Sunday, March 11, 2007

FBI illegally collecting the Internet communications of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of Americans

We must destroy the Constitution in order to save it.

The FBI appears to have adopted an invasive Internet surveillance technique that collects far more data on innocent Americans than previously has been disclosed.

Instead of recording only what a particular suspect is doing, agents conducting investigations appear to be assembling the activities of thousands of Internet users at a time into massive databases, according to current and former officials. That database can subsequently be queried for names, e-mail addresses or keywords.

Such a technique is broader and potentially more intrusive than the FBI's Carnivore surveillance system, later renamed DCS1000. It raises concerns similar to those stirred by widespread Internet monitoring that the National Security Agency is said to have done, according to documents that have surfaced in one federal lawsuit, and may stretch the bounds of what's legally permissible...

[The Electronic Frontier Foundation's staff attorney, Kevin] Bankston said that the FBI is "collecting and apparently storing indefinitely the communications of thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — of innocent Americans in violation of the Wiretap Act and the 4th Amendment to the Constitution."

- John in DC, AmericaBlog

LSB: Hearings! Please! And when is someone from this admin gonna "swing like Saddam?" For all the treasonous acts commited against its citizens, you'd think that we'd deserve more than one guilty verdict (and eventual pardon) for all the traitors in this White House.

Senate agrees to minimum wage increase, Republicans force even more tax cuts for business

Typical. The republican answer to everything: cut taxes for business. Particularly telling of the Republican mentality, the following quote:

"The Senate has recognized that our economy is interdependent," said Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo. "One simply cannot claim credit to be helping workers at the same time that they're hurting the businesses that employ them."

Funny that for the past six years, when Mr. Enzi and his republican colleagues were in charge, I seem to recall massive tax cuts for businesses, repeatedly, and not a lot of help for their workers. But now, suddenly, we need to tie any help for workers to even MORE tax cuts for business. It's the only idea Republicans have left - cut taxes for business.

- John in DC, AmericaBlog

LSB: The Repubs are nothing if not consistent. Their rob-from-the-poor-give-to-the-rich plan has been working for years. Sure, they have to tell a few lies (WMDs, "family values," "we're supporting our troops"), but look what they've done for Halliburton, and that's got to count for something.

New report shows our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan STILL don't have the equipment they need

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) is hopping mad about the latest Pentagon scandal. You won't be surprised to learn that yet again the Bush administration and the Republican congress short-changed our troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here's an excerpt from the executive summary of a report done by the Department of Defense's Inspector General, which was sent to Rep. Slaugther's office yesterday confirming equipment shortages faced by American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan:

"…. Based on responses from approximately 1,100 Service members, they experienced shortages of force-protection equipment, such as up-armored vehicles, electronic countermeasure devices, crew-served weapons, and communications equipment. As a result, Service members were not always equipped to effectively complete their missions…

The Request for Forces process did not always ensure that Service members who performed missions that they do not traditionally perform – such as training, provincial reconstruction, detainee operations, and explosive ordinance disposal – received the equipment necessary to perform their wartime mission. As a result, Service members performed missions without the proper equipment, used informal procedures to obtain equipment and sustainment support, and canceled or postponed missions while waiting to receive equipment…

The U.S. Central Command's and the Army's internal controls were not adequate…"

- John in DC, AmericaBlog

LSB: I'm guessing Louise's panties were REALLY in a bunch when she found out how the wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital were being treated. The Bush Admin talks a big game about the supporting the troops, there's just never any follow-through with that support.

Lesbian mom-to-be Mary Cheney disses religious right leader James Dobson

Dick Cheney's daughter, Mary (shown on the left, ironically), former gay rights activist and professional homosexual and head of the vice president's re-election campaign, publicly declared today to an open panel discussion, and then in a personal interview with the New York Times (circulation 1.1 million), that her lesbian out-of-wedlock pregnancy is a private matter and it's none of anybody's busines. Apparently, irony isn't big in the Cheney family.

Mary then laid into the #1 religious right leader James Dobson, accusing him of distorting scientific research in order to slam gays.

The religous right has a real problem with Mary. She claims she doesn't want to get political, but she already has, and continues to do so. And in the end, she's daddy's little girl. And everyone knows that daddy is the real president of the United States. If the religious right is trying to figure out why their agenda has disappeared from the Republican agenda, they need go no further than Mary.

- by John in DC, AmericaBlog

LSB: Oh, the delicious irony!

Rove on immigration: 'I don't want my son to have to pick tomatoes'

"The Corner" at the National Review Online reports that at a Republican luncheon yesterday, White House adviser Karl Rove was overheard explaining the Bush amnesty immigration plan by saying, "I don't want my 17-year-old son to have to pick tomatoes or make beds in Las Vegas."

LSB: So if I understand this correctly, the Bush Admin wants a guest worker program with Mexico so that Karl Rove's son and the President's daughters, Bambi and Mitzi, don't have to work in the fields. Even as a joke, this reflects a sense of entitlement that continues to annoy me. These jokers have never had to work a day in their lives and their children have never been put in harm's way for an unjustified war... why is anyone listening to them?

Ok, break’s over.

After taking a few weeks off from updating this blog to get a new business open and running, it’s back to highlighting the truly absurd and aggravating shit that's going on in government and in the world. There have been too many items happening in the past six weeks not to make some comments, so the remainder of the posts are catch-up items.