Howdy, Big Brother!

It occurred to me while reading and answering comments on this recent post that I should clarify something. Yes, I was lampooning Gen. Hayden and the NSA domestic intelligence-gathering. But I tend to make ironic comments about everyone, whether I agree with them or not. I think it’s healthyHaydencia to mock my own positions the way opponents would. It helps me to keep a sense of perspective that people with calcified points of view lack.

You see, it doesn’t bother me a bit that the government is engaging in a variation on the classic intelligence-gathering technique of "traffic analysis." I hope the sweeps are comprehensive enough to work, and help prevent the next 9/11. Ultimately, I think playing defense all the time will fail at some point — all the bad guys have to do is get lucky once. That’s why we need to be on the offensive on their turf, with the ultimate goal of changing the conditions that produce these nut jobs. But in the meantime, analyze phone records all you want.

Anyway, here is the response I wrote to various comments. I thought it would be better to make a separate post of them, since the points were important enough for that:

  • I first heard about the Murtha thing when I was trapped watching TV news while working out several nights ago. It was FoxNEWS. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen or read anything about it since, until you mentioned it (Of course, I’ve been buried in state and local with all these candidate interviews). It’s not about political "bias." It’s about the fact that TV always blows this type of stuff out of proportion.
  • I couldn’t care less about records being kept of phone calls. I wouldn’t care if it was actual surveillance. The G-men can listen to my calls all day if they like. I’ll say howdy to them. Does that mean I’m A-OK with the program? Not quite — I’m pretty upset with the president that he won’t work with Congress to change the stupid law so that there’s no question that what we’re doing — what we need to do, what we’d be crazy NOT to do — is legal.
  • What "rights?" Have you had anything taken away from you? Do you know anybody who’s had anything taken away from him? What are we talking about — some hyperactive, superlibertarian view of the 4th Amendment? That was about Redcoats kicking down your door in the dead of night and tearing up your house. It wasn’t about records of how many times you called Aunt Martha last month. Like anybody cares.
  • It occurs to me that I have become inured to privacy concerns by the fact of what I do for a living. Especially with this blog, I write just about anything that pops into my head. And I have this general rule — don’t write anything in an e-mail, or say anything on the phone, that you wouldn’t want published. Yeah, sometimes I slip on that. But I doubt that any such slips would interest the NSA.

53 thoughts on “Howdy, Big Brother!

  1. Dave

    Politicians on the left side crippled American security intelligence and when the 9-11 attack occurred they were the first to point fingers and ask why our government couldn’t connect the dots.

    That is a great picture of Hayden. I would caption him mumbling, Blub, blub, blub, blub, blub with finger in mouth while Leaky Leahy is asking him a question. That would be classic.

  2. Nathan

    Actually Brad, this whole controversy tells you why he didn’t just change the law, as does the whole Patriot Act issue. The left and the libertarian right is twisting and contorting this for the explicit purpose of hurting Bush and, now, Hayden. The White House could see the stupid big brother complaints coming. I’m not sure I blame them for trying to keep it secret.

  3. Herb

    Totally off the point, Brad, but not long ago in a comment (I think it was on the JFK Berliner–jelly roll thing) you mentioned an author of spy novels you like. I’m looking for some recreational reading. Mind telling me who the author was again?

  4. Ready to Hurl

    Why would the Bushies think that the fear-mongering and the uber-patriotism meme would fail them now?
    For almost five years they’ve played every card in the panic deck: creating a color-coded scare index with no constructive purpose; irresponsibly bleating about mushroom clouds over US cities; and, suggesting duct tape with plastic sheeting for protection against nearly impractical bio-chem attacks.
    Almost every rightwinger (including most of Lee’s vaunted Libertarians) have lined up eager to torch the Constitution if only Daddy Bush would keep them safe.
    Only a few of the cowed Dems have uttered a peep, and then it’s mostly a brief, ineffective pro forma protest.
    Honestly, sometimes I wonder how you guys keep from wetting yourselves. Adult Depends™?
    Does it never occur to you that this government induced hysteria is just what the neo-cons had in mind when they pined for a “new Pearl Harbor” in the Project for the New American Century?

  5. Mary Rosh

    Well, we already knew everything we need to know about Warthen’s cowardice. There’s a reason that he sees the Iraq war as calling for sacrifices from others, but not from himself. But we now know even more surely than we did before that he is yellow from the marrow of his bones outward.
    “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
    –Patrick Henry

  6. Phillip

    “Don’t say anything on the phone that you wouldn’t want published”–??? Really, Brad? Are we really at that stage already? Do I have to arrange meetings with people at remote corners of Finlay Park to share thoughts in confidence?
    “I wouldn’t care if it was actual surveillance. The G-Men can listen to my calls all day if they like.” Not exactly Edward R. Murrow stuff there, Brad. You think all the reporters at your newspaper would feel the same way? More on that in a minute….
    Look, I would like to take Hayden at his word when he says privacy concerns are paramount. And of course, we all want to do what we reasonably can to prevent terrorist attacks. With adequate congressional and judicial oversight, these intelligence-gathering programs that have currently in the news would not in and of themselves represent a dire threat to our liberty. But you cannot dismiss patriotic concerns about the scope of these programs as a fringe “hyperactive, superlibertarian” view.
    You yourself have often said that those who oppose the war are giving comfort to, or boosting morale of, the insurgents/terrorists. (I think I’ve demonstrated in other comments the insupportability of that statement, but let’s assume the executive branch agrees with you, which I’m sure they do.) And now let’s imagine that there has been another terrorist attack in the US. Can you not imagine a scenario where the ante is raised, where the scope of domestic intelligence gathering would widen to include those who are “hurting the war cause” by daring to hold an opposing viewpoint on the Iraq war? In other words, political opposition now might be grounds for provoking, shall we say, further interest.
    Can’t happen like that, you say? We have proof otherwise, within living memory. Do the words “Enemies List,” “King,” “Hoover,” etc. mean nothing to you?
    Nathan, Dave, and other pro-administration folks think this is all something concocted by anti-Bushies to bring him down. I can’t speak for all of those who express concern on this issue, but to me it completely transcends partisanship. Creeping centralization of intelligence-gathering powers within the executive branch would be equally galling to me if the President were Bill or Hillary Clinton or any Democrat you care to name.
    The only extra anxiety I feel in this case is simply because this crowd has shown a particular penchant for secrecy and for being less than forthright and candid on a number of issues. So when they say, “trust us, of course this is limited and if you are not involved in terrorist activity you have nothing to worry about–but of course we can’t tell you what we’re REALLY doing because of national security”—you’ll excuse me if I am not reassured.
    The balance between security and liberty is a conversation this nation needs to have, thoroughly and openly. As I’ve said repeatedly on this blog and elsewhere, the terrorists can never defeat us. Only we, in our panic and fear, can begin to dismantle the very nature of what makes our nation unique. If some of us are hyper-vigilant in defense of that “American nature,” I at least prefer that stance to the “Consumer-first, citizen-second” couple of generations we seem to have raised, so many of whose members are either tragically ignorant of the Bill of Rights or mindlessly complacent with a false sense of its immortality.
    I grew up with a mother who, as a teenager, saw her nation move from a parliamentary democracy to a brutal dictatorship that threatened the civilized world. In my field of work I have come to know many colleagues who grew up in societies where surveillance was real, not something to casually joke about. If we are truly fighting a war on terrorism, then we need to have a serious discussion about how far we ARE willing to go in balancing security issues with civil liberties. At least, Brad, you are honest about your being OK with your phone being tapped. Now you need to tell us if you can envision a scenario where the content of “The State” is subject to pre-publication review. You need to tell us how you would feel if a State reporter who had uncovered something unflattering to the government experienced harassment on the basis of personal information gathered via the wiretapping that you encouraged on May 20, 2006.

  7. Mark Whittington


    As usual, you’ve missed the point. Performing general phone surveillance is tantamount to conducting general searches in modern times. The fourth amendment was designed precisely to keep general searches from happening. You’ve been privileged for so long that you seem forget that a record of your phone calls could easily be used against you and your associates by some future political opposition.

    It’s hard to believe that someone who holds your beliefs is allowed to control the debate of others on the local editorial page. We need a newspaper that isn’t beholden to the Chamber of Commerce and to other business interests.

  8. Herb

    Phillip, methinks you have written well here. I’ll be interested in how Brad responds.

  9. Dave

    Phillip, existing data collection programs DO have complete Congressional oversight. And all of these programs have been established with bi-partisan support from none other than Harry Reid and Patrick Leahy, among others. What the administration rightfully objects to is exposing the internal components of the programs because that is exactly what the terrorists want to know so they can avoid being identified. By the way, Pat Leahy was removed from the Senate Intelligence committee for leaking classified information so we know that many on the left cannot be trusted with national security information. Bin Laden would have been dead long ago if Leahy and others could have kept their traitorous mouths shut about how we were tracking him on the satellite cellphones. The odd thing that I see from the left is a failure to admit that 9-11 really happened, or could happen again. It is passed off like it was a fictional episode of 24 as far as the left is concerned. The compliant liberal media like CNN, ABC, and the rest won’t show the footage of 9-11 in a not so subtle campaign to bury the past. How anyone could not want every possible means used to prevent another attack on innocent Americans is beyond my comprehension. Then again, we know leftists like Ward Churchill celebrated 9-11 because “we deserved it”.

    Polls show that a solid majority of Americans want phone pattern collection and review and actually want the intelligence community to use even stronger measures. Show me or anyone else how this program or any other program has been used in a non-terrorist setting and I will call for severe punishment for all those involved. On the other hand, Pat Leahy should NOT be in the Senate and should be in a federal prison right now for treason. So, I am an equal opportunity citizen and I want severe punishment for traitors.

  10. bud

    RTH is right on the money about the fear mongering. The adminstration and the right wing lemmings are all about fear. The creeping encroachment of the federal government into our cherished freedoms is based on fear. This should be alarming to a professional journalist such as Brad Warthen. Yet he believes since his persona life and profession as a journalist are open books anyway he doesn’t have anything to fear. But there are two big problems with this complacency. First, journalists can easily be dissuaded from pursuing genuine governmental abuse issues if they believe they are not communicating in confidence. Second, the government could easily misinterpret an off-hand comment or a particular pattern of calls and falsely accuse even Brad Warthen of treasonous activity. Perhaps, just perhaps,the NSA programs will not lead to abuse. Even so, this could be just the start down the ole slippery slope. Dilute the 4th ammendment today, tomorrow we’ll go after the 1st. Wake up Brad, you may not be personnally affected but others might. I’ve accepted until now your non-partisan proclamations as genuine. But at the very least you must acknowledge the potential for problems (with the NSA eavedropping). Otherwise you come across as just another right-wing mouthpiece blindly promoting the Bush administration.

  11. Lee

    Where were all you civil libertarians back when Clinton Democrats were attacking the right to bear arms, keeping illegal gun registration records and dossiers of gun owners, proposing the use of martial law to disarm honest people, stealing FBI files of political opponents and the bank transactions of 6,000,000 Americans, and pushing legislation REQUIRING telephone companies to build in back doors for warrantless wiretaps?

  12. Mary Rosh

    Lee, we were living in sober reality, rather than in the world of drug-induced fantasy world which is the only place where the events you mention took place.

  13. Dave

    Where were the leftist keepers of our Constitution when Mayor Nagin and the NO Police Chief went door to door disarming law abiding citizens of their own city when they needed guns for protection more than ever against the predatory gangs roaming the streets at night?

    BTW, Mary Rosh, you still haven’t posted your branch of service and years of service, like I did. I asked you to post that at least a week ago. Tell us all how you have served your country.

  14. Dave

    We also learn today the Judith Miller admitted she was tipped off about 9-11, but get this, her bosses at the NY Times didnt want to print the story. Pinch Sulzberger put a hold on the story because it would have energized the Bush admin. to take more severe measures against the AQ cells. So much for ANY sense of patriotism from the NY Times. The Times, USA Today, Newsweek, CBS and the whole rotten collection will print every single anti-American story they can find but wanted to be CERTAIN before exposing a huge attack on Americans. “All the FAKE News that is Fit to Print (But

  15. Mary Rosh

    Dave, anybody can SAY they did anything. You claim to have served, and you may have. Although given the fact that you are an inveterate liar, your unsupported claims are meaningless You may even have served honorably, although, observing your character, that seems unlikely and again, the claims of a proven liar like yourself are meaningless. But someone’s miltary service isn’t really important to you; you don’t care if someone served honorably. The fact that Congressman Murtha is a war hero doesn’t keep you from calling him a traitor. All you care about is casting aspersions on the patriotism of those who actually care about America by opposing a war that has proven harmful to America, but for which the extent of your “support” consists exclusively of sitting on your sofa collecting handouts paid for by the taxes of those who oppose the war.
    As for the “roaming gangs,” unless you and your sheet-wearing friends were there, the presence of “roaming gangs” was a myth. I know where the myth came from, and I know why you adhere to it.
    You have proven, once and for all, the extent of your courage, and your loyalty to and support of American ideals, when you favor the fear-inspired arguments of the cowardly Pat Roberts over this:
    “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
    –Patrick Henry

  16. Dave

    Benedict Arnold served and became a traitor. You can look it up. If Patrick Henry were alive today, he would be a conservative Republican, so stop trying to hijack his good name and good words.

  17. Mary Rosh

    Dave, once again you misunderstand the difference between the world of real events and the world of your Oxycontin-fueled fantasies. Your reference to Benedict Arnold is irrelevant, because you accuse Murtha and others of being traitors for no reason other than their disagreement with you. You are making an argument from authority, with yourself as the authority. But such an argument isn’t a strong argument in any case, and in order for the argument to have any validity at all, the claimed authority must be credible. But let’s look at whether your claimed “authority” (yourself) has any credibility on any issue.
    Do you have a reputation for dishonesty?
    Are you a freeloader?
    Are you a coward?
    Have you a loyal American?
    Have you ever done anything to benefit America?
    What is your sole claimed contribution for America?
    The willingness to urge sacrifices on others that you are too shiftless and lazy to undertake yourself.
    Not very impressive credentials, I must say.
    And your claiming of Patrick Henry as a conservative Republican is risible. Patrick Henry was a loyal American, willing to undertake personal risks and make personal sacrifices in order to bring to fruition an ideal of freedom. You are such a coward that if anyone so much as whispers the word “terrorist,” you wet your pants, hide under your bed, and loudly support any proposed intrusions on the liberties of America, whether or not those intrusions are likely (or even intended) to do anything about terrorism.

  18. Ready to Hurl

    I didn’t know whether to howl with laughter or vomit violently at the thought that Patrick Henry might be re-incarnated as a conservative Rethug.
    Then I remembered that it was another twisted Dave-fantasy.
    No chance of it being accurate or even based in reality.
    PH obviously would have enormous contempt for Dave’s enthusiasm for subverting our republican democracy for another incompetent, royal George.

  19. Dave

    Oh yes, Patrick Henry would have been thick as fleas with the party of gun control. Maybe if had been a liberal democrat he would have been promoting trigger locks and fighting against concealed carry for American citizens instead of risking his life to protest the Brits. Yes, in the spin zone world of Mary and RTH, PH was a liberal. How laughable!!!!!!!!!! And Mary, don’t forget he was one of those “white guys” that helped give birth to this nation. And from Virginia, slave state. I thought racists weren’t in the democrat party. Think again, Sheets Byrd is your fearless leader.

  20. Lee

    Mary wasted a lot of type to avoid answering my question of where “she” was while Clinton was running various domestic spy programs.

  21. Ready to Hurl

    Who would have thought that Dave, admirer of Stalin, would claim Patrick Henry for the Rethugs.
    Only in his parallel universe.

  22. Ready to Hurl

    Maybe you ought to learn a few more facts about Tom Paine before you claim him for Rethugism.
    Modern-day Rethugism– the refuge for unreformed Southern segregationists (Lott, Trent), “Christian” fundie theocrats (Robertson, Pat), and George “above the law” Bush– would certainly repel him.
    I doubt that he’d be so exercised over the minimal gun control laws (duly passed by elected representatives of the people) with the current threat to constitutional government looming.
    Surely he’d recognize an incompetent head of state who insisted that
    + he was chosen by God for divine purposes;
    + he was above laws passed by elected representatives of the people; and, that
    + he could spy on or search citizens without due legal process.
    From the Wikipedia:
    Some believe Paine may have begun to form his early views on natural justice while listening to the Puritan mob jeering and attacking those punished in the stocks. Others have argued that he was influenced by his Quaker father. In The Age of Reason – Paine’s treatise in support of deism – he wrote:
    The religion that approaches the nearest of all others to true deism, in the moral and benign part thereof, is that professed by the Quakers … though I revere their philanthropy, I cannot help smiling at [their] conceit; … if the taste of a Quaker [had] been consulted at the Creation, what a silent and drab-colored Creation it would have been! Not a flower would have blossomed its gaieties, nor a bird been permitted to sing.
    Paine advocated a liberal world view, considered radical in his day. He dismissed monarchy, and viewed all government as, at best, a necessary evil. He opposed slavery and was amongst the earliest proponents of social security, universal free public education, a guaranteed minimum income, and many other radical ideas now common practice in most western democracies.
    With regard to his religious views, in The Age of Reason (begun in France in 1793), Paine stated:
    I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.
    All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
    He described himself as a “Deist” and commented:
    How different is [Christianity] to the pure and simple profession of Deism! The true Deist has but one Deity, and his religion consists in contemplating the power, wisdom, and benignity of the Deity in his works, and in endeavoring to imitate him in everything moral, scientifical, and mechanical.
    Paine published an early anti-slavery tract [1] and was co-editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine.

  23. Lee

    We are more worried about the gods worshipped by modern liberals, moderates, progressives and socialists.

  24. Dave

    Lee, Mary has 3 canned responses to any post. 1. Coward 2. Lazy 3. Rotten Piece of Garbage So she isn’t wasting typing effort, she cuts and pastes the same things over and over.
    She really is self-projecting and won’t post the information that tells us when she served the country.

  25. Dave

    RTH – Who mentioned Tom Paine? Other than you? Paine could have been a modern liberal regarding the fact that he only worshipped his own mind. Scientology believes in the same thing. I would like to hear Herb weigh in on what happens to people who think they really are self appointed Gods. Talk about false idols.

    Bush is serving his presidency with God as his master and as long as he is doing that, he will succeed.

  26. Mary Rosh

    Dave, if you and Lee aren’t sober enough to read my responses, how is that my responsibility? The fact that you didn’t notice something doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

  27. Lee

    Oh, I think Mary and the other socialists noticed the domestic spying operations of Clinton and Gore. They just didn’t care then, like they don’t care now. If the Democrats got back in power, the spying would be turned from Muslim terrorists to Americans campaigning for limited government.

  28. Lee

    Rick Quinn tried to drive a wedge between Ryberg and the state employees by accusing him of being against the TERI program, but Ryberg refused to take the bait.
    Willis and Ravenel missed the opportunity to deflate Quinn’s self-promotion as a tax cutter right then, by asking him about the huge expense of TERI and how it has just turned out to be another wasteful scam.

  29. Mark Whittington

    Your thoughts are well expressed Bud,

    Let me add something that I became aware of a few years ago: egregious levels of wealth inequality are statistically built into capitalism, even among statistically equal people. If we were all equal in every respect, then we would have the same skewed long term distribution of wealth given the same tax structure. Incidentally, market capitalization follows the same distribution as does personal wealth. Please check out my anti-State Newspaper website at the following page web page:

    To my knowledge, the model economy program that I originally wrote back in the summer of 2003 produces the best wealth distributions available. The program uses statistically equal investors, producers, and consumers who perform their functions within capitalism. By using this and other programs, I eventually found the real name of the distribution and I found that both market cap and personal wealth follow a shell structure similar to nucleon shell structure (of all things!). The wealth distribution (log of wealth vs. number of entities ranked in order of wealth –from richest to poorest) follows the same curve as does the Woods-Saxon potential in nuclear physics.

  30. Mark Whittington

    My previous post belongs under the “A fun game …” section rather than here. That’s what I get for having multiple pages open.

  31. Lee

    Mark, you make it sound as if wealth accumulation is random luck.
    Yet your own model asserts that the differences of wealth “is caused by small variations between the rate at which people receive money, and the rate at which they spend money.”
    That’s right, it is BEHAVIOR.
    Receipts – spending = accumulation wealth.

  32. Brad Warthen

    As is often the case, Phillip has thoughtful comments. But I’m afraid they miss the mark.
    Think about it, Phillip: I’m a guy who just says what he thinks, with his real name attached (there’s the respect that makes Mary’s rants about “cowardice” particularly hilarious), for the whole world to see and hear, and to the everlasting rage of people on the “left” and the “right.” (You doubt me on that? Re-read some of the comments of folks a little less reasonable than yourself.)
    Do you really think I say substantively different things on the phone?
    And how on Earth do you equate not being afraid of people hearing what I say to some sort of acquiescence to prior restraint? They are precisely opposite ideas. I’m about free, open expression, and I don’t worry about who hears it, or reads it, or whatever.
    There is a considerable qualitative, NOT quantitative, difference between someone hearing you as you freely express yourself, and someone stopping you from saying it.
    What I don’t understand — and here may be a fallacy on my part, perhaps even a significant one — is the fear. I don’t get why people fear saying what they mean, and having other people hear it. As I believe I’ve said before, I don’t even get why people comment on my blog under assumed names. What are they afraid of?

  33. Mary Rosh

    What we’re basically afraid of, is losing America. We’re afraid of abandoning the following important precept of both American and English government:
    “The poorest man may, in his cottage, bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail; its roof may shake; the wind may blow through it; the storm may enter; the rain may enter; but the King of England may not enter.”
    –William Pitt
    The president of the United States, who has proven time and time again that he cannot be trusted, claims that he is entitled to monitor the telephone calls of EVERY PERSON IN AMERICA. This is the same president who allowed the compromise of a CIA agent who was doing nonproliferation work on Iran, for no reason other than to smear her husband for publishing facts that he knew that proved the president was lying.
    Of course you wouldn’t be afraid of the White House hearing what you say. You are their whore. A two-dollar whore, true, but a whore, nonetheless. You habitually impugn the patriotism of everyone who criticizes the president, even when those who criticize the president have been proven right.
    We’re mostly not afraid of having our personal conversations heard, but unlike you, we think it’s important to defend fundamental American principles than it is to pretend that the governemnt is entitled to spy on every American under a pretext of combating terrorism.
    Let me point out to you that Bush didn’t fail to stop the September 11 plot because the government hadn’t collected enough information. Bush failed to stop the September 11 plot because he was (and is) lazy.
    And who are you to say that “Mary Rosh” isn’t my real name? And whether someone uses their real name or not is not relevant to their arguments. What matters is that they use the SAME name, because that way, you can track someone’s arguments and determine whether or not they are consistent. Someone’s real name isn’t relevant to his arguments. Before Atrios allowed his secret identity to be know, what difference did it make to his arguments? I can just imagine the exchange if some intrepid reporter had ferreted out Atrios’s identity:
    “Boss! Boss! I’ve got big news! The blogger “Atrios” is really Duncan Black!!!!”
    “Who’s Duncan Black?”
    “Ummmm, some guy.”
    The way you show yourself to be a coward isn’t using or not using your real name. What shows you to be a coward is your failure to honestly and forthrightly support your arguments. You don’t base your support on the Iraq war on any arguments in its favor; instead, you call the opponents (who have been proven right) “defeatist.”
    And of course, by admitting that your fear of terrorism leads you to accept Bush’s arrogation to himself of the right to illegally spy on Americans, you prove your cowardice beyond any possibility of dispute:
    “Those who would sacrifice liberty for a little temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security.”
    –Benjamin Franklin

  34. Phillip

    Brad, I think we’re talking past each other a little bit on this issue. Of course it’s not an issue of keeping our opinions to ourselves; obviously yours are there for everyone to see, and mine are as well. And maybe your comment about surveillance is made from your perspective as an editorialist, not a beat reporter at your paper. What I was talking about was intrusion into personal, private matters of an individual BECAUSE of that individual’s actual or perceived political beliefs.
    So, of course, I know you are unafraid of having anyone (the government, Lee, Mary Rosh, you name it) hear your political beliefs. But I again refer you to my final question in my earlier comment: what if a beat reporter dug up some dirt on the government, got their home phone tapped as a result, got a call from a close relative about a very vulnerable personal situation, and as a result of all this…you see where I’m going.
    Now, of course I don’t assume this is what’s going on…yet…but it has happened in this country and all I’m saying is that we need to be VERY careful about all domestic data-gathering and surveillance programs. To allow the executive branch to say, “we are doing this to protect you and we can’t tell you or anybody all that we’re doing for security reasons, so you just have to trust us” is a recipe for abuse.

  35. Lee

    To burst your TV-induced fantasy:
    1. When have you ever heard of a judge granting a warrant for a phone tap on a reporter? Congress rejected the warrantless taps which Clinton and Reno requested as part of their cell phone legislation.
    2. It is more likely that a reporter is going to have a cozy relationship with people in the government, or even be an undercover policeman or paid informer.

  36. Dave

    Phillip – I do have not perceived concerns or future anxiety about what might happen, but present here and now concern and disgust at what a prosecutor with a political agenda can do to innocent US citizens right now. Much worse than listening to phone patterns (not even the calls themselves) is what DA Nifong is doing to those college kids in Durham. Only a blind idiot would have charged those kids with a rape in the face of the non-evidence and the actual facts known. Prosecutorial misconduct is extremely dangerous not only to the directly impacted but to the rest of us who lose any faith or trust in law enforcement and the legal system. When a prosecutor who is supposed to be representing ALL the people conducts a demagogic vendetta and ruins the lives of young men to curry favor from voters, we are at a dangerous point. Democracy in the US is history wise a young and delicate experiment, and just a few Nifongs and Janet Renos could do a lot to destroy any trust in government. By the way, the Duke athletes may be the rich punks that some say they are or they may be super nice kids. That doesnt matter. Unlawful and political prosecution while ignoring facts does matter. Does any of this concern you? Or anyone?

  37. Mary Rosh

    Dave, does it bother me that a prosecutor is accepting the testimony of a black person as evidence? Not really, no. Maybe it bothers you, Warthen, and the rest of your sheet-wearing friends, but I personally don’t long for a return to the days when the testimony of a black person was not admitted as evidence in court.

  38. Dave

    Here is a more localized example of why our government has to have nothing but the best in tracking and data collection. The Enemy Within is closer than you think.

    Allah-u Akbar. My name is Imam Mahdi, and the time is here and now. I have prepared a brief website for all who hear, obey, and understand Allah’subhaana’wa’ta-illah al’Qur-an. Please see my website and send your support detailed in the website to assist my moving forward in Islam continue triumph over all religions in the world. Imam Mahdi invites every Believing Muslim Mujahidun to this website: Visit SC Islamic Jihad Site! . Tawhid through the vessel of al’Qur-an is the only way to salvation in this world life and in the Hereafter — please see website: Imam Mahdi, Post Office Box 966, Cheraw, South Carolina 29520. USA.

  39. Ready to Hurl

    My mistake in substituting Paine for Patrick Henry. I’ve been reading a Paine biography and somehow switched him with Patrick Henry.
    Of course, you’re wrong about modern liberalism and Paine.
    Paine no more worshiped his own mind than Herb probably worships whatever denomination he belongs to.
    Carefully read the passage that I posted above– especially the last few paragraphs. Paine worshiped an all mighty deity using the reasoning of a mind that the deity gave to him.
    Modern liberalism doesn’t worship humans as gods as you seem to wrongly believe. It does value each living human highly and equally– unlike conservatives.
    Bush is the worst of two worlds: an arrogant idiot who believes that he knows God’s will and is empowered by God to complete His mission. He has said as much.
    It’s taken him five years to even pretend to recognize a mistake.
    Why should he? God doesn’t make mistakes.
    Talk about hubris.

  40. Ready to Hurl

    Dave, check your link to SC Islamic Jihad Site. It doesn’t work.
    Have you gone over to Cheraw to lynch Imam Mahdi, yet?
    (cue spooky organ music) THE ENEMY WITHIN IS CLOSER THAN YOU THINK!
    Check under under your bed nightly and start the trains for concentration camps.

  41. Ready to Hurl

    Lee, the cleverness of Dear Leader’s warrantless domestic spying is that HE SAYS THAT HE DOESN’T NEED A JUDGE’S APPROVAL to tap telephones.
    Jeez, pay attention sometime.
    You claim that a Rethug controlled Congress refused to give Pres. Clinton the power to tap domestic phone calls without warrants. Bush simply didn’t ask.
    Bush siezed the power without asking permission and the Rethug controlled Congress has refused to even investigate as its oversight responsibility requires.
    Of course, executive branch domestic spying without any check or balance is A-OK with “No Secrets/No Rights” Warthen and “S-s-shaking in His Boots” Dave.

  42. Ready to Hurl

    Dave, where were your concerns about “prosecutorial misconduct” when Ken Starr spent $70 million to foster an unsuccessful coup d’etat ?
    In case you forgot, he began by ostensibly investigating an Arkansas real estate deal. It soon morphed into whatever he could find to slime Pres. Clinton with.
    Oh, your concerns about due process are so touching– and selective.
    Starr subsequently was rewarded for his efforts by appointment to be the Dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law. Pepperdine is a favorite recipient of millions from wingnut billionare Richard Mellon Scaife. Scaife also funded the “Arkansas Project,” a sleazy attempt to fabricate continuous scandals to discredit Pres. Clinton.
    Remarkable coincidence, huh?

  43. Ready to Hurl

    Brad says:
    I don’t get why people fear saying what they mean, and having other people hear it. As I believe I’ve said before, I don’t even get why people comment on my blog under assumed names. What are they afraid of?

    Jeez, Brad, what planet do you live on? Just reading this blog should give you some clue as to why a poster would want to write anonymously.
    Dave and Lee represent a lot of people when they sling accusations of being traitors at those who disagree with them politically. Do you know what the penalty for treason is?
    Their idol, Dear Leader, has demonstrated that he thinks he has the power to abrogate any portion of the U.S. Constitution at his whim: the Fourth Ammendment, the right to haebeus corpus and the right to due process are just the ones that we know about.
    Overlay Dear Leader’s penchant for dictatorial powers and secrecy with the fact that we live in beknighted SC. History and current events demonstrate that, apparently, the only sacred right to the ruling elite in SC is to own property– if you’re wealthy and of the right race.
    Human rights in SC have been mostly trumped by property rights. You might have heard that South Carolinians started a little skirmish called the Civil War over that very conflict.
    Yeah, I wonder why we post under pseudonymns. Just smart, I’d guess.

  44. Dave

    RTH – getting a little paranoid lately, are you?????? Ken Starr was a creation of liberal democrats who continually whined about special prosecutor this, special prosecutor that, and so they got their wish for the special prosecutors. That little Arkansas land deal you talked about ended up with about 10 people serving prison sentences, pleading guilty, or committing suicide to escape their fate. It was a valid prosecution. If Bubba had, when originally asked, told the truth about molesting interns the nation would have chuckled at the whole affair. But no, he had to lie under oath and disgrace the oval office. Perjury matters in a nation of laws. So he got what he deserved for lying under oath. Believe me, he has gotten away with a lot more than he got caught about. He is a serial predator of women and young girls and used his positions of power to do his thing. So stop whining about Ken Starr, who was a nerdy little lawyer who took his task seriously.

  45. Dave

    Mary, no one is surprised that you would be gravely concerned about the potential of violating the phone calls of a terrorist but gloat about the injustice to decent American college athletes. You really are on the wrong side of liberty and freedom. I bet with Iraq turning into a positive for this nation that just turns your stomach. Get used to it. As I posted long ago, Bush will have a legacy of greatness and unselfishness forever from freedom loving people the world over. Anti-Americans and terrorists of course despise that thought.

  46. Lee

    Ken Starr got several convictions, and Bill Clinton paid over $2,000,000 in court costs, attorneys’ fees and fines for lying under oath. In addition, the next prosecutor obtained a pre-indictiment plea bargain from Clinton for various counts of witness and evidence tampering.

  47. Mary Rosh

    “I bet with Iraq turning into a positive for this nation”
    You and the other members of the 82nd Chairborne keep saying that, and it keeps not happening.

  48. Lee

    Liberals and socialists would rather see everyone in Iraq die, than for America to help them set up an elected constitutional government, especially with liberal Republicans doing it.

  49. Dave

    Lee, the liberals have discovered our secret. We liberated Kuwait and Iraq so we could get their oil, and in Afghanistan our plot is to take over the carpet industry. Liberals are on to us for sure. Now we have to launder all the oil and carpets. Where is Kofi and the UN when we need them for some laundry work?

  50. Lee

    The UN still has over $6.5 Billion of pre-war Oil-for-Food money sitting in French banks, which they refuse to hand over to rebuild Iraq, even now that the new government has been elected and formed.

  51. beer de jeweler

    Hallo! Es hat sich doch gezeigt, dass die 301 Umleitung einer minus-31 Domain nichts bringt weil die Seite auf die umgeleitet wird auch auf Platz 31 landet. Wenn nun jemand seine -31 Domain auf meine Domain umleiten wurde um mich als Konkurrenten zu argern, gabe es fur mich keine Moglichkeit diese Manipulation herauszufinden. Ich wurde ratseln was ich falsch gemacht hatte und dabei ist es nur ein Trick der Konkurrenz. Edit: Ich habe die Frage vergessen! Gibt es doch eine Moglichkeit herauszufinden ob jemand seine Domain auf meine umgeleitet hat?

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