Daily Archives: March 3, 2007

Firing of US attorneys: investigating 7 times as many Democrats is not partisan enough

There is still more to learn about the Justice Department’s firing of 8 US attorneys across the country, but it is becoming clear that those fired were just not partisan enough in their choices of cases to prosecute.

What is amazing about this, however, and deeply distressing, is that, according to this study, the Justice Department is already investigating SEVEN TIMES AS MANY DEMOCRATS AS REPUBLICANS.

We compare political profiling to racial profiling by presenting the results (January 2001 through December 2006) of the U.S. Attorneys’ federal investigation and/or indictment of 375 elected officials. The distribution of party affiliation of the sample is compared to the available normative data (50% Dem, 41% GOP, and 9% Ind.).

Data* indicate that the offices of the U.S. Atttorneys across the nation investigate seven (7) times as many Democratic officials as they investigate Republican officials, a number that exceeds even the racial profiling of African Americans in traffic stops.

Attorney General Abu Gonzales has testified to Congress that these firings are related to “performance issues.” I can see now that there is a VERY demanding standard of performance, and that it is likely that some did not meet the 7-fold criterion.

Good work, AG, keep those people on their toes. No slackers allowed. Those who think you’re over the line on this just don’t understand how much damage would be done by putting away, say, any more of Jack Abramoff’s gang of crooks. Or Duke Cunningham’s.

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Filed under George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Politics

When god gives you NO lemons, what do you make?

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thumbnail of lemon tree

Sorry, folks, there will be no lemons this year.

Unlike the orange crop, not many lemons could be salvaged after the freeze. Ninety-nine percent of the country’s fresh lemon supply comes from California, according to the USDA. That means consumers can expect to pay high prices – three times the regular rate – for lemons for the next several months.

‘They lost too many of that crop,” Reynolds said. “Lemons are going to remain very high.”

God decided that. Although he did exempt a lot of us people who live in California, where about half the people have lemon trees in their back yards. Including us.

Suck on that, Pat Robertson.

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Countdown to US attack on Iran: x minus 28 days: the “neighbors’ meeting.”UPDATED

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image of Wilson, the neighbor, on Home Improvement

Yesterday, I tried to recount in a few paragraphs the completely consistent, insistent battle waged by the US against Iranian democracy over the last 50+ years, which has included support of the use of weapons of mass destruction against Iran.

The issue at hand today is the ballyhooed great turnaround in Bush’s policy of no-negotiations with Iran, one of his proclaimed “axis of evil” nations. On or about March 10, in Baghdad, the Iraqis and the US will sit down with whomever decides to come and participate in what is certainly the US agenda. This will be a “sub-ministerial” level meeting, meaning that the US will not be represented by Ms. Rice, but she indicated that there would be a “ministerial” level meeting to follow in early April. There are those who saw the sudden emergence of “diplomacy” with North Korea, and now seize on the neighbors’ meeting as confirmation of a sea change in US policy.

Don’t believe a word of it. There could not be two more different situations than North Korea and Iran. It is ridiculous to even mention them in the same breath. Anybody who thinks so can inform me of how much oil there is in North Korea and how much Israel cares about North Korea. Less than zero on both counts. End of story.

Let’s get something straight, this meeting is not really not even a change in US Mideast policy, only a slathering of frosting over this cake; it has been the US position that Iraq could talk with whomever it wanted. The Iraqis, somewhat panicked by the US’ march toward war with Iran, has decided to do just that, invite the neighbors, in an effort to show that Iraq does not consider Iran an enemy.

The point of yesterday’s essay is: clearly the US is not going to allow this to happen.

That is, George W. Bush is certainly not going to reverse 50 years of trying to capture Iranian oil by allowing Iraq to embrace Iran as its friendly, constructive, over the fence chatty neighbor.

Iran knows this. For Heaven’s sake. This accounts for the “let’s think about this…” response given by Iran to this short-notice invitation.

Let’s be clear about what the US is up to at this very moment:

Top diplomats from the world’s major powers will try to reach agreement Saturday on new sanctions against Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment. A U.S. official predicted the session would lead to a “substantive resolution.”

Foreign ministry political directors from the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany held a two-hour conference call Thursday to discuss what to include in the resolution–and they were scheduled to hold another conference call Saturday morning.

The six countries say they want to move quickly to strengthen sanctions following last week’s report by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran was expanding enrichment instead of suspending it.

Iran’s refusal to freeze all its enrichment-related activities prompted the Security Council on Dec. 23 to impose sanctions targeting its nuclear and missile programs. The council gave Tehran 60 days to halt enrichment or face additional non-military measures.

“This will be a substantive resolution. This will be something that will … increase diplomatic pressure on Iran, on the Iranian regime,” U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said Friday.

If agreement is reached, the UN Security Council will start drafting a new resolution next week.

Now, you don’t have to have much of an imagination to come up with several scenarios that the US could orchestrate in order to make Iran look bad at the neighbors’ meeting. In the first place, there are all kinds of insults, humiliation, degredation and frustration that can be heaped on Iran simply by the arrangement of the accommodations, meals, meeting schedules, seating arrangements, language issues, etc etc, which could make it impossible for Iran to even unpack their bags. Headlines: “Iran stalks out of meetings before they begin.”
Another scenario: The US will hop into the discussions with concrete proposals: Iran’s “sub-minister” will not have the authority to make any concessions or agreements, but the US will paint this as “refusal,” “denial,” “defiance,” “uncooperative,” etc.

Whatever counterstrategies Iran devises, their words will be mistranslated for American consumption, and trumpeted by Fox News and the rest of the great noise machine. By the time somebody skilled in Farsi can give a real translation, the propaganda has already been planted.

Of course, if Iran smells a rat and refuses to attend the neighbors’ meeting, it will have almost the same effect.

And those are just the simple scenarios.

Where does this lead? Directly to the Security Council meeting where sanctions will be decided upon. The US will claim to have exhausted all remedies, including sanctions and “negotiations” with the Iranians, and demand military enforcement of UN 1737, and off we go, whether the Security Council agrees or not.

So if you want to know for sure that we are going to attack Iran, here is a new addition to your scorecard:
already mentioned:
1) the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike force will show up in the Gulf
2) Israel will go into full civilian protection mode
3) the price of oil will spike
and new today:
4) the neighbors’ meeting will blow up.

UPDATE: Iran begins sucking up to the neighbors and attempting to expose US tactics (emphasis added):

Following their first official talks in the kingdom, the Iranian and Saudi leaders have agreed that the spread of sectarian strife is the biggest danger threatening Muslims and pledged to strive to fight such divisive attempts.

The two leaders also stressed the importance of Palestinian unity and the need to implement the security plan of the Iraqi government and safeguard Iraq’s independence and unity, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad left Riyadh late on Saturday following talks with King Abdullah.

“The two leaders asserted that the greatest danger threatening the Muslim nation at the present time is the attempt to spread strife between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims and that efforts should be exerted to stop such attempts and close ranks,” said the Saudi agency.
The agency quoted Ahamdinejad as saying he supported Saudi efforts to calm the situation in Lebanon and end its political crisis.

Tomorrow: what does Harry Truman have to do with all this?

[to see previous posts in this series, click on category "Countdown to attack on Iran" in right-hand column]

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Condoleezza Rice: tell me again, what is her job?, Countdown to attack on Iran, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iran, Iraq, John McCain for president of Del Boca Vista, Middle East, Politics, USS Ronald Reagan

Book Review: River of Doubt:Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey

This book by Candice Millard is an amazing true story of adventure, machismo, exploration, father/son bonding, history, politics, South America, ethnology, and biting off more than you can chew. Late in life, Theodore Roosevelt goes on an expedition to uncharted regions of South America, and has to fight for his life, figuratively speaking. It drags a little bit in the middle, and could stand a bit more in the way of modern day photographs of the areas described, but it gets an A- overall.

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Filed under books, global warming/environment, Outdoors

The Big Lebowski Saturday morning roundup

keep out, no trespassing, no hunting, no dumping. Beware of dog.

Cultists only.
ITEM: Gael Garcia Bernal, who played Santiago, the panicked Mexican, in Babel, is on board, and he sounds like a true slacker:

“I like it when [Lebowski, played by Jeff Bridges] mentions that his rug really held the room together. I like that a lot.”

ITEM: The Big Lebowski himself makes an appearance:

Fans of old-time Westerns will be gathered around the campfire next [THIS] weekend for the annual Williamsburg Film Festival.

The likes of Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Johnny Mack Brown and Lash LaRue will ride in a cloud of dust across the screens from Wednesday through next Saturday [today] at the Holiday Inn Patriot in Williamsburg.

Also, beginning Thursday, some supporting actors from old movies and TV will talk about their experiences, display memorabilia and sign autographs.

These include Ed Faulkner, who was part of a regular cast of actors to appear with John Wayne; David Huddleston, whose roles include the mayor in “Blazing Saddles” and the millionaire in the wheelchair in “The Big Lebowski”; …

ITEM: Tavis Smiley hosted a discussion of TBL with William and Janet Langhart Cohen and Walter Mosley.

THAT’S MY HOMEWORK, WALTER!!

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Filed under Movies, The Big Lebowski