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August 06, 2007

Comments

As Occasional Observer said late in the 'No Deal' thread, the timing of the raid on an NSA employee Tamm's house is no accident.

They're going to monitor the communications of anyone who might cross them, and go after them. The gates are clanging shut. Is it getting a little chilly in here?

And Jim Webb has the gall or thick-headedness or both to say that this bill has no political ramifications. A man who represents a huge proportion of the federal workforce collaborates in silencing whistleblowers, who are responsible for every bit of the little we know about what this regime is doing.

Well said. I'm disappointed that Congress didn't have the nerve to block the bill, especially given the abuses that we so prevalent before FISA's original passage.

Politically, the right wing thinks that the revelations by the Church Committee of such gross abuses was itself the gross abuse that allegedly crippled our intelligence agencies.

There is a fundamental disagreement about values on this subject -- the right wing never accepted that this type of surveillance was wrong, that FISA was a good idea, and that the Church Committee did a good thing by ending an earlier era of political wiretapping.

I hope that we get a Church Committee repeat after Bush is replaced with a non-authoritarian President in order to air out all of the secret filth perpetrated by the Bush administration.

And the FISA atrocity comes up again in six months. Will the debate be renewed or will it meekly get approved again?

Bush has already announced that simple re-approval won't do but that those that "allegedly helped national security" would have to receive amnesty and their deeds be made legal retroactively.

Good post publius. I do think it’s an uphill battle as long as it’s framed as “Church Committee” vs. “we’re listening to terrorists”.

Even the story Ugh noted yesterday doesn’t help much, if the eavesdropping did in fact lead to shutting down an organization helping fund AQ.

It’s going to be a tough issue for Democrats to win on politically. I think that they can only do it morally. That is to say, vote their conscious and say screw the political fallout.

doesn't nazi history provide enough to raise the hair on the back of your neck?
apply that history targeting christians today with wiretapping and it should wake more up and make it more personal.the Bible talks about the persecution of christians and this law would be very on target with that belief.
this law is so scary that a word could trigger a full invasion of your home .the news is constantly alarming and misleading as the times middle eastern people were arrested for selling cell phones.that was totally insane.buying cell phones wasnt illegal and neither was selling them.i would imagine quite a few lawyers now buy quite a few cell phones just to be able to talk with their clients in confidence.if they dont,i would think they are committing a crime themselves?
br3n

I voted for Webb. I sent him an email suggesting we need a new law to make it illegal to do eavesdropping on legislators and their staffs, and judges and their staffs.

Also I said that that there is no oversight and no way to catch illegal surveillance except when the perpetrators confess. And civil service or military perps would be fired or worse.

So I suggested that perps who were ordered to do eavesdropping on legislators or judges should be given immediate retirement at full pay.

But that isn't enough, an administration that would blackmail senators might kill whistleblowers or their families. So I thought perhaps we could ask the british government to protect such people, in britain.

Since we don't want the executive arm of the federal government to eavesdrop on senators even on though a terrorist might contact them.

And the FISA atrocity comes up again in six months. Will the debate be renewed or will it meekly get approved again?

Congress will meekly approve it again.

This has been another edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions (h/t Atrios).

The question I still can’t find an answer to: Why did the D version of the bill require a super majority to pass but the R version only a simple majority?

I’ve read through the House Rules etc. but can’t find an answer. If anyone can shed any light on that…

I think OCSteve is right that this isn't going to be enough to stand up to "We're protecting you from terrorists." I fear the average person doesn't care about some old stories about Black Panthers and DFHs having their names taken down. Yeah, yeah, MLK, but he was probably up to something, and no system is perfect.

And Morton Halperin of the National Security Council, but who's counting?

Bushite überhack David Rivkin is on Diane Rehm this morning. If I disappear from the conversation, it's probably because he's elevated my blood pressure and brought on some sort of attack and I'm lying on the floor babbling weakly at the radio. He's now explaining why this bill doesn't go far enough.

I basically agree with KCinDC above. The public has been brainwashed by years of GOP propaganda to think of the New Left, and civil liberties guardians such as the ACLU, as dirty hippies who were and are a threat to the nation's stability, and deserve everything bad that happened to them. As for King, he's greatly admired in the abstract, but a lot of whites don't like what he did, and the fact that he was a serial adulterer doesn't help. (That was what made him vulnerable to the FBI, not unlike what happened to Bill Clinton.) Plus, the GOP has succeeded in making a lot of people hysterically afraid of terrorists, and thus willing to accept erosions in liberties in the name of fighting them. The whole tone of the country will have to change radically before people will understand why civil liberties are important.

The whole tone of the country will have to change radically before people will understand why civil liberties are important.

civil liberties are important? i thought they were just
objets de fétiche
.

My 83 year old mother, whose politics lean maximum middle, will interupt herself when mildly criticising Bush. She'll say, "I shouldn't say that- they might be listening".

Of course, she remembers McCarthy.

Lederman says the sunset is relatively meaningless.

-- Why did the D version of the bill require a super majority to pass but the R version only a simple majority? --

In the House, the D bill was brought up under "suspension of the rules," which results in a required 2/3rd majority to pass. The supermajority is prudent as the suspension limits debate to 40
minutes, and permits no amendment. See CRS Summary of House Rules for more.

The House could have amended S.1927 when it came up, as it was not brought up under a "suspension of the rules" procedure.

The reason for taking the two measures up "this way" was a political calculation by House leadership.

Over in the Senate, the two competing bills required 60 votes (either one) to pass. This technique of offering competing bills on contentious subjects is often used to bypass, by gentleman's agreement, the process of cloture motions and votes that usually occur on "contentious" bills. The "contention" in the Senate was phony, as S.1927 obtained exactly the 60 votes it needed to pass, and quite a few GOP senators (5 or 6 I think) were absent from
the vote.

Better Explanation for House Suspension of Rules

The procedure is NOT well suited for serious debate on contentious measures. But, IMO, the DNI language was intended to be passed with a minimum of debate, although a certain amount of token resistance was required in order to maintain the illusion of participative government.

Yes, cboldt, but what exactly was the political calculation in the House? Did the leadership actually think the Democratic bill, having been blessed by the DNI, would garner a two-thirds majority? Were they surprised that the Republicans didn't go along? If so, that seems like an extraordinary level of deception. If not, what was the point?

I guess it's necessary to bring some bills up under rules that prevent amendments. Otherwise, the Republicans plus a few Blue Dogs will amend the bill into something completely different or kill it with a poison pill. But forcing a requirement of a two-thirds vote kills the bill just as dead.

A key problem with much of the debate on civil rights (and indeed on the torture issue) has been the framing of the issue as 'spying on (or torturing) terrorists'.

The rules aren't technicalities--they have a purpose. But the purpose gets obscured if you only talk about the actual terrorists. The rules are to protect innocent people. And Bush has swept LOTS of innocent people in his net. Furthermore, the penalty for getting swept up, isn't just having crap listened to. It can involve get tortured, arrested without habeas corpus, and all sorts of nasty things that we shouldn't even come close to subjecting innocent people to.

Bush has been wrong lots of times. Focusing on those cases (rather than the marginal cases like Moussaoui) is the way to go.

Also, and this is one of the reasons I don't like this to be in the normal criminal arena, is that precedents set originally under 'national security' can easily flow from terrorism to other crimes. I don't see any indication that the new FISA rules couldn't be used to help drug cases. And considering the history of drug enforcement in the US, that ought to be very chilling.

As I've said before, my Dad, the most stand-up, play-by-the-rules, law-abiding guy ever, was on Nixon's enemies list, and I've always assumed our phones were tapped. His crime? Opposing one of Nixon's appointees to the Supreme Court. (Haynsworth? Carswell?)Or, in other words: exercising his right to political speech, and testifying accordingly before the Senate, which was preparing to exercise its right to advise and consent.

The horror.

Sebastian, I'd be surprised if the spying wasn't already being used against drug traffickers. Just start with the figleaf that drug profits are funding terrorism (which must be true somewhere), and in no time you'll be spying pretty indiscriminately on anything drug-related.

But again, I don't think that helps with the political problem. Most voters apparently care nothing about people accused of drug crimes, and therefore the Democrats are no different from the Republicans in pursuing the "war on drugs".

Just start with the figleaf that drug profits are funding terrorism (which must be true somewhere), and in no time you'll be spying pretty indiscriminately on anything drug-related.

Then our nation's Oil-men must be pretty nervous about this FISA re-do and what it does to their privacy, for surely they must know (just as our government must know) that oil money is funding terrorism.

Well, maybe, Model 62 -- at least any oil men who aren't plugged in to the Bush-Cheney regime. The fact that the oil trade itself is legal makes things somewhat different, though.

The spying thrives because of the secrecy and the canard "trust us, we are only spying on bad guys."

We need another Church hearing airing out all the crap about secret prisons, torture, etc. Unfortunately, it probably will not happen because of the howls that it will undermine the war on terror.

The secrecy and lying also rots the military and intelligence service -- are the Tilman and Lynch stories aberrations or anecdotal evidence of a bigger truth? Are Gitmo and Abu Gharib a bizarre side show or the wave of the future?

Seb -- that's a really good point. There's nothing that keeps this in the realm of "national security"

-- Did the leadership actually think the Democratic bill, having been blessed by the DNI, would garner a two-thirds majority? --

From my point of view, saying the DEM bill was "blessed by the DNI" is a bit of a stretch. The DNI put on two fronts, what they really wanted (see the bills they wrote, that's what they really wanted) and misleading letters for broad public consumption.

But, that aside, having the appearance of a takeback by the administration serves a purpose in creating conflict while getting the objective. I'm pretty sure that DEM leadership knew the DEM bill had a chance of passing if taken up under the regular order, and therefore made a conscious decision to NOT take it up that way. I have no firm evidence of this, other than the DNI-prepared bill was passed in regular order, and the DEMs control the legislative process.

-- I'd be surprised if the spying wasn't already being used against drug traffickers. --

That was the primary use of FISA for most of its years. A modest amount of research turns that up.

used against drug traffickers? of course.

but that's only the beginning. what about pr0n customers? there are millions of subscribers to these sites, and lots and lots of them are hosted outside the U.S. (or so I've heard).

of course, surfing for pr0n isn't really illegal (yet), but it sure could be embarrassing to a lot of people, and thus has vast potential for use in suppressing dissent.

but surely we can trust this administration not to do something that dastardly, right? right?

cboldt: Thanks for the explanation and links. Your other point about the Dems possibly wanting their bill to fail is very interesting.

Also, and this is one of the reasons I don't like this to be in the normal criminal arena, is that precedents set originally under 'national security' can easily flow from terrorism to other crimes. I don't see any indication that the new FISA rules couldn't be used to help drug cases.

If there is no oversight, why would they limit it to anything in particular, or wall off anything from it?

Officially there was a claim that Watergate was about communist influence on the Democratic Party. That was so silly that it didn't fly once they said it in public, but it was a perfectly acceptable reason to investigate the Democratic Party until they had to justify it to somebody.

If the Bush administration bugs Senator Webb in case terrorists try to communicate with him, who will complain? Nobody, as long as it's secret.

"If there is no oversight, why would they limit it to anything in particular, or wall off anything from it?"

I didn't say anything about 'no oversight'. I said that I don't like throwing this in as a regular criminal matter. I think it would be better to have a limited specialized court (something like Bankruptcy Court). The judges and lawyers would have security clearances. They would work exclusively on terrorism cases. Information obtained under FISA would be used as evidence in these courts and in no other criminal setting. I would be a lot more confident that the rules wouldn't spread beyond their initial rationale in such a situation.

The problem with my suggestion is that the courts (like nearly any government agency) could be self perpetuating even when their usefulness is gone. I'm not sure how to avoid that. (Mandatory yearly justification? How do we ensure that doesn't just become rote?)

And yes, it is correct that FISA was mostly used for drug crimes. That is why I'm completely uncomfortable with the 'national security' expansion. Since it isn't well limited to the terrorism justification, I'm confident that it will return to its original roots--way beyond the justification.

I am going to be shocked if no one I know was eavesdropped on. And I don't really think voters approve of listening to the phone calls of lawyers, journalists, human rights researchers, liberals in general, etc.--let alone the possibility that the gov't could be listening in on THEIR phone calls.

The constitution & free speech & the right to be let alone & not have the gov't in your business are actually pretty popular, if you phrase it the right way (I agree that general invocations of "civil liberties", without more, and invocations of the abuses against the Black Panthers, are not the best imaginable PR. But I don't think the problem was with public opinion so much as it is with a very large minority of the Democratic Congressional caucus completely sucking--whether they are actually in favor of unchecked surveillance or just still irrationally terrified of Dick Cheney saying "nat'l security" at them, I don't rightly know).

I get so mad at everyone on this issue it's hard to see straight sometimes. The Democrats REALLY disappointed me on this. This is just ridiculous. What would it take for them to see that Bush doesn't give a rats behind about this, that he can do whatever the heck he wants because he's the preznit? And, yet, they fall over each other to give more power that he can ignore? O...M...G!!!!!
I'm tempted to tell the right wing that they are right. Let's invest all of this totalitarian power in the chief executive, so that we can, when we have a Dem president, say "F them" and wiretap the heck out of them, making life very unpleasant and build a permenant Dem majority. But, two things: first, apparently the Dems are too stupid to lead this country well, even if they were given all the power in the world, and second, what good would it do to expose the right wings behavior through wiretaps? They just walk up to police officers and offer to blow them and pay for it!!!
I need a drink...

Jack Balkin is on To the Point today.

"If there is no oversight, why would they limit it to anything in particular, or wall off anything from it?"

I didn't say anything about 'no oversight'. I said that I don't like throwing this in as a regular criminal matter. I think it would be better to have a limited specialized court (something like Bankruptcy Court).

You're thinking in terms of court cases.

But what about things that don't get to court? For example, secret surveillance could reveal things that could come to court when the original secret data doesn't. There's the "poison fruit" idea, but why should that apply? "Your honor, this information came as a result of antiterrorist activity. I cannot reveal any details for national security reasons but I promise you it was one hundred percent legal." What if they eavesdrop on lawyers and violate lawyer-client confidentiality. In a way it doesn't matter unless they reveal the information in court, but in other ways it does matter. Similarly with the priest/penitent relationship and psychiatrist/clients. There are lots of uses for secret eavesdropping that don't involve using the information in court.

Particularly if there's no oversight. They can eavesdrop on insider trades and make money. They can eavesdrop on economic reports (find out early what they will say) and make money. They can eavesdrop on rich men with rich wives and poor mistresses and make money. They can eavesdrop on politicians.

Lots and lots of use for unregulated eavesdropping even without taking anything to court.

Sebastian,

"I didn't say anything about 'no oversight'. I said that I don't like throwing this in as a regular criminal matter. I think it would be better to have a limited specialized court (something like Bankruptcy Court). The judges and lawyers would have security clearances. They would work exclusively on terrorism cases. Information obtained under FISA would be used as evidence in these courts and in no other criminal setting. I would be a lot more confident that the rules wouldn't spread beyond their initial rationale in such a situation."

Other than working exclusively on terrorism cases, how is this any different than how FISA worked prior to 9/11? My understanding is that a few District Court judges worked on FISA matters in addition to their normal workload, as there was nowhere near enough FISA matters to keep a judge busy full time.

there was nowhere near enough FISA matters to keep a judge busy full time

Well, if someone was actually asking the judge for warrants now I suspect they might be busy enough. ;)

Information obtained under FISA would be used as evidence in these courts and in no other criminal setting.

I don't think we need secret criminal trials, or criminal convictions based on classified evidence, in this country, thanks (if I misunderstood you here, I apologize).

I don't think we need secret criminal trials, or criminal convictions based on classified evidence, in this country

it's not about need. it's about better learn to live with.

I'm pretty sure that DEM leadership knew the DEM bill had a chance of passing if taken up under the regular order, and therefore made a conscious decision to NOT take it up that way. I have no firm evidence of this, other than the DNI-prepared bill was passed in regular order, and the DEMs control the legislative process.

There's a slightly different take over at Open Left. Short version is that it's plausible that the House Dem leadership thought that, with support from the DNI, they had the supermajority. It's not that farfetched if you make the assumption that they thought they had a deal with the White House. That would have given the Blue Dogs and some Republicans cover for a yes vote.

Once the rug got pulled out from under them, the rest can be chalked up to a combination of bungling by the House leadership and craven political calculation by (mostly) the Blue Dogs. That is, if you prefer to see incompetence rather than malice.

"'For example, secret surveillance could reveal things that could come to court when the original secret data doesn't. There's the 'poison fruit' idea, but why should that apply? 'Your honor, this information came as a result of antiterrorist activity. I cannot reveal any details for national security reasons but I promise you it was one hundred percent legal.'"

As far as I'm concerned, it would be like the old CIA/FBI rule. FISA information obtained under the new powers would absolutely not be used in the criminal system at all.

I think you're fighting an impossible battle if you think we are going to avoid any changes in response to terrorism. So a very prudent civil liberties response could be to make very certain that they are limited only to the terrorism case, and that we reinforce the protections of innocent people who get swept up in the terrorism side.

I think this is a much better solution than making up new rules for terrorism which are going to set precedent for general prosecutions. Our general prosecutions system works pretty well on average. (Or at the very least its errors aren't such that they should encourage LESS oversight).

I really do believe that terrorism has to have a somewhat different treatment, but even if you don't believe that, I'm pretty sure you've lost that battle. Continuing to fight that battle is going to abdicate you ability to influence the rest of the problem. And that is what I think Democrats have done to themselves.

That is the true political lesson here, the Democratic caucus was split over an issue that had pretty much been lost in public opinion: is the threat of terrorism going to lead to different rules? The political answer was clearly 'YES'. Any idiot can see that is how the US public comes down on the issue

By waiting so long to work beyond that question, they were vulnerable to Bush's political ploy. If they had said 'YES' in January and hammered out a strong position from that starting point, they could have resisted Bush on it in August. But by fighting over the lost issue for months and months, and only very recently working the other direction, they didn't have enough unity and didn't have a solid enough independent bill to do anything but roll over or look like people who weren't serious on terrorism.

I really do believe that terrorism has to have a somewhat different treatment

The nearest historical analogue to current-day political terrorism that I can think of is the anarchist movement of the late 19th / early 20th centuries.

What legal institutions and procedures where put in place to address that?
Were they effective?
Which were, and which weren't?

In short -- have we (or anyone else) faced something like this before, and if so, what worked then? My guess is that organizations like Al Qaeda are not without precedent.

If anyone has relevant information, I'd be highly interested.

Thanks -

"My guess is that organizations like Al Qaeda are not without precedent."

My guess is that the organizations have precedent, but that the power to cause damage with even a super-small group is unprecedented.

To some extent we've increased our vulnerability to small destructive groups by our choice of technology. Passenger airlines are utterly unnecessary. Likewise dangerous nuclear power plants. Our dangerous chemical plants could in many cases be built anywhere close to any railroad line, but we chose to put them near or in cities. And of course we let guys drive LNG tankers around pretty much unsupervised, and (less often) LOX.

It's sheer sloppiness on our part. It leaves us open not only to al qaeda, and muslim groups that franchise under that name, but to any small destructive group whatsoever. So our primary defense *has to* be to reduce our vulnerability, not to catch every small destructive group before they do too much damage.

The point of monitoring communications is that the federal government wants unrestricted abilityi to monitor communications, not that they want to catch specific small destructive groups.

Not to speak of catastrophic accidents occurring (think large crude carriers running aground, people smoking near flammable liquid stores, overworked (chemical) truck drivers (aka rolling time bombs).

If one can spray graffitti on chlorine trains passing through DC, one can also put a bomb on it.

"Passenger airlines are utterly unnecessary."

???

There are trains and ships and video conferences. All friendlier to the environment too.
But bombs can be but on freight planes too.

Taken the train and ship from Los Angeles to London lately? Maybe only rich people who can take months off at a time should be allowed to travel.

Technology almost by definition increases the power of individuals and small groups to do good and evil, and destruction is always going to be easier than creation or protection. Given that, as long as we're going to have technological progress, it will be very difficult to steer the course between the police state and chaos. I hope we can manage it now, at least, because it's only going to get harder.

the power to cause damage with even a super-small group is unprecedented.

I don't think this is true. I don't think there were ever that many anarchists, almost certainly no more than the number of folks who have attended Al Qaeda camps over the last several years.

During their time of violent activity, anarchists bombed and poisoned hundreds thousands of people, attempted to kill the Attorney General with a bomb, and assassinated a sitting President. That's just in the US. In Europe, I think things were worse.

The legal response was the Anarchist Act of 1918, as well as other laws aimed at keeping "undesirables" from immigrating into the US.

I'm trying to find the text for the Anarchist Act.

Anarchism as a movement eventually petered out. I'd be interested in knowing what led to that.

It seems like a bit of a sidebar to the proper topic of this thread, but I actually think there are a number of potentially useful analogies, and perhaps lessons, in that history.

Thanks -

I think Sebastian is referring to the amount of damage a super-small group -- maybe 20 people or fewer -- can do in one incident. That's what I was talking about anyway. How many people died in the biggest single anarchist attack? (And I assume "hundreds thousands" is missing an "or", not an "of".)

Even if we confine ourselves to explosives, poison, and guns, do you really think the ones available now are no more effective than the ones available a century ago?

Hartmut, passenger airlines are the immediate issue because it's hard for airfreight to steer a plane. But sure, we don't much need air freight either. When it's data that needs to move we can move it much faster. When it's lambchops or gizmos we don't really need it that fast. When it's vaccines and truly urgent we could requisition military aircraft.

Sabastian, quick intercontinental travel is a convenience, not a necessity. If we were to get into a major war that required us to shut down intercontinental passenger service we'd adapt quickly. But since it doesn't feel like a real threat, we only pretend to build defenses while we use the terrorists as an excuse to attack whoever we choose.

Air travel is mostly not worth the fuel it burns. But we're used to the idea, and people hate to admit they can no longer afford it.

And I assume "hundreds thousands" is missing an "or", not an "of".

Correct, it's missing an "or" or a "to". Sorry!

The materials you name are at least as effective now as then, no doubt more so.

Things like nuclear and other extremely high yield explosives didn't exist at all. Highly refined biological and chemical agents, ditto. It took a century of dedicated research into the technology of death to bring us those.

All noted.

That said, I'm not sure the greater or lesser impact of the available ordinance should really matter in terms of the laws we adopt to address actors like terrorist cells. Mass acts of terror are mass acts of terror.

My question was more about whether there was, potentially, anything useful to learn (positively or negatively) from our experience in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. In many ways, the threats and the issues were the same, even if the payload of the bombs were not.

Thanks -

KCinDC, I have the impression the anarchists believed that killing high government officials was a sufficient tactic to destroy governments. They didn't so much believe in killing large numbers of the governed, the very people who should become good anarchists.

If they had intended to affect lots of people in one incident, one possible approach would have been to introduce cholera into the drinking water of some large fraction of a city. They would have needed to acquire sufficient cholera stock, which was possible. They would have needed access to water at a major pumping station. I expect that approach would have been easier then than now. Lots of water was untreated or poorly treated, and security was looser, and there were no antibiotics to treat victims. It isn't unlikely that with ten or so coordinated attacks they could have exposed a quarter million people to some infectious agent. From there it's hard to guess, probably no more than half would develop symptoms, and 10% or less of those would die. Depending on whether they were caught in the act, the whole thing might get written off as an accident.

Many cities had natural gas lines. If a small group could take over a gas company long enough to introduce about 80% air (or better, 80% oxygen) to the whole natural gas pipe system, that system would turn into a giant collection of bombs buried under the city. I don't know how effectively they could have set them all off. Nowadays we have various cutoffs that would tend to keep one exploding length of piping from blowing up others. I don't know how well they did that back then.

There are variations on that. When I was in grad school, late one night one linear block of city street just off the campus blew up, with damage to the buildings but no casualties. Somehow the storm sewers had filled with natural gas and exploded. It was officially declared an accident but I thought probably some ROTC students did it. But they didn't admit it to me, they refused to say.

We use lots more dangerous technology now, but there's no *necessity* for us to do that. We choose to, because insurance rates are low enough that we tend to assume it's no problem. If we actually thought it out we might make different choices.

Russell, I agree that it could be useful to learn from the experience with the anarchists. I was only objecting to your objection to Sebastian.

Is anyone else freaked out, or at least vaguely disturbed, by the fact that there's a weekly program on public radio called "Homeland Security: Inside and Out", with a cheery theme song (no words, fortunately). I suppose it's not much compared with the repeated realization that we now live in a country where someone decided it was a good idea to create a government department named Homeland Security.

Apologies to those outside the US for the somewhat provincial phrasing of my last comment.

The direct translation of HSD in German (Heimatschutzbehörde) would insinuate something like the EPA ;-).
Until recently there was a department between military and police that would fit the description, the BGS (Bundesgrenzschutz = Federal Border Protection). It was also responsible for terrorist matters (e.g. the GSG 9 belongs to that department). Now it has become the Bundespolizei (Federal Police) and a total reorganization is discussed in parliament (the IntSec for example wants to shift more responsibility to the military).

Concerning the anarchists. The Russian branch even stopped at the last minute on some occasions because there was a real risk of hitting innocent bystanders.

cleek from the other day:
the Dem base is taken for granted. we are useful suckers


NYT Today:
Democrats and political analysts said they expected the long-term political consequences of last week’s votes to be minimal because most of those who are irate would not be inclined to back Republicans.

“At the end of the day, how many choices do they have?” asked Stuart Rothenberg, a nonpartisan political analyst, about liberal voters. “How many Democratic primaries are going to be determined by this? Base voters have a way of complaining, being angry, of holding their breath until they turn blue. But I don’t see it as having any real consequence.”

Advantage: cleek.

Dear Democratic leadership: this is pretty much exactly how Republicans felt about their “base” in 2006. Worked out well for them now didn’t it?

this is pretty much exactly how Republicans felt about their “base” in 2006. Worked out well for them now didn’t it?

sigh

i'm honestly eager for the next DNC donation call. i can't wait to tell them exactly why they're not going to get another cent from me.

one more note: i've (almost) changed my party affiliation on my voter reg card because of this latest round of Dem ineptitude. i just keep forgetting to drop the form in the mail...

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