April 20, 2014

CIA Destroys Tapes – Like a bad movie

Evidence for the Bush/Cheney Truth Commission being shitcanned according to AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) – New documents show the CIA destroyed nearly 100 tapes of terror interrogations.

The figure is far higher than the handful of recordings the agency has previously admitted destroying, and the revelation comes as a criminal prosecutor is wrapping up his investigation in the matter.

Bailouts, Stimulus, Etc. – What Has The Rush Gotten Us?

Drudge Report has been trying mightily since Saturday to “sell” this story: If there was such a hot rush to pass the stimulus bill, why was President Barack Obama taking the weekend off in Chicago?

What Drudge does is show he’s in the tank for the Republicans when he runs a picture like the one to the left “above the fold” all weekend with the following headline: What’s the rush? ‘Urgent’ stimulus on hold for Obama’s weekend off …

First of all, no president of the U.S. has a “weekend off.” Not even George W. Bush, although some may say he took years off.

This is a potshot – Drudge urging the producers over at Fox News to beat up on the president.

But, despite Drudge’s partisanship, he points out a real problem with Republican and now Democrat management of the U.S. economic crisis.  Our politicians are scaring us silly and ramming TARPs, assorted bailouts and stimulii through the government machine with very little transparency and even less accountability.

Back in the Fall when the Troubled Asset Relief Program, aka $700 billion bailout, was rammed through Congress there was lots of scary talk about meltdowns and companies so big and far-reaching that we couldn’t possibly let them fail.  $350 billion of that bailout went out to the banks and Wall Street.  We still have barely working credit markets.  They’ve loosened up a bit, but nothing much has changed in the past several months.  We also know that a lot of our tax dollars were wasted on bonuses, exorbitant compensation for failing management teams, mergers and acquisitions.

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Sen. Leahy Echoes Clips & Comment; Calls for Truth Commission on Bush Presidency

Ever since I submitted two ideas to then President-elect Barack Obama’s “Citizens Briefing Book,” I’ve wondered whether or not anyone with any real pull read them.

My answer: Perhaps Sen. Patrick Leahy did.  According to the Associated Press today:

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is proposing a “truth commission” to investigate abuses of detainees, politically inspired moves at the Justice Department, and whole range of decisions made during the Bush administration.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said the primary goal of the commission would be to learn the truth rather than prosecute former officials, but said the inquiry should reach far beyond misdeeds at the Justice Department under Bush to include matters of Iraq prewar intelligence and the Defense Department.

Leahy outlined his suggestion for a “truth and reconciliation” commission during a speech at Georgetown University Monday.

“I’m doing this not to humiliate people or punish people but to get the truth out,” he said.

The panel he envisions would be modeled after one that investigated the apartheid regime in South Africa. It would have subpoena power but would not bring criminal charges, he said.

Among the matters Leahy wants investigated by such a commission are: the firings of U.S. attorneys, treatment and torture of terror suspect detainees, and the authorization of warrantless wiretapping.

“Rather than vengeance, we need a fair-minded pursuit of what actually happened” during the Bush administration, Leahy said.

Here’s what I wrote at change.gov and on this fine blog back on January 17:

… Here’s an idea – a truth commission.  What if the concept was based around answering the questions regarding the Constitution, the efficacy of torture, who was ultimately responsible, etc.  This could be done in such a way as to put off any public hearings or transparency until after a bipartisan panel of serious legal, policy experts and just plain citizens had a chance to pursue the issues with subpoena power under a media blackout.  Their product would be public. …


The Daily Graphic: George W. Bush Approval Rating Over Eight Years

Yeah, yeah. I know, old news.  I got to thinking though after hearing some of Barack Obama’s initial approval ratings about a cool graphic presentation in the Wall Street Journal around Inauguration Day.  They were charts like the one below for Bush which showed ratings over time overlaid with the big news events of the day as well as one chart with all post WWII presidents together.


Obama Accepts Accountability

From the Associated Press tonight:

“It’s important for this administration to send a message that there aren’t two sets of rules — you know, one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks who have to pay their taxes,” Obama said near the end of a day of jarring developments, little more than 24 hours after he had said he was “absolutely” committed to Daschle’s confirmation.

“I’m frustrated with myself, with our team. … I’m here on television saying I screwed up,” Obama said on NBC’s “Nightly News with Brian Williams.” He repeated virtually the same words in interviews with other TV anchors.

Here’s the silver lining in the cloud of controversy over Obama Administration appointees and their problems paying taxes: We’ve at least got a president who gets it.  Earlier tonight, I was pissed.  Perhaps I’m being too harsh on President Obama; and, perhaps there will be more attention paid to “our team” working for the president.  When I heard Obama said, “I screwed up,” at least I heard the voice of accountability.

You never heard GW Bush owning up to anything.  I seem to remember that when Bill Clinton was asked about Zoe Baird’s domestic help issues, he said, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”