George W. Bush administration

The GSA scandal -- a personal perspective [Reprinted with Permission]

The article below was written by a friend of mine who has a background working in the government. He has given his permission for me to reprint this on Daily Kos and ePluribus Media. The original article was posted on Gather.com as The GSA scandal -- a personal perspective. If you are so inclined, please send some traffic to the original article to help give it the bump & notice it deserves. Thank you. -- GreyHawk

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The GSA scandal -- a personal perspective


by John S.
First posted April 07, 2012 10:49 AM EDT

I used to work for the General Services Administration (GSA) before transferring to USDOJ.

The scandal which has been hitting the news is so different from the GSA I knew that it is like finding your sainted grandmother arrested by the police for having an orgy in front of the local courthouse on Sunday afternoon.

GSA had always been very strict on following government guidelines, and pinched every penny. No flying first class. No gifts. Everyone got training on how to avoid problems with the ethics rules. This was so much a part of the agency's culture it is hard to see how such a major change could take place.

I then found this article:

ACLU's Investigation Unveils BushCo Told 9/11 Commission "Not To Cross A Line"

Via a Facebook update by Naomi Wolf comes the news that the ACLU uncovered a memo from the Bush era that warned the 9/11 Commission not to "cross a line" in its investigation and not to probe too deeply.

Leaked confidential documents have revealed that senior officials from the former US administration had warned a 9/11 investigation panel against probing too deeply into the terrorist attacks.

In a letter obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the 9/11 Commission was refused permission to question terror suspects, with the Bush administration arguing that by doing so the panel would "cross" a "line" and obstruct the administration's efforts to protect the nation.

Wolf's link includes a reference to an OpEd News article by Sahil Kapur that offers this additional insight:

The 9/11 Commission, officially called the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, was formed by President Bush in November of 2002 "to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks" and to offer recommendations for preventing future attacks.

"The Commission staff's proposed participation in questioning of detainees would cross that line," the letter continued. "As the officers of the United States responsible for the law enforcement, defense and intelligence functions of the Government, we urge your Commission not to further pursue the proposed request to participate in the questioning of detainees."

FireDogLake's Marcy Wheeler speculates that this was an attempt by the Bush administration to ensure that its torture of certain detainees, which has since been widely documented, remained secret.

"[W]hoever made these annotations appears to have been most worried that Commission staff members could make independent judgments about the detainees and the interrogations," Wheeler wrote on her blog. The official "didn't want anyone to independently evaluate the interrogations conducted in the torture program."

Eventually, the commission's co-chairs harshly criticized the administration for having purportedly "destroyed" tapes of its interrogations with terror suspects, as Raw Story reported last year.

Destruction of -- and loss of -- evidence seemed to be a hallmark of the Bush Administration's years in the White House. Story highlights from the CNN link about the missing emails from the US Attorney scandal:

Story Highlights

• NEW: White House spokeswoman says 5 million official e-mails may be missing

• White House admits it should have kept e-mails on private GOP system

• Chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee doubts e-mails are deleted

• Committee investigating whether U.S. attorneys' firings were politically motivated

At some point, hopefully before the Obama Administration gets too far along on its own path, someone will have the fortitude and wherewithall to send a huge cleaning van up to the White House to help mop up the mess left by the previous Administration, ideally in time to help ensure that the current Administration is given a much clearer mandate to work with, and ideally to help it stay within the bounds of Constitutional law and proper common ethical standards.

Brief Profile: James Yee, Former United States Army Chaplain

Hat-tip to Emersonhost of Delphi Forums.

How many of you have heard the name "James Yee" or "Yosuf Yee" ...?  For those who, for one reason or another, won't or aren't in a position to click the link, it goes to the Wiki page. Here's an excerpt:

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James J. Yee (Chinese: 余百康 or 余优素福, also known by the Arabic name Yusuf Yee) (born c. 1968) is an American, former United States Army chaplain with the rank of captain. He is best known for being subject to an intense investigation by the United States, but all charges were later dropped.
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In addition, this:

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In his appointed role as chaplain, Yee ministered to Muslim detainees held at Guantánamo Bay detention camp and received commendation from his superiors for his work.[5] When returning from duty at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, he was arrested on September 10, 2003, in Jacksonville, Florida, when a U.S. Customs agent found a list of Guantanamo detainees and interrogators among his belongings.[6] He was charged with five offenses: sedition, aiding the enemy, spying, espionage, and failure to obey a general order. These charges were later reduced to mishandling classified information in addition to some minor charges.[6] He was then transferred to a United States Navy brig in Charleston, South Carolina. The government did not name the country or entity for whom it suspected Yee was spying.

All court-martial charges against Yee were dropped on March 19, 2004, with Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller "citing national security concerns that would arise from the release of the evidence,"[7] and he was released to resume his duties. Yee was then accused of adultery and storing pornography on a government computer; and nonjudicial punishment under Article 15, UCMJ was imposed. His appeal to General Hill, Commander, United States Southern Command, was granted in April 2004. He left the US military with an honorable discharge in January, but he is still seeking an apology.
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His case is another stellar example of the Bush-era paranoia and vindictiveness.

This is what we are supposed to be fighting for; the treatment he received is what our nation is supposed to be ~against~...

The Return of "The Return of Ja(a)far" -- Donald Rumsfeld, Part II

This is part II of a reposting taken from Danse Macabre III: The Return of Ja(a)far [Donald Rumsfeld], which first appeared on the ePluribus Media Journal in December of 2006. Part I was posted yesterday, here.

It's long, but detailed. Hope you find it enlightening. -- GH

Tortured Justice: To Investigate, Prosecute and Punish -- or, Not

Avahome pointed out this video, which apparently was posted in a comment over on Huffington Post:

In a nutshell, John Dean says: "If the US passes on their moral obligation to investigate this, other countries will step in." Therefore, it will behoove the Obama Administration to address the issue and not drop it.

And remember boys and girls, "pardons" would only prevent prosecution in the US, according to US law. A pardon doesn't mean diddly on the world stage.

UPDATE: From the comments, our intrepid contributor jimstaro points out that he included links to the relevant laws in his recent post "The War Behind Me" -- here they are:

Thanks, Jim!

The Power of One, by Nightprowlkitty

The Power of One
by Nightprowlkitty, Docudharma, December 26, 2008
Crossposted at Docudharma, Daily Kos, My Left Wing, Open Left, The Sanctuary, OOIBC and ePluribus Media. If you wish to repost this essay you can download a .txt file of the html here (right click and save). Permission granted.

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Give Bush and Cheney a fair trial -- something they have not bothered with since they stole office.

It's funny how the powers that be in the media and government are running around with their big fat excuses as to why we can't hold these criminals accountable for their crimes.  It all boils down to "It's too hard!!!"

It's too hard.  It would affect too many people.  It would interfere with the crucial work of restoring our economy.  Blah blah blah.  Not one of these folks say, however, that no crime has been committed, no law has been broken.  No one says that.

I find that stunning.  We all know, at least those of us who have been paying attention, that Bush and his crew of crooks have broken the law over and over again.

And Cheney says "What you gonna do about it?"  And Cheney says "oh, the Dems knew about this and approved it, hell they wanted us to be even tougher than we were!"

And we should believe Cheney ... why?

I don't want speculation any more.  I want the truth, the facts, what really happened.  Only a special prosecutor can get that information, someone who is inured to the politics of Washington D.C. by being given the independent power to investigate.

When Reality and Politics Collide: Midnight Rule Change in Light of Recent Derailments

Two trains derailed early this morning1 near Dresback, Minnesota. There were only two reported injuries -- two railroad employees were taken to the hospital with minor injuries -- but the area was evacuated due to a leak caused by the crash. Some articles report a leak of both propane (from a switching station) and liquid ammonia from one of the cars, other news bits report just one or the other.

Two of the derailed cars (at least) plummeted into the Mississippi River.

The NTSB will be investigating, but some initial reports indicate that the two trains collided by "sideswiping" each other. For the most detailed and up-to-date information, check out the story in the Star Tribune.

By itself, this incident is obviously newsworthy. Taken in context with news from the other day about another "midnight rule change" by the Bush Administration, and it sounds downright ominous...

"...and the elephant he rode in on."

Not to be confused with this piece from last year.

January 20, 2009: The End of an Era Error

"...and the elephant you rode in on."

As November 4th approaches and the nation takes stock of the current state of our security, our economy, our infrastructure, our global standing and our fractured Constitution, it's time to turn and bid adieu to the Administration that has, with the full and complicit knowledge of the GOP, lied, cheated and stole its way through two terms of unadulterated, unapologetic corruption.

So let us all say goodbye to George W. Bush and the elephant he rode in on this November, by voting against the Republican party. In droves.

Staging the Presidency

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"All the world 's a stage, and all the men and
women merely players. They have their exits and their
entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts"

        -- William Shakespeare
            As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII
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Indeed, never before have the words of the great Bard rung so true.

All across the United States, the play's the thing wherein the GOP will try to capture the attention of the people, and with it the crown of a new king. Make no mistake about it -- that's what they've effectively turned the Presidency into, and a John McCain presidency will simply continue along the path set by his predecessor.

It's time to royally dethrone them and wrest the future of our nation from their arrogantly clumsy, ham-handed fingers and present the nation with a rare treat -- an actual leader, with intelligence and charisma and stuff.

Eight years of Republican dominance, political gamesmanship and unopposed, entrenched cronyism has created a standing pool of fetid, putrid corruption that permeates the entire infrastructure of our nation. The injection of political spin into the realms of science, law enforcement, legislation, accountability and oversight has reached maximum absorption -- we can't take any more. Things are falling apart; the centre cannot hold, and the very foundations are crumbling.

Barack Obama: The Great American Melting Pot, Personified

How many people remember this?


(c) Schoolhouse Rock; unofficial site here.

Head below the fold to see what made me think of it, and why -- and yes, the title is a dead giveaway.

War Crimes Trials: The natives are getting restless... [Video-heavy, Updated]

Hat-tip Dupa.

It appears that the natives -- us, the "unwashed masses" yearning to be free, who populate shores both foreign and domestic -- are getting restless in their hunger for justice to prevail:

Citizens’ Arrest of Karl Rove Attempted in Iowa

Student group seeks Rice citizen arrest

It looks like citizens of the world, regardles of whether they live in the US or not, are beginning to clamor for justice and deciding to start the process on their own out of fear and resignation that the legal processes of their home nations will fail to step up to hold these men and women accountable.

Make the flip for a collection of links and videos that explore the emerging facts that the George W. Bush Administration is guilty of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity -- and whether or not they'll ever be tried for their crimes.

Update: I'd almost forgotten to include the recent attempt by George Monbiot to arrest John Bolton, too.

Since when did the "Surge" succeed?

Crossposted to ePluribus Media, DailyKos, Docudharma and Below Boston

Maybe I missed something -- that can happen. In real life, things can sometimes occur that are unexpected. But this seems almost surreal:

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Obama website's opposition to successful surge gets deleted

A funny thing happened over on the Barack Obama campaign website in the last few days.

The parts that stressed his opposition to the 2007 troop surge and his statement that more troops would make no difference in a civil war have somehow disappeared. John McCain and Obama have been going at it heavily in recent days over the benefits of the surge.

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Edumacating The Masses: Boob-Tube To The Rescue -- Schoolhouse Rock!

Governments in the modern world are far from perfect -- sometimes, they must engage in activities that aren't exactly wholesome. But when these activities are controlled and underscored by justifications that come across as complete hypocrisy juxtaposed against the realities of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, things get really messy.

With the recent misadventures of the US in the Middle East, and this recent story by Seymour Hersh (hat-tip FWIW), our nation is now showing itself to be one of the biggest hypocrits on the planet -- all courtesy of the Bush Republicans and their enablers. And, unfortunately, those other members of Congress who have failed to stand against them and decry their actions (and inactions).

Oddly enough, this does seem to be a rather stark departure from the nation born under these sentiments:

We're a nation formed under the concept of preserving rights and liberties, and to this end our founding fathers had defined a system of checks and balances to keep our three primary branches of government in a rough balance. Under the George W. Bush Administration, this system of checks and balances has begun to take on too many qualities of a three-ring circus...like this one, in fact:

Pay particular attention to when the judiciary is introduced, and "wrongs" are balanced against our "rights" -- interesting imagery.
I almost started to wonder and ask when they would send in the clowns, but then I realized I shouldn't bother: they're already here.

Schoolhouse Rock videos as found on YouTube.

Of Lawyers, Guns and Money: GOP DOJ Guts Justice for All [REPOST from 2007]

Originally posted on the old Scoop site on Tue Mar 13, 2007 at 07:06:45 AM EST. No information within is changed or updated -- there is a section specifically related to the GAO "Report Retort" that rba mentions. I thought it was worth pulling this back up to remind folks of what we were seeing even before the GAO report came out.

1978 -- that was the year that President Jimmy Carter accomplished one of the major achievements of his presidency: the Camp David Accords. Interestingly enough, the final week of the historic talks began on September 11th. The accords brought a degree of peace to the Middle East, unlike the events of that same fateful day twenty-three years later.

1978 also brought about the release of Warren Zevon's album "Excitable Boy," which contained the track "Lawyers, Guns and Money."

Back then, nobody could've anticipated the dark shadows gathering ahead for the nation in the form of an ever-corruptible GOP and a DOJ run amok.  Now, I can almost hear George W. Bush calling out to his father...

Send lawyers, guns and money
Dad, get me out of this