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it is probably time to discuss this.

For years we have quietly known and accepted the negatives of having an NSA. Things like we need it for our protection, or it makes things safer, tended to overide our fears that they know too much already, and I can’t do anything in private anymore…

We accepted that as progress.

However, when you have an organization so secret, that members of Congress are shocked to find out what it is doing, that no one knows who is authorizing who gets spied upon and what, that when brought before the courts for overstepping the Constitution, it can’t be prosecuted because a) it operates under “secret” laws, b) with “secret operations”, c) authorized by “secret courts” …. it is time to shut the entire operation down.

Why do we have the NSA when we have the CIA and the FBI. The FBI covers domestic spying. The CIA covers international spying. So, unless we find out that there are aliens and the NSA is really running the world while we think otherwise, then it probably ought to go.

I find it interesting that those on the far right, and those on the far left are the most outraged by this disclosure. We’ve been stating that news on this blog after the story was broken back in 2007-8 and not one press person cared. I supposed the AP Story opened their eyes this time. Struggling to put a finger on why, I came up with the theory primarily by looking at Congress, that it is the libertarians on left and right who are against, and the conformist, primarily in the center who are acceptive. So this gives us a split where the bottom third and the top third of the political body are opposed to the middle third… If you look at Congress that is exactly how it splits up. Moderates are pro domestic spying, the libertarians are not.

Probably similar is the theory that those beholden to corporate interests are pro-spying, after all, that is normal in the corporate environment; interoffice spying is not limited by any judicial system because it is deemed to be private. Those aghast, tend to fight corporate intrusion from their original political perspective, either left of right.

What the NSA does, watch everything to discern what is happening to increase its chances of survival, is not new. Intelligence has been the secret success of many an empire. Knowing what someone will do before they do it, is pretty comfortable in a world where in a day, we probably pass within 10 feet of 10,000 people (that includes inside our vehicles).

That is what all governments with the capacity, do. The biggest argument against it, is that it is un-American. Sure we have the “ability” to do it, but do we have the restraint, not to…

America has always been ruled by restraint. When Washington was entreated to be the King, he restrained and said no. When the heads of Europe all bet that Washington would invent a method to stay in power, he restrained, and government turned over peacefully. When the US was left in charge of a broken Europe, it put it back together and went home. The only country to invade another and give it back willingly to its original owners.

We had a scare in Boston a while back. Did the NSA protect us then? It’s a secret, no one knows. In Newtown 26 bodies littered the floor of an elementary school. Did the NSA protect us then? When a gunman burst into Aurora firing into the audience, did the NSA protect us then? When Gabby Gifford took a bullet, where was the NSA? Did the NSA protect us then?

That is the point. We are always in danger. But our personal lives are more at risk if our private information should fall into a competitors hands, than being victim of a terrorist. In Boston just 2 people died. In Newton 26. But each and every one of us, is at risk that selective information from ones past, can be used in secret to smear each and every one of us, should it fall into the wrong hands.

What would happen if we shut the entire agency known as the NSA down? A big nothing. They overstepped. It is not knee-jerking anger to respond “Shut them down right now!” It it calm, cool reasoning tipping the balance, that points out simply that is the right way to go.

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Daily Kos and Tommywonk featured excerpts from Dr. Goldsmiths upcoming book, The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration.

Defender of the Constitution Despite Cheney's Tirades!!!

Before Goldsmiths arrival, things were much shadier. “Goldsmith claims that Addington (Vice President’s Legal Counsel) and other top officials treated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act the same way they handled other laws they objected to: “They blew through them in secret based on flimsy legal opinions that they guarded closely so no one could question the legal basis for the operations,” he writes. Goldsmith’s first experienced this extraordinary concealment, or “strict compartmentalization,” in late 2003 when, he recalls, Addington angrily denied a request by the N.S.A.’s inspector general to see a copy of the Office of Legal Counsel’s legal analysis supporting the secret surveillance program. “Before I arrived in O.L.C., not even N.S.A. lawyers were allowed to see the Justice Department’s legal analysis of what N.S.A. was doing,” Goldsmith writes.

“By shielding its legal theories under a cloak of secrecy, the Administration hoped to insulate their radical positions from any form of review. Just as the Administration is attempting to use the ‘state secret privilege’ to stop any court from reviewing or ruling upon its domestic surveillance, it used “strict compartmentalization” to prevent internal review. The reason is simple, if Machiavellian: If one can prevent dissenters from access to the legal theories, it is that much easier to dismiss their concerns. If one can stop courts from ruling, there’s no one to say you were wrong.”
(Expect the book out on September 17th. It is a fitting day…..being the last day Gonzales is in office………)

This is the process of closed government in action, proving that there needs to be more transparency in all branches of government. Power corrupts absolutely, unless of course, everybody is watching. Power independent of party ideology will continue to function the same as long as secrecy is allowed.

It doesn’t matter if the party is democrat or republican. It matters not whether it is in the highest reaches of government, or in our levy courts and county councils. FOIA needs to be applied to all government agencies to prevent abuses such as the above.

Government in this nation is a function of its people. It is nothing but a tool. How many of us would trust a plumber who charged us $3000 to work with tools we could not see?

You can harp on this administration, if you want, but the real issue is more than symptomatic. The real issue is that our Constitution has been hijacked by both Dick Cheney and Thurman Adams…………..

Transparency is the key.

Congess finds out the dangers faced by our solders

We have heard so often that the surge is working. Perhaps it is working far too well. Four arch-Conservative Congressional delegates flying out of Baghdad, came under fire just as their C130 lifted off from the Baghdad airport. Judging from the depth of the Pentagon’s reaction, it was a close call.

The C-130 cargo aircraft conducted evasive maneuvers after a nighttime takeoff from Baghdad, said Ken Lundberg, spokesman for Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, who was on the plane.

In addition to Martinez, the plane was carrying fellow Republican Sens. Richard Shelby of Alabama and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, and Alabama Rep. Robert “Bud” Cramer, a Democrat.

With the exception of Cramer the Blue Dog Democrat, all of the three republicans would be considered extremely conservative. Shelby, was the individual responsible for announcing that we had intercepted Osama bin Laden’s phone messages. Inhofe accused the Weather Channel of creating global warming. Martinez was in charge of Bush 2000’s Florida campaign, and we all know what happened there. In 2006, he helped craft the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 that would be referred to by much of his own party, as “amnesty”.

All three of these are extremely conservative; all three are potentially embarrassing to the future Republican party; all three have uttered controversial statements like this one…. by Inhofe:

“I am outraged by the ‘outrage’ over the revelations of abuse at Abu Ghraib”, suggesting that liberals being outraged over Rumsfeld’s abusive tactics, were more of a outrage to American values, than the actual torture practiced on Iraqis by American servicemen.

Each of these Republicans has become and will be a future embarrassment to their party in the upcoming elections. Each of these statements will be pounded over the airwaves with undulating precision.

But if you look beyond the glossed over press reports there seems to be something deeper going on behind this incident. Perhaps it was more than just a close call?

For one, why would the C 130 fired upon as it left Baghdad, just happen to carry three of the most conservative members of Congress? Of course one option, and the first considered, is that it occurred randomly. However two other possibilities that could occur, are 1) either the Iraqi insurgents have remarkable intelligence capabilities, capable of communicating the precise moment the plane lets go its brakes to a position miles away, or……2) it was an inside job.

Was it random? At roughly 150 of these planes flying in and out of Baghdad on a daily basis, the odds at firing on this one randomly selected over the last five years, would be: 1 chance out of 273,750. That would be a 2737.5% chance of not happening. But anything is possible, right?

So let’s examine the logistics behind the alternatives. To fire upon this one plane, the enemy would need to know which plane out of the twenty five lined up on the tarmac awaiting takeoff, contained the conservative legislators. That means the insurgents would have had access to Baghdad military airport, in the heart of the super safe Green Zone.

If the enemy was this intelligent, they should know that killing four congressional legislators would not end the war. It would escalate it further. (To end the war they would need to kill liberals.) They would also know that creating martyrs out of the four most conservative Congressional members, would embolden a 9/11 response across this country. It would rally international support behind the US, now waning worldwide, and create an international environment more hostile to Al Qaeda. The insurgents would be foolish to fire upon that plane.

So who stands to gain if these men were shot down? Obviously those republicans waiting in the wings in their safe red districts, would benefit. So would the RNC. There would be NO chance of a blue taking any of these seats. Obviously the Republican party would be better off by not having their own comment blaming “the Weather Channel for creating global warming”, receiving international airplay. (They are so losing this next election; I hope that Mondale lives long enough to see his dubious record broken.) Obviously the next big republican scandal that will come out of Florida (Martinez), would be nice to nip in the bud. Furthermore anyone having a vendetta against that one single person responsible for leaking that nugget that we were listening to Osama’s phone calls just after 9/11, causing his GPS location to be lost to us forever, would rub their hands with revenge.

These shots fired, based on a cross reference of the press reports description and the Pentagon’s map of Baghdad, originated from an area safe from insurgents, and entrusted to private corporate mercenary services. The location of these shots makes it even more unlikely that an insurgent pulled the trigger. The odds that an operative of Al Qaeda, infiltrated a private security service such as Blackwater, was in real time informed as to when this very plane was taking off, and knew exactly when to pull the trigger seconds before he even saw or heard the plane, all without any experience of ever having done so before at this location…….. are impossible to calculate…………….

If this was an inside job, perhaps instead of an assassination, it was a mere attempt at a scare. They missed on purpose. For by instilling fear in some of the most conservative members of the Congress, one could continue to count firmly on their future loyalty and support.  No doubt as they spoke before their respective branches of Congress, they could then be counted on to convey to others, that the threat was real.

For if on their return, had these four wavered and decided that all future expenditures were nothing but a massive waste of money, that the surge was not working, and that it was time to make a change in Iraq policy, then dreams of all neocons everywhere, would be nothing more than a wisp of gunsmoke……………

But such talk is just “hullabaloo” , really……… it was nothing more than a random event, a one in a 273,750 chance.
defensive actions by a C130 over Baghdad

Thanks to fellow live bloggers: Ryan Singel and David Kravets for their words and images.
threat level rising

Based on the judges question, an apparent victory may be at hand……..

The hearing involves two cases: one aimed at AT&T for allegedly helping the government with a widespread data-mining program allegedly involving domestic and international phone calls and internet use; the other a direct challenge to the government’s admitted warrant-less wiretapping of overseas phone calls.

In questioning of the governmental witness, this exchange occurred.

Judge Harry Pregerson suggests the government is asking the courts to “rubber stamp” the government’s claim that state secrets are at risk “Who decides whether something is a state secret or not? … We have to take the word of the members of the executive branch that something is a state secret?”

Garre counters that the courts should give “utmost deference” to the Bush administration.

Judge Pregerson: “What does utmost deference mean? Bow to it?”

Fifteen minutes later, this exchange occurs.

Judge McKeown asks whether the government stands by President Bush’s statements that purely-domestic communications, where both parties are in the United States, are not being monitored without warrants.

“Does the government stand behind that statement,” McKeown asks.

Garre: “Yes, your honor.”

But Garre says the government would not be willing to sign a sworn affidavit to that effect for the court record.

Blogger’s opinion: Pregerson, by his record, is the most liberal judge on the panel, and he clearly thinks the government is just looking for a blank check for their secret program. But the other two judges aren’t thrilled either. They seem perplexed that the government attorney can’t swear under oath that the Bush Administration isn’t warrant-lessly spying on domestic phone calls.

Proceed to the second case:

Whether the foundation’s lawyers were spied upon, which is the subject of the case, “Is itself a state secret,” Bondy argues. Expanding on that theme, the government argues that the Al-Haramain case needs to be thrown out because the secret document that the government accidentally gave the foundation is so secret that it is outside of the case.

The government claims that the plaintiff’s memories of the document can’t be allowed into the case because the only way to test them is against the “totally classified” document.

This leads to this exchange :

Judge McKeown on the TOP SECRET/TOTALLY document: “I feel like I’m in Alice and Wonderland.”

Eisenberg: “I feel like I’m in Alice in Wonderland, too.”

Al-Haramain lawyer Eisenberg argues that the government’s rationale for dismissing the cases on state secrets grounds doesn’t apply to his clients, since they already know they were surveilled from seeing the secret document.

Judge Margaret McKeown and Judge Hawkins seem unconvinced that the Al-Haramain case can continue without relying on a top-secret document that can’t be used in court.

Eisenberg also offered that the government could have the case dismissed simply by proving the court that they got a warrant.

But the panel seemed unpersuaded that the document can be used at all and generally seemed to be sympathetic to the government’s position.

Bondy, the government’s attorney, finished by reiterating that giving out any information on the alleged surveillance would help the enemy: “We just cannot confirm or deny whether they were surveilled.”

Bondy, for the government, gets the last word and neatly sums up the case for the three judges. Al-Haramain Foundation attorneys, he points out, “think or believe or claim they were surveilled.”

“It’s entirely possible that everything they think they know is entirely false,” he says.

The Federal Governments Position in Defense of Secret Surveillance

Possibility of another terrorist attack?

Unconfirmed talk is that international terrorist chatter is as high as it was in August of 01, just before the planes came………Definitely expect an attack within 90 days we are told. Code Red.

Wasn’t it a former Pennsylvanian senator named Santorum who said last week that what ultraconservatives needed to push their agenda forward is another terrorist attack like 9/11? What?

Isn’t that what Mitch McConnell is currently peddling around Congress, this heightened level of chatter? But who is the source? Silence…..Is there any independent confirmation? Silence…… The only answer the public hears is a rumble from the gut of Chertoff. ……..Feed me……

The fear every American has, is not from the random violence of a terrorist, who supposedly will fight the sharks and swim across the ocean to get here, but of our own self-appointed president, declaring martial law, stripping us of our rights, in order to stay in power forever. What better method than to use a massive terrorist attack to push ones agenda…… It worked the last time, right?

This time I am not so sure it would work. If one has an employee who makes the same mistake twice, big time, one fires his ass. A terrorist attack is definitely big time. And whose ass did we entrust the last time to make us safe? And now miraculously those same people are telling us that Al Qaeda is as stronger than it was in the summer of 01?

That doesn’t make me scared. It really pisses me off!  How on earth can the greatest country in the world, be completely powerless to contain Robin Hood and his band of merry men, climbing over moon rocks while carrying a kidney machine? Bottom line is that they can’t…. unless not finding him is being done on purpose.

“What is most troubling is that no one in a position of authority is trying to get to the bottom of this.

If GOP leaders like Dennis Milligan (R-Ark) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa) possess information that could protect the American people from another terrorist attack, the CIA should interrogate them using the techniques our Vice President has approved,” Fetzer observed. “Let’s water-board them and subject them to sexual humiliation. After all, that’s what we are doing to prevent attacks abroad. Why aren’t they being used here? Chertoff appears to be making no effort to get to the bottom of this. Bush can’t claim to be ‘the security president’ if he won’t keep us secure.”How much money have we sunk into Iraq, where according to every nation’s intelligence agencies, there were NO terrorists before we started. How many bridges could we have inspected and repaired in this country if we had used that money less foolishly?……..

If we have an administration that allows us another terrorist attack, this time killing between 30,000 and 300,000, we need to impeach that administration; not give them more power. What the hell have we been spending our children’s money on? and they are telling me that terror is worse now?…. than it was before 9/11?

And they want us to trust who? Should another attack occur, an attack more viscous than 9/11, the ugly truth is that such an attack could only occur because one man fell asleep at the wheel: George W Bush. America will be furious. They will not reward him with powers of tyranny, they will impeach!

Cheney’s diversion in Iraq provided a lull in the war on terrorism. Had we finished Afghanistan first, maybe made a couple or secret raids across the border into Pakistan, there would be no Al Qaeda. But no, we are now being warned of an eminent attack………..

If the unthinkable occurs and we are attacked, America must get it’s own house in order first before striking back. America must replace its 2 leaders with ones who are competent,… so that when our time comes to return the favor to Al Qaeda………we won’t make the same mistake twice………..

Bush can’t claim to be ‘the security president’ if he won’t keep us secure

Recently in Delaware, a well know auto parts company did a comparative study and decided that Delaware was ripe for expansion. The acquisition costs were low, taxes low, and competition was archaic and outdated. They received the required financing and moved in.

They built a new store every 120 days. Gradually they had received all but the most loyal of its competitor’s regulars. They began to set the standards of how business could be run. Were one to write a textbook on how to succeed in acquiring a new market, they would have been the most quoted source. Comparatively their service times per transaction were faster, their customer satisfaction results the highest, and their return to the bottom line was better than those same company’s stores in other states.

Every opportunity was met with success. Investors as well as customers were happy they had moved in.

Then, almost inexplicably, the upper management decided to buy a local strip club that was up for sale. They tackled the purchase with meticulous detail. They wined and dined, then cold shouldered the prospective seller, until he, desperate to unload the property, gave it up for a song. No one is certain as to why this company would go into a venture half-cocked. Some thought it was for reasons, deep, secret personal reasons, that guided the chief executives decision. But for a song, the place was acquired and a great party was thrown to celebrate the new diversion. It was even whispered by some, that all entertainment costs charged to the auto parts conglomerate, would be at cost, if even charged at all. Those few who fearlessly stood up to the executive and challenged him to explain his weird choice of action, were chastised publicly and told not to worry, it would pay for itself ten times over……

But no one knew how to run it……Apparently upper management was so concerned with the acquisition and the possibility of future profits, that in their rush, they had failed to plan for its management.

“Don’t worry. We will do it” they said. They chose a bright young parts manager and put him in charge. Since the facility was intact, they placed want ads for employees and prepared to open their doors. But being new to the porn arena, caused many of the local entertainers to become a little leery of signing up. “Let’s wait and see” was their approach.

Desperate, because of upper management pressure to get something done immediately, the young part’s manager asked some of the company’s most loyal employees to moonlight for him in their off hours………Opening day was a flop.

Jeers, hoots, holla’s were shouted at the dancers. The locals treated them with contempt. Who pays to see a middle aged pot bellied male clerk, dance around in a thong? Not only did the employees get shouted off of stage, but they failed to receive tips as well. Desperate, the young parts manger made deals from his car’s window with hookers off of Route 13. He asked them to come in and fill his roster. The hookers would do so only if he stipulated that they could ply their other trade within the club’s walls. He felt he had no choice but to agree.

Costs were running 200% more than anticipated. They had underestimate the clientèle. Southern businessmen, these locals were not. Heroin was sold openly.

They had bitten off more than they could chew. Those who had supported the diversionary financial venture, began to come under fire by stockholders. Over and over the CEO reassured them that all would work out.

Close it down to stop the financial bleeding he was told. No he insisted. That would be a failure. He would not do that. Instead we will staff it with all our employees. Every employee will work half a day at one of the stores, and the other half would be at night, inside the strip club.

As the staff levels increased, operations stabilized. However the client base hemorrhaged. Most nights were devoid of customers. Occasionally a group would arrive from out of town. The strip club soon sucked up more profits than the auto part’s stores could afford. For the first time, the company dipped into the red. It never recovered…………

Then came the vice squad. Arrests were made and prostitutes and management were incarcerated. Fines were levied against the holding company. There was no money left to pay them. Under court order, the doors were closed.

For whatever the reason, whether it was due to loyalty, or trust in his past brilliance, or personal fear, no one stood up to the CEO. All who came to advise him, left with head hung, hat in hand……No one pushed back…at least not hard enough…….and as the result,…..the entire enterprise was eventually auctioned off to pay the creditors no more than 18 cents per dollar invested……….

Moral of the story: Extravagant adventures sometimes end where you least want to go……Planning make perfect……

Relevance of the story: I’m sure you are smart enough to have figured it out by now.

I learned it in sports and have carried it through my professional life. Sometimes one needs to be competitive.

You may have morality on your side, you may have competence on your side, and you may have legality on your side, but still, if you do nothing to stop an opponent, he wins.

Common sense right? It does not seem so with Democrats. Often criticized by the other side as being pushovers, it seems like the school of hard knocks has given Democrats an “F” in “learnability”. Some of the basic tendencies of human survival seem to have mutated away and out of the Democratic party. Some old democratic dinosaurs still have it. But when push comes to shove, Democrats primarily get the shove……….

Primer: here is how it is done……Whenever someone blocks one of my actions that I feel is instrumental in propelling my business forward, I make against him, an outrageous accusation in public. There may or may not be a smattering of truth to it, but the accusation is so well made, that the opposition is momentarily stunned. Stunned. Their brains fumble for the logic behind my remark. They cannot believe they were even accused of such an outrage. While they are still stumbling dazed through the fog of unbelief, I point out their slow response time and comment that they must be guilty. Unless they are super well put together, they usually respond in a stutter like fashion and make a number of errors that I can then expound on. “See. I told you so,” I say to the others.

This happened precisely as such with the Swift Boat controversy. Kerry did not respond well enough. Previously this happened earlier when the diminutive Dukakis almost fell off his step stool as Bernard Shaw implanted into every American debate viewer, the image of Dukakis walking in on his wife being raped……..

Immediately after making the accusation, you point out to the others, “See, I told you he is ineffective. Look at his demeanor. He is ineffective….”

Kerry looked ineffective as the tried to stare down the Swift Boat gasoline sniffers. Dukakis did not appear presidential in his answer either.

So who is getting it now?

Congress? Yes, Congress.

Congress is rated low in public opinion polls. Americans feel they are ineffective. Anyone with their pulse on America knows full well that Congress is getting it in both front and back by Republicans who are unhappy by nature, and Democrats who feel betrayed by the rhetoric that was campaigned upon………

When compared to Congress, the Executive Branch looks competent.

Congress is getting manipulated. The message ( not yet spoken out loud) is this: this Executive branch functions better without direct oversight by the American people. This ties together many strings into one package: Cheney’s outrageous comment, Gonzales cocky smugness, Harriet Myers blatant refusal to testify before Congressional committees, and now the threat to fire whichever poor sap of an attorney dares to file Congress’s contempt charge.

Flatly this administration is saying: We are a separate entity and there is nothing you can do about it.

Congress has done nothing.

The public is saying: “You know? The administration was right on this one. Look, the Constitution is in deep, deep trouble and Congress sleeps on their hands and does nothing. We are stuck with a king.” Today every Democrat should be worried about the permanent consequences of this ineptness: an uncontrollable executive…… Today every republican should be worried about the permanent consequences of this ineptness, during the next administration: an uncontrollable executive………

As an old pro, here is what Congress needs to do. It is not too late,… yet. Hopefully some of this advice will penetrate their archaic plugs of earwax, and resonate with action.

Instantly every Democrat needs to say into any microphone thrust towards his face: This is wrong! This is what the Soviets did! This is what the Chinese did! This is what the Nazi’s did! This if unchallenged, will be the end of the United States of America! Every day, Americans stand up and say “I pledge allegiance, to the flag, FOR WHICH IT STANDS………” And I may be dead tomorrow,… but while I am still alive and breathing, I am going to make sure as hell that our flag, does NOT stand for Dick Cheney and his youthful sidekick, George W. Bush!”

Every Democrat. Every microphone. And it must resonate….. if this country shall be saved as our Founding Fathers dared envisioned it………

sometimes it pays to listen to these guys

Wall Street Journal buried this deep within their pages: Banks Delay Sale Of Chrysler Debt As Market Stalls

In plain English it means that banks have decided not to fund the Chrysler deal. The deal will still go through, mind you, but the risk will be absorbed solely by those underwriting the deal, and the 12 billion will not be spread to investors as has been done in the past. “The market has dried up.”

This does not bode well for Newark. Why? Because the cost of money, or the interest rate for the twelve billion, has just risen.  That means that all costs, supplies, labor, and facilities, must be tightened even tighter in order that corporate is able to pay for the increased financing.

Plain talk: their mortgage, which was already 200 million a year, just hit the ARM plan and may go as high or higher than 300 million!!

That money was sorely needed to invest in environmentally friendly and marketable vehicles. They do not have that option and will have no recourse but to buckle down, hold on, and hope to survive a financial ride as scary as the Ka.

One can only hope that Kia or Hyundai is interested in opening shop in Delaware…..It will be a new experience for the local UAW to be sure, but Toyota seems to treat Americans more fairly than does our own……..At least foreign autos are sensitive to America’s needs and do not foot drag when it comes to creating cars that American’s WANT to buy…….

Anyone who clicked on the above links saw a difference in profitability among all those manufactures. Delaware needs to send someone to South Korea today. Secure jobs are often found within secure companies.

So what does this mean to everyone else? A lot. Here is how it breaks down.

Cheap money is no longer available. It is what has been driving up the stock market. Next time someone tells you it was republican tax policy, bitch slap them. (smile) If borrowed money is cheap then one can afford to spend more in the acquisition of a corporation, because on the bottom line, the cost is the same. Similar to the housing boom which has now ended, the monthly mortgage is the same on a house costing 250,000 at a 3% rate as an 80,000 house at 9%. Just as house prices soared, so did the price of corporations, pushing the market upward……….

Well, ladies and gentlemen. That push has stopped, as of yesterday…….The Fed may react someway and save us from a crash similar to the last time money was not available…..1929.

The political implications are obvious. This could not have happened under a competent Al Gore administration. But I will leave that for someone else to expound. Right now my broker is shut down, off-line, and not answering calls………

I just hope I can shift everything over to “fixed” before everyone else catches on…………………….Sometimes it pays to listen to these guys.....

When Johnson fired Edwin Stanton back in ’68, Radical republicans decided that this firing violated the Tenure of Office Act , and politically inspired, they drew up impeachment proceedings against then president, Andrew Johnson. It was 1868. Based on party lines the vote looked good and most republicans were casting straws to see who would become the next president.

Their plans came to a quick end when one of their own, Edmund Ross, refused to lay down the deciding vote. He voted no on impeachment. ” I looked down at my open grave.” is is often commented as saying.

As one commentator remarked, the political climate in ’68 was so divisive that Andrew Johnson would have been impeached for “stepping on a dog’s tale”. The Republicans had been looking for a chance to impeach for over a year and finally had their opportunity. One man, Edmund Ross, went against his party, for a higher ideal. He believed the president should be allowed to hire and fire whom he pleased. He also believed that just because Congress was of a different political stripe, one did not fire the president for a minor trumped up charge.

A similar republican attempt occurred in ’98. This time it was 1998 with Bill Clinton. The charge was masqueraded as a perjury violation, but really it was a political move designed by republicans to sully the most popular president ever. It failed. Furthermore public opinion backfired upon Republicans who themselves heavily lost popularity points and many of those who were instrumental in its prosecution, became the butts of public jokes. Americans refused to buy into the philosophy that their president should be impeached for something that goes on in most American homes every day.

Ironically both times impeachment processes have been initiated in our nation’s history, they were 1) initiated by republicans and 2) done so for purely political reasons……..

With the clear view of hindsight, one could argue that perhaps the republicans knowingly went through the Clinton impeachment process so that their following president could break the law and not have to be impeached. It is unlikely that it was planned as such, but that is exactly what happened.

The best protection Bush/Cheney has against impeachment, is the recent memory of the folly of the last one 9 years ago.

Surely we do not want to go through with that process again. Or do we?

Let’s apprise our current situation and see where we stand.

When one US attorney refused to strip black voters off the registration forms in Missouri, he was removed. His replacement promptly did just that. It was irrelevant. They hate Bush so much in Missouri, that his candidate lost anyway. Manipulating an election. Not a crime.

During the 2000 election huge, monstrous contributions went into the Bush campaign treasury from BP, Exxon, Mobil, Texaco, and Chevron. For this, they were promised exclusive rights to the oil lying just under the sand in Iraq. It was tough but a war was created that put us over top of those sands. We are in the process of getting the Oil PSA’s some cover by having them legitimized by our puppet government, despite total Iraqi opposition. Those PSA’s will allow those companies to extract the oil for free up to amortization, then pay royalties on only 30% thereafter. Bribery perhaps? Not a crime.

Currently a member of the White house staff was forbidden to testify before Congress. Today it was learned that a warning went out: any judge or attorney who attempted to file a contempt of Congress charge on any White House staff member, would be fired………Embarrassing, perhaps? But not a crime.

The language for impeachment is specific. It must be for either “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. ” Precedent has shown that finding a little rule broken, does not constitute a high crime or misdemeanor. If impeachment is to carry, if done by the Democrats, it needs to be done right. Impeachment is a serious action and all its consequences need to be taken seriously.

Do we impeach Bush, or Bush and Cheney. Will the perspective of Pelosi as chief executive hurt, or help Bush’s case before the Senate.

Are the crimes that serious? Impeachment should be reserved for someone who accumulates power and refuses to listen to either 1) Congress, 2) the Judicial Branch, or 3) the American people. When once we have determined that we have a president like that, then it will be time to impeach…………….

Poor little Paris. She gets blamed for everything. But this time it is truly not her fault. Only the timing between the fulfillment of her punishment and the commuting of any punishment for Scooter Libby, has thrust her in the limelight on this issue.

Being a celebrity, Paris Hilton received a harsh sentence that no one else would get for the same crime. Scooter, on the other hand, due to his celebrity status with Dick Cheney, gets a pardon that no one else would get for the same crime.

Bush says the his Republican judge, that he appointed, gave too harsh a sentence.

Does anyone remember the woman who was put to death by lethal injection in Texas. The one who had become a Christian and changed her life. She was asking that her sentence be committed to life in prison, instead of death, so that she could continue to do some good with what life she had left?

Bush refused. He told her, ” you did the crime; the court set your time; I don’t give a dime.”

She took it like a man.

Apparently any decision made by the court of the United States of America, does not apply when it goes against the will of the White House. In other words, America is governed by two sets of principals: one set applies to Bush/Cheney; the other set to all other Americans.

We have our hypocrite.

One could argue this callous disregard for all laws of our nation has run throughout this administration since the day it took office. In fact, as evidenced most recently by Dick Cheney, they have actually said their office is above the law, in no uncertain terms.

If this premise is not challenged, then a major precedent is being set before our eyes. Whoever the next administration may be, will continue to push legal interpretions further and further, until the Divine Right of Kings is thrust upon us as fait accompli.

It is for this, we must start holding our Presidency accountable, starting today. Not for political stakes, mind you, but to define which side of royality we want our president on.

We can thank Paris Hilton for this. To see her exit her jail cell with her head held high, her punishment complete, her life back on track, and then compare it to an characterless administration that continues to refuse its acceptance of any accountability for the millions of things it has done wrong……………….

No wonder Americans paid more attention to Ms Hilton, than they did to this tepid administration. She deserves it…………………..

Likewise, the enablers like Delaware’s congressman Mike Castle, who stood by as this happened, and still stand on the sidelines and wring their hands, still vocally supporting this administration instead of calling for accountability………..they should take a page from Paris Hilton’s handbook as well……………..