link to the feed here:
“FBI agents will not suddenly be able to snoop into American bedrooms. U.S. officials who want a wiretap warrant under the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act will still have to convince a court that there is probable cause to believe the target is an agent of a foreign power or terrorist organization.” [No License to Spy, 20 November 2002]We now know that this isn’t true. President Bush, with the flimsiest legal justification, ordered wiretaps without the FISA review in which the Journal recently placed so much faith.
“The best way to reassure people is to ensure our intelligence and law enforcement agencies at some point make their case to some outside authority. That means defining who they are targeting as well as paying more attention to the specifics of accountability. … And we have no objection to putting a sunset provision on any expanded powers, so they can be reviewed by Congress to see if they've been abused.” [Taking Liberties 25 September 2001]
“finish its work and provide them the resources they need to do their job. … It is not helpful to attach such a controversial non-defense legislative issue to a defense appropriations bill. It only invites delay for our troops.”ANWR would not produce a single drop of oil for 7 years. Troops and families need resources today. The choice would seem clear, but clearly not for Ted Stevens.
"Among other things, the past year has been notable for terrorist violence, ethnic cleansing, civil conflict, catastrophic natural disasters, and geopolitical polarization. That freedom could thrive in this environment is impressive."You can almost hear the corks popping.
Freedom House is very concerned that the emerging constitution will seriously undermine the prospects for democracy and the safeguarding of human rights in the new Iraq. After all the American blood and treasure that has been expended to bring freedom to Iraq, it would be worse than a shame if the new constitution were to enshrine the triumphalist vision of a minority within a particular sect, rather than reflect a national consensus on a democratic framework; it will have been a waste.Of the gains in Iraq over the last year, the group seemed to express some skepticism that the presence of American troops was helpful to the process, and whatever gains occurred could be fleeting:
Indeed, some have argued that the rise in anti- American sentiment has tarnished the democratic idea in the minds of ordinary Arabs, although several of their countries have taken steps towards expanded freedom.And the big successes touted by Bush are represented by Freedom House as “small gains” in “modestly successful” elections.
It is also clear that some of the gains noted in this year’s survey are fragile and could be reversed in the future. Gains made in Iraq could be wiped out if the current level of violence escalates into outright civil conflict among Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds.
Among others opposing American involvement in torture are the American Civil Liberties Union, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, members of the 9-11 Commission itself, the American Bar Association, Human Rights First, Freedom House, and Amnesty International. A joint statement signed by some of these groups emphasizes that the torture provisions "undermine the credibility of U.S. efforts to promote human rights and democracy in the Arab world, which President Bush has identified as a key element in the Administration's long-term strategy to combat terrorism . . . "
One of the last items added to the military spending bill was a provision sought by Mr. Frist that would shield drug makers from lawsuits related to vaccines that protect against biological agents or viruses like the one that causes the avian flu. The language would allow lawsuits against vaccine makers only if they engaged in "willful misconduct." The government would pay medical expenses and benefits to those injured or killed by vaccines.
Mr. Frist contends that the provision is necessary to encourage drug companies to make vaccines. But it is likely to draw criticism, with some arguing that it would be a windfall for those companies.
"Full liability protection is a requirement for our participation in the development and production of a pandemic vaccine,’ said Len Lavenda, spokesman for Sanofi Pasteur.” [Washington Post, 11/17/05]Or maybe the businesses making vaccines know that they can make a profit off the expanding vaccine market without the deal that Frist and the drug company lobbyists are ramming through on the back of the defense funding bill. In fact, industry analysts expect the market for new vaccines to expand dramatically in the next few years. Companies including Merck, Wyeth, GlaxoSmith Kline, and Novartis have all announced large investments in expanding their vaccine manufacturing capabilities … all without the sweetheart deal that Frist is pushing through.