Monday, December 19, 2005

Then and Now

This is story that is getting some play. Jon Alter discusses how, on Dec. 6, Bush "summoned" Times' editor Kellor and publisher Sulzberger to the White House and tried to persuade the two to not publish the story that they eventually did, which exposed the NSA domestic surveillance program.

But it appears the Bush did not do this out of any great concern for national security, as he now contends:
Bush was desperate to keep the Times from running this important story—which the paper had already inexplicably held for a year—because he knew that it would reveal him as a law-breaker.
I guess it is somewhat comforting to see that Bush may not be entirely possessed and actually did recognise that this little I Spy program could cause a few legal ripples for his administration, if not himself directly. Of course, such moments of reflection tend not to hang around Bush's head for too long and certainly not with Abugraiberto wispering in his ear, horns and pitch fork at the ready:
don't worry about a thing, Pres. I can make it all go away, just like the last time.
Today, we see Bush standing firmly in his belief that it was well within presidential legal authority to order such activity because, as Gonzales asserts, Congress pretty much signed off on it when they voted the President the power to conduct military operations in the war on terror. In other words, Bush thought his order was illegal before he didn't.

Various legal beagles are weighing in on this, usually coming down in favour of their own partisan tendencies. I suspect, though, that something like this won't come out of the wash too well. But I could be entirely wrong. These days, Americans seem willing to absorb any abuse of power if they are told often enough that it will make them safer.

I mean, if this country can now engage in debates about whether or not we should torture people or that secret prisons are effective and perfectly reasonable facilities for the CIA to have, nothing is off the table. And you know that is true because Bush's freaking numbers are up!

Baby, nothing bothers us now!


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