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April 09, 2006

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Frederick Hamilton

OK. Mary McCarthy has been fired from the CIA. McCarthy was a high ranking official in the CIA. She admitted to "leaking" classified material to the Washing Post. The full wrath of the Justice Department is about to come down on her. The law does not allow her to unilaterally decide what to declassify. She is expected to follow the law. The law does allow President Bush to declassify previously classified material at his discretion. Should McCarthy be prosecuted? Should the Washington Post and its writers be shielded from answering subpeonas regarding the alleged crime? This is much more interesting than trying to flog the Prez for doing what he can legally do. Should McCarthy be flogged for doing what she legally cannot do?

Kimball Corson

Frederick raises some interesting questions. Maybe there should be a whistle blower like defense available to leakers: when information is classified to protect the guilty instead of national security or when a law has been broken and that is reflected in what is classified and then leaked, then the leaker should get off the hook. I am not sure if this gets Mary McCarthy’s pension back, but the run-away classification system clearly needs some check on it.

Kimball Corson

By the way, Mary McCarthy has now come foreward to say that she did not admit leaking and that is a fabrication and that she did not leak the information. Many senior CIA officials believe her. Also, it was recently discovered that she contributed to the Kerry election campaign and some are wondering if there is a connection. Something seems afoot and I suspect there is much more to the story than we are getting.

Bob

Kimball,

You said, "Nukes are, between weak and strong countries that have them, what handguns are in the possession of weak and strong men. The advantages of strength are compromised."

Since, I am pro-self-protection, I believe in the Second Amendment. Guns should be available to all Americans without interference from the government. Guns allow the weak to protect themselves from the strong. From what you say above, Nukes are no different. I am all for the advantage of strength being compromised. I like the idea of an "even playing field." Nukes for all, power to none.

Kimball Corson

That is a very credible position among rational people and rational nations where everyone knows how everyone is armed. In a system which includes some suicide fanantics, I am less sure. But perhaps instead of taking away the bombs and guns, we should take away the fanactics.

Bob

The fanatics will vanish under a rain of nukes the first time they misstep. Suicide by stupidity, ie. suicide by nukes. Problem solved.

Kimball Corson

Let's just hope they don't get to their launch buttons before our nukes detonate and vaporize them. Problem maybe solved.

Bob

The fanatics to which I was referring could just as well be us. Bush seems to be a Christian fundamentalist. He's as scary as the Islam fundamentalists.

Kimball Corson

Very true, Bob. Religionists with power are horrific.

Kimball Corson

I posted the following elsewhere, but on further consideration, think it best belongs here:

At least now we get to argue and debate important topics which are leaked to the public, such as the NSC wiretapping program. That might not be true in the future. The Bush administration is now exploring a more radical measure to protect information it says is vital to national security -- the criminal prosecution of reporters under the espionage laws. Presently, the range of proposals runs from a privilege not to disclose the source of a reporter’s information to criminally prosecuting the reporter for espionage.

The Bush administration has the First and Fourth Amendments well under attack because he differs radically from many of us on the public’s right to know. So much for swearing to uphold the Constitution. But what should we expect from a man who listens to God and ministers, rather than lawyers and analysts. In the future, we need to be very careful about voting men into high public office who were formerly admitted drunks and then “got religion.”

Bob

Governments can change swiftly, and benevolent governments never last.

Kimball Corson

We have about a 1000 days left of Bush, whose credibility is sinking fast. But even with a benevolent replacement administration, should we be so lucky, it will take years to clean up the mess and undo the entanglements. I should live so long.

Frederick Hamilton

Wow. Kimball, Bob, et al. You need to become a tad more respectful of the majority of Americans who are more comfortable listening to God and talking to their clergy than lawyers and analysts. Which lawyers should President Bush listen to? Should he listen to those learned lawyers that couldn't see the Solomon Admentment mandating by law that universities treat military recruiters the same as any other recruiters or lose federal funding had nothing, nada, zip to do with infringing on free speech. Those lawyers for instance? Please. Guys. Get a grip on reality. Bush, Gonzales, NSA, et al have done nothing to infringe upon the First or Fourth Admentment.
To this day, no University of Chicago Law Professor has been willing to explain why they were so wrong regarding Solomon. Maybe there is solid reason not to rely on lawyers to do what is best for the country. Good luck in your effort to make sure Godless politicians and those who "got religion" are defeated in electoral America. Your position that God is to blame is pretty amazing and sick. On that note. God love you. He really does. I suspect with your thinking He probably is the only one who truly does love you. Peace and love and try being a little more tolerant. Why is it that conservatives always seem to be much more tolerant than liberals.

Kimball Corson

Frederick writes (referring to Bob and me):

"Please. Guys. Get a grip on reality. Bush, Gonzales, NSA, et al have done nothing to infringe upon the First or Fourth Amendments."

Wow, is right. Where to start.

On the Fourth Amendment: (1) Bush's and Gonzales’ approval of the NSC surveillance program and then (2) their subsequent recommendation – when they were caught -- that Fourth Amendment concerns could be dealt with by 45 days of unfettered surveillance, followed thereafter by Gonzales reporting to a Senate committee on why surveillance needed to be continued beyond 45 days, with nothing further to occur and no right of disapproval; and (3) now Gonzales statement that the law allows the President to conduct surveillance of Americans on American soil without any search warrant or even reasonable suspicion. There are three whoppers.

On the First Amendment: (1) Bush and Gonzales want to use the espionage statutes against reporters doing stories based on classified, but leaked information, often wrongly classified only to protect the guilty and not national security. (2) Yet the President or his buddies can leak what they want to defend Bush’s “innocence” (the Niger yellowcake NIE fabrication) or attack his enemies (the Valerie Plame CIA agent leak to get back at her husband, Joseph Wilson, for his NY Times Op-Ed piece), i.e., Bush’s and Gonzales’ misuse of the classification system to protect their own interests and those of their friends, instead of national security – claiming in effect that the public has no right to know, except what they want the public to know.

Gonzales is providing Bush with poor legal advice. He is basically telling Bush what Bush wants to hear without critically considering what the law may be reasonably read to provide. He does that because he knows Bush does not want to hear what the law provides. Bush listens instead to God and his religious advisors, not to the law. To be his legal advisor, one must tell Bush what Bush wants to hear. It is like Rumfeld claiming to have listened to his military generals on troop strengths for the Iraqi invasion; ‘I followed their advise. Tommy Franks decided the number of troops we needed.’ Rumsfeld flatly has lied here. With great persistence Rumsfeld argued Franks out of also using the First Cavalry Division, as Franks wanted.

The point: you don’t tell this Administration anything it does not want to hear and expect to keep your job. That goes for the AG, too.

Kimball Corson

Speaking of the Valerie Plame affair, does anyone out there know or have any thoughts on why Rober Novak appears to be getting the hands off treatment in regard to this matter? Why hasn’t he coughed up his source or isn’t he sitting in a jail cell? We do know that “[t]wice Novak was reportedly involved in situations leading to Karl Rove being fired from political campaigns: first in 1980 from George H.W. Bush's vice-presidential campaign, and second in 1992, while working for Bush's reelection campaign. Both times Rove was fired from the staff for leaking campaign information to Novak . . .” See, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Novak.

Is a real bombshell about to explode here? Is that why Bush appears to be distancing himself from Rove? What is going on?

Frederick Hamilton

Common guys. My note was primarily a response to your fear of religion, God, better a lawyer than your Rabbi, etc. Not nice to ignore the real reason why you guys can't be taken seriously. Please, again, what lawyers should Bush listen to? The ones regarding Solomon? Which Rabbis, Ministers, Clergy et al are so bad? My minister is a wonderfully sane man and a good listener. Forget the First and Fourth. In a 1000 days you can get your Godless President (very doubtful) or in the interim you can impeach Bush for skewering the First and Fourth (looking a little crazy here). Common now fellows please give us some more on the evils of religion and the good lawyerly advice (read, Solomon).

Kimball Corson

But Frederick, institutionalized religion becomes worthy of fear when it controls or seriously influences government or when it becomes the basis of national, imperialistic ambitions. We arguably have those problems now with the present Administration and we certainly have them now with Islam. See my comment above on the threat of Islam in Europe. Religion should be a private spiritual matter, not a political organizing principle.

On legal questions and issues, it is important consult good lawyers instead of just rabbis or ministers and then to really listen to them. Washington has many good lawyers who can dispense good, fair-minded advise. But Bush wants to do what he want to do, and as I explained, this Administration does not want to listen to anyone who gets in the way of their a priori thinking, We really should not forget, ever, our First and Fourth Amendments. That is where and when we get in trouble.

We have all heard much about the offensive practices of Islam which arguably could be ignored if practicing Muslims stayed in their own countries, but the problem is Muslims (and some of the worst of them) are not staying home. They are migrating and reproducing with a vengeance and seeking Islamic theocracies for the areas in which they settle. Too many Americans, and indeed Europeans, are oblivious to what is going on here, as I said in my comment above. Imagine our future problems with both China and an Islamic theocracy controlling Europe like the one that controls Iran. Experts, like Bernard Lewis and others, think it is only a question of time, if Europe does not take action and soon. We are coming to have next to no real friends in this world and te West is seriously pursuing a suicide course, I believe.

Christianity and Islam really are serious contemporary political problems that are making life miserable for the rest of us and putting us all in too much danger of loosing or compromising our rights and liberties, either by our own Christian hand, or eventually their Islamic one.


Bob

Hamilton says, "Forget the First and Fourth ."

This is typical religious fundamentalist thinking. Control the people by squashing their right to speak, ie. question authority.

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