These items will be on tomorrow’s front pages, so it’s not as if I’m the only person who will be blogging about them. But I’m often so flabbergasted at the news since Bush took office that I can’t keep my composure and wait for people to learn about them through the regular channels.
First off is the Bush flip flop over torture. (Please keep in mind the nasty and obnoxious tone the Bush camp took in labelling John Kerry as a “flip flopper.”)
Bush has been pushing to weaking anti-torture legislation for months now, fighting John McCain and his no-nonsense bill to ban torture. Now that McCain’s bill has overwhelming, veto-proof support in Congress, Bush has suddenly embraced it, basically claiming that the bill he was fighting was actually what he wanted all along.
President Bush reversed position yesterday and endorsed a torture ban crafted by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) after months of White House attempts to weaken the measure, which would prohibit the “cruel, inhuman, or degrading” treatment of any detainee in U.S. custody anywhere in the world.
… “We’ve been happy to work with him to achieve a common objective, and that is to make it clear to the world that this government does not torture and that we adhere to the international convention [on] torture, whether it be here at home or abroad,” Bush said.
Meanwhile, in another anything-but-a-surprise move, it turns out that Bush has authorized spying on American citizens.
President Bush signed a secret order in 2002 authorizing the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals in the United States, despite previous legal prohibitions against such domestic spying, sources with knowledge of the program said last night.
The super-secretive NSA, which has generally been barred from domestic spying except in narrow circumstances involving foreign nationals, has monitored the e-mail, telephone calls and other communications of hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of people under the program, the New York Times disclosed last night.
Not surprising at all. The real indictment here is of the New York Times, because:
The Times said it held off on publishing its story about the NSA program for a year after administration officials said its disclosure would harm national security.
The media in this country is no longer a check on government power. I think that’s as obvious as the Bush administration spying on citizens, don’t you?
So, why does the most ‘civilized’ country on the planet NEED a legislative ban on torture?
Here’s one promising piece of news: The EVIL Patriot Act has failed in the Senate. Hopefully, it will die for good.
Here’s a link: http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/12/16/patriot.act