Adventus

"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Can I Get A Witness?

Does it need to be pointed out that neither this:


Specter has said that warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens is "wrong," but Senate aides say he has concluded Bush acted in good faith.
Nor this:


The Attorney General plans to tell Specter that the program is more limited than has been portrayed in some news reports, which have suggested that it could impinge on the privacy of innocent Americans through vast data mining of conversations and e-mails carried by telecommunication companies' trunk lines. "Contrary to the speculation reflected in some media reporting," Gonzales writes, "the terrorist surveillance program is not a dragnet that sucks in all conversations and uses computer searches to pick out calls of interest. No communications are intercepted unless first it is determined that one end of the call is outside of the country and professional intelligence experts have probable cause (that is, ‘reasonable grounds to believe') that a party to the communication is a member or agent of al-Qaeda or an affiliated terrorist organization."
Meets the legal standard of the 4th Amendment or the FISA statute? Or that this:


Specter's hearing, which is scheduled to last most of Monday, will focus on presidential powers in wartime and will examine whether Bush took legal shortcuts in implementing the program, which allows the National Security Agency to monitor communications involving suspected al-Qaeda members if one party to the conversation is inside the U.S.
is not even an issue, except for the courts. It is plain, in other words, that Bush did take legal shortcuts; he admitted as much in his State of the Union address. And it seems to follow from Spectre's conclusion that Bush acted "in good faith" (which I guess pretty much negates a negligence claim, huh, Senator?)

Glenn Greenwald is concerned that Democrats aren't excited by this issue, and I have to agree. I mean, if they consider this kind of conduct intimidating, rather than ludicrous and indefensible, they might as well quit their jobs now and quit wasting the public's money.

Because this may be true:


The Attorney General plans to tell Specter that the program is more limited than has been portrayed in some news reports, which have suggested that it could impinge on the privacy of innocent Americans through vast data mining of conversations and e-mails carried by telecommunication companies' trunk lines.
But this answer:


In pointed written questions posed in advance by Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Gonzales was asked whether he would "consider seeking approval from the FISA Court at this time for the ongoing surveillance program at issue." According to 11 pages of answers to the 15 questions, Gonzales will reply, "We use FISA where we can, and we always consider all of our legal options."
would justify COINTELPRO and the investigation of Martin Luther King, Jr. By Gonzalez' definition, both of those were "legal options," too. The problem is, the Attorney General doesn't get to decide what the laws are that apply to the President.

It's really quite that simple. And the polls indicate most Americans understand that. What they lack, however, is opposition leadership that actually wants to lead.

Let's face it, the simplest response to Mr. Gonzalez' assertions (and that is all they are) is: "Are we supposed to take your word for that?" It is perfectly clear by now that he considers even lying to be a "legal option," and that the Administration's position is: "What're you gonna do about it?"

Time to do something.

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