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Monthly Archives: September 2010

Glad we have that sorted out.

WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.

Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

The bill, which the Obama administration plans to submit to lawmakers next year, raises fresh questions about how to balance security needs with protecting privacy and fostering innovation. And because security services around the world face the same problem, it could set an example that is copied globally.

via U.S. Tries to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet – NYTimes.com.

(emphasis added)

Obviously this is the kind of Serious Bipartisan Concept it makes sense for the President to take the lead on; after all, the idea of President As Tyrant With Unlimited Power doesn’t poll nearly as badly as healthcare reform, and it doesn’t get you called a soshlist either. Hail King Anyone Who Manages To Become President Between Now And The End Of Time!

What is there to even say? Fucking pathetic.

At this point, I didn’t believe it was possible, but the Obama administration has just reached an all-new low in its abysmal civil liberties record.  In response to the lawsuit filed by Anwar Awlaki’s father asking a court to enjoin the President from assassinating his son, a U.S. citizen, without any due process, the administration last late night, according to The Washington Post, filed a brief asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit without hearing the merits of the claims.  That’s not surprising:  both the Bush and Obama administrations have repeatedly insisted that their secret conduct is legal but nonetheless urge courts not to even rule on its legality.  But what’s most notable here is that one of the arguments the Obama DOJ raises to demand dismissal of this lawsuit is “state secrets”:  in other words, not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are “state secrets,” and thus no court may adjudicate its legality.

via Obama argues his assassination program is a “state secret” – Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com.

(Or: “‘Block Out The Sweep Of The Floodlights,’ Indeed”)

Though let’s be honest: it probably won’t be long before some legislator “goes all Preston Brooks on that ass” once again. Still, I think the only reasonable conclusion to draw here is that Angle supporters are objectively pro-hitting-women.

Supporters of U.S. Sen. Harry Reid and his GOP challenger Sharron Angle brawled at the end of a Senate race forum at a local Christian school.

A half-dozen bystanders tried to separate the combatants, one male Angle backer and two female Reid supporters, before security guards intervened.

“I didn’t expect anything like this, not in a million years,” said the Rev. Robin Joyce, one of the organizers of the event at Faith Lutheran Junior/Senior High School in Summerlin. “Our whole aim was to have an educational forum to hear from the candidates about their economic positions.”

via Brawl erupts between Reid, Angle supporters at forum – News – ReviewJournal.com.

In all seriousness though, how fucked are we? Forget weeping for the future; this is more about vomiting for it. Tertium Non Fucking Datur, people. It’s ok to be something other than a blind follower of one or the other party. Calm down, step back, take a deep breath. There are other options. If something other than blind faith causes people to slug it out defending the virtue of ivory-tower motherfuckers that see most people as abstractions then please explain it to me. Maybe Hannah‘s right and this really is just a manly and awesomely adult version of pulling the blankets over your eyes to keep the monsters under your bed in check.

Stephen Colbert appeared in character at an immigration hearing Friday on Capitol Hill. Video at the C-Span link, because I’m far too much of a hack website admin to work out the embed.

Comedian Stephen Colbert joined the panel of witnesses at a House hearing on immigrant farm workers. Mr. Colbert has partnered with United Farm Workers and their campaign calling on unemployed Americans to take jobs in the agriculture sector. The organization’s president, Arturo Rodriguez, also testified at the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security hearing chaired by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).

via C-SPAN Video Player – House Judiciary Subcmte. Hearing on Immigration and Farm Labor.

Sorry, fell asleep there. So Bush was going to go after Iraq from the get-go; who gives a shit? That was like… fuck, at least a year ago. Maybe even more than that. Isn’t there a story on the Obamas’ vacations that I could be reading instead?

[W]ith the help of a Freedom of Information Act request, the National Security Archive has obtained a newly declassified document that details talking points that emerged from a meeting between Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and CENTCOM Commander General Tommy Franks in November 2001.

The talking points mainly revolve around the logistical planning for a war in Iraq. They detail the “decapitation” of the Iraqi government by U.S. forces and make regime change the goal. Interestingly, they already mention U.S. forces “coming out of Afghanistan” to join the invasion of Iraq. Yet the most alarming part of the document is a bullet point titled, “How start?” (which is a discussion that actually appears after the planning of the entire war). The participants in the Rumsfeld-Frank meeting discussed possible ways to provoke a conflict with Iraq, including an attack by Saddam Hussein against the Kurdish north, the U.S. discovering a “Saddam connection” to 9/11 or the anthrax attacks, or a dispute over WMD inspections. It appears from the language of the talking points that the Bush administration had already decided to go to war with Iraq and was looking for an opportunity to invade:

via Think Progress » Newly Declassified Documents Show Bush Administration Looked For Excuse To Start War In Iraq In Nov. 2001.

I will bet anyone $100 that this turns out to be nothing. No, I am not joking. If you’re reading this and you want to take me up, hit me up in the comments and we’ll work something out. Fuck sports gambling; banking on Breitbart’s credibility  is the kind of sucker bet from which you can really rake it in. This wouldn’t be the first or — if I’m recalling correctly; I could’ve swore I read about a second incident but I can’t find the article(s) — even the second time Breitbart crashed and burned trying to play gotcha with the visitor logs. What part of the incompatibility between secretive conspiracy and public disclosure do they not get? Yeah let’s check our secret sleeper agent in via the official, publicly-disclosed gateway that we already know Breitbart is watching. Somehow in these peoples’ minds Obama is simultaneously the world’s most nefarious gangster and the ultimate bumbling Keystone Kop type. I get Breitbart’$ motive$ but the people who buy into his hype…? Huh…?

(Oh, right.)

In May 2009, the Obama/Holder Justice Department dropped charges in a voter intimidation case against Malik Shabazz, a leader of the New Black Panther Party, despite having already won a summary judgment against him, and his New Black Panther Party colleagues King Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson who were video-taped outside polling place in Philadelphia intimidating voters as they arrived on election day, 2008.  In July 2009, when Congress began looking into the matter, someone named Malik Shabazz visited the private residence at the White House.

When news of the visit was released under the auspices of transparency, the White House denied that the Malik Shabazz on the visitor’s log was the same Malik Shabazz involved in the New Black Panther voter intimidation case.  According to Norm Eisen, special counsel to the president for ethics and government reform, the records contained “a few “false positives” – names that make you think of a well-known person, but are actually someone else.”  He specifically cited Malik Shabazz as an example of one of these “false positives”.

At the time, the media did not challenge the White House on the veracity of this claim.  The White House’s position was, basically: “We’re being transparent, here are all the visitor logs, and this guy is not the guy you think he is, TRUST US.”

via » Which Malik Shabazz Visited White House in July 2009, Mr. President? – Big Government.

Hilariously enough, I’m not even the first person to think of this angle on Breitbart. That distinction actually belongs to the man sniveling propagandist toady himself:

Recently, Andrew Breitbart Twittered a $1,000 bet challenging Media Matters and senior fellow Eric Boehlert for proof that Bertha E. Lewis — whose name recently appeared on a White House guest list — was not ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis. Breitbart’s challenge followed his begrudging semi-correction acknowledging that a White House official reportedly told Politico’s Ben Smith that it was, in fact, a different Bertha Lewis.

via Andrew Breitbart: Always a losing bet | Media Matters for America.

(emphasis mine)

So he goes on twitter having already admitted his story is bullshit and makes this challenge. Does he think bloggers don’t read Politico? Is he compensating for something? Attempting to prove that he can still create his own reality? I don’t get it. … edit: Wait, maybe I do get it. Maybe Breitbart’s so shitty at research that he literally has no idea where to start and he’s willing to pay $1000 so he can kinda reverse-engineer it see how it’s done, thus giving him at least some idea of how to go about backing himself up the next time he tries to pull this shit.

Maybe.

And maybe he’ll take up my bet on this one. Wouldn’t that be grand.

The heat is on Republican leader John Boehner.

Really? How exciting!

Liberal media outlets are trying to smear the highest-ranking Republican in the House just weeks before the midterm elections with a deal-breaking scandal before he has a chance to take the speaker’s chair from Nancy Pelosi.

Holy crap, really? Who are these dastardly liberal media outlets I wonder? Does this prove once and for all that the news media really is in the pocket of the Democratic Party?

A blogger from liberal Web site The Daily Kos pierced through Boehner’s security detail at yesterday’s unveiling of his leadership policy “Pledge to America” to ask if he was sleeping with a lobbyist from the Printing Industries of America.

via Liberal outlets try to nab John Boehner for infidelity before midterm elections – NYPOST.com.

Um… oh. So a blogger said mean things about Boehner. Gotcha.

Oh and it turns out the blogger is so inept she might as well be a conservative plant. Way to provide the Murdoch Post with a way to frame this around the alleged affair with one female lobbyist rather than asking a question that might force them to address the former male lobbyist who absolutely, positively was a co-author of the GOP’s new “pledge.” You slip past a security detail, knowing you’ll only get one question… and you choose to let rip with the one that makes it the easiest to brush you off as a personality-driven hack. Nice one.