2007 - %3, May

Corrupt Investigative Office Investigating Corrupt Investigator: Is Your Head Spinning?

| Wed May 2, 2007 10:56 AM EDT

We've got a parallel to the situation at the Office of Special Counsel. The OSC, tasked with looking into the claims of federal whistleblowers and investigating violations of the Hatch Act, has been so willfully ineffective and so corrupted by director Scott Bloch that it is now under federal investigation.

(The OSC is currently in the news because it is leading the ongoing and somewhat questionable investigation of Karl Rove.)

The Washington Post reports today that the inspector general of the Department of Commerce, charged with unearthing malfeasance at the department, is the subject of three government investigations. The investigations are looking into things as serious as misuse of budget and retaliation against detractors, and things as silly as cutting a conference short to go gambling in Atlantic City.

Here's where it gets circular. Claims against the Dep't of Commerce IG, whose name is Johnnie Frazier, were made by his staffers, meaning they applied for whistleblower protections with the OSC. The OSC is one of the bodies currently investigating Frazier.

So a corrupted body under investigation for mishandling investigations is investigating a corrupt investigator.

Inspires confidence, no?

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Obama Ranks at Head of Dem Field for First Time: Poll

| Tue May 1, 2007 1:16 PM EDT

A poll showing Barack Obama ahead of Hillary Clinton was released yesterday by Rasmussen. I believe it's the first of its kind. The field is Obama with 32% support, Clinton at 30%, and Edwards at 17%. No other candidate tops 3%.

Rasmussen cautions that the 2% difference between Obama and Clinton is not statistically significant. I suppose it would be bigger news if Obama created a statistically significant lead over Clinton. We'll blog again when that happens.

Other results of note:

Obama now leads among voters under 40. Clinton is strongest among those 65 and older. Clinton has a two-point edge among Democrats. Obama has a nineteen-point lead among independents likely to vote in a Democratic primary.

Also a little bizarre -- Edwards does best against Republicans.

Obama and Clinton are the frontrunners, but Edwards does best in general election match-ups. He leads all GOP hopefuls and is the only Democrat to lead the Republican frontrunner, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

And just a final note: 52% of Americans oppose the impending veto George W. Bush will stamp on the Dems' war spending bill that sets a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq.

Terrorism Up Worldwide, Call it the Iraq Effect

| Tue May 1, 2007 12:10 PM EDT

There's a lot of news today about a new study that shows terrorist attacks jumped 28% in 2006, with 40% more victims.

Uh, yeah, we know. In March, Mother Jones published an in-depth study on the Iraq War's impact on the war on terrorism, showing that the Iraq War has increased the number of terrorist attacks both in Iraq and worldwide. It's called the Iraq Effect, and it is massive. Check it out.

Time's Up on the Surge

| Tue May 1, 2007 10:38 AM EDT

In January, Condi Rice tried to dampen outrage over the surge by acknowledging she had a realistic view of things. If the Maliki government didn't prove itself in 2-3 months, she said, the new military plan isn't going to work.

Well, I wrote yesterday that the Maliki government is purging officers who fight too hard against sectarian violence, and earlier this month polling revealed that the Maliki government is favored by 72 percent of Shi'ites and just eight percent of Sunnis. Moreover, only 18 percent of Iraqis have confidence in American forces and 69 percent of them believe the Americans make the security situation worse. (At this point our presence is Iraq amounts to us telling the Iraqis that we know what is good for their country better than they do.)

And today, news comes out that more American soldiers died in April than in any other month of 2007. Things are getting worse, not better. So Condi was right, if not in a causative way then in a correlative one. The Maliki government has failed, and the surge has led to more violence and death.

How much more time, Condi?