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White House E-mail Scandal Widens 839

Posted by kdawson
from the what-did-they-know-and-when dept.
Spamicles alerts us to a report just issued (PDF) by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. At least 88 White House officials used Republican National Committee email accounts for government business. The RNC has destroyed at least some of the emails from 51 of those officials. Law requires emails sent by officials to be stored or recorded. There is evidence that White House lawyers and the (current) Attorney General knew of this but did not act to stop it. From the article: "These e-mail accounts were used by White House officials for official purposes, such as communicating with federal agencies about federal appointments and policies... Given the heavy reliance by White House officials on RNC e-mail accounts, the high rank of the White House officials involved, and the large quantity of missing e-mails, the potential violation of the Presidential Records Act may be extensive."
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White House E-mail Scandal Widens

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  • Just how obvious does the corruption in the White House have to be before you demand a change of government?

    Judging by the number of people still defending this administration on slashdot, it would seem the parade scandals, lies, coverups & half-truths aren't enough. What will it take to convince you people? Does Cheney have to visit each house in the US personally, pry open the door with his shotgun, be caught shitting in your pillowcase while installing a keylogger on your PC?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sheldon (2322)
      Bush could have a live press conference where he bites the heads off kittens, and nobody would care. The 28% who still support him would claim he was showing true leadership by biting heads off kittens. The news media would report both sides of the story as if they had real credibility.

      I don't know if this was planned, or just accidental, but basically after all the false scandal coverage during the Clinton years people have learned to just tune this shit out.
      • by lawpoop (604919) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:30PM (#19559965) Homepage Journal
        Talkshow host Tom Hartman said that he can't help coming to the conclusion that the endless investigations into Clinton's Christmas card lists, travel agent's activities, and sexual peccadilloes was an effort to sour the public on the process of impeachment, and make whatever crimes the next president would do seem like partisan politics. It's hard not to start thinking this way.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jdray (645332)
          I seem to remember Al Gore getting jacked up for making a campaign-related call from his office at the White House. It was all over the news for weeks. His answer, after you trimmed off all the rhetoric, was, "Oops. Sorry." It seemed like they were going to hang him or something. Nowadays no one would even bother reporting that.
          • A call which, incidentally, probably wasn't illegal, especially since he paid for it, which is what is always left out of the story. He made the call using a calling card, billing it to the DNC, which incidentally how it was discovered. He just physically used his official phone, but that's not actually that damning, because the president and VP themselves have always had a bit more freedom in using the White House for political work than, say, the Senate or other government buildings. It's the president's residence and political work get done out of said residence, despite it being a government building and having government offices in it. As long as the president is okay with the VP's behavior in the white house, it's presumably okay.

            Anyway, it have have been allowed, or might have been prohibited, although as Al Gore pointed out, there didn't actually seem to be anyone to regulate it. That isn't as inane as it sounds, because there actually are lawyers that are supposed to figure out things like that working for the white house, but 'use of the white house property by the president and VP' has, in general, been unregulated, and there literally don't seem to be any laws about it. The big one that stops that sort of behavior, the Hatch Act, specifically doesn't apply to them.

            But it's interesting how a call that no one disputes would have been legal and have exactly the same effect for all involved had he walked out into the hall and used a visitor payphone got all the press coverage, yet Bush's politizing of the Department of Justice went unnoticed. And I'm not even talking about the USA scandal, which are, at least, supposed to be political positions. (Although you still can't kick people out because they aren't making up bogus cases against Democrats and investigating Republicans.) I'm talking about partisan hiring of positions protected by civil serivce rules, like AUSAs and district judges.

            If we're taking bets, that's what they're tying to hide, BTW. Firing USAs for random reasons looks really bad, and there are a few of them that open them up to charges of obstructing justice if it was to screw up an active investigation, but barring that is at least legal. But some of the irregular hirings at the DoJ, and other places, the ones where they hired partisan operatives for by-law-non-partisan positions, were flatly, undisputably, illegal.

      • by antic (29198) on Monday June 18, 2007 @10:20PM (#19560441)
        (Non-American here.)

        How many people on either side of the main political line in the US simply argue points to favour their bias like they're barracking for sports teams? That's one of the perceptions I get, and something that can definitely be true here in Australia as well.

        The same goes for console fanboys or ice cream flavours or cats vs dogs. And in politics more than almost anywhere else, it shouldn't be how things are thought of and done. Why is anyone a "card-carrying" anything? Why don't they assess each issue and position as it arises regardless of which party is presenting it?

        Maybe that's just too much of an ideal scenario?

        • by Elemenope (905108) on Monday June 18, 2007 @10:36PM (#19560575)

          No, it's more like everyone is sour on pretty much everyone (except the fanboy wingnuts). The average American thinks that Republicans are soulless plutocrats, and Democrats are pansy socialists. For those that have heard of them, they think that the Libertarians are batshit crazy, and the Greens...well, the Greens endorsed a career product liability reformer for President not so long ago. It's not so much cheerleading as it is simply 'no way out'. The only people with a lower approval rating than the President is Congress, and they are controlled by opposing parties.

          People hold on to parties because it gives them a shadow of an identity. It lets them identify with their parents or their parents' generation, to connect with the past and to meaningful political legacies. After all one party freed the slaves, another delivered on civil rights. They belong to parties because it is so damn inconvenient having to explain ones own political idiosyncrasies every time they meet someone new. They join to pretend that issues can be simplified, or marginalized, or shunted into more comfortable sizes and spaces. They join to have something to fight. Sometimes, they join because there is fresh coffee.

          And the way I understand it, it isn't a whole lot different in most other voting republics.

          BTW, Xbox, Maple Walnut, and Cats FTW. Everyone else is simply crazy. (Ironically, I AM a card-carrying member of the ACLU.)

          • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @06:20AM (#19563059) Homepage
            No, it's more like everyone is sour on pretty much everyone (except the fanboy wingnuts). The average American thinks that Republicans are soulless plutocrats, and Democrats are pansy socialists. For those that have heard of them, they think that the Libertarians are batshit crazy, and the Greens...well, the Greens endorsed a career product liability reformer for President not so long ago.

            Unfortunately, the only Liberitarian I've personally known is batshit crazy. When you're gathering people from the fringes, you get those that have fallen off the edge. He was very vocal about it, but he did more harm than good. In any case, I think 'pansy socialists' is mostly reserved for Europe or the UN, for those that have heard of them ;). The blessing and the curse of the US system is the system itself. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats will ever be pushed out of power because the system makes the "split" side in a three-party configuration weaker, and because people are always looking for greener pastures the ball will continue to go between the two. The downside is that bi-partisan power grabs happen without recourse.

            Here in Europe, I can vote far left, far right, or one of the parties that go off on a different tangent, but it stlll counts for my side. If the Democrats had 45%, Republicans 45% and Liberitarians 10%, then whoever wants to be in government would have to cooperate with them, give their politics a liberitarian touch. In the US, they're nowhere. In fact, the one voter who left the liberitarians could decide on democrats vs republicans instead. Or if it was the Green party, then it'd have to be a red-green or blue-green government (not sure if the symbolism is right for the US). Even within your side you're not safe - take our last parliament election: Progress Party +7.4% to 22.1%, Conservative Party -7.1% to 14.1%. Both of those belong to the same block, so the grand effect was *gasp* 0.3%, but it sure means competition. There's no "safe" states or voters you can plain old ignore because they're in your core constituency.

            So what's the downside, apart from vastly reduced job safety for politicians? Well, with so many parties (seven in parliament now, three in goverment) you end up with a lot of negotiations. Voter promises generally get lost during coalition talks, and there's always a lot of in-fighting to get "their" politics through. In the US, there's never any doubt on who's running the country and who is to be blamed/praised. On the whole I don't like how the people are voting here either (we voted the Socialist Left into government, which are so far off the US political landscape as can be, all democratic but also all nannystate and naive) but at least here I'm fairly confident the people are at fault, not the system.

            Things shift, and drasticly. Controversial issues show up in the polls, not as big landslides from one block to another but as shifts within them. Every party needs to fight for their right of life every day. The Labour Party, which has been the biggest party since before WWII with nearly a majority by itself at its height, fell over 10% to a horrible 24.3% in 2001 bleeding voters to all other social-democratic parties, but recovered considerably in 2005. In the US, have you got an option for "I like the politics, but your party is a disgrace"? No, it's either vote or sit at home in protest. We vote for the alternatives, because there are alternatives which make sense.
        • by vought (160908)
          How many people on either side of the main political line in the US simply argue points to favour their bias like they're barracking for sports teams?

          Good lord, no. It's simultaneously much more serious and ridiculous than that.
        • by jombeewoof (1107009) on Monday June 18, 2007 @11:47PM (#19561049) Homepage

          (Non-American here.)

          Why is anyone a "card-carrying" anything? Why don't they assess each issue and position as it arises regardless of which party is presenting it?

          Maybe that's just too much of an ideal scenario?

           
          I usually don't chime in on political topics, because frankly I just don't care. I know I'm going to get it in the "end". Any politician is going to screw you, it's part of the job.

          But this question begs to be answered, and I think I can give it a little bit of justice.

          I think it's because everyone knows that politicians are corrupt. But they want to be on the the "winning team" In the late 80's Bush the Senior was ruining things... opps Running things. and after 12 years of Republican rule the country wanted something a little different. So the majority of people found some flaw in the republican platform. Anything at all they could disagree with. They would build on this one thing(or 2 small things you get the idea) and eventually talk themselves into being a Democrat. (i'm too young to cite any specific examples... poor schools I guess)

          Clinton had his fair share of scandal, whether deserved or not (not up to debate in this post) is irrelevant. Many people claimed to "think of the children" or Family Values or whatever judeo-christian BS the Moral Majority is shoving down our throats.
          These people now identified with the Republicans more because they would never (get caught) cheat(ing) on their wives. Or Lieing under oath. Or even would never be confused as to the legal definition of "is".
          These people were slowly but surely shown the benevolent side of the Republican agenda. As their following got stronger they branched out into more legally/morally obscure areas.
          The people are already going to vote republican because they agree you should (get caught) cheat(ing) on your wife, you shouldn't (get caught) stealing from children etc...
          wow that turned into a rant.

          I am an American. At one point I thought this country was great, we had freedoms many other places didn't enjoy. We had a great document that limited the power of any one individual, we even had a system of checks and balances so that in the off chance that one individual or group became too powerful it could never truly take away our inherent rights.

          This system probably worked rather well for quite some time. Maybe even 50 years.

          With the current system, there is no possible way to get back to what this country is about. We are too far gone.

          But I cannot think of any alternative. Power breeds corruption. I cannot honestly say that I have never used my job to further my own personal goals. I drove cab for 4 years, I used that job to meet loose women, and score drugs. I'm now in the IT field. I use this job to keep with current trends in the industry and meet contacts that will further my personal agenda.
          I'm not saying that if I was a politician I would burn schools down to create parking lots for my fleet of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, but some people do not have high moral standards I do.

          If there is a way to use a position of authority, any authority at all it will be abused, more often than not. This is the new American dream.
          Lie, Steal, Cheat, Blame your predecessor.

          The Constitution is a great piece of work, sad to think of it more as a work of fiction these days.

          I've said it before and I'll say it again, America has to go through some kind of radical change. IMHO nothing short of revolution will bring this country even close to the splendor that it once was.
          I'm not talking about riches and wealth splendor, I'm talking about freedom.
      • by omeomi (675045) on Monday June 18, 2007 @11:26PM (#19560943) Homepage
        Bush could have a live press conference where he bites the heads off kittens, and nobody would care.

        If we let kittens walk our streets with their heads still attached, surely the terrorists have won. By suggesting that kittens should be left unbitten, you are emboldening the enemy, and making America a more dangerous place for our families.
      • Bush has certainly done worse than publicly bite the heads off kittens. He has killed more than 650,000 Iraqis [npr.org] in a very public scheme to restrict the flow of oil from Iraq, and thus cause oil prices to rise. (Saddam Hussein was selling oil by trucking it through Turkey. Iraq has 20% of the known reserves of oil.)

        The truth is much, much worse than any one person can document. But I tried to write a summary: George W. Bush comedy and tragedy [futurepower.org].
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ResidntGeek (772730)
      Demanding a change of government wouldn't do anything. They're sure as hell not going away on their own, and they've got plenty of young men who've volunteeered complete control of their actions to the government who'll kill us dead if we try to do something about it ourselves.
    • by wytcld (179112) on Monday June 18, 2007 @08:56PM (#19559681) Homepage
      Something like 70% of Americans do demand a change in government. A majority have favored impeachment for some many months now. When the new Congress came in it had broad support, but then failed to either end the war or impeach. Now its popularity rating has dropped below even Bush's.

      The problem in America isn't the people. We get it. The problem is the politicians still listen more to television commentators than to the people. And the talking heads mostly don't get it at all; don't see how corruption matters if that corruption just amounts to their friends in business and government going about their business "as usual." Of course, the networks overwhelmingly favor commentators who are of the right or center. The corporations that own them know very well who their friends are. This is too bad, since other parts of corporate America are far to the left, socially, of General Electric, Disney and whoever-the-hell-owns NBC now. We won't mention Fox.
    • by Anonymous Meoward (665631) on Monday June 18, 2007 @08:56PM (#19559683)

      Your concerns are valid, and here's the answer: The average American doesn't give a shit.

      For most of my fellow Americans, living in "freedom" means having a decent standard of living with a very narrow focus (creature comforts and more of them!) while being sold an (undeserved) positive image of themselves.

      Most Americans don't really care, until their wallets or possessions enter the mix. We're more concerned with rising taxes than we are with the erosion of those freedoms that previous generations fought to protect. We care more about "American Idol" than the American ideal.

      This is why when I see one of those stupid magnetic ribbons proclaiming that "freedom isn't free" on a gas-guzzling SUV, and I can't tell if the owner is connected with the military in any way (serving, veteran, family member in the service, etc.).. I steal it. Fuck 'em, they didn't pay a thing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tablizer (95088)
        We're more concerned with rising taxes than we are with the erosion of those freedoms that previous generations fought to protect.

        Most polls i've seen have not put lower taxes as a priority. Republicans keep yammering about such, but even when heavily advertized as an issue, most Americans don't give it much attention in any poll I've seen. I think partly because wealth is relative: people want more than the jones', and changing tax levels simply moves both them and the jones' up or down a roughly even am
      • by Scutter (18425) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:52PM (#19560189) Journal
        Your concerns are valid, and here's the answer: The average American doesn't give a shit.

        It's not that we don't give a shit, it's that after 200+ years we've come to the conclusion that we're screwed no matter what we do. It's like the Futurama parody where the only two candidates are Jack Johnson or John Jackson.

        Ok, so we somehow manage to boot the existing leaders out. Now what? We get a new set of leaders that are just as self-serving and corrupt. It doesn't matter what we do, we'll always be ruled by an aristocracy comprised of corporations, special-interest groups and the wealthy.

        We live in a two-party system where one side says "We'll take all your money and give it to the welfare programs, prisons, and the poor" and the other side says "We'll take all your money and give it to the oil companies, airlines, and the telecoms". Either way, they've taken all your money.

        You wonder why Americans are apathetic about their government? Why more people vote for this week's American Idol than for the President? It's because nothing ever changes. The rich continue to get richer, the poor continue to get poorer, and the majority in the middle continue to get screwed by both. At least with American Idol, you get to see someone get yelled at for singing off-key.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by 7Prime (871679)

          The rich continue to get richer, the poor continue to get poorer, and the majority in the middle continue to get screwed by both.
          Actually, this has only been true for the last 6 years. The income gap closed significantly during the Clinton administration. If the public are accepting this as just an innevitability, then we REALLY have a problem on our hands!
          • by Popsmear (828416) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @12:11AM (#19561249)
            http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/images/P1-A F888_Inequa_20061001190109.gif [wsj.com] I am just wondering where on earth you see a "significant closing" of the income gap during the Clinton years? It has always, and will continue to rise. With our current government it is an inevitability. No amount of democrats will change that. What we need is a new system.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by iamdrscience (541136)

              I am just wondering where on earth you see a "significant closing" of the income gap during the Clinton years?

              "Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics"

              Just because that particular chart doesn't show it, doesn't mean it can't be argued. The problem with tracking statistics like income disparity is that there's not one way to calculate it. When you posted that chart I decided to look around to see what other similar graphs I could find and guess what, looking at other charts I really have no idea because every one to

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 18, 2007 @11:41PM (#19561013)
          It's not that we don't give a shit, it's that after 200+ years we've come to the conclusion that we're screwed no matter what we do.

          I disagree: too many young people have reached that conclusion.

          The seems to be a correlation between the decline of civics teaching in public schools over the last 20-30 years and the increase in this sort of nihilistic attitude toward politics you so clearly epitomize. I propose that the decline in political socialization and education is responsible for the decline in respect for political processes and institutions. Then, since fewer people understand how things are supposed to work it may be easier to exploit their ignorance. Of course it's much more complicated than that (everything is more complicated than most people think), but I do believe the correlation is meaningful.

          A recent Harris poll showed more than 1/3 of respondents didn't know the three branches of government, with 16% responding "local, state, federal" and 18% responding "Republican, Democrat and Independent." Other polls have recorded similarly dismal responses. That's not a trend conducive to the well being of our political system.

          Remember that disengaging from politics, throwing up your arms in disgust and walking, away makes it that much easier for an ambitious bureaucrat.

          On the other hand, if what you say is true then the conclusion is simple: our system of government simply doesn't work. That's a pretty profound conclusion and I'd be most fascinated to hear how you think it should be replaced. Or does your extend so far that you think it just doesn't matter how we're governed because "we're screwed no matter what?"

          I'd rather try to give people the tools to fix the present system, and I'd start in the schools by teaching civics.
        • by sabernet (751826) on Monday June 18, 2007 @11:59PM (#19561131) Homepage
          This reminds me of the late Tommy Douglas'(Canadian politician) Mouseland story.

          Source: http://www.saskndp.com/history/mouseland.html [saskndp.com]


          It's the story of a place called Mouseland. Mouseland was a place where all the little mice lived and played, were born and died. And they lived much the same as you and I do.

          They even had a Parliament. And every four years they had an election. Used to walk to the polls and cast their ballots. Some of them even got a ride to the polls. And got a ride for the next four years afterwards too. Just like you and me. And every time on election day all the little mice used to go to the ballot box and they used to elect a government. A government made up of big, fat, black cats.

          Now if you think it strange that mice should elect a government made up of cats, you just look at the history of Canada for last 90 years and maybe you'll see that they weren't any stupider than we are.

          Now I'm not saying anything against the cats. They were nice fellows. They conducted their government with dignity. They passed good laws--that is, laws that were good for cats. But the laws that were good for cats weren't very good for mice. One of the laws said that mouseholes had to be big enough so a cat could get his paw in. Another law said that mice could only travel at certain speeds--so that a cat could get his breakfast without too much effort.

          All the laws were good laws. For cats. But, oh, they were hard on the mice. And life was getting harder and harder. And when the mice couldn't put up with it any more, they decided something had to be done about it. So they went en masse to the polls. They voted the black cats out. They put in the white cats.

          Now the white cats had put up a terrific campaign. They said: "All that Mouseland needs is more vision." They said:"The trouble with Mouseland is those round mouseholes we got. If you put us in we'll establish square mouseholes." And they did. And the square mouseholes were twice as big as the round mouseholes, and now the cat could get both his paws in. And life was tougher than ever.

          And when they couldn't take that anymore, they voted the white cats out and put the black ones in again. Then they went back to the white cats. Then to the black cats. They even tried half black cats and half white cats. And they called that coalition. They even got one government made up of cats with spots on them: they were cats that tried to make a noise like a mouse but ate like a cat.

          You see, my friends, the trouble wasn't with the colour of the cat. The trouble was that they were cats. And because they were cats, they naturally looked after cats instead of mice.

          Presently there came along one little mouse who had an idea. My friends, watch out for the little fellow with an idea. And he said to the other mice, "Look fellows, why do we keep on electing a government made up of cats? Why don't we elect a government made up of mice?" "Oh," they said, "he's a Bolshevik. Lock him up!" So they put him in jail.

          But I want to remind you: that you can lock up a mouse or a man but you can't lock up an idea.
          The Moral of the Story

          "Mouseland" is a political fable, originally told by Clare Gillis, a friend of Tommy Douglas. Tommy has used this story many times to show in a humorous way how Canadians fail to recognize that neither the Liberals or Conservatives are truly interested in what matters to ordinary citizens; yet Canadians continue to vote for them.

          The story cleverly deals with the false assumption by some people that CCF'ers (NDP'ers) are Communists. The ending shows Tommy Douglas has faith that someday socialism, which recognizes human rights and dignity, will win over capitalism and the mere pursuit of wealth and power.

      • by Brackney (257949) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @12:47AM (#19561509)
        Observing my neighbors and other folks my wife and I interact with here I think it goes beyond not caring. I think it also involves being uninformed. From my admittedly limited observation these people don't read newspapers, substantive periodicals or Internet content. When they do watch television it's almost without exception entertainment programming. It always saddens me when I attempt to have a conversation about national or world events and the people I talk to have zero knowledge on the topics or even the most cursory awareness. I could be mistaken, but I'm not sure people can care about things if they don't know about them. Apathy and ignorance are two of the worst things you can have in a democracy, and the US is burdened with an overabundance of both.

        Note that I'm not even commenting on the relative quality of information made available to people by corporate owned media. That's another rotten layer of the onion that must be dealt with as well.
    • by Jeffrey Baker (6191) on Monday June 18, 2007 @08:59PM (#19559695)
      Is your question coming from the perspective of a person living under a parliamentary system? I can see the point of the question, if so. In the USA we do not simply call for elections. The legislature can't issue a vote of no confidence or otherwise pressure the executive into holding elections. Elections are held every 4 years, regardless. We can't move them up without amending the Constitution (which is very impractical).

      The only way to remove the president is to put him on trial. Impeachment is conducted by the House and requires a simple majority. Trial is done by the Senate where a 2/3rds supermajority is required to convict. Upon conviction the president (or other official) is automatically removed from his office.

      But then what? We'd have Cheney as president. That would be much, much worse. And the Congress are a lot of weak-kneed cowards who are afraid to spend their political capital on anything risky, which includes impeachment. Although the House could easily muster an impeachment, there is no way the Republicans in the Senate would vote to convict, meaning that the whole exercise would have no practical impact whatsoever.
      • by m0nkyman (7101)
        [em] We'd have Cheney as president. [/em]

        Nothing is stopping Congress from impeaching both of them....
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kadin2048 (468275) *
          You'd never get a supermajority in the Senate to do that.

          I mean, it's stretching the bounds of credibility to imagine that the Senate would ever vote to impeach G.W. -- short of catching him in the act of sodomizing another man, there are a lot of Senators who are just not going to vote that way. Imagining that they'd vote to impeach both Bush and Cheney, and hand the Presidency over to the Speaker of the House ... it's beyond ridiculous. It doesn't matter what he did, he's a Republican and that means there
      • by lawpoop (604919) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:51PM (#19560187) Homepage Journal

        But then what? We'd have Cheney as president.
        A side point, but I can't imagine a scenario where Bush gets impeached and Cheney doesn't get taken down also. Bush really isn't the driving character behind all of this. It's the cabal of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rove etc. It's an old boys network that got into power during Bush I, a group that goes all the way back to Nixon. They want to restore the power that the presidency lost after Nixon, and increase the power of the executive further. See Unitary Executive [wikipedia.org]

        In the Bush family power structure, W is known as the 'enforcer'. He's not a leader or visionary; he's a henchman or goon. He's the face of the mafia. He takes orders from up above, comes to your office, and lays down the law.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Elemenope (905108)

      We still, by and large, have food, clothes, heat (or AC), cars, and sex with no short-term end in sight. Thus, there will be no revolution here. Even a tiny burp of one. Well fed well fscked people do not change their circumstances, if they can help it, even if there is a nagging feeling of wrongness about the whole enterprise of continuing onward.

      Corruption is a specially cruel joke in a two-party government, because we all know they are both in it up to their necks, they have all the money they will e

    • by i_b_don (1049110) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:11PM (#19559807)
      The problem is that the current administration and their supporters have done a very good job of turning everything into "us vs them" and 1/3 of the american public has fallen for it. Politics becomes like a sports team where you always root for "your side" and while you think you're rooting or your side you're really screwing yourself and the country because politics becomes not about doing what your constituents want but about whipping your partisan crowd into a frenzy.

      Look at what's happened... nearly everything that I would have listed as to why our country was great BEFORE bush came along has been tainted or flat out ruined. From not torturing "enemies", to due process, to "checks and balances", to freedom of the press, to NOT spying on your own damn citizens, to NOT doing wars of agression, and on and on and on.

      If you would have asked a run of the mill republican before back in 1999 if these were good things I believe they would have said "no". But now inch by inch they've traded their ideals for support of their team . but at least 20% of them have had enough balls and intelligence to quit drinking bush's cool-ade. I personally don't think you can ever pry the cool-ade out of the fingers of the rest because they're in too deep and they can't face a reality beyond what Rush or Fox has told them.

      d
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by demachina (71715)
        "nearly everything that I would have listed as to why our country was great BEFORE bush came along has been tainted or flat out ruined"

        A problem is Americans, well all people with a national identity, have a pronounced tendency to want to believe they are "great" or greater than they really are.

        The American government has spied on its citizens throughout its history, Lincoln did it in the Civil War, happened in World War I, many of the precedents Bush cites are from Roosevelt in World War II, massive spying
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Doc Ruby (173196)
      Americans won't see how obvious it is until the TV person to whom they've outsourced their political and moral judgements tells them over and over that they should be mad. But those corporate flacks are too busy telling them to be mad at Brittney and Paris to get around to the $60 TRILLION debt Bush has committed us to, or the $30 TRILLION other debt we've committed ourselves, business and personal, to. $100 TRILLION can be mentioned on TV only as leadin to "there's no way to understand it".

      So it's easy eno
    • Well part of it (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770)
      Is the American system isn't one where you just change it whenever you want. Elections happen at regular intervals. The people, congress, even the president, can't simply call for an election, the law has to be changed. At a federal level, the level you are talking with the president, the law that needs changing is the Constitution. That's not an easy document to change (on purpose). 66% of both houses of congress have to vote in an amendment, and then 75% of the states have to ratify it. As you might guess
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:04PM (#19559733)
    This wasn't a betrayal of the public trust by government officials using public resources feed their political games, subverting democracy and intentionally betraying oversight and justice...

    It was just a simple case of pro-active privatization of communication channels. It's liberty from the chains of evidence! It's saving the public from expensive prosecutions at no cost to the tax payers!

    We're at war people - and dog gambit - it's just plain not patriotic to be demanding accountability of our heroic politicians during a war they went through such pain to start and keep going!

  • Glass Houses (Score:3, Insightful)

    by southpolesammy (150094) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:11PM (#19559805) Journal
    [ObDisclosure -- I'm independent -- I prefer to think before I vote.]

    Before this becomes a big GOP-bashing party, let's not be so tunnel-visioned to believe that this could never happen on the blue side of the aisle.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      What exactly are you arguing? I'm sick of this: "well everybody does it" crap. NO friend, not everyone does it -- and even if they did, I don't see the relevance. Your attitude is the biggest threat to the republic.
    • by Tablizer (95088) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:29PM (#19559955) Journal
      let's not be so tunnel-visioned to believe that this could never happen on the blue side of the aisle.

      It is fairly well-known that the repubs had a sense of "ends justify means" for quite a while. They practically felt that since they were doing "God's work", they had a right to skirt the rules. Perhaps in the 1970's the Demo's had this kind of belief due to civil rights and Vietnam. However, the prez was a Repub at the time, putting that in check. This time there were no checks on power: Pubs controled 2, and perhaps 3 branches of gov't.

      It is this sense that the ends are important enough to justify the shady means when these kinds of things happen. They felt that when their grand plans succeeded (Iraq victory, Gaza democracy, Prayer, etc.), then voters would be so happy that they could stay in power and stop any investigations. But, reality caught up with them.

      Yes, it could happen to the Demo's, but it takes almost a perfect storm. Voters have historically kept mixed parties in the different branches, and this kind of "alignment" is rare.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sheldon (2322)
      Yeah yeah, the old Carville line. If the democrats say 2+2=5, and the republicans say 2+2=5000, we should report it as "Both sides are wrong".

      Seriously, one of the things I have found encouraging has been the way William Jefferson of Louisiana has been handled by the Liberally Biased. Namely blogs like talkingpointsmemo.com, which has spent nearly as much time reporting on his misdeeds(using national guard to get papers out of his house during Katrina), as they did going after Duke Cunningham. There has
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by idsofmarch (646389)
      This is an irrelevant argument at best. The fact is a number of White House officials acted in an untoward manner despite specific policies prohibiting them from doing this. Whether the other party does it too is meaningless when deciding if a policy should be followed. If you're really independent you should be willing to kick the GOP in the shins for their malfeasance and reserve the right to do the same thing to the Democrats when they present you with the opportunity.
  • There have been dozens (at least, and excluding dupes) of stories covering systems that can lift the last ten layers of disk content off a drive. Unless these guys have done a secure wipe with specially-designed patterns to eliminate residual information, why the hell isn't anyone paying one of the labs capable of such content lifting to read these drives?

    The owners of the system claim deleted files can't be recovered. Well, like I said, unless it's a secure wipe, that's patently bogus, even if the original tracks have now been filled with other data. Up to nine times over, if you're lucky. I'm not sure I would trust a technologically-ignorant group to run a critical service.

    The Democrats, on the other hand, no matter how justified their cause, are either unwilling to get competent technical advice or are unwilling to take the gamble of being wrong if they have that advice or knowledge. This may well be rocket science, but it still doesn't take a rocket scientist to do a search on Google to find out what can be done and who can do it.

    In short, for me this has ceased to be a matter of rights and wrongs, of whether the law was broken, or of whether civil servants lost their jobs due to degenerate politics. Nobody will ever know the full facts of the matter, because those who could perfectly well obtain them have - for their own reasons - declined to do so. I trust the Democrats on many issues, but after this, I cannot trust them on the issue of cleaning up politics. How can I? Either they want to but can't, or they don't and won't. What does it matter which it is?

    I'd also LOVE to know where all the technologists are, who are fully aware of these sorts of capabilities. Why the silence? It's not a conspiracy, that's obvious enough, so why is nobody asking questions? Why are the Republicans not asking why the Democrats aren't making the effort? Why are the blogs not discussing the effects of layering text over text on the magnetic fields? Even if the reliability of the technique is too poor, someone could at least have asked and gotten that reply.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by timotten (5411)

      I have seen this question raised by some liberal blogfolk. The conversation that I saw went a bit like this:

      [Semi]Techie: Someone has data recovery abilities. Why don't the Democrats get them? This is outrageous!
      Non-techie: OMG! Totally!
      [Semi]Techie #2: Totally!
      Non-techie #2: Totally!

      Now, I generally don't pay much attention to the hardware issues, so I may be speaking out of turn, but it seems like quite a leap to go from

      Someone somewhere has done an experiment in which they managed to recove

  • 11 or 88? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mdsolar (1045926) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:41PM (#19560081) Homepage Journal
    I'm not sure I follow this. The committee is saying 88 officials had political cover email accounts while the RNC says there were only 11. Is this a catagory problem? Are 77 not White House officials so that the RNC is correct, or are they minimizing in a way that is not truthful?

    On another note, I'm guessing that federal marshals will be sent to Texas to ensure Harriet Miers keeps the appointment made for her with the House Judiciary committee. Does anyone think that issues that arose when they were called on to hunt down the Texas legislature will come up in this case?
  • by r_jensen11 (598210) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:41PM (#19560083)
    Honestly, I believe that this administration has fucked up so bad that there is no shock element any more. Compared to Bush, Nixon was a saint, and Carter was as accomplished as FDR.

    I agree with some points earlier about how we'd be even worse if we impeached Bush, though. Who would we be left with? Cheney. The only solution would be to impeach both Bush and Cheney at the same time, but by the time that proceeding gets through we'd already have finished the next election.
  • yargh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lordvalrole (886029) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:43PM (#19560109)
    basically, Mr. Carl Rove ended up only having 130 emails actually recorded throughout bush's presidency when there should of been all of his emails and all of the other peoples emails recorded. This is why we will never know anything come 25 years from now when things get declassified. This seriously amazes me why the general public is not outraged by this. Compared to the insane ridiculousness of this administration. This trumps it all. I could bet my life that most of those emails were about foreign affairs in Iraq, Iran, North Korea, oil, military, war funding, contracts and contractors for Iraq, occupying the middle east, nsa wiretaps, spying on Americans, the whole damn thing were in those emails. I seriously would be my life on it. Now we have no records of any wrong doing. How screwed up is this place. We should be marching in DC with pitchforks (well guns) and over take the city. Un-fucking-believable
  • by synopticview (1108477) on Monday June 18, 2007 @09:54PM (#19560205)
    I'm shocked but not surprised.

    What is surprising is the quote:

    "The RNC has preserved e-mails from some of the heaviest users, including 140,216 messages sent or received by Bush's top political adviser in the White House, Karl Rove."

    140K emails? Even over six years, that's over 20k messages per year, or about 400/week. Say 80 emails/day. Assuming a 16 hour work day, that's 5 emails/hour, every hour, forever. Basically an email every 12 minutes. I don't see where Mr Rove has any time to do anything other than receive and answer emails. Maybe these guys are so busy sending emails to each other that they have no time left over to actually try their hand at competent governance. An email every 12 minutes implies that there is absolutely no thinking time here. It sounds like it's all reaction, presumably just giving orders. Amazing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by SRA8 (859587)
      Hey -- maintaining a vast global conspiracy takes lots of communication :-)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lawpoop (604919)
      I don't think they mean that Rove is actually writing an email every 12 minutes, but rather that's how much email he has in total. He probably gets copied on tons of emails that he never reads, by people cc'ing the email to every relevant person imaginable in order to cover their ass. I just got a new job at a University, and I get cc'ed on *everything* that the secretaries in the department send out, even though I'm just a temp worker!

      It's like being on the mailing lists of every department, meeting, ste
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bottlemaster (449635)

      "The RNC has preserved e-mails from some of the heaviest users, including 140,216 messages sent or received by Bush's top political adviser in the White House, Karl Rove."

      (emphasis mine)

      Say 80 emails/day. Assuming a 16 hour work day, that's 5 emails/hour, every hour, forever. Basically an email every 12 minutes. I don't see where Mr Rove has any time to do anything other than receive and answer emails. Maybe these guys are so busy sending emails to each other that they have no time left over to actually tr

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rhizome (115711)
      Maybe these guys are so busy sending emails to each other that they have no time left over to actually try their hand at competent governance.

      Consider the possibility that the governing was being done with the RNC.com email accounts. This is part of what the scandal is about [wikipedia.org].
  • by kennedy (18142) on Monday June 18, 2007 @10:13PM (#19560383) Homepage
    scandal my ass. these people are untouchable. there's no one willing to stand up to them, so they will just keep on doing whatever the hell they want.

    there is no scandal here.
  • by zogger (617870) on Monday June 18, 2007 @10:32PM (#19560559) Homepage Journal
    There is one reason why this ludicrous and destructive charade continues, and that is from a serious flaw in the Constitution. The executive branch controls 99%+ of the "no questions asked" order followers who carry guns.

    And that's it. Supposed to be some vague oath for constitution and then commander in chief. That's the theory. In practice, it is completely loyal to commander in chief. Full stop.

          The legislative branch has nothing. Zero. Toothless. Even when they allegedly "pass" this or that legislation, it invariably gets "decided" to be something else, by "signing statements", and the orders from the deciders keep being followed. Combine that with that little cute warning to Congress and the mass media with that *mysteriously unsolved* anthrax attack, which let them know in no uncertain terms who was calling the shots now, and you get what you see.

    This has been a coup d'état, with hacked elections and some really dodgy and quite *odd* "terror" attacks, and until that is recognized universally and identified as such, by the population en masse and especially by the toady media and by folks inside the government "system", nothing much will change, it will just keep getting worse.

    Above is my opinion. I do not like having that opinion, it just sucks.

      This is my anecdotal. Going by what I was taught in gradeschool, we are already way past the point where this can be called a police state. That it is not as bad for people right now as worse police states like north korea or wherever is a moot point. The important thing is, it crossed the threshold and is continuing relentlessly in that direction. It's been slow speed but really increased the past few years. I think they really saw they could pull it off cleanly if they took their time and did it piecemeal, instead of an all at once overnight deal like most coups. I also think it has been going on in a loose form since at least when they offed JFK and got away with it. Eisenhower warned the nation. I don't think he was joking.
  • Get a rope (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mudshark (19714) on Monday June 18, 2007 @11:19PM (#19560909)
    The following steps are indicated. Order is significant:

    1) Impeach Cheney.

    2) Impeach the sock puppet.

    3) Try Karl Rove for treason.

    4) Ferret out every GOP minion, operative, flunkie, and vote-rigger who had a hand in Bush's election(s) and investigate the life out of them.

    5) Get a free press and use it.

    Good luck, US. You're gonna need it.
  • by cryfreedomlove (929828) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @12:11AM (#19561255)
    I voted for W in 2000 because I thought Gore was an empty suit being handled by a slick campaign. I knew better by 2004 but it was too late. I'll never vote for the son of a president again. W will spend his life trying to prove he stands on his own two feet, without daddy, even if it means leading my children onto a battlefield. Screw you W.
  • by Ffakr (468921) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @12:27AM (#19561369) Homepage
    You all seem to be missing the obvious.

    I agree that the Dems have lost their focus on occasion. They have never been able to keep a sharp focus like the Republicans. I also agree that some Dems in office now are bums and crooks who should be kicked out of office. They are, however, the least evil of the choices right now by far. The corruption and incompetence, and rank stupidity of republicans right now is far past comical.

    As to what you've all missed.. The Dems don't REALLY have power in congress right now. They have a decent majority in the House which is good but they don't have the 60% required quash a Republican fillibuster. Remember when Republicans were going to re-write 200+ years of proceedure to stop minority filibusters before they started regularly doing them again?

    In the Senate it's more bleak. The Democrats do not have a majority at all. Lieberman bailed from the Democratic party when he lost the the primary nomination for being in bed with the Democrats and Bush in particular. Lieberman has had a man-crush on Bush for years now. Lieberman SAYS he's working with the Dems now (because he's from a blue state and he'll lose next time if he doesn't convince just enough Dems that he's one of them. Lieberman just campaigned for a REPUBLICAN from his state. It's gotten so bad that the head of his new party, Independent Democratic Party, has asked him to resign so that the Governor can assign a replacement. He left the Democrats because the majority didn't want him, now his new party is kicking him out for being a closet Republican. The senate can go either way with independents but it's basically 50-50. It's certainly not 60% or super-majority in favor of Democrats.

    The reality is, politics is dirty. There's an old saying that you know you've got something in Politics when everyone leaves the table unhappy.
    The thing that really has the left wing of the Democratic party up in arms is the folding on the Iraq funding. Unfortunately, the reality is, Dems didn't have enough votes to shoot down a Presidential veto and they had to add ear-marks to get enough people to sign on to even get it to pass. The Dems are TERRIBLE at 'reading the crowd' even when 70% of Americans want us out of Iraq.
    In their defense, however, they were in an untenable situation. They had zero chance of getting that bill through and there was a good chance that the decades of Republican media buildup would have been successful in portraying it as the Dems fault.

    IMHO, If I were the Democratic leadership I would have sent that bill back over and over and over, every week if possible. I'd have made Bush veto funding the troops over and over. I'd have put out the party members to simply say "why does President Bush refuse to fund the troops? First it was the body armor and the Humvee armor, now he won't sign the funding bill.". That's it, nothing more.. over and over. In fact, they could have stripped appropriations one by one and threatened their own members that they were in it now appropriations or not.. or they'd be flip-floppers at their next election cycle.

    Bottom line, the Dems are anything but all powerful in Congress right now. They have enough power to assign committee seats and put up legislation but they don't have enough juice to push anything all the way through if the Republicans and Bush say no.
    The plan now isn't to bring Republicans down. The plan now is to maneuver, politically, so that they stand to gain more power in 2008. Unfortunately, I suspect that Dems will control both Congress and the WH in 2008. I think it's dangerous to vest too much power in one party (as we've seen). The good thing is, we've seen a lot of new (young) Democratic blood come in. We've seen a lot of war vets who seem to be in for the right reasons. I hope they can hold the corruption back for a while.
    I would suggest that I'd like to see some of the old Democratic blood (particularly the corrupt) taken out in 2008 by young un-tainted Republicans but Rove and his Ilk h
  • Hanlon's Razor (Score:4, Interesting)

    by _Shad0w_ (127912) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @01:30AM (#19561803)

    I believe Hanlon's Razor might be appropriate here. For those that don't know it, or more likely just don't know what it's called, "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity".

    I run the internet presence for a society I belong to, people in administrative positions all have society e-mail accounts, essentially giving them an "official" e-mail address. Trying to get them to actually use them is nigh on impossible, they all just use their personal or work addresses. The number of times I get e-mails from people with .gov.uk addresses is slightly worrying, mind you.

    The simple fact is it doesn't occur to most people that they can have more than one e-mail account and they should be selective about which account they use for what tasks.

    It's easy to assume malice. Especially when you're dealing with politicians.

  • by np_bernstein (453840) on Tuesday June 19, 2007 @02:19AM (#19562051) Homepage
    This isn't really in response to any one comment, but more or less the general "Americans Don't Give a Shit" genre of comments that appear on this story. I've been thinking about the general sense of apathy and while I think a lot of them have been discussed inside and out (corruption, money in politics, biased media, lack of political options) one I've been thinking about lately is the lack of communities:

    1. US College System & Culture encourages people to move and "get away" from their families, friends, and the "village" of people they grew up with and around. While I'm not that old, at 28, even with this short amount of time, very few people I've kept in touch with from highschool live "back home". You develop friends who are in your income bracket, who have similar interests, and usually similar thoughts politically. It's much easier not to care about the minimum wage if you're not affected by it.

    2. Mass Media: TV is the "Bread and circus" of the day. I'll admit it - most of the time I come home after work, flop down on the couch and watch TV. I'm not sitting on my porch and seeing my neighbors when they walk by. It's in the entertainment industry's intrest to try and keep us there by making us numb to everything else by constantly bombarding us with sex, violence and danger. And, lets face it, it's interesting. There's a lot of good entertainment there. Judgment on the medium aside, it keeps us inside with little community interation.

    3. Cars: The US is a car society. People do not walk, with an exception of a few cities. If you drive 30 minutes to work instead of working near where you live, you don't meet people in your neighborhood. There are some exceptions: church and school for example. But look at those two communities and how active they are pollitically. They're brought together by a common purpose, but I bet if you did a survey of people who attend church or have children in school they'd be more politically active than the average.

    There are a lot of other things that contribute, and I'm not even suggesting that this is the primary factor, but I don't see it discussed and thought I would put it out there.

    -nb

Brain damage is all in your head. -- Karl Lehenbauer

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