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Leadership Crisis

Thursday, Jan. 04, 2007 9:55 AM

President Bush is the author of an op-ed piece that appeared in the Wall Street Journal, waxing poetic about the historic opportunity facing the incoming Democratic-majority Congress. It urges them to shut up and do as I say work in the spirit of bipartisanship.

It also warns the Democrats against seeking bills with political purposes ��oh, like sitting President Bush down and explaining that the U.S. military are not the same as the Colossal Bag of 100 Soldiers for $1.00 that he played with as a child, or on subjects like abortion, gay marriage, and flag burning.

Bush also asks Congress to grant him a line-item veto power, as if he hasn't been arrogating that ability unto himself through his signing statements.

And then he asks Congress to respect his leadership in the Iraq crisis, because, well ��he's the Decider. He's getting ready to unveil his New Path Forward. (Gosh, another slogan. Why am I not surprised?)

Speaking of signing statements, if this article is true, then Mr. Bush's rampant paranoia and fascist wet dreams have ascended to new levels.

How do you distinguish terrorist-related letters from those that are not?

Do we honestly believe that, in the 'ticking bomb' scenario cited by a White House spokesperson, we'd find anything of value that would help defuse the bomb or prevent an attack? (Dear Mohammed, here are your tickets for your flight on Tuesday �)

If the government were to open a personal letter, discover that it doesn't contain secret codes, sinister plans, or microdots, would they admit their intrusion? Are they fined? Or do you simply get your mail in one of those nifty plastic baggies from the Post Office that says it was 'damaged in transit'?

And what happens if the letter contains no information pertaining to an imminent terrorist threat, but does contain material implicating the sender or the recipient in a lesser crime? Does it construe a precedent that, heck, we should just routinely run mail through government censors?

No oversight = bad.

And speaking of the benefits of surveillance, the government has to figure out how to present nearly 230 (out of tens of thousands) phone calls as establishing Jose Padilla as part of a plot to detonate 'dirty' bombs inside the United States.

The problem is, in the seven calls in which Padilla's voice is actually heard, at no time does he discuss a violent plot. Oops.

The government had previously stepped back from its initial claims that Padilla was an enemy combatant affiliated with al-Qaeda in order to avoid a ruling that would call into question the interrogations of other suspects like Abu Zubaydah, who, it is believed, would claim he was tortured.

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