Tuesday, January 31, 2006


A Special Message from Sen. Edward Kennedy

TedBarring a miracle, Samuel Alito will be confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States this Tuesday. Roe v. Wade will be repealed, and the clock will effectively be turned back 50 years to a time when women were herded like cattle into back alley abortion clinics and beaten with the King James Bible until they miscarried. Affirmative Action will be scrapped. Blacks will be thrown back into chains. Cub Scouts will go from door to door, spreading their message of hate and intolerance. There will be a bug in every telephone, a nativity scene in every park, and a heterosexual in every Showtime drama series. Dr. King's dream of justice and equality will succomb to George Bush’s Great American Nightmare.

I’ve tried pleading with congressional Republicans. I’ve tried threatening them with a filibuster. I’ve even tried rolling around on the floor of the Senate until I got my way. Unfortunately, the close-minded conservatives who control Congress will simply not respond to reason. Therefore, I have no choice but to appeal to their primitive, apelike instinct for protecting the lives of children over the rights of the mother.

For every vote cast this Tuesday in favor of confirming Judge Alito, I, Senator Edward Kennedy, will eat one small child.

I’m sorry it has come to this, but desperate times call for drastic measures. The children have already been picked at random from elementary and middle school rosters across the country, and the smorgasbord will commence promptly after Tuesday’s vote. Unless senate Republicans join Democrats in their courageous stand against Alito’s confirmation, I’ll be having little Lindsay Allen of Portsmouth, New Hampshire glazed with a light Bernaise sauce and garnished with fresh parsley for dinner that very evening. Wednesday’s breakfast menu will include a Denver-style omelette prepared with Colorado fifth-grader Jeremy Stevens, and for lunch I’ll be flying to Pennsylvania for a Philly Cheese Steak ala Christy Caldwell. Young Kyoshi Matsuri of San Francisco, I have a gallon of wasabi with your name on it for Thursday, and then it’s off to Hawaii for an Alana Hokuikekai luau.

I assure you that I take no pleasure from performing this terrible task. I have several wonderful grandchildren whom I love dearly, but I wouldn’t hesitate to toss ‘em into the deep fryer and serve them up with a side of coleslaw to protect a woman’s right to choose. Thankfully, none of their names were drawn, but I might do it anyway just to prove I mean business. When Clarence Thomas was confirmed in 1991, I ate an entire girl’s softball team. Ever try to pass a catcher’s mitt through your colon? It’s not a pretty picture, but it illustrates the lengths I will go to save our democracy from raving extremists like Samuel Alito.

If the Taliban-wing of the Republican Party is as “pro-life” as they claim to be, then they will vote their conscience this Tuesday. If not, they’ll have no one to blame for little Tina Draper of Portland, Oregon’s flambĂ© fate but themselves.

Thank you for your time, and thank you, Dickybird, for the opportunity to use your little corner of the Blogodome as a venue for this important message.

Friday, January 27, 2006

As promised to the folks in the UK--here is the Corportate shot taken around Christmas----and I know --I know I'm fat, but I am working out. Posted by Picasa

Teddy phoned it in from the beach and Lt. Kerry phoned it in from Davos. Too Funny! Posted by Picasa

Mary Jo Kopeckne could not be reached for comment

The Massachussetts Comedy Duo Call For Filibuster

Like a couple of bad comedians who remain clueless about their timing, the Senators from Massachussetts teamed together to call for a filibuster even while two more Democrats announced their support for Samuel Alito, one of whom scolded the senior member of the comedy team for conducting an "outrage and a disgrace" in the Judiciary Committee hearings:

Leading Democrat Senators John Kerry and Ted Kennedy said they would try to block Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito by preventing a vote on him with a filibuster.

Former presidential candidate Kerry announced from Switzerland that he wanted to block President George W. Bush's conservative nominee with the stalling tactic to prevent "an ideological coup" on the high court.

"Judge Alito will take America backward, especially when it comes to civil rights and discrimination laws," Kerry said is a statement.

Kennedy, Kerry's fellow Massachusetts senator, also called for a filibuster on Alito when the Senate is called to vote, probably early next week.

"We owe it to future generations of Americans to oppose this nomination. If Judge Alito is confirmed ... the progress of half a century on the basic rights of all Americans is likely to be rolled back."

We can speculate where Kennedy may have been when he made this statement; perhaps he went for one last night at the Owl Club, a males-only organization to which he's contributed a C-note a month for the last 40+ years, or perhaps at the family compound in the oh-so-inclusive retreat of Martha's Vineyard. We don't need to speculate with Kerry, who was so enthusiastic about fighting Alito's confirmation that he dialed in his filibuster plea from Davos, Switzerland -- where Eason Jordan spent last January slandering American troops. (Apparently, Davos is the place to go when issuing character assassinations.)

Unfortunately for both of the Massachussetts Senators, the numbers game has already played itself out. Three Democrats now plan to vote for confirmation -- Robert Byrd, Bob Nelson, and Tim Johnson -- while at least two of their caucus have already warned against attempting to block the vote (Mary Landrieu and Dianne Feinstein). Even with Jeffords on board for a filibuster, that leaves only 40 Democrats, and it takes 41 to keep debate open on the Senate floor.

Did Kerry or Kennedy take math in college? Or did they just have someone else take the tests for them?

People expect hyperventilation and bloviation from Kennedy, which winds up rather Shakespearian in its effect -- full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, because Kennedy has no real influence and no more higher ambitions than simply clinging to his Senate sinecure until his last breath. Kerry, on the other hand, still suffers from delusions of being the front-runner for the 2008 presidential race. Does he think that maligning Alito's character and issuing a call for a filibuster while hanging out on the Swiss slopes, thousands of miles away from the fight, makes him look presidential? Or does it just make him look like the accidentally wealthy dilettante that he has become?

The two should take this act out on the road. It would be sure to get laughs from everyone who understands that they're serious.

Friday, January 20, 2006


DEMOCRATIC You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. You feel guilty for being successful. Barbara Streisand sings for you.

REPUBLICANISM You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. So?

SOCIALIST You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor. You form a cooperative to tell him how to manage his cow.

COMMUNIST You have two cows. The government seizes both and provides you with milk. You wait in line for hours to get it. It is expensive and sour.

CAPITALISM, AMERICAN STYLE You have two cows. You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.

BUREAUCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE You have two cows. Under the new farm program the government pays you to shoot one, milk the other, and then pours the milk down the drain.

AMERICAN CORPORATION You have two cows. You sell one, lease it back to yourself and do an IPO on the 2nd one. You force the two cows to produce the milk of four cows. You are surprised when one cow drops dead. You spin an announcement to the analysts stating you have downsized and are reducing expenses. Your stock goes up.

FRENCH CORPORATION You have two cows. You go on strike because you want three cows. You go to lunch and drink wine. Life is good.

JAPANESE CORPORATION You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. They learn to travel on unbelievably crowded trains. Most are at the top of their class at cow school.

GERMAN CORPORATION You have two cows. You engineer them so they are all blond, drink lots of beer, give excellent quality milk, and run a hundred miles an hour. Unfortunately they also demand 13 weeks of vacation per year.

ITALIAN CORPORATION You have two cows but you don't know where they are. While ambling around, you see a beautiful woman. You break for lunch. Life is good.

RUSSIAN CORPORATION You have two cows. You have some vodka. You count them and learn you have five cows. You have some more vodka. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. The Mafia shows up and takes over however many cows you really have.

TALIBAN CORPORATION You have all the cows in Afghanistan, which are two. You don't milk them because you cannot touch any creature's private parts. You get a $40 million grant from the US government to find alternatives to milk production but use the money to buy weapons.

IRAQI CORPORATION You have two cows. They go into hiding. They send radio tapes of their mooing.

POLISH CORPORATION You have two bulls. Employees are regularly maimed and killed attempting to milk them.

BELGIAN CORPORATION You have one cow. The cow is schizophrenic. Sometimes the cow thinks he's French, other times he's Flemish. The Flemish cow won't share with the French cow. The French cow wants control of the Flemish cow's milk. The cow asks permission to be cut in half. The cow dies happy.

FLORIDA CORPORATION You have a black cow and a brown cow. Everyone votes for the best looking one. Some of the people who actually like the brown one best accidentally vote for the black one. Some people vote for both. Some people vote for neither. Some people can't figure out how to vote at all. Finally, a bunch of guys from out-of-state tell you which one you think is the best-looking cow.

CALIFORNIA CORPORATION You have millions of cows. They make real California cheese. Only five speak English. Most are illegals. Arnold likes the ones with the big udders

New Orleans Cows: You have two cows. They're both made of chocolate and need life preservers.

Taliban cows: You have two cows. Both are covered head to toe in a burka and are fearful of making milk for fear of being 'tipped.'

Iranian cows: There are no Iranian cows. If there are Iranian cows, they're being used for peaceful purposes. If they're not being used for peaceful purposes, they're being used as per our right as a sovereign right. And as our sovereign right, we intend to use the cows on you at our earliest possible convenience.

Liberal University Think Tank
You have two cows. You spend all of your time discussing 'the nature of cowness' and conclude that a cow is a 'construct' of the patriarchal and racist society that oppresses us all. While participating in the 'discourse' you neglected to feed your cows and both died. You blame George W. Bush.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


God Switches Teams

Take heed, all you Christian conservative wackos who think you have a direct line to the big guy upstairs, for God has finally abandoned you and joined the winning team!

Fed up with your lies, your war mongering, your profiteering at the expense of the poor - not to mention your antiquated views concerning abortion, gay sex, and the euthanization of the sick and elderly - God has cancelled his contract with Pat Robertson and is now speaking exclusively through Democrat politicians. In an impassioned speech at yesterday’s Martin Luther King Day ceremonies in New Orleans, Mayor Ray Nagin described how the good Lord descended from the heavens and told him that Hurricane Katrina was not sent by Bush as previously believed, but rather by the Creator himself as punishment for the Shrub’s illegal and immoral war in Iraq. God then went on to condemn Bush’s domestic spying program, his refusal to ratify Kyoto, and his tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent of Americans.

When Nagin asked how to make things right again, God cocked His giant pimp hat and replied that New Orleans had become a "Zone of Zero Funkativity" and needs be “mo’ choco-licious”. He directed Nagin to “unite the Thumpsaurus Peoples into One Nation of Electric Spank”, under “the Law of Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication”. He then zapped Nagin with his cosmic Bop Gun, hopped into His Mothership, and returned to the Planet Funkadelica.

Nagin’s magical Paul of Tarsus moment wasn’t the only divine miracle experienced by Democrat leaders yesterday. While slamming the GOP-controlled “Plantation of Representatives” yesterday, Sen. Hillary Clinton suddenly broke into a deep baritone rendition of “Old Man River”. A sign from above, perhaps, that she’s ready to become our first Black female president. President Al Gore babbled incoherently for three hours before it was realized that he was actually in a state of grace and speaking in tongues.

Democrats have always been very close to God during election years, but it comes as a complete surprise to all of us that He actually exists. I always assumed that He was just a fictional boogeyman the cons made up to lay a guilt trip on everybody and ruin our good time. But as long as He remains nonjudgmental and doesn’t try to force his morals on anyone, he’s more than welcome in the Big Tent.


Rage Against the Dying of Our Rights!

Rage in a week full of profound speeches by patriotic progressives, President Al Gore’s stood head and shoulders above the rest. The right-wing dominated media will, of course, attempt to make him look like a raving lunatic by printing everything he said word-for word. They pulled the same trick on Howard Dean. So it’s important that unbiased and objective pundits such as myself set the record straight.

Al Gore’s powerful oratory Monday was not only a testament to the skills of his lesbian manliness coach, but a righteous roar of rage against Bush’s wholesale destruction of our most fundamental civil liberties. For the past six years, Gore has sat quietly by while Republicans furiously chipped away at the Bill of Rights. However, the news of Bush’s domestic spying program was the last straw, and as a patriotic American War Hero he was duty bound to stand up and say, “Enough is enough!”.

Bush continues to deny that he has done anything wrong and insists that he will only eavesdrop on the telephone conversations of people who are “a threat to national security”. But that could describe just about any liberal Democrat in Congress. Does Sen. Kennedy deserve to have his phone sex interrupted for the sake of Bush's war on terror? And what of the thousands of legitimate calls to and from terrorists every day? What if you or I were to simply dial Osama Bin Laden’s number at Crawford by mistake? Does that make us terrorists? Does that negate our rights as American citizens?

Al Gore doesn’t think so.

Bush also claims that his new American Police State is for our own protection. He insists that spying on terrorists may actually prevent another attack on our soil. Maybe so. But at what cost? What good are a few American lives if they are saved at the expense of our most precious civil liberties? The right to carry box cutters onto planes. The right to leak classified information to the New York Times. The right to make long distance phone calls to Al Qaida. All sacrificed in the name of national defense.

Thousands willingly gave their lives to secure us such cherished freedoms. If a few thousand more must die to maintain them, then that’s a price Al Gore is perfectly willing to pay.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Here Come Da Judge

"The best and only safe road to honor, glory, and true dignity is justice." --George Washington

You heard it here first: Ted Kennedy, the Democrat Party mascot, is a tone-deaf alien from a distant galaxy. How else to explain his impudent inquisition into the integrity of our nation's next Supreme Court justice, the Honorable Samuel Alito?

In Senate Judiciary Committee hearings this week, Kennedy actually asserted that the nominee's association with a conservative Princeton alumni group two decades ago should disqualify him from a seat on the High Court.

Well, it's not as if Judge Alito is a spoiled trust baby who got kicked out of Harvard for cheating. Nor is he a United States senator who got drunk, drove a young female campaign worker to her death, then chose not report it to authorities until the next day, and then, only after calling his lawyer, concocting an alibi and developing a strategy to contain the political fallout.

Only an extraterrestrial could wield so much power over the minds of some Bay Staters, willing them to re-elect him to the Senate in perpetuity. Perhaps they are "Manchurian constituents," but we digress.

Looking at the spectacle of Judge Alito's hearing, one is left to conclude that it has nothing to do with his qualifications, and everything to do with the Left's power to implement its political and social agendas.

Judge Samuel Alito is exceptionally qualified for a seat on the Supreme Court. The ill-fated nomination of Harriet Miers notwithstanding, President George Bush's follow-on nomination of Judge Alito is bold and brilliant.

Stepping out on a limb here -- color us unimpressed by Sen. Chuck Schumer's warnings of a filibuster -- Judge Alito will be approved by a floor vote next Friday, or the following week if it takes a bit more finessing to get the good judge out for a floor vote. After all, back in 1987 when Ronald Reagan nominated Alito to be a U.S. District Attorney, Kennedy's vote was among the Senate's unanimous consent. And when Sam Alito was nominated for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in 1990, he again received Kennedy's vote and unanimous consent from the Senate.

So what's with all the theatrics?

First and foremost, the stage show is about political agendas, not "advice and consent" -- specifically, the Left's objection to the fact that Judge Alito is precisely what our Founders desired in a jurist -- one who will interpret the plain language of our Constitution, not amend it by way of judicial diktat, as has been the practice of Leftist judicial activists for decades. That practice has all but rendered the Judiciary, in the inimitable words of Thomas Jefferson, a "Despotic Branch."

"If confirmed," blustered Kennedy, "Alito could very well fundamentally alter the balance of the court and push it dangerously to the right." Sen. Hillary Rodham-Clinton (or is it just "Clinton" these days?) concurred: "The fate of the Supreme Court hangs in the balance." Chuck Schumer added, "Alito is a controversial nominee for a pivotal swing vote on the High Court who could shift the balance of the court, and thus the laws of the nation, for decades to come."

What balance? Just where does the Constitution specify that judges are supposed to make the laws? To borrow from its author, James Madison, we cannot undertake to lay our finger on that article of the Constitution, which states that certain Supreme Court justices are supposed to be "swing" justices.

As penned by Alexander Hamilton in The Federalist Papers, the definitive explication of our Constitution, "[T]here is not a syllable in the [Constitution] which directly empowers the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the Constitution..."

To that end, Sam Alito insists, "Judges shouldn't be legislators, they shouldn't be administrators." He has demonstrated that he's a strict constructionist who supports states' rights and thinks the First Amendment restricts only Congress when it comes to the Left's sacred (read: bogus) "wall of separation" between church and state. He thinks the Second Amendment means what it says. He thinks parents know better than the government how to raise their kids. He would, we believe, return to states and local communities the decision to have prayer in their schools. He's even approved Christmas displays by local municipalities. He has certainly not found any language in our Constitution suggesting a "right" to terminate the life of children before they are born, or that husbands -- and parents in the case of minors -- should not be notified before an abortion.

Indeed, Sam Alito's philosophy will be at odds with the Left's insistence on a "Living Constitution." In the words of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, "Judge Alito has displayed a judicial philosophy marked by judicial restraint and respect for the limited role of the judiciary to interpret the law and not legislate from the bench."

More to the point, Sen. Rick Santorum declared, "The only way to restore the republic our Founders envisioned is to elevate honorable jurists like Samuel Alito." It's not just the fate of the court that hangs in the balance; it's the future of the Republic. Filling vacancies on the High Court with constitutional constructionists is not only President Bush's highest domestic priority, it will likely be recorded as his greatest domestic achievement.

In the meantime, the nation will have to endure the tirades of that bloated, bloviating blunderbuss, Ted Kennedy.

Quote of the week...

"Federal judges have the duty to interpret the Constitution and the laws faithfully and fairly, to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans, and to do these things with care and with restraint, always keeping in mind the limited role that the courts play in our constitutional system. And I pledge that if confirmed I will do everything within my power to fulfill that responsibility." --Judge Samuel Alito

Mary Jo Kopeckne cold not be reached for comment on this post

Saturday, January 07, 2006


The Arrogance Of Tom Kean

Trying to extend a 15 minutes of fame neither he nor the 9/11 Commission should have had, Tom Kean has weighed in on the NSA Surveillance Program. Said Kean:
Mr. Kean said he counted himself among those who doubted the legality of the program. He said in an interview that the administration did not inform his commission about the program and that he wished it had.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which Congress passed in 1978 after widespread abuses by intelligence agencies, created a system for court-ordered wiretaps for terrorism and espionage suspects. That system "gives very broad powers to the president and, except in very rare circumstances, in my view ought to be used," Mr. Kean said.

"We live by a system of checks and balances," he said. "And I think we ought to continue to live by a system of checks and balances."

What an arrogant, self-important jerk. Can you imagine the ego it takes to believe that the President should have told him and the other 9/11 Commission members about the NSA Program. Sure Tom, let's just give that information to partisan hacks like Tim Roemer, Richard Ben-Veniste and Jamie "The Wall" Gorelick. Remember this is the same commission that ignored Able Danger.

It's also interesting that Kean, who has no legal education or background thinks he has an informed opinion about the legality of the program. Gee Tom, so long as you're talking out of your a$ about things you are not qualified to discuss, do care to weigh in on the latest heart surgery techniques as well?

Do Kean and the rest of these idiot critics realize we're fighting a war? Do they really think that most Americans care if the government is listening in to suspected Al Queda terrorists? Hell, I think they'd be PO'ed if they found out those calls weren't being monitored.

Confirmation Follies To Reach Their Crescendo This Weekend

We can expect the circus surrounding the nomination of Judge Sam Alito to the Supreme Court to pick up the intensity over the weekend. That may already have begun to some small extent with a warning from the loudmouth of the Democratic caucus on the Judiciary Committee, Chuck Schumer, explaining that Alito has to give more complete answers than anyone else:

Alito's hearing before the Judiciary Committee, scheduled to begin Monday, will last a week if it tracks last year's confirmation process for Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. A Democratic member, Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), said yesterday that senators will ask extensive questions and insist that Alito answer them fully -- even if it means pushing the hearing into the following week.

All judicial nominees are required to respond to senators' queries, Schumer said in a speech in Washington. "The obligation, however, is greater for some nominees," he said. "It is greater when a nominee has taken a clear position on a legal matter."

Well, wait a minute. Wasn't Schumer one of those who argued that John Roberts had a greater requirement because he hadn't generated a public track record? The entire Democratic caucus made that argument repeatedly, both before and during Roberts' confirmation hearing. They complained about Roberts being a "stealth" candidate, devoid of any substantive judicial track record or public writings, and so demanded not just an overabundance of candor during his testimony before the committee but access to documents covered under attorney-client privilege. Now Democrats want to argue that the same holds true for a candidate with fifteen years of experience as a federal appellate jurist and a long track record of public writings.

Not that anyone expects Democrats to make sense or remain consistent in anything but knee-jerk antagonism for this administration, but one would think that the contradiction would be so apparent even to the slow-witted Democrats on Judiciary that such an argument would embarrass them. Apparently not.

In the meantime, both Schumer and his colleague Ted Kennedy maintained their pre-hearing sense of balance and open-mindedness. Kennedy told the press:

"We here in the United States are not going to stand for monarchial tyranny," he said, protesting Alito's support for "unfettered, unlimited power of the executive." He faulted Alito for belonging to a group that was "anti-black and also anti-women." Kennedy wondered if "the average person is going to be able to get a fair shake" under Alito.

Briefly, Kennedy rewrote the outcome of the 1964 election. "This nominee was influenced by the Goldwater presidency," he said. "The Goldwater battles of those times were the battles against the civil rights laws." Only then did Kennedy acknowledge that "Judge Alito at that time was 14 years old."

A questioner pointed out that Kennedy sounded like a sure bet against Alito. "I haven't reached a final conclusion," the senator demurred.

So Kennedy would be OK supporting an allegedly anti-black, anti-women nominee that argues for monarchical tyranny ... under exactly what circumstances? If a Clinton nominated him or her?

The New York Times--fit to line the bottom of the cage

Since December 16, 2005, when the New York Times disclosed the existence of the National Security Agency's secret electronic surveillance program, much has transpired. The most important of which is a Justice Department investigation into the identity of the person or persons who provided this information to the Times. On its editorial pages, the Times argues that "[i]llegal spying and torture need to be investigated, not whistle-blowers and newspapers."

The Times editorial should be understood for what it is: an attempt to lobby the public and government officials against a federal indictment charging the Times management, editor Bill Keller and publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., with violations of the Espionage Act. They are running scared and have good reason.

Along the same lines, New York Senator Charles Schumer suggests that the motive behind the leak ("whistleblower" versus traitor) should be a critical factor in the decision to initiate a prosecution. The Senator's comments do not reflect the law and it is well they don't.

Section 793 of the Espionage Act sets forth the elements of a crime: any authorized person in possession of "information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation" and who purposefully discloses that information to any unauthorized person, is in violation of this provision and, under subsection (f), may be imprisoned for up to ten years.

The question for the prosecutor in this case is straightforward: Could our enemies use the disclosure of this program to their advantage and did the "leaker" have reason to believe this to be so? Senator Schumer's "whistleblower" versus "traitor" analysis is not only laughable on its face, it is contrary to the plain language and intent of the statute. A prosecutor who used this analysis would be abusing prosecutorial discretion and acting contrary to the law. (In the case of a leaker who "intends" to provide this information to the enemy, Sen. Schumer's "motivation" test might be relevant. But this would be a separate question under Section 794 of the Act, a crime which carries a life or death sentence for its violation.)

According to the Times/Schumer logic, every disaffected civil servant should be permitted to divulge national security secrets if his motives are to expose a program he believes illegal or not in the best interests of the country. But does this not put the leaker in the position of Supreme Judge of our nation's national security? Who determines the "legality" or propriety of a top secret program? The President? The Courts? Congress? The leaker?

IN THE CASE at hand, the President and the Attorney General concluded the NSA program was a legal exercise of executive power. The Supreme Court has never ruled otherwise, and if anything, the lower federal courts have consistently recognized the President's constitutional authority as Commander-in-Chief to gather foreign intelligence, whether domestically or internationally, without a judicial warrant. It is not even clear that the courts have the authority to "judge" the President in his role as Commander-in-Chief. If the courts do have such a power, there is not much left to the concept of Separation of Powers. Congress, of course, has absolutely no authority to "rule" on the legality of a Presidential act unless it is at issue in an impeachment proceeding. Given this state of affairs, what whistle was the leaker blowing, other than his own personal view of the world?

Invariably, the prosecutor will turn to the New York Times, not simply to determine the source for the disclosure but for the crimes committed by the paper and its management. The facts as provided by the Times to date are that it learned of the NSA program over a year ago and held the story at the request of the White House (presumably the Times asked the Administration for confirmation). After at least one meeting with the President, the Times editor, Bill Keller, and publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., were convinced that the nation's security would be at risk with the publication of the leak and held it. Approximately one year later the Times published the story.

Questions abound about Messrs. Keller's and Sulzberger's motivation for publishing the article when they did. Whatever their motivations, the Times has, by publishing this story, taken the position, much as it did back in the Pentagon Papers days, that the risks associated with the criminal violation of the Espionage Act were outweighed by the public good. This position ought to be challenged, if for no other reason than lives, and a country's very existence, are at stake.

Again, we turn to the law for instruction. Section 793(e) of the Espionage Act makes it a crime punishable by imprisonment for up to ten years for any "unauthorized" person "in possession of...information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates...the same to any person not entitled to receive it...." The law also makes it a separate offense to "conspire" to violate the law, something the Times must have done to grant confidentiality to its sources.

The Times and its editors are not excused from their obligations as citizens by virtue of their media credentials. In the Pentagon Papers case, even though the Supreme Court shielded the New York Times from President Nixon's efforts to enjoin the publication of the top secret document, a plurality of justices in that case would not have ruled that the media is immune from a post-publication criminal prosecution (see U.S. v. NY Times, 403. U.S. 713 (1971)).

FREEDOM OF THE PRESS and all that it entails does not grant the press a license to put the rest of us in danger. Further, is it the Times's position that only newspaper editors are above the law and granted the authority to sit in judgment of the secrecy and legality of government programs? Even assuming a program is illegal, who weighs the danger of disclosure of such top secret programs to our enemies against the harm caused by the illegality of the program?

The Times would have the U.S. Constitution be understood to mean that unelected judges have the authority to overrule the acts of the elected Commander-in-Chief, that Congress has the authority to criminalize the exercise of the President's constitutional responsibilities, and the Press has the responsibility and the authority to disclose any top secrets it deems harmful to the cause of freedom.

This position on its face contradicts the expressed language of the Constitution and the Espionage Act. The Times should be held to the same standard as all other citizens.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

They just hate the President

Connecting Dots Alarms The Washington Post

In the second non-scandal today, the Washington Post runs a Walter Pincus revelation that the NSA intercerpts from Bush's program have been shared with law-enforcement agencies and other intelligence services in order to track people deemed threatening to the security of the US. Once again, we have another would-be exposé that fails to include even a general allegation of any wrongdoing, instead relying on the readers to supply their paranoia to what amounts to a success story for American defense in the war on terror:

Information captured by the National Security Agency's secret eavesdropping on communications between the United States and overseas has been passed on to other government agencies, which cross-check the information with tips and information collected in other databases, current and former administration officials said.

The NSA has turned such information over to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and to other government entities, said three current and former senior administration officials, although it could not be determined which agencies received what types of information. Information from intercepts -- which typically includes records of telephone or e-mail communications -- would be made available by request to agencies that are allowed to have it, including the FBI, DIA, CIA and Department of Homeland Security, one former official said.

At least one of those organizations, the DIA, has used NSA information as the basis for carrying out surveillance of people in the country suspected of posing a threat, according to two sources. A DIA spokesman said the agency does not conduct such domestic surveillance but would not comment further. Spokesmen for the FBI, the CIA and the director of national intelligence, John D. Negroponte, declined to comment on the use of NSA data.

Does Pincus give us any indication that this data has been abused, or that the agencies involved have either used it illegally or conducted wholesale invasions of privacy with it? No. Instead, Pincus reminds people that forty years ago, the Johnson and Nixon administrations spied on domestic political opponents in a complete non-sequitur:

Since the revelation last month that President Bush had authorized the NSA to intercept communications inside the United States, public concern has focused primarily on the legality of the NSA eavesdropping. Less attention has been paid to, and little is known about, how the NSA's information may have been used by other government agencies to investigate American citizens or to cross-check with other databases. In the 1960s and 1970s, the military used NSA intercepts to maintain files on U.S. peace activists, revelations of which prompted Congress to restrict the NSA from intercepting communications of Americans.

Pincus refers to "today's controversy over domestic NSA intercepts" in one part of the story, even though the supposed scandal involves the international intercepts performed without warrants. Domestic intercepts have been performed with FISA warrants, according to the Times reporting. Pincus tries again in that paragraph to tie the NSA program to the abuses from forty years ago, but again provides not one single case to prove his point.

Instead, it only demonstrates that the Bush administration learned from the 9/11 disaster. It has made sure that its alphabet-soup of law enforcement and intelligence agencies have learned to share data and to work together on investigations and analysis. This meets the demand made by Congress and the 9/11 Commission. This story actually confirms that the NSA intercept program authorized by Bush has developed good intel on terrorist assets within the US, and that the program has allowed the FBI and other agencies to shadow them and develop even more information on their threat profile and domestic contacts.

No wonder, then, that Bush's polling numbers go up every time the Post and the NYT attempt to smear him with baseless charges of imperialism and Orwellian behavior. The only point they keep making is that Bush has worked within the law to ensure that everything possible has been done to keep us safe. The Pincuses, Lichtblaus, and Risens of the Exempt Media have done a wonderful job proving that four years of terror-attack-free life has been no fluke, no coincidence at all.