Thursday, October 06, 2005

Is Posse Comitatus dead? 
In a story in The Washington Times, George W Bush is quoted, not for the first time, as proposing regular army involvement in domestic issues:
President Bush said yesterday that he was concerned about the potential for an avian flu outbreak and suggested empowering the Pentagon to quarantine parts of the nation should they become infected.
"If we had an outbreak somewhere in the United States, do we not then quarantine that part of the country, and how do you then enforce a quarantine?" he said during a Rose Garden press conference.
"It's one thing to shut down airplanes; it's another thing to prevent people from coming in to get exposed to the avian flu," he added. "And who best to be able to effect a quarantine? One option is the use of a military that's able to plan and move."
I'm not usually too prone to conspiracy theories, but here's one for you - The Bush II administration has sent much of the National Guard out of the country (in place of regular army troops). So the local militias (i.e. the various state Guard units) are unavailable, leaving only regular armed forces available for the domestic duties the Guard would normally take care of. But the regular army is under the command of the President, while The Guard is, normally, under state control. So my paranoid fantasy is that this is just another toe in the door, another brick in the edifice the right wing is building to seize permanent control of this country. Am I nuts? Or maybe those guys in Montana aren't as crazy as I always thought ...

Let's get Blunt, without DeLay 
Tom DeLay is under indictment for conspiracy and money-laundering. His stand-in/successor in the House majority leadership is Roy Blunt, a long-time ally of DeLay's and a guy who learned his political lessons at The Hammer's knee.

Apparently he learned a bit too much, and I'm wondering how long it's going to be before Blunt is in exactly the same position as DeLay. I.e., looking at felony convictions. Remember, DeLay's indictments revolved around his swapping campaign money from place to place to obscure its origins and get it to where he wanted it, instead of where it was legally allowed to go. In this AP News story, it appears that Blunt has torn a page from that same play-book.
DeLay and successor Blunt swapped donations between secretive groups

Associated Press

Tom DeLay deliberately raised more money than he needed to throw parties at the 2000 presidential convention, then diverted some of the excess to longtime ally Roy Blunt through a series of donations that benefited both men's causes.

When the financial carousel stopped, DeLay's private charity, the consulting firm that employed DeLay's wife and the Missouri campaign of Blunt's son all ended up with money, according to campaign documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

Jack Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist recently charged in an ongoing federal corruption and fraud investigation, and Jim Ellis, the DeLay fundraiser indicted with his boss last week in Texas, also came into the picture.

The complicated transactions are drawing scrutiny in legal and political circles after a grand jury indicted DeLay on charges of violating Texas law with a scheme to launder illegal corporate donations to state candidates.

Blunt last week temporarily replaced DeLay as House majority leader, and Blunt's son, Matt, has now risen to Missouri's governor.

The government's former chief election enforcement lawyer said the Blunt and DeLay transactions are similar to the Texas case and raise questions that should be investigated regarding whether donors were deceived or the true destination of their money was concealed.

"These people clearly like using middlemen for their transactions," said Lawrence Noble. "It seems to be a pattern with DeLay funneling money to different groups, at least to obscure, if not cover, the original source," said Noble, who was the Federal Election Commission's chief lawyer for 13 years, including in 2000 when the transactions occurred.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Implausible non-deniability 
Atrios says "Put a second bottle [of champagne] in the fridge."

I just say "Uh oh." 'Cause the way this plays out will tell whether this country's so-called journalists, and maybe even the idea of a responsive American Democracy, are redeemable or not. No matter which way it goes, expect to see a lot of excrement being tossed around the monkey cages.

Corrente, diminished 
Sadly, The Farmer has gone out to pasture.

I'll miss ye, Farmer. Good luck, and don't let the a-holes get you down...

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