Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Rove's Investigator Is Also Under Investigation

From my "Capital Games" column at www.thenation.com....

Karl Rove is under investigation by the executive branch. So, too, is his investigator.

On Tuesday, The Los Angeles Times reported that the Office of Special Counsel, an obscure federal investigative and prosecutorial agency that is supposed to protect federal employees from prohibited personnel practices, is

preparing to jump into one of the most sensitive and potentially explosive issues in Washington, launching a broad investigation into key elements of the White House political operations that for more than six years have been headed by chief strategist Karl Rove.

The new investigation, which will examine the firing of at least one U.S. attorney, missing White House emails, and White House efforts to keep presidential appointees attuned to Republican political priorities, could create a substantial new problem for the Bush White House.

Rove is tied to all three elements of the OSC investigation. "We will take the evidence where it leads us," Scott Bloch, head of the Office of Special Counsel, told The Los Angeles Times. "We will not leave any stone unturned."

But who is Scott Bloch, and should his vow be taken at face value? The Times story did not provide background on the fellow who will be examining whether Rove and other administration officials may have violated the law by using political email accounts for White House business, by explicitly encouraging government actions for direct partisan gains, and by dismissing David Iglesias, a US attorney in New Mexico. Bloch is a George W. Bush appointee, and his recent record is not one of a relentless pursuer of government corruption and wrongdoing. Here's an overview:

* In February, The Washington Post reported Bloch himself was under investigation:

The Office of Personnel Management's inspector general has been investigating allegations by current and former OSC employees that Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch retaliated against underlings who disagreed with his policies--by, among other means, transferring them out of state--and tossed out legitimate whistle-blower cases to reduce the office backlog. Bloch denies the accusations, saying that under his leadership the agency has grown more efficient and receptive to whistle-blowers.

The 16-month investigation has been beset by delays, accusations and counter-accusations. The latest problem began two weeks ago, when Bloch's deputy sent staffers a memo asking them to inform OSC higher-ups when investigators contact them. Further, the memo read, employees should meet with investigators in the office, in a special conference room. Some employees cried foul, saying the recommendations made them afraid to be interviewed in the probe.

The OSC's memo, the group said, "was only the latest in a series of actions by Bloch to obstruct" the investigation. "Other actions have included suggestions that all witnesses interviewed...provide Bloch with affidavits describing what they had been asked and how they responded."

* Two years earlier, the paper reported that Bloch had declined to enforce a discrimination ban:

Since taking office in January 2004, the Bush appointee has been accused of failing to enforce a long-standing policy against bias in the federal workplace based on sexual orientation, unnecessarily reorganizing the OSC to try to run off internal critics, and arbitrarily dismissing some personnel complaints and whistle-blower disclosures in an effort to claim reductions in backlogs.

He has denied such allegations and argued that he has made the agency more efficient at processing cases and, at the same time, more receptive to whistle-blowers and federal workers who have suffered unfair treatment.

* That same year, public interest groups and employees at the OSC accused Bloch of running an overly partisan shop. As Govexec.com reported:

Amendments to a complaint filed against Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch in early March allege that OSC took no action on a complaint regarding then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice's use of government funds to travel in the weeks before the 2004 presidential election, but vigorously pursued allegations against Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry's visit to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Three nonprofit whistleblower protection groups--the Government Accountability Project, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and the Project on Government Oversight--and anonymous career OSC employees filed the initial complaint March 3, listing a series of prohibited personnel practices and violations of civil service laws by Bloch.

The politicization allegations stem from Bloch's decision to have a group of lawyers report to a political deputy rather than a career senior executive. The complaint states that OSC has pursued trivial matters without regard to political affiliation...but has not evenly handled higher profile cases.

At the OSC, Bloch is supposed to protect whistleblowers. But he's been charged with reprising against those who challenge his agency and others. Before Bloch was appointed by Bush to take over the OSC, he was a deputy director and counsel at the Justice Department's Task Force for Faith-based and Community Initiatives.

"By most measures, his tenure has been an absolute failure," says Adam Miles, legislative representative at the Government Accountability Project. "He's been under pressure to start doing something." Miles notes that GAP did not initially expect the complaint it filed against Bloch in 2005 to go anywhere. "It was referred to a federal entity called the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency," Miles recalls, "and we thought it would just rot there." But the case was handed to Pat McFarland, the inspector general for the Office of Personnel Management. McFarland is a former St. Louis detective who spent 22 years as a Secret Service agent before becoming IG at OPM in 1990.

McFarland's investigation of Bloch, Miles says, "hasn't been a totally transparent process but we're hearing it's reaching a conclusion--which could be motivation for Bloch to start this investigation into the White House. If OPM does turn up any adverse information on Bloch, it would be more difficult for the White House to get rid of him while he was actively investigating them." But this could cut the other way. If Bloch is the subject of an investigation, he might be inclined to treat the White House favorably to protect his own position. In either case, there seems to be a conflict of interest. Bloch, Miles says, "may not be the appropriate person to be conducting the investigation" of Rove and the White House.

It is a dizzying situation. The investigator investigating officials who oversee the agency that is investigating the investigator. Forget firewalls. This looks more like a basement flooded with backed-up sewage--with the water rising.

With reporting by Stephanie Condon.

Posted by David Corn at April 24, 2007 05:03 PM


carey said...

Mr. Corn,

It is a dizzying situation.

To say the least! I love it when you choose a word that balances that ever-thin line of journalistic integrity with a hint of the disatrousness of the true situation.

carey said...

Shh, don't tell anyone. I don't think we're going into Iran!

Shh, don't rock the boat. Whisper softly. The surge isn't going well.

I don't think it's going to happen.

Shh. Say hooray softly.

Robert S said...

Articles of Impeachment Vice President RICHARD B. CHENEY

micki said...

Bush's House Homophobe - Scott Bloch 2005

Saladin said...

Carey, since when do things going badly stop those psychos? If their history is any indicator it means shovel more troops into the meat grinder, UGH!

David B. Benson said...

Well, I guess I had better start investigating the investigator who is investigating Karl Rove's investigator.

Got it?

capt said...

We've just received word from ABC's Nightline that they've moved the Billy Ray Johnson trial episode to tonight - Tuesday at 11:35 EDT. I hope you can tune in and see how your support helped strike a blow against hate and bigotry.

-Morris Dees

Contact us online:HERE

Southern Poverty Law Center
400 Washington Ave.
Montgomery, AL 36104

capt said...

"A patriot sets himself apart in his own country under his own flag, sneers at other nations and keeps an army of uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people's countries and keep them from grabbing slices of his. In the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for 'the universal brotherhood of man' - with his mouth." : Mark Twain, The Lowest Animal

"This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism on command, senseless violence and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism." : Albert Einstein

"Patriotism means advocating plunder in the interests of the privileged class of your particular country. The time will soon come when calling someone a patriot will be the deepest insult." -Ernest. B. Bax


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

Johnson gets $9M in assault suit: Lawsuit stems from 2003 beating case

Twelve Cass County jurors awarded Billy Ray Johnson more than $9 million Friday in a civil lawsuit that stemmed from injuries he sustained during an assault more than three years ago. His attorney, Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama, said the judgment sent a message about the dignity of life, regardless of a persons race or social status. ‘This courthouse is like a church, this is a temple of justice’ said Dees in his closing remarks. ‘Your duty to return a just verdict is just as sacred as if you were worshiping God. Johnson, who is black, was assaulted on Sept. 27, 2003, at a pasture party and was left beside a deserted road instead of being given immediate medical attention.

James ‘Corey Hicks, a defendant in the suit who represented himself, was unavailable for comment after the judgment was announced. ‘Thanks for having the patience to put up with me having to defend myself’ Hicks told jurors in his closing remarks. ‘Youre ready. Youve heard the evidence. After receiving a single punch from Christopher ‘Colt Amox at a pasture party in the early morning hours of Sept. 28, 2003, Johnson, who was described as mentally ‘slow before the assault, became immediately unconscious. Four young white men, Hicks, Amox, Dallas Stone and Wes Owens placed Johnson in the bed of a truck and dumped him at the side of a country road. Johnson lay in a fire ant bed for about two hours before Hicks and Owens called law enforcement to say they had happened upon Johnson.

Information regarding the nature of Johnsons injuries was never given to medical personnel, compounding the damage to his brain. Dees told the jurors that the group, led by Hicks and Amox, concocted a story to mislead investigators who later found a civil conspiracy existed among them. All four men now have criminal records relating to the incident. Hicks and Amox were found guilty of misdemeanor offenses by criminal juries. Stone and Owens pleaded guilty to like charges. Information heard by the jury in the civil suit was never heard by jurors in the criminal trials, Dees said. As the verdict was read by Fifth District Judge Ralph Burgess, the lone black juror held hands with a white one sitting beside her. Afterwards, a tearful jury answered questions regarding their decision.

‘We prayed for wisdom and discernment’ said Judi Howell of Hughes Springs. Howell and the other jurors agreed one statement made by Hicks during the trial unsettled them more than others. ‘Mr. Johnson was referred to as an it by Mr. Hicks’ said juror Lacretia Hefley of Atlanta, while the others nodded in agreement. ‘Hes not an it, hes a person.

During questioning of Owens earlier in the week, Hicks asked when he threw ‘it into the back of the truck, referring to an unconscious Johnson. The jury also commented on the absence of Amox, also a defendant in the suit who chose not to participate, describing him as a coward. Hicks and Amox were each found by the jury to be 40 percent liable for Johnsons injuries. Stone was given eight percent of the blame and Owens 12 percent. Stone and Owens settled out of court for undisclosed amounts.

The judgment included $173,810.44 for past medical expenses and $2,844,335.44 for future costs pertaining to his health and welfare. Another $6 million was awarded to compensate Johnson for past and future pain, suffering and impairment. ‘This is not Cadillac stuff, its Chevrolet care’ said Longview attorney Glen Perry of the amount of money being sought during his closing remarks for Johnson. ‘There is no such thing as a big verdict, there is no such thing as a small verdict. There is only a just verdict. Jurors told the media they hoped their community would now be viewed in a different light, echoing statements Dees made in his closing.

‘A verdict for Billy Ray will be like putting a sign on Highway 59 saying justice does rule in Cass County’ Dees said. ‘A sign the rain wont wash away and the sun wont fade.


*****end of clip*****

More on Billy Ray.


capt said...

Astronomers Find First Habitable Earth-like Planet

Astronomers have discovered the most Earth-like planet outside our Solar System to date, an exoplanet with a radius only 50% larger than the Earth and capable of having liquid water. Using the ESO 3.6-m telescope, a team of Swiss, French and Portuguese scientists discovered a super-Earth about 5 times the mass of the Earth that orbits a red dwarf, already known to harbour a Neptune-mass planet. The astronomers have also strong evidence for the presence of a third planet with a mass about 8 Earth masses.

This exoplanet - as astronomers call planets around a star other than the Sun -- is the smallest ever found up to now [1] and it completes a full orbit in 13 days. It is 14 times closer to its star than the Earth is from the Sun. However, given that its host star, the red dwarf Gliese 581 [2], is smaller and colder than the Sun -- and thus less luminous -- the planet nevertheless lies in the habitable zone, the region around a star where water could be liquid!

"We have estimated that the mean temperature of this super-Earth lies between 0 and 40 degrees Celsius, and water would thus be liquid," explains St├ęphane Udry, from the Geneva Observatory (Switzerland) and lead-author of the paper reporting the result. "Moreover, its radius should be only 1.5 times the Earth's radius, and models predict that the planet should be either rocky -- like our Earth -- or covered with oceans," he adds.


*****end of clip*****

Time to build an ark?


Saladin said...

I think what we really need are some more investigations!

capt said...


Robert S said...

Giuliani warns of 'new 9/11' if Dems win
By: Roger Simon
April 24, 2007 08:29 PM EST
Updated: April 25, 2007 10:00 AM EST

MANCHESTER, N.H. —- Rudy Giuliani said if a Democrat is elected president in 2008, America will be at risk for another terrorist attack on the scale of Sept. 11, 2001.

But if a Republican is elected, he said, especially if it is him, terrorist attacks can be anticipated and stopped.

“If any Republican is elected president —- and I think obviously I would be the best at this —- we will remain on offense and will anticipate what [the terrorists] will do and try to stop them before they do it,” Giuliani said.

The former New York City mayor, currently leading in all national polls for the Republican nomination for president, said Tuesday night that America would ultimately defeat terrorism no matter which party gains the White House.

“But the question is how long will it take and how many casualties will we have?” Giuliani said. “If we are on defense [with a Democratic president], we will have more losses and it will go on longer.”

“I listen a little to the Democrats and if one of them gets elected, we are going on defense,” Giuliani continued. “We will wave the white flag on Iraq. We will cut back on the Patriot Act, electronic surveillance, interrogation and we will be back to our pre-Sept. 11 attitude of defense.”



Terrorism, as practiced by the US, often goes by the appellation of counter-insurgency. Starting in Italy, right after WWII, when the CIA used the MAFIA, as well as former fascists to insure that the Communists did not come to power through the electoral process. We have aligned with the most cruel and inhuman of tyrannies, all in the name of elite privilege, as land reform movements, labor movements, church sponsored movements, literacy programs, health care programs, etc., have been crushed, in places far too numerous to list. The first act of 43 was to hide the document record of 40 and 41. And for all his talks about human rights, 39 wasn't that much of a bargain, either, especially in Indonesia and Nicaragua.

So, looking at the world through internationalist eyes:

Given my own twenty-plus years in the Foreign Service, on occasions like this I find myself looking at my own country from a non-American perspective. I must confess that, when I first saw psychopathic mass murderer Cho Seung-Hui's photographs of himself savagely pointing a gun at the camera, I was reminded not only of the violent images in our popular culture, but also of George W. Bush and his wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to speak of the thrust of his whole foreign policy.

Indeed, for others on our globe, mass murder in Iraq, scenes of degradation from Abu Ghraib, CIA extraordinary rendition expeditions, and our prison at Guantanamo have already become synonymous with the U.S. government and the President; so, it would not be surprising if Cho's actions and Bush's foreign policy were linked in the minds of people outside the United States. I see several reasons why, for non-Americans, a mad student and our commander- in-chief could appear to be two sides of the same all-American coin. From: The Cho in the White House: An Ex-Diplomat Considers the World and Virginia Tech By John Brown

Saladin said...


A new attack against health freedom, drug safety, and dietary supplements was launched last week by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) with major support from Michael Enzi (R-WY). It is called the Food and Drug Administration Revitalization Act (S1082). This legislation was planned over the past few years working hand-in-glove with the FDA’s dysfunctional management and legal team – meaning this legislation was written for the profits of Big Pharma and Big Biotech AT THE EXPENSE OF SAFETY AND HUMAN HEALTH.

S1082 is a Trojan Horse bill that pretends to address safety issues. Unbelievably, the bill turns the FDA into a drug development company that will expose Americans to new and dangerous biological drugs that have little testing to prove safety or effectiveness. And to top it off, the bill gives broad new regulatory powers to the FDA that can be used to frivolously attack dietary supplements and forward the FDA management’s anti-American globalization agenda.

On April 18, 2007, S1082 was approved by the HELP committee (which Kennedy and Enzi control) and now moves to the floor of the Senate. In a slick move, Kennedy has attached his long-planned FDA/Big Pharma “reform” measures to the renewal of PDUFA (Prescription Drug User Fee Act). Current PDUFA law expires later this year and must be reviewed by Congress. PDUFA allows Big Pharma to pay the FDA fees to speed the approval of its drugs. The new Kennedy bill will increase these FDA bribes to 380 million dollars in 2008, well over 50% of the FDA budget for new drug approvals. This is like paying the mob for protection. Kennedy, by replacing the existing PDUFA law with this new bill (S1082), is ensuring that his twisted legislation is the one that will be put before the Senate for a vote.

The FDA Drug Company, an Agency with New Regulatory Power

It is hard for anyone to comprehend that the agency that is supposed to be in charge of drug safety is about to become a drug company. It is astonishing that the FDA will now manage a full scale business activity that uses a “non profit” foundation as a shield to avoid international patent problems, protect proprietary rights of its commercial drug-development enterprise, and massively expands FDA regulatory powers to quickly remove anything from the market that is competition to its own products and licensing agreements.
There are links and a petition to sign. This is really getting out of control. When are the people going to realize that members of both parties are selling this whole country down the river? The sole intent being to bury us under a fascist/communist world govt. that we will have no power to stop.

capt said...

New Thread!