Wednesday, March 08, 2006

"But, of course, they hadn't done anything wrong"

First off, yesterday's quote? I made it up. It's based on the "First they came for the . . ." I'm guessing. I wanted a quote and was looking through three different books before I finally gave up and said, "Write one yourself." A few of you wrote to say you enjoyed it. It's not "all that" -- as the kids would say, but thank you.

"Bush, GOP Sens. Reach Eavesdropping Agreement" (Democracy Now!):
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."

C.I. covered this topic this morning so I'm cribbing. Currently, the administration can spy without a warrant for 72 hours. The Republicans want to 'stretch' that out to 45 days. They are also very trusting of Alberto Gonzales and I'm not sure that most people would give him that much credit.

So the administration breaks the law, let's be clear, they broke the FISA law, and Senate Republicans "address" this by not only refusing to hold the law breakers accountable, they want to remake the law so that it's harder for the administration to break? That would be the same as the police stopping me for running a red light and then saying, "You know what, we're going to make it legal for you to run red lights so no ticket today." There is no accountability in this administration and they know the Congress could care less.

"Abramoff Attorney Threatens to 'Name Names' At Sentencing Hearing" (Democracy Now!):
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."

Mike and I both wonder what exactly Abramoff's attorney was attempting to blackmail the authorities with? We can't figure this out. Maybe you can?

I'm off tomorrow, Thursday, so let me weigh in on a memory dispute. (That's a joke.) C.I. referred to Rebecca not liking "perky." That relates to a very specific college event. C.I. wrote that Rebecca would laugh. She did. However, she's convinced herself that the story is my story. It is not. I remember it, C.I. remembers it, it's Rebecca's story. Rebecca called C.I. and said, "Oh, I'd forgotten about Elaine and that annoying woman!" It wasn't me, Becky. I don't want to spoil the story in case Rebecca wants to tell it but it involves a "perky" person and someone telling them to knock it off. (Rebecca, come on, does that even sound like me?)

An e-mail asked what I thought the chances were that the Senate would seriously investigate the warrantless spying of Americans? I don't have huge hopes, not the way things are going and not with the Patriot Act passing both houses. I'm really not pleased with Congress. I don't think the blame can just placed on the Republicans. Take the Patriot Act. There is no reason in the world that only Robert Byrd could stand by Russ Feingold. You had senators who weren't even up for re-election and they couldn't find the strength to take a stand?

Are they that weak or are they getting advice from some re-election committee? I have no idea but the Democratic Party has been a huge disappointment -- on the Patriot Act, on the spying, on the Supreme Court nominations, go down the list.

Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's take on the news of the day. Also, please read Cedric's "Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush." One more recommendation, Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush -- the link goes to the book itself. I really would urge everyone to read this book.

Reality Quote (Vanessa Redgrave -- interviewed by Amy Goodman on today's Democracy Now!):
Long, long ago we said, "If they have done anything wrong" -- this is what Moazzam's father said, "If he has done anything wrong, let him be brought back and tried here in the U.K." But, of course, they hadn't done anything wrong at all, and Guantanamo Bay was an interrogation center where torture is practiced, and when they went on hunger strikes starting last August -- I think there's only two or three left now, they were force-fed and force-feeding is a torture, too, and it's despicable that, in my view, that our government, the British government, has been complicit in these men being seized in the first place and then rendered from wherever to Afghanistan and then to Guantanamo.