Drum on the FISA “Compromise”

Apologies, again, for being AWOL lately, and thanks to ymatt for taking up some of the slack. My latest non-lies.com obsession (working on an entry for this contest with my daughter) should be over in a week or so, at least, since that’s the deadline for contest entries.

In the meantime, I’ve been interested in some of the bloggy meta-chatter surrounding the FISA “compromise” bill, and Obama’s support of it, and his explanation for why he’s done so, and the back and forth among supporters of Obama between those who support that decision and those who don’t. But the most interesting thing I’ve read about it lately is this piece from Kevin Drum: The FISA compromise.

In the end, everyone seems to have decided that bulk monitoring of electronic communications is OK, and that the new bill provides adequate oversight and minimization procedures. I’m not so sure myself, since I don’t trust procedures like this to stay robust. In any case, I’d say this is the core issue, not telecom immunity, and it deserves more attention. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s going to get it.

67 Responses to “Drum on the FISA “Compromise””

  1. Steve Says:

    Both the telecom amnesty and the bulk warrantless wiretapping are perversions of justice. No-one, even big campaign contributors, should be able to rewrite the law in their own selfish favor. Also, no-one should be trusted with the power to spy on Americans without a check on that power.

    Those who support Obama’s decision here are using the same twisted logic that has been a large contribution to the worst aspects of the Bush administration.

    I still support Obama over McCain, but this decision is dreadful. I’ve decided to not contribute any more money to Obama and redirect my contributions to the coalition that’s forming to protect our constitution.

    In truth, Obama has done many of us a large favor: he’s reminded us that it’s better to support a principle than to support a person.

  2. Steve Says:

    Are you going to post your video when it’s done?

  3. enkidu Says:

    I am very disappointed in Obama: he should be filibustering this, not caving.
    Combine this with the Obama support for Joe Lieberman in the ’06 election (gak) and it is easy to see that lies.com will have plenty of material to work with when Obama is sworn in come Jan’09.

    Still a much better candidate compared to McCain (where is the McCain from 2000?)

  4. knarlyknight Says:

    Good article. Nice to see this discussion out in the open, to the limited extent that it is in the open. (By the way Alex Jones have been warning against exactly these types of spying programs for years now so it is not a surprise to many people, except for the mainstream media viewers and rwnj radio listeners.)

    I agree with this take on it:

    The great hope of the Founding Fathers, the people’s house, the House of Representatives, has passed an unconstitutional retroactive law making acts legal which were illegal when they were committed.

    If a Democratic House of Representatives will pass a retroactive law in order to legalize the criminal violations of a Republican regime, the same House will pass a retroactive law making illegal what you did legally yesterday. No one is any longer safe in America. By abandoning the US Constitution, Republicans and Democrats have made America as potentially unsafe as Zimbabwe for anyone who takes exception to the government.

  5. ymatt Says:

    Yeah, this is pretty disappointing, especially given Obama’s past promise to support a filibuster on any bill with telecom immunity, the importance of which I actually disagree with Drum on.

    I get that things were confused after 9/11, and there was a lot of pressure on businesses. And I’m sure that the government was making assurances to these companies behind the scenes that “just do what we say and we’ll make sure you don’t get blamed”. But that’s exactly why we need to make it very clear that government promises are not law. The next time the government wants something “just this once”, I want companies (and individuals) to be able to clearly say “no, look what happened last time — I’m not going to break the law on your say-so.”

    I think this is part of the overall Democrat program to let by-gones by by-gones, which I disagree with, but I at least hope that Obama’s policy in the future returns us to some sanity. I hope he makes good on his promises to do things like kill presidential signing statements, and remove lobbyists from the political process.

  6. knarlyknight Says:

    Funny (strange) that Congress can get away with this.

    It seems nearly universally to be a bad, (very, very bad) idea. Yet the people just sit by, complain and then sigh, “Oh well I hope this type of thing doesn’t happen again.” You Americans put up with a lot, I’m doubting whether Americans deserve their liberty any longer. Use it or lose it. Write your Congressman, and/or organize another form of protest to figure out how to reverse this travesty. Either that or stfu.

    Do you think that, if Congress is allowed to get away with retro-actively making unconstitional illegal acts legal, that they will hesitate when asked to retro-actively make currently legal acts illegal? Better watch out about what you say here, someday there could be a law against criticising your government in the past. I am not kidding, this is two sides of the same coin. Enjoy your liberty while it slips away.

  7. jbc Says:

    Yeah. I think what’s going on here is that Obama is making the same calculation that every idealistic politician ends up making: When it’s a longshot, he can afford to say exactly what he thinks about the problems he sees. It’s easy: He doesn’t actually have an obvious shot at winning, so he’s got nothing much to lose by being honest. It’s the same thing, pretty much, as how Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich come across: They can say whatever they want, be completely honest, because there are no real contingencies on what they say. Everyone knows they’re not going to win.

    But now, with Obama, he’s got all the pressure of actually being the nominee, and against a doofus like McCain, the presumptive favorite. So now everything he says and does has to be measured against a very different standard: Is this piece of truth-telling or commitment-honoring worth potentially losing the presidency? In the larger scheme of things, what should he do if the choice is either 1) stay 100% true to his principles, and lose the election, or 2) compromise on those principles (by pandering to AIPAC, compromising on FISA, etc.), and actually get into office where he can do those things (about campaign finance reform, economic fairness, education, healthcare, the war in Iraq, global warming, or whatever; substitute whatever big issue you want here) that he presumably does care about on some level. And, as with any politician, you’ve got the ego factor: He can actually see a path to winning here, of getting elected. That has to exert a powerful effect on his decision-making. He wants this, badly (or else he wouldn’t be running). Now he has a chance at it. Every action ends up being reduced to its bearing on that goal.

    Realistically, he’s not going to lose many votes for caving on FISA. Few of those complaining about this are going to defect to McCain. Some of them may stay home or vote for some fringe candidate, but presumably they will be fewer than the people he would have lost if McCain and his corporate sponsors could have plastered the nation’s televisions with ads about his anti-FISA vote, spinning that into how Barack Obama wants to stop us from listening to al Qaeda’s cellphone calls because of some misplaced sense of namby pamby “rights”.

    So yeah, it’s disappointing. Reality can be that way. But it’s also just how things work.

  8. shcb Says:

    I’m agreeing with JBC on this one, this is practical politics. There are few that know anything about this FISA law and few of them care. You know where I stand on the FISA law, so I won’t get into that, but Matt said something that got me thinking. The government comes to you and requests something, they show you a law giving them the ok to posses this information, the FISA law, but there is an ongoing debate as to whether that law is constitutional. Isn’t that law binding until it is ruled unconstitutional? I don’t see where the telecom companies have done anything wrong. If the telecom lawyers felt the government was overstepping its bounds they can say no and have their day in court.

    This is one of the problems with our system, congress can pass a law that is unconstitutional but it remains law until it is determined to be unconstitutional, and to do that a lawsuit has to be filed and work its way through the court system. A process that can take years.

  9. shcb Says:

    Never become enamored with individual politicians because they will always disappoint you.

    John J. Miller

  10. ymatt Says:

    Well, I believe the issue is that the telecoms were handing over data days after 9/11, before there was any law in place.

  11. NorthernLite Says:

    “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” – Benjamin Franklin (smart fella)

  12. jbc Says:

    Right; the issue with telecom immunity is that the law would confer retroactive immunity on the telecoms for having cooperated with government requests that were arguably illegal at the time they were made.

    I’m willing to stipulate that the immediate post-9/11 time period was special, and courts and juries could be expected to grant some leeway to telcos that did illegal things due to a sincere desire to help avert terrorist attacks. The telcos should get a chance to make the case that that’s what they were doing, and that it justifies the illegal acts. I don’t see a problem with that.

    I do see a problem with granting blanket immunity, effectively concealing whatever it was that happened. We are a nation of grown-ups. We can examine these issues (with appropriate safeguards to keep from revealing justifiably classified information) via the legal process. It seems very obvious at this point that the Bush administration has been and is continuing to aggressively exploit appeals to “national security” in a self-serving effort to avoid accountability for having engaged in illegal behavior. My worry is that this “compromise” helps them do that.

  13. shcb Says:

    But I’m pretty sure the Fisa law in question was passed in the Clinton administration.

  14. shcb Says:

    just checked Wiki, the original bill was passed in 1978, I don’t know what the charges against the telecoms are specifically and if they would have been covered by that version. The US Patriot act was signed into law in October 2001, so there would only be a month or so in question as far as I can see.

  15. Steve Says:

    Right. So the appropriate course of action is to let a court decide.

    The unethical way to proceed is to have Congress give the telecoms amnesty through legislation.

  16. enkidu Says:

    that was a classic:

    jbc – spying on Americans without FISA oversight is a problem…

    shcb – FISA law is Clinton’s fault!

    later shcb – errrr, i just checked in w reality for a moment and the original bill was passed in 1978… Carter’s fault! Stupid law!

    History
    The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act resulted from extensive investigations by Senate Committees into the legality of domestic intelligence activities. These investigations were led separately by Sam Ervin and Frank Church in 1978 as a response to President Nixon’s usage of federal resources to spy on political and activist groups, which violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The act was created to provide Judicial and congressional oversight of the government’s covert surveillance activities of foreign entities and individuals in the United States, while maintaining the secrecy needed to protect national security. It allowed warrantless surveillance within the United States for up to one year unless the “surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party”. If a United States person is involved, judicial authorization was required within 72 hours after surveillance begins.

    So, what are they afraid of uncovering? How were these wiretap and e-snooping tools exploited and abused? (and you know the bush regime misused these things, just like every other aspect of government) This isn’t a compromise, it is a capitulation. This proactive pardon is a get out of jail free card for the watergate/iran contra/bushco/wwnj scum currently infesting the halls of government.

  17. knarlyknight Says:

    What’s the difference between Congress retro-actively making a previous illegal act legal, and some future Congress retro-actively making what’s now legal into an illegal act?

    Better be careful, whatever you do now could someday be made retroactively illegal and then you’ll be guilty. Heck shcb might even be considered a terrorist for his support of state sponsored violence against Muslims.

  18. knarlyknight Says:

    hmmm…

  19. knarlyknight Says:

    My comments posted June 23 and 24 are not getting through.

  20. shcb Says:

    Enky,
    When I make a error I try and correct it promptly. I wasn’t blaming any administration, I was just making the point that these laws were on the books long before 911, this wasn’t a knee jerk reaction to the attacks that day.

    The rest of you ’al

    I just don’t see what the telecoms did that could possibly be wrong. I see this as a strong arm attempt by some left wing groups to intimidate the telecom industry (and others) into not complying with the government. This would put the telecom companies (and others) in a no win position. If they don’t comply with a legal request by the government they risk obstruction of justice, if they do they risk a lawsuit. I would rather have the congress call these ACLU types in front of them and ask them what law the telecoms have broken, in a very public way. But of course that won’t happen since the congress is run by Democrats. Which makes me wonder aloud how this amnesty is a Republican cover-up when the law passed the Senate by what, 75%? In a Democratically controlled Senate.

    JBC says what the telecoms did was arguably illegal, so it’s not illegal, you guys just think it should be? Isn’t the proper place to rectify that situation to throw the case out of court or prosecute the offending prosecutors or investigators? If a policeman asks me where a friend is that has committed a crime and I tell him, but the manner the police asked the question is illegal, I don’t get hauled to jail. The policeman does, or the case is dismissed or the evidence isn’t admissible. But I didn’t do anything wrong.

    What am I missing?

  21. knarlyknight Says:

    rights to privacy

  22. enkidu Says:

    shcb – the point is the bushies were BREAKING the existing law
    the FISA law
    no spying on American’s without court oversight

    that should be simple enough for you to understand

  23. shcb Says:

    This is where the devil is in the details, the current FISA law clearly states it is ok to monitor American citizens if they are in contact with foreign terrorists. I don’t know if that changed in the 2001 version or if that was always the case. If that changed with the Patriot Act then you have a point for the remainder of September and 2/3rds of October 2001 (5 or 6 weeks). But that still doesn’t answer my question of why are the telecoms liable?

    Knarly,

    From what I can see the Senate isn’t giving them immunity from criminal action just insulating them from lawsuits. In fact there is quite a list of court approvals that have to be in place before the protection from lawsuits applies. There is also a section that clearly states this protection does not include abuses of the use of the information gathered.

  24. knarlyknight Says:

    shcb,

    If your statements are true and accurately reflect the situation, then much of my concerns are alleviated. However, based on your track record for presenting highly biased half factoids in support of your Republican heroes I have my doubts. As it is not worth my time since I have no dog in the American people’s struggle to maintain their liberty (i.e. privacy being a key pillar of liberty) against an increasingly prying Executive branch, I won’t challenge your assertions or make further comments.

    The system seems to be selecting which of my comments get through lately, and when they get posted, so this is not exactly a free forum for me anyway.

  25. knarlyknight Says:

    Testing again, my posts go into aholding pattern for a while …

  26. Steve Says:

    Shcb,

    It’s really very simple. The Bush administration told the telecoms to spy on Americans without a warrant. The law states that you cannot spy on Americans without a warrant.

    The branch of government that determines whether something is illegal or not is called the judicial branch. To figure out whether or not the telecoms broke the law, we take that issue to court.

    It does not matter whether or not someone in authority ordered you to break the law. We obey the law, not the government.

    It also does not matter that there are significant numbers of Democrats who are involved in the coverup. The constitution and the rule of law should not be partisan issues.

  27. enkidu Says:

    thank you steve

    here is an interesting take on the FISA fight
    and a practical example of why our 4th Amendment is no more
    heck of a job bushie… “it’s jes a gawdam pieca paper!”

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/6/26/62819/0991/926/542170

    450 comments so far

  28. shcb Says:

    Steve,

    I’ll buy into that to a point, but the “amnesty” portion of this bill wouldn’t insulate the companies from criminal activity just civil lawsuits. I’m no lawyer, and I just read the section of the legislation briefly, but there was something in there about the telecoms having to have had written documentation from one of several sources, one of which seemed to be a court in order to be eligible for this protection. I don’t find myself on the same side of issues as Di Fi very often but I am on this one. After reading the bill it seemed reasonable to me. Especially knowing it will be compromised with the House long before it ever gets close to being considered law.

    Again read the bill before passing judgment, I believe it is SB 2248, but that is from memory.

  29. Steve Says:

    What is Di Fi?

  30. shcb Says:

    Diane Feinstien (sp?) Senator California (D)

  31. knarlyknight Says:

    Steve,

    re: Di Fi

    I think shcb was talking about the pliable hair molding creme that allows you to express your self and make your hair do what you want it to:

    http://www.hairstyling.co.uk/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_D_FI_13.html

    Either that or it was something about Democratic US Senator Dianne Feinstein of California.

  32. ymatt Says:

    Since the telcos (probably) violated privacy rights of their customers, civil lawsuits are exactly the kind of lawsuit you would expect to bring the facts out in court, as Steve so eloquently explained.

    And “written documentation from one of several sources, one of which seemed to be a court” is not the same thing as a warrant.

  33. shcb Says:

    why would a civil suit bring out facts better than a criminal suit?

  34. knarlyknight Says:

    Good question. I’d guess that either is just as effective in bringing out the facts. Suspect you know that.

    The underlying issue is that federal prosecutors may be unwilling to prosecute for crimes that were ordered by their employer’s Executive Branch, or feel pressure to limit the scope to contain fallout. Civil suits with independent counsel acting on behalf of the people would have an incentive to uncover the fact and determine the full scope of the wrongdoing in order to maximize damages payable.

    But I’m no lawyer, I just play one at work.

  35. ymatt Says:

    Both lawsuits can be just as effective, it’s just that a civil suit is the most relevant type here. So your excuse that amnesty isn’t such a big deal because it only applies to “just civil lawsuits” makes no sense.

  36. shcb Says:

    I don’t think pressure from anyone to prosecutors is a problem, to the contrary these suits are mostly being filed in the San Francisco area where they will have to go through the ninth circuit court on appeal to the Supreme Court, that is no accident. They are the most liberal court in the nation (and the most overturned, something like 75% of the time). This is the court where these suits will easily pass that hurdle.

    From what I learned from the OJ Simpson trial, the burden of proof in a civil trial is much less than a criminal so a conviction is more likely in civil cases. One of the things I dislike about civil cases like this is if someone did something criminal the cost of the penalty, money, is just going to passes on to the customer. I’m guessing one of the practical considerations the Senate used in passing this bill 80-15 is that it is one thing to in essence pass a backdoor tax on the back of those nasty cigarette smokers but this multi billion dollar suit would just add to the cost of cell phone bills, not a smart move for a legislature. Especially when worst case we’re talking about something that was illegal on September 12 but legal on October 26 when it was being done in the name of protecting America before the fires had been extinguished in New York.

    If I can make a prediction, this will be compromised with the House bill that the amnesty will not apply if the companies or individuals are convicted on criminal charges, none will ever be brought because of the last sentence in the previous paragraph, if the law was actually broken, which I doubt.

  37. knarlyknight Says:

    You’re right shcb, under-utilized neurons are sparking again to remind me that in a criminal suit the case must be proven beyond all reasonable doubts but in a civil suit the case succeeds if it passes a balance of probablities criteria.

  38. ymatt Says:

    And most patent infringement cases get filed in a small town in Texas. What’s your point (beyond demonstrating that corporate lawsuits don’t belong in a legal system that wasn’t designed for them — I’ll agree with you there)? You’re not going to convince me that the deck needs to be stacked in favor of the telcos — I believe it should be the opposite, given their extraordinary position of control of private information and communications.

  39. shcb Says:

    I’m not against class action civil law suits against corporations in legitimate cases. A good benchmark of when I‘m opposed is when it becomes industry wide or nearly so. Then it becomes a tax. If what an industry is doing is that bad then outlaw it. Civil lawsuits have their place in that they provide moneys for victims. But that shouldn’t be in the place of personal responsibility or reasonable product improvement timelines. When air bags first came out the emphasis was on making a inflator that would inflate the bag before the occupant hit the steering wheel. The passenger was left unprotected for some time because most cars are driven with one person in them. Early on we realized people sitting close to the wheel were at risk of being killed by the force of the air bag. But saving thousands of lives outweighed killing a few, especially since most of those few where blue haired old ladies at the end of their lives. Then babies started dying, everyone assumed the car seat would protect them. At that point the multi cavity initiator was developed, a small explosive charge and a medium size charge were incorporated in one unit. The occupant is weighed as they are sitting in the seat and in some cases the position of the seat is monitored. The small charge is ignited for a small person then the large charge or both for fat bastards like me.

    People died in that transition period that lasted years, people that may have lived without the lifesaving airbag to most had their necks snapped, were we negligent? We knew the danger existed early on. But many more would have died had we waited until all the bugs were worked out, and we still would have missed the babies. No that would not be a place for a civil suit, if a manufacturer knowingly puts out a dangerous product then it may be justified. But then it is a real punishment because he cannot recoup the monies of the judgment by raising prices without losing market share.

    Now I realize this doesn’t equate well with this situation because there really weren’t damages that are tangible like injury, death, or loss of income and the timeframe with the FISA situation is in weeks and my example is in years, not to mention the country had just been attacked in the worst way. Which in some ways makes my point, I think this is more a case for a criminal case if laws were broken maliciously.

    Trial lawyers were allowed by lawmakers and judges to prosecute the tobacco industry because lawmakers saw it as a chance to gain a lot of revenue without having their names on a tax increase, that didn’t work out so well for lawmakers, people saw through it. That didn’t stop the lawyers from trying it with gun manufacturers. Lawmakers saw that the tobacco deal was a onetime thing and gave this same type of protection to gun makers. In my estimation this is round three for the trial lawyers and they need to be stopped. Let them put up or shut up. If someone broke the law, charge them in criminal court.

  40. knarlyknight Says:

    shcb – “If someone broke the law…” send them to Guantanamo until they confess or provide statements that incriminate their colleagues for similar crimes. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Might as well make use of all that torture expertise you Americans have developed and trained people in.

  41. shcb Says:

    That’s silly. If a fireman picks a fight in a bar and dislocates some guy’s arm he should be charged with assault. If that same fireman dislocates the same guy’s shoulder pulling him from a burning house he’s a hero, same injury. Weren’t a bunch of folks lecturing one poor sap on the importance of scale a while back?

  42. enkidu Says:

    The principle is simple: no spying on Americans without court oversight.
    It wasn’t just a couple weeks in 2001. Its been seven years.

  43. shcb Says:

    It’s not quite that simple, you are primarily right, but there is some wiggle room in the law. The group being monitored has to be composed of primarily non US persons, but it would be silly to not be able to spy on our enemies simply because one of the dozen or so in the group is an American. Now it would prohibit warrant-less wiretaps on domestic terrorists like William Ayers in his day or the neo Nazi groups. And it’s been that way since the Carter administration. What changed in 2001 was the expansion of the law to include terrorists groups that weren’t under the control of nation states.

  44. Steve Says:

    I was told the law requires people to get a license to drive a car, but it would be silly to not be able to drive my car.

  45. shcb Says:

    Huh?

    The FISA law is written to give a little latitude. To use your example, if the law were written that you need a license to drive a car except in case of emergency as opposed to you need a license to drive a car period. This is the wiggle room in the FISA law. You would need a license to drive a car in most all cases, say to go to the store to get ice cream, but you could drive your grandpa to the hospital without a license if he was having a heart attack and not be in violation of the law. That was the context of my use of the word silly, it would be silly to write a law not giving the latitude, not that it is ok to ignore the law because you think it is silly. There are other areas of wiggle room in the law as well. Any entity under control of a foreign power for instance. And this clause is conspicuously under the heading of “any person” whereas the bulk of the headings and the one previous is under the heading of “any US person”. The devil is in the details. Details that evidently 80 of 95 senators looked into.

  46. Steve Says:

    That’s just the thing. You need a warrant to spy on Americans. If you want to spy on Americans, you go and get a warrant. If you have a warrant, then you can spy on Americans. It is possible to spy on our enemies, including a group of enemies that includes an American, by getting a warrant. The legal way to do any spying that includes Americans is by getting a warrant.

    The requirement of a warrant is spelled out in the FISA law. There is no prohibition against spying on our enemies. Spying on our enemies is greatly encouraged. If you want to drive a car, you go and get a license; if you want to spy on Americans, you go and get a warrant.

  47. shcb Says:

    You can spy on a group of enemies that includes an American with a warrant, no problem, section 1802 doesn’t address that except in the “not withstanding any other law” clause. But … you can also spy on a group of enemies that includes an American without a warrant as long as you follow all the other rules as if there were not an American as long as the group is not made up “substantially” of “US persons”. Now that portion of the FISA law can be changed easily but lawmakers aren’t going to (I hope) because all the terrorists would do is enlist one American or whatever the percentage were used in the substitution of the word “substantially” in all their groups and the law would be moot. That would be a silly move for lawmakers.

  48. ymatt Says:

    I think we should just ban conference calls.

  49. shcb Says:

    then when would we take naps?

  50. shcb Says:

    happy birthday to the greatest nation on earth

  51. knarlyknight Says:

    Happy Birthday America. I trust your people are not all as arrogant and conceited as shcb.

  52. knarlyknight Says:

    And for those with an ounce of conscience:

    http://www.philly.com/inquirer/columnists/chris_satullo/20080701_Chris_Satullo__A_not-so-glorious_Fourth.html

  53. shcb Says:

    Well that is one of those things that differentiate liberals and conservatives. Conservatives are proud of what this country has done and is doing on balance. Liberals will always find something to feel guilty about.

  54. knarlyknight Says:

    LOL.

    shcb makes this a partisan issue, as if conservatives do not have a conscience (well the jury is out on that!)

    It seems that the reason others have to raise these issues is that conservatives appear to have no shame for the horrors and suffering they cause, at least they almost never admit it and rarely if ever attempt to make amends. Instead, they blame the victims of their overtly violent policies and less overtly violent social policies.

  55. shcb Says:

    Just making an observation, one that your comments are reinforcing.

  56. enkidu Says:

    ummm wwnj, knarly is from Canada

    As an American liberal Independent voter I find wwnj repulsive, but less so than lefty, tv and sgt slaughter (who wanted to kill jbc and turn his skin into a lampshade or something like that – which I am so sure wwnj is proud of, after all that is what wwnjs think the 1st amendment is for: threatening others with torture and death…)

    My wife is a dual citizen of Canada and the USA. We fly the American flag on the 4th and the Canadian flag on Canada Day. Not every American is a fat, ill-informed mouth breathing moran. Just the partisan douchebags who still support the worst president in history. I am not proud of the crimes dumbya and the oil men have wrought in my name, but I also celebrate our history, our basic goodness and our potential.

  57. shcb Says:

    Enky,

    Matt accuses me of baiting and inciting arguments for the sake of argument more than I deserve, for the most part I am just speaking my mind and that just naturally fans the flames on a left wing site like this. In this case I have to admit adding “the greatest nation” part was meant to see the reaction of you libs. Maybe even to give me a little ammunition for later on, as if I need it. On one hand I was expecting reactions like Knarly (I know he’s Canadian, but he comments like he was American so I’ve adopted him) kind of a tepid ra ra America and then a list of things wrong with our whole system and way of life.

    On the other hand I would have been pleased if I had had more reactions like yours, proud of our accomplishment, proud of America on balance. It wouldn’t have given me any ammunition for future use but I would have felt better about you guys. I don’t like everything about America either, our immigration policies suck, I positively hate this move toward socialized medicine, I don’t like the idea of gay marriage, and I think Jimmy Carter was the worst president of my lifetime.

    Just because we are diametrically opposed on the issues doesn’t mean we can’t be very proud of our country, but so many on the fringes, left and right, just aren’t, and it seems the fringe on the left is much larger than the fringe on the right.

  58. knarlyknight Says:

    shcb,

    You said I responded to your “greatest nation on earth” comment with “a kind of tepid ra ra America.” That is a hallucination. There was nothing “ra ra” about my comment, tepid or otherwise. Check your medications.

    It is a little pathetic (okay a lot pathetic) that you “would have been pleased if I [you] had more reactions like yours [ENK's]…” Please engage a psychiatrist on how to reduce emotional investments in how others respond to you on a blog. Seriously.

    The reason your comment about USA being “the greatest nation on earth” did not incite your desired retaliatory comments is that such self-rightous boasting is simply a sad reflection of the knowledge of, understanding in, and compassion for others that is lacking in anyone who makes such arrogant boasts. It is sad because it reveals an inability to recognize greatness in things that are different and apparently (to your sensibilities) inferior. You would do well to consider the term “cultural relativism” especially from an anthropological p.o.v. There are a wide range of opinions about C.R. (e.g. see: http://www.reference.com/search?db=web&q=%26quot%3Bcultural+relativism%26quot%3B ) and you might consider learning a little about it – before again exhibiting your personal shortcomings via such boasting to a Canadian (or others as the case may be.)

    More: you incorrectly assume that if response posts did not contain similar glowing praise for America’s greatness (on balance), then that means that the writer does not recognize or believe in America’s greatness. Two observations on that. #1 It seems beyond your comprehension that many people do not state such praise because, to them, such statements are wholly unnecessary and can be readily assumed to underline every comment or criticism, constructive or otherwise. Your raising this as an issue is a lot like the Nationalist Socialists demanding that people raise their hand in a Heil Hitler greeting to confirm their allegiance. It reveals a big underlying insecurity (if you don’t understand, perhaps it would be best to ask your psyciatrist to explain that to you.) #2. Your incorrect assumption shows a lack of self-awareness about the effects of making such a grossly pig-headed boast. One of the biggest effects is that others will recognize that to be an ego that is already dangerously overfed.

  59. shcb Says:

    It ain’t bragging if you can do it

    Dizzy Dean

  60. shcb Says:

    My ra ra comment wasn’t because I expect everyone to bow at the feet of the great and powerful America. As Enky said, his family is proud of both countries they originate from, as it should be, they are both good countries. My point was this liberal tendency to find fault and feel guilty in everything. You didn’t just say “here, here” and leave it at that (which is what I would have done if you had posted something similar on Canada day) you had to find the article that says we’re not worthy of celebrating our own birthday. By the way, Ann Coulter and the boys had great fun with that article last night.

    This is similar to this liberal tendency to say “I support the troops, but not the mission” and then jump on every rumor of misconduct by individual soldiers with vigor. Or “I support the war on terror, just not Iraq, or Afghanistan, or the US Patriot act, or…) at some point you say “well what part of the war on terror do you support”? At least your predecessors were honest enough to spit on the soldiers.

  61. knarlyknight Says:

    Yea, Ann Coulter is about the least respectable person on the planet. I rest my case.

  62. enkidu Says:

    mAnn Coulter has an adam’s apple
    ‘nuf said

    wow, someone once spit on a soldier? bfd – maybe that soldier made it up, or was such an enormous pussy that he hasn’t stopped whining about it since, or maybe he wasn’t much of a soldier
    painting all libs/dems/others as soldier spittin dishonest trrrrsts is your usual strawman baiting bullshit

  63. shcb Says:

    You’re probably too young to remember the guys getting home from Viet Nam being called “baby killers” and being spat on by long haired dope smoking hippies who are now about to retire to Florida. It was quite the rage back then, made the smug liberal bastards feel superior. One of those times in American history we’re not proud of, so now the old hippies “support the troops, not the mission” how special. Jon Caldera spent almost an hour on Knarly’s piece Friday, so we’re getting a good laugh in conservative land all over. Jon has an Adam’s apple too, and a bald head, his legs aren’t as shapely as Anne’s though.

  64. enkidu Says:

    If Conservativland laughed it up about the link ‘not so glorious fourth’ then you are even sicker then I could imagine. Here is a snip from that link in case you didn’t actually read it (which I am sure you didn’t)

    “And all for a scam. The waterboarding, the snarling dogs, the theft of sleep – all the diabolical tricks haven’t made us safer. They may have averted this plot or that. But they’ve spawned new enemies by the thousands, made the jihadist rants ring true to so many ears.

    So put out no flags.

    Sing no patriotic hymns.

    We deserve no Fourth this year.

    Let us atone, in quiet and humility. Let us spend the day truly studying the example of our Founders. May we earn a new birth of courage before our nation’s birthday next rolls around.”

    Here is my strawman for the day: Conservatives are incompetent at government, war, peace and coexistence, their only solution to every problem is force, death and possibly ‘nookuler’ weapons.

    And people protesting returning vietnam troops? get over it. Mi Lai happened, lots of other bad things happened, it is war (and unjust wars bring protest and such, see Viet Nam, Gulf War II). Which is why we should be very cautious in using force (and if we do, do it decisively, see Bosnia, Gulf War I etc)

  65. enkidu Says:

    http://www.theonion.com/content/video/bush_tours_america_to_survey?utm_source=embedded_video

    Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency

  66. shcb Says:

    I read the whole thing, watched your onion video to. The video was funny, I had forgot how comical the Onion is, I’m going to have to watch more of it. They really do a good job. That Satullo piece was so sad it was funny. On the Show Coulter was on Sunday they showed a famous author, don’t remember his name, getting water boarded, I guess he thought it gave him more credibility to criticize the administration if he had been through the same “torture”. One of the guys made the observation that we have used that technique twice, so now there have been more journalists water boarded than terrorists. The amount of guilt liberals pile on themselves is sad on one hand and funny on the other. Just substitute rage and hatred for Enky.

  67. enkidu Says:

    twice? you are delusional
    the only reason we know about Abu Griab is because of the advent of cheap digital cameras and the intertubes that Al Gore done inventerated (I am trying to use wwnj lingo to get the message thru your thick farking numbskull). That horror was just the tip of the iceberg. Policy has changed – no phone cams, no cams, no recording devices of any kind where they might record the sick depravity which results from unfettered wwnj aggression.

    The journalist is Christopher Hitchens former bushco supporter and Iraq War cheerleader. His verdict: it is torture. He is still an ahole.

    Rage and hatred? I posted the funny Onion link because of my rahe and hatred or something? You are a sad joke sir. This is your guilt. Embrace the corpse that is shrubco foreign policy, get your picture taken with it and mb we can prosecute.

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