Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Mashup (4/24/09)

Yep, here comes another “grab bag” post because it’s a bright, sunny Friday and I don’t feel like doing a lot of writing (though I did manage to post here).

  • Part of the story involving Dem U.S. House Rep (and head of the House Intelligence Committee) Jane Harman of California, as noted here, is whether or not she leaned on wealthy AIPAC supporters to have them lobby Nancy Pelosi to reappoint Harman as head of the Intel committee, with Harman, in return, requesting that the DOJ go easy on Steve Rosen and Ken Weissman, two former AIPAC staffers implicated in the indictment of Larry Franklin, a former employee of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans accused of passing to AIPAC Bushco’s plans on Iran.

    Well, whenever I hear about Rosen and Weissman, I find myself asking the question I used to title this post. And I wonder what it’s going to take to make Rice put her hand on the Bible in this case and come clean once and for all.

  • I know Chris Christie is the Repug “flavor of the month” in New Jersey, currently leading incumbent Dem governor Jon Corzine in polling data, as noted here.

    And the Weekly Standard post also tells us (and don’t worry, I know where these cretins are coming from)…

    The latest issue in the race is the New Jersey ACLU's attack on Christie for authorizing tracking people through their cell-phones without a warrant. The practice, which is legal, began in the aftermath of 9/11, months before Christie became U.S. Attorney for New Jersey in January 2002. Documents reveal that the U.S. Attorney's office submitted 79 successful applications for tracking the cellphone info. Sixty-six resulted in criminal prosecution.
    Any word on any convictions?

    And Blue Jersey tells us the following here (with different numbers), on the matter of what Christie himself has to say about this…

    "There was no action of the U.S. Attorney's Office that was done without the consultation and approval of the court," Christie said Thursday. "Any suggestion to the contrary is ill-informed."
    And Blue Jersey replies…

    That's some good tapdancing. But if you look carefully, Christie appears to acknowledge he didn't always get a warrant. And it's a warrant he was supposed to get, nothing less. Here's the difference:

    The less rigorous standard of obtaining a court order rather than a warrant was used in 98 New Jersey cases since Sept. 11, 2001, resulting in 83 prosecutions, according to the documents. Two other New Jersey cases remain under seal.

    Here's the bottom line. Chris Christie authorized the warrantless monitoring of cell phones in almost 100 cases. Knowing he did not have a warrant, he chose to follow the Bush administration's lead to monitor and track New Jersey citizens. And now, he doesn't want to answer questions about it (another quality he learned at the knee of his Bush/Cheney mentors). Both the wireless monitoring and the refusal to discuss his possibly illegal actions to the voters are unacceptable. Chris Christie has some serious explaining to do.
    Well, he’s not doing much talking because of the suit, with the ACLU’s Catherine Crump echoing Blue Jersey as follows (from here)…

    Tracking the location of people's cell phones reveals intimate details of their daily routines and is highly invasive of their privacy. The government is violating the Constitution when it fails to get a search warrant before tracking people this way.
    But this shouldn’t be surprising coming from Christie, who, as noted here, filed a nuisance lawsuit against Jersey Dem U.S. Senator Bob Menendez in the waning days of his hotly contested 2006 election against Baby Kean, and also made sure that Essex County executive James Treffinger, a popular Republican, spent six hours in wrist and leg shackles for no good reason other than to serve as punishment for a remark about Christie’s “hulking frame.”

    The Repug gubernatorial contender may be physically imposing, I’ll grant you, but all of this proves that, despite his prosecutorial success, he’s a moral lightweight (and as you can see from the pic, he keeps questionable company too).

  • Update 1 5/12/09: Yep, sooner or later, Christie will have to come clean on how he set up Ass-Croft with that cushy $28-$52 M gig, in return for the former AG's decision not to prosecute Christie's brother (here).

    Update 2 5/19/09: Soo...given the chance, Christie would "govern" like Perry, Palin and Sanford, huh (based on this)? Nice...

  • Oh, and one more thing – last Wednesday marked the ninth anniversary of the raid on the house of Lazaro Gonzalez, the paternal great-uncle of Elian Gonzalez, the little boy who was taken by federal authorities in compliance with an order from Attorney General Janet Reno. Four hours afterwards, Elian was reunited with his father at Andrews Air Force Base before they returned to Cuba.

    I guess I should say a couple of things up front: 1) I wish to God I could prove that the photo above was doctored, but I can’t, and 2) The issue in this case was, for me, reuniting the boy with his father, and not one other damn thing mattered.

    Also, it should be noted that the Gonzalez story continues to cast a long shadow; it yielded this utterly stupid moment of pundit wankery during the presidential campaign last year (uh, wrong again).
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