Wednesday, March 19, 2008

While You Were Out, March 19

The government makes its case for less oversight:

One of the more overarching themes to the Bush administration is its absolute opposition to any oversight, congressional or otherwise. Whether it's opposing the establishment of a commission to examine the wiretapping policy and activities, refusing to appear when subpoenaed, or just outright gutting other agencies, the administration is demonstrably opposed to anyone paying attention to what they're doing.

Yet, time and again they demonstrate with equal veracity that oversight is sorely needed, if not because of illegality then for the shear incompetence.

Enter this report from Monday, providing us with yet more proof that silly balance-of-power thing in the Constitution might have been a good idea after all.

The government's terror watchlist includes inaccurate and outdated information, increasing the risk that innocent people will be misidentified as terrorists while terrorists are overlooked, a government audit reported Monday.


Although agents describe the watchlist as invaluable in helping them detect terrorists, high-profile blunders have underscored its flaws, such as when agents repeatedly blocked Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., from boarding a plane because his name was similar to that of a terror suspect.


[JDIG Glenn] Fine's audit is his second in less than a week to find fault with the FBI's handling of national security matters.

On Thursday, the inspector general found that the FBI had abused privacy laws when seeking records without court approval. However, Fine noted that the FBI had improved its processing of so-called "national security letters" after his office had issued an earlier critical report.

I'll assume that detaining Senator Kennedy was just a coincidence. But, really, forgetting the illegal activities of the national security process, these agencies have proven time and again that their incompetence, here stretching over the course of six years, presents more of an imminent threat.

Those meddling Clintons are at it again:

Continuing on her theme of "caucuses don't really count," Hillary Clinton has asked the Texas Democratic Party to verify every signature (that's 1 million of them) of the people who voted in the Texas caucuses. One wonders why she didn't request the same of the primary voters. The Party declined her request.

Ron Paul hasn't left yet:

From the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch:

On Saturday, [Missouri Rep. Party Chmn. Jon] Bennett learned why [an abnormal influx of inquiries about the caucuses were coming in.] Dozens of avid supporters of Ron Paul, a Texas congressman who is running a renegade quest for the presidential nomination, staged a political guerrilla attack. At that caucus at St. Peters City Hall — as well as others across the state — party regulars like Bennett were overwhelmed.

Caucuses in Missouri, held only in presidential election years, are typically low-key affairs attended mainly by party diehards. But this year, the pro-Paul activists commandeered gatherings in the city of St. Louis, St. Louis County, Kansas City and Springfield. Paul supporters also controlled caucuses in at least a half dozen rural counties.

The result: Paul's supporters predict they have snagged roughly a third of the 2,137 state Republican delegates. Those delegates will determine the state GOP platform this spring and help select the presidential delegates to the national Republican presidential convention in Minneapolis in September.

This, of course, makes the people who didn't show up angry, and the Party will be examining the names to make sure there weren't any of those dirty Libertarian interlopers. Assuming there were (which wouldn't be a surprise), the take-over still illustrates that those who don't participate still feel they are owed inaction by everyone else.

They fling 'activist' around like it's a dirty word, but apathy is the enemy of democracy. (No, I don't support Ron Paul, but I refuse to degrade people who participate or favor those who don't.)

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