In a Time of Universal Deceit, Telling the Truth is Revolutionary.
Saturday, January 23, 2021

Secret court outlawed Bush’s spy program

A U.S. intelligence court earlier this year secretly struck down a key element of President George W. Bush’s warrantless spying program, The Washington Post reported in its Friday edition.

The decision is one reason Congress is trying to give legal authorization to the spying program in fevered negotiations with the Bush administration this week, the Post reported.

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On vacation

Following the lead of Congress, which in itself is an oxy-moron, I’m taking at least the month of August off from the day-to-day grind at Capitol Hill Blue.

It will be a working vacation. I have a full schedule of events relating to citizen journalism and the future of online journalism, starting with the Media Giraffe Conference in Washington next week and continuing with involvement in a number of citizen’s journalism organizations.

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Answers? You don’t need no stinkin’ answers!

President George W. Bush believes executive privilege is an umbrella under which he can hide anything he wants anytime he wants and nobody can do anything about it.

So far, he’s been right. Congress will bluster and talk tough whenever a White House aide refuses to answer questions but that’s about all they will do.

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House passes ethics reform

The US Senate on Thursday passed what its Democratic leaders proclaimed as the most sweeping law regulating lobbying and lawmakers’ conduct in history, following a string of political scandals.

But Republicans, who lost control of Congress last year partly due to a clutch of ethics questions, complained the bill, which has already passed by the House of Representatives, did not go far enough.

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Political blogrolling

Liberal bloggers can count the ways they are making their presence felt in the presidential race.

More than 1,500 bloggers are expected this weekend at the second YearlyKos Convention, which has about 70 sponsors, including unions and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Credentials to cover the event total about 250.

The most telling number, however, is seven — as in seven of the eight Democratic candidates were scheduled to address the convention on Saturday, including top-tier candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.

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More trouble for Ted Stevens

A Senate aide who handled Sen. Ted Stevens’ personal bills did not report any payments from his personal funds, raising questions about whether the two violated gift restrictions or federal law.

Barbara Flanders, a financial clerk at the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, is cooperating in a corruption investigation of the lawmaker. The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Flanders is cooperating in the probe of Stevens’ dealings with a wealthy Alaska contractor.

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A longshot emerges from the shadows

Ron Paul may be the political butterfly of the 2008 presidential campaign. An obscure congressman from Southeast Texas for most of his political career, Paul has metamorphosed into the favorite of those looking for a candidate outside the political mainstream.

Legions of die-hard fans formed across the country after Republican candidate debates and Internet blogs exposed his contrarian views.

Paul, 71, remains one of the longest of long shots for the GOP nomination, but that hasn’t deterred supporters from making cold calls to voters in early contest states, plastering the Internet with plaudits, and loudly challenging Paul’s White House rivals at campaign stops.

“I honestly believe that Congressman Ron Paul, as crazy as it might sound, I believe he is the father of the modern Republican Party,” said Jason Stoddard, 31, an Austin, Texas, entrepreneur who has no formal ties to Paul’s campaign but has made more than a thousand calls to Iowa voters urging their support.

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Finding justice or a scapegoat?

An old soldier once remarked that combining the words “military” and “justice” produces an oxymoron that is more aimed at finding a scapegoat to protect the particular service and those at its highest levels than producing any semblance of fairness. But when the spotlight gets too hot someone has to be found to pay for the damage, and all bets are off about whom that might be.

People got court-martialed because of Pearl Harbor — many and not the right ones, but enough to satisfy the scapegoat rule.

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Socialized medicine or freedom?

Today’s health-care debate previews the fall 2008 election, if today’s presidential front-runners win their respective party nominations.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a Republican, are promoting reforms that contrast like midnight and high noon.

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A bridge too far

And so our latest true-life, made-for-cable-TV disaster unfolds.

Remember the talk about the nation’s crumbling infrastructure after levees failed during Hurricane Katrina? Remember those SUV-eating sinkholes in Brooklyn? Remember the report that $120 billion a year is wasted on road repairs because our highways are decaying? Remember when the electric grid caused a power blackout that affected millions? Remember the Hawaii dam that collapsed, killing seven people? How about the analysis that 13,000 highway fatalities each year occur because of congestion or poor maintenance and design?

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