Daily Archives: August 5, 2007

FBI raids suspected DoJ leaker

you have to go to the Newsweek site and see it.  What is this country coming to? seriously?

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Filed under Alberto Gonzales:boob or simpleton-you decide, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?

Here’s a puzzle for geometrists/do it yourselfers.

Your bathroom door opens inward with the hinges on the right. It has an inside pushbotton door lock on the doorknob. Inside your very small bathroom, on the right, behind the door, is a shower enclosure, with a glass door, which opens outward, hinges on the right.

In order to have good ventilation of the bathroom and the shower enclosure, you customarily leave the window open and the doors (both) open, but not a constant amount. There is no position of the shower door in which it will not be struck by the doorknob.

The problem: at times, when the bathroom door opens from the wind or by human action, the doorknob lock button hits the shower door, thus locking the door the next time it closes. Yes, it is easy to unlock with a cutoff Qtip. But that’s not the point. I don’t want to have to fiddle with it every day, and I am afraid that someday that doorknob is going to break the shower door.

In contemplating a solution, neither of the doors can be impeded, and I can’t have anything (like doorstops) sticking out, or stuff sitting on the floor; the room is already hard enough to negotiate.

How to fix this problem? Enter your solution in the comments and win a free trip to “the button site.”

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Bush sells arms to Middle East dictators

Mr.  Flipflopper has no clue what he’s doing.  He’s just taking mulligans.   Washington Post editorial on Wednesday:

THE BUSH administration’s announcement of new Middle Eastern arms sales and aid is as much a political as a military initiative. Only Israel is likely ever to use the additional weapons in its own defense; Egypt faces no conventional military threat, while Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states will continue to depend on American power to deter Iran. The real point, as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice put it at the beginning of a regional tour, is “to affirm the importance of this region to the United States . . . in what is a complicated time.” Though Ms. Rice didn’t spell it out, one of the complications is the likelihood that the United States will draw down forces or retreat altogether from Iraq in the next year or so. The military packages can be seen as part of an effort to contain the resulting damage to U.S. influence in the Middle East.

the administration’s initiative amounts to an unblushing return to the regional strategy that President Bush and Ms. Rice herself explicitly repudiated two years ago. Once again, the United States will use military aid to bolster autocratic Arab regimes in the name of regional “security and stability.” Remarkably, Ms. Rice used those very words on Tuesday, in direct contradiction of her previous statements. “On September 11,” she said in a June 2005 appearance in Cairo, “we realized that our policies to try and promote what we thought was stability in the Middle East had actually allowed, underneath, a very malignant . . . form of extremism to grow up.”

That criticism is even more applicable to the administration’s new approach than it was to U.S. policies of the 1970s and 1980s. In those years, Saudi Arabia and Egypt were, at least, supportive of U.S. security objectives. Now Ms. Rice has made a point of saying that there will be no trade-off between the new arms sales and Saudi behavior in Iraq, even though Riyadh is all but openly working against U.S. interests there. The Saudis also have refused to cooperate with U.S. policy on Hamas or to commit to participating in an upcoming Middle East peace meeting. Egypt will get a 10-year renewal of the $1.3 billion a year in military aid it receives, even though both U.S. and Israeli officials say it has not made a serious effort to stop the smuggling of weapons from its territory to Hamas’s army in Gaza.

Bush worshipper Fred Hiatt must have been on vacation.

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Filed under Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, Fred Kagan:an idiot running a war, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iran, Iraq, Middle East, Politics

The incomprehensible Dem cave-in on the FISA amendment

This is absolutely unbelievable. America wants to impeach Alberto Gonzales, Dick Cheney and possibly George W. Bush; their abuses of the FISA law and the constitution are illegal and some are still secret. The Dems control the congress. How is this passing? Balkanization tells how bad this is:

the key to understanding the FISA bill is that it will categorically exclude from FISA’s requirements any and all “surveillance directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States,” even if the surveillance occurs in the U.S.; even if the surveillance has nothing whatsoever to do with Al Qaeda, terrorism or crime; and, most importantly, even if the surveillance picks up communications of U.S. persons here in the States.

So, two questions:

1. Doesn’t this give the NSA all it had under the “TSP” between March 2004 and January 2007 — and much, much more, since there’s no requirement of any tie to an Al-Qaeda-related person? If so, and if they could get this sort of a deal from a Democratic-controlled Congress, what does that say about their unwillingness to go to a Republican-led Congress for those four years to seek a similar legislative fix, and to violate FISA unilaterally and in secret on the basis of a threadbare AUMF/Article II rationale? Is there any excuse now for their not having invoked the ordinary constitutional processes?

2. The amendment means, I think, that as far as statutory law is concerned, all of our international phone calls and e-mails can be surveilled, without exception, as long as the surveillance is in some sense “directed at” a person overseas.

Glenn Greenwald:

It is staggering, and truly disgusting, that even in August, 2007 — almost six years removed from the 9/11 attacks and with the Bush presidency cemented as one of the weakest and most despised in American history — that George W. Bush can “demand” that the Congress jump and re-write legislation at his will, vesting in him still greater surveillance power, by warning them, based solely on his say-so, that if they fail to comply with his demands, the next Terrorist attack will be their fault. And they jump and scamper and comply (Meteor Blades has the list of the 16 Senate Democrats voting in favor; the House will soon follow).

I just finished a discussion panel with ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero which was originally planned to examine his new (superb) book about the work his organization has done for years in battling the endless expansion of executive power and presidential lawbreaking. But the only issue anyone in the room really wanted to discuss — including us — was the outrage unfolding on Capitol Hill. And the anger was almost universally directed where it belongs: on Congressional Democrats, who increasingly bear more and more responsibility for the assaults on our constitutional liberties and unparalleled abuses of government power — many (probably most) of which, it should always be emphasized, remain concealed rather than disclosed.

Examine virtually every Bush scandal and it increasingly bears the mark not merely of Democratic capitulation, but Democratic participation. In August of 2006, the Supreme Court finally asserted the first real limit on Bush’s radical executive power theories in Hamdan, only for Congress, months later, to completely eviscerate those minimal limits — and then go far beyond — by enacting the grotesque Military Commissions Act with the support of substantial numbers of Democrats. What began as a covert and illegal Bush interrogation and detention program became the officially sanctioned, bipartisan policy of the United States.

Grave dangers are posed to our basic constitutional safeguards by the replacement of Sandra Day O’Connor with Sam Alito, whose elevation to the Supreme Court Congressional Democrats chose to permit. Vast abuses and criminality in surveillance remain undisclosed, uninvestigated and unimpeded because Congressional Democrats have stood meekly by while the administration refuses to disclose what it has been doing in how it spies on us. And we remain in Iraq, in direct defiance of the will of the vast majority of the country, because the Democratic Beltway establishment lacks both the courage and the desire to compel an end to that war.

And now Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, with revealing symbolism, cancel their scheduled appearances this morning at Yearly Kos because George Bush ordered them to remain in Washington in order to re-write and expand FISA — a law which he has repeatedly refused to allow to be revised for years and which he has openly and proudly violated. Congressional Democrats know virtually nothing about how the Bush administration has been eavesdropping on our conversations because the administration refused to tell them and they passively accepted this state of affairs.

The intense rush to amend this legislation means that most of them have no idea what they are actually enacting — even less of an idea than they typically have. But what they know is that George Bush and Fox News and the Beltway establishment have told them that they would be irresponsible and weak and unserious if they failed to comply with George Bush’s instructions, and hence, they comply. In the American political landscape, there have been profound changes in public opinion since September of 2001. But in the Beltway, among our political and media establishment, virtually nothing has changed.

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Filed under Alberto Gonzales:boob or simpleton-you decide, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Karl Rove:Bush's brain or Bush's as'hole?, Politics

Why we have shitty bridges

Left Coaster:

for the sake of four cents a gallon back in 2004, the Bush Administration said no additional money would be provided for roads and bridges. Yet we pour billions of borrowed money into Iraq every month.

When a bipartisan majority in Congress suggested increasing the federal excise tax on gasoline back in 2004 for the first time since 1993 to pay for road and bridge projects, the White House threatened to veto the measure because it contained a tax increase. At the time, the White House said they would not support any increase in federal gas taxes to pay for road improvements, and then said that highway needs must be met solely through the existing, woeful level of funding in the highway fund and not the general fund, a position that by all accounts within Congress and among transportation experts shortchanged our true needs to the tune of several hundred billion dollars.But the White House says “let’s not politicize this”, like they did to cover up their negligence after Katrina.

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Filed under George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Karl Rove:Bush's brain or Bush's as'hole?, Politics

Republicans using filibuster at unprecedented rate

McClatchy has the story:

Seven months into the current two-year term, the Senate has held 42 “cloture” votes aimed at shutting off extended debate — filibusters, or sometimes only the threat of one — and moving to up-or-down votes on contested legislation. Under Senate rules that protect a minority’s right to debate, these votes require a 60-vote supermajority in the 100-member Senate.

Democrats have trouble mustering 60 votes; they’ve fallen short 22 times so far this year. That’s largely why they haven’t been able to deliver on their campaign promises.

By sinking a cloture vote this week, Republicans successfully blocked a Democratic bid to withdraw combat troops from Iraq by April, even though a 52-49 Senate majority voted to end debate.

This year Republicans also have blocked votes on immigration legislation, a no-confidence resolution for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and major legislation dealing with energy, labor rights and prescription drugs.

Nearly 1 in 6 roll-call votes in the Senate this year have been cloture votes. If this pace of blocking legislation continues, this 110th Congress will be on track to roughly triple the previous record number of cloture votes — 58 each in the two Congresses from 1999-2002, according to the Senate Historical Office.

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Filed under George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Karl Rove:Bush's brain or Bush's as'hole?, Politics, public corruption