The definition of irony

We old folks used to talk about Nixon and his imperial presidency. He was a lightweight in comparison to what’s going on these days.

Erosion #1: DOJ: NSA Could’ve Monitored Lawyers’ Calls

The National Security Agency could have legally monitored ordinarily confidential communications between doctors and patients or attorneys and their clients, the Justice Department said Friday of its controversial warrantless surveillance program.

Responding to questions from Congress, the department also said that it sees no prohibition to using information collected under the NSA’s program in court.

Erosion #2: The Job of the FBI…

On March 14, [Common Cause President Chellie] Pingree participated on a panel on open government sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

A week after the panel, an FBI agent contacted the local League president, Susan Gilbert, to raise questions about Pingree’s published remarks at the panel.

According to Gilbert, FBI agent Al Dibrito said that Pingree’s comments on the USA PATRIOT Act were “way off base,” and that the League should have invited someone from the federal government to be on the panel and to respond. DiBrito then told Gilbert that she would be contacted by someone from the assistant U.S. attorney’s office in Grand Rapids to give her the real story on the Patriot Act.

…”Citizens can be intimidated when an FBI agent calls and questions their activities,” said Pingree.

  1. Eric Jaffa says:

    Paul Theodoropoulos –

    The FBI didn’t call the president of Common Cause to ask what she said.

    The FBI called a League of Women Voters member to ask her what theCommon Cause president had said.

    Is the FBI creating a list of critics of the PATRIOT Act? That isn’t the proper job of the FBI.

    Has the FBI assigned an empolyee to promote the PATRIOT Act? That isn’t the proper job of the FBI, either.

  2. joshua says:

    At some point you have to be able to defend your position. To many *seminars* are held in this and other countries with the purpose of airing issues but the orginisers fail to include both sides of the issue.

    A lot of these conferences and such seem to be just to *air* a partricular side of a given issue. I don’t see anyone being intimidated here. But it does give them a chance to be on t.v. to talk of the evil FBI targeting them.

    I will go farther than Paul……of course there have been abuses of the program…..this is after all the goverment we are talking about.

  3. Lefty Tar Spreader says:

    Why do the defenders of fascist edicts and policies feel the need to spin for the benign that which is obviously sinister and repressive?

  4. kzoodata says:

    OK, can anyone run off a quick list of possible presidential contenders for ’08 who could counter any of this stuff?

  5. Greg V. says:

    #6 – Easy: Russ Feingold. He’s leading the charge against this sort of thing, is he not? With or without his party.

    Think it’s just posturing and pandering instead of principle? He was the only senator from either party to vote against the Patriot Act. This was well before it was a popular position and well before he had any presidential ambitions, as he didn’t try to run in 2004.

  6. Mister Mustard says:

    >>We old folks used to talk about Nixon and his imperial presidency.

    The pitiful part about all this is that at least Nixon was a smart guy. Spawn of Satan, liar, criminal, abettor of burglars, and all that, but at least he wasn’t a moron.

    Now, “our” “president” is a frigging dimwitted hillbilly who can’t learn (after FIVE YEARS) how to pronounce/ use half the words in the English language properly. He’s everything bad that Nixon ever was, with none of the good. And his “handler” demands that all TVs be tuned to Fox “news”.

    Hoo boy. 2008 can’t get here fast enough.

  7. joshua says:

    Feingold has been aiming at a run for years. But he has been out there as point man on several of these kinds of issues and others, have to give him that.

    But he can’t win against the likes of Hillary in the Democratic primary’s.

    And they both lose to McCain and Guiliani in a general election match up.

    McCain is the man to beat, wheather your a Republican or a Democrat, providing he dosen’t die of skin cancer before 2008. While Guiliani does better in most of the head to heads, he can’t win the Republican nomination because of his pro-abortion and pro-gay stances.

    Lets face reality, unless 90% of the Federal buracracy keels over and dies by the next election, it really dosen’t matter who is President, the workings of goverment aren’t going to change much.

  8. Bob says:

    And the Congress Impeached Clinton over a blow job? We have had a secret court called FISA since the 1970’s and the administration doesn’t even bother with using this court–which grants 99.9% of the applications for warrants submitted to it. It is ironic that when the Rupublican’s gained control of the Congress with a Republican in the White House they let the special counsel law expire. We are left with the Justice Department whose head refuses to answer questions by the Congressional Oversight Committee’s–even in closed hearings where these Members of Congress have security clearences.

  9. Greg V. says:

    Hillary is by no means a shoo in for the nomination. Who was the leader this far out last time around? Joe Lieberman. And he was a footnote by the end of it. Hillary will be more formidable, certainly, but nothing’s in the bag by a long shot. Many Democrats are afraid of her because they think she can’t win in the general.

    More importantly though, polls this far out are useless except for people with perfect name recognition. So if you want a vague sense of how Hillary, McCain, and Kerry would do against each other, that’s fine. But people aren’t even familiar with who the other characters are yet, all the governors and senators that will be running. Dean was a nobody that almost took it. Only people who really follow politics know about people like Warner and Allen, and there will be more people that even we aren’t paying attention to yet.

    Feingold may have been plotting a run for some time, but my point was that the Patriot Act vote was considered suicide back then, not a way to score points with the base as the censure issue can be seen as. Even if he is aiming it all towards a run now, I’m just happy for the leadership.

  10. John Harrison says:

    This is why Democrats have lost the last two presidential elections. Someone in the government objects to you knowingly and willfully misleading the public for the sole purpose of scare mongering and you start claiming big brother. I am sorry. If you go out to a public forum, intentionally mislead a large group of people, especially about the actions of a group of people who are JUST TRYING TO PROTECT YOU!!!!, you should expect to have them counter your misstatements. The FBI was just offering to educate the individual about the mistakes in her statement. Nothing more. She most likely took offense because the misstatements were intentional. Democrats and liberals have pushed public opinion they way they wanted for decades through use of just such groups and the media and now they are getting called on it and they don’t like it. Welcome to life in the 21st Century. Welcome to the new media. God Bless the internet.

    By the way….you guys are the same group who just after 9/11 complained that the FBI did not do enough to prevent the attacks. Now that they are trying, you complain that they are trying. We can’t watch suspected terrorists without probable cause. We cant listen to their conversations or emails. I have news for you…the guys who flew the jets into the towers gave no probable cause, by your standards, until they hijacked the planes. Taking flying lessons and buying box cutters would not stand up as probable cause in any court in this country without illegal wiretapping. You would have to know they had another purpose in mind. 9/11 happened not because of a lack of effort on the governments part. 9/11 happened because the terrorists knew Airline Aviation policy. It was the policy of every airline in this country to not fight hijackers if they attempted to take over a plane. Give them what they want…safety of the other passengers was the most important issue. If you tried to stop the hijackers, you would have the result that was the plane that crashed in Penn. It wasn’t the government’s fault. It was the airline industries….

  11. Mr. Fusion says:

    John Harrison

    The really scary thing is that you might actually believe what you wrote.

    Very few “forums” are neutral fact finding events. They cater to those with a like mind, also called preaching to the choir. It doesn’t matter who, every cause does it. To have the Federal police force (FBI) call you on what was said is very wrong. This is not a case of “correcting” some facts. It is pure intimidation. There are still quite a few groups out there that do not follow the Republican Party line and have legitimate concerns about the administration.

    As for the 9/11 hijackers. Over half had overstayed their visas. They were here illegally and no one cared. No one went after them because it wasn’t a priority. Even though the Federal “intelligence” agencies had information that middle eastern terrorists would hijack some airplanes, nothing was done. Even after they discover an unqualified, illegal, person taking flying lessons, they did nothing. Even after a Phoenix FBI agent reported suspicious activity, nothing was done.

    You are right about the airline’s lackadaisical approach to safety. They were allowed by the government to do their own screenings. Because they did so on the cheap and didn’t want to piss off their customers, they did as little as possible.

    Today, however, there is no excuse for illegal activities by the government. I drive a brown Ford. Just because someone else driving a brown Ford robbed a bank / drove drunk / kidnapped a child last year / is dealing drugs / is NOT reason to incarcerate the tens of millions driving brown Fords. (the fact that it is a Ford is irrelevant to this discussion) Nor would it be an excuse to put a monitoring device inside my car. The activities of the Federal Government are not only illegal in their own right, they stifle free speech.

  12. Mr. Fusion says:

    if someone is spreading misinformation publicly, then they can expect public criticism as well.

    This wasn’t “public” criticism. This was a personal call to the League President.

    so, this isn’t conversations between andy and goober being recorded. you can keep telling yourself that it is, but unless goober was in algiers and plotting to blow up floyd’s barber shop, you’re off base.

    How do you know Andy, Goober, Floyd, or even Aunt Bee isn’t being monitored. The NSA, the Attorney General, and even the President refuse to answer questions except in the most general terms. The Government didn’t tell us they were doing this, in fact the Administration denied they needed such powers or that they would spy on Americans without a court oder. The New York Times told us. If the Government would lie to us about the spying and not answer questions, then how could you, or any one else, believe that this is all they did?

    The problem with power is the same as for addictions. You try it once and the sun comes up tomorrow. So it is so much easier to do it again tomorrow. Then it becomes nothing to increase the dose. This Administration is stoned out of their gourds on power

  13. Mister Mustard says:

    >>The FBI was just offering to educate the individual about
    >>the mistakes in her statement.

    Tee hee! Tee hee fricking hee!!!!!

    >>We cant listen to their conversations or emails.

    Sure “we” can. “We” do. And Dumbya defends it. And in spite of all the illegal spying on innocent and guilty people, the brainiacs STILL did not pick up on 9/11 before it happened. I guess they had too many agents assigned to making sure Heart Attack Cheney’s TVs were all tuned to Fox “news”.


    Time for a regime change!!

  14. Mr. Fusion says:


    Very well done. I am just laughing my scrotum silly.

  15. AB CD says:

    The only thing suspicious about Moussaui was that he was Muslim. You sure you want to make that the criteria for searching people?

  16. Mr. Fusion says:

    AB CD

    If brains were made of dynamite, you would never need to worry about seasonal allergies. You wouldn’t have enough to blow your own nose. Don’t you read the news? The Intelligence community gave the President a briefing in early August that some Middle Eastern Terrorists were planning on hijacking some aircraft. An Arab is arrested for overstaying his visa. He is unqualified yet is taking flying lessons. He has already flunked out of one flying school. He only wanted to fly, not land the plane.

  17. Mr. Fusion says:

    >so, this isn’t conversations between andy and goober being recorded.
    Comment by Paul Theodoropoulos — 3/26/2006 @ 10:05 am

    >…sure, they might be monitoring andy and aunt bee – …
    Comment by Paul Theodoropoulos — 3/27/2006 @ 9:50 am

    What a difference a day makes.

  18. joshua says:

    This secret eavesdropping court was set up in the 70’s…….why?

    It was a secret for 30 years…….why?

    It was set up under Carter, wasn’t it?

    Mr. Fusion…….I still don’t think that the next administration is going to be much better or very different. I just know that I’m 23 y/o and only see nothing changing in the goverment or society regardless of which party is in power, or who is in power.

  19. Mr. Fusion says:

    re #23

    How about:

    Don’t say hi said the spider to the fly,
    jump right ahead and you’re dead.

  20. Mr. Fusion says:


    The FISA Court, is not a secret court. It is well known and the panel consists of Judges from the DC District Court and may be reviewed by the 4th Court of Appeals. The docket consists only of any warrants for secret intelligence gathering ON US SOIL by any foreign government or agent on behalf of a foreign government that would otherwise be illegal under present laws. The entire docket consists of National Security cases so all rulings are secret. Applications may be approved up to 72 hours belatedly.

    Any intelligence gathering on foreign soil does not need domestic justice approval.

    This law, and others, was implemented to curb the abuses under the Nixon administration where Nixon used the CIA to spy on his political enemies. CIA is now not allowed to spy on American citizens.

    The FBI was curtailed as well and “supposedly” prohibited from keeping files on Americans not under investigation for criminal activities. These files ran to thousands of pages for some, like John Lennon, Tom Hayden, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and many other peace and civil rights activists.


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