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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Bush is a Liar 

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The problem was not that the disclosures would compromise national security, as Bush claimed at his press conference. His comparison to the damaging pre-9/11 revelation of Osama bin Laden’s use of a satellite phone, which caused bin Laden to change tactics, is fallacious; any Americans with ties to Muslim extremists—in fact, all American Muslims, period—have long since suspected that the U.S. government might be listening in to their conversations. Bush claimed that “the fact that we are discussing this program is helping the enemy.” But there is simply no evidence, or even reasonable presumption, that this is so. And rather than the leaking being a “shameful act,” it was the work of a patriot inside the government who was trying to stop a presidential power grab.

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One F.B.I. document indicates that agents in Indianapolis planned to conduct surveillance as part of a "Vegan Community Project." Another document talks of the Catholic Workers group's "semi-communistic ideology." A third indicates the bureau's interest in determining the location of a protest over llama fur planned by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

I feel safer

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Kevin Drum Says

OUR POTEMKIN LEGISLATURE....Roll Call tells us about the latest shenanigans from the leaders of the modern Republican Party:

Shortly before midnight on Sunday, the leaders agreed — after House and Senate negotiators had already signed the report and announced its details to the public — to insert controversial language that protects vaccine manufacturers from product liability claims in the event of a viral pandemic, such as one caused by avian flu.

Observers familiar with the procedural history of conference reports said that they were unaware of any precedent for inserting language after conferees had signed off on the report. A review of several Congressional Research Service guides to conference proceedings make no reference to any prior example.

It's not enough that Republicans have already corrupted the normal conference procedure beyond recognition, stacking conference committees solely with allies and routinely amending bills to make them almost unrecognizable. Now they're adding language to conference reports after the report has already been signed off.

It's our latest step toward a Potemkin legislature. I hope conservatives are proud.


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Bush is a liar

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Spying on Catholics


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The New York Times first debated publishing a story about secret eavesdropping on Americans as early as last fall, before the 2004 presidential election.

But the newspaper held the story for more than a year and only revealed the secret wiretaps last Friday, when it became apparent a book by one of its reporters was about to break the news, according to journalists familiar with the paper's internal discussions. The New York Times, which knew about the secret wiretaps for more than a year, published because of a reporter's new book, sources say.


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•A record 55% say the war in Iraq is entirely separate from the war on terrorism that began on Sept. 11, 2001, the first time a majority has held that opinion.

•Six of 10 think the United States should deploy a significant number of troops in Iraq for another year or less, though just 17% predict the United States will achieve that timetable. About half think significant U.S. troop levels will continue for one to three years; 1 in 3 predict they will be maintained for longer than that.

•A 56% majority say Bush doesn't have a plan to achieve victory in Iraq, about the same as the 55% who held that view the night he delivered the first of four speeches, on Nov. 30. Half of those surveyed say neither side is winning in Iraq; 40% say the United States is winning. A 52% majority say it was a mistake to send troops.

That advantage narrows in the new survey. For the first time, a majority of those surveyed — 53% — say they have an unfavorable opinion of him.

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Working a fish on the hook up at the lake can be fun. The fish darts and pulls, tries to dive deep or comes near the surface, fighting the hook and the fisherman’s line. What’s fun with a fish is embarrassing with our national leaders; squirming on the hook of their prewar manipulation of the Iraq intelligence


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ABOARD AIR FORCE II (AP) - Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday vigorously defended the Bush administration's use of secret domestic spying and efforts to expand presidential powers, saying "it's not an accident that we haven't been hit in four years."
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