06 May, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Indiana has a new photo ID requirement for voters, meant to prevent voter fraud. So far, it's working like a dream:

About 12 Indiana nuns were turned away Tuesday from a polling place by a fellow bride of Christ because they didn't have state or federal identification bearing a photograph.

Sister Julie McGuire said she was forced to turn away her fellow sisters at Saint Mary's Convent in South Bend, across the street from the University of Notre Dame, because they had been told earlier that they would need such an ID to vote.

The nuns, all in their 80s or 90s, didn't get one but came to the precinct anyway.

"One came down this morning, and she was 98, and she said, 'I don't want to go do that,'" Sister McGuire said. Some showed up with outdated passports. None of them drives.

They weren't given provisional ballots because it would be impossible to get them to a motor vehicle branch and back in the 10-day time frame allotted by the law, Sister McGuire said. "You have to remember that some of these ladies don't walk well. They're in wheelchairs or on walkers or electric carts."

You've gotta watch out for those elderly nuns. They'll fuck up our democracy, right?

Other victims of Indiana's ridiculous new laws were a newlywed whose name on her driver's license didn't match the name on her voter registration record, and a college student with an out-of-state driver's license. Criminals all. At least, that's what the Republicons would have you believe. I'm sure our democracy feels much safer now.

In other news, Carpetbagger passes along the latest corruption news regarding a Bush appointee and trouble with the law:

Federal agents raided the Office of Special Counsel, a government agency involved in several high-profile and politically sensitive investigations. The agents seized computer files and documents from its chief, Scott Bloch, and his staff.

Mr. Bloch, who was appointed by President Bush, has been under investigation since 2005 by the Office of Personnel Management for employee claims that he abused his agency's authority, retaliated against its staff and dismissed whistleblower cases without adequate examination. Mr. Bloch couldn't be reached to comment.

The Justice Department joined the case as the inquiry was widened last year to include possible obstruction of justice, which is a criminal offense. The Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 28 that in the midst of the inquiry Mr. Bloch used an agency credit card to hire a commercial firm, Geeks on Call, to erase data from his computer and those of former staff.

Everyone join me for the chorus: "I'm having a heart attack from not surprised."

It's even more fucked up than usual. Even the Administration's corruption is corrupt:

This story has taken a few twists and turns, but it’s actually really interesting, and more than a little comical.

The Office of Special Counsel isn’t the most high-profile office in government, but it’s generally tasked with investigating whistleblower complaints. Bloch, however, has been ambitious — about a year ago, the OSC launched a broad investigation into Karl Rove’s political activities, with particular attention on the prosecutor purge, RNC emails, and fairly obvious Hatch Act violations (Rove’s office politicized various federal agencies). “We will take the evidence where it leads us,” Bloch said. “We will not leave any stone unturned.”

But while the investigator was investigating Rove, he was also facing his own investigation.The Special Counsel looking into a potential cover-up appears to have been engaged in his own cover-up.


Bloch claims that he contacted the private PC-help service — bypassing his own agency’s computer technicians — to deal with a virus that had control of his computer.

He apparently asked the technicians to do a “seven-level” wipe, which, as the WSJ reported, “makes it nearly impossible for forensics experts to restore the data later.” While Geeks on Call was there, he also directed the technicians to wipe laptops used by his two top political

Bloch used tax-dollars to pay for all of this, and the $1,149 receipt makes no mention of a virus. Jeff Phelps, who runs Washington’s Geeks on Call franchise, said it would be unusual to address a virus problem by wiping a hard-drive. “We don’t do a seven-level wipe for a virus,” he said.

Nothing suspicious here. No sirree.

Absolutely above-board and a-ok - according to Bush White House standards. Your tax dollars at work, my darlings.

Apparently, this had affected Hillary Clinton's mental health, because she seems to have gone completely batshit insane:
Clinton's attacks on oil prices as artificially inflated, Enron-style, keep escalating, and today she appeared to threaten to break up the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

"We’re going to go right at OPEC," she said. "They can no longer be a cartel, a monopoly that get together once every couple of months in some conference room in some plush place in the world, they decide how much oil they’re going to produce and what price they’re going to put it at," she told a crowd at a firehouse in Merrillville, IN.

"That’s not a market. That’s a monopoly," she said, saying she'd use anti-trust law and the World Trade Organization to take on OPEC.

That's right, Hillary. Let's just poke a stick in the eye of the powerful oil producers. The ones in the Middle East who lurve America soooooo much. I'm sure they'll be totally understanding of American efforts to break them up. I'm sure they don't have us in their power one little bit.

Don't listen to Carpetbagger when he tells you why you're fucked in the head:

Clinton’s pitch yesterday probably sounds pretty good — she’s going to get tough with those Middle Eastern countries that export all the oil we want, and break up their monopoly. For low-information voters, this might even move a few votes in Clinton’s direction.

But it’s the follow-up where Clinton runs into trouble. First, the U.S., no matter who’s president, simply isn’t in a position to dictate that OPEC “no longer be a cartel.” I’m not exactly enthralled with OPEC, either, but we don’t have the ability to just break up this monopoly.

Second, OPEC’s structural flaws notwithstanding, the rising price of gas isn’t exactly OPEC’s fault. As Yglesias explained, “It’s just not the case that the current price escalation is driven by OPEC-induced supply restrictions — all indications are that everyone’s producing as much oil as they possibly can. After all, with prices this high how could you afford not to pump as much oil as you could? It’s just that demand for oil is high and rising, so the price goes up.”

You just keep playing with the pretty pink ponies. Someone'll be along soon to give you and Mr. McCain some nice, comfy white jackets and a shot of something soothing. We'll take you to a place where the laws of supply and demand no longer apply.

Maybe Mr. McCain's Iraq pony will be there waiting.


george.w said...

OK here's what really pisses me off about this: on many Rightie blogs I read, President Carter is "the Worst President Ever" or sometimes sharing that honor with Bill "I balanced the budget, bitch!" Clinton. But I remember Carter saying energy independence was "the moral equivalent of war" and that we had to get busy then so when the crunch came, we'd already be on our way to clean, independent energy.

Well. Now we're facing "OMFG, gas will be $4 soon!" like it hasn't already been eight bucks in Europe for years now,

Thing is, Carter was demonstrably and inarguably RIGHT and for his trouble, he's the skunk at the picnic among conservatives, whom you'd think would be the first to sign up for, well, conservation.

The only thing conservatives are conserving is corporate power.

Dana Hunter said...

Excellent points! I've noticed a trend among conservatives: the more rational the Democrat, the more irrational the Republican. I have a feeling that if Carter declared the sky blue, we'd soon see a conservative backlash.

All I can do is roll my eyes and continue to call them raving fuckwits.

Paul Sunstone said...

Spot on, George! Reagan dismantled Carter's energy independence programs. Had he not, we might be living in a different world today.

As for the conservatives? Genuine conservatives have been in retreat ever since the rise of the Religious Right and the Neocons.

By the way, there was a genuine conservative hanging out in Colorado Springs a couple years back, but someone got a permit, shot him, and had him stuffed for his den.

Dana Hunter said...

Poor genuine conservative. *Sniff* Maybe someone should start a roadside shrine...