Monday, January 30, 2006

The Only 2 Things Bush Can't Do. Wait! make that 1 thing.

Finally, someone asked George W. Bush one of the questions that's been on my mind. According to this President, the Authorization to Use Force against 9/11 Attackers, is an authorization to do basically ANYTHING that will, in his sole judgment, protect the American People. So, I was wondering, if his argument holds, is there anything he CAN'T do?

Bush could only think of 2 things. 1) Order torture (!?!) or 2) Assasinate the leader of a country we're not at war with.

From Face the Nation, here's Bob Schieffer's question and Bush's answer:

SCHIEFFER: Let's talk a little bit about this whole idea of eavesdropping without court orders. You said very strongly, and the strongest language I've heard you use yesterday, that you believe it is not only legal, you believe it is absolutely necessary in the War on Terrorism. The--the question I have, Mr. President, is: Do you believe that there is anything that a president cannot do, if he considers it necessary, in an emergency like this?

PRESIDENT BUSH: That's a--that's a great question. You know, one of the--yeah, I don't think a president can tort--get--can order torture, for example. I don't think a president can order the assassination of a leader of another country with which we're not at war. Yes, there are clear red lines, and--it--you--you--you just asked a very interesting constitutional question. The extent to which a president, during war, can exercise authorities in order to protect the American people, and that's really what the debate is about. I--I made the decision to listen to phone calls of Al Qaeda or suspected Al Qaeda from outside the country coming in or inside the country going out because the people, our operators, told me that this is one of the best ways to protect the American people. And it wasn't an easy decision to make, but as I thought through the decision-making process, I asked a couple of questions: One, do I have the authority to do it? In other words, implicit in your question is, will I just act without determining if I have authority. And so, in other words, I got--I--I was convinced by the legal department of the--of this--of this White House and the Justice Department that I did have the authority, and we looked at it very carefully. And secondly, I wanted to make sure that civil liberties were guarded. In other words, that by unleashing this program there wasn't checks and balances on--inside the NSA so that they would circumvent my order, which was listening for phone calls outside the country and in vice versa; in other words, not listening to the phone calls within the country. It is important that this program go on. I understand the debate, and I understand the need to make sure people discuss and debate whether or not I have got the authority to do it, but as I told the American people--and I can't tell you how strongly I feel about this--if somebody is talking to Al Qaeda inside the United States, we need to know why, and that's what this program is aimed to do.

Item 1, contradicts the Signing Statement he attached to the McCain Amendment on Torture and item 2 does not make me feel safe... at all. That puts several billion of us in the Ok-to-Assasinate category.

Here's the CBS transcript.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Sam Alito's Top Ten Extraordinary Circumstances

or Why the Gang of 14 should Filibuster:

10. Ann Coulter likes him. That's about as extreme as you can get.

9. Wishes Goliath had beaten David's puny little ass.

8. Lays out plan to weaken and overturn Roe v. Wade.

7. Pursues plan to overturn Roe v. Wade.

6. Brags about membership in racist CAP in order to get a job.

5. Denies remembering CAP membership in order to get a job.

4. Contrary to Supreme Court, tries to strip other judges' power to grant Habeas Corpus to illegal immigrants. If that's not judicial activism, what is?

3. Supports strip search of innocent ten-yr old girl although not called for in warrant. How is this a strict constructionist?

2. Believes in co-equal branches of government except the Unitary Executive branch is more co-equal than the others;

and the number 1 extraordinary circumstance is...

Bush is not your daddy, Senator. He does NOT have mandate; he doesn't even have a boy date. Check the polls. Only Nixon was less popular.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

You're reading the Google story all wrong. Google Guys are Good.

If you haven't heard yet, the Bush Administration wanted one million random web addresses and records of all Google searches for a one week period. The government apparently wants to estimate how much pornography shows up in the searches that children do.

The move is part of a government effort to revive an Internet child protection law struck down two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was meant to punish online pornography sites that make their content accessible to minors. The government contends it needs the Google data to determine how often pornography shows up in online searches.

From perusing DailyKos, I gather there is a chill running through the netroots, and it's being misdirected at Google, when the real story is:

The government indicated that other unspecified search engines have agreed to release the information, but NOT Google.

Whereas other seach engines rolled right on over without a fight Google general counsel said the company will fight "vigorously."

And isn't it just modern media poetic circumstance (irony) that the Google Guys get vilified BECAUSE they're doing the right thing, while the ones we CAN'T trust quietly sell us out, then benefit indirectly because of our FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt).

So, before you run screaming to Big Brother, check for updates on Search Engine Watch. So far, Ask Jeeves did not hand over data, because they weren't asked to. Yahoo! and AOL have not responded, and MSN issued some legalese that sounds like they caved. Also, noteworthy. Search Engine Watch ( learning to make links) has a better method for the government to get what it wants WITHOUT "...get(ting) the search engines to do their research for them in a way that compromises the civil liberties of other people." as Ray Everett-Church, a South Bay privacy consultant for internet companies describes it. He also pointed out, "The government can't even claim that it's for national security."

Furthermore, this looks like a major move toward a Unitary Executive (i.e. more powerful presidency). Apparently, simple talk of Alito's confirmation was emboldening enough that they're ready to try using new and improved SCOTUS to create a precedent for the government's Right to Spy.

I'm afraid, very afraid. And THAT really makes me nervous. So, the more afraid I get, the more I'm going to act...while I still have the right.

P.S. If anything happens, don't forget to look for me in the blacksites.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Gore to compare/contrast Nixon v. Bush II

Just posted by "The Nation" at 11:00 this morning:

"In a major address slated for delivery Monday in Washington, the former Vice President is expected to argue that the Bush administration has created a "Constitutional crisis" by acting without the authorization of the Congress and the courts to spy on Americans and otherwise abuse basic liberties..."

"...Don't expect a direct call for impeachment from the former vice president. But do expect Gore to make reference to Richard Nixon, whose abuses of executive authority led to calls for his impeachment -- a fate the 37th president avoided by resigning in 1974.
Gore's speech will add fuel to the fire that was ignited when it was revealed that Bush had secretly authorized National Security Agency to monitor communications in the United States without warrants. Gore will argue that the domestic wiretapping policy is only the latest example of the administration exceeding its authority under the Constitution.
With a Congressional inquiry into Bush's repeated violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act scheduled to begin in February -- and with Bush already preparing to pitch an Nixon-style defense that suggests it is appropriate for the executive branch to violate the law when national security matters are involved -- Gore will articulate the more traditional view that reasonable checks and balances are required even in a time of war. And he will do so in a bipartisan context that will make it tougher for Republican critics to dismiss the former vice president's assertion that the Constitution is still the law of the land. "

Here's the rest.

For more comparisons of Nixon v. Bush, here are some points & quotes I pasted together from ACLU (pdf files) and DNC (video) ads.:

Richard Nixon spied on Americans, lied about it and tried to cover it up in the name of “national security.” In response, Congress passed The FISA act to authorize surveillance of Americans in special circumstances.

George W. Bush spied on Americans, lied about it and tried to cover it up in the name of “national security.” He lied in April 2004 when he said, “Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act; constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.”

Then he asked the NY Times to keep the story a secret because of “national security” -- which they did until well after the 2004 election.

George W. Bush says that what he did is not illegal. “Did I have the legal authority to do this? … absolutely.” (December 2005)

That sounds like Nixon when he said, When the President does it, that means it is not illegal.” (1977)

Even Nixon’s lawyer, John W. Dean, thinks Bush II has gone too far. “Indeed, here, Bush may have outdone Nixon: Nixon's illegal surveillance was limited; Bush's, it is developing, may be extraordinarily broad in scope… reports have suggested that NSA is "data mining" literally millions of calls - and has been given access by the telecommunications companies to "switching" stations through which foreign communications traffic flows.” That means the NSA has been able to secretly monitor any phone calls or e-mails you send outside the country.

Whether they're investigating the President’s possible abuse of power, the Justice Dept. will not say, but it is investigating the whistleblower(s).

Dean adds, “In acting here w/o Congressional approval, Bush has underlined that his Presidency is unchecked… utterly beyond the law. …what asserted powers will Bush use next?” (

Here’s a hint. Bush signed McCain’s anti-torture bill, then issued a signing statement when it seemed no one was looking. Legal experts interpret the statement as saying that although Bush is signing the law, he reserves the right to exempt himself from it if HE thinks it’s necessary.”

In America no one, not even the President, is above the law.

Using the power of the White House, unchecked by the Republican-controlled House and Senate, Bush is filling the courts with nominees like John Roberts, Harriet Mier and Sam Alito who share his vision for a powerful, almost imperial, presidency.

And now we're discovering that Bush's domestic spying program was authorized BEFORE 9/11. From out GREAT friends at

Happy Friday the 13th.

P.S Speaking of dates. According to my calendar, Feb. 1 -- the day after the President's State of the Union address is National Freedom Day. Let it ring.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Who's Bill?

True Story:

As I returned to the car after checking the box, 3-year-old Austin asked casually, " Did we get any mail?"
"Just bills," I said.
"Oh." pause "Who's Bill?"
Chuckling to myself, I explained in clear, 3-year-old terms about buy now, send bill, pay later.
Some time after snack he queried, "Are we going to give Bill his mail?"
Stunned, but amused, I tried again.
After running errands, our last stop was to pay the water bill. As we dropped the payment in the box, Austin asked, "Is that Bill's house?"
"Yes," I answered, as we headed back to the car. "That's Bill's house, and we just gave him his mail." I pointed to the driver pulling into the next parking space, adding, "And that's Bill."

Another amusing Austin story. He once said to me, "Mom, you know why I don't like water?" (I think he was 4-ish).
"Why's that?" I wanted to know.
"It's not my cup of tea," he flatly declared.

This is my first blog, so I appreciate your input.

I also post adiary on DailyKos when I think I have something political to add. If the liberal thoughts from stark raving mom might be your cup of tea, feel free to visit: