Category Archives: Rudy Giuliani: NYC doesn’t even like him

NSA: “EVERYONE !!”

Seems the NSA can, without a warrant, snoop on anyone within three degrees of someone that they may have some suspicion about.

…the rather startling news that came out of yesterday’s House Judiciary Committee on the NSA spying programs: NSA Director John Inglis revealed that the FISA Court permits the government to do three jumps from an initial number tied to a phone number reasonably believed to be tied to terrorism (or relevant to Iran, though that search criteria didn’t get mentioned at all in the parts of the hearing I watched).

Three degrees of separation!

Remember, some years ago, every single person in the US could be connected via six degrees — the old Kevin Bacon game. There’s some evidence that that number has become smaller — perhaps as small as 3 (I’ve seen more scientific numbers that say it is 4.5 or thereabouts).

In any case, if the US is using the excuse of terror to get three jumps deep into US person associations, then this program is even more intrusive then they’ve let on.

I imagine that would include everyone in our government, the Israeli government, the Palestinian authority, every head of state, every law enforcement officer, everyone who has ever been abroad, everyone who has ever interviewed a foreign person, everyone who knows anyone who knows anyone in:

Greenpeace,

the Quakers,

any demonstration of any kind,

anyone who has written a letter to an editor,

any person of color,

anyone who signed a petition, and

so on.

It’s basically EVERYONE. and what will they do with it? Wait til Karl Rove or one of the Cheneys gets back in power and you’ll see in short order. Or just some NSA guy who’s curious about who his ex girlfriend in dating. Or some NSA girl with a grudge against oh, well, ANYONE!

We have a constitution; that used to mean something.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

When basically the entire population is legally suspect, doesn’t that mean we’re doing something wrong?

 

video: Gary Oldman, in “The Professional.”

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As sick as it gets: Cheney gets standing ovation for torture, at CPAC

The Conservative Political Action Conference; gathering place for the near-Fascist right; Dick Cheney is of course their leader.

From Sadly, No!, a description of these maniacs. I’m sorry, but I don’t recognize conservatism in this stuff. It’s just sickness.

Weirdly enough – or maybe not so much – his defense of torture gets a standing ovation, but his praising of our fighting men in uniform does not.

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Ron Paul: no wonder Fox News didn’t want to include him

watch him.

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2007 Smokey Awards

Background of the Smokies can be found here.

Previous winners and explanations of the awards are listed here.

Certainly this was a great year for Over the Line performances. Though we are anxious to recognize emerging stars, it was simply impossible to avoid naming two repeat winners. Choosing the winners was so difficult that an entirely new award had to be created. Even with that, OTLS! has had to ignore stellar work by the likes of Alberto Gonzales, Rudy Giuliani, Joe Klein, John McCain, and Mitt Romney.

The 2007 Winners:
The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce Business Achiever “Smokey”, again goes to: Keith Olbermann, for his continuing successful efforts to show America that the Emperor has no clothes, and for his continuing campaign to expose the mendacity of the Fox News Channel.

Variety Clubs International Achiever of the Year “Smokey”, to Dick Cheney, for his deceptive war-mongering campaign against Iran.

The Arthur Digby Sellers* lifetime achievement “Smokey”: To Karl Rove, a now-retired official of some branch of the government of the United States; in a career of evil-doing, lawlessness, corruption, sliming, mendacity, manipulation and darkness, Karl Rove was at the very center of a concerted effort to transform the United States of America into what amounts to a fascist state.

The Little Lebowski Urban Achiever “Smokey” for blogging: To Glenn Greenwald, for his consistent excellence in reporting both the lawlessness of the Bush administration and the sad state of American political journalism.

The Mrs. Jamtoss 5th Period** “Big Red Circled D“: again goes to George W. Bush, president of the United States and Leader of the Free World; this year, he receives the award for his obstruction of efforts to ameliorate future catastrophic global warming.

and, a new Smokey Award for this year: The Nihilist Award; for the person who demonstrated most convincingly that he believes in nothing. The 2007 winner is Alan Dershowitz, who advocated torture, his rationale being that it worked for the Nazis.

Congratulations to these great Over-the-liners; they have set the bar at a very high/low level. Next year’s winners are gonna be hard pressed to surpass these accomplishments.

The Smokey statuettes will be shipped COD to the winners, if they will provide their social security numbers and proof of insurability to Over the Line, Smokey! The Mrs. Jamtoss 5th Period “circled big red D” award will be placed in a ziploc bag, then locked in a briefcase, until the opening ceremonies of the George W. Bush Presidential Libeary Liebury, Lyebary place, when it will be presented to Mr. Bush, with the query, “Is this your homework?”

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John McCain is being annointed by Big Business as the GOP nominee

The current crop of crazies leading the GOP field of presidential candidates scares the business community, in part because they are unelectable, and in part because some, notably Mike Huckabee are not tax cutters. What to do, what to do?

Well, I think the decision has been made: Bring in John McCain, who has no real principles any more other than he wants to be president REAL BAD. McCain has a lot of name recognition, but somehow just hasn’t caught on this time around; he needs cash in a big way. The plan: try to “flip him” on this tax cutting stuff, by promising a truckful of cash.

The Wall Street Journal reports on the results: a great success!!!

Mr. McCain paid a visit to our offices last Friday, and he now says the supports extending the Bush tax rates, even admitting they helped the economy emerge from recession “Without a doubt. Without the slightest doubt,” he told us. “Absolutely.”

We now have two pieces in the Journal on McCain in two days, an endorsement by the Journal and by Lieberman, and The Journal suggests that McCain is “surging”, probably because of his support for Bush’s “surge.” Hmm….I think McCain is merely benefitting from the collapse of Giuliani and Romney, but the Journal is not exactly the Straight Talk Express.

I will be very surprised if McCain doesn’t report a huge influx of cash in the immediate future. It’s probably too late to have much effect on the Iowa caucuses, but NH is next and favored McCain in 2000 by 18 points over Bush.

McCain’s pilgrimage immediately brings to mind his 2006 pandering to the religious right, with whom he had been warring:

When he ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, …McCain blamed religious right leaders for the [South Carolina] smear campaign. He went to Virginia Beach, Va., home of Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition, and gave a speech attacking Robertson and Falwell by name, calling them ”agents of intolerance” who were corrupting both religion and politics.

And, in 2002, McCain collaborated with Russ Feingold to pass the McCain Feingold Bill, billed by the religious right as an attempt to suppress “freedom of speech.”

But in May, 2006, sensing that his campaign was losing steam, McCain humbled himself before the High Priests:

McCain, who is all but officially on the presidential campaign trail, will deliver the commencement address at Falwell’s evangelical Christian college. Though he’s simply speaking to Liberty University graduates and their parents, the Arizona Republican’s visit to the Lynchburg, Va., college is nonetheless freighted with broader political symbolism.

By accepting the invitation and showing newfound respect for Falwell, political analysts say, McCain is courting religious right voters with the goal of accomplishing in 2008 what he couldn’t in 2000: win the Republican nomination for president. McCain, they say, apparently has calculated that improving his relations with one of the Republicans’ core constituencies is worth the risk of damaging his contrarian image, which made him popular among independents.

”He’s obviously going down to kiss [Falwell’s] ring,” said Larry Sabato, a political science professor at the University of Virginia.

Falwell, of course, is no longer alive, however, and Pat Robertson would have none of it, endorsing Rudy Giuliani (!). It will be interesting to see if the current pander is more successful.

Now that John McCain has officially denounced those stances that made him a maverick, let’s see is he still tries to portray himself as one….at least he’ll have lots of money….

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Bush tries to intimidate military lawyers

 Another day, another episode of unconscionable political degradation of the judicial/legal system of the United States of America.

Link

The Bush administration is pushing to take control of the promotions of military lawyers, escalating a conflict over the independence of uniformed attorneys who have repeatedly raised objections to the White House’s policies toward prisoners in the war on terrorism.

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Torture is torture. Period.

Ezra Klein:

It’s sort of sad that we live in a world where Paul Waldman actually has to write:

Everyone all over the world agrees on what constitutes torture. Torture is the intentional infliction of physical or mental suffering in order to obtain information or confessions. Not hard to understand. Yet Republicans have successfully lured the entire journalistic community into their moral sewer, where there is some degree of suffering (defined not by how awful it is, but by whether it’s fast or slow, and whether it leaves visible scars) that marks the line between torture and not-torture. If I rip your fingernails out – torture! If I tie you in a “stress position” designed to gradually inflict elevating amounts of pain, up to sheer agony, over the course of an hour or two – not torture! ….

But, of course, we do live in that world, and it’s a comfort that we’ve got Paul Waldman to write about it. Now, if only one of the campaigns would adopt him as a speechwriter, and take his advice to respond to the first question about “enhanced interrogation techniques” with “How about we stop this charade and have enough respect for the American people to start telling the truth? The Bush administration made the use of torture its official policy. You, Republican candidate, agree with that policy. You think the United States government should torture people. I don’t. We can argue the pros and cons. But don’t give us this ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ baloney. We all know what it is. If you’re going to advocate torture, have the guts to call it by its name. If you don’t, you’re not only immoral enough to be pro-torture, you’re also a coward.”

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