Monday, February 06, 2006

Bringing more transparency to this relationship

We’ve talked about whether the NSA warrantless surveillance is “domestic” or not, and just how many innocent people’s conversations were swept into the net, but what about the assertion, as made by Gen. Michael Hayden again today on the Sunday chat shows, that it was focused on Al Qaeda and only Al Qaeda (oh, and “Al Qaeda affiliates,” whatever that means). Of course Al Qaeda doesn’t really have an official membership list per se, so that what Hayden means is people he designates as being Al Qaeda members, but putting that aside, is Al Qaeda really the only terrorist organization in the world that we’re worried will do something nasty inside the United States?

There have now been 5 deaths in the Cartoon Wars: 3 shot by Afghan police, a boy shot in Somalia, and one of the demonstrators killed in the burning of the Danish embassy in Lebanon (that’ll teach ‘em to mess with Loki). Demonstrations seem to have spread to half the countries on the planet, including India and Thailand. (By the way, I made an editorial decision not to put the cartoons on my site, but only to link to them, because there’s no getting around the fact that some of them are obnoxious, racist, and just not at all good, and because my support for free speech is not conditional on the content of that speech, which is why we call it free speech. I have, however, now made another editorial decision to include a link to the cartoons every time I mention them, in the same way I link to other primary sources like George Bush’s speeches, which are also obnoxious, sometimes racist, and just not at all good.) Iraq (or possibly just the transportation ministry) has announced that it will refuse to accept reconstruction money from Denmark and Norway.

Speaking of cartoon characters, House Majority Leader John Boehner, pictured below, is against banning corrupt lobbying practices but is for “bringing more transparency to this relationship,” for example by passing out checks from tobacco lobbyists during votes on bills affecting their interests right on the House floor in front of God, C-SPAN and everyone.

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