Thursday, February 23, 2006

AG Gonzales's Hannity Interview

The Admin has found its spot for getttin' out the message, and surprise its the Fox News Channel. Ths time the AG decides to go toe-to-toe with the Larry King of the political set, Sean Hannity, to defend the DP World port deal.

Firstly, it's notable that the admin has decided to make him the point man on this. I guess Mr. Chertoff wasn't available following the Katrina report (BTW, how did he keep his job or is this this a portent of his imminent departure). I simply find Gonzales to be a lightweight and not very pursuasive.

Sean did twice ask the AG if the UAE's failure to recognize Israel was an indication that it was beholden to radical Islamic influence and accordingly should preclude it from operating US ports. The AG just ignored the question. The first time more deftly, as the question was one tine of a multipart question. To Mr. Hannity's credit, however, he followed up, asking the question on its own and Gonzales simply ignored the question. Interestng.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Machine Gun Cheney

If the only realtime investigation of the incident was conducted by the local Sheriff over the phone with members of VP Cheney's Secert Service detail as the Kenedy County Sheriff's press release indicates, how was it that he\they determined that there was no alcohol involved ('cause the Agent wasn't slurring)?

Vice President Quail

The emerging timeline certainly seems to indicate that someone (can you say Karl . . . sure sure . . . I knew ya could) decided to sit on this story. Was the thought to get the story straight and avoid a Sunday morning press-fest? It would have been a big story on a snowy Sunday in the northeast
when we were otherwise a captive audience. Hhmmmm.

"Big, Swinging" DIck, "Draft-dodging, Deferment" Dick, now "Dead-Eye" Dick

This one is too rich for words. How's 'bout the report that a secret servce agent stopped a local deputy sheriff from questioning the VP? What's the basis for that action? One report is that the SS and the VP already had a "deal" to discuss it with the sheriff the next mornng. Boy, that sounds fishy. Note this ain't Dick's first run in with the law, was it one or two DWI's.

I'm not even remotely implying that this incident was intentional, but absent an investigation, how can it beknown whether the VP's conduct was reckless. I believe most similar incidents, especially those that give rise to hospitalization (ICU in this instance), are worthy of immediate questioning. Ya know the coppers are on to that whole takin' your time to get the story straight bit.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

NSA Wiretapping-Honest Assessment is the Enemy

While the trckle of information regarding this program continues what becomes more readily apparent as time goes on is that the administration wants no part of a true assessment over the value of the information garnered by the program vis a vis the amount ofor breath of the intrusions. While VP "Big Swinging" Dick Cheney claimed on CNN in December of '05 that the program "has saved thousands of lives." Admiral Hayden, who leads the program was a tad more reserved when he "cannot personnally estimate" that figure. Hhm, the VP wouldn't be engaging in a bit of overstatement would he?

While poll numbers show a small but solid of respondents approve the president's program (althoug if its illegal, it frankly doesn't make any difference what they think), I think that the numbers are reflective of the administration's strong effort to defend and in fact advocate for the necessisity of the program. In now appears clear that the notion that the program overreaches is widely-held not only by card carrying members of the ACLU, but by (most now former) high-level administration lawyers. For the near term the debate is almost entirely political. How, when and if the matter will be resolved in the courts is a more intringung queston. The argument put forward by the administration and proferred by AG Alberto Gonzalez in his prepared remarks for Monday's Senate hearings simply doesn't suffice. Stating that heeding the 1978 law would be too cumbersome strikes me as lending support to critics. Moreover, that it's too cumbersome to follow the law ain't a defense to law breaking, just ask any current resident of a penal institution.

That all said I think the president and the administration do (or at least did) have a colorable argumenis in support of the program. I just believe that their argument is undermined by the express admission that they considered complying with FISA, but found it too cumbersome
and the fact that they continued to operate in this arguably grey area for over four years.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

NSA's Warrantless Wiretapping

The issue is the failure to secure warrants to make searches not as Bush ardently attempts to claim the he is committed to making the searches. No one - NO ONE in their right mind is going to deny the governments ability to make searches within the U.S. pursuant to the issuance of a warrant. The original intent of the founders was to ensure that there were checks and balances on the searches of one's person or property. This proscription was intentionally broad and has been whittled down over 200+ years of jurisprudence. It continues to be a rich area of controversy. Yet despite the fact that the courts have been incredibly deferential to the government, the government is constantly seeking to expand its authority. The so-called Terrorist Surveilence Program is merely the latest, perhaps most insidious attempt to expand governmental reach. Any claims of adequate oversight in this area are specious. C'mon George get a warrant. when the president defines the debate with straw men he easy disposes of, he has the ostensible support of the American people. If the debate was addressed honestly and clearly, few would accept the bald power grab. Even if we assume that this administration will use this "power" in a measured fashion, such a power is subject to significant abuse.