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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Cavalier Prosecution

Why is breaking the law a bad idea for the government to do? Well, just take a look at the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui in Alexandria, Virginia. Moussaoui is being tried for acts that led authorities to believe, and try him, for being the 20th September 11th hijacker. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema had many options at her disposal including throwing the case out of court in its entirety or taking the death penalty off the table. The reason? A US lawyer discussed (coached?) witnesses for the prosecution.

Carla Martin, the government lawyer in question, seemingly shared information improperly with Federal Aviation Administration officials. She is in a lot of trouble and might be found in contempt of court. As a result, important FAA testimony won't be heard at the trial.

Now imagine, if you will, a scenario where the NSA actually hears some important information via one of their illegal wiretaps between two American citizens. Without the warrant, the information could be deemed inadmissible in court. In truth, the FISA law makes it very easy for the NSA to get a warrant (only between four and six have been disapproved versus as many as 30,000 approvals) even three days after a wiretap begins.

Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the FISA law has been "updated" to make it easier for the Bush-ites to spy on... well... everybody. But even the "G"reed" O"ver "P"eople party-led congress realizes that they could only give in to G"lobal "W"arming Bush just so much.

President Bush sees it otherwise.


This past weekend, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) came out for censuring President Bush for his approval of breaking the FISA law. This amounts to a mere slap on the wrist Much like the Dubai World Ports Deal, most other Democrats and moderate Republicans are going to wait to take the American public's temperature before joining Sen. Feingold. Don't hold your breath.

Hooray for Senator Feingold. You now officially have my support in your bid for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination. Take a look at Rep. John Murtha as your running mate, please.

"We've worked hard on this case for four and a half years. The truth here has not changed."
-Robert Spencer, the chief prosecutor in the Moussaoui case

But because there are those in the federal government who feel they are above the law; or that the laws don't apply to them; or that the laws are "too old" to to be "relevant" a case like this or one where the NSA chose not to get a warrant would be lost.

"The FISA law was written in 1978. We’re having this discussion in 2006. It’s a different world. And FISA is still an important tool. It’s an important tool. And we still use that tool. But also — and we — look — I said, look, is it possible to conduct this program under the old law? And people said, it doesn’t work in order to be able to do the job we expect us to do."
-Bush from earlier this year

"-a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so."
-GW, June 9, 2005, two years after the NSA illegal wiretap program began

"Law enforcement officers must seek a federal judge's permission to wiretap... These strict standards are fully consistent with the Constitution."
-GW, December 10, 2005

Too bad President Bush only has two sides of his mouth to talk out of.

We don't want criminals and terrorists to get off because our elected officials, and those doing their bidding, feel that our laws don't apply to them, There are no "supreme leaders" who have autocratic powers, not even you, Mr. Bush. Your powers have limits, as dictated by the US Constitution. Even your perennial war can't change that.


One wonders if President Bush's cavalier attitude toward the law has "trickled-down" to your justice department underlings, as in the case against Zacarias Moussaoui.

Hopefully, in the upcoming mid-term elections, the American voting public will send President Bush a message loud and clear


Don't screw with our "inalienable rights".

-Noah Greenberg

Russ in '08

I say "Thank you" a hundred times to Senator Feingold for standing up to this criminal regime and for calling for Censure before the Republicans get away with rewriting the law! Bush must not be given a "Get Out Of Jail Card" by the monopoly board players holding the most chips without a huge public outcry!

I encourage everyone to contact his office with a 'Thank You" message and maybe a little dough toward his progressive patriots fund at http://www.progressivepatriotsfund.com

Senator Feingold's Washington, DC Office
506 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4904
(202) 224-5323
TDD (202) 224-1280
Fax (202) 224-2725

Jessica Flagg
A Progressive Democrat for Congress
2727 Palisade Ave
Riverdale, NY 10463
tel: (718) 549-4422
fax: (718) 549-2743
C: (917) 613-7382

Russ Feingold for President in 08. And an International War Crimes Tribunal for Bush and Cheney.
-Pat Thompson

Political Hacks Vs. Policy Experts in the Bush White House

When John DiIulio worked as a domestic policy advisor in the Bush's White House, he was a serious scholar who expected to find policy professionals running the executive branch. He was sorely disappointed.

"There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one: a complete lack of a policy apparatus," DiIulio said, reflecting on his White House service. "What you've got is everything — and I mean everything — being run by the political arm. It's the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis."

It led to a Hackocracy, in which top administration positions went to unqualified cronies. What these staffers lacked in skills, they made up for in loyalty to a right-wing cause. Some of the names are familiar (Mike Brown), others less so (Hector Barreto), but they all have one thing in common — they got key jobs in the administration based on their loyalty to Bush and GOP connections. There might as well have been a "No Policy Experts Need Apply" sign hanging in the West Wing.

Unfortunately, the embarrassments of some of these hacks hasn't curbed the White House's enthusiasm for the appointments. Consider the latest in a series of examples.

A recent appointment may do little to quiet those complaints: The [Homeland Security Department] announced that a 28-year-old former White House staffer is heading a policy committee that gathers expert advice — on behalf of the president and the Homeland Security secretary — on key areas of homeland security, including threats to infrastructure and preventing terrorist attacks that use weapons of mass destruction.

Douglas L. Hoelscher is the new executive director of the Homeland Security Advisory Committees and the "primary representative" of department Secretary Michael Chertoff in dealing with more than 20 advisory boards. Among them is the Homeland Security Advisory Council, which includes such high-powered figures as Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, former Lockheed Chairman Norman Augustine, and former Defense and Energy Secretary James Schlesinger.

Hoelscher has no management experience, a review of his professional credentials shows. He came to government in 2001 as a low-level White House staffer, arranging presidential travel, according to news reports.

This guy is getting a powerful post, with daunting responsibilities. Hoelscher will be "contending with formidable voices in U.S. policy-making from the private sector, state and local government, and academia," all of whom are "titans in their fields." One group that Hoelscher will be coordinating with is the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, which includes top executives from BellSouth, Boeing, and Microsoft.

At least Hoelscher fits the ideological profile. His Friendster profile lists William Bennett's "The Death of Outrage: Bill Clinton and the Assault on American Ideals" as one of his favorite books.

And now Hoelscher is a right-hand man to the secretary of Homeland Security. Feel safer?

-from carpetbaggerreport.com with comments by Victoria Brownworth

In response to "Is there a day that goes by when we aren't yearning for the frothy and frolicsome Lewinsky scandal instead of the non-stop murderous blundering of this Administration?", Pat Thompson writes:

Recalling those days when Ken "pornographer extraordinaire" Starr delighted the world with all the details of stained dresses and oral sex, and a hardworking President who really tried to make life better for everyone was constantly bombarded, I cringe to think of what they will do to Hillary. PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE DON'T RUN, HILLARY.

Today's Robertson Quote of the Day
Followed by a Rev. Barry Lynn Quote

(Americans for the Separation of Church and State)

"These people are crazed fanatics and I want to say it now: I believe it's motivated by demonic power, it is satanic and it's time we recognize what we're dealing with.. The goal of Islam, ladies and gentlemen, whether you like it or not, is world domination." He insisted that "Islam is not a religion of peace."
-Rev. Pat Robertson, The 700 Club, March 13, 2006

"At a time when inter-religious tensions around the world are at an all-time high, Robertson seems determined to throw gasoline on the fire," said Lynn. "His comments are grossly irresponsible. Robertson seems to be wrestling with demons of his own, namely intolerance and bigotry. To condemn an entire religion because of the behavior of some is deplorable.

"It is certainly appropriate that Robertson has removed the offensive comments from the Internet version of the show. However, it is imperative that he issue an immediate and unequivocal apology, because millions of viewers have already heard the inflammatory remarks. When will Robertson ever learn to think before he speaks? "
-Rev. Barry Lynn

Anyone who stereotypically characterizes a group rather than an individual--whether the remarks are vicious condemnations or exaggerated praise or self-pity--is guilty of prejudice and bigotry, and both extremes can foment international trouble and reprisals. Certainly, ideologies led by extremists can brainwash and corrupt, and thus there are murderous Muslim fanatics. Fear is a source of fanaticism and hatred, and remarks like this can convince Muslims of good will that the fundamentalist-riddled US government is about to attack them, and make them susceptible to fanatics. But there are also Muslims working diligently and quietly for peace, justice, and religious toleration.

Murderous extremists and seekers of peace can be found in ANY religion or nation, ANY economic or political system--including Republicans and Christians, even though Pat Robertson purports to speak for both. If we wonder why he says such things, we need to remember that he's old, and before he dies he wants to incite Armageddon and bring an end to the world, since he thinks he's going immediately to heaven and almost everyone else to hell. He must hate his fellow human beings to harbor such selfish beliefs, and has obviously never been brought to tears of wonder by any of the world's wonders, like a glorious sunset or the beauty of a forest. He should be feared--and also pitied--not as a representative "Christian" but as a pathetic and foolish old man.

When, like Robertson, we view people as "other", they become subhuman and can be disposed of without a twinge of conscience. That attitude is what we need to fight--not a race, nationality, or religion, or those with different skin color or preference for choosing a life-partner. My own "kind" or groups are represented in more than one cartoon. Are yours?

I also hope that by now all of you have read Rev. Charles Kimball's WHEN RELIGION BECOMES EVIL. I'm reading right now former President Carter's OUR ENDANGERED VALUES which deals with many of these same issues. He explains why he resigned, after a whole lifetime, from his Southern Baptist heritage.

-Jenny Hanniver

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-Noah Greenberg