Friday, December 23, 2005

FISA bill "recognizes no inherent power of the President to conduct electronic surveillance"

JAMES BAMFORD: Well, before I get into that, just one other comment on what we just have been talking about. When the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was created in 1978, one of the things that the Attorney General at the time, Griffin Bell, said -- he testified before the intelligence committee, and he said that the current bill recognizes no inherent power of the President to conduct electronic surveillance. He said, 'This bill specifically states that the procedures in the bill are the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance may be conducted.' In other words, what the President is saying is that he has these inherent powers to conduct electronic surveillance, but the whole reason for creating this act, according to the Attorney General at the time, was to prevent the President from using any inherent powers and to use exclusively this act.

That's from Democracy Now! ("An Impeachable Offense? Bush Admits Authorizing NSA to Eavesdrop on Americans Without Court Approval") and C.I.'s emphasized it repeatedly this week because it's important. It's a point that you don't hear too often in the mainstream media coverage which is strange considering the endless jaw boning over "original intent." Strange too considering that the press is supposedly so interested in figuring out whether or not Bully Boy circumvented the law.

But brains and the mainstream media . . .

I'm late again posting this morning. A "wit" asked if I was late yesterday because I need to figure out the day's talking points? No. I was late because my grandfather and I were crowded around the computer reading C.I.'s posts and then discussing them with my mother. We're all really interested in the government spying on citizens.

Here's a question the "wit" also asked, "Since your grandfather's already in Florida, where will he go to retire? New York?"

Well he is retired. And he went to South Florida.

But due to Christmas (and Wilma) he's been back in the area he grew up in. As a result, he knows a lot of people in the area. We went around yesterday distributing cookies Mom had baked for friends in the neighborhood and my grandfather made sure everyone knew about the spying.

That was interesting, hearing their take on it. They were wondering why there was so much back and forth about whether Bully Boy did something wrong? While the press works itself up into a moral quandry, people my grandfather's age seemed to see it pretty clearly: Bully Boy violated the law.

You listen and just hear their voices filled with anger and with shock.

I hope everyone else is trying to make sure people talk about this.

I also hope you'll check out Kat's latest album review. This is one she did at the request of the oldest member in The Common Ills community, Eli. Eli's a friend of mine (and I'm lucky to be able to say that) and I got his permission to write about why he asked Kat to review Carly Simon's No Secrets.

One of his daughters was having some problems when the album came out and his daughter asked if it would be okay for the granddaughter to stay with him and his wife for a bit. A bit turned out to be a year and a half. She arrived with a suitcase of clothes and Carly Simon's record right before No Secrets. That was the only thing she listened to over and over and he and/or his wife (he's not sure which but says it was probably his wife) mentioned that to someone with kids his granddaughter's age. They were told about No Secrets and thought maybe they could get it and bond with their granddaughter?

So they bought it at a store called Gibson's. (I don't know that store but Eli said put it in because a lot of people would ha ha. It's out of business now, he thinks.) They were both looking at the cover because although Carly Simon's got clothes on, her nipples are prominent through her shirt. They weren't sure what they were getting into but their granddaughter was "monosylalbes" all the time so they were willing to take a chance.

They got the biggest hug and she asked them to listen to it with her. She was really excited.
From there, Eli, who can play a song on guitar after hearing it a few times, taught his granddaughter how to play a few of the songs on guitar. And it just ended up being a really big shared thing for all three of them.

The granddaughter has a daughter now and she's in her late 20s. Eli had sent his granddaughter the review that Kat did of Carly Simon's Moonlight Serenade and she ended up passing it on to her daughter. Her daughter, Eli's great-granddaughter, grew up listening to No Secrets because her mother played it all the time. So Eli had a standing offer from Kat that she'd review something older for him and 2005 was winding down so she reminded him of that. Because of his granddaughter and his great-granddaughter, he picked No Secrets.

I think Kat did a great job with that review. So check it out.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

C.I. will warn you bout the Times and Mike will make you chuckle -- check 'em out

Running a little late due to C.I.'s entries this morning. Read the one on the New York Times lack of interest in protests and spying last year. (Not interested until this year.) Then don't miss the next one which deals with Scott Shane's article on the government spying.

Especially don't miss yesterday's report from Democracy Now!:

Newly released documents show counterterrorism agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been monitoring domestic organizations active in causes as diverse as peace, the environment, animal cruelty and poverty relief.
This is the third major recent revelation about domestic spying in the last few days. 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. The latest batch of files totals more than 2,300 pages and centers on references in internal files to a handful of 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 FBI monitored protests organized by the groups and used confidential informants inside the organizations to gain intelligence. One document indicates that FBI agents in Indianapolis planned to conduct surveillance as part of a "Vegan Community Project." Another document talks of the Catholic Workers' "semi-communistic ideology." A third indicates the bureau's interest in determining the location of a protest over llama fur planned by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Many of the investigative documents turned over by the bureau are heavily edited, making it difficult or impossible to determine the full context of the references and why the F.B.I. may have been discussing events like a PETA protest.

For laughs and criticism of the government's spying check out Mike's "Bully Boy keeps on spying and lying:"

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 SurveillanceThis 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.

Mike's using the news (via Democracy Now!) to show how absurd the government is with their illegal spying.

Check out C.I., Rebecca, Mike and Elaine for more on this topic.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Democracy Now! today gives more details on FBI spying

33,000 New York City transit workers go on strike, shutting down the country's largest public transportation system. We'll take a look at the latest.
Newly released documents show counterterrorism agents at the FBI 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.

Thanks to C.I. for forwarding Rod's e-mail. Those are the topics for today's Democracy Now! so check it out. I'll be watching with my grandfather who is "very alarmed" by Bully Boy's spying and we're really looking forward to the second topic. But you can also listen on the radio or read online or watch or listen online.

If you're trying to make sense of what is going on, you should also check out C.I.'s "Governmental spying/snooping."

And Rebecca, Mike and Elaine are hitting on the topic hard this week too.

This is something that should be on your mind. My grandfather said he couldn't believe more people weren't talking about this. He read Rebecca and thinks she may be right that it's starting to pick up traction but he says the way he remembers it when Nixon's spying was coming out, people were "appalled." He feels like there have been three big developments on this so far but the mainstream media is still playing it like "Oh this happened today" and not making any connections.

We were talking about it over cereal this morning and Mom asked if we'd read C.I.'s thing from last night? We hadn't because it went up so late. We pulled it up and read it. I wasn't alive then and I can tell you that we weren't taught anything about the Church Committee (or any other) in my school. I haven't heard about it in college yet either.

I think if we really got how outraged people were in the 70s, we'd be more likely to say, "This is wrong!" right now. But we've seen so much from the Bully Boy that little surprises us. So I'll keep focusing on this in the Jot for the rest of the week and probably next week too. I hope you're focusing on it. Check out Democracy Now! today.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Electronic Peeping Tom Bully Boy

Sen. Leahy: No More Secret Orders, Secret Courts, Secret Torture
Many legal experts have accused the President of breaking the law by ordering the wiretappings without a court warrant as required under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT): "This warrant-less eavesdropping program is not authorized by the patriot act, it's not authorized by any act of congress, and it's not overseen by any court. And according to reports it has been conducted under a secret presidential order, based on secret legal opinions by the same justice department, lawyers who argued secretly, that the president could order the use of torture. Mr. President, it is time to have some checks and balances in this country, we are a democracy. We are a democracy. Let's have checks and balances, not secret orders and secret courts and secret torture, and on and on."

That's from Democracy Now! yesterday.

Mike noted it yesterday:

"I broke the law." That's what he's saying. That and "Piss on all of you, I do what I want." He's been appeased and coddled by the press (and the New York Times sat on this story for a year) and you get idiots saying things like, "The dialogue from the left is just getting so rude tsk, tsk."No, you've been living in the Bully Boy bubble while the rest of us have been speaking truth. You're the joke for sitting there whining about what people are saying or lying about it (like Nicky K did when he was proved he was so quick to slam the left that he didn't even need to read Molly Ivins because calling her a "Bush hater"). You're the joke for thinking a Bully Boy can be coddled.

Mike calls Bush "the Bully Boy electronic peeping tom."

So did Rebecca:

bully boy's spying on us. he thinks that's okay. he's spent today and yesterday and saturday full of himself and how he's protecting the nation ... by destroying what we stand for.
maybe you caught the war lust the bully boy had when he was raving after 9/11 (several days after) and you thought, 'well this is what we have to do.'why did you think that?
to save the country?
so how do you justify what's going on now?
how is the country being saved when everything we stand for is being twisted and perverted?the nsa has been spying on american citizens. bully boy could have tried for a fisa warrent which rarely refuse to grant a warrent. that wasn't the route he wanted to take.

So did Elaine:

King Bully Boy and his court of fools. They aren't working for America. They're working for King Bully Boy. They're loyalties aren't with the public, aren't with the Constitution, the Bill of Rights or any belief, written or not, that speaks to the higher nature of what our nation is supposed to aspire to.
[. . .]
What's going on in the oval office needs to be called out by people in their own voices, in their own way of speaking. Not to call it out is far more dangerous and destructive than to use what someone feels are the "wrong words." We need to be discussing this, all of us, because if we don't, if we stay silent, we're saying it's okay and we're turning our backs on what we are supposed to believe in.When you do that, you destroy your own character as well as the nation's character.

At The Third Estate Sunday Review, we did an editorial that opened with this:

"We are all the outlaws in the eyes of America."
That's the opening line to Jefferson Airplane's "We Can Be Together." That's also what the Bully Boy appears to see when he looks out on the nation.

And C.I.'s been all over this topic.

This is serious and so for today's Jot, this is what I want people to focus on. I'll be posting this week but it may not be every day due to the holidays.