Saturday, January 13, 2007

Epilogue 2, the John Sweeney story

Via TPMMuckraker
After narrowly winning reelection in his very conservative district, Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) says he's reformed, but it sure doesn't look like he's really got religion.

He's firing his wife as his campaign fundraiser, he announced yesterday -- no longer will she, and by extension Doolittle himself, get a 15% cut of every contribution to his campaign.

What's that got to do with Sweeney, Lame-o? Well, Sweeney and his wife had the same pocket-lining, er, fundraising arrangement.

Alas, what with Sweeney getting voted out of office, he will not have the same chance to "get religion."
I guess I should know better than to read the news on a Saturday. Who needs the outrage on a weekend? A weekend during the NFL playoffs no less.

  • Military Expands Intelligence Role in U.S.

  • The Pentagon has been using a little-known power to obtain banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage inside the United States, part of an aggressive expansion by the military into domestic intelligence gathering.

    The C.I.A. has also been issuing what are known as national security letters to gain access to financial records from American companies, though it has done so only rarely, intelligence officials say.


    The military and the C.I.A. have long been restricted in their domestic intelligence operations, and both are barred from conducting traditional domestic law enforcement work.


    In the next year, they plan to incorporate the records into a database at the Counterintelligence Field Activity office at the Pentagon to track possible threats against the military, Pentagon officials said.

    Ah yes, "threats against the military." Force protection, the one-size-fits-all justification for domestic spying.

    Next up, some fucking guy who apparently is not familiar with the words to this tune:
    [...] the accused shall [...] have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

  • Official Attacks Top Law Firms Over Detainees

  • The senior Pentagon official [Charles D. Stimson] in charge of military detainees suspected of terrorism said in an interview this week that he was dismayed that lawyers at many of the nation’s top firms were representing prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and that the firms’ corporate clients should consider ending their business ties.


    The same point appeared Friday on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, where Robert L. Pollock, a member of the newspaper’s editorial board, cited the list of law firms and quoted an unnamed “senior U.S. official” as saying, “Corporate C.E.O.’s seeing this should ask firms to choose between lucrative retainers and representing terrorists.”

    In his radio interview, Mr. Stimson said: “I think the news story that you’re really going to start seeing in the next couple of weeks is this: As a result of a FOIA request through a major news organization, somebody asked, ‘Who are the lawyers around this country representing detainees down there?’ and you know what, it’s shocking.” The F.O.I.A. reference was to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by Monica Crowley, a conservative syndicated talk show host, asking for the names of all the lawyers and law firms representing Guantánamo detainees in federal court cases.

    I understand the wingnuts doing what wingnuts do, but that Pentagon official, Stimson, needs to read up on what fucking country this is.

    Friday, January 12, 2007

    Dumbest thing I will read today:
    "White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told CNN that Bush's condemnation of what she called 'Iran's meddlesomeness' was an important signal to the region.

    "'Surely the United States is not the one being threatening,' she said. 'We are not the ones being meddlesome and troublesome in Iraq.'"

    "Remember," she added, "the Iraqi people asked us to invade and occupy. They sent their brain waves directly to the president, and he responded. Those Iranians are just pests - they weren't invited, or else Bush would have heard it in their brain waves."

    Via Froomkin.
    If corporations are not paying what they owe in taxes, guess who gets to pick up the slack?

    Agents Say Fast Audits Hurt I.R.S.
    Top officials at the Internal Revenue Service are pushing agents to prematurely close audits of big companies with agreements to have them pay only a fraction of the additional taxes that could be collected, according to dozens of I.R.S. employees who say that the policy is costing the government billions of dollars a year.

    Thursday, January 11, 2007

    Haven't we fucked up enough by invading and occupying Iraq?

    Why are we now picking a fight with Iran?

    5 Iranians Detained at Consular Office
    American forces backed by helicopters raided the Iranian consulate in the mainly Kurdish city of Erbil in northern Iraq before dawn today, detaining at least five Iranian employees in the building and seizing some property, according to Iraqi and Iranian officials and witnesses.

    And in the same article, a little recent history:
    [...] in December the American forces detained two Iranian men in Baghdad and accused them of running guns and planning sectarian attacks. The men were later released.

    Say, what is that I keep hearing about the sovereignty of Iraq?

    Wednesday, January 10, 2007

    The PR Presidency:
    The Senate vote is expected as early as next week, after an initial round of committee hearings on the plan Mr. Bush will lay out for the nation Wednesday night in a televised address delivered from the White House library, a setting chosen because it will provide a fresh backdrop for a presidential message.

    Thank goodness. Iraq may still be a hell on earth, people are dying, but at least the White House knows how to keep things looking fresh.

    I wonder what kind of rugs the library has.

    Link: Democrats Plan Symbolic Votes Against Bush’s Iraq Troop Plan

    Tuesday, January 09, 2007

    Shorter Howard Kurtz: Fuck off, rabble. I'll decide the appropriate questions for media figures.

    Stop Him Before He Comments Again!
    Should pundits be punished over Iraq?

    Put another way, why should we listen to those who were wrong about the war?

    I would suggest that a little humility is in order here. Lots of media people, liberal as well as conservative, were wrong about the war, just as they've been wrong about all kinds of other issues.

    Should they be held accountable? Should they be pressed on whether they now admit they were wrong, and how their thinking has changed since the invasion? Should they not be able to get away with the dodge that they thought Bush would manage the war much better than he did? Yes, yes, and yes.

    But should they be hooted off the public stage? Tarred and feathered? Sent to reeducation camp? I don't think so.

    People should be held accountable, but not hooted. Sounds like a vote for civility.

    They should be "pressed," which is presumably what Howie does on his show. They should not be "tarred and feathered," nor sent to "reeducation camp." Which no one is calling for, but makes for a swell straw man.

    In other words, Kurtz is tired of you motherfuckers talking amongst yourselves and declaring his potential guests are discredited asswipes. So, stop it.