Saturday, July 29

Welcome to the Police State: New Bush Terrorism Bill

Via Dkos there is a new AP Report detailing the Bush Administrations plans to end-run the Hamdan decision by making it possible to indefinately detain any U.S. Citizen Suspected of ties to terrorism

WASHINGTON - U.S. citizens suspected of terror ties might be detained indefinitely and barred from access to civilian courts under legislation proposed by the Bush administration, say legal experts reviewing an early version of the bill.

According to the draft, the military would be allowed to detain all "enemy combatants" until hostilities cease. The bill defines enemy combatants as anyone "engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners who has committed an act that violates the law of war and this statute."

Legal experts said Friday that such language is dangerously broad and could authorize the military to detain indefinitely U.S. citizens who had only tenuous ties to terror networks like al Qaeda.

"That's the big question ... the definition of who can be detained," said Martin Lederman, a law professor at Georgetown University who posted a copy of the bill to a Web blog.

Lets put this in perspective and suppose that instead of being arrested by the FBI, the Liberty Seven (the set of ne'er-do-wells from Florida who were about the blow up the Sears Tower on the orders and by the direction of undercover government agents - just as soon as they hitchhiked their way to it) were instead shipped directly off to Gitmo. No Court Order. No Warrant. No possibility of Bail. No Trial. No attorneys. Nothing. Boom. Zip. Gone.

Poof!

Hello people, we're just about to enter the land of the Disappeared - something that only used to occur in jungles of hot sweaty Central American Countries like Bolivia during the 80's drug and Contra Wars.

Don't think it can happen here? It already has been happening. Last year in Italy 14 U.S. Intelligence Agents were indicted for kidnapping an Egyptian Imam named Abu Omar (aka Osama Nasr Mostafa Hassan) who was then "rended" to Egypt in a Gulfstream jet and (according to him) brutally tortured. He's since been released and filed a lawsuit, because it turns out he diddn't have actual ties to terrorism - they were merely suspected - and wrong.

There is also the case of a German citizen of Lebanese decent named Khalid el-Masri, who was arrested and held for five months in Afghanistan because his name was the same as someone else who was "suspected" of having ties to terrorism.

And just how would such a policy dovetail with the Terrorist Surveillance Program?

After this program was revealed President Bush stated:
After September the 11th, I vowed to the American people that our government would do everything within the law to protect them against another terrorist attack. As part of this effort, I authorized the National Security Agency to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. In other words, if al Qaeda or their associates are making calls into the United States or out of the United States, we want to know what they're saying.

First, our international activities strictly target al Qaeda and their known affiliates. Al Qaeda is our enemy, and we want to know their plans. Second, the government does not listen to domestic phone calls without court approval. Third, the intelligence activities I authorized are lawful and have been briefed to appropriate members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat. Fourth, the privacy of ordinary Americans is fiercely protected in all our activities.

We're not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans. Our efforts are focused on links to al Qaeda and their known affiliates. So far we've been very successful in preventing another attack on our soil.

Since these statements were made back in May, it's become clear that this program is far more extensive than then President revealed. As revealed by Business Week, the GAO has discovered that not only is the NSA tracking tens of millions of American phone calls - they've also been buying personal data about millions of Americans.

The Departments of Justice, State, and Homeland Security spend millions annually to buy commercial databases that track Americans' finances, phone numbers, and biographical information, according to a report last month by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress. Often, the agencies and their contractors don't ensure the data's accuracy, the GAO found.

We now know thanks to the New York Times - although we'd already been told over and over and over again - that the U.S. government has been tracking the financial transactions of "suspected" terrorists.

But what if some of those "suspected" terrorists are innocent like Masri and Hassan?

There's an old saying about data collection : Garbage in - Garbage out.

Back in January the New York Times revealed that virtually all of the leads generated by the NSA which had been referred to the FBI led to dead-ends. Instead of finding and investigating would-be terrorist or terror sympathisers - the FBI instead found that the NSA surveillance had led them to school teachers, community activists and - gasp - War Protestors.
But the results of the program looked very different to some officials charged with tracking terrorism in the United States. More than a dozen current and former law enforcement and counterterrorism officials, including some in the small circle who knew of the secret eavesdropping program and how it played out at the F.B.I., said the torrent of tips led them to few potential terrorists inside the country they did not know of from other sources and diverted agents from counterterrorism work they viewed as more productive.

"We'd chase a number, find it's a school teacher with no indication they've ever been involved in international terrorism - case closed," said one former FBI official, who was aware of the program and the data it generated for the bureau. "After you get a thousand numbers and not one is turning up anything, you get some frustration."

There are still about 450 people being held at Gitmo, and estimates have varied that between 70%-90% of them have no ties to terrorism what-so-ever and were only sent there because of bounty hunters from rival tribes who sold them to U.S. forces after claiming they were linked to Al Qaeda or the Taliban.

And you wonder why we haven't come close to catching Zawahiri or Bin Laden yet?

So if Bush has his way, instead of winding up with a big fat FBI file -- (which of course, can still be mined by political operatives - or used to scrub voter roles) -- some of those thousands school teachers, veterans, activists and protestors who popped up on the NSA's radar - or whose neighbor just might be hard-up for rent money - just might find themselves on a one way trip to Gitmo for a little hard bargining session (as they used to call it on The X-Files).

Lovely.

Perhaps all this is why Alberto Gonzales seems to hell-bent on creating a exception to the War Crimes Act for actions taken as part of the War On Terror. A crime isn't a crime - if it's legal, is it?

Welcome to the Police State People, hope you brought a helmet.

Vyan

Friday, July 28

Abu Says - When in doubt, make War Crimes Legal!

That's the new mantra coming from Alberto Gonzales and some Republicans on the hill as a result of the Hamdan (pdf) Decision which clearly laid reestablished the groundwork for soldiers, Pentagon Officials and even the President to be held accountable for violations of the War Crimes Act of 1996.

In 2002, fearing that the President policies might run afoul of this law, as White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales recommended that "Enemy Combatants" be exempted from Geneva Protections.

Now that this view has been obliterated by the SCOTUS - Abu has taken a different tact. Create an immunity from War Crime prosecution for those fighting the "War on Terror".

<> Which of course would cover - um - everyone in the Government since we don't have any other types of impending Wars right now.

Over a year ago Amnesty International called for the investigation, arrest and prosecution of George W. Bush and many of his senior staff including Gonzales and Rumsfeld for War Crimes Violations.

It's clear from Gonzales actions that the threat posed by Amnesty's allegations aren't something he considered to be simply "idle". And it's also clear from the 26 Detainee deaths-in-custody that have already been determined to be homocide due to cruel treatment - that this issue is not going away anytime soon.

From the Washington Post.

An obscure law approved by a Republican-controlled Congress a decade ago has made the Bush administration nervous that officials and troops involved in handling detainee matters might be accused of committing war crimes, and prosecuted at some point in U.S. courts.

Senior officials have responded by drafting legislation that would grant U.S. personnel involved in the terrorism fight new protections against prosecution for past violations of the War Crimes Act of 1996. That law criminalizes violations of the Geneva Conventions governing conduct in war and threatens the death penalty if U.S.-held detainees die in custody from abusive treatment.

In light of a recent Supreme Court ruling that the international Conventions apply to the treatment of detainees in the terrorism fight, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales has spoken privately with Republican lawmakers about the need for such "protections," according to someone who heard his remarks last week.

So Gonzales' previous attempts to end-run around Geneva have been thwarted by the Scotus and the War Crimes Act 18 USC § 2441 which documents War Crimes:

(1) as a grave breach in any of the international conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party;

(2) prohibited by Article 23, 25, 27, or 28 of the Annex to the Hague Convention IV, Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, signed 18 October 1907;

(3) which constitutes a violation of common Article 3 of the international conventions signed at Geneva, 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party and which deals with non-international armed conflict; or

(4) of a person who, in relation to an armed conflict and contrary to the provisions of the Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices as amended at Geneva on 3 May 1996 (Protocol II as amended on 3 May 1996), when the United States is a party to such Protocol, willfully kills or causes serious injury to civilians.

It seems that this Law really worries Gonzales, and just why would that be? More from Wapo:

Gonzales told the lawmakers that a shield is needed for actions taken by U.S. personnel under a 2002 presidential order, which the Supreme Court declared illegal, and under Justice Department legal opinions that have been withdrawn under fire [such as the Bybee memos], the source said. A spokeswoman for Gonzales, Tasia Scolinos, declined to comment on Gonzales's remarks.

The Justice Department's top legal adviser, Steven G. Bradbury, separately testified two weeks ago that Congress must give new "definition and certainty" to captors' risk of prosecution for coercive interrogations that fall short of outright torture.

But why are we back to this yet again? Didn't the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 essentially ban all cruel and unusual treatment of Detainees? Then again, maybe it didn't since the Graham-Levin Amendment to that law essential created a barrier between detainees and their ability to fight against poor treatment via the courts - a barrier that Hamdan ripped down with a back-hoe.

No matter what - these guys want the ability to torture people. That's the bottom line. Even when using such techniques have only brought us bad information, such as the claims of links between Saddam and Al Qaeda that we received from Ibn Sheik al-Libi at Gitmo which turned out to be completely false.

They just keep trying snake around the law. Geneva in the way? -- deny it applies. Supreme Court says it does? Rewrite the law -- even if you still have those pesky ex-post facto issues to iron out. But they still have one hurdle they can't easily jump and that is the 8th Amendment to the Constitution:

    Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

The Constitutionality of a Law that is specifically designed to allow for violations of the 8th Amendment is a non-starter. It's crazy. Looney-tunes. Insane in the membrane.

But here we are, with serious discussion of this very thing happening on Capitol Hill. How do we get back to sanity again?

Vyan

Thursday, July 27

Rock Star Supernova - Week 4 Elimination

Well it's the fourth elimination show, and for the third out of four times - I'm shocked.

I'm not quite ready to start calling out that there's a rat in the rabbit farm, but I'm getting close because this decision was just plain ridiculous.

During yesterdays performance show was pretty impressive and once I had the chance to hear them, I noticed that many of Supernova's comments matched my own. They felt that Magni's guitar was unneccesary, particularly for the song he was singing. There was a lot more back and forth between the band and Patrice than I'd previously been aware - especially Dave Navarro's "I have a job".

Storm getting the encore for "Anything Anything" was cool, and most excellent. She of course killed it - again.

And then we went into the new bottom three selections and I can't say I was surprised by any of those who at least temporarily joined their ranks except for Jill. She actually had a killer performance even without grinding on Gilby. It could be argued that she hasn't really shown her own personality on stage yet and has instead been regurgitating generic stage moves, but it can't be said that she hasn't sang her guts out.

Her one bit about "everything in rock being done already" certainly brought the SN boys to a dead stop - and I have to agree with them. Everything hasn't been done, and if you go into with that belief - you'll never find the next great thing, let alone invent it.

Patrice performes while Lukas hams it upPatrice's performance of "My Iron Lung" by Radiohead was a ballsy choice - but a great one. I'm not a big Radiohead fan, but this song had the kind of drama and dynamics that Patrice needed to show. She's already proven she can sing, but can she stop and audience dead in it's tracks with just a look! Can she bring them to a fever pitch and drop them to their knees? That's what you get from someone like Eddie Vedder or Bono in their prime.

She definately took it up a notch, and then kept cranking. Once she was done I was absolutely sure she was staying.

Next up was ZaYEEda. Oh God. What's with the Silver Chun Li (Street Fighter II) outfit? Everytime this girl goes onstage I feel like we're in for another episode of Spooky Kabuki Theater. Now I have to admit that yes, it is mezmorizing - I can't look away - I can't take my eyes off her. Either because she's obviously jazzer-sized herself down to a size freaking ZERO - or that fact she's about to do something creepy and weird again.

But this time- this time, all I can say is that her rendition of "I'm not an addict" by K's Choice was a snooze fest. Zayra simply doesn't have the vocal quality or magnetism to just stand their with a microphone without moving and truly deliver chills with a song. She aint got it. Dilana can do it (and has), even Dana has shown she could do it last night. But Zayra brought nothing to the table tonight except possible eyestrain with yet another radioactive outfit.

When she was done I fully expected this to be Zarya's Last Stand.

Phil - Rocks itLast up was Phil, and I've had my doubts about him. Mr head-bob seems to be in his own world and this performance he finally let us join him with a song by Failure. It was a real quirky song - right up his alley, but what got me was his physical performance. He completley took command of the stage - and I could absolutely see what he was doing work in a heavier context like Supernova's with an EMO twist. I'm not an Emo fan, but there are millions of them out there - and they would absolutely love to see a band with some chops and a unique, different and daring singer leading them. Just think about Avenged Sevenfold and how rabidly intense their fans can and you get the picture. For the first time I was really feeling Phil, more than his performance of "White Rabbit" last week - where his stage precense was fine, but the vocal was all over the map. Tonight he had both under control, and did a great job IMO.

So now we get to the Shock and Awe part of the evening. Supernova decides to keep Patrice (good move) and to Dump Phil! It was a moment nearly as suprising as Ty's sudden exit last year was to the hamsters. The look on their faces was total surprise.

I think the band already knows who they want, they've already narrowed things down to their top two or three - and that's Storm, Dilana and possibly Magni - with Lukas being an outside dark horse unless he can show the boys a different voice, and Toby being a distant possibility. What happens to anyone before they get down to the nitty gritty of chosing between the frontrunners is really just irrelevent minutia in the end -- but there's is that basic nagging concept of fairness. I know - silly me.

There is simply no good reason why Zayra is still on this show. I admit I've felt this from the first scene in the first reality show where she gave this cringe-worthy performance in the recording studio - she doesn't belong here. Sure, the black catsuit and Wonderfriends Wear have been delicious eye-candy -- but it's just not enough damnit.

On the other hand there are tons of bad reasons for her to remain -- the first I won't even voice - too icky, but the second is obvious - ratings. Keeping her on the show a little longer before she finally gets shuffled off is going to keep the viewers who either love her or fucking hate her (like I do) watching a bit more intensely. Of course the other option is that it might cause a backlash from people feeling that things just might be a little hinky.

The excuse that Phil just didn't have the "commitment" was just plain lame. Where the hell did that shit come from? If it was so important that they let Phil go because of it don't you think they would have mentioned it to him before? What is this - a rerun of the sacking of Dave Mustaine from Metallica? ("Hey dude, wake up - you're out of the band - here's you bus ticket home - cya!) That crap has caused him issues to this very day (as was shown in Metallica documentary "Some Kind of Monster")

I don't buy it.

Especially when they used the lame "Duran Duran" excuse on Matt in week 1, and then tossed out Chris right after he put on his best performance, and the best of that night.

So far the only person who left when the should have left has been Jenny. Meanwhile we're stuck with Zazoo the Martian for another week (and I would expect more) - Yikes!

During the outro credits Z stated that her remaining on the show was even a shock to her - "It's a Miracle". Honey, "Miracle" doesn't even begin to describe it.

Update: After looking in on the Rock Band.com forums - it appears that the missing information regarding Phil's exit may or may not have had something to do with comments made in this article:

Jenny Galt, a contestant on Rock Star: Supernova who was eliminated from the competition, is criticizing both the band’s first single and the commitment to the new band’s long-term success.

“Tommy Lee’s got Motley Crue and Jason Newsted’s very passionate about (Canadian metal band) Voivod, there are a lot of questions as to whether this band is going to really take off. That’s up in the air,” she said. “And then, how much commitment do the actual members of Supernova have? There was a lot of chit-chat in the (Rock Star) mansion about that.”

She also says the contestants in the house aren’t thrilled with the band’s first single. “A lot of people in the group are skeptical about what kind of music they are playing. (Supernova) say they want to do something fresh and new, but then the first track we got to hear, a lot of people were just like, ‘Eww, I’m not sure if I like this,’” she said. “It sounded just like that same old, boys’ rock ‘n’ roll kind of glam thing they said they weren’t going to be doing. It was a bit surprising.”

Jenny's been gone since last week, so she must have been refering to the tracks the SN was playing in the studio during the first Reality Segment, which each contestant had a chance to make up words and melodies for right then and there (except Ryan who punked out). Phil at that point just scatted some melody lines, and actually managed to impress Butch Walker with his voice -- although it appears that in reality he wasn't that much into the actual music itself, and when you consider the song he choose to exit with, I can see that his musical direction is vastly different from that of Supernova.

Here are some more examples:

Ritchie said his primary goal for competing is to gain exposure for his band. "I mean, really I just hope to gain exposure. I love my band and I love the music," he said. "I'm not stoked about the music Supernova's popping out."

He said he knows if he wins the competition he's obligated to tour with the band, but that's a risk he's willing to take.

"I may have taken a risk. I love my boys back home, but you know I still have to look out for myself in this world," he said. "I've got to create opportunities for myself, and this is too huge an opportunity to say no to."

Supernova are actually in the same position that I've faced in my previous bands like Planet X, where doing the music you love to do sets you adrift in a sea of people chasing the modern rock dragon - trying to out-grunge grunge and out-emo the Emo bands. They say it makes you seem "Dated" simply because you refuse to jump on their trend-o-mat band wagon - which is just a bunch of fucking bullshit.

If some of those guys didn't feel it in their bones that they want to be in this band - the way I did when I first walked into that storage shed back in 1998 and heard the riff for what eventually became Pay Your Dues (the CD is out of print but downloads and samples are availble on MSN Music and Rhapsody) the first time - they shouldn't be in this band, period.

Yes, that includes Phil, but it also IMO include Zayra and a few others (Jill) who seem to have completely different musical ideas than those of the band.

Vyan

Wednesday, July 26

Rock Star Supernova - Week 4 Performances

Ok, this is going to be a rip n run review of the performances because I spent all of tuesday night in the Emergency Room with my wife who had a bladder and kidney infection flare up. (She's resting fine now).

After about 17 hours in the waiting room, I realized I'm totally addicted to this show when the prospect of having to sit through "The One" - which was locked into the overhead tv screen - practically brought me to tears. Yeah, sure i was recording Rock Star at home but I wouldn't see it for I had no idea how many hours. Fortunately we managed to move to an adgacent area and switch a tv to CBS without anyone bitching. Waa hoo..


MagniWe didn't manage to pull this off until the first four performances had already gone by - so the first thing I saw was Magni doing "Heroes". He sounded good, but let me lodge a little complaint about so-called "singer-songwriters" who never freaking PLAY THEIR GUITAR. It's not an ornament dude, either play it or put it down. I've been singing and playing guitar for over 20 years, and if I had an opputunity like this I'd bloody well *play* something - in fact, I'd play some lead guitar just because I can, and it's something Supernova actually needs as far as I'm concerned. I mean, Gilby's cool and all - but he ain't SLASH. (The little guitar segment during this weeks Reality Episode made that abundantly clear)


Ok, Dilana sounded great. Even though her voice has some odd inflections and her technique is actually bad - it works for her. It gives her character and personality. Sometimes being an overtrained singer can make you sound generic, and Dilana is not generic. Her delivery of Cindy Lauper's "Time after Time" was mezmerizing. This is a performance who you simply can't predict, never does the obvious thing - and always delivers. She remains probably the number one contender to win this entire thing IMO, even if she did miss a few notes -- she did everything else so well it doesn't matter.


Phil - was weak. He just didn't bring it at all. And the head-bobble was back. He just fell right back into all of his habits - but I will say this, he's learned to enunciate and has lost his "mumble mouth" status. The main problem he had this time was the song, which I frankly think he did better than Jason Dylan's original performance -- but that ain't saying much.


Ryan has been getting better, and his performance of "I Alone" was probably his best yet. But he was still flubbing the low notes in the intro - which is inexcusable for a song he's been singing since he was 15. I mean c'mon dude - if you can't get it after a dozen years - when *are* you gonna get it? He still didn't look like he knows what he's doing on stage, at least not until the second chorus - and by then it was too little, too late. If he isn't B3 fodder this week, he should be.

Update: On rewatching when I finally got home - 23 hours later - this performance looked better, a lot better. Ryan is safe for now and if he keeps this level of intensity up he might make it to the final five - but can he?

Josh just sounded lost on his song. He's struggling to make the song interesting to himself after deleting all the extra notes he's used to throwing in. I know exactly what he's feeling, because I've been through the same thing going from Soul to Hard Rock... but ya gotta SUCK IT UP man. There is a bridge between the two music forms, one that people like Paul Rogers have walked for decades. What you do is trade lots of notes for a few really good ones, and Josh's problems is that he seem like he's been using his vocalese and "melisma" to cover up some bad vocal habits. Rather than amping his performance up by focusing it - those weaknesses are more evident as he slides off notes and looks listless. This boy is in trouble.


Jill Rocked the House with Gilby on "Brown Sugar", she looked totally comfortable and in her element. Good job. He still has the "Bluesy" strike going against her compared to what Supernova is ultimately trying to do - but in her cause she does bridge the gap and does so easily. Josh may be on his last legs, but Jill is standing tall.


The last performance I saw live was Storm's- and she freaking killed it. This is the first modern sounding song she's done so far, and it was no trouble at all - so the likelyhood of her being stuck in a "classic rock" rut is pretty much over. Her technique is a tad better than Dilana's - but she still has character of her own, which is a good place to be. Plus she totally owns that stage - she could probably sing the phone book and keep everyone glued to the stage and TV. She's still my personal favorite, and if she keeps this kind of thing up - she's got a great shot a getting the final gig. One thing about Storm is that she doesn't oversing, she seems to understand about economy of effort and also about the idea of creating a bigger finish than you start with. In most of her songs she doesn't automatically go running for the BIG NOTE - the way that Dana would - she lets the song simmer, before boiling over. That shows good arranging skills as well as being a consumate showman. Can't say enough good stuff about Storm.


Ok - as I type this (from work) - I've taken a look at some of the performances I missed last night via the RS website and the first one up is Lukas doing "Bittersweat Melody" and as usually he has his own take on the song. Unlike his previous ballad in week 2, this one was much more effective. He has quite a few limitations in his voice, but like Dilana, it makes him standout. He could do without the Billy Idol snear though - that was week 1 dude. Also, again with the guitar playing that can't be heard -- enough with that shit already ok? Either let the man be heard, have him play somethng unique, or put the damn guitar down.


Dana IMO made a bad choice by doing "About a Girl" acoustically. She's been in a fight to prove that she can "Rock", and although it was a decent performance and did a decent respect to Nirvana's unplugged original - I think she should've just plugged it in and let a rip. Yet again we're on a trip back to the Lillith Faire - stop with that shit already will ya? Plus the thing about his song is the contrast of subltety and power, but Dana sang nearly the entire song at 9 1/2 - which doesn't leave you a lot of room to put four on the floor once you get to the energetic part (as both Storm and Dilana would do). She did manage to shift into another gear for the finale, but rather than being something that throws you into the back of your seat it was more like coming down off a speed bump. Pretty good, but not what she needs to do.

<>Update: Again, on rewatching this once I got home, I was wrong. Dana did bring it by giving the performance an intensity that wasn't evident when watching through Window Media Player. Our little country flower has done all growed up. sniff



Toby's performance - I couldn't get to play online so I'll have to deal with it when I get home -(Update: Not bad, but nothing special). so the last song I have to review is Zayeeeda doing "Call me" in the alien jumpsuit from HELL. Jesus, this girl is from Mars! Are we sure that Magni is the one from Borjk's homeland of Iceland? Ok, never mind the eye searing outfit - never mind spastic stage performance - she ran into more than a little vocal trouble on this one. Sure, it wasn't as bad as her first crack at "You Really Got me", and she did manage to hit the notes she really needed to hit - but there was a whole lotta fluff and flubbing going on in between. I don't know what to say about this girl - I feel like I have to watch her from between my fingers. And if Gilby thought Jill's bump and grind was cheap- what does that say about Zayeeda in her Skin-tight Superhero outfit? Is she trying out for the Justice League or a Rock Band? Good grief.


Vyan

Tuesday, July 25

Lynn Woolsey calls for Repeal of Iraq War

Today on Dailykos Rep. Lynn Woolsey has called for the Repeal of H.R. 141 - the Iraq War Resolution.

Six weeks after we invaded Iraq, President Bush stood aboard an aircraft carrier before a banner that read "Mission Accomplished," declaring that "major combat operations in Iraq are over." From that moment on, we were no longer fighting a war, but rather participating in an occupation.

An occupation cannot be won. The President has put our troops in a position they should not have gotten into in the first place.

Our troops were not prepared to occupy Iraq. They weren't given the proper equipment, nor were they properly trained. And most importantly, the US Congress never authorized this President to undertake an occupation.

This occupation of Iraq must end, now, and President Bush must bring our troops home.
Under our Constitution the Power to Declare War rests exclusively with the Congress, yet with this resolution the Congress actually delegated their authority to the President to make the determination on whether we would go to War or not.

Sec 3. (b) PRESIDENTIAL DETERMINATION.
In connection with the exercise of the authority granted in subsection (a) to use force the President shall, prior to such exercise or as soon there after as may be feasible, but no later than 48 hours after exercising such authority, make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that
(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq, and
(2) acting pursuant to this resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorists attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.


We now know unequivically that Iraq had already complied fully with all relevant UN resolution as was made clear by the Dulfer Report, claims of ignorance by the Bush Administration are hard to fathom when Saddam Hussein provided the US and UN with a full and complete disclosure of the status of thier WMD programs five months before the war.

We now know that all claims of links between Saddam and 9-11 were false and the work of fabricator who provided this information most likely to put an end to being tortured in Gitmo.

This Resolution clearly required the President to ensure that all Diplomatic means of disarming Saddam were employed before we invaded. He failed at this.

Rep. Woolsey is absolutely correct that a lengthy occupation of Iraq was never authorized by Congress. We have completely botched the job of training the Iraqi Military so far, but it's high time that we put some fire under their feet to get their shit together, not simply to save our own skins -- but because it's the best thing for the Iraqi people to take control and responsibility for thier own country.

What's that old conservative adage about giving a man a fish and him eating for a day - and teaching a man to fish and he eats everyday?

It's long past time we turned over the fishing pole. Back to Woolsey:

That is why, today, I am introducing the Iraq War Powers Repeal Act of 2006. It is past time for Congress to demand that the Bush Administration come clean on Iraq, and put the safety of our troops, and the security of our nation first.

By repealing the Iraq War Powers, Congress would resume its Constitutional role overseeing the use of military force, and would reassert its authority by bringing our troops home.

Of course, the passage of this bill will be an up-hill struggle, but it is a fight that we can no longer avoid. Rescinding the President's war powers in Iraq is the least that we can do for our troops, and for their families who anxiously await their return. With over 2,550 brave men and women having given their lives, and thousands seriously wounded, how many more must die before we put an end to this madness?

With over 100 Iraqis dying each day -- how many indeed?

Vyan

Rock Star: Supernova - Week 4 Reality Show

Well, it's been an entire month now and for the most part the hamsters in the mansion are getting along. All except for Ryan and Dana who were still cat-fighting over Ryan's comments about Dana looking and sounding like a pop star. (Which she did, and even admitted after seeing the footage) But watching that little tiff was hardly worth the effort to download.

On the other hand, this week was also the songwriting contest - where last year J.D. pulled away from the pack by pitching a fit over what eventually became his own personal anthem - "Pretty Vegas", this years group had some much less pointed results.

Splitting into three teams of 4, led by each of the first three weeks encore performers - Dilana, Toby and Magni - whose primary job was essentially picking who they wanted on their team. Dilana's strategy was to choose Lukas first - because she "would prefer him closer, rather than further away". And just like on every playground all over the world, someone had to be last picked -- in this case it was Dana.

However, Dilana's choice of Lukas almost became their undoing - as once he did manage to come up with a chorus melody and hook line for the song, he basically shutdown and stopped participating other than to become passive-aggressive about pressuring the others (Dilana, Ryan and Storm) to write the rest while spending most of his time wandering the mansion and drinking. Class-y.

Team leader Magni also butted heads with Jill the Italian powerhouse on the issue of songwriting methods. Magni is one who likes to listen to the song over and over to let it soak in - Jill likes to try out different riffs as she listens and you can't do both at the same time. Magni has already written and recorded six albums in Iceland, so he's pretty comfortable and confident on his methods -- Jill was a little rattled and frustrated by him, to say the least.

After an afternoon of drinking, Lukas wasn't able to lay down the vocal line that he himself had written - so Storm had to take over. In fact, Storm essentially took over the entire "band" from that point forward, becoming the lead singer on their version of the song and running their entire song-writting session. It was good to see Storm finally get some screen time during one of the Reality Episodes since she been persona non drama up until this point. She's a total pro - she is already is a Rock Star and it shows.

The one element, the process of songwriting is what makes this show stand out above and beyond all the other "Band" reality shows out there. This week I actually watched an episode of P. Diddy's "Making the Band 3" where his fresh faced set of wanna-be Divas finally went into the studio to record their first song -- and they spent the entire time having their lines and melodies fed to the by the real song writer, a heavy set cream puff of a man named "Pooh Bear". He'd squeak out the vocal line in a tiny little falsetto (head voice) in order to make it sound like a girls, they they tried to echo it back into the mic.

It was pathetic.

And then after that P. Diddy comes in and say- ok, you can't sing that - so you need to sing this, and you shouldn't do that you do this instead. And people's feelings get hurt because someone actually had the balls to point out that they SUCKED on that part - But that's what happens in Pop. Other people make the creative decisions and the "talent" has to do what they're told.

In Rock - it's different. You have to stand up for yourself, make your own choices and deal with your own consequences. The only other show I've ever seen address this was Vh-1's Supergroup, where Sebastian Bach and the rest of his band Damnocracy - featuring Ted Nugent, Scott Ian (Anthrax), Evan Seinfeld (Biohazard) and Jason Bonham - went head to head with the corporate handlers and shapers for the eleven days they were trapped in front of the cameras, and eventually came back with a couple decent tracks from the deal.

This is the stuff you are not going to see on American Idol, America's Got Talent or "The One" - the ugly frustrating wonderful process people go through to create that song you loved so much.

There's a reason that I spend so much time writing about this show or Supergroup - it's because Rock matters. Real Rock and Roll is the music that came directly from the cry from freedom by people oppressed by Jim Crow and the fight against the social strangle-hold of the 50's mindset. What I'm writing about on most of my other blog posts is the ongoing struggle to keep that bullshit from returning - the inspirational and liberating power of Rock Music was a vital tool in reshaping America and the world. It was crucial to the Civil Rights movement. The Soviet economy collapsed the way it did, not simply because of the arms race, but also because young Russian kids were in love with blue jeans, Coke Cola and Rock and Roll. They desperately wanted the Freedom that Rock represents. Rock bands - good ones like the Beatles the Clash, the Ramones, U2, Van Halen and the groups who participated in the Moscow Music and Peace Festival (Bon Jovi, Cinderella, Skid Row, Ozzy Osborne and Motley Crue) in 1989 just a couple years before the Berlin Wall fell - were our most vital cultural ambassadors to Soviet Russia. They matter. They helped tear that wall down. They helped change the world.

It's not entirely an accident I think that two of the songs from last week "Fortunate Son" and "White Rabbit" were 60s protest songs while Brooke Burke wore a "Make Music Not War" t-shirt. We should all take heed.

Anyway...

When time came to perform their songs for Tommy Lee and the Supernova boys - the Dilana/Lukas/Storm group was up first and gave them chills with their rendition. Storm sang the verses while all four of them came together for the choruse, the song was strong, damn near radio ready - but not something that any single member could claim. Still the point was made that Lukas had written the chorus riff, and he recieved an extra slicing of praise - even though he'd spent the rest of the writing session acting like a punk-ass.

The second track was written primarily by Phil, and was extremely - quirky. Kinda like Radiohead on Meth. But it apparently seemed to work as Jason stated - "It was just quirky enough to be interesting".

The third and final track was the Magni/Jill magnum opus - which featured a syncopated vocal rythm and lush four part harmonies. Rather than being another over the top "Stop/Go" vocal excersize in excess - this one seemed to also blow the SN boys away.

In the end, they decided that all three groups had "won" the contest and invited them all enjoy a victory feast with the band. Personally I think this was a bit of a cop-out, and a failure on their part to make a decisive choice. The did still indicate that the gospel tinges of the Magni/Jill song isn't the direction they intend to go - a fact that was further illustrated when they let the hamster finally hears some Supernova tracks.

Ironically, it was Storm who the producers let described them - which she did as "Top down, cruising, rock and roll" - which just might indicate that they've finally noticed she has some interesting things to say and isn't shy about saying them.

This weeks song selection went somewhat smoother than last week, and yet again - it was thanks to Storm who was essentially running and organizing the show by ensuring that each person preferrence was written on the song before it was taken down off the wall. Her ability to jump in marshall the troops and get the job done is showing more and more.

Still there was some game-playing as Ryan maneuvered Dana away from his favorite choice "I Alone" and onto a Nirvana song. Sneaky. Underhanded. And pretty much what we're used to by now, particularly from the weaker singers who feel they're "on the bubble" right when it's about to pop. Storm on the other hand took the position that Lukas had taken the other week -- "I can rock anything!", and literally ended up with the left over song -"Anything Anything".

It seems to me that some of the dynamics in the house have somewhat shifted and a bit of tarnish might be showing on Lukas' shiny exterior - whether this translates on stage or has any impact on the members of Supernova remains and open question.

Vyan

Monday, July 24

The Diebold Bombshell

From OPedNews:


Recently, computer security expert Harri Hursti revealed serious security vulnerabilities in Diebold's software. According to Michael Shamos, a computer scientist and voting system examiner in Pennsylvania, "It's the most severe security flaw ever discovered in a voting system."


Even more shockingly, we learned recently that Diebold and the State of Maryland had been aware of these vulnerabilities for at least two years. They were documented in analysis, commissioned by Maryland and conducted by RABA Technologies, published in January 2004. For over two years, Diebold has chosen not to fix the security holes, and Maryland has chosen not to alert other states or national officials about these problems.


Basically, Diebold included a "back door" in its software, allowing anyone to change or modify the software. There are no technical safeguards in place to ensure that only authorized people can make changes.


Crossposted on Dailykos


Deibold machines have in fact been long ago kicked out of Maryland, and yet again we see why. As noted by the New York Times Editorial page:

Diebold, the electronic voting machine maker, suffered another sharp setback recently, when Maryland's House of Delegates voted 137-to-0 to drop its machines and switch to paper ballots. The vote came in the same week that Texas held elections marred by electronic voting troubles. Maryland's State Senate should join the House in voting to discontinue the use of the Diebold machines, and other states should follow Maryland's lead.


Maryland was one of the first states to embrace Diebold. But Maryland voters and elected officials have grown increasingly disenchanted as evidence has mounted that the machines cannot be trusted. In 2004, security experts from RABA Technologies told the state legislature that they had been able to hack into the machines in a way that would make it possible to steal an election. Senator Barbara Mikulski, a Democrat, informed the State Board of Elections in 2004 that voters had complained to her that machines had mysteriously omitted the Senate race.



The Op-ed peice goes on to echo what we've heard before from the Washington Post, the Oped report points out that it would only take the action of one person to change the outcome of an election - and that any such actions would be undetectable.


A malicious individual with access to a voting machine could rig the software without being detected. Worse yet, if the attacker rigged the machine used to compute the totals for some precinct, he or she could alter the results of that precinct. The only fix the RABA authors suggested was to warn people that manipulating an election is against the law.


This also displays how critical the issue of overnight storage which was raised following the Bilbray/Busby CA-50 election has become.


Op-ed continued:


Typically, modern voting machines are delivered several days before an election and stored in people's homes or in insecure polling stations. A wide variety of poll workers, shippers, technicians, and others who have access to these voting machines could rig the software. Such software alterations could be difficult to impossible to detect.


This past December during a test in Leon County Florida Diebold machines were successfully hacked and the "intrepeted code" problem brought to light by Election Supervisor Ion Sancho.


Ok, now to the worse part - Diebold officials admit that they've left these backdoors open.


Diebold spokesman David Bear admitted to the New York Times that the back door was inserted intentionally so that election officials would be able to update their systems easily. Bear justified Diebold's actions by saying, "For there to be a problem here, you're basically assuming a premise where you have some evil and nefarious election officials who would sneak in and introduce a piece of software... I don't believe these evil elections people exist."


All it takes is one David, all it takes is one...


On July 13, Robert F Kennedy Jr filed a "Qui Tam" suit against Diebold based on information provided by Whistle-blowers within the company - who I suspect might be a bit more forthcoming than Mr. Bear about the true reason for those "back-doors" and just where some of those "evil elections people" might be found.


Kennedy's suit is expected to be held under judicial seal for 60 days while the Department of Justice determines whether they will join the suit. This should be a no-brainer since the interpreted code used by Diebold and discovered by Ion Sancho is already in violation of HAVA (the Help America Vote Act) and according to Bradblog...


Section 1, paragraph 4.2.2 [WORD] of the FEC Voting System Standards of 2002 which specifically bans certification for machines which contain the type of "interpreted code" which Diebold has now been forced to admit is present in all of their electronic voting machines.


Whether the Alberto Gonzales Justice Dept will do their duty and join with the suit, or simply use the delay as a method to ensure that Diebold and other easily hackable voting systems remain in place until it's too late to implement replacements before the November 06 elections - remains to be seen.


Vyan

Sunday, July 23

One step back from the brink of Totalitarianism

In May I wrote that we are fast approaching a defining moment for the future of our nation.

The Unitary Executive Theory must be permenently quashed as a demented Constitutional aberration that dangerously tips the balance of power completely out of whack.

We are supposed to be a nation of laws, a nation of ideals which our bounded by the articles and amendments of our Constitution. Bush has turned our laws inside out and wiped his ass with the Constitution while this Republican Congress aided and abetted him. Genuflecting at his every abuse.

Ask any Republican friend of yours, if you still have any - would they "Want President Hillary Clinton or President Al Gore to have the kind of power that Bush is nowing claiming with the NSA and 750 signing statements directly contradicing Federal Law?"

If they answer the question honestly, I think they just might surprise even themselves. It's a defining question that goes beyond party affiliation, Red or Blue State, Left-Coast or Fly Over. The answer will determine exactly what kind of nation the United States will be for the next several generations.

It appears now that the very moment I spoke of, may have already occured.This week one of the most signficant events in slowing the steady slide of America toward Totalitarianism took place in a San Francisco courtroom.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A federal judge Thursday rejected a government request that he dismiss a lawsuit challenging the Bush administration's domestic spying program.

The lawsuit, brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, challenges President Bush's assertion that he can use his wartime powers to eavesdrop on Americans without a warrant.

The government had argued that the lawsuit should be thrown out because it threatens to reveal state secrets and jeopardize the war on terror.

The judge issued a 72 page ruling which took the Bush Adminstration to task for it's claims that "state secrets" could be divulged by the persuit of this suit by pointing out that the existence and many of the details of the NSA's warrantless spying program have already been confirmed by the government itself.
"the very subject matter of this action is hardly a secret. As described above, public disclosures by the government and AT&T indicate that A&T is assisting the government to implement some kind of surveillance program" . . . "significant amounts of information about the government's monitoring of communication content and AT&T's intelligence relationship with the government are arleady non-classified on in the public record."

Since 9-11, and in same cases even before, the Bush Administration has sought to gather as much power until itself as it can. Rejecting both the oversight of Congress as well as the iance of the courts in keeping an even balance between the various branches of our government.

We have to face the fact that Bush seeks TOTAL Power. He is a Totalitarian. He claims the ability to spy on anyone he chooses, without judicial review or congressional authorization. To detain them without an indictment, hearing or charges - including American citizens (Hamdi, Padilla) And yes, to torture them. The only thing missing is summary execution - but then again, after over 100 deaths in custody, that may only be a matter of semantics.

Just look at what former State Dept Chief of State Lawrence Wilkerson has said about Bush.
Wilkerson calls Bush an unsophisticated leader who has been easily swayed by "messianic" neoconservatives and power-hungry, secretive schemers in the administration. In a landmark speech in October, Wilkerson said: "What I saw was a cabal between the vice president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made."

He is particularly appalled by U.S. treatment of enemy detainees, counting at least 100 deaths in custody during the course of the war on terrorism -- 27 of them ruled homicides. "Murder is torture," he says. "It's not torture lite."
But Bushco's aims have been increasing frustred by the courts. Following quickly on the drubbing the Bush Administration received with the Hamdan decision, this ruling has opened a wide crack in the door to the 36 various lawsuits against AT&T and the NSA for violations of privacy and the avoidance of the FISA court - and indicates that my own initial impressions of ramifications of Hamdan were right on the money.
If the AUMF didn't authorize Gitmo, torture or Military Tribunals, it didn't authorize the NSA Spying program either!
The judge makes this point by going not to Hamdan, but to the previous Gitmo detainee case Hamdi v Rumsfeld, where much of Bush's initial theory of executive power was first given a hard bitch-slap by the Supreme Court.
"Even the state secrets privilege has its limit. While the court recognizes and respects the executive's constitutional duty to protect the nation from threats, the court also takes seriously its constitutional duty to adjudicate the disputes that come before it. See Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 US 507, 536 (2004) (plurality opinion) ("Whatever power the United States Constitution envisions for the Executive in its exchanges with other nations or with enemy organizations in times of conflict, it most assuredly envisions a role for all three branches when individual liberties are at stake").

To defer to a blanket assertion of secrecy here would be to abdiate that duty, particularly because the very subject matter of this litigation has been so publicly aired. The compromise between liberty and security remains a difficult one. But dismissing this case at the outset would sacrifice liberty for no apparent enhancement of security."
The issuance of this opinion is unfortunately not the end of the story. The government can still appeal the ruling with the 9th Circuit and yet again the Bush Administration could find itself again before the Supreme court on the issue of limits of it's own power. Also there is pending legislation authored by Arlen Specter which was effectively codify the current methods used by the NSA to avoid FISA, and also shift jurisdiction of all of these cases to that secret court and away from the 9th circuit.

It can not be doubted that the Administration will use every tool in it's arsenal to fight this. As confirmed by Alberto Gonzales, Bush has already denied clearances to members of the Justice department's Office of Personal Responsiblity and effectively shutdown thier investigation of the NSA program, while simultaneously allowing the DOJ's Civil division full access in order to fight suits such as this one.

Some commentary from Anonymous Liberal on this piont:

Imagine for a moment that Bill Clinton had pulled something like this. The Republicans would have gone absolutely batshit crazy. Every single conservative pundit and politician would have jumped all over this, and the shrieking would have been deafening—So repeat after me: "If what the President is doing is legal and proper, why is he so afraid to allow his own Justice Department to investigate? What does he have to hide?"…read on


The likelyhood of Bush prevailing on this issue before the Supreme Court that just released the Hamdan ruling are somewhere between razor thin and nonexistant. The ramifications are that the Administration will respond to any future revelations of illegal wrong-doing under the cover of National Security with abject denial and obfuscation. In fact this may already be occuring.

Just two weeks ago it was reported that Congressmen Pete Hoekstra (R), head of the House Intelligence subcommittee overseeing NSA had written a letter to the President on May 18 that:
"alleged Intelligence Community activities" not described to committee members in classified briefings. "If these allegations are true," he wrote to Bush, "they may represent a breach of responsibility by the Administration, a violation of law and . . . a direct affront to me and the Members of this committee."
These are apparently activities that go far beyond what has been revealed so far and have led to the suit against AT&T for cooperating with the NSA and granting them access to the phone calls and emails of tens of millions of Americans. Something so bad it made a Republican jump up and shout that Bush may have (again) broken the law.

The details of this program have not been revealed, and by law - the Congressmen who have now been briefed on these additional programs can not speak about them without violating national security. However, there may be a clue to what this is via other sources - namely former NSA member Russell Tice who testified before Senate staffers concerning various Special Access Programs (SAP) that he was involved in at NSA on May 17th - one day before Hoekstra letter to President Bush.

Before his testimony Tice stated that what we had heard about so far was only the tip of the iceberg.

A former intelligence officer for the National Security Agency said Thursday he plans to tell Senate staffers next week that unlawful activity occurred at the agency under the supervision of Gen. Michael Hayden beyond what has been publicly reported, while hinting that it might have involved the illegal use of space-based satellites and systems to spy on U.S. citizens. …

said he plans to tell the committee staffers the NSA conducted illegal and unconstitutional surveillance of U.S. citizens while he was there with the knowledge of Hayden. … “I think the people I talk to next week are going to be shocked when I tell them what I have to tell them. It’s pretty hard to believe,” Tice said. “I hope that they’ll clean up the abuses and have some oversight into these programs, which doesn’t exist right now.” …

Tice said his information is different from the Terrorist Surveillance Program that Bush acknowledged in December and from news accounts this week that the NSA has been secretly collecting phone call records of millions of Americans. “It’s an angle that you haven’t heard about yet,” he said.
… He would not discuss with a reporter the details of his allegations, saying doing so would compromise classified information and put him at risk of going to jail. He said he “will not confirm or deny” if his allegations involve the illegal use of space systems and satellitesl

After his testimony Tice said This
"I am set to testify in closed session to the Senate Armed Services Committee about the SAP programs I was involved with at NSA and DoD on Wednesday, 17 May 2006. I am to meet with Senate staffers in the Russell Senate Office Building, in room 228, at 12:57pm EDT. From there, we will immediately be moving to a secure locations that is accredited for SAP level discussions. I apparently will not know where this location is until I am escorted to it on Wednesday."

Click here to read 2 letters penned by Tice on testifying.

Update: Tice email #2, sent out late yesterday: "Update on the Senate Armed Services Committee. I have been told today by the committee minority staff director that I will not be "testifying" to the committee, but rather talking to a few staff members that are cleared at the SAP level. Apparently no senators from the committee will be in attendance at this meeting."
Actually I have concerns that this itself may have been questionable legally. I held a SAR (Special Access Required) Clearance for over a dozen years while working for a Defense Contractor, and SAP level access is literally program specific. It goes beyond "Top Secret Clearance" and requires that a person be specifically cleared for each individual program. Just because someone holds a SAP clearance to one program doesn't mean that they can be given information about a different SAP program. These programs are compartmentalized from each other. I worked along side others who worked on programs I had no knowledge of, this is standard operating procedure, those without a specific "Need to Know" - don't. Although Tice testified under Federal Whistle-Blower protection, the ability of those who he briefed to share that information - even within Congress - is severely limited.

However, it should also be noted that on the very same day as Tice's testimony - Gen Michael Hayden also testified in closed session to the Senate Intelligence Commitee and others. Just look at this exchange with Senator Levin when Hayden was asked if the President has been honest with the American people concerning the scope of the "Terrorist Surveillance Program"?

LEVIN: Is that the whole program?

HAYDEN: Senator, I'm not at liberty to talk about that in open session

LEVIN: I'm not asking you what the program is, I'm just simply saying, is what the president described publicly the whole program.

HAYDEN: Senator, all I'm at liberty to say in this session is what I was talking about, and I literally, explicitly said this at the press club, I am talking about the program the president discussed in mid-December.

LEVIN: And you're not able to tell us whether what the president described is the whole program?

HAYDEN: No, sir, not in open session. I am delighted to go into great detail in closed session.

It still remains a question whether the new and even more illegal programs revealed by Tice (or Hayden) to Congress are the same programs that prompted Hoekstra's letter and his eventual briefing. I would suspect they are - but one wonders, what if they aren't and the truth is that there thing going on at NSA and DoD that are beyond both Tice and Hoekstra's current knowledge? Did Hayden really tell them everything?

Just how deep does the rabbit hole go, and even with this court decision - will we ever truly find out?

Vyan

Breaking reports indicate that former Rep Randy "Duke" Cunningham used the secrecy of "black world" budgets to hide his own illegal activities directing funds to various defense contractors within the House Intelligence Committee.
Cunningham's case has put a stark spotlight on the oversight of classified — or "black" — budgets. Unlike legislation dealing with social and economic issues, intelligence bills and parts of defense bills are written in private, in the name of national security.

That means it is up to members of Congress and select aides with security clearances to ensure that legislation is appropriate.

Stern has told the committee that Cunningham's efforts to steer business to friends and associates were far worse in the spending bills written by the House Appropriations Committee than those written by the House Intelligence Committee, congressional officials say. But the intelligence panel that draws up the blueprint for spending by the government's spy agencies was not immune to his misdeeds.

He and Harman are putting additional protections into the process of drafting legislation, although Hoekstra described Cunningham as a special case. "This guy bastardized the process the whole way through."
True enough, and he hasn't been the only one.

This also brings to mind another point, the Bush Adminstration has claimed that they couldn't allow Congress to create a law that would have legally authorized their Domestic Spying program because it would have made the program public and "revealed our playbook" -- but Congress has been handling intelligence legislation in secret for generations.

There is already a process in place for doing exactly that - for example my own SAR clearance came initially from working on the B2 Bomber project, one of the most expensive defense contracts in history and nobody really knew any details about until nearly a decade after it began - but that project was authorized and funded by Congress each and every year prior to that - in Secret.

This yet again shows that the Bush Administration is completley full of shit.

Vyan