6th Circuit Court Reverses ACLU Terror Surveillance Ruling

"We are pleased with the Court's decision today, which confirms that plaintiffs in this case cannot seek to expose sensitive details about the classified and important Terrorist Surveillance Program. The Terrorist Surveillance Program was a vital intelligence program that helped detect and prevent terrorist attacks. It was always subject to rigorous oversight and review. Any electronic surveillance that was being conducted pursuant to the TSP is now being conducted subject to the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court."


The ACLU Registers it's Protest: ACLU: Wiretap Suit Is Not Over

"We are deeply disappointed by today's decision that insulates the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance activities from judicial review and deprives Americans of any ability to challenge the illegal surveillance of their telephone calls and e-mails. As a result of today's decision, the Bush administration has been left free to violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which Congress adopted almost 30 years ago to prevent the executive branch from engaging in precisely this kind of unchecked surveillance."

"It is important to emphasize that the court today did not uphold the legality of the government's warrantless surveillance activity. Indeed, the only judge to discuss the merits clearly and unequivocally declared that the warrantless surveillance was unlawful.

"We are currently reviewing all of our legal options, including taking this challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the meantime it is now more important than ever for Congress to engage in meaningful oversight."


The court pointed out:

In the present case,the plaintiffs concede that there is no single plaintiff who can show that he or she has actually been wiretapped.

Thus, in crafting their declaratory judgment action, the plaintiffs have attempted (unsuccessfully) to navigate the obstacles to stating a justiciable claim. By refraining from communications (i.e., the potentially harmful conduct), the plaintiffs have negated any possibility that the NSA will ever actually intercept their communications and thereby avoided the anticipated harm - this is typical of declaratory judgment and perfectly permissible. But, by proposing only injuries that result from this refusal to engage in communications (e.g., the inability to conduct their professions without added burden and expense), they attempt to supplant an insufficient, speculative injury with an injury that appears sufficiently imminent and concrete, but is only incidental to the alleged wrong (i.e., the NSA's conduct) - this is atypical and, as will be discussed, impermissible. Therefore, the injury that would support a declaratory judgment action (i.e., the anticipated interception of communications resulting in harm to the contacts) is too speculative, and the injury that is imminent and concrete (i.e., the burden on professional performance) does not support a declaratory judgment action.

The Court Went on to Say:

It is not the mere existence of the TSP, but the possibility that the plaintiffs' overseas contacts will be subjected to it, that ultimately results in the alleged harm. Even assuming these fears are imminent rather than speculative, this is still a tenuous basis for proving a concrete and actual injury. That is, even if it were certain that the NSA would intercept these particular plaintiffs' overseas communications, if the overseas contacts were nonetheless willing to communicate with the plaintiffs by telephone or email in spite of the impending interception, then it is doubtful that the plaintiffs (journalists, academics, lawyers, or organizations), who have themselves alleged no personal fear of our government (or basis for fear of our government), would still be unwilling or unable to communicate. The plaintiffs'
unwillingness comes not from any anticipated harm to themselves, but from their apprehension for and duty to their overseas contacts.

Moreover, even if their allegations are true, the plaintiffs still allege only a subjective apprehension and a personal (self-imposed) unwillingness to communicate, which fall squarely within Laird, 408 U.S. at 13-14. In fact, this injury is even less concrete, actual, or immediate than the injury in Laird. In Laird, the Army was conducting "massive and comprehensive" surveillance of civilians, secretly and (apparently) without warrants. The Laird plaintiffs alleged that the Army surveillance program caused a chilling effect on their First Amendment rights in that they and others were reluctant to associate or communicate for fear of reprisal, stemming from their fear that the government would discover or had discovered them (and their activities) by way of the secret surveillance. The harm alleged in the present case is no more substantial; the plaintiffs allege a similar chilling effect on their First Amendment rights, in that they are bound by professional and ethical obligations to refrain from communicating with their overseas contacts due to their fear that the TSP surveillance will lead to discovery, exposure, and ultimately reprisal against those contacts or others. But unlike the Laird plaintiffs, the plaintiffs here do not assert that they personally anticipate or fear any direct reprisal by the United States government, or that the TSP data is being widely circulated or misused. Indeed, the district court stated that, to date, no one has been exposed or prosecuted based on information collected under the TSP.

We hold that the plaintiffs do not have standing to assert their claims in federal court. Accordingly, we VACATE the order of the district court and REMAND this case to the district court with instructions to DISMISS for lack of jurisdiction.

Soldier Uses Head To Fight Terror

CAMP STRIKER, Iraq -
"I'm one of those guys who believe in leading from the front."

His face is boyish and unassuming, and bears not a trace of the bullet that could've cost him his life. Staff Sgt. Kyle Keenan, a native of Newark, Ohio, and a scout section leader with the 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) from Fort Drum, N.Y., is a lucky man.

An Iraqi terrorist shot him at point-blank range with a pistol, and he shrugged it off and fired back.

Keenan said his platoon, from Troop C, 1-89, responded to a tip from Iraqi citizens in abu Hillan, and air assaulted into the sparsely populated area to apprehend two leaders of a local terrorist group. The tip indicated the time and location the leaders would be having tea.

"While we were still in the air, we saw two men running away from the target house in track suits - one green, one grayish. The one in green ran north, the other went south, and my section went after the guy in green, because he was closest to us."


Keenan, true to his word, was in the front of their wedge-shaped formation, the point man, carrying not only his usual M-4 carbine but a 12 gauge, pump Shotgun.

"We went toward where we last saw him, came around the corner of a house, and saw a reed line. We knew we were looking for him in the field there - but when I looked two or three feet away, downward, I saw his face and his eyes, and told him 'Get up! Americans!' and right then, I heard a pop and my head snapped back."

His team leader, just behind him and to the right, saw Keenan's head jerk back and heard the shot as well.

"As soon as (the terrorist) shot, I saw the flash and saw him - he was pretty close," said Sgt. Joseph Connolly, a native of Minneapolis, Minn. "For a split second, I thought Keenan was dead, but I didn't even think about it, I just engaged."


"I realized I'd been shot," Keenan said, "but I didn't know if it was in the head, or in my (helmet)."


After regaining his vision, Keenan shot and killed the suspect.

"The experience was so fast, there wasn't even time to be surprised,"
said Connolly.

"We made the call that he was dead, and we moved out," Keenan said matter-of-factly. "I took point again. We detained two (men) at the target house and turned them over to our medics and platoon sergeant, then went to the next house, detained two more, and then detained one at the last house, with a locked-and-loaded AK-47. We took them all to the platoon sergeant and started questioning them.


"They all said that the guy we really wanted had gone into the field, the one in the gray track suit."


They searched fruitlessly for the one in the gray track suit, Keenan said, in the fields and reed lines, clearing the houses three times before another platoon arrived to secure the area.

"After it was all over and we got back in the choppers, it hit me," he said. "It was a 'thank God I'm alive' feeling."


The bullet pierced his helmet and exited without touching or leaving a bruise.

The man was found to have two grenades with him - one with the pin pulled out.

Keenan said he was shot on a previous deployment, but the round struck his body armor leaving only a bruise. Improvised explosive devices likewise have detonated nearby, but failed to wound him.

"I've never been wounded, no Purple Hearts - scratches, little bruises, that's all," he said. "This gear does what it's supposed to do. It's not supposed to stop the round, it's supposed to deflect it, and that's what it did. - but it was amazing at point-blank range."


"I'm pretty happy that it all worked out the way it did," Connolly said.

After that mission, the platoon prepared their trucks and grabbed some food before heading out on another that afternoon, Keenan included. He told his wife about his near-miss when he got back late that night.

"She was worried," he said, but he reassured her and their 10-year-old daughter that he was fine.

He won't be changing the way he works, he added.

Something he definitely won't change is the arrangement of moveable pads in his new helmet. If it weren't for those pads, Keenan said the insurgent would have killed him.

"I don't like the padding much," he said, laughing. "I always wear my (helmet) low, right above my eyes - I"m still mad, too - I really liked that one."


Keenan has been through a lot, and he hopes that it's motivation for other Soldiers.

"As long as Soldiers see me do this, and see things like that happen and see me keep going - they'll keep going through this deployment."


Talk Show America 7/6/2007

Moore Lies About Healthcare

The New York Daily News has a piece by Sally Pipes that challenges Michael Moore's "Sicko" movie assertions:

In "Sicko," Michael Moore uses a clip of my appearance earlier this year on "The O'Reilly Factor" to introduce a segment on the glories of Canadian health care.

I am a new American, but I grew up and worked for many years in Canada. And I know the health care system of my native country much more intimately than does Moore. There's a good reason why my former countrymen with the money to do so either use the services of a booming industry of illegal private clinics, or come to America to take advantage of the health care that Moore denounces.

Government-run health care in Canada inevitably resolves into a dehumanizing system of triage, where the weak and the elderly are hastened to their fates by actuarial calculation. Having fought the Canadian health care bureaucracy on behalf of my ailing mother just two years ago - she was too old, and too sick, to merit the highest quality care in the government's eyes - I can honestly say that Moore's preferred health care system is something I wouldn't wish on him.

In 1999, my uncle was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. If he'd lived in America, the miracle drug Rituxan might have saved him. But Rituxan wasn't approved for use in Canada, and he lost his battle with cancer.

But don't take my word for it: Even the Toronto Star agrees that Moore's endorsement of Canadian health care is overwrought and factually challenged. And the Star is considered a left-wing newspaper, even by Canadian standards.

Just last month, the Star's Peter Howell reported from the Cannes Film Festival that Mr. Moore became irate when Canadian reporters challenged his portrayal of their national health care system. "You Canadians! You used to be so funny!" exclaimed an exasperated Moore, "You gave us all our best comedians. When did you turn so dark?"

Moore further claimed that the infamously long waiting lists in Canada are merely a reflection of the fact that Canadians have a longer life expectancy than Americans, and that the sterling system is swamped by too many Canadians who live too long.

Canada's media know better. In 2006, the average wait time from seeing a primary care doctor to getting treatment by a specialist was more than four months. Out of a population of 32 million, there are about 3.2 million Canadians trying to get a primary care doctor. Today, according to the OECD, Canada ranks 24th out of 28 major industrialized countries in doctors per thousand people.

Unfortunately, Moore is more concerned with promoting an anti-free-market agenda than getting his facts straight. "The problem," said Moore recently, "isn't just [the insurance companies], or the Hospital Corporation and the Frist family - it's the system! They can't make a profit unless they deny care! Unless they deny claims! Our laws state very clearly that they have a legal fiduciary responsibility to maximize profits for the shareholders ... the only way they can turn the big profit is to not pay out the money, to not provide the care!"

Profit, according to the filmmaker-activist, has no place in health care - period.

Moore ignores the fact that 85% of hospital beds in the U.S. are in nonprofit hospitals, and almost half of us with private plans get our insurance from nonprofit providers. Moreover, Kaiser Permanente, which Moore demonizes, is also a nonprofit.

What's really amazing is that even the intended beneficiaries of Moore's propagandizing don't support his claims. The Supreme Court of Canada declared in June 2005 that the government health care monopoly in Quebec is a violation of basic human rights.

Moore put me, fleetingly, into "Sicko" as an example of an American who doesn't understand the Canadian health care system. He couldn't be more wrong. I've personally endured the creeping disaster of Canadian health care. Most unlike him, I'm willing to tell the truth about it.

Talk Show America 7/6/2007

Universal Healthcare: Waiting to Die

World Net Daily has a piece by Tristan Emmanuel on Universal Healthcare that basically says it all:

As the primaries loom closer, we can expect the Democratic presidential hopefuls to start singing their usual sanctimonious song about the health care system. You probably know the lines:

40 million citizens turned down;
No insurance to go around;
Emergency wards on hold;
Poor kicked out in the cold.;
America - immoral - immoral - immoral!


Taking their cue from Michael Moore, these do-gooder Democrats are also sure to sing the praises of Canada's health care system.

Granted, Canadians have swallowed this medicine like some kind of metaphorical aphrodisiac. It helps some of us feel superior and certainly makes for fantastic fabrication, not to mention huge box-office sales for a guy like Michael Moore, but take it from real Canadians: state-controlled health care doesn't work.

Jane Pelton lives in Ottawa. She has a teenage daughter, Emily, who tore a ligament in her knee. Her case sheds some very sad light on Canada's health care system. Pelton was told that her daughter would have to wait three years before the country's "free and accessible" system could provide the necessary surgery. "Every day we're paying for health care, yet when we go to access it, it's just not there," said Pelton.

Ms. Pelton did what every good mother would - she jumped the queue. She spent $3,300 to fly her daughter to a private clinic for the arthroscopic surgery. That amount for immediate surgery sounds like nothing, I know. But in Canada, it is against the law to use your own money to bypass the waiting list and get private treatment.

And that is why a landmark lawsuit was filed against 12 Quebec hospitals in 2004 on behalf of breast-cancer patients who were forced to take "patience" to new levels. They were forced to find treatment abroad, because they weren't allowed to pay for private treatment in Canada. One woman flew to Turkey, and another - who had been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer - traveled to Vermont on a four-hour bus trip every week with her 5-year-old son to get access to her treatment.

"The experience was humiliating," she said.

Waiting for treatment has become the hallmark of - and really the only truly universal thing about - Canada's "universal" health care system. And it underscores the pervasive injustice of the system, because we are told that "two-tiered" health care will create unfair advantages for the rich.

In Canada, everyone is put on a waiting list until they either leave the country for their treatment or die waiting.

As a letter from a hospital in New Brunswick to a heart patient in need of an electrocardiogram made clear, the appointment would be at least three months off. And the letter added this rather opaque line:
"However, if the person named on this computer-generated letter is deceased, please accept our sincere apologies."


There is something very unjust about not being able to pay for treatment when you live in a supposedly advanced country and you have the means to pay for the treatment yourself.

Read More Here: With 'universal' health care, we all wait

Talk Show America 7/6/2007

45 Muslim Doctors Planned US Terror Raids

A group of 45 Muslim doctors threatened to use car bombs and rocket grenades in terrorist attacks in the United States during discussions on an extremist internet chat site.

Police found details of the discussions on a site run by one of a three-strong "cyber-terrorist" gang.

They were discovered at the home of Younis Tsouli, 23, Woolwich Crown Court in south-east London heard.

One message read:
"We are 45 doctors and we are determined to undertake jihad and take the battle inside America.

"The first target which will be penetrated by nine brothers is the naval base which gives shelter to the ship Kennedy."

This is thought to have been a reference to the USS John F Kennedy, which is often at Mayport Naval Base in Jacksonville, Florida.

The message discussed targets at the base, adding:
"These are clubs for naked women which are opposite the First and Third units."


It also referred to using six Chevrolet GT vehicles and three fishing boats and blowing up petrol tanks with rocket propelled grenades.

Talk Show America 7/05/2007

Thompson 27% Giuliani 24%

Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson remains on top in Rasmussen Reports national polling with 27% support. That's unchanged from a week ago. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is three points behind at 24%.

Thompson has a 16-point advantage over Giuliani among conservatives while Giuliani holds an even larger edge among moderate voters. However, in the race for the Republican Presidential nomination, there are always more conservative voters than moderates.

A separate survey found that Thompson is currently viewed as the most conservative of all GOP candidates. Giuliani remains the best liked candidate. Seventy-four percent (74%) of Republicans now have a favorable opinion of America's Mayor. Thompson's numbers among the GOP faithful have been moving in the opposite direction. Sixty-four percent (64%) of GOP voters have a favorable opinion of the actor while just 12% have an unfavorable view.

This week's national GOP poll also finds former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney with a one-point edge over Arizona Senator John McCain for the fourth time in six weeks. Romney and McCain were tied during the other two weeks. Now, the numbers are 13% for Romney and 12% for McCain.

Romney is viewed favorably by 58% of Republican voters while 30% have a less flattering opinion. McCain is viewed favorably by 55% and unfavorably by 40% of Republicans.

The current survey is based upon national telephone interviews with 624 Likely Republican Primary Voters conducted June 25-28, 2007. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. The Rasmussen Reports sample includes not only Republicans, but also independents who say they are likely to vote in a Republican Primary.

Talk Show America 7/05/2007

Al Qaeda Beheads Children in Iraq

Michael Yon (an independent reporter embedded with troops in Iraq) reports on the barbaric acts of Al Qaeda and wonders why the MSNM hasn't reported on Al Qaeda beheading Iraqi children.

In his latest dispatch, entitled "Bless the Beasts and Children", Michael Yon, reports on the horrific discoveries made by US and Iraqi forces in a small village just outside Baqubah.

Yon goes on to describe what took place:

On 29 June, American and Iraqi soldiers were again fighting side by side as soldiers from Charley Company 1-12 CAV-led by Captain Clayton Combs-and Iraqi soldiers from the 5th IA, closed in on a village on the outskirts of Baqubah. The village had the apparent misfortune of being located near a main road-about 3.5 miles from FOB Warhorse-that al Qaeda liked to bomb. Al Qaeda had taken over the village.

The village was abandoned. All the people were gone. But where?

I told the Iraqi commander, Captain Baker, that it was important that Americans see this; he took me around the graves and showed more than I wanted to see. He said the people had been murdered by al Qaeda. I made video of him speaking, and of the horrible scene.

There were bodies of men, women and children. Al Qaeda slaughters families everywhere.

Soldiers from 5th IA said al Qaeda had cut the heads off the children. Had al Qaeda murdered the children in front of their parents? Maybe it had been the other way around: maybe they had murdered the parents in front of the children. Maybe they had forced the father to dig the graves of his children.



Michael Yon does not receive funding or financial support from Fox News, movie, book or television deals at this time. He is entirely reader supported. He relies on his readers to help him replace his equipment and cover his expenses so that he may remain in Iraq and bring you the stories of our soldiers. If you value his work, please consider supporting his mission.

Talk Show America 7/05/2007

Democrats Eye New Bid To End War

Five weeks after President Bush won unfettered funding for America to fight the war in Iraq until September, Senate Democrats will try again on Monday to end the war.

Their opening gambit this summer will be three key amendments to the 2008 bill that authorizes defense spending. The bill is set to be marked up on July 9. Most appealing to wavering Republicans will be an amendment offered by a senator who served as President Reagan's secretary of the Navy, a Democrat from Virginia, James Webb. Mr. Webb proposes to lengthen the leave time of active and reserve duty soldiers, making reinforcement of the current surge next to impossible.

Also offering amendments are Senator Feingold of Wisconsin and Senator Levin of Michigan. Mr. Levin, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, would mandate troop withdrawals within four months of the law's passage unless the Iraqi government meets political and security benchmarks. The bill allows Mr. Bush waiver authority. Mr. Feingold's amendment requires the president to withdraw nearly all of the troops in Iraq by the middle of the presidential election season, April 2008.

"We are burning out our ground forces," Mr. Webb said at a press conference alongside Democratic governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius, this week. "If we're honest about wanting to support our troops, there's no better place to start than to correct our troop-rotation policy."

Although Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated earlier this year that, for most active-duty troops, the "rotation has often gone to one year overseas, one year home," many troops end up serving for up to 15 months at a time in Iraq, with only 12 months out of the country after that. The Pentagon extended active duty tours for the Army in April.

Talk Show America 7/05/2007

New Al-Qaeda Video Calls For Jihad

Al-Qaida's No. 2 has issued a new video tape calling on Muslims to unite in jihad, or holy war, and support the Islamist movement in Iraq, a U.S.-based intelligence monitoring group said Wednesday.

Ayman al-Zawahri is seen in the one-hour and 35 minutes tape dressed in white and addressing topics from Iraq to Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian territories and Egypt, said the U.S.-based SITE intelligence group, which monitors al-Qaida messages.

The group said it had obtained the tape ahead of its release on the Internet by militant web sites, and issued a transcript of al-Zawahri's remarks. The authenticity of the transcript could not be immediately verified.

In the tape, al-Zawahri encouraged Iraqis and Muslims in general to show greater support for the Islamic State of Iraq, an al-Qaida insurgent front in the country, even though it lacks "necessary qualifications", the SITE group quoted al-Zawahri as saying.

"The first thing which our beloved brothers in Iraq must realize is the critical nature of unity," al-Zawahri was quoted as saying in the tape's transcript released by SITE.

An Internet site deemed close to al-Qaida's leadership announced earlier Wednesday that "good news" would be coming soon.

The flashing red banner was interpreted by several other Islamist web sites as a sign that Osama bin Laden would issue a new message soon. It was not immediately clear whether it was in fact referring to his deputy's new tape.

Talk Show America 7/05/2007

President Bush Commutes Libby's Sentence

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today rejected Lewis Libby's request to remain free on bail while pursuing his appeals for the serious convictions of perjury and obstruction of justice. As a result, Mr. Libby will be required to turn himself over to the Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his prison sentence.

I have said throughout this process that it would not be appropriate to comment or intervene in this case until Mr. Libby's appeals have been exhausted. But with the denial of bail being upheld and incarceration imminent, I believe it is now important to react to that decision.

From the very beginning of the investigation into the leaking of Valerie Plame's name, I made it clear to the White House staff and anyone serving in my administration that I expected full cooperation with the Justice Department. Dozens of White House staff and administration officials dutifully cooperated.

After the investigation was under way, the Justice Department appointed United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald as a Special Counsel in charge of the case. Mr. Fitzgerald is a highly qualified, professional prosecutor who carried out his responsibilities as charged.

This case has generated significant commentary and debate. Critics of the investigation have argued that a special counsel should not have been appointed, nor should the investigation have been pursued after the Justice Department learned who leaked Ms. Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak. Furthermore, the critics point out that neither Mr. Libby nor anyone else has been charged with violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act or the Espionage Act, which were the original subjects of the investigation. Finally, critics say the punishment does not fit the crime: Mr. Libby was a first-time offender with years of exceptional public service and was handed a harsh sentence based in part on allegations never presented to the jury.

Others point out that a jury of citizens weighed all the evidence and listened to all the testimony and found Mr. Libby guilty of perjury and obstructing justice. They argue, correctly, that our entire system of justice relies on people telling the truth. And if a person does not tell the truth, particularly if he serves in government and holds the public trust, he must be held accountable. They say that had Mr. Libby only told the truth, he would have never been indicted in the first place.

Both critics and defenders of this investigation have made important points. I have made my own evaluation. In preparing for the decision I am announcing today, I have carefully weighed these arguments and the circumstances surrounding this case.

Mr. Libby was sentenced to thirty months of prison, two years of probation, and a $250,000 fine. In making the sentencing decision, the district court rejected the advice of the probation office, which recommended a lesser sentence and the consideration of factors that could have led to a sentence of home confinement or probation.

I respect the jury's verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.

My decision to commute his prison sentence leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby. The reputation he gained through his years of public service and professional work in the legal community is forever damaged. His wife and young children have also suffered immensely. He will remain on probation. The significant fines imposed by the judge will remain in effect. The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant, and private citizen will be long-lasting.

The Constitution gives the President the power of clemency to be used when he deems it to be warranted. It is my judgment that a commutation of the prison term in Mr. Libby's case is an appropriate exercise of this power.

Talk Show America 7/03/2007