Afghanistan

Reason Morning Links: The Return of the Bush Scandals

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• Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings begin today.

• Iran hawks have been fearing a phantom embassy in Managua.

• George W. Bush's surveillance program was bigger than you thought. Also, his administration blocked investigations into a U.S.-backed Afghan warlord's alleged crimes. And the Department of Justice may look into Bush-era torture policies after all—though it's unclear just how far such a probe would go.

• A Boston zoo is backing down from a fundraising method it borrowed from an old issue of National Lampoon.

• How did yoga schools go unlicensed for so long?

NEXT: Trivial Pursuit in Washington

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  1. I would think that any independent, professional yoga instructor would be required to carry some sort of general liability insurance. If not required to do so, it would be extremely wise to have it. So, the insurance provider would want some sort of assurance that the instructor has training in the field. Either practical experience or formal training (school). If the instructor cites a formal training, the insurance company would require proof of accreditation, not just some half-assed “voluntary online registry of schools meeting new standards for training instructors.” By not offering an accreditation, the training instructors are doing a huge disservice to the future yogis they are training. In fact, had the industry provided a real system of certification and accreditation on their own, the state would not need to step in.

  2. On the one hand, nobody wants to see each and every presidential administration investigated to oblivion after power goes to the other party. On the other hand, we can’t just allow flagrant abuses of the law under the guise of “Dick Cheney is really scared”.

  3. The zoo may be backing down, but here in MA, it appears they did not exaggerate. Without the money that was cut, they would have needed to get rid of some of the animals. That too would have cost money (transport mainly). Some of the more common animals most likely could not be sold for enough to cover these costs – which means they would have had to find a donor or put the animal down.

  4. Re: Zoo story,

    Two words: Game Dinner.

  5. The zoo missed an opportunity. Rather than saying, “We may have to put down some animals–please save us!”, they should have said, “Give us money or we’ll set these animals free in your neighborhood.”

  6. In fact, had the industry provided a real system of certification and accreditation on their own, the state would not need to step in.

    They do. It’s not mandatory, but most yoga schools (or individual students) won’t hire non-accredited teachers. My wife is going through the certification process — it requires, like, a year of classes. But yeah, we should definitely ratchet state control even tighter anyway.

  7. Tricky Prickears

    I coached women’s gymnastics. Worked in gyms across America. Never had to get a license. Do Little League coaches have to get licenses? How about NCAA basketball coaches? Or MLB coaches? Why should yoga instructors be any different?

  8. “On the one hand, nobody wants to see each and every presidential administration investigated to oblivion after power goes to the other party. On the other hand, we can’t just allow flagrant abuses of the law under the guise of “Dick Cheney is really scared”.”

    Isn’t it possible, just maybe, that the Dick Cheney issue is an attempt to distract us from
    asking questions about the stimulus package that was supposed to prevent unemployment from rising to 9%, and failed to do so? Or is a reaction to Obama’s declining approval ratings?

  9. “Isn’t it possible, just maybe, that the Dick Cheney issue is an attempt to distract us from
    asking questions about the stimulus package that was supposed to prevent unemployment from rising to 9%, and failed to do so? Or is a reaction to Obama’s declining approval ratings?”

    No. The Dick Cheney issue has been at the forefront since the days Bush was still in office. Also, I was referring to Dick Cheney in a more metaphorical, representative sense.

  10. You laugh about un-licensed yoga instructors, but I went to a back-alley Hatha instructor and only communed with half the universe.

  11. “Isn’t it possible, just maybe, that the Dick Cheney issue is an attempt to distract us from
    asking questions about the stimulus package that was supposed to prevent unemployment from rising to 9%, and failed to do so? Or is a reaction to Obama’s declining approval ratings?”

    I have wondered the same thing.

  12. “I have wondered the same thing.”

    It’s almost like nobody cared about Dick Cheney until Obama was elected. Then, all of the sudden, people started likening him to Darth Vader, and his approval ratings went 25% or something. Nobody even bother to suggest that Cheney’s office pushed false intelligence or was responsible for wiretapping. All of this only started when Obama was elected. And you’re all high on reefers.

  13. Send me money or so help me FSM I will murder this cute little bunny. I don’t want to kill him, but I need the money and the rules are the rules.

    Donate NOW! or we will murder cute animals

  14. OK, I see what some of you are saying. That the media is making a big deal about Bush era actions now to blunt criticism of bailouts.

  15. “Donate NOW! or we will murder cute animals”

    You ever seen a giraffe beheaded? Trust me, you don’t want to. NOW GIVE ME THE F***ING MONEY!

  16. If government officials are above the law, the rest of us “civilians” are nothing more than serfs. Put the fuckers on trial.

  17. “On the one hand, nobody wants to see each and every presidential administration investigated to oblivion after power goes to the other party.”

    I do.

  18. ? A Boston zoo is backing down from a fundraising method it borrowed from an old issue of National Lampoon.

    The zoo’s line of thinking would be a great application to the federal government. We have a deficit and need to euthanize some people to make budget. Congress can draw straws.

  19. Brooks and Nothing, while it sounds good to investigate and imprison outgoing officials when power changes hands, we have plenty of experience from around the world that orderly transitions of power depend on this not happening. So its not without its downsides.

  20. Lamar,

    If Obama had allowed investigations of Bush scandals to go forward when he entered office, I’d have a different attitude. But he said all that was in the past and we needed to move on. The fact that he’s changing his mind at the moment his poll numbers are slipping is what makes people suspicious of his motives.

  21. Dean, while it sounds good to make Republican presidents immune from having to obey the law, we have plenty of experience from around the world that the rule of law depends on this not happening. So its not without its downsides.

  22. “If Obama had allowed investigations of Bush scandals to go forward when he entered office, I’d have a different attitude. But he said all that was in the past and we needed to move on. The fact that he’s changing his mind at the moment his poll numbers are slipping is what makes people suspicious of his motives.”

    I can understand that sentiment. It reminds me of when Clinton was under pressure of the Lewinsky scandal, and he shot cruise missiles at Al Qaeda. GOPers leveled the same “wag the dog” charge. It turned out that Al Qaeda wasn’t a bad target at all.

    More importantly (I should have put this first): It seems almost counterproductive to “wag the dog” when prominent Republicans can’t keep their peeners in their pants, Palin quitting, and even Charlie Crist taking some hits. Seems odd, not impossible, though.

  23. RC, we have an established country where, at this stage of the game, there is very little our government can do to make things better instead of worse for us citizens. If they are fighting with each other over constant investigations, that’s good for us. We don’t need them “doing their jobs” any more.

    I say find them all guilty, and feed them to those zoo animals.

  24. Perhaps this is apropos of nothing, but in the Roman Republic, the holder of a magistracy was immune from criminal prosecution until his term was over (and could retain immunity by getting elected to another magistracy). To avoid prosecution was the main reason why Caesar felt that he had to invade Italy.

  25. Lamar,

    First off, dealing with al-Qaeda would have taken a lot more than cruise missiles (as we discovered to our dismay shortly after Mr Clinton’s term). No way the timing of those strikes was a coincidence. If you disagree you’re more gullible than I supposed.

    As for your second point, the Democrats were in complete disarray after the 04 election, yet took back Congress but two years later. Obama may be a certifiable fucktard when it comes to running anything bigger than a lemonade stand, but he (or more likely his handlers) have extremely sharp political instincts. He knows that if he sits back and watches the poll numbers drop, what happened to Bush can happen to him, regardless of how messed up the other party is.

  26. R C-

    If I conked you over the head and stole your wallet, would you, after the fact, be willing to say, “Well, I guess that’s all in the past, so we should just forget about it, as long as you promise not to do it again.”?

    What act, carried out by a government official, is sufficiently egregious to make you believe an investigation/ prosecution is justified?

    Go read Greenwald’s piece about the murders committed by American interrogators. These are not, by the way, “fog of war” incidents; these are murders of prisoners in custody.

  27. “The Iranians are building a huge embassy in Managua,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned in May. “And you can only imagine what that’s for.” All the things govt officials aren’t allowed to do in Iran, like sex, drugs, and rock n roll?

    “It doesn’t exist.” Government officials say the U.S. Embassy complex is the only “mega-embassy” in Managua. One can only imagine what that’s for.

    U.S. officials emphasized that there is plenty of reason to be concerned about Iran, which they consider a state sponsor of terrorism. If Iran is truly considered a state sponsor of terrorism, why haven’t we gone to war against them? Isn’t it our govt’s mission to stop terrorism wherever it starts?

    “Iran’s embassy in Managua is now the largest diplomatic mission in the city,” wrote Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute. The largest invisible embassy in Nicaragua and apparently, the world. Is it like Wonder Woman’s plane where you can see all the diplomatic staffers inside working but you can’t see the building, desks, computers, or even chairs? That would be interesting to see, especially the upper levels and are the bathrooms invisible, too, so you just see people pooping into thin air below? I need to know these things.

    “But they are certainly feeling their oats, and they are certainly trying to exploit opportunities where they think they exist.” Someone else does this. The name escapes me but I feel like they are quite dominant in the Western Hemisphere.

    But Bayardo Arce, a senior economic adviser to Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, likened the elusive “mega-embassy” to the nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. “It doesn’t exist. They deceived the secretary of state,” Arce said. Oh, burn!

    “We don’t have an Iranian mega-embassy. We have an ambassador in a rented house with his wife.” Double burn!

    “We haven’t even been able to renegotiate the debt. They say the Koran doesn’t permit them to. We’ll have to study the Koran to see if we can find something that condones it.” I’d be shocked if a religious text has any contradictions. Shocked, Cotton.

    “I never cease to be astonished that a country with such intelligence-gathering capacities could fall for such a canard. What now? Is Obama going to start talking about the Axis of Evil?” Mega burn! (These guys are like the Chuck Norris of snark.)

    Iran has signed scores of economic and political accords with Ch?vez’s populist government, and the Islamic republic has invested in factories in Venezuela producing tractors, bicycles and “anti-imperialist” cars. Are “anti-imperialist” cars also invisible? If so, I want one so bad.

  28. As far as tossing the last administration in jail, that’s a bad bad idea.(two bad’s is very very bad) What they did is atrocious and should be punished. But the last thing we need is punishment being dispensed on a partisan basis. I trust Obama as much as I trust Bush.

    RC, we have an established country where, at this stage of the game, there is very little our government can do to make things better instead of worse for us citizens.

    Are those rose colored glasses sold at CVS or Walgreens?

  29. “First off, dealing with al-Qaeda would have taken a lot more than cruise missiles (as we discovered to our dismay shortly after Mr Clinton’s term). No way the timing of those strikes was a coincidence. If you disagree you’re more gullible than I supposed.”

    No way the timing of that attack was coincidence, just like there’s no way a plane can bring down a building. You’re getting into serious wacko territory here. (You admit that we “discovered” that Al Qaeda needed more fire on it after the fact, yet use the smallness of the attack as a reason you think it was a cover? Does national security take a ‘time out’ when scandals hit?)

    Here’s my theory: Obama sends messages to his sleeper agents using the first letter of every prime-numbered name in the Brooklyn phone book. That’s when they know how to pounce and start producing stories about Dick Cheney. You’re just gullible if you don’t believe it.

  30. “Here’s my theory: Obama sends messages to his sleeper agents”

    Eric Holder is a sleeper agent?

    Put the weed down and breath some sweet fresh are for a moment.

  31. are = air

  32. “Eric Holder is a sleeper agent?”

    Fresh air? Dick Cheney goes on TV every two weeks and announces that everything you thought you knew about torture and wiretaps was nothing compared what they actually did. Dick Cheney has been daring Mustache Holder to prosecute. It’s like he wants it more than anything.

    Of course, you could refuse to acknowledge that Cheney’s new allegations implicate him in potentially illegal activity.

  33. Such Norman Rockwell scenes are rare today.

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