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For the past eight months, there has been a furious battle raging behind closed doors at the White House, the C.I.A., and in Congress. The question has been whether the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence would be allowed to use pseudonyms as a means of identifying characters in the devastating report it released last week on the C.I.A.’s abusive interrogation and detention program. Ultimately, the committee was not allowed to, and now we know one reason why.
The NBC News investigative reporter Matthew Cole has pieced together a remarkable story revealing that a single senior officer, who is still in a position of high authority over counterterrorism at the C.I.A.—a woman who he does not name—appears to have been a source of years’ worth of terrible judgment, with tragic consequences for the United States. Her story runs through the entire report. She dropped the ball when the C.I.A. was given information that might very well have prevented the 9/11 attacks; she gleefully participated in torture sessions afterward; she misinterpreted intelligence in such a way that it sent the C.I.A. on an absurd chase for Al Qaeda sleeper cells in Montana. And then she falsely told congressional overseers that the torture worked.
Had the Senate Intelligence Committee been permitted to use pseudonyms for the central characters in its report, as all previous congressional studies of intelligence failures, including the widely heralded Church Committee report in 1975, have done, it might not have taken a painstaking, and still somewhat cryptic, investigation after the fact in order for the American public to hold this senior official accountable. Many people who have worked with her over the years expressed shock to NBC that she has been entrusted with so much power. A former intelligence officer who worked directly with her is quoted by NBC, on background, as saying that she bears so much responsibility for so many intelligence failures that “she should be put on trial and put in jail for what she has done.”
Instead, however, she has been promoted to the rank of a general in the military, most recently working as the head of the C.I.A.’s global-jihad unit. In that perch, she oversees the targeting of terror suspects around the world. (She was also, in part, the model for the lead character in “Zero Dark Thirty.”)
Posted by deminks | Fri Dec 19, 2014, 06:29 AM (60 replies)
In his announcement Tuesday that he would explore a 2016 presidential bid, former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) promised to focus on “ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.” But he made no mention of his most controversial act during his two terms in office: his attempts to take custody of Terri Schiavo and overrule her husband Michael’s decision to remove her feeding tube, fifteen years after cardiac arrest had left her in a vegetative state.
ThinkProgress spoke with Michael Schiavo and the attorney who represented him in the matter, George Felos, about Bush’s presidential candidacy. Both expressed concern that Bush’s record was one of government interference and opposing individual liberty.
“It’s one thing to have your own personal beliefs,” Felos said, “It’s quite another to use your official powers and your official office to subvert the court and the lawful process.”
He also recalled that after Schiavo’s death, Jeb Bush went after Michael Schiavo personally, asking the state’s attorney to investigate whether he had called 911 fast enough. “It was very odd, almost like a personal vendetta the governor had towards Michael Schaivo.” The state’s attorney found no evidence against him and closed the case. “The propriety of using your office to hunt and harass people, as the governor did to Mr. Schiavo after his wife’s death, I think raises significant questions about his judgment and his character,” Felos said.
Michael Schiavo, nearly a decade later, said he believes Jeb Bush’s intervention was a purely political move and an act of buffoonery. “If you want a government that’s gonna be intrusive and interfere in your personal life, vote for Bush. If you want to live like that, want people to interfere in your personal lives, then vote for him,” he said.
Jebby and Christ Christy have that GOPer bully thing going on.
Posted by deminks | Wed Dec 17, 2014, 02:20 PM (69 replies)
Statistics guru Nate Silver simply can't understand why every single legitimate poll indicated that Democrats should have gotten 4% more votes in the midterm elections than appeared in the final count
The answer, Nate, is "Crosscheck."
Nate Silver might want to punch these numbers into his laptop:
In North Carolina, Republican Thom Tillis upset incumbent Senator Kay Hagan by just 48,511 votes. North Carolina's Crosscheck purge list targeted a stunning 589,393 voters.
In Colorado, Cory Gardner, the Republican, defeated Mark Udall by just 49,729 votes. Colorado's Crosscheck "potential double voter" list totals 300,842.
The Crosscheck purge list also swamped GOP Senate margins in Alaska and Georgia and likely provided the victory margins for GOP gubernatorial victories in Kansas and Massachusetts.
Posted by deminks | Wed Nov 19, 2014, 07:58 AM (6 replies)
Interstate Crosscheck is a computerized system meant to identify fraudulent voters. While Crosscheck’s list of nearly 7 million names of “potential” double voters has yet to unearth, as of this writing, a single illegal vote this year, it did help Republican elections officials scrub voters from registries, enough, it appears, to have swung several important state and national elections in favor of the GOP.
There is good reason to believe that Crosscheck-related voter purges helped propel Republican candidates to slim victories in Senate races in Colorado and North Carolina, as well a tight gubernatorial race in Kansas.
Interstate Crosscheck is a computer system designed to capture the names of voters who have Illegally voted twice in the same election in two different states. The program is run by Kansas’ Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Kobach’s office compares the complete voting rolls of participating states to tag “potential” double voters, those who have illegally voted twice in the same election in two states.
These names are then sent back to the state governments to inform an investigation of duplicate names on the voter rolls. While Kobach advertises Crosscheck as matching numerous identifiers, including the Social Security numbers and dates of birth of voters, a six-month investigation by Al Jazeera America revealed that Crosscheck rosters caught nothing more than matching first and last names. And voters remain on the suspect list even when middle names, Social Security numbers and suffixes (Jr., Sr.) don’t match. Yet all these people—the list contains nearly seven million names--are subject to losing their vote.
The program’s method of identifying and purging voters especially threaten the registrations of minority voters who are vulnerable because African-American, Asian-American and Hispanics are 67 percent more likely than white voters to share America’s most common names: Jackson, Washington, Lee, Rodriguez and so on.
we have been had, all of us.
If Texas were participating, would it pick up that George Bush voted 3 times? I doubt that is the surname they are looking for.
Posted by deminks | Fri Nov 14, 2014, 04:26 PM (0 replies)
Michael Brown is dead, shot multiple times by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. On the day he is to be buried, The New York Times profiled the 18-year-old. Included in the 1300-word piece are references to Brown’s taste in music and his poor grades.
“He occasionally smoked marijuana and drank alcohol, according to friends.”
I attended Malden Catholic High School in Malden, MA. I graduated in 2006 and went on to attend Northeastern University on a generous scholarship. During my second year, I got into a bad car accident and dropped out, eventually finishing my degree at Rutgers in New Jersey. If I got shot by a cop, the aforementioned facts might matter to The New York Times, but not nearly as much as some others.
“He began producing rap songs with friends … He collaborated on songs that included lyrics such as, “My favorite part is when the bodies hit the ground.”
I’m black, but my closest friends in high school were all white. All but two of them drank. All but one listened to rap music, everything from the vulgar to the high-minded. Most of my friends smoked weed. A few of them sold it. At senior prom, two of my friends offered me ecstasy. Our freshman year, we had a day of mourning to reflect on the death of our hockey team’s goalie, who’d overdosed on prescription meds. But if any of my white high school friends got shot, none of this would matter to The New York Times.
“Brown was not the best student.”
During college, I dated a beautiful, intelligent, funny girl. She was a pastor’s daughter from northern New Hampshire. She was blond with light eyes, a winning smile, great grades and a good head on her shoulders. She played sports, volunteered in church, and brightened the lives of the people around her. We broke up because her parents and grandmother completely objected to her dating a black man. But then she moved down south and had a baby with a black man. She was no angel. She drank, listened to vulgar rap — I taught her most of the words to Too $hort’s “Freaky Tales”. She is the proud mother of one of the absolute most beautiful little girls I have ever laid eyes upon. If she were shot dead in her tracks today, The New York Times wouldn’t write about her taste in music, or her drinking. None of that would matter.
The New York Times needs to stop being the news and start reporting it. I am sure their public editor is getting a little tired of apologizing.
New York Times’ Public Editor Calls ‘No Angel’ Line a ‘Regrettable Mistake’
A Ferguson Story on ‘Conflicting Accounts’ Seems to Say ‘Trust Us’
IMH non-angel O
Posted by deminks | Tue Aug 26, 2014, 10:18 AM (30 replies)
'They took a leak from the Ferguson Police Department and printed it.'
me: Why does the MEdia still try to phone it in? They can't afford to send somebody to St. Louis???
O'Donnell wrote a book entitled "Deadly Force", about a 1975 case where two white cops gunned down a black man. Lawrence's father was the widow's attorney. It was made into a movie in 1986.
I did not know this about him.
Posted by deminks | Wed Aug 20, 2014, 10:54 PM (27 replies)
I was curious this morning on UP with Steve with Steve kept cutting off his guest talking about the Perry indictment every time the guest mentioned a cancer fund scandal.
Rick Perry's Cancer Slush Fund Executive Indicted
There's been a scandal brewing for some time regarding the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). See a report at firedoglake a year ago after it became clear the agency, which was created to fund cancer research in Texas, was redirecting millions to GOP donors:
Cobbs’ indictment came six months after Perry used a line-item veto to take away state funding for the Public Integrity Unit because Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg wouldn’t resign. See more at http://watchdogblog.dallasnews.com/...
This indictment could lend a boost to Wendy Davis' run for govenor against Greg Abbott, because of his involvement. And there may be more to come.
Everything You Need to Know* About Rick Perry’s Newest Scandal
He may not keep that low profile for that much longer, though. A little scandal from the doldrums of last summer is roaring back to life, and Perry faces the threat of criminal charges over accusations that he tried to force the Travis County district attorney to resign. There’s the added intrigue over the allegation that Perry’s aim was to kill an investigation into the scandal-plagued Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). It’s one little thread in the well-worn sweater of Gov. Perry’s long tenure in office, but it threatens to damage his presidential ambitions.
With stories like these, which build up and fade over long periods of time, it’s difficult to follow what’s really going on. Many people—including more than a few national reporters—seemed surprised to learn this week that the longest-serving governor in Texas history may be facing indictment. We hope this primer helps catch you up on the story so far.
What’s more, the Public Integrity Unit was in the process of conducting an investigation of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. CPRIT received a ton of money from the Legislature to award grants to high-level medical research projects. The problem: a lot of that money was going to people who shouldn’t have gotten it. And some of those folks had close ties to Perry. Just a few months ago, Lehmberg’s office indicted CPRIT’s former director over his allegedly improper disbursement of an $11 million grant. But when Lehmberg got pulled over with the potato juice in her car last spring, the investigation was just underway.
When Lehmberg’s DWI went public, Republicans saw a way to get rid of a pesky, entrenched foe. (Though they couched this in terms of their deep, abiding concern for the office’s integrity.) Meanwhile, Democrats who would have happily seen Lehmberg canned if the Travis County Commissioners Court could have appointed her replacement rallied around Lehmberg as if she was the last warrior for righteousness on Earth.
But what did Perry do, exactly?
He threatened, publicly, to use his line item-veto power to zero out the Public Integrity Unit’s budget. Since that part of the Travis DA’s office played a statewide role, it was funded by the state. This kind of threat isn’t unusual. Executives use veto threats all the time to get what they want. The difference this time was that Perry had the audacity to do it all publicly. It’s unusual for an elected official to bully another elected official into resigning. And when threats didn’t work, he followed through on it. At the end of last year’s legislative session, Perry eliminated the entirety of the Public Integrity Unit’s funding–some $8 million over two years. Money that was going to investigate, in small part, his own party’s mismanagement of state government agencies, including alleged corruption in CPRIT.
So, no, the charges aren't bogus. The focus should not be on the first offense of the Democrat on the Public Integrity Unit, but on Perry and his dipping into cancer funds.
(The links are older, but I and others thought the info was important. This indictment should not have been a surprise to those who were paying attention.)
This is a repost from a reply I made here:
Posted by deminks | Sun Aug 17, 2014, 10:16 AM (17 replies)
Ambrose Bierce once quipped that a lawyer is one skilled in the circumvention of the law. By that definition, Eugene Scalia is a lawyer of extraordinary skill. In less than five years, the 50-year-old son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has become a one-man scourge to the reformers who won a hard-fought battle to pass the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act to rein in the out-of-control financial sector. So far, he's prevailed in three of the six suits he's filed against the law, single-handedly slowing its rollout to a snail's pace. As of May, a little more than half of the nearly four-year-old law's rules had been finalized and another 25 percent hadn't even been drafted. Much of that breathing room for Wall Street is thanks to Scalia, who has deployed a hyperliteral, almost absurdist series of procedural challenges to unnerve the bureaucrats charged with giving the legislation teeth.
Scalia's legal challenges hinge on a simple, two-decade-old rule: Federal agencies monitoring financial markets must conduct a cost-benefit analysis whenever they write a new regulation. The idea is to weigh "efficiency, competition, and capital formation" so that businesses and investors can anticipate how their bottom line might be affected. Sounds reasonable. But by recognizing that the assumptions behind these hypothetical projections can be endlessly picked apart, Scalia has found a remarkably effective way to delay key parts of the law from going into effect.
Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) says Scalia and the big banks are attempting an end run around the law he coauthored: "These are ideologues who want to kill the rules. They can't say they're unconstitutional. They are doing this because it's the only possible way to knock them out." (Scalia declined to comment for this article.
In 2001, President George W. Bush tapped Scalia to work as the Department of Labor's solicitor. "It was the classic fox in the henhouse situation," says Lynn Rhinehart, general counsel at the AFL-CIO. When Senate Democrats blocked his confirmation, his father perceived a deeper slight. "Gene, I'm sure, didn't get his appointment as solicitor of labor in part because of his name," Antonin Scalia told his biographer, Joan Biskupic. In the end, Bush bypassed the Senate via a recess appointment and Scalia spent a year at Labor before returning to private practice.
Soooo, Scalia's son was a Bush recess appointment to Labor? Interesting. Ironic. I wonder if he was appointed during a break of 10 or more days.
Posted by deminks | Tue Jul 8, 2014, 06:57 AM (46 replies)
The town of Waukesha board hired Kathy Nickolaus to a three-year contract as its clerk-treasurer at its board meeting Thursday night.
The board made the unanimous decision after it met for just under an hour in closed session.
Nickolaus has been serving in this role for the last month after being hired by the board at a special board meeting March 18.
Nickolaus, the former Waukesha County clerk, had previously said she didn't want the position past May 1 while the town was in transition with its clerk-treasurer position.
But her contract now keeps her with the town through May 1, 2017.
Nickolaus is the town's third clerk-treasurer over the last few months.
Bad pennies keep turning up.
Just in time for the elections, n'est-ce pas?
For those who don't remember:
Posted by deminks | Wed May 7, 2014, 01:11 PM (11 replies)
Sen. Angus King, who is on the intelligence committee, (I-ME) reacted to Cheney’s comments during a Sunday appearance on MSNBC.
“I was stunned to hear that quote from Vice President Cheney,” King explained. “If he doesn’t think that was torture, I would invite him anywhere in the United States to sit in a waterboard and go through what those people went through, one of them a hundred and plus-odd times.”
“That’s ridiculous to make that claim! This was torture by anybody’s definition,” he continued. “John McCain says it’s torture, and I think he’s in a better position to know this than Vice President Cheney. I was shocked to hear that statement that he just made.”
“And to say that it was carefully managed, and everybody knew what was going on, that’s absolutely nonsense.”
Posted by deminks | Sun Apr 6, 2014, 01:27 PM (90 replies)