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By Bill Gallagher

DETROIT -- When the Liar in Chief declares, "We're not mining or trolling into the personal lives of innocent Americans," the enlightened know that is precisely what his fascist government is doing.

President George W. Bush lies in small matters -- like his absurdly folksy claim that his greatest thrill and the "best moment" of his presidency was catching a fish. So when it comes to covering up his domestic spying program, you know he's spewing his Orwellian whoppers big-time.

The only problem the Busheviks had with their secret wiretapping program was they got caught. But don't worry, Bush assured us, it's only those "international communications" he wanted to "aggressively pursue."

Always the master of the deceptive oversimplification to buttress his point, Bush added, "If there are people inside our country who are talking to al-Qaeda, we want to know." Little details like the law and the Constitution couldn't restrain our "wartime president" who claims absolute, unfettered authority to do anything he wants to "protect" our nation.

So now he's caught kicking it up a notch to include widespread surveillance of domestic phone records and spying on millions of innocent Americans. USA Today blew the lid off the National Security Agency's spying and monitoring of domestic phone activities. One source told USA Today that the NSA spying program has produced "the largest database ever assembled in the world."

This Big Brother snooping was done with the ignominious cooperation of phone company giants Verizon, AT&T and Bell South. Qwest, to its great credit, refused to cooperate in the sordid deed of betraying its own customers.

Joseph P. Nacchio, Qwest's former CEO, refused to provide the NSA with private phone records of its customers. Nacchio -- who's under indictment on an insider trading charge -- smelled serious legal issues when the NSA came knocking on his door.

In a prepared statement for The New York Times, Nacchio's lawyer, Herbert J. Stern, said the government first approached his client in the fall of 2001.

"Mr. Nacchio made an inquiry as to whether a warrant or other legal process had been secured in support of that request," Stern stated.

He added, "When he learned that no such authority had been granted, and there was a disinclination on the part of the authorities to use any legal process," Nacchio became suspicious, figured the NSA requests violated privacy requirements and told his people "to refuse to comply."

Any officer at Verizon, AT&T and Bell South who did comply should be summarily fired. Company board members should be outraged, and shareholders should be demanding accountability. This may be the incident that sparks the biggest class-action lawsuit ever. The company officers broke the law and their contracts with their customers.

A $5 billion suit has already been filed against Verizon for sharing customer information with government spies.

"This is the largest and most vast intrusion of civil liberties we've ever seen in the United States," said Bruce Afrin, one of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit.

The folks at the NSA must have been huffing over Qwest's resistance. Imagine that! What's all this "warrant or other legal process" crap? What kind of people are these? How dare they defy our "wartime president"? All those legal niceties are OK in theory, but times have changed. Our government gets what it wants, when it wants it, and woe betide those who dare to think otherwise.

Predictably, Bush claimed everything is perfectly lawful, saying in his weekly radio address that "the privacy of all Americans is fiercely protected in all our activities." Sure.

Warrantless searches, phone trolling, torture, kidnapping, indefinite imprisonment without charges, denial of legal representation, you name it. It's all legal. Just ask Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. If the president says it's legal, it's legal. When we're at war, the Constitution, the Congress and civility are out the door.

Bush always plays the fear card, telling us he's "protecting" us from al-Qaeda as he takes us on our national plunge into fascism. He seizes power with impunity, and the Republicans in Congress are willing accomplices as they abrogate the fundamental responsibilities of their branch of the federal government to a power-crazed madman.

As America sleeps, basic rights, especially privacy, are under assault. The concentration of claimed authority in the Executive Branch -- removed from congressional authorization and outside the scope of judicial review -- is dangerous and frightening.

The Busheviks are not conservatives -- they are neo-fascists with an agenda aimed at protecting a privileged elite and using the unbridled power of an authoritarian government to enhance and protect their wealth.

They're not wearing black shirts, boot-stomping down Pennsylvania Avenue in the style of the more theatrical of their ilk. But their insidious threat is real and chilling.

Doug Olson, a reader from Madison, Wis., provided me with an important analysis of what the Busheviks are doing. Doug says when he brands them fascists, he doesn't mean it as a "barstool put-down." Doug has a good grasp of what fascism historically is. "I mean it quite literally," he says. "Most people have no idea what fascism is. They think you need to have a bunch of swastika-wearing thugs out rounding up the Jews. This is completely wrong. The Bush people fit my definition of fascism to a T: They are radical, conservative, corporate, authoritarian, nationalist supremacists.

"Their supreme 'master race' is not racial but economic -- the top 10th of a percent of wealth-holders in America. They have no respect for human rights. They have no respect for democracy, except as a cover and propaganda tool. They pervert language -- for them, language is merely a tool of deceit."

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., is the most forthright, courageous and prophetic voice in Washington today. He brands the Bushevik regime's systematic assaults on our liberties as the egregious deeds they are. He also had the guts to oppose the war in Iraq and is now calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Feingold calls the phone-record mining "a frightening prospect." Before the latest spying revelation, Feingold had already offered a resolution in the Senate to censure Bush for ordering the NSA's warrantless searches.

Feingold -- unlike so many gutless Democrats on Capitol Hill -- doesn't mince words and challenges Bush on the most vital issues of our times.

"We must get out of our foxholes and be willing to clearly and specifically point out what a strategic error the Iraq invasion has been," he told a National Press Club gathering last week.

Feingold wants U.S. troops withdrawn by the end of the year.

"I believe the situation would probably be better," he said. "The lesson of insurgency is, when the occupying power leaves, it tends to lessen, rather than increase, the level of violence."

Feingold's views are in direct contrast to Sen. Hillary Clinton, who has never admitted her vote to support the war was a horrible mistake. She ducks the crunch questions about force withdrawal.

Sen. Clinton did, however, say she finds the phone-record mining "deeply disturbing." Why, then, is her name not on Feingold's censure resolution? The Clinton-infatuated media gave more attention to Rupert Murdoch's planned fund-raiser for her than Feingold's substantive presentation on Iraq and national security.

Last week, Hillary gushed over George W. Bush's "charm and charisma." I just don't know where anyone can find any "charm" in a fascist-loving war criminal.

Bill Gallagher, a Peabody Award winner, is a former Niagara Falls city councilman who now covers Detroit for Fox2 News. His e-mail address is gallaghernewsman@sbcglobal.net.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com May 16 2006