Archive for January, 2007

If you’re the President, and lots of people in your administration are either actively breaking the law or coming up with half-baked justifications for their past illegal behavior (or both at the same time), one way to keep your corrupt buddies out of jail is to fire the law enforcement officials whose job it would be to lock them up.

from the comments at TPM:

Short term would be enough – [the Bush Administration is] mucking up the works so they can run the clock out to the last minute pardons. Pardons now would be really politically problematic (though less so than trials and convictions). But, slow the process down, push the pardons until the 2008 elections, and presto-chango – get out of jail free cards all around for the administrations cronies. Also, as a demonstration of good faith it has the benefit of maybe preventing people from flipping. That’s my guess.

That’s my guess too. For those of you who think this sounds pretty familiar, that’s because Nixon tried the same thing. You would think Cheney would remember how all of that came out- after all, he was there to see it. But his memory apparently wasn’t enough to stop him from giving the same tired old ideas a new coat of paint and running them out again 40 years later.

When they decided to call it the US Department of Justice, I don’t think this is exactly what they had in mind.

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Two New Mexico state Senators are planning to introduce articles of impeachment in the NM state legislature. “What’s the point of that?” you may ask. “He’s the President of the US, not the President of New Mexico.”
The answer is that over the last few months, there has been increasing discussion about removing Bush and his administration from office, and this state-based approach has generated a lot of activity. I discussed the topic in a brief email exchange this weekend, which led me to examine some primary sources. I think this analysis has probably been done before, but just for the record, here’s the way I read it.


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but… I think I’ll do it later.

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The technology cognoscenti are cautiously pleased with the initial Acts of the newly Democratic Congress.  At least one Republican has detected the change in the tide, and elected not to sail against it:

Sununu’s bill will attempt to rein in the FCC and prevent it from reviving the broadcast flag without Congressional authorization to do so. “The FCC seems to be under the belief that it should occasionally impose technology mandates,” Sununu said in a statement. “These misguided requirements distort the marketplace by forcing industry to adopt agency-blessed solutions rather than allow innovative and competitive approaches to develop. We have seen this happen with the proposed video flag, and interest groups are pushing for an audio flag mandate as well. Whether well-intentioned or not, the FCC has no business interfering in private industry to satisfy select special interests or to impose its own views.”

A bit of background- the so-called “broadcast flag” refers to a bit of data that will come into play on digital television broadcasts.  The idea is, if the flag is set to “on,” you’ll be able to watch the program but your TiVo won’t be able to tape it.  The broadcast flag could be used to prevent people from recording TV shows in a bid to increase future DVD sales, or it could be used for more nefarious political purposes, like preventing citizens from recording political speech so it can be replayed for later analysis and commentary.

The FCC has previously expressed desire to create a policy making it illegal to produce or sell playback devices (think TiVo again) that do not respect the flag.

The broadcast flag would allow broadcast and content companies to assert control over people’s fair-use and first-sale rights, by granting the companies full control over what you could do with the signal once it is received.  The rights would theoretically still exist, but it would be impossible for the average consumer to exercise them.

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This is the third in the series about what Congress can do to restrain the Executive when the inevitable confrontation finally happens.

Suppose the 110th Congress does find itself being stonewalled by Bush and Cheney’s claims of executive privilege. Does it then have no recourse?

Go read it.

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is apparently five hundred million dollars.  Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys.  The concept of a data haven isn’t exactly new, but it sure would be interesting to see the Pirate Bay guys set one up in real life.

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