and would undermine the power of the state.” – Michael Ledeen

    “Paradoxically, preserving liberty may require the rule of a single leader—a dictator—willing to use those dreaded ‘extraordinary measures, which few know how, or are willing, to employ.’ – Michael Ledeen

    “All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order.”
    – David Rockefeller, speaking at the United Nations

    “It is the sacred principles enshrined in the United Nations charter to which the American people will henceforth pledge their allegiance.”
    President George Bush addressing the General Assembly of the U.N. February 1, 1992

    “In order to bring a nation to support the burdens of maintaining great military establishments, it is necessary to create an emotional state akin to war psychology. There must be the portrayal of an external menace. This involves the development to a high degree of the nation-hero, nation-villain ideology and the arousing of the population to a sense of sacrifice. Once these exist, we have gone a long way on the path to war.”
    – John Foster Dulles –

  4. plunger says:


    There’s some shite you just can’t make up:

    Michael German, policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union”

    Are you kidding me?

    If police officers no longer see themselves as engaged in protecting their communities from criminals and instead as domestic intelligence agents working on behalf of the CIA, they will be encouraged to collect more information,” German said. “It turns police officers into spies on behalf of the federal government.”

    If Michael German is not an expert on Fascism, who is?

    Have you read this?

    They thought they were free

    Every American should.

  5. selise says:

    It seems any citizen, right here in the good old USA, can become an investigative target based upon raw suspicion; and suspicion may be found from sources as innocuous as public records, “the internet” (That’s kind of broad eh? Know anybody that uses the net?) or confidential tip

    just a few years ago, post 911 but before there was the PAA, there was a nationwide terrorism alert involving people i know (pacifists with no history of violence of any kind) because they were going to show a movie in a private home. it was such a big deal that it was carried by cnn international. how did the fbi know about this dangerous movie showing? from reading the internet site were the info was posted. the story gets even more insane, but i won’t go into all the details except to say that the local police even here in true-blue MA supported this nonsense. my point is that this is some serious shit and it wasn’t just some crazy recent capitulation by the dems. they are true believers as a stroll down memory lane to 1996 reminds us.

    …. and in related news (the pro-police state dems who pretend to be defending our civil rights). check out what new wonders john conyers is proposing (from michael j. smith, the permalink is busted so this is the whole post):

    J Alva Scruggs passed this along, on Rep John Conyers’ “Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008″:…..-changes=0
    It adds civil forfeiture, in the no-trial-needed drug war style, to intellectual property laws.

    I was a little surprised that Conyers drove this one through. I’d never considered him that much of a thug. But after looking at his sponsors……..=N00004029 He’s getting big money from MGM, Murdoch and the American Intellectual Property Law Assn, inter alia.

    J Alva ain’t kiddin’ about this wildly draconian war on, among other things, bogus designer labels. Here’s an excerpt from the bill:

    (1) CIVIL FORFEITURE PROCEEDINGS- (A) The following property is subject to forfeiture to the United States:
    `(i) Any counterfeit documentation or packaging, and any counterfeit label or illicit label and any article to which a counterfeit label or illicit label has been affixed, which a counterfeit label or illicit label encloses or accompanies, or which was intended to have had such label affixed, enclosing, or accompanying.

    `(ii) Any property constituting or derived from any proceeds obtained directly or indirectly as a result of a violation of subsection (a).

    `(iii) Any property used, or intended to be used, to commit or facilitate the commission of a violation of subsection (a) that is owned or predominantly controlled by the violator or by a person conspiring with or aiding and abetting the violator in committing the violation….

    my bold

  6. Evolute says:

    What you say, and by looking at the time of your post I guess it’s safe to say that you haven’t gotten over this yet.

    Good on you mate.

    • PraedorAtrebates says:

      I most certainly haven’t gotten over this shit and I will NEVER get over it. I am so NOT over it that I refuse to vote for Obama in the Fall. I will be casting a vote for Bob Barr, not because I like his social positions (as a GOPer) but because he is heading a party, assuredly nutty in many ways, that flat-out rejects ANY of these police state tactics and powers.

      Obama can go to hell – and that is essentially what I say every time some Obamabot OR Democrat fundraiser calls seeking money. NO NO NO! No money, no vote. FISA and PAA and Iraq combine to make them beyond my boundaries for voting.

  7. plunger says:

    Keeping this country divided (and thereby conquered) has been the lifelong goal of David Rockefeller. The job of politics and the media is to divide, the job of draconian laws, implemented in the aftermath of terror, is to conquer.

    “They hate us for our freedoms.”

    Who does?

    “The Terrorists do.”

    Who are the terrorists, really?

    “Whatever the price of the Chinese Revolution, it has obviously succeeded not only in producing more efficient and dedicated administration, but also in fostering high morale and community of purpose. The social experiment in China under Chairman Mao’s leadership is one of the most important and successful in human history.”

    David Rockefeller, statement in 1973 about Mao Tse-tung in the New York Times, August 10, 1973

    “We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promise of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march toward a world government. The super-national sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.”

    David Rockefeller, speaking to his fellow global socialists at a meeting in Baden-Baden, Germany, June 1991.

    “For more than a century, ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents such as my encounter with Castro to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”

    – From Rockefeller’s “Memoirs”, (p.405).

    He continues with an even more revealing passage:

    “The anti-Rockefeller focus of these otherwise incompatible political positions owes much to Populism. ‘Populists’ believe in conspiracies, and one of the most enduring is that a secret group of international bankers and capitalists, and their minions, control the world’s economy. Because of my name and prominence as the head of the Chase for many years, I have earned the distinction of ‘conspirator in chief’ from some of these people.

    “Populists and isolationists ignore the tangible benefits that have resulted from our active international role during the past half-century. Not only was the very real threat posed by Soviet Communism overcome, but there have been fundamental improvements in societies around the world, particularly in the United States, as a result of global trade, improved communications, and the heightened interaction of people from different cultures. Populists rarely mention these positive consequences, nor can they cogently explain how they would have sustained American economic growth and the expansion of our political power without them.”

    You will notice that he does not deny it. If anything he has confirmed that their is a “secret group of international bankers and capitalists, and their minions, [who] control the world’s economy”.

    What more is there to say? Conspiracy confirmed. He openly admits to Treason, knowing no one can touch him. And what is the name of his office building in Manhattan? “The Tower Of Power.”

    If it’s happening in America, it’s because David Rockefeller wants it to.

    • nahant says:

      Take the time to watch these talks:

      And then a talk by Naomi Wolf

      I don’t see much hope unless we can get all of these people into jail as they so deservedly have earned by their actions… This should not be tolerated by a free society… Milton Friedman is just laughing with glee with the trun of events in this country!

  8. posaune says:

    Makes me weep, what’s happened with this Congress.
    My mother worked on the Nuremburg Trials with Robert Jackson.
    She said it was unrelenting horror taking testimony day after day.
    The ONLY comfort to her, she said, was that we were on the side of the angels.

    No more. We have become what we once despised.

  9. masaccio says:

    A significant number of democrats accept the notion that the most important thing they can do is to prevent another terrorist attack, even if it means a statutory taking of what were once thought to be inalienable rights.

    So, here’s a story. My house is in an enclave in a larger development. When we bought it, it was connected to the larger part by a concrete pathway, which sat on an easement through one of the then undeveloped lots. The easement was part of my deed, and the deed of everyone in the enclave. The pathway allowed people to walk to the amenities, the pool and the tennis courts, so we could let the kids go by themselves. Otherwise, we would have to drive on major streets, not practical for the kids.

    When the lot was built, the developer tore out the path. So we sued him. It caused a lot of strife in the enclave, leading to a meeting of the homeowners in the clubhouse, to which everyone had to drive. The president of the association called for a vote. I pointed out that we could have as many votes as she wanted, but I was going to vote no, and I had a deed that said that I had a right to the path. As long as I didn’t agree, I would win the lawsuit, and there would be a path.

    And so, today there is a path.

    That’s what inalienable means. The cowards in congress can’t take my rights away. But “inalienable” is meaningless without a Court, or someone, to back it up. I just wish there was a Party of the Brave we could vote for.

    • klynn says:

      I just wish there was a Party of the Brave we could vote for.

      The Brave and the Free Party.

      I like that idea masaccio.

      Now, how do we organize this party without getting arrested?

      • PetePierce says:

        Big campaign session tonight somewhere in your neck of the woods @ Saddleback. Did you see it? I DVR’d it–if you saw it how do you think it went?

  10. klynn says:


    Suspected this turn a while ago when my hometown started buying almost “retro” looking black and white police vehicles as opposed to the metallic blue and grey vehicles which had been common in my hometown for over 25 years.

    The first words out of my mouth when I saw the first one on the road was, “Oh lookie McCarthism on wheels times 10!” My oldest asked me to explain my comment. I explained to him what it means to live in a police state and the car was a “symbol” of such.

    He thought the concept sickening…

    He’s quite correct.

    Russia won the Cold War. They ARE inside the gate.

    Boy, in many ways this opens the door for a third party candidate.

  11. klynn says:

    bmaz, great post. Great post.

    May I suggest we get record diggs for this post. Record diggs.

    Email as many friends as you can with the link here.

    bmaz, is there any room for a lawsuit against the government on this set-up?

  12. RevDeb says:

    went to purchase some Constitution TP as illustrated above, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. It is so not funny. I already have one of these that I use for tea at the office. It reminds me daily of what we’ve lost.

  13. SmileySam says:

    We can now finally see the reason for all those “Fusion Centers” that have been built across the country. The Gov. now already has in place the groundwork, the easedropping equip., and infrastructure to make these changes in the Constitution go smoothly. What I find most interesting is that the Fusion Centers have been around quite a while now yet no one really knows what goes on in them. There was one case in San Diego where workers from a Fusion Center were found to be doing things that are quite illegal and against the nations interests yet only the local papers carried any of the scandal.
    It past time we found out the truth about these Fusion Centers and see that they are dismantled ASAP. BTW a recent report found that the Fusion Centers had increasing been used against local citizens and day to day crimes instead of doing the job they were supposedly been built to do. It is hard to prove that completely since we still don’t know what exactly it is they are suppose to do.

  14. yonodeler says:

    Knowledge of associations, as in who has significant contact with whom, is a high priority area of surveillance, as it has been in all modern repressive regimes. Communications records are great for feeding the databases from which association patterns can be determined or, in many circumstances, merely inferred.

    A prize for expansive domestic surveillance programs would be knowledge of what the observed individuals think. (After all, wouldn’t “wrong thinking” be the basis of all dangerous conduct of interest to surveillance and law enforcement agencies?) I try to learn and remember which categories of information are likely to be mined or scrutinized in the effort to classify the thinking of the observed individuals. I won’t try to exhaustively list the categories, not even claiming to know them all; among the categories, I believe it would be widely agreed, are reading choices, web and web site search history, and information (including posts and comments, and chat) disclosed via the Internet or any surveilled communications channel.

  15. MarieRoget says:

    Now, now, we need to find a bright side in all this…

    I thought of one. Spying on yr. friends, family, & neighbors has always been a fun pastime (used to be called being a Nosy Parker), but now it might also be a possible source of income in this shaky economy. “Intelligence Collections R Us” recruiting very soon (on the sly, of course) in a neighboorhood near you.

    An oldie but goodie from Snuggly the Security Bear (& Mark Fiore)-

    • MarieRoget says:

      I’m so glad I added an extra “o” in neighborhood- some how it seems to fit.

      When is bmaz getting here? After reading the WaPo article, I need him to unlock ew’s liquor cabinet early.

      • perris says:

        Bush Would Never Cooperate With His Own Impeachment

        which makes it easier to impeach not more difficult

        impeachment carries no requirement, if the lawmakers want a president out of office they simply vote him out

        • MarieRoget says:

          Of course Madame Speaker’s rationale is a crock of crap. A bit from Turley’s piece:

          I guess Nixon worked tirelessly for his own impeachment and resigned only out of a sense of self-loathing. What is particularly striking about this latest rationale is that it is so circular — as was Pelosi’s first explanation. First, we could not start an investigation for impeachment without clear evidence of crimes, but we can only confirm evidence of crimes by investigating…
          The biggest problem, however, is that the crimes are hiding in plain view. A federal court has already found the domestic surveillance program was unlawful and there is no question as to the torture question — as found by the International Red Cross when it informed Bush that war crimes charges could be brought.

    • bmaz says:

      Chuck – I have seriously considered even writing a post advocating that Democrats should not flinch about voting for Sheehan, or even the GOP candidate out of fear that a vote for Sheehan migh cause the GOP candidate to win, not Sheehan. I am almost of the opinion that we would be better off with a powerless freshman Gooper in Congress than Pelosi left in charge. Like Donna Edwards, it would send a powerful message.

  16. perris says:

    This is sick. Quite frankly, the contours of this have been quite obvious, and even partially stated, as being on the way for a while now if you were paying attention.

    bmaz, let me tell you what is churning in my stomach after the following quote;

    Quietly unveiled late last month, the proposal is part of a flurry of domestic intelligence changes issued and planned by the Bush administration in its waning months. They include a recent executive order that guides the reorganization of federal spy agencies and a pending Justice Department overhaul of FBI procedures for gathering intelligence and investigating terrorism cases within U.S. borders. (Emphasis added

    why would the president be doing all of this just in preparation of leaving office?

    I can think of only two reasons, one or both of these have to apply as far as I can see;

    1) they have a shadow government already in place to tap into these resources


    2) they have no intention of leaving office election or no

    take your pick or pick both but I can see no other reasons

    • plunger says:

      The Shadow Government has been in place and running the show for a long time. Congress has been and will be powerless. The “power of the purse” has been usurped. All of the money needed for the coup was stolen in advance, courtesy of Rumsfeld and Dov Zakheim, as announced by Rumsfeld to the press on 9/10:

      CBS NEWS: The War on Waste

      Watch and/or Download the CBS News Video here

      On Sept. 10, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld declared war. Not on foreign terrorists, “the adversary’s closer to home. It’s the Pentagon bureaucracy,” he said.

      He said money wasted by the military poses a serious threat.

      “In fact, it could be said it’s a matter of life and death,” he said.

      Rumsfeld promised change but the next day – Sept. 11– the world changed and in the rush to fund the war on terrorism, the war on waste seems to have been forgotten.

      Just last week President Bush announced, “my 2003 budget calls for more than $48 billion in new defense spending.”

      More money for the Pentagon, CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales reports, while its own auditors admit the military cannot account for 25 percent of what it spends.

      “According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions,” Rumsfeld admitted.

      $2.3 trillion — that’s $8,000 for every man, woman and child in America. To understand how the Pentagon can lose track of trillions, consider the case of one military accountant who tried to find out what happened to a mere $300 million.

      “We know it’s gone. But we don’t know what they spent it on,” said Jim Minnery, Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

      The Comptroller of the Pentagon at the time of the attack was Dov Zakheim, who was appointed in May of 2001. Before becoming the Pentagon’s money-manager, he was an executive at System Planning Corporation, a defense contractor specializing in electronic warfare technologies including remote-controlled aircraft systems. Zakheim is a member of the Project for a New American Century and participated in the creation of its 2000 position paper Rebuilding America’s Defenses which called for “a New Pearl Harbor.”


  17. PJEvans says:

    A lot of those tips that the police get are probably not worth the paper they might be written on. You’d likely be getting a lot of ’spite’ tips, where one person is tipping off the cops about someone they don’t like or are trying to get even with, not someone who’s breaking the law.

    (I see the conspiracy theorists are coming out of the woodwork again.)

    • MarieRoget says:

      How true. My Pop nailed that one long ago when he asked us kids, “How many people do you think ended up in the Nazis’ cattle cars because some neighborhood scold shot his/her mouth off about them? Once accused, once condemned.” Dad was an active member of the IWW; knew from whence he spoke.

      The Age of Information turning into The Age of Informants.

  18. pdaly says:

    it might be a technicality and a distinction without a difference, but if the Patriot Act and the FISA reworking ratified by our Congress eliminated any constitutional protections, isn’t this political solution nevertheless on its face an unconstitutional change in the constitution?–unconstitutional because there was no vote for a constitutional amendment(not that the Senate and House would have trouble finding members to vote for one in this current climate) and because the free citizens of the US would not and cannot vote away ‘inalienable’ rights for themselves and their posterity.

    I know, cold comfort if and when we are placed into detention by our new American ‘protectors’ for appearing to be guilty unless we can prove our innocence, but an unpolitically biased fact nonetheless I hope.

  19. Nell says:

    How is it that the Dept. of Justice can make these changes just with a rulemaking procedure*? Weren’t the 1975-era reforms designed to bar domestic spying the result of legislation, rather than DoJ rule changes?

    *If that’s what’s being proposed; neither the Post nor the McClatchy article covering this makes clear what’s actually happening: executive orders? DoJ rulemaking (which at least gives an opportunity for friends of the Constitution to weigh in on the record)? Or…?

    • PetePierce says:

      Congress could easily pre-empt any of these rules or Executive Orders with a law. They are cowed and compliant. Agencies (by law) can propose rules via the CFR and post them for x ammount of dayd for comment.

      You elected the scum in your Congress/Senate and you have what your neighbors’ apathy has served up to you.

      If they don’t do anything about it; move ‘em out.

  20. MadDog says:

    Jiminy Crickets! I get back from vacation a day early and find the place overrun with empty beer cans and empty bags of chips.

    What? You didn’t think to save me any? LOL!

    In keeping with bmaz’s FISA topic, this hot new filing from the EFF is not at all OT:

    …The government, appellant here and intervener below, asks that the Court hold in abeyance its review of the district court’s order, pending “further proceedings in the District Court” brought by the government under a newly-enacted statute. Government Motion at 1. Defendantappellant AT&T has joined in the government’s motion. The new statute is called the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FISAAA), and the relevant section 802 is codified at 50 U.S.C. § 1885a.

    Plaintiffs, appellees here, agree that when the government avails itself of the new procedures created by FISAAA, as it has already represented to plaintiffs it will, the posture of this appeal will change dramatically.1 But the appeal should not merely be held in abeyance. For the reasons described below, the appeal should be dismissed. Plaintiffs respectfully request that the government’s motion for abeyance be denied and cross-move that the appeal be dismissed and the case remanded to the district court upon the filing of the FISAAA certification by the government in the district court.

    In sum, when it avails itself of the process created by the FISAAA the government will necessarily reveal to the district court the specific information which it has asserted is a state secret: whether AT&T gave assistance to the government in the alleged surveillance and whether any purported written authorization was given to AT&T. By revealing the very information that has been the basis of its claim of state secrets privilege, the government will have waived the privilege as to that information. With no specific “secrets” still at issue, this interlocutory appeal will be moot. The appeal should therefore be dismissed…

    (My Bold)

    Basically as I read it, the EFF is saying to the Administration “Bring it on!”

    If the Administration uses the FISAAA to certify to the District Court that which it previously declared unreviewable by said court by dint of “State Secrets privilege”, it waives said “State Secrets privilege” for evermore.

    And EFF will then be able to…take yer pick:

    1. Rip the Administration a new asshole.
    2. Publicly identify those Telcos who committed the crimes of warrantless surveillance.
    3. Begin the public process of proving that the Adminstration’s warrantless surveillance program was a deliberate, felonious and intended effort to rob the American people of their 4th Amendment rights from the very beginning!
    4. All of the above.

    I know which choice I’d pick. How about ya’ll?

    • MarieRoget says:

      If you hadn’t come back from holiday a day early, there would have been time to run to the market for more beer & chips. That’s the excuse, anyway. Welcome back.

      Thanx for the filing link. EFF has a solid rep for going for the gusto (to use a beery analogy). I’m picking #4.

    • perris says:

      the day she took impeachment off the table, she became an accomplice to every crime committed by this president

      • T-Bear says:

        the day she took impeachment off the table, she became an accomplice to every crime committed by this president

        You can write that in stone

      • plunger says:

        Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who promised a new era of ethics enforcement in the House of Representatives, snuck a $25 million gift to her husband, Paul Pelosi, in a $15 billion Water Resources Development Act recently passed by Congress. The pet project involved renovating ports in Speaker Pelosi’s home base of San Francisco. Pelosi just happens to own apartment buildings near the areas targeted for improvement, and will almost certainly experience a significant boost in property value as a result of Pelosi’s earmark. Earlier in the year, Pelosi found herself in hot water for demanding access to a luxury Air Force jet to ferry the Speaker and her entourage back and forth from San Francisco non-stop, in unprecedented request which was wisely rejected by the Pentagon. And under Pelosi’s leadership, the House ethics process remains essentially shut down – which protects members in both parties from accountability.

  21. plunger says:

    O’Reilly Reveals Truth About FISA Courts in interview with Chertoff

    Homeland Security Sec’y Michael Chertoff on Foiled Terror Plot
    Friday, August 11, 2006


    O’REILLY: OK. Last question for you. The fact that the NSA was able to intercept some of these phone calls that were made in the United States to Al Qaeda in Britain by using the very controversial — although I understand warrants were obtained for this by the FISA court. In your opinion, does that mean that the Bush administration is justified now in its original policy? Is this a big win politically for you guys?

    CHERTOFF: Well, Bill, of course I’m not going to confirm particular techniques were used, but I do think this.

    O’REILLY: You won’t deny, though.

    CHERTOFF: Obviously I’m not going to discuss classified techniques.,2933,207930,00.html

    Contrary to O’Reilly’s SPIN, this revelation actually destroys the Administration’s original claims relative to the FISA courts being too slow and cumbersome.

    Did the Administration CLASSIFY the fact that they used FISA? Did O’Reilly reveal classified information? Chertoff implied as much.

    • perris says:

      Contrary to O’Reilly’s SPIN, this revelation actually destroys the Administration’s original claims relative to the FISA courts being too slow and cumbersome.

      the “too slow” excuse was discredited long ago, the administration can conduct any search they want prior to getting the warrant, they can apply after the search

      there is no ‘expedience” excuse, it does not exist and never did

  22. rxbusa says:

    I think you meant prostate. Though prostrate may be apt since the Congress does appear to be taking this lying down.

  23. yonodeler says:

    Collect all personal information that may be obtained by any means and process it. Don’t say that it is personal, and don’t call it evidence, except when a person is an identified, targeted suspect or a prospective witness, in which cases, as it has always been, specific probable cause may be assembled for use where it is required. Assert, however one might phrase it, that information that happens to pertain to any individual poses no harm as it sits in memory. Convince everyone to think, NO HARM, NO FOUL. I suspect that the total surveillance perpetrators think along those lines. Sometimes we need to make ourselves momentarily think like perpetrators.

    The DoJ’s declaring unconstitutional conduct legal has not and would not necessarily make it so, hence my use of perpetrators above.

  24. MartianPolitics says:

    Right now the Russians are busy removing every piece of America hardware from Georgia they can get their hands on (including the entire Georgian Navy). Since all of this hardware is brand-new and a gift from us, I have to wonder if we gave Georgia a “fusion center” too. If so, the Russians should invite the press in to see what was going on.

  25. skdadl says:

    I always wonder about this claim/threat/whatever it is whenever it is made (from the WaPo):

    Taken together, critics in Congress and elsewhere say, the moves are intended to lock in policies for Bush’s successor

    Is that actually possible? To “lock in” anything if a succeeding admin and/or especially a new Congress decide to fix everything up again? I realize that a departing admin can make it very difficult and expensive to right the ship, but they can’t actually sink it, can they?

    • WilliamOckham says:

      Technically, no, you can’t lock in policies. In reality, every two-term administration tries to push through stuff at the end of the second term. The trick is to implement policies in a way that is hard to unravel. In this case, they’ll need to get inter-governmental agreements in place, create constituencies, and fake up some ’successes’ to lock in this stuff. This is a critical part of Cheney’s dream of an authoritarian state dominated by all-powerful Executive.

  26. host says:

    bmaz, I had ”hopes” that Obama did ”stand for change”, but I was mindful of David Sirota’s ”money party” yardstick for measuring the democratic candidates. Then, I read this;

    ”There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party…and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt—until recently… and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties”

    ….and I started examining how ”right” I was. How ”right” are you? Could you see yourself writing as ”on the fringe”, as tristero has;…..seems.html
    …”Birch Society Founder Robert Welch believed that ”an elite international cabal…is seeking to establish a world tyranny.” In the U.S., that cabal was centered in the Council on Foreign Relations. ”…

    bmaz, study the life of John McCloy, and you’ll probably take Gore Vidal’s dismissal of America’s ”two party” system, more seriously;…..A964958260
    ”.. As President Kennedy’s disarmament adviser, McCloy negotiated the withdrawal of Soviet missiles from Cuba; he was one of the ”Wise Men” recruited by McGeorge Bundy in 1965 to advise President Johnson on Vietnam policy (but really to secure Eastern Establishment backing for the war). Johnson, who felt awkward around patrician types, was told by Mr. Bundy (no stranger to the patriciate himself) that ”the key to these people is McCloy,” who ”belongs to the class of people who take their orders from Presidents and nobody else.” When McCloy and his friends in the Council on Foreign Relations refused to side publicly with the President on Vietnam, Johnson bitterly complained, ”The Establishment bastards have bailed out.”..”

    …and, on SRN, on my car radio, a few mintutes ago, Pelosi capitulates on off shore drilling, and Obama spends an hour, tonight, with mega church founder, Rick Warren. Would you expect more, in a ”one party system”, with two right wings?

  27. MartianPolitics says:

    always wonder about this claim/threat/whatever it is whenever it is made (from the WaPo):

    Taken together, critics in Congress and elsewhere say, the moves are intended to lock in policies for Bush’s successor

    Is that actually possible? To “lock in” anything if a succeeding admin and/or especially a new Congress decide to fix everything up again? I realize that a departing admin can make it very difficult and expensive to right the ship, but they can’t actually sink it, can they?

    If Obama is elected (or, for that matter, Bob Barr !) it will mean nothing. If, on the other hand, McCain is elected, it will provide him with a base to start with. (In other words, battles he will not have to fight.)

  28. host says:

    MartianPolitics, Obama has presumed his election victory by supporting the consolidation of his anticipated executive powers by supporting FISA ”reform”, and telecom amnesty, yet you post with the certainty of someone who ”knows the man”, as a person of integrity who would do the exact opposite of what he did on the FISA/amnesty issues.
    The domestic surveillance and intelligence gathering, record keeping, and ”sharing” is about what it is always about…identifying and quelling dissent. I object to Obama because he has put a priority on increasing his own coming power, over the preservation of the people’s rights, as I object to Bush doing the same thing. I dissent, vehemently, and I will be viewed by Obama as part of a larger and growing….”growth” provoked by Obama….THREAT TO HIS POWER. The WaPo ”LOCK IN” description is accurate…..Obama will do nothing to turnt this back!

  29. JohnLopresti says:

    One of those traffic cam companies ATS is located in Scottsdale. MO is one of increasingly many states opting for augmented realtime imaging, British style; here’s one alderman objecting two months ago. OR has a camera vans with resolution sufficient to issue tickets if drivers fail to wear a seatbelt. There are blogs by people who receive citations for faulty driving with traffic cam photodocumentation so precise the ticket recipient can read the label on the soda can on the dashboard. In a psychological permutation of cam technology advances, AP reported August 7 2008 concerning new stress for reservists who serve as computer operators in international bombing by light aircraft drones; the article may be too graphic, as it describes the destruction of people in live high-resolution video.

    With respect to the civil society issue, a renowned futurist has collaborated to humanize the solutions dhs is seeking, but it is pervasive, especially viewed in the abstract as a comparison to some seventeenth concept of privacy. A visit to some still inhabited ancient villages in remote countryside in certain places in the world with an anthropologic lens through which to view social constructs, shows in many of those places which are unwired for traffic cams, the privacy of one’s personal life might be even less than the patina of isolation in a large city in western civilization, as in the village there tend to be pervasive ‘communities of interest’. I suspect Google is having fun studying those, and the other portals are providing those newly discovered virtual communities behavioral clickstrings to the friendly local government for parsing by the best algorithms sociologists can buy to run on the nearest Cray.

    • bmaz says:

      Heh heh. I know them well. ATS would be many years further down the road if but for a challenge to their product/method I instigated against the corporate predecessor in the late 80s. The two cities where the fucking photo traffic enforcement was first deployed was Paradise Valley Arizona and Pasadena Texas. I went after them here and tied them in knots. Then I gave all my work to a number of other attorney friends of mine here. Caused so many problems they had to eventually restructure.

  30. Quzi says:

    I was heart-sick and beyond nauseous when I read about the DOJ’s new domestic spying proposals. I came right over to EW’s digs to get more info. This is very scary. Thank you for the post bmaz.

    I know that Obama, Pelosi, Reid and Hoyer have sold us out on FISA only deepening the mine shaft. However, does anyone think we have a chance to change this after Bushie is out? I too am concerned that Obama will do nothing.

    I do think if we don’t reverse this very soon, it will become the status quo and then we will be in danger of never getting back our 4th amendment rights. This is so disheartening, but I can’t give up hope.

    If you can’t trust the US DOJ anymore, what makes anyone think they could trust the judgement and actions of some local police?

  31. host says:

    From the Nicholas Lehman article:

    ”If politics worked the way Bentley thought it did, wouldn’t the richer interest groups buy themselves disproportionate political power?”

    bmaz reacted dismissively, last month, when I posted that I had uncovered the fact that former Cali gov Gray Davis had never revealed, and the press never reported…that his grandfather, William Rhodes Davis, was the notorious Nazi Abwehr agent, C-80, allegedley ”removed” by MI6’s Stephenson, aka ”Intrepid”, on Aug. 1, 1941, in Mexico.

    Bentley seemed to agree more with my way of thinking. My discovery of Gray Davis’s lil secret is a rare glimpes into how ”non-partisan”, our American fascism works. It has almost nothing to do with Gray Davis, either. My discovery simply shows that Gray got to ”keep his secret”, because there was no opposition to his doing so. The corporate owned media and republicans had more of an interest in not pointing out Gray’s family skeleton, than it did in making it public, even while Schwarzenneger, who had asked the Wiesenthal Center, back in 1990, to investigate Nazi connection in his family, was being pummeled about his Nazi grandfather and father….BEFORE the story of Schwarzenneger’s 1975”pro Hitler” comments, broke into the news.
    We live in a truly non-partisan country…one party, one media, all right wing, all of the time….

    • masaccio says:

      Host, you may want to read a bit farther into the article:

      Yet Bentley, who helped organize Robert La Follette’s 1924 Progressive Party Presidential campaign in Indiana, didn’t consider pluralism to be the stuff of defeatism; if anything, it was a call to action. People get involved in politics to get things that they want, which may or may not entail economic advantage.

  32. masaccio says:

    One problem with replacing Pelosi is that the logical replacement is Steny Hoyer, a guy who has relentlessly worked to build up his chits among rank and filers in the party. Second, the institutionalized Democrats, the people in the hierarchy, discount everything that happens in San Francisco as the activities of the crazy left. On the other hand, beating her might put a chill into Hoyer, especially if we couple it with an effort to boycott Hoyer in the general.

  33. LS says:

    OMG….they’re taking our rights away…even now…so long after 9/11…OMG….

    They planned all of this way, way before 9/11…and then along came the gold mine 9/11…how coincidental.

    Mock me relentlessly.

  34. PetePierce says:

    Critics say preemptive law enforcement in the absence of a crime can violate the Constitution and due process.

    Ya think?

    “The FBI will need to be vigilant — both in its policies and its practices — to live up to that promise.”

    Gorelic, a Clintinista who lied and blocked the 911 Comission from many avenues of investigation, is a paid lobbyists for the Telcos and got a lot of money to shove the FISA monstrosity into your kazoo. The FBI has never been vigilant–they steal guns, and laptops. They abuse investigation letters. they pry into bank accounts and they do this all without a scintilla of probable cause.

    And congrats to the Dems for allowing the Denver police to set up holding facilities in Denver where the people grabbed can’t use the restroom or make a phone call. They could’ve stopped it and they haven’t.

    Warehouse set to process convention arrests

    If the next President has any common sense, he will undo the totalitarian moves of Mukasey and this one, and prosecute the people Mukasey lacked the balls to go after protected who could easily have been prosecuted under 18 USC 1001 which the Hatch Act did not prevent for the fifteen millionth time.

    It is pathogmomonic of a move to gut the Fourth Amendment when this administration or DOJ at anytime cluck clucks that they are “preserving civil liberties.” Because when they do, they are gutting the hell out of them.

    This is literally out of Naomi Wolfe’s Totalitarian Top 10 List from The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot.

    From Wolfe:’

    Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
    Create a gulag
    Develop a thug caste
    Set up an internal surveillance system
    Harass citizens’ groups
    Engage in arbitrary detention and release
    Target key individuals
    Control the press
    Dissent equals treason
    Suspend the rule of law

    We have ‘em all.

    As I’ve said many times, when you have a generation of high school students who have not read five books, either classics or the “you’re being anorgasmically screwed now” type from the FDL Book Salon, America gets the democracy it preserves.

    Your wireless portable device is now the subject of a fishing expedition on any domestic or overseas flight. The $100 new bags do as much to stop your email and docs from being read by cretins as Russ Feingold’s meek musings that it should not take place.

    And this is what is being shoved up your kazoo from your Democrats in Congress who did nothing to stop FISA for the most part, and will do nothing to stop this.

    ACLU and other organizations will sue, and the cowed and compliant D.C. Circuit and S. Ct. will still screw you.

    We have evolved much closer to’ being the Totalitarn state that resembles North Koreas robot imprisoned people and those of China that ironically David Brooks finds desensitized.

    Maybe someone should take Brooks for a walk in Washington, D.C. because he doesn’t have to travel further than home to see desensitization and pandemic apathy.

  35. Nell says:

    Would anyone like to venture an answer to my question in 32? It’s directly relevant to the “locked-in” issue.

    How are these proposed changes to be made?

    And if, as it seems to me, there isn’t enough specific information in this story to answer that: Was this Saturday-in-the-dead-of-August / Congress-out-of-town coverage supposed to be the extent of it? or does the Post plan to do some more actual reporting that would help us understand what, if any, options are available between now and January 20 to reverse the power grab?

    • bmaz says:

      It is a good question, and one I have been trying to discern the answer to as well. So far, I have had no joy. On the surface, it would appear to me that most of this could be done through administrative/regulatory framework, executive orders etc.; however, it is not truly clear.

  36. host says:

    From the last line in 62:
    why, the Constitution is just a scrap of paper to me.”…

    Who else is reported to have said the same thing, more recently?

    Who has been described as ”best friend” of GHW Bush? The name is Will S. Farish III. Farish’s grandfather, WS Farish, ESSO NJ president, died in 1942, just months after being exposed by Asst. US Atty Gen., Thruman Arnold, ”trading with the enemy”, in Nazi Germany. Farish’s father, WS Farish Jr., died just month later, in a US Army Air Corps. mishap.

    Farish III has been described as ”one of the richest and most secretive men in Texas”, yet Bush tapped him in 1980 to manage Bush’s financial holdings in a ”blind” Trust. After losing both his father and grandfather before age 5, the closest related male influence in young Farish’s life, was president of ”America First”, and a later founder of American Security Council , Gen. Robert E. Wood. Farish III and Wood’s son, Robert E. Wood II, are involved in this:
    Add-Vision Inc.Mr. Ward has served as a Director on the Board at Add-Vision since 1999. … He has also served as Treasurer of the William Stamps Farish Fund, … – 18k – Cached – Similar pages

    SEC Info – Churchill Downs Inc – PRE 14A – For 12/31/98(3) Mr. Farish does not serve full-time as an executive officer of the Company …. Director, Add-Vision, Breeders’ Cup Limited and Keeneland Associa tion, …

    Our main, and what should be obvious challenge is….we do not really know, or agree on…who our political enemies are, and they aren’t going to simply come out and reveal themselves to us. Watch what they do, and who they are most closely aligned to. How could the democratic party and it’s presidents be my political allies, when they have relied on, and appointed this man, in so many instances?…..A964958260

    ….”AS High Commissioner for occupied Germany, McCloy granted clemency to dozens of Nazi war criminals. He freed, or reduced the sentences of, most of the 20 SS extermination squad leaders, whose crimes he freely conceded were ”historic in their magnitude and horror.” Of the 15 death sentences handed down at the Nuremberg trials, McCloy carried out a mere five. Of the remaining 74 war criminals who were sentenced at Nuremberg to prison terms, he let many go free — most notoriously the industrialist Alfried Krupp, who had been sentenced at Nuremberg to 12 years in prison for using concentration camp inmates as slave labor. Krupp, accompanied by most of his board of directors, walked out of the Landsberg prison in 1951 to a cheering crowd and a champagne breakfast — with his fortune and industrial empire intact.

    Much of the world was outraged. ”Why,” Eleanor Roosevelt wrote to McCloy, ”are we freeing so many Nazis?” The answer, Mr. Bird explains, was far from simple. For one thing, McCloy faced threats on his own life, and immense pressure from the German public and even from Pope Pius XII to grant a blanket amnesty — ”a well-organized conspiracy,” McCloy recalled, ”to intimidate me.”…..

  37. masaccio says:

    Any of these efforts that come from policy can simply be reversed by the incoming administration. If there is a change to administrative regulations, they have to be reversed in the same way they were enacted, a dreary process. Statutes have to be repealed, which is just like passing a new statute. The thing that worries people here is that an incoming administration would not be willing to upset rules that give them more power.

    The one thing I think would really help is a statute that says that if someone was hired in violation of the Hatch Act, they can be fired for no reason.

    • PetePierce says:

      The thing that worries people here is that an incoming administration would not be willing to upset rules that give them more power.

      I haven’t seen the incoming administration yet in history that reverses rules that give them more power.

      Congress can certainly revise them.

      • skdadl says:

        But wasn’t that what Senator Church’s committee did?

        I remember Senator Church. He was cute, although he often looked very tired.

    • klynn says:

      The one thing I think would really help is a statute that says that if someone was hired in violation of the Hatch Act, they can be fired for no reason.

      Boy are we like-minded…I think I posted something along this line of thought in the comments of Marcy’s, “I Hate To Say I Told You So.” No one echoed an agreement. So, I am posting my agreement with you because this concern is vital to Constitutional restoration, (of course there is more on the list of actions needed for Constitutional restoration but this one is central).

      • PetePierce says:

        We have 18USC 1001 that is used hundreds of times a week to prosecute individuals in the 94 districts in multiple district courts in each district a week.

        Nothing stands in the way of it being used to prosecute people like Goodling, Sampson, and Williams who violated it two ways:

        1) They lied to attorneys in their agency in an investigatin
        2) They lied to Congress

        They are not being prosecuted because the DOJ/Mukasey and career vets like Margolis are protecting them.

        However Goodling is being sued in the D.C. district court along with scumbags Alberto Gonazles, Michael Elston, and Esther McDonald:

        Lawsuit Over Politicized DOJ Hiring Expands

  38. host says:

    bmaz, you ”cling” desparately to ”the system”. Is that why you removed my post…

    This is the info it contained….why not allow other readers to decide for themselves?
    NY Times
    …As Mr. Bird writes, he was responsible ”more than any other individual” for getting the President to issue the infamous Executive Order 9066, calling for the resettlement of more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans from the West Coast to ”relocation centers” (or, as Roosevelt more bluntly called them, ”concentration camps”). McCloy justified the decision by proclaiming, ”If it is a question of safety of the country, [ or ] the Constitution of the United States, why, the Constitution is just a scrap of paper to me.”…

    Anyone familiar with William F. Buckley’s father-in-law?
    Google News Archive
    New York Times – Mar 1, 1942
    Persons of Japanese race must also leave all protected areas forthwith. … which will be composed of three persons under the chairmanship of Austin Taylor, …

    NY Times
    January 7, 1941, Tuesday

    MEXICO CITY, Jan. 6 — William R. Davis, international oil operator, is expected to arrive in Mexico City Saturday together with Austin Taylor, described as his partner. His interest on this trip appears to be not oil, as in the past, but essential war metals, such as mercury, tungsten and molybdenum, that are produced in Mexico. …”

    NY Times
    Austin C. Taylor, financier and sportsman… Aeronautical Supplies and] chairman of the Imperial Munitions Board….

    It seems Austin Taylor had a similar WWI ”government job”, as the one held by:
    NY Times
    SAMUEL P. BUSH, 83,A STEEL EXECIJTIVE; Ex-Head of Buckeye Casting Co. Succumbs in Ohio — Once on War Industries Board
    February 9, 1948, Monday

  39. host says:

    ”I hope they respond.”
    …and that is the limit your belief system confines you, to… You could so so much more with this ”bully pulpit”….the fascists who staged a successful coup in the US, a long time ago….but won’t as you expect, ever formally announce it, must chuckle when they read how distracted folks who believe themselves to be ”the opposition”, but who are really complicit in their denial”, can stoop to being….

  40. PetePierce says:

    This is OT but interesting. IRS is probably harboring a thief in the witness protection program whose stolen records have been sold to IRS and others and is being sought by a number of countries and probably private assasins.

    Banking Scandal Unfolds Like a Thriller

    Senate Report Examines Role of Banks in Tax Evasion and Does Note a Damn Thing

    and the clown Jeff Taylor is going to put on another dog and pony bullshit show this coming week purporting to show anthrax evidence that implicates Ivins that has already been deemed worthless by people who have seen it. Of course in the totalitarian banana republic you live in, it was previewed in private.

    F.B.I. Will Present Scientific Evidence in Anthrax Case to Counter Doubts

  41. PetePierce says:

    An email yesterday from ACLU’s Executive Director, Anthony Romero:

    Why is 7-year-old John Anderson from Minneapolis on the national Terrorist Watch List?

    He pushed Tommy too hard on the playground.
    His July 4th birthday means he distracts other Americans from celebrating their country.
    John didn’t pick up the blocks during playtime.
    The truth is that we don’t know how he got on the Terrorist Watch List. Or if he can get off it. It took an Act of Congress to get Nelson Mandela, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, off the list.
    This ever-growing and ineffective Watch List demonstrates what’s wrong with the U.S. government’s current approach to security: it’s unfair and a waste of resources. And when our government wastes time and money like this, we are all put in more danger — not less.

    Take our national security quiz to learn about other frightening national security “tools.”

    John Anderson of Minneapolis, [now 7] was first stopped at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in 2004, when his family took him for his first airplane ride to Disney World. “We checked in at the ticket counter, and the woman said in a stern voice, ‘Who is John Anderson?’ ” says his mother, Christine Anderson. “I pointed to my stroller.”

    Her son is allowed to fly. But because his name is flagged, his family cannot print out a boarding pass for him online and he must check in at the ticket counter so an airline official can see that he’s a child.

    There are 400,000 people being fucked because they are on that shitferbrains list.

    I’d nominate Mike Chertoff, former 3rd Circuit CA judge and Homeland Security Secretary for being one of the dumbest and most destructive incompetent agency heads in the history of the US.

    • RevBev says:

      And the story last night about the TX border wall makes clear that his power is almost without limits. Where is the pushback?

      • PetePierce says:

        Where is the pushback is the question that has driven me up a wall by the hour by the day by the month.

        Great question. How to push back?

        • RevBev says:

          What is your answer? The writer/professor on Moyers last night talked about how “dysfunctional” we are, limits to consumerism, etc; conclusion, it’s up to us.

          An interesting answer, I thought, in part because Laura Ingraham get her jollies laughing at Obama for saying something like we cannot have all the oil and drive the biggest cars, etc. Well, maybe he is right.

            • RevBev says:

              PS. Hysterical about Laura; she is so condescending and rude. Wonder if that started before or after Graham. You have helped me be even more dismissive of her commentary!!

              • PetePierce says:

                Remember that Laura Ingraham was Clarence Thomas’ law clerk and she has evolved to becoming a cross between Ann Coulter whose name will pop up if you google Republican Harpy Bitch Author and Sean Hannity.

                What’s really depressing about the stupidity of this country is that cable networks are spending all afternoon with brainless chatter leading up to a forum where a megachurch huckster with an audience full of holier than thou morons is purporting to quiz Presidential candidates on the merits of their faith and philosophy.

                WTF are they doing in a fucking megachurch with the same huckster whose Purpose Driven Life has spawned thousands of quintissential hypocrits.

                We shouldn’t give a fuck about evangelicals or religion in governing this fucking country. Fuck all of ‘em.

  42. Kathryn in MA says:

    it occurs to me – with the speculation whether Cheney will indeed leave at the end of his term and his leprosy will be excised from the govt – since the intel snf other operations of the govt are outsourced to private companies, who says that these companies are loyal to the govt? they are loyal to whomever pays them and that could be Cheney and Repubs with money. Cheney could leave and take half the govt with him.

    • PetePierce says:

      Cheney and Bush’s ass will be out the door Jan. 20. Companies who donate large amounts of money will still write most of the laws your schmucks and schmuckesses pass in Congress and certainly in your state’s legislature. If you think I’m kidding, show up at either and watch the lobbyists lawyers sitting around composing the bills on their notebooks/laptops.

      Cheney’s (and many others’) damage isn’t going to be excised from this governemnt for many years. You need to read John Dean’s book which does an excellent and well researched job of telling you why. Follow that up with Thomas Frank’s new book. You’ll get the picture.

      For icing on the cake, then read Naomi Wolf’s book I linked above.

      Fascist America, in 10 easy steps We’re already there.

      We will be entrenched in Iraq. Wiretapping will be in place. The system Bmaz blogged on will be in place and if you don’t think the bozos in local law enforcement like Bmaz’s Arizona idiot Joe Arpaio in Mericopa County will abuse these computerized mesh’s you’re really under a rock.

  43. Kathryn in MA says:

    PetePierce – thanks for the answer – all the outsourced govt functions will function for the corporations that pay them, basically.
    PS – what do you think of Cindy McCain’s tailoring? German?

    • PetePierce says:

      I think if I just saw Cindy and didn’t know how she conducted herself and what her husband stand for voting with Bush 95% of the time and voting with the Republican President 95% of McCain’s long career in the Senate, she’d look like an attractive woman with good tailoring.

      Many fashion mavens don’t agree.

      Michelle Obama wears a lot of Maria Pinto, a designer from Chicago who has picked out dresses and suits for her for years.

      Michelle Obama Vs. Cindy McCain: A Study In Styles

      Uptight Cindy McCain Clearly Losing the Fashion Forward Award to Michelle Obama

      Cindy is into the tailored jacket look, writ about 20X more expensive than the average business woman would wear.

      She wears a lot of Escada, Oscar dela Renta, and a combination of Wilma Flintstone/Stepford Wife $200 million dollar beer franchise Heiress Chic.

      • bmaz says:

        That is what you see her in. In college, she wore the same stuff as anybody else, as she did while doing her student teaching, which she did under my mother at a Phoenix area high school. I see her around town occasionally, and she is usually just in shorts, jeans, whatever – same stuff my wife and other women wear. Cindy has her faults, McCain being the biggest; but she is nothing like you and a lot of people paint her to be. This I can personally confirm.

        • PetePierce says:

          I don’t really know Cindy enough to paint her,but I do know that she is the spoiled daughter of someone who gave her two hundred million dollars. I was focusing on her clothes there which aer equal to the amount of money on her back/feet/neck/arms when she isn’t in shorts around town that is on Pelossi’s idiot back–about $12000 bucks.

          Also $500,000 on a charge card and $50,000 on her daughter’s care is not Mrs. Average Phoenix or Tuscon or even Camleback around town.

          • Rayne says:


            bmaz may know the Cindy from the ‘hood, but the Cindy we are seeing on public display is not representative of the average American woman. Oscar de la Renta and Prada, for chrissakes? She’s got more money on her back at any time than the average family will spend on school clothes for several kids this year.

            Don’t get me started on the peroxide and makeup; maybe it’s not obvious how much is being used to the average straight American male, but it is to the rest of us. $$$$$

            • masaccio says:

              Rayne, just so you’ll know, some of us guys do recognize the money on Cindy’s back and face. It’s just another benefit of watching What Not to Wear and Project Runway.

            • bmaz says:

              The average American woman does not have a husband running for President, not have the need to impress boosters, donors, local dignitaries nor the press. Obama wears some ultra expensive suits; should that be grounds for ridicule too? I just can’t get too exercised over the clothes people wear on the campaign trail; it just seems like the flip side of the same false coin that was pitched against Al Gore who was panned for trying to dress down. And my point was really that the expensive clothes criticism was being used to paint her as some kind of Hamptons type of diva or something, and that is not the truth.

              • PetePierce says:

                The average American woman, and the average Hamptons or Palms Spring Diva doesn’t have a $500,000 balance on just one of her pieces of plastic nor has she been given $200 million dollars and the means to furnish 6 homes across the country and the Obamas worked for their money which is close to one hundredth of what Cindy has been given.

                The Obamas worked for the money they have. Cindy and McCain did not. Cindy refuses to reveal her income tax and because her husband is running for President, she should, just as Ms. Denver Convention Spotlight Hog should.

  44. JohnLopresti says:

    Glad to hear of the remonstration of ATS. Having worked in an outfit developing telco planning, the integration of infobases in the civilian sector has seemed, to me, a probable domestic US outcome of the GWOT. The local conveniencestore cctv likely has a prefix installed by DHS, CALEA-cctv, or gov-cctv. Also drawing on the telco tech days, my subsequent impression at the USAMcKay dismissal was part of the dynamic of his expulsion had the appearance of a vendor skirmish; the expansion he favored for the LInX app in his region is described cursorily in that clickthru to an article from spring 2007. I know little of MChertoff’s resume, though must have listened to many hundreds of hours of the IranContra hearings, and watched that on the television. Times have changed a lot, and the US is different from less technologically advanced countries, yet, I think he is interested in the kinds of integration of civic information the current initiative seems to project, and he may have built networks for similar purposes way down south. During reading about the issue of controlling mails’ traceability as well as addressing biowmd, a coincidental event in the КАВКАЗ part of the world reminded me of a former official whose name is of similar structure as the leader in a protagonist country, Shalikashvili; as it turned out the ex-General has involvement with a thinkTank on international security issues partly located at Stanford; Chertoff presented an antiBiowmd speech there a few months ago.

    • john in sacramento says:

      The local conveniencestore cctv likely has a prefix installed by DHS, CALEA-cctv, or gov-cctv.

      Are you saying they have the ability for a live feed? That they can call up different cameras at will? Or am I going in the wrong direction?

      • JohnLopresti says:

        Fiction, but plausible like a falafel vision. I have been away from the technology but it might be an interesting research project.

    • john in sacramento says:

      During reading about the issue of controlling mails’ traceability as well as addressing biowmd, a coincidental event in the КАВКАЗ part of the world reminded me of a former official whose name is of similar structure as the leader in a protagonist country, Shalikashvili; as it turned out the ex-General has involvement with a thinkTank on international security issues partly located at Stanford; Chertoff presented an antiBiowmd speech there a few months ago.

      He does get around. Just over a year ago he gave a speech at the USC-CREATE (Create???) Center about

      “Future Risks and the Globalization of Threats”

      Which was attended by Jane Harman who within a short amount of time introduced The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007

  45. Hugh says:

    If you would like a little background, here is my entry for fusion centers from my scandals list.

    372. One of the criticisms of US law enforcement in the run up to 9/11 was that it failed to connect the dots. Part of this was because information was not passed up the chain of command or pursued. Part was that information was not shared between agencies. One of the ways this second issue was addressed was by the creation of fusion centers. To date, fusion centers seem better at producing dots than in connecting them.
    As described in a November 2007 ACLU report and a July 2008 update, fusion centers were cooperate efforts to share information that grew up haphazardly beginning around 2003 among local, state, and federal authorities. Almost every state has or is planning to have one. Since state and local laws vary, each fusion center is different. Mixed jurisdictions and chains of command within and between fusion centers and with no overarching regulation have led to an uncontrolled growth in mission. The goal has moved from counterterrorism to more general law enforcement to even broader information gathering on ordinary Americans. Military (in violation of posse comitatus) and private actors have also become involved.
    In this, the centers can be seen as the next iteration in a long line of domestic surveillance programs from the old Red squads to the infamous FBI’s COINTELPRO which targeted Americans like Martin Luther King to the Total Information Awareness/Terrorist Information Awareness program which Congress defunded in 2003 just as fusion centers were taking off. By the end of 2006, the Department of Homeland Security had spent $380 million on them.
    Like its predecessors, the system is ripe for abuse. It mixes criminal, public, and private information into profiles of large numbers of Americans and is perfect for data mining. It allows users to “policy shop” and acquire information from another jurisdiction which is against the law in one’s home state or locality. It includes reports on perfectly legal activities, such as using binoculars, taking notes, and espousing “extremist” views. Some of these extremist views include being Muslim, a peace activist, or against the death penalty. While these reports supposedly do not contain names, they do contain enough information for identification using other sources. They are also in violation of Title 28 Part 23 of the Code of Federal Regulations which states that law enforcement “shall collect information concerning an individual only if there is reasonable suspicion that the individual is involved in criminal conduct or activity and the information is relevant to that criminal conduct or activity.” In 2006, the DHS and Justice Department came up with guidelines for fusion centers which ignored this regulation completely and suggested the following as an incomplete list of possible information sources:

    • Private sector entities such as food/water production facilities, grocery stores
    and supermarkets, and restaurants.
    • Banks, investment firms, credit companies and government-related financial
    • Preschools, day care centers, universities, primary & secondary schools and
    other educational entities providing information on suspicious activity.
    • Fire and emergency medical services in both the public and private sector such
    as hospitals and private EMS services.
    • Utilities, electricity, and oil companies, Department of Energy.
    • Private physicians, pharmaceutical companies, veterinarians.
    • The gaming industry, sports authority, sporting facilities, amusement parks,
    cruise lines, hotels, motels, resorts and convention centers.
    • Internet service and e-mail providers, the FCC, telecom companies, computer
    and software companies, and related government agencies.
    • Defense contractors and military entities.
    • The U.S. Postal service and private shipping companies.
    • Apartment facilities, facility management companies, housing authorities.
    • Malls, retail stores and shopping centers.
    • State and child welfare entities.
    • Governmental, public, and private transport entities such as airlines and
    shipping companies.

    This is breathtaking in its scope. The result is that some 800, 000 of the nation’s law enforcement officials have in effect become intelligence agents, and not very good ones, of the government. It is not an exaggeration to say that what this is about is Big Brother and the creation of a surveillance state. Fusion centers operate in the dark with no oversight. They have shown no ability in their original counterterrorism mission and in their current form violate the First and Fourth Amendments massively and repeatedly. They are antithetical to American values of privacy and democracy.

    • klynn says:

      So we can have a national “buy falafel day” (cash only) followed by a “buy hummus day” (cash only) and watch everyone go crazy?

      Forgive me for making light of the situation. This is a systemic freedom violation beyond words…Thanks for the information…As an identity theft victim, this just shows an open floodgate for someone on the inside to grab identities and ruin lives.

  46. host says:

    Most who post here have too much invested in a belief system that is no longer coherent, much less adequate to cope and to react to what is actually right in front of them. They continue to embrace the illusion that there are two rival major political parties in the US and that they belong to the ”progressive wing” of the more liberal of the two parties and they think they are ”oriented to the left”, in firm oppostion to McBush, when it is more than likely that their lack of anger appropriate to the actual political status quo, renders them, and ”the progressive blogosphere”, as…st best, irrelevant, and at worst, complicit in the rise of the American corporatist, police state. Some are lawyers, and they take ”all of this” very seriously. They hope and pray that Cheney is behind most of it…an anamoly that will soon be gone. Their ”seriousness”, long ago shut down their openmindedness, and their curiousity. You can show them linked reported excerpts from the NY Times, all day long, and they still Know what they know….and under ”Obama and the rule of law”, things will be better…they hope. No one is even curious as to how the Fed can report that the top one percent own 33 percent of wealth in the US, while the bottom half hold only 2-1/2 percent, and that revelation of gross inquity doesn’t trigger mass societal unrest….

    • WilliamOckham says:

      What’s your point? Why are you here? Ranting about some washed up politician’s Nazi grandpa may make you feel good, but it doesn’t do anything for me. Contrary to your apparent attempt to come off as some sort of clear-sighted vanguard of the proletariat, you strike me as a blowhard. Your biases about the folks here are unwarranted.

      If you want to start a Socialist Anarchist revolution, sign me up. I’m all in for that. Unfortunately, my experience with other anarchists is that are crap at organizing. In the meantime, I’m putting in the daily slog of challenging the ‘powers that be’ in our society. If that means pressuring the Dems, that’s what I’ll be doing. A wise man once remarked about revolutionary change:

      If you start carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow.

      That means you need to connect with people, meet them where they are. Lots of people here aren’t particularly religious, so I don’t usually go around spouting Jesus talk, even though that’s why I believe what I believe and do what I do. I’m more than happy to work with folks of any or no faith to help build a society that reflects my values. Instead of beating people over the head with your views, you’d get a better response if you can connect your views with the others here.

      Now, my advice to you is to try to stay on topic, don’t mention Farish or Grey Davis or any of your hobbyhorses until you established some credibility with folks. Otherwise, you’re just a left-wing concern troll.

      Free advice is usually worth what you pay for it.

  47. Teddy Partridge says:

    Wow, this is a great post. I will enjoy reading it again in five years, to see what progress we made resisting the police surveillance state — and if there’s any light still to be seen atop the mineshaft.

    Thanks, bmaz.

  48. RevBev says:

    The guest was Bachevich, The Limits to Power. More truth than I have heard in years. Thanks for the title.

  49. JohnLopresti says:

    A chance continental divide snow cloud drifts by Denver at elevation nearly 14,000 feet. Below, meanwhile, DNC one afternoon is sponsoring a catering service for the Denver shindig, a falafel meal, a kind of pita bread which is to be served only to conventioneers whose biometric badge luminesces a DHS proprietary secure green colorcode when interrogated by the battery powered scanner which the courteous vendor’s rep passes over each recipient’s lapel in turn as the treats are delivered.

  50. host says:


    You’ve described the proprietary technology owned by Add-Vision Inc., of Robert E. Wood II and Will S. Farish III investment, management, and directorship…..

  51. wavpeac says:

    Maybe this is off topic but I think it relates to the fisa issue. I am concerned about how the globalist market might be affecting who owns america. I mean, with the fisa laws the way they are, it seems just as likely that our “beloved” gov’t (dripping with sarcasm) is listening in as it might be our most feared enemies. (the dictotomy doesn’t really exist in my mind, but for the sake of the neo con arguement). At any rate, these huge global companies could be “anyone”. These companies are buying our utility companies, our infrastructure. I just know how we would know if china bought us all up one day.

    I suppose the advantage is that we will all be so intertwined that we will truly become “one world” or a “new world”. However, it seems just as likely that a nefarious force could over take the United States (as we have seen happen already with bushco) only isn’t it possible that the new owners would be even worse? I mean, it seems to me, that we have to convince those with power that even they are not safe in the little world they think they have created.

  52. PetePierce says:

    So…. if you’re near a TV you have a choice. You could watch the two quaterback Jets named Brett, one debuting with the Jets as the Farvre circus hits the Meadowlands, who has to look for the home dressing room if you’re lucky enough to get the feed, or you may be stuck with Indianapolis at Atlanta with quaterbacks playing who won’t see much action in the NFL.

    Or you could watch an idiot, Rick Warren, who believes stem cell research funding should be choked off as it has been in Banana Republic America try to see who is Christy and unscientific enough to continue to stifle cancer treatment and treatment of cord paralyzed patients, trying to frame American government through the prism of a hypocritical evangelical as he pushes Obama and McCain to vie for who will be the most Christy Christy (and not Hardin Smith) President.

    The game is live if you’re stuck with the Falcons @

  53. nahant says:

    Milton Friedman is just laughing with glee with the trun of events in this country!

    That shouold be TURN of events!

  54. PetePierce says:

    What Bullshit. “We believe in separation of church and state, but not the separation of faith and politics.”

  55. WilliamOckham says:

    I don’t get the obsession with people’s clothes. I especially don’t get the obsession with the spouses of the candidate’s clothes.

    • PetePierce says:

      I don’t see any obsession here with anyone’s clothes. Anyone in the spotlight gets a lot of attention. The msm has been a master of salivating over and obsessing over every scintilla of what’s unimportant.

      I don’t get the obsession with interjecting fake religiosity into governing and the msm fawining all over it and perpetuating it. It is pathetic when individuals let their church, their workplace, or any other institution dictate how they should vote or try to shape their vote.

      • WilliamOckham says:

        I think that’s a short-sighted way of looking at things. Communities have a strong effect on people’s voting behavior. In the whole, that’s a good thing, even if certain institutions go off the rails. Otherwise, we’d be at the total mercy of the rich and powerful. How do you propose to fight back against the surveillance state? I think the way to do that is rally groups who understand the dangers. Some of those groups will be unions, some will be faith-based, some will be libertarians with whom I have almost nothing else in common.

        Instead of ragging on the stupidity of people you clearly don’t understand, you’d be better served to build some bridges.

        • PetePierce says:

          I disagree with you. I’ve talked to a good number of people from megachurches. Most of htem couldn’t distinguish FISA from a baseball team or an NFL team. They are pretty uninformed.

          And I disagree that megachurches should be encouraged by anyone to vote as a block or any workplace or union should be encouraged to vote as a block.

          We need people to educate themselves individually and make their choices and surely you don’t justify looking at candidates through the prism of how religious they can posture themselves to be or what church they attend or don’t attend. I don’t see why a belief in a God is a criteria for someone to be President.

      • masaccio says:

        I totally disagree with the second paragraph of your 125. The article I mentioned @ 48 explains exactly why. We don’t have a chance unless all those people you disdain talk their groups into voting our way.

        • PetePierce says:

          I don’t get the obsession with interjecting fake religiosity into governing and the msm fawining all over it and perpetuating it. It is pathetic when individuals let their church, their workplace, or any other institution dictate how they should vote or try to shape their vote.

          That was my second paragraph @ 125.

          You said, Masaccio,

          I totally disagree with the second paragraph of your 125. The article I mentioned @ 48 explains exactly why. We don’t have a chance unless all those people you disdain talk their groups into voting our way.

          It is pathetic that you expect churches to “talk their groups” into voting anyway. It is pathetic that the knowledge and insight of these individuals makes them susceptible to anyone “talking them into” how they are voting, and that they can’t make their decisions completely apart from the fabric of their churches.

          @ 48 you said:

          This article by Nicholas Lehmann in a recent New Yorker explains how to organize the Party of the Brave and the Free, but it doesn’t explain how to keep from getting arrested.

          The paragraph means it is pompous and presumptius of Rick Warren who has espoused racism, homophobia, and blatant ignorance as has his megachurch to preen and after saying that “God” has “talked to him” and told him what questions to ask, to presume that it matters what candidates say to him.

          It means that we should be sick and tired of religion being interjected into government.

          It means that to the degree that religion is interjected into government that the individuals who do have a minimal understanding of government, history, and the ability to exercise any intelligence in general.

          I’m not sure how Nicholas Lehman’s article justifies the synthesis of church and state or churches and megachurches or workplaces dictating to large blocks of people how they should vote using fiction.

          McCain has been generating a cascade of false statements that the megachurchies are lapping up like 5 year olds at a birthday party with lots of cake. It’s nauseating to watch.

          • bmaz says:

            Okay. Enough. Pete give it a rest. It may not be to you, but your stuff to others comes off as the same overly long, overly drawn out, angry rant and invective far, far too often. I like you, and you are extremely capable of contributing informative, on topic and useful comments. Unfortunately those are overshadowed by the long, drawn out angry rants. That doesn’t help us and does not reflect well on you. A little anger is good, too much is bad. If both Marcy and I were not awful tolerant, and aware of your capabilities underneath the annoyance, you long ago would have gone the way of the “host” today. Now I know you can grasp all this and be a useful participant, because we have been through it before and you have seen the light. But it has slipped away again.

            In the history of this blog, we have bounced a grand total of two people; one of them today. That is pretty amazing considering the amount of traffic here. I attribute it to the fact that we work hard and serious stuff, and even though there is accepted capacity for humor, sarcasm and off topic stuff, because we all need it here and there, there is also a respect and code of conduct as William Ockham and Masaccio alluded to above. Please join in with the rest of us in that regard, so that we don’t need to have this uncomfortable discussion again. Thank you.

            • PetePierce says:

              I welcome your interpretation or Marcy’s or anyone else’s of

              a) the total failure of the US before, and now in Georgia
              b) the justification of religion as a predominant background and context for government

              I haven’t been long. My posts have been a fraction of the length of 50% of them. I haven’t ranted. And I’ve been very specific.

              I don’t have to view any of what’s happened as sanguine or optimistic, or a glass half full, because it isn’t and you’re conflating an opinion with anger, Bmaz.

              Take a look at some of the same opinions on the same subjects on the FDL tab. Or here.

              I anxiously await your blog on the clusterfuck in Georgia anytime you post one if you choose to. I’ve seen a lot of jive that Georgia is ethnically cleansing, and no one with any experience there on the ground subscribes to that point of view. And if Graham, Leiberman, Rice or McCain or helping the situation I missed how.

              • WilliamOckham says:

                You asked about:

                the justification of religion as a predominant background and context for government

                I say:

                26.3% of Americans identify with the Evangelical Protestant tradition.
                23.9% of Americans identify with the Catholic tradition.
                06.9% of Americans identify with the Historically Black tradition.

                That’s 57.1% of Americans who belong to religious traditions that encourage and/or demand political participation based on religious views.

                Another 18.1% of Americans belong to the Mainline Protestant tradition that has mixed history of religio-political activism.

                How could it be otherwise in a democracy?

                • PetePierce says:

                  This will sound superficial. If I drive by/walk by a church/synogogue/etc. and see the people there on a Saturday or Sunday, that symbolizes a lot of healthy components in these peoples’ lives. On weekdays/nights when they are taking their kids or they are going to some activity at a church/etc. same thing.

                  So to the extent your numbers represent that it seems very healthy (and the numbers that would represent other religions).

                  What I don’t understand though is why the participation in their religion has to be extrapolated from their religion to their political choices or views, or married to them.

                  If person A reads a part of the Bible or whatever they are guided to or drawn to from their church, pastor, rabbi, imman, etc. it seems positive to me that they draw from that or a sermon or a discussion lessons that make them comfortable living their lives.

                  But I object to the requirement that a candidate has to appear (and this is what it means to me and what bothers me) to be like them in order to garner their approval. A candidate should be able to say–”Look–I just don’t want to go to church/etc. I don’t even want to believe in God if they don’t. But they’d be dead in the water if they did. And I think that’s wrong.

                  • PetePierce says:

                    I would add if the church makes them care about orphans or HIV or some of the other things that Rick Warren alluded to tonight so much the better, but he has in the past launched diatribes against any number of beliefs–homophobic ones, democrats when he campaigned openly for Bush. I wonder if Warren gets what Bush has brought this country) and I frankly doubt it. I don’t view Warren as folksy or healthy–I think he’s consummately Michavellian and a master manipulator. But that’s my opinion.

                    All the good works/socialaspects that come from churches or synogogues or the Shriners or a Moose Lodge or a woman’s society group like the Junior League– or the hundreds of groups in a city the size of NYC, adopting children–as McCains did in one instance–going on missionary trips to help peoplethose things that help less fortunate people live better lives that are done by all kinds of organizations are great.

                    I think that’s a big component of what the Obamas want/wanted from their church and the “Reverand Wright thing” became a media feeding frenzy and symbolizes precisely what’s in the two egregious books that are selling now attacking Obama–and they are replete with false statements–using Reverand Wrightesque distractions to try to tear Obama down and detract from real issues.

                  • WilliamOckham says:


                    When you say this:

                    But I object to the requirement that a candidate has to appear (and this is what it means to me and what bothers me) to be like them in order to garner their approval. A candidate should be able to say–”Look–I just don’t want to go to church/etc. I don’t even want to believe in God if they don’t. But they’d be dead in the water if they did. And I think that’s wrong.

                    I agree with you completely. On the other hand, this is what I’m trying to help you understand:

                    What I don’t understand though is why the participation in their religion has to be extrapolated from their religion to their political choices or views, or married to them.

                    Most Americans belong to traditions that promote a connection between religion and politics. Now, the vast majority of those traditions don’t teach that you have to vote a co-religionist, but they have definite, but varying views on a wide range of political issues. It’s counter-productive to call those people morons. Although I disagree strongly with Rick Warren on most theological and political issues, I don’t think it’s fair to portray him as insincere. He really believes the simplistic version of Christianity he pushes at Saddleback.

                    I think the hardest thing for folks who weren’t raised inside the Evangelical movement to understand is that what binds the Religious Right together is not a shared set of religious or theological beliefs, but shared cultural values that are completely orthogonal to religion. In the past, people who came to Evangelical churches already had those cultural values and political views. Now, a lot of people at the megachurches are actually picking up the political views, thinking they are part of the religion, without having the cultural background. Without the cultural values, the political views are actually very shallow. In short, I think the megachurches can be where progressives start to pick up new religious voters, especially among younger folks.

                    • PetePierce says:

                      I think you and Masaccio are saying that because

                      Most Americans belong to traditions that promote a connection between religion and politics

                      that if approached in the right way, they can be converted/induced to vote for someone like Obama–and that it’s important for him to win their respect.

                      Perhaps I was throwing the word moron around a little to much in the past few days, and using it a bit as invective, and it was a poor choice here.

                      I have read a lot of comments like this one by Andrew Sullvian on his website today, and they make a fair amount of sense to me:

                      How Pernicious Is Rick Warren

                      I wasn’t raised inside the Evangelical movement. I think that you and masaccio are trying to stress that the younger, less entrenched to whichever degree, Evangelicals, that MSNBC pounded home (over simplifying, I believe) who are not as hard core about right to life movements or anti-gay movements to name a couple of core beliefs of traditional Evangelicals) and are more concerned about social/societal improvement issues–orphans, kids from broken homes, kids getting an education from home environments that are badly compromised, HIV, other health care issues, can be a source of votes for Democratic candidates.

                      That may well may be true, although my reflex has been to stereotype them. I know Warren and others have said they can’t be stereotyped, analagous to Hispanic voting experts saying that Hispanics don’t block vote or block think.

                      When I hear Evangelical, particularly in any discussion where they are characterized as voters or in a political context, I do stereotype them as hard core, entrenched right wingers who believe that anything from the Democratic party is a threat to the beliefs at their epicenter–which are cultural.

                      Short view–I have a very hard time separating their cultural beliefs from their political beliefs, and don’t think they do or they are ever encouraged to do so. I’m not sure there is a dividing line. I believe their cultural belifs and political belifs are fused into neo-conservatism.

                      I haven’t read any books on political movements within the Evangelical movement, and I doubt I will, given everything else I have to read, but I will read articles that could educate me if I’m oversimplyfying or myopic.

                    • PetePierce says:

                      Or another way of saying it is I have a very difficult time distinguishing how their cultural views are orthogonal to their religion. They seem joined at the hip to me–harder to separate than Siamese twins.

                    • BayStateLibrul says:

                      Holy Wiki.
                      I had to scramble to fund out what orthogonal means…
                      At first, I thought it related to birds or fish.

                      Statistics, econometrics, and economics
                      When performing statistical analysis, variables that affect a particular result are said to be orthogonal if they are uncorrelated.[2] That is to say that by varying each separately, one can predict the combined effect of varying them jointly. If correlation is present, the factors are not orthogonal. In addition, orthogonality restrictions are necessary for inference. This meaning of orthogonality derives from the mathematical one, because orthogonal vectors are linearly independent

                    • WilliamOckham says:

                      My apologies. I was the one who introduced orthogonal into the conversation. I’m a software geek in real life and sometimes the jargon slips into my comments here. I was pretty sure Pete would understand, given his background in the sciences.

                      Let me give an example of what I mean. Evangelicals tend to be more pro-war than the population as a whole. There’s no theological belief behind that. Instead, there’s a strong military tradition in the South, the center of Evangelicalism in the U.S. The pro-war leaning of Evangelicals comes from their cultural values, not their religious beliefs. The same is true for even for abortion and gay rights, though that’s a lot harder to show and I’ve gone way too far off-topic already (Sorry, bmaz.)

          • masaccio says:

            I am not arguing for the prospect that the megachurches will see the light and proselytize for our guy. No. We, each of us, need to reach out to the members of the churches in the hope that we can peel them away to our guy.

            I don’t expect converts to Obama to leave the Church or to leave their spiritual values or their love of Christ. Instead, I hope they will start going to churches that are supportive of traditional Christianity, the Christianity of MLK and maybe even Rheinhold Niebuhr. It is a long way from Rick Warren to Thomas Merton and Teillard de Chardin, but those journeys begin with baby steps, almost always brought on by conversations with other people who treat them and their convictions respectfully.

            • PetePierce says:

              I take your point; I’m working my way again through your NYorker article and I think that William Ockham was making much the same point you do. I respect other people and their religions but (and maybe it’s places like MSNBC) there sure has been a disproportional emphasis to me on all candidates during both primaries and in years past and what I call their “religiosity”–the superficial aspects like how much they go to Church and how much they seem to pretend that they need to consult God to make political decisions or seem to need to project pristine “clean living” in order to be acceptable candidates.

              Maybe I’m not expressing myself well here, and could write it better, but there seems to be an image that a candidate must project that they are “holier than thou” and to me it’s hypocritical.

              I haven’t seen much on real issues in this whole campaign, and the media is part of that equation. I think things have gone way over the line in the area of what the “handlers” think focus groups are telling them, and it’s never going to go back.

              Maybe it’s impossible to run a campaign without layers of handlers who pretend the candidate is getting into the issues.

            • skdadl says:

              It is a long way from Rick Warren to Thomas Merton and Teillard de Chardin, but those journeys begin with baby steps, almost always brought on by conversations with other people who treat them and their convictions respectfully.

              Beautifully put.

              On this turf, we have a sort of different culture here. There are similar levels of identification with various religious traditions (a lower percentage of Evangelicals, although that’s changing), but it is mostly just not done, to press candidates for public office to do any kind of confessional about their faith (or indeed their private lives). If that started to happen, at least in the mainstream, I would resist it and I think most Canadians would, even though I have a private faith m’self.

              You might think that we’re reserved about these things more because we are a repressed and frigid people than because of some well-understood commitment to separation of church and state, and you might be partly right in thinking that. The leaders of our two major parties have always at least claimed affiliation to one church or another, but they almost never talk about it and they are almost never grilled on it. Interestingly, our last four Liberal PMs have all been RC, and all four have been, if not exactly pro-choice, defenders of women’s reproductive freedom as a Charter right, and they have stood up to their bishops and archbishops when sniped at on that score. Even the current Conservative PM, who is an Evangelical, keeps his faith very private — well, he’s a deeply secretive guy who is uncomfortable talking about anything personal anyway, but I think he also knows that most Canadians are uncomfortable with public confessionals.

              Politicians in the third and fourth parties do feel free to say they are atheists, although there is also a strong social-gospel tradition in the NDP (social democratic). Quebeckers, although many are still formally RC, have also been through a major anti-clerical revolution over the last half-century, and the Bloc Quebecois reflects that liberalizing tradition — they are always solid on the primacy of the Charter.

              But then, it’s also true that we are drenched in American popular culture, and some right-wing irrationalist tendencies have picked up some traction here lately. Sorry to write at such length; I know this is a difficult topic for a lot of people, but it is refreshing to see it thought through carefully.

  56. bmaz says:

    Preview makes masaccio a dull boy
    Preview makes masaccio a dull boy
    Preview makes masaccio a dull boy
    Preview makes masaccio a dull boy

  57. PetePierce says:

    Russia to Bush and Condi:

    “Fuck you. Fuck you’re agreement. We’ll do what we want and leave when the hell we want. The US is a paper tiger. And Condi needs an intro course in Russian history with the rest of the freshmen.”

    As the Bush admin. sunsets, it leaves with a totally failed foreign policy and the nadir of respect for the US abroad.

  58. PetePierce says:

    “Fuck your agreement.” There isn’t even agreement that they signed the same words. Russian tanks aren’t budging. Osetians, Cossacks, Chechians and an array of other outlaws continue looting as Russia blocks Georgians from returning to their homes, and Georgian police from restoring order and stopping the looting, but does nothing to honor any agreement and continues to fly the flag of the middle finger at the US and Rice.

    One thing that is appropriate is that there has long been floated fiction that Condi Rice is a Russian expert, and she has been knocked on her ass and kicked to the curb.

    Boy I’m glad that pretend Sec Def and Sec State Lindsay Graham and Joey Leiberman are in there. And President McCain is monitoring the situation from a megachurch full of morons in Orange County. Mission “Petraeus style accomplished.”

    BTW McCain said we have victory in Iraq. And coffins every day to celebrate the victory–no electricity, no basic medical care, cholera, millilons of Iraqis in exile who can’t get jobs from any other Arab state. Is that what Arizona ball teams call victory?

  59. PetePierce says:

    On Saturday, Ms. Rice suggested that Russia might not be adhering to the security measures permitted in the agreement brokered by Mr. Sarkozy.

    Fuck you Condi and the horse you rode in” on may suggest a modicum of non-adherence.

    Ms. Rice said the agreement allowed only limited patrols by Russian forces, and only by peacekeepers who were in South Ossetia or Abkhazia before the conflict began.

    The agreement, she said, prohibited further Russian operations in Georgian cities or on the main highway. “It’s a very limited mandate,” she said.

    But on Saturday, Russian troops remained within 25 miles of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. And over all, the situation in Georgia was largely unchanged, with the Russians occupying wide swaths of territory.

    It was even unclear on Saturday whether Georgia and Russia had agreed to the same language on the framework.

    On Saturday, Mr. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, raised a different issue, saying the document that Mr. Saakashvili approved Friday did not contain the original introduction that had been endorsed by Russia, South Ossetia and the other region eager to secede, Abkhazia.

    Throughout the day, the Russian Army continued operations in Georgia that suggested a pullout was not imminent.

    Large numbers of armored troops occupied the central city of Gori, where they were seen by reporters and photographers for The New York Times. Units moved out of the city and began to dig artillery and fighting positions in villages to its east, nearer Tbilisi.

    The troops were in Gori despite assertions to the contrary earlier in the day by a senior Russian defense official, Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn. He said at a news conference that there were no troops in the city.

    It looks like President McCain, Sec State Leiberman, Sec Def Lindsay Graham and whatever the hell Rice thinks she is have been knocked on their collective asses.

  60. MadDog says:

    OT – A wee bit of light reading here with Chairman Conyer’s Judiciary Committee opposition to the stay motion filed by the Department of Justice in “Committee on the Judiciary v. Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten”:

    Plaintiff Committee on the Judiciary of the U.S. House of Representatives (“Committee”) opposes Defendants’ motion for a stay pending appeal on the following grounds: (1) Ms. Miers’s claim of absolute immunity has no likelihood of success on appeal because it is baseless and contrary to Supreme Court precedent, and was thoroughly and irrefutably rejected by the Court

    (My Bold

  61. masaccio says:

    When Obama talks to Rick Warren, it legitimizes Obama in the minds of his congregation and many other people. It permits those people to listen to any of us who try to explain why we support Obama, and maybe to change their minds.

    The point of the Lehmann article, and the Bentley book, is that power in a democracy comes from groups. If enough of Warren’s group start moving to Obama, you can bet Warren will be right behind them leading them onwards to Obama.

  62. yonodeler says:

    The Washington Post article linked in the main post has this:

    Mukasey said the changes will give the next president “some of the tools necessary to keep us safe” and will not alter Justice rules that prohibit investigations based on a person’s race, religion or speech. He said the new guidelines will make it easier for the FBI to use informants, conduct physical and photographic surveillance, and share data in intelligence cases, on the grounds that doing so should be no harder than in investigations of ordinary crimes. [emphasis mine]

    How many times will some version of the same implied or expressly stated false claim—i.e., that some legal barrier between agencies, be they at the same level or at different levels of government, blocks full investigation and prosecution of terrorism cases and other serious criminal cases—be opportunistically trotted out?

  63. masaccio says:

    This is the point:

    It merely means that if, for example, you want to understand Obama’s remarkable rise, you will want to know less about his passion to get beyond partisanship and more about whom his campaign mobilized to come to all those state caucuses and to make all those Internet donations, and what those groups’ political aspirations are.

    I just hope Obama understands what my political aspirations are, seeing as how I sent him money and talked several people into voting for him.

  64. Loo Hoo. says:

    We ought to be able to dispense with prostate and colorectal exams since we’ll all effectively have probes up our rear constantly.

    I’m guessing you’re not working on campaign slogans.

  65. MadDog says:

    OT from the NYT – Psychologists Clash on Aiding Interrogations:

    …In court documents filed Thursday, lawyers for the Guantánamo detainee Mohammed Jawad asserted that a psychologist’s report helped land Mr. Jawad, a teenager at the time, in a segregation cell, where he became increasingly desperate.

    According to the documents, the psychologist, whose name has not been released, completed an assessment of Mr. Jawad after he was seen talking to a poster on his cell wall. Shortly thereafter, in September 2003, he was isolated from other detainees, and many of his requests to see an interrogator were ignored. He later attempted suicide, according to the filing, which asks that the case be dismissed on the ground of abusive treatment.

    The Guantánamo court is reviewing the case. Military lawyers have denied that Mr. Jawad suffered any mental health problems from his interrogation. On Thursday, the psychologist in the case invoked Article 31 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the military’s equivalent of the Fifth Amendment.

    “This is what it’s come to,” said Steven Reisner, an assistant clinical professor at the New York University School of Medicine and a leading candidate for the presidency of the psychological association. “We have psychologists taking the Fifth.”

  66. bmaz says:

    Hi folks. Just wanted to check in briefly. Last night was a huge 50th birthday party for one of our best friends. Very long night. I will be back in a bit, but wanted to say good morning. The discussion you have been having here is exactly what a lot of people i have been talking to are having (well, yours is a little more articulate, but same basic conversation). The fact alone that it is generating this conversation may be the real value of last night’s Rick Warren fest. So carry on. And Pete, thank you. See how much better it is when you talk to people and have them engage instead of talking at them? Very good.

  67. bmaz says:

    Oh, and I cannot possibly describe to you just exactly how much my head hurts right now. I am getting too old to have as much fun as I did last night. Ouch.

  68. wavpeac says:

    I don’t know how any psychologist could rationalize using their expertise to aid and abet the violation of geneva conventions. A teenager!!

    Today,we know for a fact that the adolescent brain and developement of the frontal lobe, the lobe responsible for cognitive functions and reasoning does not fully develope until the age of about 22,23 years old. How can any doctor participate in an activity that puts this normal developement at risk. We know what trauma does to the brain. Is there any way that it could be argued that a teen being held as an enemy combatant is NOT being traumatized.

    Screw it…I am a bleeding heart liberal, I just don’t think we can get to peace by using violence and fear.

    • bmaz says:

      And MadDog and everybody else – This, psychologists/psychiatrists revolt, is an important point, and I had already promised Kirk Murphy that I would get into it in depth. Kirk practices in the field and he got very early notice on some of this a couple of nights ago. I think there will be some other pretty good info from another source that you will like too.

      However, I have to finish a late, and much needed, breakfast and then run over to the Apple store. Today is the big day. iPhone. My heart beats and palms sweat with anticipation. 40 minutes till Wapner the store opens.

      So probably late afternoon/early evening I will have the psych torture material ready.

  69. MarkH says:

    On domestic spying: I think it’s clear from the Saddleback Forum that McCain is at minimum portraying himself as an extremist in the tradition of Barry Goldwater (”extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice”). So, asking him how to balance civil rights like privacy with national defense of human lives will be as difficult for him as defining what ‘rich’ is.

    He’ll nearly always pick a stark black & white view of things and pick one thing to emphasize.

    He picks “Life” over Privacy with regard to abortion.
    He picks national defense over health care reform.

    Name it and he picks the Right-Wing policy prescription instead of finding any shade of gray to ensure all Rights are supported.

    Don’t count on McCain to defend your voting rights if he thinks national security demands we install a totalitarian style of government.

    Don’t count on McCain to defend your right to unionize if he thinks it will interfere with the “right” of a corporation to treat you like dirt.

    Don’t count on McCain to defend your right to anything. He has to listen to lobbyists for the Haves and the Have-More Rich and you’re not on his speed-dial.

  70. PraedorAtrebates says:

    I would like to suggest that anyone undertaking peace march planning or a political protest of some kind get everyone involved to agree to screen all attendees to meetings as to whether they are police/FBI agents of some kind…or wired.

    There are also relatively cheap bug detectors available online that one could use to screen all people coming into a gathering: eliminate informants and/or police or FBI agents who may be wired at the start. Their fascist task should be made as difficult as possible on principle. In addition, it is a good idea to screen attendees because more often than not, the “informants” or undercover types are among the first to agitate for violent or otherwise criminal action. Eliminate these bastards from the start.