Free Republic 2nd Qtr 2023 Fundraising Target: $77,000 Receipts & Pledges to-date: $48,079
Woo hoo!! And we're now over 62%!! Thank you all very much!! God bless.

Posts by Cboldt

Brevity: Headers | « Text »
  • Vonage says broadband provider blocks its calls

    03/05/2006 10:01:27 PM PST · 81 of 85
    Cboldt to cmsgop
    All of my neighbors have Vonage but I am not so sure. The Quality (at least around here) is touch and go. The price seems attractive though.

    Penny-wise, pound foolish, IMO. The savings don't justify the downside risk. I strive to do as much of my (long distance/international) business as possible via e-mail or facsimile. Total variable cost is on the order of $10/month, TOPS.

  • Guantanamo Inmates Despair of Ever Leaving

    03/05/2006 9:55:01 PM PST · 47 of 72
    Cboldt to tikus
    I have honestly not seen any proof (if someone can give some, great!). I'm sure that some (if not most) of them are terrorists, but how many, exactly?

    Certainly some of them. The general argument is "how much" (or what triggers a right of) access to courts. Another angle is delineation of POW v. "enemy combatant" and the very nature of a war on terror with an indefinite end point.

    The Hamdan case, and related, are right on the same point.

    Suppose we had a spate of domestic terorism (cf Timothy McVeigh), with a Democrat government in charge. Welp, we have a system of secret prisons all set up already, for confining people who don't agree with the government, or who may have consorted with violent militia types! How convenient!

    Civil war cases (Merryman, Milligan) and WWII treason cases (Quirin, Haupt) are illuminating.

  • One Dangerous Feller: Senator Wants No Secrets

    03/05/2006 9:34:31 PM PST · 15 of 45
    Cboldt to skimask
    ... if I think someone cant be trusted I'll give them some phony, but totally believable, information. Then I wait to see if it gets out. If it does I got him/her. Why couldn't the Bush Administration do the same thing?

    At some level, they do. But not by giving phony information, that would compromise "trust" in the wrong direction, where the administration itself would be (correctly) seen as a liar. The solution for the administration is to give up information that is TRUE, gambling that it will or will not be leaked.

  • Fact Sheet: Securing U.S. Ports (DHS Press release: we are screening 100% of shipping containers)

    03/05/2006 9:27:22 PM PST · 113 of 113
    Cboldt to griffin
    screen is not equal to inspect.
    screen is little more than a manifest check and source originator.

    "Screen" and "inspect" are both indefinite descriptions.

    Sunday Talk Show Thread: Post 557 and Post 604 cite to Congressional action and funding. Post 608 and post 627 directly challenge the assertion that 100% of containers pass through radiation detection at the landing (US) port.

  • CALLING ALL FREEPERS, Help Needed "Challenging The Gitmo Study"

    03/05/2006 8:10:50 PM PST · 10 of 12
    Cboldt to coffee260
    Does the Social Science Research Network mention the two attorneys, Mark and Joshua Denbeaux, are representing detainees at Gitmo?

    Yes. It's right in their report. Footnote "*" on page 2 (the first page after the title page).

    That's the reason why CQ is recommending another independent conclusion.

    It's a good reason. The Denbeaux review could have been rebutted without having the recently redacted names, but I think the FOIA release puts the raw data in more hands. No way would I travel to Rutgers to look at this, and now I have it on a local hard drive.

  • White House picks former Lott aide for federal appeals court (5th Circuit)

    03/05/2006 6:42:21 PM PST · 86 of 86
    Feb. 14, 2006, 10:25PM
    W taps another throwback for important appeals seat

    Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

    WHERE does he find these people? No sooner had President Bush returned last week from Coretta Scott King's funeral than he nominated to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals a lawyer with a terrible record on civil rights.

    Bush, speaking at the service in Atlanta, rejoiced that because King and her murdered husband, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., had refused to be intimidated, "millions of children they would never meet are now living in a better, more welcoming country."

    The next day, the White House announced Bush's nomination to the appeals court that hears federal cases from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi of a man who for much of his legal career has been on the opposite side of the civil rights fight from the Kings' ideals.

    Bush sent to the Senate the name of Michael B. Wallace, a Jackson, Miss., attorney. He is a well-connected Republican and will almost certainly be confirmed. But it should not be without a hearings process that examines Wallace's history of antipathy toward making America the more welcoming society Bush spoke about.

    Some highlights: Wallace, as an aide to then-House Republican Whip Trent Lott, D-Miss., in the early 1980s fought to protect the tax-exempt status of even the most notoriously segregationist institutions. That included Bob Jones University in South Carolina, where interracial dating was banned until 2000 and even then required written consent of parents. Also with Lott, Wallace worked to require discriminatory intent not effect be proved in voting rights cases.

    Later in the 1980s, as a member of the board of the Legal Services Corp., Wallace attempted to gut the agency. He voted to hire outside attorneys to lobby Congress to reduce its appropriation, an action prohibited by the law creating the LSC, as a bipartisan group of lawmakers pointed out.

    As an attorney for the Mississippi Republican Party, Wallace fought so strongly for a white-friendly redistricting plan that a U.S. district court accused him of going beyond spirited representation to "needless multiplication of proceedings at great waste of both the court's and the parties' time and resources."

    Great record, huh, for a man whom the president would give a lifetime post on a court that is an important fulcrum in civil rights litigation? As Elliot Mincberg, general counsel of People for the American Way, said after Wallace's nomination: "He's been around for quite awhile doing a lot of things that are bad for civil rights."

    The Mississippi Conference of the NAACP moved quickly to voice "outrage" at Wallace's nomination. Like some of Bush's other 5th Circuit nominees, Wallace's extremism is cloaked in a solid educational background: B.A. from Harvard, J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School, where he was already displaying his strong ideological predilection.

    When a constitutional law professor would ask what his class thought about various cases, it's said, he would exempt Wallace, noting that the class already knew what Wallace thought.

    "He is one of those individuals who can intellectualize discrimination, which is the most dangerous sort of individual to this country," said Derrick Johnson, president of Mississippi's NAACP chapter.

    Nominating Wallace was at least fittingly re-trograde, as he would take the 5th Circuit seat vacated by the retirement of Charles W. Pickering Sr., another Lott crony whose legal and political career was marked by playing footsie with ardent segregationists and their loathsome policies. Bush took the rare step of elevating Pickering from a U.S. district court judgeship to the 5th Circuit with a recess appointment after Senate Democrats twice blocked a formal nomination.

    Wallace has been in the Republican pipeline a long time. Bush's father considered him for a 5th Circuit job in 1992. That prospect prompted a number of groups, including the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, to review Wallace's record.

    In March 1992, Frank Parker, then director of the Lawyers' Committee's voting rights project, said that Wallace's conduct in the Mississippi redistricting case showed Wallace "lacks the integrity, judicial temperament and respect for legal proceedings necessary for appointment to the judicial bench."

    The White House knows who Wallace is and what he represents.

    Hoping to counter opposition such as the NAACP's, when the White House announced Wallace's nomination, it issued a list of people to vouch for him. The top two were Reuben Anderson and Fred Banks, African-Americans who are former justices on the Mississippi Supreme Court. What the White House did not say was that they both are currently members of the same law firm as Wallace.

    Neither returned my calls.

    The White House seems confident that Senate Democrats are so cowed that Bush can nominate virtually anyone to these important courts, no matter how egregious the record.

    Hat tip ...

  • Sunday Morning Talk Show Thread 5 March 2006

    03/05/2006 5:43:33 PM PST · 671 of 720
    Cboldt to Phsstpok
    Regardless of us calling them the "dinosaur media" they are still "in charge" of deciding what gets on the news and what gets ignored.

    Yep. FR pretty much "reacts" to the stories selected.

    Until we seize that power from them we are meaningless.

    I think that objective reaction and fleshing out of stories is invaluable, and powerful. I think that for the most part, "what gets on the news" represents a fairly reasonable judgement. That is, I think that reacting to what is "the story of the day" covers most (but not all) of the important issues.

    In my opinion, where the media really comes short is in educating the reader as to how things work, in putting the story into an accurate context. Some FR threads do a good job of that.

    I think a daily thread, with weekly summary, could be a really powerful force for shaping what is and is not considered "newsworthy" today.

    That power to shape won't come out of a FR discussion. It depends on having broadcast and print rights, as well as editorial power of what will be aired and what won't. But as a matter of keeping a personal eye on the ball, I think your idea is great.

    W.C. Fields once said, "there comes a time in a man's life when he has to seize the bull by the tail and face the situation."
    I'm afraid I'm working up to seizing a bull's tail. Wanna join me?

    I think I work better in a "story analysis" mode - ever the critic. My motivation is more to make sense of the story, to get the factual basis for the report, and in most cases, to understand "how things really work." It's an effort with an entirely personal motivation.

    As often as not, I'm set off by an assertion of or question by a FReeper: & preceding post 308

    At any rate, I don't do very well with assigned work, so y'all have to be content with whatever contributions I feel like making (probably grateful that I don't make more!)

  • Sunday Morning Talk Show Thread 5 March 2006

    03/05/2006 4:50:52 PM PST · 667 of 720
    Cboldt to Phsstpok
    Some raw stuff: puts out VNRs (Video News Releases) on a "paid for" basis. SOme of this is in the nature of "covert propaganda."

    Foreign news sources would probably be very good to scan.

    Lefties version ->

    I wonder what happened to the Alpizar story (guy shot by an air marhsall at Miami); the Erie, PA pizza guy who was killed by a bomb collar; the guy who blew up in Oklahoma, outside a college football game.

    OTOH, the Hamdan case will be heard by SCOTUS later this month, Judith Miller has been appearing in the appeal that involves press priviledge and disclosure of impending search to Holy Land Foundation - those items WILL be hot news when they mature.

    Here's one:

  • Sunday Morning Talk Show Thread 5 March 2006

    03/05/2006 4:19:35 PM PST · 657 of 720
    Cboldt to Phsstpok

    But Brent Bozell's Media Research Center appears to be organized more on an "issues covered" basis. probably gives a handle on the "what's covered" aspect. Getting to "what's not covered" is inherently more difficult - it amounts to reading the inside pages and choosing what should have been covered more prominently.

    There are a good number of sources to check -- WH news releases are updated multiple times daily; read the Congressional Digest each day; Check the Congressional Committee meeting schedules.

    Some things just don't surface, e.g., Able Danger hearings of recent.

    I'll root around and see if I can find a "News that never made the news" sort of summary. "News that isn't newsworthy" is easy (Cheney shooting; DPW deal; Katrina/NOLA revisited on the occasion of Mardi Gras).

  • Are We Ready for the Next 9/11? The sorry state—and stunning waste—of homeland security spending.

    03/05/2006 3:32:51 PM PST · 8 of 39
    Cboldt to neverdem
    "More government" and "more consolidation" isn't limited to terrorism either. Our caretakers in Washington D.C. know what's best. Shut up and send more money. <- Disaster relief

  • Sunday Morning Talk Show Thread 5 March 2006

    03/05/2006 2:58:30 PM PST · 634 of 720
    Cboldt to Phsstpok
    That would be, by the way.

    Yep. More from the same source at ...

    WH Fact Sheet: The CFIUS Process And The DP World Transaction - 02/22/06

    If we refuse to let them operate the terminals then we still have to deal with them in all of the ports of origin. And they'll be pissed off. And they'll have no "enlightened self interest" on the line to make them want to make the cargoes safe.

    Sure they will have self interest. Just like COSCO, they'll work all the harder to keep their nose clean. This is strictly business, IMO. They'll be disappointed, sure, but not in a way that is wilfully self-destructive. USA is by far the largest desination for the cargo they are paid to handle.

    From a couple weeks ago:

  • Sunday Morning Talk Show Thread 5 March 2006

    03/05/2006 2:44:28 PM PST · 627 of 720
    Cboldt to MNJohnnie
    Of the containers identified as posing a terrorist risk, 100% are scanned with radiation detection equipment and are examined with X-ray imaging.

    Of the balance of the containers (those deemed to be outside of the "identified as posing a terrorist risk"), we don't know how many are X-ray and radiation scanned.

    This conclusion is at odds with your assertion, "We scan 100% of the containers coming into the US for radiation all ready."

    Cargo Container Security - U.S. Customs and Border Protection Reality

    Myth: Only a small number of the containers that come into the seaports are inspected.

    Summary of Reality:

    • CBP uses intelligence to screen information on 100% of cargo entering our seaports, and all cargo that presents a risk to our country is inspected using large x-ray and radiation detection equipment.
    • Following 9/11, the Administration developed and implemented a smarter strategy to identify, target, and inspect cargo containers before they reach U.S. ports. Anyone can secure a nation by closing its borders and inspect everything and everybody that enters. Closing the borders is not an option.
    • None of the security measures implemented as a result of this strategy existed before 9/11.
    • The CBP strategy is to rule out potential threats before arrival at our borders and ports. In fact, the security measures now in place allowed us to rule out 94% of the cargo as potential threats prior to arrival. This year, six percent (6 %) of total cargo containers were identified as potential threats and were physically inspected immediately upon arrival. (The percentage will change annually because the inspections are based upon identified risk following intensive screening.) Dramatically increasing physical inspections after arrival is not necessary. It will not appreciably increase our national security. In fact, the type of increase in physical inspections implied by this allegation would cost billions of dollars in resources and cripple not only our economy, but the global economy as well.

    Key Facts That Did Not Exist Before 9-11:

    • CBP uses intelligence to review information on 100% of all cargo information entering U.S. ports, and all cargo that presents a risk to our country is inspected using large x-ray and radiation detection equipment.
    • Following 9/11, under the leadership of President Bush we developed and implemented a smart cargo container security strategy to identify, target, and inspect cargo containers before they reach U.S. ports. Under this strategy:
      1. All containers, 100%, identified as posing a terrorist risk are inspected using x-ray scans and radiation detection equipment. (i.e. Potential for concealment of terrorist weapons or terrorists.)
      2. The Administration requires that advance information be given to our border agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, about all containers well before they arrive. In fact, the information is required 24 hours before cargo is loaded on to vessels at foreign seaports (24-Hour Rule).
      3. Containers posing a potential terrorist threat are identified and targeted before they arrive at U.S. seaports by the National Targeting Center (NTC). The NTC was established as the centralized coordination point for all of CBP's anti-terrorism efforts. Prior to 9/11, no national level targeting of people or goods crossing our borders existed.
        • NTC uses intelligence and terrorist indicators to review advance information for all cargo, passengers, and imported food shipments before arrival into the U.S.
        • NTC coordinates with other federal agencies such as U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Air Marshals, FBI, Transportation Security Administration, and the Departments of Energy and Agriculture, as well as the intelligence community.
      4. CBP works with our foreign partners to allow U.S. officers working at major international seaports, currently 26, to identify and inspect containers prior to being loaded onto ships destined for the U.S. Container Security Initiative (CSI)
      5. Under the Administration's leadership, CBP created a public-private and international partnership with over 7,000 businesses, including most of the largest U.S. importers -- the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT). Under this program, legitimate companies that do regular business with the U.S. have increased their own security to prevent terrorists from infiltrating their shipments. (We check not only the company shipping the goods, but also the companies that provided them with any services.)
        • Approximately 40% of all cargo headed for the U.S. is transported by C-TPAT partners and is therefore better secured.
        • Additional technology has been added, including Radiation Portal Monitors, Isotope Identifiers, and Personal Radiation Monitors. For the first time CBP has added chemical and explosive detector dogs.
  • Sunday Morning Talk Show Thread 5 March 2006

    03/05/2006 2:29:28 PM PST · 620 of 720
    Cboldt to Phsstpok
    I'm still leaning "pro" ports, primarily on the rationale that our security depends on inspections at the port of origin, not our ports, and we need cooperation from folks like DWP to do that, but the more info, the better.

    I think the bruhaha over the DPW purchase of P&O is blown so far out of proportion as to be a joke. IMO, there is ZERO safety and security ramification as a result of the sale. I'd concede thre may be a marginal difference, likely due to funding or ability to fund technology, that favors the sale. That is, I think DPW will be more able and willing to implement technologial advances than P&O would be.

    As for checking containers at overseas ports, the buzzwords are Container Security Initiative, and Megaports Initiative.

    Another reference, re: Megaports ...

    March 2005


    DOE Has Made Limited Progress in
    Installing Radiation Detection Equipment
    at Highest Priority Foreign Seaports

    DOE's Megaports Initiative has had limited success in initiating work at seaports identified as high priority by DOE's Maritime Prioritization Model, which ranks ports in terms of their relative attractiveness to potential nuclear smugglers. Gaining the cooperation of foreign governments has been difficult in part because some countries have concerns that screening large volumes of containers will create delays that could inhibit the flow of commerce at their ports. DOE has completed work at 2 ports and signed agreements to initiate work at 5 other ports. Additionally, DOE is negotiating agreements with the governments of 18 additional countries and DOE officials told us they are close to signing agreements with 5 of these countries. However, DOE does not have a comprehensive long-term plan to guide the Initiative's efforts. Developing such a plan would lead DOE to, among other things, determine criteria for deciding how many and which lower priority ports to complete if it continues to have difficulties working at higher volume and higher threat ports of interest.

    Through the end of fiscal year 2004, DOE had spent about $43 million on Megaports Initiative activities. Of this amount, about $14 million was spent on completing installations at 2 ports. Although DOE currently plans to install equipment at a total of 20 ports by 2010, at an estimated cost of $337 million, this cost projection is uncertain for several reasons. For example, the projection is based in part on DOE's $15 million estimate for the average cost per port, which may not be accurate because it was based primarily on DOE's work at Russian land borders, airports, and seaports. Additionally, DOE is currently assessing whether the Initiative's scope should increase beyond 20 ports; if this occurs, total costs and time frames will also increase. DOE faces several operational and technical challenges in installing radiation detection equipment at foreign ports. For example, DOE is currently devising ways to overcome technical challenges posed by the physical layouts and cargo stacking configurations at some ports. Additionally, environmental conditions, such high winds and sea spray, can affect radiation detection equipment's performance and sustainability.

  • Senate Coverage -- (March '06)

    03/05/2006 2:04:19 PM PST · 181 of 1,312
    Byrd continues on the subject of NSA terrorist surveillance commission ...
  • Senator Byrds Speech regarding Terrorist Surveillance

    03/05/2006 2:00:33 PM PST · 18 of 18
    By Mr. BYRD:

    S. 2362. A bill to establish the National Commission on Surveillance Activities and the Rights of Americans; to the Committee on the Judiciary.

    Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, before the Presidents Day recess, I spoke about recent egregious examples of domestic surveillance by the executive branch, and I announced my intention to introduce legislation to establish a commission to investigate the instances of warrantless wiretapping and spying on U.S. citizens by the National Security Agency and other departments of Government.

    I am not the lone voice raising questions about the legality of this program and its effect on the rights of law-abiding American citizens. I am only one--only one--in a growing chorus--a growing chorus--of concerned individuals. Since the New York Times broke the story of the NSA's wiretapping program, many in this Chamber on both sides of the aisle have questioned the legality of the warrantless wiretapping and have called for investigations into possible violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as well as other transgressions against the spirit or the letter of our revered Constitution.

    Many of our country's foremost constitutional scholars and professors of law have expressed their categorical opposition to the NSA's program, citing possible violations of both the Constitution and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They agree that ``the program appears on its face''--on its face--``to violate existing law.''

    These concerns have, of course, been dismissed by the same branch of Government that hatched the domestic spying program. Did you hear that? I will say it again. These concerns have been dismissed by the same branch of Government that hatched the domestic spying program. But this stonewalling--yes, that is stonewalling--this stonewalling is only part of the story. Important questions about NSA's program have been answered with strained and tenuous justifications or claims of the dire need for secrecy and, as a result, Congress's access to information has been severely--severely, severely--curtailed, by whom? By whom? Guess what, by the administration; by the administration.

    There are some things we do know. We know that top officials in the Department of Justice who were concerned about questions of legality and lack of oversight of the program refused to endorse continued use of the NSA's wiretapping. That isn't all. We also know because of these concerns this secret program was suspended. Do you get that? This secret program was suspended temporarily due to questions about its legality.

    What most Americans don't know is that FBI agents complained about the utility of the wiretapping program. Voluminous amounts of information and records that were gleaned from this secret eavesdropping program were sent from the National Security Agency to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and FBI officials repeatedly complained that they were being drowned by a river of useless information that diverted their resources from pursuing important counterterrorism work. Such complaints raise the question of whether the domestic wiretapping program may have backfired by sending our top counterterrorism agencies on wild-goose chases, thus making our country less secure instead of making our country more secure.

    We know that one member of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, Judge James Robertson, resigned--yes, resigned--4 days after the New York Times first detailed the NSA's warrantless--warrantless--domestic surveillance. We know that only the chief judge of the FISA Court, the secret court charged with approving requests to conduct domestic surveillance, had any knowledge of this clandestine wiretapping program. The other judges, who are sworn to strict secrecy, learned of the program just as many of our citizens did--through reports in the press. Yes, thank God for a free press.

    We know that although most of the judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court were kept in the dark about the program, at least one of the judges was tipped off by an attorney within the Department of Justice that some of the information being presented to the court to secure warrants was improperly obtained, meaning the Government had apparently circumvented a court-ordered screening process to eliminate tainted evidence.

    We know that in a February 28 letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman ARLEN SPECTER, Attorney General Gonzales admitted that the Justice Department's legal justification for the wiretaps has ``evolved over time.''

    What does that mean? Does it mean that there actually was no legal basis for the NSA to spy on American citizens when it first began the surveillance? Does it mean the Department had to gin up some legal basis for the spying once the program became public? Does it mean the administration's reliance on the use-of-force resolution to justify its snooping was simply a ploy--just a ploy--an ``after the fact'' face-saving device meant to give the administration cover for having violated the civil liberties of Americans?

    We know that earlier this week, 18 Members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to President Bush requesting that he appoint a special counsel to investigate the NSA's warrantless surveillance of our citizens. In their letter, the House Members noted that with no clear information coming from the administration, they and all of America have been forced to rely primarily on press reports to determine the scope of the NSA's activities.

    With so many questions unanswered by the administration, it is absolutely imperative that there be an objective investigation of this program and any violations of law that may have occurred.

    We are in a supercharged political year--we know that, you know that, everybody knows that--an election year for one-third of the Senate, including this Senator from West Virginia, and for the entire House of Representatives. And the Senate Intelligence Committee as of today has refused to initiate a serious investigation into this matter. But an investigation has to go forward. The efficacy of our laws and our Constitution is at stake. That is why I am proposing legislation to establish a nonpartisan commission to review and investigate domestic surveillance in America, along with serious allegations of abuse. In this way, we will be sure to safeguard our first and fourth amendment rights as enumerated in this Constitution, as well as evaluate the actual effectiveness of such programs in combating terrorist threats.

    James Madison wrote in his essay, ``Political Reflections,'' that ``[t]he fetters''--the fetters, f-e-t-t-e-r-s--``[t]he fetters imposed on liberty at home have ever been forged out of the weapons provided for defense against real, pretended, or imaginary dangers from abroad.

    No one is suggesting that the threat of terrorist attacks is anything but a real threat, and one that must be of the Congress's utmost priority. But the suggestion that the American people would be safer in their homes if they just forego their constitutionally protected rights is a deliberately deceptive assertion that may forge the fetters that bind law-abiding citizens. Make no mistake about it: It is these ill-conceived strictures that may ultimately destroy precious liberties.

    In fact, it is because our forefathers were fearful of re-creating the same tyrannous form of government from which many of them had fled, that the Bill of Rights--the Bill of Rights, those first 10 amendments--the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution to better secure for all time--all time--the freedom from oppression that ever looms from an overly powerful executive. Get that. Get that. Let me say that again. It was because our forefathers, thank God, were fearful of re-creating the same tyrannous, the same tyrannical form of government from which many of them had fled that the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution to better secure, for all time, the freedom from oppression that ever looms from an overly powerful executive. And you better believe it. You better believe it. Hear me. Hear me now. I will always speak out against an all-powerful executive, under either party.

    In a climate of fear, liberties have been sacrificed time and again under the guise of keeping the Nation from harm. Fear. Yes, fear is a powerful tool for manipulation; useful for easing the American people out of their liberties and into submission. Fear. When the public is confronted with a situation, real or imagined, that inspires fear, the public rightfully look to their leaders--look to their leaders, Mr. President--for protection from foreboding consequences. The claim of wartime necessity always strengthens the hands of a President. Let me say that again. The claim of wartime necessity always strengthens a President, any President, Republican or Democrat. And often facts are sealed from the prying eyes of Congress by a purported need for secrecy.

    But Senators, and that includes this Senator from West Virginia, Senators have a sworn duty--a sworn duty, a sworn duty--sworn right up there at that desk with their hand on the Bible--the holy Bible, the holy Bible, the holy Bible--with their hand on the Bible to check executive power. We have to be on guard every moment of every day. The executive branch, whether it be Democratic or Republican, is always reaching--always reaching, always reaching--always grabbing more power, more power, more power, and we have to be on guard. We have a sworn duty to check executive power and, as long as I live, I am going to stand for the checking of the executive power; I don't care whether it is a Democrat or Republican in the White House or an Independent. It makes no difference. We have a sworn duty. We swear. We put our hand on the Bible before God and man, and we swear to check executive power at all times--at all times--in times of crisis or otherwise. Each of us here, and there are 100 here, and each of this 100, 100 Senators, we are each bound to defend the Constitution and each bound to defend the liberties that the Constitution gives to all Americans, at all times, in times of peace and in times of war.

    History has shown us many times that a climate of fear can take a hefty toll on our freedoms. That is your freedoms. That is your freedoms. That is your freedoms. Worse still are liberties surrendered in vain, resulting in little added security.

    There is no doubt that constitutional freedoms will never be abolished in one fell swoop--never--for the American people cherish their freedoms, and they would not tolerate such a loss if they could perceive it; if they could see it coming, if they could hear it, if they could feel it, if they could perceive it. But the erosion of freedom rarely comes as an all-out frontal assault; rather, it is gradual, noxious, creeping, cloaked in secrecy and glossed over by reassurances of greater security.

    The American people are a people born of sacrifice, and the sacrifices that the American people are willing to endure speak well of the tenacity and the strength that makes the United States of America what it is. Some may be tempted to accept on blind faith the administration's--any administration's, any administration's--promise of increased security, and they may see it as a duty to capitulate their rights for that flimsy promise. May we all pause to reflect on the hard-won liberties--the hard-won liberties--for which earlier generations fought and died. Remember Nathan Hale. He died. He regretted that he had but one life to give, to lose, one life to lose for his country. Remember Patrick Henry: ``Give me liberty or give me death,'' he said. John Paul Jones: ``We have only begun to fight.''

    So may we all pause to reflect, as we have just done, on the hard-won liberties for which earlier generations fought and died before we easily accept convincing rhetoric. Rhetoric is cheap. Talk is cheap. To suggest that innocent Americans surrender rights to preserve freedom is a false choice. It is also a slippery slope, one that is fraught with ever more secrecy and the certainty of egregious abuses of our Bill of Rights and of our laws over time.

    The commission that I propose would determine how to best protect the homeland, as well as the most effective ways of gathering needed intelligence. It will examine the procedures for the NSA's use and retention of intelligence obtained without warrants, and the method and scope of dissemination of such information to other agencies. It will investigate any questions raised by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court concerning the legality of the domestic spying program. It will examine the obligation of the President--do you get that? Do you hear that, Mr. President? Republican or Democrat. It will examine the obligation of the President to brief Members of Congress--not just one or two or three or four--on warrantless surveillance of American citizens. It will lift the fog--lift the fog--of secrecy and clandestine government activity misaimed at law-abiding citizens and perhaps, most importantly, it will shed much needed sunshine--let the sunshine in--much needed sunshine on any unlawful or unconstitutional executive--executive, executive intrusions into the lives of ordinary Americans.


  • Sunday Morning Talk Show Thread 5 March 2006

    03/05/2006 1:16:19 PM PST · 608 of 720
    Cboldt to MNJohnnie
    Where is the documentation for the statement that "Scanning means reading a manifest"?

    That isn't exactly the inference I drew. I was merely noting that "being checked" and "being screened" are indefinite terms, subject to the reader's interpretation. At any rate, looking to corroborate "100% are scanned for radiation at port of entry," I used the link you provided. It says, in part ...

    A Layered Defense:

    Screening and Inspection: CBP screens 100% of all cargo before it arrives in the U.S.- using intelligence and cutting edge technologies. CBP inspects all high-risk cargo.

    CSI (Container Security Initiative): Enables CBP, in working with host government Customs Services, to examine high-risk maritime containerized cargo at foreign seaports, before they are loaded on board vessels destined for the United States. In addition to the current 42 foreign ports participating in CSI, many more ports are in the planning stages. By the end of 2006, the number is expected to grow to 50 ports, covering 90% of transpacific maritime containerized cargo shipped to the U.S. ...

    Presently, CBP operates over 680 radiation portal monitors at our nation's ports (including 181 radiation portal monitors at seaports) [Most of the radiation monitors must be other than at seaports - probably at airports], utilizes over 170 large scale non-intrusive inspection devices to examine cargo, and has issued 12,400 hand-held radiation detection devices. The President's FY 2007 budget requests $157 million to secure next-generation detection equipment at our ports of entry. ...

    That, in combination with recent Congressional activity on the subject of home-port radiation scanning, leads me to believe that substantially less than 100% of containers are presently scanned for radiation, and that radiation scanning is not a legal prerequisite for a container to exit a port of entry.

    There has been a nasty habit of the Port Deal Critics making statements of "Fact" that turn out to be false or misleading. I suggest we take none of their "Facts" as gospel until we independently verify them.

    I agree with that.

  • Sunday Morning Talk Show Thread 5 March 2006

    03/05/2006 12:57:26 PM PST · 604 of 720
    Cboldt to snugs; mathluv
    Correct but don't forget the majority will be shipments from shippers that have been sending similar cargo for many years.

    The DHS and ICE are pretty clear that they target searches, and I figure as much as makes sense, they look back through the chain of custody and experience as they prioritize the days search activity.

    The more I read, the more I'm convinced that "100% scanned for radiation at entry port" is a goal at this point, not yet a reality.

    H.R. 4437 - Border Security and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2005
    Passed 239-182 on December 16, 2005


    (a) Deployment.--Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall deploy radiation portal monitors at all United States ports of entry and facilities as determined by the Secretary to facilitate the screening of all inbound cargo for nuclear and radiological material.

    (b) Report.--Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate a report on the Department's progress toward carrying out the deployment described in subsection (a).

    (c) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary to carry out subsection (a) such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2006 and 2007.

    12/17/2005: Received in the Senate.
    01/27/2006: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

    10/18/2005: Became Public Law No: 109-90

    research, development, acquisition, and operations

    For necessary expenses for science and technology research, including advanced research projects; development; test and evaluation; acquisition; and operations; as authorized by title III of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 181 et seq.); $1,420,997,000, to remain available until expended: Provided, That of the total amount provided under this heading, $23,000,000 is available to select a site for the National Bio and Agrodefense Facility and perform other pre-construction activities to establish research capabilities to protect animal and public health from high consequence animal and zoonotic diseases in support of Homeland Security Presidential Directives 9 and 10: Provided further, That of the amount provided under this heading, $318,014,000 shall be for activities of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, of which $125,000,000 shall be for the purchase and deployment of radiation portal monitors for United States ports of entry and of which no less than $81,000,000 shall be for radiological and nuclear research and development activities: Provided further, That excluding the funds made available under the preceding proviso for radiation portal monitors, $144,760,500 of the total amount made available under this heading for the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office shall not be obligated until the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and the House of Representatives receive and approve an expenditure plan for the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office: Provided further, That the expenditure plan shall include funding by program, project, and activity for each of fiscal years 2006 through 2010 prepared by the Secretary of Homeland Security that has been reviewed by the Government Accountability Office.

    100% of containers landing at Oakland are so scanned, per press releases that also tout the fact that this port lands something line 44% of the containers in the USA - which is an amazing concentration of entry!
  • Sunday Morning Talk Show Thread 5 March 2006

    03/05/2006 12:24:06 PM PST · 574 of 720
    Cboldt to mathluv
    The 100% being checked was from a port guy being interviewed on Fox.

    Like I said, it depends on what one means by "being checked." Ship manifests are reviewed before the ship docks - 100%.

  • Sunday Morning Talk Show Thread 5 March 2006

    03/05/2006 12:18:19 PM PST · 570 of 720
    Cboldt to Morgan in Denver
  • Sunday Morning Talk Show Thread 5 March 2006

    03/05/2006 12:06:21 PM PST · 557 of 720
    Cboldt to mathluv
    The port deal is raising awareness of how our ports are operated. It is strange, that under the toon, no one objected to China being given that authority.

    COSCO was a big issue, and AFAIK, COSCO still isn't operating any terminals. They are landing lots of freight however.

    We are also hearing that only 5% of containers are being checked. The voices saying that 100% are checked from the EXIT port is not being heard.

    Depends on what "checked" means. I'm still looking for corroboration for the assertion that 100% are scanned for radiation. 100% landing at Oakland are (supposed to be), but the (not yet passed) Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 recites an allocation of funds for a DEMONSTRATION program.


    (d) Container Security Demonstration Program.--
    (1) Program.--The Secretary is authorized to establish and carry out a demonstration program that integrates radiation detection equipment with other types of nonintrusive inspection equipment at an appropriate United States seaport, as determined by the Secretary.
    (2) Requirement.--The demonstration program shall also evaluate ways to strengthen the capability of Department of Homeland Security personnel to analyze cargo inspection data and ways to improve the transmission of inspection data between appropriate entities within the Department of Homeland Security.

    The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. Thompson).

    Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Madam Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    Madam Chairman, I appreciate the work of the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox) to include many Democratic suggestions in this bill, and I want to say that most of the provisions in his bill are good ones.

    But the truth is that this bill does not address a large number of dangerous security gaps. For example, this bill does not close serious security gaps in chemical plants, aviation, railroads, passenger trains and railroads, buses, border security, the ability of first responders to communicate in an emergency, the importance of protecting privacy, and a whole host of other areas where we must improve security. This bill does not even mention chemical plants or airports. How can we call this an authorization bill?

    My substitute, Madam Chairman, addresses all of these areas, and more. First, the substitute makes funding for homeland security a priority. The President's budget and this bill does not fulfill the commitment we made in the 9/11 Act the President signed into law in December, but this substitute meets those challenges.

    For example, for just a mere $92 million called for in the 9/11 Act, we could install radiation portal monitors in every port of entry in this country. My substitute offers solutions where the bill does not give the answers. For example, it protects our borders by requiring DHS to put technology in place to ensure that every mile of the border is monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It protects our ports by authorizing new port security grants. It protects airlines and prevents hijackings by installing new, in-line baggage screening systems that work better and faster. And, in an area where I strongly disagree with the chairman, we fully sponsor the development of research on how to counter shoulder-fired missiles that terrorists can use to shoot down a plane.

    Mr. LANGEVIN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of Ranking Member Thompson's substitute amendment.

    While H.R. 1817 takes important steps in improving our security and preparedness, it simply does not go far enough. ...

    Now, as ranking member of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Nuclear and Biological Threats, I am particularly pleased to note that the Democratic substitute would provide for the installation of radiation portal monitors at all ports of entry. This is a key step in our efforts to keep dangerous materials out of our borders.

    (House of Representatives - May 18, 2005)

    As noted above, H.R. 1817 has not yet passed. Its status as of May 19, 2005 is, "Referred to Senate committee: Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs."

    The WH administration is not entirely happy with the proposed funding authorization.

    WASHINGTON, D.C. 20503
    May 18, 2005

    The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 1817. However, the Administration has a number of serious concerns regarding provisions in H.R. 1817 that would conflict with the President's Budget, interfere with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary's management authorities, and hinder the Department's ability to implement its various missions. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to address these and other concerns before any final action on this legislation.

    While the aggregate level of appropriations authorizations in H.R. 1817 is closely aligned with the President's Budget, the bill includes several program-specific authorization levels that are not consistent with the Budget. Discrepancies of particular concern include insufficient funding for the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office and for Targeted Infrastructure Protection grants. The Administration urges that authorization offunding for these programs be consistent with the President's Budget.