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I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Posting today

(updated below -- and updated again)

I will be posting today at Crooks and Liars and will link here to those posts once they are up.

In the meantime, here are a couple of noteworthy items:

(1) Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote a letter yesterday (.pdf - h/t Gator in Comments) to the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Pat Roberts (with a copy to Sen. Arlen Specter, Chair of the Judiciary Committee), regarding the 2002 DeWine legislation to amend FISA, and she specifically asked about the Statement by the DoJ's James A. Baker conveying the Administration's refusal to support the liberalization of FISA because it was unnecessary and possibly unconstitutional. Sen. Feinstein clearly understands how those events so fundamentally contradict the Administration's explanation now regarding its FISA-violating eavesdropping program.

The Administration's explanation for why it created this eavesdropping program is beginning to unravel, and that should only fuel the zeal of the Senators on the two Committees which will hold hearings on the NSA scandal within the next couple of weeks.

(2) There was an excellent article published yesterday in The Washington Post regarding the DeWine issue and related issues by Dan Eggen and Walter Pincus. That article, which followed up on the Post's article from Thursday, makes clear that the Administration's rationale for the NSA program is squarely contradicted by its statements regarding the proposed DeWine amendments to FISA, and is one of the first significant articles which treats the NSA scandal as a serious scandal for this Administration.

And on top of all of that, there is this article today in the Post by Eggen which reports on amendments to FISA proposed by the Administration in 2003 which were designed to expand the Administration's eavesdropping authority - an obvious concession by the Administration that amendments to FISA were necessary in order to grant the Administration additional eavesdropping powers.

Although the New York Times originally broke the NSA story, the Post for the last several weeks has been in the forefront of advancing it, and it seems as though the Post is finally starting to wake up to the true seriousness and the magnitude of the threat which this scandal (deservedly) poses for the Administration.

* * * * * * *
My first post on C&L is up here, which discusses the new essay in The New Republic from the increasingly pernicious 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner, who advances his advocacy of law-breaking yet another step forward to a point where, in my view, he is really teetering on the edge of propriety and ethics for what a Judge is permitted to do under the Code of Judicial Conduct.

Posner is expressly defending illegal behavior on the ground that good results justify law-breaking. He's not the only one who is arguing that. There are lots of Bush followers who, by necessity, have resorted to that theory. But he's the only federal judge I've ever heard actually argue that the President (or anyone else) has the right to break the law, and that the virtue of obeying the law is really over-rated.

* * * * *
My second post at C&L reviews some miscellaneous items which I think are interesting. I'd be particularly interested in anyone's view of item (3) in that post. I mentioned once before here that there is an odd and clearly deliberate semantic formulation which the Administration uses when giving assurances that the eavesdropping program applies only to those associated with Al Qaeda and not to "innocent Americans."

At first, I mentioned it only in passing because I didn't want to be reading too much into something that might well be innocuous, but I've seen it repeated enough times now in various documents and by various Administration officials that I'm quite sure it is a consciously used formulation which has meaning.

* * * * *
I have a third post up at C&L regarding the disparity between the Beltway media's ongoing belief that George Bush is a popular and well-liked President with a slew of polls showing that the exact opposite is true and has been true for some time now. Even in the face of these polls, the reverent Bush lovers in the media like Chris Matthews continue to spit out statements like this:

"Everybody sort of likes the president, except for the real whack-jobs."

So, according to "journalists" like Matthews, only freakish, America-hating loons are against the war in Iraq, dislike President Bush, and believe that the Administration deliberately misled the nation into war -- even though polls continuously show that a majority of Americans hold these beliefs.

The first step back to power for Bush opponents is to stop trying to please and act in accordance with the judgments of the Chris Matthews, Tim Russerts, David Broders and Joe Kleins of the world. They know less than nothing about what Americans think, and it is these coddled, Beltway blowhards who are the freakish, warped ones even as they place that label on anyone who did not fall madly and permanently in love with George Bush and his post-9/11 protective prancing.

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