Friday, May 19, 2006

Other Items

Sorry. I'm trying to get out of DC today. A number of friends ended up dropping by to say hello and it was just too crowded and too noisy to get an entry completed (especially when I'm already attempting to censor the language -- work safe environment here -- and deal with the ___ that is this morning's New York Times).

An AP article covers the Arlen Specter dramatics yesterday. Because it's really important that the Times uses all it can to push for Michael Hayden -- their best chatty Cathys the paper's ever had. Said two reporters yesterday, when Hayden was testifying, "Who is he to talk about leaks?" General consensus is it was more than modesty that had him refusing to commit to the Times' Sunday pucker up.

For the Specter high drama, check out Wally's "THIS JUST IN! DESPERATE CONGRESS MEMBERS!" Which says all that could be said on the issue. Another story I'm not seeing in the paper (it's spread out all over, the paper -- so it may be in there and I'm just missing it) is Pat Robertson announcing his little chat. Rebecca covers that with "rebecca winters has a warning."

The paper has no interest in that or in exploring what Military Man heading the CIA might mean -- remember what Barbara Olshansky noted Tuesday on KPFA's The Morning Show:

One of the things that I think is underling this type of authorization [. . .] is this notion that this presidency has, that this administration has, that the commander-in-chief powers which are supposed to be used outside the United States in a zone of miltary hostility . This president says, we can turn that power inside, into the United States, into the domestic, civilian, civil society and use that power here. And that underlies everything that this president is doing. . . What's really troubling is when you think that we're now going to appoint military people to fundamentally civilian posts. It adds even more structure to that idea that we can operate militarily inside the United States. That's something that [. . .] in the history of this country we have never abided. It's something the Framers, way back, were concerned about and it's something the courts have been really clear about and yet that is what this administration is completely -- using the military powers inside the United States to justify all of these violations.

Instead, we get coverage that's practically a death pageant. When you are the Les Newman of the security set (WKRP), you really need your friends in the press for the big market push. Fortunately, Newman, er Hayden, is in a position to call in favors.

It probably helps when the "new guy" is someone who's close to the Pentagon. In that and every other way his "bonafides" have been spoken for. Which is why the worst writing has repeatedly appeared in the paper, prominently under his byline.

As The Nation's latest editorial, "Phone Spies," points out:

The Administration would seem to be violating the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable government searches and seizures. There is also the matter of its disregard of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires the government to obtain a warrant for electronic surveillance. By any measure Congress has sufficient grounds not just to investigate but to aggressively challenge the Administration's actions. After ABC News reported that the FBI has acknowledged reviewing phone records of reporters for that network and other outlets as part of an effort to identify whistleblowers, Congress also has a responsibility to demand information about just how much spying is taking place. So far, however, Congress is speaking loudly but carrying a small stick. Republican Senate Judiciary Committee chair Arlen Specter complains that "there has been no meaningful Congressional oversight on this program," but where are the subpoenas from his committee to the officials engaged in these activities? Specter says he wants to ask phone company executives about what records they turned over to the NSA and why. But the senator has to know that the fundamental questions can only be answered by an investigation of an Administration that cannot be allowed to plead executive privilege. Democrats also have to get over their timidity. Isn't it time, for instance, for its leaders to acknowledge that Democratic Senator Russ Feingold was right when he proposed in March that Bush be censured for ordering the NSA to eavesdrop on Americans' phone conversations without obtaining proper warrants?

Beau steered us to that editorial, by the way. In all the "We love Hayden!" coverage, the paper of a questionable record somehow missed Siobhan Gorman's "NSA rejected system that sifted phone data legally" (Baltimore Sun):

The National Security Agency developed a pilot program in the late 1990s that would have enabled it to gather and analyze huge amounts of communications data without running afoul of privacy laws. But after the Sept. 11 attacks, it shelved the project -- not because it failed to work but because of bureaucratic infighting and a sudden White House expansion of the agency's surveillance powers, according to several intelligence officials.

Polly wanted us to note something. This is a very brief thing so the excerpt is very small. From Lia Nicholls's "Donovan: The 5-Minute Interview" (Independent of London):

Donovan, 60, is appearing tonight and tomorrow night at the Jazz Café in London, supported by his daughter, Astrella Celeste. The concerts mark the launch of the paperback version of his autobiography 'The Hurdy Gurdy Man' and the release of a rare set of recordings on EMI 'Donovan - In Concert'.
If I wasn't talking to you right now I'd be ...
Reviewing songs for our performances.

So members in and around London, if you'ver got the time and the money, it's Donovan. And it's only "tonight" being Friday. Article was published yesterday. We use the song he made famous in entries here all the time ("And The War Drags On" -- written by Mick Softly). There will be a write up of the concert in Polly's Brew which goes out Sunday.

Check out Cedric's "Dry Drunk Bully Boy" and Mike's "Surprise interview" (FYI, I'm the surprise interview).

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