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Archive for January 12th, 2009

Non-Conformist

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 12th, 2009 5:35 am by HL

Non-Conformist

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State Department Scolds Diplomats for Poor E-Mail Etiquette

A recent spate of mass e-mails nearly crippled the State Department’s communications and generated a terse cable—sent out to all employees, of course—threatening disciplinary action if diplomats and others don’t cut it out. The note blamed abuse of the “reply all” button for the “e-mail storm.”


AP via Google:

The cable orders employees to “take immediate action” to ensure they and their colleagues are “aware of the negative impact of hitting ‘reply all’?” and to delete e-mails addressed to large numbers of people that they might receive in error.

“Anyone who disregards these instructions will be subject to disciplinary actions,” [Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick] Kennedy wrote in the cable, which begins: “Please ensure widest distribution of this message.”

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Why The US Will Fail In Afghanistan: TomDispatch

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 12th, 2009 5:34 am by HL

Why The US Will Fail In Afghanistan: TomDispatch
With Afghanistan, it always seems to be more and worse. More American (and NATO) troops “surging” in, more Taliban control in the countryside, more insurgent…

Mark Green: 10 Big Goals for Obama’s First 1460 Days, as Proposed by Progressive Policy Leaders
President Obama’s mandate includes two huge and imminent priorities — an unprecedented “stimulus” to revive the economy and a plan that gets us out of Iraq. And then?

Roger McNamee: New Federalism
Federalism enabled the new United States to get off to a great start — and eventually to become the biggest economy in the world.


New Mexico Probe Just the Tip Of the Iceberg On Municipal Bond Scams?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 12th, 2009 5:33 am by HL

New Mexico Probe Just the Tip Of the Iceberg On Municipal Bond Scams?
Ever since New Mexico governor Bill Richardson withdrew his nomination for Commerce Secretary citing an investigation into the company that obtained a contract to advise the state on bond deals, news reports have been making reference to a broader nationwide…

Treasury: You Never Said We Had To Make Banks More Consumer Friendly!
In places, the panel appears outright angry — understandably — at Treasury’s stonewalling on key questions: The Panel’s fourth area of inquiry focused on what financial institutions have done with the taxpayer money they received. As indicated in question 1…

Fed Mum On Efforts To Prevent Conflicts Of Interest For Investment Firms
As regular Muck readers know, we’ve been tracking the transparency — or lack thereof — of the Federal Reserve’s program to buy up $500 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities in an effort to boost the housing market. And today it’s…


Is Someone in China Reading Your Emails?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 12th, 2009 5:32 am by HL

Is Someone in China Reading Your Emails?
China has a vast human intelligence gathering operation of Chinese citizens recruited to spy on and hack into US computers.

Why You Should Be Screaming for Higher Taxes
Why are we so resistant to raising taxes? It’s our nature. Nobody likes to give up their own money for the common good.

Should You Let Your Kids Eat Junk Food?
Our readers sound off on a recent article about parents who who don’t let their kids eat candy, soda and chips.


Obama on Stephanopoulos: It Will Be A Clean Break With Bush on Mideast

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 12th, 2009 5:31 am by HL

Obama on Stephanopoulos: It Will Be A Clean Break With Bush on Mideast
George Stephanopoulos tried hard to get Obama to spell out his views on Gaza. Obama dodged specifics but he said enough to give us a window into his thinking. One, he was utterly evenhanded. Asked if he would repeat his…

No Other Option?!
I watch in shock, like the rest of the world, at the appalling death and destruction being wrought on Gaza by Israel; and still it does not stop. Meanwhile, we see a seemingly never-ending army of well-prepared Israeli war propagandists,…


Obama On Appointing Special Prosecutor To Investigate Bush?s Crimes: ?We Need To Look Forward?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 12th, 2009 5:30 am by HL

Obama On Appointing Special Prosecutor To Investigate Bush?s Crimes: ?We Need To Look Forward?
The top question on Change.gov’s “Open for Questions” feature last week asked whether President-elect Obama will appoint a special prosecutor to “independently investigate” the “greatest crimes” committed under Bush. The inquiry, submitted by Bob Fertik of Democrats.com, has received over 22,000 votes. Today, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Fertik’s question to Obama: Q: The most popular question […]

The top question on Change.gov’s “Open for Questions” feature last week asked whether President-elect Obama will appoint a special prosecutor to “independently investigate” the “greatest crimes” committed under Bush. The inquiry, submitted by Bob Fertik of Democrats.com, has received over 22,000 votes. Today, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Fertik’s question to Obama:

Q: The most popular question on your own website is related to this. On change.gov it comes from Bob Fertik of New York City and he asks, ‘Will you appoint a special prosecutor ideally Patrick Fitzgerald to independently investigate the greatest crimes of the Bush administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping.’

OBAMA:We’re still evaluating how we’re going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions, and so forth. And obviously we’re going to be looking at past practices and I don’t believe that anybody is above the law. On the other hand, I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards. … My orientation is going to be moving foward.

Obama explained that he doesn’t want CIA employees to “suddenly feel like they’ve got to spend all their time looking over their shoulders and lawyering.” He did not specifically rule out a special prosecutor, saying, “That doesn’t mean that if somebody has blatantly broken the law, that they are above the law.” Watch it:

Dawn Johnsen, Obama’s choice to lead the Office of Legal Counsel, rejects Obama’s “look forward” approach. In March 2008, she told “the next president” to avoid “any temptation to simply move on”:

We must avoid any temptation simply to move on. We must instead be honest with ourselves and the world as we condemn our nation’s past transgressions and reject Bush’s corruption of our American ideals. Our constitutional democracy cannot survive with a government shrouded in secrecy, nor can our nation’s honor be restored without full disclosure.

In April 2008, Obama left the door open to a special prosecutor, saying, “What I would want to do is to have my Justice Department and my Attorney General immediately review the information that’s already there and to find out are there inquiries that need to be pursued.” “If crimes have been committed, they should be investigated,” Obama added.

On Friday’s Rachel Maddow Show, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said, “All of this ‘we need to look to the future and we have to not look to the past,’ well in our immediate past may be war crimes. And we sure better look at that.” He added:

Everything that is coming out of the Congress and the Obama administration is very worrisome. It’s not the type of stuff that would be said if you were seriously going to pursue prosecution. But they are insane to try to dodge this issue. Because if we don’t investigate this administration for war crimes and illegality — particularly war crimes — someone else might. The fact is that the rest of the world sees these as war crimes.

Bush 41 chokes up over Bush 43?s legacy.
In “an unprecedented joint interview” of both Bush presidents, Fox News Sunday guest anchor Brit Hume asked George H.W. Bush (”Bush 41″) how he regards his son’s presidency. “Very positively,” the elder Bush said. “Why?” asked Hume. Bush then began choking up as he responded, “Well, because he can make a tough decision and stay […]

In “an unprecedented joint interview” of both Bush presidents, Fox News Sunday guest anchor Brit Hume asked George H.W. Bush (”Bush 41″) how he regards his son’s presidency. “Very positively,” the elder Bush said. “Why?” asked Hume. Bush then began choking up as he responded, “Well, because he can make a tough decision and stay with it. I mean, he’s been tested unlike any other president — with this 9/11. So he passed the test.” Watch it:

Bush 43 then stepped in and said his father was also going to “be judged great.” He was “almost too humble to be president,” the younger Bush said of his father. “And when history finally gets objective, they will be able to say a lot of positive things about George Bush.”


Bush Tells His Party To Be ‘Open-Minded’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 12th, 2009 5:29 am by HL

Bush Tells His Party To Be ‘Open-Minded’
President Bush called for a “compassionate” Republican Party and warned against the GOP becoming “anti-immigrant” in one of his last interviews as president, defending his vision of the party, which has become unpopular among some Republicans.

Obama, Top Aides Lobby for Rest of Bailout Funds
President-elect Barack Obama and his team stepped up efforts yesterday to get Congress to approve spending the remaining $350 billion of the controversial $700 billion financial rescue package that was passed last year.

Bush Lead During Weakest Economy in Decades
President Bush has presided over the weakest eight-year span for the U.S. economy in decades, according to an analysis of key data, and economists across the ideological spectrum increasingly view his two terms as a time of little progress on the nation’s thorniest fiscal challenges.

Environmentalist Creates Uproar at Oil-Lease Auction by Running Up Prices
LOS ANGELES — Instead of joining his protester friends on the snowy sidewalk outside the Bureau of Land Management office in Salt Lake City, Tim DeChristopher took a seat inside. In a room milling with oil and gas men who knew one another by sight, he was the unknown in a red parka, registering as…