BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Prof. McClellan

Good morning, kiddos.

Here's today's "civics lesson," courtesy of WH spokesdude...Scott McClellan:
MR. McCLELLAN: We cannot afford to be without (the Patriot Act) for a single moment in the war on terrorism.

It is set to expire, but the terrorist threat will not expire.

And it has accomplished exactly what it was set out to do, which is to protect our liberties and save lives. And we urge the Senate to move forward and get this legislation done.

And with that, I will be glad to go to your questions. Terry Hunt.

Q: Scott, the Vice President said today that Vietnam and Watergate had eroded presidential powers, and that he thinks that the world we live in demands strong, robust executive authority.

Where would the President like to see his authority expanded?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I don't know -- I haven't had a chance to see the Vice President's comments, so I can't really get into discussing exactly what he was talking about, but certainly stand by what he said. In terms of the President's authority, I don't know if you're talking about a specific issue, but the President --

Q: No, in general.

MR. McCLELLAN: There are three branches of government, they all have an important role to play: the congressional -- the legislative, and the judicial, and then the executive.

Got that? "There are three branches of government, they all have an important role to play: the congressional -- the legislative, and the judicial, and then the executive."

There will be a quiz.

"There are three branches of government."

Do the Bushies know that?
Q: Congress defines oversight as "the authority to conduct inquiries or investigations, to have access to records or materials, or to issue subpoenas or testimony from the executive."

Which of these powers were members of Congress granted with regard to the NSA surveillance program?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, as you just pointed out, Congress is an independent branch of government, and they're elected by their constituents.
Again, dude is dropping some wicked knowledge: "Congress is an independent branch of government, and they're elected by their constituents."

MR. McCLELLAN: We briefed and informed members of Congress about this program going back to 2001; more than a dozen times since then we've briefed members of Congress --

Q: But briefing isn't power to investigate or issue subpoenas to ask questions. And I'm asking you, which of the powers of oversight were they granted?

MR. McCLELLAN: Congress is an independent branch of government. That's what I just pointed out, Jessica.

Q: Which has the right to check the functions of the executive. And these are --

MR. McCLELLAN: They have an oversight role, that's right.

Q Okay, so in what way --

MR. McCLELLAN: That's why we thought it was important to brief members of Congress about this vital tool that we're using to save lives and to protect the American people, and why we talked to them about how it is limited in nature and limited in scope.

Q: But as you know, members of Congress who were briefed said that they were informed -- yes, briefed, but given absolutely no recourse to formally object, to push back and say, this is not acceptable.

MR. McCLELLAN: They're an independent branch of government.

Q: So in what way were they given oversight?

MR. McCLELLAN: They were briefed. And we believe it's important to brief members of Congress, the relevant leaders --
Whoa, whoa, whoa!

"The relevant leaders?!"

I think we can safely assume that "relevant leaders" - in Bushworld - means "Republican leaders."
Q: Would you also say they were given full oversight?

MR. McCLELLAN: They're an independent branch of government. Yes, they have --

Q: Were they given oversight?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, they have oversight roles to play.
What a dick: He's being cheeky and not answering her DIRECT question, which is - "Were they given oversight" on this SPECIFIC issue?

And the answer is "no."

God, is he good.

I mean bad.

I mean good.

You know what I'm saying.
Q: So they have oversight. So, in what way could they have acted on that oversight?

MR. McCLELLAN: You should ask members of Congress that question.



Let's just CUT TO Scott's latest battle with the Grand Dame of the WH Press Corp, Helen Thomas.

It's awesome:
HT: The President has publicly acknowledged that we went to war under false information, mistaken information. Why does he insist on staying there if we were there falsely, and continue to kill Iraqis?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, maybe you missed some of his recent speeches and his remarks, but the President said it was the right decision to remove Saddam Hussein and his regime from power --

HT: And a right decision to move in and to tell the people, the American people, that it was all a mistake, and stay there?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think he said that. He said that Saddam Hussein was a destabilizing force in a dangerous region of the world --

HT: That isn't true. We had a choke-hold on him.

MR. McCLELLAN: It is true. He was a threat. And the threat has been removed.

HT: We had sanctions, we had satellites, we were bombing.

MR. McCLELLAN: Let's talk about why it's so important, what we're working to accomplish in Iraq --

HT: I want to know why we're still there killing people, when we went in by mistake.

MR. McCLELLAN: We are liberating people and freeing people to live in a democracy. And why we're still there --

HT: Do you think we're spreading democracy when you spy and put out disinformation and do all the things that -- secret prisons, and torture?

MR. McCLELLAN: I reject your characterizations wholly. I reject your characterizations wholly.
He can't stand her, BTW.
MR. McCLELLAN: The United States is helping to advance freedom in a dangerous region of the world.

HT: -- recognize this kind of --

MR. McCLELLAN: For too long we thought we had stability by ignoring freedom in the Middle East. Well, we showed -- we saw on September 11th --

HT -- 30,000 plus?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, Helen, we can have a debate, or you can let me respond to your questions. I think this is an important subject for the American people to talk about. By advancing freedom and democracy in the Middle East we're helping to protect our own security. It's a dangerous region --

HT: By killing people in their own country?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I reject that. We're liberating and freeing people and we're targeting the enemy. We're killing the terrorists and we're going after the Saddam loyalists.

HT: The President said 30,000, more or less.

MR. McCLELLAN: And you know who is responsible for most of that? It's the terrorists and the Saddam loyalists who want to turn back to the past.

HT: We didn't kill anybody there?

MR. McCLELLAN: Our military goes out of the way to minimize civilian casualties. They target the enemy --

HT: You admit they kill?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we've got a lot of technology that we can use to target the enemy without going after -- without collateral damage of civilians. And that's what our military does.


MR. McCLELLAN: Oh, I'm going to stand up for our military. Our military goes out of the way to protect civilians. In fact --

HT: Fallujah, we didn't kill any civilians?

MR. McCLELLAN: We freed some 25 million people in Iraq that were living under a brutal regime.
Good times.

I have a headache.


Great article on Tom Delay:

Donors Underwrite DeLay's Deluxe Lifestyle

Over the past six years, the former House majority leader or his associates have visited places of luxury most Americans have never seen, often getting there aboard corporate jets arranged by lobbyists and other special interests.

Public documents reviewed by The Associated Press tell the story: at least 48 visits to golf clubs and resorts with lush fairways; 100 flights aboard company planes; 200 stays at hotels, many world-class; and 500 meals at restaurants, some averaging nearly $200 for a dinner for two.

The meals and trips for DeLay and his associates were paid with donations collected by the campaign committees, political action committees and children's charity the Texas Republican created during his rise to a top spot in Congress.

Put them together and a picture of an opulent lifestyle emerges.
A good gig if you can get it.

Read the whole thing, people.

More later...


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