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2006 January 24 — Why Now?
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The Kerry Defense

Everyone should remember this quote from John Kerry: “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.”

Via djhlights at Exit Stage Left I arrived at a Glenn Greenwald post about the Bush administration rejecting a Senate bill to amend the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act in 2002 to permit a “reasonable suspicion” vice “probable cause” test for eavesdropping warrants.

So when General Michael V. Hayden starts talking about how legal what he started at NSA is, and the problems of the FISA requirements, he doesn’t bring up the fact that Congress attempted to give the administration more power, but the Justice Department discouraged the move as being of questionable constitutionality.

To paraphrase: they did it, before they were against it, before they were for it.

Full disclosure: When Hayden was a lieutenant he was assigned to Strategic Air Command headquarters. I was a Staff Sergeant at the time stationed at Offutt AFB and regularly gave classified briefings at SAC HQ, which he probably attended. As he was only a lieutenant and not on flying status I would haven’t even recognized his existence. At SAC HQ there was nothing lower than a lieutenant.

There is no evidence of his having any criminal procedure training, which is obvious from his use of the term “reasonable belief”, rather than the term of art, “reasonable suspicion”. You can’t be believable in any discussion of warrants if you don’t have “reasonable suspicion” and “probable cause” burned into your brain. The ability to find the razor’s edge of the boundary any particular judge has between those two is the key to obtaining warrants.

I would be interested in hearing exactly how he believes “hot pursuit” applies to a warrant. “Hot pursuit” is normally “incidental to an arrest” and they haven’t arrested anyone. I would think that Osama’s continuing recording career makes it rather obvious that they are not really interested in catching anyone.

On a more pleasant note, one of my favorite Texans, Molly Ivins, is now included on the CNN site, and she wonders what the reaction would be if “President” Hillary had tried warrant-less wiretaps, among other things.

January 24, 2006   Comments Off on The Kerry Defense

One Florida Senator Figures It Out

In an unusually good move by “Waffling Willie”, the senior senator from Florida, Bill Nelson, has decided to vote against Samuel Alito. Nice meme in this Miami Herald article:

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Tuesday he’ll vote against Judge Samuel Alito Jr.’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying he believes the jurist would “tilt the scales of justice in favor of big government over the average person.”

The Big Government threat being used against a Republican appointee is an unexpected touch that should be talked up. A dictatorship is the ultimate in Big Government, and that’s what the Unitary Executive Theory really advocates.

Of course, the junior senior, Rove sockpuppet Mel Martinez, will do as he is told and vote for Alito.

January 24, 2006   Comments Off on One Florida Senator Figures It Out

Oh, Canada!

After a dozen years the Liberal Party of Canada has become number two in the Canadian parliamentary elections to the Conservatives, but the Conservatives did not win a majority of the 308 seats, so they will form a minority government. To truly be in control you need 155 seats, assuming one of your members will become the non-voting Speaker of Parliament.

The CBC has an analysis of the possible methods the Conservatives will be using to govern. I wouldn’t wait with baited breath for any sweeping changes in policies because the Conservatives will need total party discipline and 31 extra votes to pass anything.

The Conservatives won 124 seats, the Liberals – 103, Bloc Québécois – 51, the New Democratic Party – 29, and one independent won a seat in Quebec. The sole independent candidate who won a seat was André Arthur, a Quebec shock jock whose mouth cost his station its license.

For a listing of all of the registered parties in our northern neighbors drop by this site, and for a Canadian view of what happened read the CBC commentary on the “urban-rural” and East-West splits.

This election can be summarized as people annoyed with the arrogance of the previous leadership of the Liberal Party who were passing out public money to friends, the current leader having the endearing personality of an accountant, and some campaign ads that provided fodder for Canadian political satire shows. People weren’t voting for the Conservatives, they voting against the incumbent government.

There may be another election in a year if the Conservatives can’t come up with a working coalition. Unlike the US, the Canadians can remove governments whenever they get annoying.

January 24, 2006   Comments Off on Oh, Canada!


A non-hostile denial-of-service attack caused by a link from Atrios; as in First Draft has been Eschatonned all day.

[Edited for spelling to reflect impact.]

January 24, 2006   Comments Off on Eschatonned