Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Nyack, New York to consider Impeachment…

Several residents in the Village of Nyack, New York, have submitted a Resolution to the Village Board of Trustees, calling for the Impeachment of Bush/Cheney. They seem to have struck a chord with local residents, and are hoping that on April 12th, the Board votes to adopt the Resolution. The Resolution was based on a similar Resolution that is pending in the Village of Trumansburg, further upstate, New York.

James Madison - "Impeach Bush Over Purgegate!"

by Thom Hartmann

According to James Madison, the "Father of the Constitution," if a President were to order or allow the "wanton removal of meritorious officers" such as US attorneys, such an action "would subject the President to impeachment and removal from his own high trust." The issue of the firing of people within the Executive branch for political purposes came up during a debate in 1789.

Spanish Judge Says its Time to Consider Possible War Crimes Against George W. Bush

Spanish Judge Says its Time to Consider Possible War Crimes Against George W. Bush

Reuters Alternet - March 28th, 2007
The judge who tried to jail Chile's former dictator Augusto Pinochet said on Tuesday it was time to hold U.S. President George W. Bush and his allies to account for waging ...more


Bush's Fake Science

Bush team must think we're stupid

Leonard Pitts
Tribune Media Services

March 25, 2007

Hard to believe, but they're at it again.

After 2002, when a National Cancer Institute statement reporting no link between abortion and breast cancer was changed by the Bush administration to say evidence of a link was inconclusive; after the administration cut language on global warming from a 2003 report by the Environmental Protection Agency; after a government scientist was forbidden in 2001 and 2002 from discussing health hazards posed by airborne bacteria emanating from animal waste at large factory farms; after 60 scientists, 20 of them Nobel laureates, signed a statement in 2004 accusing the White House of manipulating and distorting science for political aims; after all that, Team Bush has once again been caught censoring science it dislikes.

I refer you to last week's testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The committee produced documents documenting many dozens of instances in which the former chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality edited scientific reports on global warming. He cut definitive statements and replaced them with doubtful ones in order to portray climate change as something less than the settled science most experts consider it to be.

And get this: The guy changing the scientific reports is not a scientist. Philip Cooney is an oil man, previously employed by the American Petroleum Institute, the industry's lobbying arm. When he left the government in 2005, he went to work for Exxon Mobil.

Can you say conflict of interest, boys and girls?

Democrats on the committee certainly could. Rep. Peter Welch from Vermont compared Cooney to the tobacco industry "scientists" who once assured the public cigarettes were perfectly safe.

Republicans struck back, noting that James Hansen, a NASA climatologist who accuses the government of watering down the reports, is the recipient of a $250,000 award for environmental achievement from a foundation run by Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry. Hansen, they said, is hardly without political motive.

The charge might stick except for all those prior instances of the administration changing science to fit politics. However one interprets Hansen's motives, that pattern is still clear.

As the sins of Team Bush go, this isn't the biggest. That dishonor goes either to bungling the war, mismanaging the peace or leaving New Orleans to drown. Yet this is, in some ways, the sin that tells you the most about the gang running this country and what they think of you and me.

Reasonable people, faced with facts leading to an unwanted conclusion, might seek to discredit said facts or find competing facts supporting a more palatable conclusion. But the Bush Gang simply ignores the facts, declaring reality to be whatever they say it is. And if that bespeaks a breathtaking gall, how much more gall, how much more utter "contempt" for people's intelligence, is required to keep doing it after you've repeatedly been called on it?

I could give you many reasons this makes me angry. I could speak about the people's right not to be propagandized by their own government. I would point out that this facts-optional approach shreds the government's credibility.

But here's what really burns my toast: These people think I'm stupid. And they think you're stupid, too. What else can we conclude of a government that treats us with such brazen disdain?

They think we're a bunch of doofuses, dimwits and dolts who will never notice that they've placed the interests of their cronies above our own.

For the record, I am not stupid and I resent being treated as if I am.

How about you?

Leonard Pitts Jr. can be reached at, or 888-251-4407.


Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Rumsfeld

MATT APUZZO | AP | March 27, 2007 08:37 PM EST

WASHINGTON — Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld cannot be tried on allegations of torture in overseas military prisons, a federal judge said Tuesday in a case he described as "lamentable."

U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan threw out a lawsuit brought on behalf of nine former prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said Rumsfeld cannot be held personally responsible for actions taken in connection with his government job.

The lawsuit contends the prisoners were beaten, suspended upside down from the ceiling by chains, urinated on, shocked, sexually humiliated, burned, locked inside boxes and subjected to mock executions.

Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights First had argued that Rumsfeld and top military officials disregarded warnings about the abuse and authorized the use of illegal interrogation tactics that violated the constitutional and human rights of prisoners.

Hogan appeared conflicted during arguments last year. On one hand, he said he was hesitant to allow allegations of torture to go unheard. On the other hand, he said the case was unprecedented.

"This is a lamentable case," Hogan began his 58-page opinion Tuesday.

No matter how appealing it might seem to use the courts to correct allegations of severe abuses of power, Hogan wrote, government officials are immune from such lawsuits. Additionally, foreigners held overseas are not normally afforded U.S. constitutional rights.

"Despite the horrifying torture allegations," Hogan said, he could find no case law supporting the lawsuit, which he previously had described as unprecedented.

Allowing the case to go forward, Hogan said in December, might subject government officials to all sorts of political lawsuits. Even Osama bin Laden could sue, Hogan said, claiming two American presidents threatened to have him murdered.

"There is no getting around the fact that authorizing monetary damages remedies against military officials engaged in an active war would invite enemies to use our own federal courts to obstruct the Armed Forces' ability to act decisively and without hesitation," Hogan wrote Tuesday.

Had the Rumsfeld lawsuit been allowed to go forward, attorneys for the ACLU might have been able to force the Pentagon to disclose what officials knew about abuses such as those at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and what was done to stop it.

"The court ruled that innocent civilians tortured by the United States cannot seek recourse in the federal courts to hold responsible U.S. officials legally liable," said ACLU attorney Lucas Guttentag. "We believe that the law and Constitution require more, and that the former secretary of defense must be held accountable for his policies that led to this abuse."

The Justice Department had no immediate comment.

Hogan also dismissed the charges against other officials named in the lawsuit: retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, former Brig. Gen. Janis L. Karpinski and Col. Thomas M. Pappas.

Karpinski, whose Army Reserve unit was in charge of the Abu Ghraib prison, was demoted and is the highest-ranking officer punished in the scandal. Sanchez, who commanded U.S. forces in Iraq, retired from the Army and said his career was a casualty of the prison scandal.

Emperor Decider

Giving the Dems Some Credit: They're Kickin' the Snot Out of Emperor Decider

A. Alexander, March 27th, 2007

It is pretty difficult to agree with everything the new Democratic majority has done, but they deserve credit for succeeding spectacularly in keeping the Bush administration against the ropes. And against the ropes is exactly where the dangerous cabal needs to be...too busy trying to counterpunch, flailing away wildly and unable to implement more of their nefarious and stygian anti-democracy plots.

It wasn't long ago that the Bush administration could have fired every federal prosecutor for refusing to bring falsified charges against a political enemy, and the Soviet-like Politburo Republican Congress would have turned a blind eye to the whole affair. Today's fired attorney scandal would have simply been the latest in a long line of dangerous democracy destroying schemes implemented by an out of control Republican Party and their wannabe Emperor.

To their credit, the Congressional Democrats carefully uncovered the facts and used them to leverage a panicked administration into a series of public missteps and lies that left the White House tangled in one giant knot. For the better part of a month the case has been building and building. Each turn of the screw - every new rock that the Democrats uncovered sent another slug scurrying for cover.

Then, just when it appeared the administration had begun to fight back, finally found something of a footing...the Democratic House approved a war funding bill that set a date for the troops to be withdrawn. Once again, the Bush White House was sent reeling...once again, the President was forced to appear before the cameras and pitch another temper-tantrum.

More importantly, however, is the fact that the Democrats' action has diverted the administration's attention away from how to best lie about the purged prosecutors, and forced them into trying to figure out how best to lie about the Democrats' war-funding bill.

Maybe the Democrats aren't perfect, but they appear to be kicking the political snot out of Emperor Decider and that counts for a lot!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Illegal Attorney Purge Scandal Update: If No Laws Were Broken, Why are 'Loyal Bushies' Pleading the Fifth

Illegal Attorney Purge Scandal Update: If No Laws Were Broken, Why are 'Loyal Bushies' Pleading the Fifth

Yahoo News, March 26th, 2007

Monica Goodling, a senior Justice Department official involved in the firings of federal prosecutors, will refuse to answer questions at upcoming Senate hearings, citing Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, her lawyer said Monday.

Goodling was Gonzales' senior counsel and White House liaison until she took a leave of absence earlier this month. She was subpoenaed last week by the Senate Judiciary Committee along with several of Gonzales' other top aides.

Gonzales' truthfulness about the firings of seven prosecutors on Dec. 7 and another one months earlier also have been questioned. On March 13 at a news conference, Gonzales denied that he participated in discussions or saw any documents about the firings, despite documents that show he attended a Nov. 27 meeting with senior aides on the topic, where he approved a detailed plan to carry out the dismissals.

Goodling was one of five senior Justice Department aides who met with Gonzales for that Nov. 27 discussion. Department documents released Friday to Capitol Hill show she attended multiple meetings about the dismissals for months.

She also was among aides who on Feb. 5 helped Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty prepare his testimony for a Senate hearing the next day — during which he may have given Congress incomplete or otherwise misleading information about the circumstances of the firings.

Go To Full Story

Monday, March 26, 2007

Now scientists create a sheep that's 15% human

Now scientists create a sheep that's 15% human


Scientists have created the world's first human-sheep chimera - which has the body of a sheep and half-human organs.

The sheep have 15 per cent human cells and 85 per cent animal cells - and their evolution brings the prospect of animal organs being transplanted into humans one step closer.

Professor Esmail Zanjani, of the University of Nevada, has spent seven years and £5million perfecting the technique, which involves injecting adult human cells into a sheep's foetus.

More news...

I have been sentenced to death by my sister

Chimera: sheep have 15 per cent human cells and 85 per cent animal cells

He has already created a sheep liver which has a large proportion of human cells and eventually hopes to precisely match a sheep to a transplant patient, using their own stem cells to create their own flock of sheep.

The process would involve extracting stem cells from the donor's bone marrow and injecting them into the peritoneum of a sheep's foetus. When the lamb is born, two months later, it would have a liver, heart, lungs and brain that are partly human and available for transplant.

"We would take a couple of ounces of bone marrow cells from the patient,' said Prof Zanjani, whose work is highlighted in a Channel 4 programme tomorrow.

"We would isolate the stem cells from them, inject them into the peritoneum of these animals and then these cells would get distributed throughout the metabolic system into the circulatory system of all the organs in the body. The two ounces of stem cell or bone marrow cell we get would provide enough stem cells to do about ten foetuses. So you don't just have one organ for transplant purposes, you have many available in case the first one fails."

At present 7,168 patients are waiting for an organ transplant in Britain alone, and two thirds of them are expected to die before an organ becomes available.

Scientists at King's College, London, and the North East Stem Cell Institute in Newcastle have now applied to the HFEA, the Government's fertility watchdog, for permission to start work on the chimeras.

But the development is likely to revive criticisms about scientists playing God, with the possibility of silent viruses, which are harmless in animals, being introduced into the human race.

Dr Patrick Dixon, an international lecturer on biological trends, warned: "Many silent viruses could create a biological nightmare in humans. Mutant animal viruses are a real threat, as we have seen with HIV."

Animal rights activists fear that if the cells get mixed together, they could end up with cellular fusion, creating a hybrid which would have the features and characteristics of both man and sheep. But Prof Zanjani said: "Transplanting the cells into foetal sheep at this early stage does not result in fusion at all."

lAnimal Farm is on Channel 4 at 9pm tomorrow

Kissinger's extradition to Uruguay sought over Operation Condor

Published: Monday March 26, 2007

An attorney for a victim of Uruguay's 1973-1985 dictatorship has asked his government to request the extradition of former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger over his alleged role in the notorious Operation Condor.

Condor was a secret plan hatched by South American dictators in the 1970s to eliminate leftist political opponents in the region. Details of the plan have emerged over the past years in documents and court testimony.

The Latin American dictatorships of the time "were mere executors" of a "plan of extermination" hatched in the United States by a group led by Kissinger, said attorney Gustavo Salle, who represents the family of Bernardo Arnone.

Uruguayan prosecutor Mirtha Guianze has received the request and is studying the case, according to news reports.

A leftist activist, Arnone was arrested in October 1976 and flown to Argentina with a group of political prisoners that vanished and were presumably executed.

Kissinger played a dominant role in US foreign policy between 1969 and 1977, and was a strong supporter of right-wing regimes across Latin America.

The extradition request comes as the topic of rights violations during Uruguay's dictatorship is making headlines again, with Salle citing evidence from declassified US State Department documents.

Witnesses are set to testify in April in a case that began in September against eight retired regime officials over rights violations.



There came a moment as they clung to those windows high above the streets of New York, with the unbearable heat and smoke drawing near ~ that they chose to jump, versus burn to death, and in that moment of complete surrender they became graceful sacred angels returning to source : Allen L Roland

I watched last night the (70 minute) video THE FALLING MAN which has not been released in the U.S. and which can be seen by clicking on .

Very little has been written about the over 200 people who jumped to their deaths from the World Trade Towers on 9/11 and instead the press has stressed the heroism and patriotism of the time ~ but I maintain that the jumpers were also heroes. For there came a moment as they clung to those windows high above the streets of New York, with the unbearable heat and smoke drawing near ~ that they chose to jump, versus burn to death, and in that moment of complete surrender they became graceful sacred angels returning to source.

Tom Junod, who is featured in this video, wrote an extraordinary piece for Eqsuire in September 2003 on "The Falling Man," offering several possibilities of who was the falling man. His piece ended with this very moving one about Jonathan Briley.

Allen L Roland

Tom Junod / ESQUIRE / SEPT 2003

Jonathan Briley worked at Windows on the World. Some of his coworkers, when they saw Richard Drew's photographs, thought he might be the Falling Man. He was a light-skinned black man. He was over six five. He was forty-three. He had a mustache and a goatee and close-cropped hair. He had a wife named Hillary.

Jonathan Briley's father is a preacher, a man who has devoted his whole life to serving the Lord. After September 11, he gathered his family together to ask God to tell him where his son was. No: He demanded it. He used these words: "Lord, I demand to know where my son is." For three hours straight, he prayed in his deep voice, until he spent the grace he had accumulated over a lifetime in the insistence of his appeal.

The next day, the FBI called. They'd found his son's body. It was, miraculously, intact.

The preacher's youngest son, Timothy, went to identify his brother. He recognized him by his shoes: He was wearing black high-tops. Timothy removed one of them and took it home and put it in his garage, as a kind of memorial.

Timothy knew all about the Falling Man. He is a cop in Mount Vernon, New York, and in the week after his brother died, someone had left a September 12 newspaper open in the locker room. He saw the photograph of the Falling Man and, in anger, he refused to look at it again. But he couldn't throw it away. Instead, he stuffed it in the bottom of his locker, where—like the black shoe in his garage—it became permanent.

Jonathan's sister Gwendolyn knew about the Falling Man, too. She saw the picture the day it was published. She knew that Jonathan had asthma, and in the smoke and the heat would have done anything just to breathe. . . .

The both of them, Timothy and Gwendolyn, knew what Jonathan wore to work on most days. He wore a white shirt and black pants, along with the high-top black shoes. Timothy also knew what Jonathan sometimes wore under his shirt: an orange T-shirt. Jonathan wore that orange T-shirt everywhere. He wore that shirt all the time. He wore it so often that Timothy used to make fun of him: When are you gonna get rid of that orange T-shirt, Slim?

But when Timothy identified his brother's body, none of his clothes were recognizable except the black shoes. And when Jonathan went to work on the morning of September 11, 2001, he'd left early and kissed his wife goodbye while she was still sleeping. She never saw the clothes he was wearing. After she learned that he was dead, she packed his clothes away and never inventoried what specific articles of clothing might be missing.

Is Jonathan Briley the Falling Man? He might be. But maybe he didn't jump from the window as a betrayal of love or because he lost hope. Maybe he jumped to fulfill the terms of a miracle. Maybe he jumped to come home to his family. Maybe he didn't jump at all, because no one can jump into the arms of God.

Oh, no. You have to fall.

Yes, Jonathan Briley might be the Falling Man. But the only certainty we have is the certainty we had at the start: At fifteen seconds after 9:41 a.m., on September 11, 2001, a photographer named Richard Drew took a picture of a man falling through the sky—falling through time as well as through space. The picture went all around the world, and then disappeared, as if we willed it away. One of the most famous photographs in human history became an unmarked grave, and the man buried inside its frame—the Falling Man—became the Unknown Soldier in a war whose end we have not yet seen. Richard Drew's photograph is all we know of him, and yet all we know of him becomes a measure of what we know of ourselves. The picture is his cenotaph, and like the monuments dedicated to the memory of unknown soldiers everywhere, it asks that we look at it, and make one simple acknowledgment.

That we have known who the Falling Man is all along.

Take action -- click here to contact your local newspaper or congress people:REOPEN 9/11 INVESTIGATION
Click here to see the most recent messages sent to congressional reps and local newspapers
Allen L Roland is a practicing psychotherapist, author and lecturer who also shares a daily political and social commentary on his weblog and website He also guest hosts a monthly national radio show TRUTHTALK on Conscious talk radio

President Pelosi

March 25, 2007
Judiciary Corruption, THE WALK and President Pelosi
By Rob Kall

March 25, 2007

Judiciary Corruption, THE WALK and President Pelosi

By Rob Kall

Meet the Press tends to get me thinking, extrapolating, and writing.

US Attorney David Iglesias told Tim Russert, today, that he felt leaned on when Senator Pete Domenici and congresswoman Heather Wilson asked him about pressing charges against a Democrat running in a tight race. Iglesias should have filed charges-- against the senator and congresswoman-- for interfering in the judicial process. Domenici and Wilson should be criminally charged and should resign.

Iglesias tells Tim Russert he didn't even report Domenici, and Wilson, though, inappropriate and illegal as their efforts at tampering were, because of his "loyalty," Iglesias reports. Loyalty to Domenici, a mentor who helped him get the job? Yes. Loyalty to Heather Wilson, a fellow Republican? Yes, and also, to the Republican party? Probably. What about loyalty to justice? To the law? Iglesias is no innocent. He was fired because he just wasn't the total whore who put politics before the law that the white house wanted. He just violated the law a little bit. Yes. It was a part of his job as US attorney to report efforts to influence justice. He didn't do it. That was reason to fire him. His failure to act as a political hitman was not.

The fact is, as Tim Russert says, "in each of these districts a corruption investigation was going on."

Arlen Spector says that while firings are at the "pleasure of the president" bad reasons are not tolerable.

Bush, through Rove and Gonzales, arranged for the chief prosecutors to be fired, taken off the job, removed from heavy duty investigations of Republicans. This reason for firing is not "at the pleasure of the president" no way, not ever, never, even though this is the despicable lie that right wing echo chamber members keep repeating. Whenever you hear the words "at the pleasure of the president" you're hearing someone supporting the spin campaign being orchestrated by the whitehouse.

John McKay, another fired US Attorney, in answer to Tim Russert's question as to whether Gonzales can continue to run the Justice Department said that it's up to the President and AG Gonzales. What a weak, cover-his-ass answer. At least, he then said, "There is a cloud over the Justice Department and that has to be removed." It's clear he's afraid to tell the truth, that he knows the vicious way this administration will make his work future toast if he just says what he thinks about his fellow Republicans in the Justice Department.

Of course, Gonzales was just the trigger man for Bush. President Bush is the one who should be removed.

When we look at the history of the US. This horrendous abuse of justice will be ranked right up there with some of the worst, most criminal acts by a government official.

Mainstream Media Collusion in Preventing the Corruption Story From Being the Top News

It is time for the mainstream media to be making the criminal firing of these attorneys as the big news story, not the battle between Bush and the congress. That's the spin Bush wants. Every time the news talks about the conflict between congress and the President, Bush Wins.

The story is about the worst abuse of the justice system in recent history. Bush's failure to pull Gonzales just makes him more guilty. This WILL be the lynchpin that leads to Bush's impeachment. We better get to work on Cheney, or he could be Bush's replacement. Cheney has to go first.

Getting back to Meet the Press. Russert comments that three of the eight attorneys fired were among the top ten prosecutors in terms of convictions.

He asks Arlen Spector, about Gonzales--
"Do you believe he has the integrity, independence and candor to continue..."

Spector replies--
"Integrity-- lets see."

"Independence-- there's a real question... I want to hear from him directly, vis a vis the white house, what kind of independence he showed."

I don't think he ever got to candor.

Next, Russert asks Dick Durbin to comment on some remarks he's made about what he wants to ask Karl Rove.

Durbin wants to ask Karl Rove's influences on other attorneys who were retained. Did he ask politically motivated actions of others. How many others did play ball? How many were contacted by members of congress or higher up... to influence elections."

Spector says that he thinks the president is wrong for not wanting a transcript, that he'd prefer to have the hearings public, but that rather than hearings before both bodies, it could be streamlined.

Spector could very well be one of the Republicans who break the Bush Wall. He's worked hard (not so hard in recent years) to maintain a reputation for loyalty to the law and fairness. Already, he is leaning in some good directions, challenging Bush. Already, he is saying that there is no way the attorneys should have been fired for bad reasons, and that Gonzales better be able to explain.

If Spector turns on Gonzales, it is a turn against the president. The right and the MSM will try to spin it differently, but there is no getting around it. Like an inoperable tumor that has intertwined itself into the brain or spine, Bush has embraced Gonzales so tightly, so protectively, if Gonzales goes down, Bush's corruption will have to be faced. He may avoid, using presidential immunity defenses, direct testimony against him, but the nation will know. The congress will know.

There will be more Republicans who can no longer deny they, like the wives of sexual predators of children, live in a house where massive abuse is going on. Their fear for their continued survival, their loyalty to a damaged relationship will fail to maintain the lie. They may not speak out, but they will find others who feel the same way, and soon enough, they will make THE WALK.

The walk is the walk by at least one dozen Republican senators to the Whitehouse. They will walk there to tell Bush and Cheney it is time for them to go, that they are ready to support impeachment, if necessary, but willing to help negotiate resignations that minimize the risk of prosecution.

This will not be easy. Should the Dem congress allow Bush and Cheney to resign with some immunity from prosecution? The temptation will be to resist giving Bush and Cheney any slack. But allowing them to resign, perhaps with a confession of some sort, with public testimony-- along the lines of South Africa's truth and reconciliation hearings-- might go a long way to get us back on track.

My guess is the Republicans would want to see a Republican replacement. That would NOT be acceptable. Nancy Pelosi is next in line and she should become the first Female President. My guess is the republicans will put this off until spring 2008, after the presidential primaries are far along, especially, after the California primary, when it will be too late for Pelosi, as the incumbent president, to declare she is running for president for the 2008 race. After all, if "THE WALK" happens this spring or summer, and Pelosi has even six months to show a strong track record, she has a very good chance of becoming the leading contender in the Democratic presidential primary race.

It IS getting interesting, isn't it?

Which Senate Republicans do YOU think will be among those who take THE WALK to the whitehouse?

Ex-Prosecutor Says He Faced Partisan Questions Before Firing

Ex-Prosecutor Says He Faced Partisan Questions Before Firing
By R. Jeffrey SmithWashington Post Staff WriterMonday, March 26, 2007; A03

One of the eight former U.S. attorneys fired by the Bush administration said yesterday that White House officials questioned his performance in highly partisan political terms at a meeting in Washington in September, three months before his dismissal.

John McKay of Washington state, who had decided two years earlier not to bring voter fraud charges that could have undermined a Democratic victory in a closely fought gubernatorial race, said White House counsel Harriet Miers and her deputy, William Kelley, "asked me why Republicans in the state of Washington would be angry with me."

McKay said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that the question -- which he took as a challenge to his 2004 decision -- surprised him because the issue had been carefully reviewed by his office and the decision was supported by the FBI's office in Seattle. "We expected to be supported by people in Washington, D.C., when we make tough decisions like that," McKay said.

He added that he took umbrage at the idea that he had other responsibilities beyond focusing "on the evidence and not allow[ing] politics into the work that we do in criminal prosecutions." Those involved in the scandal over the firings who acted unprofessionally "or even illegally" must be held accountable for what they did, he said.

McKay's disclosure of an explicit White House question about the damage his decision caused to his standing among party loyalists added new detail to his previous statement that Miers accused him of having "mishandled" the voter fraud inquiry.

The use of the word "mishandled" left open the possibility that White House officials -- who in September were weighing whether to recommend McKay for a federal judgeship -- merely disputed McKay's professional judgment. But his statement yesterday lent new credence to suspicions that partisan political concerns weighed heavily in his firing.

His remarks came amid increasing criticism of the administration by other fired prosecutors. Bud Cummins, who was dismissed last year to make way for a protege of Karl Rove, noted on CBS's "Face the Nation" that among the documents released by the administration, "there is no evidence of a credible performance-review process as the attorney general has described."
Former prosecutor David C. Iglesias of New Mexico, asked on "Meet the Press" if he believes he was removed for political reasons, said, "Absolutely, yes." Iglesias, a Republican, also said that "right now, I've got serious doubts" about the integrity and leadership of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.

Iglesias also challenged a recent statement by White House counselor Dan Bartlett that Iglesias was fired in part because of frustration that his prosecution of a former New Mexico state treasurer had produced a conviction on only one of 23 counts.

Iglesias said Bartlett is "out of touch" and "looking at talking points" because "he doesn't know the facts underlying what we do as U.S. attorneys." He said that the former state treasurer was sentenced to three years in prison and that "had he been convicted of 10 out of 23 counts, I doubt he would have done a lot more time."

Although President Bush said Saturday that he wants Gonzales to remain in his post, political support for that position continued to erode yesterday because of the disclosure Friday that Gonzales had chaired a November meeting where the firings were discussed -- contrary to Gonzales's past assertion that he was "not involved in any discussions about what was going on."
Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), the Judiciary Committee's senior Republican, said on "Meet the Press" that "we have to have an attorney general who is candid, truthful, and if we find he has not been candid and truthful, that's a very compelling reason for him not to stay on."

The Justice Department's effort to portray the new disclosure as consistent with Gonzales's depiction of his role did not appear to be getting much traction on Capitol Hill. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) said on ABC's "This Week" that Gonzales has "a problem. You cannot have the nation's chief law enforcement officer with a cloud hanging over his credibility."

Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), the minority whip, said on "Fox News Sunday:" "I think it is a fact that it hasn't been handled well. . . . There needs to be a way to find out exactly what went on and why this was done."

Democratic lawmakers were more scathing. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), on the Fox program, accused Gonzales of lying to her about his role at the outset of the scandal. "I think he's been damaged very badly," she said, and called for Gonzales to resign.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Impeach Gonzales: the Quickest Way to the Truth

Arianna Huffington

Impeach Gonzales: the Quickest Way to the Truth

In his weekend radio address, President Bush said of the investigation into the U.S. Attorney firings: "Members of Congress now face a choice: whether they will waste time and provoke an unnecessary confrontation, or whether they will join us in working to do the people's business."
He got it half right. If his administration continues to thwart the ability of Congress to uncover the truth about the firings, there will indeed but a "confrontation." But it will hardly be "unnecessary."

If the president continues trying to run out the clock on this scandal, Congress should immediately begin impeachment proceeding against Alberto Gonzales. It's the quickest way to the truth.

Appearing on CNN's Late Edition, Joe DiGenova said that if Congress insists on issuing subpoenas, the White House will surely contest them, and the ensuing litigation will last until the end of Bush's term. DiGenova's point was that Congress should go ahead and compromise, but my takeaway was just the opposite: if Bush's game is to stall, Congress should play the impeachment card since, as Robert Kuttner points out, "an impeachment inquiry could be completed in a matter of months."

Kuttner calls Gonzales the administration's "point man for serial assaults against the rule of law." And his sordid track record as White House counsel and AG bears this out: Guantanamo, the misuse of "national security letters," the abuse of the Patriot Act, the illegal spying on American citizens, and now his lies about his involvement in the U.S. Attorney firings.
Bush has 21 months left in office. That's far too long to continue with an Attorney General with such contempt for the law.

There was an illuminating moment about all this on Meet the Press. It might even have been a moment of divine intervention. Tim Russert was interviewing David Iglesias, one of the fired U.S. Attorneys, and asked him about a Bible verse, Proverbs 19:25, that he had referred to at the end of one his recently released emails:

Russert: "Proverbs 19:25, it caught my attention and I went to the good book and looked it up. 'Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge.' Explain why you cited that."

Iglesias: "It's interesting that you would pick that up. Actually, that's a typo. I meant to say Proverbs 19:21, which is 'Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it's the Lord's purpose that prevails.' In other words, all this mess may seem chaotic and without reason, but ultimately there's a bigger plan, there's a providential plan. So I meant to put Proverbs 19:21, not Proverbs 19:25."

I say both passages are relevant. The Lord may have an ultimate purpose that involves the meting out of justice, but doesn't absolve us from doing what we can here on earth with the tools we've been given.

Like the ability to smite a scorner. Whether Gonzales hath understanding no longer matters. To quote another verse, Matthew 7:16, "Ye shall know them by their fruits."

Alberto Gonzales' have proven to be bitter and rotten to the core. It's time for him to go.

Impeach Dick Cheney, Immediately

Impeach Dick Cheney, Immediately

A. Alexander, March 25th, 2007

Proving beyond a doubt that he has lost the mental capacity, the credibility and legal standing to remain as Vice-President, Dick Cheney accused Democrats of "undermining" the "troops" and telling terrorists that America will retreat in the face of danger. Mister Cheney's conduct -- lying the nation into war, illegally outing an undercover CIA agent and sanctioning torture -- are alone, worthy of his impeachment. However, Dick Cheney's continued mental instability demands that he be removed from office. Dick Cheney wishes America perceived him as being mentally and morally fit to question the patriotism of all who disagree with his psychotic ramblings and delusions. Yet, it is the fact that Mister Cheney deems himself qualified to question the loyalty of others that provides proof of his psychotic delusions of grandeur. Dick Cheney did after all, seek and receive not one but five...FIVE Vietnam draft deferments. Not exactly the behavior of a man brimming over with character, valor, or a keen sense of patriotism. Indeed, Dick Cheney, besides being a delusional psychopath, is nothing but a common coward! Dick Cheney and the rather large herd of cowards currently inhabiting the White House -- let's not forget Mister Bush's comfortable Vietnam-era stint in Texas' Air National Guard -- are working overtime to project the Democrats' WAR-FUNDING bill as not actually funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The truth of the matter is, however, that the Democratic funding bill actually assigns more money for the "troops" than Mister Bush had requested. What the bill does, which is the thing that Mister Cheney and Bush despise, is require America's military to begin withdrawing from Iraq. Dick Cheney and George W. Bush have sent 40,000 U.S. "troops" into combat without proper protective equipment; they've extended the "troops" combat tours seemingly without end; they've refused to allow the "troops" to leave service at the end of their contractual obligation to country; they've forced the "troops" to complete two and three tours of combat; Mister Cheney and Bush have sent the "troops" into combat without proper training; they've not given the "troops" sufficient rest before returning them to the combat zone; and then when the "troops" need emotional and medical help Dick Cheney and George W. Bush have consistently cut funding for the Veteran's Administration, military healthcare, and even sent them to Walter Reed to rot with rats and cockroaches! Ah, but FIVE VIETNAM DRAFT DEFERMENTS Dick Cheney believes himself qualified to question the patriotism of Democrats. After all that Dick Cheney has done to demoralize and so sorely abuse the "troops," he believes himself in possession of the moral authority to accuse Democrats of "undermining" the "troops." Besides being a disgrace to his nation, a coward, a pathological liar, and an all around vile and disgusting pathetic excuse for a human being - Dick Cheney's criminal actions and emotional instability demand that, for the nation's sake, he be impeached immediately!

Rove, proven liar

Rove, proven liar

President Bush's "offer" to let Congress interview Karl Rove about the U.S. attorney firings without an oath is a joke. As we learned in Plamegate, Rove cannot be trusted to tell the truth.

By Joe Conason

Mar. 23, 2007 Confronted with subpoenas from Congress demanding the sworn testimony of Karl Rove on the matter of the eight fired U.S. attorneys, those guileless guys in the Bush White House sound puzzled. Both press secretary Tony Snow and communications director Dan Bartlett say they cannot understand why the House and Senate Judiciary Committees won't accept the offer to interview Rove in private, behind closed doors, without putting him under oath or transcribing the proceedings.

If the Congress is honestly interested in the truth about those firings, as Snow exclaimed yesterday under questioning from reporters, why wouldn't the committees agree to that "extraordinarily generous" proposal from the White House? Why not just let ol' Karl sit down in a back room with a few senators and members of Congress and explain everything, without stenographers and reporters and videotapes and nosy rubbernecking citizens?

The proposal to interview the president's chief political counselor without an oath or even a transcript is absurd for a simple and obvious reason. Yet the White House press corps, despite a long and sometimes testy series of exchanges with Snow, is too polite to mention that reason, so let me spell it out as rudely as necessary right here:

Rove is a proven liar who cannot be trusted to tell the truth even when he is under oath, unless and until he is directly threatened with the prospect of prison time. Or has everyone suddenly forgotten his exceedingly narrow escape from criminal indictment for perjury and false statements in the Valerie Plame Wilson investigation? Only after four visits to the grand jury convened by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, and a stark warning from Fitzgerald to defense counsel of a possible indictment, did Rove suddenly remember his role in the exposure of Plame as a CIA agent.

Not only did Rove lie, but he happily let others lie on his behalf, beginning in September 2003, when Scott McClellan, then the White House press secretary, publicly exonerated him of any blame in the outing of Plame. From that autumn until his fifth and final appearance before the grand jury in April 2006, the president's "boy genius" concealed the facts about his leak of Plame's CIA identity to Time magazine correspondent Matt Cooper.

There is no reason to believe that Rove would ever have told the truth if Fitzgerald had not forced Cooper to testify before the grand jury and surrender his incriminating notes, with a contempt citation and the threat of a long sojourn in jail. Indeed, there is no reason to think that even knowing Cooper had testified would have made Rove testify accurately. He failed to do so from July 2005 until April 2006, after all. But in December 2005, Fitzgerald impaneled a new grand jury and started to present evidence against him.

In the embarrassing aftermath of that very plain history of lying, covering up and gaming the prosecutor, Rove's friends offered two cute explanations. Explanation one was that he supposedly didn't remember that he had spoken about Plame with Cooper until Time reporter Viveca Novak reminded his attorney of that fact. Explanation two was that he didn't say Plame's name aloud to Cooper but merely referred to her as Wilson's wife and said she worked at CIA. So technically, when he claimed he didn't name her, he wasn't literally lying. Except that he didn't remember doing any of that anyway. What-ever!

By now the porous brainpans of the Washington press corps not only seem to have excused Rove's leaking and lying about Plame's CIA position, but also to have erased that disgraceful episode from their memories. The president and all his flacks can stand before the public and act as if Rove should be treated like a truthful person whose words can be believed -- and not as someone who lies routinely even in the direst of circumstances. The press secretary Snow can say, without fear of contradiction, that the best way to ascertain the facts about the White House role in the firing of the U.S. attorneys is to interview Rove without benefit of oath or transcript.

"Do they want the truth, and do they think they're not going to be able to get it?" Snow asked rhetorically. "And the answer is, of course, they're going to get the truth. They're going to get the whole truth. "

Why didn't everybody laugh when he said that?

An Open Letter to the President...Four and a Half Years Later

Sean Penn

An Open Letter to the President...Four and a Half Years Later

Four and a half years ago, I addressed the issue of war in an open letter to our President. Today I would like to again speak to him and his, directly. Mr. President, Mr. Cheney, Ms. Rice et al: Indeed America has a rich history of greatness -indeed, America is still today a devastating military superpower.

And because, in the absence of a competent or brave Congress, of a mobilized citizenry, that level of power lies in your hands, it is you who have misused it to become our country's and our constitution's most devastating enemy. You have broken our country and our hearts. The needless blood on your hands, and therefore, on our own, is drowning the freedom, the security, and the dream that America might have been, once healed of and awakened by, the tragedy of September 11, 2001.

But now, we are encouraged to self-censor any words that might be perceived as inflammatory - if our belief is that this war should stop today. We cower as you point fingers telling us to "support our troops." Well, you and the smarmy pundits in your pocket, those who bathe in the moisture of your soiled and bloodstained underwear, can take that noise and shove it. We will be snowed no more. Let's make this crystal clear. We do support our troops in our stand, while you exploit them and their families. The verdict is in. You lied, connived, and exploited your own countrymen and most of all, our troops.

You Misters Bush and Cheney; you Ms. Rice are villainously and criminally obscene people, obscene human beings, incompetent even to fulfill your own self-serving agenda, while tragically neglectful and destructive of ours and our country's. And I got a question for your daughters Mr. Bush. They're not children anymore. Do they support your policy in Iraq? If they do, how dare they not be in uniform, while the children of the poor; black, white, Asian, Hispanic, and all the other American working men and women are slaughtered, maimed and flown back into this country under cover of darkness.

Now, because I've been on the streets of Baghdad during this occupational war, outside the Green Zone, without security, and you haven't; I've met children there. In that country of 25 million, these children have now suffered minimally, a rainstorm of civilian death around and among them totaling the equivalent of two hundred September 11ths in just four years of war. Two hundred 9/11s. Two hundred 9/11s.

You want to rattle sabers toward Iran now? Let me tell you something about Iran, because I've been there and you haven't. Iran is a great country. A great country. Does it have its haters? You bet. Just like the United States has its haters. Does it have a corrupt regime? You bet. Just like the United States has a corrupt regime. Does it want a nuclear weapon? Maybe. Do we have one? You bet. But the people of Iran are great people. And if we give that corrupt leadership, (by attacking Iran militarily) the opportunity to unify that great country in hatred against us, we'll have been giving up one of our most promising future allies in decades. If you really know anything about Iran, you know exactly what I'm referring to. Of course your administration belittles diplomatic potential there, as those options rely on a credibility and geopolitical influence that you have aggressively squandered worldwide.

Speaking of squandering, how about the billion and a half dollars a day our Iraq-focused military is spending, where three weeks of that kind of spending, would pay the tab on a visionary levy-building project in New Orleans and relieve the entire continent of Africa from starvation and the spread of disease. Not to mention the continued funds now necessary, to not only rebuild our education and healthcare systems, but also, to give care and aid to the veterans of this war, both American and our Iraqi allies and friends who have lost everything.

You say we've kept the war on terror off our shores by responding to a criminal act of terror through state sponsored unilateral aggression in a country that took no part in that initial crime. That this war would be fought in Iraq or fought here. They are not our toilet. They are a country of human beings whose lives, while once oppressed by Saddam, are now lived in Dante's inferno.

My 15-year-old daughter was working on a comparative essay this week (you can ask Condi what a comparative essay is, as academic exercises fit the limits of her political expertise.) My daughter's essay, which understood substance over theory, discusses the strengths of the Nuremberg trial justice beside the alternate strategy of truth and reconciliation in South Africa, and I quote: "When we observe distinctions between one power and another, one justice and another, we consider the divide between retribution and reconciliation, of closure and disclosure." I can't do her essay justice in this forum, but at its core, it asks how, when, and why we compromise toward peace, punish for war, or balance both for something more.

This may focus another soft spot in the rhetoric of both sides. We're told not to engage in the "politics of attack." To "keep away from the negative"...Well, Mr. Bush, when speaking of your administration, that would leave us silent, and impotent indeed.

So, in conclusion, I address my remaining remarks to the choir: We all played nice recently at the sad passing of former President Ford. Pundits and players on all sides re-visited his pardoning of Richard Nixon with praise, stating that a divided nation found unity. But what of that precedent on deterrence now? Where is justice now? Let's unite, not only in stopping this war, but holding this administration accountable as well. Without impeachment, justice cannot prevail. In our time, or our children's. And let's make it clear to democrats and republicans alike that we are not willing to wait on '08 to hear them say again: "If I'd known then, what I know now."

Even in a so-called victory, what we saw yesterday was a House of Representatives that couldn't bring itself to represent either conscience or constituents. It's a tragedy that the Democratic Party's leadership in Congress refuses to allow the House to vote on Barbara Lee's amendment for a fully funded, orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of this year. Elites circled the war wagons against this proposal, and postponed the day of reckoning that must come as soon as possible - a complete pullout of U.S. military forces from Iraq.
There are presidential candidates who understand this. We do have candidates of conscience. As things stand today, I will be voting for Dennis Kucinich, who has fought this war from the beginning. You might say Kucinich can't win. Well, we have an opportunity to re-establish the credibility of democracy as viewed by the world at large.

We can fire our current president. We can choose the next president. You and me, the farmer in Wisconsin, the boys at Google, and Bill Gates.

It's up to us to choose. Why don't we choose?!

From remarks at Congresswoman Barbara Lee's March 24 Town Hall Meeting on the 4th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.
Frank Rich: When will Bush's Fredo get whacked?

Op-ed: Don't just oust the Attorney General, impeach him...

NYPD spied broadly on citizens before '04 GOP convention

White House was advised firings won't be 'national story'

Documents reveal Gonzales okayed firing attorneys

Reid: Gonzales leaving in a month 'one way or the other'

Officials: Mideast peace prospects 'deteriorated' due to US

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ex-Interior No. 2 lied in lobbyist case A former top Interior Department official pleaded guilty yesterday to felony charges of obstructing Congress in an investigation into convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. J. Steven Griles, the highest-ranking Bush administration official to be convicted in the Abramoff probe, admitted he lied to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in November 2005 about his relationship with Abramoff during its investigation of the lobbyist.
Califonia Caught Selling Social Security numbers Identity thieves from half way around the world are making peoples lives miserable while data aggregators and underground websites give international criminals everything they need to steal your good name. Now a California lawmaker is furious that the state of California has been selling peoples Social Security numbers online. . He bought several fo r $6 Each

Murtha On Bush: "He's Going To Have To Deal With Us"



Murtha On Bush: "He's Going To Have To Deal With Us"

CNN Posted March 24, 2007 10:23 AM

Impeachment a Transcendent Act

Impeachment a Transcendent Act
By Bruce Toien

One of our most courageous advocates for democracy, Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), last week declared on the House floor that "impeachment may well be the only remedy which remains to stop a war of aggression against Iran."

He is right. We -- and the world -- cannot wait. It is time to impeach the top members of this Administration *NOW*. For a while I was swayed by the arguments of the pragmatists that Oversight and Investigation are too important to be compromised by pursuing uncertain impeachment proceedings. But I've come back to the position that America can actually walk and chew gum at the same time.

Why the hurry? Well here's why. It's not us, it's this Administration that is in an hurry -- in a hurry to take us into a new war with Iran, in a hurry to plunder our resources both natural and human, in a hurry to finish sacking our Treasury, in a hurry to administer the coup de grace upon the remnants of our American democracy, in a hurry to send more brave Americans to their deaths. To paraphrase Martin Luther King, "We cannot wait".

Impeachment is not about retribution, much as many of us would savor it. It's about the rule of law. The Bush Administration has been accused of many heinous acts. I think it's only fair that they finally get their "day in court" to answer the charges and face their accusers.
In particular, there are two primary reasons for introducing Articles of Impeachment right away:

1) To stop ongoing large-scale criminal behavior as quickly as possible 2) To demonstrate to the world and to ourselves that we are still a good and just nation of laws, not of men -- that we are an asset, not a danger, to the world community, that nations need not arm themselves against us

And what a magnificent legacy we could leave, to do what no great power in history has ever done: Regulate our own power, even in the absence of external constraints.

That's why impeachment of the Bush Administration at this time would be a transcendent act.
-- Bruce Toien

Authors Bio: Bruce Toien is a software engineer and database developer in the Portland area, with an interest in the interaction between technology and society. He and his wife and enjoy the many opportunities for outdoor life in the Pacific Northwest.

Russia Arms China and Iran with Unbeatable anti Aircraft Carrier Missiles

Russia Arms China and Iran with Unbeatable anti Aircraft Carrier Missiles In the 60's China and Russia backed tiny North Vietnam to defeat the U.S. Now Russia has armed China and Iran with submarines and the unbeatable Sizzler Missile to destroy American Aircraft Carriers.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Was the 18-day gap because Bush was on vacation
by John Aravosis (DC) · 3/23/2007 10:31:00 AM ET

The Bush administration turned over thousands of document, including emails, regarding the firing of the US Attorneys. There was an 18 day gap during which no emails were sent. Many of us suspected that the emails were either deleted or that the Bushies refused to turn them over. But CREW has come up with a third, intriguing possibility. The 18 day gap took place during a time in which Bush was on vacation and traveling. Did the gap occur because the issue was before Bush and he was the ultimate decider behind the entire scandal? More from CREW.
Messages Reveal Machinations
Administration worked for months to make Rove aide U.S. attorney in Arkansas, e-mails show.
Dan Eggen and Amy Goldstein
Senate Panel Oks Subpoenas | Prosecutor Mocked
Live Q&A, 11 ET: Politics Hour With Lyndsey Layton
Full Coverage: U.S. Attorney Firings Investigation

Rat Poison Found in Tainted Pet Food
Afghan Forces Kill 49 Taliban Fighters
Study: Alcohol, Tobacco Worse Than Drugs
Mozambique Weapons Depot Blast Kills 83
Police: Pakistan's Cricket Coach Was Strangled
Home Sales Rise Unexpectedly in Feb.
Fed Faulted for Inaction on Mortgages
In China, News Show Thrives With Timeworn Ways
On Mideast Trip, Rice to Try a New Formula
Vote on House Seats for D.C., Utah Thwarted

Prosecutor Says Bush Appointees Interfered With Tobacco Case

By Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 22, 2007; A01

The leader of the Justice Department team that prosecuted a landmark lawsuit against tobacco companies said yesterday that Bush administration political appointees repeatedly ordered her to take steps that weakened the government's racketeering case.

Sharon Y. Eubanks said Bush loyalists in Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's office began micromanaging the team's strategy in the final weeks of the 2005 trial, to the detriment of the government's claim that the industry had conspired to lie to U.S. smokers.

She said a supervisor demanded that she and her trial team drop recommendations that tobacco executives be removed from their corporate positions as a possible penalty. He and two others instructed her to tell key witnesses to change their testimony. And they ordered Eubanks to read verbatim a closing argument they had rewritten for her, she said.

"The political people were pushing the buttons and ordering us to say what we said," Eubanks said. "And because of that, we failed to zealously represent the interests of the American public."

Eubanks, who served for 22 years as a lawyer at Justice, said three political appointees were responsible for the last-minute shifts in the government's tobacco case in June 2005: then-Associate Attorney General Robert D. McCallum, then-Assistant Attorney General Peter Keisler and Keisler's deputy at the time, Dan Meron.

News reports on the strategy changes at the time caused an uproar in Congress and sparked an inquiry by the Justice Department. Government witnesses said they had been asked to change testimony, and one expert withdrew from the case. Government lawyers also announced that they were scaling back a proposed penalty against the industry from $130 billion to $10 billion.

High-ranking Justice Department officials said there was no political meddling in the case, and the department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) concurred after an investigation.

Yesterday was the first time that any of the government lawyers on the case spoke at length publicly about what they considered high-level interference by Justice officials.

Eubanks, who retired from Justice in December 2005, said she is coming forward now because she is concerned about what she called the "overwhelming politicization" of the department demonstrated by the controversy over the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. Lawyers from Justice's civil rights division have made similar claims about being overruled by supervisors in the past.

Eubanks said Congress should not limit its investigation to the dismissal of the U.S. attorneys.

"Political interference is happening at Justice across the department," she said. "When decisions are made now in the Bush attorney general's office, politics is the primary consideration. . . . The rule of law goes out the window."

McCallum, who is now the U.S. ambassador to Australia, said in an interview yesterday that congressional claims of political interference were rejected by the OPR investigation, for which Eubanks was questioned. He said that there was a legitimate disagreement between Eubanks and some career lawyers in the racketeering division about key strategy and that his final decision to reduce the proposed penalty to pay for smoking-cessation programs was vindicated by the judge's ruling that she could not order such a penalty.

"Her claims are totally false in terms of [us] trying to weaken the case," McCallum said. "Her claims were looked into by the Office of Professional Responsibility and were found to be groundless."

In June 2006, the OPR cleared McCallum, concluding that his "actions in seeking and directing changes in the remedies sought were not influenced by any political considerations, but rather were based on good faith efforts to obtain remedies from the district court that would be sustainable on appeal."

Keisler and Meron did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ruled last August that tobacco companies violated civil racketeering laws by conspiring for decades to deceive the public about the dangers of their product. She ordered the companies to make major changes in the way cigarettes are marketed. But she said she could not order the monetary penalty proposed by the government.

The Clinton Justice Department brought the unprecedented civil suit against the country's five largest tobacco companies in 1999. President Bush disparaged the tobacco case while campaigning in 2000. After Bush took office, some officials expressed initial doubts about the government's ability to fund the prosecution, Justice's largest.

Eubanks said McCallum, Keisler and Meron largely ignored the case until it became clear that the government might win. She recalled that "things began to get really tense" after McCallum read news reports in April 2005 that one government expert, professor Max H. Bazerman of Harvard Business School, would argue that tobacco officials who engaged in fraud could be removed from their corporate posts. Eubanks said she received an angry call from McCallum on the day the news broke.

"How could you put that in there?" she recalled him saying. "We're not going to be pursuing that."

Afterward, McCallum, Keisler and Meron told Eubanks to approach other witnesses about softening their testimony, Eubanks said.

Matthew Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids was one of the witnesses whom Eubanks asked to change his testimony. Yesterday, he said he found her account to be "the only reasonable explanation" for what transpired.

Two weeks before closing arguments in June, McCallum called for a meeting with Eubanks and her deputy, Stephen Brody, to discuss what McCallum described as "getting the number down" for the $130 billion penalty to create smoking-cessation programs. Brody declined to comment yesterday on the legal team's deliberations, saying that they were private.

During several tense late-night meetings, McCallum repeatedly refused to suggest a figure, Eubanks said, or give clear reasons for the reduction. Brody refused to lower the amount. Finally, on the morning the government was to propose the penalty in court, she said, McCallum ordered it cut to $10 billion.

The most stressful moment, Eubanks said, came when the three appointees ordered her to read word for word a closing argument they had rewritten. The statement explained the validity of seeking a $10 billion penalty.

"I couldn't even look at the judge," she said.

Staff writer Dan Eggen contributed to this report.

Confusion at the Post

by: JB

Thu Mar 22, 2007 at 12:47:21 PM CDT

I have been reading the Washington Post for well over 50 years. Fact is, I delivered 200 newspapers every morning at 4:30 a.m. and read the paper while I walked my paper route. Today, though, we have pretty good evidence that the editors of the Post are not reading their own paper, for if they were, they certainly would not have come up with this piece of crap editorial, suggesting that a Constitutional confrontation is more than the corruption in the Department of Justice deserves.

Had they read this piece by Carol D. Leonnig in the very same edition on the interference by Bush appointees in the prosecution the the criminal tobacco corporations, these editors might have concluded differently.

The ugly fact is that with a brain like Rove running the Executive, there is no chance that Justice could have been spared the politicization that destroys the Rule of Law. Senator Shumer is absolutely correct in saying that if Bush refuses to let Meiers and Rove testify under oath there are plenty of disgruntled Justice employees who will!

We are on our way to a crisis in Washington and the nation will not stand for more bullcrap as an answer to its questions. Bush should understand that loyalty to Rove will bring his administration down.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

It's All About Context - Why Bush's Attorney Scandal Standoff is Doomed to Political Failure

A. Alexander, March 22nd, 2007

Nearly everything in life is about context. So let's put into context Mister Bush's latest heel-digging-in, "know ya'are but whattam'I" pitch-o-fit with the Democrats and see why it is doomed to political failure.

The President and his Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, lied to Congress and the American people as to why several federal prosecutors were fired. The administration claimed the attorneys were released for doing a poor job, but White House communication records revealed that Mister Bush and his people fired the attorney's for failing to be sufficiently 'loyal Bushies'. They just weren't willing enough to create fake charges and hang them on Democrats. And, contrary to FOX News' insistence, the administration's manipulation of America's justice system does matter. Honestly, what could possibly be more important than the rule of law?

Even most Congressional Republicans acknowledge that George W. Bush's administration, including the Attorney General, supposedly the nation's top law enforcement official, lied to Congress and the American people. The reality and the facts are indisputable. And therein lies the rub - oh, and the context.

Despite the President and Attorney General's truth deficiencies, Mister Bush tried to swindle a sweet deal for Karl Rove, i.e. to have him testify off-the-record and in private. Of course, having been told lie after lie Democrats smelled a attempt by the White House to avoid having to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Mister Bush and the 'loyal Bushies' are trying to justify their stance by pretending to have -- by dumping 3,000 pages of information -- cooperated with Congress in an unprecedented way. The reality, however, is that there is a gap in the documents that the White House released. Mister Bush would like Congress and the American people to believe that, regarding his plan to fire the attorneys, all communication came to an abrupt halt in mid-November and that nobody in the administration said or wrote another word regarding the issue until early December. The near month-long gap in e-mails aside, reports have suggested that the White House redacted (blacked out) 100 pages of the released documents.

What are they so desperately trying to hide?

Again, the administration is trying to game the system. They are telling yet another lie by omitting nearly a month's worth of important communication, while telling the American people that they've given Congress 'unprecedented' cooperation.

The craziest part about the entire scenario is that the administration is playing this game in hopes of claiming Democrats aren't interested in the facts, only partisan politics. This is the land of political make believe and pretend that the nearly irrelevant Mister Bush now finds himself. He and the 'loyal Bushies' actually believe they can repeatedly and publicly lie to Congress and the American people; then attempt to game the system with their "extremely generous offer" that conspicuously omits nearly a month of important communication; refuse to allow Rove and others to testify publicly and under oath; and then claim the Democrats are simply playing political games and not interested in the truth. This is the context in which this political scandal is playing out.

Incredibly, the President and his band of 'loyal Bushies' are hoping against hope that the American people won't remember the content or the context of this particular scandal. The biggest problem facing Mister Bush's scheme is that the American people probably trust Charles Manson more than they trust him and that is the political context in which he now lives.

Boxer Tells Inhofe “An Inconvenient Truth”


During today's hearings on global warming, global warming denier James Inhofe was asking Al Gore questions, but didn't want to hear the answers because he thought the responses would take "too much time". Barbara Boxer then explained to Inhofe how things work in Senate now.

video_wmv Download (16260) | Play (13930) video_mov Download (8485) | Play (9928)

Boxer: "You're not making the rules. You used to when you did this, you don't do this anymore. Elections have consequences"

Everyone in the chamber appeared to love Boxer's comments also.

CNN: Gonzales the ‘Weasel’

Wow. CNN’s Jack Cafferty really doesn’t like Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. After calling him the definition of a “weasel,” Cafferty asked America whether the AG should resign. Surprisingly (or not), CNN didn’t get one e-mail saying Gonzales should stay.

The Post-Bush AwakeningE.J. Dionne —
Americans are starting to learn the real lessons of the Iraq war: Dissent has value, political conformity costs lives and leaders who fail time and again don’t deserve one more chance.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales suddenly finds himself in hot water over the U.S. attorneys scandal, but the truth is, the Senate should never have confirmed him in the first place.

Saddam Has the Last Laugh

Iraqi with hammer
AP Photo / Jerome Delay

Saddam Has the Last Laugh

The man who once famously took a sledgehammer to Saddam Hussein’s statue now says “the Americans are worse than the dictatorship.” That’s a growing sentiment in George W. Bush’s Iraq, where a majority of people view attacks on coalition forces as acceptable.

Democracy's "death spiral"

In the reputed cause of keeping us safe, the Bush administration has gutted our defenses and left us more vulnerable than ever.

Is that merely some rabid charge thrown about by the irresponsible liberal blogosphere? No, that's the U.S. military talking, which goes even farther by depicting its readiness condition as a "death spiral."

In a perverse way, it's a good thing we're fighting them there, because we have very little to fight them with anywhere else, according to an eye-popping account from the Washington Post: "Four years after the invasion of Iraq, the high and growing demand for U.S. troops there and in Afghanistan has left ground forces in the United States short of the training, personnel and equipment that would be vital to fight a major ground conflict elsewhere, senior U.S. military and government officials acknowledge."

Who, specifically, is this doomsaying band of brothers that sounds like the Bush-hating, Bush-bashing blogosphere in throwing around phrases like "death spiral"? Well, there's the Army chief of staff: "We have a strategy right now that is outstripping the means to execute it." There's the Army's vice chief of staff, who describes his forces' readiness capability as "stark." And there's the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, who, when "asked last month by a House panel whether he was comfortable with the preparedness of Army units in the United States," replied bluntly, "No ... I am not comfortable."

"More troubling," the report continued, "is that it will take years for the Army and Marine Corps to recover." In response the Pentagon has recommended the Army and Marine Corps' expansion by 92,000 troops. And that's just for starters.

But here's what's even more troubling to me and what seems like only a few others. The real death spiral we find ourselves in is more along the lines of what economist, historian and political scientist Chalmers Johnson gloomily outlines: something you might call "democracy's death spiral."

In an excellent, don't-miss interview with, the Blowback-trilogy author goes back to the future with this profound and, I think, prophetic caveat: "History tells us there’s no more unstable, critical configuration than the combination of domestic democracy and foreign empire. You can be one or the other. You can be a democratic country, as we have claimed in the past to be, based on our Constitution. Or you can be an empire. But you can’t be both."

Yet "both" is what we're led to believe we're nobly pursuing, as we not only rebuild but now rapidly expand our military forces -- for our own good. And our "own good" will entail an ever-swelling military-industrial complex in support of an ever-inflating global fighting force engaged in increasingly numerous conflicts at deficit-bloating, economy-destroying costs.

Oh, and democracy-destroying costs, too. For empires demand unidimensional direction. They need one voice, one leader, one "decider." They cannot and will not tolerate 535 elected representatives and scores of constitutionally conscientious magistrates forcing their two-cents' worth into the mix. That system spells "messy" -- just about the only thing Donald Rumsfeld got right in six years -- and empires don't do messy. They are, rather, exceedingly unilinear in purpose and thought.

In the third of his trilogy, Nemesis, Professor Johnson writes that the United States "is launched on a dangerous path that it must abandon or else face the consequences."

That path is getting shorter by the day.

Andy Ostroy: Back in the 90's, the Repugs crucified Bill Clinton for lying under oath. To this day, they still refer to this "lying under oath" as the foundation of their legal and moral justification for Bubba's impeachment. Yet these hypocrites all refuse to testify to anything under oath--be it to the 911 Commission or to the Judiciary Committee regarding the current attorney firings scandal--because it knows damn well just how much it's guilty of lies, deception and treasonous actions. 3/22

Bush Ruins the World: Iraq diaspora is ‘humanitarian crisis.' Millions have fled the country, others only their region — help is hard to find. He is "liberating" them to death.

Looks Like GOP New Hampshire Election Phone Jamming Case That Appears to Have Been Directed by the RNC -- And Possibly With Rove Involvement -- Will End Up With No One Going to Jail. Disgusting.