Olbermann Says Scary Words From Bush et al On Telecom A Fraud

Last night Keith Olbermann at MSNBC’s Countdown noted that late Friday night, after all the scary Bush people tried to scare everybody about the wiretap telecom debate in Congress, the Administration announced that the final telecom company had agreed to continue illegally wiretapping everybody in America.

So Bush and his homeland security clowns are once again revealed to be political fearmongers, lying to the people in order to push their political agenda, which is alien to everything America theoretically stood for before January 20, 2001, which must go down as the blackest day in American history.

The Lion couldn’t pass up mentioning that, despite being on sabbatical.


11 Responses

  1. You don’t sound surprised.


  2. Welcome back from your sabbatical. Did you enjoy your seven hours of peace and quiet?

    I would have called you to greet you personally, but you never know who’s listening in these days. The Internet, as we all know, is much more private than phone communication.


  3. () –

    I’m shocked, shocked!

    Ex –

    I actually read this morning’s paper with an absolute minimal urge to blog any of it. By the time the sabbatical is over, blogging will be but a dim memory as I go happily about what’s left of my life without ever touching a keyboard again. Tomorrow I expect to read Doonesbury without having a clue about its references.

    What’s the Internet?


  4. Glad to see you’re back. You were away for an awfully long time – too long, as far as I’m concerned.


  5. Ric

    I want to scream! 🙂

    Your got a highly politicised and unaccountable secret police that is monitoring political dissent and your bothered about whether the wiretapping is legal or not?!!

    Ric, secret police eavesdropping on citizens’ conversations, that’s what they do, they’ve been doing it as long as the technology existed. Recently the in the UK, the police have been caught eavesdropping on an MP and lawyers’ privileged conversations.

    Isn’t the real problem the highly politicised and unaccountable secret police?

    I’ve never been convinced that America needs organisations like the FBI or CIA.


  6. Steph –

    Accountability is the core issue. Without a legal basis to conduct legitimate wiretaps, there can’t be any accountability when anyone in government or elsewhere goes off the reservation and conducts unauthorized secret wiretaps.

    We have the case here where Bush deliberately and knowingly violated the FISA law, and has not been held accountable. He’s admitted it. So he has confessed to criminal actions. If people in the judiciary or Congress would get their heads out of their asses, Bush could be held accountable under the law.

    If there were no law at all on the matter, there would be no chance to hold him accountable. And much of what he and his administration do is directed at removing accountability for his, and their, acts. There’s a deeper, more fundamental battle going on here than whether wiretaps are legal.

    Fundamental law in the United States is that the government cannot wiretap/eavesdrop without a warrant. That applies to the FBI, the CIA, and any other group of government initials. The Republicans have decided that the laws do not apply to Republican officeholders.

    And today I read in the paper that polls show McCain beating either Clinton or Obama in a general election. That tells me that the people of the country have learned nothing in the last eight years, and that the press is refusing to examine McCain with any rigor. He would be a disaster for this country, and the world. But he hides behind his phony war hero mask, and pretty much says he will continue the crimes of the current administration.

    As for the FBI, I think they are needed as a criminal investigative bureau, but they also need to be controlled and regulated and held accountable. As for the CIA, as long as they are involved politically, they are a worthless organization. The last eight years have compromised the intelligence organizations in this country to the point of making them useless for dealing with reality in the world.

    Damn! I’m so proud of myself. I haven’t made anyone scream in years. 🙂


  7. There’s a deeper, more fundamental battle going on here than whether wiretaps are legal.

    Absolutely correct. Unfortunately, the only thing the Democratic Congress has been interested in is riding Bush’s unpopularity to a sweep in this year’s election. The year is still young – they have plenty of time to throw away this one too.


  8. Hi Ric,

    There’s a deeper, more fundamental battle going on here than whether wiretaps are legal.

    I couldn’t agree more. I don’t believe in spamming. So I’ll send you some links to my blog, so you can see what I’m getting at.

    Read them? No, well go on then 😉

    Okay, I don’t think trusting in judicial approval for the State to spy on citizens works. Judicial approval is easy to come by, and when the security forces overstep the mark, who will know? They’ll do it and they’ll get away with it. The deeper issue is what the agencies spying on us – we should be questioning why they exist in the first place.

    Have you heard this song. It’s about Special branch surveillance and informers in the Trade Union movement in 1973.

    You say you think the FBI are needed as a criminal investigative bureau, maybe you are right but I have my doubts. Surely every State in the Union could cope if the FBI was disbanded, on a State level why are they needed? Hoover set up the FBI as a secret police force to keep tabs on American citizens.


  9. Steph –

    I understand where you’re coming from, having read many of those posts before, and having reread them just now.

    I’m not making the case that government and police are not behaving despicably. I think they are. And of course no law can restrain them if they want to go ahead and commit torture and murder and the rest of it. One needs only a government with fascist tendencies and leanings to unleash the foul breath of government oppression and wrongdoing, and we certainly have such a government now in the United States.

    But that there is law, as long as it is maintained, means that at some point people can be called to account for their behavior, if others have the courage to come forward. But without the underpinning of law, we are back in the ages before Magna Carta. They may not be called to account, but I want them to be afraid that someday there’ll come a knock on the door and they will be taken away.

    Bush and the foul thing the Republicans have become, and the foul things they have done, won’t last forever. But without laws on the books they will last longer.

    The most evident and public part of the battle right now is the telecom bill. The corporations broke the law, at the behest of the administration, which was itself breaking the law, and now the battle is about whether the companies should be immunized after the fact for their crimes (and by extension Bush et al would effectively be immunized, I would think). If the law had not been in place, it’s doubtful we would ever have heard of room 641A and if we had, the actions there would have been beyond the reach of law.

    As for the FBI and Hoover, Hoover was a perversion. He turned the FBI into an American KGB. But… the fundamental idea of a national investigative agency is, on balance I think, a good one. With so many jurisdictions in this country it’s almost impossible to tie together interstate crime without some sort of unifying organization. But without impartial oversight such a bureaucracy can easily go astray, and if one thing is certain here, it is that we do not send the best and the brightest to Congress and the White House, whence comes, theoretically, the necessary oversight.


  10. Ric

    Putting a tiger on a leash doesn’t make it a poodle.

    When I was a 20 year old law student in Rome, i would have asked:

    What is the legal justification for wiretapping citizens?

    Is it ever right to bug a citizen because the Federal government think he is about to commit crime?

    What constitute reasonable grounds for believing a suspect is about to commission of a Federal crime, seeing as any application to a court will be made ex parte?

    Is wiretapping a practical measure in crime prevention? I’ve seen no evidence that it is.

    Is wiretapping a practical measure in crime detection? It’s not admissible in UK courts.

    If the police “innocently” discovered a suspect was having an affair through wiretapping, could they be trusted not to use misuse that information?

    11 years on, I’m still the same Siciliana, asking the same questions. 🙂


  11. “11 years on, I’m still the same Siciliana, asking the same questions.”

    The best things in life don’t fundamentally change… 🙂

    I think that as a crimefighting tool, wiretapping, under strict control, can be useful. The American Mafia comes to mind, most recently the Gotti family.

    If there’s a known ongoing criminal conspiracy, wtapping can prevent a crime. But otherwise, yes, it’s not different from pre-emptive war and presumes mindreading.

    As for trusting the police, my motto is the more power an entity has, the less I’ll trust it.

    As for the tiger and the poodle, the leash might give the poodle a fighting chance to get away. 🙂 And if it’s a really big poodle, who knows? Poodles can be pretty tough. Don’t let the girly haircuts fool you.


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