Winter means ice in the South. Sure it gets a little colder but nothing like 35 below up north where they go ice fishing. (What kind of bait do you use to catch ice, anyway?) We get decent snow some years but mostly we get ice storms. Ice doesn't bother the deciduous trees but the pines, still having their needles, suffer greatly.
So last Thursday we had our first real ice storm of the season and lots of folks are still lacking electricity almost a week later. Here at the cabin in Long Creek things are fine, except for a few limbs to clear away, but intown Greenville got hammered. Our friend Joe's neighborhood was elderly and distinguished with a canopy of beautiful mature trees. I hope the damage is not so bad as to change the character of that fine place. The South loses too many trees each year as it is.
Another old institution has fallen in America, and that is the free press. Having been handed documents obtained by the ACLU under the Freedom of Information Act indicating that President Bush ordered secret spying on American citizens, the NY Times refused to print the information until they were forced to by one of their own reporters. There are several implications to this that bother me, notwithstanding the President's defense that he is allowed to make up his own laws in time of war...absolutely ridiculous in the light of day and even more frightening.
No, what really bothers me is what is essentially a cover up in which the NY Times participated. The ACLU provided the government documents to the Times prior to the last Presidential Election. Government officials demanded that the Times not run the story under the auspices of National Security (bogus reasoning given even a moment's thought) and Bush won the election. Would the information that George Bush had committed a possibly impeachable offense have changed the election result? It would have taken less than one percent of the voters to reverse the result, remember, notwithstanding the "I've got capital" B S from Bush.
The New York Times has failed America. Who do we turn to?
I am a card carrying member of the ACLU, as you should already know. I have a question for them. Why did they only give the information to the NY Times? The Times after all, is not the bastion of fair goevernance they once were. I realize that printing the facts is considered "Liberal" but here we have another instance of failure to do so, to put up alongside Judith Miller's and Armstrong Williams' prostitution for those in power. The electorate of America has the right to know what was going on at the very moment of the one decision it is allowed to make in its own governance. Why didn't the ACLU provide these documents to George Bush's hometown newspaper in Crawford, Tevas? They've done a fine job of printing the facts.
America will always, from time to time, have evil people in high positions. If we ignore truth...they will get away with their evil deeds and the next villian will feel even more emboldened.
It takes courage, Mr. Editor...Do you have it?
It takes courage, Mr. Lawyer...Do you have it?
It takes courage, Citizens...
Here's the bottom line on why Bush wanted secret spying. There is no other reason except to cover up their actions.
Under the actual law, they can act immediately but have to get approval by the court within 72 hours. But there is a paper trail. That's the only difference. The checks and balances part of our legal system is what George Bush finds inconvenient and wishes to eliminate.
Here's Charlie's take on it: