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…but you already knew that, didn’t you?
Frankly, the idea that the FBI has spyware is hardly surprising. I assume that anything I post, any website I visit, and any e-mail I send is being logged, read, or intercepted somewhere along the way. Sure, I blog under a rather obvious pseudonym, but a competent hacker could probably track me down in thirty minutes or less.* Which doesn’t seem to slow me down in posting to this blog, because frankly I’m kind of an idiot that way. No self-preservation gene, or something.
The point is, unfortunately, that you, my dear non-existent readers, should make similar assumptions. We’ve lost a lot of civil rights over the past few years, and so far the Supreme Court has not stepped in to stop it. Therefore it’s up to each of us, as individuals, to use our discretion and take whatever steps we feel are appropriate to protect our own privacy.
On the upside, only 545 days until Bush and Cheney are out of office — assuming they don’t declare some sort of national emergency, cancel the election, and impose martial law or something. Which, frankly, is an assumption I am very hesitant to make at this point.
I can’t remember ever being this scared of my own government at any point in my life before now.
Which brings me around once again to the point that I really, really think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.
* Note to any hackers: that comment is not intended as a challenge, please don’t post my real name here or elsewhere. Just because the NSA could track me down pretty quickly doesn’t mean we should make their job any easier for them. Thanks!
So it seems Alberto Gonzales has vowed to stay at the Justice Department to “repair its broken image.” Can someone please take the poor, deluded man aside and explain to him that the fastest and most effective way for him to repair the image of the Department of Justice would be to leave it? Pretty please?
And as you know, I really think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.
Well, if it were anyone else testifying before Congress, this would be the point were I would start jumping up and down saying, “See! See! I told you so!” Back in May, when Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I noted that the way he was tap-dancing around exactly what secret spying program was at the heart of his race to beat Alberto Gonzalez to John Ashcroft’s hospital bedside made me suspect that maybe there was another program we didn’t know about yet. So you don’t have to go searching through my old posts, here’s what I said at the time:
Several sources I have read that commented on the Comey testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee seem to take it as a given that he is talking about the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. A careful listen to the actual testimony – at least the clip that Crooks and Liars has posted – makes it clear that Comey is going to great pains not to identify the specific nature of what he and Ashcroft were analyzing and objecting to. Now, it is possible, even probable, that the gentlemen in question were talking about the warrantless wiretapping program. The apparent timing of the conversation and the events Comey spoke of certainly makes that a possibility.
I want to raise another possibility for your consideration, my dear non-existent readers – one that I have not yet seen mentioned in the blogosphere: perhaps they were talking about some other program or activity then under consideration by the current administration – something we, as members of the general public, are not yet aware of. After all, if they were talking about the warrantless wiretapping program, why the careful dancing around the specifics of the discussion? The alleged president has already admitted that it is happening, so there would be no real need for so much reticence on Comey’s part.
Now today, in his most recent Congressional testimony, Gonzo is making just that suggestion — that the race to Ashcroft’s hospital bedside was about something else. Except, well, this is Gonzo, and I don’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth any more. Plus, as I noted in an addendum to my earlier post, other stuff at the time made it appear more likely than not that Comey was talking about the warrantless wiretapping program after all. So now I don’t know what to think.
I’ve been away for a few days, so I haven’t said it recently: I really think that Bush and Cheney (and Gonzales) ought to be impeached.
Okay, so you know how Fred Thompson — the actor/politician who may or may not be running for the Republican presidential nomination in ’08 — earned his rep as part of the team that was investigating the Watergate scandal? Turns out, he was a mole for the Nixon White House while that was going on. (h/t Crooks and Liars)
According to the Boston Globe:
Thompson tipped off the White House that the committee knew about the taping system and would be making the information public. In his all-but-forgotten Watergate memoir, “At That Point in Time,” Thompson said he acted with “no authority” in divulging the committee’s knowledge of the tapes, which provided the evidence that led to Nixon’s resignation. It was one of many Thompson leaks to the Nixon team, according to a former investigator for Democrats on the committee, Scott Armstrong , who remains upset at Thompson’s actions.
The Boston Globe article goes into the spin Thompson is putting on this — how he just didn’t want to believe the President could be guilty of everything they were accusing him of — but that doesn’t change the fact that what he did was deeply unethical.
Fred Thompson was and apparently is an attorney – he doesn’t just play one on TV. Probably the number one rule of lawyering is that you don’t go telling your side’s secrets to the opposing party in the middle of a dispute without the okay of whoever is in charge on your side.
The American Bar Association (and every single state bar in the country) has rules forbidding this sort of thing. Similarly, there are all sorts of rules governing the operations of grand juries, special prosecutors, and yes, congressional investigating committees, covering the disclosure of information to subjects under investigation.
You just don’t do it. Never. No matter how much you want to believe that the person under investigation is innocent. Not even if you know for a fact that he is innocent of whatever he’s being charged with. You just let the proceedings unfold, and assume that the evidence will reveal the truth of the matter.
You do not tip off the party you are investigating.
Yet Fred Thompson did.
So we now know that Fred Thompson has engaged in deeply unethical behavior in the past, in connection with presidential politics. Where is the outcry over the fact that this man is apparently contemplating running for the highest office of the land?
If he were thinking of running as a Democrat, this would, of course, sink his chances. But since he will be running as a Republican (assuming he does run), well, not so much. Ain’t America great?
And by the way, I also think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.
I really ought to check my e-mail more frequently. Blogger Blue Gal has been hosting a blogswarm against theocracy for the past few days, and I almost missed it. If you are a blogger, you can find out how to participate here.
What to say? Recent years have seen a powerful effort by members of the Religious Right to erase the line between church and state at all levels of government. We have also seen certain politicians use religion as a tool to manipulate voters. Both of these movements are very troubling.
While I will defend until death the right of all Americans to hold those religious beliefs that they may choose, I would remind them that the right to hold those religious beliefs is rather related to the right to swing your fist — it ends at my nose. Believe whatever you want, believe in God, or Jesus, or Allah, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster if you prefer (I’m actually rather fond of the Pastafarians), but don’t try to force your beliefs down my throat.
And I know there are those who try to assert that science is a form of religion, and that if you are going to teach scientific theories like evolution in schools, you ought to teach other theories, like creationism — sorry, intelligent design — alongside it. I reject that argument. Scientists talk about theories and the scientific evidence supporting those theories as such because they recognize that further evidence may be discovered at a future date that forces a revision of those theories. What is taught as science is always our current understanding based on the best evidence currently available. Nothing more, and nothing less.
Thus calling evolution a theory is not an admission that there is no evidence to support it (there is, in fact, a wealth of such evidence, and we know for a fact that evolution and natural selection take place in modern times because we have documented evidence of the process occurring — that is what Darwin was writing about, after all, when he was in the Galapagos studying finches), but merely a recognition that at some point there may be a scientific discovery that forces us to reconsider and revise the theory of evolution in some respects. In other words, scientists (unlike many religious leaders) try to remain open to the possibility that they may be wrong about things.
Creationism or intelligent design, in contrast, is merely looking at everything and saying, gee, it’s all really detailed and complicated, therefore there must be some designer or intelligence behind it, which is god — and is thus a way of introducing religion into classrooms.
Now, there may very well be some intelligence at work in the universe, in the way that physics and genetics and evolution and other similar forces work. That intelligence could even be the god that various religions speak of. There is certainly plenty of room at the edges of what we know about science and astrophysics for such a god. Or it could be the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The point is, that whatever it is that is out there beyond the edge of scientific knowledge is, by definition, not science, and it should thus not be taught as science in our public schools. It is something more properly belonging in the realm of faith, until such time as proof becomes available, and thus best left for individuals to seek in houses of worship, not in public schools.
But enough of my intelligent design rant. On this, the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, I would call on all Americans to remember that many of our founding fathers came to this country to escape religious oppression in their countries of origin. In the years since our country’s founding, many others have come here for the same reason — my own family tree is riddled with such individuals. But the only way to ensure that America remains a land where people can escape the horrors of religious intolerance as our forefathers intended is by ensuring that we maintain some separation between church and state.
That is what the framers intended by the First Amendment to our Constitution: that America would remain a place where the government neither interfered with the free practice of religion (including the right to practice no religion), nor became the instrument of any religion or religious organization.
And although it has nothing to do with the rest of this post, and despite the fact that I have already said it twice today in this blog, I really think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.
This guy is my new hero.
And you know what? He’s right. Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.
…yet somehow not at all surprising. Our alleged president has decided that Scooter Libby’s sentence — which was in accordance with federal sentencing guidelines for the crime he was convicted of — was “excessive”, and has therefore commuted his prison sentence. Libby will still have to pay a fine, but he got a Get Out of Jail Almost Free card today.
Was Bush within his rights as president to exercise his power in this manner? Absolutely. Was it an appropriate exercise of his power? Not on your life.
But I suppose at this point he feels he has nothing left to lose. He’s already lost the support of most of the electorate, as well as the respect of most of the people who are still backing him, I would imagine.
Is the commutation of Libby’s sentence grounds for impeachment? Sadly, no. However, that does not change my belief that Bush and Cheney should be impeached.
P.S. Keith Olbermann announced that he will be doing one of his “Special Comments” on the commutation of Libby’s sentence tomorrow night on Countdown, so be sure to set your TiVo.