Blackwater May Face New Legal Problems

Blackwater Worldwide could be fined millions of dollars for shipping weapons to police training facilities in Iraq and Jordan without proper licensing.  Also, a grand jury in Washington is to decide the fate of individual Blackwater guards involved in a shooting incident in Baghdad last year – they could be indicted.

One official said 900 weapons were shipped improperly, though another said the figure is lower. Each weapon shipped could constitute a separate violation and carry a hefty fine. Sources said the foul-up may have been unintentional but left the company unable to properly account for the weapons.

“They didn’t do the original paperwork, therefore they don’t know where the guns are,” said one source. A State Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

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Nail. On. Head.

Krugman nails it:

[Election] night wasn’t just a victory for tolerance; it wasn’t just a mandate for progressive change; it was also, I hope, the end of the monster years.

What I mean by that is that for the past 14 years America’s political life has been largely dominated by, well, monsters. Monsters like Tom DeLay, who suggested that the shootings at Columbine happened because schools teach students the theory of evolution. Monsters like Karl Rove, who declared that liberals wanted to offer “therapy and understanding” to terrorists. Monsters like Dick Cheney, who saw 9/11 as an opportunity to start torturing people.

And in our national discourse, we pretended that these monsters were reasonable, respectable people. To point out that the monsters were, in fact, monsters, was “shrill.”

Four years ago it seemed as if the monsters would dominate American politics for a long time to come. But for now, at least, they’ve been banished to the wilderness.

The time of Monsters is over, but we must be ever vigilant — they only thrive in the dark.

Palin: Reporters ’stinkers’ for leaks and rumors

Raw Story:

Sarah spoke to reporters for the first time since returning to Alaska. Palin responded to leaked attacks from former campaign colleagues by calling some members of the press ’stinkers.’

Keith Olbermann and Bloomberg News’ Margaret Carlson talk about the breaking news of Sarah Palin’s response to the leaked attacks, and what the future holds for the former vice presidential candidate.

Still feeling good!

And we were right, those of us in the “liberal blogosphere”. We’ve been right for years and the election of November 2008 proved that we are not alone. In spite of lame quacking from Rightwing punditry about a “center-right” country, and other right wing goofballs warning that Obama must resist a radical Democratic Congress, the election made it clear that a good percentage of the American populace is sick of Republican ideology, sick of their incompetence, and sick of watching the country being handed off piecemeal to corporate jackals.

The pundits continue to assert that Obama won as a liberal but must govern as a conservative. Or, in some cases, have actually claimed that Obama ran as a neo-Reaganite. Wah? What is most clear is that the overwhelming mandate of the Obama election has unhinged the Right. Or, rather, further unhinged them. Utterly lacking in any evidence to support their claims, they cite the passage of California’s Measure 8 as proof that the entire country is “really” more conservative than not.

But Frank Rich of the New York Times nails it.

For eight years, we’ve been told by those in power that we are small, bigoted and stupid — easily divided and easily frightened. This was the toxic catechism of Bush-Rove politics. It was the soiled banner picked up by the sad McCain campaign, and it was often abetted by an amen corner in the dominant news media. We heard this slander of America so often that we all started to believe it, liberals most certainly included. ….

So let’s be blunt. Almost every assumption about America that was taken as a given by our political culture on Tuesday morning was proved wrong by Tuesday night.

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Bush’s deadly environmental sins – shows his mockery!

The Department of the Interior (DOI) is the nation’s principal conservation agency.  Bush’s mockery of this department goes back to 2004, when he installed more than 100 top officials who were once lobbyists, attorneys or spokespeople for the very industries they oversee.

One of the lobbyists that Bush appointed was J. Steven Griles, as the department’s No. 2 official.  Which in a March 16, 2004 report called the department’s ethics system “a train wreck waiting to happen.”

Griles was a top lobbyist for the mining, oil and gas industries before joining the Interior Department. While at Interior he was the subject of a high-profile ethics investigation into his continued contacts with his clients, despite having signed a recusal agreement when he took office. Environmental groups repeatedly pointed out that Griles was also receiving $284,000 per year from his former lobbying firm during each of the four years he was on the government payroll.

This is just one of the many ethical failures, employee misconduct and general mismanagement at the Interior Department.  Though not unexpected when you hire the fox to guard the chicken coop.  Katharine Mieszkowski at Salon.com has shown Bush’s seven deadly environment sins and what Obama needs to do to fix them.  I will note that one is missing and that is our oceans.  Our oceans have a very serious problem, which are the ever increasing occurances of dead zones.  Dead Zones are low-oxygen areas.  These occur near inhabited coastlines, where aquatic life is most concentrated.  As of 2004, it is reported there are 146 dead zones in the world oceans where marine life could not be supported due to depleted oxygen levels.

Katharine talks about Bush’s environmental policymaking being taken away from scientists, and turning it over to industry cronies – also his environmental sins could have him serving penance for years.

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Bush’s Parting Gift To Big Oil & Last-Minute Assault On Environment

Bush wants to hand out party favors to all of Big Oil executives before he leaves office and one last brutal assault on the environment.  He is trying to justify it by saying Clinton did the same thing.  The end of this error can’t come soon enough.  What he has planned for Utah is tantamount to plundering 6 million acres for commercial exploitation.

Gale Norton has to be happy. In 2003, Ms. Norton, then President Bush’s secretary of the interior (and now a senior oil executive at Royal Dutch Shell), struck a deal with the governor of Utah that would open about 3 million pristine acres of federal land to oil and gas drilling.

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Obama To Quickly Reverse 200 Bush Actions

It would be so nice if we could just kick Bush & Cheney out now.  I’m getting impatient when I hear news such as this – that the Transistion Team already has a list of 200 actions and executive orders that are going to be reversed.  This is like a dream come true.  The Washington Post has the wide-range of actions that are on the list to be fixed once Obama takes office.

These orders range from climate change, to stem cell research, reproductive rights and many other issues, according to Democrats and experts they can be swiftly undone.

A team of four dozen advisers, working for months in virtual solitude, set out to identify regulatory and policy changes Obama could implement soon after his inauguration. The team is now consulting with liberal advocacy groups, Capitol Hill staffers and potential agency chiefs to prioritize those they regard as the most onerous or ideologically offensive, said a top transition official who was not permitted to speak on the record about the inner workings of the transition.

In some instances, Obama would be quickly delivering on promises he made during his two-year campaign, while in others he would be embracing Clinton-era policies upended by President Bush during his eight years in office.

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