Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

FBI: Signs of desperation within DoJ

Just when you thought you heard every excuse, they come up with a new one.

How do bozos like this become ASAC?Here's the real hint that the FBI is scraping the barrel.

The new Assistant Special Agent in Charge [pronounced "A-Sack"] of evidence isn't someone who's an expert on evidence.

They're a budget person. Finances. Money.

But they don't spend their time focusing on finances.

They're the one the FBI puts up as the show horse at the marathon.

Drifting down the road from the City. Gambling. Running out of chips.

Read more . . .

Thursday, November 18, 2004

New Jersey targeted for prison abuse scandal -- Oscar Aviles refuses on-air interview

The abuse you didn't hear about. The man you don't want to meet. Three named-individuals have implicated officials at a New Jersey correctional facility, alleging gross and reckless conduct violated the state's prison certification standards.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Specter, having won the backing of his Republican allies, has his work cut out for him.

He might want to make an example of New Jersey's Hudson County jail acting-director Oscar Aviles.

Aviles, given the opportunity to comment for a media report, declined. He did write a lovely, but unconvincing memo.

Oh, those memos. How they come back to haunt government and corporate officials alike.

There is now every prospect the Department of Justice could be called in to formally investigate. Stay tuned.

It is a shame that these young men were apparently treated this way. It's more a shame that despite Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, domestic law enforcement still hasn't woken up to the standards of conduct both on the highway and in the correctional facilities.

Indeed, DoD and DoJ create lovely media stories. But as the facts surface, the truth will only inspire more cynicism about the motivations of this President in this "must win war."

You may win, but it will come at a high price. We do far more when we show the world by example, not exception, that we are a nation that inspires the world based on respect, the rule of law, and decency.

The US continues to ask for exceptions.


Following 9-11, DoJ increased efforts to round up aliens and detain them. Unfortunately, their treatment as less than cordial.

Three were recently cited on NPR as "case studies" of what happened in New Jersey:

  • Hemnauth Mohabir
  • Sadek Awaed
  • Fathi Ganmi

    Ref Ref Ref Ref Ref

    What's happened in New Jersey is mounting evidence that things after 9-11 got a little goofy.

    Sure, the President is an important man and we have to win this war on terror. But there's a little matter of human rights.

    Aviles' problems only mounted in March when he assumed command at the Hudson County jail after the previous director left for "medical reasons." How sad.

    Mind you, it doesn't help if an inmate has hung himself and the allegations of misconduct make the Los Angeles County Sheriff's department look like angels in the City of Police Abuse.

    New Jersey

    New Jersey isn't that far from the RNC's "Guantanamo on the Hudson." [If you're so inclined you can even look at the pictures of the barbed wire enclosures constructed indoors, magically documented by members of the public who were rounded up without probable cause and promptly freed.]

    It's understandable that New York and the local cities are a little on edge. It was only three years ago that two aircraft collided with the World Trade center. Just up the street another one crashed into the PA farmland.

    Mind you, the media is quick to ignore initial complaints of misconduct. When the media asked about the Abu Ghraib scandal in Iraq they dutifully saluted when told those reports were just rumors.

    This time NPR reporters have flown around the globe to independently capture the first hand accounts of prisoners held in US prisoners.

    The results are not pretty.

    Yet, we've also had the Abu Ghraib scandal. So what's going on--why, despite the human rights and Geneva Conventions and 42 USC 1983 are officers apparently not able to control themselves; is the threat of prosecution at the hands of DoJ so meaningless that discipline remains second priority?


    Understandably the public grows weary hearing of more allegations. They just wish the bad news would go away: "We've got a war to win, and we have the requisite skills and talent to achieve victory."

    Excellent, but for the rest of humanity that actually has to deal with the fall out, the story from New Jersey is just another reminder of how far things can drift.

    In the wake of 9-11, we had the DoJ prison abuse scandal which only gained traction after the video tapes surfaced. Faced with mounting evidence that they had lied to criminal investigators, the DoJ guards somewhat reluctantly agreed to refrain.

    With respect to the New Jersey case, the first headline might have read, "Alleged drug runners get little sympathy even if DHS or local law enforcement allegedly abuses them while in confinement." But let's not be so negative.

    On the other hand, the US Military also had the same reaction when the press asked questions about the "rumors" of Abu Ghraib torture, which proved true and the guilty were sentenced at a courts martial for war crimes.

    Yet, the initial reaction to DHS detainees who use drugs and are abused is:

  • "So what";
  • "They were from the drug culture,"
  • "They got what they deserved"
  • "Now, they'll know not to mess with drugs."

    Here's one headline that will not get much traction: "DHS: Allegations of detainee abuse and beatings".Ref

    2003 publication of this situation, and One mentions the article.

    It is noteworthy that the details of the events are independently corroborated by individuals thousands of miles apart.

    Note, the investigation is still pending. We know how "investigations" are done -- they'll do a whitewash if they can get away with it.

    Yes, law enforcement officers are unreliable in that they lie all the time; and will do what they can to shift the attention and burden to the public. Ref Ref

    42 USC 1983 claims are explained away all the time on the basis of "lack of evidence." I'm not clear that detainees necessarily are afforded the right to an attorney nor allowed to have cameras; yet this did not stop the convictions at Abu Ghraib.

    The lesson of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo is the United States law enforcement community will take the law into their own hands, do "what it has to" when serving a national objective of "advancing freedom."

    If you want to know more about about fabricated evidence within the Customs, now DHS: Law enforcement files are destroyed, back dated, and adjusted to fit the story.

    It remains to be seen whether the Certified Fraud Examiners [CFE] can determine the actual date the report was filed in the "incident log" or whether it was retroactively inserted to justify what was done.

    Prosecution considerations

    I'm inclined to take the "ongoing investigation" by IAD as a sign that the situation warrants attention. I am less inclined to believe the merits of the letter from the Acting Chief.

    The fact that the prosecutor did not decline the case is noteworthy; and it is compelling that the prosecutor is still looking into the matter.


    Based on the independent corroboration and the unpersuasive letter from law enforcement, in my opinion the situation warrants further review by DoJ OPR.

    It remains to be seen whether DoJ OPR is called in on this one. Until we have a new Senate Judiciary Chairman and new AG, not much prospect OPR is going to get its act together and take action.

    Discovery, Media Interviews

    Former director Ralph Green, (856) 742-9164, 503 Essex St, Gloucester City, NJ 08030

    Oscar Aviles took over in Mar 2004.

    Read more . . .

  • Ridge resignation: There were rumblings before the election

    Okay, okay, so he hasn't actually resigned. But he sure was making some hints with people before the election.

    Read more . . .

    Tuesday, November 16, 2004

    Space elevator: Cautionary thoughts

    The theories are in outer orbit. Ref With all the political excitement ebbing, a few days ago I found myself wondering, "What would be more interesting to think about."

    I recalled the space elevator, but thought "who's going to want to think about that."

    I made a couple of notes and tucked them away thinking, "Maybe one day I'll mention this." Well, with the above link .... I thought I'd share them now.

    Mechanism to move the elevator

    There are a couple of things that I hope people have thought about. When creating a space elevator need to make sure really consider the weight of the cables.

    I'm not suggesting that "the right answer" involves what I'm concerned about. Rather, I'm suggesting there's perhaps an obvious problem that has yet to be explained.

    Cables Let's be specific. Elevators have cables. Those cables, as they pull something up, have to go somewhere. Sometimes the cables get wrapped around things and stay at the top; other times, the cables using a counter-balance simply fall down the other side.

    Brilliant. Small problem. With a space elevator going up to 60,000 miles [or whatever number you want to use], that's alot of cable.

    Design considerations

    A library architect neglected to include the weight of the books in the building design.

    It remains to be understood how much the entire cable assembly will weigh. Recall that breaking is not simply a function of speed [which may be low to accommodate passengers], but the force required to counter-act momentum of 60,000 miles of cable moving at 1G. That's alot of energy.

    Some might suggest that there's no need for cables as there will be "anti-gravity technology." Brilliant. Then if that exists, there's no reason to have a space elevator then is there.

    In other words, the space elevator "no reason for cables argument" could be premised on the assumption of technology, if it existed, that would negate the reason for having the space elevator.

    Housing Space The "right answer" is to explain: Where is the cable going to be stored; how will it physically move up the space elevator, and where does the "leftover cable" after dragging "whatever they're pulling up" actually end up.

    Breaking The other problem is decent. Think back to your days of bike-riding. Remember those annoying little reverse pedals on tricycles? They worked.

    But the advancing technology meant that you could use rubberized brakes for far more effective breaking at high speeds. Breaking means control.

    Think about a space elevator that is "on the way back down." It's all well and good to talk about "getting up there", but the return trip is going to be a challenge.

    As the platform returns to earth, something has to control the speed, otherwise you're talking something that is going to reach terminal velocity of something far higher than I'm willing to calculate.

    Regardless the actual speed, the only way to slow it down is to dissipate that heat using something. But it's not a one-time break. Each time you "release the breaks" to let the object continue its descent, you have to start breaking again.

    Heat The key question becomes: What happens to the heat, how is it dissipated, and what physical mechanism is going to be used to actually slow the returning elevator.

    You can't move something for free. Can't simply "use a counterbalance" to lift something as that "whatever counterbalance you use" has to be controlled, cannot be left to simply fall without control, and again the heat-dissipation has to be handled.

    Transfer points Let's consider the length of the cable for the moment. Suppose it is physically possible to create a single 60,000 mile cable. Do you propose making it in one piece; and what of the repairs?

    However, if the option is going to be, "We'll use multiple transfer points" and "multiple channels" and "the cable will not have to be that large," great: Tell me how many intermediate levels are needed; and how wide the elevator shafts are going to be to allow this.

    Recall the World Trade Center. There were many shafts for elevators. This space elevator, if it has multiple shafts, is going to physically have to be wide enough to hold that many shafts. I'm not clear that there's been a clear explanation or understanding of what is physically required [space -wise] to allow this many transfers.

    Sure, we may have the technology to do it, but the time to think about the physical space is now not assume its going to get solved. We can only go with what we have, not with "what will be in the future."

    Acceleration Let's suppose there is an alternative "acceleration system" related to anti-gravity; or something using magnets. How big does the "anti-gravity-apparatus" have to be to adjust gravity; where do you physically put this object; how do you get it there.

    My thought is that "suppose there is a way to move the elevator inside the shaft" using something other than cables, that "whatever it is" is going to have to be maintained, housed, and in a position to be repaired. That takes up space. At worst, that "machine that creates anti-gravity" has to be physically moved up into space, and plopped on top of the space elevator.

    Do we propose using "something that doesn't exist at the top" to create the object and pillar below? That's analogous to saying in the 1700s that we're going to have a technical interchange meeting to discuss railroads; and we'll meet at the airport."

    Summary Before we spend alot of money seriously developing this space elevator, I'd like some quick estimates from credible independent engineers on the heat that will be dissipated; the physical size of the breaking system to slow that elevator down; and the feasibility of moving a cable 60,000 miles long; or what alternative transfer-mechanisms are required to ensure that the cable is shorter.

    I'm all for the idea of "modern technology" but let's not get so caught up in the idea of a "cheap and easy way to space" without thinking about the basics: Heat, physical spaces to store the cables, and the physical mechanism to transfer between various levels.

    It might be possible, but explain it to me in terms that address the basics. Until then, it remains simply science fiction. It remains to be seen how many consultants are on the gravy train on this one.

    Update: 22 Aug 2005

    Google has announced plans to issue stock to raise funding for a space elevator.

    One solution to the "massive heat build-up" in the space elevator is to use a series of airlocks.

    By removing air from the upper regions, airpressure could be used to push the space elevator up into space.

    The problem is going to be to figure out how to get the elevator back down to earth.

    Read more . . .

    New DoJ Attorney General -- Newsweek runs piece on Gonzalez's torture and war crimes memos

    What took them so long? Ref. No suprise. Ref

    Read more . . .

    White House miscalculates at CIA

    Bungled moves by a bungling President. Now they're writing about it. The White House has stirred up the wrong hornets nest. The last thing someone wants to do is to excite those most in the know.

    CIA's "Anonymous" agents have published books. They are now resigning.

    These authors have proven track records of publishing. They are established writers.

    These authors know the issues are not matters of national security, but criminal law.

    Read more . . .

    WH Strategy to delay special prosecutor

    White House shell game. Who do you trust? That depends on the day of the week.

    Just don't ask to see the calendar. The White House knows there is a problem. CIA agents outside their immediate control have the necessary information to show the President was aware of information about war crimes, but failed to act.

    Note carefully the change in tone coming from the White House. Immediately in the wake of 9-11, the President and Secretary of Defense first called for Tenet.

    The experts within the community were those who knew what was going on with AlQueda.

    Following 9-11, the President was briefed daily on developments. The agents who were most knowledgeable of the enemy commanded great respect.

    Suddenly after the election their political capital is gone. These agents are no longer to be trusted.

    What has changed? The White House simply knows that in the vacuum of "not having a CIA IG report to point to" it's open hunting season on those agents who are best positioned to contradict the President.

    The White House strategy at this point is to smear those agents they had previously recognized as experts. Despite those repetitive briefings on the threats, there was not a peep from the White House.

    All this time, yet why wasn't something said earlier; and why should we believe now, three years after 9-11, that the "real problem" is with the CIA?

    These agents know where the evidence is located that will link the White House to war crimes.

    But it doesn't stop there. The Congressional Committees overseeing DoD, the Inspector Generals, and the other cast of characters in this mess, also have some explaining to do.

    That's why the confirmation hearings and oversight are going to be illusory. The Senate knows if it digs too deep, the problem simply won't stick to the President. But also the individual Senators for failing to act despite being in a position to do something about it: Shut down funding, hearings, and those very thorough Senate staffer visits.

    The President and Vice President hope to prevent the NSA and CIA from giving information received from overseas sources to the FBI and Special Counsel.

    It remains to be seen whether the FBI can move faster than the White House; and whether the FBI allies in foreign intelligence and law enforcement can reveal this information before the White House blocks them.

    Read more . . .

    CIA agents advised on legal rights

    They should say that to the President! CIA agents have privately discussed their legal options without outside counsel. Some have asked, "What information does the special counsel and outside investigator need."

    Litigators and outside investigators have already provided the laundry list.

    Here's what they're looking for, inter alia:

    - Which computer systems the information is housed; type of system; software; server; hardware specifications

    - Names of contractosr who create the softare aggregators which include the data streams from the NSA and NRO intercepts. Investigators anticipate that other nations have discussed the information and have independenly verified the claims.

    - Types of information in the data sets;

    - File numbers and identifying ifnormation;

    - Storage ocation of the data, physical buildings; country; and points of contact with control;

    - Collection data; Universal Time Clock; and copies of the data dictionary.

    Read more . . .

    WH targets agents linking DC to war crimes

    CIA agents knew the White is linked to war crimes. They also know where to point the FBI agents and special counsel. They know where the information is stored. At home and overseas.

    CIA agents also know ho to get access to the information, what to ask for, and what specific questions and words need to be included to target the litigation discovery.

    Nothing is stopping the CIA agents now targeted from providing the information to the GAO in re War Crimes.

    Read more . . .

    DoD spins war crimes at GITMO

    A rush to judgement. A rush to tyranny.

    What went wrong at Guantanamo, and why the victory celebration was short sighted. The word on the street is DoD thinks its out of the woodshed, convincing sixteen foreign delegations and Congressional staffers that things were going well at GITMO.

    Not so fast.

    Guantanamo Bay, or GITMO as the military calls it, is only 90 miles from Florida. It is not in a distant place.

    GITMO is fairly well managed under US laws. It's not some out of control place where the management is loose, or the conditions are out of control.

    Everything at GITMO is carefully regulated. Most importantly, the US maintains an aggressive law enforcement program on the base.

    Vehicles are required to be registered. Abandoned cars are impounded. Their VIN numbers are logged into the databases.

    Also, GITMO has military families. School children attend classes. There are regular graduation ceremonies. Union members can bring grievances to the personnel department.

    Indeed, US laws apply on GITMO. That means that US Treaty obligations also apply.

    This is contrary to what White House counsel Gonzalez argued. GITMO has always been under exclusive US control with US laws.

    That fiction is the President didn't know. In fact, he was briefed in 2002 what was going on and failed to act.

    That failure is what brought down the Japanese Cabinet at the Tokyo War Crimes trial--their failure to stop something they were in a position to stop.

    DoD hopes to paint the "allegations the White House failed to act despite reports of war crimes in Guantanamo" as some sort of minor aberration.

    Their plan was to paint Guantanamo as some "far removed" place which commanders has no knowledge of the details.

    Next time DoD tries to pain the picture that GITMO is one of those places where US laws don't apply, think twice. DoD is asking you to believe in fiction.

    DoD is doing this to protect the President from a criminal trial, not preserve national security.

    Read more . . .

    White House spins the Powell departure

    This week Secretary of State Powell submitted his resignation. There was a curious change in language, not to be missed.

    Powell for months had been dogged with questions about his departure, to which he dutifully responded, "I serve at the Pleasure of the President."

    This week, the tune changed. No longer was Powell simply serving at the pleasure of the President, but Powell now says that the discussion had been well known and it was a matter of timing.

    Indeed, Powell went so far as to suggest that the President and he both knew they he was going to leave, but it was only a matter of timing.

    But the spinning didn't stop there. Powell backtracked on his previous statements to the press when he said, contrary to his earlier statements, that the President and he both agreed some time ago that the timing was right after the election.

    It is surprising that despite the loyalty, Powell suddenly shifted his tune no longer saying "at the pleasure" but that it was "well known" he would only serve one turn.

    What's going on?

    Powell as former JCS Chief of Staff knows there's more than a scandal brewing. The President is well aware of Powell's embarrassment before the UN.

    The President though the Office of Special Plans doctored information which was used to start the nation on an unlawful war in Iraq. There was no WMD, yet the OSP reported this information which Powell presented.

    What's changed this week is the new information about the WMD. Powell's' deputy reportedly said that when Powell appeared before the UN Security Council that there was "more" information that was not disclosed.

    This is absurd. If there had actually been information that was "not disclosed"," why mention it now? We still have no WMD.

    It is ridiculous to now suggest that we knowingly launched a war without full support because we "failed to provide all the needed information." Furthermore, it is absurd at this juncture to suggest that Powell's appearance before the Security Council "didn't have all the information" because we wanted to have the "case for war" rejected.

    At best, Powell knows the information was fabricated. At worst, Powell is simply looking for the right time to talk to the Special counsel.

    What's actually going on is the President knowing that Powell is outraged and humiliated is hoping to let the "man in the know" bow out gracefully.

    The last thing the President needs is for Powell to go directly to the Special Counsel and provide details that contradict the President's version of events about what was known prior to invading Iraq and what information the President was given from overseas intelligence sources about 9-11.

    Powell has this information.

    Read more . . .

    Ridge resignation linked brewing scandals, inadequate resources, failed vision

    Quick tip Kleinman's mistreatment in US Customs shows there are many problems relative to this criteria. It is no wonder agents are looking for new positions outside DC and want transfers to Russia.


    Think of the Ridge resignation as part of the wider White House's strategy to target those in the know.

    The White House can ill-afford to have the brewing DHS scandals turn into the needed excuse for the Congress to appoint a special counsel to find the facts in the DHS basement.

    The President asked for Ridge's resignation because the White House needs better damage control to hide evidence of White House links to war crimes which both DoJ's JTTF and DHS intelligence centers can provide to a special prosecutor.

    Don't be fooled by the simple explanation that, despite 9-11, Tom Ridge resigned as leader of Department of Homeland Security because, the resources and talent were far less than the requirements. But that's only the tip of the iceberg.

    DHS has an entrenched, diseased culture which needs not simply new leadership, but more effective Congressional oversight. DHS has been plagued by a series of infighting, whistleblower allegations, and corruption scandals dating back years. Ridge did nothing substantive to change the downward descent.

    Indeed, Ridge's legacy will be marked by mediocrity. He also faced the task of leading a poorly defined agency, with inadequate resources and an entrenched management system that proved glacial and unresponsive.

    Wanting Congressional oversight DHS doesn't need just a new leader. It needs a complete overhaul. Rest assured, Congress is not up to the job.

    Senators Richard Shelby, Charles Grassley, Joseph Lieberman led largely ineffectual probes into DHS scandals. Senator Grassley had called for a special counsel into the Kleiman scandal.

    9-11: Not the catalyst for change We might have though things were turning around post 9-11. Under Ridge, simple things like consular cards were never adequately targeted to combat corruption.Ref

    Ridge had such a contempt for the constitution that he did little to challenge repeated DoD incursions into programs once under the exclusive control of domestic law enforcement. Ref We can thank the DHS Legal Counsel for failing to act.

    Pervasive Corruption Corruption remains pervasive within Customs, despite the corruption-battle getting "high priority" in the 1990s. Ref

    The scandals brewing within DHS were largely glossed over for "lack of evidence." Ref Ref It's clear that the evidence has proven too overwhelming for even the masterful Ridge to make go away.

    Yet, there is mounting evidence of pervasive corruption at the highest levels of DHS management. Diane Kleiman, has a civil rights lawsuit pending against the government in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn. Ref Two other Senators also had asked for information about the scandal. Ref

    Kleinman alleged that her boss, Thomas Flood, told her to "Shut up" about the evidence destruction. Ref

    Kleiman was sent to psychiatric care because she dared reveal senior managers in the New York Customs office were destroying evidence. Kleiman had kept copies of her personnel performance evaluations, which DHS senior management then changed and falsified. 2002 culture inside DHS has not changed, and an internal investigation within DHS has corroborated Kleinman's allegations that evidence was destroyed. Ref

    Finances Also, under Ridge the finances got a real shredding. McNamara spoke eloquently about financial controls. Such a shame DHS didn't seem to be able to allocate the funding when it was needed.

    Sure, the budget authority increased substantially, but don't take that as evidence of effective management. Need to look at results.

    Post 9-11, the priority was "supposed" to be on better management of information. Indeed, when Ridge announced last year the appointment of Amit Yoran he outlined lofty goals and a daunting task.

    Yet by 2004, Yoran resigned citing ineffective support for the department's information technology needs.

    DHS has gutted the experience within its rank. In the 1990s, management they was "so concerned" about problems that they cut manning by 1/3. Ref To learn more about ineffective budget priorities within DHS, talk to John McNamara and Andy Maner. Ref

    Program management. Another sign of ineffective planning and resources was the consistent inability to meet program milestones. For example, in a public report issued in April 2004 milestones identified as being "on track" for completion in September, but had to be slipped to December 2004. Ref

    The problem wasn't simply a failure to allocate funding and resources. The department was so worried about audits that overreacted when a photographer took pictures of a bridge.

    Compromised investigations Customs has always been one to twist the evidence to match the "priority of the week." Post 9-11, even the most benign offenses like cash smuggling, previously "evidence" of drug courier activity, suddenly shifted as "proof" of terrorism.Ref

    The situation got so precarious when DHS undercover agents got "too close" to Senior government officials, that an undercover agent's identity was revealed. Ref

    Operation Firestorm was an example of Treasury IG agents getting blocked when they got too close. Ref Special Agent Juhasz was involved.

    Compromised DHS auditors The DHS internal auditors were also investigated by the US Senate. Confidential DHS intelligence data was sold to drug dealers.

    Section 8 of this guide applies to DHS. Ref The auditors have some explaining to do: Why the cursory audits; and the failure to go back and verify management statements in response to inquiry letters were supported by bonafide results and information.

    The Senate called for an investigation into allegations that the DHS IG was giving advance notice to internal affairs during auditsRef; and that internal affairs personnel along the Mexico-US border were allowing drug smugglers through in exchange for sizeable bribes.Ref Ref

    The President has four years to hide the evidence. Rest assured Tom Ridge knows where the skeletons are.

    Read more . . .

    Monday, November 15, 2004

    Emergency CIA Meeting

    Scapegoats welcome.

    Read more . . .

    Saturday, November 13, 2004

    Computers didn't stop 9-11 -- Reality hasn't sunk in

    Great, spend more money. What did it do during 9-11? We had amazing overseas data coming in telling us there was a problem.

    We didn't listen.

    DoD proposes spending vast sums of money to field the computer.


    Why should we believe DoD is going to manage that information adequately?

    And if someone like Sibel Edmonds points out a flaw in the system, is anyone going to listen?

    That's right. Buy more computers. Win wars.

    What has it done about Osama? Big computers aren't stopping him. Unless you promise physically dumping the datalines on top of him.

    Learn the lessons of Pearl Harbor. HUMINT is important.

    Consider how much money will "not be spent on HUMINT" with the higher cost and investment in the computers.

    Sure, go ahead. Build the network. But we're still waiting for an explanation "why 9-11 happened."

    Remember, we had the internet in 2001. We have enough computers and technology to win wars, just not enough to stop the "excuse to start one" nor the ability to win the hearts and minds.

    Great planning. Inspiring leadership. Get real.

    Read more . . .

    We speak of ships, but you point to the heavens saying, "Paradise"


    An old man, brave soul he
    With many a tale of you and me
    Grumbling, waving at distant ships
    Set sailing across the sea,
    He spoke of ferocious sea battles;
    Tears slowly trickled down his face.

    To which, the mistaken crowd
    Thought he was talking of death
    Then reassured him saying
    "You will go to heaven."

    Nay, he spoke of the time
    When he was a great Captain
    Then promoted to an Admiral.
    He missed the fighting days
    Times when he was In Command
    Truly having an impact on the lives
    Of real men, real sailors, true warriors.

    He stood up. Surveyed the land, sea, and sky.
    He stood proud for all to see.
    This was the nation he fought for
    All he stood for made him free.

    Key point

    Ships are not the same as Heaven.
    Nor is the sky the same as the sea.

    When we point, be careful what we are pointing at.
    But the audience also has the responsibility
    To know what is being pointed at
    And what is not.

    Precision is the Hallmark of communication.

    Insecurity, fear, and excessive control
    Are signs of a system that is well beyond its own shores.

    Trademarks protection

    Does a firm lose it's trademark and appeal as a brand when it uses "the incorrect term" in its URL when referring to itself in the incorrect manner?

    When a company has a logo with a distinct name, but then uses the "wrong word" to describe itself, does the company look foolish?

    If a firm compels the world to use "a specific term in re the company" [even though the object of the discussion has nothing to do with the company as an entity... is that unreasonable, irresponsible and overbroad?

    We leave it to history to decide, but we are persuaded that the answer is affirmative.

    Companies have the right to protect their brands; and the consumer also has the right to free speech.

    We can discuss "things" in a public forum; and when companies are confused, and their officers do not understand something, it is not the job of the public to assent to "those arbitrary wishes."

    Rather, we can use the generic name when talking about a specific product; and we can also use the world "goat" if we want to communicate a type of four-legged creature. But do not mistake the product for the company or its employees; nor confuse the "four legged creature" as evidence that the creature, actually a goat, is a buffalo.

    Further, the public may not be compelled to refer to a specific object, when that object of discussion is not the object, but something else.

    The world "does not have to use a specific term" when the object of the discussion has nothing to do with the company, but a generic idea or concept.

    A product is not the same as a company; nor is a brand the same as a word. If I speak of lemons, I do not mean oranges; and when I say "sky" I am not talking about Paradise in heaven.

    If you would like the world to "use words" then at least have the courtesy to demonstrate you are going to comply with that requirement.

    If you want me to refer to you in a specific way, then refer to yourself in that way as well. If you want the word "rock" placed prominently when discussing your company, then put "rock" on your images, and in your URLs, and on your websites, and in your links.

    But when you compel other to use "rock" when referring to "something other than your company", then you look doubly foolish.

    Indeed, it is ridiculous for the company to show its absurdity and "great protection" of what is not theirs to protect. We have the right to speak, or not speak, of things.

    If you choose to confuse the two, that is your problem. Not mine.

    If we point to the sky, we are not talking about Mother Earth. If we point to a car on the road, we not talking about sailing.

    Your error is to confuse the two. Your problem is to mistake the discussion and not understand.

    Your error was to inject yourself into a discussion.

    Alas, you have comment. Thus, you open the can of worms. Opened the door. Started something that you were not prepared to start.

    When we point to a car, do not tell us that we have to use the word "yacht"; or that when we point to a run down, broken house that we should refer to the people by a specific name.

    One is a house. The other is a person. A house is not a person. Nor is a person a house.

    Yet, this is the nature of things. In this universe we are asked to believe a fiction; that the house is a goat; that the sea is the sky.

    Enjoy your fantasy. Enjoy your delusion. It remains unclear to what extent your delusion bleeds into other things; how easily you confuse the simple with the complex.

    Indeed, they can't take care of simple things; so why believe they can handle something more difficult.

    Alas, the SAS99 indicator. The basis for increasing audit scope. The chance to have an few extra minutes reviewing the working papers. Thank you so much for the reasonable basis to make an additional inquiry on that special information from the whistleblower.

    If we wanted to talk about the people, we'd talk about them; but in this case, we're not talking about people, we're talking about a house.

    What else do you confuse; what else gets misunderstood; what other extraordinary sensitivity do we hear over issues unrelated to law, yet the basis for the statement completely at odds with the original message?

    If those who have a broken house choose to take offense that "someone is talking about a house that is in plain view" -- we are sorry that you are insecure. It is unfortunate that some when their house is spoken of or the color of their mailbox is referred to, treat the remark as if they, themselves, are being referred to.

    You are not a house. You are not a mailbox. Some want you to believe you are. But if your mailbox sways in the wind, is that you swaying?

    If your house is chipping away and needs more paint, is that you that needs more paint?

    What is more amusing is when the people's house is indistinguishable from their own identify; in that, when someone is talking about their house, they come back and say, "If you are going to talk about us, you should refer to us as the Jones."

    Hay, your house doesn't have a name; you do.

    If you want to talk about yourselves, feel free. If you are having trouble differentiating between yourself and your house, my hats off to you.

    You were able to get up today. Some who make such an error have greater difficulties. But you are a grand creature. Full of public acclaim. Stature.

    So if you want to wake up and realize that the world can have a conversation about specific terms, we might have a conversation.

    At this juncture, it's clear that when someone has a problem and they haven't taken care of it, the real issue isn't to throw it back on others' laps and compel them to "say it the way it isn't."

    No, if we truly wanted to talk about you, you wouldn't know it.

    So, if you want "your house" to be called by "your name", then feel free to change the sign on "your house" to "your name."

    Right now, your house says, "house" but you are asking me to call it what you, yourself have not labeled it: Jones.

    You are not your house; and your house is not named "Jones."

    You labeled it "house" and want me to call it "Jones." Why the inconsistency? Why the double standard?

    Why are you proposing that others "when they choose to speak of yachts, be compelled to speak of the sun, sky, and moon?"

    Last time I checked, the only yachts that sailed the skies were in Treasure Planet.

    Here's a hint. You can't really do that. They don't fly like that. Those big boats are called yachts, not sky-sailing ships; and they move through the water.

    So, if you want me to call you something, use the name on your images; and if you want me to use specific terms, use those terms on your website; if you want specific labels associated with your product include those in your url.

    But when you provide inconsistent messages on the names you use; and your images are called something "other than" what you compel others to look foolish.

    If you want me to "talk about a topic" then invite me to join. But do not display your stupidity by compelling me to "talk of a specific thing" when I'm not talking about that. You are.

    How often do you talk about subjects unrelated to the original point? Ah, but it is not our job to make sure you understand. It is your job. To which you failed.

    Can't do the simple thing; no prospect you're going to be able to do something more difficult.

    Clearly, we're not communicating. And clearly, you have missed the point.

    Congratulations. And you wonder why people who work for you are unwilling to use favorable terms about you; why you must go to extraordinary lengths to promote yourself when you actions are not consistent with what you truly are trying to do.

    Don't worry, those whispers behind your back are not really about you. They do not dare share with you their real awe. They are silent because they love you; they grovel in silence at every word you use.

    They say nothing resembling a cartoon character behind your back. They are not scheming to take your job while you are preparing for the marathon. Don't worry, the designs are safe. The colors are correct. That advice you got, you can trust it.

    If you want to be known as the Jones, the put that up on your house.

    If I choose to talk about "your house" I'm still going to call it a "house," and not be fooled into believing that "your house" is called something other than what it is.

    Here's a summary for those who missed it

    If you want to lecture the world about "what to talk about" when referring to your company name, then at least have the courtesy to consistently use "that name" in all situations.

    Further, if you have a conversation on "a topic" make sure that "the remark" is related to "the topic."

    If you have a website with a URL in it that uses a name that doesn't match 'the name" you want others to use, you look foolish.

    If you have images on your website that use names that are "not what you want to be called" you only have yourself to blame for the trademark dilution.

    Your job is to be consistent; it is not the job of the public to fix your mess, point out your errors, not remind you of your responsibility to first do that which you compel others.

    But that is not enough. You also have to be reminded to make sure that the lecture you give is related to the subject [Strike 1]; and not so arrogant that you then compel the world to assent to a standard that you do not met [strike 2]; only to show that you are making comments unrelated to the original issue [strike 3].

    Three strikes. You're out. Don't have time for your non-sense.

    Once you afford yourself the "special immunity" do not dare to compel anyone to assent to such an arbitrary standard. Yet, the fact that you have made so many strikes in such a short time is indicative that you will continue to do more if afforded the same amount of time.

    The time has been exhausted. You have exceed the time limit. Your error.

    Not mine.

    Bluntly, if you want the world to grovel at your website and compel them to "talk in specific terms" [even though you do not realize they are talking about something else], don't be surprised why you lose public standing, or a loss of good will.

    This is why companies go bankrupt. Why they lose the ability to raise capital. Why the free markets can pulverize what was once a company of fine standing.

    The smallest thing can say much about the prospects, foundation, and credibility of the firm, its officers, and its leaders.

    The smallest thing says much. The trick, is to notice the sign well before the decision to freely engage in commerce.

    Congratulations, you took the bait. And communicated much without realizing it.

    May your future financial instability reflect the tenuous thinking between your ears. I'm sure you'll have nothing to worry about. As your well entrenched habit is clearly this long been uncorrected.

    Don't worry. Miracles happen. You'll be just fine. Nobody notices. You're excellent.

    Read more . . .

    Misrepresentations: Can corporations compel you to use certain terms?

    It's unclear that any corporation can compel you to use a term when referring to a generic thing.

    If we are to speak of specific things, we could be requested to use a name; but the responsibility for enforcing the trademark falls upon the firm to consistently use the term in a manner that is clear and consistent.

    We dissect the caselaw.

    The issue of corporate control of free speech


    Surely a command that the government itself shall not impede the free flow of ideas does not afford non-governmental combinations a refuge if they impose restraints upon that constitutionally guaranteed freedom. Ref

    In other words, you cannot compel me to use a "specific term" when I am not talking about a company, but a generic object.


    Misrepresentations, condoned in the political arena, are not immunized when used in the adjudicatory process. Opponents before agencies or courts often think poorly of the other's tactics, motions, or defenses and may readily call them baseless. One claim, which a court or agency may think baseless, may go unnoticed; but a pattern of baseless, repetitive claims may emerge which leads the factfinder to conclude that the administrative and judicial processes have been abused.

    Does one always have the right to argue "the wrong point" in order to compel someone to speak in a certain manner, or to refer to nebulous objectives in certain ways?

    Nay, for a free nation, doth give free men, the power to entice the fly with butter, while calling it honey and lead a nation in errant disregard for truth;

    But a far larger corporation doth not lend its credibility when it twists honey into sand; or dust into wind.

    If the manicure to which you stand upon is truly a shield and a spear, then behold -- you must use that spear and shield, never shirking in the wake.

    I speak of the moon, but you compel me to use the name of the Almighty;

    I whisper of the Sea, and you compel me to speak of Atlantis;

    I point to the sky; and you dare accuse me of not submitting to the Holy Sun.

    I shall not bow down to the moon, nor dream of ancient seas, nor submit to the empty sky.

    Indeed, if those truly are your monicres, then let yourself bow down only to those words who compel others to use; and you are, by your own standard, required and compelled to use the term.

    You must when speaking of Godly things, say the God.

    When you whisper of a shuttle, you must only use Atlantis.

    And when you speak of the sunday school, you must use the words Holy Sunday school.

    So, do not put words into my mouth; nor compel me to assent to vernacular and twists of the tongue which have no meaning to me.

    Indeed, if you truly wish the world to use the "correct term" at least have the decency in your images, logos, and labels to clearly stated that any and all uses of this object are to be done only in the following manner.

    And, to wit, you should also ensure that all images, photos words, that you have displayed also use your complete images, word, etc.

    Do not compel the world to use a phrase that you, yourself are not willing to use as you have commanded others.

    If you compel others to use "the full version of the phrase" then you must also meet that standard; but if you choose to give yourself liberties and exceptions, then there is no reason that the rest of the world should be compelled to use a word that you have not consistently used yourself.

    This is to say, if you are going to twist the words of anyone, then do not be surprised when you are held to the standard that you impose on others and then asked for an explanation.

    Read more . . .

    Friday, November 12, 2004

    800+ Page CIA IG report -- The insiders are fighting and resigning


    Now we find out that it's much worse than we've been led to believe.

    This week the latest "trick of the CIA" is to blame personalities for the confrontations.

    Don't be fooled. The real problem is that CIA IG has pointed the finger at senior agency personnel and others in the intelligence community that raises serious integrity questions.

    Not just in terms of statutes and honesty, but the amount of time personnel have known about problems, failed to act, and refused to effectively manage the agency.

    There have been up to 90-terminations within the CIA, and the resignations are only a symptom of a bigger problem: Lack of leadership, lack of accountability, and lack of integrity to those we "give a special vote of trust" in the form of high salaries and the "privilege" to access sensitive information.

    Folks, this intelligence business is not new. So, please tell us, "Why despite all this work after the 1947 Security Act" did so much fail in re HUMINT; and why "all that time spending scarce resources [Lives] developing sources in the cold war, only to squander the peace?"

    It's called a leadership problem.

    And what's needed is a better articulation of where this country wants to go. A top-down vision.

    And then approach the solution from the bottom up: How are we going to support that national objective that is consistent with the constitution?

    One player you need not bother consulting: DoJ's Ashcroft. He has no clue what the constitution or system of checks and balances are.

    Read more . . .

    Ashcroft says checks and balances irrelevant

    Ashcroft, you are irrelevant!

    How long has this man been sitting in the highest position in DoJ, and had no clue about the constitutional system of checks and balances?

    How many other people in DoJ are like minded, looking for an excuse to mislead the courts to arrive at "decisions that the President wants, and are contrary to public policy, the constitution?

    How many issues of "national security" are being thrown around to justify deferring to the President over matters that all three branches constitutionally have input and responsibility to jointly be responsible.

    But lets not stop there. A war crime occurs when there is not only an act, but a failure of the President and those charged with oversight in special positions of leadership [As Mr Ashcroft is], to take action to stop that action from occurring.

    The Attorney General's statement shows that despite questions over the 2002-3 White House memos, there remains a disdain within the White House for the rule of law, constitution.

    I call on the Congress to consider whether or not there has been a ruse by the President in issuing those "Geneva convention applies". If the President truly wanted to make sure "Geneva applied," there "should have been" swift action to ensure that his "memo" was enforced.

    Yet, almost 2 years "later," we are led to believe "this is isolated."

    On the contrary! It's been two years, and now we finally hear "the real story" -- how much disdain there is for the courts, the "other branches" and the system of checks and balances.

    Indeed, Ashcroft's statements should be taken for what they are: Indicative of what this nation's highest officers actually say and do when confronted with allegations of war crimes, misconduct, or actions that are contrary to public policy and the rule of law.

    The Congressional Committees have the duty to make sure there is no "climate of tolerance" which sends a green light to abuses, or unlawful acts.

    Yet, in his own words, the Attorney General, like those who have served other nations in war time, shows a cavalier attitude toward the system of checks and balances.

    This is the system this nation fights for overseas, the reason we engage in combat, these are the principles we are fighting for.

    There is no higher calling.

    Attorney General Ashcroft once again showed his disdain for the constitutional system of checks and balances.

    The last thing a sitting judge needs to hear is that "his independent judgment" is going to face the wrath of the Attorney General or President.

    I call on the American Bar Association to formally rebuke Ascroft's comments; and ask that the Judicial councils in each state formally state their opposition to such comments.

    This is not a political matter. This is a matter of checks and balances. And I invite the Acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to include at the earliest possible time a statement that formally challenges this highly aggressive comment by the Attorney General.

    It remains to be seen whether the various "watch dog" organizations can find the right plaintiff to bring a case to court in re Ashcroft to swiftly ensure that this "man in charge" in DoJ faces some rebukes.

    Rather than us waiting around for three years as we did in re Guantanammo, why not get the ABA to work with the Federal District Courts and fast-track a complaint against Ashcroft to ensure that there's an adequate, complete, thorough review of any facts and cases related to this development so that the public might enjoy a reiteration by the courts in re "what this system is all about."

    It is troubling that despite having a clearly outlined system of checks and balances, the President's "main man" in the DoJ is making these kind of comments. Why should we believe that the officers under DoJ, its attorneys, or those working on JTTF or are in local law enforcement are going to seriously deal with this reality of system of checks and balances.

    Clearly, the "man in charge" of DoJ is touting himself as "knowing better" than the ABA, and all the others who have sworn an oath to this system of checks and balances.

    This is outrageous!

    Let's hope during the confirmation hearings that there's some serious probing into Gonzalez' discussions with Ashcroft over these public statements.

    Recall, the Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib memos were not created in a vacuum.

    If people within the White House really have this much disdain for the system of checks and balances, I'd like to have a straight story presented to the Senate Judiciary Committee for all to see.

    I am less concerned with the "real attitude" than I am with the fiction going on: That officers sown to preserve the constitution, and its system of checks and balances are going to respect that system not deride it.

    I take it as a serious charge that anyone in the White House is going to use a "resigning attorney general" as the mouth piece for the real disdain this President, appears, has for the constitution.

    I am especially disheartened to hear these comments at the very time that the president publicly paraded Gonzalez as a "fine judge from Texas". Again, if the President or the Attorney general "has an attitude about judges" that really stems from Texas, and the ability of Texans to make their judges cow-tow to the wishes of the executive, then let's get that on the table.

    We need to understand the real under currents driving this White House so that we are not surprised. We don't need to find out during additional confirmation hearings that the judges have been selected because of their choice to acquiesce to the president.

    We saw prior to the war in Iraq that the Press and Congress will kowtow to the President. Yet, where's the WMD?

    The reason we have as system of checks and balances is so that government is checked; not so that the government can use the "issue of the week" to distract attention from matters of criminal law.

    Bluntly, I am troubled that a standing attorney general would make disparaging remarks about the third branch of government -- as if to say, "there's nothing that can be done."

    I think there is. The courts should be given more power by Congress to independently target personnel for investigation when their course of conduct clearly is at odds with the constitutional system of checks and balances.

    Oh, you want case law? Let's take a look at the Youngstown decision: Clearly the Supreme Court in re Hamdi and Padilla cited the reality that the writ had not been suspected; so when the Attorney General speaks out about "activist judges" I am wondering if the Attorney General is really talking about the Supreme Court.

    Again, if the Attorney General "doesn't like" the system of checks and balances that we have, he's free to live in a country more hospital to his liking. Might I suggest that he ensure he is not on the 'no fly list' while he leaves to his desired retirement villa in the land of lawlessness and lack of accountability.

    In John Ashcroft's universe, he'll only be happy if there's martial law, the judges are jailed. Let's hope we find out whether this is what the current White House counsel favors before he's given the rubber stamp by congress.

    The duty of all the protect this constitution rests with all who have sworn an oath. This standing attorney general has clearly stated he is not willing to support the existing system of checks and balances, unless it submit to a tyrant.

    We already had that battle. And the Supreme Court already made a decision.

    Why is the Attorney General unable to listen to what the Supreme Court has said; and why is he providing statements to the public that he doesn't agree with the final resolution.

    Just as the "votes in Ohio have been counted as the election is over," so too has the Supreme Court spoken. To those who have a hard time understanding this, go read your ethics guidelines in re your oath to the US constitution.

    We do not serve the President. We serve the constitution. If you have a hard time understanding the difference, might I suggest you resign before you find yourself hauled before the Congress or the Courts for impeachment.

    It can be arranged. And the special counsel is looking for an excuse to make an example of a poorly disciplined SES-system.

    The Supreme Court has already spoken. We may be at war, but the Constitution still exists. If you have a hard time understanding that, how do you possibly look at yourself in the mirror before you go to work and truly say, "You are doing your duty to uphold the constitution and do your day's work in re your oath of office."

    Is Ashcroft advocating the public take some sort of action against judges whom the president does not agree? We've heard this type of innuendo about Saddam Hussein; out with it Mr Ashcroft, what are you really trying to say about this nation's "other branch" and those "duly appointed and nominated" officials?

    And in those states that actually vote for judges, are you suggesting that they are to be treated differently, despite what is in the 14th Amendment mandating equal protection of all citizens?

    Does Ashcroft advocate some "special attention" be provided outside the provisions currently before the Congress?

    Is the Attorney General suggesting that "the independence of the Judicial branch" is only to be questioned by the President; but that the "other branches" cannot enjoy that same privlege?

    Please, explain yourself Ashcroft. We're all waiting.

    Ashcroft has shown he is a threat to the constitutional system of checks and balances; has made disparaging remarks about the judicial branch; should be censured and rebuked; and he should be monitored after his retirement to ensure that he is not engaged in a ruse to further undermine the constitutional system of checks and balances.

    Might I suggest his "alert status" for traveling in the United States be increased from the current "waive him through" to that of "we need to watch this guy". Hay, if you decide his comments are such a threat to the constitution, why not save us all the heartache, put him on the no fly list, and let him ride a horse.

    Then he'll really wish he was in the jolly old land of England where tyrants in the 1700s never got off their high horse, and threw people in jail just because they looked at you funny.

    Read more . . .

    Wednesday, November 10, 2004

    Gonzalez swings into the center ring -- Your guide to the circus

    Update 18 July 2006: Analysis of DoJ Gonzalez admission that POTUS obstructed DoJ OPR. Yes, there's something you can do. [ Here's what you can do ]

    * * *

    Original Blog

    Gonzalez agrees to take over the DoJ Circus.

    This is the same guy who said it was "OK" for the President to violate the Geneva Convention in re torture.

    Your Guide to the Gonzalez Circus

    Can we trust him to do what is needed? Fat chance

    Is this the right guy for the job? No Not likely Get real

    Can DC actually focus on the critical issues? No Whatever

    Is Congress ready to ask the tough questions? No Ha!

    Is the Senate Judiciary Staff ready to do their job? No Doh!

    Will anything really change in the DoJ cess pool? Unlikely Wazzzup? I don't think so

    We shall soon find out -- Here's a guide to monitor the circus.
    The time for reform and reconciliation ended before it started. Despite the Republican victory in all three branches of government, and both houses, the Republicans are fighting within their own ranks over who will lead their own party in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the body that will oversee the nomination hearings of the new AG and Chief Justice.
    [Return to Top]

    Senate Confirmation Hearings: Your Circus Entertainment

  • Opportunity to watch the new Judiciary Committee chairman: Does he carry a whip or a pile of sugar candy?

  • How issues are resolved with the Judiciary Committee: Do they clean up the mess, or keep walking through it?

  • This is your chance to see how the Judiciary Committee might handle the President's upcoming Supreme Court nominations: Do they rise to the occasion, or still need a net?

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    Gonzalez credibility in providing oversight on legal issues

    Issue: Questions during Senate Confirmation

    Gonzalez's record before the Texas Supreme Court is of less immediate importance. If we refer to his most recent record in the White House, we find cause for alarm.Ref

    The Memos were drafted only a few months after the Inspector General inside DoJ were notified of problems at Abu Ghraib. Yet, there is little to suggest despite these reports of misconduct that Gonzalez effectively moved to provide sound legal advice. Ref

    More troubling is that his statements in the White House memo are contrary to the needed oversight required of the Attorney General when reviewing allegations of misconduct given to him by the DoJ Office of Professional Responsibility.

    We are not persuaded in the future that if there are substantive issues raised, as was done in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, that Gonzalez as attorney general will provide the timely leadership and guidance needed.

    It is troubling that the Congress will have to provide this oversight and the track record of Attorney Generals being unresponsive to simple requests is noteworthy.

    Gonzalez's oath of office was not to the President but the Constitution and there was no privilege in re matters of criminal law and allegations of war crimes.Ref There is no compelling precedent to justify silence or inaction when faced with these serious charges.

    It is not unusual to have an undisciplined agency continue to repeat abuses, misconduct. We are also concerned that the recent Court rulings in re the Guantanamo Trials clearly establish that the Administration's plans were unlawful in re tribunals. We could go so far as to say that the Geneva Conventions were ignored, and there was nothing within DoJ that ensured the laws of war were applied.

    Consider the language at the bottom of page 4 of this memo stating that the treaties are not applicable when the United States goes to war against non-states. Ref The status of combatants is to be determined after they are captured; it is not the role of the United States to arbitrarily state that a treaty does not apply, therefore the tribunals are not required. This is backwards.

    The treaty's core function and principle is to prevent abuse as a shield, not to be looked at as Swiss cheese to which we find holes to justify engaging in the abuse, or at worst ignoring the abuse until we have photographs on the front page of the local paper.


    How will Gonzalez as Attorney General ensure that the treaty terms are followed, not explained away; and that the proper legal counsel within the various departments are so advised to ensure their respective agencies comply with these statutes, and do not use legal nuances to justify ignoring the core principles of the treaties?

    What would Gonzalez as the new AG do about DoJ legal opinions related to the laws of war; what program or approach would Gonzalez use to ensure that legal issues like this are adequately handled by Staff Judge Advocates within the Department of Defense? Ref

    Why was DoJ asked for legal input rather than not relying exclusively on the legal experts on the laws of war within DoD; are we to believe that DoJ was actually involved with the alleged torture, abuse, and misconduct which prompted the White House to raise the question with DoJ?

    What does Gonzalez plan to do about the apparent lawlessness within the DoJ legal community that would find it acceptable to ignore the Geneva Conventions, not conduct a trial as required, and arbitrarily state that the detainees are not entitled to protections?? Ref Ref

    In the future should other events of this nature occur, why should we have any confidence that Gonzalez will move any more quickly?

    Because of his most recent written statements on war crimes and use of torture, why believe Gonzalez as AG will aggressively look into delays in reporting by NAVY IG to FBI [plans to abuse prisoners] as required by statute?

    [Return to Top]

    Hornet's Nest

  • Contrast Gonzalez Track records as Supreme Court Justice with the Torture Memo

  • Senate Confirmation Hearing: More whitewashes by the undisciplined staff?

  • Turmoil within DoJ: More to follow?

  • Senate Judiciary Committee Meltdown: Do they need ice cream again?

  • Relationship with Congressman Goss, New Director of CIA; likely relationship between CIA-DoJ-FBI compared to pre 9-11

  • [Return to Top]

    Why believe things will change?

    What will Gonzalez do differently than Ashcroft?

    What actions while on the White House staff will no longer be condoned?

    Will we have more arrogance, or different approach to lawlessness?

    Given the entrenched, stinky mess at DoJ [which has not been fixed under Ashcroft] ... Will a new AG offer a real prospect of improvement, reform, accountability, responsiveness, or clean up; or are we going to have more of the same?

    Should we just start over with a new building closer to Congress?

    What are the prospects the DoJ IG report in re 9-11 will get any attention?

    Was Gonzalez part of the "wall" within the White House discouraging active attention, action, and Presidential involvement and interest in the indicators prior to 9-11? RefRef

    Why didn't the Judiciary Committee call Gonzalez before in re the letter?

    What is going to change in Congress to ensure that the "do whatever you want" attitude Gonzalez displayed in the White House memo faces some credible security should Gonzalez be approved to be Attorney General?

    [Return to Top]

    DoJ's Perfect Storm

  • DoJ Management Issues: They killed witnesses in Abu Ghraib
    - Leaderless and defective management and organization
    - Bad stuff: War crimes, misconduct, allegations of cover-up
    - Old stuff: IG 9-11 report fallout and clean-up
  • Congress distracted: So what's new?
    - Senate Committee chairman dispute
    - New stuff: Conformation for AG and Supreme Court

  • [Return to Top]

    DoJ Staff Inertia: A Legacy of Inaction

    Issue: It's been three years since 9-11 and nothing substantive has been done.

  • Lawlessness is entrenched regardless who is Attorney General

    - Ashcroft failed to ensure conduct consistent with the constitution [Patriot Act found unconstitutional; investigations of DoJ personnel ineffectual; personnel detained without probable cause;]

    - Gonzalez legacy as White House Counsel indicates no different approach to the rule of law, constitution, or treaties

  • Prior AG

    - Failed to act prior to 9-11 [Still no accountability in re DoJ IG audit]

    - Andersen audit of DoJ failed as a catalyst for needed reform

  • New AG: DoJ has another excuse not to change

    - "We have the turmoil of a new AG to deal with and can't possibly be expected to reform"

    Why believe appointing a new Attorney General is going to change anything within DoJ?

    Why should we believe that appointing a new AG is going to make a difference in DoJ's culture, responsiveness, accountability?

  • [Return to Top]

    Adequacy of Congressional Oversight

    Issue: Illusory Congressional oversight

    Are there probing Senate Judiciary Committee questions for Gonzalez over the White House Memo "approving" torture?

    Notice: Areas to monitor

  • Issues Highlighted: They shining that circus spotlight through a pinhole?

  • Questions raised: The standard one-question per Senator?

  • How Addressed: More cursory reviews?

  • [Return to Top]

    Adequacy of Senate Judiciary Staff Support to the New Chairman

    Issue: WH Counsel letter in re Torture

    Notice: What type of analysis the staff conducts on the White House memo, and whether staff examines the following questions

    - What core principles surfaced in the White House memo?

    - How does language within the memo compare with Gonzalez' habits/practices while TX Supreme Court?

    - What insight into Gonzalez approach to issues?

    - How is Gonzalez likely to "handle" issue within DoJ?

    - What steps does the staff and judiciary committee take to evaluate whether practices either in Texas or while in the White House are going to be problematic and require additional oversight?

    [Return to Top]

    Responsiveness to rule of law

    Issue: The law says one thing, but what Gonzalez can "get people to do" is something else.

    Gonzalez Timeline

    2002: DoJ Drafts torture memo approving abuse

    2002: Gonzalez condones misconduct Ref

    2002: Despite proximity to the White House, unable/unwilling to put the rule of law first
    - No action taken prior to 9-11 or while at the White House

    2002: DoJ personnel [Foxes] were on site in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib [Henhouse]

    2004: Now in charge of the JTTF-FBI personnel who committed the abuses -- Ha!


    Why should we believe Gonzalez will do anything about those he failed to previously stop when he had the opportunity? Ref

    Why believe he'll do anything differently now -- he has less access to the White House, but is responsible for "disciplining" those he already said "it was OK to do what was not permissible"?

    [Return to Top]

    Judiciary Committee Oversight

    Oversight Issue

    Whether the Judiciary Committee uses the Gonzalez confirmation hearings to probe into issues related to White House knowledge/failure to act in re war crimes.

    Criminal Law

    Does the Senate Judiciary Committee use the confirmation hearing as the first step in reviewing whether there is information that would for the basis for appointing a special prosecutor in re investigation White House knowledge of, but failure to stop War Crimes


    What were the conditions upon which the WH Memo was written?

    Was the memo written as a ruse to create the illusion of leadership?

    Was information already received and the memo was a ruse to backdate policy?

    Once the memo was reviewed, what efforts were made to ensure the President's policy was lawfully executed?

    If the memo was clearly rebuked after the initial reports, why was there no effort in the White House to ensure that the actual misconduct was timely investigated and stopped?

    To what extent are matters of "national security" used as top cover to explain away matters of criminal law?

    [Return to Top]

    A track record at odds with accountability

    * 42 USC 1983: DoJ AG Civil Rights Liability Risk

    We are concerned that Gonzalez when he was in a position to advice the President [in a non-confidential, non-privileged basis, as evidenced by the open memo] that he failed to provide the needed caution and alarm.

    As a close advisor to the President, Gonzalez will be assuming a new job, yet Gonzalez will not have absolute immunity. 42 USC 1983 does not bar civil litigation against a standing officer for allegations of misconduct, or failures to conduct their duties in a manner consistent with the law, or for providing legal advice contrary to law.

    It is of concern that during a time that Gonzalez was in close proximity to the President, he provided legal advice that essentially "approved" acts of misconduct that are now being litigated.

    It remains to be seen to what extent future abuses under DoJ are found to be related to a green light from the former White House Counsel and can be shown to be part of a wider pattern of conduct for purposes of 42 USC 1983 liability on DoJ AG. It remains to be seen whether these litigation matters are going to be a distraction to the new Attorney General.

    When issues of dispute arise, we are not persuaded that he will necessarily do what is consistent with the constitution, but "whatever he deems justifiable, regardless the creative, tenuous, and disjointed legal framework used to arrive at his conclusion.

    We are not persuaded that, barring civil consequences for his alleged involvement, that anything is going to change as Attorney General. Despite close proximity to the President, Gonzalez was unable to persuade the President to get in compliance with the statutes. Ref

    How does the Attorney General plan to ensure the "ability to influence policy" is not taken lightly, and that the Attorney General actively injects himself into issues to prevent unlawful, unconstitutional, or misconduct to occur; and that those matters are swiftly investigated?

    [Return to Top]

    DoJ Leadership Vacuum: Nothing New

    What's worse: Having DoJ being run by Ashcroft or being without a leader?

    Who cares, the Constitution got trashed, and Gonzalez did nothing as White House counsel to stop either the President or Ashcroft.

    There's no reason to believe, while he's in a position further from the White House, that he'll do more or be listened to. The same performers who failed up prior to 9-11 are still there playing with fire.

    [Return to Top]

    FBI Agent Misconduct

    Ref: FBI MAOP, FBI Agent Misconduct

    Issue: Discipline

    FBI has a poor record of adequately disciplining its agents. The lack of public accountability is troubling. Not only are we three years after 9-11, but citizens like Sibel Edmonds have been harassed for daring to bring forward complaints of DoJ Senior Management misconduct.

    Why believe the OPR will investigate or be effectual? Ref

    What's the DoJ AGs plan to discipline the FBI Staff?

    What got in the way of FBI I-drive communications? Ref

    What is DoJ going to do about the pattern of abuse against DoJ Whistleblowers? Ref

    Repeated memos and statutes have been issued saying that DoJ whistleblowers should not be abused; what is going to be done differently to make sure the memos are actually implemented not ignored?

    [Return to Top]

    Examining Gonzalez' Texas Supreme Court Track Records

    Issue: Adequacy of Gonzalez' Management practices


    - Whether Senate Judiciary Staff and Committee focus on Gonzalez's management practices while on the Supreme Court [Ignored, glossed over?];

    - Whether there is reasonable weighting to management issues in Texas over staffing issues while on the White House Staff [Focus too much on Staff experience and ignore the leadership issues?]

    - Reasonableness of criteria in evaluating Texas Supreme Court management practices [Are they clear, or do they wander around without anything resembling order?]

    Sample Criteria

  • Approach to issues: Lawful, logical?

  • Problem Resolution: Is the issue solved, or explained away?

  • Creativity and novelty of approaches: Lawful, or stuck in the headlight?

  • Responsiveness to deadlines: Busted suspenses, or cases deleted without a trace?

  • Working with staff and outsiders: Was he grouchy, or a pain?

  • Responsiveness to early signs of problems: Ignored, explained away, shoot the whistleblowers who dared to wade their way through the AOC's office?

  • Principles adhered to in practice, vs what says he will do [Do they even bother to compare his Ex caselaw opinions to that which he says before the committee?]

  • Credibility of memoranda Ref [Can you really believe what he writes?]

  • Whether personnel are fired for malfeasance Ref [Does he really take action based on audit report feedback, or are the points of contact and suggestion programs given lip service?]

  • Extent misconduct explained away as permissible or understandable given the "national security issues" and criminal law matters are ignored and sidelined with the constitution [Is "criminal law" explained away in the time of "heightened alert"; why they opening up the sidewalk in front of the White House, but the rest of America is on lockdown and surveillance?]

    "He served on the Texas Supreme Court with Justice Priscilla Owen, and 11 times, he attacked her judicial philosophy as being far too activist, which is something conservatives traditionally don't like. Ref

  • Read more . . .

    Tuesday, November 09, 2004

    Seals: Drops the bomb

    Note: This is not legal advice, just a guess as to what the court might do. Talk to your own lawyer before making any decisions related to the Seals-Reynolds litigation.

    The long-awaited complaint impacted. SealsReynolds complete complaint.

    Problems: For an oral contract to be enforceable above $500, there's going to have to be some pattern of relationship that's been documented. Indeed, at 5 Seals alleges there was a joint venture.

    Remains to be seen which governing law would apply to the contract, given the suit is filed in Los Angeles, but the property is believed to be in a different state.
    [As a side note, Florida property is almost impossible to take out of bankruptcy and was the reason OJ Simpson and CEOs like to live in Florida -- if they lose a civil lawsuit, their home is not attachable.]

    At 6 is the allegation that the contract was affirmed in California, but at 5 the property in question is asserted to be located in Florida.

    It's interesting to compare the complaint against Reynolds against the complaint against Dylan.Ref


    1. Enforceability

    Putting aside the governing law, if we focus solely on the Florida ... there's one problem -- Posik v Layton [695 So 2n 759, Fl Dist Crt App 1997] found the oral contract not enforceable. Ref

    2. Consideration

    In re California ... Marvin Defenses indicate the there's an issue with the relationship.

    Meretricious consideration: Under Marvin, a contract between unmarried persons is invalid "if sexual acts form an inseparable part of the consideration for the agreement." Marvin, supra, 18 Cal.3d at 672 Ref

    Unless there's something unusual in this case that hasn't been presented, I fail to understand what's going to keep Seals-complaint from getting dismissed.

    Let's assume one or more of the elements fails, the court may choose to focus solely on the most simple one to throw out, rather than dive into the consideration issue. It's possible the court could say "because the contract was oral, it is not enforceable; therefore we need not consider the other factors and issues raised."

    She may wish she had taken the $1M.

    Read more . . .

    Streisand Quoted Jefferson -- Developing a schema to deconstruct the real message behind "using a partial quote"

    Atom-XML-RSS-Feed Updates

    - Deleted First word [before analysis] which was kwote [phonetic] to determine whether the word is causing a problem for the stream.
    - Changed all possible offending words to KWOTE
    - Removed second colon by Blue Box
    - Deleted hanging entry at end -- Blogger put it there automatically


    Analysis: A Schema Applied to Barbra Streisand's use of Thomas Jefferson's [KWOTE] in re Patience -- Understanding communication

    Purpose This note outlines a schema to analyze how a KWOTE is used, the possible interpretations, and identifies why a KWOTE as used is unclear.

    This note hopes to accomplish several things: Identify a recurring problem with 'partial KWOTE analysis'; outline a framework to more rigorously analyze a partial KWOTE's use; and use the framework to identify the basis for confusion over the intended message of using the KWOTE.


    Two recently cited KWOTES have raised some questions about their meaning, use, and intended message: Jefferson and Brooks

    Another problem has been the failure to independently develop a method to vigorously analyze a partial quote's use using a rigorous, robust but simple method.

    Further, we also have little understanding of the broad interpretations of a particular quote; nor a firm grasp on how these divergent interpretations can compound both the communication problem but the national policy making functions.

    Recently, President Bush and Barbra Streisand used incomplete quotes. These have been partially dissected. The problem we run into is where we begin: Despite the interesting mental gymnastics involved in deconstructing a partial quote, we still are left with a fundamental questions: Do we really understand what they intended to say, how is their message at odds with the momentum of the time, what is the outlook of this divergence, and what, if anything, is to be done,


    Streisand's use of the quote has faced a broad spectrum of interpretations ranging from fairly benign, hopeful, to being an outright attack. This note does not hope to pinpoint the true message, as this is clearly up to Streisand to clarify if she so chooses.

    Rather, we build upon the "partial quotes" presented, and identify a schema to help readers understand the broad interpretations possible with each quote in the hopes of identifying how rational people could come to quite divergent views not only of the quote, but their interpretation of the speculated [not actual or intended] use of the quote.

    This differentiates between whether someone intended to say something by using a quote form the listener-audience interpretation of why the speaker-writer used the quote. Bluntly, the communication problem is not new.

    This note hopes to outline the basis for this divergence in the hopes of sharing with others how reasonable people could come to widely divergent views of the motivations and message of the speaker-writer.

    It is only when we understand their view and intended message [not that we agree with it] that we'll be in a position to understand what to make of the message, where things are going, where we are starting, and what we might hope to accomplish together on that journey. This does not presuppose that the "right answer" is agreement, only understanding.

    Spectrum of views of the quote

    The next phase of this analysis is to bluntly state that reasonable people have divergent views on "What Barbra meant by stating that quote." Clearly, such a statement would seem absurd to those who "clearly know" what the intended message is.

    This does not presuppose that the message was clear or unclear; only that regardless the actual intended message, there are a variety of interpretations of "what the author-speaker intended to say. IN short, until we clearly get a direct answer [which is not required, nor needed] we can simply arrive at a range of guesses of what may have been intended; and then from this spring board into a discussion of why the audience may view the intended message with a variety of reactions.

    We differentiate between perspectives and factors.


    A. President is evil and we will get through this

    B. Despite the evilness of our times, we will get through this

    C. Let's be careful and not press for extreme reactions despite the result

    D. A mandate is an illusion -- the President simply has a job to do.

    E. There is hope

    F. Results, not hope, are important.

    Discussion of the Perspective-Spectrum

    We divide the list into two groups, one the intended message of the speaker-writer; and the second half the assumed message from the audience perspective.

    A through C are generalizations of what might be viewed as "Barbra's possible intended objectives". Again we do not speculate as to which one was right or intended, only that these are possible intended message.

    D through F are the generalizations of what an adverse audience might interpret as the "possible messages" that we might derive if we had a different perspective on the quote. This is to say that these are more likely than not unrelated to the actual message, but are derived messages from those who suggest, "Barbra got it wrong, this is really what we conclude after reading the quote."

    Discussion of the perspectives. Using the above A-F options we can then speculate, if each were true, what is the nature of the speaker-writer's knowledge of the actual quote.

    Applying perspectives to Streisand's use of Jefferson's' Quote

    A. Possibly no knowledge of the full quote. This would be consistent with the pre-election announcement that this was, in Streisand's words, "The most important" election. Such an approach would suggest that relying on Thomas' quote at this juncture is intended to be an attack on the President.

    B. This perspective assumes that the speaker-writer has possibly full knowledge of the actual quote's author, and is aware of the full quote in context of the time. This approach is a rallying cry of hope to the masses who have, despite their best efforts to defeat Bush, failed.

    C. This approach suggests a complete knowledge of the full quote, and that the risks of secession are real unless these forces are restrained. This is a voice of moderation.

    D. This approach questions the President's use of "mandate" when describing the election results. Rather than suggestion there is momentum that the President needs to build upon, this approach implies that we must simply trust the leader to do the right thing within the narrow confines of the Constitution, law, and international norms.

    E. This approach implies that despite the contentiousness of the issues and the disappointing results, that we just need to be hopeful.

    F. This approach focuses on results, actions, and the methods used to achieve these objectives in that we are measured by our measurable results not our philosophy, vision, or dreams.

    Factors To evaluate the quote

    1. Message

    2. Meaning

    3. Perspective

    4. Internal values vs external reflection

    5. Relevance

    6. Intention

    7. Goal/Outcome

    Discussion of the factors

    These factors can be further broken down using various criteria, some are show below.


    1. Message

    - What is the intended message
    - What image are they hoping to create, send

    2. Meaning

    - What did they mean
    - What is the unspoken understanding they want to convey

    3. Perspective

    - What are their starting assumptions
    - What is their starting position
    - What experience do they have related to this issue

    4. Internal values vs external reflection

    - What is their message in terms of core values
    - How does their message reflect personal values
    - To what extent are their message related to external matters

    5. Relevance

    - How does this quote relate to this issue
    - What aspects of the quote are more/less related to the issue
    - What are the drawbacks of relying on this quote

    6. Intention

    - What is their purpose in using this quote
    - What do they hope to do, create, drive, or motivate

    7. Goal/Outcome

    - What is their envisioned solution
    - What are their factors of success
    - How were these factors weighted


    Each of these 7 factors can be compared to the 6 views above along a spectrum.

    These factors help stratify the above A through F options. Clearly, these lists are not all inclusive. But by comparing the factors of analysis vs the various perspectives we arrive at a simple observation: With 7 factors of analysis and 6 perspectives, we have possibly 42 outcomes, some which may or may not overlap.

    The next step in the analysis would be to lay out the factors and perspectives in a 7 x 6 table, and identify similar themes through grouping and clumping.


    Then in analyzing these climbs or groups we could conduct an analysis or diagnosis through questions that would differentiate the groups to identify intended messages. This would involve identifying the range of questions that would most quickly discriminate the groups. If the dialog were open, honest, and direct we might hope that the ideal outcome would be "greater precision of understanding [not agreement] with greater interactions, dialog and exchange."

    Clearly, the easy approach is to simply ask. However, in cases where the speaker-writer is either not available, unresponsive, or possibly not sure we are left to speculate.

    Without going into the clumping, let's assume for the sake of argument that there are somewhere between 6 and 42 different combinations. Let us further suppose that a reasonable person has one of those 6 through 42 perspectives; this implies that there are at least 5 through 41 "different" views.

    In other words, a reasonable person could arrive at a single, objective "truth" of the intended message, yet be incorrect between 5/6 through 41/42 times. This means that there is a high probability of a communication problem between reasonable people.

    This country if it chooses to take on the role of "we have the answers, submit and obey" should take a step back and realize that reasonable people will have divergent views. If we approach the world that "unless they agree with us they are wrong," we're going to fall into the trap that has plagued nations.

    This nation has derided others who have quickly used force to resolve disputes, yet at the same time has "justified" the use of force on the basis of criteria that others do not necessarily agree. This is not to say that matters of either criminal law or treaties are popularity contests or that there exists a basis to justify cultural relativism in which morality cannot be used as guidepost to evaluate different cultures.

    Rather, this is to suggest that the United States by saying to nations "rise above the violence" only to engage in violence itself inspires the very contempt we are supposedly fighting.

    A broader perspective is again not to say "if others are reasonable, we must be wrong" but to say, "We understand your view and we can work on this peacefully to arrive at a common solution."

    Given there are potentially 42 different perspectives on a simple quote, it should come as no surprise why 182 nations with widely different criteria arrive at a different outcome or perspective. The solution isn't to resort to force, but to simply do what we have breached to others: Understand the differences first.

    Again, this is not to say that violent people need to be "understood." But until the United States shows that it puts into practice the principles and standards we have held other nations to meet, the world will simply look at the US cynically.

    The United States' role is to recognize the divergent views and ensure it's approach to these difference at least meets the standards imposed on others.


    Different people rely on the same quote and arrive at 180-degree opposite interpretations of "what it means" and "the intent of the speaker-writer relying on that quote."

    We'd like to hear more. If this nation is going to dialog on an issue we need to understand where others are coming from first. We're not there yet. We need to dialog to understand, share, and come to a clearer understanding. Again, "understanding" is not the same as agreement.

    We owe it to the world to show that we can peacefully dialog and move forward, not simply explain away why we are unable to meet the standards we have long imposed on others.

    Applying the Schema to the Streisand Quote

    Now we put our money where our mouth is. This portion of the analysis is devoted to applying the untested scheme to "Streisand's use of the Jefferson Quote" and evaluate the outcomes.

    Success criteria

    - Validity

    - Insight

    - Speed

    - Decision support

    We discuss these four factors in terms of the Streisand Quote

    Discussing the Success Criteria

    - Validity

    It's all well and good to develop a hypothetical schema to applying in an academic sense. The real test comes when we can come to a final judgment or hypothesized intent, then compare that outcome to the speaker-writer's actual intent.

    - Insight

    An analysis is not useful unless we have new insight that we might not otherwise have through other convention methods.

    - Speed

    An analysis is only useful if the speed to which we arrive at outcomes exceeds the time and cost associated with alternatives. We could spend alot of time developing, applying a model, when the faster, no cost solution would be to simply ask.

    - Decision support

    Ultimately, the analysis is useless unless it helps facilitate a decision. This means simply doing something new or different at a decision point that we had not otherwise considered.


    Let's apply the model to Streisand's use of the quote. We baseline this analysis today with the hopes that "somehow" we might find the 'real answer" and then later compare the hypothesized perspective with the "later perspective."

    Barbra Streisand is presumed to know the quote is real, unlike the quote attributed to Shakespeare. Because of the previous experience before the DNC, we presume Streisand has carefully checked the quote's validity.

    What remains uncertain is what her true objective is in writing. We are unclear of this because the quote ellipses match those not found anywhere else but in the Washington Post, implying that although Streisand knows the quote is authentic, she may not be aware of the quote's relationship to the Sedition Acts.

    However, what is clear is that when Streisand cited the quote, we know that she specifically mentioned the year 1798, implying she is aware the quote has historical significance unique to a particular age, yet could also be applied to other eras.

    Thus, between A, B, and C, we lean to C, but are midway between B and C.

    The audience, on the other hand appears to have missed the significance of the Sedition Acts and looks at the quote as being "another ping at the President." At this juncture, the model breaks down as there are not satisfactory choices in D through E that cover this possibility.

    Factor Analysis

    1. Message

    Assuming leaning to C, we infer the intended message is to exercise caution and calm despite the calls for action. However, this is the heart of the problem: What we do not know is whether Streisand is making this call for calm from the perspective of someone with full knowledge of the complete quote and its relationship to the Sedition Acts [in that Jefferson recognized the failings of the Union but asked the States to stay despite the election], or whether Streisand is taking another approach and say, "here are the facts and we have to live with them until 2008."

    2. Meaning

    On the surface it appears Streisand simply means what she says: That we need to be patient. Yet, as we dig deeper into the full quote, and compare it with the ellipses it appears as though there is some divergence between what we might speculate as the reasons; vs what the actual reasons are.

    We can only assume that "her full knowledge of the quote" is as represented by the Ellipses. Although she knows the quote is from the 1798-era, the use of the copied ellipses implies that there's been no specific research into the removed portions of the quote, implying that the deeper meaning related to Sedition could be outside the intent of the speaker-writer.

    We conclude that the quote was intended to mean: We realize that the results are bad, but let's be patient, arriving back at option B, not C. The divergence between the initial forecast of "leaning to C" vs the assumed option B is noteworthy in that it recognizes there is both uncertainty in the analysis, but more bluntly uncertainty in whether the public comments accurately reflect the full picture.

    Let us consider the Caesar quote. Streisand knows that when it comes to quotes, she has to get it right. It appears likely that she's researched the quote and verified its authenticity. We note that in the WashingtonPost article there was no specific mention by Brazile of 1798, meaning that Streisand most likely researched the quote.

    Yet, despite the research, rather than using the complete quote [including the portion that was eliminated], she chose to use the same ellipses in the WashingtonPost article. This is noteworthy in that it both implies she's verified the era of the quote, but has sought to rely on the public-version of the quote as represented in the media, as opposed to the complete quote from the historical record.

    Let us compare Streisand's comments about the media and her comments in the truth alerts. Streisand is a sticker for getting details right, especially in the wake of the Caesar quote. What is interesting is that despite an apparent perspective that she is somewhat disappointed [at times] with the media [in that it fails to challenge the president], we also know that Streisand's relationship with the media is also one that is respectful in that she relies on the media for information. One can review many of her public comments and "items of interest" and find that she's an avid reader of the news and one Senator on Saturday Night Live joked he was a politician hoping to be an entertainer while Streisand was an entertainer hoping to be a politician.

    Streisand also knows the value of the media. She has a website and makes frequent updates on the site, going so far as to discuss issues in private with Matt Drudge before they reach the public arena. We shall not speculate on the nature, depth, substance timing of these conversations.

    Based on what we know [not much] the unspoken understanding which Streisand appears to desire to convey is one of patience not just for the President, but for the times we live in. This means enduring the troublesome nature of the public dialog.

    It appears less likely that she's specifically admonishing someone for speaking of secession, but rather cautioning people to not lose hope despite the unfortunate results. Thus, on this factor we land squarely on B.

    3. Perspective

    Streisand has assumed that the Electoral College has already been decided. Despite the allegations of voter fraud with the voting machines, Streisand appears to look at the results as a done deal. Thus, any discussion related to "reversing the election" appear to have been sealed not so much with the final vote on 2 November, but with the concession speech on 3 November.

    Thus, turning back to the Bush speech, we presume that the writer-speaker is approaching the issue from the perspective of "more of the same." Yet, this is the troubling part. Recall prior to the election many were discussing the importance of the election, going so far as to suggest this was the "most important" election of our time.

    Also, referring back to the Caesar quote, we find textual evidence that there were concerns with the momentum of the times. It appears Streisand is not concerned so much about where we are, but where things are going; yet despite that concern, she is not calling for outrageous action, but calm.

    On this count we fall somewhere between B and C, yet given the lack of evidence to support she's aware of the quote's relationship to Sedition, and has not mentioned specifically the Sedition efforts, we might be inclined to defer to C.

    However, here's the twist. We do know that the writer-speaker is intelligent, has full access to the independent media, is savvy, astute, and well aware of the issues. Putting aside the issue of whether or not they know the complete quote, or the relationship between between the Sedition Acts and Jefferson's letter, its well within the scope of reason that some unknown people have seriously raised the issue of secession with the writer.

    This is not to say that Streisand is being ingenuous in her remarks. Rather, it is to recognize that because she knows the seriousness of the election, that it well within the scope of reason that she's had some serious discussions on the issue. Indeed, she posted the comment about Jefferson.

    Also, we know from the Caesar quote that she has a number of close friends she relies upon for insight. Thus, at this juncture we speculate that this close circle of friends is the source of the concern to which she understands and perhaps is also speaking with the quote.

    Thus, although torn between B and C, we presume the unspoken understanding is with C.

    4. Internal values vs external reflection

    Jefferson to Streisand appears to command great respect, not only as a Founding Father and author of the Declaration of Independence, but as a source of objective insight.

    Again, the issue floating around the 2004 election was more of "what do we rely upon for a source of comfort." To history. To times when we had great perspective. When the distant times, however removed, have bearing on today.

    The core value is not simply freedom, independence, but the core idea of liberty and choosing ones destiny. We are at a cross roads. One path is inviting to the President: To use whatever means, even do nothing in the face of war crimes, and create a climate of fear and subservience in the name of "freedom." The other path is actually doing what we practice.

    Streisand fears the President is choosing the wrong path, despite the "popularity of that decision." She is starting form the perspective of "these are our core values going back to Jefferson, and he spoke of a similar challenge." The goal of mentioning Jefferson was not only to reassure, but to highlight the very monumental nature of the decision.

    The external world is one that is not immune to independent action, but is one that is linked. This is not to say that Streisand supports the President's notion that "the world is for us to create in our own image," but the opposite: that the world is there for us to engage in terms of actual values, not simply parroting words.

    Thus, we land squarely on C.

    5. Relevance

    The issue is which way is forward. This quote squarely mentions the seriousness of the flaws and the monumental nature of the issues involved.

    There is the dichotomy between the full quote and the ellipses. By relying on the shorter version of the quote despite knowing it was from 1798 suggests that the writer-speaker is squarely on C, but wants to appear to be on B. Again, this concern was at the heart of the Jefferson postscript, and it is likely Streisand knows the seriousness of the quote both in history and today.

    6. Intention

    The quote is a warning for the country to heed history, but also remain reassured and comforted that just as we got through previous struggles so too will we get through this struggle.

    Thus, we conclude once again that we are on C. For the issue is not so much what is happening, but how will we resolve these issues. The next step is likely to be one of "what can we learn from history to ensure that, despite the President choosing the wrong path, we do not find ourselves with fractures and ills so deep that our destiny is 1860. Streisand sees the quote as a warning of what is possible, but is also hopeful that we can cross the divide despite the momentum.

    7. Goal/Outcome

    Relying on this quote is simply to ensure that the prosperity of the nation continues, that we remain viable and strong, and that our nation is one that is respected. Of concern is the momentum driving our trade deficit, dollar, and relative standing around the globe both militarily and financially.

    We may have the most powerful army, but if that army is not disciplined and fails to conduct all its affairs according to the rule of law, we have lost much. Abu Ghraib highlighted for many how poor oversight can take us down the wrong path; the ends do not justify the means; and documents and treaties are signed because they are to be respected and preserved not explained away.

    Success, ultimately lies in preserving the Constitution against those who dare to use "freedom" as the banner to destroy that document. Thus, we arrive squarely at C, with the hoped-for public reaction being A. Again, we note the divergence between the public issues and the private concerns, the primary catalyst for posting the quote.


    We conclude that Streisand is well aware of the quote and is relying on the ellipses to mask the core issues of secession that are real and alarming. This nation prides itself on principles that it selectively applies. It is disturbing that, despite these clear principles, the time required for judicial intervention is long thus permitting abuses to spread despite their illegality.

    The quote is a challenge to all to keep faith in the constitution despite the passing winds of ill health most abhorrent to all that our founding fathers feared and also discussed.

    This nation will survive, but it will be a great struggle between those who are fighting for freedom and those who are fighting for the Constitution. They are not separate, but they are different ends relying on different paths.

    The fear is that the nation will choose the path of freedom and destroy the Constitution; more troubling is the prospect that the masses are doing the very thing this nation's founding fathers feared: That the tyranny of the majority will destroy the protections of the minority.

    Thus, we arrive at C, and have no doubt that the core values are deep, pronounced, and destined to become more pronounced and adverse. The only saving grace will be judicial intervention to Check the President, a task which Congress has failed.

    The hoped for audience is the learned, wise within the judicial system who can rise above the political banter and truly mandate that the constitution be preserved however imminent a security threat might be. There is a doubt whether, despite their independence and being free from intervention, that the courts will retain their independence when most needed.

    The electorate failed to choose the constitution. It is now up to the courts to do what the population has been unable and unwilling to do: To fight for the constitution. The recent rulings in re Guantanamo should give comfort, but should not let anyone rest as the pressure to adjust back onto the constitutional path will be a difficult struggle. We have seen in history that principled people can and will fight for reasonable principles. One loses, one wins.

    Let us hope, in the end, regardless the loser, the constitution ultimately prevails. It is the post Civil War judicial orders in re martial law that we find comfort: They were found illegal.

    But ever vigilance is required as, despite the post Civil War judicial findings, we saw in the WWII era that a time of crisis will invite executive action most abhorrent to our founding principles. For the masses also re-elected FDR three times, despite the courts finding some of his decisions unlawful. It is likely these unlawful acts and adverse results are at the heart of the writer's concerns.

  • New Insights

    The issue becomes: What is to be done when the executive takes actions that are unconstitutional, but the courts do not provide a timely response to remedy.

    We arrive where we started. The quote. The edited version. The goal is to remember why we are here: The constitution and any discussion of secession will destroy that document. Streisand prefers B and wants her friends to move from A to C.

    For she can only advocate attack the President when all other options are unacceptable. The goal is to motivate the population to recognize the seriousness of the issues, but work to advocate for change despite the apparent bleakness of the situation. Attacking the President may have short-term payoffs, but it can become extreme--taking people into a place where, despite their love of the constitution, they create an enemy that will put them down. This is not desired.

  • Preliminary Evaluation of the factors


    We can make a preliminary assessment of the model, outline the known weaknesses before the "real results" are known.

    - Insight

    We've come to understand the core issues driving those who use this quote. With time we might rely on this model for greater understanding. Useful.

    - Speed

    We may have arrived at an outcome, but it remains unclear what to expect. We might have a better perspective into the issues driving the undercurrents. It remains to be seen how these trends manifest themselves. Marginal, to be seen.

    - Decision support

    This is problematic. This model doesn't do much to arrive at a set structure or decision. This is the major flaw of this approach in that it doesn't, in itself, drive a consensus toward action. Rather, the quote does far more in achieving this objective with far less time and words. Failed.


    This analysis fell down in a major way: The outcome diverged from the original quote in that the subject of the analysis ended up being more prudent than the outcome. This is related to poor success criteria, and a methodology loosely linked with clear, definable factors characterizing the nebulous decision point.

    The public and leadership need to understand this "mandate" -- at this juncture it is being paraded as "evidence", but it is not clear that the public spoke for a specific outcome, only that it merely chose a leaders to make decisions. But this leader is not a tyrant nor a despite, but must assent to the rule of law, the courts, and the constitution however "dire" the situation. The path forward is to compel the executive to assent to the constitution, not allow the executive to further trash the document.

    It is hoped that we use this time to clarify:

  • Do we understand our own position, values and those of the majority;

  • What do we hope to accomplish;

  • How will we be better off; and

  • How will the constitution be preserved regardless the path taken?

    Jefferson clearly wrote of the unfolding challenges. It was only 62 years later that things came to a head. Today, we are on a faster timeline, in that despite the dire warnings pre 9-11, we are rapidly approaching 1860.

    To this end, the public has much to learn, and the basis for executive handwaving to obscure this momentum. Thus, we turn to history as to speak of today's events so clearly is often too painful.

    Thus, the reason for relying on Caesar's quote not so long ago, and Jefferson's quote today. The message needs to be heeded, if ignored, much will come unglued. We can do better. And we owe it to the world to show that we can arise to the occasion despite the turmoil and not descend as we did in 1860.

    It will take great leadership within the judicial branch to adjust the momentum. Let us hope they, the ones who are in the position to check the Congress and Executive, are up to the task. Let us hope they read the founding documents, Federalist Papers, and letters sent as well as they read caselaw.

    There is hope. C.

    Other Comments

    In this case, the clumping was around C. In other situations, the results might be quite different. This approach theoretically works, but was not demonstrated; nor do we have a demonstration of the questions to quickly identify and discriminate the highest priorities in the analysis. The analysis is not complete.

    Also, there is no consideration given to D through F, raising the question, "What happened" and "Why is the audience even mentioned." This was partially addressed in the factor analysis, but not directly discussed or analyzed.

    Plus, the decision criteria was unclear and nebulous. It's unclear what viable options are "more visible" now that we've gone through this analysis.

    Hope as a course of action may seem prudent, but does little to point to a specific "doable action" that the population can now turn to. We've seen signs of hope in that government will "eventually" get around to doing the right thing; but let us recall that this did not occur because of government, but because outside information about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo was putting pressure on the IGs to act where they were otherwise not willing to act.

    We will have more information after reading the CIA IG 800+ report, and a better accounting by Congressional Committee chairman of "what was going on" as the information comes in.

    We might have labeled the various "perspectives" with a single phrase to simplify them. This was considered but rejected on the grounds that the "single phrase" would label what was otherwise a loosely defined characterization; further, there's no need to rely on labels when we are hoping to acquire precision and solutions, not accentuate the polarization arguably not self-evident but an undercurrent driving the reliance on the Jefferson Quote.

    Also, we have not used the above schemas against the President's use of the Phillips Quote.

    The "future action" are not clearly related to the analysis, but are thoughts on what really needs attention; yet, the above analysis solidifies our conviction these hoped for goals are part of the solution which would address the issues raised by the Jefferson quote.

    Future action

    There needs to be some considerable effort in reforming the Congressional Committee oversight of the Executive. We need timely reviews. The "three years and maybe the courts will do the right thing" is not satisfying. Checks and balances implies joint oversight and responsibility, not a few seconds to ask a cursory question.

    Staffers also need to be held accountable. The days of "legislative immunity" needs to be revisited in light of Congressional oversight responsibility in re war crimes. There is no legislative immunity when Congress fails to timely ensure that executive agencies are conducting their affairs in accordance with Treaties and Laws. There need to be effective outside mechanisms that allow the courts to engage directly when Congress and the Executive fail to act or are actively refusing to exercise leadership.

    Let's put the energy into strengthening the oversight ability of the judicial branch and permit more timely resolution of these matters. The unconstitutional acts were passed and enforced three years ago. It is not satisfying that only now are the needed corrections occurring.

    The distraction of foreign adventures allows the systemic problems to fester. Alot has happened, and there is much momentum building toward 1860.

    Next Step

    More information, discussion, and "unfolding events" will shed light on the above. We await confirmation or feedback whether the above analysis has merit.

    We'll find out in time, and then we shall be in a position to assess the true merits of the above approach, or whether something else needs to be devised to understand the mysterious use of partial quotes.

    More to follow.

    Read more . . .