Good evening. We have a question tonight and I'll do my best to answer. But first, we'll start things off with Democracy Now! My first two commentaries are meant to be sarcastic, just FYI.
FBI Spied on Greenpeace, PETA, Catholic Worker
In Washington, newly released documents show counterterrorism agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been monitoring domestic activist groups including Greenpeace, Catholic Worker, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and PETA, the People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The documents indicate the F.B.I. monitored protests organized by the groups and used confidential informants inside the organizations to gain intelligence. In one case, government records show the FBI launched a terrorism investigation of PETA in Norfolk, Virginia.
Greenpeace is obviously a dangerous organization. We must all stop buying dolphin safe tuna because the funds from the purchase go to terrorists who wish to impose their will upon us! As for Catholic Workers, if they really did the Lord's work, wouldn't they have their own tax free university? Wouldn't they be rolling in the dough the way Pat Robertson is?
Documents Show FBI Agents Tracked PETA For Years
According to the Washington Post, the documents offer no proof of PETA's involvement in illegal activity. But more than 100 pages of heavily censored FBI files show the agency used secret informants and tracked the group's events for years. The FBI also monitored political activities on college campuses. One FBI file included a contact list for students and peace activists who attended a 2002 conference at Stanford University aimed at ending sanctions then in place in Iraq.
Better spy on PETA because Pamela Anderson's gone after KFC! "They are crammed by the tens of thousands into pens. . . . They routinely suffer broken bones from being bred to be top heavy. . . . KFC refuses to do even the bare minimum . . . " It's like a communique from the Weather Underground! (Thanks to Jess for help with that.) We must stop Striparella! We must put the mastermind of V.I.P. beyond bars! If we don't, the terrorists have won!
After many hours carefully studying the Pamela Anderson Lee & Tommy Lee tape, J-Ass has detected many things that raised his interest. He passed the tape onto Alberto Gonzales for further study. Gonzales is said to be aroused and passionate by the contents of the tape.
Who will save us from Pamela Anderson? Only the Bully Boy!
Reports Expose Growing Domestic Surveillance
This is the third major recent revelation about domestic spying. Last week NBC News revealed the Pentagon has been monitoring peaceful anti-war protesters and the New York Times exposed how President Bush ordered the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans without court-approved warrants. Ann Beeson, of the American Civil Liberties Union said "It's clear that this administration has engaged every possible agency, from the Pentagon to N.S.A. to the F.B.I., to engage in spying on Americans."
Do you get how flimsy the excuses the administration is offering are? They think they can spy on lawful citizens acting on their rights to protest and peaceably assemble. Do you get how insane the country has become under the Bully Boy? We all need to be paying attention to this.
Where do you go for Elaine's take? That's right, Like Maria Said Paz, so check it out.
Now for the heavy math for the day, Pierre Tristam's "Trifler, Fibber, Sophist, Spy:"
The question was answered a few days ago, and confirmed by the president in the last two days. But how. Monday's White House news conference showed President Bush at his craven worst. He defended his decision to authorize spying by citing his reliance on--as he put it--"the constitutional authority to protect our country. Article II of the Constitution gives me that responsibility and the authority necessary to fulfill it." That's the sort of misleading inaccuracy you'd expect from a fast talker in a high school debating match. You don't expect it from a president, though this president has lowered the bar of credible discourse so much that American political discourse usually reeks of barroom skank. Article II does not give the president a blank check to do as he will, in time or peace or war. Article II is pretty specific. It lays out electoral law, qualifications, matters of su! ccession. It states with unequivocal clarity that "President shall communicate to Congress" by various means. It spells out the Oath of Office, which maybe the president had in mind when he referred to the "responsibility and the authority necessary" to protect the country. The Oath, however, says nothing about abrogating all other constitutional powers in deference to the presidency, no matter what the circumstances. To the contrary: "I do solemnly swear(or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." President Bush is confusing protecting his power and self-fulfilling prerogatives (see "enemy combatants," secret prisons, open-ended detentions without charge, etc.) with protecting and defending the Constitution. Note that Article II considers the president's responsibility toward the Constitution to be supreme--beyond his responsibility to the nation: Principle above immediacy, law above e xpediency. In his news conference Monday Bush simply rewrote the Constitution to suit, soothe and sanction his crimes.
Section 2 of Article II does refer to the president's role as Commander-in-Chief. But here's where this president, like every president since Ronald Reagan, has expressly misread this clause, which says nothing about the president being Commander-in-Chief of the nation--of people like you and me, of the school bus driver, of Exxon's employees, of anybody not wearing a military uniform. "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into actual Service of the United States." That's all. Grant him the Air Force and the Marines on top of that. But no one, and nothing, else is under his military command. (John Lukacs, the historian, wrote in 2003 of the "unnecessary and unseemly habit" of president's "quite wrong" salutes as they step off planes or choppers, "especially George W. Bush, who steps off his plane a! nd cocks a jaunty salute.") What Section 2 of Article II does require the president to do is seek the advise and consent of Congress son various matters in executive and foreign policy purviews. Blank checks? Extraordinary powers in time of war? Executive privilege? Executive prerogative? Nada, nada, nada, nada. One last thing Article II does address: presidential impeachment in case of conviction of "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
Elaine and I both are going to note Wally's "Electronic Peeping Tom Bully Boy". Wally's got a great down rundown of what's going on in the community on the spying story.
Now for today's question. M just started dating her girlfriend the week before Thanksgiving. They're exchanging gifts for Christmas and she's trying to figure out how much to spend. She asked her girlfriend who said, "Spend what you're comfortable with." M says that's no help at all. She says her girlfriend's really into No Doubt and Gwen but has all the CDs. Her girlfriend also likes reading fantasy novels. Clothes are out of the question because her girlfriend got a sweater as an early gift from an aunt that was visiting. She acted like she liked it but the next day returned it and has complained about how if the aunt didn't know what colors she liked, she shouldn't have gotten her clothes. So M doesn't even want to risk it with clothes. She was thinking of jewelry but her girlfriend always wears the same ear rings and isn't any jewelry otherwise. Her girlfriend's father is getting her a DVD player and a TV. Currently her girlfriend doesn't have either. (You read it right, no TV.) So she was thinking maybe she could get her some DVDs?
My advice, get her Gwen's DVD. If she didn't have a player and loves Gwen, she'd probably like that. And if you want to go with more, No Doubt should have a concert DVD and I know they have a DVD with their music videos on it. (My kid sister has that one.)
I forgot to note that Rebecca was covering this issue.
If you've got advice for M, you need to mail by Thursday before I write because she's off Friday and planning to shop for the gift then.
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