Sunday, May 14, 2006

New Poll Shows Miraculous Recovery of Public IQ

My faith has been restored, & I plan to get a good night's rest.

Accounting for the differences in poll results, perhaps, are allegations that the person responsible for the Washington Post poll has a known very conservative bias, not to mention that he didn't have a whole lot of time to be thorough, since the results of his poll were printed less than 24 hours of the first USA Today news report informing us that our government has been covertly, and without any semblance of a principled legal rationale, gathering domestic phone records on Americans since shortly after 911. I won't even address the fact that we've been told umpteen times that the only surveillance so far has been of communications overseas.

But anyway. Seems that the particular pollster is known to have an extremely conservative bias. Or so it's rumored in the blogospere. Maybe he just polled his extended family, who knows?

Or maybe, as I was speculating the other day, the response elicited has everything to do with how the question is framed. Or all of the above.

This more recent Newsweek poll (title bar) asked, "Has the Bush administration gone too far in expanding the powers of the President to fight terrorism?"

As Glenn Greenwald, another blogger with keen interest in politics, as well as a broad legal background as a civil rights & First Amendment attorney, notes, the poll shows that phrased that way, well, come to think of it...

"Yes, say a majority of Americans, following this week’s revelation that the National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone records of U.S. citizens since the September 11 terrorist attacks.

"...53 percent of Americans think the NSA’s surveillance program 'goes too far in invading people’s privacy,' while 41 percent see it as a necessary tool to combat terrorism.

"Even a quarter of Republicans are against it:

"According to the Newsweek poll, 73 percent of Democrats and 26 percent of Republicans think the NSA’s program is overly intrusive.

"Worse for the White House -- but great for the country -- a lopsided majority think that the administration is attempting to sieze excess power:

"Nonetheless, Americans think the White House has overstepped its bounds: 57 percent said that in light of the NSA data-mining news and other executive actions, the Bush-Cheney Administration has 'gone too far in expanding presidential power.' That compares to 38 percent who think the Administration’s actions are appropriate."

Says Greenwald in his blog, "I don't even recall seeing that question asked before, but it is very encouraging to see a majority of Americans answer this way. The country does not trust George Bush and is therefore unwilling to vest expanded power in his hands."

Greenwald, an attorney who's been blogging on politics
considerably longer than I, also has a book coming out titled, "How Would a Patriot Act?," about the same issues that get me going & cause me to have uncontrollable outbursts directed at the world at large. "People..." is directed, by the way, not at my friends who actually keep up with my screed; it's more of an existential cry projected into cyberspace at large. Because I can, that's all.

So about this Greenwald book. Looks intriguing, doesn't it?

The advert for it reads: "It's not just about the eavesdropping. It's about radical theories of presidential power. When you answer to no one, you're not a President. You're a despot."

Well said, I think.

The book is available on Amazon. com. You can also visit his blog, Unclaimed Territory at


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