By Bill Gallagher
-- -DETROIT -- When the Liar in Chief declares, "We're not mining or
trolling into the personal lives of innocent Americans," the
enlightened know that is precisely what his fascist government
President George W. Bush lies in small matters -- like his
absurdly folksy claim that his greatest thrill and the "best
moment" of his presidency was catching a fish. So when it comes
to covering up his domestic spying program, you know he's
spewing his Orwellian whoppers big-time.
The only problem the Busheviks had with their secret wiretapping
program was they got caught. But don't worry, Bush assured us,
it's only those "international communications" he wanted to
Always the master of the deceptive oversimplification to
buttress his point, Bush added, "If there are people inside our
country who are talking to al-Qaeda, we want to know." Little
details like the law and the Constitution couldn't restrain our
"wartime president" who claims absolute, unfettered authority to
do anything he wants to "protect" our nation.
So now he's caught kicking it up a notch to include widespread
surveillance of domestic phone records and spying on millions of
innocent Americans. USA Today blew the lid off the National
Security Agency's spying and monitoring of domestic phone
activities. One source told USA Today that the NSA spying
program has produced "the largest database ever assembled in the
This Big Brother snooping was done with the ignominious
cooperation of phone company giants Verizon, AT&T and Bell
South. Qwest, to its great credit, refused to cooperate in the
sordid deed of betraying its own customers.
Joseph P. Nacchio, Qwest's former CEO, refused to provide the
NSA with private phone records of its customers. Nacchio --
who's under indictment on an insider trading charge -- smelled
serious legal issues when the NSA came knocking on his door.
In a prepared statement for The New York Times, Nacchio's
lawyer, Herbert J. Stern, said the government first approached
his client in the fall of 2001.
"Mr. Nacchio made an inquiry as to whether a warrant or other
legal process had been secured in support of that request,"
He added, "When he learned that no such authority had been
granted, and there was a disinclination on the part of the
authorities to use any legal process," Nacchio became
suspicious, figured the NSA requests violated privacy
requirements and told his people "to refuse to comply."
Any officer at Verizon, AT&T and Bell South who did comply
should be summarily fired. Company board members should be
outraged, and shareholders should be demanding accountability.
This may be the incident that sparks the biggest class-action
lawsuit ever. The company officers broke the law and their
contracts with their customers.
A $5 billion suit has already been filed against Verizon for
sharing customer information with government spies.
"This is the largest and most vast intrusion of civil liberties
we've ever seen in the United States," said Bruce Afrin, one of
the attorneys who filed the lawsuit.
The folks at the NSA must have been huffing over Qwest's
resistance. Imagine that! What's all this "warrant or other
legal process" crap? What kind of people are these? How dare
they defy our "wartime president"? All those legal niceties are
OK in theory, but times have changed. Our government gets what
it wants, when it wants it, and woe betide those who dare to
Predictably, Bush claimed everything is perfectly lawful, saying
in his weekly radio address that "the privacy of all Americans
is fiercely protected in all our activities." Sure.
Warrantless searches, phone trolling, torture, kidnapping,
indefinite imprisonment without charges, denial of legal
representation, you name it. It's all legal. Just ask Attorney
General Alberto Gonzales. If the president says it's legal, it's
legal. When we're at war, the Constitution, the Congress and
civility are out the door.
Bush always plays the fear card, telling us he's "protecting" us
from al-Qaeda as he takes us on our national plunge into
fascism. He seizes power with impunity, and the Republicans in
Congress are willing accomplices as they abrogate the
fundamental responsibilities of their branch of the federal
government to a power-crazed madman.
As America sleeps, basic rights, especially privacy, are under
assault. The concentration of claimed authority in the Executive
Branch -- removed from congressional authorization and outside
the scope of judicial review -- is dangerous and frightening.
The Busheviks are not conservatives -- they are neo-fascists
with an agenda aimed at protecting a privileged elite and using
the unbridled power of an authoritarian government to enhance
and protect their wealth.
They're not wearing black shirts, boot-stomping down
Pennsylvania Avenue in the style of the more theatrical of their
ilk. But their insidious threat is real and chilling.
Doug Olson, a reader from Madison, Wis., provided me with an
important analysis of what the Busheviks are doing. Doug says
when he brands them fascists, he doesn't mean it as a "barstool
put-down." Doug has a good grasp of what fascism historically
is. "I mean it quite literally," he says. "Most people have no
idea what fascism is. They think you need to have a bunch of
swastika-wearing thugs out rounding up the Jews. This is
completely wrong. The Bush people fit my definition of fascism
to a T: They are radical, conservative, corporate,
authoritarian, nationalist supremacists.
"Their supreme 'master race' is not racial but economic -- the
top 10th of a percent of wealth-holders in America. They have no
respect for human rights. They have no respect for democracy,
except as a cover and propaganda tool. They pervert language --
for them, language is merely a tool of deceit."
Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., is the most forthright, courageous
and prophetic voice in Washington today. He brands the Bushevik
regime's systematic assaults on our liberties as the egregious
deeds they are. He also had the guts to oppose the war in Iraq
and is now calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
Feingold calls the phone-record mining "a frightening prospect."
Before the latest spying revelation, Feingold had already
offered a resolution in the Senate to censure Bush for ordering
the NSA's warrantless searches.
Feingold -- unlike so many gutless Democrats on Capitol Hill --
doesn't mince words and challenges Bush on the most vital issues
of our times.
"We must get out of our foxholes and be willing to clearly and
specifically point out what a strategic error the Iraq invasion
has been," he told a National Press Club gathering last week.
Feingold wants U.S. troops withdrawn by the end of the year.
"I believe the situation would probably be better," he said.
"The lesson of insurgency is, when the occupying power leaves,
it tends to lessen, rather than increase, the level of
Feingold's views are in direct contrast to Sen. Hillary Clinton,
who has never admitted her vote to support the war was a
horrible mistake. She ducks the crunch questions about force
Sen. Clinton did, however, say she finds the phone-record mining
"deeply disturbing." Why, then, is her name not on Feingold's
censure resolution? The Clinton-infatuated media gave more
attention to Rupert Murdoch's planned fund-raiser for her than
Feingold's substantive presentation on Iraq and national
Last week, Hillary gushed over George W. Bush's "charm and
charisma." I just don't know where anyone can find any "charm"
in a fascist-loving war criminal.
Bill Gallagher, a Peabody Award winner, is a former Niagara
Falls city councilman who now covers Detroit for Fox2 News. His
e-mail address is
Niagara Falls Reporter
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