December 26, 2005


The New York Times' Christmas Gift (Michael Barone, 12/26/05, Real Clear Politics)

n the Dec. 15 Chicago Tribune, John Schmidt, associate attorney general in the Clinton administration, laid it out cold: "President Bush's post-Sept. 11, 2001, authorization to the National Security Agency to carry out electronic surveillance into private phone calls and e-mails is consistent with court decisions and with the positions of the Justice Department under prior presidents."

"News stories" in the Times and other newspapers and many national newscasts have largely ignored this legal record. Instead, they are tinged with a note of hysteria and the suggestion that fundamental freedoms have been violated by the NSA intercepts.

Earlier this month, a Newsweek cover story depicted George W. Bush as living inside a bubble, isolated from knowledge of the real world. Many of the news stories about the NSA intercepts show that it is mainstream media that are living inside a bubble, carefully insulating themselves and their readers and viewers from knowledge of applicable law and recent historical precedent, determined to pursue an agenda of undermining the Bush administration regardless of any damage to national security.|

You can tell how insulated they are from reality by their belief that there's a political price to be paid for being too mean to terrorists.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 26, 2005 12:55 PM

Very well put.

There is probably someone, somewhere in the country who is neither a homosexual nor a public school teacher and who disapproves of this kind of surviellance.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 26, 2005 7:19 PM

The question is not about being too mean to terrorists; it is whether the Bush adminstration, as it has done in the past, is abusing its power to do so by authorizing wire taps that might not be very directly related to fighting the war on terror. Terrorism is an elastic clause. The legitimate purposes of the NSA programs, to me and others, are not the issue.

Posted by: Grog at December 26, 2005 8:33 PM


Isn't Bush allowed to seize private property for a 'public purpose' under 'Kelo'?

Thanks, Supreme Court!

Posted by: Noel at December 26, 2005 9:22 PM

Noel: No, the government is allowed to do that by the Constitution, if they pay just compensation.

Grog: If they're going to cheat, they're going to cheat. Quibbling about the terms of this program just makes the left look silly.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 26, 2005 10:25 PM

The left's problem right now is they've reached roughly the same stage with GWB they reached with Reagan five years into his term -- there's no coherant strategy for "getting" Bush, its pretty much just throw something up on the wall and see if it sticks, even if it's contrary to what was tossed up there a week or two earlier.

Were Phil Hartman still alive it would be about time for updating his Saturday Night Live skit that showed Reagan's public image to the elites of being a befuddled old man was simply a ruse, and he was a master manipulator who spoke multiple languages. The only problem would be finding someone else besides Jimmy Stewart to throw out of the Oval Office.

Posted by: John at December 26, 2005 10:51 PM

I'm all for meteing out their just compensation.

Posted by: Noel at December 27, 2005 12:51 AM

So they're going to cheat. That is the problem, that has been the problem, that will be the problem, that is (what you call the Left's, even though its a lot more than that) grievance with both Democrats and Republicans. They will continue to lie and cheat Americans until this country is trashed beyond repair. Quibbling about the terms of the program? I think it runs a little deeper than that, and is representative of politics as usual these days, which 200 years ago would have sparked a violent revolution; I don't want to hear the Lincoln analogy, this is about power and wealth furthering its own ends at the expense of the entire world.

Posted by: Grog at December 27, 2005 2:05 AM


If I were you, I'd start sleeping with one eye open.

Posted by: AllenS at December 27, 2005 7:11 AM

"abusing its power to do so by authorizing wire taps that might not be very directly related" one more modifier in your objection and you set a record for trivializing one's own point.

Posted by: oj at December 27, 2005 7:53 AM

Grog: I don't think they're going to cheat. That's your concern. I just don't understand why, if you think that they're going to cheat no matter what, you want to quibble about the terms of what they're allowed to do.

By the way, someone who thinks that civil liberties have ever been more protected than today is ignoring most of American history. Heck, it was only relatively recently that the Supreme Court decided that a confession admittedly beaten out of a criminal by the cops couldn't be admitted as evidence. The idea that you have a right to privacy that includes walking around planning treason, or lunch, on a handheld radio is just nuts. The Congress that passed the Alien and Sedition Acts would have laughed and laughed, once you explained to them what a radio is.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 27, 2005 9:19 AM

The very phrase "wire-taps" is misleading. No wires are taped. NSA merely watches what goes through the quite public realm of cyber-space, which, as we all know, is where information wants to be free.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at December 27, 2005 11:12 AM
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