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"An old woman explains: 'Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing."

HelLO I think it's time for a refresher course in Catch 22 so we can understand exactly what the government is doing, which we are letting them do --

This isn't bad as a definition from Wikipdia:

"... much of Joseph Heller's prose in his novel 'Catch-22' is circular and repetitive, exemplifying in its form the structure of a catch-22. Heller revels in the use of paradox. Examples are 'The Texan turned out to be good-natured, generous and likeable. In three days no one could stand him.' and 'The case against Clevinger was open and shut. The only thing missing was something to charge him with.'

"This constantly undermines the reader's understanding of the social milieu of the characters, and is key to understanding the book. An atmosphere of logical irrationality pervades the whole description of Yossarian's life in the armed forces, and indeed the entire book.

"Other forms of 'catch-22' are invoked... in the novel to justify actions. At one point, victims of harassment by military agents quote the agents as having explained one of Catch-22's most macabre and rococo provisions, and in this fashion: Catch-22 states that agents enforcing Catch-22 need not prove that Catch-22 actually contains whatever provision the accused violator is accused of violating.

"An old woman explains: 'Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.'

"Yossarian comes to realize that Catch-22 doesn't actually exist, but that because the powers that be claim it does and the world believes that it does, it nevertheless has potent effects. Indeed, because it doesn't really exist there is no way it can be repealed, undone, overthrown, or denounced. The combination of brute force with specious legalistic justification is one of the book's primary motifs."
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I love this website ... see the culture reel in shock!!

"Drilling Beneath the Headlines"

They always have a 'Truthdigger of the Week"
and this week --

"Truthdig salutes Leslie Cauley, the USA Today reporter who broke the blockbuster story about the NSA's program to amass the records of every phone call made in America. Her scoop laid waste to President Bush's assertion that his domestic spying targets only a handful of suspected terrorists living in the U.S. In the wake of her story, GOP Sen. Arlen Specter is calling for congressional hearings."

Catch also the satire about how 'provocative ' an act it was for the Presidnt of Iran to send GWB a LONG LETTER...


oh golly!!!
When is some dishragged Congressman or Senator going to finally get up, wipe the poop off their nose and start the impeachment process... ?!
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NB Qwest is the only phone company of the 'big 4' that refused to comply with gov't. requests for the intrusions.

Verizon is still doing it... the lawsuit started in February 2006... and verizon is still doing it...

New lawsuit hit on Friday...

"TRENTON, N.J. - Two New Jersey public interest lawyers sued Verizon Communications Inc. for $5 billion Friday, claiming the phone carrier violated privacy laws by turning over phone records to the National Security Agency for a secret government surveillance program.

Attorneys Bruce Afran and Carl Mayer filed the lawsuit Friday afternoon in federal district court in Manhattan, where Verizon is headquartered.

The lawsuit asks the court to stop Verizon from turning over any more records to the NSA without a warrant or consent of the subscriber."
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Published: May 16, 2006

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Verizon (NYSE:VZ) Communications said Tuesday that it did not give the U.S. National Security Agency local or other customer records or call data, and was not asked to do so.

"Contrary to the media reports, Verizon was not asked by NSA to provide, nor did Verizon provide, customer phone records from any of these businesses (wireline telephone, wireless and directory publishing), or any call data from those records," the company said in a statement.

USA Today reported last week that BellSouth Corp. , AT&T Inc. , and Verizon had turned over tens of millions of consumers' telephone records to the NSA so it could analyze call patterns to detect terrorist plots.

Verizon said it could not comment on an NSA program that it said President Bush had acknowledged authorizing against al Qaeda and was highly-classified.

"Verizon cannot and will not confirm or deny whether it has any relationship to it," the company said in a statement.
Damage Study Urged on Surveillance Reports ...

"In London a human rights group said Tuesday that it had filed complaints in 32 countries alleging that the banking consortium, known as Swift, violated European and Asian privacy laws by giving the United States access to its data.

"Simon Davies, director of the group, Privacy International, said the scale of the American monitoring, involving millions of records, "places this disclosure in the realm of a fishing exercise rather than a legally authorized investigation."

"The Belgian prime minister, Guy Verhofstadt, has asked the Justice Ministry to investigate whether Swift violated Belgian law by allowing the United States government access to its data."

I am going to quote again from Joseph Heller's "Catch 22" a little later....
Catch-22 on Censorship

copyright 1955 Joseph Heller

All the officer patients on the ward were forced to censor letters
written by all the enlisted-men patients... It was a monotonous job, and Yossarian was disappointed to learn that the lives of enlisted men were only slightly more interesting than the lives of officers. After the first day he had no curiosity at all. To break the monotony he invented games.
Death to all modifiers, he declared one day, and out of every letter that passed through his hands went every adverb and every adjective. The next day he made war on articles. He reached a much higher plane of creativity the following day when he blacked out everything ni the letters but a, an and the. That erected more dynamic interlinear tensions, he felt, and in just about every case left a message far more universal. Soon he was proscribing parts of salutations and signatures and leaving the rest untouched. One time he blacked out all but the salutation "Dear Mary" from a letter, and at the bottom he wrote, "I yearn for you tragically. A. T. Tappman, Chaplain, US Army." A. T. Tappman was the group chaplain's name.

When he had exhausted all possibilities in the letters, he began attacking the names and addresses on the envelopes, obliterating whole homes and streets, annihilating entire metropolises with careless flicks of his wrist as though he were God. Catch-22 required that each censored letter bear the censoring officer's name. Most letters he didn't read at all. On those he didn't read at all he wrote his own name. On those he did read he wrote, "Washington Irving."
When that grew monotonous he wrote "Irving Washington." Censoring the envelopes
had serious repercussions, produced a ripple of anxiety on some ethereal military echelon that floated a C.I.D. man into the ward, posing as a patient. They all knew he was a C.I.D. man because he kept inquiring about an officer named Irving or Washington and because after his first day he wouldn't censor letters. He found them too monotonous.

"MORALS WAIVERS" granted to new army recruits...
SOCIOPATHS rendered fit for duty...

As per Catch-22.... If you can be declared insane, you are thereupon deemed unfit for duty. But then you're sent back to fly another mission... Why?

.... So Yossarian refuses to wear his uniform anymore. He appears at roll call stark naked.
He is asked why, and he replies that after one his airmen was shot up in the plane, and his
uniform bloodied, he never wanted to wear a US Air Force uniform ever again.
Declared insane, he is immediately sent back on flight duty.


"On the last day of January 2005, Steven D. Green, the former Army private accused of raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and murdering her family, sat in a Texas jail on alcohol-possession charges, an unemployed 19-year-old high school dropout who had just racked up his third misdemeanor conviction.

"Days later, Mr. Green enlisted in a soldier-strapped Army, and was later assigned to a star-crossed unit to serve on an especially murderous patch of earth.

"He arrived at the very moment that the Army was increasing by nearly half the rate at which it granted what it calls "moral waivers" to potential recruits. The change opened the ranks to more people like Mr. Green, those with minor criminal records and weak educational backgrounds. In Mr. Green's case, his problems were emerging by junior high school, say people who knew him then.

"Steven Green lasted only another four months in the Army, but it was a grim, violent and chaotic stretch. Seventeen battalion members were killed, two of them mutilated after being kidnapped; of those killed, eight belonged to Mr. Green's Bravo Company of about 110 soldiers. Even the modest quarters taken over the Bravo Company, an abandoned potato warehouse, burned to the ground in an accidental fire, destroying letters, video players, and the small personal tokens the soldiers had slipped into their war gear.

.... "The share of Army recruits who received "moral waivers" for criminal records increased last year and through the first half of 2006 by 15 percent from 10 percent or 11 percent before the war, according to statistics released this week. (According to the Pentagon, the number of waivers in 2001 totaled 7,640. The figure increased to 11,018 in 2005, and for the first six months of this fiscal year totaled 5,636.)

.... "A year later almost to the day, a federal criminal complaint says, Mr. Green and the four other soldiers charged in the case drank alcohol, changed into black clothes and then raided the home of a husband and wife and their two daughters.

"Mr. Green, the complaint charges, went into a room and killed the parents and the younger daughter. Then, it says, he and a second soldier sexually assaulted the 14-year-old, shot her and tried to burn her body."
Interesting subject - i might have mentioned this before - but a dear friend of mine was recently badly attacked. He manages a hotel in Jamaica and one of the hotel guests (an American who had just returned from war) went ballistic at the bar and started stabbing people. My pal jumped in restrain the guy and the bloke bit off part of his thumb and stabbed him - deflating his lung. Sadly my mate now has gangrene from this attack and has last part of his thumb. But I wonder how many of these post war attacks/flashbacks these soldiers will have. And how many are reported?
One thing the new vets are famous for is speed-demoning. There have been dozens of cases of their coming home, getting a motorcycle or into a high-powered car and drunk or sober, going the limit and crashing themselves silly or dead. Psychiatrists have not quite figured out "why" their post-traumatic stress manifests this way...

Here's another figure -- 70% of all officers are getting or are now divorced... so much for family values and the war,

Catch 22 : Peaceful people are traitors, to be blown up the same as the fighting men & women...

Happy Sunday Headlines!

Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terror Threat

USA is Graded a D+ in Its Role

"....On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee released an ominous report about the terrorist threat. That assessment, based entirely on unclassified documents, details a growing jihad movement and says, "Al Qaeda leaders wait patiently for the right opportunity to attack."

"... The estimate concludes that the radical Islamic movement has expanded from a core of Qaeda operatives and affiliated groups to include a new class of "self-generating" cells inspired by Al Qaeda's leadership, but without any direct connection to Osama bin Laden or his top lieutenants.

"It also examines how the Internet has helped spread jihadist ideology, and how cyberspace has become a haven for terrorist operatives who no longer have geographical refuges in countries like Afghanistan.

"In early 2005, the National Intelligence Council released a study concluding that Iraq had become the primary training ground for the next generation of terrorists, and that veterans of the Iraq war might ultimately overtake Al Qaeda's current leadership in the constellation of the global jihad leadership.

"In recent months, some senior American intelligence officials have offered glimpses into the estimate's conclusions in public speeches.

" 'New jihadist networks and cells, sometimes united by little more than their anti-Western agendas, are increasingly likely to emerge,' said Gen. Michael V. Hayden, during a speech in San Antonio in April, the month that the new estimate was completed. 'If this trend continues, threats to the U.S. at home and abroad will become more diverse and that could lead to increasing attacks worldwide,' said the general, who was then Mr. Negroponte's top deputy, and is now director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

"For more than two years, there has been tension between the Bush administration and American spy agencies over the violence in Iraq and the prospects for a stable democracy in the country. Some intelligence officials have said the White House has consistently presented a more optimistic picture of the situation in Iraq than justified by intelligence reports from the field.

"... The broad judgments of the new intelligence estimate are consistent with assessments of global terrorist threats by American allies and independent terrorism experts.

"The panel investigating the London terrorist bombings of July 2005 reported in May that the leaders of Britain's domestic and international intelligence services, MI5 and MI6, 'emphasized to the committee the growing scale of the Islamist terrorist threat.'

"...More recently, the Council on Global Terrorism, an independent research group of respected terrorism experts, assigned a grade of 'D+' to United States efforts over the past five years to combat Islamic extremism. The council concluded that 'there is every sign that radicalization in the Muslim world is spreading rather than shrinking.' "
A sad story in the Times today... an old sheik whose home was taken away for military use, goes across the road every day to visit...

JUWAYBA, Iraq "” Nearly every day, the sheik stops by the villa that was once his home, but is now an American garrison. Sometimes he comes with tips about the insurgency, or with news of political developments in this rural village near the Euphrates River.

But mostly he comes to ask for his house back.

"To take my home in this way is not right," the sheik, Hamed Moussa Khalaf al-Duleimi, said one afternoon in April, putting a wrinkled, bronzed hand on the knee of the 31-year-old American commander, Capt. Chris Calihan.

Sheik Duleimi, 74, has not lived here since January, when marines on a counterinsurgency mission burst in late one night, announced that they were turning his house into a military base and evicted him. He sent his family to a rented apartment in Falluja while he moved into a son's home just across the road.

Most Iraqis, particularly here in the Sunni-dominated Anbar Province, regard the Americans as occupiers who came uninvited to Iraq and who, in their rush to remove Saddam Hussein, may have damaged the country beyond repair.

"It's not just my house," Sheik Duleimi continued. "They have taken Iraq. They have taken everything."

On a recent afternoon, the sheik, as usual, showed up at the garrison gate unannounced and was escorted in by a soldier.

He swept past Bradley fighting vehicles and Humvees, his long dark robe and spotless white headdress billowing around him, and through the battered marble portico, now a bunker of sandbags. Captain Calihan, who commands Company B, First Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, First Infantry Division, was waiting for him in the grand foyer.

For security reasons, that is as far as the sheik has been allowed to go. In the shadowy world of tribal politics here in Anbar, it is almost impossible for the Americans to know who is friend and who is foe.

"May God bless you with goodness," the sheik said, using a traditional Arabic greeting, as he settled into an armchair that had once been his.

Despite the sheik's antipathy toward the American enterprise in Iraq, his visits with the captain are cordial and have become something of a self-affirming ritual for both men. The regular contact helps the captain maintain at least the tacit cooperation of the community's leaders in the fight against the hard-core Sunni resistance.

The sheik, meanwhile, can remind the American whose house this really is.

On this particular visit, the sheik brought a cousin to meet the captain. The cousin hoped to recover several weapons the marines had confiscated during their operation in January. But the cousin had no record of the serial numbers.

"The guns were old, from our fathers' generation," Sheik Duleimi said, worrying a strand of amber-colored beads between his fingers.

But without the serial numbers, Captain Calihan said, he could do nothing. The sheik's cousin thanked the captain, and, escorted by a soldier, left the two men to talk.

The sheik asked if he could take a quick walk around the house and videotape it "for myself." Captain Calihan laughed. He had heard a version of this request many times. "I can't let you tape the house for security reasons," he said.

Both men were smiling: They know how the conversation goes.

The New York Times
July 23, 2007
Just What the Founders Feared: An Imperial President Goes to War

The nation is heading toward a constitutional showdown over the Iraq war. Congress is moving closer to passing a bill to limit or end the war, but President Bush insists Congress doesn't have the power to do it. "I don't think Congress ought to be running the war," he said at a recent press conference. "I think they ought to be funding the troops." He added magnanimously: "I'm certainly interested in their opinion."

The war is hardly the only area where the Bush administration is trying to expand its powers beyond all legal justification. But the danger of an imperial presidency is particularly great when a president takes the nation to war, something the founders understood well. In the looming showdown, the founders and the Constitution are firmly on Congress's side.

Given how intent the president is on expanding his authority, it is startling to recall how the Constitution's framers viewed presidential power. They were revolutionaries who detested kings, and their great concern when they established the United States was that they not accidentally create a kingdom. To guard against it, they sharply limited presidential authority, which Edmund Randolph, a Constitutional Convention delegate and the first attorney general, called "the foetus of monarchy."

The founders were particularly wary of giving the president power over war. They were haunted by Europe's history of conflicts started by self-aggrandizing kings. John Jay, the first chief justice of the United States, noted in Federalist No. 4 that "absolute monarchs will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it, but for the purposes and objects merely personal."

Many critics of the Iraq war are reluctant to suggest that President Bush went into it in anything but good faith. But James Madison, widely known as the father of the Constitution, might have been more skeptical. "In war, the honors and emoluments of office are to be multiplied; and it is the executive patronage under which they are to be enjoyed," he warned. "It is in war, finally, that laurels are to be gathered; and it is the executive brow they are to encircle."

When they drafted the Constitution, Madison and his colleagues wrote their skepticism into the text. In Britain, the king had the authority to declare war, and raise and support armies, among other war powers. The framers expressly rejected this model and gave these powers not to the president, but to Congress.

The Constitution does make the president "commander in chief," a title President Bush often invokes. But it does not have the sweeping meaning he suggests. The framers took it from the British military, which used it to denote the highest-ranking official in a theater of battle. Alexander Hamilton emphasized in Federalist No. 69 that the president would be "nothing more" than "first general and admiral," responsible for "command and direction" of military forces.

The founders would have been astonished by President Bush's assertion that Congress should simply write him blank checks for war. They gave Congress the power of the purse so it would have leverage to force the president to execute their laws properly. Madison described Congress's control over spending as "the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure."

The framers expected Congress to keep the president on an especially short leash on military matters. The Constitution authorizes Congress to appropriate money for an army, but prohibits appropriations for longer than two years. Hamilton explained that the limitation prevented Congress from vesting "in the executive department permanent funds for the support of an army, if they were even incautious enough to be willing to repose in it so improper a confidence."

As opinion turns more decisively against the war, the administration is becoming ever more dismissive of Congress's role. Last week, Under Secretary of Defense Eric Edelman brusquely turned away Senator Hillary Clinton's questions about how the Pentagon intended to plan for withdrawal from Iraq. "Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies in Iraq," he wrote. Mr. Edelman's response showed contempt not merely for Congress, but for the system of government the founders carefully created.

The Constitution cannot enforce itself. It is, as the constitutional scholar Edwin Corwin famously observed, an "invitation to struggle" among the branches, but the founders wisely bequeathed to Congress some powerful tools for engaging in the struggle. It is no surprise that the current debate over a deeply unpopular war is arising in the context of a Congressional spending bill. That is precisely what the founders intended.

Members of Congress should not be intimidated into thinking that they are overstepping their constitutional bounds. If the founders were looking on now, it is not Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi who would strike them as out of line, but George W. Bush, who would seem less like a president than a king.

ExCerpt from Times Select...
September 14, 2007

A Surge, and Then a Stab

To understand what's really happening in Iraq, follow the oil money, which already knows that the surge has failed.

Back in January, announcing his plan to send more troops to Iraq, President Bush declared that "America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced."

Near the top of his list was the promise that "to give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country's economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis."

There was a reason he placed such importance on oil: oil is pretty much the only thing Iraq has going for it. Two-thirds of Iraq's G.D.P. and almost all its government revenue come from the oil sector. Without an agreed system for sharing oil revenues, there is no Iraq, just a collection of armed gangs fighting for control of resources.

Well, the legislation Mr. Bush promised never materialized, and on Wednesday attempts to arrive at a compromise oil law collapsed.

What's particularly revealing is the cause of the breakdown. Last month the provincial government in Kurdistan, defying the central government, passed its own oil law; last week a Kurdish Web site announced that the provincial government had signed a production-sharing deal with the Hunt Oil Company of Dallas...

Now here's the thing: Ray L. Hunt, the chief executive and president of Hunt Oil, is a close political ally of Mr. Bush. More than that, Mr. Hunt is a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, a key oversight body.

Some commentators have expressed surprise at the fact that a businessman with very close ties to the White House is undermining U.S. policy. But that isn't all that surprising, given this administration's history. Remember, Halliburton was still signing business deals with Iran years after Mr. Bush declared Iran a member of the "axis of evil."

No, what's interesting about this deal is the fact that Mr. Hunt, thanks to his policy position, is presumably as well-informed about the actual state of affairs in Iraq as anyone in the business world can be. By putting his money into a deal with the Kurds, despite Baghdad's disapproval, he's essentially betting that the Iraqi government "” which hasn't met a single one of the major benchmarks Mr. Bush laid out in January "” won't get its act together. Indeed, he's effectively betting against the survival of Iraq as a nation in any meaningful sense of the term.

The smart money, then, knows that the surge has failed, that the war is lost, and that Iraq is going the way of Yugoslavia. And I suspect that most people in the Bush administration "” maybe even Mr. Bush himself "” know this, too.

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