Dave's Back, the Man is Listening, and Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace
Leading conservatives call for hearings on NSA snooping. Bob Barr, David Keene, Don Devine, and Grover Norquist haven't swallowed the Neocon line that the president is imbued with dictatorial power. Unfortunately, Norquist is the only one of these fellas who actually wields significant influence, and he's about to be stung in the Abramoff fiasco.
To be fair, Norquist isn't actually accused of any malfeasance. Abramoff moved money in a number of shady ways, not merely to cheat clients but also to pay for brazen junkets. Norquist was one conduit for Captain Jack's cash. Norquist took commissions for his work, which evidently is perfectly legal. In one instance, he sent $1.15 million from just one tribe to antigambling groups and funneled $150,000 sent by eLottery to the consultancy of Ralph Reed, former chief of the Christian Coalition. For an earlier discussion of Abramoff's wheeling and dealing with "conservative Christians," see this post.
According to this report from Capitol Hill Blue, the NSA is just one of a host of agencies spying on Americans:
"It’s a total effort to build dossiers on as many Americans as possible," says a former NSA agent who quit in disgust over use of the agency to spy on Americans. "We’re no longer in the business of tracking our enemies. We’re spying on everyday Americans."
"It's really obvious to me that it's a look-at-everything type program," says cryptology expert Bruce Schneier.
Schneier says he suspects that the NSA is turning its massive spy satellites inward on the United States and intentionally gathering vast streams of raw data from many more people than disclosed to date — potentially including all e-mails and phone calls within the United States. But the NSA spying is just the tip of the iceberg.
Read more here.
The National Security Agency (NSA) has conducted much broader surveillance of e-mails and phone calls -- all without court orders -- than the Bush administration admits and intelligence experts say the spying goes far beyond just monitoring phone and email communications.
The NSA, with help from American telecommunications companies, obtained access to streams of domestic and international communications say current and former government officials.
President Bush claims his executive order allowing the eavesdropping was limited to people with known links to al-Qaida but NSA technicians routinely comb through large volumes of phone and Internet traffic searching for patterns that might lead to terrorists.
In addition, NSA employs "data mining," a technique of comparing huge amounts of travel, financial and related information to build a pattern of behavior on American citizens.
We shouldn't be too surprised. After all, the NSA was used to spy on diplomats leading up to the Iraq war.
The IRS tracked the party affiliations of alleged scofflaws in twenty states and the Department of Homeland Security is opening private mail.
Al Gore gave a good speech on all of this flim-flam the other day. Perhaps some Democrats may be on the verge of showing a bit of leadership after all. Well, probably not. But Justin Raimondo and Paul Craig Roberts seem to be hopeful.
What is going on in the Middle East? Well, in spite of week upon week of bad news, the War Party is gearing up to take down the Iranians.
Pat Buchanan wonders if the administration is about to unleash American power in another undeclared war. The answer almost assuredly is "Yes." Bob Dreyfuss points out that, "The deteriorating international crisis over Iran is a direct result of the Bush’s administration’s ham-handed and mendacious Iraq policy." Gordon Prather wonders if there is some underhanded plot to plant evidence tying the Russians to an Iranian nuke program. By the way, Prather is essential reading to understand the Iranian nuke issue.
Before you buy propaganda about Iranian weapons, perhaps you should go back and review what was said before the Iraq war.
Aside from the fixation on Iran's alleged wrongdoing, there may have also been a series of lethal raids into Syria, too.