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Archive for March 13th, 2007

Another bad day for markets?

Posted by Charles II on March 13, 2007

For night owls:

As of 2:30 PM March 14th, Japanese markets down substantially (Nikkei, -3.2%); Hong Kong also (Hang Seng, -2.7% at 12:30). This compares to the American markets, down about 2% on March 13th. A good guess is that the US market will have another leg down.

Update, the next day:  Proving yet again that markets do whatever they want to no matter what good guesses one takes, the Dow fell below 12,000, but then rallied and ended up.

Posted in stock market | 1 Comment »

The Cronyocracy Strikes Again

Posted by MEC on March 13, 2007

The Army Corps of Engineers installed faulty flood-control pumps in New Orleans despite warnings that the equipment would fail during a storm.

The pumps were manufactured by Moving Water Industries Corp. of Deerfield Beach, Florida.

If you said, “Florida, huh? I wonder….” you’re not being cynical, just experienced.

MWI is owned by J. David Eller and his sons. Eller was once a business partner of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in a venture called Bush-El that marketed MWI pumps. And Eller has donated about $128,000 to politicians, the vast majority of it to the Republican Party, since 1996, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The Associated Press found out about the problems from a memo written by Maria Garzino, a Corps mechanical engineer. I wonder how much longer Garzino will have her job. The Bush regime always punishes people who do the right thing.

Posted in BushCo malfeasance, corruption, Florida (where magical things happen), New Orleans | 4 Comments »

Immoral Behavior in the Military

Posted by MEC on March 13, 2007

General Peter Pace says the military should not condone immoral behavior in its ranks.

I wonder whether he thinks rape is immoral. I hope he does, because I can’t imagine any rational person thinking it should be condoned.

So, what is General Pace going to do about male soldiers raping female soldiers? So far, all the military has been doing about the problem is punishing the women who report being assaulted. Seems to me that response doesn’t just condone immorality, it encourages it.

Posted in hypocrites, military | 1 Comment »

Breaking News: Gonzales Doesn’t Resign

Posted by MEC on March 13, 2007

Looks like a stonewall to me.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales acknowledged that mistakes were made and accepted responsibility Tuesday for the way eight federal prosecutors were fired.

At a Justice Department news conference, Gonzales said he would find out why Congress was not told sooner that the White House was involved in discussions of who would be fired and when. He did not back away, however, from his stance that the dismissals that did take place were appropriate.

No surprise here, especially in the typically Bushevik use of “I take responsibility.” In their lexicon, this means, “I’m in charge here, and that means I can do whatever I want with impunity.”

Posted in Alberto Gonzales, anti-truth, BushCo malfeasance | 1 Comment »

New Poll Shows Either That Franken Is Gaining Rapidly On Coleman…

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 13, 2007

…or that the SUSA poll the local GOP was trumpeting last mouth was garbage.

Survey USA from 2/12-13 had it as Coleman 57%, Franken 35%, giving Coleman a huge 22-point lead. Here’s the link.

Franken does much better in the newer Rasmussen poll from 3/7/07.

Granted, SUSA is often all over the map, so it may not be so much that Franken improved dramatically in the three weeks from the 2/12-13/07 SUSA to the 3/7/07 Rasmussen poll, as that the Rasmussen poll is just a better and more predictable poll (they’re Republican, but predictably so — all you have to do to get the true result is lop off a percent or two from the GOP % and add it to the Dem %).

Oh, and why do I have the feeling that this new Rasmussen poll isn’t going to get anywhere near as much coverage as the SUSA poll?

Posted in 2008, Al Franken, Democrats, Good Things, Minnesota, Norm Coleman, polls, Republicans, Senate | 1 Comment »

Another Day, Another Abuse of the USA-PATRIOT Act

Posted by MEC on March 13, 2007

Treasury Casts a Wide Net Under Patriot Act

Under a little-noticed provision in the USA Patriot Act, the Treasury Department has ordered severe restrictions against foreign banks or countries for reasons beyond the stated purpose of the law and without producing evidence.

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Section 311 of the 2001 Patriot Act was drafted to halt terrorist financing and money laundering, but the Bush administration has used it against an alleged source of terrorist financing – a bank in Syria – only once. The Treasury has invoked it more often to punish alleged human-rights abuses or offshore banking havens.

It should be no surprise that a federal agency is abusing its authority under the USA-PATRIOT Act. The Act’s provisions are basically a license to bully, which naturally encourages bullying:

Critics – many of whom refused to speak on the record, saying they feared retribution – complain that the provision denies suspects due process and presumes that the accused are guilty rather than innocent.

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Through Section 311, the Treasury doesn’t have to tell accused banks or countries what threat they allegedly pose to the U.S. financial system, and the Treasury has the power to act as both prosecutor and judge.

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Critics note that the charges are based on classified information, and the proceedings – which may take the form of a Treasury audit of a bank’s books – are extraterritorial and secret, with no direct oversight by any U.S. or foreign court or legislature.

This is more evidence that the real purpose of the ironically named USA-PATRIOT Act was not to give federal agencies necessary tools to hunt down and arrest terrorists, but to consolidate power in the Executive Branch and free it from the constraints of those pesky democratic principles that are just so September 10th.

Posted in BushCo malfeasance, PATRIOT Act | 1 Comment »

Another Head Rolls

Posted by MEC on March 13, 2007

Gonzales aide resigns over prosecutor firings

A top aide to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigned, a U.S. official said on Tuesday, the latest fallout from the firing of federal prosecutors that has embarrassed the Bush administration and prompted calls for Gonzales to step down.

[…]

Kyle Sampson, chief of staff to Gonzales, resigned after reports detailed his extensive dealings with the White House on the matter.

[…]

The Post said Sampson resigned after acknowledging he did not tell other Justice Department officials about the extent of his communications with the White House. His omission led Justice officials to provide incomplete information to Congress, it said.

Can you say “fall guy”, boys and girls? I knew you could. And I hope you don’t believe for one second that Sampson did this on his own. If Gonzales’ chief of staff had “extensive dealings with the White House on the matter” without Gonzales sanctioning those dealings, then Scooter Libby had “extensive dealings” with reporters about Valerie Plame Wilson without Dick Cheney knowing a thing about it.

I think it’s safe to assume that Sampson got his DoJ job because he’s a loyal Bushevik:

From 1999 to 2001 Sampson served as Counsel to Senator Orrin G. Hatch on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Later he worked under Harriet Miers as Associate Counsel to the President and as Special Assistant to the President and Associate Director for Presidential Personnel. From there, he served as Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, and then, in 2003, became Counselor to the Attorney General. In February of 2005 he was promoted to Deputy Chief of Staff and Counselor of US Attorney General.

And now he’s a loyal Bushevik who’s discovered that for Bush, loyalty goes only one way.

Senator Leahy, I hope you’re planning to subpoena Mr. Sampson and ask him what Mr. Gonzales knew about his “dealings with the White House”.

Posted in Alberto Gonzales, BushCo malfeasance, US attorney firings | 2 Comments »

“Voter Fraud”: The New Poll Tax

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 13, 2007

We all knew that Republican charges of “voter fraud” were generally bogus and driven by partisanship, but Josh Marshall now has additional proof thereof:

Late Update: There’s a sub-issue emerging in the canned US Attorneys scandal: the apparently central role of Republican claims of voter fraud and prosecutors unwillingness to bring indictments emerging from such alleged wrongdoing. Very longtime readers of this site will remember that this used to be something of a hobby horse of mine. And it’s not surprising that it is now emerging as a key part of this story. The very short version of this story is that Republicans habitually make claims about voter fraud. But the charges are almost invariably bogus. And in most if not every case the claims are little more than stalking horses for voter suppression efforts. That may sound like a blanket charge. But I’ve reported on and written about this issue at great length. And there’s simply no denying the truth of it. So this becomes a critical backdrop to understanding what happened in some of these cases. Why didn’t the prosecutors pursue indictments when GOP operatives started yakking about voter fraud? Almost certainly because there just wasn’t any evidence for it.

Gonna Be A Long Night Update: The Post also got a piece of the Monday document dump. And their piece is now up too. Many of the key points are the same as what appears in the Times. But key new details are also included. Perhaps the most important of which is this: the Patriot Act provision allowing the Attorney General to appoint US Attorneys by fiat was at the heart of this. The Post quotes an email from the now resigned Sampson in which he tells Miers: “I am only in favor of executing on a plan to push some USAs out if we really are ready and willing to put in the time necessary to select candidates and get them appointed. It will be counterproductive to DOJ operations if we push USAs out and then don’t have replacements ready to roll immediately. I strongly recommend that as a matter of administration, we utilize the new statutory provisions that authorize the AG to make USA appointments. [By sidestepping the confirmation process] we can give far less deference to home state senators and thereby get 1.) our preferred person appointed and 2.) do it far faster and more efficiently at less political costs to the White House.”

And here’s the piece in the Post story which should lead to Sen. Domenici’s departure from the senate …

One e-mail from Miers’s deputy, William Kelley, on the day of the Dec. 7 firings said Domenici’s chief of staff “is happy as a clam” about Iglesias. Sampson wrote in an e-mail a week later: “Domenici is going to send over names tomorrow (not even waiting for Iglesias’s body to cool).”


As has happened so many times in the last six years, the maximal version of this story — which seemed logical six weeks ago but which I couldn’t get myself to believe — turns out to be true. Indeed, it’s worse. We now know that Gonzales, McNulty and Moschella each lied to Congress. We know that the purge was a plan that began at the White House — and it was overseen by two of President Bush’s closest lieutenants in Washington — Miers and Gonzales. Sampson is the second resignation. There will certainly be more.

Indeed, there will be.

This never would have come out had the House and Senate stayed in Republican hands.

Now, there will be hearings, and Waxman and Company will be issuing subpoenas to clean these Augean Stables. The threads of the BushCo sweater are unraveling.

Posted in Alberto Gonzales, BushCo malfeasance, corruption, Democrats, GOP bullying, madness of King George | Comments Off on “Voter Fraud”: The New Poll Tax

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Posted by Charles II on March 13, 2007

Rory Carroll in The Guardian

As an Israeli ambassador, Tsuriel Raphael was accomplished at putting a gloss on delicate subjects, be it Tel Aviv’s nuclear programme, the treatment of Palestinians or the invasion of Lebanon.

When San Salvador police discovered him in his official embassy residence yard in the capital San Salvador, however, smooth talk was not really an option. For starters there was the gag and the rubber ball in his mouth. There was also the matter of being drunk. And naked. And bound. And surrounded by sex toys.

Posted in Just for fun, WTF? | Comments Off on No comment

 
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