Has anyone besides Digby commented on this? Scroll down to Michael Froomkin Update:

December 30, 2005 — More on Firstfruits. The organization partly involved in directing the National Security Agency program to collect intelligence on journalists — Firstfruits — is the Foreign Denial and Deception Committee (FDDC), a component of the National Intelligence Council. The last reported chairman of the inter-intelligence agency group was Dr. Larry Gershwin, the CIA’s adviser on science and technology matters, a former national intelligence officer for strategic programs, and one of the primary promoters of the Iraqi disinformation con man and alcoholic who was code named “Curveball.”

Digby provides a link to Firstfruits. The CIA’s agency in charge of domestic spying on American journalists was named Firstfruits. So there’s a CIA department on a mission from God to spy on journalists? This is skin crawling, send a shiver down your spine creepy.

Can the Democrats Capitalize on Anything?

The Left Coaster has gathered a series of linked quotes which can be used as a primer of the Abramoff case. Abramoff is an out-and-out crook at the center of the Republican graft-and-vote-buying machine, and he’s connected to a lot of people at the highest levels.
The Pew Center has posted a list of the top ten opinion trends of 2005. Of these, seven work directly against Bush, and three are more neutral but don’t help him at all (except in the sense that cynicism is always good for the Republicans.)
The Washington Monthly adds three non-trends to the mix, most notably:

The Democrats did not gain much ground in public opinion polls, even as the GOP lost ground.

(More below: Do the Democrats want to lose? Abramoff and Delay betrayed the conservative Christians by putting them to work for professional gamblers, and the Democrats haven’t peeped a peep.)

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Russian Money to So-Called “Conservatives?”

When I put up this post asking if maybe the “conservative movement” Republicans were really dupes of the Russians or the Chinese, I sure didn’t expect to get my answer a few hours later.

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Clipper Chip Again

Well I always like to rile up Seeing the Forest’s readers, and few subjects do that better than bringing up the whole “Clipper Chip” controversey from the Clinton years. But now, with the revelations about Bush initiating NSA spying on Americans without warrants, I feel there could be no better time than now to get everyone commenting.
You see, except in very, very rare cases our e-mail and phone calls are not encrypted, which lets anyone with the right equipment listen in. Because of this problem the Clinton Administration proposed a standardized encryption chip that would go into all computers and phones. The result of using this chip would be that every call and e-mail would be encrypted automatically so no one could eavesdrop. “Conservative movement’ Republicans blocked Clinton’s efforts, and now here we are with “conservative movement’ Republicans listening to our phone calls and reading our e-mails. DUH!

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How Nuts Am I?

Every now and then I come back to the idea that the “conservative movement” may have been manipulated by non-American interests. From What If It’s More Than Corruption?,

To what extent is it possible that today’s Republican Party scandals are not just about traditional corruption, but instead are the result of manipulation by foreign interests, masquerading as corruption and ideological cultism? China, Iran, ??? The neo-cons are persuaded by ideology and cooked-up intelligence to go to war in Iraq. Iran ends up with Shia Iraq as a client state, with its oil resources at its disposal, for sale to China. America weakened, its industries no longer competitive, it’s infrastructure crumbling. Who benefits?
Think about the harm the neo-con “conservative movement” ideology has done to our country. We’re left with massive debt, fractured institutions, a dangerously divided public, destruction of public infrastructure, outsourcing of our manufacturing and technological base, weakened public education system, — the list just goes on and on. Was this just blind cultist ideology? Who benefits?

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New Rule!

How Republicans win elections:
Republicans criticize Democrats and Liberals.
How Democrats lose elections:
Democrats criticize Democrats and Liberals.
New Rule!
Democrats criticize Republicans and Conservatives.
Observe the almost poetic symmetry of my new rule. It may seem counter intuitive, perhaps even illogical to DLC Democrats and moderates at first, but if you just go with the flow, after a short while it will begin to make perfect sense.

Top Ten Myths About Iraq

From Juan Cole, Top Ten Myths about Iraq in 2005:
1. The guerrilla war is being waged only in four provinces.
2. Iraqi Sunnis voting in the December 15 election is a sign that they are being drawn into the political process and might give up the armed insurgency.
3. The guerrillas are winning the war against US forces.
4. Iraqis are grateful for the US presence and want US forces there to help them build their country.
5. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, born in Iran in 1930, is close to the Iranian regime in Tehran.
6. There is a silent majority of middle class, secular-minded Iraqis who reject religious fundamentalism.
7. The new Iraqi constitution is a victory for Western, liberal values in the Middle East.
8. Iraq is already in a civil war, so it does not matter if the US simply withdraws precipitately, since the situation is as bad as it can get.
9. The US can buy off the Iraqis now supporting guerrilla action against US troops.
10. The Bush administration wanted free elections in Iraq.

British Bloggers Publish British Torture Memos

Markos details the smackdown by British bloggers of an effort by Blair and the British government to prevent publication of British memos that document UK complicity in obtaining intelligence extracted by foreign torturers.
Markos has also re-published the British Torture Memos.

Bush Allows Human Trafficking

The administration of zero moral values has reached a whole new low. Obsidian Wings has the story:

A proposal prohibiting defense contractor involvement in human trafficking for forced prostitution and labor was drafted by the Pentagon last summer, but five defense lobbying groups oppose key provisions and a final policy still appears to be months away, according to those involved and Defense Department records.”

What sorts of “human trafficking” are at issue? Just buying women as sex slaves and little things like that.

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