Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hard to believe extent that ethics lapsed in GWBush administration

On some levels, the details of misdeeds by now-former Bush Administration officals should come as no surprise. Sadly, we have had more than our share of corruption cases in every recent administration. But the alarming information is the level at which some of those involved served and the arrogance that these former officials display now that they are out of office. The Legal Times reports today on a case involving the former chief of staff to the attorney general.

These are supposed to be the people enforcing the laws, not breaking them. (To be fair, David Ayres has not been charged with any crimes... yet, but his decision to decline to testify on the grounds that his testimony might incriminate him is most disturbing.) Of course, the Bush Justice Department was for a while headed by Alberto Gonzales, who disgracefully let politics guide his legal actions and arrogantly promoted himself as a "legal expert" earlier this year, commenting on President Obama's nominees and other issues. The New York Times puts this in the right perspective, which Gonzales certainly doesn't have.

And let's not forget some of the other upstanding Bush Administration officials:

  • President Bush, who considered it legal to sign legislation into law but issue "signing statements" giving him the authority to ignore those laws. (See
  • Vice President Cheney, whose incredulously broad interpretation of executive powers with regard to terrorism suspects and other intelligence activities were roundly rejected by the Supreme Court and who considered it perfectly fine to disclose the identity of a CIA operative for political gain.
  • "Scooter" Libby, who became the fall-guy for the Valerie Plame disclosure scandal.
  • David Safavian, the administration's top procurement official, who was indicted in October 2005 for involvement in the Jack Abramoff lobbying and bribery mess.
I hope and pray that the current administration sets a new tone for ethics in public office. Even though it seems every new president makes this promise, we are long overdue for this promise to be kept.

For a compilation of White House officials indicted over the years, see

(Thanks to @cbsandrewcohen and @Legal_Times for pointing out the Ayres matter today. The comments above are solely mine.)

Posted via web from Doug's posterous

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I don't want to know how much taxpayer $$ was wasted on this

The Associated Press has a report on the government's latest ideas on how to revise the "terror alert" system -- you know, the red, orange, yellow, flags that certainly are meaningless now and probably have been since the Bush Administration first introduced them. Sure, there needs to be a way to warn people that danger lurks somewhere, but how many of us really knows what the difference is between yellow or orange unless we are in an airport? Besides, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has made it even more confusing by raising the alert for specific sectors periodically instead of across the board. Isn't it time that we focus on real security instead of the illusion of it? the sad reality is that many of the most obvious security gaps in the United States -- and especially in the transportation system -- remain wide-open holes. How much air cargo carried on passenger jets is screened? And does anyone really feel safer knowing that people who look Muslim are more likely to be harassed by security, while others who may be real threats walk on through? I treasure my freedom and want the government to really protect us, with meaningful measures, not just things that look good. Real life is not a Madison Avenue or Hollywood image.
Here's the link to the AP article:

Posted via email from Doug's posterous

Monday, September 14, 2009

We must stop the dolphin slaughter

The Guardian has an important follow-up to the brutality exposed in the documentary The Cove. See for gruesome photographs and an update on the merciless slaughter of dolphins by Japanese fishermen. Please take action today, and post what you are doing in the comments section so others can follow your lead.


Posted via web from Doug's posterous