S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

On FISA Favorites -- 2nd installment

For everyone who is a Democrat, a civil libertarian, a national security buff or a voter, this morning's Glenn Greenwald column is a must read. Does this take everyone into account? I mean to do just that. The article in is headlined "John King with Mike McConnell: rare journalistic honesty." What this talented writer does is expose a number of unsettling realities. 1) Most members of the mainstream media are not sufficiently prepared to report on the FISA controversy between the current administration and Congress. 2) DNI Admiral Mike McConnell is not apolitical and he has a major conflict of interest as a government official demanding retroactive immunity for the nation's telecommunication companies who have assisted the government to spy on its citizens. To quote (includes Glenn's links):

Since John King knows nothing about the FISA and telecom immunity debate, how could he possibly know that McConnell conducts himself apolitically? He can't. But that's the Beltway cliche -- what Beltway journalists chatter to one another about the stern and Serious Admiral -- and so King, having heard this, just chirps it out as though it's true and vouches for McConnell's unquestionable integrity. The reality about McConnell is the exact opposite. He has proven himself to be one of the most politicized and fact-free officials in the entire administration.

. . . Most significantly of all, McConnell is burdened by one of the most glaring conflicts of interest that we've seen in any significant political debate over the last seven years. His career before becoming DNI was devoted to the very private telecom sector on whose behalf he's now demanding immunity. When he claims that the Fate of the Nation rests on granting retroactive immunity to the telecom industry, he's advocating for his long-time partners, colleagues, and business associates. In the job he held prior to becoming DNI -- director of defense programs at Booz Allen -- he was directly involved with the very people, and possibly the very programs, for which he is now demanding amnesty:

What we have in the current Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act-FISA controversy is just crazy-making. It is a Catch 22. It is a no-win situation. explains, for those who have forgotten the origin of this important concept. Computer Encyclopedia: Catch-22

A paradoxical situation that has no happy ending. A popular movie with Alan Arkin in 1970, Catch-22 came from Joseph Heller's 1961 comical, yet gruesome, best-selling book about pilots in a fictitious World War II setting. The paradox was that no sane pilot would be crazy enough to want to continue flying dangerous missions. The only way a pilot would be grounded is if he were truly crazy, but if he asked to be grounded, he was then considered sane and would not be grounded.

I am a liberal {inserted disclaimer here}. Therefore I may have a mental disorder, according to the Astute Blogger. The blogger posts about Clinical Psychiatrist, Dr. Lyle Rossiter's new book,"The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness." Quoting from the post about the book that asserts that modern liberalism is a mental disorder:

"Based on strikingly irrational beliefs and emotions, modern liberals relentlessly undermine the most important principles on which our freedoms were founded... Like spoiled, angry children, they rebel against the normal responsibilities of adulthood and demand that a parental government meet their needs from cradle to grave." . . . Dr. Rossiter says the liberal agenda preys on weakness and feelings of inferiority in the population by:

* creating and reinforcing perceptions of victimization;
* satisfying infantile claims to entitlement, indulgence and compensation;
* augmenting primitive feelings of envy;
* rejecting the sovereignty of the individual, subordinating him to the will of the government.

"The roots of liberalism – and its associated madness – can be clearly identified by understanding how children develop from infancy to adulthood and how distorted development produces the irrational beliefs of the liberal mind," he says. "When the modern liberal mind whines about imaginary victims, rages against imaginary villains and seeks above all else to run the lives of persons competent to run their own lives, the neurosis of the liberal mind becomes painfully obvious."

No wonder we are crazy. Every day's news presents us with head-spinning new stories on fear-mongering, screw-ups at the FBI, Republican duplicity and outright lies from administration officials:

You can't be serious -- Jane Hamsher began her "On My TeeVee" post with this keen piece of writing yesterday - 2/24/08:

If there's an Oscar given out for Worst Comb-over Of the Modern Era, it goes to Mike McConnell, whose need to give Enron Ed's telecom clients immunity has been responsible for for a "national security" argument that's about as persuasive as the sweep of his locks. This morning on Late Edition he said the telecoms all turned into reluctant virgins last week after the PAA expired, and he needed the power to "compel" them to cooperate with domestic spying. Yeah, it's called a warrant.

Useful background reading --

  1. ACLU turned down by Supreme Court.

  2. Christy Hardin Smith on SCOTUS decision.

  3. Glenn Greenwald's analysis of courts and FISA.

Post Script -- I had forgotten how angry, and absolutely not paranoid, this event made me feel. In my (9/6/07) statistics at South by Southwest, I found this record of a Site Meter visit from NCTC (the National Counter Terrorism Center). You don't suppose the few, the proud, the Marines, in Pensacola, Florida are just fans of my writing? To quote the record:

Domain Name ? (Military)
IP Address
138.162.128.# (NCTC)
Continent : North America
Country : United States (Facts)
State : Florida
City : Pensacola
Lat/Long : 30.3511, -87.3028 (Map)
Distance : 606 miles
English (U.S.)
Operating System
Microsoft Win2000
Internet Explorer 6.0
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0; T312461; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; InfoPath.1)
version 1.3
Resolution : 1280 x 1024
Color Depth : 32 bits
Time of Visit
Sep 6 2007 10:34:03 am
Last Page View
Sep 6 2007 10:52:07 am
Visit Length
18 minutes 4 seconds
Page Views
Referring URL

Visit Entry Page
Visit Exit Page
Out Click
View my complete profile
Time Zone
Visitor's Time
Sep 6 2007 11:34:03 am
Visit Number

View my current slide show about the Bush years, "Millennium," at the bottom of this column.

My links:

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is poem on neglect at Making Good Mondays.

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Yobachi said...

Hi, I found your blog via Technorat's Civil Liberties tag.

I'm looking to find some other bloggers who would be interested in taking some collective action on the spy bills being negotiated in congress right now.

I've been reading Glenn for the last week as well. Here's my latest post on the issue:

I'm disappointed with the inattentiveness, despite my prodding, of the bloggers I usually coalesce with in regards to this most important of issues.

The Media is barely giving this issue any coverage, and when they do, they’re just reading the white house’s press statements.

I wanted to see if I could get some folks together for a mass blog action (and mass emailing) to raise awareness and get folks to contact House democrats to put some pressure on them to do the right thing for once, and stick to the party’s purported platform.

If you’re interested in participating in something like this or know of individuals or groups I should contact about it, please comment to that link or email me at

Carol Gee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carol Gee said...

Mr. Boswell, I am delighted to meet you. I just visited your blog and found it to be very interesting. I think what would be easiest for me is to send you an e-mail with some ideas. Thanks for your interest and the opportunity.