Category : NSA

Trying to get your records from the NSA…

…is not easy. However, I wish this guy a lot of luck in his endeavour. I hope he appeals and wins. I think the justification he needs to use is pretty obvious: It’s his data.

Okay, check this gallant argument out:

The Bush administration has asked federal judges in New York and Michigan to dismiss a pair of lawsuits filed over the National Security Agency’s domestic eavesdropping program, saying litigating them would jeopardize state secrets.

In papers filed late Friday, Justice Department lawyers said it would be impossible to defend the legality of the spying program without disclosing classified information that could be of value to suspected terrorists.

National Intelligence Director John Negroponte invoked the state secrets privilege on behalf of the administration, writing that disclosure of such information would cause “exceptionally grave damage” to national security.

The administration laid out some of its supporting arguments in classified memos that were filed under seal.

So lemme get this straight. Not only is Bush saying that the spying program is so secret that they can’t tell us what it’s for, their legal justifications are themselves secret. WTF?!

That says to me that this adminstration is so desperate that they would sink to nothing more than a lowly tug-of-war over power. And that is not a good sign.

The possibility of a Bush coup has occurred to me on more than one occasion. They’re such a slimy bunch I consider it a disturbingly likely scenario. I hope it won’t come to that. But their line of argument (which is that their argument is classified!) is patently ridiculous. I smell a rat. What are they hiding from us?

What if the truth of why they’re spying on us is too horrible for them to ever reveal? Just like the true reason we went to war in Iraq. Or the truth of the 2001 anthrax attacks? Who knows? Not me. But I have my suspicions. I mean, the Bush gang hasn’t exactly been the most trustworthy; ever, really. They pulled some dirty tricks to get into power in the first place, like what they did to John McCain in 2000.

I hope it’s hot in DC this summer. Sweltering hot. I hope the full power of the awful stink in Washington is revealed to everyone there, because the only people who seem to be in the dark about Washington corruption are the Washington insiders who are so often turning out the lights. In this case the Bush Administration is not only turning off every light it can find, it’s also smashing them so we can’t turn them back on. The shards of the lights of truth will surely cut the Constitution to shreds if we let that beast continue to attack the light. You know what I’m sayin’?

Is it any wonder why I hate and distrust our government? Raw Story has details about yet another nail in the coffin of democracy. At least they’re being honest and saying, “nope, we’re not gonna even try to investigate.” I suppose that’s slightly better than the sham investigation of intelligence failures leading to the Iraq War, led by Mr. Coverup, Pat Roberts.

Roberts is nothing more than a tool of Bush cabal, helpfully blocking serious investigations into matters of the utmost importance. His toadying has helped Bush stay above the fray and continue to make policy when he should be fending off impeachment charges. Without Roberts standing in the way we would have much clearer picture of why we went to war in 2003. Of course, we already know the general outline. Bush is building an American Empire. Iran is next.

The fact that the FCC will vigorously investigate the Janet Jackson SuperBowl nipplegate fiasco, but refuses to even try and investigate the worldwide NSA-spying ring, shows just how depraved they really are. The FCC has clearly been packed with hardcore Bush loyalists (as has nearly every part of the government), who care nothing for our constitutional principles. Covering Bush’s ass is their only role.

It seems nothing has changed since Michael Powell left. Not that we can say that Clinton was at all innocent in this deadly game. His recent schmoozing with Bush Sr. shows that he is very much a party to this criminal enterprise and I’m sure he helped lay the groundwork for the present travesty when he was in office. The only difference is that Clinton operated with some subtlety, whereas the Bush clan seems to have taken off the gloves. A question to ponder: Why is the Bush cabal so desperate? They don’t even do a half-assed job of covering up their crimes. Of course, they rarely get nailed for it, so I guess there’s your answer right there. They own the government, top to bottom. 9/11 bought it for them, and they intend to keep it. But why are they so determined to cause trouble? How did such a driven group of fascists manage to attain power in America, anyway?

Well, it certainly has nothing to do with the fact that Americans are overworked, stressed out, or vegged out in front of the TV, does it? A recurring theme in my posts, for sure. But an important point if you wish to understand why we’re in the middle of a constitutional crisis.

Wired has pried open Door 641A and taken a good long look. Here is a document from whistle-blower Mark Klein (pdf) who previously worked for AT&T as a technician. He fears the secret room was splitting the fiber optic cables carrying our internet data and sending the other half to the NSA for monitoring. He figured the project started with the Total Information Awareness program, which was supposedly defunded. Well, now the NSA is holding our electronic leash. Boy, they sure do wish to control us, don’t they? What’s with the desperation on their part? The whole government spying deal was supposed to be a conspiracy theory…. one that just about everyone believed. Well, now it’s true and it has been revealed as such and it’s staring us right in the face.

What are we gonna do about it?

What could they possibly want such an enormous information-burden for? There’s no need to spy on ALL of us! The government already knows what risk factors to look for when it comes to identifying terrorists, criminals, revolutionaries, you name it. Why would they decide to cast the net so far and wide unless their goal was to criminalize all of us?

Do you know the best way to get a person to act like a criminal?

Treat them like one.

… That’s my suspicion anyway. You know, a firefighter only has a job when fires are burning. In the same way, a cop only has a job if there’s crime and a warrior only has a job if there’s a war on. Are you pickin’ up what I’m layin’ down?

It wouldn’t be the first time; politicians are known to create problems so they have something to solve… after the election… assuming they are elected. And if they aren’t, why solve it? Why not create problems for your opponent? Then he does the same thing for you. Pretty soon, while you’re squabbling like dogs, the public is drowning in a sea of problems that you were supposed to solve, not create!

That’s how we get the super-bad problems like the War on Drugs problem. The problem of the fact that demagogues and idiots made a war on drug-users, is far worse than the problem of simple drug use and abuse. The War on Terror is similar in that it will never end, it is not intended to end, and even though war has been declared on an object (drugs) or tactic (terrorism), the things that suffer most in the war are people — mostly innocent bystanders in a war between shadowy groups who both fight and support each other. The collateral damage is mostly the result of people getting caught in the middle of those two groups (the government and the criminals) and paying the ultimate price in a war that did not need to be fought.

We are ruled by a political class that rule us as if they were kings, walking amongst the mere mortal peasants. They are sheltered from the world’s injustices and deprivations. They are inducted into a society of the well-to-do because there is no other social class for which they are fit. They have never really grown up, and so we peasants must suffer through the elite’s tiresome games, such as the war on drugs and the supposed war on terror, which seem to be much more of a war on the people. Another thing both of these demagogic wars have in common is that they are designed to erode our freedoms and our privacy by justifying it with the old saw, “need the tools to catch the bad guys.” Cops and Robbers for adults. Innocents are arrested so that the cops can have their fun. Meanwhile the criminals get away with it. The justice system spits them back out on the streets. After all, we’d have to lay off cops if there was no crime. The cycle goes on endlessly. Meanwhile, the rest of us are caught in the middle of this evil maelstrom, rocked about on waves of uncertainty and strife.

They’re building a system of control, people! Wake up before it’s too late!! They want to include all of us in their little game! Run and hide if you want, but they can still catch you; they have the technology. Fiber optic splitters to steal our communications, and televisions to assure us that it’s alright, no need to worry….

[szghk]

bszzzzzzshshh! |/<>\| [crackle]

[wavy lines]…. you are feeling…. sleepy. Content. Open. Let us in…..

Things are fine. We’re here to protect you… from the terrorists. The terrorists hate your freedom. They’re coming for you; only we can protect you from an enemy that exists all around you. Any one of your neighbors could be a spy or a terrorist or a commie, or even Irish. Be sure to turn them in at your local FBI office.

We’re listening anyway, so you might as well.

Coming up next, a pitbull dances with a lobster and a hyena! Wait ’til you see this!. ., After these messages.–

Schneier on Privacy

Wired has an article by Bruce Schneier on the topic of surveillance and privacy. He makes the argument that NSA spying is tyranny and that privacy is such a basic human need that the framers of the Constitution & Bill of Rights didn’t think there would be a need to spell it out beyond the language of the 4th amendment.

Cardinal Richelieu understood the value of surveillance when he famously said, “If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.” Watch someone long enough, and you’ll find something to arrest — or just blackmail — with. Privacy is important because without it, surveillance information will be abused: to peep, to sell to marketers and to spy on political enemies — whoever they happen to be at the time.

Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we’re doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.

We do nothing wrong when we make love or go to the bathroom. We are not deliberately hiding anything when we seek out private places for reflection or conversation. We keep private journals, sing in the privacy of the shower, and write letters to secret lovers and then burn them. Privacy is a basic human need.

A future in which privacy would face constant assault was so alien to the framers of the Constitution that it never occurred to them to call out privacy as an explicit right. Privacy was inherent to the nobility of their being and their cause. Of course being watched in your own home was unreasonable. Watching at all was an act so unseemly as to be inconceivable among gentlemen in their day. You watched convicted criminals, not free citizens. You ruled your own home. It’s intrinsic to the concept of liberty.

I want to be the master of my domain, but it appears that George Bush would prefer to be master of my domain (and his). Isn’t it ironic that a guy who is supposedly so concerned with the plight of those poor, downtrodden Iraqis, is quickly – nay, desperately - building a fascist state far more frightening and controlling than anything Saddam ever had? How strange. It’s almost as if every justification for invading Iraq was a lie. But that couldn’t be true? The mainstream media still treats him like a president, worshipfully talking about his every decision as if it was delivered from on high. Certainly they would treat him like that if it turned out he was a tyrannical psychopath bent on world domination through control of oil supply (and oil routes). Unless the media is in on the plan….

This is the loss of freedom we face when our privacy is taken from us. This is life in former East Germany, or life in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. And it’s our future as we allow an ever-intrusive eye into our personal, private lives.

Too many wrongly characterize the debate as “security versus privacy.” The real choice is liberty versus control. Tyranny, whether it arises under threat of foreign physical attack or under constant domestic authoritative scrutiny, is still tyranny. Liberty requires security without intrusion, security plus privacy. Widespread police surveillance is the very definition of a police state. And that’s why we should champion privacy even when we have nothing to hide.

Yes, he basically called Bush as bad as Saddam. While that may not be the case (yet), it’s not for lack of trying. Don’t fool yourself into thinking Bush shares the democratic ideals that he so often claims to defend. No, Bush is a fascist to his core, just like Saddam. There’s no rule that says that just because you were born in America that you automatically believe in freedom and democracy. Everyone believes in freedom…for themselves. Whether they believe in freedom for everyone else is a completely different question. Bush’s NSA spying plan is a slap in the face of 300 million Americans and the ideals of Libery, Freedom and Democracy for which thousands of men and women have died throughout American history. He has made a mockery of our democratic traditions while relentlessly expanding the power of the presidency by making Congress nothing more than a rubber stamp parliament. He’s let his corporate buddies run wild, with lobbyists writing laws and lawmakers not even reading them before voting in favor of them. He’s launched wars of conquest and invasion. He’s started spying programs that violate the letter and the spirit of the Constitution. This man is a menace. He should be impeached immediately, and imprisoned thereafter.

Such a man deserves death for his crimes. There are others, you know. We’ve only scratched the surface of this administration’s malfeasance.

NSA Spying – The big picture

Reporter Greg Palast has an insightful post on his website that takes a wider view of the NSA spying scandal. Here’s a taste:

Worried about Dick Cheney listening in Sunday on your call to Mom? That ain’t nothing. You should be more concerned that they are linking this info to your medical records, your bill purchases and your entire personal profile including, not incidentally, your voting registration. Five years ago, I discovered that ChoicePoint had already gathered 16 billion data files on Americans — and I know they’ve expanded their ops at an explosive rate.

They are paid to keep an eye on you — because the FBI can’t. For the government to collect this stuff is against the law unless you’re suspected of a crime. (The law in question is the Constitution.) But ChoicePoint can collect it for “commercial” purchases — and under the Bush Administration’s suspect reading of the Patriot Act — our domestic spying apparatchiks can then BUY the info from ChoicePoint.

He’s right. The government simply outsources or contracts out work that it doesn’t want to or (in this case) can’t do. I’m extremely concerned about the privacy of my medical and financial records, as I know most Americans are. But it’s worse than that. Much worse:

And now ChoicePoint and George Bush want your blood. Forget your phone bill. ChoicePoint, a sickened executive of the company told us in confidence, “hope[s] to build a database of DNA samples from every person in the United States …linked to all the other information held by CP [ChoicePoint]” from medical to voting records.

And ChoicePoint lied about that too. The company publicly denied they gave DNA to the Feds — but then told our investigator, pretending to seek work, that ChoicePoint was “the number one” provider of DNA info to the FBI.

This is just fucking evil. There’s no excuse for this. There’s no, “Oh we need it to fight the terrorists!” bullshit. Those excuses simply do not fly. This is evil. This is Orwellian. This is downright SATANIC!

It’s bad enough to try and get our , but the fact that they want their databases to talk to each other is extremely frightening. If they succeed at this, the government will know everything about you from the day you’re born to the day you die. There won’t be any discussion of 4th amendment rights, because there won’t be a 4th amendment. What if there’s no more privacy left to defend?

Repost from Slashdot

Before my earlier posts on the spying scandal slip behind the wall of the 24 post limit on Slashdot, I wanted to repost a couple here.

Here’s one from when AT&T was accused of forwarding all traffic to the NSA:


Now, are they talking about forwarding ALL AT&T traffic to NSA? I find that really really hard to believe. How much data is that? Can someone point to some known tech that can handle that….ALL that data? I’m not asking for “secret-I-bet-they-have-cold-fusion-computers” BS tech that someone *thinks* the NSA has.

You had it right in your first sentence. AT&T is forwarding all of their call data to the NSA. The NSA doesn’t need any super-cool tech in order to intercept this data since AT&T (and the other telecom companies) simply send this data directly to them. Don’t get me wrong, though – the NSA has some amazing technology. All of this data is processed, filtered, tagged and entered into a massive database.

I’m currently reading Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency [amazon.com] by James Bamford. It’s not light reading, but it’s fascinating….and extremely disturbing. The fascinating part is that we’ve been here before. This exact scenario already happened in the 60′s and 70′s, until information about it was leaked (by the NY Times, no less) and it was investigated by the Church Committee [wikipedia.org] circa 1975. It was called Project SHAMROCK [wikipedia.org] then, and it involved the phone companies and Western Union delivering huge magnetic tape reels to the NSA on a regular basis. The project was so secret that only a few people within the NSA where even aware of it.

Until the Congressional investigation, hardly anybody within the White House or Justice Department had even heard whispers of it. Congress, of course, was completely out of the loop. This obsession with secrecy goes back to the very founding of the NSA. The NSA operated with no Congressional oversight for decades (it was called “No Such Agency”), and its existance probably wasn’t even constitutionally legal/valid, but the information that it provided to other agencies (mostly the CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff) was so good that by the time Congress found out about it, it was indispensible. Today the NSA is the largest of the intelligence agencies (yes you read that right – larger than the CIA), although its exact budget is classified.

Second, this is just an accusation. There’s one guy that has some documents that say that’s what AT&T is doing. For all we know, this guy could be wearing tin-foil hats and singing to his dog about the aliens.

The only loonies around here are the people who think that the government isn’t spying on Americans every single day. Now, that doesn’t mean that they are listening to you in real time, and hanging on your every word. But all/most of your calls are recorded, digitized and handed to the NSA. From there, it is probably entered into a massive database. From there they can filter out unimportant calls and use data mining techniques to pull up relevant information. They use the ECHELON [wikipedia.org] computer software to sift through information, which probably works similar to Google, with keyword searches and a list of search results.

If you still don’t believe me, why don’t you have a conversation with a friend, where you discuss planting bombs around town. See how long it takes the feds to show up.

The stuff in italics is another poster who I am quoting. Here’s another from later on in the thread:


That would only require AT&T to spend millions of dollars on additional infrastructure. AT&T being a business, they would fight the order tooth and nail. Has that happened?

Doubt it. The companies involved the first time around (during the Cold War) apparently did it for free. The government simply appealed to their patriotism (the military was the group that actually asked them – would you say no to the military?) and apparently never compensated them, though that may not really be the case. There was probably some tit-for-tat going on. Besides, any company wants to be on the government’s good side, right? They probably see it as a cost of doing business. See the recent Google Goes to China fiasco for more insight into that mindset. As long as it’s not prohibitively expensive (read: difficult to make a profit) most companies probably wouldn’t have a problem with it. It’s all to save us from Teh Terr’rists after all.

I don’t doubt that the NSA has massive surveillance resources, but they’re not the fuckin’ Illuminati for christ’s sake. They’re a government organization staffed by human beings, and as such they probably don’t have their shit together enough to do all the shadowy things you think they’re doing.

You’re right, they’re not omnipotent, but they’re not idiots either. They own and operate what is probably the largest supercomputer on the planet. They operate in the shadows, with virtually no oversight from Congress, and the current administration is obsessed with secrecy and spying. Whether they can spy successfully is an open question, but there’s no question that they are trying. I think it’s actually much more likely that you are the deluded one. They are probably doing way more stuff than I have mentioned so far, and probably doing it well. Their foreign surveillance work is top-notch; we didn’t become the sole superpower by sucking at signals intelligence, that’s for sure. I would encourage you to do some research on the matter before falling back into that “teh guvmint is incompetent and they sux”-style of “logic.” I’ve provided facts, links and insight. Now it’s your turn to follow up.

Sorry for the indulgence, but I thought I made some good points. :-)

More spying news

The Baltimore Sun has a story about a pre-9/11 NSA program to spy on Americans. According to the paper, the earlier program was more protective of our privacy, but it was ultimately rejected because of bureaucratic squabbling. The is notorious for their turf wars, probably because it’s easier for a secretive agency to disguise the fact that they’re crawling with little dictators who are more interested in protecting their personal status and budget than they are about protecting Americans. And our liberties must trail a distant third in this sad little game.

You can find more at slashdot. Meanwhile, the lawsuits are already flying. Forbes has a story on the EFF’s early victory in a lawsuit against AT&T. They also comment on the weasel words used by Bell South & Verizon in their denials concerning the illegal spying program, “…But the telephone companies’ denials give them plenty of wiggle room.” Damn right. I hope you like being lied to, folks, because your government is lying to you, your phone company is lying to you, and your media is lying to you. Luckily, there are bloggers like me to save the world. ;-) My audience of 2 will be very grateful, I’m sure.

No Such Agency

There’s a new article over at Salon (an interview with historian Matthew Aid), concerning the recent revelations of NSA wiretapping. I’ve been following the controversy pretty closely. In fact, I just finished reading James Bamford’s opus, Body of Secrets, which is basically a history of the from it’s humble beginnings to it massive pre-9/11 decline. A new chapter is being written as we speak. After 9/11 the agency was given a new lease on life and huge influxes of cash and technology. The agency now has the capability to monitor, record and (well, this is the tricky part) analyze the phone calls of every single American citizen. Landlines and cellphones. Oh, and don’t forget your internet usage. If this blog isn’t in their database somewhere, I’d be a bit surprised.

So, that’s it; we’re fucked, right?

Not quite. You see, even though the NSA is the size of medium-sized city (around 60,000 people last I heard), and they measure their computing power in acres, not in flops, the NSA is not omniscient. The problem is that they’re drowning in data. Their intelligence gathering capabilities far outstrip their ability to actually analyze all that data and decide its usefulness.

That’s not to say I’m okay with the NSA spying on Americans. I’m not. It’s illegal, unconstitutional, immoral, repugnant and downright fascist. We need to end the spying programs immediately, and make sure they’re not simply transferred to another agency like the program was.

But we also shouldn’t lose our heads and assume that the government is hanging on our every word. In fact, they probably don’t have a human listen to your calls unless it’s been flagged for some reason or another.

Oh, and the whole bit about the NSA only logging the phone numbers you’ve called? Bullshit. They’re getting the whole enchilada. I’m betting that the calls themselves are captured, digitized, organized in a gigantic database, and voice-analyzed into searchable text. Then the agency’s “consumers” (the White House, FBI, CIA, DOD, etc.) can use the to search for specific keywords. If they want to hear more, they can probably pull up the entire audio clip of the call. I don’t know if they can do this from their PC, or if they need approval from agency guard higher-ups. Knowing the Bush administration, I’d bet Cheney has access to everything under the sun, available at his fingertips. I hope he liked my previous post.

This whole fiasco is not even a new occurrence. Read up on if you want to know more. The Church Committee shut Shamrock down 30 years ago, but it’s back and worse than before. Now the NSA has much more powerful computers to contend with an even greater influx of data. Their methodology for gathering data remains the same. They leaned heavily on telecom companies to voluntarily hand over the data. The abuses of power during Nixon’s time, as well as the revelations concerning Shamrock and led to the creation of the FISA Court and accompanying laws, which is now ignoring. History does indeed repeat itself.

Anyway, back to that Salon article I mentioned above. It seems that Matthew Aid disagrees with Bamford about what Echelon is. He claims it’s just a VAX microcomputer from the 70′s, made by DEC, that was used at various satellite intercept stations. This could be the case, but Bamford was quite clear that Echelon was a software program used by the UKUSA alliance to share and analyze intercept data. I think the confusion could be caused by the fact there are two different Echelons. It’s unclear to me if this is the case, however.

Aid goes on to explain how the Justice Department was systematically kept out of the loop and in the dark:

It’s all coming out now in dribs and drabs, but when it all becomes clear, we’ll find out that the key oversight functions — those functions that were put in place to protect the rights of Americans — were deliberately circumvented. Key components of the Justice Department that would have rightly objected to this were never consulted or told about the program. Alberto Gonzales when he was the White House counsel knew about it, as did Attorney General Ashcroft and his deputy, but outside of that I don’t think there were many others who knew all the details.

Perhaps somebody within Justice still has a conscience. That seems unlikely, but it’s our best hope if we want accountability. We need to investigate this program thoroughly. We can’t just believe Bush when he says, “trust me.” Trust is the last thing on my mind when I hear Bush speak.

Aid then discusses how Congress was also kept in the dark and hamstrung:

They can claim that they briefed individual members of Congress but there’s a difference between briefing a few members of Congress and briefing a full committee. Only a few members of the intelligence committee were told and they were told in a way in which they couldn’t do anything about it. And the briefings were very general and lacking in specifics, as I understand.

What happens is that you’re [privately] briefed about the program, and then even if you object to the program, you can’t do anything about it because you can’t tell the whole committee. Our system only works when information is given to the full committee. But the way they did it effectively handcuffed any opposition because you can’t go to the full committee and say I object to this program and we ought to call some hearings and examine the legalistic background and justification for the program. Even if Senator Rockefeller or Congresswoman Pelosi had some issues with it, they couldn’t even tell their own staff, much less other members of the committee. They deliberately did it this way so the intelligence committees couldn’t do anything about it.

Sounds pretty nasty, right? This way they can claim the Congress consented, when 99% of Congress was not even briefed and the 1% that was briefed has no chance to exercise any oversight. It’s a pretty good political trick. And I wonder how detailed those briefings were. Somehow I doubt they said, “We’re spying on Americans.” I bet it was more like, “In the interests of protecting the homeland from terrorists, we are enlarging the scope of our clandestine sigint monitoring programs in such a way to gather more accurate and up-to-the-minute intel on potential terrorist activities. Terror. Terrorist. Terrorism. Boo!!”

Of course, how would we ever know? The congresspeople in question are sworn to secrecy. Isn’t it great how secrecy eats away at democracy? We need secrets, yet by embracing secrecy we stray further and further from democracy because an uninformed population is unable to exercise sound judgment in electing its leaders. We have to remember that we are the true leaders of this country, not Bush and his ilk. Democracy is for us, not the leaders. Here we are surrenduring our liberty and privacy (without even knowing it) and this is what Aid says about the effectiveness of the wiretapping program:

To the best
of my knowledge, in the five years in which the program has been running, it has not caught a single person.

Pretty much says it all.

Government Spying on ABC News's Phone Calls

A government source has informed ABC News that the government is spying on the phone records of journalists at ABC News, along with the NY Times and Washington Post.

“It’s time for you to get some new cell phones, quick,” the source told us in an in-person conversation.

ABC News does not know how the government determined who we are calling, or whether our phone records were provided to the government as part of the recently-disclosed NSA collection of domestic phone calls.

Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation.

One former official was asked to sign a document stating he was not a confidential source for New York Times reporter James Risen.

Our reports on the CIA’s secret prisons in Romania and Poland were known to have upset CIA officials.

So, what kind of government spies on journalists in an effort to conceal their own abuses of power? That’s right kids: A neo-fascist government. The CIA leak investigation mentioned above is not Plamegate, but the leak concerning the secret (illegal) CIA prisons abroad. Instead of cleaning house and getting within the law the CIA has decided to harrass the people who exposed their law-breaking. You know you’ve got problems when you have unrepentant criminals at every level within the ruling administration. These people don’t give a fuck about the law. They consider themselves above the law. The law is for peasants, like you and me.

We’ve got some serious problems in this country, and this story is just a taste. We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis and the only acceptable solution is the impeachment of Bush, Cheney and all of their collaborators. There are so many widening scandals it’s hard to know which way investigators will go. One thing is for sure; this administration must be held accountable for its crimes.

Stop harrassing journalists! Stop spying on Americans! Stop waging war in Iraq!

Will they listen? Of course not. That’s why we the people have to take the power back. A government that doesn’t listen to its citizens does not qualify as a democracy. Bush seems to think that after his supposed re-election in ’04 that he doesn’t have to take any shit from anybody. I got news for ya, Bushie: The people are the rulers here. This is America, dammit. We are in charge, not you. We are the government, not you. You are just a custodian, and we don’t appreciate your arrogance or your contempt for the law and the will of the people. Your time in office is nearing an end, far more quickly than you imagine.

To all the real (i.e. “not on the government payroll”) journalists out there: keep up the good work. Don’t let them silence you. Don’t let your own news organizations silence you either. The truth is more frightening than most Americans could possibly imagine at this point, but that very fact is the reason why you must not stop digging and reporting until the truth is revealed. If you’re running into problems getting the story out, make sure you harness the power of blogs. I’ll publish anything you got.

The Democrats are pulling in a distant second, but not for lack of trying. The Republicans are just so much better at it. They’re so incredibly bold about their mendacity that it gives them incredible latitude in dealing with any situation. Their actions seem to indicate a sort of controlled panic, bordering on insanity, with enough self-righteousness to detonate a building. The Democrats seem to be aware of this paranoid urgency, and to effectively tolerate it.

Kinda makes you wonder what they know that we don’t.

I was just reading about Arlen Specter’s latest scandal. And I’ve been reading about the continuing Katrina incompetence™ along with the Abramoff scandal, Plamegate, the NSA Spying!!! scandal and the whole thing where DICK CHENEY SHOT SOME DUDE IN THE FACE!!! Holy shit! I’ve joked about that shit happening, but I never thought it would actually happen…well at least, not that the media would ever find out.

Jesus, as if you didn’t have enough reasons to be scared of Dick Cheney he goes and shoots a friend in the face. I mean seriously, the guy is creepy. He’s like the Emperor from Star Wars, except instead of shooting lightning bolts out of his hands, he just shoots you in the face with a 28 gauge.

Damn, dude. We put this guy in charge of a country and he can’t even manage to not shoot his friends in the face??!?//?11one!!!!¡¡¡!! …I mean, that’s the first rule in hunting, isn’t it?

Thou Shalt Not Shoot Thine Friends in the Face While Hunting (or ever, really)

But Dick. Oh Dick. He’s a different one. They call him Dead-eye Dick. I’m not sure if that’s because he’s half blind, or because you are after he shoots you in the face. Either way, stay the fuck away from Dead-eye Dick Cheney. Don’t make him wanna hafta DROP a muthafucka.

Anyway, I digress. But this whole Shotgun-gate thing is a comedic goldmine. Seriously. Comedians all over the world just had a collective jizz of laughter when they heard the news. They’re still cleaning it off the carpet. I mean, I feel bad for the guy and all, but I figure he must be kind of dumb. If Dick Cheney asked me if I wanted to go hunting, I would run-the-fuck-the other way.

If you’re smart, you’ll do the same.