Thursday, January 26, 2006

I've been approaching every place I can think of by other means, obviously, but it can't hurt to bring this to the top again: I want to cover the 2006 Mardi Gras in the same fashion I covered business for Fortune Magazine: original reporting, photography, illustration, all in a comic strip format. Anyone interested in handing over 2-5 pages of space for a colorful, funny, insightful and unique take on the first Post-Apocalypse Mardi Gras please contact me at greg (at) suspect-device.com. I'm still waiting to hear back from Bird Talk, so if they call, the rest of y'all are out of luck. ____________________________________________ From Digby:
Please, please spare me the crocodile tears about leftist incivility. We are living in a political world formed by rightwing commentators who have made a fetish of harsh eliminationist rhetoric hammered over and over again into the ether until it sounds like normal discourse. And we've been waiting for more than a decade for the mainstream media to notice that rightwing celebrity pundits, who reach millions upon millions of listeners and viewers a day, routinely accuse liberals of treason and celebrate our deaths. It's made us a little bit testy. When important news outlets like the Washington Post see "leftist incivility" as a topic worthy of the rending of garments and gnashing of teeth it makes us wonder if they are even living in the same universe we do. Famous and wealthy toxic political commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly are routinely lauded as normal mainstream partisans while ordinary readers of the Washington Post are excoriated for incivility when they complain about inaccurate coverage that benefits Republicans. This is bizarro world. It is insane. It is a sign of a very sick political culture.
_____________________________________________ More fabulous lies: Glenn Greenwald elegantly points out the Bushco. opposed loosening the "restrictive" FISA regulations enabling warrantless domestic wiretapping. The same regulations they felt they had to go over and above in the war on terror. You remember.
In light of Gen. Hayden's new claim yesterday that the reason the Bush Administration decided to eavesdrop outside of FISA is because the "probable cause" standard for obtaining a FISA warrant was too onerous (and prevented them from obtaining warrants they needed to eavesdrop), there is a fact which I have not seen discussed anywhere but which now appears extremely significant, at least to me. In June, 2002, Republican Sen. Michael DeWine of Ohio introduced legislation (S. 2659) which would have eliminated the exact barrier to FISA which Gen. Hayden yesterday said is what necessitated the Administration bypassing FISA. Specifically, DeWine's legislation proposed: to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to modify the standard of proof for issuance of orders regarding non-United States persons from probable cause to reasonable suspicion. . . . In other words, DeWine's bill, had it become law, would have eliminated the "probable cause" barrier (at least for non-U.S. persons) which the Administration is now pointing to as the reason why it had to circumvent FISA. During that time, the Administration was asked to advise Congress as to its position on this proposed amendment to loosen the standard for obtaining FISA warrants, and in response, they submitted a Statement from James A. Baker, the Justice Department lawyer who oversees that DoJ's Office of Intelligence Policy and Review, which is the group that "prepares and presents all applications for electronic surveillance and physical search under the Act to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court or Court)." If anyone would be familiar with problems in obtaining FISA warrants, it would be Baker. And yet, look at what Baker said in his Statement. He began by effusively praising the Patriot Act on the ground that the 72-hour window provided by the Patriot Act had given the Administration the speed and flexibility it needed in order to engage in eavesdropping: The reforms in those measures (the PATRIOT Act) have affected every single application made by the Department for electronic surveillance or physical search of suspected terrorists and have enabled the government to become quicker, more flexible, and more focused in going "up" on those suspected terrorists in the United States. One simple but important change that Congress made was to lengthen the time period for us to bring to court applications in support of Attorney General-authorized emergency FISAs. This modification has allowed us to make full and effective use of FISA's pre-existing emergency provisions to ensure that the government acts swiftly to respond to terrorist threats. Again, we are grateful for the tools Congress provided us last fall for the fight against terrorism. Thank you. And then, regarding DeWine's specific proposal to lower the evidentiary standard required for a FISA warrant, Baker said that: The Department of Justice has been studying Sen. DeWine's proposed legislation. Because the proposed change raises both significant legal and practical issues, the Administration at this time is not prepared to support it.

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