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Spying On Whom?

Friday, Aug. 03, 2007 1:29 PM

President Bush is still trying to sell expanded surveillance powers as necessary for America's safety.

But instead of the FISA court, which offers immediate surveillance with a 72-hour grace period for filing the warrant, Bush wants immediate surveillance with no judges ��just the say so of the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence � and it can be done some time after the actual surveillance.

Like I want Alberto Gonzales, who seems to be perjuring himself at every turn and can't remember small details like who fired eight U.S. attorneys, to be making such decisions.

The argument is that they want the power to go after al-Qaeda. Oh, and maybe Iran. And possibly Syria. Just in case. The last 'open-ended' policy like this was the Authorization to Use Military Force, which was interpreted by the Bush Administration as carte blanche to go into Iraq.

These are not people to entrust with such tasks. Responsibility, honesty, principles, ethics, morals �
the Bush Administration continues to claim the dog ate its homework. Forget the failing grade � they ain't even trying.

And considering that we haven't actually dredged up any Major Terrorist Plots, haven't made a dent in finding Osama bin Laden, haven't had any success in beating the insurgents in Iraq ��what, exactly, are they using their surveillance powers for? (Remember, Bush issued a secret authorization for domestic, warrantless surveillance by the NSA. And the program appears to be broader than originally believed.)

The battle will be won by good intelligence, not unchecked and bloated surveillance programs born of Dick Cheney's fear-mongering.

The disturbing thing, of course, is the 'standoff' between Democrats and Mr. Bush. Inevitably, they'll knuckle under and allow this clown to trash more of our laws and Constitutional protections, then call it a 'compromise' and applaud each other.

Wrong is wrong. When you're drunk, your excuses shouldn't matter � the bartender is legally and morally compelled to refuse you service.

It's time to stop pouring George one more for the road and cut him off.

So FOX News' Bill O'Reilly proves he's a bully, sending his minions to browbeat Jet Blue executives into withdrawing their sponsorship of the YearlyKos event (an apparent 'big thing' in liberal blogger land).

Then Mike Stark of Calling All Wingnuts decides to treat O'Reilly to a dose of the same humiliation, posting signs throughout O'Reilly's neighborhood and collaring O'Reilly on his front doorstep. (Stark is the caller on whom O'Reilly once threatened to 'call FOX security.')

Amusing, yes?

Bravo to MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who nominated Stark for the silver in his nightly round-up of The Worst Person In The World for targeting BillO at home ��not in public, not at a professional function, but the man's home.

Even a colossal asshat as O'Reilly deserves better.

Hillary Clinton's hat is decidedly nuke-shaped.

Continuing her sniping and posturing from the recent YouBate, where she called Barack Obama's open declaration that he would meet with problematic world leaders, Clinton also poured scorn on Obama's reluctance to use nuclear weapons.

No president, according to Hillary, should ever take nukes off the table.

And no presidential candidate should make a campaign point of starting a nuclear exchange. This is like saying no child should rule out taking a gun to school. It doesn't help frame the diplomatic question, and it isn't a stick with which to whack misbehaving countries. Just like we seem to be doing with our current president, we need to be mindful about where we set the bar - what qualifies as a bad president, and what qualifies as actions that merit a nuclear response? (Even if terrorists were to manage a nuclear incident within the United States, bombing Mecca isn't exactly a well-thought out response.)

Oh, and Dianne Feinstein shows exactly why I ain't voting for her ever again, by voting to confirm Mr. Bush's latest judicial nominee.

We've allowed Bush to appoint his corrupt buddies to important offices, and yet we keep ending up in Congressional hearings and committees wondering how things could have gone so terribly wrong.

Stop confirming the goddamn weasels in the first place. When we allow the president the courtesy of picking advisors with whom he is comfortable, to have cozy fireside chats (and maybe a few 'You're A Star' mash notes from Harriet Miers) ��and we end up hip-deep in scandals, it says something about those advisors, and the man to whom they give advice.

And the judgment of those who approved them.

Being a ranking Democrat doesn't mean you're worthy of the office, Dianne.

And a New York man was arrested for sailing a recreation of a Revolutionary War submarine too close to a cruise ship.

Phillip Riley of Brooklyn built a replica of David Bushnell's Turtle ��a no-frills 'submarine' intended to allow the pilot to place explosives on a ship's hull - and went for a ride in the harbor. Rather than duplicate Bushnell's propulsion system (hand crank), he was towed by friends in a boat.

But, of course, the usual disclaimer � there's no reason to believe this was a terrorist incident.

Psst. Hey! Homeland Security! NYPD! Tell me why a terrorist would build a replica of a 1700's submarine to plant a bomb on a ship's hull?

Do you think the terrorists might have heard of SCUBA gear?

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