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June 26, 2007

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In another thread, "Classification Games," a comment was made concerning the possibility that there will, after all, be a "Permanent Republican Majority," due to meddling and fraud in the election process, oversight failures, and a less than aggressive Congress towards Impeachment of this Administration. With all the revelations of chicanery in government, in all branches, includng the "fourth branch," (what I like to refer to as the "foul-mouthed" branch), with the oncoming implosion of our Republic, what is one to expect for the future?

Marcy, you are a rational, careful thinker, whose opinions and research I respect. Do you feel, at all, or have your reasonings led you to believe what I believe, that things are at a geniune crisis stage, the denoument being the unthinkable, Consitutionally-speaking? Or, does your youth and intellect give you more a sense of hope?

Margaret, that is a Billion Dollor Question I'd sure like to see some feedback on.

It's all so MIND boggling anymore, the levels of corruption and deceipt and elimination of the Constitution . . it's become very, very difficult to keep ANY positive state of hope alive . . .

And yet . . . we humans . . . glass half full in hand . . . *G*

Marcy?? Love to hear your thoughts, too . . . thanks in advance for all you do!!!

with all the other executive/non-executive/security news, I thought this was some kind of self coronation committee for Bushco. But royalties, really royalties--it's scary enough that they have their fingers in this particular resource pie, without the scepter and crown...Blergh.

OK - I need things spelled out a bit more here. I assume there's some sort of connection with the NAIS strand in Attorneygate (and the Griles case), but can someone spell it out for me, cos I'm feeling slow.

Bill

Spelled out above in the post.

I'm with Bill on this one Marcy, my question is, how much did the Cheney/DoI chicanery have to do with the firings of the NAIS of those 5 DoJ attys? And is this, according to the WaPo, another way Cheney owned Gonzo? Does he also own Rove? I know testifyees (testatees?) were asked if anyone in the Whitehouse suggested names for the list, and even directly about Bush, Rove and Meiers, but were any of them asked about Cheney or Addington? And if this was directed by Cheney, because honestly the WaPo investigation kinda points to that, then if they weren't asked about say someone from the Executive Office Building, or the VPs office directly, could they have then be testifying truthfully by answering in the negative?

Sorry to sound so confused, I'm sure it's me just not getting it and not you. Let's put it down to too much caffeine and a wee bit of Cheney paranoia.

yo, emptywheel, does this involve the whole royalties collection process of the Department of Interior ???

or is this specific to the Native American accounts that are currently subect to a lawsuit ???

what's being investigated here ???

is this an attempt to add up the cost of mismanagement of the Native American accounts, or an attempt to figure up the amount lost by the DOI as a whole ???

if it's focused on the DOI as a whole, will the Native American accounts be included in the investigation ???

This scandal relates to royalties from drilling on both tribal and other federal land.

It may relate to the NAIS stuff. Or rather, the NAIS stuff may relate to this approach to resource issues, giveaways to political supporters.

so the interior department was fucking up EVERYTHING they touched

and the Native Americans were NOT receiving some type of "Special Treatment" when the Interior Department was helping corporate amurika loot the Native Americans' trust fund

the Benificiaries of the Native America Trust Fund were able to sue US (We The People) to recover their losses

I guess we could sue ourselvs too

right ???

Freep

Not exactly.

The tribes are different because AbramofCo were/are trying to use their ambiguous sovereignty to accomplish things they couldn't accomplish under the rule of law. Think "fourth branch."

But as for the royalties, the difference is that the tribes have long been required to "trust us" because BIA stashed their money.

I'll take a crack at Margaret's question. The atmosphere today is very different than at the three other times in my memory when I felt we were at a crisis.

(1) In the '60s, especially 1968-70, it was very different because of the level of activism. (I was in at Berkeley from '64-66 and teaching school and living in SF thereafter.) There were massive street protests and demonstrations, sitins etc against the war, including many instances of police beating demonstrators, martial law and tear gas in my own home town, demonstrators blinded and even killed. The country was very polarized. But, we saw the war every night on TV for years, bodies and burning villages and villagers and all. Very slowly the Congress got itself up and some very strong Dem Senators like William Fulbright and others began to hold hearings and take on Nixon and the WH. It was a very slow process, but this is why (along with Eastern Europe) I feel that governments will always listen in the end if enough people take to the streets.

The big difference between then and now is the (to me) incredible passivity of most Americans. I don't know if it is not caring or a kind of learned helplessness because no one is telling them what to do to make the gov't change.

(2) Watergate, 1973-1974 Note this followed just after the crisis over the war. Nixon announced the end of the war in January of 1973. (Nixon won in '72, but the Dems gained seats in Congress.) By summer of '73 the Senate Watergate hearings were in full swing. The public was transfixed. As a teacher, I could watch the hearings all summer. By summer 1974 articles of impeachment were being drawn up. During this period there was great public interest but not much activism as such, I think because people were tired and also there was a feeling that the Senate and then the House were on it. People weren't passive, they were watching it unfold. It was really kind of a stately process, and there was a kind of collective sigh of relief when Nixon finally resigned ahead of being removed by the Senate.

(3) Clinton Impeachment. This was like Watergate in that we were spectators, but the partisan level was ratcheted up on both sides, especially the GOP side. Watergate, despite what the GOP now says, wasn't really a witchhunt--Nixon had gone beyond the pale and had to be reined in, that was kind of the elite consensus. Clinton, OTOH, remained popular and certainly many Dems thought it was a crock, or at least vastly out of proportion to his transgressions. I think much of the public was just embarrassed. But it was kind of a nailbiter whether he could survive.

Now, (I'm by now retired and can spend the day watching all this) nowhere near as many people are paying attention, I fear, even though it is far, far worse than Watergate. Cable has sliced and diced the TV market, while in 1973 and 1974 the networks carried the hearings live. People seem more frivilous to me, but maybe that's just my age. I don't have the confidence in the Dem leadership I had in the '70s, though I won't give up hope. One big difference is the GOP has stacked the courts so we can't count on that as an avenue of redress, but I do feel it is an avenue of protest.

Besides public frivolousness, the other big difference is the media. They are unspeakably pathetic--trivial, shallow, overly competitive and careless with the truth as compared to earlier.

But now we have the internet, and it is much much easier to catch them in their lies and to organize people. I think it will be ok in the end and we will get our democracy back, but people are going to have to fight for it.

As the first White Rose leaflet said, "Do not forget that every people deserves the regime it is willing to endure."

Mimikatz
Years of Alienation throught mass psychology of sports and entretainment have left American audiences apathetic. Politician become Democracy transvesties, like the Libermanns or Bloombergs. It is all over the "Society of Spectacle". Even in school kids expect to be entretain by teachers and yet jailers earn more that teachers. Meanwhile royal thieves do away with national and international assets, but what we can expect of an ignorant populace?

... That our elected reps. have all but ignored the FCC, allowing corporations to consolidate and form a media oligopoly --- more interested in their quarterly earnings than journalistic integrity or protecting our democratic principles has trivialized the news and shackled the free press. But we can also thank America's medical monopoly for Prozac (antidepressants), no doubt leading to our estrangement and complacent unwillingness to involve ourselves with anything other than our narcissistic worlds. I took Prozac for three months (five years ago) and I thought I was the center of the universe. These are dangerous drugs that doctors have over prescribed nation wide, creating the most self-absorbed group of people the world has ever met --- while turning our children into amphetamine addicts by diagnosing them with ADD to keep them quite in class! How ironic.

The subcommittee itself is just chockful of interesting folk. First, there's David Deal, who was originally picked by Kempthorne to head the subcommittee, but withdrew that idea after outcry from Senators investigating MMS. So who is Deal? From Findlaw,

"Immediately prior to joining the firm, Mr. Deal served as Assistant General Counsel & Director, Office of General Counsel, for the American Petroleum Institute in Washington, D.C., the nation's largest petroleum industry association. Mr. Deal, who has extensive experience in the federal regulatory process, had worked for the Institute since 1975. He has written and delivered testimony before Congress, analyzed legislation, managed challenges of agency regulations in federal courts, mostly the DC Circuit, and participated in regulatory negotiation. His natural resources and environmental experience includes serving as senior legal advisor on the Clean Air Act, with 10 years devoted almost exclusively to state and federal motor fuels issues.

For more than 20 years, he was the sole API lawyer on federal royalty management matters including legislation, rulemaking, litigation, and Congressional investigations. In addition, he was the sole API lawyer on OCS Lands Act, Mineral Lands Leasing Act and Coastal Zone Management Act matters. He served as a two-term member of the Secretary of the Interior's Royalty Management Advisory Committee. Most recently, for his work in the federal royalty management area, Mr. Deal was named to receive a US Department of the Interior Mineral Management Service's Corporate Leadership Award for 2002."

Then there are the two chairs Kempthorne ended up going with: Bob Kerrey and Jake Garn. I'm sure most Progressives have more than a few things to say about Kerrey, but for our purposes, one of the things he is not is an expert on Mineral Management - he spent his time in the Senate on Ag, which has oversite for the Department of Agriculture, not Interior, wherein MMS lies.

More interesting is the selection of Jake Garn, former Senator from Utah. Garn is best known for his authoring of the 1982 Garn - St Germain Depository Institutions Act, which led to the Savings and Loan meltdown later in the decade. And who was the lobbyist who wrote most of that bill? Fred Thompson.

Also on the committee is Cynthia Lummis, who most recently was one of the three finalists selected by the Wyoming GOP for consideration by the Wyoming Governor to replace Craig Thomas. Thomas was co-chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, which has oversight on MMS regarding royalities from Indian Lands. (One of the other finalists was our friend, Tom Sansonetti.) Lummis was Wyoming Treasurer when former MMS director Johnnie Burton was head of the Wyoming Department of Revenue, and they'd previously served in the Wyoming Legislature together.

Of all the committee members, only Deal and Lummis have experience with Mineral Royalties (nearly all of Wyoming's revenue comes from oil, gas and mining royalties.) Clearly, while Kerrey and Garn are figureheads, this is Deal's committee, just like Kempthorne planned all along.

Boy, this gets more interesting by the minute, neh?

Lesspool, Mimikatz, Magaret, these are all questions that have been on my mind since I first realized how damaged our system of government has become. There are many factors contributing to this, and I agree that all of your reasons are a part of the overall decline, but my greatest fear is that Americans have become so extracted from reality (read "Amusing Ourselves to Death" by Neil Postman) that there is no hope for us to ever recover. Against all of my emotional resistance, I truly believe our goose is cooked. Our future, when held up to the example of the past (read "The March of Folly" by Barbara Tuchman), doesn't seem to be much better.

One further thing I meant to say was how much pleasure I get from the small victories like Libby's trial and EW's incisive posts on subjects that would never see sunlight without them. If there is one thing I hold a little hope for it's the judiciary. Stacking it as the conservatives have tried to do is bit harder than their control of the press, the political process, and the airwaves. Again, I don't believe there's enough independence in the judiciary to cure our situation, but there's just enough to keep me from total desperation.

I've just been letting everything happen without me these days. I've pretty much been doing nothing , but oh well. More or less nothing notable going on to speak of. I just don't have anything to say these days, but maybe tomorrow.

I haven't been up to much today. Such is life. My life's been basically dull today, but that's how it is.

Males should be allowed to go shirtless at home only - Or vary with places for another persuasive speech topic

We are killing the rainforest

I've just been sitting around not getting anything done. I've just been letting everything wash over me these days. My life's been basically unremarkable lately. Pretty much nothing seems important, but so it goes. I've pretty much been doing nothing to speak of.

I feel like a fog, not that it matters. I've pretty much been doing nothing , but eh. Today was a loss. I haven't gotten much done for a while.

Power to the people is, is not a good idea

Al consumo critico antiracket lĂ’Oscar della partecipazione civica

I've just been letting everything pass me by , but so it goes. I just don't have much to say these days. Pfft. I can't be bothered with anything. More or less nothing seems worth doing. I haven't gotten much done recently, but oh well.

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