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Archive for March, 2007

I’m running out of things to link this scandal to. All we need now is someone to blow the whistle on how the Bushies have been using the NSA to spy on political opponents and the puzzle will be completely assembled. Via the LA Times:

Over the last six years, this Justice Department has ignored the advice of its staff and skewed aspects of law enforcement in ways that clearly were intended to influence the outcome of elections.

It has notably shirked its legal responsibility to protect voting rights. From 2001 to 2006, no voting discrimination cases were brought on behalf of African American or Native American voters. U.S. attorneys were told instead to give priority to voter fraud cases, which, when coupled with the strong support for voter ID laws, indicated an intent to depress voter turnout in minority and poor communities.

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With the track record this administration has, what person in their right mind would trust them to tell the truth without the threat of consequences, namely perjury. Here’s Glenn:

The reason Democrats ought to compel Rove to testify under oath is not because it will benefit Democrats politically. The reason that’s necessary is because there are (as Cox herself has ably argued) extremely serious accusations of wrongdoing here that go to the heart of how our government functions, and Rove clearly played a role in those events. Moreover, the administration in this very case has demonstrated a propensity to lie about what occurred. And the administration is generally untrustworthy. After all, just last month, Dick Cheney’s top aide was convicted of four felony counts of perjury, false statements, and obstruction of justice.

Under the circumstances, and given the stakes of this scandal, it would be a total abdication of the duty of Congressional oversight not to compel Rove’s testimony in a public forum and under rules where it is more difficult for him to lie. And that’s true regardless of whether it’s politically beneficial.

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Salon drops another bombshell today:

The soldiers who were at Fort Irwin described a pitiful scene. “You had people out there with crutches and canes,” said an Army captain who was being considered for medical retirement himself because of serious back injuries sustained in a Humvee accident during a previous combat tour in Iraq. “Soldiers that apparently had no business being there were there,” another soldier wrote to Salon in an e-mail. “Pregnant females were sent to the National Training Center rotation” with the knowledge of Army leaders, she said.

One infantry sergeant with nearly 20 years in the Army who had already fought in Iraq broke his foot badly in a noncombat incident just before being sent to Fort Irwin. “I didn’t even get to put the cast on,” before going, he said with exasperation. He said doctors put something like an “open-toed soft shoe” on his foot and put him on a plane to California. “I’ve got the cast on now. I never even got a chance to see the [medical] specialist,” he claimed. The infantry sergeant said life in the desert was tough in his condition. “I was on Percocet. I couldn’t even concentrate. I hopped on a plane and hobbled around NTC on crutches,” he said. He added, “I saw people who were worse off than I am. I saw people with hurt backs and so on. I started to think, ‘Hey, I’m not so bad.'”

And it looks like we can thank the surge for this gross abuse of our injured soldiers:

Military experts point to the brigade’s readiness statistics, including “unit status reports” that carefully track personnel numbers and are sent up through the Army’s chain of command. “There are a number of factors used to establish whether a unit is mission-capable,” explained John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, an independent organization that studies military and security issues. “One of them is the extent to which it is fully manned,” he said. Pike says he suspects the injured soldiers were camped out at Fort Irwin so that on paper, at least, “the unit would have a sufficient head count to be mission-capable.”

What more does it take? Why isn’t this country taking to the streets yet over this horseshit?

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Protecting us all from 10 year old girls.

Can we please just pass some legislation to protect the American people from the burden of antiquainted intellectual property laws? If the vast majority of the American people want to ‘steal’ music and demand that it no longer be a prosecutable offense, then let’s defang the RIAA already.

I’m sure that everyone would just figure out another way to make money off of the business of music. It will sharpen the market if anything. The most successful model for a music label will involve being very localized and dedicated to a few artists’ online promotional and distributional needs. And it would uplift the quality of live performances if that’s where the money shifts to. Live performances put money directly into the hands of local economies. The whole paradigm of marketing and distribution has to change before we will be able to truly harness the full potential of the Internet to re-establish the importance of local economies.

It’s happening now with the music industry, and as you can see it’s not pretty when the dinosaurs of the old media paradigm start to fall. They’ll need to grill a few young girls about their download history before they’ll give up their stranglehold on OUR music.

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Okay, here’s a simple idea for what I believe could be a very grand protest. Get one million people to descend on Washington D.C., and ask that every single participant bring a digital video camera and at least 5 video tapes.

The cameras will serve both practical and symbolic purposes. Considering both the long historical record and recent revelations about surveillance and deceptive disruption of public protests by undercover government officials, if everyone’s armed with a camera then there’s no reason why anyone should be able to get away with starting anything and not be caught on tape for later investigations. On a more uplifting note, I can’t imagine the effect of having one MILLION people video blogging dozens of clips and posting them up on YouTube. And this would be a massive boon to the realm of amateur documentaries.

The symbolism is obvious: transparency. To remind both the government AND the establishment media that we are watching, recording and remembering. That we are no longer scared or intimidated by either because we now possess the tools necessary to hold all FOUR estates in check when they be come out of balance. And talk about a move that would surely emphasize the success we’ve had in ripping the wheels of the Bush administration since the US Attorney story broke.

Man, I hope someone steals this idea.

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YouTube Awards

Go vote, beeches.

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