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Unwarranted Outrage - The Times blew our cover.
National Review Online ^ | December 19, 2005, 8:59 a.m. | James S. Robbins

Posted on 12/19/2005 1:53:38 PM PST by Cinnamon

Unwarranted Outrage The Times blew our cover.

I have no doubt that revelations in the New York Times that the NSA has been conducting selective and limited surveillance of terrorist communications crossing into or out of the United States will be immensely valuable to our enemies. I also have no doubt that these and similar actions can be legal, even when conducted without warrants.

How could that be? From the sound and fury of the last few days from politicians and pundits, you would think this is a development as scandalous as Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy's authorization to wiretap Martin Luther King Jr. But the legality of the acts can be demonstrated with a look through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). For example, check out section 1802, "Electronic Surveillance Authorization Without Court Order." It is most instructive. There you will learn that "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" (emphasis mine).

Naturally, there are conditions. For example, the surveillance must be aimed at "the acquisition of the contents of communications transmitted by means of communications used exclusively between or among foreign powers." Wait, is a terrorist group considered a foreign power? Yes, as defined in section 1801, subsection (a), "foreign power" can mean "a group engaged in international terrorism or activities in preparation therefore," though the statue language would explicitly apply to "a faction of a foreign nation or nations."

But isn't international terrorism that which takes place abroad, as opposed to homegrown domestic terrorism? Not exactly: Section 1801 subsection (c) defines international terrorism as, among other things, terrorist actions that "occur totally outside the United States, or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to coerce or intimidate, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum." So if you are hiding, making plans, facilitating, attacking, or intending to spread fear inside the US, and have a link abroad, you are an international terrorist. Quite sensible.

O.K. fine, but what about the condition that there be "no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party?" Doesn't that necessarily cut out any and all communication that is domestic in origin or destination? Well, not quite. Return to section 1801, subsection (i): "United States person," which includes citizens, legal aliens, and businesses, explicitly "does not include a corporation or an association which is a foreign power."

Well sure, but does that mean that even if you are a citizen you cash in your abovementioned rights by collaborating with terrorists? Yes you do. You have then become an "Agent of a foreign power" as defined under subsection (b)(2)(C). Such agents include anyone who "knowingly engages in sabotage or international terrorism, or activities that are in preparation therefor, for or on behalf of a foreign power," and even includes those who aid and abet or knowingly conspire with those engaged in such behavior.

Wait, that includes anyone, even citizens? Yes — subsection (b)(1) is the part that applies to foreigners; (b)(2) covers everybody. And the whole point of the act is to collect "foreign intelligence information," which is defined under section 1801 subsection (e)(1)(B) as "information that relates to, and if concerning a United States person is necessary to, the ability of the United States to protect against sabotage or international terrorism by a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power."

Whoa, you say, that is way too much power for the president to wield without checks and balances! Well, true, and since Congress wrote this law, they included reporting requirements. The attorney general must report to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence 30 days prior to the surveillance, except in cases of emergency, when he must report immediately. He must furthermore "fully inform" those committees on a semiannual basis thereafter, per section 1808 subsection (a). He must also send a copy of the surveillance authorization under seal to the so-called FISA Court as established in section 1803; not for a warrant, but to remain under seal unless certification is necessary under future court actions from aggrieved parties under section 1806 (f).

This is significant, because it means that some of the same politicians who have been charging abuse of power may also have been briefed on what was going on long ago. The White House should get ahead of the story by noting which congressmen were informed of these activities, instead of allowing them to grandstand so shamelessly. It would also help if the White House released some information on how the surveillance has helped keep the country safe. What attacks were disrupted, what terrorists were taken down, how many people saved? A few declassified examples would be very useful to ground the discussion in reality rather than rhetoric.

So how do the revelations in the Times help the terrorists? Think it through — if you were a terrorist and you believed (as most people seem to) that the NSA would ignore your communications if they crossed U.S. borders, your best move would be to set up communications relay stations inside the U.S. Terrorists are well known for their ability to find and exploit loopholes in our laws, and this would be a natural. For all we know our intelligence agencies have been exploiting these types of communications for years without the terrorists knowing it. Now they will fall silent, because now the bad guys know better. So New York Times writer James Risen will sell his book, the Times will increase circulation, politicians will beat their breasts and send out fundraising letters, and who will pay in the end?

You can answer that one.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: congress; leak; leakgate; nsa; nyt; patriotleak; phone; tap; terror; treason; war; wire
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1 posted on 12/19/2005 1:53:42 PM PST by Cinnamon
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To: Cinnamon

This isn't just partisanship. The Democrats have actively gone over to giving aid to the enemy.


2 posted on 12/19/2005 1:55:14 PM PST by MNJohnnie (We do not create terrorism by fighting the terrorists. We invite terrorism by ignoring them.--GWBush)
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To: Cinnamon

Duplicate
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1543466/posts


3 posted on 12/19/2005 1:55:42 PM PST by gondramB (Rightful liberty is unobstructed action within limits of the equal rights of others.)
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To: Cinnamon

Oh My God! Too many facts!

The NYT can't be bothered with this.

Bookmark for later, more close, reading.


4 posted on 12/19/2005 1:56:17 PM PST by BostonianRightist ("Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue." ~ Senator Goldwater)
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To: MNJohnnie

"The Democrats have actively gone over to giving aid to the enemy."

Another example: Democratic AG Clark is the lead lawyer defending Saddam Hussein.

They hate America.


5 posted on 12/19/2005 1:57:26 PM PST by MeanWestTexan (Many at FR would respond to Christ "Darn right, I'll cast the first stone!")
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To: Cinnamon

Sorry, but the government has gone overboard here and is probably in violation of the law. See we have a Bill of Rights that precludes spying on citizens without a warrant.


6 posted on 12/19/2005 1:58:28 PM PST by Holdek
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To: MeanWestTexan

Really? So if Saddam Hussein didn't have an attorney, that would still be a fair trial?

That's about as smart as saying that defense attorneys in the U.S. love crime.


7 posted on 12/19/2005 2:00:12 PM PST by Holdek (Real conservatives support the Bill of Rights)
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To: Holdek

"Sorry, but the government has gone overboard here and is probably in violation of the law. See we have a Bill of Rights that precludes spying on citizens without a warrant."

there is an exception to that - if the citizen is functioning as an enemy agent. But if any of these citizens were not enemy agents then there would be a problem . But we will never know because they can't release the intelligence. It's more of an election issue than anything else.


8 posted on 12/19/2005 2:00:49 PM PST by gondramB (Rightful liberty is unobstructed action within limits of the equal rights of others.)
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To: Holdek

Perhaps you should read before commenting.


9 posted on 12/19/2005 2:00:56 PM PST by Just A Nobody (I - LOVE - my attitude problem! WBB lives on. Beware the Enemedia.)
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To: Holdek

Take it to DU.


10 posted on 12/19/2005 2:02:20 PM PST by Modok
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To: Holdek
"Sorry, but the government has gone overboard here and is probably in violation of the law. See we have a Bill of Rights that precludes spying on citizens without a warrant."

You'd look less foolish if you actually read the article, first.

11 posted on 12/19/2005 2:03:41 PM PST by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: MNJohnnie

"This isn't just partisanship. The Democrats have actively gone over to giving aid to the enemy."

Don't forget Arlen Specter. It's not just the Democrats, but RINOs as well, that have jumped on this bandwagon.


12 posted on 12/19/2005 2:03:46 PM PST by untrained skeptic
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To: gondramB

"there is an exception to that - if the citizen is functioning as an enemy agent. But if any of these citizens were not enemy agents then there would be a problem . But we will never know because they can't release the intelligence. It's more of an election issue than anything else"

NO. There are no "exceptions" to the Bill of Rights just because the President says so. That's the whole purpose of a warrant, to provide a check on the executive by requiring some type of evidence that the "citizen is functioning as an enemy agent."


13 posted on 12/19/2005 2:04:23 PM PST by Holdek (Real conservatives support the Bill of Rights)
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To: Holdek

Saddam has competent Iraqi attorneys.

Clark, who has no knowledge of Iraqi law, volunteered in order to hurt this Administration's efforts in Iraq --- there's no other reason for his actions, and you know it.


14 posted on 12/19/2005 2:04:40 PM PST by MeanWestTexan (Many at FR would respond to Christ "Darn right, I'll cast the first stone!")
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To: MNJohnnie
This isn't just partisanship. The Democrats have actively gone over to giving aid to the enemy.

Exactly right and the Republicans need to bulldog these facts to the American public and play the clips of these Democrats saying treasonous things. Also trying to sabotage our ability to defend ourself.

The Democrats have provided opposition Republicans with unprecedented media of them being traitors and it should all be used to remove their worthless butts from office.

The President should again and again go to the American people and tell them to call, write and Email the traitors and to threaten their removal. (biweekly fireside chats time)

15 posted on 12/19/2005 2:05:51 PM PST by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: Holdek

"See we have a Bill of Rights that precludes spying on citizens without a warrant."

No, it does not. When applicable, it merely makes the date inadmissible in a criminal proceeding.

Further, the wiretaps are specifically authorized by FISA Article 1802.

Here:
http://www.nationalreview.com/robbins/robbins200512190859.asp


16 posted on 12/19/2005 2:07:15 PM PST by MeanWestTexan (Many at FR would respond to Christ "Darn right, I'll cast the first stone!")
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To: MeanWestTexan

"Saddam has competent Iraqi attorneys."

So by your logic those attorneys "hate America?"

"Clark, who has no knowledge of Iraqi law,"

There is no Iraqi law written dealing with mass murder and oppression, or crimes against humanity. Who would that have applied to pre-liberation?

"volunteered in order to hurt this Administration's efforts in Iraq"

Do tell, how do his efforts hurt the Administration's efforts in Iraq? I'm no fan of Clark, but he deserves recognition and respect for stepping to to assist US in getting Saddam Hussein a real trial so we can do this right.


17 posted on 12/19/2005 2:10:51 PM PST by Holdek (Real conservatives support the Bill of Rights)
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To: Holdek

Read paragraph 5 again, carefully.


18 posted on 12/19/2005 2:11:20 PM PST by angkor
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To: Holdek

What who said that this activity was targeting citizens?

Did you have some classified information leaked to you that we are not privy to?


19 posted on 12/19/2005 2:12:33 PM PST by indianrightwinger
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To: Holdek

"NO. There are no "exceptions" to the Bill of Rights just because the President says so. That's the whole purpose of a warrant, to provide a check on the executive by requiring some type of evidence that the "citizen is functioning as an enemy agent."

Wiretapping is illegal under a specific Federal law, not the bill of rights. There is indeed an exception for enemy agents. But If any of the citizens was not an agent then it does appear to be illegal.

But then again, anybody who thinks international phone calls are private is is really misinformed to start with.

My concern in the current case is with Alberto Gonzalos' justification of the tapping - that the war powers act made it ok. That is absurd but following that logic then are all kinds of other laws that the President would no longer have to follow.


20 posted on 12/19/2005 2:12:57 PM PST by gondramB (Rightful liberty is unobstructed action within limits of the equal rights of others.)
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To: Justanobody; Holdek

Precisely. I have no idea why Holdek would make a statement in vaccum about citizens being targeted and their rights being violated without fully reading and understanding the article.


21 posted on 12/19/2005 2:13:59 PM PST by indianrightwinger
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To: Cinnamon

"For all we know our intelligence agencies have been exploiting these types of communications for years without the terrorists knowing it. Now they will fall silent, because now the bad guys know better. So New York Times writer James Risen will sell his book, the Times will increase circulation, politicians will beat their breasts and send out fundraising letters, and who will pay in the end? "

Who indeed.

I would hope the leakers and publishers also pay.A very tiny glimmer of hope is all I have.


22 posted on 12/19/2005 2:14:33 PM PST by MEG33 (GOD BLESS OUR ARMED FORCES)
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To: Holdek
"That's about as smart as saying that defense attorneys in the U.S. love crime."

As long as it pays monetarily OR ideologically.

23 posted on 12/19/2005 2:14:37 PM PST by F16Fighter
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To: Holdek

I think you need to do some more research.


24 posted on 12/19/2005 2:15:03 PM PST by UCANSEE2
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To: Holdek

Oh boy. You just don't want to read the article still, do you?


25 posted on 12/19/2005 2:15:06 PM PST by indianrightwinger
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To: Holdek
"I'm no fan of Clark, but he deserves recognition and respect for stepping to to assist US in getting Saddam Hussein a real trial so we can do this right."

He deserves to be spit on THEN hung for aiding and abetting an enemy AND as a traitor to the United States of America....

And that's just for his past "work."

26 posted on 12/19/2005 2:17:08 PM PST by F16Fighter
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To: indianrightwinger

I've read the article.

You can't dance around the fact that spying on U.S. citizens private communications is ILLEGAL and because it goes against the Constitution. No amount wiggling will get you out of it.


27 posted on 12/19/2005 2:17:28 PM PST by Holdek (Real conservatives support the Bill of Rights)
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To: Holdek
There is no Iraqi law written dealing with mass murder and oppression, or crimes against humanity.

source?

28 posted on 12/19/2005 2:18:09 PM PST by Minnesoootan
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To: Minnesoootan

How does one prove a negative?


29 posted on 12/19/2005 2:19:06 PM PST by Holdek (Real conservatives support the Bill of Rights)
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To: Holdek
spying on U.S. citizens private communications

source?

30 posted on 12/19/2005 2:19:37 PM PST by Minnesoootan
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To: Cinnamon
You don't actually expect leftists to read, do you? If they read the Patriot Act, they'd find out that there isn't really anything in there to complain about. I think the real objection is that many leftists know that it would be easy to mistake them for enemies of the United States and thus fear being the subject of such surveilance.
31 posted on 12/19/2005 2:19:37 PM PST by Question_Assumptions
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To: Holdek

"I've read the article."

Happy you read the article. But you just have not understood what you have read. No hope.


32 posted on 12/19/2005 2:21:48 PM PST by Logical me (Oh, well!!!)
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To: Holdek

You are stating it as fact,I want your source.


33 posted on 12/19/2005 2:22:08 PM PST by Minnesoootan
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To: Minnesoootan

Read the New York Times article on this. It's what blew the whole thing up.


34 posted on 12/19/2005 2:22:41 PM PST by Holdek (Real conservatives support the Bill of Rights)
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To: Holdek

I have read what Clark says..Try it.

Of course Saddam must have defense attorneys for a fair trial..Clark is still anti American. He has been for years.

http://shadow.autono.net/sin001/clark.htm
THE MYSTERIOUS RAMSEY CLARK:
STALINIST DUPE OR RULING-CLASS SPOOK?


35 posted on 12/19/2005 2:22:43 PM PST by MEG33 (GOD BLESS OUR ARMED FORCES)
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To: Holdek
I've read the article.

Then your comprehension skills are lacking.

36 posted on 12/19/2005 2:22:47 PM PST by Skooz (Santa's laughter mocks the poor.)
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To: Holdek

Actually, any US citizen working in concert with a foreign power is not longer protected.

Go read the law:


http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/casecode/uscodes/50/chapters/36/subchapters/i/toc.html


37 posted on 12/19/2005 2:23:26 PM PST by MeanWestTexan (Many at FR would respond to Christ "Darn right, I'll cast the first stone!")
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To: Holdek

Can't get there from here,how about you explain it to me? the New York Times has proof that US citizens are being tapped? where did they get the info? and did the Times say that tapping is illegal because of the Bill Of Rights?


38 posted on 12/19/2005 2:25:47 PM PST by Minnesoootan
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To: Minnesoootan

That is basic knowledge. If I have to explain it to you further, it's not likely you'll understand any other points made regarding this topic (or many others for that matter, lol!).


39 posted on 12/19/2005 2:26:29 PM PST by Holdek (Real conservatives support the Bill of Rights)
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To: Holdek

OK,g'bye!


40 posted on 12/19/2005 2:27:23 PM PST by Minnesoootan
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To: MNJohnnie

If it's legal then why doesn't Bush or some official just come out and say that this type of privacy was, is, nor ever will be a protection offered by the Constitution and it is perfectly legal. All I'm hearing is that someone blew their "covert operations", now they have to defend their actions. Why they did not say is "this is not news we've been doing this lawfully for years, where have you people been?".


41 posted on 12/19/2005 2:28:07 PM PST by Realism (Some believe that the facts-of-life are open to debate.....)
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To: Holdek

You are wrong..read the article.


42 posted on 12/19/2005 2:28:22 PM PST by MEG33 (GOD BLESS OUR ARMED FORCES)
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To: Minnesoootan

Bye!


43 posted on 12/19/2005 2:28:57 PM PST by Holdek (Real conservatives support the Bill of Rights)
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To: Holdek
The funny thing is that everyone going ballistic about their privacy are to stupid to realize they have none.

On my block alone there are six completely open wireless networks that a child could hack. There are at least a couple of million exposed computer network available to anyone with easily downloading tools found on the Internet. Most of these exposed business networks have tons and tons of info on other people. In addition, hackers, spyware, viruses, and adware ensure that there is no privacy on the Internet.

Heck, I could devise an antenna that can read your computer screen from a block away. The cord to the monitor emits a nice strong signal that can be translated.

Most cordless phones are easy to listen in on with a cheap scanner. Cell phones conversations are easy too, the equipment just costs a little bit more. Millions upon millions of cameras spying on us. It is myth to believe that there is privacy in the United States. Might as well believe in Santa Clause.
44 posted on 12/19/2005 2:29:03 PM PST by BushCountry (They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong.)
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To: Holdek

That is as logical as saying that criminal defense attorneys love crime. An Iraqi citizen, on trial in Iraq, represented by Iraqi attorneys. It would look very bad if the US brought an attorney to prosecute or a judge. It would look like we were trying to fix the trial. It is an Iraqi trial. Clark was pulling an attention getting stunt by jumping in this which he had absolutely no business doing. The world is watching this trial, and if the US is overly involved and Saddam is sentenced to death, some could alledge that the US sent Clark to trip up the defense. Not everyone is familiar with Clark and his anti-american stunts.


45 posted on 12/19/2005 2:29:20 PM PST by sportutegrl (People who say, "All I know is . . ." really mean, "All I want you to focus on is . . .")
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To: Holdek

"Do tell, how do his efforts hurt the Administration's efforts in Iraq?"

Wow. Climb out of your spider hole and read the reports of his strategy. Clark's defense strategy it to attack the Iraqi invasion as illegal and unjustified. He'll lie, the media will drop to its collective needs and do a Lewinski, and useful idiots like you will repeat it as the Gospel, thereby giving him the necessary 20-30% of the population needed to continue the insurgency.


46 posted on 12/19/2005 2:30:08 PM PST by MeanWestTexan (Many at FR would respond to Christ "Darn right, I'll cast the first stone!")
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To: Holdek
That is basic knowledge.

What a crock! You might as well have said "Because I say so.."

47 posted on 12/19/2005 2:32:39 PM PST by been_lurking
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To: Cinnamon

Terrific post.


48 posted on 12/19/2005 2:33:18 PM PST by traderrob6
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To: MeanWestTexan

Your rudeness aside...

Clark's defense strategy is the business of himself, the rest of his legal team, and his client. A judge will make decisions on what is allowable in court. It's called due process of law. It's not always popular, but their is a reason why we're doing it instead of taking him out back and putting two in his head.


49 posted on 12/19/2005 2:33:47 PM PST by Holdek (Real conservatives support the Bill of Rights)
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To: been_lurking

Yes, well, my patience does have limits.


50 posted on 12/19/2005 2:34:42 PM PST by Holdek (Real conservatives support the Bill of Rights)
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