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Links

Reading Around on February 23rd through February 24th

Leaning in the Wind - Ilford Delta

A few interesting links collected February 23rd through February 24th:

Categories
Photography

AT&T Web survey with Netscape

AT&T Web survey with Netscape
AT&T Web survey with Netscape, originally uploaded by swanksalot.

How long ago were these browsers even current on a Mac? 10 years ago?

The link to Netscape is defunct, of course.

I tried my best to avoid using scatological comments when filling out the survey, but found it difficult at best.

Godz, do I despise AT&T aka Southwestern Bell aka SBC

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Explorer_3
Internet Explorer 3.0 was released in 1996 for Windows, in 1997 for Mac.

If you are curious, the survey link is here

www.fwcrc.com/issx/index.html?name=respondent&passwor…

We made the mistake of signing up for a Business Class VoIP service being offered by AT&T last spring, but they were not able to figure out how to actually install it before we cancelled it. Unfortunately, even though we were never actually customers, the AT&T Deathstar continued to bill us, and eventually sent their attack hounds to harass us. After many many many hours of discussion with various AT&T minions, our bill is apparently forgiven. But now they want to know how we feel about them? Ha. Seriously, we spent at least 100 hours of our time fighting with AT&T to cancel our non-existent account, after spending about 50 hours trying to set up the VoIP system. I do not how AT&T stays in business, inertia I suppose. That, and the massive investment in phone lines around the world: most American telecom providers end up leasing AT&T wires and conduits.

Categories
Business

Verizon and Bogus Data Charges

David Pogue on how Verizon screws their own customers with bogus data charges:

Escaped Red Guard

“Here’s how it works. They configure the phones to have multiple easily hit keystrokes to launch ‘Get it now’ or ‘Mobile Web’—usually a single key like an arrow key. Often we have no idea what key we hit, but up pops one of these screens. The instant you call the function, they charge you the data fee. We cancel these unintended requests as fast as we can hit the End key, but it doesn’t matter; they’ve told me that ANY data–even one kilobyte–is billed as 1MB. The damage is done.

“Imagine: if my one account has 1 to 3 bogus $1.99 charges per month for data that I don’t download, how much are they making from their 87 million other customers? Not a bad scheme. All by simply writing your billing algorithm to bill a full MB when even a few bits have moved.”

As it turns out, my correspondent is quite correct. My last couple of Verizon phones did indeed have non-reprogrammable, dedicated keys for those ridiculously overpriced “Get it now”-type services that I would never use in a million years.

At about the same time, I got a note from a reader who says he actually works at Verizon, and he’s annoyed enough about the practice to blow the whistle:

“The phone is designed in such a way that you can almost never avoid getting $1.99 charge on the bill. Around the OK button on a typical flip phone are the up, down, left, right arrows. If you open the flip and accidentally press the up arrow key, you see that the phone starts to connect to the web. So you hit END right away. Well, too late. You will be charged $1.99 for that 0.02 kilobytes of data. NOT COOL. I’ve had phones for years, and I sometimes do that mistake to this day, as I’m sure you have. Legal, yes; ethical, NO.

“Every month, the 87 million customers will accidentally hit that key a few times a month! That’s over $300 million per month in data revenue off a simple mistake!

[Click to continue reading From the Desk of David Pogue – Verizon – How Much Do You Charge Now? – NYTimes.com]

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were telecom corporations that tried to grow their customer base by being nice to them? Ha, not bloody likely. The US telecom corporations seemingly attempt to be a bigger dick than their competitor, a veritable battle to the bottom. Meh, a pox on all their houses.

Pogue concludes:

The more Verizon gouges, the worse it looks. Every single day, I get e-mail from people saying they’re switching at the first opportunity, or would if they could. In time, the only people who will stay with Verizon are people who have no coverage with any other carrier.

Every company’s dream, right? A base of miserable customers who stick with you only because they have no choice.

Categories
Business government

Cellphone Gripes Worthy of Congress’s Time

David Pogue has a long list of issues that could be discussed at the Senate Commerce Committee hearings about cellphone exclusivity contracts. Questions such as: why is text messaging charged at such a higher rate than email messaging? and my pet peeve: why is there that annoying 15 second automated voice before you can leave or listen to a voicemail? So irritating.

Cell phone-iphile

The carriers can’t possibly argue that transmitting text-message data costs them that much money. One blogger (http://bit.ly/gHkES) calculated that the data in a text message costs you about 61 million times as much as the same message sent by e-mail.

15-SECOND INSTRUCTIONS This one makes me crazy. When I call to leave you a voicemail message, the first thing I hear, before I’m allowed to hear the beep, is 15 seconds of instructions. “To page this person, press 5.” Page this person!? Oh, sorry, I didn’t realize this was 1980! “When you have finished recording, you may hang up.” Oh, really!? So glad you mentioned that! I would have stayed on the line forever!

And then when I call in for messages, I’m held up for 15 more seconds. “To listen to your messages, press 1.” Why else would I be calling!?

(Yes, there are key-presses that can bypass the instructions. But they’re different for each carrier. When you call someone, you’re supposed to know which carrier that person uses and which key to press? Sure.)

Is this really so evil? Is 15 seconds here and there that big a deal? Well, Verizon has 70 million customers. If each customer leaves one message and checks voicemail once a day, Verizon rakes in — are you sitting down? — $850 million a year. That’s right: $850 million, just from making us sit through those 15-second airtime-eating instructions.

And that’s just Verizon. Where’s the outrage, people?

[Click to continue reading David Pogue – Cellphone Gripes Worthy of Congress’s Time – NYTimes.com]

There are other topics too, like the subsidy game (once your contract is over, you don’t get a reduction in your monthly bill, even though your bill helped lower the cost of your phone for 24 months or whatever). Of course, the telecom corporations are huge donors to Congress, so the odds of meaningful consumer-friendly legislation emerging from the Senate Commerce Committee is slim to none.

Categories
Business Music

ASCAP Has Lost Its Fraking Mind

ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) has discovered a new business model: demanding payment for ringtones. Would be very surprised if the public ridicule of their new bold assertion doesn’t ring out from every quarter. Ridiculous.

Cell phone-iphile

[ASCAP’s] latest move is to claim that legally purchased ringtones on mobiles phones, playing in public places, represents a public performance for which it is owed royalties. Songwriters and music publishers already are paid royalties on ringtone purchases, but ASCAP is claiming that buying the file is entirely different than “the performance” (i.e., the phone ringing).

In the EFF’s response to ASCAP, it notes that copyright law makes a specific exemption for performances made “without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage.” ASCAP counters that even if that’s true, only the owners of mobile phones can make that assertion, but the mobile operators (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, etc.) still need to pay up for performance rights because they are commercial entities, even if the use of the phones is not. The EFF goes on to point out how this reasoning does not mesh with the law, the case law, or the intended purpose of copyright.

On top of this, even if, in some bizarre, twisted interpretation of the law, a ringtone playing on a phone was a public performance, how would it be the mobile operators’ liability to pay? That would be like saying that Apple should pay ASCAP royalties because songs it sells on iTunes could potentially be played through speakers publicly somewhere. Perhaps I shouldn’t be giving ASCAP ideas…

[From ASCAP Now Claiming That Your Mobile Phone Ringing Is A Public Performance | Techdirt]

Morons.

Categories
Business politics

Ethics Not Important for McCain Ranch

For all of McCain’s yammering about changing the culture of corruption in Washington, you’d think he’d start by cleaning up his own corruption first. I’m sure you could call up Verizon or AT&T and complain about your cellphone reception, and they’d install cell-phone towers in your remote location, free of charge, right?

Early in 2007, just as her husband launched his presidential bid, Cindy McCain sought to resolve an old problem – the lack of cellphone coverage on her remote 15-acre ranch near Sedona, Ariz., nestled deep in a tree-lined canyon called Hidden Valley.

Over the past year, she offered land for a permanent cell tower, and Verizon Wireless embarked on an expensive public process to meet her needs, hiring contractors and seeking county land-use permits.

Verizon ultimately abandoned its effort to install a permanent tower in August. Company spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said the project would be “an inappropriate way” to build its network. “It doesn’t make business sense for us to do that,” he added.

Instead, Verizon delivered a portable tower known as a “cell site on wheels” – free of charge – to the McCain property in June…

In July, AT&T followed suit, wheeling in a portable tower for free to match Verizon’s offer. “This is an unusual situation,” AT&T spokeswoman Claudia B. Jones said. …

Ethics lawyers said Cindy McCain’s dealings with the wireless companies stand out because her husband is a senior member of the Senate commerce committee, which oversees the Federal Communications Commission and the telecommunications industry. He has been a leading advocate for industry-backed legislation, fighting regulations and taxes on telecommunication services.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his campaign have close ties to Verizon and AT&T. Five campaign officials, including manager Rick Davis, have worked as lobbyists for Verizon. Former McCain staff member Robert Fisher is an in-house lobbyist for Verizon and is volunteering for the campaign. Fisher, Verizon chief executive Ivan G. Seidenberg and company lobbyists have raised more than $1.3 million for McCain’s presidential effort, and Verizon employees are among the top 20 corporate donors over McCain’s political career, giving his campaigns more than $155,000.

McCain’s Senate chief of staff Mark Buse, senior strategist Charles R. Black Jr. and several other campaign staff members have registered as AT&T lobbyists in the past. AT&T Executive Vice President Timothy McKone and AT&T lobbyists have raised more than $2.3 million for McCain. AT&T employees have donated more than $325,000 to the Republican’s campaigns, putting the company in the No. 3 spot for career donations to McCain, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

“It raises the aura of special consideration for somebody because he is a member of the Senate,” said Stanley Brand, a former House counsel for Democrats and an ethics lawyer who represents politicians in both parties.

[From Exclusive: Verizon and AT&T Provided Cell Towers for McCain Ranch – Washington Post Investigations]

What a perfect description of John McCain: special consideration for some, and bupkis for the rest of us. The tower would be so infrequently used, it made no business sense, unless you are helping out your friend in Washington, D.C.

Three telecommunications specialists consulted by The Post said the proposed site covers so few users that it is unlikely to generate enough traffic to justify the investment. Robb Alarcon, an industry specialist who helps plan tower placement, said the proposed location appeared to be a “strategic build,” free-of-charge coverage to high-priority customers. A former Verizon executive vice president, who asked not to be named because he worked for the company, agreed with Alarcon, saying, “It was a VIP kind of thing.”

Escaped Red Guard

The Atlantic’s Joshua Green follows up (and please click through if you are interested in the topic, there are several primary documents hosted at The Atlantic)

What’s clear from the report is that the process of putting up a tower required a lot of work—in addition to consultants and archeologists and Indian tribes, it meant notifying all sorts of government agencies, as the report lays out. What’s also clear from the public record is that Verizon knew full well whose non-sacred Indian land this ranch belonged to. Though the formal, bureaucratic name for the McCain’s ranch seems to be “AZ 2 Hidden Valley Ranch,” Verizon’s internal map, obtained by The Atlantic (it was part of a Verizon engineer’s report on the property), refers to it as “John McCain’s cabin.” So while Cindy McCain may indeed have requested the tower over the web like an ordinary millionaire rancher with spotty phone reception, Verizon was well aware that she was anything but that. (As of this posting, Jeffrey Nelson, the Verizon spokesman, hadn’t returned my call.)

All of this suggests a number of things: Rogers looks to have been correct in stating that the Secret Service asked for, and received, temporary towers—but that doesn’t address the parallel issue of the permanent towers, long underway until just recently, that lay at the heart of the Post piece and in the public record. The McCains may not have asked Verizon for any special favors—but, wittingly or not, they sure look like they were about to receive them. To my mind, Verizon looks worst of all: the company is claiming that it abandoned the tower because it wouldn’t “make business sense to do it.” In a sense, this is self evident: you don’t have to look any further than a map of the area to see what a remote and sparsely populated place is “AZ 2 Hidden Valley Ranch.” And so the only reason to embark on the two-year process of lawyers, regulators, consultant, archeologists, and Indians is if you’re seeking a payoff of another kind.

Categories
politics

Blue Dog Democrats and Their Master

AT&T was thankful to the Blue Dog Democrats, and others, who gave the telecom corporations retroactive immunity for breaking the law, and spying on Americans without warrants, before 9-11 even happened, so AT&T threw a lavish, private gala. A group of blogger activists tried to find out exactly who was invited to this special FISA party, but even though the party was held on public land, they were thrown out by Denver Police.

Last night in Denver, at the Mile High Station — next to Invesco Stadium, where Barack Obama will address a crowd of 30,000 people on Thursday night — AT&T threw a lavish, private party for Blue Dog House Democrats, virtually all of whom blindly support whatever legislation the telecom industry demands and who also, specifically, led the way this July in immunizing AT&T and other telecoms from the consequences for their illegal participation in the Bush administration’s warrantless spying program. Matt Stoller has one of the listings for the party here.

Armed with full-scale Convention press credentials issued by the DNC, I went — along with Firedoglake’s Jane Hamsher, John Amato, Stoller and others — in order to cover the event, interview the attendees, and videotape the festivities. There was a wall of private security deployed around the building, and after asking where the press entrance was, we were told by the security officials, after they consulted with event organizers, that the press was barred from the event, and that only those with invitations could enter — notwithstanding the fact that what was taking place in side was a meeting between one of the nation’s largest corporations and the numerous members of the most influential elected faction in Congress. As a result, we stood in front of the entrance and began videotaping and trying to interview the parade of Blue Dog Representatives, AT&T executives, assorted lobbyists and delegates who pulled up in rented limousines, chauffeured cars, and SUVs in order to find out who was attending and why AT&T would be throwing such a lavish party for the Blue Dog members of Congress.

Amazingly, not a single one of the 25-30 people we tried to interview would speak to us about who they were, how they got invited, what the party’s purpose was, why they were attending, etc. One attendee said he was with an “energy company,” and the other confessed she was affiliated with a “trade association,” but that was the full extent of their willingness to describe themselves or this event. It was as though they knew they’re part of a filthy and deeply corrupt process and were ashamed of — or at least eager to conceal — their involvement in it. After just a few minutes, the private security teams demanded that we leave, and when we refused and continued to stand in front trying to interview the reticent attendees, the Denver Police forced us to move further and further away until finally we were unable to approach any more of the arriving guests.

[From AT&T thanks the Blue Dog Democrats with a lavish party – Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com]

Shriveled

Video of the event is now available, and a transcript of Democracy Now!’s video of the same event here

GLENN GREENWALD: Yeah, it’s amazing. And essentially, we probably tried to interview twenty-five, thiry people going in, and every last person refused to even give their name, identify themselves, say what they’re here for, what the event is for. It’s more secretive than like a Dick Cheney energy council meeting. I mean, it’s amazing.

AMY GOODMAN: So, what are you here for? Why do you want to interview people?

GLENN GREENWALD: Well, because, I mean, it’s extraordinary that the same Blue Dogs that just gave this extremely corrupt gift to AT&T are now attending a party underwritten by AT&T, the purpose of which is to thank the Blue Dogs for the corrupt legislative gift that they got. So AT&T gives money to Blue Dogs, the Blue Dogs turn around and immunize AT&T from lawbreaking, and then AT&T throws a party at the Democratic convention thanking them, and then they all go in and into this exclusive club.

and:

GLENN GREENWALD: Absolutely. I mean, I found the symbolism of the event very revealing. First of all, as you say, there was a very intended-to-be-intimidating wall of private security surrounding the event, and they were actually infinitely more aggressive and angrier than the Denver police were. And in fact, I was there with Jane Hamsher, the blogger from FireDogLake, who at one point was trying to speak with one of the individuals entering the party, and she was physically pushed by one of the private security members, notwithstanding the fact that the Denver police had been there the entire time, navigating and negotiating where it was that we could stand. The other aspect of it was, was that what the police had been clearly trained to do is create this façade of being accommodating and cooperative and pleasant, but what it really does is it masks the fact that their strategy is to ensure that any sort of dissident voices, or people off script, are relegated to places where they can’t really be heard.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s very hard to figure out in these situations. You know, you have a sidewalk, which is owned by the private venue, and where the public can use the public sidewalk, they’re showing you the cracks, the crevices in the sidewalk, and they’re saying that’s theirs, this is yours.

GLENN GREENWALD: Right, well, I mean, I found that very odd, too. At first, we were told that we could stand in a certain place that was on one side of one of the cracks that appeared in the sidewalk, and I was kind of amazed that the Denver police knew with such precision, based on the cracks in the sidewalk, where private and public property were demarcated. But when it turned out that where we were told to stand originally still enabled us to accost the people who were exiting the cars and try to interview them, suddenly the cracks in the sidewalk shifted to a place further away, and then suddenly that became the public-private line, and then we were told to stand there.

Who needs civil liberties when there are pageants to present!

Categories
News-esque

Cellphone Nation Ruining Polling Data

Polling data is goofy anyway, there is only so much one can really learn from them. Still, this undercount seems to me worthy of note.

Cell phone-iphile

Say you want to reach a representative sample of the U.S. electorate for a presidential poll. The Obama-McCain race is relatively close these days, with the Democrat’s lead hovering around 5 to 6 points in most surveys. Someone tells you that he’s selected a sample that’s predominantly under 40 years of age (oops, that one favors Obama); disproportionately renters rather than homeowners (Obama-leaning again); full of college students (sounds like a Starbucks Obama thing to me) — and, for good measure, includes a higher proportion of blacks and Hispanics than the national population does.

At this point you throw up your hands and exclaim: “Why are we concentrating on such a pro-Obama universe? He could be leading by 20 points or more among those people!”

He could. He probably is. But in actuality, the sample I’ve described is either not being included at all in many national polls or is being undercounted. Why? Because I’m talking about the growing number of American cellphone users who have no other type of phone or who choose to go wireless for the vast majority of their interactive needs. And this election cycle — for the first, and perhaps only, time — this group has the chance to render presidential polls “wrong from the start”: potentially disguising at least 2 to 3 percentage points of Obama support and maybe more.

Heretofore my industry has dismissed the cellphone-only population with a troika of “yes, buts.” Yes, they’re undercounted, but 1) they don’t vote anyway; 2) their numbers are still small; and 3) we can find acceptable substitutes in the land-line population.

And to be honest, there is a fourth, still more powerful rationale that remains unstated: “Yes, they’re undercounted, but it’s too damn difficult and expensive to reach them.”

[Click to read the rest of Cellphone users missing from election surveys | Salon ]

Hanging Out

Categories
politics

Telecom Immunity Priorities

Bush’s buddies, the telecom giants, are still worried they might have to answer for their crimes.

From the Senate floor, Ted Kennedy just cut through all the crap:
“The President has said that American lives will be sacrificed if Congress does not change FISA. But he has also said that he will veto any FISA bill that does not grant retro-active immunity. No immunity, no FISA bill. So if we take the President at his word, he’s willing to let Americans die to protect the phone companies.”

[From Daily Kos: Kennedy on Telecom Immunity]

Zing!

(H/T)

Categories
News-esque politics

Bush Opens Mouth, Lies

Oh, yeah, I believe the Dauphin. Especially after reading this tidbit about the Pentagon also collecting data on everything possible for our upcoming gulag.

WSJ.com – Bush Defends NSA Eavesdropping Program

President Bush said the government does not troll the personal lives of Americans, but didn’t directly address a newspaper report that the National Security Agency has gathered millions of Americans’ phone records.

So in other words, don’t believe a word of this non-denial denial.

…Congressional Republicans and Democrats demanded answers from the Bush administration Thursday after a report in USA Today said the NSA secretly collected records of ordinary Americans’ phone calls to build a database of every call made within the country.

“It is our government, it’s not one party’s government. It’s America’s government. Those entrusted with great power have a duty to answer to Americans what they are doing,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp. telephone companies began turning over records of tens of millions of their customers’ phone calls to the NSA program shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said USA Today, citing anonymous sources it said had direct knowledge of the arrangement.

The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, said he would call the phone companies to appear before the panel “to find out exactly what is going on.”

The telephone companies on Thursday declined to comment on national security matters, and would say only that they are assisting government agencies in accordance with the law.

“We have been in full compliance with the law and we are committed to our customers’ privacy,” said Bob Varettoni, a spokesman for Verizon.

The White House defended its overall eavesdropping program and said no domestic surveillance is conducted without court approval.

“The intelligence activities undertaken by the United States government are lawful, necessary and required to protect Americans from terrorist attacks,” said Dana Perino, the deputy White House press secretary, who added that appropriate members of Congress have been briefed on intelligence activities.

Mr. Leahy sounded incredulous about the latest report and railed against what he called a lack of congressional oversight. He argued that the media was doing the job of Congress.

“Are you telling me that tens of millions of Americans are involved with al Qaida?” Sen. Leahy asked. “These are tens of millions of Americans who are not suspected of anything … Where does it stop?”

The Democrat, who at one point held up a copy of the newspaper, added: “Somebody ought to tell the truth and answer questions. They haven’t. The press has done our work for us and we should be ashamed. Shame on us for being so far behind and being so willing to rubber stamp anything this administration does. We ought to fold our tents.”

The program doesn’t involve listening to or taping the calls. Instead it documents who talks to whom in personal and business calls, whether local or long distance, by tracking which numbers are called, the newspaper said.

The NSA and the Office of National Intelligence Director didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

NSA is the same spy agency that conducts the controversial domestic eavesdropping program that has been acknowledged by President Bush. The president said last year that he authorized the NSA to listen, without warrants, to international phone calls involving Americans suspected of terrorist links.

The report came as the former NSA director, Gen. Michael Hayden — Bush’s choice to take over leadership of the CIA — had been scheduled to visit lawmakers on Capitol Hill Thursday. However, the meetings with Republican Sens. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska were postponed at the request of the White House, said congressional aides in the two Senate offices.

The White House offered no reason for the postponement to the lawmakers. Other meetings with lawmakers were still planned.

Gen. Hayden already faced criticism because of the NSA’s secret domestic eavesdropping program. As head of the NSA from March 1999 to April 2005, Mr. Hayden also would have overseen the call-tracking program.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat of California who has spoken favorably of the nomination, said the latest revelation “is also going to present a growing impediment to the confirmation of Gen. Hayden.”

The NSA wants the database of domestic call records to look for any patterns that might suggest terrorist activity, USA Today said.

Don Weber, a senior spokesman for the NSA, told the paper that the agency operates within the law, but wouldn’t comment further on its operations.

One big telecommunications company, Qwest Communications International Inc., has refused to turn over records to the program, the newspaper said, because of privacy and legal concerns.

USA Today story here.

More details at TPM Muckraker, TalkLeft, TalkLeft again, CorrenteWire, MyDD, ThisModernWorld, The Huffington Post, and no doubt hundreds more. These are just the pages I’ve managed to read so far.

Can we spell the word, Impeachment, yet?

Categories
News-esque politics

The Wiretappers That Couldn’t Shoot Straight

This outrage always seemed manufactured to me as well, perhaps because I’ve been watching the superlative serial drama, the Wire, recently.

“The Wire – The Complete First and Second Seasons” (Daniel Attias, Alex Zakrzewski, Elodie Keene)

If drug dealers (albeit fictional) from the projects of Baltimore knew in 2002 that cell phone conversations could be monitored, how can President Bunnypants declare with a straight face that ‘security was comprised’ by revealing the extent of warrantless wiretaps?

The Wiretappers That Couldn’t Shoot Straight – New York Times:

ALMOST two weeks before The New York Times published its scoop about our government’s extralegal wiretapping, the cable network Showtime blew the whole top-secret shebang. In its mini-series “Sleeper Cell,” about Islamic fundamentalist terrorists in Los Angeles, the cell’s ringleader berates an underling for chatting about an impending operation during a phone conversation with an uncle in Egypt.

“We can only pray that the N.S.A. is not listening,” the leader yells at the miscreant, who is then stoned for his blabbing.
If fictional terrorists concocted by Hollywood can figure out that the National Security Agency is listening to their every call, guess what? Real-life terrorists know this, too. So when a hyperventilating President Bush rants that the exposure of his warrant-free wiretapping in a newspaper is shameful and puts “our citizens at risk” by revealing our espionage playbook, you have to wonder what he is really trying to hide.

Our enemies, as America has learned the hard way, are not morons. Even if Al Qaeda hasn’t seen “Sleeper Cell” because it refuses to spring for pay cable, it has surely assumed from the get-go that the White House would ignore legal restraints on eavesdropping, just as it has on detainee jurisprudence and torture.
That the White House’s over-the-top outrage about the Times scoop is a smokescreen contrived to cover up something else is only confirmed by Dick Cheney’s disingenuousness. In last week’s oration at a right-wing think tank, he defended warrant-free wiretapping by saying it could have prevented the 9/11 attacks. Really? Not with this administration in charge. On 9/10 the N.S.A. (lawfully) intercepted messages in Arabic saying, “The match is about to begin,” and, “Tomorrow is zero hour.” You know the rest. Like all the chatter our government picked up during the president’s excellent brush-clearing Crawford vacation of 2001, it was relegated to mañana; the N.S.A. didn’t rouse itself to translate those warnings until 9/12.

Given that the reporters on the Times story, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, wrote that nearly a dozen current and former officials had served as their sources, there may be more leaks to come, and not just to The Times. Sooner or later we’ll find out what the White House is really so defensive about.

Categories
politics

Who Will Stand Up for the Constitution?

Bob Herbert wonders why Bush the lesser hasn’t been arrested yet

Bob Herbert: Who Will Stand Up for the Constitution?
Why wouldn’t we expect the administration to deceive the public about the illegal spying of the National Security Agency?

Yoosdabee, the Rethuglicans were all for ‘rule of law’….