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Friends In Low Places

Saturday, May. 06, 2006 2:56 AM

As Vice-President Dick Cheney continues his tour of Soviet states, he lavished praise on Kazakhstan's president. He was delighted to be Nursultan Nazarbayev's guest, and considers him a personal friend as well as a friend of America.

And he expressed admiration for all that's been accomplished in Kazakhstan in regards to human rights.

Better check your briefing sheets, Dick.

According to our own State Department, Kazakhstan eliminated the opposition party and refused to register two new opposition parties. Newspapers have been closed, and other organizations have been harassed. And it's illegal to insult Kazakhstan's president or report on his health, finances, or private life.

Nazarbayev has been in power since 1991, remaining in office through elections that international monitors have judged to be neither free nor fair.

Contrast that with the 'it's unpatriotic to criticize the president' song-and-dance that still gets airplay in conservative circles. Add a good measure of folks suggesting that the reporters who broke the stories on Bush's illegal wiretapping and the CIA's clandestine prisons should, themselves, be imprisoned and tried on charges of espionage.

If one is to judge a man by his friends, the choice of Nursultan Nazarbayev doesn't speak much for Dick Cheney's character.

But we kind of figured that out when Dick shot his buddy Harry in the face and then waited 17 hours for his BAC to drop to legal levels before telling anyone.

General Michael V. Hayden is the man most likely to succeed Porter Goss as director of the CIA.

I've mentioned Hayden before. He's the former head of the NSA who is complicit in President Bush's illegal wiretapping program. He also voiced the same opinion as Dick Cheney - that if we'd had the illegal wiretapping program before 9/11, we could have prevented 9/11 (which was the reason we implemented illegal wiretapping).

As the man who determined 'probable cause' was too stringent a standard for the War on Terrorism and therefore illegally circumvented Constitutional protections granted by the 4th Amendment, Hayden should be in dishonorably discharged and thrown in jail, not appointed to head the CIA.

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