Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 02, 2007

Dems Agree to More Surveilance

Regarding the Democrats' willingness to again cave in under recess time pressure and to give Bush more unsupervised surveillance power:

Congressional Democrats outlined a temporary plan yesterday that would expand the government's authority to conduct electronic surveillance of overseas communications in search of terrorists.

Digby asks:

What are they afraid of, that the Bush administration will blame them if a terrorist attack occurs and they didn't approve another blank check? Guess what? It wouldn't matter if the Democrats named Bush king with the power to draw and quarter hippies and Muslims on the white house lawn, they will still blame the Democrats if there is another terrorist attack.

That is obvious. So why do the Democrats cave in and why do they not meet any Bush demand with an all out serious demand of disclosure?

The simple answer is that they don't want any. I am afraid the real answer is worse ...

Posted by b on August 2, 2007 at 18:34 UTC | Permalink


"The simple answer is that they don't want any. I am afraid the real answer is worse ..."

can you spell out your real answer for me? i'm afraid of what my own judgement tells me.

Posted by: selise | Aug 2 2007 19:18 utc | 1

I'm afraid the real answer is much, much worse. The difference between Dems and Repubs is like that between a rabbit and a hare. Pretty much none, and both can mate with one another.

Both Ds and Rs are in the business of expanding government power. Both are entirely dependent on big money contributors. Both offer the pretense of working for the public interest. Neither actually do. Both give their complete backing to right wing of Israeli politics. Most importantly, both are on board for the expansion of imperial power; they differ only on means to the end, and even in that not by much.

The greatest risk to American democracy (such as it is) is that so many are still under the impression that the Democrats actually intend o save them.

Posted by: Lysander | Aug 2 2007 21:03 utc | 2

Please share with us your vision of the real reason. I am afraid that my guess is too crazy to write here --- I wonder if you might think the same.

Posted by: bucky | Aug 2 2007 21:25 utc | 3

here's one view, "The Threat of U.S. Fascism: An Historical Precedent" by Alan Nasser

Posted by: selise | Aug 2 2007 21:38 utc | 4

Spell it out, eh?

Paul Craig Roberts spells rather well in his front page post over at

Counterpunch -- Return of the Robber Barons

To wit:

"Never before in our history has the elite had such control over the government. To run for national office requires many millions of dollars, the raising of which puts “our” elected representatives and “our” president himself at the beck and call of the few moneyed interests that financed the campaigns."

Our government of, by and for the economic elite is guiding their privately held nation into its post-Empire status quo, which shall be economic slavery for 90% of us, House Nigger and Technocrat status for three-quarters of the rest, and nobility and wealth beyond any current standards for two or three million Owners of the Ownership Society.

Ninety percent field hands is a high margin to deal with, for which purpose an Overseer class is needed. Nowadays, that means Total Information Awareness, and total economic tracking and control of every worker. Keeping the field hands in line is what surveillance is needed for.

If the Dems and GOP are in a big hurry to get surveillance tighter --- right damn now, before the weekend -- it is because they know a storm is rising.

Posted by: Antifa | Aug 2 2007 21:50 utc | 5

have to agree with Antifa

with the additional note that the Dems have no problem making the Presidency into a Kingship, since they hope to inherit it in 2008. if Bush's approval ratings were above 35 then I suspect the Dems would be more nervous about the regalising of the executive branch. the powers that the Bush/Cheney regime are arrogating to the executive branch will come in just as handy for Ms Clinton or Mr Obama or whatever corporate bossman/woman is installed next.

Posted by: DeAnander | Aug 3 2007 0:18 utc | 6

The democrats and republicans are opposite sides of the same coin and the people, though they make up most of the coin, are squeezed in between.

Life is tough on the edges.

We need more than two parties.

Posted by: Mark G | Aug 3 2007 0:53 utc | 7

Damn guys, don't tell hopping mad bunny...

I'm reminded of systems thinking and organizational change theory.
From my own comment some year or so ago...

After all, watching the kelptocrat's both repub and demo fleece our nation for the last thirty years continually, stratify and compartmentalizing us against each other and ourselves watching the demo move further and further to the right while the right move even futher, where the system is starting to eat itself. Which is a classic symptom of a closed society. Open systems are frequently capable of change and resist entropy. They can be said to practice creative self-destruction. open systems which is what we certainly haven't had in a long time, are neglected until the system breaks-down or discentagrates. Trying to change a system (like our political system) by changing its content is called First Order Change. In this case, people try to change what an individual element does, try to reorganize a specific organization, or change the people who work for an organization. These types of change alter only the look of the system, not its actual behavior. It is called "rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic." However you arrange the chairs, the ship will still sink.

Homeostasis is an unconscious process by which systems seek to maintain the status quote. All elements within the system interact to keep the system from changing. Any effort toward system change will result in homeostatic responses from within the system to block the change.Which is what I feel is the left/right Bush/Kerry Bush/Gore Bush/whomever binary logic. Most system change strategies tend to fail because they do not address the interactions within the system. When a change effort fails, (which it has again and again)the most common response is to try the same (or the same type) of strategy again. A forever feed-back loop that stagnates and falls anyway.

To understand a system, study its content, to change a system study its context. I feel what the good intentions of the progressives and open minded people here at the bar and elsewhere seem to get caught up in is study of content and not it's context. How long must we play this lessor of two evils game? And w/diebold does it even matter?

As DeAnander said years ago, systems theory suggests that when a system repeatedly produces the same result, eventually after N trials we should entertain the suspicion that this is exactly the result it was designed to produce.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 3 2007 1:26 utc | 8

American Serfs [PDF]
Inside the white ghetto of the working poor
Joe Bageant

A six-page excerpt from Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War

My next door neighbor swears the Dems use to be 'for the working man'...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 3 2007 2:18 utc | 9;sid=2007/8/2/213059/7800>A Very American Coup (Almost)

sometimes I think the only texts you need for a graduate class in Poli Sci are by Mario Puzo...

Posted by: DeAnander | Aug 3 2007 2:22 utc | 10

Must Pass Patriot Act! -STOP- Threaten Congress With Antrax. -STOP-

Must Pass Kill-FISA-Law. -STOP- Threaten Congress With Al-Qaeda -STOP-

Capitol Police officials have stepped up the department’s security presence on Capitol Hill in response to intelligence indicating the increased possibility of an al-Qaida terrorist attack on Congress sometime between now and Sept. 11.

The August-to-Sept. 11 time frame was confirmed by a Capitol Police source who said Congressional security officials were recently made aware of the potential threat by federal anti-terrorism authorities. The Capitol Police department has a liaison from the Homeland Security Department working in its Capitol Hill command center.

Posted by: b | Aug 3 2007 5:00 utc | 11

The reason to "FIX FISA NOW" the administration says is that parts of what they are doing were declared illegal by the FISA court.

But that judgement came down month ago. Why did the administration wait until a few days before recess to press for a change in the FISA law?

Folks this stinks and Feingold seems to be the only one with some backbone against this.

Ruling Limited Spying Efforts

A federal intelligence court judge earlier this year secretly declared a key element of the Bush administration's wiretapping efforts illegal, according to a lawmaker and government sources, providing a previously unstated rationale for fevered efforts by congressional lawmakers this week to expand the president's spying powers.

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) disclosed elements of the court's decision in remarks Tuesday to Fox News as he was promoting the administration-backed wiretapping legislation. Boehner has denied revealing classified information, but two government officials privy to the details confirmed that his remarks concerned classified information.

The judge, whose name could not be learned, concluded early this year that the government had overstepped its authority in attempting to broadly surveil communications between two locations overseas that are passed through routing stations in the United States, according to two other government sources familiar with the decision.

The judgement is secret. Who declassified (certainly selective) this for Boehner to talk about?
Under the new plan, the attorney general would have sole authority to authorize the warrantless surveillance of people "reasonably believed to be outside the United States" and to compel telecommunications carriers to turn over the information in real time or after it has been stored.

An unstated facet of the program is that anyone the foreigner is calling inside the United States, as long as that person is not the primary target, would also be wiretapped.

Posted by: b | Aug 3 2007 5:19 utc | 12

NYT top editorial today gets it: Stampeding Congress, Again

Yet, once again, President Bush has been trying to stampede Congress into a completely unnecessary expansion of his power to spy on Americans. And, hard as it is to believe, Congressional Republicans seem bent on collaborating, while Democrats (who can still be cowed by the White House’s with-us-or-against-us baiting) aren’t doing enough to stop it.
Instead of asking Congress to address this anachronism, as it should, the White House sought to use it to destroy the 1978 spying law. It proposed giving the attorney general carte blanche to order eavesdropping on any international telephone calls or e-mail messages if he decided on his own that there was a “reasonable belief” that the target of the surveillance was outside the United States. The attorney general’s decision would not be subject to court approval or any supervision.

The White House, of course, insisted that Congress must do this right away, before the August recess that begins on Monday — the same false urgency it used to manipulate Congress into passing the Patriot Act without reading it and approving the appalling Military Commissions Act of 2006.
The administration and its Republican supporters in Congress argue that American intelligence is blinded by FISA and have seized on neatly timed warnings of heightened terrorist activity to scare everyone. It is vital for Americans, especially lawmakers, to resist that argument. It is pure propaganda.

Posted by: b | Aug 3 2007 5:40 utc | 13

I watched a PBS debate tonight between the ranking Dem and the ranking rethug on the house intelligence committee (I think) one was a senator and one was a congressman so it was the big committee selected from both houses. The subject was the negotiations for this bill and if I seem a little vague about who was who it is because as an outsider or as they referred to the other 95% of the planet, a foreigner, I found it impossible to tell the difference betwixt the two.

There was a mob of flattery and mutual back scratching, absolutely no adverse rial debate as each attempted to demonstrate they were getting along.

The reasons are boringly obvious namely if something goes wrong and there is a terra incident in amerika in the next little while no one will be able to blame the pols for putting partisan-ism before security.

This 'debate' was so awful I was almost tempted to start going with The Incredible BushCo's Gonna Bomb Amerika Conspiracy Meme. However apart from the childlike eagerness of the dems to 'out nigger' the conservatives on security for the Global War on Terror, the usual obstacles to that being a possible scenario remained.

So why this unseemly buddying up to perversion?

Any prospective Dem voter must be wary of the subtext to this bi-partisan cosiness.

The only time adversarial parliaments (and whatever you choose to call it in amerika, both houses work on the parliamentary adversarial system) get all buddy-buddy is in times of extreme ongoing national emergency eg war. Coalition governments made up from the two major parties, ruled throughout WW2 in England and most of the former colonies whose legislative model was like England's eg Australia and NZ.

3000 dead at the hands of a rag tag band of loonies and naifs over 5 years ago isn't an extreme ongoing national emergency.

If the dems are so peaceful why the fuck are they going along with this perpetual war thingy? It is destructive, dangerous and debilitating for the government. The adversarial system of loyal opposition doesn't work if there is no advocate for the other point of view. Poorly thought through and undebated legislation is passed in an orgy of backslapping bullshit pretend camaraderie.

One of the reasons I am a reluctant contributor at MoA nowadays is that after a while most post become repetition.

Amerikan exceptionalism is one such oft repeated topic, even so I do feel a need to comment on this aberration once more, it so ubiquitous that it slips past many amerikans un-noticed.

One issue both pols firmly and continually agreed upon was communications from one foreigner to another foreigner should be completely unprotected. That there should be no restraint on intercepting, eavesdropping or sabotaging them, no matter the circumstance.

Now - many amerikans may agree. However if they do I reckon they have lost the plot. I doubt when amerika was founded with constitutional protections for citizens, the blokes writing the constitution ever intended those protections for US citizens should be turned around to create non-citizen unpersons. Hell as far as I can discern they wanted to make as many foreigners (Europeans only it is true)as possible into US citizens.

This continual harping on that foreigners are lesser, untermensch combined with the intimations of war pouring out of Washington are designed to perpetuate the state of continuous war Orwell wrote about. The dems commitment to that process re-affirms that their mealy-mouthed evasions on what a withdrawal from Iraq really means are nothing more than smoke blown up voters asses to allow much more of the same war-mongering, empire building and re-affirmation of a small elite controlling and harvesting the rest of amerika's residents. Citizen and non-citizen alike.

This is no political ploy to win power that they will cast aside on election. Despite all the doubting and fears I see expressed here, any objective analysis must come to the conclusion that the dems will bolt home in '08.

The only way they could lose if it is a straight rethug v dem contest would be if dem voters appalled at the lack of discernible difference didn't get around to voting. But the dem strategists aren't silly they will have a few tricks to turn out the vote.

So given that this snuggle up to the right can only alienate voters, why the fuck is it happening?

You'd have to reckon they are looking past the ballot; so that no one can truthfully call them liars during the early 09 shock horror which those voters who weren't paying attention must endure when the dems have their crack at absolute power.

There is only one strategy that I can see would stuff it up for the bullshitting "democrats". That is if there is a strong enough alternative from the left to drain away those voters the dems take for granted. Maybe even take a seat or two offa the pricks.

Defeat when they had a lay down misere for a win, must force a change in tactics. Never forget that these guys rate being in power ahead of everything else.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Aug 3 2007 10:50 utc | 14

Uncle $cam @8 and all,

I have pretty well finished a post in response to Parvis on other threads. Parvis emphasizes the superiority of Iran and its people over that of other Middle Eastern nations – superior in all respects, for all time. Writing a response to Parvis is the most time I have spent on any post and though it is still not quite finished, I now find my response is overdone, especially in criticism. For that reason, I will probably just send it to him in private. Too often I have been too impolite in my criticism of posters, sarcasm included. And with Parvis as an example, there is plenty of room for praise, which I also included in my long response.

Meeting other Moon of Alabama posters like our gracious host allowed us to do in Hamburg was a positive experience. It definitely places a damper on unfairly taking out my frustrations for what I consider ”a stupid world”, at least on those posters who I now know more closely. In that respect, although not on any face-to-face discussion, I did have a one-time private email exchange with hopping mad bunny and found her to be a very sensitive and positive person.

Uncle, my disdain for the Democratic Party elite is without question. I am sure many of us here have the same disdain. I don’t know about hopping mad bunny in that respect, but she may not be as enamored as you think. Again, I don’t know. Criticism many times leads us into a debate where we all learn something… but at the very least I ask that if any of us criticize a person’s thinking, please include a link to the original thread/post or at least a gist of what they posted. I try to read every post here at MoA but sometimes time does not permit. Like wise, my memory is not as good as it once was, so any small help in background issues is appreciated.

Posted by: Rick | Aug 3 2007 12:05 utc | 15

Debs is Dead @14

Debs: I doubt when amerika was founded with constitutional protections for citizens, the blokes writing the constitution ever intended those protections for US citizens should be turned around to create non-citizen unpersons.

You make an excellent point. So often we Americans hear from the Bush administration that the Constitution does not grant foreigners any rights. This is worse than crap. Americans’ rights do not stem from the Constitution, our rights are inalienable, and the Constitution is there to protect and secure our rights.

Debs: ”3000 dead at the hands of a rag tag band of loonies and naifs over 5 years ago is not an extreme national emergency”

I take a little exception to your simplification of terrorism and 911. I believe that terrorism is a serious issue for all countries. (Fauxreal had a good post on this sometime ago, but I don’t have the link.) This is not to say that it couldn’t have been handled by cooperative law enforcement, although Osama Bin Laden appears to have been protected by not only the Taliban, but maybe by some in the Bush Administration also at the request of the Saudi Bin Laden family. In my opinion, the situation regarding terrorism is now worse with the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. Ironically, Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan have become little different, except for their command and ability in massive destructive power, than the terrorists from any part of the world. There is an American national emergency now without a doubt, and things have to change.

Posted by: Rick | Aug 3 2007 13:13 utc | 16

Rick, you're overlooking 2 things re "terrorism", bin laden & 911. Sec of State Powell said he'd release a report showing conclusively that binny DID 911. Further, the Taliban said that if the US could provide evidence that he was responsible, they would turn him over to a country in which he could get a fair trial. No evidence has ever been provided to the Taliban, nor did Powell ever release promised report.

Posted by: jj | Aug 3 2007 16:21 utc | 17

Clicking around to see who supported Dems/Reps through contributions, as declared political affiliation, scores from previous votes, outcome of votes, and polls, mean little or nothing, on Open secrets org, it appears that those who support Dems and don’t contrib to Repubs. are massively LABOR (that is a category used in the breakdown) plus somewhat marginally, ‘lawyer and lobbyists’, and ‘communications and electronics’.

All the other sectors defined; construction, defense, energy, finance and real estate, transport, agri, etc. contribute massively more to Repubs. than to Dems. There are some interesting historical trends, notably the switch over for the HEALTH category:>open secrets

In short, anyone who hopes to make out like a bandit by selling or coercing or dominating others, gives to Repubs. *By definition those who give have money to spare!*

The losers are those who get money from LABOR, they know it, others around them know it, so they give Dems a little space to sound off, some pretense has to be kept up. Workers are the dominated manipulated cogs in the machine, and the whole is just an institutionalized rapacious system.

The Dems manage to keep legitimacy through that support, an implicit threat, as they do, potentially, have the clout and power to close the system down.

However they won’t or can’t do that, either as individuals who want to keep their MacMansions, maids, kudos, be part of the top class, feeding on the ersatz voices, or for other, supposedly ‘strategic’ reasons.

Posted by: Noirette | Aug 3 2007 18:15 utc | 18

@Rick I realised as I wrote it some may take exception to my characterization of 911. When it happened it was an appalling act of murder, but looked at in the context of other preventable deaths such as road accidents, death by handgun etc, the numbers of dead and injured resulting from 911 as awful as they are for their victims and families, really don't amount to an extreme ongoing national emergency.

There has been a sort of collective amnesia about civilian bombing, as if this was a new horror introduced by the evil arab. I spent the evening watching a collection of three BBC documentaries made in 1990 when the Beeb wasn't so much of a tool of the corporate world. The documentaries covered the Gladio network set up in Europe by USuk after WW2 using the Nazi and facist police and officials who were running scared.

These so-called 'stay behind' networks ostensibly created to form the seeds of resistence if those commies took over, quickly graduated from that into acts of terror designed to cow the population into accepting authoritarian rule. The documentary was made entirely from interviews with these by now aged and repentant (mostly - some of the CIA case officers hid their faces and tried to put a positive spin on things) and had no narration just the voices of the murderers talking. A show stopper.

August 1980 when a bomb set at Bologna Railway Station murdered 65 people, the Gladio network was still at it murdering citizens to blame it on 'leftists' and create the police state needed to ensure those leftists never won power in a fair election.

The terror continued up until 1990 when the collapse of the Soviet Union that collapse removed the obvious need and combined with Mafia PM Giulio Andreotti's open admission of the existence of the network which created a scandal the Gladio network 'died'.

By that time both the Mafia and the Gladio network had become pretty damn dysfunctional, I don't know why Andreotti decided to fess up, but they got him back for it. LoL

I mention that network only because it was at the forefront of my conscious this morning, there have always been acts of terror against civilian populations and the response from governments is rarely aimed at stopping the terror. The murders are exploited to gain control of society in ways citizens would not otherwise permit.

The response to 911 has been over the top, designed to induce more attacks on civilians not less. The fact is that there have been very few attacks on xtian western populations by foreign terrorists since then. Both the Madrid and the London attacks were committed by Spanish and English bombers respectively.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Aug 3 2007 22:56 utc | 19


gladio was just one of the cards that mafia vassal had in his pack - & i'd say the pack is not empty because he has escaped imprisonement because he still holds them

in all the cases involving andreotti in rome, sicily & in milan - the evidence was introcovertible - & yet the devil still walks on the mud of his people

perhaps the punishment for this puppet is to be away from the seats of power & a little bit of this punishment is apparent when you see him on rai television being nothing more than some historical cabaret act

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 3 2007 23:17 utc | 20

incontravertible is what i meant - i think. at this moment being so far yet so close to lanhuage(s) sometimes i think i don't know any

yet it is a paradox of my near fatal heart attack & current situation that i am reading more not less & in a number of languages - normally that hunger for 'knowing' i can understand, after all, it is what i teach, in part - but when there is the shadow of futility looking over yr shoulder - it possesses another quality, perhaps a ridiculous one

knowing you have been beside illness i was wondering how you deal with that

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 3 2007 23:23 utc | 21

@DiD and not to forget Gehlen Org.

what a legacy of "freedom" those Anglo/Amurkan "liberators" left behind them.

Posted by: DeAnander | Aug 3 2007 23:37 utc | 22

@giap When I was really sick I put myself into denial and dealt with life on a day to day framework rather than a long term one, but of course I couldn't escape the feeling of futility, the awfulness of unknowing. If I know I'm going to die on Thursday the nth of June then I can commit one final act that I wouldn't otherwise do as it's consequences are too drastic.

Since we never know that and anyway in reality are far too sick to actually go and tear some mass-murderers head off we are left in a state of frustration at things undone. Well that was how I felt at the time. I guess having the kids around made that time easier as we can hope that our uncompleted ambitions will be picked up by them.

the rest I dunno. I found I couldn't read much at all - the chemo was making me too nauseous to read and when I wasn't feeling ill my concentration had gone, I was distracted by so much where to start.

now I have been pronounced 'fixed' it is even stranger as those months that I parked everything put me into a frame where I despair at words replacing actions but can't settle on effective actions. It gets better though because the spirit heals as the body does.

Certainly the quest of knowledge for knowledge's sake seems rather pointless if the organism that possesses that knowledge withers before using it.

In many ways parenting is just teaching with an extra-personalised dimension so the best suggestion I can make is that rather than confining consideration of the benefits of your knowledge acquisition to your own consciousness expand it out so that you also consider the effect that using or passing that knowledge on has had on your students and all the others around you.

We got a phone call from one of my daughter's teachers last night, something that rarely if ever happens. She had handed in her media studies assignment the day before and it was important to get a pass (there are no marks here now in state asessments only achieved or not achieved competencies) We were worried as she had to do the short film pretty much on her own. I had showed her how to work the camera and set up the video editing and sound dubbing software on her puta but stayed right away from any assistance.

Mean eh? Not really because despite the fact when I watched it I could only see ways I would have done it differently but managed to stay quiet, the teach was calling to say how great the vid was.

I'm not tryin to boast (well not much we can be far more immodest about our offspring than we could ever be about ourselves) but to say that the futility exists only in our minds. Every interaction we have with those around us that results in assisting an outcome for them eradicates the concept of the worthlessness of knowledge.

R'Giap we all learn a great deal from the knowledge you pass on to us here as I'm sure that your students did and will again - so please allow that at least in part some of the feelings you have are a symptom of the illness and that they will recede as your body heals. And finally are you still at the same email?

Posted by: Debs is dead | Aug 4 2007 2:07 utc | 23

So glad you're both with us. Really. We are richer for it.

Posted by: beq | Aug 4 2007 3:04 utc | 24

Debs & r'giap,

The knowledge that both of you bring to us here at MoA, your children, your students and/or your friends is never futile.
Actions, if not from yourselves, may come from others because of your knowledge - but really, I don't see withering from either of you. I am happy to see both you guys back here at MoA.

Posted by: Rick | Aug 4 2007 3:08 utc | 25

Debs @19:

I basically agree with what you say, I'm just saying that terrorism was and continues to be a real serious problem, both before and after 911.

As you pointed out well with your example of the Gladio Network, terrorism comes in many forms, and 911 is just one example. For another example, and outside the Western and Middle Eastern World, kidnappings in the Philippines have been out of control for as long as I can remember, many years before 911. Kidnappings are so common that international business elite and other wealthy persons usually have insurance just for such events. And this is not unique to the Philippines. Professionals hired by large insurance companies handle investigations, negotiations and payoffs. These things are usually kept away from any media attention. Former Mayor Giuliani in New York now runs a large international security firm, has many wealthy clients (especially in the Middle East), and probably makes a ton of money. Terrorism is serious business in both the corporate and government sectors of all nations.

And the U.S./Iraq fiasco now has allowed others to "justify terrorism" even more, especially people in the Middle East and Muslim world, many who normally would not have considered terrorist acts as a political method. As I noted before, it is ironic and sad that 911 seemed to allow Americans to turn a blind eye to the atrocities (and terrorism) that the U.S. has and continues to cause upon the Iraqi people. Naturally all of this will spawn more terrorism. The years of placing military bases in Saudi Arabia and other areas of the Middle East spawned terrorism acts against the U.S. even before 911. But this current U.S. administration has to be the dumbest and the worst administration in our history. I see things getting so much worse as far as terrorism acts. It may not have been a U.S. national concern before, but realistically, it now should be a national concern, not only for the U.S., but also for all nations.

Posted by: Rick | Aug 4 2007 3:11 utc | 26

Drinks for Did and R'gaip two of my most fav posters! Hell, round for the house!

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 4 2007 3:59 utc | 27

Senate votes to expand eavesdropping power
Bill matches what Bush requested; Democratic version fails in House

The Senate, in a high-stakes showdown over national security, voted late Friday to temporarily give President Bush expanded authority to eavesdrop on suspected foreign terrorists without court warrants.

The House, meanwhile, rejected a Democratic version of the bill.

Democratic leaders there were working on a plan to bring up the Senate-passed measure and vote on it Saturday in response to Bush's demand that Congress give him expanded powers before leaving for vacation this weekend.
Senate Democrats reluctantly voted for a plan largely crafted by the White House after Bush promised to veto a stricter proposal that would have required a court review to begin within 10 days.

The ONLY reasonable explanation I can come up with: The know something will happen and don't want to get blamed for it.

But I don't think that's the case. That leaves the un-reasonable explanations ...

Posted by: b | Aug 4 2007 5:38 utc | 28

Hmm - Digby

I have the niggling feeling that there has been some pretty heavy cocktail and bar-b-que chatter in the capital this summer with the elders warning everyone that something is afoot, but they can't talk about the details. Suddenly the villagers are all acting like nervous cats on a hot tin roof and dancing around like it's the hot summer of 2002 again for no discernable rason.

Posted by: b | Aug 4 2007 8:24 utc | 29

Antifa’s posts are great. I disagree with this though: If the Dems and GOP are in a big hurry to get surveillance tighter --- right damn now, before the weekend -- it is because they know a storm is rising.

These small incremental steps forward towards a perfectly controlled security/police state began under Clinton (if not before, I don’t remember) and have been relentless in their progression, almost scripted, and thus very predictable. For ex. about a year ago here, it was bruited about -unbased on any fact that I could discern- that the US would instore a 48 hour rule, i.e. foreignors entering the US have to announce their intention 48 hours in advance. That is now done. The move was predicted, no doubt because it was understood that the EU could/would not refuse such a demand. At the same time, visa waiver was extended to many other countries. (Visits and tourism to the US have dropped drastically since 01.) So, there is shuffling about, contradictions, etc.

..Nothing new under the sun, it is all BAO (business as usual.) Reviving the AlQ bogey man is also a tick when things are not going well - it is also, or perhaps mainly, a simili - threat to Democrats. The surveillance itself is of course ineffective, the data is not interpreted / used (or so infrequently you’d figure the old CIA/FBI could have done a better job; nowadays a few teens with computers might be the best) - it is the idea of it that counts (fear) and the slow poison one needs to instill to divide communities. Needless to say, terrorists are *not* the target.

Posted by: Noirette | Aug 4 2007 16:12 utc | 30

(Err, I meant BAU.)

Each small or big act counts. One needs to be still steel till the end. The end itself is unknowable.

It is very hard to loose health and autonomy, to face a curtailed future.

Nobility of spirit is unquenchable.

So best ignore it all, I figured.

Posted by: Noirette | Aug 4 2007 16:28 utc | 31

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