Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Fear destroys what bin Laden could not

If, back in 2001, anyone had told me that four years after bin Laden's attack our president would admit that he broke U.S. law against domestic spying and ignored the Constitution -- and then expect the American people to congratulate him for it -- I would have presumed the girders of our very Republic had crumbled.


Had anyone said our president would invade a country and kill 30,000 of its people claiming a threat that never, in fact, existed, then admit he would have invaded even if he had known there was no threat -- and expect America to be pleased by this -- I would have thought our nation's sensibilities and honor had been eviscerated.

If I had been informed that our nation's leaders would embrace torture as a legitimate tool of warfare, hold prisoners for years without charges and operate secret prisons overseas -- and call such procedures necessary for the nation's security -- I would have laughed at the folly of protecting human rights by destroying them.

If someone had predicted the president's staff would out a CIA agent as revenge against a critic, defy a law against domestic propaganda by bankrolling supposedly independent journalists and commentators, and ridicule a 37-year Marie Corps veteran for questioning U.S. military policy -- and that the populace would be more interested in whether Angelina is about to make Brad a daddy -- I would have called the prediction an absurd fantasy.

That's no America I know, I would have argued. We're too strong, and we've been through too much, to be led down such a twisted path.
What is there to say now?

All of these things have happened. And yet a large portion of this country appears more concerned that saying ''Happy Holidays'' could be a disguised attack on Christianity.

I evidently have a lot poorer insight regarding America's character than I once believed, because I would have expected such actions to provoke -- speaking metaphorically now -- mobs with pitchforks and torches at the White House gate. I would have expected proud defiance of anyone who would suggest that a mere terrorist threat could send this country into spasms of despair and fright so profound that we'd follow a leader who considers the law a nuisance and perfidy a privilege.

Never would I have expected this nation -- which emerged stronger from a civil war and a civil rights movement, won two world wars, endured the Depression, recovered from a disastrous campaign in Southeast Asia and still managed to lead the world in the principles of liberty -- would cower behind anyone just for promising to ``protect us.''

President Bush recently confirmed that he has authorized wiretaps against U.S. citizens on at least 30 occasions and said he'll continue doing it. His justification? He, as president -- or is that king? -- has a right to disregard any law, constitutional tenet or congressional mandate to protect the American people.

Is that America's highest goal -- preventing another terrorist attack? Are there no principles of law and liberty more important than this? Who would have remembered Patrick Henry had he written, ``What's wrong with giving up a little liberty if it protects me from death?''
Bush would have us excuse his administration's excesses in deference to the ''war on terror'' -- a war, it should be pointed out, that can never end. Terrorism is a tactic, an eventuality, not an opposition army or rogue nation. If we caught every person guilty of a terrorist act, we still wouldn't know where tomorrow's first-time terrorist will strike. Fighting terrorism is a bit like fighting infection -- even when it's beaten, you must continue the fight or it will strike again.

Are we agreeing, then, to give the king unfettered privilege to defy the law forever? It's time for every member of Congress to weigh in: Do they believe the president is above the law, or bound by it?

Bush stokes our fears, implying that the only alternative to doing things his extralegal way is to sit by fitfully waiting for terrorists to harm us. We are neither weak nor helpless. A proud, confident republic can hunt down its enemies without trampling legitimate human and constitutional rights.

Ultimately, our best defense against attack -- any attack, of any sort -- is holding fast and fearlessly to the ideals upon which this nation was built.

Bush clearly doesn't understand or respect that. Do we?


By Robert Steinback Miami Herald

23 comments:

  1. What do you think about the Russian school that was over taken by Radical Islamics where as children were fleeing into the arms of their terrified parents, the terrorists shot those children in the backs? Do you think any of those parents would have objected to their government wire tapping Islamic terrorists in that country in an effort to prevent this massacre? If I knew that my own grandmother was simpathetic to a terrorist cause, I would not mind if she was wired tapped if it meant protecting my children. Would you?

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  2. If all of what is outlined in your article was based on truth, maybe I would be among your metaphorical "mobs with pitchforks and torches at the White House gate".
    But instead I choose to dig deeply to understand for myself the true facts underlying each of the issues you have so loyally rehashed using mischaracterizing rhetoric spawned by this country's self-proclaimed loyal opposition.
    The only difference between you and I is that I choose to keep an open mind and decide on my own about events, not based on an intrinsic hatred of all things Bush nor blind allegiance, but simply by discarding the spin and rhetoric to find the facts.
    And should you choose to follow my fact-hunting safari - and they are available if you look hard enough - I believe you will at least begin to view every distorted statement made above in a somewhat different light.
    Perhaps a look into what the debate on terrorist wiretaps and the details of that story, about which there remains much to learn, would be a good place to start. Researching the facts of this story with an open mind just might surprise you in finding these surveillance procedures have not violated a single citizen's rights but may have helped avert serious post-9/11 terrorist attacks.
    On the other hand, find me a single verifiable story about these surveillances targeting politicians or left-wing organizations to attempt to gain some political advantage, I'll be happy to join your crusade against the practice. Problem is, there is no such evidence, and although you may be fervently hoping for some smoking gun along these lines, there is no evidence that anything like that has even been considered.

    Good luck, and I sincerely hope you can overcome your hatred and paranoia. Because going through life with such unnecessary angst only leads to misery.

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  3. Wow, your both sheeple.

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  4. TVTB

    Of course i would not mind , your talking about a live event , court orders would be obtained in less then 30 mins , why on earth would you assume that all those bugged in the US were guilty of any crime ?

    If they were , dont you think you would be seing them on your TV now , not only arrested but convicted of their crimes

    what if your grandmother was NOT a terrorist and she had been bugged for the last 3 years ? she was never told , no judge had ever authorised any bugging , and she had no rights what so ever ?

    the US acts like anyone that kneels towards mecca to pray is a terrorist ! they watch every dark skinned muslim and miss the next Timothy McVeigh sitting in his room planning an attack

    You do not defeat terrorism by acting like the terrorists , if you do then you become them

    There is NO acceptable reason to bypass requesting the legal authority from a judge to bug someone

    we in the UK did so during the Iranian embassy seige when the lives of hostages were at stake

    Today its the arabs , tomorrow the anti war crowd , then those that vote left and when the left is power suddenly the new enemy is the right

    so where do you draw the line ?

    A demcoracy is not just turning up to vote , many countries have elections but are far from free ,a demcoracy has checks and balances to stop abuse of power

    A free press and the american constitution is two such examples of the safe guards of freedom

    The current US administration uses the fear of terrorism against its own people

    Remember the words of Benjamin Franklin when he said


    They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security

    DAN S.

    LOL thanks for you visit , in your superior opinion do you think you are able to supply any facts ? or is it all rhetoric and unskilled physcoanalysis

    Please feel free to reply , but it helps if you actually bring something to the debate other than a long winded "you are wrong"

    thats just a waste of skin cells on your keyboard , but if it made you feel better i am sure you thought it was worth it

    Phishy ,

    LOL , there are plenty of them around ...... as i know you know

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  5. PS Phisy , sheeple is a very apt observation

    for those that dont know ......

    Sheeple are people that follow blindly and never question their leaders.

    Their simple Motto is:

    "Follow the Asshole in front of you"

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  6. "Follow the Asshole in front of you"

    LOL,

    nope, that's their mantra.

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  7. I Imagine Dan does his "fact-hunting safari" whilst sitting in his easy chair watching fox

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  8. Your response to the sheeple was excellent..and really well said...and I like that expression about sheeple....they don't really think they just regurgitate what they have been absorbing over on FAUX news...you are welcome to stop by http://watergatesummer.blogspot.com/ , you might appreciate it....

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  9. Do you think any of those parents would have objected to their government wire tapping Islamic terrorists in that country in an effort to prevent this massacre?

    Number one, the U.S. Code covers this situation and mentions that the only time such actions may be taken in under the FISA act. Number two, the NSA has been tracking more than just "Islamic terrorists." If you live in the U.S., they are monitoring your communications as well. That said, I can only guess you disagree with Patrick Henry's words.

    If I knew that my own grandmother was simpathetic to a terrorist cause, I would not mind if she was wired tapped if it meant protecting my children.

    I'm having trouble figuring out why grandma suddenly came into the picture, but she is irrelevant. You are being monitored, not just people with suspected ties. Surely you could not have missed all the news of the past few weeks.

    Dan S., first, _H_ didn't write this, Robert Steinback did. Second, I can assure you that _H_ has been following the facts very, very closely for a long time now. If you have a specific charge to make, then make it. A broad 'this ain't true' doesn't go very far with people who base their opinions on fact. And the claim that the wire taps don't violate any citizen rights is false. First there is the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America (corporations use it to prevent the EPA from discovering their dirty deeds); then there is the U.S. Code and the FISA act as I have mentioned. White House claims to legality are not proof of legality.

    And the evidence of spying against Left groups? Here and here to give one of many such examples. Now, I fully expect the retort to be that it is in some way not "verifiable." Since there is video evidence in this case, I say that if you are about to make such a claim, please don't waste our time.

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  10. Never has an administration used fear so effectively. They are able to do whatever they want, because the American people are not holding them accountable. The facts, the proof, is there.

    I can understand being afraid, getting your buttons pushed and being led to give up certain liberties, but this is ridiculous. This is not Hitler they're fighting. Western civilization will survive Al-Qaeda. there is no pan-Islamism that's going to swallow the world. Most Muslims, like everyone else, just want to live their lives and make a decent living.

    The problem is, will it survive Al-Qaeda with all its liberties and beliefs in tact? In the case of the United States, maybe not.

    The War on Terror, as stated in the article, is a war that is never ending. The best way to fight it is to fight the causes for terror, or why people turn to terror, and one such way is to address the divide between the rich and the poor, as well as taking a serious, hard look at what the occupation of other nations and the constant medling in another sovereign nation's affairs is doing. That's just a start.

    You cannot fight terror by suspending your liberties and compromising your beliefs. The United States may find itself not only losing the war on terror, but also losing its own identity, the very thing that made it a bastion for freedom.

    Honestly though, can I say that in Canada things would be different if we were in the same situation? I'm not so sure that I can. I'd like to though. But then again, we've had lots of corruption here, and most people would rather see who wins Survivor. It's not a surprise really. It's just people.

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  11. Hamilton Declared
    Safty from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct.Even the ardent love of liberty will,after a time give way to it dicates.
    Liberties and rights have been removed through out our two hundred and fifty year history.Durning the civil war Liconln suspened the Habeas Corpus laws.Durning WW11 150,000 Japinease were rounded up and placed in camps,and so on and so on.As comender and Chief durning war time he does have the power to do exactly what he is doing.

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  12. As comender and Chief durning war time he does have the power to do exactly what he is doing.

    Really ?

    So what do you actually have to do to be at war then ? it seems to me your comparing the just and moral wars of the last century to this pathatic attempt by GWB to take on the islamofascists ( a word created by people suffering from Islamophobia) . A man who can justify killing 30,000 innocent muslims (minimum) so that he doesnt 'have to fight them over here'

    Safty from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct.

    true , but of course , convincing your people this 'external danger' is around every corner and about to get you is a great way to ensure complience , for those that dissent can be accused of not being patriotic .

    hey , if they are not with you then they must be terrorists right ? .

    false stories of national danger are not new . the burning of the Reichstag by the nazis and then blaming it on the evil foreigners comes to mind .

    Is the removal of Liberties and rights' to facilitate 'war'
    or is the 'war' facilitating the removal of 'Liberties and rights'


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  13. Sorry Libs around the world
    & Senate Democrats but
    American President George
    Bush is trying to protect you
    also from terrorist! It's not
    a game, politics or being
    politically correct with
    terrorist. They would
    just as soon see you libs
    dead as any!!! They'd love
    to have any liberal senator,
    newsmen, academician's
    head also on their chopping
    block...

    The honorable Senate Democrats
    in the United States are doing an
    honorable investigation to find out
    exactly what happened to cause
    me to lose my country, and until
    these honorable Senate Democrats
    in the United States get every one
    of their questions answered about
    the manipulation and the distortion
    of the intelligence -- and of course
    all of the lies about my having weapons
    of mass destruction; all this before
    my country was invaded -- I can't
    get a fair trial, until all these questions
    are answered by the Senate Democrats.
    And after these Senate Democrats get
    the answers that we all know are out
    there, I, Saddam Hussein, would argue
    that I never had any weapons of mass
    destruction, and whatever bad intelligence
    was generated by a cowboy, fratboy
    president and his indicted staff, who
    have poisoned world opinion about
    me and my government, and as such,
    I can't get a fair trial anywhere -- and
    I want my country back. I'm going to
    make this trial about George W. Bush,
    and I'm going to be calling as witnesses
    people like Dick Durbin and Ted Kennedy.
    I'm going to call Chuck Schumer.

    I would call Senator Jay Rockefeller
    as a witness, if I were Saddam Hussein.
    I'm serious, folks -- and I wouldn't be
    surprised if his defense lawyers pick up
    on this at some point. If I were Saddam
    Hussein I would never, ever get off the
    line of attack of Senate Democrats. I
    would "want answers." I would accuse
    the lying President Bush of manufacturing
    evidence and spreading propaganda to
    a bunch of gullible reporters like Judith
    Miller of the New York Times and who
    knows who all at NBC, and say that there
    exists a massive conspiracy just like Hillary
    Clinton said; a massive right-wing conspiracy
    to prop up a failed presidency, and to distract
    the world from the damage the Bush White
    House has done to the world's environment,
    the world's workers, the world's unions, the
    world's teachers -- and most of all the world's
    children. If I were Saddam Hussein, I would
    be making this case, and I would say, "I'm
    following the lead of these great honorable
    Senate Democrats of the United States Senate
    who have the guts and the courage to have
    the temerity to get to the bottom of all of this."
    I would follow them down the path they're on.


    I, Saddam Hussein, would say that the Senate
    Democrats are on the way to proving that
    President Bush has led a false war,
    permanently screwed up children all over
    the world as to how you solve problems.
    My country is Muslim. We are very
    different from western countries, and
    that scares stupid, evangelical cowboys
    like George Bush.Why, Prince Charles
    even had to go tell Bush, "You misunder -
    stood Islam," the other day. I'd call Prince
    Charles as a witness! So what does this
    cowboy Bush do when his oil baron buddies
    can't have my oil for themselves? Well, they
    start a war on false pretenses because every -
    body knows that this war was about nothing
    but oil and that's why all the intelligence was
    trumped up, and that's why all of the lies
    were told and that's why everybody was told
    and agreed that I had weapons of mass
    destruction, is because the world wants my
    oil led by the cowboy Bush, and I thank God --
    I thank Allah daily -- for the Senate Democrats,
    the Democrats of the United States Senate
    who are leading this courageous effort to
    prove what a liar and a disaster on the world
    stage George W. Bush has been. I can't get
    a fair trial, and until I get a fair trial -- which
    is not possible -- I demand my country back.
    All of this that has happened has been based
    on lies. The world can't sleep at night.

    If the world can do this to me, a man with
    nothing but benevolence and love in his heart
    for his people, what will they do next? Who
    will they do it to next?

    The cowboy Bush -- Cheney, Libby, Rove --
    they must be stopped, and it's the Senate
    Democrats in that great institution, the
    United States Senate, who are leading the way.

    If I were Saddam Hussein, I would say,
    "I have no hope for a fair trial."

    What I'm saying is being said by
    elected members of the United States
    Senate. As I listen to the elected
    senators, Democrats of the United
    States Senate, as they pursue this
    honorable investigation of George W.
    Bush, I say to myself, "This is what
    I said to the UN.

    This is what I said to the weapons
    inspectors." This is what I said to
    the world when I was confronted
    with what everybody now knows
    (thanks to the Senate Democrats)
    are bogus, fake and trumped -
    up charges.

    Bush is a liar! He lied about the
    reasons for and the need to invade
    my country, and I want it back.

    He hires liars. It is George Bush
    who should be impeached and
    convicted in his own country and
    then tried at The Hague in my place.

    Not me. I had nothing to do with
    9/11. Yet I'm the one paying the
    price. You may not like me; I am
    Saddam Hussein.

    You may not agree with the ways
    of Muslim leaders in the Middle
    East, but does that give you the right
    to invade my country? No! The
    United States Senate Democrats
    obviously agree with me. They
    are honorable people. The world
    should align behind the Democrats
    of the United States Senate who
    are trying to wrong one of the most
    terrible injustices in the history of the
    world. It is George W. Bush who
    must be brought to justice by the
    brave and honorable members of the
    Democratic Party in the United States
    Senate. Because leaders of the world
    and people of the world, I, Saddam
    Hussein, say to you that it is the
    senators, the Democrat senators
    in the United States Senate are all
    that stand between peace and
    bloodthirsty imperialism by the
    United States. May Allah bless
    the good and decent truth -
    tellers in the Senate who will
    not let George Bush continue
    his lies to his country and to
    the world! George Bush hides
    behind his faith, but he's a liar
    just like these Senate Democrats
    are saying.

    I, Saddam Hussein, from the
    bottom of my sizable heart,
    thank the Democrat senators
    in the United States and all
    of the websites that support
    them, and all of the Hollywood
    Democrats who are asking
    the Senate Democrats to
    continue this investigation.
    I thank all of the American
    media, because I think the
    American media is one of
    the last bastions of honesty
    and trustworthiness second
    only to the Democrats of the
    United States Senate. So I
    want to thank the mainstream
    media of the United States.
    I want to further point out
    that if my trial is not post -
    poned -- if I can't get a
    postponement and if I
    can't get a dismissal of
    the charges, and if I don't
    get my country back --
    if there is a trial, I demand
    that I be brought to the
    US for trial, in a United
    States civilian court. I
    can't get a fair trial in Iraq
    because it's Bush cronies.
    I can only get a fair trial in
    the United States where
    liberal Democrats run the
    court system. They're
    the ones doing the great
    work, the work of Allah,
    in order to maintain the
    lies of Bush and the
    distortions of the war.

    I want my country back.
    The United States does
    not recognize, the US
    court system doesn't
    recognize the Geneva
    Conventions; they don't
    recognize the due-process
    rights of illegal combatants
    like me or those held at
    Guantanamo Bay. John
    McCain and the Democrats
    wanted them tried under
    our justice system, and if
    illegal combatants are to
    be afforded with such
    treatment -- if you're
    going to give real
    terrorists the opportunity
    to be tried in your court
    system -- I, Saddam
    Hussein, demand to be
    tried in your court system
    because I am covered
    under the Geneva
    Conventions, and I
    should receive better
    treatment. And, by
    the way, I wish to
    point out -- and I
    know many people
    in the American
    ACLU will agree
    with me on this --
    I, Saddam Hussein,
    was not Mirandized
    by the soldiers who
    captured me. I was
    denied a speedy trial
    as compelled by the
    Bill of Rights in the
    US Constitution.
    The charges ought
    to be dismissed. They
    did nothing but point
    weapons to me in that
    foxhole. They didn't tell
    me my rights! They didn't
    tell me I had to shut up;
    they didn't tell me anything
    I said could be used against
    me. I was lied to not only
    by Bush but the by the whole
    US military, by Rumsfeld.
    I was lied to by Condoleezza
    Rice. I can't even count on
    Colin Powell anymore because
    he was part of the original
    cowboy cabal that kicked
    me out of my country.

    If I get my trial in the United
    States of America as I so
    rightly deserve, I, Saddam
    Hussein, would like to call
    Dick Durbin as a witness
    because he would be able
    to testify that US troops are
    like Nazi storm troopers. He
    would be able to testify that
    US troops are no different
    than the murdering thugs of
    Pol Pot and the gulags of Stalin.

    I would next call Senator Kennedy
    who would be able to testify
    that US troops are no better
    than Hussein's thugs -- my thugs.
    I would call Michael Isikoff of
    Newsweek magazine. He would
    be able to testify how US troops
    mistreat prisoners by flushing their
    Korans down the toilet at G'itmo.
    I would do my best to get rid of
    Rush Limbaugh for turning Club
    G'itmo into Club G'itmo. It's not
    a joke what's happening there,
    and it's not a joke what's
    happening to me. I would
    also call Ambassador Joe
    Wilson, of course. He would
    be my star witness, because
    Joe Wilson would testify that
    I was not a bad guy; I was
    not somebody that posed a
    danger. I never once sought
    uranium from anywhere,
    because I didn't have any
    weapons of mass destruction,
    and Joe Wilson knows it and
    his wife, Valerie Plame, knows
    it. And so, my friends, I,
    Saddam Hussein, throw in
    with the Democrats in the
    United States Senate. They
    are my allies, and until they
    finish their great and glorious
    work for Allah in uncovering
    the truth about the lies and the
    distortions of the cowboy
    Bush, I demand these trials
    of me be postponed and the
    charges dismissed -- and I
    get my country back.

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  14. LMAO , thanks i needed some white space using up :-)

    well if all those things are true then it seems Saddam is a wise man who understands world law and has morals and standards , he (in your world) respects the geneva convention and you paint him as a very decent and Compassionate human being , I am sure he will be pleased with your assesment of him

    how the hell did that brain dead terrorist and war criminal Bush manage to catch him LOL

    thanks for your visit , if you return i would appreciate a genuine comment and not a cut and paste that you did earlier

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  15. Sorry, rj. As mentioned above, Bush broke the law. Citing past stains on America's history does not change that.

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  16. What the Bush administration is doing is still not within the law. All he had to do, was get a court order to be able to do the wiretaps. That's all. He would have easily gotten it. Instead, he chose not to.

    In Canada, during the FLQ crisis, Prime Minister Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act. People complained that this was overkill, and maybe it was, but the point is, the laws in Canada allowed for him to do that. The laws in the United States don't allow for Bush to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. He has to get permission. Last I heard, the United States was a republic, and not a dictatorship.

    Holy crap. Why are "outsiders" like me defending the principles of the United States against... Americans? That's f***'d up.

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  17. CB , thanks for your wisdom


    It really is scary but i do think the 'outsiders' are doing more to protect America's princibles than those inside

    most of them are too close to the scene to notice how they are being manipulated.

    dont give up , the message is getting home and the consequences for all of us from inaction can easily be seen by looking at history

    thanks for your comments

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  18. I sure am thankful for our great President...

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  19. ah Thought and humour , welcome back and thanks for writing a comment this time ....

    I am pleased your thankfull for your president , I dont care for him to much as i am sure you have noticed

    but please dont think i support the democrats in the US , i do not , i couldnt care less who runs your country , whether it be the left or the right

    I (like 90 % of the planet and 50 % of your country) consider your leader a terrorist and a war criminal and on the base alone i will continue to attack him for his crimes

    once the US people reach the point that they wish to remove th neocons from power you will find me and many like me ready and willing to correctly address the problems of extreme islamic terrorism ,

    but no success can ever be achieved aslong as he is in power

    hey its your vote , and you should (and will) use it as you see fit . but i will continue my little effort here towards a day when the worlds worst terrorist is no longer in charge of the worlds most powerfull weapons

    have a nice new year , and be wary of watching to much fox , its rots the brain ...

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  20. Well, never let it be said that the "dull computer consultant" is good to his word.

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  21. Just one more thing, false-promise maker, you say "there is no evidence that anything like that has even been considered." Ahem, Church Commission. The reason the FISA Act was put in effect in the first place.

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  22. Eleven days so far dans, and we are still waiting for you to live up to your word.

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