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2007 March 22 — Why Now?
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The Crickets Chirp

All during the debates over the various provisions of the USA PATRIOT act, and other attacks on the Constitutional protections of Americans in the furtherance of the re-election of the Shrubbery War on Terror™, the constant refrain from the so-called conservatives was “if you are innocent you have nothing to fear.”

Now Congress wants to ask questions about some dodgy personal practices at the Department of Justice and the involvement of the White House, and there are no voices on the right wondering why the White House won’t comply with Congressional requests. Hey, “if you are innocent you have nothing to fear.”

What’s the problem? Congress still recognizes the Constitutional protections. They aren’t going to tap the White House phones without a warrant. No one’s going to be subjected to isolation or water boarding. They are not going to be kidnapped and sent to countries that believe boiling improves the memory. Witnesses get to have counsel; they can claim the right against self incrimination; all of those archaic notions are in full effect.

What is the problem with public employees being required to answer questions from the elected representatives of the public on the record and under penalty of perjury? It happens to everyone who shows up for jury duty.

March 22, 2007   6 Comments

Stuff and Nonsense

Cute Overload has Knut on The Colbert Report.

Badtux does food reviews of Meals Ready to Eat [MRE].

Culture Ghost is running a series of Postage of The Damned.

While Karen of Peripetia is getting over foot surgery, Der Verrückte Philosoph is filling in with features like Surf Mice.

PZ Myers of Pharyngula points to an amazing video of a single man building Stonehenge. This guy demonstrates how simply it could have been accomplished as he single handedly moves around huge blocks of concrete.

Dr. Cole will bring you down from the levity with Bush’s Top Ten Mistakes in Iraq during the Past 4 Years.

March 22, 2007   2 Comments

Law & Order

Looking at the recent history of the Justice Department, any one with a law enforcement background knows that this is going to result in an Internal Affairs referral, and it will be targeting the upper levels of the Department because the problems are so wide-spread that the root problem has to be at the management level.

Consider the massive abuse of National Security Letters. Who believes that dozens of agents were struck with the idea of abusing NSLs, all at the same time? Someone at the top, implicitly or explicitly, indicated to agents that such conduct was acceptable, if not recommended. I’ve interacted with FBI agents, and they don’t improvise. They have procedures and the procedures are followed. This is like Abu Ghraib – the people at the bottom don’t do these things for an extended period without an okay from further up the chain of command. All large organizations work like this – if the problem is widespread, management approved it.

Then there is the current flare-up over the firing of US Attorneys. The first thing to remember is that Alberto Gonzales has no experience or training that qualifies him to manage a large organization. For much of his professional career he had only one client, the Shrubbery. He is a figurehead, not an administrator. He is dependent on his staff to get anything done, and the first loyalty of his staff would appear to be to Karl Rove, not Alberto Gonzales.

I don’t think Gonzales is going to leave quietly because of what happened when Gates replaced Rumsfeld. Gates started firing people and investigating problems, and I seriously doubt the White House wants anyone looking under carpets at the Justice Department.

We are going to find out eventually that things are much worse than most of us imagine at the Department of Justice. People like William Jefferson [D-LA] are going to get off because of this. Many corruption probes are going to be lost based on the actions of the Justice Department rather than the evidence. People who should be in jail are going to be free to plunder because everything is political in this administration. Once that is established, every defense attorney has a head start on “reasonable doubt.”

March 22, 2007   2 Comments