Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Good evening. Let's get started with some stuff from Democracy Now! and remember that they are in London for the rest of the week.

Bush, GOP Sens. Reach Eavesdropping Agreement
On Capitol Hill, the Senate Intelligence Committee has voted down a proposal to investigate the Bush administration’s domestic spy program. The vote came after the White House and Republican Senators agreed to new guidelines for the practice of government eavesdropping without court-approved warrants. According to the New York Times, the deal asks the Bush administration to request court warrants only "whenever possible." The Bush administration would be given a 45 day grace period to spy without court warrants if they felt requesting them would compromise national security. After the 45-day period, the warrantless eavesdropping could then be extended if the attorney general certifies the administration's stance. In addition, a handful of extra members of Congress would also be briefed on the program’s activities. Democrats lashed out at the deal. West Virginia Senator John Rockefeller, who serves as vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee said: "The committee is, to put it bluntly, basically under the control of the White House."

I can't add much to that, so I'll just note C.I. from this morning:

The above is from David D. Kirkpatrick and Scott Shane's "G.O.P. Senators Say Accord Is Set on Wiretapping" in this morning's New York Times and the excerpt above is from the ninth and ten paragraphs. That's how far down you have to dive through the nonsense so well captured by the headline.
Olympia Snowe's a star of the piece and she's the Queen of Delusion but then most people smeared in the lead up to the war ("French!") by her own party would have wised up a long time ago. Proving she's not most people, or competent, Snowe is pleased as punch that from now on the new "rules" will give the administration 45 days to seek a warrant (as opposed to the current 72 hours) when they want to spy on American citizens (45 days they can spy without a warrant) UNLESS the attorney general (that would be Gonzales) will "certify that the surveillance is necessary to protect the country and explain to the subcommittee why the administration has not sought a warrant" because, after all, Gonzales has done such a brilliant job telling the Senate the truth, right? (Wrong.)
They've abdicated their responsibilities. But Harriet Miers (she just doesn't go away, does she?), Dick Cheney and Stephen J. Hadley (aka the gang of crooks) worked really hard on the legislation. It's called abdication of duty if not derelicition. But if the White House wants to write legislation, who are the cowed Republican senators to stand in their way?
Here's the Queen of Delusions, the Miss Havisham of the Senate, in the Times:
"We are reasserting Congressional responsibility and oversight," Ms. Snowe said.
And here's actual reality from the Washington Post:
At the White House, press secretary Scott McClellan described the DeWine proposal as interesting but reiterated the position that Bush already has the power to institute the program.
Walter Pincus' "Senate Panel Blocks Eavesdropping Probe" reveals that the only hope for democracy may be left to Arlen Specter, of all people:
The NSA issue was brought up at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, who is drafting his own bill. Specter warned that he will try to reduce the administration's funding unless Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales agrees to answer more of his committee's questions."We're having quite a time in getting responses to questions as to what has happened with the electronic surveillance program," Specter said. "I want to put the administration on notice and this committee on notice that I may be looking for an amendment to limit funding as to the electronic surveillance program -- which is the power of the purse -- if we can't get an answer in any other way."

I'm sorry but I always laugh when C.I. does Great Expectations. There was another thing at The Third Estate Sunday Review and I told Elaine, "Ma, thinks you came up with the 'Pip' ref. Elaine said, 'Tell her it was C.I.'"

I also think it's funny because I can see Olympia Snowe as Miss Havisham. :D

Abramoff Attorney Threatens to "Name Names" At Sentencing Hearing
This update on the case of indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff -- a federal judge has rejected a request to delay his sentencing because imprionsonment could derail his cooperation in several ongoing criminal investigations. Abramoff was ordered to return for sentencing on March 29th. Abbe Lowell, Abramoff's attorney warned the court he may reveal details of the government’s investigations at his client’s sentencing. Lowell said: "We will name names. We will provide the public with evidence of what is going on out there. It seems to me that is not in the interest of law enforcement."

Okay, I don't have much to say here but this is something Elaine and I both made a note of and we both go, "Did we hear that right?" when we were on the phone picking our two items.

Abramoff's attorney wants a delay in sentencing. If he doesn't get it, "We will name names. We will provide the public with evidence of what is going on out there." What? Are they blackmailing the feds? Is Abramoff saying there's a cover up going on? What does that threat mean?

Remember yesterday when I was talking about how it was important to give credit to our left voices? Tony told me about how a daily newspaper had "borrowed" from a left site without giving credit. So to make sure I do my part to give people on our side credit, Bill Conroy's "Dallas Morning News breathlessly reports House of Death drug-war script:"

Notice the date of the Dallas Morning News' story -- March 29, 2005. (The actual story available on the Internet shows a publication date of May 20, 2005. I guess the paper's stories get a new publication date once they are put online? )
Anyway, there is no mention in the story about how Gonzalez’ letter was mysteriously "revealed."
Well, here's a clue.
Narco News obtained that memo exclusively through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and published the unredacted
text of the letter online on March 23, and 11 days later put the actual document online.
So you have to wonder just how the Dallas Morning News came upon Gonzalez' memo, don't you? Maybe they went through the arduous process of obtaining the memo through FOIA themselves, just so they could avoid crediting Narco News?
Well, that's par for the course. It's tough for a mainstream media outlet to admit it got beat by the feisty underdog. So sometimes it's easier to make it appear they got the story first to avoid being honest about who really "revealed" the information.
In any event, the current story by the Dallas Morning News about the informant Lalo supposedly being extradited to Mexico is not really the important news it is set up to be in that newspaper's predictable drug-war script. ICE officials have long hinted to Narco News that Lalo was deemed a loose end who needs to be cut from the picture to assure the cover-up in this case does not unravel. Extraditing Lalo to Mexico, where he is certain to be killed by the narcos he double crossed, serves just that purpose.
The Dallas Morning News, in its eagerness to pound its chest in "breaking" news on the story, neglects to mention anything in its recent story about the cover-up of the U.S. government’s complicity in the murders in Juarez, which Narco News has shown, with documentation, reaches to the upper levels of the Justice Department.
But then, the Dallas Morning News would have to credit Narco News for that revelation and admit they dropped the ball in pursuing the
cover-up angle on the story. Or maybe they have other reasons for avoiding a confrontation with powerful sources inside the Justice Department whom they depend on for getting scoops and access in generating their ongoing script for the so-called drug war.

That's not right. When someone rips off someone, it's not right. Wouldn't have taken but one sentence to say "the memo obtained by Narco News" and if I did what the Dallas Morning News did on a class paper, I'd get a big, fat "F." You have to credit the sources.

Short tonight because I've got a book to read. Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush which is put out by the Center for Constitutional Rights. (Thank you to C.I. for the book.)

Now don't forget to check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts. And don't miss Betty's latest: "The Chicken Lays An Egg"