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September 19, 2007

Comments

I don't know what to say about the investigations. I just don't. What CAN be said at this stage? The political game has been played most thoroughly; and what appear to be viable options - Playing the game just as hardball; or not playing at all, aren't all that morally comfortable.

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And as far as the second half about Stephens, "I always wonder why people let bullies like Stevens get away with this sort of thing."

Well one part is fear. No one wants to be attacked. Also, we're social animals, we like to get along. I'm reminded of the the Five Geek Social Fallacies. I'm thinking of "#1: Ostracizers Are Evil", where no one wants to be the bad guy; and "#2: Friends Accept Me As I Am"; and anyone who critizes can't be a friend.

While written about geeks, I've seen them pop up in any small group interaction.

Regardless of whether the other allegations in Waxman's letter are true (and I'd be willing to bet a sizable amount of on most of them being accurate), this part of the letter I'd bet my net worth and borrow additional funds to wager upon:

Waxman's letter also said that Krongard's actions have resulted in a "dysfunctional office environment in which you routinely berate and belittle personnel, show contempt for the abilities of career government professionals and cause the staff to fear coming to work."

A more perfect description of the State Dept's IG's behavior towards people in and the results thereof has never been devised.

So many investigations, and still today's breakfast buffet is just a sampling of the vast banquet of the corruption.

Wampum doggedly covers the longstanding swindle of native Americans, its zenith under this regime, and the connections between it and previous administrations.

Scott Horton digs into the partisan railroading of Don Siegelman in Alabama and finds evidence of the same pattern in Mississippi.

Marcy Wheeler has the integrity to take a href="http://thenexthurrah.typepad.com/the_next_hurrah/2007/09/congressional-s.html">hard look at the sewer of intelligence and military earmarks (which, though dominated by Republicans, clearly has the active
participation of several senior congressional Democrats).

Private merc armies kill with impunity, their employers keep raking in the money, and no one will even say authoritatively how large they are. The Pentagon and DHS are openly too fubared to give an honest account of their finances, even assuming there was the will to do so. Auditors and inspector generals at all levels are either punished for doing their jobs, or are actively part of the racket.

But impeachment's off the table. Even for Mr. Dark Side, now pushing hard for a cataclysmic assault on Iran to top off his legacy of torture, looting and functional dictatorship.

Good liberals are convincing themselves that an attorney nominated by this regime will actually enforce subpoenas.

Good luck with that.

Sorry, the repeated Typepad freeze-ups made me skip preview on the last try: the Wheeler link is here.

Odd, how Murtha's earmarks and threats are not going to be investigated. Or William Jefferson's cold cash. or Hsu's connections. Or just what the hell was Patrick Kennedy thinking. Nope. But between now and November 2008 we'll find out that Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham are gay. I can pretty much guarantee that.

Oh, and Sandy Berger. Really, what is up with that?

DaveC: Odd, how ....

Oh, start a TIO thread, Dave.

Odd, how DaveC would rather talk about Democrat transgressions and not that the IG of the State Department might be covering for a slavery racket.

Or maybe not that odd at all.

...we'll find out that Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham are gay. I can pretty much guarantee that.

Do tell.

It's becoming clear just what the real reason for the Iraq War was, and still is.

They're stealing your money too, DaveC.

Odd, how DaveC would rather talk about Democrat transgressions and not that the IG of the State Department might be covering for a slavery racket.

Corruption and wrong doing aren't particularly partisan. I have no problem with DaveC going after Democratic transgressions if we can get rid of slavers and bribers who are operating right now.

FYI - Just in case anyone wants to see the IG's prior testimony in front of Waxman's committee, it should be the first link in the list here. His prepared remarks start at about 2:24 and questioning follows soon thereafter.

I mind someone trying to minimize Republican evil by trying to change the subject.

Hsu is in jail, Jefferson is under investigation and was punished by Democrats in Congress, Kenedy isn't a Congressional matter, and the stuff Murtha did was legal at the time he did it. And he voted in favor of changing the rules to make them more stringent.

I'm sorry, but there isn't an intellectually honest way to make the case that curent Democrats are as bad as current Republicans. Not even close.

Don't you people realize we need to use all of the weapons at our disposal to fight Evil: corruption, deceit, bribery, lies, theft, accidental-on purpose malfeasance, foot tapping, and subsets of all of the above?

More odd happenings:

Liberal posterboy O.J. Simpson will be on trial just in time to have the news crawl beneath shots of Hillary or Obama on FOX during the Fall of 2008.

Most of the national forests here and in Spain and Portugal will be in flames at the hands of environmentalists, tree huggers, and spotted owl enthusiasts during the long, hot summer of 2008, just like they were leading up to the 2000 election.

Vince Foster's body will resurface, this time outfitted in a blue dress, in the reflecting pond at the U.N. You say there is no reflecting pond at the UN? It will take only a dozen black helicopters to airlift that sucker into Manhatten during the night of November 1, 2008.

Monica Lewinsky: She'll resurface on her own FOX reality show as a lesbian in a beret shaking hands with Hillary over the velvet rope.

Osama Bin Laden will be found hiding in Sandy Berger's socks. FOX will ask: What's with that?

OT, but not by much. My local city newspaper has a shot of a half-dozen, casually dressed Blackwater mercenaries carrying impressive firepower. Thing is, their faces are blacked out. Why don't they black out the faces of our gummint soldiers, too? After all, the latter are in harm's way too, aren't they?

Blackwater is such a great name for EVERYTHING since Inauguration Day, 2001.


Oh, start a TIO thread, Dave.

OK. Done.

Hsu is in jail,

Yes, but I don't see any indication that the ObWi posters or commentariat think that this is in any way significant.

What's signficant? He was a con man who got caught, is getting punished, and his funds returned/donated to charity. Nice attempt to change the topic, BTW

Wait, DNFTT.

John, can I have some of whatever it is you're smoking this morning?

How pleasingly full-circled it all is. The Republican party, their great idol Lincoln, still calling themselves the party of freedom, now has an administration trying to hide evidence that it subcontracted slavers.

Wait, DNFTT.

Yep, all dissent MUST BE IGNORED. Or banned, if necessary. I have to go buy some upholstery foam now, Talk amongst yourselves.

Yep, all dissent MUST BE IGNORED

you're not dissenting, you're attempting to distract. the words are similar, yes, but not the same,

But between now and November 2008 we'll find out that Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham are gay. I can pretty much guarantee that.

I presume, since that's the only way you'd be able to make a guarantee with such confidence, that you have personal knowledge.

Not that there's anything wrong with it.

Head over to TIO and bash Dave there on the thread set up for that purpose. He's only doing it to distract because he knows it teases.

re: Graham

there are rumors going 'round about those two, related to Larry Flynt's public-outing campaign.

Spackerman tries to connect more dots.

Yep, all dissent MUST BE IGNORED.

Yes, by agreeing with you.

Also, odd. None of the liberal websites that I have looked at have any commentary about the quote of the day:

DON'T TAZE ME BRO!.

what gives?

"Don't Taze me Bro". This is a HUGE disconnect between right and left. You simply cannot see it. I look at both liberal and conservative web sites, but you do not, and so, you are (collectively) pretty ignorant.

I look at both liberal and conservative web sites, but you do not, and so, you are (collectively) pretty ignorant.

I love you too DaveC.

"what gives?"

Liberal websites may have a sense of proportion about the importance of day's various events. I am willing to bet few of them are spending significant amount of time on OJ Simpson's bail hearing, even though that has been the lead story for much of the day at the mainstream news sites, such as CNN.com and MSNBC.com.

Well, look, Ugh.

The tazer thing is the biggest news of the past day, besides OJ. If you don't know about it, or don't have anything to say about it in a "current events" blog, you are (given the benefit of the doubt) simply ignorant, or perhaps retarded :)

Go to TiO to slam me, by the way.

We appreciate the traffic!

But, you know, leftwing blogs posted on it. What are we supposed to say about the fact that none of the ones you read did -- if that's what you're inteerested in, you're reading the wrong liberal blogs?

Other left-of-center blogs which posted on the incident include The Vanity Press, discourse.net, and Shakesville.

And there were several diaries on the tazing at Daily Kos: One on Kerry's rather ho-hum attitude to the torture of someone at his event (given that the old-fashioned way of getting disruptive people out of an event is to hustle them out physically, the deliberate infliction of that much pain is IMO torture). One on Amnesty International's accounting of taser injuries and deaths. Etc.

But who's counting?

DaveC, I think the tossing-around of "retarded", when speaking of other commenters here at OW, may make the Kitten very angry.

Very angry, indeed. Please stop.

Here's how I look at it, though, since you asked: I think it's just swell that the corrupt on the Right are getting all of this exposure, if it leads to them meeting some form of justice. Ditto on the other side of the aisle. Hilzoy's under no obligation to give all issues equal time, DaveC, any more than you or I are.

That said, I think that, for example, TPM Muckraker is lessened by the loss of Justin Rood, because he seemed to report on corruption on the Left. I think there's some value in balanced exposure of corruption, but I don't think that your average hobby blogger really has the time for that sort of thing. And of course we all remark upon that which annoys or outrages us the most.

And that's all I have to say about that.

DaveC, I think the tossing-around of "retarded", when speaking of other commenters here at OW, may make the Kitten very angry.

Point taken, Slart. I wasn't so sensitive to it, because I'm a moron. MORE STUFF AT TiO! I'm also a whore, link-whore, that is. So yes, I'm appealing to the lowest common denominator. (Libertarians will tell you that that number is 1.)

Also, I saw JackMormon in the neighborhood,

Give me love, Jack. I need your affirmation or something like that.

given that the old-fashioned way of getting disruptive people out of an event is to hustle them out physically

Go watch the video. The cops did everything they conceivably could to hustle the guy out physically. They went above and beyond the call of duty to avoid tasering the moron. He had more chances to avoid that outcome than I can count. The cops were left with two choices: administering some sort of beatdown to subdue him, or just letting him go. Meyer had made anything else impossible.

He's only doing it to distract because he knows it teases.

"'Ooos a cute li'l piggie? You is!!! Such a cute li'l piggie!" Hee, and I hope I haven't pulled your post outside the posting rules. But I got to acknowledge a love of Carroll (is "Alice" "canon"?)

DaveC's...whatevers aside, I don't think anyone not from or living in AK has an adequate understanding of just how powerful teh Ted is up here. There are actual bumper stickers with an AK flag and the words "Thanks FBI" that I'm pretty sure are meant ironically appearing on cars all over the place...

Well: I didn't post on Hsu since at first it seemed like a 'guy donates money, turns out to seem crooked, money is returned' story, which didn't reflect much of anything on anyone. Then I started drowning in a combination of Petraeus and the start of term, and by the time I looked up again, I had completely lost track of all the details. I took an oath never to read anything about OJ ever again, so I haven't followed that. And I haven't actually read the taser story, so I have no idea who got tazed, or where (though, casting my mind back to dim memories of the headlines, I seem to recall the word 'student'.)

If nothing else distracts me, I'm trying to get to the Blackwater story.

If nothing else distracts me, I'm trying to get to the Blackwater story.

Have they been tagged as "AIF"? (Only half kidding)

S'okay. I'm full of myself and being needlessly provocative. Now I'm reduced to professing man love for Gerald Collier.

TiO! Tio! Tio!

(that is just totally pathetic;)

More Alice in Wonderland comments.

Here.

Politics is really Alice in Wonderland, what with Mike Rogers (not the congressman) blackmailing Larry Craig over the Alito confirmation, and making good on the threat. I'm guessing there may be some similar reason for Ken Mehlman retiring from the RNC. Get ready for 2008! The libruls are sick and tired of holding back.

When I read about the State Department Inspector General's cursory investigation of slavery by the contractor building the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, I wondered whether the fundamentalist nutjobs who make much to do of what they contend is the moral equivalence of abortion and slavery will press this issue anywhere nearly as hard as they press their sex control agenda.

(Come on, folks. Admit it. You don't care one whit about slavery; you're just jealous of those who get more nookie than you do.)

There have been allegations that the contractor First Kuwaiti used forced labor building the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. So Krongard looked into it.

You know, I clickee the linkee, and all I can find is that "low-paid migrant workers" were used. What'd I miss? One of these things is not necessarily like the others.

Again, it's a shame TPMMuckraker couldn't manage to hang on to Justin Rood. Paul Kiel's work frequently leaves me with more question marks than I started wth.

Did you click through to the IraqSlogger article linked? I didn't, because it's a pay site, but that seems to be the source of the allegation. (And note that the claim made is not that it is established that forced labor was used, but only that allegations were investigated in a ridiculously cursory fashion.)

Yes, that by itself is a bad thing. But there's the word "slave" used in one form or another a half-dozen times in the thread, including in the main post, I like to see a little evidence in word.

The reference to "forced labor", though, doesn't point to IraqSlogger, it points to another TPM article that says something about "low-paid migrant workers", which in turn links to IraqSlogger. I can't tell where the slavery is, without subscribing.

"Enslaved" probably isn't best word to describe how First Kuwaiti is alleged to have sourced some of its labor; "Shangaied" might be.

Meanwhile, why wasn't First Kuwaiti required to source local labor?

Er, Shanghaied, dangit.

But between now and November 2008 we'll find out that Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham are gay. I can pretty much guarantee that.

Oh, and Sandy Berger. Really, what is up with that?

Sandy Berger's gay?

Yeah, that looks like the goods, Model 62. Thanks.

Heh: I actually have a subscription to IraqSlogger: I wrote them and said: look, I'm a humble blogger, I don't have no zillions of dollars, but I'd be glad to pay maybe $100, and they gave me one. ;)

Annoyingly, however, it's apparently impossible to paste bits of it. However, if you are willing to take my word for it, it includes allegations not just of the shanghaiing incident reported in the article Model 62 linked to, but also of workers being forced to work at gunpoint, passports held by the company, bad housing and food, clinics without e.g. hot water operating by people who didn't know what they were doing, completely inadequate safety procedures (e.g., workers working construction without hardhats or even shoes), several workers who had died, and seven more who went mysteriously missing.

On reflection, though, shanghaied would have been a better word, or maybe kidnapped and forced to work.

I think "forced labor" encompasses all of that, hilzoy; I was just a little mystified that there was literally nothing I could see in any of the TPM bits that seemed to point to tat.

Mystified no more, me.

Wow, hilzoy, congratulations on scoring IraqSlogger! It never occurred to me to haggle. Much more practical than my response -- being stunned and then derisive at their, um, audacious price.

As time goes by, they'll be a higher and higher percentage of the English-language media in Iraq. Could really pay off for them and their subscribers if there are still troops there in 2012, as I dread...

I think there's some value in balanced exposure of corruption

That's true only if the two parties are equaly corrupt.

Huh:

The son and daughter-in-law of State Department Inspector General Howard J. Krongard have asked a judge to issue a restraining order forcing him to stop sending "unprofessional and highly offensive" e-mails that suggested the family would be put "on the street" if they lost a lawsuit Krongard has filed against them, according to documents filed last week in a New Jersey court.

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