Ladyrebecca's Musings and Ramblings

The Increasingly Political Thoughts of Rebecca (Becky) Walker

Bush Warns House on Surveillance March 13, 2008

Not really quite sure where to begin on this one. I’ve honestly not read that many quotes of our Commander and Chief, George W. Bush, so I am surprised and appalled by his obvious and transparent fear mongering. In the following article, I am going to underline some key points and then comment (in red) immediately after. If you wish to read the article in its entirety without comment first, click on the title.

Bush Warns House on Surveillance

Published: March 13, 2008

WASHINGTON — With the House poised to vote today on electronic surveillance legislation that the White House has said falls far short of its requirements, President Bush warned legislators strongly Thursday morning against passing what he called “a partisan bill that will undermine American security.”

In clear defiance of the White House, (which is a separate and not higher branch of our Federal Government) the proposal from House Democratic leaders would not give retroactive legal protection to the phone companies that helped in the National Security Agency program of warrantless wiretapping. (So they did something illegal or at least unethical, thereby worthy of litigation and now they want protection. Whoops.) Mr. Bush also threatened to veto any such measure, should it reach his desk. (So why do we even bother with the Senate and Congress if the only laws that are going to get passed are the ones the President agrees with. Why don’t we just let him run the whole damn country?) I’m going to interrupt my rantings to include a quote from Represntative John Coyers, Jr. (D-Mich), “At the same time the administration is trying to intimidate the Congress into giving it additional spying power, we find out yet again that it has abused its authority to pry into the lives of law abiding Americans,” Conyers said in a statement.

The Senate last month passed a bill that did provide such protection and also broadened government eavesdropping powers. (That’s great. Just great. I’ll tell you what the government needs more of…eavesdropping powers. Yup. They do not have enough power. Think how much easier Ruby Ridge would have been if they could have just listened to phone conversations and saved the trouble of sending a man up to trick Randy Weaver into breaking the law. I mean, think of the money we will save if we just give the Feds more power.)

Using tough language on a subject on which he has been persistent and unswerving, Mr. Bush warned (or what? He’ll send them to time out?) House members that “they should not leave for Easter recess without getting the Senate bill to my desk.”

He argued that failure to pass the Senate language would make it harder to detect emerging terrorist threats. (I would really like to hear about some of these emerging terrorist threats they’ve detected so far by eavesdropping on whoever the hell they want to. Oh, wait, that’s right. They are probably being held in the secret prisons which are in secret locations where we can do secret stuff to the them. I forgot.)

“Voting for this bill would make our country less safe,” (right…because removing rights from the populace is such a good way to make your people safe…Idiot.) Mr. Bush said. “Congress should stop playing politics with the past and focus on helping us prevent attacks in the future.” (First of all, Congress is not playing politics with the past [maybe they are but the result is not]. They are preventing, ironically, big companies from being shielded from the consequences of their behavior. Second, if Mr. Bush is really so concerned with future terrorist attacks, maybe he should get us the hell out of the Middle East. If we as a country had kept our word after the first Gulf War and removed our troops from Saudi Arabia, Mr. Bin Laden might still be on our side rather than organizing the bloodies terrorist attacks the US has ever seen.)

Democrats have accused the president of fear-mongering, (I have to agree) saying surveillance can be monitored more carefully without losing its effectiveness.

Administration officials say that the Democrats know that the House version would face probable defeat in the Senate. Mr. Bush has threatened, (There we are again with the threatening.) in any case, to veto such language. But House Democratic leaders have shown themselves more ready than in the past for a fight on national security.

Mr. Bush also argued again that the House Democrats’ approach would unfairly expose the phone companies to lawsuits that could potentially be enormously expensive. (HA HA HA HA. Enormously expensive. Not unjust. Not unfair. Not even unkind or mean, but enormously expensive. That’s great. At last the man has revealed that his god is in fact, the dollar bill.)

“House leaders simply adopted the position that class-action trial lawyers are taking in the multibillion law suits they have filed” against the phone companies, he said. This “would undermine the private sector’s willingness to cooperate with the intelligence community, cooperation that is essential to protecting our country from harm.” (Um, not really. I think he’s saying that if this law were passed, the private sector (that being the general populace, I assume) would see it as a precident of not bending over backwards to cooperate with the intelligence community. Why do they need our cooperation when they can just bug our phone. After all, by not cooperating aren’t we just revealing that we have something to hide, therefore giving them reasonable suspicion that we might be terrorists? And of course, that cooperation is ESSENTIAL to protecting our country from harm. Yeah. That’s what Hitler told the people of Germany. “Your cooperation in turning in your neighbors and friends is ESSENTIAL to protecting our country from harm.” Does that freak anyone else out?)

Instead of giving the companies blanket immunity, as the Senate would do, the House proposal was understood to give the federal courts special authorization to hear classified evidence and decide whether the phone companies should be held liable. (So instead of using a case by case approach, the Senate (and Mr. Bush) want to just pretend that there was never any problem and the phone companies couldn’t have possibly done anything wrong, because after all, they are a big business and stand to loose a lot of money if they are found in the wrong and then where would Mr. Bush and his lap dogs get campaigning money?)

But the president said that this approach “could reopen dangerous intelligence gaps (fear mongering) by putting in place a cumbersome court approval process that would make it harder to collect intelligence on foreign terrorists(fear mongering) and could lead, he said, to disclosure of state secrets. (fear mongering) I would like to read about someone who was a genuine threat and was found through their phone conversations. I’d really like to hear about it. Maybe it’s happened and I’ve simply not been paying attention. If such a case has happened, please leave a link the sources so I can be informed.

Their partisan legislation would extend protections we enjoy as Americans to foreign terrorists overseas,” Mr. Bush said. (Gee, I really don’t see that. If a terrorist is overseas having a phone conversation with someone in the US, and they are seen to be a threat, our government has the soveriegnty to apprehend the person on US soil. So, what protection are they “extending” to foreign terrorist overseas? Oh, that’s right. Mr. Bush has stated that any country that has a terrorists in it (or is suspected of having a terrorist in it) is an enemy of the US. So we can go apprehend them from any other country as well. I think the real problem Mr. Bush has with this legislation is that it would limit the number of countries he can order our troops to invade and would limit the frequency of such action.)

In a statement yesterday, 19 Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee questioned the administration’s arguments.

“We have concluded that the administration has not established a valid and credible case justifying the extraordinary action of Congress enacting blanket retroactive immunity as set forth in the Senate bill,” they said.

Some 40 lawsuits are pending in federal courts, charging that by cooperating with the eavesdropping program put in place after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the phone companies violated their responsibilities to customers and federal privacy laws. (But that’s okay and we should all be thankful that Mr. Bush is willing to set our rights aside to protect us from the evil terrorists. We should not hold the phone companies liable for their behavior. We shouldn’t ask them to be responsible or even ethical. We should give them immunity because…because…otherwise, you are a terrorist-loving, unpatriotic, sinful, ungrateful, tree-hugging turncoat and we don’t like you.)

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Money does apparantly grow on trees January 24, 2008

Filed under: Political,Reviews — Addicted to Yarn @ 7:45 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

This article isn’t funny at all. I just color changed some phrases I found especially ominous (followed by comments from me).

Tax Rebates Deal Announced
Thursday January 24, 2:20 pm ET
By Andrew Taylor, Associated Press Writer

Congress, Treasury Secretary Announce Deal on Tax Rebates, Business Breaks to Boost Economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional leaders announced a deal with the White House Thursday on an economic stimulus package (So glad to see that the White house, which has done such a great job with what they’ve been placed in charge of, is also in charge of fixing the economy. I’ll sleep better at night knowing that) that would give most tax filers refunds of $600 to $1,200, and more if they have children.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress would act on the agreement — hammered out in a week of intense negotiations with Republican Leader John A. Boehner and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson — “at the earliest date, so that those rebate checks will be in the mail.”

The rebates would go to 117 million families, according to a Democratic summary. That includes $28 billion in checks to 35 million working families who wouldn’t have been helped by Bush’s original proposal, the analysis estimated.

Republicans, for their part, were pleased that the bulk of the rebatesmore than 70 percent, according to an analysis by Congress’ Joint Tax Committee — would go to individuals who pay taxes. (Who the hell is getting the other 30% and why? It’s not a rebate if you haven’t paid anything!)

Individuals who pay income taxes would get up to $600, working couples $1,200 and those with children an additional $300 per child under the agreement. Workers who make at least $3,000 but don’t pay taxes would get $300 rebates.

The rebate part of the plan would cost about $100 billion, aides said. The package also includes close to $50 billion in business tax cuts. (Um, okay, let me make sure I understand. They’ve approved a rebate which will cost 100 billion dollars and are giving FIFTY BILLION DOLLARS worth of tax cuts to BUSINESSES. So how is it that the government makes money? Oh, right, by taxes. And so this cut for business is going to help pay for the 100 billion dollars of rebate how???)

The package would allow businesses to immediately write off 50 percent of purchases of plants and other capital equipment and permit small businesses to write off additional purchases of equipment. A Republican-written provision to allow businesses suffering losses now to reclaim taxes previously paid was dropped.

Pelosi, D-Calif., agreed to drop increases in food stamp and unemployment benefits during a Wednesday meeting in exchange for gaining the rebates of at least $300 for almost everyone earning a paycheck, (well that’s just great. I’ll tell you, when we were on welfare I’d sure have preferred a one time check for UP TO $300 rather than a monthly benefit increase. If the increase was a mere $25 a month, they’d be better off getting the increase) including those who make too little to pay income taxes.

“I can’t say that I’m totally pleased with the package, but I do know that it will help stimulate the economy. But if it does not, then there will be more to come,” Pelosi said. (THERE WILL BE MORE TO COME? From where, you ignorant ass?!)

Boehner said the agreement “was not easy for the two of us and our respective caucuses.” He added, “The two caucuses have to come together and to work in a bipartisan way and to reach a compromise that I think is in the best interest of the American people.”

Paulson said he would work with the House and Senate to enact the package as soon as possible because “speed is of the essence.”

The Treasury Department has already been talking to the IRS about getting the checks out “as quickly as possible, recognizing that the tax filing season is ongoing,” said Treasury spokesman Andrew DeSouza.

The rebates would phase out gradually for individuals whose income exceeds $75,000 and couples with incomes above $150,000, aides said. Individuals with incomes up to $87,000 and couples up to $174,000 would get partial rebates. The caps are higher for those with children.

The agreement left some lawmakers in both parties with a bitter taste, complaining that their leaders had sacrificed too much in the interest of striking a deal. Many senior Democrats were particularly upset that the package omitted the unemployment extension.

I do not understand, and cannot accept, the resistance of President Bush and Republican leaders to including an extension of unemployment benefits for those who are without work through no fault of their own,” Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., the Ways and Means Committee chairman, said in a statement. (You cannot, in a rebate discussion, include those that have not paid in, through no fault of their own. I’d love to see how that’s decided.)

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the Finance Committee Chairman, said leaving out the unemployment extension was “a mistake,” as he announced plans to craft a separate stimulus package in the Senate.