Archive for Wednesday, January 4, 2006


January 4, 2006


To the editor:

Remember the "Axis of Evil"?

We invaded one of them, found out they weren't a threat but changed them into one. The other two are threats. They have or soon will have operational nuclear weapons, boast about them on the international stage and our inept foreign policy actually strengthened their hands. Iran and North Korea, both of whom we are in arms control negotiations with, simply sit back and watch us get stuck in the quagmire that has become Iraq.

By President Bush's own admission, more than 30,000 Iraqi civilians had died since we blundered in, thinking we'd be greeted as liberators and our path strewn with flower petals. Almost 2,200 U.S. military personnel have died while the Bush administration turned Iraq into a terrorist training ground rather than clearing the land of terrorists and their allies.

And now the administration has decided that U.S. laws and the Constitution don't apply to them and has started secretly spying on American citizens, bypassing civil liberties safeguards.

How much more damage will these people do before they are called to account?

Impeach him now and remove him from office.

Phil Wilke,



Ember 12 years, 1 month ago

Still find it amusing that people act so astonished that the government kept tabs on the general populace, considering it has been happening for the last century, give or take a few years.

Maybe if people would actually read history books instead of using them as pillows, they might learn something.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 1 month ago

I suppose you have a point to some extent, Ember, but if I get caught driving 100 mph in 30 mph zone, pointing to someone in front of me who was going 37 mph isn't going to justify my actions. You apparently believe that defense should be allowed for this administation.

meggers 12 years, 1 month ago


Ames was a CIA operative and therefore, had already forfeited the presumption of privacy. That stands in stark contrast to conducting surveillance on US citizens, without any oversight whatsoever. If, as you contend, Bush is truly only spying on al qaeda members, why is he so unwilling to obtain FISA warrants?

And the JW is definitely not a liberal newspaper. Try reading a few of Dolph Simons Jr.'s commentaries in the Saturday edition and you'll see what I mean. Even if your assumptions about Mr. Wilke's political leanings are correct, the editor-in-chief makes the final determination regarding the content of the paper. The editor-in-chief of the Journal World is definitely not a liberal and unless he's dramatically changed his position since then, he wasn't in the 90's, either.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 1 month ago

Wasting time and money watching me, Greenpeace or PETA is not going to secure the nation from Al Qaeda. Watch dog groups are not international terrorists but can be a thorn in the side of corporate america, members of congress and the president especially this one where honesty is anything but the best policy.

Wathdog groups are a valuable resource for keeping our lawmakers and the president honest which is ashame they need assistance in this regard.

The oil companies and the military industrial complex,which Gen. Dwight Eisenhower warned us about, should indeed be among the list of international terrorists.

bohewasp 12 years, 1 month ago

I have a suggestion for Arminius...STOP relying on attacking Clinton as your only argument against the current administration. There are many of us, former Republicans, who never agreed with Clinton's policies and are not moved by your hollow comparisons.

I am no longer a Republican. I am not a Democrat. I am not affiliated with any political party or group. I am an American patriot and a defender of the Constitution. I am your neighbor. We citizens cannot continue our present course of inaction and hope to preserve the country we love. We cannot remain blind, deaf and dumb to the activities of the current administration and allow our civil liberties, the bedrock of this great nation, to be destroyed while we sleep. WAKE UP and reclaim our country. Demand that honesty, integrity, morality and dignity be restored to the American government. Hold fast to the conviction that we are a nation of LAWS and not a nation of MEN. STOP defending a party or a political process and start DEFENDING YOUR COUNTRY AND YOUR CONSTITUTION !!! Whatever our differences may be, whatever fears we endure together, we must insist on a transparent and decent government, one that upholds, defends and protects the Constitution of the United States of America. Without the supremacy of the Constitution, we have nothing on which to stand, no firm foundation from which to claim that we remain, "AMERICA !! THE LAND OF THE FREE AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE." Part 2 of my letter follows in a subsequent post.

wonderhorse 12 years, 1 month ago

"Why don't you guys move back to the Soviet bloc countries you came from"

So Ireland, Scotland, and England were members of the Soviet bloc? I missed that one. Please cite a listing for your information.

"leave America to AMERICANS"

Born and raised in the USA. Fifth generation military. I THINK I'm American, but I might be wrong.

bohewasp 12 years, 1 month ago

Letter to Arminius, cont'd:

Phil Wilke may not be a Constitutional attorney, and I doubt seriously that you are either. However, one doesn't need to have a law degree to understand the basic tenets of FREEDOM as set forth in the Constitution and it's amendments. Might I suggest you reread, supposing you ever have, the Constitution and the Amendments. Pay particular attention to the 1st, 4th and 6th Amendments. Perhaps, you might then see and understand the slippery slope upon which we now perch, with only loud dissent and Providential mercy stopping our freefall into tyranny.

Ask yourself two questions. If the NSA could obtain retroactive warrants from the FISA court, 72 hours to 15 days after the surveillance event, what stopped them from obtaining such warrants? Laziness? Ineptitude? Or fear of revealing who they were spying on?

Also, you appear to be content to let the Bush administration stomp all over the Constitution now, but how will you like it, if God forbid, your worst fear comes to pass, and a Democrat is elected to office along with a Democratically controlled Congress? Are you willing to have these precedents practiced by any and all who succeed Bush in the White House?

One final question - Would we even know Patrick Henry's name today if he had said, "A little liberty is alright with me as long as you give me some protection"? Resoundingly, NO. He would not have earned an honored place in history for such drivel. "Give me liberty or give me death!!" Those are the words that still echo through the hearts and minds of the American people and it is my hope that we will heed their cry before we silently, consumed by boogeyman fears, relinquish our America to the ash heap of history.

From Phil Wilke's sister-in-law

wonderhorse 12 years, 1 month ago

"One final question - Would we even know Patrick Henry's name today if he had said, "A little liberty is alright with me as long as you give me some protection"? Resoundingly, NO. He would not have earned an honored place in history for such drivel. "Give me liberty or give me death!!" Those are the words that still echo through the hearts and minds of the American people and it is my hope that we will heed their cry before we silently, consumed by boogeyman fears, relinquish our America to the ash heap of history."

You go, girl! So let's not ban an individual's right to play loud music in their cars, or shoot off fireworks, or allow smoking in their privately owned business...oh, wait. The city already did all of those things. Sorry.

craigers 12 years, 1 month ago

Usually spying is done on those who have proven to have something to hide. Police have stake-outs to watch people that are suspected of doing criminal acts, so why can't the government spy on those they believe are doing criminal or terrorist acts? Are you guys really afraid of being spyed on? What do you have to hide? I know, I know, it isn't that you have something to hide but it is the principle of the matter. If for some reason somebody is involved in suspicious activity, then why wouldn't we want them spyed on?

bohewasp 12 years, 1 month ago

Well, craigers, how about the following article for a start? You must keep in mind that WHO is doing the spying is a very important factor. What if it was your boss, whose brother is on the local police force, making sure you didn't use a competitor's brand or just making sure you weren't revealing company secrets? Maybe looking for that missing stapler? You might have nothing to hide but how would you feel about that? Indeed, how would you like someone to see and listen to all of your private movements? They might not find that missing stapler but they would certainly find out about you and the hot neighbor woman. Or your finances. Or your plans for a new business. Or your political leanings. We have to be willing to extrapolate these behaviors to their logical conclusions because the 4th amendment applies to all law enforcement agencies. What if these agencies clear the way and are able to use the same surveillance standards as our federal government? Yes, there are certainly cat and mouse games when it comes to law enforcement but what is the alternative? Why don't we throw out the 4th amendment entirely? We could certainly catch more criminals. Everybody could be considered guilty until proven innocent.

What makes you think that the spying is only on suspected "al Qaeda" affiliates? How about journalists? Politicians? Newspaper editors? My political responses to a friend overseas? Maybe we should allow the government to put videos and microphones in all of our homes, just because we have nothing to hide.

The following article clearly demonstrates the strong possibility that the Bush Administration is way, way overstepping the law.

Article posted on subsequent post.

bohewasp 12 years, 1 month ago

NBC's Andrea Mitchell - based on some information she clearly hasn't yet made public - is asking if Bush specifically wiretapped CNN's Christiane Amanpour. The fact that the question was asked so publicly and so specifically means that Mitchell knows something.

Why would Bush do this? Because, as I reported a few weeks ago, journalists have some of the best contacts out there and it's not unusual for journalists to talk to both sides of the story, or in this case, the good guys and the "evil doers." What a better, if not illegal, way to find the terrorists and their associates?

But before you say "yeah, go for it," consider the implications of tapping Christiane Amanpour's phones:

  1. Such a wiretap would likely include her home, office, and cell phones, and email correspondence, at the very least.

  2. That means anyone Christiane has conversed with in the past four years, at least by phone or email, could have had their conversation taped by the US government.

  3. That also means that anyone who uses any of Christiane's telephones or computers (work or home) could also have had their conversation bugged.

  4. This includes Christiane's husband, former Clinton administration senior official Jamie Rubin, who was spokesman for the State Department.

  5. Jamie Rubin was also chief foreign policy adviser to General Wesley Clark's presidential campaign, and then worked as a senior national security adviser to John Kerry's presidential campaign.

  6. Did Jamie Rubin ever use his home phone, his wife's work phone, his wife's cell phone, her home computer or her work computer to communicate with John Kerry or Wesley Clark? If so, those conversations would have been bugged if Bush was tapping Amanpour.

  7. Did Jamie Rubin ever in the past four years communicate with any elected officials in Washington, DC - any Senators or members of the US House? Any senior members of the Democratic party?

  8. Has Rubin spoken with Bill Clinton, his former boss, in the past 4 years?

Now you understand how potentially broad a violation of privacy the Bush doctrine on illegal domestic spying really is. Everyone who's anyone is a degree or two of separation away from a terrorist.

John Aravosis on AmericaBlog

So you see how this works? Our government was never meant to be omnipotent, never meant to be Big Brother.

Ragingbear 12 years, 1 month ago

Every time this argument arises, I cannot help but notice one thing.

Both sides are acting like idiots.

Kookamooka 12 years, 1 month ago

Wiretapping is so NIXONIAN! It's laughable that the Bush administration would even stoop so low. Wait....Cheney and Rumsfeld were on Nixon's payroll. Oh Well, business as usual for the Republican's. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. They are so darn Cute those old paranoid schitzophrenics! The only journalists with the balls to call these guys out are Maureen Dowd and Molly Ivans. You go GIRLS!

meggers 12 years, 1 month ago


As you well know, when one applies to become a CIA operative, they undergo an exhaustive background check, as well as a surveillance of their current activities, in order to elimiate potential spies. It stands to reason that such scrutiny would continue while they are operating on behalf of the federal government. If you can prove to me that Bush has ONLY been conducting surveillance on people with known al qaeda links, I might have a different view. Of course, if he were ONLY doing that, he wouldn't find it necessary to bypass FISA.

Again, the editor-in-chief controls the content of the newspaper and maintains free license to editorialize as he or she sees fit. For that reason, you're ratio analogy is irrelevant. Dolph Simons, Jr. is not a liberal, therefore, the JW is not a liberal newspaper.

You can't blame all of the news you don't like on the publication; sometimes, it's just bad news.

bohewasp 12 years, 1 month ago

rightthinker - I am unclear on the meaning of your comment. Lest there be any confusion as to my political origins, I'll list my qualifications.

I marched against abortion clinics, I attended church regularly, I wanted illegal aliens to magically disappear from our streets, I didn't want my tax dollars going to welfare for those no goods that don't work, I always voted a straight Republican ticket, I couldn't stand family get togethers because my brother-in-law (not Phil) was a democrat, I liked it when we bombed the crap out of other countries, I thought Israel was above reproach, I thought I was better, different and more "blessed" than earth's other inhabitants, I thought America was always benevolent and righteous, I wanted creationism taught in public schools, I thought the world existed for my pleasure, I thought having lots of money was proof of one's worthiness, I thought of the rest of the world's inhabitants (on the rare occasion I thought of them at all) as quaint and unimportant compared to us and I thought the CIA and their technical brilliance was the coolest thing since sliced bread. Pretty solid Republican credentials.

THEN I WOKE UP, from a long political nap, induced by the needs of four children and deepened by a mainstream media that wouldn't know the truth if it arrived special delivery from God himself.

As for Hillary Clinton - she can take a flying leap for all I care. She's an elitist who cares not a whit about the average American. She has had many opportunities to prove her worth to this country and she is a miserable failure in my estimation.

Ember 12 years, 1 month ago

Let's see.

Examples of governmental oversight among the masses without their knowledge.

FDR has already been brought up and beat to death, so no point in rehashing that.

Teddy Roosevelt's direct oversight committee for Mexicans living in the Texas territory shortly after it's induction to the Union.

JBL's admission of anti-war protestors during Vietnam.

Kennedy's acknowledgement of keeping tabs on potential Communists up until his death in Dallas, more so after the Bay of Pigs than before.

McCarthy's Committee of Unamerican Activities having access to private phone conversations and information passed on through any number of letters sent via the Postal Service.

Truman's refusal to allow unmitigated access to anyone of Korean descent to any military base, military funded private business, and the continued surveillance that reached into every household that had a Korean descendant living in it during the Korean War.

Are these enough cases in point for you, or should I dredge up a few more that you seem to have conveinently forgotten in teh course of your zealotous attacks on our current President.

I can find a few more if you'd truly like.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 1 month ago

"Teddy Roosevelt's direct oversight committee for Mexicans living in the Texas territory shortly after it's induction to the Union."

Did he do this in utero, or perhaps when he was just a gleem in his papa's eyes?

bohewasp 12 years, 1 month ago

Arminius - It has been a painful pleasure to listen to your ideological blather triumph over truthful substance. You refuse to address the facts (you still won't answer the FISA question, posed earlier) and you keep portraying me as a "looney liberal", in love with Clinton, thinking if you keep saying it, it will be thought of as true. A true ideologue at work - don't let any facts mess with your obvious agenda.

"You, Phil Wilke and other looney liberals who complain about Bush would eagerly vote for Clinton again if he could run for president, even though we know about the Filegate, we know Clinton's policies vis-a-vis Iraq ultimately led to 9/11, and we know Clinton claimed Iraq had WMD, had a cooperative relationship with al Qaeda, and was a threat to the U.S."


Now you can pen another missive accusing me of supporting Clinton, even though the facts don't match your claim.

As for history, you tremendously cultured ideologue, we barbarians of the bourgeoisie have a great love and respect for history and it's lessons. This country is in this current predicament precisely because history is being ignored and counted as dung. You are content with the history of the past few years and I say we need to look at the early history of this country. We need to understand, to the very core of our being, the Constitution and what lessons, gleaned from the history of the known world, were consulted to bring forth such a unique and enduring document. Only with this knowledge will the people see that it is worthy of saving, by any means.
What I object to is your use of history as a means of defense for current wrongdoings.

Ember, everything you listed may be factual. The problem is that unlawful conduct has occurred in the past and the envelope keeps getting pushed to greater limits. During those past times, there were great voices of dissent, demanding that the conduct be stopped. I shudder to think of this country without the tempering effect of sound and passionate dissent. It is the nature of power and money that causes those in authority to think they are above the law, higher than us mortals. It is our job, as citizens of a great Republic, to haul them back to reality and accountability. Do not shirk your responsibility to your country. Your service is needed.

bohewasp 12 years, 1 month ago

Arminius, There is nothing legal about bypassing the FISA court in order to spy on American citizens. I ask you again:

If the NSA could obtain retroactive warrants from the FISA court, 72 hours to 15 days after the surveillance event, what stopped them from obtaining such warrants? Laziness? Ineptitude? Or fear of revealing who they were spying on?

Why are you afraid to address this question?

When you took your military oath, you promised to defend the Constitution. I guess you feel no need to do that any longer. As for your degrees in PoliSci - it's a shame they didn't serve you better.

meggers 12 years, 1 month ago


"Here's a novel idea: Since you're claiming Bush conducted surveillance on people without al Qaeda links, how about you provide proof that he actually did so."

You know, I'd be more than happy to let FISA sort that out. Perhaps Bush should allow them to do their job.

"I have no problem with news, good or bad. I do, however, have problems with editorial content being provided as objective reporting. We see this when the reporting implies that Bush broke the law but fails to mention that Clinton and Carter did the same thing."

Clinton and Carter utilized the FISA court to obtain warrants. No one is saying Bush can't conduct domestic surveillance on suspected terror threats- it just needs to be done within the confines of the law.

"We're also seeing this with the Abramoff case, which is being presented as a GOP scandal by the media. Top Democrats such as Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi also received money from Abramoff and/or his clients."

Actually, from my perspective, the media is trying to spin it as a bi-partisan scandal, which is a gross distortion of the facts. There is no and/or about it. A few democrats received donations from Abramoff's CLIENTS, some of whom had been contributing these same legislators even before Abramoff entered the picture. I have yet to see documentation of a democrat taking money or receiving gifts from Abramoff. Yet at this point, four republicans have pled guilty to crimes related to the Abramoff conspiracy, two republicans are officially named as being under investigation for their involvement, and a handful of other republican names are floating around out there as 'persons of interest'.

The few dems that received donations from mutual clients of Abramoff's will be fine, unless new information comes to light that shows complicity. The overall scandal itself is incredibly far-reaching and has the potential to shake the republican party to it's core. The only thing that might help your party to some degree is that the indictments will most likely be handed down AFTER the elections later this year. In any case, I find it a bit odd that as a republican, you would point to such massive corruption at the hands of republicans, in an effort to further the "liberal media bias" mantra.

Incidentally, for the past two nights, CSPAN aired the Senate hearings regarding the tribal deals and has had some guests on explaining the scope and nuances of the scandal. I don't know if there will be more on tonight, but I'm sure they'll air more coverage as the story continues to unfold. It's all really quite shocking.


meggers 12 years, 1 month ago


Arminius: "And, yes, the J-W does engaged in editorializing on its news pages. For example, on at least two occasions it has ignored the AP Stylebook and used "anti-choice" instead of "anti-abortion" in its news stories."

Oh, for shame! I don't have my AP Stylebook with me at the moment, but that seems like it would be an easy mistake to make, as the pro-choice folks are called, well, "pro-choice". It makes sense to address those with a counter-view as "anti-choice". And face it, the "anti-abortion" folks actually ARE "anti-choice" in terms of reproductive rights.

"Dolph Jr. may not be a liberal, but liberals such as Wilke were and are on the J-W's news staff. Let's also keep in mind that a liberal Democrat serves as editorial page editor."

Dolph, Jr. is a conservative and he makes the final decisions concerning the content of his newspaper. BTW, where did you get the info about a liberal democrat serving as editorial page editor?

"A recent editorial attacked conservative Republicans and praised liberal Republicans such as Dick Bond and Mark Buhler (both of whom, BTW, are currently unelectable).

I found the editorial it looks like you are referring to:

First, neither Bond nor Buhler were described as "liberal" republicans. Instead, they were referred to as "moderates" and "traditionalists". Also, if you re-read the article, the author doesn't "praise" Bond and Buhler. Instead, the author seems to be both lamenting the fact that such a divide exists within the state republican party, and worried that the creation of the new coalition will further divide the party. That hardly qualifies as praise.

bohewasp 12 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

meggers 12 years, 1 month ago


"Not true. The executive orders both Carter and Clinton signed authorized "warrantless" surveillance."

You're not telling the whole story. This is what Clinton signed:

Section 1. Pursuant to section 302(a)(1) [50 U.S.C. 1822(a)] of the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance] Act, the Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order, to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year, if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that section.

This is what Section 1822(a) of FISA requires:

¢ the "physical search is solely directed at premises, information, material, or property used exclusively by, or under the open and exclusive control of, a foreign power or powers." ¢ and there is "no substantial likelihood that the physical search will involve the premises, information, material, or property of a United States person."

In other words, the AG can't search US CITIZENS without a court order.

This is what Carter signed:

1-101. Pursuant to Section 102(a)(1) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1802(a)), the Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order, but only if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that Section.

Again, note the "Pursuant to 102(a)(1) of the FISA... (50 U.S.C. 1802(a)..."

This is what section 1802(a) requires:

¢ the electronic surveillance is solely directed at communications exclusively between or among foreign powers.

¢ there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party.

Again, the stipulation is that electronic surveillance without a court order can ONLY be conducted on foreign entities, NOT on US citizens.


meggers 12 years, 1 month ago

Regarding Abramoff: The Drudge-like news site you posted grouped receiving funds directly from Abramoff with receiving funds from clients of Abramoff and Indian tribes. To my knowledge, no democrats have been identified as having taken contributions directly from Abramoff. Maybe that will change, as there is quite a money trail that goes in many directions, but so far, I haven't seen it reported by any reputable news source. It's my understanding that the democrats that have been identified as "involved" simply received contributions from some of Abramoff's clients. I think it will be quite some time before we know the full scope of this scandal, but from the way it looks now, it's definitely a republican problem. Makes sense, since Abramoff is a far-right republican who teamed up with Delay to make Washington as red as possible.

I have no desire to debate abortion with you, only to say that there are few, if any, people who are "pro-abortion". If you're disgruntled with the paper for not printing a correction, email or write them about it. Personally, I think it's ludicrous that they continue to publish Dobson's "Focus on the Family" crap. Maybe I'll write them about that one, myself. Regardless, I'm still wondering where you found the information about Ann Gardner being editorial page editor. Is there a link for that on this site? I tried the 'About us' link and didn't see it, but maybe it's elsewhere. I'm especially curious to know who pens the J-W Editorials on 2B I'm pretty confident that it isn't a democrat.

I actually see a pretty fair balance between the conservative and moderate to left viewpoints on the editorial page. Notwithstanding the debacle of the Bush administration, ANY incumbent administration is going to receive more editorial criticism, simply because they are in power and making policy decisions.

And yes, I do know what an editorial is. Here's how American Heritage defines it: An ARTICLE in a publication expressing the opinion of its editors or publishers. So you see? We are both correct.

I still didn't view the artic-- oops, EDITORIAL as chock full of praise for Buhler and Bond. The writer still seemed more concerned about the group making the friction within the republican party worse than it already is.

meggers 12 years, 1 month ago


Neither order nullified Section 1803(a)(2), which requires that the Attorney General report to Congress (specifically, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees) about whether any American citizens were involved, what minimization procedures were undertaken to avoid it and protect their identities, and whether his actions comply with the law.

And Carter's order specifically states that "Any monitoring which constitutes electronic surveillance as defined in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 shall be conducted in accordance with that Act as well as this Order"

FISA protects US citizens from being spied upon by their government. If spying is to occur and a US citizen is the target, a FISA warrant must be issued. This can be done within 72 hours retroactively, or within 15 days during a time of war.

Again, why has Bush been spying on US citizens without obtaining a FISA warrant? It's a simple question and it deserves a response.

Legislators who received donations from interests that Abramoff was affiliated with are a non-issue in this debacle. That would be like saying that if you donate to the Red Cross and I do, too, the Red Cross would somehow be complicit if you or I used illegal means to obtain the funds that were donated. Many of the Indian reservations donated to the legislators representing their respective states, because these legislators represented their interests and voted accordingly. Abramoff, on the other hand, took their money and funneled it into the pocketbooks of a myriad of people, including foreign militants. Big difference.

Editorially speaking, some of the people you mentioned wouldn't be considered "liberal" by most definitions. I tend to think that you use that term quite loosely. I don't have much time tonight, but I'll try to make it a point to post links to some of the more moderate and conservative editorials when I have more time to spare.

Thanks for the tip about the masthead, however it still doesn't indicate who actually writes the 2B editorial. Simons writes the commentary on Saturdays, but many of the daily editorials seem to reflect his stated political views- and they certainly don't reflect the views of most democrats I know.

Godot 12 years, 1 month ago

Merill, you charge, with certitude, that the NSA is monitoring your communications. So, give it up, homey. With whom in the Al Qaeda network are you communicating? Hmmmmm?

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