"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door." The Statue of Liberty (P.S. Please be so kind as to enter through the proper channels and in an orderly fashion)

Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States

Saturday, December 31, 2005


Thursday, December 29, 2005

The "Experts"

Suppose that just prior to the invasive intervention of Iraq someone had predicted that Saddam would bail out of an occupied Baghdad and sent running within three weeks, and that after two-and-a-half-years he would be on trial in an Iraqi court (which is beginning to look more and more like good ol' American reality television), that 11 million Iraqis would turn out to vote in their third election (with a turn-out rate surpassing America's own in 2004), and with all of that being accomplished at the cost of ~2100 American war dead, who would have called such predictions "unrealistic," or "foolish pipedreams," or "wild fantasies," or as being "out of touch with reality?"

The same "experts" who characterize those same events occuring by that very timeline as comprising a "debacle."

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

lol That Explains It!

December 23, 2005

Rush Limbaugh:

Rasmussen poll is out today showing that Bush's approval numbers are up to 50%. It's something like a six-point gain since the last poll came out, one of the most startling increases in a short period of time on record....

The left is more whacked out than even I knew. I have learned that some of these extreme left-wing liberal bloggers have weekly phone calls and conferences with Dingy Harry (Reid). I kid you not. Dingy Harry and other Democrats are having regular conference calls, and sometimes sit down meetings with these wacko bloggers on the left.

Now, the wacko bloggers have a different agenda than Dingy Harry. The wacko bloggers don't care what it takes. They just want to win. They don't want to win with an agenda. They don't want to win with a positive set of things that they want to do for the country. They just want to beat Republicans, and whatever it takes to do it, they will do it. That's who the Democrats are, and I told you this.

That's who the Democrats are listening to more and more and more, and I'm just going to predict to you, because this is the last time we'll be together before the end of the year, or for this year. I'm just going to tell you as the new year rolls around -- it's going to be an election year -- and the Democrats are going to get wackier and wackier because of who they're listening to, and at the same time they're going to think that they are winning. They're going to think that they are carrying the day. It's going to be a phenomenon that has repeated itself several times.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Aggressive Overreach?



(note by Republicus: "Aggressive Overreach" does not necessarily apply to the Bush Administration on this issue.)

By Stewart M. Powell

December 27, Seattle Post- Intelligencer Washington Bureau

(bold by Republicus)

WASHINGTON -- Government records show that the administration was encountering unprecedented second-guessing by the secret federal surveillance court when President Bush decided to bypass the panel and order surveillance of U.S.-based terror suspects without the court's approval.

A review of Justice Department reports to Congress shows that the 26-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court modified more wiretap requests from the Bush administration than from the four previous presidential administrations combined.

The court's repeated intervention in Bush administration wiretap requests may explain why the president decided to bypass the court nearly four years ago to launch secret National Security Agency spying on hundreds and possibly thousands of Americans and foreigners inside the United States, according to James Bamford, an acknowledged authority on the supersecret NSA, which intercepts telephone calls, e-mails, faxes and Internet communications.

"They wanted to expand the number of people they were eavesdropping on, and they didn't think they could get the warrants they needed from the court to monitor those people," said Bamford, author of "Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency" and "The Puzzle Palace: Inside America's Most Secret Intelligence Organization." "The FISA court has shown its displeasure by tinkering with these applications by the Bush administration."

Bamford offered his speculation in an interview last week.

The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, adopted by Congress in the wake of President Nixon's misuse of the NSA and the CIA before his resignation over Watergate, sets a high standard for court-approved wiretaps on Americans and resident aliens inside the United States.

To win a court-approved wiretap, the government must show "probable cause" that the target of the surveillance is a member of a foreign terrorist organization or foreign power and is engaged in activities that "may" involve a violation of criminal law.

Faced with that standard, Bamford said, the Bush administration had difficulty obtaining FISA court-approved wiretaps on dozens of people within the United States who were communicating with targeted al-Qaida suspects inside the United States.

The 11-judge court that authorizes FISA wiretaps has approved at least 18,740 applications for electronic surveillance or physical searches from five presidential administrations since 1979.

The judges modified only two search warrant orders out of the 13,102 applications that were approved over the first 22 years of the court's operation. In 20 of the first 21 annual reports on the court's activities up to 1999, the Justice Department told Congress that "no orders were entered (by the FISA court) which modified or denied the requested authority" submitted by the government.

But since 2001, the judges have modified 179 of the 5,645 requests for court-ordered surveillance by the Bush administration. A total of 173 of those court-ordered "substantive modifications" took place in 2003 and 2004 -- the most recent years for which public records are available.

The judges also rejected or deferred at least six requests for warrants during those two years -- the first outright rejection in the court's history.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said last week that Bush authorized NSA surveillance of overseas communications by U.S.-based terror suspects because the FISA court's approval process was too cumbersome.

The Bush administration, responding to concerns expressed by some judges on the 11-member panel, agreed last week to give them a classified briefing on the domestic spying program. U.S. District Judge Malcolm Howard, a member of the panel, told CNN that the Bush administration agreed to brief the judges after U.S. District Judge James Robertson resigned from the FISA panel, apparently to protest Bush's spying program.

Bamford, 59, a Vietnam-era Navy veteran, likens the Bush administration's domestic surveillance without court approval to Nixon-era abuses of intelligence agencies.

NSA and previous eavesdropping agencies collected duplicates of all international telegrams to and from the United States for decades during the Cold War under a program code-named "Shamrock" before the program ended in the 1970s. A program known as "Minaret" tracked 75,000 Americans whose activities had drawn government interest between 1952 and 1974, including participation in the anti-war movement during the Vietnam War.

(note by Republicus: In the commentary section of the December 22, post "The Comeback Congress!" Republicus pointed out: "Who else would have to fear from the Patriot Act and the other powers which have the ability to eavesdrop on a targeted terrorist......or subversive? BINGO. The same crowd screaming LOUDEST now..."Undermining" a war effort can take many forms, and you can be damn sure that those outfits which ultimately abet the enemy--not to mention those who wish death upon the Commander in Chief-- most ASSUREDLY howl about their patriotic "rights" to dissent loudest of all.)

"NSA prides itself on learning the lessons of the 1970s and obeying the legal restrictions imposed by FISA," Bamford said. "Now it looks like we're going back to the bad old days again."

(note by Republicus: Bamford is not referring to the days of the Civil War when Lincoln suspended habeus corpus, nor the days of WWII when FDR interned Japanese-Americans, but to the days when the Pentagon spied on antiwar groups during the Vietnam War.)

Monday, December 26, 2005

Tell It, Colin. Let Them Eat Yellow Fruit and Yellow Cake.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

(bold by Reoublicus)

WASHINGTON (AP)— Former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Sunday supported government eavesdropping to prevent terrorism but said a major controversy over presidential powers could have been avoided by obtaining court warrants.

Powell said that when he was in the Cabinet, he was not told that President Bush authorized a warrantless Nationl Security Agency surveillance operation after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Appearing on ABC's "This Week" Powell said he sees "absolutely nothing wrong with the president authorizing these kinds of actions" to protect the nation.

But he added, "My own judgment is that it didn't seem to me, anyway, that it would have been that hard to go get the warrants. And even in the case of an emergency, you go and do it."

The New York Times reported on its Internet site Friday that the NSA has traced and analyzed large volumes of telephone and Internet communications flowing into and out of the United States. The program bypassed the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Powell said Congress will need to judge whether Bush is correct in his assertion that he could approve eavesdropping without first obtaining court orders.

"And that's going to be a great debate," Powell said.

Powell, who also is a former chairman of the military Joint Chiefs of Staff, had no reservations when asked whether eavesdropping should continue.

"Of course it should continue," he said. "And nobody is suggesting that the president shouldn't do this."

[note by Republicus: That's what HE thinks. Predictably, his FIRM support for the president's wartime powers in these statements will be dismissed by the Lefties and what will be considered as the operative phrases will be these critiques of procedural particulars at the expence of the declared universal principle, and themselves transmogrified into the universal principle:

"...but (Powell) said a major controversy over presidential powers could have been avoided by obtaining court warrants. My own judgment is that it didn't seem to me, anyway, that it would have been that hard to go get the warrants. And even in the case of an emergency, you go and do it."

That will be the straw grasped and fixated upon to keep the snowball rolling and growing while ignoring the iceburg of Powell's assent.

Here is the sane point which Libertarians, Constitutional scholars, and other serious intellectuals are ruminating upon (while the Bush-Haters parse and select and cry fascism as they unload whatever they can find to justify their five-year old drive towards vindictive Impeachment as that regicidal agenda reaches critical mass with the mid-term elections on the horizon-- and going quite mad with such celebrated "anti-administration" champions like General Powell saying stuff that turns his premised integrity against them and undermines their own weak premises--i.e. "Colin's one of us"):

"Powell said Congress will need to judge whether Bush is correct in his assertion that he could approve eavesdropping without first obtaining court orders.

'And that's going to be a great debate,' Powell said."

Yes, indeed. An impersonal one.]

Sunday, December 25, 2005

The Meaning Of Christmas

"'And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid ... And the angel said unto them, "Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men.'

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

Linus Van Pelt

A Charlie Brown Christmas

I DO Believe In Santa Claus!

December 24, 2005