Archive for the 'fight the power' Category

Bush is now exempt too!

Posted by mikedaum on June 23rd, 2007

Here’s the new language from the White House:

“The executive order that Bush issued in March 2003 covers all government agencies that are part of the executive branch and, although it doesn’t specifically say so, was not meant to apply to the vice president’s office or the president’s office”, a White House spokesman said.

I really like the part about “although it doesn’t specifically say so…”

read more | digg story

Dick Cheney

Raw Story is reporting on Dick Cheney’s claims that the Office of the Vice President (OVP) is not contained within the Executive Branch. My understanding is that he claims that the VP’s role as president of the senate places the OVP in a middle ground between the Executive and the Legislative…making it essentially an unregulated 4th branch of the U.S. government. This is very scary.

This has been going on for some time now. Fortunately we have a democrat, Henry Waxman, at the head of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and he’s trying to look into these things. His current efforts center on Cheney’s claim of exemption from a 2003 executive order which “establishes government-wide procedures for safeguarding classified national security information”. Specifically, the OVP has refused to hand over sensitive documents to the National Archives, as the order requires.

Also on Waxman’s site is an excellent fact sheet about the issue, detailing 5 instances in which the OVP has used these claims of sweeping powers to conceal information:

  • Exempting the Office of the Vice President from the Executive Order on Classified National Security Information
  • Blocking GAO Oversight
  • Concealing Privately-Funded Travel
  • Withholding Information about Vice Presidential Staff
  • Concealing Information about Visitors to the Vice President’s Residence
  • Allowing Former Vice Presidents to Assert Privilege Over Documents

It’s laudable that Waxman is attempting to bring this to light. It is, however, shamefully late. This has been going on for 6 years. In addition, though I’ve seen blog coverage of these issues before, I’ve never once seen them treated in the Mainstream Media. I’m not really sure why that is…of all of this administration’s activities which have come to light, this one to me comes closest to having the flavor of the ultimate transformation of the U.S. government…and it’s downfall. I mentioned this item to a Romanian friend of mine and he replied “Sounds familiar.” I quizzed him on what he’d seen before and asked him why it was that people don’t seem to care. He simply smiled and said “They’ll care…but by then it’s too late”

Update: Huffington Post now has the story…will the MSM pick it up?

Update #2: Think Progress has it too

Update #3: Yay! Washington Post has picked up the story. Very well written article here.

Update #4: Oops.  Spoke to soon.  The above WaPo story is in a blog…not the print edition

New Orleans Seeks International Aid

Posted by mikedaum on June 15th, 2007

Each and every time I see a headline about my hometown these days I have to steel myself against the seemingly inevitable heartbreak to follow. Today it happened twice.

First I read about FEMA trying to claw back $485 Million in Katrina aid. Now I won’t claim that every dollar in aid was spent in the best interest of the victims’ recovery, but don’t we have better things to do than go after these people when they’re down? How many minutes of the Iraq war will this fund? The recent budget supplemental was on the order of $70 billion as I recall…10 times the total amount of money spent so far on Katrina recovery, and 140 times the amount FEMA is trying to recover here; and the do-nothing Dems let that one skate into law without one single drop or whisper of a check or a balance. So stop nickling and diming and if you can’t help at least have the courtesy to get the hell out of the way.

Which leads us to the question of where the hell should NOLA look for recovery funds? Well, it seems Smarty Nagin has a bright idea: if the feds won’t cough up — maybe other countries will! That’s right…taking his cue from Fidel Castro’s offer of aid in the hurricane’s immediate wake, Nagin has begun talks with no less than 5 foreign countries to see if anybody wants to embarrass the U.S. by throwing a couple of shiny shekels into his hat. And it’s not just Nagin — Mary Landrieu is in the game as well. Get this: she’s talking to the government of Saudia Arabia to see if they’ll fund the reconstruction of City Park. One more time: the Democratic Senator for Louisiana is asking Saudia Arabia for money to fix City Park.

‘Nuff Said

Bush changes plan for emergency shadow government

Posted by mikedaum on May 10th, 2007

I hear people say sometimes that impeachment isn’t important because Bush’s term is so nearly finished. It’s still important. This points to the type of thing which can go on if he’s left in office. Every day he’s left in will make it harder and harder to uproot him when the time comes. Do it now…it’s not just pardons.

read more | digg story

Arrrrrrroooooo!!!!!! Cheney paid for it!

Posted by mikedaum on May 9th, 2007

He started an illegal war, stole billions from the government, abused human rights, and shot a man in the face. But finally Dick Cheney has done something which might be counted against him….he paid for sex. Ride on, baby.

read more | digg story

Digg revolt — and victory?

Posted by mikedaum on May 2nd, 2007

In a direct response to the censorship I previously wrote about, users mounted an incredible attack on Digg last night. They relentlessly posted the numbers on Digg in as many ways as possible. Meanwhile, Digg responded by nuking the stories and banning the users as fast as it could. But it was not fast enough. At the height of the attack, all stories on the Digg front page contained the numbers. Then, at 9pm, Digg’s Kevin Rose capitulated and agreed to stop fighting the posts and end the censorship. Yay.

A good description of these events was posted today on Boing Boing.

Update: BBC is actually running this story on its front page!  Nice to see that the MSM is clueing in to this issue’s broad relevance.

Bad censorship on Digg

Posted by mikedaum on May 1st, 2007

Well, I suppose this sort of thing is inevitable. It’s disappointing though.

Seems like a page with a key to unlock HD-DVD’s was dugg pretty heavily earlier today. In an unprecedented move, Digg responded with full content-based censorship. The story was nuked, and a full block was placed on the page displaying the key. There’s a good discussion of events here.

To me this just further demonstrates how a bad idea like DRM can lead to worse ideas like censorship. Growing pains, I tell myself.

For what it’s worth, in case they take the other sources down too, that number again is:

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0