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Stonewalling, Lying, Cheating, and Rolling Over Dead

Friday, May. 12, 2006 12:55 AM

The American public needs to wake up and smell the fertilizer coming out of the Bush Administration on a daily basis.

First comes word from the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility that they are closing their inquiry because the NSA refuses to grant investigators the necessary security clearances to proceed. Can you say stonewall?

Not that I expect the Justice Department to denounce its own people. This is no different than the Pentagon investigating itself on paying to plant favorable stories in the Iraqi media: nope, no wrongdoing there. The Pentagon audits Halliburton/KBR for overbilling and contract shortfalls: yes, there were significant instances of both, but we're going to pay them full price anyway.

And the all-time classic: President Bush's assertion that there was no evidence of price-fixing in either the California Energy Crisis (which has been refuted, as Ken Lay is on trial for this and other financial calumny) nor in the current dramatic price spikes in gasoline prices.

Topping off the tanks was the stunningly stupid rebate offer from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, offering $100 to people if we would allow drilling inside the ANWR. If we are, as Bush continues to blather, addicted to oil, this is the equivalent of asking a friend to pay for your next line of coke.

Of course, Mr. Bush today tried to distinguish 'wiretapping' from 'data mining' in regards to the illegal domestic surveillance program. An article in USA Today claims that the NSA collected information on calls made by tens of millions of Americans for this purpose.

Here's a shovel, George.

If it's wiretapping in the form of listening to conversations, it's illegal because it circumvented FISA, USA-PATRIOT, and ran roughshod over 4th Amendment protections.

If it's data mining in the sense of harvesting numbers and assembling some kind of traffic pattern for clues to terrorist activity, it's a redress of John Poindexter's Total Information Awareness boondoggle, and also illegal. The House and Senate shot that one down. (Of course, they also shot down the RNEP, or burrowing bunker-buster tactical nuke, but that thing's still hanging on the underside of the Defense budget like a limpet mine.)

Bush again repeated that all intelligence work was done within the law (see, the Constitution and his imagined prerogatives as Chekist-in-Chief*, that's law, right?) and that domestic conversations were not listened to without a court warrant.

Excuse me while I call bullshit on this one.


If the program uses reasonable belief as opposed to probable cause, a warrant cannot be issued without violating the 4th Amendment.

In testimony before Congress, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales refused to specifically state that the warrantless program did, in fact, include wholly domestic calls.

"The privacy of all Americans is fiercely protected in all our activities," Bush went on to say. "Our efforts are focused on al-Qaeda and their known associates."

Did you catch that one?

Senator Patrick Leahy did. "Are you telling me that tens of millions of Americans are involved with al-Qaeda?"

Leahy grew even more agitated, waving a copy of USA Today about while exclaiming, "It's our government, our government! It's not one party's government, it's America's government!"

Senator Dianne Feinstein arrived late to the party as she opined that, "... we are on our way to a major Constitutional confrontation on the 4th Amendment guarantees over unreasonable search and seizure."

Still think General Hayden is the man for the job, Dianne?

Oh, and here's a surprise: Diebold touch-screen voting machines can be compromised, and easily so. (Both the cited article and a report from Black Box withheld details on the process because the flaw stems from Diebold's own implementation of an easy-update feature.)

Though the flaw is not part of the election-processing system itself, BBV warns that it degrades the trustworthiness of the system and could be used to selectively disenfranchise groups of voters.

Now, tell me again how the strategy-free Democrats are going to capture the midterm elections?

Oh, wait. Not only are the Democrats turning tail, they've decided not to seek Bush's impeachment even if they regain control of the House in November.

Congratulations, Congresswoman Pelosi. You've just torpedoed your credibility and lost the midterm elections. I have absolutely no reason to vote for you or any Democratic candidate.

What are you going to say? That illegal wiretaps, torture, secret prisons, pre-emptive and unjustified wars of aggression, rampant corruption, and trampling on the Constitution aren't that bad? That it could be worse?

Do you think the GOP is wiping their brow and thanking their lucky stars that impeachment is off the table?

Fuck no, they're all laughing their asses off.

I think I'll take my money to Vegas, I'll get better returns than donating it to the spineless weasels in the DNC.

* CHEKIST: Member of the Soviet secret police, led by Felix Dzerzhinsky. The Cheka believed the state was plagued by a conspiracy of foreign enemies and internal counter-revolutionaries. The Cheka eventually became the KGB. A statue of Dzerzhinsky used to stand outside KGB Headquarters; it was toppled after the fall of the Soviet Union.

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