Here’s hoping it’s a lot better than the one just past!
Justice Dept. Probing Domestic Spying Leak
The Justice Department has opened an investigation into the leak of classified information about President Bush’s secret domestic spying program, Justice officials said Friday.
The officials, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the probe, said the inquiry will focus on disclosures to The New York Times about warrantless surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The Times revealed the existence of the program two weeks ago in a front-page story that acknowledged the news had been withheld from publication for a year, partly at the request of the administration and partly because the newspaper wanted more time to confirm various aspects of the program.
Catherine Mathis, a spokeswoman for The Times, said the paper will not comment on the investigation.
Revelation of the secret spying program unleashed a firestorm of criticism of the administration. Some critics accused the president of breaking the law by authorizing intercepts of conversations _ without prior court approval or oversight _ of people inside the United States and abroad who had suspected ties to al-Qaida or its affiliates.
The surveillance program, which Bush acknowledged authorizing, bypassed a nearly 30-year-old secret court established to oversee highly sensitive investigations involving espionage and terrorism.
Therein, I believe, lies one of the big differences between Democrats and Republicans. To the Republicans, it matters not that our president broke the law. What matters to them is that somebody had the courage to reveal to the citizenship that the president broke the law. They believe that the president, so long as he is a Republican, is above the law.
To the Democrats, the law of the land reigns supreme. The president is just as accountable as any other citizen.
So the Republicans will be wasting our tax dollars on yet another wrong investigation. Rather than investigating the patriots who revealed to us that laws were being broken, they should be investigating the people who broke those laws.
Some people will still believe almost anything, but a recent Harris Interactive poll shows that Americans are slowly getting wiser…
Many Americans Still Believe Hussein Had Links to al Qaeda
About 22% of U.S. adults believe Mr. Hussein helped plan 9/11, the poll shows, and 26% believe Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded. Another 24% believe several of the 9/11 hijackers were Iraqis, according to the online poll of 1,961 adults.
However, all of these beliefs have declined since February of this year, when 64% of those polled believed Mr. Hussein had strong links to al Qaeda and 46% said Mr. Hussein helped plan 9/11. At that time, more than a third said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and 44% said several of the 9/11 hijackers were Iraqis.
Whether they become wise in time to kick the lying and corrupt Republicans out of office in 2006 and 2008 remains to be seen.
If you’ve been paying attention to the news over the past couple of days, you are aware that we’ve had a few fires here in Texas.
This picture from The Washington Post caught my attention. It accompanied the article linked above.
Looks like nuclear winter, doesn’ it?
Here on the eve of Christmas Day, I thought I would venture over to the websites of the Republican and Democratic National Committees to see how they are observing the holiday.
The RNC, despite all the noise from their right wing evangelical base, does not mention Christmas…
But then, the DNC does not appear to be observing the holidays in any manner whatsoever. All we get from them is a picture of some old grinch…
Note that these snapshots were taken at the time of this post. The websites in question may well change throughout the course of the day.
At any rate… from our home to yours… Merry Christmas (or whatever holiday you may be observing)!
Update, 12/25: DNC…
Rumsfeld Says U.S. to Cut Iraq Troop Levels
FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) – Just days after Iraq’s elections, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Friday announced the first of what is likely to be a series of U.S. combat troop drawdowns in Iraq in 2006.
Rumsfeld, addressing U.S. troops at this former insurgent stronghold, said President Bush has authorized new cuts below the 138,000 level that has prevailed for most of this year.
Rumsfeld did not reveal the exact size of the cut, but the Pentagon said the reductions would be about 7,000 troops, about the size of two combat brigades. The Pentagon has not announced a timetable for troop reductions, but indications are that the force could be cut significantly by the end of 2006.
This all sounds mighty familiar. Oh, I remember now! This is exactly what the Democrats proposed just a few short weeks ago. Back then, though, we heard words like “cut and run,” “cowards,” “defeatists” and a whole lot worse. For some reason, though, it’s okay when the Republicans want to do it.
That could include substantial reductions well before the November midterm congressional elections, in which Bush’s war policies seem certain to be a major issue.
I understand now. It’s all about the elections in November. Here all this time George W. has been talking big about how we’re going to stay in Iraq as long as it takes for the Iraqis to establish a strong and viable democracy. As long as it takes… right up until the November elections.
I haven’t been blogging a whole lot these past few days. It isn’t that I’m not paying attention. I’m just really resisting the urge to say “I told you so!”
Know that I am smiling as I watch the corrupt administration of George W. Bush and the entire Republican party fall into shambles.
After receiving five deferments during the Viet Nam war, vice president Dick Cheney finally made it into a war zone today.
Cheney’s visit, under heavy security, was so secret that Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari was surprised when he met him at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in the heavily fortified Green Zone.
His one-day tour came just ahead of a scheduled Sunday address by President George W. Bush’s on Iraq and just a few days after the Dec. 15 elections – which were marked by a strong turnout. [link]
We have been fighting in this country for over two and half years, and our vice president still has to sneak in and out under extremely tight security. The Prime Minister did not even know he was coming!
Are we winning yet? Mr. Bush will tell us tonight how wonderfully things are progressing. The real question is: Will you believe him?
Actor John Spencer has died
John Spencer, who played a tough and dedicated politico on â€œThe West Wingâ€ who survived a serious illness to run for vice president, died of a heart attack Friday. He was 58.
Spencer died after being admitted to a Los Angeles hospital during the night, said his publicist, Ron Hofmann. He would have been 59 on Tuesday.
It’s kind of ironic that the serious illness he survived on “The West Wing” was a heart attack.
He’ll be missed.
Richard Nixon’s favorite argument was that “if the president does it, it is not illegal.” Richard Nixon must have been a hero to George W. Bush…
Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts
WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 – Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.
Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible “dirty numbers” linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications.
The previously undisclosed decision to permit some eavesdropping inside the country without court approval was a major shift in American intelligence-gathering practices, particularly for the National Security Agency, whose mission is to spy on communications abroad. As a result, some officials familiar with the continuing operation have questioned whether the surveillance has stretched, if not crossed, constitutional limits on legal searches.
Nixon had to learn the hard way that the president is not above the law. It appears that Bush will have to learn the same lesson.
Update: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… John Hinderaker is as anti-American is they come. Either that, or he’s just a bloody idiot. He wants to send the people who reported the above story to jail! He thinks the government should have oversight of everything that is published in the media. Don’t believe me? Here he is, in his own words…
The intelligence officials who leaked to the Times should be identified, criminally prosecuted, and sent to prison. Under the Pentagon Papers case, the reporters and editors at the Times who published the leaked story can’t be criminally prosecuted. Perhaps the Supreme Court should revisit that precedent when the opportunity arises.
John claims to be a graduate of Harvard Law School. Somehow, I don’t believe they teach this nonsense at Harvard.