People who are injured by the design or neglect of another are entitled to seek redress in civil court, but most crime victims wait for the criminal prosecution to resolve before they consider civil remedies. Eyebrows raise when an alleged crime victim is eager to pursue civil remedies. The prospect of a cash settlement can be a powerful incentive to embellish or fabricate a criminal accusation, and questions about the credibility and bias of a complainant who has a financial stake in her accusation are sure to arise.
The mother of the accuser in the Duke case says she is "very interested" in retaining a high profile civil litigator for her daughter. This story says the lawyer in question is playing the role of "family adviser" and hasn't spoken to the alleged victim.
This is lovely. Two FISA judges were "informed" that the NSA was going to be collecting all of our phone records, per Orrin Hatch.
Two judges on the secretive court that approves warrants for intelligence surveillance were told of the broad monitoring programs that have raised recent controversy, a Republican senator said Tuesday, connecting a court to knowledge of the collecting of millions of phone records for the first time....Oh, well, if judges were "informed" that we were going to begin mass illegal spying on American citizens, then that makes it constitutional and legal. Silly me, I thought judges were the ones who decided such things.
Asked if the judges somehow approved the operations, Hatch said, "That is not their position, but they were informed."
Uh, if the USA Today story was false, then why did it take Verizon 5 days to say so? I don't buy it, and AP seems to agree that Verizon's explanation isn't quite clear at all.
"One of the most glaring and repeated falsehoods in the media reporting is the assertion that, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Verizon was approached by NSA and entered into an arrangement to provide the NSA with data from its customers' domestic calls," the statement read.I'll add a few other possibilities:
The denials leave open the possibility that the NSA directed its requests to long-distance companies, which collect billing data on long-distance calls placed by local-service customers of BellSouth and Verizon.
"One of the most glaring and repeated falsehoods in the media reporting is the assertion that, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Verizon was approached by NSA and entered into an arrangement to provide the NSA with data from its customers' domestic calls."Now, it's possible that what Verizon says is "false" is simply the claim that Verizon was approached by the NSA after September 11 - perhaps they were approached BEFORE September 11, but the rest of the allegations are totally true (they entered an arrangement, provided customer data, etc.) That would be consistent with Verizon's statement because it's not clear which part of the statement Verizon is saying is false (it's the same problem you have in reverse when you ask someone three questions in one - they answer "yes" and you don't know which part of the question they're answering yes to).
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It appears the "terrorist surveillance program" has undergone a bit of mission creep. And it's not Ross who needs a bunch of disposable cellphones -- Big Brother already knows who he is -- but his sources.
That "creep" reference was actually a lame attempt at a pun. Watergate buffs probably recall the origin and history of the original Plumbers Unit, created by the Nixon White House in 1971 to track down (and punish) Daniel Ellsberg, the guy who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times. (I know this is all may be Greek to a lot of Gen-Xers, but bear with me here.)
The creation of the Plumbers Unit (officially: the White House Special Investigations Unit) was just one of a series of semi-legal or flat-out illegal steps taken by the Nixon cabal to investigate leaks of classified information. Others included the wiretapping of 11 of Henry Kissinger's top aides and four of their suspected journalistic contacts, and tapping the phone of Joseph Kraft -- one of the celebrity columnists of the day.
The original goal -- or at least, the stated goal -- of these efforts was to plug leaks. But the program quickly metastasized into an all-purpose domestic spying/political dirty tricks operation, beginning with the burglery of Ellberg's psychiatrist's office in an effort to find dirt that could be used to blackmail and/or discredit him. The entire operation was eventually transferred to CREEP (Nixon's 1972 reelection committee), where it generated an increasingly bizarre array of schemes [...]
This really has been remarkable. It's all out of a playbook we've seen before -- it's so Watergate, we don't really even need a new name for it.
One of the problems, of course, is that the more hardcore of the Nixonites never really learned anything -- or thought they had done anything wrong -- in Watergate or the penumbra of scandals that led to those final botched moments of a presidency. The actors of those times may have been met with press investigations, belated government investigations, and even jailtime, but the core of the Republican and conservative movements never quite repudiated Watergate; they simply looked upon those acts as unfortunate but understandable sins of enthusiasm.
And so as the Nixonites themselves moved on, continuing to show up in administration after administration and in the halls of what nowadays passes for punditry, the same behaviors followed them. Prominent among them are, of course, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Even the jailed G. Gordon Liddy himself was fully "rehabilitated", in that he is now a prominent conservative radio voice, and is a frequent vessel for conservative thought on Fox News and other bastions of nuttery.
The only error, Nixonites and their broad base of supporters determined, was getting caught. And so the difference between then and now is that this administration is even more secretive, using the War on Terror to claim preemptive legitimacy and secrecy over every action, no matter how absurd the supposed justification seems. They intend to circumvent the mistakes of the past. They don't intend to give any institution -- the Congress, the FISA court, the press -- the slightest hint of sunlight through which the new but familiar, ever-expanding "programs" can be illuminated.
This is all part and parcel, of course, of the notion of the Imperial Presidency or Unitary Executive or whatever other absurd name we or they or John Yoo or anyone else cares to give to the silly and monarchial notion that the president is above laws or petty Constitutional concerns. It was believed in the Nixon administration; it was believed in the Reagan administration; it was believed in the Bush administration; it is believed now. Of course, and hilariously, any half-birthed glimmer of the same notion was fought bitterly in the Clinton years -- would have been unthinkable, in the Clinton years -- because there's no actual philosophical tenet of conservatism at work here. It is just the more crass, primal conservative gut notion that you have the right and imperative to do something illegal if you've got a good shot of getting away with it. The sin is in not trying... or in getting caught.
From Liddy to Libby, from Limbaugh to DeLay to Abramoff to Tobin to Rove, laws are very fungible things, and you can count on an entire establishment of conservative hacks and true believers to rise up in bitter opposition to the notion that someone would dare try to find out about your illegal acts, or even worse that some leaker, somewhere, would expose them. A mere thirty minute exposure to Fox News demonstrates perfectly the phenomenon of Republicanism: the actual legality of an action is, to Republicans, irrelevant, and such concerns can be dismissed with no more concern than you would give to a passing street beggar. The real question, we are told, is who dared to expose it.
Billmon briefly notes the Plame affair, which in and of itself points to an almost eerily Nixonesque mindset in the White House (at least on Cheney's desk): quick to lash out against enemies and not nearly as quick to ponder the implications of the act. The premise of now targeting "leakers" by monitoring the press -- or targeting the press by monitoring leakers? -- is chilling, and given the bitterness and vindictiveness with which this administration has publicly attacked even the most petty of perceived disloyalties, it is decidedly unclear what the definition of supposed "leaker" actually is. I expect, as at this point a very wide range of administration observers do, that the next revelation will be that the definition of leaker is very broad indeed -- a list consisting almost entirely of perceived political threats to the administration's claims and agendas. I also expect, despite the iron curtains of secrecy that this administration finds absolutely necessary to carry out every action, we will soon find out.
Like so many men who suffer under the delusion that they are catnip to chicks, Enrique Suave Lieberman likes to boast what a friend he is to women. As is often the case, the ladies do not agree.First prominent women in the Connecticut[...]
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New Poll 33%
"This Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted by telephone May 11-15, 2006 among 1,103 randomly selected adults nationwide."
There's a lot of interesting numbers...
Since the Republicans are so gung-ho in favor of domestic spying, I thought it might be interesting to see who's on the short list for being spied on by the government when Hillary becomes president. Keep in mind that by that point Arlen Specter will have already passed a law saying that it's okay for the president to spy on Americans whenever and however he or she likes - in the name of national security, of course.
1. Anybody who owns a gun, starting with Wayne LaPierre of the NRA and Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America.
2. All Republican members of Congress.
3. George Bush, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove.
4. Ann Coulter.
5. Gary Bauer, James Dobson, Lou Sheldon, and the men at the Concerned Women for America.
6. The entire staff of the Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal.
7. Anyone and everyone affiliated with FOX News.
8. Evangelical Christians (at least the bad ones).
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White House Press Secretary Tony Snow gave his first televised press briefing today.
Crooks and Liars has some video. Snow used the word "tar baby" in connection with the NSA warrantless surveillance program. "Tar baby?
Think Progress then explains to Tony the problem with using that term. Based on the context of the term, we believe you meant tar baby to mean: "a situation almost impossible to get out of; a problem virtually unsolvable."
Random House notes, "some people suggest avoiding the use of the term in any context." Now that you are no longer at Fox News, you may want to take them up on their advice.