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Friday, February 10, 2006
Legal Justification IV: FISA
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:12 pm

(Part of a series of sorts: Previously: Part I, Part II, and Part III).

This afternoon I was suffering surfing (although I think that was a Freudian typo) the radio and caught a few minutes of Tom Sullivan sitting in for Rush Limbaugh (I was bored with the Gretsky conversation being engaged in by the guy sitting in for Colin Cowherd-there’s only so much that can be said with the current fact set, and he kept saying it over and over and over).

At any rate, he mentioned some column (I can’t remember by whom) that allegedly demonstrated how what the President has done to date was within the scope of FISA and cited section 1802. Indeed, he challenged all who were listening to Google “FISA Section 1802.”

The portions that he read over the air were such that it was clear Sullivan really didn’t know what he was talking about, as he seemed to think that the administration had been complying with the briefing requirements listed in 1802, when this has clearly not been the case (noted below).

However, upon reading the section, it becomes clear that Sullivan missed more than just the reporting requirement issue.

This portion of the code is numbered and named as follows: US CODE: Title 50,1802.

Electronic surveillance authorization without court order; certification by Attorney General; reports to Congressional committees; transmittal under seal; duties and compensation of communication common carrier; applications; jurisdiction of court.

I am no attorney, but this looks like a rather relevant portion of FISA vis-a-vis the NSA program currently under scrutiny. Note, in particular, the bolded portion below:

(1) Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year if the Attorney General certifies in writing under oath that—
(A) the electronic surveillance is solely directed at—
(i) the acquisition of the contents of communications transmitted by means of communications used exclusively between or among foreign powers, as defined in section 1801 (a)(1), (2), or (3) of this title; or
(ii) the acquisition of technical intelligence, other than the spoken communications of individuals, from property or premises under the open and exclusive control of a foreign power, as defined in section 1801 (a)(1), (2), or (3) of this title;
(B) there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party;

Unless one construes the AUMF to fulfill the requirements in sub-section (a)(1), it seems plain that the NSA program is in violation of this portion of the statute. If the AUMF does not fit that sub-section, then the problem goes beyond the warrants problem to the problem that the law explicitly forbids the capturing of the communications of a “United States person.”

Even if we assume that that is the case, the administration has failed to conform to the following sub-section:

if the Attorney General reports such minimization procedures and any changes thereto to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence at least thirty days prior to their effective date, unless the Attorney General determines immediate action is required and notifies the committees immediately of such minimization procedures and the reason for their becoming effective immediately.
(2) An electronic surveillance authorized by this subsection may be conducted only in accordance with the Attorney General’s certification and the minimization procedures adopted by him. The Attorney General shall assess compliance with such procedures and shall report such assessments to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence under the provisions of section 1808 (a) of this title.
(3) The Attorney General shall immediately transmit under seal to the court established under section 1803 (a) of this title a copy of his certification. Such certification shall be maintained under security measures established by the Chief Justice with the concurrence of the Attorney General, in consultation with the Director of Central Intelligence, …

Note the inclusion of the Intelligence Committees of both Houses of Congress and the Chief Judge of the FISA Court-i.e., checks and balances.

There haven’t been any such reports to the committees in question. Yes, there were briefings of a set of members but not of the whole committees. Indeed, this week was the first time that the full committees have received formal briefings.

The remarkable thing about Sullivan’s argument is that he read the reporting requirements over the air, and simply assumed that they were being complied with.

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Thursday, December 8, 2005
O’Reilly: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (or Else!!)
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:11 am

Apropos of my post yesterday, we have, via Media Matters the following transcript excerpt from Bill O’Reilly’s 12/2/05 radio show:

I am not going to let oppressive, totalitarian, anti-Christian forces in this country diminish and denigrate the holiday and the celebration. I am not going to let it happen. I’m gonna use all the power that I have on radio and television to bring horror into the world of people who are trying to do that. And we have succeeded. You know we’ve succeeded. They are on the run in corporations, in the media, everywhere. They are on the run, because I will put their face and their name on television, and I will talk about them on the radio if they do it. There is no reason on this earth that all of us cannot celebrate a public holiday devoted to generosity, peace, and love together. There is no reason on the earth that we can’t do that. So we are going to do it. And anyone who tries to stop us from doing it is gonna face me.

First off, this snippet underscores one of the many reasons I can’t take O’Reilly: the sheer egomania here is palpable. Yes, he has a top-rated cable news show, and there is some power to be associated with that many eyeballs and ears. However, the people he thinks he has “on the run” probably pay him very little attention. Meanwhile, he pumps up his viewers and listeners with all this bravado. Plus, his “me versus the powerful” shtick wears on me in a general sense.

Second, and more importantly, is this really the way to promote the values of “generosity, peace, and love”-by threatening to “bring horror” to those who don’t see your point of view? All this kind of talk does is harden positions and creates even more animosity towards Christianity by those predisposed to oppose it in the first place. Trying to bully people isn’t a very good method for changing their minds.

Clearly, this is about attention and ratings-not about promoting “generosity, peace, and love.”

Filed under: US Politics, Pop Culture, Talk Radio, Religion | Comments (5) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Saturday, November 12, 2005
An Example of Why I Don’t Like Bill O’Reilly
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:28 pm

California Conservative has a post up entitled “Why We Love Bill O’Reilly” which quotes something O’Reilly said on his radio show this week about San Fransisco and a vote in the city to keep military recruiters out of public schools. O’Reilly’s response:

“You know, if I’m the president of the United States, I walk right into Union Square, I set up my little presidential podium and I say, ‘Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you’re not going to get another nickel in federal funds,’”

Now, that may be an emotionally satisfying response for some; however, it is the kind of nonsense that O’Reilly constantly spouts that has no foundation in reality. That world (and more specifically, our system of government) doesn’t work that way. Not only does O’Reilly’s presidential fantasy not comport with the way fiscal policy works, it further runs into a tricky little problem, which is that you can’t dismiss
the fact that a democratic process did produce the result in question-as such, “my way or the highway” pronouncements aren’t the solution.

O’Reilly’s statement, and the subsequent one about defending SF from terrorism, are the stuff of people ranting to their neighbors, not something that could even approximate public policy-nor should we want it to be such:

You want to be your own country? Go right ahead,” O’Reilly went on. “And if al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we’re not going to do anything about it. We’re going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead.”


That O’Reilly correctly voices opinions that many hold is undoubtedly true-they would like the answers to be easy and to be able to tell those who make the “wrong” choices how wrong they are. Further, they would like to assume that they are really in the vast majority, and the “wrong” people are really a very small minority who have, for some unknown reason, disproportionate power. However, the truth of the matter is,: those who think O’Reilly is some prophet of the vast, silent majority are simply wrong. He appeals to a lot of people, but it is far fewer than those in the O’Reilly amen corner may think. He plays the populist game well, I will add, what with his references to “the folks” (i.e., all those “normal” viewers out there), his attempt to paint himself as an outsider to power (which because laughbale, given that he has the highest rated program on cable news), and his doggedly certain rhetoric.

Yes, SF is in the clear minority ideologically in the United States-but the point of this post is not to defend SF’s policy choices but instead to point out that O’Reilly’s rantings are far more about emotional outlet than they are about “telling it like is” 0r about actual reasoned discourse about how to solve actual problems.

Indeed, it is this kind of pronouncements that supposedly qualify as political analysis that further pollutes politics and makes actual discussion increasingly problematic.

The San Francisco Chronicle has the details of the story: Talk host’s towering rant: S.F. not worth saving.

The Political Teen has the audio.

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Harshly Mellow linked with [...] and his sense of humor and mine tend not to connect. Very, very scary. --Steven Taylor doesn't like Bill O'Reilly. Which makes me like Steven Taylor even more than I already did. [...]
Tuesday, November 1, 2005
“Liberal Law Professor, Ann Althouse”
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 3:39 pm

Ann must be having some identity problems today. First, she is attacked by Armando of dKos for being representative of the “Right Wing” and then I just heard Michael Medved refer to her as a “liberal law professor.” It is noteworthy that the first caller (Ruth Anne), who identified herself as a former student of Ann’s, corrected Medved on the “liberal” part.

Update: Ruth Anne (btw, I corrected the spelling of her name above) is a regular commenter at Althouse, and has her own blog: The Maternal Optimist.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Laura Ingraham Update
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 10:06 am

There is an update on her web site and the news is good:

Initial sentinel node testing done during surgery showed no signs of cancer involvement in the lymph nodes, and we all hope that this good news is confirmed by more in-depth tissue testing done over the next 48 hours.

Hopefully the news will continue to be good.

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Friday, January 28, 2005
A Mystery
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 3:10 pm

Here’s a question: who listens to AM radio stations for music anymore? The last time I remember listening to an AM station for music was when I was in middle school in Temple, Texas and the popular pop station, KTEM, was an AM station (last time I drove through Temple, KTEM was a talk radio station). I also remember that my “first” radio station (i.e., one that I purposefully tuned in to listen to on my very own radio) was WBAP in Dallas, which at the time was a major country music station in the metroplex. WBAP is now a major talk radio station in the Metroplex. I used to listen to WBAP as a country station was I was 5 or 6 years old.

However (and this is the mystery that raised the issue) is that one of the local talk radio stations in Montgomery has gone to an all-music format in the afternoon and evening (leaving some mediocre local talk on in the morning). On balance, this is no big deal to me, as I can listen to Michael Medved via the internet, but still: who in the world are they getting to listen to music on the AM when you can get the same programming on the FM dial (yes, I remember when it was a dial) and in stereo, no less.

Speaking of Medved, Sully is on right now talking about the “was Lincoln gay?” meme.

And speaking of radio via the internet, having listened to two different Los Angeles-based stations today via the ‘net, I would note that the radio news coverage of the Iraqi elections has been pretty positive-especially the local coverage on KRLA and KFI. Even the CNN radio broadcast I heard was pretty positive.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2004
The Perils of Technology
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 2:12 pm

Given that tech is all around me, I find that it has caused a number of problems. For one thing, I find myself often wanting a search function on dead tree publications, whether they be books or single sheets of paper. Now, given my TiVo addiction, I find myself wanting to be able to pause radio talk shows when I get up from my desk.

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Monday, September 6, 2004
The New Odd Couple?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 10:27 am

I heard about this on the Dan Patrick Show on Friday and was reminded of it by Mark Hasty this morning:

Conservative radio kingpin Rush Limbaugh, 53, who announced his separation from his third wife, Marta, in early June, is dating CNN anchor Daryn Kagan, 41, a spokesman for Limbaugh has confirmed to us. The two were spotted at a party Limbaugh co-hosted at a New York restaurant, where guests included Vice President Cheney, New York Gov. George Pataki and Sen. Bill Frist. The coupling came as a surprise to some friends who consider the Atlanta-based Kagan part of the liberal media axis and a feminist — but, then again, opposites attract. Kagan, who has been with CNN for 10 years, hosts “CNN Live Today,” which airs from 10 a.m. to noon, ending just in time to catch her sweetie’s three-hour radio show.

To steal from Mark (and the same thought I had on Friday): Carville-Matalin Part Deux?

Peter King of SI alludes to the situation here:

Say it ain’t so, Daryn Kagan. Please, please, please. Say it ain’t so.

Ok, while Mr. King perhps should let cupid do his thing, I say that I am mighty fond of his predictions for the NFC-East.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2004
OTB v. Atrios
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:28 am

James Joyner is scheduled to appear on Air America tonight to debate Duncan Black (a.k.a., Atrios) and he is looking for debate topics.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Air America Death Watch?
By Steven Taylor @ 7:54 am

Eric Lindholm has a round-up of the latest on Air America. It ain’t pretty.

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Arguing with signposts... linked with Air America woes continue
Friday, June 11, 2004
A Shame
By Steven Taylor @ 8:28 pm

Given a combo of past marital history and the drug situation, not suprising: Limbaugh announces end of 10-year marriage

Conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh announced Friday that he and his wife, Marta, were divorcing.

The Limbaughs “mutually decided to end their marriage of 10 years” and have “separated pending an amicable resolution,” according to a statement released by Limbaugh’s publicist.

The couple shared a $24 million oceanfront mansion in nearby Palm Beach. Limbaugh often broadcasts his daily three-hour show from a studio in a commercial area of Palm Beach.

Spokesman Tony Knight said the matter was personal and declined further comment.

Hat tip: Joe Gandelman at Dean’s World.

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Saturday, June 5, 2004
Limbaugh’s Web Staff, “Research,” and Citation
By Steven Taylor @ 11:02 am

Kevin Alyward notes that the web team at don’t understand common courtesy/the basic rules of citation. In this case they have used scans from Jessica’s Well without attribution.

Indeed, whoever does the web work over there is a bit sloppy on their web research. Clearly what they do is do web searches as if that is actual research, and once finding something they like, go with it without fully source-checking or paying attention to e-mails about what they have posted.

Another case in point was the PoliBlog: FDR and the “Remember Pearl Harbor” Button, which they found online and posted on their web site (and used on the air) as an example of FDR using Pearl Harbor as a campaign issue. Ends up (as a grad student of mine found out) that the button wasn’t a button, and didn’t come from the FDR campaign-although it was an authentic item (go read the post, it is actually an interesting story).

I e-mail Limbaugh about it, and got no response, which was unfortunate, and not just because PoliBlog missed out on a major national mention, which would have been nice, but because the truth behind the story was never released to the public.

It seemed to me that at a minimum some sort of correction should have been posted to their web site.

Further, it was clear that they found the FDR graphic and ran with it, without finding out what it was (which, I will grant, I did as well, but also did research myself and posted the findings of others-which were more significant than mine-as new info was made available).

In short: the Limbaugh web site’s team exhibited poor research skills in the first place, and then did not take advantage of information provided to them, and, more importantly, treated thier web site as a static medium rather than a dynamic one.

Two notes. First, I refer to the “web team” because I highly doubt that Limbaugh is finding all this stuff himself, and I know full well that he doesn’t maintain the web site. However, this is not to absolve him of responsibility-it is his show and his name is on the site. I am just trying to be accurate.

Second, the story above about the FDR “button” is not sour grapes (i.e., they didn’t listen to me, so I am mad” etc.). Indeed, I had forgotten all about it until I saw the Jessica’s Well story. However, combined with the JW story, it struck me that both examples show the lack of responsiveness to the Blogosphere by whomever it is that answers the e-mail at EIB. In the case of the FDR piece, it meant that they were ignoring vital information that would update a story that they have propagated, and in the case of JW they are not giving credit where credit is due. To us Blogospherians, neither is acceptable. And even beyond the Blogosphere, not citing your sources is similarly unacceptable.

UPDATE/CLARIFICAITON: The Politburo Diktat and Wizbang are citing me as another example of what the Commissar has termed “blagiarism”-this is not the case. Rather my experience was one of being ignored in terms of an e-mail regarding an item that they had found independently on the web (the FDR “button”). A graduate student of mine discovered, through researching the piece and contacting the museum that had it, that the piece was not a button but an item created by Jack Ruby (yes, that Jack Ruby). Since Limbaugh had used the “button” on the air and on his web site, it seemed that an a minimum an on-line correction was warranted. But to be clear: they did not find the “button” on my site-they found it independently.

My only point about my experience was not they should have paid attention to little ol’ me, per se, but that when presented with such significant information about the piece (because Limbaugh had thought the button to be an actual FDR campaign piece) that they should have issued some kind of correction. This is something that is common in the Blogosphere, and something that someone with a web site should easily be able to do.

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Jessica's Well linked with LOOKING FOR THAT 16TH MINUTE!
Outside the Beltway linked with Limbaugh Stealing from Blogs?
Modulator linked with Limbaugh: Surely You Didn't Expect Honesty
The Politburo Diktat linked with EIB - Excellence in Blagiarizing
Wizbang linked with Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Thief
Thursday, May 13, 2004
Yet More Trouble for Air America
By Steven Taylor @ 1:02 pm

Reuters News Article

Air America has shut its sales offices in Los Angeles and Chicago and is recasting its business plan, the network’s president said on Wednesday as troubles beset the liberal talk show network.

What!?! they had a business plan? Who knew?

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