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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Difference of Opinion

God bless, America! I'm so glad we can freely express our opinions. We are very fortunate to be able to exchange differing ideas--even with those who express their opinions and thoughts with vitriolic gusto!

    12 miners died in a West Virginia coal mine explosion. How unfortunate. We extend prayers and condolences to the families and friends of those workers who died.
    There is one survivor who remains hospitalized. We pray for his recovery.
    We are grateful for the work done by the rescue teams who were dispatched to attempt to save the mine workers.
    Some "always-right-wing" bloggers are predicting that President Bush will be blamed for this disasterous event. Let's not jump to hasty conclusions with this kind of pre-emptive attempt at spinning responsibility for regulations which protect workers. I guess the reduction in the number of Mine Safety Agency inspectors over the past five years isn't the fault of a Republican president or Republican congress. Oh, well if the shoe fits....
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George Bush: A President Who Is Listening

New revelations about the NSA's eavesdropping on Americans' calls inside the US and outside the US... before the White House formally authorized a secret program to spy on U.S. citizens without obtaining warrants, such eavesdropping was occurring and some of the information was being shared with the FBI. This news comes from declassified correspondence and interviews with congressional and intelligence officials.

We want to know:
    if this TOP SECRET NSA operation was so necessary why was the US Attorney General, at the time John Ashcroft, reluctant to sign off on such an operation?(That he was asked to approve such a measure when recovering from gall bladder surgery not withstanding.)
    why were such measures necessary when there exists in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act(FISA) the tools to conduct the kind of surveillance the administration says it must perform in order to continue its "illusion" of keeping Americans secure from terror acts?
    is it because the Act sets limits on electronic surveillance, and created a secret court within the Department of Justice - the FISA Court -- that could, within these limits, grant law enforcement's requests to engage in electronic surveillance?(In other words-spy now-gather evidence, justify later in the request for the warrant. The law allows the government to do that.)
The perception is the Bush administration wants to continue to conduct illegal spying activity without putting forth any justification, verification, or substantiation the subjects of domestic surveillance are, in fact, a threat to our national security. This fact has been aggressively promoted by our president. He is more aggressive in touting his "powers inherent to the office" than anyother president--even more than Richard Nixon.

Some say the disclosre of the adminstration's spying on citizens is a breach of security; others say it was a job well done by a government whistleblower. No matter which it is, there is no doubt there are some disgruntled individuals who are former or currently members of the professional foreign service, and intelligence communities who are disssatisfied with the way George Bush has blamed their agency for his administration's failings concerning WMD intelligence in Iraq.
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