Friday, April 13, 2007

The Administration's "Two Hats" Excuse

The White House doesn't have a leg to stand on when it comes to using unpreserved email to conduct official business. The Hatch Act and the Presidential Records Act do not "conflict" as the administration would like to spin.

read more | digg story

Looking More Like 1972 Every Day

Missing E-Mail May Be Related to Prosecutors - New York Times:
“We’re learning that off-book communications are being used by these people in the White House by using Republican political e-mail addresses and they say they have not been preserved,” Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in an impassioned speech on the Senate floor. “I don’t believe that! You can’t erase e-mails, not today.”

Richard M. Smith, an Internet security and privacy consultant in Boston, said Mr. Leahy’s surmise that the missing e-mail messages are preserved somewhere could be right. But he said there was no way to know without a thorough examination of all the computers the messages passed through.
Time to subpoena those servers. Any what might we find there?
The Democrats’ investigation into the political e-mail accounts grows directly out of the inquiry into the firing of the United States attorneys. When the Justice Department turned over documents to Congress, they showed that, contrary to the White House’s initial assertions, Mr. Rove and Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel, seemed to be involved in planning the dismissals.

The documents also revealed that a deputy to Mr. Rove, Scott Jennings, who works in the White House Office of Political Affairs, had used his Republican National Committee e-mail account, ending in, to communicate about the dismissals with a top aide to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.
I should think that's enough to start criminal proceedings. It looks like the RNC knew something nefarious was going on with the Rovians, and they wanted to cover their collective asses:
The committee appears to have changed its e-mail retention policies twice, possibly in response to the investigation by a special prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, into the leak of the name of a C.I.A. officer. When that inquiry began, in early 2004, the committee’s practice was to purge all e-mail from its servers after 30 days.

But in August of that year, according to the Republican official, the committee decided that e-mail sent by White House officials would be kept on the server. Still, the change did not prevent White House officials from manually deleting their e-mail, and some, including Mr. Rove, apparently did. So in 2005, the committee took steps to prevent Mr. Rove from doing so.

“Mr. Kelner did not provide many details about why this special policy was adopted for Mr. Rove,” Mr. Waxman wrote. “But he did indicate that one factor was the presence of investigative or discovery requests or other legal concerns.”
Don't you just love it when a plan comes together!? Even the RNC knew they were going to end up in the investigation fray sooner or later, so they took special precautions to keep Turd Blossom from deleting his own emails. Now, the White House is going to say those are under their control so they can claim executive privilege, but that strategy won't fly because then they would have been breaking the law by doing official business on non-official channels, just the opposite of what they claim they were doing with the RNC accounts in the first place (complying with the Hatch law, which says you can't do partisan business on official channels). It's one way or another, and their in trouble either way.

Yup! It's beginning to feel like 1972 all over again when "just a third-rate burglary" turned into the end of a dynasty. And this time, please! No pardons for any of them!

Update due to an aging, but fond, memory. I originally said 1971 instead of 1972. It was, after all, the Seventies.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

NYT Agrees With Cosmogenium; Again

Four Years Later in Iraq - New York Times:
Now, with friends and relatives killed, kidnapped or driven from their homes, the prices of basic necessities soaring and electricity rationed to four hours a day, Mr. Jubouri says the change of regimes “achieved nothing” and he has come to hate the American military presence he once welcomed.

Mr. Maliki’s supporters can be even more frightening to listen to. This week’s demonstration in Najaf was organized by the fiercely anti-American Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, whose political party and militia helped put Mr. Maliki in power and are still among his most important allies.

Two months into the Baghdad security drive, the gains Mr. Bush is banking on have not materialized. More American soldiers continue to arrive, and their commanders are talking about extending the troop buildup through the fall or into early next year. After four years, the political trend is even more discouraging.

There is no possible triumph in Iraq and very little hope left.

Another Downside To Globalization

Some Suspect Chemical Mix in Pet Food - New York Times:
Most experts on wheat gluten in the region said they had never heard of mixing it and melamine.

“If you add chemicals into the wheat gluten, it is no longer called wheat gluten protein,” says Jiang Shaotong, a professor of food engineering at Hefei University of Technology in nearby Anhui Province. “I can’t think of any reason why melamine is needed in the production process.”

Chinese customs officials do inspect or sample products planned for export, but those inspections are not thought to be stringent enough to detect the presence of every chemical or impurity.

Asked about the investigation, a Chinese official working for the inspection and quarantine bureau declined to comment.

But lax food-safety regulation and standards are a problem; food producers sometimes dye meats to make them look fresher and even sell fake milk powder for babies.
As a pet owner, I find this not only disturbing but infuriating, because I know that this administration will pay only lip service to improving screening of foreign food stuffs and then go right back to letting the same kind of thing happen. They can't even stop contaminants within the domestic food supply, having politicized the FDA and pulled the teeth from the EPA.

They suck! Impeach them now!

And Now In The North

My Way News - Turkey Launches Offensives on Rebels:
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Turkey's army chief said Thursday the military had launched several 'large scale' offensives against rebels in the predominantly Kurdish southeast, and he asked the government for approval to launch an incursion into neighboring northern Iraq.

Washington repeatedly has cautioned Turkey against staging a cross-border offensive, fearing that it could destabilize the region and antagonize Iraqi Kurds, who are allied with the U.S.

But Iraq's government is barely able to control its own cities. U.S. commanders, who are battling the Iraqi insurgency in the middle of the country, are stretched too thin to take on Turkish Kurds hiding in remote mountains near the frontier.
Sounds a lot like Turkey is acting the way BushCo has blamed Iran as acting: to hinder Iraqi freedom and democracy.

Wasn't the northern region of Iraq the one place where there was some peace and progress?
Turkey launched operations into northern Iraq several times in the late 1990s, when it was out of President Saddam Hussein's control.

It has recently been accused of shelling Kurdish positions inside Iraq.

Turkey is especially concerned about a bid to incorporate the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk into the semiautonomous Iraqi Kurdish region, fearing that Iraqi Kurds will use revenues from the city's oil wealth to fund a bid for independence.

The Iraqi government recently decided to implement a constitutional requirement to determine the status of Kirkuk - which is disputed among several different ethnic groups - by the end of the year. The plan is expected to turn Kirkuk and its vast oil reserves over to Kurdish control, a step also rejected by many of Iraq's Arabs and ethnic Turks, who are strongly backed by the Turkish government.
I guess we can let go of that tiny victory now as well.

We Don't Belong There....

Civilian Claims on U.S. Suggest the Toll of War - New York Times:
The paperwork, examined by The New York Times, provides unusually detailed accounts of how bystanders to the conflicts have become targets of American forces grappling to identify who is friend, who is foe.

In the case of the fisherman in Tikrit, he and his companion desperately tried to appear unthreatening to an American helicopter overhead.

“They held up the fish in the air and shouted ‘Fish! Fish!’ to show they meant no harm,” said the Army report attached to the claim filed by the fisherman’s family. The Army refused to compensate for the killing, ruling that it was “combat activity,” but approved $3,500 for his boat, net and cellphone, which drifted away and were stolen.

In the killings at the gas station in Balad, documents show that the Army determined that the neither of the dead Iraqis had done anything hostile or criminal, and approved $5,000 to the civilian’s brother but nothing for the Iraqi officer.

In another incident, in 2005, an American soldier in a dangerous Sunni Arab area south of Baghdad killed a boy after mistaking his book bag for a bomb satchel. The Army paid the boy’s uncle $500.
I know, I know; this is nothing compared to the attrocities of Vietnam, but it shouldn't even compare to Vietnam. That's the problem. We don't belong there, and we can't even identify who it is we are fighting.

Yes, the U.S. force is trying to compensate some of the people affected, but really, how much is your brother or mother worth?
The Foreign Claims Act, which governs such compensation, does not deal with combat-related cases. For those cases, including the boy’s, the Army may offer a condolence payment as a gesture of regret with no admission of fault, of usually no higher than $2,500 per person killed.
I ask you, is that enough? Is that even reasonable? If so, then we are dehumanizing an entire nation of people. We don't belong there. We should not stay there. We must get out now.

In 5-Year Effort, Scant Evidence of Voter Fraud - New York Times

In 5-Year Effort, Scant Evidence of Voter Fraud - New York Times:
WASHINGTON, April 11 — Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews.
Gee! I never would have guessed. After all, wasn't this the "reason" the U.S. attorneys were "let go?"
The push to prosecute voter fraud figured in the removals last year of at least two United States attorneys whom Republican politicians or party officials had criticized for failing to pursue cases.

The campaign has roiled the Justice Department in other ways, as career lawyers clashed with a political appointee over protecting voters’ rights, and several specialists in election law were installed as top prosecutors.
Hmmmm. All that expertise yet no sign of fraud. Now, I'd be asking why there weren't charges filed for Florida in 2000 and Ohio, Florida, and New Mexico in 2004, but that's just me. Obviously, the attorneys in those states were "performing well."

And Worse, And Worse Still

Bombing Hits Parliament in Baghdad - New York Times:
"The brazen bombing was the clearest evidence yet that militants can penetrate even the most secure locations. Masses of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers are on the streets in the ninth week of a security crackdown in the capital and security measures inside the Green Zone have been significantly hardened."

Security is impossible in Iraq. The insurgency is a part of every level of the Iraqi government and its military.

Once again: We don't belong there. We can't win there. We only make things worse by being there. We should get out now.

All together now....

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Consequences Of Climate Change -- Part I

Scientists predict Southwest mega-drought - Environment -
"'If these models are correct, the levels of aridity of the recent multiyear drought, or the Dust Bowl and 1950s droughts, will, within the coming years to decades, become the new climatology of the American Southwest,' the researchers wrote."

And the models mentioned are pretty darn accurate so far.

I know they didn't exactly cause the current situation of greenhouse gases, but BushCo has done all it could to hide or bury the scientific evidence as it emerged, to say nothing of refusing to join the Kyoto Accord, thus setting back any possible efforts to curtail the effects thereof. Just another reason to hold them in contempt of humanity!

Is The Defecation About To Contact The Rotary Oscillator?

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iraqi Shias prepare for protests:
Thousands of supporters of the radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are converging on the holy city of Najaf to hold mass demonstrations.

Mr Sadr has called for a million-strong protest to coincide with the fourth anniversary of Saddam Hussein's fall.

The protesters will demand the withdrawal of coalition troops.
Is this the beginning of the end of American occupation in Iraq? The Saudis want us out. The Iraqis want us out. WE want us out! And now our troops are not just in the middle of a civil war, but are in the crosshairs of both sides.

Was there ever a better time to impeach this whole administration and get our men and women out of this un-winnable situation? This myth that leaving now would lead the insurgents back here is just that, a myth. We are just as likely to have a terrorist attack on U.S. soil whether we're there or not, and possibly more so if we stay. All we're doing is stirring up hornets and feeding fuel to the jihadist's cause by occupying a Middle Eastern country and doing nothing to make things better for the people who live there.

I'm sick of the NeoCons (and they are cons!) spreading their poison over the globe with the help of the press and the blessing of the fundamentalists. They don't deserve our respect nor our tolerance. They should be tried for their crimes and punished to the full extent of the laws for their crimes against humanity and democracy. They are not nice.

From Abandonment To Active Aggression

ABC News: Unprovoked Beatings of Homeless Soaring

Disturbing trend. Is it any wonder the first priority of high school and college students is making money? This story reads like a recent episode of CSI. What is wrong with us? Unprovoked wars, rampant corruption, no accountability, no remorse on the part of perpetrators,...look at me, I'm starting to sound like my father!

But seriously, I take all of this to be part and parcel of the trend in government and big business to grab for all that can be grabbed and to hell with all the rest. This is so-called "social-Darwinism" at its worst. And the people who claimed back in 2000 and 2004 that their goal was to return traditional values to leadership are the worst culprits of all. They have no shame. They need to be stopped, arrested, and disregarded.

It's About To Get Much Worse

ABC News: Al-Sadr Calls for Attacks on U.S. Troops:
"BAGHDAD - The renegade cleric Muqtada al-Sadr urged the Iraqi army and police to stop cooperating with the United States and told his guerrilla fighters to concentrate on pushing American forces out of the country, according to a statement issued Sunday."

No mention of this yet on CNN. I would have thought it would be an instant headline and focus. Maybe it's too downbeat for Easter Sunday?


Blog Archive