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Good governance 2.0
July 29, 2008 1:53 AM   Subscribe

"What kind of lawbreaking has happened on President Bush's watch, among his top and mid-level advisers? What hasn't? Who is implicated and who is not? Despite the lack of oral sex with an intern, the past seven years have yielded an embarrassment of riches when it comes to potentially prosecutable crimes. We have tried to sketch out a map of who did what and when, with links to the evidence that is public and notes about what we may learn from investigations that are still pending." Via Slate
posted by infini (40 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I look forward to the blanket pardon of all Republicans at the end of Bush's term. Either that or they selectively pardon every single one who broke a law and provide the public with a really long laundry list of wrongdoing.

Either way should be interesting.
posted by srboisvert at 2:16 AM on July 29, 2008


Pity the international crimes do not fall under "lawbreaking".
posted by uncle harold at 2:40 AM on July 29, 2008


uncle harold: like Geneva? Actually, it does.
posted by null terminated at 2:47 AM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I look forward to the blanket pardon of all Republicans at the end of Bush's term.

I'm on my way to register right now!
posted by rokusan at 2:48 AM on July 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Actually, it does.

Technically, yes. But the likeliness of successful prosecution in those instances is even more far fetched than in the comparatively simple and clear-cut domestic cases like wiretapping etc.

Also, the interactive map would get pretty complicated.
posted by uncle harold at 2:54 AM on July 29, 2008


Good question, though: where are the sex scandals usually associated with an administration? Isn't there always at least one? How come this bunch are apparently asexual? I guess they all come is as really small potatoes (hah!) compared to the egregious disregard this administration has for law as opposed to "Morality".
posted by 5MeoCMP at 3:14 AM on July 29, 2008


...where are the sex scandals usually associated with an administration?

It's from Pravda so it must be true.
posted by chillmost at 3:26 AM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I look forward to the blanket pardon ...

At first I thought it said "blanket party", and then I thought of The Shield.

And I liked it.
posted by bwg at 3:37 AM on July 29, 2008


I did a project like this a while back while I was stationed at Fort Huachuca, AZ. I used the program Analyst's Notebook to construct a link diagram of all the major and many of the middle players. I connected video clips, court decision pdf's, newspaper articles, and the text of the constitution. It covered topics like illegal wire-taps, suppressing scientific evidence for global warming, abstinence-only education, torture, war justifications, etc.

In the end it looked like a pretty damning evaluation of the administration at every level of authority and of the Republican party and modern conservatism itself. It was an ACLU Lawyer's wet dream.

When I left, after nearly 3 months of building it in my spare time, I burned it to a CD and took it with me. Since then (almost a year) I haven't been able to find it, and when I get back from the Middle East next year I'll have to find out what happened to it. By then, however, Bush will be out of office and all his cronies will likely be pardoned.
posted by mystyk at 4:02 AM on July 29, 2008


I look forward to the blanket pardon of all Republicans at the end of Bush's term. Either that or they selectively pardon every single one who broke a law and provide the public with a really long laundry list of wrongdoing.

Pardon the Republicans? Why? Who is going to open an investigation? The Democrats?

The Democrats - through their active participation or complete silence - have been willing partners in all of these crimes.

All that will happen in January 2009 is that this crime syndicate will have new bosses - every bit as bad the ones they replace and probably more so

That's the only change you can believe in.
posted by three blind mice at 4:09 AM on July 29, 2008 [8 favorites]


TBM: that's nobody's fault but ours.
posted by Malor at 4:11 AM on July 29, 2008


Alberto Gonzales is the nexus of evil? I guess Cheney was busy with the torture, domestic spying and whatever "CIA tapes" refers to (and I don't even want to know, I just want to see them all behind bars).
posted by DU at 4:12 AM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I look forward to the blanket pardon of all Republicans at the end of Bush's term.

I've actually said for a while now that I think he'll really do this. Not actually all Republicans, but everyone in his administration. Attorney General Mukasey has already said he will not prosecute anyone for the DOJ firings (which of course makes me wonder why the fuck he hasn't been impeached yet) and the increasing likelihood of Democrats controlling both Congress and the White House means there will probably be investigations aplenty.

So, yes, Bush is going to pardon everyone who worked for him. Why wouldn't he? This chart offers a good example of how he doesn't really care about breaking any other codes of conduct. For all his incompetence he's smart enough to know that the first two years of an Obama DOJ could easily be spent investigating all of his cronies, so why not block that now?

It'll piss everyone off? Of course it will; that what he wants. Bush enjoys martyrdom. His vision of a "legacy" is one where a generation from now people look at him as the humble man who beared the burden of a thousand struggles to save mankind. Do you really think he won't take one last stab at pulling the full Christ Monty by "forgiving" everyone before his departure? Bush thrives on the idea that he's absolutely hated for actions that he feels will ultimately be perceived as the right thing.

So did David Koresh, of course, but I hope Bush leaves more peacefully since the White House has really nice furniture.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:06 AM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Bush is not the type of person to thrive on an idea. He thrives on frat boy, flight suit antics. Those antics have been directed from behind the throne by the likes of Cheney to achieve an end, which are the results you see in America today. You say "crumbling economy" they say "upward wealth transfer".
posted by DU at 5:22 AM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was gonna post this chart, but dragged my feet on it.

God, it's all so depressing. It seems the only people who could possibly be happy about our country are ignorant, delusional or implicated. Yeah I know welcome to reality blah blah
posted by JHarris at 5:22 AM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


That's a cravenn diagram if I ever saw one.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:31 AM on July 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Who is going to open an investigation?

At the moment, I think our best hope is that Dennis Kucinich is merely the alter-ego of a crime-fighting superhero.

The Democrats?

Don't you miss the days when Republicans saw "Democrats aren't tough on crime" as a policy to change rather than one to take advantage of?
posted by roystgnr at 5:52 AM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


> At the moment, I think our best hope is that Dennis Kucinich is merely the alter-ego of a crime-fighting superhero.

Dennis Kucinich is Spider-Man
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:07 AM on July 29, 2008


Curious, but I didn't see anything regarding finance on that list. This is especially interesting as there is lots of industry chatter recently regarding lack of process / exceptions being made in certain areas that many of us working in the field believe may come back to bite these folks on the ass later.

I'll just put one example on the table (there are more, many more that I'm aware of), and note that while it presents an example of not only lax enforcement of accounting conventions and potentially the breaking of various laws, it also seems we effectively seeing a double standard in many cases (yes, CEOs have been charged for what's going on here).

So over the past year (ah, the Credit Crunch is now one year old!) we've all seen a lot in the press about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and much, much more recently because of government intervention. Fair enough, but where someone, somewhere is stepping over the line as it pertains to their balance sheets and signing off the same. Just how far over the line is a question of judgment, but its not really clear to us if an ordinary bank could effectively get away with whats going on here. And that's curious.

Specifically, GAAP accounting is pretty damn clear about how we structure balance sheets and the treatment of both assets and liabilities. Balance sheets are not art, they are not fiction, and we as an industry have agreed processes for how line items move from category to category, both in terms of magnitude and direction. This is, by definition, GAAP.

Now without going into a lot of boring accounting details we're seeing instances where fair value of various tax deferred assets (aka, "losses") for both Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac are being inflated. Also of concern - typically publicly traded entities are allowed to us such losses to offset profits. If there are no profits they must move into a category called "valuation allowances", they aren't held forever; this isn't happening for Fannie or Freddie. Both curious actions and, as some have pointed out in emails I've seen, of questionable legality.

Where this gets interesting is in the calculation of enterprise value and regulatory capital - especially the latter. As this has in the past caused confusion here on MeFi, let me just say regulatory capital doesn't mean reserves, rather we're capital discussing financial institutions must set aside to "support" positions held on balance sheet.

So by inflating the asset side and playing will nilly with the book & records, we're effectively seeing the GSEs holding much less regulatory capital than they'd otherwise have to, and in fact appearing far healthier than they are.

A specific: on March 31, 2008 Fannie Mae was 42.1% above the statutory capital requirement while Freddie Mac’s was 42.3% above the same threshold [.pdf] , in this rather challenging economic environment. Why one is rendered speechless by the business/financial acumen management of these firms presents to their peers. The GSEs are just stomping the rest of The Street, many of whom are holding on for dear life.

I sometimes wonder why these guys even bother filing their 8Ks (hint: always start with the footnotes, as that's where folks like to bury things), as these documents are rapidly approaching the utility of fiction. As in badly written, unbelievable fiction.

These details do indeed cause issues for those attempting like for like comparisons or seeking to trade on such data. Bottom line: I'd avoid any investments, both long and short in these companies as they are apparently operating as forces unto themselves, and keep in mind that if they were "normal" companies we'd probably see the CEO / CFO in jail or at least facing charges / dismissal.

Very curious they can get away with this. I'm aware of other issues in the markets they can be traced back to those currently in charge, sometimes by commission other times by omission, but I'm not going to post them here as I usually try to find ways to make money with these things. These are indeed curious times. The market fallout over the next year or so will be interesting to watch. And civil lawsuits? Lordy mercy is all I'll say, I'm sure paperwork is already being prepared.

Sidenote: this GSE opp isn't for me as I like to take large positions in thinly traded securities (liquidity is overrated, especially so when few people notice an opp), and I trade either for cash flow or relative value, and there just isn't any way for me to trade these securities.
posted by Mutant at 6:30 AM on July 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


tl;dr

downloaded the latest MCR video instead.

Trying to push this "civic obligation" poop on me... forget that, I just wanna rock and roll all nite and work a thankless job with poor benefits all day.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 7:00 AM on July 29, 2008


We should not be surprised when Bush does not pardon the players named in the Slate piece, or any of the other major players in the plague of scandals.

Even if they were to be indicted, Bush wouldn't pardon them because he believes they haven't committed any crimes. In his view it's not a crime to love America so much that you have to do the right thing regardless of all else, including the law. Bush compares the criminal lawbreaking of his staff to the civil disobedience of Rosa Parks. Look at the signing statements he issues when signing a bill into law. It's the legal equivalent of crossing your fingers.

The irony of the phrase from Vietnam, "It became necessary to destroy the villlage in order to save it" is completely lost on the Right. It's just a factual statement to them. In fact it frustrates them that the Left cannot see the obviousness of the truth of it. The Left is not willing to destroy America in order to save it, therefore the Left must not want to save America, therefore the Left wants to destroy America.

These people live in a world of infinite circular reasoning. They learn it in Church.

Remember also that Bush believes he is doing God's will. Why should people doing God's will go to jail?
posted by Xoebe at 7:39 AM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


"I expect every member of this administration to stay well within the boundaries that define legal and ethical conduct. This means avoiding even the appearance of problems." -- George W. Bush

"On the first hour of the first day, he will restore decency and integrity to the Oval Office." -- Dick Cheney

where are the sex scandals usually associated with an administration?

Well, there were all the unexplained overnight White House visits by male prostitute-cum-journalist "Jeff Gannon." By the way, Clinton getting a BJ was a major scandal, but a White House official hosting a "dominant top" didn't cause a stir.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:45 AM on July 29, 2008


Bush won't have to pardon anyone in his administration, because he knows the Democrats fear the howls of "Partisan witchhunt!" too much to do anything. I'd like to think an Obama administration would open up that can of worms, but one could argue they'll have already enough on their plate trying to shovel out the Augean Stable that they're inheriting.
posted by EarBucket at 8:30 AM on July 29, 2008


I look forward to the blanket pardon of all Republicans at the end of Bush's term.

I've actually said for a while now that I think he'll really do this.

While Bush does have a penchant for preemptive action, he can't really pardon them before they are convicted, can he? If the neither DOJ nor Congress ever brings anyone to trial, then how can he pardon them? Former presidents don't get pardon powers do they? That would be absurd.

This sets up an awesome pickle for George and Dick. Do we rush them through a show trial and pardon them real quick like? Or wait and let the Democrats hang them out to dry? Sadly, the smart money is on "neither." No trials now, nor in the next administration.
posted by scope the lobe at 8:36 AM on July 29, 2008


The fact that the Dems haven't moved to impeach - when they pretty much ran on in 2006 - tells me that they are silent co-conspirators in the rape of the American treasury. I get the sense that the administration promised Pelosi et al that they would give them the White House in 2008 IF they promised not to impeach. Now watch them play Lucy to her Charlie Brown at the last moment. The Dems are the Washington Generals to the Republicans Harlem Globetrotters.
posted by any major dude at 8:52 AM on July 29, 2008


he can't really pardon them before they are convicted, can he?

I believe he can, but he has said in the past that he wouldn't:

"I wouldn't pardon somebody who hasn't been indicted," Bush responded.

Although, that was under slightly different circumstances.
posted by quin at 8:53 AM on July 29, 2008


While Bush does have a penchant for preemptive action, he can't really pardon them before they are convicted, can he?

Pre-emptive Presidential Pardons
posted by Knappster at 8:54 AM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Remember that November morning? You know, the one after the elections when the Democrats got control of Congress? How everything was going to be different? Too bad we were just kidding ourselves.
posted by tommasz at 8:57 AM on July 29, 2008


Bush won't have to pardon anyone in his administration, because he knows the Democrats fear the howls of "Partisan witchhunt!" too much to do anything.

That's like saying Putin doesn't have to steal elections because he's popular enough to win anyway. Both statements are true but irrelevant: pardoning cronies and stealing elections are fun.
posted by languagehat at 9:00 AM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Out for only four days and already in need of an update. Even the small lead times of web magazines can't catch up with all the twists and turns of this administration's scandals.
posted by Weebot at 9:19 AM on July 29, 2008


For years I've argued that Democrats aren't pussies, but this Congress has proven me so thoroughly wrong.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:54 AM on July 29, 2008


Note to self: crimes committed on a grand enough scale aren't even considered crimes any more. Think big!

*robs every single bank in a five-county area, uses funds to bankroll mobile meth labs, starts "Free Meth For Kids & Pregnant Women" faith-based charitable initiative, sits back and awaits federal matching funds and Presidential Medal of Freedom*
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:27 AM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Dems are the Washington Generals to the Republicans Harlem Globetrotters.

I wonder if we can get the national anthem changed to "Sweet Georgia Brown" - though "Yakkity Sax" often seems more appropriate.
posted by malocchio at 10:56 AM on July 29, 2008


A graph works better than a Venn diagram when you want to display this administration's crimes.
posted by ryoshu at 11:28 AM on July 29, 2008


Damn you, Gonzales!!!!!!!!!
posted by ericbop at 11:52 AM on July 29, 2008


House Judiciary Committee Holds Historic Hearings on the Case for Impeachment
posted by homunculus at 1:00 PM on July 29, 2008


Turley: 'Pathetic' if Monica Goodling takes fall for Bush officials
posted by homunculus at 9:38 AM on July 30, 2008


Judiciary Committee approves resolution holding Rove in contempt of Congress
posted by homunculus at 10:03 AM on July 30, 2008


Only Government Can Argue in Secret Spy Court, Feds Say
posted by homunculus at 12:19 AM on July 31, 2008


Federal judge rules Bush aides can be subpoenaed
posted by homunculus at 9:40 AM on July 31, 2008


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