Thursday, March 29, 2007

Smart about Politics but Clueless about Technology

Sid Blumenthal has an excellent post in Salon (if you are not registered, you need to watch a short advertisement to get a day pass) about the efforts of the Bush Administration apparatchiks to cover their tracks by avoiding the use of the official White House Email System.
...Last week the National Journal disclosed that Karl Rove does "about 95 percent" of his e-mails outside the White House system, instead using a Republican National Committee account. What's more, Rove doesn't tap most of his messages on a White House computer, but rather on a Blackberry provided by the RNC.
...The offshoring of White House records via RNC e-mails became apparent when an RNC domain, (referring to George W. Bush, 43rd president), turned up in a batch of e-mails the White House gave to House and Senate committees earlier this month. Rove's deputy, Scott Jennings, former Bush legal counsel Harriet Miers and her deputies strangely had used as an e-mail domain.
Now your old Sarge is only a beginner in this IT bidness (I have an AS in Computer Information Technology), but I am almost certain the White house is clueless about technology:
Because e-mail connects through many routers and mail servers on its way to the recipient, it is inherently vulnerable to both physical and virtual eavesdropping. Current industry standards do not place emphasis on security; information is transferred in plain text, and mail servers regularly conduct unprotected backups of e-mail that passes through. In effect, every e-mail leaves a digital papertrail in its wake that can be easily inspected months or years later.
Bottom line, emails do not disappear from the Web after you send them.You can wipe data on your PC's hard drive, but if you send data to someone using the network, forget it (If anybody reading this believes that I'm in error, let me know).

If the D's have the political will to take this investigation all the way to the end, they will find out what was sent on domain The only thing that can stop them is Johnny the Robber and a majority of the Supremes.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Honor, Loyalty and Duty

The Congress passed a bill yesterday to continue financing operations in Iraq. Acceding to the wishes of the MAJORITY (60%) of Americans (Newsweek poll 3/23-25/07, scroll down to the bottom), it requires a troop withdrawal by 2008. Predictably the 101st Fighting Keyboardist denounced this bill as the “cut and run act”.

As a 20 year veteran of the US Army, I can ignore the Chicken hawk choir. But for those veterans on the other side who disagree and actually walked the walk, I say this.

I never gave much thought that I was risking death to protect my country, and by the grace of Hashem and/or the Universe I was lucky to avoid 2 wars and 5 police actions while on active duty (see Commander Oggs Rule #5 at the bottom of this blog). I'm a cynic by nature, and while honor, loyalty and duty are the words I may live by, I'll deny in a Court of law that I actually believe in them (One of the reasons I joined the Military was a belief in a steady paycheck and health insurance).

But if I may be serious for a minute (I can do serious), loyalty and duty are a two way street. I never questioned the orders of those appointed above me, but I was lucky enough to serve for most of my career with good officers and civilians who would not throw my life away like sausage in a meat grinder. If I was ever required to storm the beach or take the hill, live or die; I knew that there was a strategy that would lead to victory.

The newly elected Democratic MAJORITY in Congress has sent this Administration a message: After four years of war without a valid operational, tactical or strategic plan, enough is enough! Accountability is the new watch word. No more sound bites, patriotic slogans or pimping 9/11. No more sausage. And if the clueless Gang of 500 is too stupid to see that, f*ck'em.

If ordered back to duty I would go tomorrow. But I will no longer support a war that the in my opinion the President has ordered us to loose (or at least delay). Given recent polling data From the Pew Research Center, odds look good for a Democratic to take the Presidency in 2008. It would be in Bush's best interest to try and dump this mess in the lap of the new administration to protect his legacy as the Commander in Chief.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Problem That Will Not Go Away

An excellent series of posts by Salons Glenn Greenwald highlights just how serious this Attorney General scandal is for the Flight suit in Chief (hat tip to Kos) and exactly why it will not go away:
In one sense, this clip is completely typical of how our national media thinks and talks about political matters. .
Just as was true for their virtually unanimous insistence that there was no wrongdoing worth investigating in the Plame case -- including the serial lying and obstruction of justice from the Vice President's top aide, one of the most powerful people in the White House -- they also see nothing wrong whatsoever with serial lying and corruption by the Attorney General in this case.
Think about this: there are only two instances in the last six years where real investigations occurred in any of the Bush scandals -- this U.S. attorneys scandal (because Democrats now have subpoena power) and the Plame case (due to the fluke of two Republican DOJ officials with integrity, James Comey and Patrick Fitzgerald). And in both cases, it was revealed conclusively that top Bush officials...repeatedly and deliberately lied about what they did...Imagine what would be revealed had there been real investigations...of all the other scandals that ended up dying an inconsequential death due to neglect and suppression.
And thus we have the reason that President Bush has avoided responsibility for bending or breaking the law: All other scandals that ended up dying an inconsequential death due to neglect and suppression.

If I may quote Bele of Charon (despite the MSM's effort to marginalize the scandal or flip the Narrative); the D's are sending a message to the R's and the 500: "not this time you evil mound of filth, not this time".

Again Glen Greenwald:

There is one thing and one thing only distinguishing this U.S. attorneys scandal from all of the others over the past six years: namely, because Democrats now have subpoena power and seem willing to use it, the administration is forced to disclose actual evidence and documents...and that evidence demonstrates that their claims are false. In the past, this is how every scandal transpired:
1. Questions about administration conduct are raised.

2. Administration denies wrongdoing.

3. Administration officials selectively and voluntarily disclose exculpatory documents, appear before Congress, assure everyone that safeguards are in place, deny wrongdoing, and claim the conduct in question is used only for proper purposes (e.g., protecting country again terrorism).

4. Administration followers -- led by those controlling Congress -- insist that no investigation is needed because Official X made clear that there are safeguards in place protecting us and everything is being done for proper purposes.

5. Congressional Republicans block Congressional investigations, compel no disclosure of evidence, do nothing to investigate administration claims.

6. Scandal ends, unresolved.
That pattern has repeated itself over and over and over for six years now...In the U.S. attorneys case, everything proceeded according to script...Alberto Gonzales did what he and other Bush officials always do: namely, issue false statements about what they did in order to conceal their wrongdoing and mislead everyone about what our Government is doing.
So now that oversight is restored and the pattern stopped dead, what happens next? Good question. Short term, "Torquemada" Gonzales resigns soon. His top aide Goodling will try and stonewall the Senate by refusing to testify before the SCJ.

Gandelman of the Moderate Voice explains why this "can only be seen as a public relations debacle for the Bush administration", and your old Sarge agrees. Before Monica M. Goodling (another Monica. Is this name cursed?!?) decided not to testify, Movement Conservatives and their MSM enablers could hang on to the thin veneer of cover that this story was pure politics.

But a claim of refusal because of a fear of self incrimination automatically implies to the lay person that:
  • A crime was committed.
  • Those who plead the 5th may have been involved.

  • It sucks, but that's the way it is. And the excuse that you fear a perjury charge (e.g.Libby) only adds to the question: What are you hiding that makes you so afraid?

    Friday, March 23, 2007

    She asked the wrong question

    The latest blog entry from Ms. Joan Walsh (Refuting Karl Rove's talking points) starts out with the following teaser:

    Only five of almost 500 attorneys have been fired midterm in the last 25 years. Can we stop saying what Bush did is just what every president does?

    I do not mean to disagree with Ms. Walsh, but she is asking the wrong question. The actual question should be:
    Can the lapdog, media whoring, gang of 500 pre$$titutes stop saying what Bush did is just what every president does?
    With the exception of Mr. Keith Olbermann, I can say with complete certainty that the answer is NO. No matter how many times websites like Media Matters for America or the Daily Howler point out the stenography instead of the reporting, the MSM does not do fact checking. It is against company policy.

    To attempt to get the gang of 500 to stop doing he said/she said reporting is like trying to teach a pig to sing. It waste your time and annoys the pig.

    UPDATE: Welcome to the Commanders Place SPOCKO. Until your comments I was not sure anyone actually read this blog.

    Wednesday, March 21, 2007

    Larry Meeks, Obama, and the Myth of White Racisim

    Mr. Meeks,

    I read the following in your column Ethnically Speaking on 21 Mar 2007. The reader was asking why most of black America supports Hillary Clinton instead of Barack Obama for president. You replied:

    ...Since his (Martin Luther Kings) death, a number of self-appointed black leaders have risen. They have made a fortune playing the race card with civil unrest and extorting white Americans...

    If a black man like Barack Obama is elected president, it will be a severe blow to the black myth and the self-appointed black leadership. It will be very difficult for black leaders to make demands to a black who does not participate in their rhetoric...

    Yes, I guess people like Mr. Allen:

    Mr. Lott:

    And The Mysterious Blond lady during the campaign of Harold Ford:

    Are living proof that only those evil, self appointed black leaders play the race card to advance their politics.

    Some of us might believe that a preference for Hillary over Barack might be that African Americans think she would be better able to address issues that concern their community.

    Or maybe it just proves that Mr. Larry Meeks is a naive fool.

    Monday, March 19, 2007

    Leonard Pitts, Master Wordsmith

    Frequently on these posts you will see the Commander using the term the Master Blogger or the Master Comedian. But what exactly is the criteria for Master.

    When I say someone is a Master, we are talking about the best of the best of the best, to use the old cliche'. Take the Master Wordsmith Leonard Pitts, as an example:
      Blind loyalty led Bush's team into big sinkhole
      Mon, Mar. 19, 2007
      It is this notion -- that being a ''loyal Bushie'' is a qualification for getting or keeping a job -- that rankles. And if any of this sounds like déjà vu all over again, that's only because you've been paying attention. Indeed, the revelations spilling out of Gonzales' office are distressingly familiar.
      Take Brownie -- please. You remember Michael Brown. Guy had zero experience in disaster management. So naturally, he wound up as head of FEMA, the federal disaster management agency. He was, after all, a ''loyal Bushie'' -- a friend of a Bush friend. Not that that helped him when a hurricane named Katrina came knocking.
    The flow of Mr. Pitts words are breathtaking. Even if you disagree with what he says, and I have on occasion, his ability to put ideas on paper with a clean elegant form of expression is remarkable. It is a style that is uniquely his own, as though the medium of communication, the written word, does not exist and you can imagine him talking to you personally.

    Read some of his previous columns. No weasel words, no lying, even a grudging realization that some may disagree with his opinion concerning a recent "death" in the Comic Book Universe:
      In the real world, meantime, American troops continue to die in a conflict predicated on bad readings of worse intelligence. And the National Security Agency eavesdrops on American phone calls and e-mails. And the Transportation Security Administration might put your name on its ''no-fly'' list and you can neither find out why nor appeal. And prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are in their fifth year of indefinite detention, no charges filed.
      And if all that's just fine with some of us -- ''We're at war!'' they like to shout -- others of us watch with trepidation. We marvel -- no pun intended -- at how blithely the nation has mortgaged its moral authority, international prestige and sense of national mission. We wonder where America went. We wonder if we will ever get her back.
    The flow of ideas. Would that we could all communicate like Mr. Pitts. I would give a months pay to have even half of his ability.

    Sunday, March 18, 2007

    Investigation or Legislation?

    The main political topic this week were emails that suggested the firing of 8 Federal Prosecutors in the Bush DOJ was motivated by politics instead of performance (yeah, I know, shocking).

    Washington Insider and professional lapdog David Broder wrote the following in his latest column:
      Congress's Oversight Offensive
      By David S. Broder
      Sunday, March 18, 2007; Page B07
      Ten weeks into the new Congress, it is clear that revelation, not legislation, is going to be its real product.
        While President Bush threatens to use his veto pen to stop some bills and Senate Republicans block other measures from even reaching his desk, no force in Washington can halt the Democrats' investigative juggernaut from uncovering the secrets inside this administration.

      As always with all members of the gang of 500, Broder manages to state that this is a bad thing for the Democrats:

          You have to feel a twinge of sympathy now for the Bush appointees who suddenly find unsympathetic Democratic chairmen such as Henry Waxman, John Conyers, Patrick Leahy and Carl Levin investigating their cases...
          ...Accountability is certainly important, but Democrats must know that people were really voting for action on Iraq, health care, immigration, energy and a few other problems. Investigations are useful, but only legislation on big issues changes lives.
        Mind you, a month ago on Feb 16th I had posted a comment about Broder writing that Bush was alleged "poised for a comeback":

        One month latter the President, far from "regaining his footing" has slipped and fell down so badly even Spidermans super power could not help him. So Clueless Lapdogs like Broder must shift to a new script, all these investigations will somehow hurt the Democrats.

        I would be beating a dead horse if I repeated the number of times that the main stream media had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the table and be forced to report the news. But pre$$titution aside, we may wish to consider Broders question about whether these investigations hurt the D's. Should the focus be on legislation?

        I can say without qualification, not only no but Hell No. The master blogger Digby writes:
          Brownstein is a good reporter...but today he betrayed a little bit of that beltway reflexive dismissiveness of anything "the left" finds important. He said that Waxman needed to pick his battles better because playing to the liberal blogosphere with hearings like this will create the same problems for Democrats that Republicans found themselves in when they went after Clinton. Setting aside the fact that the Republicans' "problems" resulted in them holding all three branches of government for six years, this sounds to me like one of those tired GOP talking points that reporters love to parrot because it distances them from the hippies.
        Six years Mr. Broder. And this was from investigations that were 100% Bullsh*t. How many years will the R's be out of power when the D's start to investigate and uncover actual crimes? 10? 20?

        Of course if you are a partisan who "drinks the kool aid", maybe you truly believe the Bush Administration committed no crimes. In that case however, I am not the one you need to convince.

        Tuesday, March 6, 2007

        Professionals, Politicial hacks and Patrick Fitzgerald

        The verdict came in this Tuesday afternoon in the trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, guilty on 4 out of 5 counts. If you've been living in a cave these last three years and don't know the particulars of the case, go to the following link from the UK Guardian.

        The fine folks at Firedoglake did a first rate job blogging the trial, so I will not step on their toes (but I do urge anyone reading this to show them some love with a paypal donation).

        Among the most under reported but significant events (IMHO) is the news conference given by the lead investigator Patrick Fitzgerald immediately after the jury's verdict:
          Reporter: Are you going to make public the complete account of your investigation, including the account of the testimony of VP Cheney , Karl Rove and others, whose full accounts were not revealed in this trial
          Fitzgerald: And the short answer is no, I am not an independent council, the independent council statue, which most people do not appreciate does not exist anymore. And what was different from an independent council as oppose to a special prosecutor is an independent council would issue reports, they would file charges or not file charges and then give a lengthy explanation of what they found.
          That is different from what ordinary prosecutors do, we file charges and then we are obliged to prove them, or we don’t file charges. And there has been criticism about whether the independent councils should be filing reports because sometimes you say things about people that you are not prepared to prove in court and I think that was an appropriate criticism of it.
          What ever you think about the independent council, I am not an independent council. I am bound by the laws of grand jury secrecy. I am bound by the laws that we don’t talk abut people who have not been charged, so we are not going to be opening up our file draws, handing them over to you guys to write newspaper articles or magazine articles or books or whatever you want to do, that’s not the system.
          And part of that I think we ought to appreciate as citizens is fair, if you want people to come and tell the truth, and you tell them that if you talk to us there is grand jury secrecy. There are protections for you; we have to live by our word. And we gave our word to have people talk to us, and unless we file charges or it becomes public as it does at a trial, that’s it.
        A Pro from Dover, as said by Gould in the original movie version of M*A*S*H. And because the last major use of the independent or special prosecutor was Kenneth Starr, a comparison of the two is not without merit.

        What are the differences between Starr and Fitzgerald? Simply put, Fitzgerald was a professional investigator attempting to see if a crime had been committed. Starr was a partisan hack who at the bequest of the Republican Congress attempted to find a crime in order to bring down a popularly elected Chief Executive that the R's could not defeat in an election.

        Proof, you may ask? Disregarding the various books on the subject, from Conasons "The Hunting of the President" to Blumenthals "The Clinton Wars", the unprofessional conduct of Mr. Starr is a matter of the Public Record:


          Presently before the Court are three motions requesting that this Court order the Office of the Independent Counsel ("OIC") to show cause why it, or individuals therein, should not be held in contempt for violations of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e)(2)
        Contrast the above order with the statement by Mr. Fitzgerald I am bound by the laws of grand jury secrecy.

        Bound by the laws. Mr. Fitzgerald was a professional all during the Libby trial. If my Republican friends were not blinded by the right, Fitzgerald would be embraced as the model of moral and ethical behavior, a tough on crime manly man who takes no sh*t from the liberal, criminal coddling, card carrying members of the ACLU (full disclosure, I am one of them).

        And because he was a professional, the perjury trial of I. Lewis Libby ended with guilty on 4 of 5 counts, the exact opposite of Starr's pathetic attempt to convict Susan McDougal and Julie Steele on similar charges.

        But in the land of the RWNM, enablers of the Net, the Print, the Radio and the Television believe in politics first and law second. Thomas Sowell's mantra of No one is above the law is replaced by complicated laws regulating too many things. And when you attempt to confront Sowell with such naked hypocrisy, it is like trying to explain sight to a blind man.