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Al Gore's Liberty Coalition Speech
January 16, 2006 10:35 AM   Subscribe


 
Looks great. Who has the audio file?
posted by squirrel at 10:44 AM on January 16, 2006


"The President of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and persistently."
posted by muckster at 10:46 AM on January 16, 2006


Great, okay. So if we impeach him, we get President Cheney. Whee.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:53 AM on January 16, 2006


C-SPAN has a video link on the front page.
posted by muckster at 10:53 AM on January 16, 2006


Is internal consistency too much to ask for in our raving diatribes?

...the unprecedented claims of the Administration...

For example, the President has also declared that he has a heretofore unrecognized inherent power to seize and imprison any American citizen that he alone determines to be a threat to our nation, and that, notwithstanding his American citizenship, the person imprisoned has no right to talk with a lawyer-even to argue that the President or his appointees have made a mistake and imprisoned the wrong person.

And then later:

Our greatest President, Abraham Lincoln, suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. Some of the worst abuses prior to those of the current administration were committed by President Wilson during and after WWI with the notorious Red Scare and Palmer Raids. The internment of Japanese Americans during WWII marked a low point for the respect of individual rights at the hands of the executive. And, during the Vietnam War, the notorious COINTELPRO program was part and parcel of the abuses experienced by Dr. King and thousands of others.

So Bush invented this stuff as Executive Power, except for when Lincoln did it. Or Korematsu. Or Ex Parte Quirin. Or all of these other times when President's did similar stuff.

But Bush has claimed an "heretofore unrecognized inherent power..."

And then of course, you see the statement that society always returns to the equilibrium once the threat passes.
posted by dios at 10:54 AM on January 16, 2006


This would be a rather telling thesis if he wanted to look at the problem in a historical perspective:

But in each of these cases, when the conflict and turmoil subsided, the country recovered its equilibrium and absorbed the lessons learned in a recurring cycle of excess and regret.

posted by dios at 10:55 AM on January 16, 2006


Keep reading, dios. He does explain why the current abuses are different.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 10:56 AM on January 16, 2006


Yeah.

I'm sure that is said each time, Espy. "This time is different..."
posted by dios at 10:56 AM on January 16, 2006


Wow, nice O'Reilly job on that speech, there, dios. Yes, he gives historical context, then he spends several paragraphs saying why he thinks this occurance might be extraordinary, due to the permanent state of war and other circumstances.

But, you're probably right. We should all just shut up and do whatever Bush tells us.

Fascist.
posted by jlub at 10:57 AM on January 16, 2006


Overall, though, Gore shows himself to be the best voice in the Democratic party. I don't think any other person in the party actually takes policy positions as effectively as he does.

Good for him.
posted by dios at 10:57 AM on January 16, 2006


But, you're probably right. We should all just shut up and do whatever Bush tells us.
posted by jlub at 12:57 PM CST on January 16


Care to show me where I said that?
posted by dios at 10:58 AM on January 16, 2006


Interesting to note just how truly conservative this speech is. All the loony-liberal, inventor ad hominem misdirection practiced by the neocon true believers cannot change the fact that Gore's position is classically conservative. How can anyone in congress call him or herself a "conservative" and yet defend the subjegation of the constitution to executive fiat?

Excellent speech, as we have come to expect from Gore. It's too bad that America has surrendered him to the political spin-and-shred game; he's a genius.
posted by squirrel at 10:58 AM on January 16, 2006


hey everyone! there's an overturned tanker truck on a highway in new york!
posted by quonsar at 10:58 AM on January 16, 2006


This speech goes beyond partisan rhetoric, it is historically significant, the problem of an all-too-powerful Executive branch has been brewing for decades - it took a crisis (9/11) to bring it to the fore and show how serious the problem really is. Should we have another major terrorist attack I think the Constitution will be in trouble of surviving its current form, there is a serious internal crisis in America that has been building for a long time.
posted by stbalbach at 11:00 AM on January 16, 2006



Care to show me where I said that?

To a close approximation, here

You selectively quoted the speech to make Gore look stupid. The speech is about how Bush is overreaching his authority. I reserve the right to draw my own conclusions. If you don't like the conclusions I draw, tough.
posted by jlub at 11:01 AM on January 16, 2006


Has this speech received any TV coverage?
posted by LooseFilter at 11:03 AM on January 16, 2006


This is an enormously important topic, so the trolls are bound to show up. Please, please ignore them.
posted by squirrel at 11:03 AM on January 16, 2006


(I thought the speech was a knockout, btw. He's a genius, I second that.)
posted by LooseFilter at 11:04 AM on January 16, 2006


"You selectively quoted the speech to make Gore look stupid. "

No, he does that all by himself.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:05 AM on January 16, 2006


While this spying business probably is an unconstitutional seizure of executive power, its the umpteenth one. The text of the constitution is shot through with holes at this point. We're basically moving toward a British system, in which the constitution is functionally just the aggregation of legal precedent.
posted by gsteff at 11:06 AM on January 16, 2006


This is a lovely speech with which I deeply, passionately agree, and yet it's nothing more than hot air. While the left is enjoying its righteous indignation and soaring rhetoric the right continues to out-organize, out-fundraise and out-maneuver us.
posted by twsf at 11:07 AM on January 16, 2006


I thought the speech was pretty good. He started out very pedantic, but once he warmed up he was quite effective. It's probably the best-organized critique of the President's crimes I've seen--it makes a good companion to the Nation's article calling for impeachment.
posted by EarBucket at 11:07 AM on January 16, 2006


Interesting to note just how truly conservative this speech is.

Exactly!
posted by gsteff at 11:10 AM on January 16, 2006


I don't see a link to the Gore speech vieow on C-Span. Can someone post a direct link, or more details, please?
posted by squirrel at 11:11 AM on January 16, 2006


Gor speech video, that is.
posted by squirrel at 11:12 AM on January 16, 2006


Metafilter: Please disenthrall yourself before entering...
posted by ParisParamus at 11:12 AM on January 16, 2006


"As we begin this new year, the Executive Branch of our government has been caught eavesdropping on huge numbers of American citizens and has brazenly declared that it has the unilateral right to continue without regard to the established law enacted by Congress to prevent such abuses."

Here we go again. I'm not fan of Bush but help me out: Where are the case examples of the 'average' americans that have been eavesdropped on? Where are the 'abuses'? Why, if the President is breaking established laws, are the Democrats not citing those specific laws in their rants?

Gore, who has shown some independant thought in the past, is really exemplifying why the Democrats are doomed to fail again in 2006. Americans, for as stupid as so many seem to think we are, still believe in facts - even when their made up (cough, cough, bush, bush).

Gore's speach is packed with hyperbole. It sounds great and gets the 'troops' all worked up but in the end, he doesn't prove a single point he's asserted. Not one. Gore say's he's sparing us the legal intricacies but I'd certainly like to see them.

"A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government."

Gore + this statement = hypocrisy
posted by j.p. Hung at 11:14 AM on January 16, 2006


Under "Video/Audio" in the middle of the page. It's the first item under "Recent Programs."
posted by EarBucket at 11:14 AM on January 16, 2006


Where are the case examples of the 'average' americans that have been eavesdropped on?

Lesson: it's okay to eavesdrop on Americans as long as they're not white and middle- or upper-class.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:16 AM on January 16, 2006


You selectively quoted the speech to make Gore look stupid. The speech is about how Bush is overreaching his authority. I reserve the right to draw my own conclusions. If you don't like the conclusions I draw, tough.
posted by jlub at 1:01 PM CST on January 16


Yet, I can't draw my conclusions? And you call me the fascist?

And I quoted him exactly. You can't say on one hand this is historic, unprecented behavior, and then later tell us the other times this was done.

FFS, I said I thought it was a good speech. It is partisan; it is full of rhetoric. But as a political speech, I think it is quite good.

I just pointed out one problem with it. An effective response would be that he is right to note things return after periods of heightened threats. Him saying "this time is different" is no less conclusory then someone says "this time it is not different."
posted by dios at 11:18 AM on January 16, 2006


Why, if the President is breaking established laws, are the Democrats not citing those specific laws in their rants?

I'm not an expert, but as I understand it, the president is violating either the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the fifth amendment, or both. Why aren't the democrats saying this? I kinda thought they were, but if you disagree, then you're basically right by default.
posted by gsteff at 11:18 AM on January 16, 2006


"Lesson: it's okay to eavesdrop on Americans as long as they're not white and middle- or upper-class."

Actually, as long as they're terrorists who would like to kill us all.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:18 AM on January 16, 2006


Paris -

I agree with you.

If Bush has been eavesdropping exclusively on terrorists who would like to kill us all, I'll take back all the nasty things I said about his recent actions (disregarding the FISA laws).
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:22 AM on January 16, 2006


Here we go again. I'm not fan of Bush but help me out: Where are the case examples of the 'average' americans that have been eavesdropped on? Where are the 'abuses'?

It doesn't matter if a single "average" American has been eavesdropped on or not. The mere fact that the NSA has been wiretapping American citizens without warrants is illegal. The law that set up FISA specifically forbids wiretapping Americans without warrants. You simply can't do it. It's illegal. No one here is arguing that the government shouldn't be allowed to spy on Americans who are talking with Al-Qaeda. But they have to have a warrant.

The reason the executive has to go to the judicial for a warrant is oversight. FISA is not an excessive burden on the President--as has been stated time and time and time again here, it even allows retroactive warrants for those cases in which the executive branch finds itself needing to move swiftly.

When that oversight is bypassed, there is no longer any check on the executive branch preventing it from misusing its powers. Even if this President isn't abusing the ability to spy on citizens without any supervision (and that's far from certain) it's illegal, it's contempuous of our system of laws, and sooner or later, it will be abused. We've seen it before, and we'll see it again. It has to be stopped now.
posted by EarBucket at 11:23 AM on January 16, 2006


You can't say on one hand this is historic, unprecedented behavior, and then later tell us the other times this was done.

To push this point a little further: one saying these kinds of things are historically unprecedented is incongruous with an acknowledgement that these kinds of things happened during the Civil War, WWII, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War. In that regard, wouldn't it make equal sense to say these things regularly occur whenever the country is in a state of war? The only question that would resolve Gore's unprecedented/precedent dilemma would be to question whether we are at a state of war similar to those in the past. Whether we face less of a threat now is a question upon which reasonable people disagree, but if that is the ultimate distinction, I would submit that it is harder to cast Bush's actions as unprecedented and therefore less effective as a political tool.
posted by dios at 11:25 AM on January 16, 2006


Actually, as long as they're terrorists who would like to kill us all.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:18 AM PST on January 16


Since there's no oversight and the Bush administration has decided it doesn't need warrants, I guess we'll never know which it is.

But it's good to know that you're as afraid of terrorists as you are of enlisting. I hope you don't get in cars because they're about a million times more likely to kill you than a terrorist is.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:26 AM on January 16, 2006


Actually, bring me some proof that President Bush has done anything other than legally and constitutionally conduct surveillance of suspected terrorists.

I think most of you are full of shit when it comes to claiming that this hasn't been done before, particularly in times of war.

but of course, you deny that there's a war going on, so I am wasting my typing (more than usual, even).
posted by ParisParamus at 11:34 AM on January 16, 2006


Just for the record, Gore explains very clearly why this case is different -- it's because Bush has very clearly announced that this "War on Terror" is going on forever and we will never get our rights back.

Please don't forget -- dios and ParisParamus are *trolls*. They have no interest in discourse -- they just want to get people as angry as possible. Ignore them and they will go away.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:34 AM on January 16, 2006


dios writes "Him saying 'this time is different' is no less conclusory then someone says 'this time it is not different.'"

You do realize that he gave explicit reasons for why "this time is different", don't you? These reasons cover eight (8) paragraphs, beginning with the sentence "There are reasons for concern this time around that conditions may be changing and that the cycle may not repeat itself." and ending with "...based on a misguided and self-defeating effort to establish dominance in the world."

This is certainly more conclusory than the simple statement "this time it is not different". Gore's argument is not, as you seem to claim, a simple assertion.

In fact, this is so far from the case that I must conclude that you have either failed to read the speech carefully or that your posts here are disingenuous.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:34 AM on January 16, 2006




I might add that I've written a GreaseMonkey filter that allows you to filter out PP and dios (or, anyone you like) -- if there were any interest, I could take a half-hour to polish it and then post it here and/or on Meta-Talk....?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:40 AM on January 16, 2006


dios:

There are reasons for concern this time around that conditions may be changing and that the cycle may not repeat itself. For one thing, we have for decades been witnessing the slow and steady accumulation of presidential power. In a global environment of nuclear weapons and cold war tensions, Congress and the American people accepted ever enlarging spheres of presidential initiative to conduct intelligence and counter intelligence activities and to allocate our military forces on the global stage. When military force has been used as an instrument of foreign policy or in response to humanitarian demands, it has almost always been as the result of presidential initiative and leadership. As Justice Frankfurter wrote in the Steel Seizure Case, "The accretion of dangerous power does not come in a day. It does come, however slowly, from the generative force of unchecked disregard of the restrictions that fence in even the most disinterested assertion of authority."

A second reason to believe we may be experiencing something new is that we are told by the Administration that the war footing upon which he has tried to place the country is going to "last for the rest of our lives." So we are told that the conditions of national threat that have been used by other Presidents to justify arrogations of power will persist in near perpetuity.

Third, we need to be aware of the advances in eavesdropping and surveillance technologies with their capacity to sweep up and analyze enormous quantities of information and to mine it for intelligence. This adds significant vulnerability to the privacy and freedom of enormous numbers of innocent people at the same time as the potential power of those technologies. These techologies have the potential for shifting the balance of power between the apparatus of the state and the freedom of the individual in ways both subtle and profound.

Don't misunderstand me: the threat of additional terror strikes is all too real and their concerted efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction does create a real imperative to exercise the powers of the Executive Branch with swiftness and agility. Moreover, there is in fact an inherent power that is conferred by the Constitution to the President to take unilateral action to protect the nation from a sudden and immediate threat, but it is simply not possible to precisely define in legalistic terms exactly when that power is appropriate and when it is not.

But the existence of that inherent power cannot be used to justify a gross and excessive power grab lasting for years that produces a serious imbalance in the relationship between the executive and the other two branches of government.

There is a final reason to worry that we may be experiencing something more than just another cycle of overreach and regret. This Administration has come to power in the thrall of a legal theory that aims to convince us that this excessive concentration of presidential authority is exactly what our Constitution intended.

This legal theory, which its proponents call the theory of the unitary executive but which is more accurately described as the unilateral executive, threatens to expand the president's powers until the contours of the constitution that the Framers actually gave us become obliterated beyond all recognition. Under this theory, the President's authority when acting as Commander-in-Chief or when making foreign policy cannot be reviewed by the judiciary or checked by Congress. President Bush has pushed the implications of this idea to its maximum by continually stressing his role as Commander-in-Chief, invoking it has frequently as he can, conflating it with his other roles, domestic and foreign. When added to the idea that we have entered a perpetual state of war, the implications of this theory stretch quite literally as far into the future as we can imagine.


that passage, and everything that follows it in the speech, would be where he answers your concerns regarding the internal consistency of his argument. it's called a Fucking Article, and sometimes the phrase is preceded by the words "Read The."
posted by shmegegge at 11:40 AM on January 16, 2006


I'm sure that is said each time, Espy. "This time is different..."

It's certainly said each time to justify the abuse.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:41 AM on January 16, 2006


ParisParamus writes "Actually, bring me some proof that President Bush has done anything other than legally and constitutionally conduct surveillance of suspected terrorists."

Bush admitted he spied. He admitted he didn't follow the law. He admitted he tried to get Congress to explicitly allow what he wanted to do, and Congress declined to do so. It's illegal on its face.

There's no ambiguity here: the Administration's only argument is that the President can set aside any law by virtue of his being Commander-in-Chief. Unless, ParisParamus, you agree that the President can set aside any law -- and that Hillary Clinton, if elected President could do the same -- you can't be intellectually honest unless you call this law breaking.

That said, I'm not going to waste another day arguing with a Lieutenant Paramus of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders. If you're so sure this President and this war are great, put down your keyboard and join the Army, so we don't have to sing the ParaisParamus Hymn.
posted by orthogonality at 11:43 AM on January 16, 2006


Who's Gore referring to with this?

"today one of the leading scientific experts on global warming in NASA has been ordered not to talk to members of the press and to keep a careful log of everyone he meets with so that the Executive Branch can monitor and control his discussions of global warming."
posted by hank at 11:44 AM on January 16, 2006


Yes, dios, the fascist in this argument is the one who immediately speaks up to criticize anyone who speaks against the government. That would be you.

I apologize for feeding the troll.

I thought the speech was quite good. I liked how he tied it in with the abuses which lead to the FISA law in the first place (although, admittedly, I am not a big fan of the FISA court anyway. Secret courts == bad).

Still, I'm not sure what he intended to accomplish by giving this speech. Who will listen? Can it gain any traction? Sadly, I doubt it.
posted by jlub at 11:46 AM on January 16, 2006


Can we also be clear that if equilibrium is re-established it isn't re-established magically or by god? Instead, it takes human effort and initiative. It takes people organizing against the disequilibirum. It also takes speeches a lot like this one.
posted by anglophiliated at 11:47 AM on January 16, 2006


"You said unprecendent! Mr. Internet Inventor" Nyah nyah nyah.
posted by srboisvert at 11:48 AM on January 16, 2006


I cringed when i read that part about Presidents breaking the law, too. But Gore was in a horrible position. A sitting vice president can't come out and say that he thinks the president should be impeached, especially in a close call the Lewinksi thing was. It would have been incredibly self-serving. But he didn't really go out of his way to defend him, either.
posted by empath at 11:49 AM on January 16, 2006


How exactly can any of my comments in this thread be considered a troll? I have responded on topic directly to the substance of his speech.

I can only come to the conclusion that some of you pathetic dullards feel more comfortable in your cocoon if you can pretend that there isn't a reasonable challenge to your world view. (Gee...aren't these silly, dismissive, insulting ad hominems fun and so productive?)

Back to the argument at hand: Everything that Gore says is entirely conclusory. His "this time is different" argument leaves more questions than it answeres. First he argues that the executive is becoming more powerful; however he ignores times in the past when the Executive was more powerful. The power of the Executive comes in cycles and always increases in times of war, so it is not unexpected that it would do so now.

Second he argues that the war may be long. I'm sure the Civil War looked like it was going to be long ab initio. So did World War II. And the Cold War. And Vietnam. I'm sure every time we have gotten involved in a "time of war" it has looked like it might be a long struggle.

Next he argues that this president has a theory about presedential power, so we may not cycle back. That argument is facially absurd since Bush will be leaving the White House in three years. How does he force it past his presidency?

The only argument that holds water is that technology has advanced. But I am sure when the concept of wiretapping was first invented (or the recorder) the same argument could have been made then.

Quite simply, he doesn't make a compelling case why this time is different than in the past when we are at war. He concedes things usually revert back after the dangerous period, but he excludes that possibility here.... and I think he needed to make that point clearer.
posted by dios at 11:49 AM on January 16, 2006


But we're in a time of war! A time of war!

A time of illegal, undeclared war against an idea of "terrorism!" If that doesn't make every abuse of the executive power okay, what does!

And Gore is a hypocrite, so that makes abuses of the executive power okay as well!

I'm shouting!
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:51 AM on January 16, 2006


Dios, we've seen power grabs by the Executive before. We have never, to my knowledge, seen power grabs where the actions taken are explicitly illegal, after advice from Congress that they would be illegal.. Other power grabs have been in a grey area. This is not even vaguely gray. It's outright black. Illegal.

Why you should be concerned, deeply concerned about this: What happens if Hillary Clinton gets elected and has this kind of power?

And how can you sit there and argue that it's okay for the President to break the law?
posted by Malor at 11:51 AM on January 16, 2006


This is not even vaguely gray. It's outright black. Illegal.

I submit to you that this area may not be as black and white as you think it is.
posted by dios at 11:53 AM on January 16, 2006


People say you're a troll because it's incredibly difficult to believe that you honestly believe the things that you claim to believe. It comes across as if you are arguing for the sake of arguing.
posted by empath at 11:55 AM on January 16, 2006


So basically, you are saying anyone who doesn't agree with the majority view is a troll? That people want to believe no one can seriously think otherwise or disagree.

That is concooning, and that is ideological fascism.

That is the problem with the readers; not me.
posted by dios at 11:59 AM on January 16, 2006


So, Paris, how about we pin you down on one simple fact before we continue this conversation: are you for oversight on surveillance or against it?

How exactly can any of my comments in this thread be considered a troll? I have responded on topic directly to the substance of his speech.

dios, it looks to me like you've avoided addressing Gore's argument that this time is different, and jumped on his recognition of existing previous parallels (an non-recognition).
posted by namespan at 11:59 AM on January 16, 2006


the liberal media is all over this speech, it's impressive, they're clearly a MoveOn.org fifth column.

*chuckles*


And you call me the fascist?

no, usually I do that.
posted by matteo at 12:00 PM on January 16, 2006


Second he argues that the war may be long. I'm sure the Civil War looked like it was going to be long ab initio. So did World War II. And the Cold War. And Vietnam. I'm sure every time we have gotten involved in a "time of war" it has looked like it might be a long struggle.

All those wars were against governments. I don't think any of those wars looked like they would last 40 years or more initially (the Cold War did, but I doubt if that's how it looked in 1945). The war on terror may not be pure metaphor, but its much closer to pure metaphor than any of those. To be clear, the war on al qaeda may be a real war; the war on terror is metaphor. That's why this is different.
posted by gsteff at 12:00 PM on January 16, 2006


but of course, you deny that there's a war going on, so I am wasting my typing (more than usual, even).

You are.

I think most reasonable people accept that the executive should be given extraordinary powers in extraordinary times.

There is no declaration of war by the Congress. It is a "war" against an undefined enemy, in undefined countries, with undefined goals, which never ends. It's more like a war on drugs or a war on prostutition than a war on Germans or Japanese. That is not to say that it is something that can be treated as a crime, but neither can it be approached in the traditional sense of "war."

That's the problem I have with this PP.

The threat of terrorism can no longer be seen as extraordinary - it's a permanent feature of the landscape.

Any president who claims permanent broad, unchallenged executive power to violate the constitution at his sole whim - as this one does - is a dictator. In this sense Gore is absolutely correct.

Ask yourself if you want Hillary Clinton to have these muscle-bound presidential powers? Socialists love a strong executive branch....
posted by three blind mice at 12:02 PM on January 16, 2006


Dios,

I submit to you that this area may not be as black and white as you think it is.

So you support an investigation then? Awesome.
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 12:02 PM on January 16, 2006


So you support an investigation then? Awesome.
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 2:02 PM CST on January 16


Sure.

I support an investigation and court actions. I would like to see how the Court's would rule on this. There are definite arguments on both sides, and the only clear about this is that it is not clear on the legality issue.
posted by dios at 12:04 PM on January 16, 2006


Ask yourself if you want Hillary Clinton to have these muscle-bound presidential powers? Socialists love a strong executive branch....

PP will NEVER answer this question, because he knows he won't like the answer. It will contradict his support for Bush's tyrannical power grab.
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 12:05 PM on January 16, 2006


I'm sure the Civil War looked like it was going to be long ab initio. So did World War II. And the Cold War. And Vietnam. I'm sure every time we have gotten involved in a "time of war" it has looked like it might be a long struggle.

/spit I suppose if you can't tell the difference between the Cold War and the Civil War or World War II you'd never be able to tell the difference between a War on Terror as an actual war or a War on Terror as in a War on Drugs.

THE COLD WAR WAS ALSO A METAPHOR. HENCE THE WORD "COLD."
posted by furiousthought at 12:06 PM on January 16, 2006


All those wars were against governments. I don't think any of those wars looked like they would last 40 years or more initially (the Cold War did, but I doubt if that's how it looked in 1945). The war on terror may not be pure metaphor, but its much closer to pure metaphor than any of those. To be clear, the war on al qaeda may be a real war; the war on terror is metaphor. That's why this is different.
posted by gsteff at 2:00 PM CST on January 16


Respectfully, we don't know these things. And that is the problem with trying to diagnose it from the outset. It is certainly reasonable to conclude that the Cold War would last a generation. The Cold War was a war against an ideology (Communism), not necessarily against only USSR. And there is no guarentee that this will last a long time. al Qadea could break apart shortly, and there could be reforms in the Muslim world to reject those ways (see, Jordan, Lebanon, popular protests in Iran, rebuilding of Afganistan, Iraq). There is no telling how long this "state of war" will last, and I suspect it won't be too much longer without another major event.

But regardless, it is rather conclusory to say that this war will be indefinite, and then say that makes it different, since at this point of time we don't know that it is. If it is over in 5 years, does that make Gore's point wrong?
posted by dios at 12:09 PM on January 16, 2006


Or to put it still another way, if Democrats when majorities in the House and Senate and the White House, does this cycle end? If so, then his conclusion that "this time is different" is inherently wrong, and the thesis of his argument is disproven.
posted by dios at 12:11 PM on January 16, 2006


Who's Gore referring to with this?

"today one of the leading scientific experts on global warming in NASA has been ordered not to talk to members of the press and to keep a careful log of everyone he meets with so that the Executive Branch can monitor and control his discussions of global warming."


I have a friend at NASA, who I won't name for obvious reasons, who can verify this, and who nearly quit the organization because of it.
posted by jokeefe at 12:11 PM on January 16, 2006


(It's time to play "Spot the Homonym")
posted by dios at 12:12 PM on January 16, 2006


How exactly can any of my comments in this thread be considered a troll?

They can't. They can only be considered embarrasing.

You make a claim that it lacks internal consistency and call it a raving diatribe when your first post appears to be just that since, in fact, there is internal consistency in the argument. When this is pointed out to you and even quoted for your benefit (where was the thank you for that?) you fail to acknowledge your error. It's great that you then feel you can take apart the points that were quoted so courteously for you (that is the purpose of discussion) but there is no doubt that you began the thread with an entirely erroneous premise and failed to acknowledge the error. Arguments for why this time it's different were provided, even if you don't think they're good. Regardless, you still claimed that the argument didn't acknowledge such things have occured before. Troll is the wrong conclusion. But dismay is. You're getting close to embarrasing yourself at the level that Paris does.

I have responded on topic directly to the substance of his speech.

After being forced to actually read it like a child is forced to eat their corn before they can eat their cake.
posted by juiceCake at 12:12 PM on January 16, 2006


"Ask yourself if you want Hillary Clinton to have these muscle-bound presidential powers? Socialists love a strong executive branch....

PP will NEVER answer this question, because he knows he won't like the answer. It will contradict his support for Bush's tyrannical power grab."

FYI, I am not some Sean Hannity talk radio listener who thinks Hilary is the anti-Christ (not that I believe in Christ...) (actually, I am listening to Hannity right now, but only because legend BOB GRANT is expected!). But my answer is, I hope Hillary Clinton would do the precise same thing as President Bush.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:14 PM on January 16, 2006


There is no telling how long this "state of war" will last, and I suspect it won't be too much longer without another major event.

Respectfully, we don't know these things. And that is the problem with trying to diagnose it from the outset.

But regardless, it is rather conclusory to say that this war will not be indefinite, and then say it does not make it different, since at this point of time we don't know that it isn't. If it isn't over in 5 years, does that make Gore's point right?
posted by juiceCake at 12:16 PM on January 16, 2006


Specter: If Bush Broke The Law With Warrantless Spying, Impeachment Is A Remedy
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, Host, ABC’s 'This Week': You know, if the president did break the law or circumvent the law, what’s the remedy?

SENATOR ARLEN SPECTER (R., PA): Well, the remedy could be a variety of things. A president — and I’m not suggesting remotely that there’s any basis, but you’re asking, really, theory, what’s the remedy? Impeachment is a remedy. After impeachment, you could have a criminal prosecution, but the principal remedy, George, under our society is to pay a political price. [video]
posted by ericb at 12:16 PM on January 16, 2006


juiceCake. I have been perfectly topical. I made my initial point and expanded on it when asked to. I haven't trolled at all, and I been trying to contribute to this thread with substance. I have been perfectly substantive on this topic, but still assholes call me names and questions my motives and put words in my mouth.

I have been on topic.

You (and others making the same points) are being an insulting, fucking prick. It is amazing how you can't tell how close-minded and trolling you come off as by trying to say I am trolling in this thread.

And the fact that I catch flack for it is an embarrassment to this site.
posted by dios at 12:17 PM on January 16, 2006




But my answer is, I hope Hillary Clinton would do the precise same thing as President Bush.

That wasn't the question.
posted by muckster at 12:21 PM on January 16, 2006


FYI, I am not some Sean Hannity talk radio listener who thinks Hilary is the anti-Christ (not that I believe in Christ...) (actually, I am listening to Hannity right now, but only because legend BOB GRANT is expected!). But my answer is, I hope Hillary Clinton would do the precise same thing as President Bush.

The sad truth is that she probably would have.
posted by empath at 12:22 PM on January 16, 2006


I don't see that video link anywhere and the one at cspan is (this is a first) a video type which doesn't play on either browser I have.

This actually looks totally squashed from here. As far as I can tell, something about an overturned truck in New York is the bigger story.

Next..
posted by nervousfritz at 12:24 PM on January 16, 2006


Reap what you sow, dios.
posted by squirrel at 12:24 PM on January 16, 2006


Amen to that. Why does the right demonize Hillary when she is so often just like them?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:27 PM on January 16, 2006


Please don't forget -- dios and ParisParamus are *trolls*. They have no interest in discourse -- they just want to get people as angry as possible. Ignore them and they will go away.

An important adjunct to this advice: "Please take the time to guidie your western democracy by becoming meaningfully involved in real-life actions. Write your representatives."

Wanking in the blue is not going to end up saving us from our governments. We must take action.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:27 PM on January 16, 2006


Please stop reading dios' comments and accusing him of being a troll. Disagreement on something is not trolling and frankly I am sick of people accusing him of it since it only serves to show who is ignorant of what a troll actually is.

This is trolling ----> "Al Gore? Heh. What's the point of listening to what he says - he said he invented the internet."
posted by longbaugh at 12:29 PM on January 16, 2006


But my answer is, I hope Hillary Clinton would do the precise same thing as President Bush.

I can't imagine living with so much fear in my heart, that I'd be willing to sacrifice great swaths of our enshrined liberties solely for some particularly empty promise from a politician.

Gore made a brilliant point in his speech today, and it was this,

"Is our Congress today in more danger than were their predecessors when the British army was marching on the Capitol? Is the world more dangerous than when we faced an ideological enemy with tens of thousands of missiles poised to be launched against us and annihilate our country at a moment's notice? Is America in more danger now than when we faced worldwide fascism on the march-when our fathers fought and won two World Wars simultaneously?

It is simply an insult to those who came before us and sacrificed so much on our behalf to imply that we have more to be fearful of than they. Yet they faithfully protected our freedoms and now it is up to us to do the same."

posted by mr.curmudgeon at 12:36 PM on January 16, 2006


Brownback: 9/11 Resolution Did Not Give Bush Authority for Warrantless Wiretapping
"Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) added his name to the growing list of conservatives who have expressed disapproval of Bush’s illegal warrantless wiretapping program, further undermining the right-wing spin that the only critics of the program are liberals. On ABC’s This Week:
"GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, Host, ABC’s 'This Week': Are you confident that the administration has acted lawfully in this case?

BROWNBACK: I think we need to hold hearings on it and we’re going to. Both in the intelligence committee, there will be closed hearings and then the judiciary committee will have open hearings.

I think we need to look at this case and this issue. I am troubled by what the basis for the grounds that the administration says that they did these on, the legal basis, and I think we need to look at that far more broadly and understand it a great deal.

I think this is something that bears looking into and us to be able to establish a policy within constitutional frameworks of what a president can or cannot do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You don’t think the 9/11 resolution gave the president the authority for this program?

BROWNBACK: It didn’t, in my vote. I voted for that resolution. That was a week after 9/11. There was nothing you were going to do to stop us from going to war in Afghanistan, but there was no discussion in anything that I was around that that gave the president a broad surveillance authority with that resolution." [video]
posted by ericb at 12:37 PM on January 16, 2006


First he argues that the executive is becoming more powerful; however he ignores times in the past when the Executive was more powerful. The power of the Executive comes in cycles and always increases in times of war, so it is not unexpected that it would do so now.

no, he argues that we're in the midst of an unprecedented and transparent grab for unilateral executive power. It's not the amount of power, but the nature of the acquisition (hence Gore's use, and my reitieration, of the word "unilateral.") and what that implies about the president's motivation and that of his advisors that is unprecedented. it's speculation, yes, but not unfounded speculation. If you wished to argue against that speculation and provide reasons why you believe that he speculates incorrectly, I for one would have no problem with it. But then, you haven't done that. Simply saying "there's no basis for what he says" when he clearly provides the basis is insufficient in this capacity. Furthermore, he does not ignore the times in the past when the Executive branch was more powerful, as you yourself have already pointed out. as far as the cycles of executive power are concerned: well, his speech already goes into that, so I will once again point you in that direction.

I'm sure every time we have gotten involved in a "time of war" it has looked like it might be a long struggle.

no, he argues that we're engaged in a war that the administration has admitted they fully expect to go on for the rest of our lives. that's quite a bit different from long. Couple that with the above mentioned transparent grabs for unilateral executive power and we're not talking about the natural ebb and flow of executive power anymore, we're talking about a change in government so profound as to render the Constitution impotent and irrelevant, as the speech has pointed out. speculation? yes. but gore gives reasons to believe that Bush has no respect for the checks and balances of this country's system of governance and that he intends to circumvent those very checks and balances. you can, if you wish, give some form of contrary evidence rather than simply whistling past the graveyard endlessly.

Next he argues that this president has a theory about presedential power, so we may not cycle back. That argument is facially absurd since Bush will be leaving the White House in three years. How does he force it past his presidency?

Will he be? The speech I read implies that Bush may have no such intention. The speech I read is rather explicitely saying that he sees Bush's current actions as prelude to a larger grab for more permanent power. But let's say that he isn't even saying that, for argument's sake. Let's imagine that Bush acts solely for the remaining period of his term and has no intention of trying to govern after that. There is still a precedent that Gore argues rather strongly against setting. "Moreover, if the pattern of practice begun by this Administration is not challenged, it may well become a permanent part of the American system."

Seriously, though. Have you read the article, or only those quotes provided by other mefites in thread? Shall I test you? Should I put false quotes in my responses to you and let you respond to those, then leap out yelling "Ha! You don't know what you're talking about!" or can we just agree that to argue about the speech you should first read it and proceed from there?

But let me make my own point of view more clear. I agree with Gore, but I readily accept that what he writes isn't the whole story, so it may well be that there is nothing to fear from the apparent (to me at least) insanity of the current administration. What I will say is this: This country ebbs and flows, as you have said, between amounts of power given to the executive branch. But the cause of that power shift is rarely the intentional acquisition of power for temporary purposes. It is, with the exception of Lincoln at least, almost always the intentional acquisition of power by greedy men for selfish reasons. The eventual release of that power is achieved through actions much like Gore's here. If the acquisition of power for the executive branch is simply a natural part of our political system, then the response to that acquisition is no less natural and no less necessary a part of the process, and any dismissal of the speech or what it says that is based on this idea of a natural power grab that will naturally dissipate is simply naive and worse: it is precisely the kind of attitude that lets power grabs like these go too far.

If it is the role of a leader to accrete power to achieve whatever he believes is right and just, then it may very well be the role of the goverened to object to that accretion for whatever reasons they believe are right and just. In that check, among others, may we find one of the balances that our forefathers and constitutional framers imagined.
posted by shmegegge at 12:39 PM on January 16, 2006


For the record, I object to and disagree with anyone who accuses dios of trolling in this thread. He has responded to content, and attempted to argue based on reasonable analysis. You may believe his responses to be kneejerk and partisan, if you want, but that's not trolling, that's just disagreeing quickly. I know I'm guilty of the same thing often enough.
posted by shmegegge at 12:40 PM on January 16, 2006


Al Gore? Heh. What's the point of listening to what he says - he said he...oh, wait.
posted by you just lost the game at 12:43 PM on January 16, 2006


*takes opportunity to cross bridge*
posted by longbaugh at 12:44 PM on January 16, 2006


So Bush invented this stuff as Executive Power, except for when Lincoln did it. Or Korematsu. Or Ex Parte Quirin. Or all of these other times when President's did similar stuff. - dios

No one said that Bush invented this crap. But just because horrible abuses of power have happened before doesn't mean it was okay then or now or anytime in the future. As you said: But Bush has claimed an "heretofore unrecognized inherent power..." Keyword: unrecognized. A precedent does not justify current wrongs. If I punch you in the face, is it only wrong the first time? If I punch you in the face repeatedly, does it become okay?

And then of course, you see the statement that society always returns to the equilibrium once the threat passes. - dios

I suggest considering anglophiliated's excellent insight:
Can we also be clear that if equilibrium is re-established it isn't re-established magically or by god? Instead, it takes human effort and initiative. It takes people organizing against the disequilibirum.
posted by raedyn at 12:46 PM on January 16, 2006


But isn't it trolling to not read the article very carefully, nor to respond to substantive criticisms (such as your own shmegegge)?
posted by dopeypanda at 12:51 PM on January 16, 2006


juiceCake. I have been perfectly topical. I made my initial point and expanded on it when asked to. I haven't trolled at all, and I been trying to contribute to this thread with substance. I have been perfectly substantive on this topic, but still assholes call me names and questions my motives and put words in my mouth.

I put no words in your mouth and acknowledged that you were'nt trolling. I'm not surprised you failed to acknowledge that since you seem so often to not bother reading what people say in threads and what people say in linked sites. This being another primary examples.

I'll highlight it for you. I'm helpful that way.

You said:

How exactly can any of my comments in this thread be considered a troll?

I said:

They can't.

I have been on topic.

You (and others making the same points) are being an insulting, fucking prick. It is amazing how you can't tell how close-minded and trolling you come off as by trying to say I am trolling in this thread.


Once again, I did not say you were trolling, only embarrasing yourself. You've done it again.

I'm feeling very helpful. Once again:

You said:

How exactly can any of my comments in this thread be considered a troll?

I said:

They can't.


And the fact that I catch flack for it is an embarrassment to this site.

You're taking flack for coming to the table with an argument that clearly displays you didn't bother to read the article being discussed. You've once again shown that you don't even bother to read the comments in this thread. Thanks for proving my point. I appreciate your courtesy and effort in supporting me.
posted by juiceCake at 12:53 PM on January 16, 2006


I would argue that it's not a good idea, but not any sort of intentional malevolance.
posted by shmegegge at 12:54 PM on January 16, 2006


^^^ was in response to dopeypanda.
posted by shmegegge at 12:54 PM on January 16, 2006


dopeypanda - No. That is not trolling. Trolling is making a statement you don't believe in and then fucking off whilst everyone argues about it. dios doesn't do this (and I have no idea why he puts up with everyone's shit either - he must have the patience of a saint some days).
posted by longbaugh at 12:55 PM on January 16, 2006


longbaugh writes "This is trolling ----> 'Al Gore? Heh. What's the point of listening to what he says - he said he invented the internet.'"

Nah; that's at best flamebait. A troll would be something like, "Gore is being a hypocrite here; he opposes this now, but when he was in Congress during the Iran hostage crisis he advocated for a law that would have allowed for warrantless wiretapping of Persian Americans. All about political expediency, aren't we Al?"

You could probably do better than that; something a little more subtle maybe. Point being, any good, fruitful troll should include at least one Big Lie.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:57 PM on January 16, 2006


I'm finding it very disturbing how many people casually imply that Bush might try to hold on to power past 2008. Just a few years ago, it would have been unimaginable, even to his enemies.

But when you start tossing out laws at the will of the President, that's where you end up. Given Bush's stated beliefs about the authority of the Executive during 'wartime', it would seem that any justification for extending his term that touched upon National Security would enable him to ignore any term limits.
posted by empath at 1:01 PM on January 16, 2006


I guess my point was that by always ignoring the strongest points of criticisms and responding only to the easy points he seems to have trollish tendencies. But you're right, it may well be completely subconscious on his part, and hence not strictly a troll by definition. Anyway, I'll shut up now.
posted by dopeypanda at 1:02 PM on January 16, 2006


empath - that's because we on the left are looking for any reason to scare the undecided voters into coming onto our side. It's kind of sad that on one hand we are critical of the "culture of fear" whilst we use that same emotion to sway others to our side. Meh. I hope that one day we can sway people with policy rather than polemic.
posted by longbaugh at 1:04 PM on January 16, 2006


"I'm finding it very disturbing how many people casually imply that Bush might try to hold on to power past 2008. Just a few years ago, it would have been unimaginable, even to his enemies."

Well, they were saying the same thing about Bill Clinton Circa 2001.

Whoever think it, its hysteria at its worst.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:05 PM on January 16, 2006


But my answer is, I hope Hillary Clinton would do the precise same thing as President Bush.

Dream on. Of course she would not do the same thing as Bush.

The gun-loving Republican base cheered when the Brady bill expired and John Ashcroft shortened the period that purchasers of guns like this onewould be kept on terrorist watch lists from 90 days to 24 hours.

Will it be OK when Hillary Clinton, or any rational thinking Democrat, uses the expanded presidential powers
to reinstate the provisions of the Brady Bill? It's a matter of national security, you know. Some rights will have to be trodden on.

And will it be OK when she authorizes the NSA to spy on owners of these weapons? How do you think the flag waving NRA would feel about that?

That's the problem PP. When you give the President the powers of a dictator - as the conservative, wary-of-government Republicans have done - you cannot be guaranteed that you will be pleased with the dictations...
posted by three blind mice at 1:06 PM on January 16, 2006


The point is simple: this is not unparalled. This is not unrecognized. This is a pattern which recurs in times of war. To pretend like this is novel is to over-state the case and to render one's point confusing when one goes about re-stating the historical examples. Gore concedes in his speech that this is typical in times of heightened danger; he concedes that he thinks we are facing a heightened danger. He concedes times when more dangerous things were done (suspension of habeas corpus for all citizens, internment camps, executions for treason, deportment). Are there parallels? Sure. Are they built into the nature of heightened security? Probably. Is this time really worse than before? I don't think so. And yet from those dangerous times and heightened security and executive power, we returned.

The only question is whether "this time is different."

And in that regard, I find his answer wanting, schmegge's recitation of Gore's points notwithstanding.

Bush will be out of office in three years. To argue that we aren't in a cycle from which we cannot return requires us to assume that Bush will leave the White House with an established ideology that can never change. To argue that this is a cycle from which we cannot return requires us to believe that this "war against terrorism" is never going to end. No thinking individual can think that is the case.

All of these arguments could be made from the outset of all other times the cycle has been on a up-swing. In all of the battles against "'ism"s the same argument could be made. The Civil War was supposed to be permanent struggle of generations. The War against Fascism. The War against Totalitarianism. The War against Communism. These all had different names. The Wars all had the same potential for long conflicts. The presidents at each time faced the same limitation of service. None of the presidents in the past, none of the wars in the past were permanent. The Cold War did last almost a generation. This War may the same. It may not be the same. No one can stand here right now and argue conclusively one way or the other. Bush's rhetoric about how we will never give up and will fight forever is just that: Bush's rhetoric. When he is gone, that rhetoric is, too.

Gore's point would have been stronger if he would have just argued that "this will keep occurring unless we vote Bush and the Republicans who think like him out of power." But instead he tries to suggest that this is a cycle which will never return. By doing so, he overstates his case. (In fact, the central thrust is that we need Dems in office, so he is undercutting his own argument that this time is different because Dems can fix it).

I would have cast the speech by saying that in the past these things have occurred. They have always been unnecessary over-reactions. And we have always regretted them. We will regret this, but hopefully learn from it. But we can't move to that point in the lesson until we make a change in leadership. America is stronger than George W. Bush. And when we get rid of him and move on, we can move on from this black eye.

But Gore didn't do that. He instead tries to argue that Bush has turned us into an irreversible downward spiral from which we can't return. And in that regard, he overstates his case and weakens an otherwise good piece of political argumentation.
posted by dios at 1:06 PM on January 16, 2006


Gore - and the Democrats - made me sooo angry in 2000 that's hard for me to maintain a ration perspective on anything they have to say. But this is a good speech. A very good speech. I wish McCain would have made it.

Having the opportunity to grab more power is just too tempting for any executive.

The Republic IS in danger. We have some fairly severe financial crisis developing. We have wars and we are told there are likely more wars on the horizon (with in 20 years).

If these crisis DO impact the economy at even a fraction of what people fear then having a system even slightly pre-tuned to a totalitarian state could be hard to later correct.

We have to make an example out of this presidency - we have to slap their hands pretty severely - or the next one will only be worse.
posted by tkchrist at 1:07 PM on January 16, 2006


He instead tries to argue that Bush has turned us into an irreversible downward spiral from which we can't return

...while suggesting specific remedies.
Republican as well as Democratic members of Congress should support the bipartisan call of the Liberty Coalition for the appointment of a special counsel to pursue the criminal issues raised by warrantless wiretapping of Americans by the President.

Second, new whistleblower protections should immediately be established for members of the Executive Branch who report evidence of wrongdoing -- especially where it involves the abuse of Executive Branch authority in the sensitive areas of national security.

Third, both Houses of Congress should hold comprehensive-and not just superficial-hearings into these serious allegations of criminal behavior on the part of the President. And, they should follow the evidence wherever it leads.

Fourth, the extensive new powers requested by the Executive Branch in its proposal to extend and enlarge the Patriot Act should, under no circumstances be granted, unless and until there are adequate and enforceable safeguards to protect the Constitution and the rights of the American people against the kinds of abuses that have so recently been revealed.

Fifth, any telecommunications company that has provided the government with access to private information concerning the communications of Americans without a proper warrant should immediately cease and desist their complicity in this apparently illegal invasion of the privacy of American citizens.
Did you read the speech?
posted by edverb at 1:10 PM on January 16, 2006


Lumping dios and PP together is unfair. PP is a terrible troll in any article that has anything to do with bush or socialism. He beats his drum and says the same things over and over.

I disagree often with dios, but he's typically offering well reasoned criticism and a good faith effort. He's clearly partisan and sometimes, I think, he's intellectually dishonest. But he's probably not more intellectually dishonest than I or many others on the left.
posted by I Foody at 1:12 PM on January 16, 2006


But isn't it trolling to not read the article very carefully, nor to respond to substantive criticisms (such as your own shmegegge)?
posted by dopeypanda at 2:51 PM CST on January 16


I did read the article. And I did respond to someone prior's question (which should have sufficed as a response to schmegge). You assume I didn't and then you beat me over the head with it. Do you not see the fundamental unfairness with such behavior? If you notice that my original points are entirely consistent with my subsequent points, you can see what is going on here: I didn't feel it was necessary to make the entire argument in the first post. I have subsequently defended my original statement. If I could be so bold, I might suggest that this is a reasonable form for a dialogue to take. If you disagree, are you prepared to disagree to an extent that you hold to be a fundamental defect worthly of insult?
posted by dios at 1:13 PM on January 16, 2006


Did you read the speech?
posted by edverb at 4:10 PM EST on January 16 [!]

That's the question isn't it? The anwser seems to be no, or yes but failed to comprehend.
posted by juiceCake at 1:13 PM on January 16, 2006


That's the problem PP. When you give the President the powers of a dictator - as the conservative, wary-of-government Republicans have done - you cannot be guaranteed that you will be pleased with the dictations...
posted by three blind mice

Brilliant point! I hope Hillary uses her brand new executive privileges to create a universal health care system (since illness kills more Americans than Al Qaeda), and I hope she repeals the tax cuts (since more taxes from the wealthy would certainly help fund the troops). This "unitary" stuff could be fun.
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 1:14 PM on January 16, 2006




That's the question isn't it? The anwser seems to be no, or yes but failed to comprehend.
posted by juiceCake at 3:13 PM CST on January 16


And yet again, you are being entirely disingenuous. You are clearly not interested in addressing any points I am making, and instead are choosing to just ad hominem attack me. For that reason, I will ignore further comments from you, so don't bother ever asking me a direct question, for an answer will not be forthcoming.

As to the edverb's question: of course I read the article. How do you suppose I knew what he said and could quote exactly from it if I didn't read it? You cite various statements as if they were responsive to my argument. But as I have already noted, I find those responses wanting and in conflict with his previous point. Either "this time is different" or it is not. It is not if there are easy fixes to the system. If that was the tenor of the speech, then I wouldn't have presented an issue with it. As I said, I would have cast the speech as "here is how we get out of this mess" and ended it there. Unfortunately, he tried to overstate his case and suggest that we are in a irreversible cycle. A logically weak and tenuous argument which undercuts the rest of his argument, in my opinion.
posted by dios at 1:21 PM on January 16, 2006


To argue that this is a cycle from which we cannot return requires us to believe that this "war against terrorism" is never going to end. No thinking individual can think that is the case.

Thanks dios.

As you are an expert, perhaps you can tell me if the war on terror be over and we can return to normal before or after all of the Jews convert to Christianity?

Seriously, when is the War on Terror under which your president proclaims himself a Caesar over? Not a timetable - I know how you Republicans hate scheudules - but under what set of circumstances can you say the WOT is over?
posted by three blind mice at 1:23 PM on January 16, 2006


Very simple. As soon as a Democrat becomes president. They certainly can't be allowed to have war time powers. :-)
posted by dopeypanda at 1:26 PM on January 16, 2006


Specter Remains Doubtful For Metafilter Posters' Sanity.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:26 PM on January 16, 2006


Are they allowed to wiretap/bug without judicial say-so?
Did they in fact wiretap/bug without say-so?

If the answer to the first part is no and it's a yes to the 2nd, irrespective of past practices, that would seem to be a prima facie case of law breaking.

I disagree dios with your painting the admittedly rhetorical sweeps of Gore's speech as asserting that this is a never-end cycle; rather I heard it (I watched almost all of it on cspan) that he was advocating for an independent enquiry and for congress/senate to return to their closer oversight of the executive. At least, that's what I understood to be his main action points, as it were.
posted by peacay at 1:28 PM on January 16, 2006



"I'm finding it very disturbing how many people casually imply that Bush might try to hold on to power past 2008. Just a few years ago, it would have been unimaginable, even to his enemies."

Well, they were saying the same thing about Bill Clinton Circa 2001.


No, they weren't.
posted by wakko at 1:28 PM on January 16, 2006


Either "this time is different" or it is not.

False dichotomy.

Gore addressed your point before you raised it. He said:
"But in each of these cases, when the conflict and turmoil subsided, the country recovered its equilibrium and absorbed the lessons learned in a recurring cycle of excess and regret.

There are reasons for concern this time around that conditions may be changing and that the cycle may not repeat itself. "
and explained why. One, it's been going on for years. Two, it's supposedly a neverending conflict. Three, the technology is at a level never before seen.

Unfortunately, he tried to overstate his case and suggest that we are in a irreversible cycle.

No, he did not. You cannot claim a weak argument, on your citation of false premises.

By definition, he did not state that it's irreversible if he offers remedies for reversal.

He ends on an optimistic note. He also quotes Bob Barr, who says "The President has dared the American people to do something about it. For the sake of the Constitution, I hope they will." And offers (here we go again, round and round) specific remedies. See above.

What do you gain by immediately trying to poke holes in his arguments, however slim your own arguments may be?
posted by edverb at 1:29 PM on January 16, 2006


Yes they were. It was spoken of throughout talk radio circles. And, sorry is disappoint you, but that's about on the same level as this joint is.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:30 PM on January 16, 2006


Well, for one, when a new President is in office, Bush will be gone. It will then be up to that President to decide if he wants to proceed with the "War on Terror" as if it is an actual war or if he wants to address the problem in other manners. So there is on possible stopping point. Another may be contingent on major terrorist acts occuring for some period of time. And if there are reforms in the Islamic world (as there appears to be increasingly), then there could be a finite point there if fundamentalism is marginalized.

As a practical matter, the war is finite in the sense that the will of the American people is finite. They cannot and will not subject themselves to a permanent state of war. At some point they will decide it is over or not necessary or not effective. At some point, they will vote enough politicans into office to change it. There is a theoretical limit, and it is one that is more likely to be in the next years as opposed to the next decades, in my estimation. But again, I can't conclusively say when it is going to be over any more than you can say it is conclusively going to be permanent. In fact, the only rhetoric that it will be generational is Bush's, and when he is gone, so is that rhetoric.
posted by dios at 1:31 PM on January 16, 2006


That last comment was in response to three blind mice.

And edverb, I addressed all of that. For someone accusing me of not reading the article, I could accuse you of not reading my comments.
posted by dios at 1:32 PM on January 16, 2006


Gore has made a solid speech worthy of deep consideration, in the interests of preserving our Constitution from an apparent power grab against the distinct wishes of Congress, and against the law.

It seems only an insider, or someone with a vested interest would try to dismantle the weighty critique in his first assessment.

Gore was spot-on. If you're not concerned about Bush's power grab and seemingly illegal orders...put it this way...

You're either against him, or you're with him.
posted by edverb at 1:33 PM on January 16, 2006



Yes they were. It was spoken of throughout talk radio circles.


No, they weren't. Provide me with evidence.
posted by wakko at 1:34 PM on January 16, 2006


Simple question Dios...why circumvent FISA?
posted by edverb at 1:34 PM on January 16, 2006


I disagree dios with your painting the admittedly rhetorical sweeps of Gore's speech as asserting that this is a never-end cycle; rather I heard it (I watched almost all of it on cspan) that he was advocating for an independent enquiry and for congress/senate to return to their closer oversight of the executive. At least, that's what I understood to be his main action points, as it were.
posted by peacay at 3:28 PM CST on January 16


Well, I only have the text, but I don't disagree with you. In fact, I noted that I thought it was a good speech of political argumentation. I only pointed out one flaw I had with it. I guess having a problem with a speech is not good form; I can't understand why people are violently offended by my suggestion there is one problem with a speech that length. Perhaps he breezed through those point in listening, but they jumped off the page at me in reading.
posted by dios at 1:35 PM on January 16, 2006


under what set of circumstances can you say the WOT is over? - three blind mice

Ignoring the rude crap in that post, this is a fair question. It's a good question for the administration, too.
posted by raedyn at 1:36 PM on January 16, 2006


T'was a great speech really. I kept thinking to myself:
'is this the first salvo in a Gore/Clinton tilt in 2008?'
posted by peacay at 1:38 PM on January 16, 2006


To argue that this is a cycle from which we cannot return requires us to believe that this "war against terrorism" is never going to end.

I disagree. I would think that having the war against terrorism go on for, say, 50-80 years in the manner it has currently gone on would be long enough for the government to stop talking about the war on terrorism and simply behave as if all that stolen power were now its own by right. What I mean by this is that if we have a war against a non-descript idea (which we have) which could be fought for "the rest of our lives" (which we are told we also have) and which is used as the basis for subsuming legislative and judicial authority and which is also used for abandoning those laws which the president doesn't intend to abide by (which it seems to me, and apparently to Gore, that we have) , then we could easily find ourselves forgetting about the war after the first couple decades and simply have become used to our oppression. it would be a cycle again, but one which lasts for over a hundred years before we revolt and take our rights back. It's certainly not unprecedented for such to happen. We've been fortunate in that our country has fought back such tyranny and greed time and again. But it's the fight that wins, not natural forces.

I'd like to apply your logic to another moment in history, in the hopes of illuminating my point:

One could have said, and indeed it was said, on the eve of our involvement in WWII that "All wars have ends. To say that we must involve ourselves is to overstate the case. It would be much more effective, and much more to our benefit, to simply say 'This war is terrible, and those countries will come to regret it in time. The world is stronger than the Axis countries, and when we've come to accept that, we'll be able to move on and put this whole nasty war behind us.' " Similarly to your point, this would ignore the fact that the world was only stronger than the axis once enough of the world had joined in the fight. America is only stronger than Bush when America stands up for itself at all. Part of what people are worried about is Bush's ability to make people lie down and accept these abuses, to make them seem acceptable.

As has been said above, speeches like these are important to that very ebb and flow. They are not overstatements, they are simply the necessary statements. No one told McCarthy "you know, one day you're going to wake up and see how stupid this whole thing was. And when you do, you're going to laaaaauugh." Much stronger words were needed, and much stronger points needed to be made. It took a war to end Slavery, it took decades and deaths and marches and much stronger speeches than this one to end legally sanctioned segregation.

Bush's rhetoric about how we will never give up and will fight forever is just that: Bush's rhetoric. When he is gone, that rhetoric is, too.

yes, but bush's example will have been set, and we either fight that example actively or set a precedent that this kind of behavior and abuse is okay.
posted by shmegegge at 1:40 PM on January 16, 2006


dios: This would be a rather telling thesis if he wanted to look at the problem in a historical perspective:

But in each of these cases, when the conflict and turmoil subsided, the country recovered its equilibrium and absorbed the lessons learned in a recurring cycle of excess and regret.
So, I guess your case woudl be that it's ok until the conflict and turmoil subside.

The problem is that hte current "conflict and turmoil" are more or less entirely of Bush's making....
posted by lodurr at 1:42 PM on January 16, 2006


Well, for one, when a new President is in office, Bush will be gone.

Well, it ultimately will come down to what happens in 2008, obviously. I'm greatly looking forward to that Presidential campaign. It will likely be the most hard fought and bitter one since 1860, with nearly as much at stake, and with the country split pretty severely under multiple axes, and a lack of a clear line of succession in the GOP.
posted by empath at 1:44 PM on January 16, 2006


I can't understand why people are violently offended by my suggestion there is one problem with a speech that length.

Dios: I'm far from violently offended by you.

But I'll bet you can understand Gore's suggestion as to why there's reason to be concerned, that this situation may not be self-correcting like the past. You seem to avoid acknowledging that.

It's a call to action. Gore makes specific suggestions as to what actions should be taken. You portray his comments as if he argues an inexorable slide, when he does no such thing. He warns that if action is not taken, it could be. Quite different from your false dichotomy.

Realize...this admin claims that it's a war like no other, so extraordinary actions must be taken, like torture, rendition, spying on Americans without a warrant, etc.

But they also argue that it's a war like any other, so POWs can be held until the end of hostilities, and the commander-in-chief's prerogative is lawful regardless of statute, etc.

You could call it a very "liberal" interpretation of the President's war powers.

My reading of your comments suggests that you're seeking reasons NOT to take action. It's "a fine piece of political argumentation", but only in the abstract.

In concrete terms, do you oppose any of Gore's suggestions?
posted by edverb at 1:45 PM on January 16, 2006


I'm having trouble understanding the critics of this speech - what are the problems with obeying the law? And if we have to break the law to save the world, why don't we just change the laws (because obviously the laws aren't working, right?)?
posted by iamck at 1:47 PM on January 16, 2006


smegegge: What worries me, is that the NSA wiretapping regime was set up to spy on foreign communications overseas, but it was easily turned inward. With Bush ignoring the McCain torture amendment and continuing to establish a regime of brutality and torture against foreigners, it is only a matter of time before it is turned from the enemy abroad to the enemy within. Eventually it will grow too large to be stopped, and there will be no one left in power to stop it.

The rights we have as Americans are not ours because we are American, but because we are human. The idea that we deserve more rights than we would afford others is completely sickening.
posted by empath at 1:49 PM on January 16, 2006


"war against terrorism" is never going to end.

"[Congressman John] Murtha [D-PA] says U.S. troops are now caught in the middle of an Iraqi civil war, not the fight against terrorists that the White House keeps talking about.

'They take Iraq and then they talk about terrorism,' Murtha says. 'We’re diverting ourselves away from the war, the war on terrorism, when we’re fighting an insurgency in Iraq.'

...'[Bush is] trying to fight this war with rhetoric,' Murtha [says]. 'Iraq is not where the center of terrorism is. So when he says we’re fighting terrorism over there, we’re inciting terrorism over there. We’re encouraging terror. We’re destabilizing the area by being over there ‘cause we’re the targets. He said before there’s weapons of mass destruction. He said there’s an al Qaeda connection. There’s many things he said turned out not to be true. So why would I believe him when he says the things he just – made that statement.'

Murtha believes that all along the White House has been long on spin and short on truth.

'They need to be honest with the public. They need to admit they’ve made mistakes,' Murtha says. 'The admin — the president himself - needs to be honest with the public. He’s getting bad information from somebody. And I’ve been arguing with him now for several months.' [60 Minutes/CBS | January 15, 2006]
posted by ericb at 1:53 PM on January 16, 2006


Well, for one, when a new President is in office, Bush will be gone.

Unless there's reason to believe that Bush's power grab will continue to eventually supersede the requirement that he leave office, which is debatable, but possible. Of course, there's still that whole "setting a bad precedent" thing.

As a practical matter, the war is finite in the sense that the will of the American people is finite. They cannot and will not subject themselves to a permanent state of war. At some point they will decide it is over or not necessary or not effective.

How about now? How about yesterday? three weeks ago? on 9/11 2001? What will the American people do when they've made that decision if the president continues to ignore them? What if the polls are showing that the american people HAVE made that decision, since the president is clearly ignoring them? Look what it took for us to pull out of Viet Nam, and that war at least had some pretense for having been started!

empath I'm having difficulty understanding why your comment is directed toward me.
posted by shmegegge at 1:54 PM on January 16, 2006


ParisParamus: Actually, bring me some proof that President Bush has done anything other than legally and constitutionally conduct surveillance of suspected terrorists.
I think most of you are full of shit when it comes to claiming that this hasn't been done before, particularly in times of war.


Why should anyone jump through your hoops? We've played this game before. You established a clear and definite bar for whether or not Bush should be impeached. He met that criteria and instead of admitting it, you just start spewing bullshit and backpedalling. Admit that Bush failed to find the alledged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that you called for his impeachment under those circumstances and maybe there is some point to further discussion.

Until then, you lack any credibility whatsoever.
posted by Justinian at 1:56 PM on January 16, 2006


edverb -- good question. It bears repeating: "Simple question Dios...why circumvent FISA?" Will dios address your inquiry?
posted by ericb at 1:57 PM on January 16, 2006


dios: Al gore invented the internet, so if you don't like what he says you can go discuss it somewhere else!
posted by qvantamon at 2:00 PM on January 16, 2006


Look what it took for us to pull out of Viet Nam

"Former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite, whose 1968 conclusion that the Vietnam War was unwinnable keenly influenced public opinion then, said Sunday he'd say the same thing today about Iraq.

'It's my belief that we should get out now,' Cronkite said in a meeting with reporters.

Now 89, the television journalist once known as 'the most trusted man in America" has been off the "CBS Evening News' for nearly a quarter-century. He's still a CBS News employee, although he does little for them.

Cronkite said one of his proudest moments came at the end of a 1968 documentary he made following a visit to Vietnam during the Tet offensive. Urged by his boss to briefly set aside his objectivity to give his view of the situation, Cronkite said the war was unwinnable and that the U.S. should exit.

Then-President Lyndon Johnson reportedly told a White House aide after that, 'If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost Middle America.'

...'In fact, I think we can retire with honor...'

Cronkite has spoken out against the Iraq war in the past, saying in 2004 that Americans weren't any safer because of the invasion." [Associated Press | January 16, 2006]
posted by ericb at 2:02 PM on January 16, 2006


Murtha is smart and brave.
posted by raedyn at 2:04 PM on January 16, 2006




Murtha is smart and brave.

"Murtha, who has two purple hearts, tells 60 Minutes that if George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, or Donald Rumsfeld had been in combat themselves, they’d have been more reluctant to send young Americans into battle.

'War’s a nasty business. It sears the soul. The shadow of friends killed, the shadow of killing people lives with you the rest of your life. So there’s no experience like being in combat,' says Murtha.

...Murtha, who left college to fight in the Korean War and stayed in the Marines for 37 years....[says] 'I think [al Qaeda is] trying to get this administration to stay [in Iraq]. I think they want us there. Because we have united the Iraqis against us. We’re spending all this money and diverting our resources away from the war on terrorism because we’re involved in a civil war in Iraq..."

[60 Minutes | January 15, 2006]
posted by ericb at 2:13 PM on January 16, 2006


"Why should anyone jump through your hoops?"

Because you love "my" "hoops." You live for them!
posted by ParisParamus at 2:15 PM on January 16, 2006


Late to the thread - sorry. I was showering.

I’d appreciate Gore a whole lot more if there weren’t loads of odd things going on there. The thing with his wife Tipper and the PMRC for one. And that kiss during the election run was completely phony. I bought it for a minute thinking “That’s nice” ‘cause I’m an affectionate guy to my wummon too (when she makes me a sammich) but then it struck me that I generally kiss her at home or as often as we kiss in public - not on t.v.

And I agree, a lot of his points are classically conservative.

Still, I dunno. He seems sharp, but he rubs me the wrong way.
-----
/off topic
“Please don't forget -- dios and ParisParamus are *trolls*. They have no interest in discourse -- they just want to get people as angry as possible.” - posted by lupus_yonderboy

I mildly object to that. dios has not stated it is his purpose to solely be a gadfly, ParisParamus has.


"I will not take the thing from your hand."
- I know that comes from the Amish - what does it mean?

Incidentally - I’m still alive - AND ParisParamus has not even e-mailed me.

I’m living proof he’s a hypocrite.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:21 PM on January 16, 2006


Don’t get me started on Murtha - they’re already trying to swift boat him.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:23 PM on January 16, 2006


And yet again, you are being entirely disingenuous. You are clearly not interested in addressing any points I am making, and instead are choosing to just ad hominem attack me. For that reason, I will ignore further comments from you, so don't bother ever asking me a direct question, for an answer will not be forthcoming.

Nonsense. It speaks very much to the point of the speech and why due process is required. How can one even attempt to have a discussion with another unless the other agrees to the basics such as reading the article and for that matter, reading posts in the discussion?

Once again, you're clearly showing you inability to come to the table with a commitment to civil, logical conversation for the most part. That is regrettable. It's also regrettable to see that when you're shown for what you are you scream ad hominen and run off. Wonderful.

I'm not surprised you'll ignore comments and questions. You started out by ignoring the article, subsequently accused me of calling you a troll which I did not, and refused to acknowledge with any grace any error.

I thought you'd appreciate some help. I see that I was wrong. Just tried to point out why there were objections not to your arguments, but to your lack of commitment to discussion. Thank you for pointing out my own lack of commitment. I freely acknowledge it. Cheers mate.
posted by juiceCake at 2:25 PM on January 16, 2006


The thing with his wife Tipper and the PMRC for one.

did you ever read Frank Zappa's take on that? Really brilliant. He tore them a new one at the hearings. It's off topic here, but I'll reproduce it elsewhere, maybe MeCha, if anyone wants.
posted by shmegegge at 2:25 PM on January 16, 2006


The only argument that holds water is that technology has advanced. But I am sure when the concept of wiretapping was first invented (or the recorder) the same argument could have been made then.

We are rapidly approaching the point that the government could monitor all communications for evidence of treason, rather than monitor suspected traitors for their communications. An executive with that capability must be restrained by the necessity for individual warrants, or everyone loses their 4th amendment protections. Not everyone in theory, but every single citizen of this country as a matter of fact.
posted by eddydamascene at 2:27 PM on January 16, 2006


eddyd, there was a ruling from the SCOTUS last year or the year before, on a marijuana case. The outcome of the case wasn't really that important -- rather, it was a certain test that Scalia proposed in his majority opinion. It went something like this:

If the technical means to gather information are accepted and common, then the government can use them without violating individual privacy.

In this case, infrared sensors were used to detect strong lights that the defendent was using to grow pot. As I recall, the Court found (applying Scalia's test) that the search was intrusive, because most people didn't think about the court using IR technology to see what they're doing. Now, after the commercial success of films like Enemy of the State and plenty of media publicity about using IR to "see through walls", the test would probably go the other way.

So: If you're right, then we're in some seriously deep shit.
posted by lodurr at 2:34 PM on January 16, 2006


I'm having trouble understanding the critics of this speech - what are the problems with obeying the law?

As am I. I don't see how, "it's been done before" answers that either. I have no problem with people being critical of the speech and pointing out possible logical errors or mistakes, but what it boils down to is we should be vigilant and uphold the law, both in spirit and actuality. I don't see how that is controversial. Perhaps I'll find out.

The response from the RNC is laughable. Gore's trying to get himself seen, Gore's criticizing the president whose trying to protect us, Gore's not offering solutions of his own. My god he's awful, to paraphrase.

He's actually offering a solution. Follow the letter of the law. Maintain the spirit of freedom and free society, etc.
posted by juiceCake at 2:34 PM on January 16, 2006


"We are rapidly approaching the point that the government could monitor all communications for evidence of treason, rather than monitor suspected traitors for their communications. An executive with that capability must be restrained by the necessity for individual warrants, or everyone loses their 4th amendment protections. Not everyone in theory, but every single citizen of this country as a matter of fact."

We are also rapidly approaching the point where multiple terrorists will be able to hit us with a small thermnuclear weapon or biological agent. Don't pretend the danger was invented by the Bush Administration.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:36 PM on January 16, 2006


Oh Al, please don't run for President again. DO NOT FUCK US AGAIN THAT WAY.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:37 PM on January 16, 2006


Kyllo; 1999, actually, farther back than I thought. From Scalia's opinion: "Where, as here, the government uses a device that is not in general public use to explore intimate details of the home that would previously have been unknowable without physical intrusion, the surveillance is a 'search' and is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant." [emph added]

So, presumably, as soon as IR technology comes into "general public use", it becomes 'not a search' to use it.
posted by lodurr at 2:44 PM on January 16, 2006


"Lesson: it's okay to eavesdrop on Americans as long as they're not white and middle- or upper-class."

Actually, as long as they're terrorists who would like to kill us all.


not without a warrant.
posted by quonsar at 2:46 PM on January 16, 2006


We are also rapidly approaching the point where multiple terrorists will be able to hit us with a small thermnuclear weapon or biological agent. Don't pretend the danger was invented by the Bush Administration.

What this has to do with creating a Nixon-style surveillance state, I dunno. It's really 2 different things as to if they are checking up on people likely to attack us, and if they are just staging the old idealogical games in the same serious terms of the cold war, and especially, consider the distinction between citizens and foreigners, beyond the protections afforded citizens, common sense itself indicates that such terrorist threats as we are frightened about are going to be prepetrated by foreigners.
posted by nervousfritz at 2:51 PM on January 16, 2006




DO NOT FUCK US AGAIN THAT WAY.

A troll and an idiot. Somehow we got fucked by somebody running for president?
posted by Mijo Bijo at 2:52 PM on January 16, 2006


posted by Smedleyman "I will not take the thing from your hand."- I know that comes from the Amish - what does it mean?

Here.

posted by fandango_matt at 2:53 PM on January 16, 2006




Frank Zappa's Statement to Congress (September 19, 1985) -- addressing the PRMC.
posted by ericb at 2:56 PM on January 16, 2006


“did you ever read Frank Zappa's take on that?”

Yeah. I knew he was smart, I didn’t know he was f’ing brilliant though.
I found it odd that they were so deferential to John Denver. Then I found out he was the #3 sniper in Vietnam. Then I found out that was way off. So I’m back to square one.

“..it is especially important to recall that for the last several years of his life, Dr. King was illegally wiretapped...”

Worth repeating. He was an enemy of the state at the time. MLK. Worth thinking about. The excuse this time is what?
Yeah, like there weren’t thousands of nuclear warheads pointed at our heads throughout the cold war. Don’t f’ing talk to me about nuclear brinksmanship.

“Unfortunately, he tried to overstate his case and suggest that we are in a irreversible cycle. A logically weak and tenuous argument which undercuts the rest of his argument, in my opinion.” -dios

I’d agree if that were the case but he ends by suggesting the appointment of a special counsel to remedy conflict of interest in the AG investigating the POTUS, 2 - new whistleblower protections, 3 -comprehesive hearings by both the houses on the criminality of the act, 4 - enforceable safeguards to protect the Constitution and limit the patriot act and 5 - the telecoms need to cease and desist.
in Gore’s own words: “I mentioned that along with cause for concern, there is reason for hope. As I stand here today, I am filled with optimism that America is on the eve of a golden age....” blah blah blah.

And he’s right. Totalitarianism happens inch by inch, measure by measure. Even the bolshevicks took their time.
As to whether that magnitude of change applies to this administration is debatable.

But I certainly don’t agree with some of the steps taken by this administration.

Thanks fandango_matt
posted by Smedleyman at 3:02 PM on January 16, 2006


If someone of Gore's ilk runs for President, they will lose. A smart, moderate Democrat is what's needed. At this point, Gore is about as mainstream and viable as Howard Dean.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:03 PM on January 16, 2006


Thanks fandango_matt but I meant what is it that the Amish mean when they use it? What’s the origin?
posted by Smedleyman at 3:04 PM on January 16, 2006


Paris: We are also rapidly approaching the point where multiple terrorists will be able to hit us with a small thermnuclear weapon or biological agent. Don't pretend the danger was invented by the Bush Administration.

You, sir, are a coward.
posted by Freen at 3:06 PM on January 16, 2006


Thanks for all of your great, on-topic links in this thread, ericb!
posted by BobFrapples at 3:06 PM on January 16, 2006


We are also rapidly approaching the point where multiple terrorists will be able to hit us with a small thermnuclear weapon or biological agent.

Don't worry your scared little head about this, PP... Team America will save you!
posted by BobFrapples at 3:09 PM on January 16, 2006


“We are also rapidly approaching the point where multiple terrorists will be able to hit us with a small thermnuclear [sic] weapon or biological agent.”

You’re so plugged in. Got a WSJ op-ed to back that up?
When are you going to e-mail me?
posted by Smedleyman at 3:18 PM on January 16, 2006


It's instructive to reread the Gore speech in light of the fact that dios and PP are so afraid of it. It pretty much tells you what we're up against in this country: people who loudly declare that America is better than the rest of the world even as they vehemently oppose everything that makes it that way.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:18 PM on January 16, 2006


MoveOn.org and Al Gore are about as relevant and knowledgeable about Article II of the Constitution as many of yoos folks here. Keep screaming that our liberties are in danger (since it makes you feel good). Yawn.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:22 PM on January 16, 2006


America is better than most of the world. And hopefully we'll keep it that way.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:23 PM on January 16, 2006


Video of highlights from the speech
posted by muckster at 3:29 PM on January 16, 2006


I step away to handle some work and com back and begin reading the thread from the bottom, and what is there? Another bullshit post from someone who can't seem to bother to actually read my post and instead feel it necessary to mischaracterize my statements and make spurious allegations about me like this:

It's instructive to reread the Gore speech in light of the fact that dios and PP are so afraid of it. It pretty much tells you what we're up against in this country: people who loudly declare that America is better than the rest of the world even as they vehemently oppose everything that makes it that way.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:18 PM CST on January 16


Where in the hell did you read anything in my post that said I was afraid of Gore's speech? Cite to anything to support your facially false statement that I said anything in your last clause regarding America's greatness, etc.

I said the thing was a good speech and complimented him on it from the outset. I didn't say any of the ridiculous comments Paris did, but that doesn't matter. In your small mind we are one in the same, even though you can't bother to even read what I have written. It is much easier for you to make up what I wrote, even if my actual comments contradict that.

Do you not realize how pathetically small and close minded you seem where you treat me like a straw man and, yet, my comments are explicitly contrary to your asinine position?

Goddamn. You people really know how to poison any attempts at a dialogue. All you want is your pristine circle jerk or else you get all agitated and accusatory. It is absolutely pathetic that I can't have a reasonable, substantive dialogue on this website without having to deal with bullshit like this.
posted by dios at 3:31 PM on January 16, 2006


Plus one for keeping gun owners under surveillance, if we're gonna go the totalitarian route. Here's hoping for some equally shady and ruthless liberals in '08!
posted by 31d1 at 3:36 PM on January 16, 2006


PP is obviously a troll.

dios is a troll because he posts things knowing they are incorrect, just to stir things up.

Take this very thread -- where dios posts saying, "Gore is raving, this is a diatribe, he said that Bush's actions were unprecedented -- but then he lists all these precedents".

Now, what he's talking about it a well-written, systematic policy speech by a respected and senior United States politician. You might not *agree* with what Gore says, but no one who has dios' writing skills could possible read that text and say, "This is raving" (defined as "Talking or behaving irrationally; wild: a raving maniac.")

Of course the only reason that Gore lists these "precedents" is because he has an argument to why these aren't precedents -- an argument that starts only a few sentences after the lines quoted by dios. Someone immediately refutes it -- dios just jumps to another argument, never acknowledging the original error.

So dios' first post on this thread is an inflammatory miscategorization and then an apparently-deliberate misreading of the text in order to derail any form of rational argument about the actual contents.

If this just happened once or twice it'd be sloppy thinking but this is the exception rather than the rule: dios gets an inflammatory, counter-factual post in immediately, and then fights on any possible grounds as long as he is causing flames. Sophistry, double-talk, lots of verbiage, moving in circles -- it's a more sophisticated type of trolling but when it comes down to it, it's just a troll.

As a result, we end up explaining the basics to PP and dios over and over again ("Actually, Bush was the one who said the war on terror would last for the rest of our lives", "Crimes are crimes, whether or not you're President", etc) and we never ever get to spend time really discussing interesting articles like the one above.

So, yes, dios and PP are trolls and should be filtered out.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:38 PM on January 16, 2006


I said the thing was a good speech and complimented him on it from the outset.

No, this is what you said from the outset:

Is internal consistency too much to ask for in our raving diatribes?

Apparently, it is in yours.
posted by jlub at 3:39 PM on January 16, 2006


The head of the FBI's domestic intelligence division said that his effort to tell the truth about King's innocence of the charge resulted in he and his colleagues becoming isolated and pressured. "It was evident that we had to change our ways or we would all be out on the street.... The men and I discussed how to get out of trouble. To be in trouble with Mr. Hoover was a serious matter. These men were trying to buy homes, mortgages on homes, children in school. They lived in fear of getting transferred, losing money on their homes, as they usually did. ... so they wanted another memorandum written to get us out of the trouble that we were in."

Or in other words

You have a boss, so big few person in the whole government can demand anything from him. Your boss tells you which line you're
supposed to follow (his line, obviously) but you notice that either by error or by ideological blind faith his evaluations are
not correct.

You tell the boss you sooooo respectfully disagree, in front of others of your circle. He praises you, promise to talk to you
about it later. You go talk and the boss makes you understand that not following his line would lead to unpleasant consequences, nobody is absolutely necessary. Same goes on with the others.

Soon then one can say "that's something wrong" the arguments gets quicksanded ..it's bad economic period, job is "scare" ..terror here, osama there, whatever.

If you stand out, they'll call you tin foil hatter..and it's plausible. What do you ?
posted by elpapacito at 3:39 PM on January 16, 2006


posted by Smedlyman: what is it that the Amish mean when they use [I will not take the thing from your hand]? What’s the origin?

The closest relevance I found was the line "I can not take a thing from your hand" from Witness--the scene in which the line is spoken involves a father admonishing his daughter for her transgressions and the repurcussions that shall surely follow if she continues to break the Amish rules--she'll be shunned, and the father can no longer eat, pray, or speak with his daughter.

"I will not take the thing from your hand", would seem to imply the person to whom it is spoken is someone who has repeatedly broken the rules of a community and has therefore been shunned so that nothing will be accepted or heard from the person in question.
posted by fandango_matt at 3:40 PM on January 16, 2006


ParisParamus: "MoveOn.org and Al Gore ..."

Halliburton and Dick Cheney on the other hand ...
posted by 31d1 at 3:40 PM on January 16, 2006


Face it: every single member of the Bush Adminstration is guilty of multiple, impeachable offenses; violations of the Constitution. And if it doesn't happen, it's only because they've rigged the system with corrupt, immoral individuals.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:42 PM on January 16, 2006 [5 favorites]


I said the thing was a good speech and complimented him on it from the outset.

No, this is what you said from the outset:

Is internal consistency too much to ask for in our raving diatribes?

Apparently, it is in yours.
posted by jlub at 5:39 PM CST on January 16


Ok, I said this right after that:

Overall, though, Gore shows himself to be the best voice in the Democratic party. I don't think any other person in the party actually takes policy positions as effectively as he does.

Good for him.
posted by dios at 12:57 PM CST on January 16


All part of the original thought process.

See? This is my point. You are intentionally trying to misread my comments to make me into something I am not.
posted by dios at 3:42 PM on January 16, 2006


Bravo lupus_yonderboy. I'm ready to try that Greasemonkey script.
posted by muckster at 3:45 PM on January 16, 2006


Goddamn. You people really know how to poison any attempts at a dialogue. All you want is your pristine circle jerk or else you get all agitated and accusatory. It is absolutely pathetic that I can't have a reasonable, substantive dialogue on this website without having to deal with bullshit like this.
posted by dios at 6:31 PM EST on January 16 [!]


That is hilarious. Accuse others of doing what you do and pretend you don't.

See? This is my point. You are intentionally trying to misread my comments to make me into something I am not.

And yet you said I called you a troll when I pointed out you weren't. Accuse others of doing what you do and pretend you don't. Classy that.
posted by juiceCake at 3:46 PM on January 16, 2006


I wish you well with your magic script.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:47 PM on January 16, 2006


Fine, greasemonkey me away. I could care less. Then I won't have to deal with assholes like you and lupus trying to desperately characterize me as a troll in an effort to try to delegitimize my points. I don't need small minded pricks calling me a troll every time I try to have a discussion. So, by all means, Greasemonkey me away and cocoon up, and leave the discussion to people who are interested in actually having a dialogue with other members of the community.
posted by dios at 3:48 PM on January 16, 2006


Dios, I don't think you are trolling, but I do think you are selectively quoting and taking things out of context. You keep insisting that Gore has said we are in an irreversible slide, when in fact (as has been pointed out many times), he's saying it might become irreversible if we don't take steps NOW to correct the situation. And then goes on to list possible actions to be taken. But you keep ignoring people when they point that out, and instead just keep defending and repeating yourself.

People might be less quick to label you a troll if you spent more time responding to those who are trying to have an actual discussion with you, and respond to their points argued against yours, instead of blowing right past them in your haste to clash swords with those attacking your reasons for being here.
posted by Meredith at 3:48 PM on January 16, 2006


People might be less quick to label you a troll if you spent more time responding to those who are trying to have an actual discussion with you, and respond to their points argued against yours, instead of blowing right past them in your haste to clash swords with those attacking your reasons for being here.
posted by Meredith at 5:48 PM CST on January 16


Well, as I have shown a perfect willingness to do so, perhaps you should direct your comments to the pricks in this thread who make it nigh-on-impossible for me to actually discuss things by constantly hectoring me. When the thread becomes 80% hectoring, it is increasingly hard for me to parse out the comments that are interested in a dialogue.

Surely you can see that.
posted by dios at 3:50 PM on January 16, 2006


Dios...I asked you:

Why circumvent FISA?

and

Do you oppose any of Gore's suggestions?

Still waiting! [taps foot impatiently, looks at watch]
posted by edverb at 3:54 PM on January 16, 2006


dios, notwithstanding the above rejoinders offered by others, you're right. I conflated the two of you, and I should not have. For one thing, however much I may disagree with you I do find you to be generally quite rational. Rhetorically slippery, trying to shift focus to inconsequential or nonexistent flaws in order to poison the well rather than confront the core points, but rational. It was inappropriate to tar you with the same brush.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:55 PM on January 16, 2006


As to the substance of this comment:

You keep insisting that Gore has said we are in an irreversible slide, when in fact (as has been pointed out many times), he's saying it might become irreversible if we don't take steps NOW to correct the situation.

The irreversibility seems a point he is trying to make. (There are reasons for concern this time around that conditions may be changing and that the cycle may not repeat itself.) Otherwise, he is correct these things are cyclical. If they are cylical, then why does he need to make the argument that somehow Bush is unique in his efforts? In other words, if all states of war result in Executives who over-reach their power, but the cycle changes, what is truly frightening about Bush? After all, he will be gone in a few years and he isn't as scary as the other things that Gore mentioned (suspension of habeas for all citizens, internment camps, etc). Gore seems to suggest that this is deserving of "special" concern, above and beyond the typical ratcheting up of security in times of war or crisis.

As I said above:

I would have cast the speech by saying that in the past these things have occurred. They have always been unnecessary over-reactions. And we have always regretted them. We will regret this, but hopefully learn from it. But we can't move to that point in the lesson until we make a change in leadership. America is stronger than George W. Bush. And when we get rid of him and move on, we can move on from this black eye.

A speech like that would achieve the goals without trying to overstate the case, and thereby weaken it.
posted by dios at 3:57 PM on January 16, 2006


Here's how Gore would fix it.

[1] A special counsel should immediately be appointed by the Attorney General to remedy the obvious conflict of interest that prevents him from investigating what many believe are serious violations of law by the President.

[...]

[2] Second, new whistleblower protections should immediately be established for members of the Executive Branch who report evidence of wrongdoing -- especially where it involves the abuse of Executive Branch authority in the sensitive areas of national security.

[3] Third, both Houses of Congress should hold comprehensive-and not just superficial-hearings into these serious allegations of criminal behavior on the part of the President. And, they should follow the evidence wherever it leads.

[4] Fourth, the extensive new powers requested by the Executive Branch in its proposal to extend and enlarge the Patriot Act should, under no circumstances be granted, unless and until there are adequate and enforceable safeguards to protect the Constitution and the rights of the American people against the kinds of abuses that have so recently been revealed.

[5] Fifth, any telecommunications company that has provided the government with access to private information concerning the communications of Americans without a proper warrant should immediately cease and desist their complicity in this apparently illegal invasion of the privacy of American citizens.

Freedom of communication is an essential prerequisite for the restoration of the health of our democracy.

It is particularly important that the freedom of the Internet be protected against either the encroachment of government or the efforts at control by large media conglomerates. The future of our democracy depends on it.


Strong stuff. For the record, I strongly agree with all of those statements. Your take? Any other suggestions?

I'll send them on to him. I hear he's really open to communication.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:58 PM on January 16, 2006


Why circumvent FISA?

I don't know. They apparently found it inefficient. Insofar as they don't legally think it is binding upon them, a de minimus reason not to comply with it would be enough from their perspective. (I have said other places that I would have complied to the extent necessary, even assuming they aren't required to do so.)

Do you oppose any of Gore's suggestions?
posted by edverb at 5:54 PM CST on January 16


No. Where did I suggest otherwise?

And what's with the foot tapping? Did I not answer your question fast enough? Perhaps, again, you should direct your anger to the hordes who would rather spend 50 comments debating whether I am a troll, which adds to the likelihood I might miss your question.
posted by dios at 4:02 PM on January 16, 2006


(I have said other places that I would have complied to the extent necessary, even assuming they aren't required to do so.)

That should have said: I would have complied to the extent reasonable for the sake of transparency, even assuming they aren't required to do so.
posted by dios at 4:06 PM on January 16, 2006


'What then was the reason for avoiding the FISA court? President Bush suggested that there was no time to get the warrants. But this cannot be true, because FISA permits wiretaps without warrants in emergencies as long as court approval is obtained within three days. Moreover, there is evidence that the President knew the warrantless wiretapping was illegal. In 2004, when the violations had been going on for some time, President Bush told a Buffalo, New York, audience that "a wiretap requires a court order." He went on to say that "when we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so." '

The Impeachment of George W. Bush
posted by xod at 4:13 PM on January 16, 2006


Meredith, read what dios wrote here. That's called a veritable concession, although he was within his rights to make the suggestion he did.

This is a shitty thread. dios may have entered this debate with an overzealous remark but he's been on point (whether you agree with him or not) and has basically received abuse from many participants as a consequence. The word 'troll' is so overused around this place. It's like 1 versus 30 or more and you harass him because he hasn't got around to addressing each and every point?! Sheesh.

Speak of the subject and forget about characterizing people. If anyone thinks it earns kudos or cachet they are wrong. Piling on or throwing in personal attacks just makes you look like a fool.
posted by peacay at 4:17 PM on January 16, 2006


Thanks for straight answers Dios.

Perhaps, again, you should direct your anger

I am not "angry", nor for that matter "violently offended". Not by you, anyway. I just thought you were ignoring Gore's suggestions and mischaracterizing his argument.

His point was....it's not an inexorable slide, if corrective steps are taken now. Glad to hear you support those steps.

Are we talking full-throated support of Feingold holding out on the USA PATRIOT Act until there's consensus on civil liberties protections? Full throated support of a special council investigation into executive branch abuses of power? Willing to hear what unfairly maligned people Sibel Edmonds and Russell Tice and Bunny Greenhouse and Richard Clarke have to say, and follow the evidence wherever it leads?

If so...good on ya.
posted by edverb at 4:26 PM on January 16, 2006


Perhaps, again, you should direct your anger to the hordes who would rather spend 50 comments debating whether I am a troll

There's a debate?
posted by Rothko at 4:31 PM on January 16, 2006


Peacay- the comment you linked to is actually his profile...?

I'm not trying to "harass" him or piling on him for not addressing each and every point- I'm just pointing out that instead of spending so much time responding to those who are attacking him, if he used that time instead to respond to the people who are actually trying to converse with him, the haters would probably just let it go. Take the higher road, is what I'm saying.
posted by Meredith at 4:32 PM on January 16, 2006


dios, the problem is that mefi has 26,434 users, and you've only got nine of them listed in your "I'm not smart enough to deal with" list. If you just tacked on the other 26,423 (leaving room for you and ParisParamus) you'd save yourself a lot of trouble.

Honestly, you drop a turd in the punch bowl every time you enter a thread, and then you complain about the taste.

Just STFU.

As for Gore, it's a great speech. But please God, strike him down if he decides to run again--he's good in theory, bad in practice. And his wife and daughters--yuck.
posted by bardic at 4:40 PM on January 16, 2006


Whoops, sorry Meredith - this. I'm too slow on the trigger and got distracted anyways, but this was my citing where dios had conceded that conclusions about Gore's speech were not necessarily as clearcut as he had earlier asserted (paraphrazing).
posted by peacay at 4:56 PM on January 16, 2006


“And hopefully we'll keep it that way.” -posted by ParisParamus

Who’s this “we” you keep referencing? When are you going to e-mail me?

“You people really know how to poison any attempts at a dialogue.” - posted by dios

Who’s this “you people”?

I answered one of your posts with a straightforward comment, defended you as not being a troll (as did I Foody) and ceded your point that gore would be overstating his case and making a logically weak and tenuous argument if he didn’t end with some solutions.

And yet I - and others - get generalized with the same kind of logic ignorant louts use in describing the hated ethnic group du jour.
(You people drive BMWs. You people like watermelon. You people are in the mob - etc.)
It’s insulting to everyone who isn’t arguing with you.
I know you are often the target of a rain of shit, but that doesn’t mean it’s all of us dios.
I understand you get upset - we all do.
But you’re smart enough and self-controlled enough to use qualifiers such as “Some” or “Most” or “Many” or you are indeed a troll.

It’s that simple.


“If you stand out, they'll call you tin foil hatter..and it's plausible. What do you ?” -posted by elpapacito

‘Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.’ - Sun Tzu.
Also
‘Kill one, terrify a thousand.’ - Sun Tzu.

When you strike a scorpion, crush it completely. So - first of all don’t tell your boss you disagree. Secondly, secure power and influence beneath him. Enlist others into your cause, covertly is best. Definately get some blackmail on him if you can or figure out his patterns and find a way to kill him and make it look like an accident.
Really, it’s simply a matter of how far you are willing to go and how sure you are you are right. Past that it’s just putting down the sword (metaphor for power). Those men weren’t willing to do what it took to derail Hoover. I doubt it would have taken killing him. It wouldn’t have taken much investigation (an FBI mans metier) to figure out he was also “Mary.” From there it’s as easy as pie. Very few people are willing to grasp that sword in the first place.

“what is truly frightening about Bush? After all, he will be gone in a few years” - dios.

The question is - will the policies remain? I think they will whether its a blue or red guy in there. And of course there is the question whether this incarnation of the party will give up power at all.


Thanks again, fandango_matt! I’d never heard it,(read it here), but it is a hell of a good phrase.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:07 PM on January 16, 2006


Several things:

Gore observes that Bush is violating the law by conducting warrantless wiretaps.

Yes, sure, it's nice to think that someone in the democratic party actually has the balls to say the words in public. And on MLK day, no less. And yeah, it's a well written speech; very tight, yet aggressive. Oh, and tying it all to the King surveillance - obvious, yet brilliant. And also... there's something appealing about a guy whose political career is over - who has essentially nothing to lose - coming out swinging like he just doesn't give a fuck anymore. Especially someone who has always come across as a complete emotional void.

However, with regards to the actual substance of what he says... it's kind of pathetic that this passes for resistance or dissent.

I mean, what does he say? That the president should be bound by the law. That's like saying that a man accused of murder should be tried and, if convicted, go to prison for a very long time. I mean... it ain't Huey Newton. It's barely even Bill Clinton.

Second, I trust no one here is blind to the realities of the situation. Much like Nixon and the Cambodian bombings, what we have here is not so much a bunch of legislators morally outraged because the president defied the law and the will of the people. Rather, it's a bunch of powerful people who are pissed that the president defied them. To quote Gore:

When President Bush failed to convince Congress to give him all the power he wanted when they passed the AUMF, he secretly assumed that power anyway, as if congressional authorization was a useless bother.

Is he pissed because Bush did it or because Bush didn't get permission from Congress before doing it?

Of course, some people in Congress knew this was going on, but it goes deeper than just the issue of permission. Remember Nixon's plumbers? Remember J. Edgar Hoover? When the President (or any other high muckity muck) has his own private wiretapping army, it invariably gets turned on his political enemies. John McCain doesn't want this kind of shit going down; sooner or later, his voice will show up on those tapes. Orchestrating this kind of surveillance and making sure the spooks report only to the executive branch is a direct threat to the power of ... well, everyone other than George W. Bush and his inner circle, really. But a threat to the power of Congress is going to be answered while a threat to the power of, say, minimum wage earners in Georgia, will just keep ringing.

And then there's the political liability. Bush does something that he knows will piss people off and then expects the rest of the federal government to just lick up the fallout. You know, despite the fact that the military is short on warm bodies, the word "draft" hasn't emerged from anyone's mouth in, like, a year. Because if it did, the general public might grab their nooses and pitch forks and head for D.C. And on the scale of things that the G could do to piss off the general public, the draft is a 10 and mass wiretapping is an 8 or 8.5.

So Bush drops this hot potato... and then expects Republicans and conservative Democrats to back his play. I mean, imagine someone you work with saying "Hey, I embezzled two thousand dollars of company money. And now I want you to cover for me. It'll probably cost you your job, but the important thing here is that I don't get busted." The guy would be lucky if you didn't break his jaw.

So anyone with a national-level political career to think about is put in a shitty position. And, judging by what I'm seeing on CNN and Fox News, they're not happy about it.

So I'm saying... yes, Gore is correct on several key points. But whatever struggle is taking place up at the top of the pyramid doesn't have a lot to do with the rights of people like me and you. For these people, that's an incidental issue.

Gore made that speech on behalf of powerful people whose power has been threatened. The rest of us will have to fend for ourselves.
posted by Clay201 at 5:17 PM on January 16, 2006


Greasemonkey filter script.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:26 PM on January 16, 2006


well said Clay201
posted by Smedleyman at 5:36 PM on January 16, 2006


Geez, can we just reset the thread and start with Clay201's post instead? That's a conversation starter.

Yeah, it sucks that we've gotten to the low point of having to argue that the President can't break the law. Or, for that matter, that, uh, breaking the law is breaking the law. I much prefered it when we were arguing that copyright terms were too long.

But worse than that is that Congress has done nothing. Ethics investigations have basically stopped. There has not been a single hearing into war profiteering, despite billions of dollars "lost". The part in Gore's speech where he talks about how several generations of congressmen don't even know what an oversight hearing is -- that's frightening. That's gonna destroy the republic way faster than Osama could ever dream.

After all, even if you blew up every building, America would still be here. That's all the terrorists can really do, after all, is blow some stuff up. Only we, and our elected representatives, can actually destroy our country. And we'll accomplish that by abandoning Rule of Law, and the system of government that's worked, er, well, better than anything else for over 200 years.
posted by jlub at 5:47 PM on January 16, 2006


Clay201 writes "Is he pissed because Bush did it or because Bush didn't get permission from Congress before doing it?"


Getting permission from Congress (in the form of passage of a law) would have made legal. What Gore is "pissed" about isn't the wire-tapping, per se, but the President arrogating himself to a position above the law, about the President breaking the law.

The wire-tapping is bad, don't get me wrong, and would be bad even if legal. But it wouldn't be a crisis if it were legal.

The reason this is even worse than mere wire-tapping is that it's a constitutional crisis: the President has usurped power explicitly denied by the US Constitution. That's what makes it so dangerous: if we don't sanction the President for this, we're implicitly abandoning the Constitution, and affirming that the President can do anything regardless of legality, regardless of the other two branches of government that are supposed to balance and check the power of the President.
posted by orthogonality at 6:13 PM on January 16, 2006


Things are not cyclical automatically.

The reason they have been, in the past, is because it was generally conceded, after the fact, that the power grab was a bad idea, often because it was abused.

This is the first time where the government in power has made prolonged, determined attempts to avoid oversight; to make sure that nobody can tell what abuses are being perpetrated.

This has the potential of sending us right off the rails and into outright fascism.

Bush is trying to change the rules so that the pendulum cannot swing back, ever.
posted by Malor at 6:16 PM on January 16, 2006


Well said orthogonality.
posted by peacay at 6:59 PM on January 16, 2006


orthogonality: I'm not going to waste another day arguing with a Lieutenant Paramus of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders. If you're so sure this President and this war are great, put down your keyboard and join the Army.

Quit being such a freaking idiot. A person does not have to enlist in the military in order to support a President's military policies. And even if PP tried to enlist, there are MANY things that can render a person ineligible to serve: age, weight, disease, height, etc.
posted by davidmsc at 7:41 PM on January 16, 2006


A person does not have to enlist in the military in order to support a President's military policies. And even if PP tried to enlist, there are MANY things that can render a person ineligible to serve: age, weight, disease, height, etc.

That's the best excuse you guys have?

Next time some nut tells me to "leave America or love it", I'll tell him I can't afford the plane ticket, and anyway, my feet have blisters so it would hurt to walk into the plane.
posted by Rothko at 7:51 PM on January 16, 2006


Quit being such a freaking idiot. A person does not have to enlist in the military in order to support a President's military policies. And even if PP tried to enlist, there are MANY things that can render a person ineligible to serve: age, weight, disease, height, etc.

...and of course cowardice.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
posted by fleetmouse at 7:54 PM on January 16, 2006


Quit being such a freaking idiot. A person does not have to enlist in the military in order to support a President's military policies. -posted by davidmsc

Quit being such a freaking idot. A person doesn't have to have your permission to question someone's actual commitment to a policy.

This "I don't have to enlist" bullshit is getting old.
No, you don't.
But that doesn't mean people can't fucking call you on it.
You want to talk tough? Expect someone to ask why you're not walking the walk.

If you say "We should go to war" you should damn well be good and ready to support that war. It doesn't mean you have to fight, but you should at least visit a fucking veterans hospital to get some perspective. Something. Anything.

In PP's case it's a matter of him saying "We should kick their ass" and all manner of tough guy crap when he's shown that he won't even lift a finger to do dick about shit.

Don't even start this shit. You want a war? You damned well pick up a fucking weapon or a fucking bedpan and you contribute to the war effort rather than sit behind some desk on your fat ass thinking you are some kind of commando.

Get this through your goddamned head - War is real. It actually happens. People die. Other people kill them. It's one thing to say "It's a tragedy, but it's gotta happen" - It's another thing to go to the DAV or a vet hospital or any of the hundreds of other ways you can make any kind of sacrifice and actually give of yourself and see the effects first hand and say it.

I've got local folks giving their time during the week to wrap boxes of care packages, write letters to servicemen to let them know we appreciate them whether we favor the war or not. This has been 3 times a week every week since the war(s) started.
I've got three widows and a grieving mother who would love to hear your views on how you have the right to support the president's military policies and not lift a goddamned finger to do anything to mitigate the losses of life or maybe volunteer to help a vet through PT or do anything about it other than cast a vote.

Please - tell it to them how much of a right you have. Tell it to the guys in the hospital now one wing short. Or missing a leg.

Better still - tell it to the Marines.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:22 PM on January 16, 2006


You want a war? You damned well pick up a fucking weapon or a fucking bedpan and you contribute to the war effort rather than sit behind some desk on your fat ass thinking you are some kind of commando.

Just thought this deserved repetition. Freepers, enlist or shush.
posted by Rothko at 8:26 PM on January 16, 2006


enlist or shush

I wouldn't go that far. (Answer to free speech you don't like is more free speech). Thanks tho.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:33 PM on January 16, 2006


I only speak for myself, of course ;)
posted by Rothko at 8:36 PM on January 16, 2006


I only speak for myself

*backs off*
Sorry, I probably had too much coffee. Quick on the draw today.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:48 PM on January 16, 2006


This just in -- all along the administration was illegally spying on innocent American citizens --
"In the anxious months after the Sept. 11 attacks, the National Security Agency began sending a steady stream of telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and names to the F.B.I. in search of terrorists. The stream soon became a flood, requiring hundreds of agents to check out thousands of tips a month.

But virtually all of them, current and former officials say, led to dead ends or innocent Americans.

F.B.I. officials repeatedly complained to the spy agency, which was collecting much of the data by eavesdropping on some Americans' international communications and conducting computer searches of foreign-related phone and Internet traffic, that the unfiltered information was swamping investigators. Some F.B.I. officials and prosecutors also thought the checks, which sometimes involved interviews by agents, were pointless intrusions on Americans' privacy.

...'We'd chase a number, find it's a school teacher with no indication they've ever been involved in international terrorism - case closed,' said one former FBI official, who was aware of the program and the data it generated for the bureau. 'After you get a thousand numbers and not one is turning up anything, you get some frustration.'

...F.B.I. field agents, who were not told of the domestic surveillance programs, complained they often were given no information about why names or numbers had come under suspicion. A former senior prosecutor, who was familiar with the eavesdropping programs, said intelligence officials turning over the tips 'would always say that we had information whose source we can't share, but it indicates that this person has been communicating with a suspected Al Qaeda operative.' He said, 'I would always wonder, what does "suspected' mean?"' [New York Times | January 17, 2006]
posted by ericb at 9:01 PM on January 16, 2006




Timothy Findley's The Wars should be required reading...
posted by juiceCake at 9:07 PM on January 16, 2006


Two Groups Planning to Sue Over Federal Eavesdropping.
"The two lawsuits, which are being filed separately by the American Civil Liberties Union in Federal District Court in Detroit and the Center for Constitutional Rights in Federal District Court in Manhattan, are the first major court challenges to the eavesdropping program.

Both groups are seeking to have the courts order an immediate end to the program, which the groups say is illegal and unconstitutional.

...Also named as plaintiffs in the A.C.L.U. lawsuit are the journalist Christopher Hitchens, who has written in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; Barnett R. Rubin, a scholar at New York University who works in international relations; Tara McKelvey, a senior editor at The American Prospect; the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; Greenpeace, the environmental advocacy group; and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the country's largest Islamic advocacy group."
Christopher Hitchens and Greenpeace! Who knew?
posted by ericb at 9:15 PM on January 16, 2006


dios, ~30 comments out of ~200?

I would have cast the speech by saying that in the past these things have occurred. They have always been unnecessary over-reactions. And we have always regretted them. We will regret this, but hopefully learn from it. But we can't move to that point in the lesson until we make a change in leadership. America is stronger than George W. Bush. And when we get rid of him and move on, we can move on from this black eye.

You want him to state the case as Bush being the problem. If that were the problem, there would be, as you say, little to worry about -- he moves on, the next President assumes the mantle of office and a more civil libertarian mien. But this is precisely the problem: the Presidency is asserting functional executive powers which accrue to it by virtue of office, and there is no guarantee that the next occupant will pretend those constitutional assertions simply don't exist -- or the next, and the next after, and the next after. If this is not rectified, at the next crisis the incumbent will assert these powers again, with the halo of precedent that is being attributed, today, Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus. It is rarely mentioned, however, that that suspension was litigated, and the Supreme Court eventually ruled it unconstitutional (because the civil courts where the order was given continued to function: a directly analogous case).

Gore is saying that it is not about the occupant, it is about the office, and we must ensure that the office has checks and balances.

In any case, we're done rolling, and we're done falling for the defusing bait that Democrats shouldn't ever get angry, because getting angry is so embarrassing and inappropriate. It is time for implacable pushback. When the sanity is defined as defending torture, internment, and unlimited executive power, the bottle of crazy just got shaken and exploded.

Troll, in any case, is the wrong word for what you do. Somebody else in this thread trolls. You, on the other hand, are a professional derailer. That's very unfortunate, because you obviously could do much better with the tools at your disposal, in a potentially collegial atmosphere. Most trolls do so because they can't argue. With you, it seems to be about proving to yourself that people will stoop to the lowest level you can establish for the thread.

</derail>

So I'm saying... yes, Gore is correct on several key points. But whatever struggle is taking place up at the top of the pyramid doesn't have a lot to do with the rights of people like me and you. For these people, that's an incidental issue.

There's truth to what you say, Clay201. But then, that's what the system of checks and balances, even taken cynically, depends on -- three branches of government that fundamentally don't trust each other.

And on the scale of things that the G could do to piss off the general public, the draft is a 10 and mass wiretapping is an 8 or 8.5.

I'm not sure I agree on the numbers you pick here, although I do agree that a draft is significantly higher on the piss-off-o-meter. A draft is maybe an 8; keep in mind it would be supplemented by the usual propaganda push, and would be explicitly designed to exempt the Fortunate Sons and Daughters (maybe all daughters -- because a female draft just might be a 10).

Now, this wiretapping should be in the 8 range, but I have a feeling it's barely cracking 6 so far. It's got a core group of people -- including yon centers of power -- plenty steamed, but the general public is still largely sort of swallowing the "they came for al Qaeda" bit. This is because it's pretty complex and confusing, involving arcane issues of constitutional law, and as you say, seems to be more about a power struggle at the highest reaches of government than anything else. Abramoff is more like a 7 here, and Plame is just simmering down around 5, and then only because of the Libby indictment.

To get a 10 on the NSA thing we'd have to have proof positive of an attempt to abuse it in a Nixonian manner, and as much as I think this is potentially more serious than Nixon's much more ad hoc abuses, that was what triggered the loss of confidence. He turned the full force of government against his political enemies. The administration hasn't done that -- yet; they seem content to use the Mightly Wurlitzer to Swift Boat and otherwise destroy dissenters, no matter how Republican and loyal.

Is he pissed because Bush did it or because Bush didn't get permission from Congress before doing it?

I think that's somewhat disingenuous. The whole point is not getting permission -- from the courts. Congress wouldn't give him permission to not get permission. So Bush defied two branches of government. Of course both are liberally sprinkled with smart-saluting administration boy scouts, so the question of repercussions is murky.

But this, for me, is ultimately what's been most troubling. Atrios points out that he can't be claiming there are hundreds of al Qaeda operatives running around, unarrested, in the US. By the same token, since proof of al Qaeda involvement shouldn't be hard to come by if the intel is good, any judge in the land (on FISA) would happily rubber-stamp the request. So you really have to ask yourself why they felt they couldn't go to the courts for permssion. Were the targets out of bounds? Or was the probable cause bogus, or tainted (e.g. by torture)? The potential answers are uniformly disturbing.
posted by dhartung at 9:18 PM on January 16, 2006


Thanks to ericb for great links throughout this and other threads.
posted by zoinks at 9:28 PM on January 16, 2006


So you really have to ask yourself why they felt they couldn't go to the courts for permssion. Were the targets out of bounds? Or was the probable cause bogus, or tainted (e.g. by torture)?

My theory is that the Justice Dept. felt that certain requests based on intel gathered from sifting through large amounts of data (Echelon, etc) wouldn't pass FISA's minimization requirement. FISA applications require that the gov't demonstrate that the surveillance proposed keep surveillance of U.S. citizens to a minimum, and require that the contents of any communication involving a citizen be discarded within 72 hours of collection. The type of intelligence gathering that the recent stories have described would likely fail in both regards.

IANAL, etc.
posted by gsteff at 9:33 PM on January 16, 2006


And dhartung I agree. Unless it turns out W. et al have been spying on political or personal "enemies", they will recieve a slap on the wrist no matter the legality. If this all can be spun as an attempt (however misguided) to "protect amurrca" no heads will roll. Which is pathetic.
posted by zoinks at 9:34 PM on January 16, 2006


The Swift Boating of John Murtha

The President Needs to Denounce the Swift-Boating of Murtha... Now!
posted by ericb at 9:40 PM on January 16, 2006


Yes, gsteff. And would have been onerous for the Admin/NSA, because they're looking at so many communications from so many people. Getting a warrant for each? No way. And of course asking for the warrants would have led to the whole program leaking out, FISA being a secret court notwithstanding.
Oh, and IANALE(ither). Obvioiusly.
posted by zoinks at 9:41 PM on January 16, 2006




Iraq Soldiers Speak Out Supporting Murtha.
posted by ericb at 9:54 PM on January 16, 2006


Yeah.

I'm sure that is said each time, Espy. "This time is different..."
posted by dios at 2:56 PM AST on January 16 [!]


I will never get my comeuppance! You hear me! No comeuppance! - H. Simpson
posted by Space Coyote at 9:58 PM on January 16, 2006


Rhetorically slippery, trying to shift focus to inconsequential or nonexistent flaws in order to poison the well rather than confront the core points, but rational.

This is so true it bears repeating. It's another one of those characteristics commonly found on this style (round-table discussion-focused) of BBS. It is a fun role to play, at least for the instigator.

Having been-there, done-that, my advice is this: learn to recognize it and learn to ignore it. It's a powertrip game, yanking others' chains by distracting them with an irrelevency, exaggeration, or outright lie, and then dancing around the minuitia with the dummies who try to correct you. That is the payoff. If there's no pay-off, there's no point in doing it.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:24 PM on January 16, 2006


Oh, and as for the other one:

ParisParamus, you are being spanked every time you post. You are reduced to throwaways and insult. You are powerless against the others.

All regular readers know you as a worthless troll and have independently decided "I will not take the thing from your hand" is the best approach to dealing with you on MeFi.

You are an outcast.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:29 PM on January 16, 2006


Where are the case examples of the 'average' americans that have been eavesdropped on?

An organization i am a part of, the georgia peace and justice coalition, was listed among those groups spied upon in the Pentagon Surveillance Database.

/anecdotal
posted by eustatic at 10:47 PM on January 16, 2006




From ericb's link re: lawsuits being filed I see James Bamford is one of the plaintiffs in ACLU complaint. I'd think this gives the suit some added credibility right there. He would be quite an interesting witness. The smear campaign against him (and other plaintiffs) should begin any moment now.
posted by zoinks at 11:39 PM on January 16, 2006


THE TERRORISTS ARE COMING TO KILL US WITH PLANES AND GERM WARFARE AND NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND SNAKES.

Fuckin' A. Want to be careful about those snakes. Am I the only one who finds PP hilariously funny? That was good.
posted by longbaugh at 3:04 AM on January 17, 2006


It's not just snakes or planes -- it's snakes on planes!
posted by lodurr at 3:23 AM on January 17, 2006


I think PP is Andy Kaufman.
posted by EarBucket at 3:42 AM on January 17, 2006


Before anyone wanks themselves raw, PP's comment above is spoofed. C'mon, he doesn't say Muslimists, he says Islamists. Pay attention. Or quit being babies and lose the greasemonkey thing.

I had a Meta post ready, but Matt considered it a closed issue and said to post where the "hack" happened.

fandango_matt, please stop embarrassing me. You're not doing anything for The Cause with shit like this. You're... wait for it... trolling. And not even under your own internet name (well, kinda.)

Wow. Talk about cast-iron cajones.

I really hope that quonsar or someone else will pop in here to tell me how I don't know how to use the internet, and that I'm just not hovering over the right link-that-would-make-all-things-clear, because if I'm not wrong this is really disappointing on a lot of levels.
posted by Cyrano at 5:47 AM on January 17, 2006


You people really know how to poison any attempts at a dialogue. All you want is your pristine circle jerk or else you get all agitated and accusatory. - dios

Who is "you people"? Some people here are being like that. Which sucks. But it isn't everybody.

It is absolutely pathetic that I can't have a reasonable, substantive dialogue on this website without having to deal with bullshit like this. - dios

You don't have to deal with the bullshit. Ignore it. They'll blither on, but you don't have to watse your time and energy on that. There are several posters here trying to have an substantial dialogue with you, but you keep focussing on the bullshit. Have you noticed how PP's crap has faded to the background and is becoming infrequent since MeFites en masse decided to quit wasting their time on him? If you stopped responding to the haters, they would get quiter.

Or, you know, what Meredith said.
posted by raedyn at 8:45 AM on January 17, 2006


Excuse me for putting this here and not relying on MeTa, but the callout is rather oblique.

cyrano: If you're using Firefox and any of hte several GreasMonkey scripts that add strings to the end of that little status line after every post, it's painfully clear that the "ParisParamus" message was spoofed, because it's lacking those add-ons. So if it helps, at least I know you're not crazy.

(Anyone who's curious might also note that fandango-matt's message, immediately following, has exactly the same message ID....)

Another telltale: you'll note that the "ParisParamus" message is in a slightly different size of type. (Though that could be avoided.)

That said: It's still not just snakes or just planes.
posted by lodurr at 9:01 AM on January 17, 2006


When is Philip K Dick going to write the novel about how Gore is really president, and Bush is just another CEO indicted in the energy corporate scandals of 2001?
posted by eustacescrubb at 9:08 AM on January 17, 2006


BTW....our intrepid AG Alberto Gonzales has already rejected this bi-partisan call for a special prosecutor:
KING: Back to former Vice President Gore asking for a special counsel to investigate, would you object to that?

GONZALES: Well, I don't know why -- I don't know why there would be a need for a special counsel at this time, Larry, because what I can tell you is that from the very beginning, from its inception this program has been carefully reviewed by the lawyers at the Department of Justice and other lawyers within the administration and we firmly believe that the president does have the legal authority to authorize electronic surveillance in order to gather up foreign intelligence particularly, Larry, when we're talking about foreign intelligence of the enemy in a time of war.
So, the President's lawyers tell him it's legal and that makes it so, apparently. That's the nation's top law enforcement officer, a Bush crony who stonewalls. Incidentally, despite the initial reports that Gonzales would be called before Congress to testify, he now says he won't.

Justice will not be done until Bush, Cheney, and every corrupt crony they've appointed, and all their enablers are purged from this government, completely discredited, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of our law for their crimes.
posted by edverb at 9:11 AM on January 17, 2006


eustacescrubb: When is Philip K Dick going to write ...
When he comes back from the dead?
posted by lodurr at 9:18 AM on January 17, 2006


And stops being paranoid (honestly, I think Dick would have supported this war).
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:33 AM on January 17, 2006


I've heard the wiretapping justified as "inconvenient" and as a result of 9/11 and terrorists in this thread.

Let me repeat what many others have documented in that 72 hours after the fact for a warrant is in no way "inconvenient" and the wiretapping was going on BEFORE 9/11 (and Cheney still couldn't get off his ass and go after bin Laden or the hijackers.)

Now that those canards have been addressed, is there any other reason Bush should be allowed to break the law with impunity?

Tom Paine said that the rule of law should be our King, not George.
posted by nofundy at 10:36 AM on January 17, 2006


edverb,

Gonzalez lied.
Again.
He said, in effect, "It's all
Bill Clinton's fault!" which is the standard fallback GOP talking point when they get caught.
Loyalty takes precedence over competence or honesty or anything else in Bushco and Gonzalez knows it.
posted by nofundy at 10:39 AM on January 17, 2006


Wow. Well said, orthogonality, dhartung, jlub , edverb , et. (many) al.
This is why I prefer to read metafilter. Level headed, reasoned discussion. Disagreement with nuance and subtle degrees. And without the self-stroking blunt foils (trolls).
Nifty. Thanks all. (Well, most, I mean - all that matter.)
posted by Smedleyman at 11:16 AM on January 17, 2006


This is slightly off topic, but dhartung, what happened to the "Keys to the White House" Site?

(I think the "scandal" key may be turning ...)

Not to praise myself too strenuously, but I weas sure stuff like this was going to happen when Bush entered the White House (I shall refuse to write that hew was elected), based on the conduct of his campaign.

Mr. Bush's character was there for all to see in 2000, if you wanted to look.

BTW, has the quote that Mr. Bush called the Constitution a "goddmaned piece of paper" been confirmed? I heard somewhere that he said it, but I don't know where it came from.
posted by JKevinKing at 12:01 PM on January 17, 2006


Sorry about the bad spelling; I'm an awful typist and should really better proofread these posts before posting. Sorry.
posted by JKevinKing at 12:02 PM on January 17, 2006


nofundy, just to clarify my post above:
I do not mean to imply that the onerousness(?) of getting so many warrants justifies these illegal actions by the Administration. I know there are people making this argument. These people are wrong. I'm just saying it was another reason they went around the FISA court - not a reason that justifies it in any way though.
posted by zoinks at 12:25 PM on January 17, 2006


Gore responds to Gonzales:
The Administration's response to my speech illustrates perfectly the need for a special counsel to review the legality of the NSA wiretapping program.

The Attorney General is making a political defense of the President without even addressing the substantive legal questions that have so troubled millions of Americans in both political parties.

There are two problems with the Attorney General's effort to focus attention on the past instead of the present Administration's behavior. First, as others have thoroughly documented, his charges are factually wrong. Both before and after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was amended in 1995, the Clinton/Gore Administration complied fully and completely with the terms of the law.

Second, the Attorney General's attempt to cite a previous administration's activity as precedent for theirs - even though factually wrong - ironically demonstrates another reason why we must be so vigilant about their brazen disregard for the law. If unchecked, their behavior would serve as a precedent to encourage future presidents to claim these same powers, which many legal experts in both parties believe are clearly illegal.

The issue, simply put, is that for more than four years, the executive branch has been wiretapping many thousands of American citizens without warrants in direct contradiction of American law. It is clearly wrong and disrespectful to the American people to allow a close political associate of the president to be in charge of reviewing serious charges against him.

The country needs a full and independent investigation into the facts and legality of the present Administration's program.
posted by edverb at 2:35 PM on January 17, 2006


Agreed.
posted by juiceCake at 4:23 PM on January 17, 2006


And amen!
posted by squirrel at 4:47 PM on January 17, 2006


I voted for Gore once, and would vote for him again.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:52 PM on January 17, 2006


You mean you would elect him again. So would I. Hopefully the Diebold family will do perp walks before 2008 so that election won't also wind up before the Supreme Court.

Gore/Clinton 2008!
posted by squirrel at 5:01 PM on January 17, 2006


uffda. Gore doesn't need Hellary.

GORE/FEINGOLD 08
posted by stenseng at 5:13 PM on January 17, 2006


I meant Bill.
posted by squirrel at 5:39 PM on January 17, 2006


Hitchens speaks.
posted by homunculus at 9:15 PM on January 18, 2006


Face it: every single member of the Bush Adminstration is guilty of multiple, impeachable offenses; violations of the Constitution. And if it doesn't happen, it's only because they've rigged the system with corrupt, immoral individuals.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:42 PM CST on January 16 [!]

[blinks]

Is this the message that was spoofed? Because if not... wow.
posted by quin at 11:48 AM on January 19, 2006


Nope, that's not the one. this is the one.

However, your question did lead me ot scan most of PP's posts in this thread, and they're quite inconsistent with his normally expressed views. It's looking more and more like he's handed over his account info and has become a group entity.
posted by lodurr at 2:20 PM on January 19, 2006


dios, the problem is that mefi has 26,434 users, and you've only got nine of them listed in your "I'm not smart enough to deal with" list. If you just tacked on the other 26,423 (leaving room for you and ParisParamus) you'd save yourself a lot of trouble.
posted by bardic at 4:40 PM PST on January 16


seriously that list makes me laugh out loud every time i see it
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:21 PM on January 22, 2006






[chortles]
posted by five fresh fish at 9:16 AM on January 24, 2006


Hannity Attacks Media for Calling Domestic Spying “Domestic Spying”:
"SEAN HANNITY:This is not about domestic spying, because that’s the way it’s being portrayed by people on the left and by the news media…

MARY MATALIN: …And just using the words 'domestic spying' is how the left frames these debates. I looked this up a couple of weeks ago when this argument first started. There are 104,000 hits on references to signals intelligence, which is what this is, electronic surveillance of terrorists. There was 1.5 million references to domestic spying. People hear, 'Domestic spying.' It’s completely not that.

You spin me right round, baby, right round!
posted by ericb at 12:56 PM on January 24, 2006


White House Follows NewsMax’s Lead -- Spin It With a New Label: 'Terrorist Surveillance Program.'
posted by ericb at 12:59 PM on January 24, 2006


Hey Smedleyman: don't be such a jerk...I am serving, and appreciate all others who serve, but I also appreciate people who support the President's policies, whether they are able to put on a uniform or not. Just because PP (or anyone else) is not actually firing a gun at an enemy does not mean that they are cowards, or idiots, or hypocrites.
posted by davidmsc at 1:47 PM on February 10, 2006


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